Should I put my dog to sleep...please help

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Barked: Fri Sep 7, '12 11:18pm PST 
We have a 5 year old cocker spaniel. Due to chronic ear infections, we had to have his ears removed about 2 years ago, so this only complicates my problem. Sammy is a wonderful dog 98% of the time, but that other 2% he flips out into this weird psycho dog and he will aggressively attack whoever, for whatever reason. He has attacked almost everyone in our family. We have had him training multiple times, but he cannot seem to learn. We also have had him on mood medication (the exact name I cannot remember), all to no avail.

Finally, two nights ago, I was laying on the sofa, and Sammy was on the ground next to me. I reached down to pet him and he started to attack me and he even tried jumping onto the sofa to attack me (we had him tethered to the coffee table, so he couldn't reach me). He was awake when I was petting him, so it is not as if I startled him or anything.

I am out of ideas and I have schedule to put him to sleep on Monday morning. I just don't know if I can go through with it. As I said, 98% of the time, he is my 'little buddy' and I know that on Monday, he will be all excited to go on a car ride not knowing what is in store for him.

In my mind I know that this is the responsible thing to do, I am just having the hardest time justifying this to my heart. I love this dog, but we haven't had any luck finding another home for an aggressive, deaf dog, and with a baby on the way, this is all that I can think to do.

Barked: Sat Sep 8, '12 5:29am PST 
I'm guessing you've talked to his vet about this, has epilepsy come up? I have read of behavior like you describe as being a seizure.

Have you had him evaluated by a qualified behaviorist? Not a trainer, but a behaviorist. There are lots of bad ones out there, but there are also good ones. I don't know all the credentials you should be looking for, but hopefully somebody else can chime in here.

I know this must be a really hard time for you right now, and maybe you don't want to wait any longer, but I would post this in behavior and training, and see if people can give you more advice. In any case, none of us are there, so you must do what you feel is right.

Love me.
Barked: Sat Sep 8, '12 7:30am PST 
Def post this in the behavior section. If it is behavioral aggression, then the suggestion to get a behaviorist is good. However, you may want to look up 'cocker rage', it could very well be a medical issue that training is not going to fix. In that case, euthanasia may very well be the best choice. Also, since he is deaf he may be getting startled by sudden movements/being touched; in that case, it sounds more like a fear-based aggression and you really need to make sure he sees you before touching. Good luck in finding out what is going on with your dog.hug

eta: I mentioned make sure he sees you, because even if a deaf dog is awake, being touched without warning can startle them a lot. You said you just reached down, he may not have seen you reaching down. However, it does sound like there is something more going on, he could be in pain from a medical issue.

Edited by author Sat Sep 8, '12 7:35am PST



Barked: Sat Sep 8, '12 5:12pm PST 
Without more information (or meeting the dog in person) it's really hard to say what triggers this behavior. In some aggression cases it is neurologically based .... but that is very, very rare. Most often it's a learned behavior that been allowed to escalate.

If you do put him to sleep without examining all your options (ie. certified in-home behaviorist training), thats a choice you'll have to live with. But you know more than any of us what you are willing to invest in this dog and how realistic it is that your family can provide the proper lifestyle, training, and care for him.

Barked: Sat Sep 8, '12 6:33pm PST 
I think there are dogsters on here who have had experience with aggressive cockers, and there are other resources for aggressive cockers as well. Maybe Asher can pop in to help? And OMD, I could not imagine what it must feel like to have your entire ears removed altogether. frown

Champion PPH
Barked: Sun Sep 9, '12 12:23pm PST 
Have you had his thyroid level tested? When it's elevated, dogs can become quite cranky and medication can level this out.

Epilepsy was mentioned: After a seizure, some dogs can fly into a rage, being disoriented. Before you put your buddy down, consider having a full blood panel done.

Barked: Sun Sep 9, '12 1:43pm PST 
Oh dear, I had a male cocker who was the sweetest dog until his birthday, 2 years old...then he turned into a raging vicious animal who would attack, mauling me for no provocation! I could never tell when he would turn and go after me - and I mean viciously!!! I had him checked medically head to toe, including a CT of his brain, medically sound. I had two trips to the ER from his attacks...I was going to euthanize but then found a single male who owned a farm who intensively trained him...he called after 3 months and said he was the best dog he ever had.
Your dog will continue to attack without warning IT IS CALLED COCKER RAGE SYNDROME DUE TO INBREEDING!!!

Edited by author Sun Sep 9, '12 1:45pm PST