Challenging Chow, how to overcome his behavior issues?

Training and behavior topics, guidelines, and tips for Chow Chows.

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Challenging Chow, how to overcome his behavior issues?

Postby spiceywolfe » Wed Jul 04, 2012 3:23 pm

Hi, I stumbled across this forum today, considering my Chow has been a challenge since the day I brought him home I thought I'd go ahead and sign up. Sabbath is nearly 6 years old (July 31st will be his birthday). He's a chow mix from what I'm guessing, as he doesn't have the big poofy coat common in the breed, but he has the size, shape, and the attitude. I was only 19 when I got him, some folks in my neighborhood were selling puppies for $20. Being the immense sucker for puppies that I am, I decided to take a peak.

Inside this sweltering house (summer in Las Vegas) there was no air conditioning, no electricity even for a fan, and 2, 2 week old puppies. No mother in site, the people were feeding them powdered milk through a human bottle. They then explained to me that, out of a litter of 8, only these 2 were still alive. I begged to take both, but they said they intended to keep the other. So I took my pup home with not even the slightest idea on how I was going to care for a newborn puppy. Through some help from an associate at petsmart, and a call to my vet I purchased puppy formula and some bottles. Soon he was a normal happy little puppy, he got along pretty well with my other dog as well (a 9month old pit bull mix). Things were going good, until at 5 months he contracted Parvo. He spent a week at the vets, and another 2 months fully recovering from the ordeal. Since then, he's never quite been the same dog.

Now he's very aggressive with other dogs, especially those smaller than him. He fights any chance he gets, he's become insanely territorial, kennel aggressive, food aggressive, toy aggressive. Barely able to walk on a leash, can never be trusted off leash. He attacks my family unprovoked. I've poured thousands into training for him. Hundreds on vet visits doing every test imaginable, thinking it could be a medical issue. I even considered putting him on some kind of anti-anxiety or anti-psychotic medication. He's on a very good food, he even receives supplements recommended by my trainer and vet. My most recent effort was earlier this year, he actually went away to a boot camp for 5 weeks. We met with the trainer several times and Sabbath seemed to like her, we were hoping she could curb his impulsive nature and make him easier to control, and possibly get him more comfortable around other dogs.

Since being home I can walk him on a leash, and he uses the treadmill to burn off extra energy, but that's about it. He has still attacked family members, attempted to attack other dogs, and for the most part has no other behavioral changes.

The frustrating part is, he can be sweet as a button when he wants to be, but then he just switches and he's snarling trying to rip an arm off. I love him, and I don't want to have him destroyed, but he's bitten so many people already and I've only been lucky that it's all been family or close friends so they won't press charges, but eventually my luck will run out. At this point, I'm the only one handling him, no one else will even touch him, and if they do, never alone. He's unpredictable and at 60lbs he packs a lot of power behind his bites. He basically spends most of his time now between the kennel inside, or his outdoor enclosure. He doesn't have as much social interaction with the family anymore because everyone is afraid of him, and no one wants to be bitten again.

I have a muzzle for him which he hates, but I do use when we have to visit the vet, when he went to boot camp he was e-collar trained, which does seem to help in instances where we're out walking and we encounter another dog. But, overall there isn't much change in him.

Does anyone have any suggestions or ideas? I really feel like I've done EVERYTHING for him.

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Re: Challenging Chow, how to overcome his behavior issues?

Postby Auddymay » Mon Jul 09, 2012 1:49 pm

You already know. He was too young from his mother and did not recieve what other pups get, as far as learning how to act goes. Even though you had no problems pre-parvo, his personality had been set. The separation and Parvo trauma released the Kraken, so to speak.

I would say he is unfortunately permanently damaged. The solution is to adjust to him instead of trying to get him to adjust to everyone else. That means, if he is out of your yard, muzzle him for everyone's protection. Walk him during off-hours when there is little interaction with other dogs. If he bites specific people, keep him away from a nutshell, make him a success by not putting him in a situation he can fail.

Finally, I would ask for puppy prozac from the vet. it likely won't be a cure-all, but it could greatly reduce his stress and his reaction to it. You sound like he is your bud, and that is great, he will need someone in his corner to the end. He is a handsome boy, he could be a pure bred. They come in 2 varieties, rough (long hair) and smooth (short and plush fur).

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Re: Challenging Chow, how to overcome his behavior issues?

Postby Cam Atis » Mon Jul 16, 2012 4:41 am

two week old puppy? and he managed to survived? That's an achievement in its own. Why no mother? Was she dead? Perhaps she was aggressive so she was separated early or perhaps she could have eaten some pups. How can so many be dead in so short a time. Could it be that they are all still-borne? If they are all dead by the time of birth, something is very wrong in the pregnancy, namely, lack of proper bitch care.

From these circumstances, you can glean something. Not very good breeding environment and perhaps dogs that are bred for that purpose. Making off some dough. Aggressiveness is an inherited trait. Some very seasoned breeder will match that aggressiveness with intelligence, thereby making a formidable guard dog.

I have seen a dog who escalated from being a good one to turning aggressive. Good thing he was my uncle's dog,not mine. the bitch that gave birth to him came from us. He was put down because he became uncontrollable by the age of four I think or three. He only heed his family members and him biting people. In short, he was culled.

Auddymay is right. Keep him isolated from situations where he needs to be in control

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