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I posted this in general dog stuff and after checking out the site maybe this is were it belongs.....Sorry for the length.....

I have been in a relationship with a wonderful man for over a year now. He has a Great Dane who is 6+years old. I am an avid dog lover and have a Pug.

From the start he told me that he dog had bit his ex-girlfriend in the face and was told by the state of NC that if he bit again he would have to be put down.

I wasn’t happy about the biting thing especially considering the dog bit her in the face and needed stitches but thought well maybe it was a fluke as the dog seemed very friendly. I have had dogs my whole life including 2 Rotti's and have never had an incident were they bit someone or showed aggression.

About a month into the relationship my brother came to visit and my BF was at the house with his dog. For no reason the dog went towards my brother and growled. We don’t know why and my BF scolded the dog for this. A few weeks later my BF called me at work and said that the dog had bit him in the hand and was worried that he would have to put him down. I asked if the skin was broken and did he need a doctor, he replied no it just hurt like a throbbing pain and that was that.

2 months later I was awaken by a disgusting smell in my bedroom and to my surprise I had 3 piles of poop from his dog. In the mist of cleaning it up his dog got in my face and when I grabbed his collar to move him he tried to bite me in the face. Of course this was my fault for grabbing his collar my BF said...Not in my eyes!!!! I didn’t hurt the dog in any way!!!!! We had huge arguments about this and it almost caused the end of our relationship. After that I compromised and explained that the dog needed to be crated whenever at my house while we are sleeping or out and my BF agreed to this.

At this point I am now in the process of buying a house and 7 months have gone by. His daughter has a friend over and the dog bites her in the hand. Again not enough to break the skin but painful. Her mother didn't feel the need to take her to the doctor (I would have if it were my child). When my BF stated to his kids that he may have to get rid of the dog his son flipped and started accusing this little girl of doing something to provoke what had happened.

I have since bought a house. Since the last incident I have not allowed the dog at my house. I cannot risk the chance of it biting a family member or a neighbor and getting sued. The dog spends A LOT of time alone now. My BF goes back and forth to take care of him. We do not live together but he has proposed to me and I said yes. I assumed he had figured out what he was going to do about his dog but I was wrong. Regardless of how I feel about the dog this is unfair to the dog. I believe now that it is the dog suffering having to spend so much time alone.

The dog has not been to the Vet in over 2 years now. No shots, nails are way to long, etc. My BF doesn't walk his dog either. I know Great Danes do not require a lot of exercise but all dogs need a little walking at least a few times a week.

My BF is a wonderful man but not a good pet owner. I don’t know what to do about this. I cannot let him move in with his dog and I hate to ask him to choose but what else can I do? I suggested months ago looking into a trainer and he said he is almost 6 years old you can’t teach a dog new tricks!!!! Like I said wonderful man but horrible pet owner.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Do I suggest re-homing or putting the dog down? Either one my cause the end of our relationship!!!
I don't know what to do!!!!!!
 

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You definitely need to find a force-free behaviorist and take that dog to the vet.

A vet visit is necessary because health can absolutely affect behavior. He should have a full blood panel done, including thyroid. Whacky hormone levels can cause aggressive and unpredictable behaviors. Another one is pain. Being a great dane, if he isn't from health tested lines, there's a good chance that he's already suffering from chronic joint pain. It's very common in danes. Even in well bred danes, they can develop arthritis early because they're just so darn heavy. Danes also age more quickly, so he should be checked for blindness and deafness. If he's becoming blind or deaf, then he will be easier to spook, and that may contribute to some aggressive behavior.

If he's overweight, that can exacerbate the issue too. I would strongly encourage you get the weight off him by reducing feed and trying to take him on walks. It may also be a good idea to change foods too. Not sure what you're feeding now, but a good quality kibble can help his over-all health, and thus his behavior.

Once his health checks out and you get him on whatever pain medications or other medications or supplements he may need, you can focus on training. You can definitely train and modify behavior in an older dog. A good behaviorist can help you find triggers...Reasons the dog is biting. Without seeing the situations, it's hard for any body here to suggest why the dog bit. The only thing I can say on something that stood out to me is that punishing or scolding a dog for growling or biting by scolding it is a huge no-no and can make things worse.

Think of growls and lifted lips as the dog trying to communicate, rather than making a threat, or being "bad". Dogs naturally TELL us when they're feeling uncomfortable. Most do not actually WANT to bite a person. But they all have different thresholds and we have to recognize and acknowledge those warning behaviors. If you tell the dog it's not allowed and suppress those behaviors, it'll go right to a bite. And once it happens once, it'll happen again and again because the dog learns that it has to bite to communicate and tell somebody to "back off". You grabbing the collar should not have elicited a bite. But if the dog has, for example, been punished by having somebody grab or jerk it's collar, then it could have been a defensive reaction. It's not your fault, but it's not his either.

I'm not sure how your BF raised this dog, but if he raised it in a way that involved a lot of punishment and not allowing the dog to express itself, and did little actual training with rewards to show the dog how to behave, then this biting could be the result. It IS fixable. But you really have to have a behaviorist. That's not an option. You need a professional to show you how to read the dogs behaviors, and reward him for showing warning signs, and show him that you ARE listening now.

Ultimately, I think if you want this fixed without sacrificing the relationship (at least outright), you might have to be willing to take responsibility for the dog. You know your BF is a bad pet owner. He's probably not going to change no matter what you say. He's already made excuses for not wanting take action, and has blamed you for the dogs behavior. The state threatened to put the dog down for being dangerous, and still, he's done nothing. I know a lot of people who's dogs have bitten. They care enough that they have gone through hell and high waters taking every measure possible to avoid and prevent another bite, even without the government threatening to euthanize.

So you'll have to really think long and hard about what you want to do here, knowing that he's not going to do it himself. You may even have to argue with him on letting YOU do it. A biting dane is just not acceptable. That's a big dog that can do a lot of damage.

Here's a few resources to maybe help you out.

On growling: http://www.dogforum.com/training-behavior-stickies/growling-86338/

On recognizing behaviors that may express discomfort or fright, that may be precursors to a bite: http://www.dogforum.com/training-behavior-stickies/calming-signals-10084/

On the effects punishment based training: http://www.dogforum.com/training-behavior-stickies/suppression-modification-shutdown-fallout-4776/

General training info: http://www.dogforum.com/training-behavior-stickies/4-quadrants-operant-conditioning-23702/
http://www.dogforum.com/training-behavior-stickies/helpful-training-videos-articles-11426/

Force-free based training web-sites and blogs: http://www.dogforum.com/training-behavior-stickies/web-resources-131034/

Finding a behaviorist: http://www.dogforum.com/training-be...ainer-behavior-consultant-behaviorist-113946/

Muzzle training: The Muzzle Up! Project | Keeping dogs and their humans happy and safe
 

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Thank you so much for your response...I cannot do it alone. My BF will have to agree to do it too and SPEND the money. I have told him several times about taking the dog to the vet with no resolve. I stopped saying anything. As horrible as it sounds it is not my responsability to make sure he takes care of his dog. I have my own dog to tend to. I do feel awful for this dog though and will talk with my BF about all of this. This dog is scared of his own shadow too. He freaks out when it storms and hides in the bathroom and at other times he just hides like he gets spoked or something. This is a very skidish dog. Sometimes I wonder if my BF got him from a shady breeder as he got the dog really cheap for a GD.

If he truly loves his dog as he says he does he should be willing to do whats needed. If not well we will either break up or he will decide to re-home (with full disclouser of course) or PTS...I cannot decide he has to. Thank you so much for taking the time to reply!!!
 
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