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#1 of 27 Old 03-08-2010, 12:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Our oldest dog is 9. We got her at the pound at 13 weeks old. For the most part she likes to spend her time lazing around the house, sleeping in any sunny spot she can find. We have had some problems with aggression in the past and now are faced with an even bigger one.

She is a fear biter and she is an alpha female when it comes to other dogs. She has gotten into dog fights in the past and has seriously injured one of our dogs who she was raised with on two separate occasion (ripped two of her ears). Lately she has started to nip at us if she is scolded for things like telling her to get off the couch or telling her to go outside and she seems to be getting more aggressive with age. There have been two times in recent months where she has gotten up and ran across the room to attack one of our other dogs unprovoked. This has happened once because she thought the other dog was getting a food scrap and the other time they were excited because someone was at the door.

Last night we were getting ready for bed. The dog in question was laying on the bed. My dd (almost 4) and I were sitting on the bed, talking. My dd went to pet the dog and got in her face. The dog bit her on her eyelid and drew blood. She has nipped at her before but has never actually hurt her.

I love my dog dearly but my need and responsibility to protect my daughter is much stronger. Even if we could teach our daughter to never get in the dog's face, etc. I worry about our dog's increasing level of aggression. I'm feeling like with her history and her age we may have to put her down. This is so hard.
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#2 of 27 Old 03-08-2010, 01:09 PM
 
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If you are fortunate you could adopt her out to a non-child no other pet househould who can have the time to re-train her. It is unfortunate that her history has been that she would "nip" (these nips were her warning bites). She should not have been allowed on the bed/furniture.
I wish you luck!

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#3 of 27 Old 03-08-2010, 01:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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If you are fortunate you could adopt her out to a non-child no other pet househould who can have the time to re-train her. It is unfortunate that her history has been that she would "nip" (these nips were her warning bites). She should not have been allowed on the bed/furniture.
I wish you luck!
Yes, I'm aware that we should have never allowed her on the furniture but the fact of the matter is that we did, as a puppy and have tried over the years to break the habit without success. If I could go back in time and never allow it, I would.

I'm aware that the previous nips to dd were warnings but this incident was not preceded with any warning. If you have suggestions on how to avoid my dog biting my dd in the future, that would be helpful. We've talked to her about how when dogs nip, growl or show their teeth they are scared and they want her to back off. We've talked with her about leaving dogs who are eating or sleeping alone. We've talked with her about not getting in their faces, etc. We've checked out library books about dog behavior and watched videos. Our dd loves dogs. No matter what she still wants to pet them, play with them and snuggle with them.

If there was no history of aggression I would not even be thinking about putting our dog down but things have been escalating. I worry about dd getting herself in the middle of a dog fight (since the dog in question is now running across the room to attack the other dogs unprovoked). I worry that there will be a "next time" and that it could be even worse.
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#4 of 27 Old 03-08-2010, 01:39 PM
 
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First, I would take her to have a vet evaluate her. Pain can exacerbate problems, and thyroid issues cause behavior issues as well.

Second, get a behaviorist into your home and work with them to keep everyone safe. This shouldve been stopped when if first started but it may not be too late. In the meantime, keep the dog separated from your child.

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#5 of 27 Old 03-08-2010, 01:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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First, I would take her to have a vet throughly evaluate her. Pain can exacerbate problems, and thyroid issues cause behavior issues as well.

Second, get a behaviorist into your home and work with them to keep everyone safe. This shouldve been stopped when if first started but it may not be too late. In the meantime, keep the dog separated from your child.
I do think that the escalation of aggression could very likely be related to pain. I was thinking that a visit to the vet for a thorough check up would be best before we make any decisions on what to do. Thank you.
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#6 of 27 Old 03-08-2010, 01:57 PM
 
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Definitely take her to the vet to look for causes of pain. Especially at her age I'd think it could be arthritis or something.

What size dog are we talking about?

I can currently totally commiserate with her about wanting to bite people because I'm in pain

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#7 of 27 Old 03-08-2010, 02:35 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Definitely take her to the vet to look for causes of pain. Especially at her age I'd think it could be arthritis or something.

What size dog are we talking about?

I can currently totally commiserate with her about wanting to bite people because I'm in pain
She is about 50 lbs. I have wondered before this incident if she might have arthritis. Sometimes when we get ready for a walk, she just looks at me like, "do I have to?" when that used to be the most exciting part of her day. She's an old 9 year old if you know what I mean. Our 8 year old dog seems years younger.
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#8 of 27 Old 03-08-2010, 04:22 PM
 
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Call the vet asap. I would also recommend some baby gates and keeping the dog apart from your child until you can sort this out.
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#9 of 27 Old 03-08-2010, 06:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I made an appt. w/ the vet for later this week and plan to keep them separated in the mean time.
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#10 of 27 Old 03-08-2010, 06:18 PM
 
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Originally Posted by greenmagick View Post
First, I would take her to have a vet evaluate her. Pain can exacerbate problems, and thyroid issues cause behavior issues as well.

Second, get a behaviorist into your home and work with them to keep everyone safe. This shouldve been stopped when if first started but it may not be too late. In the meantime, keep the dog separated from your child.
I second all of this. Be sure that blood is draw and the workup includes a full thyroid test. Aggression can be one of the signs of thyroid issues. And of course any pain, such as sore joints or ear/tooth infections.
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#11 of 27 Old 03-08-2010, 09:15 PM
 
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Originally Posted by greenmagick View Post
First, I would take her to have a vet evaluate her. Pain can exacerbate problems, and thyroid issues cause behavior issues as well.

Second, get a behaviorist into your home and work with them to keep everyone safe. This shouldve been stopped when if first started but it may not be too late. In the meantime, keep the dog separated from your child.
I agree with everything. I went through this exact same thing with my dog of 7 years last fall, a couple of warning nips, which at that point I did take him into the vet for a full work up. He did have a tooth infection, we did surgery on his mouth, but then later he bit DD2 right in the face out of the blue. Exactly what you described with running the the house suddenly. He went to the top rated behaviorist in my area at that point. He is now rehomed in a childless house, I miss him but my children are safe.

She does need to separated from the children, we did the baby gate thing for several weeks after he bit DD2 until we could get him into the behaviorist and then again until a home was found for him. It is a PIA but you really can not afford to let your guard down now, she has shown you that you can't.

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#12 of 27 Old 03-08-2010, 09:23 PM
 
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I'm sorry you're going through this.
How is your daughter doing, & how does she feel about the dog? A bite near the eye is scary!
I would find it hard to keep a dog that makes my child uncomfortable, or afraid, but maybe that's not the case.

Hope that you find a good solution that works for all of you.

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#13 of 27 Old 03-08-2010, 10:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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DD is doing better then I am with things. She seems to understand what is going on and we've talked more about why the dogs need to be away from her for now (we're keeping them all away just until we can figure out what to do). She loves them tons so if we do end up having to euthanize our dog it will be very hard on her and will be her first life lesson about death. We're also going to work on training for all of the dogs as they could certainly use a whole lot more of it.

I really don't think re-homing her would be in her best interest (please don't flame me ). The life expectancy for her breed is 10 years. She's 9. I know that she could potentially live longer but she does seem like an old dog. I feel like re-homing her would cause her a lot of confusion and it just doesn't feel right to me. If she was young and healthy I'd feel a lot different.

Our dog also has a lump on her side that the vet said was probably just lipoma but said to watch it as it could be something more serious. We've been keeping an eye on it and just today noticed that it's significantly bigger. I'm anxious to get to the vet to find out if there are any underlying health issues (I suspect that there are) and I also want to talk to the her about what happened and get her opinion.

Thanks for all of your input. It's really nice to have a place to discuss this with others who understand what it's like to be both parents and animal lovers. I'll update when I get more info from the vet.
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#14 of 27 Old 03-08-2010, 11:40 PM
 
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I really don't think re-homing her would be in her best interest (please don't flame me ). The life expectancy for her breed is 10 years. She's 9. I know that she could potentially live longer but she does seem like an old dog. I feel like re-homing her would cause her a lot of confusion and it just doesn't feel right to me. If she was young and healthy I'd feel a lot different.
Honestly, I totally agree.

Dogs do not fear death....it is not always a nice answer, but sometimes it is the best. For an older dog who is not feeling well, ideally you will be able to figure out ways to manage, if not, personally I feel being euthanized surrounded by those she loves and trusts is kinder than rehoming.

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#15 of 27 Old 03-09-2010, 12:07 AM
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I was in your same situation and wanted to offer my story and some support....

here is what we did in the end....

http://mothering.com/discussions/sho...2728&highlight=

and the original problem

http://www.mothering.com/discussions...highlight=roxy

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#16 of 27 Old 03-09-2010, 01:13 AM
 
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Saraann,

If your vet can't find a treatable, medical problem I agree that you should consider euthanasia. On the positive, you gave this dog a wonderful 9 years of love and care. On the negative, a face bite, or worse, could scar your child forever. So man dogs need homes already...
We have a similar situation
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#17 of 27 Old 03-09-2010, 01:36 AM
 
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I had to put a dog down due to aggression. It was hard. It was the right thing to do. A dog that attacks other dogs and doesn't stop when the other dog has submitted is a danger. A dog that nips his owner is a danger. A dog that has drawn blood on a child is a danger.

Unless there is a significant pain issue going on, euthanasia is the kindest solution.

I will say the process of surrender was easy where we live. We went to our local humane society (at the recommendation of our vet) and explained that our dog had become aggressive. They didn't ask any questions or shame us or hassle us. We kissed her goodbye and put her into the rolling cage. They took her away. We were told she wouldn't have any pain and that it would be quick. I believe that they use barbituates in food based on weight but I could be misremembering as this was one of our options.

I wish you peace with whatever decision you come to.

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#18 of 27 Old 03-09-2010, 01:50 AM
 
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Sounds like your dog isnt' well, and pain is a probability. I don't think anyone is to blame here, just keep doing what you are doing until the appointment. I am so sorry.

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#19 of 27 Old 03-09-2010, 07:22 PM
 
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I would have also suggested a visit to the vet and separating her from your daughter and other dogs for now so it sounds like you're on the right track.

If it turns out that she has chronic pain that can be managed and you want to keep the dog as long as her quality of life it good before considering euthenasia, I would consider a muzzle. Not the kind that wraps tightly around the snout, like the ones you see at a vet's office, but a plastic, wire, or leather type that will allow her to open her mouth to pant and drink and can be worn comfortably for longer periods of time. I really, really sympathize as our greyhound has to wear his plastic turnout muzzle when we have guests. He is just very fearful about being touched by strangers yet throws a tantrum when separated from us, so this is our stop-gap solution while we work on crate-training.

You can still train your dog to stay off the furniture using positive training methods and management (preventing access to furniture when you're not around) but it will take some time.
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#20 of 27 Old 03-11-2010, 09:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for all of the supportive comments. They really are helpful to me. We took her to the vet today and they did a full check up, drew blood and did a UA. We'll have results soon. They also stuck a needle in her "lump" that they previously thought was lipoma and they seemed very surprised to find that it was full of fluid. They strongly suggested having it removed as they did not know what it was and found it to be very unusual. We're getting estimates.

In the meantime, DH has gotten started with a "dog area" (an over sized dog run) in our yard which will attach to a dog door into our basement. After walking the dogs in the morning, they will spend their day in there, I think it will be good for the dogs to have some space from our high energy daughter and make it possible to actually supervise all of the time that dd spends around the dogs. I think that her energy is too much for our old dog to handle on a constant basis. We're also keeping the dogs away from the kitchen during food preparation times since that has triggered some dog on dog aggression in the past. They have been banned from our bedroom and we are giving them space to sleep in another room so that they won't be bothered since sleep is a sensitive time for the dogs. Our oldest dog goes to bed at 8PM every night like clockwork so making sure dd stays away from her at that time will help avoid any bad interactions. We've also been working with our daughter about dog safety and she's been receptive for the first time ever. When she wants to pet them she tells us and we are right there with her supervising.

I'm feeling much more calm and level headed about things and feel like we have a lot of work to do as far as training and taking preventative measures to ensure that everyone's needs are met and that we can keep everyone safe. The fortunate thing about our old dog is that her biting is predictable and since it's predictable we can take measures to prevent it from happening. I've also realized that the bite was really a nip but because the nip happened on dd's eyelid it bled. I'm not trying to make excuses, I'm just looking at things through a less clouded lens. I'm feeling like our plan is a good one and we may have to make adjustments along the way but as of right now I'm no longer thinking that euthanasia is our first and only option. If things aren't working as far as training and prevention then we will have to revisit that option down the road. I'll post an update when I get more information. Thanks again for everyone's input and support. It has helped me so much.
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#21 of 27 Old 03-11-2010, 09:46 PM
 
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So glad to hear you have a plan

The only thing I want to mention is make sure when you switch the dogs to being separated from you.....make sure to make it as positive as you can...have you or dh spend time with them in the new run. Dont let them think they are being punished by separation.

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#22 of 27 Old 03-11-2010, 10:52 PM
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Thank you for all of the supportive comments. They really are helpful to me. We took her to the vet today and they did a full check up, drew blood and did a UA. We'll have results soon. They also stuck a needle in her "lump" that they previously thought was lipoma and they seemed very surprised to find that it was full of fluid. They strongly suggested having it removed as they did not know what it was and found it to be very unusual. We're getting estimates.

In the meantime, DH has gotten started with a "dog area" (an over sized dog run) in our yard which will attach to a dog door into our basement. After walking the dogs in the morning, they will spend their day in there, I think it will be good for the dogs to have some space from our high energy daughter and make it possible to actually supervise all of the time that dd spends around the dogs. I think that her energy is too much for our old dog to handle on a constant basis. We're also keeping the dogs away from the kitchen during food preparation times since that has triggered some dog on dog aggression in the past. They have been banned from our bedroom and we are giving them space to sleep in another room so that they won't be bothered since sleep is a sensitive time for the dogs. Our oldest dog goes to bed at 8PM every night like clockwork so making sure dd stays away from her at that time will help avoid any bad interactions. We've also been working with our daughter about dog safety and she's been receptive for the first time ever. When she wants to pet them she tells us and we are right there with her supervising.

I'm feeling much more calm and level headed about things and feel like we have a lot of work to do as far as training and taking preventative measures to ensure that everyone's needs are met and that we can keep everyone safe. The fortunate thing about our old dog is that her biting is predictable and since it's predictable we can take measures to prevent it from happening. I've also realized that the bite was really a nip but because the nip happened on dd's eyelid it bled. I'm not trying to make excuses, I'm just looking at things through a less clouded lens. I'm feeling like our plan is a good one and we may have to make adjustments along the way but as of right now I'm no longer thinking that euthanasia is our first and only option. If things aren't working as far as training and prevention then we will have to revisit that option down the road. I'll post an update when I get more information. Thanks again for everyone's input and support. It has helped me so much.
YOU are awesome. I think you are doing the right thing for the dog and your family. And this is coming from someone who put down a dog that had a history of biting.


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#23 of 27 Old 03-11-2010, 10:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, I will. I'm thinking that I will walk them in the morning and then feed them in the dog run so that they'll associate it with food, something they love. When DH gets home I'll feed them again in the run and then we'll walk them right after and then they can come inside since there will be 2 of us supervising. I'm hopeful that things will work out.
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#24 of 27 Old 03-15-2010, 08:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We got the results of her blood work. The vet said that her results indicate a likelihood of Cushing's Disease. We have to get some more testing done to confirm it and/or rule out other possibilities. It certainly does explain a lot of the things that were concerning to us.
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#25 of 27 Old 03-22-2010, 06:12 AM
 
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How are you doing? I've been following your situation and just wondered how you and your family are making out.
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#26 of 27 Old 03-22-2010, 08:55 PM
 
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We got the results of her blood work. The vet said that her results indicate a likelihood of Cushing's Disease. We have to get some more testing done to confirm it and/or rule out other possibilities. It certainly does explain a lot of the things that were concerning to us.
ouch. cushing's is not fun for dogs. my mom's chow had it.

s for you and your family!

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#27 of 27 Old 03-23-2010, 10:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thnaks for all of the support.

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Originally Posted by carfreemama View Post
How are you doing? I've been following your situation and just wondered how you and your family are making out.

Things have been going a lot better lately. We don't have our dog run built yet but we do have a dog room with a dog door and a bed for each dog. They spend from 10am until 4pm outside (or in their room). This has helped keep dd away from our dog and given our dog a reprieve from the stress of being around a high energy kid. We've also kept the dogs out of our bed and managed to keep dd from bugging our dog in the evening as our dog likes to go to sleep early.

We still need to follow up on the additional vet testing and hope to get that taken care of soon.
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