Friday, November 13, 2015

Delilah Bit My Boyfriend

On Sunday night Delilah, Sam, and I went to my parents' house.  Delilah LOVES going there- she loves running in their yard, seeing them, seeing Mia, and playing with all of Mia's toys.  Literally all of them.  My mom gave her a chew to bring home and Delilah carried it all the way home.  She was chewing on the couch around 9 pm when I went to take a shower.

I heard a yell and Sam came running into the bathroom.  He had a "large" (for a small dog) puncture on his brow and a small one on his eyelid.  He had gone to sit on the couch while she was chewing and she lunged and bit his face.  If she had been a bigger dog or if he hadn't closed his eyes, she could have caused damage!

The past few weeks she's been a little snappy with him- when she's napping on the couch he sometimes tries to play or cuddle with her and a couple of times she's snapped.  She hasn't made contact though- she's just tired and annoyed.

What disturbs me is not so much the bite but the fact that she lunged for his face.

I'm probably going to have to use the money I've been saving for agility classes for a behaviorist or trainer that specializes in behavior modification instead.  :(

Some Other Issues

1) Resource Guarding Towards Dogs.  She had displayed very minor resource guarding towards other dogs (a snap at most) when we first got her.  She spent more time with Mia and with dogs at daycare and she seems more comfortable around them now and hasn't guarded toys or human attention/people for 2-3 months now.  We're still keeping an eye on it but it doesn't seem like it's going to be a problem.  The book "Fight!" by Jean Donaldson helped me understand it better as well.

2) Reactivity and Fear of Strangers.  This presents itself in yapping, snarling, low body posture, and lunging while on lead.  We have been playing the LAT game while on walks and also reinforcing neutral and positive reactions towards strangers.  We haven't been pushing her or letting people greet her.  But she seems more comfortable and even friendly towards some strangers now.  Sometimes she'll pull towards strangers wiggling her butt.  She still gets nervous when they try to interact with her directly.  She also hasn't gotten any better inside my apartment or my parents' house when someone comes to the door or a friend is over.

3) Impulse Control.  Her impulse control is poor in general.  She is very impulsive and obsessive.  She will literally scream if she is being restrained and can't get to something excited like squirrels, hoses, toys, etc.  We've been playing impulse control games, working on "drop it," and "stay."  She has gotten much better about toys, still freaks out about squirrels and water though.  I'm not going to actively discourage this because although it's a little embarrassing I want to do terrier racing with her at some point, where obsessive prey drive is a huge advantage.

4) Hyper-Attached to Me.  This one's newer.  She's starting to fixate on me a little.  When we're home with Sam she shows a preference towards me.  When I leave she'll sit on the couch and watch the door.  When I bring her to work she screams in her crate even though she's crate trained at home and when she's in a playgroup that I'm not in with her, she'll cry and try to find a way to escape and come find me (she's been successful several times).  I'm worried this could develop into separation anxiety and it's just not a healthy attachment in general.

So we're working on a number of different things and will probably be getting some professional help for some of these issues.  We'll keep you updated.

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