Dog with Animal Aggression

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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Member Since
Barked: Thu Dec 27, '12 6:54pm PST 
I have a female aussie/english bulldog named Maddie, she is not quite a year old. We adopted Maddie and her brother early this year after we lost our Aussie to cancer.

Maddie has shown animal aggression from an early age, at about 3 months old she latched onto her brother's neck and would not let go for several seconds, she did not draw blood and he was okay. At seven months old she killed our cat who was also their playmate. The cat slept with them every day, so her killing the cat was out of the blue.

This Christmas holiday I was babysitting my sister's dachshund while she was out of town. I was extremely careful and did not let the dachshund spend time with my pups, the dachshund stayed full time in my house during the day and the pups would stay out and play. I have a small 9x13 outdoor kennel that I would put the dachshund in to go to the bathroom. Needless to say, on Christmas day I carried the dachshund out to the kennel to go to the bathroom and in less than 30 minutes time he somehow managed to escape the kennel and get into the backyard with the pups. In a matter of minutes Maddie killed my sisters dog.

Not only is my sister upset (understandably), but my boyfriend and I are both very upset about the situation, and he (my boyfriend) says that Maddie has to go. We have several other animals and cannot risk her killing anymore. I agree we cannot keep her due to the aggressive behavior and our lack of skills in handling her, but can a dog like this be trained and adopted? Will a rescue help find an adopter or help with training? She has not shown any aggressiveness towards people.


Edited by author Thu Dec 27, '12 8:39pm PST


Farlekiin the- Dragonborn
Barked: Thu Dec 27, '12 7:59pm PST 
Sorry to hear about your sister's dog. frown

Since she seems fine with people, she could have a good chance of being adopted to someone or a family with absolutely no other dogs or pets of any kind. Animal aggression is dangerous but it can be managed as long as her environment is under control at all times.

However, you or the rescue must absolutely stress that she MUST be the only pet in the household. Getting her conditioned to a basket muzzle might be a good idea so she can wear it if she is going to be around other animals at any point.

I'm sure you'll get some more responses soon. smile

Edited by author Thu Dec 27, '12 8:00pm PST


Let's play tug!!
Barked: Fri Dec 28, '12 12:08am PST 
I didn't really see you describe any aggression toward dogs. The puppy play, not having seen it, may or may not be cause for concern. I am hesitant to consider prey drive toward cats as a strike against her. That's really common and probably only weakly indicative of being a danger to small dogs, and not at all indicative of being a danger to big dogs. Other dogs are usually in a totally different category in a dog's mind than cats are. Did the doxie appear to be bitten, torn and bleeding, or could she have been crushed or trampled during rough play and died from those injuries? Has Maddie snarfed or fought or shown other aggression with other dogs before this?


The Muddy- Princess
Barked: Fri Dec 28, '12 5:35am PST 
@Smokey-at less than a year, this dog has killed a cat who she had lived peacefully with and a dog, I think it is quite correct that this dog is animal aggressive and not safe to keep around other animals.

@ The OP-it is possible that you could find a rescue that will take the dog and be able to adopt her out to a home with no other animals-but it will take work on your part to find that rescue. Good Luck smile

The Monster
Barked: Fri Dec 28, '12 5:53am PST 
Quite honestly, a dog who has killed cats and other dogs has very (very very very) little chance of being adopted. It will likely be euthanized the moment you drop it off. And, needless to say, it would be irresponsible for the dog to be given up without disclosing its history.

In my opinion, the kindest thing you could do is arrange to have a vet euthanize her while she's still in your care, and give her the very best day ever. Give her burgers from McDonalds. Take her on a favourite walk. Give her all the best things in the world. And when she's good and tired, let her go.

Obviously this is a touchy subject, but I think that if you have an issue which you cannot manage yourself (or with professional help) then it's kinder to see your dog to the very end than pass the buck to someone else.

It ain't over- till the fat- kitty sings
Barked: Fri Dec 28, '12 10:33am PST 
I think the key incident is that she killed another dog. I think in normally socialized dogs this is hardwired as something you NEVER do unless it's a life or death situation. Other animals can be considered prey by many canines but not a fellow dog. Her willingness to kill another dog says that she is dangerous, maybe not to people, but she is dangerous.

Barked: Fri Dec 28, '12 11:11am PST 
Cohen, your post made me cry. frown It was beautiful in its own way. If all else fails, then I agree with you, the kindest thing to do would be to have her PTS. However, if there is a possibility that she could be carefully placed as an only pet with a loving family, then I'd go that route first.
Tiller- (Skansen's- Ira in the M

I DO Exist...To- Drive You Batty
Barked: Fri Dec 28, '12 2:10pm PST 
I have to agree with Cohen. This is terrifically sad, but for a dog to have killed twice, let alone at so young an age.....this is not good. It's not her fault, it's genetic wiring (the breed mix is not one I would consider advisable, Aussie intensity meets Bulldog tenacity), but you basically know she knows how to kill. I don't mean to grizzly, but she is proficient. As someone who helps run a rescue and does a lot of adoptions, you really have to think of the consequences if an adopter promises more than they deliver. Some other animal could die....I don't think you want that frown I am sorry to say this but I am sort of guessing by your tone right now you are hoping but knowing the answer in the back of your mind. Let her go, in your arms, and give her brother an extra special life in her memory. Things like this are rare, but they do happen. I am very sorry you are having to go through this.

forever loved
Barked: Fri Dec 28, '12 3:40pm PST 
Sadly, I agree with Tiller and Cohen. The breed mix alone sent up a red flag before I read anything else. I'm glad it is not both of them having issues though. Unless you were able to find a competent, experienced person/rescue with which to relinquish her and they knew full well what they are getting into...I don't see any way to safely re-home her, especially with her having not just injured, but killed two other animals when at such a young age...honestly...that scares me. I hate to think what would happen if a child got in the way of her and another small animal.silenced Personally, I sure would not be able to safely handle a dog with this level of intensity; and I think you are doing the responsible thing by admitting you can not either, and are looking for advice on what to do.hughug

Let's play tug!!
Barked: Fri Dec 28, '12 10:20pm PST 
I'm kind of surprised to hear so many people agreeing. I really don't consider prey drive toward cats to be a temperament flaw, but just a naturally occurring difference. I would make sure the dog didn't go home with a cat and that the owners knew to be careful, but I wouldn't call it problematic. In a psychologically sound dog, a prey animal is in a completely different category than another dog, and ne'er the twain shall meet. We'd never sit here and discuss how a dog who killed a squirrel should be euthanized, and while a cat and a squirrel are different because of our own psychological constructs, I don't think they are necessarily different to a dog. There might be some argument to be made that a cat that the dog knew well should be seen as pack, but even so, I'm just not sure this should factor into the dog's rap sheet. Of course if the doxie was killed in an attack rather than inadvertently, that's a big deal. I assume there's some reason besides that cat killing that the dogs were separated in the first place, but I just don't feel like I have the whole story here. Amy, can you report back on Maddie's history with other dogs and how the doxie's body appeared?
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