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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I'm not sure why I'm posting here, maybe just for support or wanting someone to tell me its okay.

Our 9 year old rescue shar-pei mix (we've had her for 7 years) has bitten MANY people and attacked dogs over the years and we have tried everything including trainers/psyc behavior experts, vets, meds... no rescue groups would take her - I've tried. We used to muzzle her when she was around our daughter but now she attacks us when we try to put the muzzle on.

I am done. She has bitten me 3 times in the past 3 weeks and has snarled at our 6 year old girl. I have puncture wounds on my elbows - she jumps up to attack totally unprovoked. I was making a bed this weekend when she bit me.

My husband always makes excuses for the dog and gets extremely mad if I talk about putting her to sleep.

This morning I gave him an ultimatum - either we take Lola to be put down or he moves out with the dog.

I feel really resentful that my husband does not want to protect us from the dog (I love and care for our dog very much) and that he is making me the bad guy.
 

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Exactly what kind of training have you done with this dog? How long has this been going on? Was she like this from the beginning? If so, why did you adopt such an aggressive dog?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
It has been going on for 5 years - ever since I went back to work after maternity leave. We understand that it was likely due to separation anxiety in the beginning but we have tried every type of training short of abusive methods. Two vets and one behavioral specialist told us to put her down. The only reason we still have her is that my husband will not let her go.
 

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How old is your daughter? I ask because if she is young then she might be used as a bit of leverage to get your husband to understand the severity of the issue. Any dog can bite and hurt a child, but the larger the dog the worse the mauling. My 11lb Chi x Dach could do a bit of damage, but my neighbors 70lb lab could kill the child. One other thing you could try to convince your husband is how he would feel if his best friend, whom he loved like a brother, moved in with y'all and every now and then, for no reason that you could figure out, he would suddenly hit you hard. Would he be O.K. with that and want the friend to keep living with y'all?

What medicine was your dog put on? Some, like Ace, that is prescribed for fear and aggressiveness can actually make the dog worse. Most others will cause the dog to become worse before helping.

If you want to give your dog one last chance then, if you haven't already, you should call in a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist that has experience in working with aggressive dogs. He/she will be able to give you a good evaluation of your dog and be realistic about whether or not he can be helped with a behavior modification, counter conditioning, plan. It might also be that if euthanasia is still recommended that your husband will be willing to listen.

I completely sympathize with you. I know you must be so frustrated, scared, angry, and heartbroken. You ought to be able to live in your own home without fear of being bitten.
 

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That is an odd way for aggression to start. Have you talked to an actual trainer, one who has experience with aggressive dogs? A vet is definitely not a trainer.
Putting a dog down should be the absolute last possible thing to do. This problem is probably pretty deeply rooted by now. I would highly recommend seeking out a professional trainer. And not just any trainer but someone who has experience with working aggressive dogs. Very few trainers will give up on a dog easily.
Again, euthanasia is not the answer in most cases.a t
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you Rain. Lola is a tall 70 lb dog and my daughter is only six and tiny. After our dog scared off one of the trainers, we called in a behavioral physiologist. She did a full case overview and met with us 2 times at our home. We spent $1500 on that evaluation and she told us Lola is wired wrong and that we could try medication but that she was not hopeful it would help. We put Lola on Prozac for dogs and it just took away her inhibitions and she stopped giving us warnings before attacking. We have spent over $6000 on trainers and no one can help. We are now well beyond working with any trainers as we have exhausted all options.

I need to convince my husband that his child is more important than the dog. He just doesn't want to even talk about it and shuts me down.

Do I risk breaking up my marriage by doing it behind his back or risk my child getting killed.
 

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I think you haven't found the right trainer. It seems to me that a true professional would find Lola a real challenge. Also you might consider a Vet Internist consultation, as they have more knowledge of medications, interactions and side effects then a GP Vet would. There are anti-anxiety medications other than Prozac, but again I would consult with a Vet Internist.
 

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Just to preface, I ride horses recreationally so I'm going to give you an answer from that perspective. If a horse behaved like that and 6000 was already spent on it without improvement, it would be put down (unless it was highly valuable but then its keeping would cost a lot in safety measures). And so it should. Like a horse, your dog is a dangerous animal which can kill. No matter how much we love animals, a human life comes before them.

If your husband does not want to have the dog put to sleep he must isolate and secure it and take on any and all contact with him. You, your child and general public should not come into contact with him. That sounds like a terrible way to live for the poor dog.
 

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I'm so sorry you're dealing with such a horrible situation. It does sound as though you've tried everything and are in an impossible position. You need to keep your daughter safe and no one would fault you for that.

If you can't use your daughter's safety to convince your husband, perhaps talk to him about Lola's suffering. It doesn't sound as though she has much quality of life and her anxiety must be overwhelming for her.
 

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I has snarled at our 6 year old girl.
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I've read enough. I'd put my dog down with my bare hands if it did this (actually I would re-home him to someone without kids, but yours bites everyone)


Protect your family and everyone else, and put it down
 

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If you need(ed) to go to the doctors for any of your bites, they usually are obligated to file a report with animal control, who then follows up re: quarantine/bite protocol. It would be a pain, and it's a little underhanded/sneaky to do that with the intent of causing trouble, but might help open your husband's eyes to the seriousness of the situation. If it were me who had been bitten repeatedly, I would be inclined to tell my husband that I would no longer handle the dog at all, and that he needs to figure out some way to keep her (while still making sure that she's adequately cared for) with him being the only one to take the risk of handling her. You absolutely need to make sure that your daughter and other people cannot be harmed by her- you are extremely lucky that you haven't already been sued if some of the people she has bitten have been outside of your household members. Your homeowners could refuse to pay any claim regarding her due to her history and previous infractions, and you/your husband could face criminal charges in the event that a known aggressive dog is given the opportunity to bite someone and they decide to push the issue. You shouldn't have to live in fear for yourself and your daughter's safety, and safety needs to be your number one priority, whether that means making your husband the dog's sole caretaker and ensuring she is strictly confined when your daughter is home (which doesnt sound like much of a quality life), or euthanizing her.

It sounds like you have put more than average effort into finding out why she is the way she is and trying to fix her, which is more than most people do. I do believe that there are dogs which, for whatever reason, view the world at large as a threat, and I can't imagine how miserable their lives must be at times, since there really isn't any way for them to escape that. There are veterinary behaviorists (vets who have completed a board certification in animal behavior in addition to their normal education), and maybe it would be worth seeing one to see if they have any realistic recommendations for your situation, and have them speak with your husband regarding the feasibility of euthanasia if they do not. There's a map of where different ones are located here: Member Directory Map « ACVB

Owning a dog which might bite people is liability and stress enough when the dog is fine with the people in it's immediate household and family.... I can't imagine the difficulty trying to prevent disaster when the dog is aggressive even to those in it's family :( You have my sympathy, and I hope you can work something out peacefully with your husband.
 

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I don't think a lot of people that tell you that you haven't done enough or found the right trainer have ever dealt with an dog that is aggressive towards people before.

Honestly--once a dog starts attacking people, it will always be a severe safety hazard, even with management and training. This dog is no longer appropriate to coexist with people, especially with a young child. If she won't even let you put a muzzle on without biting, this is now out of your hands and beyond management.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thank you all for the replies. It is so hard to give up on Lola, but I just can't go on anymore. We have been very lucky that no one has sued us but perhaps that would have opened my husband's eyes. Going home soon after work and will find out if he is going to move out with the dog.

I'm just so exhausted, emotionally and financially, as far as this dog goes, that I am willing to show him the door if he will not let her go. One of us has to be the responsible parent...

Will let you know how it goes tonight.

PS, Rivonia, I have 2 horses, and yes, if one of them was endangering someone in my family I would get rid of them immediately.
 

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When a dog is dog aggressive it can be 'managed' but when a dog is human aggressive it is dangerous!
Once a dog can no longer be handled safely it becomes a liability and not just to you, but to the whole community..........it is a fact that bad breeding can play a part in this and your dog inherited all the wrong genes per se! It sounds like you have done all that is possible and I just can't understand why your husband doesn't understand how just one bite could kill or maim your small child!! I agree with you ....it is kinder to euthanize than to have a animal have to live out it's days locked up in a kennel and not have the ability to be part of it's family peacefully.
 

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So, just to let you know that dog bites on humans in some states have mandated reporting and quarantine holds. Every puncture wound should be checked by a doctor, btw, as they need to be flushed properly to prevent certain bacterial infections found in dog saliva.

If the dog is not put down after an bite to an adult and it bites your child, CPS can and will get involved and may continue to be involved with your family for quite some time even after the dog is removed. They could require you to remove all animals from your home, even the docile ones in concern for you judgment regarding dangerous animals and a child.
 

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What a horrible situation to be in! I certainly feel for you and I am so sorry.

However, I have something to add that I'm not sure if anybody has brought up yet. I don't know what the laws are in your state/country, but there are many places where serious legal consequences can occur for the owner of a dangerous dog. I have read several stories where owners have actually been charged with murder when they keep a dog that has a bite history and do not provide sufficient viligance for the animal (although this is usually the crux of the argument in court).

The one that scared me the most was about a woman who had two Rotties that were highly trained Shutzhund dogs. One of them had a dangerous dog citation for chasing a delivery man off the property. The dogs got out of the fenced yard one day and killed a child. The owner is now spending life in prison.

Maybe letting your husband know that there are consequences beyond just another bite. It seems like you have avoided some of the worst case scenarios by sheer luck, and who knows how long that will hold. If this dog seriously injures someone, you will certainly be held liable and potentially face criminal charges for knowingly keeping an incredibly dangerous animal.

This is not to even mention the fact that the quality of life your dog experiences is probably extremely low. A dog this aggressive is an insecure, anxious, depressed, lonely, and scared animal. It is inhumane to allow a dog to live when their existence is painful for them. Don't think of this any differently than putting a sick dog to sleep, because mental illness in animals is very real and effects them just as it does humans.
 

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I think it's a case of the 'No True Scotsman' fallacy--and the bottom line is, I'd actually expect an ethical trainer or behaviorist to be willing to make call when whatever is left that might work has an unacceptably high cost to the dog's quality of life.

At some point, it will be more humane to euthanize the dog than keep trying, and it sounds like that point has been passed with this dog.
 

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This is a reminder of the rules. This forum is a force free/+R based training forum. We DO NOT support aversive or dominance based techniques, or "balanced" training, and it is not allowed to recommend or suggest them. NO EXCEPTIONS.

Please see this link for information about how dominance based and aversive training techniques can enhance aggression and increase the likelihood of a bite: http://www.dogforum.com/dog-training-behavior/forum-rules-guidelines-training-behavior-please-4330/

We also will NOT bully this member for her decision.

 

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Hi BettyT,

I'm a dog owner, but first and foremost, I'm a mother. Your first responsibility is unequivocal. You are a mother, and your role and responsibility is to protect your daughter, her health, and her life. You have clearly exhausted all options, and now you need to do what is best for everyone involved, including even the dog.

I know that last statement sounds like a radical one coming from someone who is a very active member of a dog forum. However, in our society, we place violent offenders, those who endanger the lives of others, in prison. And, some believe that a human-aggressive dog should similarly be placed in a "sanctuary." However, I would disagree. I would argue that placing a dog in a kennel with no opportunity for any meaningful interaction for the rest of its life is inhumane. Euthanasia is a kinder optionn.

In any respect, your daughter's life and well-being are at risk, and that requires a strong, definitive action. You need to protect her.

Take care. I hope that your heart will feel unburdened.
 
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