Tarzan Mama of Two
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: The land down under!
I missed this thread orginally. I went through a similar situation almost two years ago. My dog was almost two years old, was neutered and had been living in a shelter his whole life until we got him at 4 months old. He started off just being scared..then his fear turned to aggression. I had an animal behaviourist come to the house to assess him and to start a very strict training routine with him. We don't have rabies in Aus, so no fear there. I had him assessed after he got out and tried to attack the postman...he didn't bite him but he was close...close enough for my liking. The report I got wasn't good...he had more than just fear aggression and the behaviourist was very skeptical as to whether we could 'fix' him. I started him on anti-depressants and started the training routine. I was at a loss as to what to do. Over a couple of weeks I noticed he was actually getting worse, not better. I didn't have any children at the time but was worried about other people's kids...and just worried in general...I was raised that you don't own an animal with aggression problems, no matter how small...and this dog was not small!
In the end I had him put to sleep. Probably not the outcome you're wanting to hear, but I realised rather quickly that his condition was only getting worse, and that he was simply not happy. He was 21 months old when he was put down. Some people may not agree with what I did, but I was the one dealing with the problem, not them. Re-homing him was not possible...I was not giving him up to off load his problems onto someone else, he wasn't getting better, showing no improvement at all...there should have at least been a slight improvement. He also had major seperation anxiety and became even more destructive, even if he knew the people well.
Crating him wasn't an option for me...he was way too highly strung and even the behaviourist told me to not crate him...he said he'd more than likely rip his claws out trying to get out it would stress him so much.
When I told the behaviourist my decision he told me I had made the right choice, it just wasn't his place to say it at the time. It was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do and I still cry about it now, almost two years later.
I definently recommend getting your dog neutered...it could help. However the behaviourist told me neutered or un-neutered male dogs get a release of hormones at 18 months and then again at 3 years of age. It was at 18 months that my dog got aggressive, th ebehaviourist said that even if he did improve, we'd more than likely take a big step backwards once he hit three.
Honestly, you'll get lots of advice and opinions on the matter, I know I sure did. What it boils down to is what feels right for you. I don't think you can trust the dog around children, even your own. Children are very unpredictable for a dog with fear aggression. These are some of the questions I asked myself....
How long was I willing to work with a dog that will never be trustworthy knowing I'm putting other people in danger?
If he brutally attacks a small child (and he could have killed, he was a strong dog) will I ever be able to forgive myself?
Do I want to remember my dog as viscious and spend thousands of dollars and lots of time in court because he attacked?
If this wasn't my dog, and I was a neighbour living near a dangerous dog how would I feel and would action would I want them to take?
Is it fair to him to spend his life in fear of everything and everyone and not allow him to spend any time being a dog for fear that some innocent person will get in his way?
Good luck with your decision and keep us informed. The day I had my dog put to sleep he growled at my mum, someone he was around regularly. I knew I was making the right choice then. It was hard, like I said, no matter what it was never going to be easy.
Too lazy to even think of a siggy