Beagles/6 Month old Beagle
QUESTION: We just adopted a beagle/daschund mix 3 days ago. We registered him for obedience training starting in 1 week. The past three evening have been rough. The first night we let him in the bed with us and our two kids. When I came by the bed, he started snapping at me. I started to get worked up which didn't help things. Once I calmed down, I brought myself to the floor and he came to me. Hesitant but calm. I slept on the couch downstairs with him that night in fear that he'd do something to my wife or kids while they slept. Last night, the dog took my son's plastic golf ball. When my wife went to get it, he bit her hand and broke skin. Needless to say, she then slept with him downstairs. Tonight we went through another episode. After a long walk, we came home and started to relax. The dog was charged up and started humping his toy and bed. He is neutered by the way. I tried to distract him by throwing another toy and he became aggressive with me. He brought the toy back but started growling, snapping, and jumping up. We took turns holding our daughter while trying to talk to him and calm him down. While holding our daughter, he was trying to bite her foot. We are not ready to give up on him. Throughout the day he is obedient and attentive. He even took a 30 min nap on my lap today. My concern is the evening episodes. We have been practicing the biting technique described on this site but when he's charged up it doesn't seem to matter. We were told that he was first adopted at 3 months but returned shortly after do to behavior. Personally, I don't believe he was given a chance. Thank you for any advice.
ANSWER: Hi William, thanks for reaching out and for rescuing this little guy. Just saw in the title that he is 6 months old....
Obviously there are some issues which caused him to be given up. The things you are describing are signs of a dog that has not been balanced in his last pack and ruled the roost. He is going to need a firm but calm ALPHA in the pack. Unfortunately letting him up on the bed 1st thing was a really bad thing because it reinforced that he was in charge and could take possession. All of the scenes you described are him telling you he is the boss and you are not. As well, biting your wife and breaking skin is a really bad sign. This is aggression. There is a difference between warning and biting. Neither is ok when it is directed at a human but one is obviously worse than the other. Not sure what biting technique you are describing, if it is mine it for puppies to reteach them bite inhibition, it does not fit in this circumstance.
So first things first, PLEASE call a trainer IMMEDIATELY and get someone to come to the house to work on this with you. If he is aggressive from day one it will only get worse. As well you are inadvertently reinforcing these behaviors. With little kids around this MUST get under control immediately as well as kids are usually a trigger due to their quick movements, inexperience in how to handle and touch a dog etc.
Secondly he needs to sleep in a crate at night. This is new dog, you don't know anything really about him and he is unpredictable at best. Some of this may be fear based ( new home) but there is no question he is not as Cesar Milan would say "balanced" and has had previous issues, aggression doesn't happen overnight. He should not have been given free range from day one. It should have been something that was worked up to as he settled in.
I am pleased to hear that you want to give him another chance but it must be done properly in order to extinguish these negative behaviors properly and not elicit any new ones. While you are getting the trainer issue everything he does needs to be on a earned basis. He eats after he sits, he gets a toy after he sits, if you need to get something away from him offer an alternative at the same time. Do NOT praise him if he elicits any signs of growling, dominance etc. If he doesn't then praise him big time.
I cannot stress enough that this is not a situation that will go away nor that you can handle without professional help. Shame on the rescue or whomever for not having dealt with this before they adopted him out.
Feel free to check back with me and give me an update and I wish you the best of luck!
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: First off, I would like to thank you for the training advice. Our beagle is responding to in-home training beyond my expectations! Now for my second question. We brought Eddie in for his vaccination shots about 1 1/2 weeks ago. After he vomited 10 times in 45 minutes later that night, we did a little bit more research on the vaccinations. From what we read, the vaccinations can be very harmful to our breed. We are scheduled for a booster shot soon. My wife and I do not want to bring him for it. Will this cause him any harm? The shots were for lepto and bordatello. Thank you for any advice.
Hi William, I am SO pleased you followed my advice and got a trainer, now you will have a happy and well adjusted little guy. As far as the vaccinations, some dogs do have reactions to them and there is a lot of controversy about whether to give them or not, however since he is a puppy I think you must speak with your vet about this. In older dogs they often now will do titers to see if they have built up sufficient immunities but in a puppy he wont have this since these are his first shots. It is a toss up of which is more dangerous not be inoculated or getting sick from the inoculations. This is a determination only your vet can make. Please have a conversation with the vet (not the office staff) about this explaining the reaction s etc. I am a firm believer in finding a vet and developing a team relationship with them, this is like your child and you want what is best for him, any vet worth their salt will discuss this with you and weigh the options. Would love to see a picture of Eddie!