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So this might get a little long but please read. 7 years ago my family adopted Zeus from a shelter. He had already gone through two homes and would soon be put to sleep. however we stepped in and took him home. Zeus is 9 now. Over weight(but he has lost some), has separation and aggression issues, kills small animals, pees in the house, chews everything, and barks nonstop. mean while there are two old perfectly behaved dogs in the same house trained the same way. We have had trainers come out to work with him, it dosen't help. as soon as you turn your back he is back at it. he is on calming/anxiety meds. we even tried shock collars. nothing works! he has been doing this for 7 years.
Zeus has always been my dog, so when I left for college he got worst to the point that my family had to make him live only in the garage and outdoor kennel. but he rips that up every night.
Now my family in at the end of their rope. they can't deal with him and its not fair for him to live that way.
He wont get adopted if he goes back to the shelter, he hardly did the first time, and I'm sure the stress would kill him or make him act out more.
Animal control has been called out to us several times because he breaks out and growls at people or he sits and barks all day.
We've tried to rehome him but who wants an old fat dog with behavior problems?
I feel horrible for it, but putting him to sleep might just be the best thing for everyone.

Does anyone have any advice. how do you feel about euthanizing? Please don't hate me I'm trying my best.
 

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I have never had to deal with extreme behavior problems but I have seen what they can do to a family.

I don't think you will find the answer in anyone other than yourself. The question is about his quality of life; if he can no longer function due to stress and anxiety and/or he is unable to cope with everyday life and is suffering, then euthanasia might be an option for you.

What have the trainers told you to do? What kinds of things have you worked with him on? Due to his older age any behavior modification is going to be time consuming. The best way to keep him safe is to not let him get in trouble. I know that sounds a lot easier said then done but what if he had his own large kennel/run?

I would not consider euthanasia until you have tried rehoming him for several months. Talk to local rescues, trainers and clubs and put the word out. Sometimes the best dogs in rescue can take a year or more to be adopted, so if that is the route you choose, have patience.

He sounds like he has been your friend and I hope that whatever decision you make you are comfortable with it.
 

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+two, that's a good post.

OP,
It is very difficult when a dog's behaviour issues overwhelm everyone. You say you've tried trainers, he's on meds etc and nothing is working. Two questions: how long has he been on the meds and what methods are currently being tried to fix the issues?

If you are using good behaviour mod methods (positive methods only) at this point and have had your dog on meds for at least six months and have not seen ANY difference then you may consider different medications and the last resort of euthanizing the dog. If your parents are not able to do the work and he is simply living it out in the garage..then it would be more humane to euthanize him.

I don't know about rehoming...he's a senior dog now and a mess. It would take someone very special to take this sort of case on and there are many many dogs that need homes as well as this guy. If he goes to a new home and it doesn't work out, is that fair to him? If he is to be sent to the bridge, he deserves to have the ones who do love him, that he knows, there to be with him.

That is my opinion. I do not envy your position, sending you good thoughts.
 

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Do you remember what he was returned for? Was it the issues you have here? Did you adopt him to save him from being put down and thought he'd be better magically in a stable home, or where you fully prepared to deal with him and his issues? I'm not trying to be mean but just trying to figure out the start of it all.

Maybe the problem is you're turning your back, maybe he didn't get the structure he NEEDED when younger and still needs to be treated like a puppy, watched mostly 24/7. Is the training working and the family just slacking off on it and expecting everything to be fixed with out work.

How much exercise is he getting? Destruction can stem from pent up engery and boredom, I went through two doors, several carpets and a couple of kennels before I figured this out.

Was he well behaved when you where there? How socialized was he when younger? How is he breaking out and what can you do to stop it? Unless you want someone over reacting and possibly causing him harm is HAS to be contained if he acts like that.

What kind of dog is he and how does he have contact with small animals? This is also could be a boredom thing, or he just has a high preydrive.
 

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Fat and anxious makes me think the first thing I would do is get a 6 panel thyroid test evaluated by Dr. Dodds. It sounds also like you've used a scattergun approach to training and he is still untrained. Unless you can find someone who is looking for a project (rare) I think it is unlikely that he's a great candidate for rehoming. You don't go into detail about aggression issues, but it is very iffy to rehome a dog who has bitten people. If you rehome him, knowing that, and don't disclose, or even if you do disclose, if the new owners get sued, you may be named as a co-defendent for rehoming a dangerous dog. If it ends up that the choice is back to the shelter or euthanize, please be sure that he's able to leave the world in a comfortable vet's office surrounded by family rather than in a scary shelter surrounded by strangers.
 

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First off no one should be hating anyone who is making effort to do what's best for a dog... even if it's an unpleasant outcome.
I agree with the other poster in that the right answer for Zeus is within you & you'll have to find it & be at peace with it no matter what that answer is.

I've worked with dogs all my life & trained with a wide variety. It's on rare occassion that I find a dog who can't be helped & sometimes it's because they've been damaged in a way that they can't work past. I know where one such dog is right now who lives on a mountain in Montana & can not be inside the home unless he's on lead at his handler's side. I know few who are able to live with a dog like this one. He's capable of doing major damage to man or beast who crosses him. My friend is a disabled veteran & the pair get on together like peanut butter & jelly but the dog can't be off lead. Period. This dog's sister is a child's companion/protector & another litter brother is a disabled veteran's assistance dog. No one knows what happened to this pup.

I don't have the right answer for you but whatever the choice you make (rehome, putting up for adoption, placing him with a trainer or even euthanasia..), be certain you can live with it & then be at peace with it. Hard choices are never easy to make. I hope Zeus gets some peace. It can't be any fun out in the garage with no people.j

Edited to add: the folks have made some really good suggestions & asked some good questions. That you came & asked for the right thing means you're still searching.
 

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Fat and anxious makes me think the first thing I would do is get a 6 panel thyroid test done by Dr. Dodds.
This! All the training in the world will do little good if there's a problem that hasn't been diagnosed. Low thyroid and Cushings would both cause the anxiety and aggression and are diagnosed with Thyroid panels.
 

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We thought we were going to have to euthanize our one-eyed chihuahua rescue. I rescued him because no one wanted a "damaged dog" (one eye). We trained him to do the usual things but he was still incredibly aggressive and he has a biting history with us. He was severely abused, as it turned out, worse than anyone had probably thought and they didn't warn me that he was aggressive when I got him, but we learned pretty quickly that he was not the sweet, loving dog they had us so falsely believe.

We've had him five or so years now and he's bitten me on numerous occasions, once to the point where I probably needed stitches. But I found out that a lot of that was pent up anxiety and energy. He lives with my mom, I left him behind because he and our other dog, Little Man, are like the two amigos. They can't be separated. Turns out that after my mom remarried a man with a farm, the dog is constantly running around outside and getting tons of exercise and he's a total farm dog. He just needed a change of scenery and a new lifestyle. He no longer bites, though he can be protective of Little Man and my Mom and still aggressive regarding food, but on a normal basis, he's a much happier chilled out dog.

I feel and totally understand your pain, I've been there. I'm really glad that my mom's remarriage gave Bogart a new "leash" on life. He finally gets to experience a happy and worry-free life that he apparently didn't feel he was getting before.

Good luck to you. I'd say not to give up on him yet and keep trying. I hope that he comes around, but I'll admit, seven years of that would probably be hard on a person and I can understand why you're starting to look at this as an option. I hope it works out.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I have never had to deal with extreme behavior problems but I have seen what they can do to a family.

I don't think you will find the answer in anyone other than yourself. The question is about his quality of life; if he can no longer function due to stress and anxiety and/or he is unable to cope with everyday life and is suffering, then euthanasia might be an option for you.

What have the trainers told you to do? What kinds of things have you worked with him on? Due to his older age any behavior modification is going to be time consuming. The best way to keep him safe is to not let him get in trouble. I know that sounds a lot easier said then done but what if he had his own large kennel/run?

I would not consider euthanasia until you have tried rehoming him for several months. Talk to local rescues, trainers and clubs and put the word out. Sometimes the best dogs in rescue can take a year or more to be adopted, so if that is the route you choose, have patience.

He sounds like he has been your friend and I hope that whatever decision you make you are comfortable with it.
That was a great post! thank you. Well the first thing trainers always say is "wow your dog is really smart". Zues knows 100% that he shouldn't be barking, peeing in the house or snapping and strangers but he doesn't listen. he doesn't care about treats and I've never met a trainer that can find a way to stop his barking when we're gone. for example Zues knows what a muzzle is and if we show it to him he will hush for about 10 minutes, but he also knows that we will only leave it on him for about 15(because I know he can over heat if he has it on for very long).I usally warn him once before I put it on. so he waits until i come out to take it off and starts barking again.

the kennel Zues has was made custom just for him. My parents spent 1000's on a roofed 15x30 concrete floored with swimming pool kennel. The garage can fit 2 RVs. If its more space he needs we're going to have a problem. he also has cable line that runs the width of the yard.

We tried crate training a few times.We had to use chains to keep the crate in one peice...we didnt keep that trainer for long
 

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If the dog is a danger to himself or others and seems miserable, I think euthanasia is appropriate. There is nothing to feel bad about if you've given him all of the help you can give him (including a full medical workup including thyroid) and he still doesn't have a better quality of life. A destructive dog is usually not a happy dog.

There are so many people who view euthanizing a "healthy" dog as being a poor owner, however I do NOT feel that is the case. A good friend of mine adopted a dog from the humane society two years ago. This dog had SEVERE aggression issues. He mauled a small dog last year, bit me and attacked my dog at the dog park, bit friends when they came over, and finally bit my friend's sister while her niece was over on Saturday. My friend realized her niece could have been the one that was bitten and made the very difficult decision of euthanizing the dog today. Another mutual friend of ours has been harassing me, my friend, the dog's trainer, and the boarding kennel the dog stayed at from time to time accusing us of abuse, neglect, and cruelty. She does not realize we tried EVERYTHING to help this dog; behavior modification, medication, looked for medical causes, etc. The only option my friend had left was to isolate the dog and not have people over her house. That was no quality of life for the dog (when he liked you he LOVED you. He wanted to be social but was too afraid/damaged to go through with it) or for my friend with either of those options. We decided to let him go.
 

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Ok I'm just going to try to reply to every in this one post. You people are so much help. I tried to ask people else where on the internet and I was just told I should never own a dog and I'd be murdering him

Zeus is a GSDxhound just thought I would put that out there.

Ok here we go:
I feel and totally understand your pain, I've been there. I'm really glad that my mom's remarriage gave Bogart a new "leash" on life. He finally gets to experience a happy and worry-free life that he apparently didn't feel he was getting before.
I wish I could find him a home in the country because I'm sure it would help some. plus he wouldn't be around strangers and so he'd be safer. however before he got old Zeus used to pull me in a sled. It would wear him out but after a little nap he was back to his normal self.
I know Zeus was abused by a man before we got him because he goes crazy of certain guys. I don't know if thats why he is so mean but he is fine once the person is in the house and shows no fear like I've seen many abuse cases.


This! All the training in the world will do little good if there's a problem that hasn't been diagnosed. Low thyroid and Cushings would both cause the anxiety and aggression and are diagnosed with Thyroid panels.
I hope you're right. We thought he might have a thyroid issue cus he got so fat, but my vet kind of rudely said our dog was old and it didn't matter if he was fat because he wasn't going to live more than a few years(instant was to my a girl cry!). I will have blood test run on him. My thyroid is also low, maybe thats why I have mild social anxiety haha.


Do you remember what he was returned for? Was it the issues you have here? Did you adopt him to save him from being put down and thought he'd be better magically in a stable home, or where you fully prepared to deal with him and his issues? I'm not trying to be mean but just trying to figure out the start of it all
They just said he returned after being deemed was unsafe around small children. I chose Zeus because he was the only dog in the shelter that wasn't jumping up at the gate asking for my attention. He was just sitting in the back of his run. I thought he was a perfect mix, size, and energy level for my family. I wasn't told until we were walking out that he only had a few days to be adopted.
I volunteer at shelters and it is super hard to tell what a dog will be like at home. My dog bailey was a black ball of pure energy at the shelter but she was a perfect lady once she got home.
Zeus kills every small animal he can. raccoons, bunnies, my first chinchilla, a pet rat, and a guinea pig. See Zeus can open up doors and we've had to get new door knobs to stop him. but before we knew that he could be killed a bunch of pets.


As far as rehoming goes we're trying to get a guide dog trainer to take him. Zeus knows him but he is unsure about it because of his other pets.
I looked for no-kill rescues, there was a Shepard one but it shut down last year.
I will have put him to sleep before he goes to the city shelter. Like many of you said he is a not a dog just anyone can take home.
He is super friendly to other dogs and being around them does help him a little. But I can't just shove another dog in the garage their whole life so Zeus will calm down a little.
I think Zeus was trainer fairly well, but he was two when we got him. My mom used to breed beagles and train them to hunt. and my dad grew up with dogs. we had trainers to so its not like dogs are a new thing to us.
His meds do calm him a little, and I know these are the second ones he has been on, and it has been about 8 months. but its more like he sits and barks instead of pacing and barking.


I think I covered eveything. sorry its so long, but thank you everyone so much!
 

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I can't vouch for its effectiveness yet, as I only purchased it today and have to wait for it to get here, but perhaps you should look into a Thundershirt. Someone else on here recommended it to me for my dog with separation anxiety (he relieves himself all over my house, barks like mad crazy when we leave, and is massively destructive towards our things - he does not bite, however and is not aggressive in the least) and it's supposed to help with barking/calming down/relieving themselves in the house/anxieties/etc. I mean, it's $36 and there are codes for free s/h all over the net. It may be worth it to try it out or at least look into it.

I definitely think he should go to the vet and have a blood panel run. That may tell you some hidden things going on with him, especially considering the weight gain. But I will recommend the Thundershirt having read what I have about it today. You never know, it could chill him out a bit.
 

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I sympathize with you, and like others have posted, I do not think it's "cruel" or "murder" to euthanize a dog who isn't leading a very high quality of life. At this point, it sounds like Zeus is living isolated from the family, is a danger to himself and others by breaking out of his enclosure and running loose and is a HUGE liability to your family.

I agree with what others have said about having a blood test run to see if there are any other underlying issues at hand. Other than that, you're right - he stands NO chance of being adopted at a shelter, and frankly, I don't think any no kill rescues will take him because a dog that kills small animals and displays aggression towards children is a liability to any shelter that takes him.

Unfortunately, it sounds like between his age, aggression issues and other behavioral problems, your family may need to make a decision about his quality of life and the burden of owning such a dog.

Maybe the problem is you're turning your back, maybe he didn't get the structure he NEEDED when younger and still needs to be treated like a puppy, watched mostly 24/7. Is the training working and the family just slacking off on it and expecting everything to be fixed with out work.

How much exercise is he getting? Destruction can stem from pent up engery and boredom, I went through two doors, several carpets and a couple of kennels before I figured this out.
Unfortunately, I think the problem is that the OP is in college and the OP's family isn't willing to take the time or doesn't have the means to rehabilitate the dog. I do think that exercise may help the dog, in this case, but that the person walking him would need to be very viligant about walking him around strangers, children or other animals (basically, everything).
 

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The fact that the shelter re-adopted out a dangerous dog is amazing to me :/ and that you adopted him, it shows that you have a GOOD heart...maybe just weren't the right people to handle it. I agree that last but not least should be to PTS...it doesn't sound like he is happy....but I think there might be other options as well...

as for exercise there are muzzles designed to let the dog breath and not over heat while still being safe.


OT: Anyone see the quote bubble on Dmickles post that says "jerry0503222"...cause I posted that.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I can't vouch for its effectiveness yet, as I only purchased it today and have to wait for it to get here, but perhaps you should look into a Thundershirt. Someone else on here recommended it to me for my dog with separation anxiety (he relieves himself all over my house, barks like mad crazy when we leave, and is massively destructive towards our things - he does not bite, however and is not aggressive in the least) and it's supposed to help with barking/calming down/relieving themselves in the house/anxieties/etc. I mean, it's $36 and there are codes for free s/h all over the net. It may be worth it to try it out or at least look into it
Yeah it would be great if you could get back to me on that one. I'm 97% Zeus would just eat it (as he does with all the winterjackets we've tried). but i do really want to know.

I just called my mom and she said she took him in last month and his thyroid is normal :( I was really hoping that would be it.
 

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Yeah it would be great if you could get back to me on that one. I'm 97% Zeus would just eat it (as he does with all the winterjackets we've tried). but i do really want to know.

I just called my mom and she said she took him in last month and his thyroid is normal :( I was really hoping that would be it.
Yep, as soon as I give it a good test run I'll let you know the results.

Unfortunately being PTS may be the only option he has left. He's not a young dog and he seems pretty miserable, but as a last ditch effort maybe the Thundershirt will help him. We'll see how it works for Otto. They say it has an 80-85% effectiveness rating. I don't think he'll be able to get to it too easily to destroy it, but... well I have no idea how flexible and determined your dog is. :p

I'll get back to you!
 

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I hope you're right. We thought he might have a thyroid issue cus he got so fat, but my vet kind of rudely said our dog was old and it didn't matter if he was fat because he wasn't going to live more than a few years(instant was to my a girl cry!). I will have blood test run on him. My thyroid is also low, maybe thats why I have mild social anxiety haha.
Zeus kills every small animal he can. raccoons, bunnies, my first chinchilla, a pet rat, and a guinea pig. See Zeus can open up doors and we've had to get new door knobs to stop him. but before we knew that he could be killed a bunch of pets.
I think I covered eveything. sorry its so long, but thank you everyone so much!
I'd be looking for a new vet. I want a vet who is compassionate towards animals and recognizes that even an elderly dog deserves to feel well and have as much quality time as he can have. As to killing small critters? I've had dogs who have killed squirrels, rabbits, rats, birds, etc. I don't doubt they would kill pocket pets. I've rehomed really nice rescue dogs who got in trouble for killing chickens or baby goats in country homes. It's what dogs do and has nothing to do with aggression towards other dogs or humans.

Yeah it would be great if you could get back to me on that one. I'm 97% Zeus would just eat it (as he does with all the winterjackets we've tried). but i do really want to know.

I just called my mom and she said she took him in last month and his thyroid is normal :( I was really hoping that would be it.
Did she have a full panel done or just a T4? I've seen very nice results with Thundershirts and a number of dogs with problems.
 

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OP- I just wanted to add my support. I think some of our wise board already added some great suggestions. When it comes down to it, it seems like you guys are trying a lot and this can be very trying. I only ever dissuade people when euthanasia is their first option after not really trying anything. I think you will know if it comes down to his quality of life is not worth letting him go on. I just hope something breaks through, but totally respect when you decide that it is enough.

*hugs* This is a very difficult position to be in.

Yep, as soon as I give it a good test run I'll let you know the results.

I'll get back to you!
I'll just add my two friends have used Thundershirt for separation anxiety. One, it sort've helped make the bad behaviors less, but didnt stop it. The nervous shaking and barking was lessened but he still destroyed stuff. One friends dog had zero improvement on barking....she ended up having to get her dogs vocals removed or having to surrender him (she lives in a highrise with a ton of complaints on him).
 

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OP- I just wanted to add my support. I think some of our wise board already added some great suggestions. When it comes down to it, it seems like you guys are trying a lot and this can be very trying. I only ever dissuade people when euthanasia is their first option after not really trying anything. I think you will know if it comes down to his quality of life is not worth letting him go on. I just hope something breaks through, but totally respect when you decide that it is enough.

*hugs* This is a very difficult position to be in.



I'll just add my two friends have used Thundershirt for separation anxiety. One, it sort've helped make the bad behaviors less, but didnt stop it. The nervous shaking and barking was lessened but he still destroyed stuff. One friends dog had zero improvement on barking....she ended up having to get her dogs vocals removed or having to surrender him (she lives in a highrise with a ton of complaints on him).
Thankfully the barking isn't bad. He's not a huge barker unless the neighbors dogs get him going. According to my tenant downstairs, he barks for like 10 minutes then he doesn't really hear it again. However, that's because the destruction has begun. :p We'll see if it helps him. It's supposed to help with pulling on the leash and such too which he needs some work with. He walks fine after a while, but when you first get going with him, GAH - he's a nightmare of strength.
 

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Hi,

Kpenn this is a hard one and reminded me of the book "A good dog". I am certain you and your family would make a right choice for Zeus and yourselves.
 
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