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Thread: Do I have my dog euthanized?

  1. #1
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    Do I have my dog euthanized?

    We have an eight year old chocolate lab who has a bite history. We’ve had her since she was about six months old. She’s never bitten me, my wife, or my kids, but anyone she’s bitten has been men outside of our immediate family. When we were socializing her, she would always run behind me or my wife whenever adult men would walk up to her. She was always accepting and affectionate with women and kids, however.

    When she has bitten someone, it’s strange because there’s no warning; no growling, snarling, showing teeth, anything. She just does it. She just got a friend of mine on the leg, and this was a month or so after we had a party with about ten people in my house and she was just fine.

    I’m sad and at the end of my rope. I can’t trust her with anyone outside of my immediate family, and lord forbid if she ever gets loose outside of the house. It feels like everything I’ve tried over these past eight years has been all for nothing.

    Here’s some other info:
    -I do not suspect abuse by the family we got her from; I know the wife really well and she’s always been a responsible pet owner to my knowledge.
    -There’s been zero abuse by anyone in my family.
    -We’ve attempted socializing her going back to when she was a puppy, and as I mentioned before, she’s okay with women and kids. She also generally gets along well with other dogs.
    -She’s well exercised; gets two and sometimes three walks a day.
    -She minds me very well and knows basic commands.

    Since she has a bite history, I’m sure re-homing her is off the table. I’m not sure even the Humane Society would take her. With her being eight years old, I don’t think this is anything I can train her out of. I just don’t know what to do anymore. This means we can’t have people over to our house, kids can’t have friends over and sleepovers, etc.

    Any help or advice would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Platinum Member Rose Mosse's Avatar
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    How many instances of biting has she had in the time that you have known her? How have you or your family coped after the incident? Dogs are heavily conditioned by our behaviours towards them. If you or one of your family members has rushed up to her and coddled or petted her after the incident in an effort to diffuse any aggression, it's the wrong conditioning. Hitting the dog, any physical abuse or strongly negative deterrent (as you know) also has a negative impact on their conditioning and overall psychology.

    How have you managed situations where biting may be a risk? Have you tried placing a muzzle on her for brief periods when there is company over out of minimizing the risks (not for her but for your guests)? What types of behaviours are these male visitors exhibiting around her? Are they yelling in excitement or any alcohol involved? Have any of them provoked her?

  3. #3
    Platinum Member j.man's Avatar
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    You have a lab, so I'd like to think you've got a big enough yard and space in the house to comfortably separate her when you know a male guest will arrive. If she were biting your actual family, I might better understand the conundrum.

    Have you consulted a behaviorist?

  4. #4
    Forum Supporter ~Seraphim ~'s Avatar
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    Proper dog training with someone who understands dog behaviour. She sounds fearful. Proper training and understanding of dog body language and psychology saves dogs.

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    Why aren't you muzzling the animal, or keeping her in another room when company is over? Has she gone to a pro trainer?

  7. #6
    Platinum Member Cherylyn's Avatar
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    I agree with others. Seek professional dog training and professional advice. Follow their instructions precisely. I wouldn't euthanize her.

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    I agree, if you know she bites why are you allowing her around visitors?

    Can't you crate her or put her in a dog run in your backyard? Rather than have her "put to sleep"?

  9. #8
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    Originally Posted by Rose Mosse
    How many instances of biting has she had in the time that you have known her? How have you or your family coped after the incident? Dogs are heavily conditioned by our behaviours towards them. If you or one of your family members has rushed up to her and coddled or petted her after the incident in an effort to diffuse any aggression, it's the wrong conditioning. Hitting the dog, any physical abuse or strongly negative deterrent (as you know) also has a negative impact on their conditioning and overall psychology.

    How have you managed situations where biting may be a risk? Have you tried placing a muzzle on her for brief periods when there is company over out of minimizing the risks (not for her but for your guests)? What types of behaviours are these male visitors exhibiting around her? Are they yelling in excitement or any alcohol involved? Have any of them provoked her?
    There’s been four instances in the time we’ve had her of bites.

    The first time it happened, about five years ago, I had a group of friends over. She had a kong and a bone to occupy her and she seemed pretty calm. I walked into the kitchen for a brief moment and one of my friends went to leave the house, and she got him on his way to the front door. I scolded her and put her outside for about a half hour.

    In this latest incident today, my friend came over and she was acting normal for when a person come over. Very curious, sniffing him, and even “sat pretty” in front of him so he could pet her. He didn’t, and she went to lay down in a different spot in the living room. He got up to switch to a different seat in the living room, and without any warning or indications, she got him on the leg. I grabbed her by the collar and put her outside until he left. She barked for quite a bit but eventually settled down and laid down on our deck.

    In terms of provocation from our guests, it hasn’t happened. I instruct people to leave her be while she sniffs and gets acclimated to having someone here. I try to have things around for her to do like a kong or a bone so she can keep herself occupied instead of worrying about our guests. Alcohol, yelling, and screaming? We have beers, but there’s nothing wild with yelling or screaming or jumping around.

  10. #9
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    Originally Posted by boltnrun
    I agree, if you know she bites why are you allowing her around visitors?

    Can't you crate her or put her in a dog run in your backyard? Rather than have her "put to sleep"?
    She’s had instances where she HASN’T bitten people when they’ve been around. The party we had for my son’s birthday I mentioned earlier with multiple people (and men) around and she was just fine. My daughter had a sleepover with five or six of her friends and she was okay. I thought she was done with this nonsense.

    If we crate her or put her outside, she barks until we get her. And it’s not just a little whiny bark, it’s a full throated high pitched bark.

  11. #10
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    Honestly, yeah, I wouldn't keep that dog either. My sister has a dog like this, and it honestly concerns me, as we have a new baby in the family. Even my sister's kids don't want the dog anymore. They have another dog that they love, but this one has bitten so many people, and they just can't get it under control. I don't like being around it, so they cage it when there are people around, which is no life for a dog.

    I think you should do what I'm recommending to my sister: find a way to re-home this dog, to find someone with either a huge yard, or a ranch or something, or someone who can take the time to train it. Certain dogs may simply be un-trainable, and therefore just need to not be around people.

    We got a dog when I was around 3, who bit me right away, and my parents gave it.....back. We got another dog that we had for the rest of my childhood, who was awesome. But anytime a dog bites, unprovoked, it's time to think about not having that dog around people anymore.

    You are at risk for a lawsuit, or worse, if the dog really hurts someone.

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