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Day 1 didn't go so well...
  • So we took in one of the "Craigslist Shibas" this morning. We've been looking for a new shiba for our family for awhile now, but right off the bat I wasn't so sure this was the shiba for us. His owners were getting desperate and going to take him to the pound this week if nobody took him in tho =( I agreed to make the 6 hour drive there and back to pick him up and give it a week trial. On his own he seems like an ok dog, tho he is aggressive about anyone touching him besides petting (teeth, paws, tail are off limits), he has some food aggression, aggression towards men (he bit my partner), and has some aggression towards other dogs. He already escaped once today by slipping out of his collar, thankfully we caught him. I want to try to make this work and I'm hoping the rest of this week goes smoother, does anyone have any suggestions? We got Hachiko as a puppy and I made sure she was use to being touched everywhere, was socialized, etc, so I'm really not use to aggression. I would love people's input on if they think this can even be done... I'm also on the fence about what to do if this doesn't work out since I don't want to see him in the pound =/ (Keep him till I can find him a better home?)

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    Post edited by curlytails at 2013-01-13 14:37:27
  • Honestly, this sounds like the sort of dog that would be euthanized at the pound. I would see if there's any rescue that's willing to work with him. My instinct is that he could probably be fixed with some good counterconditioning but that it will be a LOT of work---and definitely not the amount of work I would want to put into him myself, as he sounds like something of a "project dog." This might, however, also mean that a rescue won't take him, especially since he does have a bite history.
    Post edited by notoriousscrat at 2013-01-13 02:53:10
  • Can you get a private trainer to help you? It is possible to live with (and love) an aggressive dog, but it means years of anxiety and risk. You say you weren't sure about him from the beginning; maybe you should trust your instincts. I hope this works out, whatever you decide to do.
  • Haru was this way when I got him. Teeth, paws and tail OFF limits!!! And boy was it a battle just walking into the vet! He also escaped on me the first week I had him as a foster...twice! He bit me over a scuffle between him and my girl about dog food. I could have throttled him but chose to give him a chance. I don't think I could have a more devoted little boy. He'll be 4 in march. Little to no food aggression, only issues if its people food and if it is particularly tasty and any attempt at growlies over food is an easy correct with a snap of my fingers and a "Haru!" I can check his teeth, we can go to the vet and have his temp taken without trying to bite anyone. We still have an issue with nails, he will tolerate me playing with his feet for short spurts so I take him to PetSmart for nails. They get to be the bad guys and he is a two person trim and he does shiba scream but it gets done and no one gets bit. I also use a Halti with him. At the vet, it's been a lifesaver. Out in stressful situations, it has helped 100%. I had serious doubts over adopting Haru. He came with a boatload of issues I'd never dealt with before. He changed so much each month I had him and consistency was the saving grace for us. If I would have only had him a week, he would have gone back to rescue. His first impression was not stellar. There would be a void in my life now without him. He was/is still dog aggressive and we still work on that. It is better than it was. He wants to correct anxious puppy like play in other dogs and doesn't seem to like bigger dogs that want to lord over him. The Halti has helped him with these issues as well. We are still a work in progress but he's a different dog now. :) the choice is ultimately yours and what's best for your home. You will probably never know the details of this pups life and you have to determine if you're willing to work through his issues with him. Good luck!
  • InoushiInoushi
    Posts: 555
    When you say aggression, are you sure it isn't fear? A lot of dogs don't trust people touching teeth, paws and tail. That takes time, so I say don't touch them initially. He may be fearful of your partner, so for now make all interactions between them positive. Have him toss treats at him from distances starfox is comfortable, and possibly making him the one who feeds him his meals. I say give it a few days and take things slow. For a while, since he is more comfortable with you, walk him exclusively.

    Put yourself in starfox's shoes. He must be wondering why he isn't with his family, and suddenly these strange people took him somewhere he isn't used to. Then these people are getting in his personal bubble only his owners used to be allowed to be in. All the while he must have anxiety about not being near them, plus the stress of a long ride. For an older shiba this is a very stressful situation, especially one that probably wasn't socialized.

    So I would be careful labeling him as aggressive just yet. Even saying he bit people (was it a warning snap, did he give warnings like backing up, Lip licking, growl, lifted lip, tail low, hunched over, trying to get away?) Is something to becareful about, it can make adopting him to anyone else impossible if this doesn't work out.
  • roxanneroxanne
    Posts: 83
    I took in a Shiba that ultimately would have been at the pound, too. He also has many issues. I've had him two years now, and he's starting to show more aggression and fear... it's almost as if he showed his best behavior at first, knowing he might get sent away if he acted out... but I can tell you, he is the joy of my life. It is so worth it to work with him and help him become the wonderful dog I know he can be. I didn't know squat about training or anything, hadn't had a dog for 25 years even, and didn't know I wanted one! But there he came one day, and I am pretty sure he had no training or socialization, much less grooming or health care. Now he is in good hands and we look forward to many more years. I have had my doubts, though, especially recently with some terrible biting and unusual aggression at the Petco towards other dogs. He is very sensitive, and I think something happened at a boarding place we left him at for a few days, because he has been a bit Off ever since. Django also has issues around touching feet, teeth especially. I have a RuffWear Harness I use, which usually calms him down so I can check for ticks and stuff. We had to have him anesthetized to have his nails trimmed, which I hated to do, but a couple of them were broke, one bleeding.... he's high strung. Good luck, and thank you for taking in your little guy. This forum has a lot of great people with good feedback. BTW, What's his name?
    Post edited by roxanne at 2013-01-13 10:05:05
  • SayaSaya
    Posts: 6678
    This book might be helpful with your resource guarding

    It'll take time, but you can work on it to get him used to handling. I'd work slowly and work so he sees having his paws messed with or mouth looked at as a positive thing.. Handling brings peanut butter or whatever item he finds awesome.

    Coarse do this alone no other dog around him as peanut butter can be a high value item. Plus low distractions and stress is helpful.

    Maybe teach paw command? He paws your hand for a treat.

    He might have not gotten best socialization and training like your other shiba has.

    Fear of men some dogs have that I don't know your dog's history so can't tell for sure why. Maybe work on conditioning that men= good things. You give him a treat when he's in same room and being calm. when he leaves he gets no treats

    Comes back treats.

    Having your partner lightly toss a yummy treat the dog likes in his general area is good thing to do. Don't try to aim right at him as the treat might hit him and it might scare him if the treat hits him.. just in general area of him so he goes and gets it.

    Eventually hand feeding the treat once he trusts your partner enough don't force it off the treat and let him get it.

    Saya used to be afraid of young boys only young girls were fine by her. She used to like all kids of all gender, but two boys ruined it for her via charging at her barking and stomping. mom's were not watching their kids of coarse.

    Luckily my cousin's are calm nice and listens so when I brought Saya to parties I told them not to try pet her just go about their business. I would give Saya a treat when ever they were in same room or space if outside, but far away enough she didn't feel scared.

    Eventually she got over her fear and are now good with young boys other then my cousins.

    I'd sometimes people watch at park walk by the kid area where kids are playing, but far enough she isn't too close so she felt comfortable she got treats for being calm.

    Him feeding the meals is good option.

    Maybe he had bad experience with a male and thinks all males are scary? Or maybe just afraid and fine women more softer in personality and less scary.

    I hope things work out if not maybe there is a shiba rescue by you willing to work with the dog.

    Is there any dog behaviorist or positive dog trainers that might be able to help?
    Nicole, 5year old Bella(Boxer), and 4year old Saya(Shiba inu)
  • Part of me thinks fear is a huge part of it right now. I understand he needs to adjust, that's why I suggested a week trail instead of just meeting him. But some of this behavior is in his history too so idk. I'm going to give it my best this week. The reason I also tested the teeth, tail, paws is because I was wanting to see how he did with a stranger doing those things since those will be important things at the vet or groomers.
  • He came with the name Starfox, but he doesn't answer to it (owner said he never really did) so I've been calling him Nobu. I work with a trainer for the service dog I'm raising so I'm going to talk to her this week about him and see what she says.
  • BootzBootz
    Posts: 3495
    Wait, Hachiko is a service dog you're currently raising? Along with Nobu now?
  • No, no, Hachiko is ours. We're raising a Black Lab service puppy named Rosie. It's one of the reasons we started looking for a new Shiba, Hachiko got very attached to Rosie and Rosie will only be here a few more months.
  • I would definitely communicate with your trainer. A good trainer is a great resource in rehabbing a dog (although a certified behaviorist is even better) and it's probably a good idea to get the trainer's opinion about this new dog and the service dog as there might be some cause for concern about having a food and dog aggressive dog around a potential service dog.

    I'm also going to take a moment to again tell you to consider surrendering the dog to rescue if you can't keep him, as I suspect he will have a better chance there than with his old owners (who let him get this way) and with the pound. These issues sound, to me, like ones that a dedicated person could probably work through and get a great pet but that doesn't mean it has to be you.
  • Yeah, it's really hard because he seems like he could be a good dog, maybe for someone without other pets and no kids/older kids. He's very good with tricks (something Hachiko isn't) but I run into simular issues as what Kimura was talking about in her post. My 4 yr old is also on the Austim spectrum and is use to Hachiko who he can touch anyway he wants to. Today I got so nervous because my son loves playing with Hachi's tail and went to touch Starfox/Nobu's and I was so scared. Then it was time for walks and when I went to hold his collar to attach the leash (something that didn't bother him yesterday) and he freaked and went for me. I'm not big on being afraid of my pets, but I really don't want to send him back. I'm still planning on giving it the week, but I think I might start talk about other options (like rescues) with his owner...
  • RyanRyan
    Posts: 293
    Find a mentor or professional who has been through this before. This is to be expected with a rescue in my opinion. I adopted an older ex-show dog and it took around 3 months for his noticable fear reactions to settle. That said, progress was visible after a few weeks. Be kind, gentle and patient and you will be rewarded with a special bond. I get greeted with a "aarrooo" now because I say "Hello" to my shibas when I walk in the door. Even when I got in the way of a fear reaction and got a warning nip when trying to get Suki out of a situation he wasn't comfortable in, I haven't once regretted taking him in. That said, I no longer have any spare pillows as he has "killed" them all. I also have learnt that he needs to be watched in the forest, other wise he will smile at me before rolling in the foulest turds he can find and stinking out the car the whole trip home.

    How long have you had him? It can take time for the dog to feel "safe" and start to come out of their shell. Think about how "shell shocked" you would be if you were driven 6hrs away to a new home?
    Bella (Sherae Aka Akicho) | F | Born 27/1/2012
    Suki (Aust. Ch. Betlin Takaisuki) | M | Born 03/02/2005, adopted 10/09/2012
  • Ugh, it's one step forward and two steps back with this dog =( Things in general have been going much better, he's been less aggressive about being touched or leashing up, in fact he's taken to sleeping on my son's bed before the dogs go away for the night. He's actually pretty sweet one on one with us. He had never been crated before and we started crating him right from the beginning with out a problem. It still bothers me that I can't "trust" him tho, my other dogs are so friendly I'd never think twice about my son being near them, the other day he wanted to give Nobu a kiss on the nose like he does with Hachiko and I was too afraid to let him do it.

    Tonight was bad tho... Hachiko is a totally sweet dog, but it's her house and she will bark at the new dogs for weeks till things settle (just barking and maybe a warning growl she'd never bite), unfortunately Nobu reacts violently when Hachiko barks at him. Tonight I was taking Nobu out of the crate when Hachiko started barking. I had my hand in his collar guiding him out of the crate when she started and the dog that had been so happy to be coming out of the crate was gone and I now had a snarling mess of dog trying to attack me. I held him in his collar away from my body and fought to keep my hand at the base of his neck so I wouldn't be bitten. I was afraid if I let go of him he'd attack one of the other dogs. I finally managed to make it to one of our gated in rooms and released him on the other side to give him time to "cool down". I'm so not use to an aggressive dog, my main fear is what if my son was petting him and one of the other dogs bark at him, he's like a ticking time bomb =( we've been trying so hard with him too, it's terrible... I still don't know what to do about him... I really don't want to give up because he can be such a sweet dog. But I'm scared for the safety of my son and my other dogs =(
  • I think you need to take things more slowly, step back, take a deep breath and calm down. It sounds like you're freaking out and that's not a good place to be when trying to make a decision on how to proceed next.

    I agree with @notoriouscrat that this may not be the right dog for you and it may be the best to contact a rescue. In the meantime, set him up for success and treat him like a puppy. Take things one step at a time, and build on those steps rather than trying to take on everything at once. Also please keep him completely separate from your other dogs and your son.

    He sounds fearful, not aggressive. How well do you read body language? It would be helpful to try to observe the signs he gives when he starts to become uncomfortable and slow things down at that point before he starts snarling. Does his tail go down? Do his ears start to move back? You want to reassure him before he goes into over drive. I know you're treating him as you would your other dogs but I suspect between temperament and a new environment, he finds the whole thing overstimulating and experiences many things as flooding.

    I would really contact a behaviorist if possible or at the least get in touch with a truly positive trainer (I cannot stress this part enough) who has experience with reactive and fearful dogs and see if you can get a consultation. Contact your local shiba and see if they or any of their foster homes have advice. Good luck.

    Ps - I forgot to add that if you can get your partner to help redirect Hachiko and do focus exercises before she starts barking that would probably be helpful. Check out doggie zen and see if Nobu is receptive to starting that. He sounds smart but fearful. Spotting the signs before things escalate and redirecting him in a positive fashion once you do may be really helpful.
    Post edited by violet_in_seville at 2013-01-18 01:49:42
  • KimuraKimura
    Posts: 191
    @KitsuneSakakino: Oh, how I feel your pain and your dilemna!! I'm on the verge of tears just reading...

    I think everyone's suggestions are absolutely great. It's true there's hope, it's true taking it slow is the only way to go, it's true watching the warning signs and setting up your life and schedule to avoid the issues is the best...

    But here's what it came down to for us (and some may judge and think this is horrible, but hey, I can't feel much worse about the whole situation anyways, so a little more disapproval won't hurt that much).

    When it came down to it, we decided to re-home Kimura because when you have in your home someone who is vulnerable and has special needs, your fear for their safety is constant and deep and stressful. At any point when I'm with my son, I'm on edge to some degree, wondering how he might hurt himself, what he might break, ... We're always on alert. So I couldn't just "relax and breathe" and let him sit beside Kimura just hoping she wouldn't snap. And believe me, I've used my 15 years of yoga trying to relax. But we assessed our situation and my husband pointed out that we were arguing more since we had her, because she added too much more unpredictability in our every moment. We find ourselves separating, one on one level with our son, the other on the other with Kimura. So we thought, once she's an adult, we'll be able to trust her more and let her be on a different level or in a different room without worry. But the idea behind a dog was for Cédric to have this fun, happy presence around and maybe once in a while play with her or pet her. If that's not happening, and she's alone, nobody (us or her) is getting the relationship they deserve.

    And I understand the "one step forward, two steps back" too. Since we started using the technique from the book "Mine" by Jean Donaldson, we have seen enormous progress with her. The resource guarding from me and my husband is going away at a faster pace than I expected. But the more she relinquishes from us, the more aggressive she gets towards him. For the past week, she started getting jealous of the attention my hubby gives our son when he gets home and she's growled and snapped at Cédric's feet twice for coming for a hug from dad. One of those times hurt enough for him to cry...

    So we just accepted our limits and assessed our situation as honestly as we could and made what we truly believe is the best for us all. But it has been hard, I have shed many tears and I don't think I'm quite done. But we'll make sure to find her a better environment where she can relax and we're looking to getting a service dog for our household (and I'd love to talk to you about training him or her myself).

    Ask yourself if you can live with the stress and how it affects your life. Ask yourself if Nobu is the right dog to keep Hachiko company (the reason you got him). Ask yourself if he's happy or if your house is wrong for him (maybe he needs to be the only dog, and no children, to blossom...). These were the three questions that over time led us to the decision to re-home.

    I wish you all the luck in your situation and in the decision and if you need to talk, you can message me any time as I understand so well what you're going through!

  • Your good intentions are commendable. I think it would be of benefit to get help from a certified behaviorist.

    Doing so can only help you understand the situation better and the cause of the stress. If the situation does not work out, more than likely a rescue org will want the evaluation in any case. It is the least you can offer to this animal to improve it's possibilities.

    In the duration I would absolutely make sure that my child and my other dogs are separated from the new dog until integrations are going more smoothly. With this breed it can take a long time, 6 months or more. If the new dog was not acclimated to children or other pets previously then the time frame for it to iron out will be much longer. Please do not put yourself or your child at risk and provide safe spaces for everyone. Please do not allow the new pet to sleep in your child's bedroom or toy/play areas.

    I also would recommend book Living with Kids and Dogs without Losing Your Mind by Colleen Pilar …. her resource information. & There are some things that each child, infant, toddler must learn and some things you can do to protect yourself and your child even among your own animals. Never assume a pet will never bite.

    In any case from this forum and what is written we can only speculate what is occurring, so direct hands on advise is going to be a better bet.

    Good luck to you and be sure to keep everyone safe through separation in the duration.

    Post edited by StaticNfuzz at 2013-01-18 09:52:54
  • I wanted to thank everyone who gave some great advice on this thread! Unfortunately we decided in the end he was just too unpredictable for our home. In all honesty even on paper he didn't sound like a good match, I just didn't want to see him end up in the shelter =( I talked to his owner and convinced him to sign him over to DC SIR and met with them yesterday. He seems to be in great hands with them! I know this way he'll find a home he's really happy in, not just tolerant of. If you follow them at all he is now "Fuji". He really is a good boy at heart and am so hopefully he'll find a forever home. We're still looking to adopt, but now hopefully we can find a better match for our home.
  • Having this boy end up in rescue seems like the happiest ending for everyone. Thank you for doing what you did and seeing that he ended up there.
  • SayaSaya
    Posts: 6678
    I'm glad he's in a rescue and sorry it didn't work out, but it's for the best.
    Nicole, 5year old Bella(Boxer), and 4year old Saya(Shiba inu)
  • I was still sad to see him go, but I agree, it was for the best. I wanted to help the rescue find him a home as much as I could so I did some pictures of him before he left. Here's a couple of them:
    Image Hosted by
    Image Hosted by
  • Even though it didn't work out in your home, I'm so glad you were able to get him into rescue. Hope he finds a good home. He's a handsome guy!
  • KimuraKimura
    Posts: 191
    Oh, those photos are beautiful and he is gorgeous!
    And trust me, I understand EXACTLY how you feel. We dropped off Kimura this week-end and I was very sad and feel a void but like you I believe it was for the best!
    Thumbs up to you for helping him as much as you could and knowing you did make a difference in his life even if it wasn't by adopting him yourself.
  • amtiamti
    Posts: 1066
    What a pretty boy... I hope he finds a good home that can work with him. As hard as it was, I think you did the right thing. The photos you took of him are wonderful and will really help find him a good home. What a sweet thing to do for him. I always wonder why the rescues have such poor quality photos for such beautiful dogs.

    Your post brought me to tears too. We recently adopted a CL Shiba too and I had a bunch of worries that came along with this adoption. We were lucky in that our boy proceeded with more caution than anger from the start and learned/is learning to trust us. He does have some issues that are arising since we got him, but so far nothing we can't work around. I did ask for a one month trial period too. Figured if he hasn't warmed up to us or the other pets in a month, he wouldn't work out. I would have brought him to a rescue instead of the previous owners.

    Some dogs on CL (or anywhere, really) have issues which is why they are being rehomed. The owners aren't always truthful either. My kids are teens and know a lot about dogs so getting bit was not a worry item for us. If the kids or I got bit, we could get over it, unlike little kids who might become scared of dogs. They came with me to evaluate the dog, and although we brought a crate, the kids decided the dog was gentle enough to keep in the back seat with them for the two hour ride home. It was a really good bonding time. That's when we found out the dog came with all sorts of parasites- ticks, fleas and tapeworms (we expected the worst so this was no surprise although disappointing and sad). We tried to get him washed at Petsmart before going home, but they wouldn't take him in without a proof of rabies (which we didn't have bc the owner didn't give us anything). There are so many unknowns and so many things have to go right in order for these CL adoptions to work out. I give you a big hug for trying.
  • knnwangknnwang
    Posts: 645
    I hate junk yard dog stories. I blame it on the xare takers.

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