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Euthanasia? Help me save her..

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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Fritz

Fritz
 
 
Barked: Mon Mar 17, '08 10:33am PST 
Hello,
First, the dog in the picture on my dog page is NOT Lucy, it is our other dog, and her best friend Fritz. I did not have a picture of Lucy on file, and I needed to post this ASAP.

Here's a little back story on Lucy. We took her in from a co-worker of my husband's who found her as a stray in the woods. She gets a LOT of love and attention here. She has always been a little aggressive, but gets along fine with Fritz and myself. She does NOT like my husband.

First, we took in another stray puppy that she was constantly snapping at. Second, we found a family of possums in our backyard that she had killed. Thirdly, she bit my husband. This all took place over a few years. What has happened in this last week has driven my husband over the edge, and he is ready to have her put down.

We took in two stray female dogs several weeks ago, that had puppies six days apart, for a total of 17. shock We kept them in the house until they were 4 and 5 weeks old, and made a fenced in pen area outside to move them. It's impossible to keep 17 puppies inside your house. Anyhow, two nights ago, Lucy killed a puppy. She went to its pen apparently, and pulled it out from under the fence and killed it. We immediately kenneled her outside. Yesterday we went out to let her out to potty, and she started sniffing and drooling around the puppies fence again. After she did her business, we went to put her back in the kennel. This time she tried to bite me. She has never, ever shown aggression towards me.

After the senseless killing, and the repeated bite attempts on my husband, he wants her put down immediately. I, on the other hand, cannot bring myself to do so so quickly even after everything. I cannot adopt her out to another family, for fear she'd hurt someone, and I won't put my problem on anyone else.

We have showered this dog with love and attention, socialized her the best we can, tried everything possible. With this much aggression is euthanasia really the best way to go? I'm emotionally drained and torn here.

Thanks for reading.
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Donovan'sMajesticJet of Solace

Street sweeper!
 
 
Barked: Mon Mar 17, '08 10:46am PST 
This is really sad. Its not the pups fault. Somewhere along the line she has missed out on some critical training. Can you consult an animal behaviorist for help? I have challenges with my pup and I called the local shelter and they are going to help me with him tomorrow. They sometimes have trainers/behaviorists at shelters who will assist you so that the pup doesnt get put back into the shelter. Try to convince hubby that its not the pups fault. Seek help. This isnt a reason to put her down unless all other options are exausted.
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Kolbe

Where can I run- today?
 
 
Barked: Mon Mar 17, '08 11:08am PST 
First thing is to seek a behaviorist in your area, and take things from there. The human aggression is definitely the main thing that needs attention, with the dog aggression second (please remember they are not the same thing). Thirdly - I wouldn't put too much stock into Lucy killing the possums. That's prey drive and is very natural. Not fun for you I'd assume, but natural and not related to the other things.
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Fritz

Fritz
 
 
Barked: Mon Mar 17, '08 11:12am PST 
I'm trying to figure out why she killed the puppy...the puppies are in their own pen, they don't bother anyone..what in her made her seek out a puppy, drag it out of its pen and kill it? The puppy couldn't have been bothering her..I just don't understand..

cry
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Khola- CDX, CGC

R plus and- paitence what a- shocking idea
 
 
Barked: Mon Mar 17, '08 11:32am PST 
I can't gage the whole situation because I'm sure there are a million things going on there... but one thing that is shouting at me about this situation is that you keep changing the rules of the house. If you change a dogs "world" some get very upset. If the dog is already aggressive and is unsure of things, changing the dogs world further can make the dog defensive. This can account for stronger feelings and actions of frustration. Changing routine and smells and the lives of some dogs can just be devastating and put them in survival mode.

I agree with the others to get a behaviorist in your house. NOT a trainer, not someone who has no background in behavior and ethology... someone with experience and education. Though the puppy was totally innocent, I believe this dog isn't completely at fault here.
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Nallah

*Retrieva Diva!*
 
 
Barked: Mon Mar 17, '08 12:10pm PST 
You have a big heart for animals, plain and simple. I'd be feeling the same way you are right now. I hate seeing any animal being put down for things that can be fixed. Its a possibility you may be able to fix these occurances, but its also a possibility you may not be able to. Please keep that in mind, that this is a toss up and be prepared for what could happen. I can't imagine how incredibly hard this must be for you, nor do I understand why this is happening. But thats why you need to seek professional advice from a behaviorist as the others suggested. But I just wanted to let you know that you must have a huge heart for animals, and I really look up to those who take the extra steps to help them in any way they can. Thank you! hug
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Fritz

Fritz
 
 
Barked: Mon Mar 17, '08 12:18pm PST 
Okay, here's what I've come up with....

Hubby will NOT budge on getting this dog out of here. He wants the dog put to sleep. He is very very firm on not spending a lot of money on this dog that's bit him in the past. I have come up with a solution I think is best for everyone, let me know what you think.

I'm sure many of you watch Animal Planet...I just so happen to live in Houston, where Animal Cops: Houston is filmed. I called the SPCA a short while ago, the shelter used in the show. They are going to take her in Friday. They are going to have their behaviorist specialists work with her, to try to put a stop to the aggression. They have told me they will exhaust all avenues in order to rehabilitate her.

They have the best in the area as far as specialists go. She will also receive the best veterinary care possible, without my husband having to put money into her. I'm very saddened to have to turn her over, but feel this is the best possible chance for her. She has a good chance at having a new life, and I can rest knowing I've done all I can.

Does this seem like a good solution? Everyone gets what they want; Steve no longer has to deal with the dog that bit him, she gets the care she needs, and I know that I haven't just put her on death row somewhere.

Thanks again for all the responses. I sometimes am told I have too big a heart for these animals, but I have no kids, and these animals are my life. Maybe I only change one or two lives a year, but that's one or two more that are happier because I tried. I applaud all of you as well for what you do for our little (and big!) furry friends!

Des
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Nallah

*Retrieva Diva!*
 
 
Barked: Mon Mar 17, '08 12:24pm PST 
That sounds like a wonderful solution. I believe they will get her the help she needs and she will become the wonderful dog thats hiding underneath. Yes, we do watch Animal Planet.......love that show! Sad sometimes but its is nice to see what the outcomes of these disastrious situations can be. Thanks again for looking after her.......the world needs more people like you!!! hugwave
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Kiya

100% Spoiled- Rotten
 
 
Barked: Mon Mar 17, '08 12:53pm PST 
I have to agree with the advice of seeking out a trained and certified behaviorist to address the issues of human aggression as well as dog aggression.

As for the 'possums and her killing them - I agree with Kolbe. That is a natural behavior. 'Possums are wild creatures and dogs have natural hunting instincts, some stronger than others, but those instincts are still there. Doesn't make them a bad dog or anything and even the most lovable most gentle family dogs will go after and hunt and kill a wild animal. We had a lab growing up that was the perfect family dog in every single sense. He loved to bring home 'Possum and whatever he could catch and leave them at the backdoor as a gift to my mom.

I also want to chime in that you said that she was a stray living in the woods. Do you know approximately her age? One thing to consider is how long she lived out in the wild on her own with no human interaction. Any animal, no matter how domesticated, will revert to a level of natural "wild" personality and behavior if left in the wild for an extended period of time. So taking into consideration that she was a stray living on her own in the woods, you have to understand that no matter how much attention or love you shower her with, there is still that part of her life that has left an imprint on her. And while you can rehabilitate a dog who has been stray, hasn't been socialized properly with humans and other dogs, and doesn't know "domesticated" life, it will take a lot of time and a lot of patience. It isn't an over night process. There is no time frame. Some times it can take weeks, months, or even years of frustrations, ups and downs.

In all honesty, at this point only a well trained behaviorist can assess what is going on and help you. We can offer advice and support, but can only go so far. Please see a behaviorist ASAP!
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Max

Somewhere there- is something I- can eat..
 
 
Barked: Mon Mar 17, '08 2:07pm PST 
If you are unable to (for whatever reason) provide the dog with the high level of care she needs, then the animal shelter is by far the best route. She may not get the perfect ending, but at least she has a chance at learning how to live a healthy life.

Is Houston SPCA a No-Kill shelter?

Another alternative might be Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. Theare located in St. George, Utah. Not the closest, but they will do whatever it takes to at least let the dog live out it's life in a less stressful environment... Might be an alternative for Houston, as well, if they are unable to rehabilitate her... Good luck!
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