We need help with labraddodle

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Member Since
Barked: Mon Jun 4, '12 12:06pm PST 
We have a 14 month old labraddodle that have bitten twice. We got our miniature labradoodle about a year ago to help my daughter ease her symptoms of anxiety as we were resuming back to a normal routine, after she had endured a couple of years of cancer treatments. My daughter is in remission and doing great and having Jude (our labradoodle) playing with her has helped her tremoundously, especially when she goes in for SCANS. Brianna loves pets and Jude is quite playful and loving with our family members and can be the same way if introduced gently to others. But he can be unpredictable and bark aggressively at other dogs during walks if not monitored and commanded. When he was 11 weeks old we put him in puppy training for excessive puppy bitting and he came back great. He was was not biting, he was home broken and crate trained, but over the next 5 months he grew aggressively and he bit a little girl in our neighborhood while on his leash as she was going to pet him. Before that point he had always been fine to other kids around him while on the leash. So we put him back in training for his aggression for 6 weeks. He came back really meallow and we have been doing his commands, he was doing great. We also only keep him in the backyard with us or he goes in his create if kids come over and we walk him more often. Slowly we could introduce kids back as we have been doing, bu the other day he bit another kid that came into our backyard. Now we are being pressured by our neighbors to get rid of him, understandably. Although I do care about this pup, I am honestly very stressed about this situation. My husband doesn't really want to let him go as he is as attached as my daughter. We already live with so much stress and have endured so much with my daughter's health issues that this is the last thing we needed happening. We have advertise him and tried to take him to no-kill shelters here in South Orange County, CA. But no one will take him, because they are full or because of his behavior. And this process of getting rid of him is also taking a taxing toll in all of us everytime my husbands packs Jude stuff when we think someone is going to finally take him but comes back home with the dog. We do not want him put down as we already deal with the fear of loss, due to my daughter's diagnosis, on an everyday basis. I wish a shelter would just help us or someone with labradoodles that understands their behavior. He is actually super playful and sweet with the family and whe he gets to know someone. He would do much better in a community with no kids or on large land. We do not know what to do next, can you help us? please

dog-sitter in- charge.
Barked: Mon Jun 4, '12 12:16pm PST 
When you say you 'put him' through training, what sort of training or modification was done? When you say he 'came back' from training, do you mean you didn't actually participate in the training?

Shelters won't generally deal with biters, and if you're trying to place him yourself, I would be very upfront with his bite history.

Have you tried to contact his breeder and return the dog to him/her?

Edited by author Mon Jun 4, '12 12:18pm PST

Savannah Blue Belle

A Heart of Gold!
Barked: Mon Jun 4, '12 12:19pm PST 
Oh, that is really too bad. I am so sorry for all the trouble you are having. Have you considered taking training classes with him? I mean one on one training to try to get your pup more under control.

I can't really tell from your post what his problem might be, but his behavior sounds like he is stressed...like a rescue dog we adopted. I am hoping some of the Dogster experts can get on here and help you find the direction you need.

Toto, CD, RN, CGC

We don't do- doodles!!!
Barked: Mon Jun 4, '12 3:30pm PST 
You state you wish for "someone with labradoodles that understands their behavior." This is NOT normal behavior for any dog, much less a labradoodle. Both labs AND poodles are known for their calm, accepting behavior especially when it comes to being a family dog. I have extensive experience raising and showing BOTH breeds, and I have NEVER had either a lab or a poodle bite anyone for any reason.
However, when you start mixing breeds together strange things can happen. Did you meet this dogs parents??? Do you know what their temperaments were like??? Sadly, most doodles are the result of breeding less than ideal labs and/or poodles since responsible, respected breeders do not do mixed breedings, and will not knowingly allow their dogs to produce doodles. Because of this, breeders of doodles are left with selecting their dogs based on availablity rather than stellar temperaments and health, which is the way breeding SHOULD be undertaken.
I also question sending the dog away for training. This rarely works since the dog is trained to respond to the person doing the training, NOT the family that the dog lives with. Your money would be better spent hiring a good behaviorist to come into your home and observe your reactions and responses to the dog and working directly with your family on behavior issues.
I would strongly suggest you contact your dog's breeder and think about returning the dog to them. If they are responsible, caring breeders at all, they will WANT the dog back since there is obviously a major issue with its temperament and is certainly NOT what one would expect with any doodle. Hopefully, you received some sort of guarantee and temperament is covered by that.
I also agree with being very, very careful about where you place this dog. In many states, knowingly placing a dog who has bitten makes YOU legally responsible if a biting injury occurs in that new home. Even disclosing the problem does not exempt you from responsibility. Check the laws in your state to be sure.

The Muddy- Princess
Barked: Mon Jun 4, '12 5:21pm PST 
Contact your dogs breeder, if they have any ethics at all, they will take the dog back. Given that you have a Miniature Labradoodle, it is likely that the dog has more than just Poodle and Lab in it, so the genetics are really a crap shoot.

I also have to point out that to some extent if you want the dog to live, you are stuck with him. No shelter or rescue will take him and adopt him out, they can't due to liability reasons. It would not be wise of you to try and give him to a new owner for the same reason. Even if you disclose that he has bitten before, you would still be liable if he bites someone and causes damage, and given that he has bitten children, he could do some damage. Finally, there really are not people out there who are experts in Labradoodles who are looking for problem dogs to adopt, in the first place with a newly created designer breed there is not the institutional breed bulwark that true breeds have and any experts in Labradoodles want the good Doodles, not the troubled ones.

If you really feel the need to place him, then maybe Best Friends Animal Sanctuary?

If you want to give him another chance, then get either a veterinary behaviorist or an Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist to help you, do not send him away to a trainer. First of all this is a situation that is more serious than a "trainer" can deal with, and you need to learn as much as the dog does. Probably you will pay less for the Vet. Behaviorist or the CAAB than the trainig you sent Jude away to.
Bruno CGC

Honorary Kelpie
Barked: Mon Jun 4, '12 6:06pm PST 
I second the behaviorist suggestion.

Also, while I know it's water under the bridge, said and done, etc, stories like yours are why I NEVER recommend "sending a dog away" or "board 'n' train" or whatever trainers call it when they take your dog for days or weeks and promise to bring him back a changed animal. Like previously mentioned, often the dog doesn't transfer their learning and respect to a person other than the trainer, but a far worse problem (in my eyes) is that the combo of no oversight (you're not there to see what they do to your dog) and pressure to produce visible results (in the form of a meek, obedient dog) lead to serious abuse.

I have heard of many dogs coming back from "training" very subdued and obedient due to the punishment inflicted on them. They're confused, don't know what they're doing wrong, afraid to put a paw wrong and therefore are very inhibited in behavior. This could look like a "mellow" dog to someone who doesn't know better. frown As time goes on, the inhibition wears off, but trust issues linger, leading to fear aggression. I would seriously, seriously, question the judgement of a trainer who recommended sending away an 11-week old puppy for excessive play-biting (I am assuming it was play-bites, not serious aggressive bites) because this is a very formative age for a puppy- what he learned then probably shaped his whole outlook after that. Maybe he learned that people are scary, and it turned him into a fear-biter, when he thinks he can get away with it (on small, weak people, like children.)

But some good news... (if you want to take it that way.) If it really was bad experiences that made him this way, he may be fixable if he has the right kind of NEW experiences to override them. Find a licensed veterinary behaviorist that includes you in the rehab process, and you may still be able to turn him around.

Barked: Mon Jun 4, '12 8:01pm PST 
Not being able to see the situation makes it hard to help. But .. have you ever considered what's happening when the kids approach? Most kids and adults are very rude in dogs eyes if it is a problematic dog. Is the dog fearful,territorial, dominant? Is he so worked up that when the kid finally gets to him he can't think straight and bites? First of all the first bite shoulda been a good reason to get to the bottom of it. Most dog-people bites need intervetion on dogs and visitor . Are the kids staring at the dog and going immediately for a pet on the head. Are they screaming wildly? It sounds like you need a trainer to come to your house and help you fix the problem. Not send him away again. Sure I could retrain any dog at my home but when it goes home it will just revert right back without change from its owners. I'm the meantime I'd practice no kid can look speak or touch the dog... period! That will prevent most or all bites if its coming from being pet. Some digs aren't fond of strangers especially a child greeting. You may never be able to trust him completely and may need to separate him from visitors as well.

Barked: Mon Jun 4, '12 8:05pm PST 
Oh and from the posts it almost sounds as if you have a fear biter.

Member Since
Barked: Tue Jun 5, '12 1:51pm PST 
My dog is not big on children. When I got her, I didn't have kids. I did do my best to socialize her with children (ie taking her to the dog park, taking her to pet smart and pet co and to parties and everywhere I possibly could) and to this day she still has some issue.

If a child approaches her in a calm manner (much like an adult would) then she's fine. However, if a kid comes running at her, screaming with arms waving, or if they're laughing very loudly and making sudden movements, THEN I can see a bit of reactivity come out in her.

You may not be able to read the signals that your dog is giving you regarding whether a certain situation is stressing him out. If you start seeing the tail drop down between the legs, or you can see the whites of his eyes and he starts trying to pull away, or hide behind you or if you see him lift a lip- all those are signs that he's uncomfortable and at that point its YOUR JOB to get him out of that situation.

It's no good socializing a dog to kids that obviously scare him. If you're going to socialize him to kids, you have to do it with dog saavy kids, not yard hooligans who have no manners and don't know how to treat a dog.

Maybe eventually you can up his tolerance level: ie he's met enough kids that were sweet to him to where he doesn't mind a bit of rowdiness now and then (especially if it involves him getting treats or having his favorite toy thrown for him). But that takes time and patience.

If you aren't willing to manage his behavior problems, then you need to give him back to his breeder. THAT PERSON will be the one who understands labradoodles best, especially the ones they produced. If the breeder won't take him back and you aren't willing to put the time and effort into re-wiring his little brain, it might be best to put him down.

A fear biter is a liability that requires constant management and you would be responsible if anyone filed a suit.

The cheese ninja
Barked: Wed Jun 6, '12 4:41pm PST 
Bruno's idea of what may have happened makes a lot of sense to me. Though it's possible that a puppy that young could have been doing true aggressive biting, it's really unlikely. It's entirely normal to have to correct puppy nipping for many months. Some people even believe that the reason puppies have sharp teeth is to learn to have a soft mouth- they roll around and nip at their siblings, and they learn from their siblings' yelping that if they bite too hard, it hurts. Our usual procedure was to firmly close his mouth and tell him "AH AH!" If he did it again, we would stand up and stop playing with him for awhile. It takes a long time, but the result is that you have a well adjusted dog who's not acting out of fear. I agree that if a program stopped a young puppy from nipping in the space of a couple weeks, there's a very good chance that they abused him. I also think the best way to proceed now is to see a good trainer/behaviorist. Focus on finding someone with a lot of experience, who is willing to tell you what you're doing wrong instead of tiptoeing around your feelings.

Edited by author Wed Jun 6, '12 4:43pm PST