Puppy Forum and Dog Forums banner

1 - 8 of 8 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi there, HUGE essay ahead and I'm sorry about that...

I am the owner of three awesome dogs of varying sizes and temperaments at home -a sweet, friendly but slightly insecure male Kelpie, an adorable, funny little idiot of a staffy x girl, and an angry little chihuahua (well not angry, but a bit bossy).

Our extended family is pretty "dogged up", with my dogs having several regular dog visitors who are their best friends. Nobody ever starts a fight; they just run around and explore the backyard and hang out in their dog "cave" (they have all dug out a play den in the yard that we have allowed them to keep). At the end of the day, everybody happily snuggles up with one another and I've never noticed any tension between our dogs and any other visiting pooch. Keep in mind that all three of our dogs are rescue dogs, and so are many of their dog friends.

Recently, a dog came up on social media because he was about to be put down at a pound. He was an aus cattledog and looked adorable. Although they hadn't directly exposed him to other dogs, he didn't get fazed by them when they walked past his cage, and the ranger said he seemed like a nice dog. My partner and I agreed that we were in a position to temporarily foster an extra dog, so we contacted a local rescue and asked if they could arrange to have us foster this little guy.

We meet this guy and we were smitten - he was absolutely lovely. He walks well on lead and listens to us, and does what we say when we ask. He is also super affectionate. He seemed like just the perfect little dog.

When we first brought him home we took him for a walk with our kelpie. They were initially wary of one another, but were soon happy to walk alongside one another and sniff all the same things. One thing we noticed is that they tended to overmark each other - our kelpie often does this to our staffy, so we figured this dog was similar. When we got home our staffy (who LOVES dogs) was so happy and excited and sniffed him all over. We stopped that almost immediately, because he didn't look entirely happy about it and she can get a bit intense, and we figured everything was still new and scary for him.

We kept them separated overnight, then played with them in the morning. He didn't seem to "get" dog play - our staffy tried to tempt him to chase her with a toy in her mouth and he wasn't interested. I generally felt like both our kelpie and staffy were being reasonably friendly with him without being pushy, but there was just a disconnect there. We figured he was just not terribly socialised. My partner then started playing fetch with the dogs, which seemed to make him a lot more confident, because he was consistently the first one to get the ball (although I am pretty sure my dogs sort of let him - they are sweet like that with newcomers).

All of a sudden - without ANY warning, he runs up and ATTACKS our much smaller female staffy while she sat metres away on the grass. She wasn't even paying attention to him. My partner separated them pretty quickly and there were no marks. It did seem out of the blue, but he appeared to settle, and so we move along, much more wary of their interactions and intending to separate them.

When we got up to the deck, however, he attacked her again, pinning her to the floor. She was terrified and yelping. This time, however, our protective kelpie tries to get involved and it escalates, with the new dog JUMPING on his back and biting him repeatedly. I've seen dogs fight before (although never any of ours), but this just seemed SO much more vicious than anything I'd ever seen. After we had separated them, we inspected both dogs, and while my kelpie bit him in the face, he only superficially damaged him, whereas this dog seemed to bite down hard. There were several pretty deep puncture wounds down my boy's back and neck and we had to get him treated at the vet.

Since then we have kept them separate, but often only by a screen door. He doesn't seem to even care if the other dogs walk past. He doesn't growl or anything. He rarely even gives them a look. My dogs on the other hand, are petrified and seem to panic a bit when we go out to see the dog. When on walks together (but never close to one another), my kelpie won't keep his eyes off him, but this guy barely acknowledges him.

Anyway, this morning my partner accidentally didn't fully latch the screen door when he went to clean this dog's bowl, and my kelpie came out. I didn't witness this, but my partner said, completely unprovoked and without even a growl, the dog ran up and jumped on his back and started ferociously biting him again. This guy really seems to know how to fight, and he is so vicious, so my beautiful boy didn't really have a chance. My partner had to actually whack him with a dish over his head then pull him up by the neck, to have him let go. All of our dogs are even more traumatised than they were before. I really don't want to do this anymore.

The rescue group said they're completely filled up so there is no way anyone can really take this animal off us at this moment, and I don't really want to push it because it was my stupid idea to begin with (why did I get an untested dog!). I also don't really want him going to another foster family and mauling their dogs too. Given the nature of the attacks, I really don't know if there's any point where we can socialise him enough for him to be adoptable - but he is SO nice to people (adult people at least - I don't want to test him with kids). If he growled or generally acted fearful, I could probably be a bit more patient, but I can't seem to predict his attacks in the slightest - it honestly feels like he just wants to kill my dogs and has no interest in reasoning with them.

I also don't think the stress is fair on my dogs - they shouldn't have to feel terrified in their own home. This guy has gone and peed all over their sacred dog cave too, and they seem a bit sad about that. My female dog has started peeing several times whenever she is let out into the garden, which I can only presume is marking - she has NEVER marked before in her life. I am thinking of giving my dogs to my mum for a while so they can hang out with some of their friends and have some pleasant dog interactions in an environment where they won't feel like one or two doors is all that stands between them and getting mauled.

What should I do? Should I wait it out a few more weeks and hope that the rescue group can find another carer for him? I have a feeling it will be at least several months before anyone will be willing to take him, with his history. At the same time, I feel like he is so lovely to people that I'd hate to see him put down (which I'm sure would happen if I took him to a pound). I doubt anyone will want to take him off us given what he's done, but there's no way I'm releasing him to anyone else without complete transparency.

Can anyone lend me some advice?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
935 Posts
I'd place a ad which says "Free to good home" and include he is not dog friendly and that he should be in a home without cats or other dogs.
There are lots of dogs out there that are single dog homes.
(If I remember correctly), they are known to have a pretty high prey drive a lot of times.

Lots of dogs do great and are great in single animal homes.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
It's just crazy because while he is quite bigger than my staffy x, he is actually very slightly smaller than my kelpie, so you wouldn't normally think it was a "prey" thing. It just seems like full on aggression, with the intent to kill, and for no good reason! I swear my dogs are really nice. I really hope they don't develop problems with other dogs now :(. I feel like a horrible dog parent for having exposed them to a situation where they felt like they could trust our judgement, but they just got ruthlessly attacked. Might have to work on their confidence again after all this.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
935 Posts
It's just crazy because while he is quite bigger than my staffy x, he is actually very slightly smaller than my kelpie, so you wouldn't normally think it was a "prey" thing. It just seems like full on aggression, with the intent to kill, and for no good reason! I swear my dogs are really nice. I really hope they don't develop problems with other dogs now :(. I feel like a horrible dog parent for having exposed them to a situation where they felt like they could trust our judgement, but they just got ruthlessly attacked. Might have to work on their confidence again after all this.
Enjoy them and love on them. Some dogs just with there life style are not used to aggression, so there kinda lost when it happends. Just keep them apart till you can rehome the new one. They should be fine.

Don't beat yourself up, live and learn. This is why most advise neutral ground before bring a new dog into a home (more than once).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
One more question if anyone can see and answer this - if I rehome a dog that shows such aggressive tendencies (albeit not at all to humans yet, fingers crossed), I worry that there might be some legal issues I will have to contend with if the dog is aggressive to a person... I probably wouldn't worry too much about it if he was merely snappy, or only attacked after growling, or under very specific circumstances, but the spontaneity of the attacks make it hard for me to trust that he won't snap and maul a human. It was SO intense and unanticipated - he really was trying to kill my dog by pulling him down to the ground and biting him repeatedly. I guess after seeing that, it's a little hard for me to trust letting him go with anyone at all :( but I'm not sure I can really afford to spend the money on a behaviourist or the time to get him rehabilitated if he's so intensely aggressive. I guess it's just a tricky situation.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,211 Posts
Dog aggression and human aggression are two totally different and unrelated things.

Dog aggression is not abnormal, and there isn't necessarily anything 'wrong' with your dog that needs to (or can be) fixed.

I would not presume a dog to be aggressive toward humans just because it is aggressive toward other dogs.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,511 Posts
Dog aggression and human aggression are two totally different and unrelated things.

Dog aggression is not abnormal, and there isn't necessarily anything 'wrong' with your dog that needs to (or can be) fixed.

I would not presume a dog to be aggressive toward humans just because it is aggressive toward other dogs.
Yep what she said. Totally unrelated issues. It sounds like he just needs a home where he is the only pet and he would be fine. As long as the new home fully understands that he is dog aggressive and to keep him away from other dogs it shouldn't be a problem. True dog aggression can't be fixed. You can manage them and train them to ignore other dogs (which is sounds like he does mostly) but don't expect to be able to change their opinion on other dogs.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
114 Posts
How old is the foster? Is he neutered? He may just be at a bratty age, and feeling insecure, so he is trying to make sure everyone knows how big and bad he is. Our rescue, Miki, is a young male cattle dog. He is actually the smallest of our dogs, and he is always trying to challenge and move up in the pack. He doesn't like our 11 yr old pit bull, Chopper, at all. Chopper, for his part, doesn't really play all that well with other dogs, I don't think he really ever learned how. Chopper is around 55 lbs, and Miki is 37 lbs. I have seen Miki actually grab Chopper's back leg and pull him out of the doorway, because he didn't want Chopper going in the house. We've had some fights, most of them are just a lot of noise, with a few scratches or small punctures, they usually sound and look worse than they really are. I do not have Chopper and Miki in the house at the same time, unless one is shut in another room. When out in the yard, I find it's a good idea to have the garden hose ready, sometimes all I have to do is move toward it, and they settle down. I never trust any of the dogs not to fight. They are all brats sometimes, and the Cattle Dogs can be pretty intense.
 
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
Top