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Canine Behavior/Strange behavior after trauma


I have male Shih Tzu and recently my roommate's (now ex-)boyfriend came to our house when we weren't home and beat my dog in the bedroom out of jealousy.  I came home about four hours after the incident and found my dog unconscious on the floor.  He ended up with a broken cheek bone, ribs and femur, as well as a lot of trauma to his head.  He was in hospital for almost a week and needed surgery to repair his leg.  He has been home for just over a week now and has recently started being able to move around the house a little- although he still spends almost all day sleeping and is on strong pain pills.  He is used to using a peepee mat either by the side door or in the bathroom and has been using those spots to go now that he can get up and move around.  

Before he came home from the hospital I thoroughly cleaned the bedroom he was attacked in (I even shampooed the carpets, and threw out my bedding to got new ones) because I didn't want him to be reminded of anything. Since I'm afraid of him jumping or falling off the bed I've been sleeping in the living room on the floor with him.

Yesterday I stepped out real quick and when I came home I found that he has gone poo in the bedroom in the exact same spot that I found him in the night he was attacked.  Tonight I went into the bedroom to get some bedding to make our bed in the living room and he followed me for the first time.  He began to spell the same area really intensely.  He had just gone pee in the bathroom, but he squeezed out a little pee in that spot then he pooped there again.  He has never done anything like that before and I was surprised he did it with me standing there.  He didn't appear to be upset in anyway.  
I'm not so much worried about him making messes, but I'm concerned about any emotional issues he might have.  He has been very responsive to people since the incident and seems to enjoy visitors.  Do you think he might have an issue with that area?  Is there anything I can do to help him?

(The ex-bf has been arrested and we now have restraining order)

Thank you for any advice or insight you have to offer!

WOW.  I don't know what state you live in, but I suggest you investigate getting a pistol permit and I strongly suggest you join a gun club, get fitted for a 20 gauge shotgun (many women can't handle a 12 gauge), and learn how to use it.  This is man is extremely dangerous.  Anyone capable of such an irrational and angry act is not in his right mind and is capable of hurting YOU.  You must be prepared to defend yourself.

The dog is marking out of anxiety.  Frankly, given the incredible event he experienced, I'm AWED that this is the only apparent after effect.  

I would like to treat this first by making that spot unavailable to the dog:
no matter how weird it looks or how awkward, cover that spot as described below.  If he begins to generalize (meaning: pick a spot close to it), then you have to feed him on that spot.  I would like to avoid doing this because there is obvious residual anxiety and one must eat to live, it seems rather punishing to force the dog to eat on that spot.

Routinely (several times a day) sit on that spot.  In your pocket, keep a zip loc bag with bits of string cheese (low fat mozzarella).  If the dog freely approaches you, sing him a little song (dogs love this) and pop cheese bits into his mouth (casually) then immediately get up, be upbeat and happy, and leave the area.  At first, he may avoid approach, but from your description I think he most likely will not.  What we are trying to do is build new associations with that spot.  Purchase a plastic heavy duty indoor/outdoor mat and cover the spot with it.  If this is a weather proof mat, it will have heavy plastic backing which should diminish the scent of his urine/feces for him.  Try this for a few days and report back using followup feature.

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Jill Connor, Ph.D.


I have spent my entire professional life rehabilitating the behavior of the domestic dog and I can answer any question regarding any behavior problem in any breed dog. I have answered more than 5,000 QUESTIONS on this site in the past (almost) eight years. If you are a caring, committed owner and need advice, I'm here for you. I am personally acquainted with my colleagues (Turid Rugaas, Ian Dunbar, etc.) who were members of an elite group in EGroups that I founded: K9Shrinks. THERE ARE NO QUICK FIXES for serious behavioral issues; not only is it unprofessional to offer same, it is also unethical. IF I ASK YOU SUBSEQUENT QUESTIONS, I NEED YOU TO INTERACT WITH ME. More information equals more credible answers and a more successful outcome. If you want ANSWERS THAT WORK, participate in any way I request. I'm quite committed to working on this site for YOUR benefit and the benefit of YOUR DOG. Help me in any way you can.


30 years of solving serious behavior problems in domestic dogs; expert in dog to human aggression; Internet columnist for for 5 years; former radio talk show host, WHPC.FM, Garden City, NY "Bite Back" (1995 through 2000). List owner, international animal behavior experts, Seminar leader: "Operant Conditioning and Learning"; "Aggression in The Domestic Dog"; "Solving Problem Behaviors" -- conducted for various training facilities on Long Island from 1993 through 2000. Former clinical director of "Behavioral Abnormalities" in conjunction with Mark Beckerman, DVM, Hempstead, New York.

Member, APDT (UK); Psychologists in Ethical Treatment with Animals

Harcourt Brace Learning Direct: "The Business of Dog Training" "The Fail Safe Dog: Brain Training, not Pain Training"

Ph.D., UC Berkeley

Past/Present Clients
Board of Directors: Northeast Dog Rescue Connection; The Dog Project; Sav-A-Dog Foundation; etc. Pro Bono counselor: Little Shelter Humane Society My practice is presently limited to forensics. I diagnose cause of dog bite, based upon testimony before the Court, for attorneys and insurance companies litigating dog bites, including fatal injuries. I also do pro bono work for bona fide rescue organizations, humane societies, et al, regarding such analysis in an effort to obtain release for dogs being held for death in municipal shelters in the US.

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