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Do I have my dog euthanized?


RunnerFive

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Learn English Via Listening | Begin...
Learn English Via Listening | Beginner Level | Lesson 6 | My First Pet

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.

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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?

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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?

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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?

 

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.

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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"?

 

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.

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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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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.

 

The dog needs training!

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Keep your dog. When a male guest is over, you put her in another room. That is an easy thing to do.

 

Dogs do not growl because people have conditioned them not to. If you scold a dog when its growling, they learn that growling is not okay, and go right to bite. On the other hand, if a dog growls and you remove the dog from the situation (walk away from what they are growling at) or remove the thing they are growling at (ie, someone pick up and move the toddler, etc, or protect them from what they are growling at, they will NOT bite. Growling is a warning and when you train them OUT of growling, people say "oh, i had no warning!"

 

I think when she was little, she was not properly socialized with men. Socializing is not simply letting people pet her in a park. dogs go through a fear period around 7-9 months of age where you have to reintroduce somethings that they are already familiar with. Socialization involves them meeting someone for just a moment or two, allowing them to sniff, making sure the person gives them open handed treats and you praise the puppy. And then the interaction is over just after a moment. And then you introduce to the person again another time.

 

But that is water under the bridge.

But also, how does your family act when men come over - do they act like the own the place, do they act like "all dogs like me" and force themselves on the dog?

 

One of my dogs did not like new women. Because most women would come up and speak in a shrill voice at the cutesey wittle dog. He would growl and they would only get closer. I would do everything - put my body between them and him, pick him up and walk away (he wasn't a toy sized dog, but still small enough for me to pick him up), to stop them/it from happening if they would not listen. People should ask if they can pet your dog, not come closer and then just do it.

 

Anyhow, honestly, if you crate the dog when repair people are around (male or female), crate the dog when visitors come to the house (and let the dog mingle once the initial excitement of everyone arriving is gone) and then do not let the dog out when there are men she doesn't know there, she will live a happy, healthy life.

 

Dogs also pickup on someone's fear of them or demeanor.

 

It would be a crime to euthanize this dog. If the dog is dog friendly, and fine with people she knows - heck, most of the dogs i grew up with didn't like strangers. It used to be a dog should love their family but be wary of threats from strangers and now its changed to if your dog doesn't love everyone they are dangerous.

 

Get a fence, crate train your dog or babygate her away from guests and you won't have issues

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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.

 

Then you start with square one on crate trainging, making it a pleasant place, you make her an XL kong with peanut butter and other goodies and put it in the freezer and take it out a little while before guests walk in the door and you give it to her to occupy her and you ignore the barking. if you ignore it, it will evetually stop. Citronella collars can be effective, but i think prior to guests arriving, get her tired -- take a walk with her, do some training exercises to work her brain and wear her out and then give her the kong to play with.

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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.

 

That person is in her territory. The problem is you gave her a bone which is good - but if you did how is she getting to guests? Where is the babygate between her and the guests? The solution is very easy, honestly. Only have her out with guests that are family that she likes. Putting a dog outside is not a punishment, btw,

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The dog needs training!
Sorry, but I have to echo this.

 

If your dog can't so much as exist in another room without blowing its vocal cords, then I have to question the effort that went into socializing her. To echo Holly's later post, I find it disturbing that it seems the default is euthanasia. Any animal I take in-- particularly one young enough to have a hand in raising and conditioning-- is my responsibility. God forbid I ever had to euthanize one for a behavioral problem; it'd be a failure on a level I probably legit couldn't sleep at night after.

 

Pat yourself on the back as much as you'd like for your perceived efforts to socialize her. It's obvious that at some point, something went wrong or wasn't adequately done. It happens. No one's a perfect pet owner. But that means you put on your big boy pants, accept responsibility, and invest in someone who can properly train her and teach you to continue to facilitate the endeavor.

 

Honestly, the only reason I can think that this would be your go-to is if you're simply looking for the excuse. I hope I'm wrong.

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I also would not go straight to euthanasia. She isn't a lost cause.

 

Definitely look in to professional dog trainer - if that doesn't work, you may have to go to a dog behaviorst.

 

Both alternatives are pricey so try a professional dog trainer first. Also, there are intensive obedience / agility 3 weeks boarding for dogs - it's like dog "boot camp" - usually they're on a ranch or in a facility with a huge obstacle course. You also have to go in for some training classes because most professional dog trainers believe that it's not the dog, but the pet owner's fault for their dog's behavior. Again, it's pricey - but better than a lawsuit.

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Please reconsider euthanization. The below are just some ideas. I am not a dog trainer or a behaviourist. I had a very loyal, easygoing dog but it wasn't without work. Because he was very eager to please and obedient, I am not going to pretend that I know what it's like to correct serious behavioural issues. It's because I've never had to correct serious behavioural issues. I think you should do some reading and research. There is plenty of material out there on aggression. You're not going to like what I'm about to write but a large part of why your dog is unstable is... usually because you are unstable. There is a mirroring effect in a dog's behaviour with its owner.

 

You may also need to see a vet as this is an older dog as mentioned above. She's eight years old. There may be health issues plaguing her. Does she go for regular check ups and vaccines?

 

You mentioned grabbing her by the collar. Avoid rough handling as it creates distrust. I'm not sure if you are grabbing meaning taking her by the collar or if you mean with some force and a yank. She may be startled by your response also and the action is not one that fosters trust between the both of you. No matter how big they are they are sensitive to their owners responses and actions. There may be a specific area of the house that she is territorial over. Your training should start at home and observing your dog's behaviours around objects and spaces. If she is territorial or possessive (whether over a person or a thing or place such as the couch), you'll need to correct this behaviour. Again, that homework and reading will pay off. Possession happens when there's insecurity and deep fears of the outside world and any shift in that paradigm is a threat, so to speak. She may even be possessive of you or one of your family members whom the male visitors got too close to in room. I can't stress enough how important it is to create a restful state or relaxed state. I had to constantly neutralize my emotions and be mindful of the way I projected any emotions. There were several times where I felt overwhelmed by my circumstances and my dog would immediately sense something was amiss and without a word from me he would come lay by my feet or remain close. At other times he would go off and do his own thing. He remained close to me during intense periods of sadness or heightened emotion.

 

She will pick up when you are fearful and anxious and absorb your emotional state. If you are finding yourself a bit worried and anxious (you may even rub your knees nervously without knowing if she's near a visitor or scratch your elbow without knowing it when you are anxious), a dog will pick up on your anxious state and your nervous responses as this is an indicator that something is about to happen. Try paying more attention to your own state of mind and emotional state when you're around her.

 

If she does get the all clear from the vet, I'd look into tips from trainers in your area and it won't hurt to sign up for classes with her. Segregation is ok for the interim but I don't think it's appropriate for a long term solution. You should speak and have a professional retrain you and retrain your dog. What you really need is a reassessment of your relationship with each other human-dog and a reorganization. Both of you should be retrained together.

 

Humans have been coexisting with domesticated dogs for a very long time but we are not of the same species. Heck, humans have trouble understanding other humans. Don't beat yourself up too much for not knowing all the answers. I think you do owe it to her and to your family and yourself to give it your best shot in helping all of you coexist in a better way. There shouldn't be aggression like this at home. I'd also check that distrust and the frustration levels. Your dog will sense all those negative states coming from you. Neutralize your thoughts, stop all negativity, stop the distrust, trust your dog and foster/earn that trust back. A trainer or behaviorist will be able to go over these with you in the process of training or re-training together. I think you need more time with her one on one and she may be telling you something about yourself and the way your relationship with your dog has changed over time. Don't give up on her yet.

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When I was married we had a rescue dog who was really aggressive towards me, even though I was never anything but kind to him. He also tried biting kids a couple of times. Did we have him put to sleep? It never crossed our minds once. We took him to training classes, then to an animal psychologist and finally we had a behaviourist come to our house to work with him. After following her advice he wasn't perfect, but he was a heck of a lot better. You need to put the time in to getting professional help for your poor dog, who clearly is acting out of fear, for whatever reason. Dogs get crazy over all sorts of things and it doesn't necessarily mean it's associated with past abuse, but maybe something traumatic which has stuck with them.

 

Don't put your dog in situations where men are around the house if she's that fearful and unpredictable. If she barks the place down even if you just put her in another room then, as other posters have said, you need to start getting her used to associating the other room with things she likes. In the short term, if guys come over then can't you arrange for her to go to a friend/relative/petsitter for the duration or, if it's a shorter period, for someone to take her out for a walk?

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Maybe it's wrong of me to point the finger at you, but usually with bad dog (and cat) behaviours, I actually feel like it's the owner that's to blame. My family always had dogs and as puppies dogs start out being "bitey" because that's how they play and interact with other dogs. They don't seem to realise yet that humans are not the same species and "play rough". Getting the puppy out of that biting behaviour actually takes time and training. Sometimes the training can't just be done by a lay person and needs to be done at puppy school or by a professional dog trainer. Some pet behaviours can't just be eliminated by raising your voice and saying: Bad boy, etc". There need to be certain techniques as to how you respond. I don't blame people for not knowing at first but effort needs to be made to read a lot of literature and take planned action, like dog training.

 

My fiance already had a cat when we met and he had spoiled the cat and encouraged bad behaviours (still does). The cat bites but that's because he's actually trying to play. My partner instead of trying techniques to stop the biting actually indulges the cat and plays along. The cat also tried to bite sometimes when it really wanted something and it wasn't getting it. E.g. when he was begging to go outside but didn't get to, he'd bite our feet. My fiance just let him get away with it but I didn't. One time he bit me on the feet and I raised my voice and pushed him away (not hard). After that I noticed that when begging he began to just tap me with his paw gently and meow. I rewarded him by letting him go outside when he was gentle. So he learnt that that approach worked and only used that from then on. Had I let him out when he bit me then I would have rewarded the bad behaviour and the behaviour would have continued.

 

Your dog is eight and there have been only four bite incidents. Mostly she is fine even with guests. Also she may bite to get attention. That's what our cat was doing. You said she wanted to be petted by a guy but when he ignored her, she bit him. It seems quite unfair that you're thinking to just out the dog down when I don't see a lot of evidence in your post that you've even done that much to fix the situation?

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Honestly it's very upsetting to read that you'd consider putting this dog down in these circumstances. It's good though that you are posting instead of just doing it one day.

 

This brings back painful memories for me because my mom thought like you. If a dog bites, put them down.

My dog as a child and teen was a big beautiful Bearded Collie. He didn't like strange men on our property either.

We had kept him separated when a strange man to him came on our property.

One time while I was away, a neighbour came by and Jeffy had not been separated. He bit the man. My mom had my dog shot by a family friend, because that was the mentality with a lot of people in that place and time. You have no idea what ' putting down' the family pet does to a kid when the kid full well knows the dog is not even sick. It just shows a disregard for life when it is not perfectly convenient for you anymore.

I get not everyone is going to spend money for dog trainers and the like. But you can make the effort at least to not force your dog into situations that you know are stressful for him. Why the insistence he be roaming free when men come over?

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Honestly it's very upsetting to read that you'd consider putting this dog down in these circumstances. It's good though that you are posting instead of just doing it one day.

 

This brings back painful memories for me because my mom thought like you. If a dog bites, put them down.

My dog as a child and teen was a big beautiful Bearded Collie. He didn't like strange men on our property either.

We had kept him separated when a strange man to him came on our property.

One time while I was away, a neighbour came by and Jeffy had not been separated. He bit the man. My mom had my dog shot by a family friend, because that was the mentality with a lot of people in that place and time. You have no idea what ' putting down' the family pet does to a kid when the kid full well knows the dog is not even sick. It just shows a disregard for life when it is not perfectly convenient for you anymore.

I get not everyone is going to spend money for dog trainers and the like. But you can make the effort at least to not force your dog into situations that you know are stressful for him. Why the insistence he be roaming free when men come over?

 

Well I also just think that when you get a dog, you are getting the dog because you want to. You need to have knowledge of what it entails, and if you don't have the knowledge, you can read up on it, watch YouTube videos, and learn as best as you can. Getting a dog is different to having a baby in that a baby can be "an accident". But getting a dog is not an accident, it's a choice. If you made the choice then you need to make a commitment. If you don't have money for dog trainers and so on, then you need to learn from books and the Internet how to best help your dog and you need to do everything you can. A pet is a part of the family. You wouldn't just get rid of your child because they were naughty. This dog is not that severe even. I've seen much worse.

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Tiny dance, we are agreeing with each other. :)

Except I think having a baby is as much a choice as having a pet, and the same applies. You decide to take it on, yes you need to do what it takes to meet your responsibilities to that life that is dependent on you.

I agree too it's not severe in this case, and people here have given many options for solutions.

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