Bloodhound Aggression Rescue

Discussion in 'Bloodhound' started by James Cook, Aug 22, 2018.

  1. James Cook

    James Cook New Member

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    Bloodhound Aggression

    Hi Everyone,

    I'm new to the forum. I owned a female Bloodhound for over 10 years (2007-2017) that was originally a rescue dog. I fell in love with the breed and this dog was a real charmer. She displayed almost all the traits of the breed: Gentle, timid initially, loved company and thought that she was a lap dog. Wonderful with kids and very patient.

    So Ellen passed away in December and at the end of June I adopted 2 Bloodhounds, a male and a female. They are approximately 5 or 6 years old. The female is great, a genuine bloodhound to the core, a straight up tracking dog with the personality that I've come to love.

    However.......the male, he's a different story. Most of the time he's a sweet, needy, affectionate goof. But, he has major food aggression issues and he loves to eat any kinf od paper that's lying about. Now initially I tried to take the paper out of his mouth and I was greeted by a ferocious snarl and growling that made my hair stand on end. I was shocked. I didn't back down and eventually I got the paper out of his mouth, but this could have backfired badly and I count myself lucky that I have all my fingers. This incident repeated itself last night and he reacted the same way. He snarled, looked unhinged, and then lashed out, biting my finger. I felt compelled to overpower him and pin him to the floor. This is a 120 pound dog that is very powerful, I'm physically reasonably fit but I certainly had to exert myself to put him on the floor and control him without hurting him. I pinned him on the ground for probably two minutes until he submitted and when I released him he sheepily walked away and then came back looking for pets.

    I was hopeful that perhaps the actual physical dominance would send the message to him that he needed to back down. But this morning he growled at me when I went near his food. Similar scenario unfolded and I ended up pinning him to the floor again. I understand that Bloodhounds can be food aggressive, in fact both females growled at me initially but it quickly subsided and I never had the feeling that they would lash out. Never. The male is another kettle of fish entirely. His demeanor during these moments of aggression are genuinely scary. I'm hoping that I've established the hierarchy but worried that at his age he may not be able to change.

    I'm bummed out because I never expected this type of behaviour from a Bloodhound. I'm very open to anyone's thoughts.
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  3. Chris B

    Chris B Member

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    You'd be far better off teaching him that when he relinquishes paper he gets a tasty treat to replace it and when you go near his food bowl, it's to add something tasty, not take anything away.

    What you are doing at the moment is setting up a combat zone which can very quickly escalate
  4. James Cook

    James Cook New Member

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    Chris B and CaroleC like this.
    Thanks for the feedback. Definitely not interested in further combat with this dog. Yes, I've read about the reward system and that seems a sensible way to go. I was simply blown away by how ferocious he became and how it escalated into a scary situation. I have 2 kids as well so that further heightens my concern
  5. My bear Yoji

    My bear Yoji Member

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    Wow James that must have been a huge shock, I can understand the will to overpower/dominate him, I think it’s similar to shouting at a naughty child, it’s out of frustration, you can’t reason with the naughty child as they are too young to understand.
    I don’t mean to sound patronising at all and apologise if I do, it’s easy for me to sit here with my glass of wine typing whilst you are struggling for a solution
    We have a male Akita, a strong, dominant & independent boy, we have had a couple of similar food/bone related incidents and we took the advice that Chris has just given, a huge trade off, something super tasty that he couldn’t resist.
    I never underestimate the power of our dog, similar to yours I guess. We treat him with respect, gently yet firmly and we are getting there
    Don’t get me wrong, early days we have growls and snarls which I couldn’t believe as all we did was give him everything he needed and love, a couple of times my hubby wanted to batter him, it seemed as if we’re a battle of wills, so, I do empathise
    Step back, deep breath and don’t fall out with him
    Us British folk would say “ Stay calm and Carry On “
  6. James Cook

    James Cook New Member

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    Hi Philippa,

    Thanks for responding and sharing your experiences with your Akita. Question: I'm no Akita expert, but I've always associated that dog as a no-nonsense guard dog that's not known for being a cuddle monkey. Perhaps I'm off base! There are few dogs I'm genuinely wary of, but an Akita definitely falls into that category. Their size dimensions are actually similar to Bloodhounds and in fact there is one in our neighborhood. An imposing dog to be sure! What made you choose an Akita? The Hachiko story?

    Yeah, I feel terrible for partially initiating and then escalating the situation that resulted in dog wrestling. He went away and pouted and then came back for cuddles. I'll start implementing the reward system as research seems to advocate this method over dog grappling ;) I just never expected this type of behavior from a breed known for being big softies.
  7. Chris B

    Chris B Member

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    Imagine it this way.

    Think of what you prize most or extremely highly. Then imagine that someone who has taken things from you before comes near while you are holding what you hold precious in your hand. Would you shout to let them know to back off? What if they didn't, but instead tried to wrestle that item away?

    To a dog, food is the highest prize in the World as, instinctively, it's what they need to survive. Paper to your lad is also prized fairly highly as it's probably a means of fun.

    Now imagine, that if someone came near while you are eating and put on an extra tasty morsel - would you welcome interrupting your meal next time? What if someone took a game away you liked to play, but replaced it with an even better game?

    Maybe not the best examples, but I hope you get the drift of it.
  8. My bear Yoji

    My bear Yoji Member

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    Hi James
    When I watch the Hachi film now, it’s so far removed from how my Akita is, if mine was wondering the streets on his own he would get into so much trouble and end up in a rescue centre, I know this for sure. Akitas should never, ever, ever be off lead, don’t get me wrong I have ignored the rules, sometimes it was fun others times we got caught out. I don’t do it any more. I hear stories of other Akita being dog friendly & some are super cuddly with people, not mine, I wonder if some of the ones I’m talking about are maybe a cross breed, maybe crossed with a calmer natured Dog, I don’t know I’m only guessing. What I do know is with our friends/family if he decides to like you then he loves you, it’s the unpredictability that I don’t like and they are the reasons we are never off guard
    The Akita has a really cuddly looking face which draws people close, I live in France and I soon learnt a sentence.....please don’t touch the dog, he may growl !
    I’m sure I’m painting a picture of Yoji being a monster, he’s not, it’s just his bad points can be extreme and I want to protect him and others
    We decided on an Akita as my hubby had two sisters years ago and he had told me amazing stories about them, now we have Yoji my hubby says he is totally different !
    Akitas as such easy dogs in so many ways there are just a couple of things we need to work with their strong/weak points
    Do try to have a look at the Facebook group I mentioned before, their is also another one I’m a member of Akita Rescue & Welfare, it’s helped me along the way
  9. GsdSlave

    GsdSlave Member

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    There are some easy going Akitas around.
    I remember a friend doing agility with hers not the fastest I must say but she enjoyed it and ignored the other dogs and was good off lead, and I did meet a few at shows who weren’t bothered by other dogs.
  10. Cupchurch91

    Cupchurch91 New Member

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    Hey James Cook!

    How has the growling and biting been since your original post? We have a 14 week old male puppy bloodhound full bred. We got him at 7 weeks and we love him dearly but has also been work! He's doing great in terms of being obedient, loving, sweet, and doing tricks but the growling thing seems to not go away. There hasn't been much biting unless he's being playful but he'll growl whenever we touch or get close to him while eating and he'll also growl whenever he is laying in his bed or kennel and we go up to him and get next to or pet him. We soft talk to him all the time to try and let him know that nothing bad is going to happen. Have you experienced this as well?

    Thank you!
  11. Malka

    Malka Member

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    Hello Clay and welcome to Breedia. As this is a three-year-old thread and the OP has not been back to Breedia since, hopefully someone else will see your post and be able to advise you, as I have no knowledge of the breed - or of any large dogs.
  12. who owns who

    who owns who Member

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    You should allow the puppy to eat in peace. There is no need to be touching him while he eats
  13. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Member

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    Food:

    Puppies learn to eat out of bowl when they are still with the litter. So, they have to be pushy to get the food. A timid eater will go hungry. And most breeders don't touch and handle them while eating unless they are removing them from the food. So puppy is following this learned behavior.

    Have the puppy sit before you put his food bowl down and wait for your command to eat. This can ease some of the "need to get in there and eat" that he learned with his litter. It also teaches him sit easily.

    Once the food is down and he is eating, just go about your business in the room. Let him get comfortable with you being there. Dob't take his bowl away from him or punish him for growling - that will just make it worse.

    As he's eating, offer him a favorite treat. Bring it to him so he isn't being asked to leave his bowl. Try dropping it in his bowl - getting your hand closer to the bowl as he doesn't react. If he growls, go back to the prior distance. This teaches him that a hand near his bowl is a good thing.

    Dogs believe in magic. The bowl magically has food in it. As such, he will want to make sure that the bowl is empty. Many dogs will walk away from the bowl and then come back to double check. Don't pick up his bowl until he's done this. Let him see the bowl is empty.

    Use treats to train him to let you pet him. Have him sit, give him a treat, pet him while he eats it, then give him a second treat. This helps him learn that petting doesn't mean taking away food.

    Sleeping :

    does he growl regardless of where he's sleeping? Some dogs can become territorial over their crate or bed - they run to it for protection rather than just going in for a rest. Others just don't like to be bothered when they sleep.

    If it's the latter, then leave him be. Forcing him to be petted while he sleeps can cause stress. A single growl is not a big concern - he's just saying leave me alone I'm tired. If he doesn't grow out of the growling, maintain his own bed with or without a crate. A dog who sleeps on your bed and growls every time you move is annoying (been there done that) - even if it never goes further than the growl.

    If it's the former, then changing the housing can help. I had a foster who would growl when she was in her crate and was approached. The prior foster first tried to grab her and pull her out of the crate to go out to potty. Then the dog started snapping and biting. So the foster let her be. This created a huge problem as whenever the dog didn't want to do something, it ran into its crate and attacked. So, when she came to me, I removed the crate from the equation. After one day without a crate, she stopped running away and attacking. Her entire demeanor changed. She went out to potty without an issue. In this case, try using baby gates to confine him to a room.

    If you have small kids, teach them to leave the puppy alone when he is eating or sleeping. Little kids like to grab and squeeze, and well, that can be annoying. Puppy needs some "child free time", especially when he's focused on important things like food and sleep.

    Also, have the kids eat their snacks at a table where puppy can't get them. Kids are notorious for holding food in their hands and when puppy goes to eat it, pulling it away (hey, they weren't giving it to dog after all). This can cause the dog to see the kids as an obstacle to food.
  14. Cupchurch91

    Cupchurch91 New Member

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    Oh, we do let him eat in peace but there are times when we're around him and growls when I either pick his bowl up to give him more water or just merely walking by. We are also planning on a baby soon and really don't want him to get bitten getting near the dog bowl. He is a bloodhound and will be like a dinosaur to an infant so if there is a solution to this we'd highly appreciate it.
  15. Cupchurch91

    Cupchurch91 New Member

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    Thank you so much for your response! I'm aware that the eating and growling is typical dog behavior but the laying down-growling is new to me. He has a crate in the kitchen and a dog bed in the living room and growls when we come near both. I understand that an interrupted sleep is always frustrating(I would know as well as anyone) but isn't the main goal for them to be great with kids(or anyone) regardless if they get near there food bowl or crate/bed why sleeping when they're older? I know puppy behavior is different but when he is a full grown bloodhound they're massive dogs and a dinosaur compared to a little one. I just have a hard time believing that we're "not supposed" go lay next to him and pet him while he's laying down in his bed or even eating when he's older. We baby talk to him and everything before we approach him too and sometimes with treats. We're willing to change our way of "training" so any advice is much appreciated!
  16. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Member

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    He's growling with his water bowl as well as his food bowl? Are you waiting until it's empty to pick it up? Or are you picking it up while he's drinking from it before it is empty?

    Always let him finish what is in the bowl before picking it up. He doesn't know that you will "give it back" - he just knows you are taking it away.

    If he is growling when you are walking near without touching, then you need to work on that. Best is to get a positive trainer to observe him and go from there.

    Also get him checked by a vet. Make sure there is no underlying health issue causing the behavior.

    Some things that can help I mentioned above.

    Rather than approaching him while he's on his bed, try going and laying on his bed and then asking him to join you.

    Don't baby talk. Instead just talk in a calm soft voice. And try to get down to his level before approaching. If he's at all fearful, having people loom over him can be threatening.

    Definitely use treats. Let him learn that you approaching means good things happen. Use his name a lot so he connects it with good things.

    One thing you can work with him on is:
    When he's playing with a toy, gently reach for and hold the toy and say "let me see it". Don't pull on the toy. At some point, he will open his mouth to get a better hold. At that point, gently lift the toy up and give it attention. As soon as the puppy sits, give back the toy and praise him profusely. You can also give him a treat. This teaches him that giving you what he has isn't an end to the fun.

    Once he has gotten to where he will give you the toy when you ask, you can add a second command. After he lets go of the toy, say "no more", give him a treat, and put the toy away. Only do this ocassionally - not all the time. Just enough so he learns that sometimes he can't have it back right now. This will help immensely when you have baby things everywhere.

    Always wait until he sits to give him his toy, etc. You want him to learn that sitting gets him good stuff and jumping gets him nothing. Especially important with a baby in your arms.

    While dogs are supposed to be great with kids, always remember that little ones of both species haven't learned proper ettiquette. That leads to altercations. Puppies nip and chew and jump. Little kids grab and pull and squeeze. Be sure to teach your child to behave appropriately towards your dog as much as you teach your dog to behave appropriately to your child. I grew up with a Mom who said "what did you do to her?" if I said the cat scratched me or dog growled at me. As an adult, she was right. 99% of the time I had done something to bother the animal, not the other way around.
  17. Cupchurch91

    Cupchurch91 New Member

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    He doesn't growl when he's done eating. We don't pick it up while he's eating but when he is eating and we just pet him then growls.

    He had hookworms a few weeks ago where he was vomiting, lethargic, and had diarrhea but he's over all of that by now.

    We talked about getting a trainer for him but most of them are quite expensive around here so it's sort of been like a "last resort" type deal. But if it's needed we can try it out.

    When I said baby talk I basically meant talking calmly to him. We would approach him slowly and talk softly to him while sticking our hand out with or without treats and then pet him. Lately I've just been walking up to him and laying down while he groans/growls and I'll just stay there petting him and talking calmly to him. I've also started bringing treats with me almost every time I go over to pet him.

    His toys haven't been a big issue. We're working with verbal commands when playing fetch like saying "drop it" to drop the toy off to us. We make him wait for pretty much everything. I do have to say he's doing great with waiting for things and overall listening when he's up and playful. We've already tought him to sit, shake, lay down, and stay (to an extent) and it super smart and loving with other people. The only real issue we have is the growling and occasional peeing in the floor (potty training hasn't been as bad as we expected).

    He doesn't bite much unless he's playing around with us. I honestly can't even think of a time that he bit out of defense or any uncomfortable situation. I'm assuming that's a good sign for the future?

    We will definitely take the kid advice into consideration for future reference!
  18. who owns who

    who owns who Member

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    Toedtoes likes this.
    I’m confused. You first say something about touching him while he’s eating. Than you responsed to me that you do let him eat in peace. Further on you say when he is eating and we just pet him then he growls.

    You either do or you don’t. If you want help it’s helpful to be clear with what you are or are not doing. There is no shame in not knowing how to do something, but it is easier for someone to give you clear advice when you are clear, and consistent.
  19. Toedtoes

    Toedtoes Member

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    You really need to be consistent about not picking up his bowls while he is eating or drinking. You mentioned that you pick it up while he's drinking/eating to add more water. You need to wait until he is done before doing so.

    You mention he was ill. That's a major factor. Puppies have no reservoir of strength/stamina. When they get sick, even a minor illness, it wipes them out. An adult dog can go a day or two without eating - their bodies have enough energy reserves to handle it. With puppies, one day without eating and their bodies go into starvation mode. They have no energy reserve to fall back on. And it can take weeks to months to get them back to where they should be - because they need to eat enough food to not only support the energy they need daily but to rebuild the energy they lost while they were sick.

    I would back off on the pressure. Most likely he is feeling your stress and repeatedly approaching him is backfiring. Instead, take two 5 minute periods per day to have him sit with you while you pet him. Not when he's eating or sleeping, but when he is relaxed. Let him get used to your touch being pleasurable. You can even try a bit of light massage along his back or a good scratch if he has an itch. Leave him alone when he eats or is sleeping. If he comes to you, go ahead and pet him - but outside of those two 5-minute periods, let him control the touching.

    As he starts to relax into the petting, you can start to build on that. But don't nag at him. If he wants to be left alone, leave him be. He may always prefer to eat without being touched - if so, then that is who he is. He may not like to be touched while sleeping - if so, then that is who he is.

    I had a great shepherd lab. When she was a puppy, I used to "tickle" her toes - I would run my finger over the bottom of her feet while she laid next to me. She grew up not wanting to be touched while she slept. My touching her all the time actually caused her to NOT want to be touched.
  20. Cupchurch91

    Cupchurch91 New Member

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    There was a lot going on earlier and couldn't fully focus on typing that message so my apologies. We have let him eat in peace but we have also pet him while eating.. We have done both.... We're complete amateur dog parents (and far from hubristic when discussing this particular thing) so we're just looking to keep from continuing any bad or un-constructive habits.
  21. Cupchurch91

    Cupchurch91 New Member

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    We will apply all of this info to our training. I highly appreciate your feedback. Me and my wife are brand spanking new dog parents so it may seem like I'm over thinking and over analyzing these situations. I'm just stressing how important it is to us the keep from continuing any bad habits.

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