Puppy Forum and Dog Forums banner

1 - 4 of 4 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,659 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I know people come here and I think know what the answers should be, but I just wanted some opinions.

Cosmo is a dog that belongs to some very close family friends. He is also a dog that I dog sit for from time to time.
He just bit his second child last night, and the child needed stitches. The first child was my younger sister, at age 2, and it was our fault. He was laying by the door and as we were saying our goodbyes, she reached down and picked up his bone. Her bite did not require stitches and since we did not blame the dog, it went unreported. Last night he bit another small child unprovoked. She was two years old, and it did require stitches, so since they went to the hospital, it was obviously reported.
The family is distraught. The husband wants the dog to be put down. The wife wants to explore more options. They mentioned something to my family, since we apparently know a lot about dogs (according to them), and asked for some advice.

As far as adult bites, there's only one that I know of. Cosmo did bite my boyfriend last Christmas while I was dog sitting. The best reason we could come up for was that my bf was sitting in the spot where Cosmo sits and he wanted to sit there. The bite didn't break skin, and there was no mark. We tried to brush it off since my bf is a strange man that Cosmo has never met before.

I do know that when our families went camping a few weeks ago, my dad stepped near the dog's empty dish and Cosmo growled at him.

When Cosmo was a puppy, at 8 weeks, I noticed he would growl quite a bit. I didn't consider that normal for a puppy to growl at someone for no reason. I mentioned to his family that he would need to be socialized extensively, and I think they tried their hardest. They got him to meet as many people as they could, they took him to public places. I'm not sure they they took him to puppy classes or not, but it doesn't sound like they did (which was mistake one right there).

I also know he does have occasional seizures. I'm not sure why they occur, but I know that about once every few months they do happen. I'm also not sure how long they've been occurring.

I told them the first thing is to go see the vet. Look more into the seizures. Check for other medical conditions as well.

If everything checks out there, I want to suggest a behaviorist. But I'm not sure they can afford one, nor would I even know how to find a good one.

I know there's a ton of different variables. I do think that they will end up having Cosmo put down in the end. I know that they would feel horrible if they rehomed him to anyone, and then something else happened. But I do have some questions.

1. What options are there in this situation?

2. What would you do if you could not afford a behaviorist?

3. I know they did not start out in this situation totally right. He is missing manners that dogs should know. I know they tried to socialize him, but apparently it was not enough. But, would proper training and socialization really have been the answer? I want to say yes, but he was a 8 week old puppy growling and being aggressive, and I just didn't see that as normal.



Just so everyone knows, I do put full blame on the owners. I'm just trying to explore options for them. I'm not sure how long they have until they must make a decision. I do know without experts, all of this is pretty much hypothetical since no one can really diagnose over the internet.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,423 Posts
You cited 3 or 4 bites. In most cities, after 3 bites the dogs life is ended even if those bites were just accidental nips during good natured play. The law doesn't make any distinction about the severity.
Would proper traininig have helped? Fixing the resource guarding at an early age and bite inhibition training apparently were not done but, given the seizure issue I honestly don't know if that would have helped.
I would talk with the vet and ask the vet point blank...would treatment remedy the bite problem (with some behavior modification training) or not?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,072 Posts
Ideally, I would have this dog evaluated by a veterinary behaviorist and a complete medical workup done, including thyroid testing, and get the veterinary behaviorist to set up a treatment plan to work on the issues- I know some behaviorists will give you a treatment plan to follow and you can do that on your own or with a trainer who is good but not a behaviorist.

If none of this is affordable- and maybe even if it was*.... Frankly, I would give the dog one last really wonderful afternoon, let him/her eat all the ice cream and cheese and junk food he wanted, take him to someplace that he could run and play in whatever way he likes best but there are no people around to risk. And then we would go to a FAMILIAR vet and put him/her down after a wonderful day, with family around- not in a shelter after being scared for the rabies hold (or dragged straight back to the euthanasia room, since most municipal shelters put owner-surrenders with behaviori issues down without even evaluating them).

It sucks to have to do it, but sometimes it is the only responsible decision to make.

*In the event that it 'was affordable but I chose not to do it' - this was a case where the dog was a foster, GSD x Pyr, DA, too big to physically control, broke every containment we had him in, and it was not going to do any good - I couldn't place him locally because of the livestock killing and there wasn't enough money to get him out of the area or build fort knox to keep him in if we DID find a medical problem. I still cry over that dog.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,659 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
You cited 3 or 4 bites. In most cities, after 3 bites the dogs life is ended even if those bites were just accidental nips during good natured play. The law doesn't make any distinction about the severity.
The first 2 bites went unreported. I am guessing at some point this week they will be contacted by animal control. I'm not familiar with how it works, but I guessing that if it is brought up that there were incidents in the past, they may have no choice.

I am at a loss with this situation. I do care about Cosmo, he and I have developed a great relationship. But at the same time, I think there has been quite a bit of damaged done, and it may be too much to repair. It's sad. I do feel bad for the family. They were in their minds trying to do what's right with their puppy. But they were like way too many families these days, uneducated in raising a dog.

I think, part of the reason people go wrong, is when they've had dogs all their lives and never had a problem with their dog raising "techniques", until one day they get a puppy and assume he's going to be a great dog like all the others without much work.
I know in this particular situation, the two previous dogs they had were wonderful. They had a Great Dane, who was just beautiful, a true gentle giant. He was the kindest dog ever. I don't think he ever misbehaved. Perfect manners without much work. The other dog was an angel. Probably one of my favorite dogs I've ever met. He was very much like the Dane. He was such a polite dog. He never begged, or jumped on people. The 10 years I knew him I never heard him growl. They felt like they had such success with these dogs, so I guess they assumed this dog didn't need puppy classes and proper training either.

Thanks guys.
 
1 - 4 of 4 Posts
Top