It’s hard to believe!
Will is the most adorable, soft, fluffy, friendly and gentle Pug Poodle mix – a Pugapoo I believe. While I was there it was impossible to see any hint of what I had been called for – growling and biting his two lady owners.
He has a lot of attention and is seldom left alone. He has been to several puppy training sessions and he’s fed on the best food.
This escalated about five weeks ago though he had growled when in his bed and approached before that.
They didn’t heed his growling
Now one lady has two bite wounds on her hands.
I likened it to my standing in a queue with someone uncomfortably close to me. I would move away. The person then moves near again. I might give them a dirty look (the dog may freeze). If that doesn’t work I might tell the person ‘Back Off’ (the dog would growl). Then, if the person moves right close and touches me despite all this, would I not be justified in slapping the hand away? (The dog snaps).
Then, what if I was accused of assault? Would that be fair?
Will is then scolded ‘No No Naughty!’.
Will only bites when touched in his sleeping place, and mostly when it’s for something he doesn’t want, getting him outside at bedtime or taking off his collar.
We worked on “Will, Come!” back and forth all over the room. This is the key. When sufficiently motivated with food he will do whatever they want. Nobody needs to invade his space.
The other issue is food. He’s a fussy eater and this worries the ladies greatly. Food is left down all the time and he is enticed with chicken. This leaves them nothing for ‘payment’ and motivation. He has a running buffet and his favourite is used for regular meals. Rewards need to be of especially high value whilst also being nutritious. We looked into what to do about this.
One other problem – Will is car sick.
He drools as soon as he is put in which to me suggests fear – maybe in anticipation of the motion. We have a plan. First the car will be parked about 50 yards down the road and on the way back from their regular walks he can be popped in the car and driven home – taking about half a minute. After several days he should know exactly what to expect and feel chilled with this. No drooling.
Next I suggest that at the start of the walk they pop him into the car and drive this fifty yards, park the car and, again, pick it up on the way home. When he’s happy they can increase distances and go further.
It’s so hard to believe that the adorable Will bites when touched in his bed. He clearly, in dog language, says what he’s feeling. His body language is misread. Growls aren’t taken seriously. Just because he has rolled onto his back it doesn’t mean he’s asking for a tummy tickle. He’s much more likely thinking ‘uh-oh, I don’t want to be fussed just now, please, I give in, no…..!’.
As ignoring his signals continues, the dog can become increasingly defensive. I’m sure if Will’s lady humans now no longer approach him to touch him but wait till he comes to them instead, he will become more relaxed about it.
Who can resist touching a little dog who looks and feels like this, after all!