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Big Problem!

Discussion in 'Boxers & Children' started by Smackey, Sep 2, 2014.

  1. Smackey

    Smackey Boxer Buddy

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    So, a little back story:
    We got Marvel at 8 weeks from a woman who rescued him and his brother from the inside of a dumpster.
    Things were great when he was little. When he started growing and was about 2 months old or somewhere around there, he started using my oldest son (who will be 5) as a play toy or possibly saw him like a litter mate. He would bite him quite hard. It was like I had to reteach him bite inhibition. So I did. Then he would run and literally jump on my son. I corrected that problem by showing Marvel that, I guess in a way, my son belongs to me. When he would do it, I would quickly get up, remove him from my son, and make him back up, putting myself between the two, until Marvel sat down and relaxed and went to do his own thing.
    I also had my oldest take over his feeding times and making sure he always had water. The food is never left on the floor if he doesn't eat it within 10-15 minutes.
    My oldest was even walking him, but now that isn't happening either.
    Marvel has now become a puller on the leash to the point I couldn't walk him. I am only 5 foot 1 and 140 pounds. I bought the freedom no pull harness, which was suggested to me on here. That didn't help much either. He doesn't care if he is turned around, he just starts to drag me in that direction too. My husband was the only one he responded to with walking on a loose leash. He does just fine with him, but me, now, forget it. He just drags me.

    My husbands grandmother moved in with us about 2 months ago. She could no longer live by herself at 70 years old. I am a Certified Nursing Assistant, so I took on that job as well and quit the one I had so I could stay home. Little did we know, not only is she scared of Marvel (some incident with another dog when she was younger) but is allergic to him. She would break out in a rash every time he got too close to her or brushed up against something she touched.
    We ended up making him is own room in our basement. A puppy heaven with carpet, toys, bed, and everything we could think of to make him happy.
    No, we did not lock him away and forget him. We actually joined him. Yeah, I spent all my time in the basement with him, playing and cuddling until it was time for bed.
    As for exercise, the hubby took that over, and it was cleared with Marvel's vet, and was given the ok to take him out for short runs as long as it was on grass or something soft.

    Now, his grandmother is being sent to a rehabilitation center due to her declining health and Marvel once again, roams the whole house.

    Here is my problem and where I need help:
    We all went out the other day for a nice stroll. I pushed the youngest in his stroller, our oldest walked beside his dad and Marvel. Marvel kept turning around and nipping at my son. I thought, maybe he just wasn't comfortable with him being that close, so I asked my son to walk beside me. Marvel kept turning around and trying to drag my husband backwards, whining and starring at me son with this look I have never seen him have before. He was dead fixated on my son and getting to him. So, again, I tried something different. I had my oldest walk up in front of all of us. Again, Marvel whined and pulled until he was panting so heavily he looked like he had foam around his mouth. Stopping and waiting until he was calm didn't help and trying to calm him before he escalated didn't work either.

    So, once we got to our destination, the pet store, we stopped outside the door. My oldest's shoe came untied and we waited for him to catch up. We were all standing side by side, Marvel sitting beside my husband. When my son got to my side, Marvel lunged at him and nipped him on the cheek. He did break skin, but it barely bled. My son automatically jumped started crying and screaming, the husband yanked Marvel backwards, and I got in between them. I have NO IDEA why he did that! Not a clue! I taught my son "no talk, no touch, no eye contact" a while ago when approaching Marvel because of how excited he gets when my son is around.

    Now, Marvel is even charging our youngest's play pen when he is in it. He won't stop. He will ram it with his head, paw at it like he is digging, and whine. I literally have to remove him from the room until he calms down.

    Now another problem:
    My husband will now only be home on the weekends. He is at the police academy until December. We will only see him Friday nights, Saturdays, and Sunday mornings. He said walking/running Marvel when he is home isn't a problem. BUT! I can not walk him! He pulls me everywhere and I DO not have the strength to control him. Plus, he now jumps up on me, nipping at my hands and arms.

    I do not know when the switch flipped and our lovable pup became so difficult. He used to walk on the leash just fine, spend time with our oldest without a problem once everything was fixed, loved to cuddle with the baby (supervised of course), and now, he doesn't want a thing to do with the boys. If my oldest gets too close, he jumps and nips at him, he tried to now lay on the baby and paw him like crazy, and now drags me everywhere!

    I know he needs exercised. I knew that when we got him. That I did not have a problem with. I have lost 10 pounds since we have had Marvel since I was the one who walked him daily. But, since I can not walk him, I am at a loss. I cam not handle him dragging me while I am trying to push the baby stroller! I looked and have not yet found a dog walker. And in my area, we do not have any doggy day cares unless I can drive 2 hours away.

    I have contacted a local dog trainer who is willing to do private lessons with me and Marvel and with him and my oldest, but his schedule isn't open until next month. I don't have a month! His energy level is going to sky rocket and my son is becoming scared of him!

    This, by the way, is the dog my psychiatrist wanted to see if we could get certified for me. I have an anxiety disorder and PTSD. Marvel was helping me so much and now taking him out in public is almost impossible unless my husband has the leash.

    As far as I know, Marvel hasn't been traumatized or scared on any way or abused. My boys are never aloud around him without me right there. Shoot, if I even go to the bathroom, I put him in his room until I return to be able to supervise.

    I am at a loss. I have no idea what happened or where we went wrong. My lovable 5 month old is becoming a holy terror!

    Any suggestions that I could try until I can get in to see the trainer? I do not like the idea of re-homing Marvel, but his actions towards my kids are beginning to make me wonder if he is going to be a dog more suited for a home without children. I love my boys, all three of them. Marvel is my furbaby. If this trainer can not help, I really don't know what to do.
     
  2. Smackey

    Smackey Boxer Buddy

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    Hm. Somewhere I lost a month. Let me correct myself. Marvel is 6 months. I don't know where my head was or what I was thinking. I am trying to keep him little longer, or something!
     
  3. Cami

    Cami Boxer Insane

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    He is a 6 month old Boxer puppy.
    He is a 6 month old Boxer puppy.
    He is a 6 month old Boxer puppy.

    Starting to see a pattern here? appicon

    He needs to go to puppy classes. Having a trainer come to your home will be helpful (assuming this trainer is AWESOME) but your PUPPY needs puppy classes. Obedience...plain and simple.
    YOU need puppy classes! I don't mean that in a bad way. Humans just need to be taught (or retrained) how to raise puppies to be great, well mannered adult dogs! You have to teach him how to walk nicely on a leash not just put a training device on him and expect that it is going to do the humans job of letting him know what you want. Those harnesses are not meant to fix all our problems but to help us teach them what we want them to do instead of pulling us like a maniac.
    Just from your post it is easy to see that he hasn't had a ton of "constant" in his short life. He was in the house then he was in the basement then he was in the house. *I know the basement IS IN the house but for simplicities sake....you get my drift.
    His mind is spinning a million miles a minute and he is *probably* hearing this "STOP, LEAVE-IT, NO!!!!!, DOWN, OFF, etc...." a lot. So much so that it turns into a broken record. Not your fault. You have a life and a family. A Boxer puppy is going to get the short end of the stick with so many other distractions (even if your heart was in the right place). Your priority had to be to your kids and the grandmother.
    It's not too late if you are willing to put in the effort. Only you know what you can and can't deal with. Maybe he does need to be re-homed? He isn't "lost" by any means and can easily (cough-cough) with a TON OF EFFORT be a wonderful addition to your family he just needs work.
    My girl is 4 years old and a friggin handful and my hubby and I live for her. She has never been left alone for longer than 3 hours at a time in her entire life! She wants for nothing and still acts like a crazy fool on a walk if she is given the chance. I walk her EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. and she knows how to behave but sometimes she just chooses to NOT.
    She is a work in progress and will be till she isn't on this earth anymore.
    Just as your pup is. Things get a ton better and you will eventually have puppy amnesia and will forget all about this trying time......
    Take a deep breath and decide if you (and family) have it in you to WORK HARD to help your guy.
    All of the things you listed that you are dealing with are typical Boxer - bored-bratty-behavior.
     
  4. TysonCheeto

    TysonCheeto Completely Boxer Crazy

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    Awwww my heart goes out to you. You have had an incredible amount of stresses huh? That really tough. I am definitely not knowledgeable enough to offer any advice , other then say I know without a doubt how trying it can be some days. Its no easy task raising puppies and babies at the same time. I believe your youngest (human child) is much smaller then mine if he is in strollers and playpens :) so you have your hands.full!!!! Sometimes I do think the furbabies pick up on the outside stresses we put off so who knows, he may pick up on some of that energy too..... Good luck to you and I hope whatever direction you go will bring some calm to the storm!!! Good luck with your search for a trainer!! I hope that ends up being the key!!!
     
  5. Smackey

    Smackey Boxer Buddy

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    Time and effort isn't an issue. I did more research about the breed before we even decided to adopt him. I knew what I was getting into and I have never been the type of person to do anything the easy way.

    Marvel knows his basic sit, stay, lay down, wait (for his food and before entering or exiting a door, especially the outside door.), leave it (For something outside he shouldn't be going towards), and drop it. Normally an "att att" gets him to stop what he is doing, if he isn't supposed to be doing it.

    He is highly intelligent and overly energetic. I know the harness wouldn't fix everything, but it did help with his pulling. Before he hit 5 months old, walking wasn't a huge problem for him, especially not after I taught him some impulse control with the wait command.

    I think too much has just happened in this little guys life and now he is just all confused. And now, since my oldest is in school, and is staying with his grandparents, Marvel does not have the opportunity to be around him as much. (His preschool does not provide a bus, so we have to take him back and forth to school. My car is broke down and in the shop and I have no idea when I will get it back.) But, now with the littlest one, as long as he isn't in his play pen, Marvel is fine. He lays at my son's feet where ever he is, bouncey seat, jumper, or in his walker.

    The trainer I have contacted that HOPEFULLY can show me what I am doing wrong with his walking and with my son has suggested I try draining some of his energy on a treadmill before I take him outside. Normally we were just doing 15-20 minutes training sessions and an hour or so of fetch, but that wasn't wearing him out.

    So, an update:

    The play pen is a work in progress, but the "att att" before his paws leave the floor seems to get his attention and he stops exactly what he is doing and just lays down. I am happy about that.

    45 minutes in the morning and 45 minutes in the evening on the treadmill is helping a lot! It was a hassle to get him on it at first, but with some patience he was more than happy, along with a few treats as well. I haven't tried walking him yet, due to the suggestion of the trainer, I should just get him used to the treadmill for the first week then the next just add in a 30 minute walk in the afternoon if it isn't too hot outside. (Lately it has been 95 degrees here.) He is starting to calm down and not be some rambunctious.

    As for my son and Marvel, it was suggested that I take Marvel out of his element, home, and bring him to some place my son is more comfortable. (He was scared after Marvel jumped at him that day)
    Now we are making visits to my parents house, 3 times a week with the help of a neighbor who adores Marvel. I am hoping my car is fixed soon, so we can start going more often. They have been playing fetch in the yard together, along with my son's Chihuahua/Beagle mix named Emmie. Emmie may be small, but she sure makes sure Marvel knows not to get too rough with her. She stands her own and isn't the least bit scared of his size. And yes, they are always supervised. My son has also been 'trying' to teach Marvel to roll over. Emmie joins in on the training as well, even though she already knows how to roll over. It is quite cute to watch all three of them.

    I will not give up. I promised that little pup at 8 weeks that he would have a family for the rest of his life. However, my children's safety will always be my top priority. I will be the first to admit, when he jumped and nipped my son, I was furious! I never expected it to happen and I did not enjoy seeing my son cry and be so scared of Marvel that he refused to go around him. Luckily, the hubby reminds me that Marvel is just like our two boys. He has to be taught as well. He is right, I know that. Time, patience, and effort. I CAN do this. :)
    Money is tight with two kids and me being a stay at home mom while their father works, but it is all doable. The trainer is more than willing to work with us, so hopefully, I am not so hard to teach. Maybe I can learn something right along with Marvel. :) I am also pleased that he is more than willing to teach my son how to properly be around Marvel, so in the future, maybe Marvel won't be so confused on how he is supposed to act around my children. This family is a work in progress, not just Marvel.
     
  6. luvmyboy

    luvmyboy Boxer Insane

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    Your plan sounds pretty good & progress being made. I admire your commitment to Marvel. Rooting for you & yours in this process!!
     
  7. TwoDogs

    TwoDogs Boxer Insane

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    While I understand the desire to give Marvel some much needed exercise, I would caution you against using the treadmill with a dog so young. The bones and joints of pups under a year are still growing. The best exercise for them is non-repetitive motions, where they can move at their own pace, and with frequent opportunities to stop and start.

    Two 45-minute sessions on the treadmill per day sounds like a lot of forced exercise (the kind where the dog has no choice but to engage in it) to me. I would clear it with your vet before proceeding. You wouldn't want to compromise Marvel's strength and structure, especially since he's expected to become a service dog.
     
  8. Smackey

    Smackey Boxer Buddy

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    I did. I cleared it all with his vet. She agreed as long as he was only walking on the treadmill, he should be fine, just no jogging or running and to drop the time down to 30 minutes and see how well that works. If his energy level starts to spike back up, she suggested one 45 minute walk in the morning but only 25-30 minutes in the evening.

    I know the trainer means well, but I was sure to ask his vet for advise too.
     

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