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Well I am not sure if I am posting in the right place so here it goes. 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 rehoming 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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Sounds like a badly trained dog, not "broken beyond repair". ;)
start training and the dog will become easier to manage. :)

first: keep this dog away from kids and strangers. period. Such a dog...any dog...should not be trusted around kids.
and a lot of Molosser breeds are a bit special around strangers. this doesn't make them dangerous, but you've got to know how to handle them.
the Dt. Dogge can have a certain protection drive, so it could be that the dog thought that the daughter of the house was in danger and tried to intervene.
However i wouldn't call this a severe case, because the dog didn't even break skin... if such dog seriously meant business, there'd probably be not much of a child's hand left.


second: get the dog used to 1. a muzzle, 2. to a reliable place command (have a some place for the dog to stay) so you can control the dog on distance without direct body contact. this can greatly relax a situation.
third: get the dog to the vet for a check-up.

a dog can learn "new tricks" their whole life. and if you already succesfully trained two Rottweilers, I'm sure you'll find a way to train a dog a reliable abort and place command.
Just tell your partner, that you're willing to help, but you need the two you to work as one unite on this issue.
A dog needs exercise, training, food, water, a basic health care and contact with its family. espeically the Dogge needs a lot of contact with the family. these are it's basic needs. If you are not able to meet them, you should think about rehoming the dog.
I hope he's better at taking care of the basic needs of his children. ;)

this breed does need exercise. Not as much as a border Collie, but a bored dog of any breed in his best years can develop other ways to entertain themself.
at least a walk of an hour each day should be there for the Dogge to be happy. :)
 

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I think you need to hire a behaviorist immediately if you're going to keep this dog. There are a lot of badly trained dogs that do not bite. A dog of that size that doesn't mind biting (you've named several instances) is a huge problem.

I wouldn't attempt to do this yourself.


Oh and I definitely would not rehome this dog to another family. Please, only to a rescue if it comes to that.
 

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This dog should not be rehomed. The liabilities are enormous. Find a rescue will be difficult. They don't want the liability either.

If either your bf or you want to try and keep this dog from being euthanize, hire a professional. Here's an article that might help you find the right one.

https://pawsforpraise.wordpress.com/2013/07/21/finding-the-right-dog-trainer-harder-than-you-think/

Condition this dog to wear a muzzle. Watch this tutorial on how that's done. Don't just slap a muzzle on the dog. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1FABgZTFvHo

Have any of these bites required medical attention? This dog may be showing bite inhibition if he's never broken skin. That doesn't mean the behavior is acceptable but it means that this dog may be rehabilitated with the right behavior modification. This means some effort and commitment from everyone in this dog's life. Your future husband doesn't seem to have much interest in doing anything except ignore and deny there's a problem. He's neglected the dog's basic needs. Not sure how anyone could describe a person like that as wonderful.


If this dog is to be resigned to a life of isolation and neglect, euthanize him. Don't be surprised if your future husband decides he wants another dog someday. Hope you remind him of this dog at that time. I know these are harsh words. Sometimes I find it impossible to sugar coat things when dogs suffer.
 

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First off, this dog may not be as bad as it sounds, the dog was warning rather than acting outright aggressively when it tried to bite your face, an air snap is a warning, also if the dog bit a hand but didn't break the skin, that is a warning. If a dog meant to bite your face, it would be bitten.
With that said, (re)training is needed if you want to save the dog from the only other alternative which is euthanasia.

His daughter has a friend over and the dog bites her in the hand. Again not enough to break the skin but painful

My BF is a wonderful man but not a good pet owner. I don’t know what to do about this.
Honestly and I am not trying to start something or sound combative, but good people do not do this to pets, someone who is a good person but would not be a good pet owner does not get a pet, or if they get one and then realize that they are not a good owner, re-home them before they are ruined. Good people do not risk others, especially children because of their mistakes.

You need to set an ultimatum. He does right by the dog and his kids and you, or you end it, seriously, someone who treats kids and animals like that is not a good person. I would not consider being with someone who can treat a dog like that, is he a good father other than letting his daughter hang out with a dangerous dog? If you do end up married I would think twice about having kids or entering into pet ownership with him, what if he gets upset about spending money on training and vets? Can you resign yourself to never owning another pet?
 

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@Grabby
i don't know i think it depends on the home and of course on the country.
If the shelters are already above the filling, it's likely rescues and shelters would put such a dog to sleep, if it is allowed (in germany it isn't as long as there are no medical reasons).
However I think this behaviour is trainable and so, if the right new home is chosen, possible to be rehomed or even retrained in his current home when done right.
S/He said nothing about the reasons for the dog biting (except of the case were she was grabbing the collar)... most dogs don't bite "just because" so i think there would be the point to start when finding out how to train.
spend money on a behaviourist evaluation how you and your fiancé handle the dog and find reasons why the dog is going forward in certain situations.
 

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@mathilda The only problem with trying to rehome is that full disclosure of this dog"s issues must be given and very few people are actually willing to work with an animal with these types of problems, let alone use the proper training methods to deal with it...
 

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Your first stop needs to be a vet. You need to find out if anything medical is going on and in a 6 year old Great Dane a lot can be starting to happen medically. 6 is old for a Dane, they typically only live 6 to 8 years. Does he have severe arthritis , is his thyroid functioning correctly, how are his hips is he getting hip dyplasia? Any of those can cause a dog to bite and most can be controlled with medicine.

After he's cleared medically then if you wish to keep him you really should hire a certified applied animal behaviorist to help you work with him. An elderly dog is perfectly capable of learning new things, ask your BF if he thinks that an elderly person is not capable of learning anything new, then tell him just like an elderly person, an elderly dog can learn.
 

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@mathilda The only problem with trying to rehome is that full disclosure of this dog"s issues must be given and very few people are actually willing to work with an animal with these types of problems, let alone use the proper training methods to deal with it...
Also, unless I'm mistaken, there is a great overabundance of dogs in the shelters and rescues in North Carolina, and many perfectly fine, highly adoptable animals are being euthanized there. That's pretty much the case throughout the southern and western regions of the U.S. And, in that case, I personally believe that rescues should spend their very limited resources on those dogs that have the greatest chance of successful placement with families.
 

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@Grabby
i don't know i think it depends on the home and of course on the country.
If the shelters are already above the filling, it's likely rescues and shelters would put such a dog to sleep, if it is allowed (in germany it isn't as long as there are no medical reasons).
However I think this behaviour is trainable and so, if the right new home is chosen, possible to be rehomed or even retrained in his current home when done right.
S/He said nothing about the reasons for the dog biting (except of the case were she was grabbing the collar)... most dogs don't bite "just because" so i think there would be the point to start when finding out how to train.
spend money on a behaviourist evaluation how you and your fiancé handle the dog and find reasons why the dog is going forward in certain situations.
I don't think we are in disagreement. I said the dog seems to have exhibited bite inhibition based on the OPs description. I also said I thought a consultation with a professional could very well result in a successful rehab. I do disagree on rehoming a dog with a bite history unless the new home happens to be with a force free professional dog trainer or someone familiar with how to modify behavior without force or punishment. Those homes are hard to find here in the US.

In the US shelters are usually very full and most dogs with a bite history are euthanized. Shelters are not able to be liable if the dog does serious damage. Once a dog has learned that biting works the biting will continue unless proper behavior mod happens. Sometimes the biting escalates to serious, damaging bites if people continue to put the dog in a position that the dog feels it necessary to defend itself.

My admittedly pessimistic conclusion was based on the behavior of the owner of the dog. He seems to be in denial t some extent and to be willing to relegate the dog to some sort of isolation. He doesn't provide basic veterinary or husbandry care. It seems doubtful he'll spend money on a qualified professional. That is the sad truth for many dogs. The OP also lacks experience with dog behavior or she wouldn't have grabbed at the collar of a dog with a bite history. There is a lot stacked against a good outcome. I do believe it's possible and hope that the OP can do something to facilitate a better outcome than euthanasia.

There is a lot we don't know. We've been given some limited information. I always wonder what answers the OP is hoping for in this type of thread. I fear it is often the one that is easiest and that is the one that results in the dogs death. :(
 

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As it's been said here before, you unfortunately can't rehome it, as the dog has a bite history even if it hasn't done a lot of damage - which in my opinion it hasn't. I've been attacked by a GSD before and your descriptions sound nothing like an aggressive dog attack. Anyway, most rescues won't take a dog in with one and most shelters will euthanize instead working through the problem. What you can do, which has been already suggested, is talk to a behaviourist; Preferably one that is positive based. If you do re-home him, you could be liable if he bites in the new home.

Now for the other issues, Danes are BIG dogs, if this one was truly aggressive in nature he would do far more that just a bite to the hand or face. They are also not a dog for everyone. Sure he might not need 4 hours a day of working agility, but he NEEDS both mental and physical exercise; every dog does. You will find a BIG difference between a dog that gets 0 exercise and one that gets plenty. The dog also sounds like it's under socialized, which can mean he either doesn't know how to be around people, or the people aren't clued into the signals he's giving so he's had to resort to biting to get them away. A behaviourist and a little effort can work wonders for a dog like this.
 

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Your first stop needs to be a vet. You need to find out if anything medical is going on and in a 6 year old Great Dane a lot can be starting to happen medically. 6 is old for a Dane, they typically only live 6 to 8 years. Does he have severe arthritis , is his thyroid functioning correctly, how are his hips is he getting hip dyplasia? Any of those can cause a dog to bite and most can be controlled with medicine.

After he's cleared medically then if you wish to keep him you really should hire a certified applied animal behaviorist to help you work with him. An elderly dog is perfectly capable of learning new things, ask your BF if he thinks that an elderly person is not capable of learning anything new, then tell him just like an elderly person, an elderly dog can learn.
What ive bolded is very true and @Rain is correct that 6 is old for a great dane and if this dog indeeds has arthirtis and is in absolute agony then this would be typical signs of pain. My charlie before he was on painkillers was on the j/d food (hills) and other dogs kept humping him and he was in agony and he was turning into a dog we didnt reconise he would growl and nearly bite other dogs he snapped and air snapped and growled.

Due to my persuasion i got him to a vet who did x ray (3 years ago) who did pelvic x ray showing such severe arthirtis. Got given metacam and he was alot like his old self and moving and running again! now he cant run anymore but he is happy.

If this isnt medical then you need a behaviourist who specializes in positive reinforcement not pack theory.
 

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I agree the dog should not be re-homed. There are legal liabilities if you pass off a known biter. I think there are also moral obligations to not pass on a problem like that, unless you are able to pass it on to a real expert.

I agree with Mathilda that the dog is not broken, it is just in need of some very serious retraining.

However, we surrender 4 million dogs to pounds here in the USA, and 2 million of those dogs get put to sleep. Sometimes I think we tend to throw too many resources at a single problem animal and 10 perfectly fine dogs get put down instead.

For this reason I say put the dog down.
 

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There are a lot of good people in this world who own animals and shouldn't. Some people just do not know how to take care of them properly. They believe that hugging them and kissing them and giving them love is enough. Does that make them bad people, NO it doesn't it makes them bad pet owners!!! And some people get them for their kids (so wrong). I am not lashing out at anyone here just stating my opinion. There are also people that take in animals and never get them medical care. They do this so that the animals do not get put to sleep.

Now with that being said. Everyone here has given me a lot to think about and ponder on. Some one asked if any of these bites required medical attention. The answer is yes, the first incident were the dog bit the ExGF in the face. She was home with dog alone when it happened. The incident with his daughters friend, well we were in the kitchen and the dog was in the other room with the girls. She said she just went to pet him and a bit her in the hand. I do not consider the dog vicious but definatly a liability. When my BF first got the dog he did take him to vet every year but sometimes people get in situations that are out of their control money wise and have to put other things first. Is this right for the animal of course not but at the end of the day no one wants to give away their pet regardless of circumstances sometimes. I of course do not agree with this but I do understand.

And yes my BF is in denial. He believes that his dog is fine. It is going to take a lot for me to convince him other wise. I do will do my best and that is all I can do. Will he be willing to spend the money? To be honest neither of us have that kind of money. I am at such a loss in this situation and there are no right answers I guess.

Thank you everyone who has posted and given my great ideas. I will do my best to convince my BF to do what is right for the dog and not himself or his kids!!!!
 

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Based on your follow up reply I'm going to have to agree with akodo and grabby.

I agree the dog should not be re-homed. There are legal liabilities if you pass off a known biter. I think there are also moral obligations to not pass on a problem like that, unless you are able to pass it on to a real expert.



I agree with Mathilda that the dog is not broken, it is just in need of some very serious retraining.



However, we surrender 4 million dogs to pounds here in the USA, and 2 million of those dogs get put to sleep. Sometimes I think we tend to throw too many resources at a single problem animal and 10 perfectly fine dogs get put down instead.



For this reason I say put the dog down.
 

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Just because people adopt dogs to keep them from being killed in shelters and then don't get them medical care isn't justification for your bf. Sounds like someone saying, other people do it, so it's ok.

I understand that people get into financial binds. Maybe they can't afford an expensive medical procedure their pet needs. The fact is that routine vaccines and nail trims are not exactly catastrophic expenses. Most cities in the US, even small ones, have low cost vaccine clinics.

Not only is your bf in denial, you are too, to some extent. That's understandable but that doesn't help this dog. Maybe the two of you should sit down with a couples counselor. Some of the issues that have arisen about this dog may be very relevant to your future.
 

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good people do not do this to pets, someone who is a good person but would not be a good pet owner does not get a pet, or if they get one and then realize that they are not a good owner, re-home them before they are ruined. Good people do not risk others, especially children because of their mistakes.
I am going to disagree.

Good people DO risk others, generally through lack of knowledge, inexperience, poor judgement, etc. Think of how 30 years ago it was common to see kids riding in the back of a pickup. All those parents weren't evil, they were just not cognizant of the increased risk of a fatality to the kids if there was a crash.

I think the same of a lot of pet owners. They don't have enough knowledge to know the damage they are doing, or even the knowledge to recognize it. (Plus now the trend seems to be people freaking out so much about 'failing' to give the dog the best training and nurturing, they either pass on getting a dog, or freak out so much about failing that the freak out causes them to fail)

You need to set an ultimatum. He does right by the dog and his kids and you, or you end it, seriously, someone who treats kids and animals like that is not a good person. I would not consider being with someone who can treat a dog like that, is he a good father other than letting his daughter hang out with a dangerous dog? If you do end up married I would think twice about having kids or entering into pet ownership with him, what if he gets upset about spending money on training and vets? Can you resign yourself to never owning another pet?
While I don't agree that his poor care of kid and dog means he isn't a good person, I do agree that this is something that you need to look at when you think about your long term relationship with him. Once you educate him on the risk to his kid and the damage done to the dog, how does he react. I'm not one for giving an ultimatum, because you don't want someone who 'does the right thing' only because he fears the break-up. Instead I'd say that once you explain the situation and risks, what he does is a good measuring stick of what kind of person he is. And once you have that measure, you can choose to stay or go.
 
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