NEW BITING PROBLEM!!

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michelle bacon's picture
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Joined: 2011-12-30

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Hi guys!  I've been gone for LONG time, a lot has changed in my life and I fear it has taken a toll on Niko.

Long story short, my ex-husband was physically abusive towards me and I finally left.  I now live with my brother, had to have surgery to repair what ex hurt on me, waiting to be released to work. I have BOTH Niko and Boss with me, as well as Jax.  Poor Pita though, well she mysteriously died on me. It appeared she had her neck broken, but couldn't prove anything definitively. Ex can't come near me due to a Order of Protection and the animals ARE listed on that as well.  Wanted to make sure they were safe as well.

Okay, so the problem I am having with Niko is that he has been a fairly well-behaved boy. However, since I left my ex he has gotten VERY protective of me.  He won't let a male near our car if he's with me, and now he has gotten to where if a man comes near me (with some exceptions of course) he has started nipping at them.  None of these people are being mean, nor do I feel threatened by them.  The only thing that I have noticed is that ALL of the men he does this to are very loud and full of energy.  

What can I do to stop this behavior?  I've tried spray bottles, telling him "no" and making him sit next to me in a "stay" for a while with no interaction from me.  Idk what else to do. I'm afraid he's going to hurt someone! He bit my brother even, and Idk what caused that!  My brother went to pet him and Niko was laying next to a friend (Niko LOVES this friend...almost as much as me), and Niko growled at him, so my brother backed up, then went back to pet him again.  I told Ryan, my brother not to do that, but he did not listen. Niko growled again and when Ryan didn't back up he bit him between his eyes, did not cause damage, but scared the hell out of all of us.  Idk what to do.  He is WONDERFUL with women, kids, Chris (the friend).  But, any males are in danger.  Is it because I had him in a situation where he saw me get hit and hurt by a man?

I don't want him to get put down for hurting someone. So far, it's just been like nibbling, except my brother. And most of the guys understand that he's being protective, but I don't like this behavior and do not know how to fix it!  Boss, is okay, besides his anxiety is back, but he's settling in. We've been here for 4 months now, so he's getting used to it.  And I thought Niko would have settled down some.

talisin's picture
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Joined: 2011-02-25

Wow, glad to hear you are safe, hope the surgery wasn't to invasive and you are healing up nicely. And kudos to you for leaving!!!!!!! I have sooooo many friends who did not and refuse to still......so proud of you for that decision.

Niko I would say is reacting to the stress and the visuals he got exposed to, I look forward to hearing what Kevin has to say on this one. The car I can kinda expect as Ben has done this once or twice, it's their territory so to speak.....but the biting/nipping thing you do need that to stop.

I will watch this closely and see what others suggest, I have not really got any helpful advice at this time, unless you can have some positive interactions with men and niko and desensitize him to what he remembers......

chris b.'s picture
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Joined: 2011-01-20

Michelle, glad you and the pups are safe.  Good for you for leaving, stay strong.  As for the nipping, Tony, who is the gentlest soul ever, bit a guy when he was helping Dave put some stuff in the Explorer.  After that I was extra careful with him...  Tony has been very protective of me also, I always just put a hand on him, his head, his shouldier, his muzzle.  Just try to stay calm, take a deep breath, and put a hand on whatever is convenient.  They read us so well, and a touch can be so calming, as long as you're calm. 

Take care of yourself and the pups, and keep us posted.

Chris

michelle bacon's picture
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Joined: 2011-12-30

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Chris, I do try and keep him close to me and touch him.  It's not too hard, cuz as soon as a man comes in the house he is "blocking" me from them.  He does NOT like men anywhere near me right now.  

Thanks for the words of encouragement, it was the only choice I had.  Tal, the surgery was minimally invasive and I'm doing pretty good on the healing up.  Still have trouble picking stuff up, but that's just gonna take time.  I'm gonna try and do the desensitizing thing with him.  Thanks!

talisin's picture
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Joined: 2011-02-25

so glad to hear you are doing ok; wishing you time and patience for healing. I know you said that you are comfortable with the men that are getting a reaction from Niko but is it possible that when you first see them, I mean that first second you see the man enter the room you have your heart drop or take in a breath?? just a tiny little thing like that can be felt by a sensitive dog and that alerts the dog to the fact that this could possibly be a negative situation......with your past history it might be so minor that you don't even feel it or see it but Niko does, pay super close attention next time and see if that's what your body instantly does.......

MichelleE's picture
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Joined: 2013-05-31

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So glad you chose to leave. You will be a stronger person in the long run for it. I was in a situation like that with my ex so I know to a degree what you are going through. I do agree with Talison. You might be having a reaction and not even know it. My new husband tells me that there is times that I flinch when he moves his hand to fast by me. I never noticed I did that until he pointed it out. And I know he would never hit me but I still react that way from time to time. And I've been out of that bad situation for 7 years now. You might even ask your friends or family if they have noticed any different reactions by you. I wish you the best of luck. 

michelle bacon's picture
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Joined: 2011-12-30

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I think that you guys are on to something with how I am reacting to the guys.  The only men that I really feel safe and comfortable around are my brother and his best friend, Chris.  And other than when Niko bit at Ryan, he's the most lovable dog to both of them.  It does kind of freak me out a bit though, that Chris is able to snuggle and cuddle Niko just the same way I do and Niko not only lets him, but he begs for his attention.

I have to admit, it makes me a little jealous that Niko loves him so much.  But, at the same time I'm really glad that Niko has bonded to a man too.  Just is a little weird to have him be the way he is with me to someone else.  Especially when Niko has only known Chris for about 4 months. LOL

talisin's picture
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Joined: 2011-02-25

it is kinda annoying when your dog appears to like someone more than you but you are right it's a good thing that he is liking a man again.....just hang in there and be glad about that and watch your reactions to men and be aware of how you want him to react so you can catch yourself before you have a negative feeling  ....you'll both get through this