Don't Berate,- Educate!
|Barked: Mon Sep 28, '09 3:39pm PST |
|So, we had an incident. Spike was playing with one of his friends. This is a big mutt dog that we've known for as long as we've lived here. Normally they play very well together with the big dog laying down and being very gentle with Spike. He's very tolerant of Spike pulling on his muzzle, nose, neck, paws, whatever he can reach. This dog has been in our house, out shopping with us, etc. If there is any dog that I could trust implicitly with Spike, it would be this dog.
Spike just recently changed his treatment protocol. He's been feeling a lot better but he's also been very high energy. Going after the cats, barking at every little noise, actually running and playing in the dog park (this has NEVER happened before), and generally being a pain. We haven't gone out recently because he's been being like this. I don't know how he will handle working with so much more energy. I was planning on retiring him sometime within the next year, but now it looks like he will be retired in the next month (if he isn't already -- we're planning a short outing in a few days to see how he handles it). So, I've become even more worried about how to replace him.
Spike and his friend were playing on the floor the other day. There were no toys, no nothing between them. Spike went to pounce on the cat and then came back to his friend. All of the sudden, he lunged at Spike; Spike's head was entirely in his mouth. Spike tried to back underneath the couch but he fwapped him with his paw to keep him from going anywhere. Lots of growling, Spike screaming, me screaming for hubby to help me pull the big one away, you get the picture. Big dog was banished outside until he could go home. Spike didn't stop screaming for quite some time. Right underneath his eye was bleeding, he was limping, and was completely terrified. When we got him calmed down enough to check his injuries, we found they weren't very bad. Just a few scratches and bruises. I was so grateful nothing worse had happened. He has since (mostly) returned to normal so I'm not worried about any lasting physical damage. Psychological damage is something else entirely.
This event has made me realize something. Spike's behaviour has been declining rather significantly over the past months; this is why we're trying the new protocol. I had planned on getting a big dog to assist me with my increasing mobility issues, but now I don't know what to do. This dog, that I would have trusted to leave him alone with Spike, is suddenly no longer trustworthy (with Spike). While I think perhaps the big dog was just having a bad day, there is no doubt in my mind that Spike's newfound annoying energy had at least something to do with it.
I'm putting a call into the trainer, but I think I know what she will say. The vet has told me that he can't help the way he is; he's brain damaged. His behavior problems are not something that can be trained away. He knows how he's supposed to behave but he just can't help himself. As I said, I'm going to call the trainer, but I strongly suspect that since she knows his medical problems that she will agree with the vet, especially seeing as recent retraining attemps have been very fruitless.
In other words, since Spike is the problem when it comes to interaction with other dogs, getting a big dog seems to no longer be an option.
I have talked to just about everyone I know about this problem, trying to get an outside opinion on what I should do. So far, the suggestions have been to find a new home for Spike (I could NEVER do this for more than one reason), get another small dog and train it to pick things up for me (the reason for this is then I would still have a service dog but if it and Spike were to get in a tussle, it wouldn't kill Spike [and this would mean they would never be unsupervised together so if there were a tussle it could be swiftly broken up]), or apply for a program dog.
Now, applying for a program dog is something I've been considering (the program I was looking into is not going t work out -- there was a miscommunication about what type of dogs they supply), but a program dog would still be large enough to seriously harm Spike very quickly. A friend of mine said that in her opinion, a program dog would be well trained enough that if Spike were to bother it, it would get up and move. While this may be the case, it may still have a bad day which coul be fatal, not to mention there is no guarantee it would be well trained in that area to begin with. Therefore, I don't really see this as being that great an option.
My dad had a suggestion that I think may be the way we wind up going. His suggestion was to get a small dog and then apply for a nearby program. This program has a rather long waiting list (I think four years), and none of us really think that Spike is going to last that long. So, we'd train the small dog to do what Spike does along with picking things up and a few other tasks. Then once Spike is gone, we would get the big program dog. Now, I know there's no guarantee that there wouldn't be some sort of problem between the new small dog and the program dog, but I guess the thought is that the small dog wouldn't have the medical/behavioural issues that Spike does and therefore wouldn't provoke the big dog.
This has sort of turned into a rant, but I wanted to ask if anyone has any suggestions. Finding Spike a new home is not an option, but I'm not sure what else I can do at this point.
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