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Thread: Advice needed: Keep an aggressive dog or not?

  1. #11
    Platinum Member Liraele's Avatar
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    I have some questions:

    What training has she been provided? Is it ongoing? (including you're still training and working with her?)
    What do you do when she lunges or bites?
    Under what circumstances is she "protective" of you?
    Have you had her regularly and thoroughly vet checked? (eyesight, hearing, everything?)

  2. #12
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    people used to WANT dogs that loved their family, but were protective of them. most of my childhood dogs were. Not every dog is the social dog that loves every single person. You have adopted your dog 8 years ago -- so your dog is not a spring chicken. I think the proper thing to do is to do what i and most dog owners do -- you babygate the dog in a room away from repair people or guests your dog does not know. Dogs also pick up on your body language if YOU are nervous.

    If your dog turned on you, that would be different (and i exclude getting excited and taking a treat out of your hand to harshly, or if they are in pain or you did something like sit on them - that is different entirely). But if your dog just doesn't like strangers -- well, that might not be the behavior you want, but you have had this dog for 8 years and its unfair to suddenly want a social, goofy dog.

    I think that your dog lacks confidence and guidance from a real good trainer/behaviorist will help perhaps with anxiety and maybe get the dog checked out neurologically as well.

  3. #13
    Gold Member Birdie's Avatar
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    Has she been aggressive the entire 8 years? If so sheís been doing this behaviour for a long time and it will be hard to fix. Have you worked with a trainer?

    I agree sit down with your vet and discuss options, humanely euthanizing her might unfortunately be the best....

    If you give her away to another family and she bites someone else, good chance she will either be seized (if itís a stranger and they report it) or given away to the pound...where she may get deemed aggressive/dangerous and put down. At least with you making the choice she gets to spend the last bit of time with her family and loved...not in a cage confused and scared.

    If you find someone who truly knows how aggressive she is and they are willing, then sure! But I think itíll be hard. Unfortunately with animals lots of people think they are experts and can handle it, when they canít and just perpetuate the behaviour.

  4. #14
    Platinum Member j.man's Avatar
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    We're talking getting the dog at 1 year, not 6 years and battle hardened. Socializing your dog is crucial, particularly when it begins to display protective behavior. You basically now have a guard dog, and, unfortunately, she likely will never be able to adapt her role after 7 years of never having learned otherwise.

    Confining her when you have guests wouldn't be the worst thing so long as it's spacious, comfortable, and sanitary enough. But, if you plan on introducing anyone new into your life, they'll be at physical risk of getting bitten or worse.

    Talk to a local vet. Very much hurts me to say as it's not at all the dog's fault, but you're likely going to have to look into the most humane way to putting her down, particularly if she's no longer nipping to warn and is biting to wound. However, keeping hope, a veterinarian may have viable alternative suggestions. For instance, there are some sanctuaries that are more forgiving when it comes to admitting aggressive dogs.

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  6. #15
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    How long until this dog became aggressive/protective in your care? My family once tried to adopt another dog, but had to give it up within a month because it was very aggressive. She latched onto me and became protective, biting at anyone or any dog who came near me (my family, friends and our other dog). It turned out she was caged for most of her life by the previous owner. Hence, was not socialized.

    Did/do you take your dog on walks, introduce her to other people or dogs? If not, this would be a start, with extreme caution and supervision of course. A trainer may help her. There is a way to teach aggressive dogs to behave better, although finding someone to help you doesn't have any guarantees. If your dog is too far gone, then you may either have to keep her away from people for the rest of her life or give her up to professionals at a shelter. They would evaluate if she has a chance to be adoptable, but most likely she would be euthanized since she has not been socialized.

    If I were you, I would try my other suggestions first before giving her up. It could save her life. I would consult an experienced trainer first and follow any advice they have to offer.

  7. #16
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    She accepts the people we accept. In fact, she is overly affectionate. However, the problem arises when a guest of ours, even someone who is family or she has known for
    years goes to hug me or gets in close contact with me. That is when she gets into her protective mode. She will growl and show teeth or lunge toward them and I have never
    been the type of pet owner to strike an animal. So, I scold her and remove her from the room., where she cannot bother anyone. I use a spray bottle and usually all I have to
    do is grab the bottle and she calms down, at least for a while.
    She has been checked out by the vet and he diagnosed her with anxiety disorder and has been on anxiety meds for years. We change medicines and dosing......nothing helps.
    She is afraid of things like: spitting (she runs from the room), she is afraid of the sound of the utility closet door opening (she runs and hides...it is where I keep the flashlight), which she is also afraid of. She doesn't come when called even though I have worked tirelessly in this area by rewarding her with treats when she comes when called, but still, if she wants to stay outside and I call her to come in, she looks at me and runs to the back of the yard. She is anxious when I am away, and cries while I am gone. What a reunion we have when I return! We do have happy times.
    Many have some very good suggestions. I have been doing more thinking and have considered giving her to a business or a person (who is made fully aware of her aggressive nature), she may be a good watch dog. I have located several NO Kill shelters in my area as well. I am more concerned with my father getting bit again and I don't want to put him through that.

  8. #17
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    Originally Posted by Sweet Sue
    She accepts the people we accept. In fact, she is overly affectionate. However, the problem arises when a guest of ours, even someone who is family or she has known for
    years goes to hug me or gets in close contact with me. That is when she gets into her protective mode. She will growl and show teeth or lunge toward them and I have never
    been the type of pet owner to strike an animal. So, I scold her and remove her from the room., where she cannot bother anyone. I use a spray bottle and usually all I have to
    do is grab the bottle and she calms down, at least for a while.
    She has been checked out by the vet and he diagnosed her with anxiety disorder and has been on anxiety meds for years. We change medicines and dosing......nothing helps.
    She is afraid of things like: spitting (she runs from the room), she is afraid of the sound of the utility closet door opening (she runs and hides...it is where I keep the flashlight), which she is also afraid of. She doesn't come when called even though I have worked tirelessly in this area by rewarding her with treats when she comes when called, but still, if she wants to stay outside and I call her to come in, she looks at me and runs to the back of the yard. She is anxious when I am away, and cries while I am gone. What a reunion we have when I return! We do have happy times.
    Many have some very good suggestions. I have been doing more thinking and have considered giving her to a business or a person (who is made fully aware of her aggressive nature), she may be a good watch dog. I have located several NO Kill shelters in my area as well. I am more concerned with my father getting bit again and I don't want to put him through that.
    I think that you should confine her to another room when you have guests OR confine her when people arrive and leave (so you avoid having her out when people would go to hug you.) and if its a really long visit - she is out for periods of time but not all the time - she has breaks. people should not be spitting inside your house - so that's easy to avoid. In otherwords, set herself up for success.

    Pick someone who has calm demeanor who you like and that the dog likes and when they come over, go for a little walk even if its in the yard and trade off who has the leash. Also, teaching your dog tricks and stuff gives confidence. Routine gives confidence. having "jobs" like learning tricks, learning to switch sides, etc.

    is this dog a small or large dog? If she is a large dog, she doesn't have many years left and it would be unfair to dump her.

    Sending the dog to the shelter will be the death of her. And a nervous dog does NOT make a good dog guard - guard dogs are dogs that have "jobs" - and No kind person leaves a dog out as a "guard dog" - dogs who work with a handler are a different story. She would be fearful -- not protective of strangers.

    I would also take her outside on a really long leash so that you can retrieve her easily.

  9. #18
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    Yatsue.......I really wish I knew more about her history. The animal shelter that I got her from had no information about her history. I sensed in the beginning that she was nervous and thought that the problem would go away once she became used to us. Most of the dogs I have owned have been rescues, and I haven't done anything differently. It is very possible that she came from an abusive home or was placed in various homes the first year of her life. If I take her for a car ride, she cries all the way there and is extremely anxious. I speak calmly to her with words she understands, but to no avail. Having experience training lab rats in college (and very successfully) she has been my biggest challenge!
    So is so complex and difficult to train.

    Abitbroken......actually, nobody spits ( I couldn't find the word to describe a sound I make moving my lips together, but it comes out like a f**t! LOL I don't do it on purpose, she has enough problems, but if I do it or someone does it, she's out the door in a flash.
    It is hard for me to understand the mind of a dog. One who is so affectionate and playful one minute can turn on a dime if someone hugs me or reaches their hand out to me...
    she goes beserk. I do put her in another room when we have guests visiting for the day, but when family visits and spends the night, it can be more difficult.

    And Birdie.........I have never given up on a dog but I know my limits. I don't think it is worth the risk my dad getting bit again..and it could be so much worse! Last year,
    I was holding her in my arms and I told her to give dad a goodnight kiss. When my dad leaned in toward her (which of course was near me) she lunged at him and had he not
    jumped back as quick as he did, she would have taken a part of his cheek off! Oh dear! I just don't think it's worth the risk. I just want to do right by her.

  10. #19
    Platinum Member ThatwasThen's Avatar
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    Well, I'm not Dog Whisperer but I don't think its a good idea to lean in to kiss any dog. If they want to lick you in an appreciation and 'love' they will do it without moving in on them.

    I hope you can find a farm or something where she can keep the barn cats in line and isn't around any kids. If not, then sadly I think there is only one other choice for her. (IMNSHO)

  11. #20
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    You have committed to this dog and had her for 8 years --- its not right to give up on her towards the end of her life. So don't blow raspberries at her. And some dogs react when you use intense eye contact with them. Try not to stare her down, but sometimes look indirectly at her or vary your eye contact. Staring a dog down is aggressive. I suggest that you either have family stay in a hotel, or while they are there, you just confine her to a room and walk her outside to go to the bathroom. Its not ideal, but if its only for a night or two ---- i have had to make accommodations when people visited and i had 2 dogs that would jump into a strangers car if i wasn't careful and one was protective of me to the core. So you know what i did? I babygated my dogs so that child visitors or my dad who can be obvlivious when he opens the door do not accidentally let them out the front door. And they were occasionally roaming in the house at quiet times. It was not convenient, but we did it for a few days.

    I still think you need to enlist a trainer. Some dogs just become one person dogs because of their nature or because their owner did not properly train or social them -- she will never be a slobbery goofy dog that loves everyone she meets - but training will also train you to anticipate her and to protect her from situations as well.

    Originally Posted by ThatwasThen
    Well, I'm not Dog Whisperer but I don't think its a good idea to lean in to kiss any dog. If they want to lick you in an appreciation and 'love' they will do it without moving in on them.

    I hope you can find a farm or something where she can keep the barn cats in line and isn't around any kids. If not, then sadly I think there is only one other choice for her. (IMNSHO)
    This is a bad idea. She will only be scared and run away from a farm if she is not used to it. My uncle has a farm and everyone dumps their cats there. Some would just eventually disappear. Unless it is a very specific reputable dog rescue that only works with scared and feral dogs - but at 8, she is best staying with her owner. I think that the OP needs to be a more saavy dog owner -- its not like they just got this dog -- Its been 8 years and if its a big dog, it won't live too many years. The dog needs to be babygated when guests are over. That's what we did growing up to our dogs when people came and when people left or if it was someone they didn't know. No trainer has seen this dog. And when this dog passes of old age, then the OP should get a cat. Or a dog from a foster based rescue where the rescue has taken time to know the dog or they should foster to adopt and the OP has to commit to training.

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