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my new dog has a problem

My mom adopted a dog named murphy he has  a problem.ill start at the beginning: MY mom often takes my labrador, Cocoa to doggie day care. One day she say a cute mixed breed hound. she found out he didnt have a home, so she felt sorry for him. They told her a an older couple had ahd him before, but thewife died. The man sold his house and bought an RV they had another dog just like him but apperantly Murphy " didnt like the RV" so he brought him to the dogggie day care and they agreed to take him because they rescue dogs as well. Murphy's problems are that he dosent behave well. if we leave the house, he gets mad and tears garbage and destroys things. He has eaten several things that have made him sick. we think he was not properly trained and socialized. His biggest problem is he does NOT like strangers ESPECIALLY men and boys. he is agreesive towards them. it took him a while to be ok with my dad. WE dont know what to do anout this problem, we love murphy but we are worried about his future with us. we feel the story we were told was not true at all, and the old man gave him up because Murphy didnt like him, and had been atached to the old woman. he has no problem with me mom and my youngest sister, but tends to bark at my mid sister and her friends.Is there anything we should be doing to help him get over this? we really want to help him out so he'll be happy. Is here anyone we should talk or work with that could help him?. Please we are scared he may bite someone. what can we do?

I'm no expert, but my dog has a similar problem - he's terrified of children because a group of them traumatised him when he was a puppy. So now, because he's so scared, he gets aggressive and can't be trusted to play with kids. Yet he's the most loving, loyal and socialised companion with adults. We have made progress by putting in the time and effort to keep training him, as he learns to be more obedient and walk to heel, sit etc we have a lot more control and trust him more. We still have a long way to go but it seems to be working. Would training, either under your own steam or with professional help be an option for you? Consulting an expert on dog behaviour (no idea what they are called) might help too, especially if you're really worried about if he can be socialised or not.
Good luck, and I hope you succeed. Dogs are the most rewarding pet, the love they shower on you every day is hard to beat :)

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Check out any of Ceasar Milan's books-he's the guy that has the Dog Whisperer show on the National Geographic channel.  All of his training, for any possible problem people have with their dogs (whether it is something as minor as barking or as major as agressiveness) boils down to the people being the "pack leaders" by always putting out calm, assertive energy in order to create a balanced dog.  He is also very big on walking your dog about an hour a day-a structured, brisk walk where they are by your side (not pulling ahead) and are only allowed to sniff as a treat for a few times a couple minutes during the walk.  You really need to read one of his books to get the full grasp of what he teaches-primarily dog psychology and how to to create a balanced dog.  It sounds kind of crazy that that is all there is too it, but I think he is right on so much. 

Both of our hound mix dogs came from the SPCA and one had been adopted and returned 5 times before we took him.  He had severe anxiety issues (was even on meds) and had basically ripped up several peoples houses when they left him at home.  It took some time and some trial and error for him to get over his issues and for us to learn the tricks of the trade so we could leave the house without him howling the whole time we are gone and destroying things (let me know if you want to know what worked for us), but now he is the best most lovable dog you could imagine.  But an example of his anxiety (still) is that he races around the house howling every time we come home after being gone.  It is so easy to be happy by this and think he loves us so much and is just excited to see us, but really this means that he is imbalanced and we shouldn't be rewarding this behavior  by paying attention to him when he does this if we want him to continue to get better.  Ceasar's books also helped both our dogs to much better disciplined.

I'd definitely recommend looking into a dog trainer that can come and work with you while you're reading up on Ceasar's books though.  Agressiveness is something that has to be taken seriously, for reasons I know you realize.  I think that would be a great first step.

Best of luck!

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cesar milan is amazing.

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With the destructive house issues, it sounds like separation anxiety.  I would recommend getting a large crate for the dog.  Many people have misconceptions about crating, but it really gives the dog a "safe space"--a den, if you will.  Get the dog used to associating the crate with positive things (dinner, treats, etc.) before using it to prevent destruction when you're not home.  Our foster dogs eat and sleep in their crates and they also are crated when alone.  They are comfortable in their crates and climb right in when we tell them to.  The crate should be large enough for the dog to lay comfortably, stand up, etc.  Crating should not be used for extended periods of time (more than 8 hours is usually too long), but it's a great technique to prevent destruction and to make your dog feel safe when you're not home.

As for the aggression issues, I would recommend consulting a trainer/behaviorist.  While you can work with your dog without a trainer, if you don't have much experience with dog aggression issues, you might want to meet with a trainer at least once to learn what you can do to change the behavior.  Bark Busters is a national training organization that uses positive reinforcement for their training (i.e. no shock collars, physical punishment, etc.).  Or look for other trainers in your area that use positive reinforcement for their training method.  Trainers aren't cheap, but they can do a world of good for you and your dog.

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we have tried all these things. Murphy has a new problem. he pees in the house and we cant get him to stop. we've stopped crating him, and now mom lets him up on the couch. I think this is bad and is making him badly behaved. He is also lonely. My other dog died and he is sad about it. thats why my mom wants to get another dog, for him.

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I'd like to hear more about your crating plan: how you used it, how long it was consistently implemented, why it was stopped, and when (relative to the crating plan) Murphy started peeing in the house all the time...

I am a frequent stray-adopter, and have dealt with both these issues with varying success with different dogs; but I definitely like the idea given above, to consult at least once or twice with a professional trainer or animal behavior specialist... your vet, a local dog club, or sometimes stores like Petco/ Petsmart/ etc. should be able to put you in touch with someone. But in the mean time...

I have been working on the home destruction issue with my most recent adoptee Otis, a very sweet & lovable basset mix who (when we got him) chewed up EVERYTHING. Until recently (we've had him since mid-November), Otis would be in the pup-crate (his 'playpen'!) while no one was home/ while unsupervised, so that no opportunities existed for destructive behavior. I also made sure to provide him with a RIDICULOUS number of appropriate chewies & toys, way more than any dog typically needs, so that he'd have plenty to do/ not be bored in his crate, and also for redirection purposes during supervised playtime.

When we were home, and able to watch him, any inappropriate mouthing of household objects got a firm 'No! Leave it!', and then he'd be presented with something appropriate to chew. Once playing with the chewy-toy instead of the shoe (or whatever), he'd get the 'Good boy! Attaboy, Otis! What a good dog!' reinforcement, along with butt-scratches. The command 'Leave it!' is the most useful thing ever, imo, and worthy of practice with various items... Barbara Woodhouse has some really good training books, that cover teaching this command & a billion other useful things (the one I have is called 'No Bad Dogs: Training Dogs the Woodhouse Way', or something like that) -- she was the predecessor to Cesar Milan et al, and REALLY knows her s**t... definitely worth seeking out, for behavior mgmt & training info.

Anyway: by the end of January, Otis was able to graduate to spending the workday out of the playpen, with the other dogs... He no longer chews things up frenetically during the day, though every now & then I have to use 'Leave it!' on novel items that he tries to turn into dog toys... but maybe once a week, instead of constantly. Major improvement! but it took 2.5 months... probably part of it is his reduced anxiety, now that he's been with us for a while. As much as you can, I'd try to keep Murphy's schedule consistent every day; the more he knows what to expect, the less problem behavior you're likely to see. Remember this guy has had MAJOR upheaval recently, and is probably kinda freaking out from all the changes. Give him a consistent, structured daily schedule, just like you would a preschooler, and I think he'll be able to settle down more quickly.

So: be consistent, and expect it to take time, but the household destruction problem can definitely get better!

On peeing: usually for my pups, a consistent crating schedule coupled with a consistent feeding schedule has been VERY effective in limiting house-peeing. 'How to Housebreak Your Dog in 7 Days' is a good resource, if it's a housetraining issue; if its a behavioral/ territory marking issue, neutering can help (if not already neutered), as can the absence of other dogs to 'mark' against... also, if he's always peeing on the same furniture/ on the same patch of carpet/ in the same room, block his access to that area until the behavior has been extinct for at least 30 days. If none of this works, I defer to the professional trainers... these techniques have worked for all my dogs, so far.

On aggression, I once had an irish setter mix who was seriously racist... she was a stray/ rescue (of course!) so I don't know what history may have played a role in this behavior... but she was persistently aggressive towards African Americans of either gender, which obviously was NOT cool at all! Again, it took a long time, but I enlisted the help of friends that she would normally not like, to give her lots of treats & praise. Initially, for safety, she'd be in the crate, they'd come over, & sit by the crate with a bag of extra-special treats (make it something wonderful, that the dog doesn't normally get!)... At first, they'd be like 'Oh, what a pretty girl! What a good dog!' etc. & give her a few treats. Then they'd just sit by the crate, visiting with me, & just every now & then give her a treat & tell her what a good dog she was, then go back to talking to me (still sitting on the floor, beside the dog). After 4-5 visits like this, I took the dog to the park (on-leash); met my friend; again, friend had special treats; we hung out, friend gave intermittent treats & praise, we went home. Eventually I would have liked to set up something where random black folks she'd never seen before came up & gave her treats & praise, once she progressed enough that the safety issue wasn't a concern... but (truthfully) I was sort of embarrassed to recruit people I didn't know very well, since I was afraid they'd think it was *me* that caused her not to like people of color! Just felt kinda awkward about it... but anyway, again it took like a month of consistent work, but that dog got to the point where I could have people over without worrying about their safety... she was still 'stand-offish' and would bark louder at some guests than others (still a bit embarrassing!), but stopped trying to bite anyone.

I'd try something like that, where males become a source of all things wonderful & yummy, starting out with Murphy crated, then on leash, then off-leash at home, then off-leash at the dog park/ doggie day care/ etc. You will need help from male friends, and should be careful not to always use the same 1-2 people, or Murphy may not generalize new appropriate/ non-aggressive behavior, to men in general rather than to a few specific individuals. It will not change quickly, so again: be consistent, keep working on it, and give it time!

Personally I'd be hesitant to get another dog, until Murphy's behavior is more under control. I think it would be likely to make it worse, instead of better, by adding MORE upheaval vs. consistency, & giving him incentive to 'mark his territory' by even *more* peeing in the house... Especially if he has access to exercise & canine friends at doggie day care, a dog park, or -- best of all! -- a training class, there's no benefit that would outweigh potential problems, with adding another dog to the mix while so much problem behavior is unresolved... that's just my opinion.

Kudos for trying to give an abandoned dog a shot at a good life; it sometimes takes a while, but can be so rewarding once you get the bugs worked out! I hope maybe some of this rambling is somehow helpful...  ::)  Good luck!

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I have only seen a little of Cesar Milan, but what I have seen I didn't really like.  I much prefer Victoria Stilwell on Animal Planet's "It's Me or the Dog" because she doesn't dominate the dog and use flooding to get over fear (ie drag a dog on a leash across a tile floor when they have a tile phobia).

Anyway, if your dog is upset when you leave, it is probably not anger, but just being anxious.  Have you looked up separation anxiety?  To avoid your dog ruining your house and making himself sick from eating garbage, put him in a cage when you are not home to supervise.

If he is peeing in the house, neutering may help, and make sure you clean the urine spots up with an enzymatic cleaner so he won't be attracted to the scent.  You can also get a belly band (looks silly, but is supposed to be very effective).  Here are some for sale at Petco http://www.petco.com/product/109727/PlayaPup-UV-Protective-Belly-Band-in-Tuga-Blue.aspx?cm_mmc=CSEMGooglebase-_-Dog-_-PlayaPup-_-1262394&mr:trackingCode=D0F9EB15-8381-DE11-B7F3-0019B9C043EB&mr:referralID=NA

If he is misbehaving, do not allow him freedom in the house.  He should really be confined to a crate when no one is home, and maybe even kept on a leash inside the house when people are home.

A behaviorist/trainer would be able to help more, but something to remember during training is that you want to train them when they are below their threshold.  For example if Murphy growls at men, have a man stand far enough away that Murphy is not reacting to him.  Reward him for ignoring the man.  Have the man stand a little closer.  Reward good behavior.  You DO NOT have a man walk up then punish Murphy for growling--you just avoid putting him in a situation where he will growl.

Another thing that can pretty much always help is wearing the dog out.  If they are tired they will sleep rather than get into trouble, you know?

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