Thinking of euthanasia

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Thinking of euthanasia

This is a discussion on Thinking of euthanasia within the Dog Training and Behavior forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; Hello, I have a deaf dog who is now 2 years old, as well as another dog in the household who is 3. We got ...

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Old 01-07-2019, 08:53 AM
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Thinking of euthanasia

Hello,

I have a deaf dog who is now 2 years old, as well as another dog in the household who is 3. We got our deaf dog when he was 6 weeks old, and automatically him and our other dog were best friends. We never had any issues, they were always together. A month before our deaf dog turned one, we were all playing with a toy and our deaf dog ending up attacking our other dog over it. In the process of trying to pull them apart, I got bit and had to get stitches. After I returned from the hospital, we obviously kept them apart. But all they wanted to do was be together. After that one incident it was like nothing happened.

We had little problems after that here and there but nothing severe. This past summer, he just seemed to have gotten worse. He would watch her every move (and not in a good way) it was like he would leave his body and something else would take over. He would occasionally lunge at her but we were always able to separate him.

It came to a place where we had to separate them, and when they were together he wore a muzzle. We went and saw a behaviorist who prescribed him some behavioral medications. He was doing really well after that. We still kept the muzzle on when they interacted just incase any incidents, but we never had any.

Within the past month he has snapped and lunged at multiple times. Our other dog is completely terrified of him and I can tell it is starting to take a toll on her health. All the behaviorist said is that she recommends we take him out of the household for both of their sake.

When its just myself and our deaf dog, he is nothing but a sweet loving boy. He has very bad anxiety and does not take well to other people he does not know. He is not good with any other animals or children. I know if we try to re home him (if we could even find him a home), it would not be good on him at all.

We love him so much, but we have to start thinking of both of their health if nothing is going to make him better. We are thinking of euthanasia in our home so he is comfortable and goes peacefully.

I am so in love with this dog and have been crying everyday just thinking about him not being with me anymore, but I know I have to do what is best. I cannot be selfish anymore.

Was just wondering if anyone else has ever been through this and how it turned out for you?
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Old 01-07-2019, 09:43 AM
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I should also add, 4 of his siblings have been put down for aggression as well. So I know it is sadly something his brain is wired with.
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Old 01-07-2019, 10:38 AM
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It just seems extreme to me... it's just dog aggression. It's not like he did bite you on purpose either... my husband got bit trying to separate our dogs once too, and from our mellowest dog. What kind of dog is it and where did you get it? Were the other dogs only aggressive to dogs, or humans as well? I really hope that whoever bred their parents will never do it again.


That being said... My young female started attacking my 14yo male out of the blue a month ago, and we now we keep them separated (except at night, she sleeps on my bed and completely ignores him). We have a gate for our den (where we spend a lot of the time), and rotate them in and out... It's a bit of juggling but it's manageable... yes, it means that they have to take turns being with us, but so be it.



So, if you can't keep them separated at all times, I'd still look for a rehome option. My young female is anxious and does NOT like strangers either, but she eventually did fine when we had a sitter come over for 10 days 2 months ago. Really, I can't imagine putting a dog down unless ALL options have been explored. Contact rescues.
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Old 01-07-2019, 10:55 AM
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He is a pit mix we got from a humane society.

The mother was found as a stray and gave birth in the shelter. They had a behaviorist go back after a couple of the dogs have been returned, and believe the dogs were born with a fear hormone the mother let off during birth since she did give birth a day after being put in the shelter. 3 of the dogs were human aggressive and one was dog aggressive. So it's really hard to say if my dog will too become aggressive of us, he has only tried to bite my husband once.

The lady who stays with our dog when we go out of town is the owner of a rescue, she believes that he would not do well being re homed.. I trust her judgment because she knows him just as well as we do. If she doesn't feel comfortable placing him another home, then it shouldn't happen. I would feel responsible if we placed him in another home and something happened.

I was not looking for judgement, I was looking to see if anyone has dealt with the same situation I am in. This is not easy for me, and I would not be thinking of this if I didn't explore all other options.
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Old 01-07-2019, 12:47 PM
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This sounds like a very tough situation and I'm sorry you're having to go through it.

I would definitely agree with not rehoming this dog. One, there's not many people actively looking to add a dog that has shown aggression to the level of biting in the past and is fearful of strangers, kids, and other dogs. Two, you're passing along a dog that sounds like unless it is very carefully handled, is very likely to bite and injure someone. Three, many shelters and rescues will not even place a dog with a bite history and/or a dog whose intake history shows aggressive tendencies; that means that while they may accept a surrendered dog, they will often euthanize the dog anyways if they do not feel it can be safely placed. On the whole, re-homing aggressive dogs is often recommended against by people actually in the professional field for the above reasons, unless the dog's aggression is triggered mostly by its environment and/or the aggression is something that another home IS likely to be able to handle safely.

The fact that 4 of this dog's siblings have been euthanized for aggressive behavior indicates that 4 other homes experienced aggression at a level that they did not feel they could live with and that conceivably eliminated the option of rehoming the dog. Because multiple dogs from this litter are showing this problem, I would be willing to guess that there is a strong genetic component underlying this behavior, possibly (as you suggested) exacerbated by the stress hormones the puppies may have experienced during the pregnancy. At this point, I think that the main take-away from the genetic component is that you didn't probably do anything to cause this behavior. Likely, this dog would have needed early intervention and a lot of work from a young age to not have ended up displaying this behavior, beyond what the average dog owner would have been able to provide.

Have you talked this through with your behaviorist? Defintely get in touch with them and explain the situation if you haven't. A (good) behaviorist will be able to help you with this decision and will acknowledge that sometimes behavioral euthanasia must be on the table. Whether or not that is a good option would depend on how much of you consider euthanasia has to do with the "problem" dog's quality of life (are they always in a crate? Can't ever go outside? Getting enough exercise and enjoying life or constantly micro-managed?) and YOUR quality of life in caring for this dog (if a large part of this is you feeling like you're not able to live life because of this dog, that IS a consideration).

Plenty of people (a lot of them people who have never had to live with a dog they love dearly but cannot trust and must carefully manage to avoid high level aggressive outbreaks) will argue that behavior euthanasia is never a good option. I would have to disagree. Definitely talk this through with your behaviorist. Don't let people on the internet demonize this as an option.

Here are some articles on this topic that might help, written from the perspective of professional's in the field:
Harsh Truths And Difficult Choices: The Reality Of Behavioral Euthanasia – Dr. Jen's Dog Blog
https://www.patriciamcconnell.com/th...sive-to-people
The Unfair Necessity of Euthanizing an Aggressive Dog | DrAndyRoark.com
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Old 01-07-2019, 02:03 PM
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Thank you so much for understanding and for all the kind advice.

We have gone to a behaviorist twice, this last time (which was on Friday) she suggested re homing. Both my husband and I (along with the opinion of our good friend who owns a rescue) decided that re homing is not going to be an option due to the points you said. We would feel so guilty if we re homed him and he got worse. I wish I could afford to go to another behaviorist, but at the prices I just can't.

I feel he has had a very good life. He gets lots of love, treats and playtime. He just spends a lot of his life in a crate or with a muzzle on, which is no way to live. And my other dogs health is starting to decline due to the stress she has of being around him.

My husband and I are only 24 years old, newlyweds and looking to start a family. We thought we were going to have a long life with our two dogs and our hearts are completely broken that our dreams will probably soon be crushed. We feel like we have done everything we could to help him. He gets all the love, cuddles, treats and play time any dog could ever dream of. He is so loved and I hope he knows that when we have to make our decision.
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Old 01-07-2019, 03:29 PM
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Man this sucks. Im so sorry for you.

I work in healthcare and there was an individual living in a house with his mom and they had 11 dogs most of which were big pit bulls. The alpha pit and beta pit got into bad fights at least once every year or so and they would get into smaller fights often and it was very scary for everyone involved so i kind of know how you feel.

If its hurting the health of you and the rest of your family then you should remove the dog from the situation since its not good for him either. However i really dont think euthanasia is the only option.

The pitbull breed tends to be very human family oriented but not so good with other dogs. Most of the time they have to be the only dog in a home. Once you get him out of that situation and if you find him an only dog home then he might do really well. Also, dogs are not like humans in that they are very very adaptable beings. Even if he seems anxious around other people. You just really have to find him the right person. But if like you said he does well when its just you and him then i have no doubt in my mind that he would do well in a single dog home if given the chance.

I mean i dont know your dog like you do so whatever decision you make is what the right decision is and its never easy. But just know that there could be another option!
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Old 01-07-2019, 03:45 PM
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But you really know your dog better than anyone else. Ultimately you need to do whatever you think is best and it isn't an easy decision to make and im sure youre not making it lightly. I'm really sorry you have to go through this at all. i know how hard it is to lose a dog and i wish you all the best!
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Old 01-07-2019, 09:37 PM
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I am so sorry that you are going through this. It is not an easy decision to make. I had a friend who went though a similar problem. She ended up putting her fear aggressive sheltie to sleep. She did all the things that you have tried but his aggression continued to escalate. It broke her heart but she simply did not want him to suffer anymore. He was never comfortable in his world that he lived in. Her last gift to him was the freedom from his fears. May you find peace in this difficult decision.
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Old 01-08-2019, 08:21 AM
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Look for a Pitbull rescue group. You said he's "a sweet loving boy" when it's just you and him. It may be hard to rehome him, but doesn't he deserve that chance? Being deaf likely contributes to the problems you've mentioned and maybe he just needs a different environment. If he was straight up mean and uncontrollable I'd think differently, but you know he is nice and loving when the other dog isn't around, so basically you're making this decision because you think he can't live without you. However the decision you're making will make it so he can't live with or without you. He just won't live.

You didn't want judgement, but someone needs to try to save his life, and not just avoid offending you. He's only 2 years old. Very young. If every resource is looked at you might just be able to grant him many more years of life in a happy home.

"he is nothing but a sweet loving boy" Your words. Scrap the euthanasia idea and really put effort into finding him the right home.
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Last edited by DogFaming; 01-08-2019 at 08:30 AM.
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