Please Help! Siberian Husky Aggression! Getting dangerous, thinking of giving up for safety

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Member Since
Barked: Sat Nov 24, '12 8:36am PST 
I'm thinking of giving up this dog for my own safety. This morning i took him out for a usual walk, absolutely nothing was happening that couldhave triggered him..i mean nothing, and he just lunged up at me grabbed my hand and when he didnt get a good grip he grabbed my coat and started shaking the sleeve. My hand wouldhave been pretty messed up if i didnt have his leather leash wrapped around it.

So here's the story from the beginning. Kai is a beautiful all white Siberian Husky male with one blue eye and one dark green..he is now 6 months, when we got him he was 3 months. The people we got him from got him from a breeder he was the alpha of the puppy litter, his dad is a 2 time champ in dog shows and is very big larger than usual huskies, ours is also big for his age. The people we got him from are my in laws neighbors they couldnt keep the dog because of the landlord. When we first met the dog it was obvious he had a nipping problem but we thought he behaved so because its his first day with us and so on..my husband was so in love with this dog from 1st sight that we got him. I later found out that his previous owners didnt socialize him at all he didnt know how to behave with other dogs, later we found out they couldnt handle the dog he would show signs of agression and she would hit him with a slipper. At some point they gave him to an animal hospital where he was horribly abused as well as while in their care he got bit by a pittbull.

The first week of us having him we had to give him to my husbands sister she took him to maryland where as she describes he would walk by people and randomely nip/bite them he bit her roomates several times drew blood over for ex trying to take something out of his mouth or other not so serious things.

When we got him back in our care my husband took over i almost didnt approach the dog except for walking him my husband started handeling him petting playing touching putting leash and muzzle on stuff like that he never bit my husband because he knows thats not a good idea...my husband spanked him few times but mostly he grabs his mouth and says no or punishes him by putting muzzle on him. we started socializing him hes fine with other dogs plays lil rough can sometimes climb on em and nip them but mostly hes fine and quite friendly..when other dogs bark at him n show agression he doesnt seem to care he walks right past em not barking or anything he rarely ever barks. Hes fine with strangers he comes up to ppl himself ppl can pet him he gets along wit mostly everyone...one strange thing i noticed hes done this numerous times..he randomely sees either a person or stares into space and his ears go down tail between his legs and he starts running away from the person or absolutely nothing running like crazy and looking back...

hes fine with me and everyone until someone tries to show any control of him or does something he doesnt like for ex my husbands sister reached for his leash and he tried biting her..my mom tried putting away his toys and he bit her then hid behind her..i went near him to wipe his eyes not noticing some toy thing near him he started growling i grabbed him by mouth like hubby which i usually dont do and i slipped and im missing a nail. we have a trainer for him we did 2 sessons of 6 lessons we use e collar at training he recovers quick n loves the trainer..we had huge gap in between training bcaus of fam problems n i dont think well be able to afford another session. our trainer makes him submit to me and he said since dog feels hes losing his position to me hes gona fight back random moments n test me but i cant have dog attacking me randomely like that...last time he bit me he came up to me in few mins started touchin me wit his paw waggin his tail n smelling n licking spot where he bit ..he seems happy when i come home he listens to sit down come drop it most of the time...so idk wat to do hes gorgeous rare smartdog everyone loves him especially my husband..wat should i do?

blue/brown eyed- girl!
Barked: Sat Nov 24, '12 10:27am PST 
First of all do you have children? If so then that could be serious and a huge problem. Even if you dont, aggression towards you is not to be accepted either, i'm not an expert or a trainer, please keep that in mind, this is just my opinion.
You need to decide if you and your husband have the time to put into him to stop this behavior because if something isn't done it will continue and will get worse. If you can no longer afford a trainer try looking up dog aggression online, that could help. It sounds like a major dominance issue or at least partially. You have to find a way (you and your husband) to let him know you guys are the boss, you have to slowly work up to being able to take his toys and even reach right into his food bowl to show your dominance. Take baby steps to do this though. Does he go up on your couch? does he sleep in your bed, when you are walking him does he lead you or do you lead him? These are dominance things that you need to be in control of. My Husky does sleep in our bed and our couch but we made sure she saw us as alpha before we allowed it. In their minds they are equal if allowed these things. When you are bringing him into the house after a walk make sure you enter the door first then your dog, this will show you are alpha. When feeding make sure he see's you putting food in his bowl and giving it to him so he knows his food source is you. Ask him to sit before you put the bowl down so he see's he has to please you in order to get what he wants. Make him work for things and see that you are the sole provider of his needs. Huskies are very intelligent and very stubborn, before I got Mika I did a lot of research on them. Take him out for training sessions daily, reward with high value treats, but if he gets bored end the session, otherwise you will end up frustrated and accomplish nothing, training needs to be fun for both of you. Spend as much time as you can with him, Huskies need a lot of exercise or they will be unhappy, also need to be socialized a lot. As i said before you need to make sure your husband is involved in this also or you will become alpha and the dog will think he is second in command and your husband is last. They are pack oriented animals and need to feel secure and knowing that they are part of your pack (family) I hope this has helped, please let me know if you have any other questions....again i must mention i am not a trainer nor an expert but i have done a huuuge amount of research on Huskies and own one myself, and have owned dogs my whole life.
Good Luck!! way to go
Ember FDX

Go Go Devil- Bunnies!
Barked: Sun Nov 25, '12 7:16am PST 
Holy cow... I would be biting you too!

First and foremost, you need to remove his triggers. If he's resource guarding toys, he should not have any access to toys at this point. If food is a problem, feed him from hand, or in a crate or safe room where he can be alone. These are temporary measures - the goal is to live WITH your dog, not around him, but they are necessary at this point both for your safety and to stop his behavior from escalating.

Second, you need stop all alpha rolling, "forcing him to submit," muzzle-grabbing, neck punching, use of shock collars, and any and all other physical, painful, adversive methods your "trainer" has introduced - IMMEDIATELY. Your dog is traumatized. He is living in a world of fear and uncertainty. HE IS NOT BEING DOMINANT. I can't say it loud enough or often enough. He was rescued, abused, attacked, and is now trying to find his place in your chaotic world. Teaching him that you bring fear and pain is flying in the face of everything you want to accomplish.

You need to find a new, positive trainer ASAP. I am literally shaking with anger over what your current trainer has done to you - it's just wrong. cpdt.org is a good place to start looking. There is no regulated standard to call yourself a dog trainer - anyone can - but CPDT offers a good independent standard. If you can, it wouldn't hurt to work with a veterinary behaviorist - not a trainer who calls themself a behaviorist, but an actual veterinary college graduate certified in canine behavior.

Given the circumstances, everything he's doing sounds completely normal. Specific behavioral advice is difficult to give over the internet, but there are some other general things that will help you.

First is to research your breed. Getting a dog because you love their look on sight is almost always a mistake. Huskies ARE mouthy. The sled team I've been running with uses airline cable training lines so the dogs don't bite through them while they're being harnessed. I had to teach my first Husky not to grab my car seat belts when he was frustrated. Your descriptions of his "random attacks" sound more like this than true aggression. If he were truly looking to harm you, you wouldn't be sitting on Dogster looking for advice. It's totally fixable with some basic training - and one of the things that will continue to escalate as long as you use physical methods with him.

Teach the trading game. Let him have a toy that is of little interest to him, and at your discretion, offer a bit of food that is much better, take the toy of little interest and let him have the bit of food. When you've built his trust in you, you can work your way up to higher value items. The gist of it is to teach that his favorite things come from you and your approach means GOOD things, not that his favorite things are now in danger of being taken from him when you're near. Mine! by Jean Donaldson is excellent reading for resource-guarding dogs.

Stabilize your environment, or failing that, try to stabilize his. Your post makes your home sound chaotic and without routine - which is great, I live that way too - but it sucks for a new rescue. I've gone out of my way to provide stability for insecure dogs, including setting up a room or area in a room that is closed off, secure, and they can retreat to if they're feeling overwhelmed. If I know things are about to get crazy and they won't handle it well, I just put them there from the start. Better to chill alone and maybe be kinda bored than get totally overwhelmed and backslide in rehab.


blue/brown eyed- girl!
Barked: Sun Nov 25, '12 8:57am PST 
I agree with you Ember....there is no need for for the nose grabbing and all of that sort of thing, however she does still need to show that she is pack leader over her pup. But the hands off approach as you have said is much much better then what she has been told by her "trainer"

Fritz, cats are- fun when they- run
Barked: Mon Dec 3, '12 3:49am PST 
I agree with Ember, you have set your dog up and need to change you approach. Dominance theory was disproved a long time ago. You might also post in the behavior forum, for more advice. There are some really good positive trainers there.