Sandy Update- Bad News :(

This is a place to gain some understanding of dog behavior and to assist people in training their dogs and dealing with common behavior problems, regardless of the method(s) used. This can cover the spectrum from non-aversive to traditional methods of dog training. There are many ways to train a dog. Please avoid aggressive responses, and counter ideas and opinions with which you don't agree with friendly and helpful advice. Please refrain from submitting posts that promote off-topic discussions. Keep in mind that you may be receiving advice from other dog owners and lovers... not professionals. If you have a major problem, always seek the advice of a trainer or behaviorist!

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Barked: Thu Oct 4, '12 10:12am PST 
I have gotten great Sandy reports over the past few days- adjusting to her schedule, not peeing in the house, etc. However I got an urgent call- she broke through a fence and totally unprovoked attacked and killed a sheep in a what was apparently a very brutal fashion. When my mom tried to stop her she lunged at my mom.
She has previously attacked my smaller dog by going for the neck and shaking, to a point where I can't get them apart and am thrown into a panic, but I thought we had made it to the other side of that issue. Apparently not the case.
A vet is coming by the farm today to look at another group of sheep and my mom is going to have her put down. My heart is broken but no rescues will take her, nor will hunters or owners. Especially not those with other pets because of her attack instincts.
I just wanted to make a last attempt to see if anyone could suggest anything else. I'm absolutely sick because I love her and have seen her good qualities, but I just don't know what else to do.
Ellie now at- the Rainbow- Bridg

Barked: Thu Oct 4, '12 10:38am PST 
hug I am so sorry, I used to have a dog that would kill a sheep if she got the chance, it was hard work with her when sheep was around making sure tht she didn't get the chance to get free. Not sure I could have coped with her if we had sheep on our land.

The biting of your mum Sandy was very aroused with the killing of the sheep, it is normal for a dog to attack someone who tries to stop them, that doesn't mean it is acceptable behaviour though.

Another of my dogs was terrible with other dogs, all she wanted to do was kill them, it took a lot of very hard work to turn her round.

I understand you being so upset, I would be as well but.....

You have to look at it from Sandy's point, to stop her attacking sheep again she will have to be confined in a very secure place, she will never be allowed off the lead at any time. Some dogs will adapt to this but many won't, will Sandy?

Sometimes we show our love of our dogs by letting them go because their lives are not going to be what they want, only you can decide that as you know Sandy, we don't.

Shiver Me- Timbers- "Charlie"

My Little Dog, a- heartbeat at my- feet.<3
Barked: Thu Oct 4, '12 2:11pm PST 
To change things around, she would have to be on a leash at all times and you would likely need a good, qualified behaviorist to help her work through/past her issues with other animals. This would take patience, time, and effort. She does sound like she would fair better in a single-pet home, with someone who has the time and patience to work with her on these problems. But they CAN be worked through. Many dogs will attack animals like sheep and it isn't uncommon. Dogster Asher can likely give you some ideas of who you can contact in your area in terms of good behaviorists that will work with you to help Sandy.

Ultimately, it's up to you on whether or not you will take her back into your home, and have the patience and time to put the effort into her. She would probably benefit better being with you than your mom at this point. Does it mean you might have to have her muzzled around your other dog? Probably. Does it mean you'll have to constantly be on top of her, to help her get better at handling and coping with situations that clearly make her uncomfortable? Yes.

I have lived in situations with dogs, where I had to do crate or room rotations to keep fights from happening while I diligently worked on getting them okay together. It's a long process, but it's one that you can do everyday, a few times a day, for really short periods of time. Find a treat she REALLY loves and reward her for calm, good behavior around your other dog. All rehabilitation starts in the home, and when she's good in the home, you move onto working on her outside too.

If you aren't willing, or aren't able to work with her, yes, it may be best to have her put to sleep if nobody is willing to help you with her. I'm going to pawmail you a few emails to resources you can try to check out and see if you can get some help through them. Only you can make the decision with her, only you can decide what's best for her and what her quality of life will be like if you do or don't work with her. And it is perfectly okay to say you can't, if you can't. Not everyone can take on a dog with issues like Sandy's, but you did what you could for her, while you could and that says a lot in itself.

Please consider these resources before your mother puts her down, and if you're able to work with her - with the help of others, mind you - we're here for you. If you let your mother put her down, we're still here for you. hug


Whippy- The- Whipador
Barked: Thu Oct 4, '12 3:07pm PST 
Are the sheep on your land? Did she actually bite your mum? While i can understand how hard it must be knowing the level of damage she's caused on the sheep and her behaviour in general, i'm not sure i'd personally consider the behaviour a valid reason to euthanize her.

I'd be having her assessed by a qualified behaviourist first if i was looking at other options other than euthanizing her.

I think if i remember rightly a dogster member called Bruno had similar issues when they adopted him. I think an e-collar was used in his case, which while i don't usually agree with their use i can see the benefits and the way in which it saved Bruno's life in this particular situation. I hope he stops by to offer you some more advice but i haven't seen him around for a while.

Edited by author Thu Oct 4, '12 3:08pm PST

Jax (earned- her wings- 5/30/12)

Give me your- toy.
Barked: Thu Oct 4, '12 5:01pm PST 
I have a friend who had a Weimaraner that was very aggressive. She couldn't take him anywhere, not even to the vet without a muzzle, he was so bad. He loved her and her husband. She tried to turn him around, but in that particular case, it didn't work. She was in the same situation as you, having to decide what to do with him. She ended up keeping him, but had to keep him away from anyone who might come into contact with him and get bitten. Some might think he lived an awful life, but he was very content in the life that my friend made for him. Not all dogs would be content being alienated from the entire world. So you have to decide if Sandy would be happy living that way and if you can commit to having a dog that can't be trusted. It is a lot of work and they are a big liability. It's just something you have to decide. Good Luck!

Akita Pals- Always.
Barked: Thu Oct 4, '12 6:33pm PST 
hughug to you. I don't have any suggestions for you but hope that Bruno sees this. Her dog while on her Grandparent farm for a visit attacked a neighbors sheep. The thread of how the situation was handled is down in Dog L&L and is about a year or so old,it might be worth going back through the threads to find it. Good Luck and I hope you can find another solution besides having the dog PTS but understand that there are not always other choices. I am so sorry you are having this issue and very sorry that you may lose your friend.hugwishesflowers

Barked: Thu Oct 4, '12 7:20pm PST 
Thanks for the support. We have sought opinions from vets, rescues, breeders, and trainers and the general consensus was to have her put to sleep, some have been recommending that action since I brought her home and she attacked my other dog several times. I kept working with her, hoping for success, but every time we took a leap forward something would happen that would set her back in a major way.
After attacking the sheep this morning she was apparently prowling the house, waiting to get out, and if they tried to take her out on a leash she pulled hard directly towards the sheep pastures. She's a strong dog and a good pull can easily knock me over, never mind the fact that it was my 60 year old mom walking her. If she were with me, there would have been the risk of a similar scenario but with neighborhood dogs (we live in a subdivision with a community dog trail). The vet who saw her today (came for a house call to check over some sheep) said she was very clearly a dog who had tasted a blood and could not wait to do it again and said we had no other option. I had looked into behaviorists, but the vet informed us no amount of training would fix her.
The times she attacked my smaller dog were brutal and terrifying, there was at least one circumstance when I thought she was going to kill my little one (who is 10 years old) and I was totally helpless. But she could be so sweet at times too. My other dog is a rescue who came with lots of problems and has required a TON of work to become the amazing dog she is today, but even with that experience (as well as experience with shelter work), Sandy was just such a mystery. There was no rhyme nor reason to her attacks which was the hardest part. It's not like we could just isolate her from a few key stimuli.
My mom and I are both absolutely distraught, despite the fact that lots of people said this was the only option. I just feel awful. Would she have been better off if I left her in the woods where she was found? Did I do this to her? Was there more I could have done? It's just such an awful feeling.
Thanks again for the support.
Shiver Me- Timbers- "Charlie"

My Little Dog, a- heartbeat at my- feet.<3
Barked: Thu Oct 4, '12 7:48pm PST 
I'd just like to remind you for future reference that vets ARE NOT behaviorists and are not to be relied upon for what you can and cannot do in regards to behavior. This is not a hit at you, it is simply to inform you that your vet was WRONG. Dogs don't 'taste blood' and be 'unable to be trained' because of it. In fact - I had a very aggressive foster who had bitten people several times and left them needing stitches, and I still managed to rehabilitate him - but it took TIME, desensitization and counter conditioning.

Could you have done more? MAYBE. If you had the resources and the time. Did you do this to her? Absolutely not. She was like this when you got her and it was likely caused by her past experiences and lack of proper socialization when she was younger. You gave you a better life before she went. hug
Dolly- Mixture

Barked: Fri Oct 5, '12 12:46am PST 
I agree with Shiver Me- Timbers- "Charlie", vets are behaviourists, they train to be vets and only pick up a little information about behaviour when working.

I don't know Sandy's history but from other replies it seems she fights with your other dog which I see is another bitch, I have 2 bitches that will fight if given the chance and had this previously with others who are not at the Rainbow Bridge. It takes a lot of hard work managing dogs when they are like this but now they can be in the same room together as long as I am there, I never leave them on their own. Bonnie had to spend 2 nights in the vets after Dolly attacked her and Tilly joined in to help Dolly, I was very lucky I didn’t come back to a dead dog.

###The vet who saw her today (came for a house call to check over some sheep) said she was very clearly a dog who had tasted a blood and could not wait to do it again and said we had no other option. I had looked into behaviorists, but the vet informed us no amount of training would fix her. ###

This show a lack of understanding of dog behaviour by the vet, of course she has tasted blood and can’t wait to have another go, it only happened that day and it takes a dog several days to come down from a high like that.

Sheep are prey to a dog, you can’t train a natural behaviour out of them but you can channel it into other things like has happened with sheep dogs but even then many will still attack sheep if they can, most farmers pts any of their dogs that attack sheep.

Yes a shock collar may work but you have to have the shock very high to work because when a dog is hyped up going for prey they shut down to everything else and is why many dogs run through the electric fences but can’t get back. Also many dogs will only obey if the collar is on but when off they continue with the behaviour.

There was a reason why Sandy attacked your other dog, you never worked it out, dogs don’t attack for nothing. How much exercise does Sandy get? I found in both cases I had that exercise helped a lot with the attacking, by increasing the physical and mental exercise helped the situation. I have mobility problems so got a scooter, this helped me with Dolly’s exercise and I was able to increase it without any problems. I increased the training and also started to teach her to dance, I played mind games with her which also helped. I also kept them separate for about 4 weeks, mainly in separate rooms but evenings I would have one in a crate and one out then swap them over at regular intervals.

If Sandy is aggressive/reactive to other dogs she would need to be muzzled but that can be improved or even cured completely with some dogs. It all takes time and work, very hard work with no let up, you can’t relax except when she is placed in a somewhere like a room or crate if there is another dog around including yours.

Any sheep near she must be on the lead, preferably on a harness with 2 leads or a double ended lead clipped to the harness and collar, this will give you more control, and of course muzzled.

No she would not have been better left in the woods, no you did not do this to her, you gave her a good home with lots of good food and very importantly love, love is the most important thing we can give our dogs. Whether you decide to let her go or not hug
Kali earned- her wings- 10/21/14

She's game for- anything that's- fun.
Barked: Fri Oct 5, '12 4:06am PST 
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