Join Date: Oct 2015
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Quoted: 287 Post(s)
Thanked 4,465 Times in 1,974 Posts
I am not an expert but I have had a dog with similarities to your dog. My dog, Jack, is not a lab but a black and tan coonhound that we rescued 2 years ago. Jack had been badly abused and had been up for adoption for several years by the time we got him. His only other adoption attempt ended when he killed the adoptive family's cat. Jack was a resource guarding dog, he was hyper active, afraid of strangers (and would shake violently while growling and baring his teeth). His manners were non existent and he was, in short, "unadoptable". To this day I cannot tell you what made me bring him home with us. I had previously had a black and tan coonhound and knew, from experience, that coonhounds, like labs, are highly food motivated. Hence I had a starting point. From the start every single bit of food that went into Jack's mouth came from my hand. Food was never placed in a bowl as Jack needed to learn that the thing he loved most would come from me. He also needed to know that I was "in charge" but that this did not mean I would harm him. Because we had 2 other dogs that I did not trust Jack with I also needed to constantly have Jack within sight. This meant that I purchased an easy walk harness and a 10 foot piece of rope. One end was clipped to the easy walk and the other tied to my waist. I admit that this was not easy, in part because Jack, at that time, was grossly overweight and, at 90 lbs, weighed nearly as much as I weighed. There were times when he would try to go his way and I would clutch a door so that he did not pull me to my knees. I also hired a private trainer who specialised in abused dogs. Yes, it was expensive, but I felt that unless I tried everything I could I was not going to help Jack be part of this family. Coonhounds are smart but very stubborn dogs. They are scent hounds who like nothing better than to track things. So I developed games to challenge Jack. I called them hide and seek. As he became more engaged and was mentally challenged his behavior changed. He learned early on that all good things came from me and that in this house hands did not hit or harm and usually held something good. It has been 2 years. Jack is no longer tied to my waist by a rope, although you will nearly always find him at my side. He has lost 30 lbs. He no longer growls at strangers. He has learned manners. Is Jack "perfect"? No, not by a long shot, but then, I am not perfect either. I have worked with Jack to reinforce behaviors I need from him (ie not hurting other animals or people) and I have learned that there are triggers to behaviors in Jack which are not desirable. I work very hard to eliminate those triggers. Jack will never be at be a "normal dog". His victories, which are huge for him, are nothing for a dog who has not got Jack's background. He is today a very valued member of this family. Find a trainer who specialises in overactive dogs. One which uses positive training. Do not resort to a shock collar. As others have said it will not help and may make the situation worse. Mentally and physically challenge your dog. Since he is food motivated hand feed him. He needs to realize all good things come from your hands. If necessary tie him to you so you can see him at all times. In Jack's case being tied to me where I was home led to more exercise for him as I rarely sit down. It sounds as if you want things to work out with this dog. I hope you can find a way to make it happen. Good luck! PS the "wild" coonhound that I adopted is the beautiful black and tan coonhound sitting proudly in my signiture photo
[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]"In rescuing animals I lost my mind....but found my soul"