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Rascalmyshadow

Hard decision, biting dog. *Updated*

96 posts in this topic

I need some opinions from an outside source to help me make a very hard but I guess necessary decision.

 

One of our dogs is a 5year old chihuahua, we got her at around 8months old from a registered breeder, she had been handled in the ring by a young boy.

 

When she arrived she was terrified, would not come for a walk with the other dogs, would cower and crawl away if she saw a collar or lead and was scared of most visitors.

 

A couple of years ago she got sick and was misdiagnosed multiple times, because of this she ended up with severe fungal and bacterial infection in her nasal cavity, she required intensive treatment as well as palate surgery.

With all this happening she started to show aggression to unfamiliar visitors.

 

We Began putting her in our room behind a baby gate if anyone but a select few people came over, that initially solved the problem.

 

Fast forward to now and she's become a lot worse, she is fine with myself, husband and two older kids but I have to keep her off my lap if my toddler is up as she will lunge at her (and yes we are always supervising)she's ok if she's on the floor or in her bed, even visitors she's previously been good with (my mum, mother/father in law etc) she will have a go at without being provoked.

 

The last two weekends my kids have had friends stay and it's been a nightmare, I've had to continually lock her in my room, but she bangs on the baby gate and barks constantly, she peed/pooped on my carpet numerous times and is just not happy with anyone being here.

 

Her nasal cavity has narrowed quite a bit from scar tissue and her breathing is bad if she exerts herself or eats anything that's too dry, I'm not sure if that's what's making her behave so defensively but there's nothing we can do to fix it.

 

I'm at the stage where I'm considering PTS but we all adore her and none of us want to make that decision.

I don't know what else we can do, I can't afford a behaviourist as I no longer work and she is making our lives very difficult.

 

Please no harsh comments as I'm already struggling with this.

 

What would others do in this situation.

 

 

Edited by Rascalmyshadow
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stellnme   

Very hard situation for you and your little dog.  I'm just wondering if she is feeling any pain anywhere to make her behave like this.  Chihuahua Rescue Qld has a beautiful boy in care who was surrendered to them by his elderly owner for similar behaviour and after tests it was found that the pins in an old patella surgery had slipped and were digging into his leg and causing great pain.  No wonder the little fellow was acting the way he was. 

Of course this probably isn't your girl's problem but is there anything from the surgery on her palate that could be causing her pain/distress?  The narrowing of her nasal cavity and subsequent struggling to breathe may be the source.  Have you had a good consultation and talk to your vet to see if there is anything you can track down?

Just my guess, but it seems she is struggling with life in general - surgery, infections, treatment for same, fear, plus her early life and rehoming could have made her very unsettled.

There are people with much more experience than me with the behaviour/training side of things who might be able to give an insight into anything that can be remedied.

I've had one similar dog in our lives that we managed for 10 years - and they were hard years.  She too had an unsettled beginning, surgery on a hip and I honestly think she was just "wired wrong" as a result of goodness knows what breeding.  We had to put to sleep at nearly 11 years as she almost took my husband's finger off and we were concerned about what else would happen.  It broke my heart as we tried so hard for so long. 

I wish you luck in whatever your decision is.  Please investigate all the options first and hopefully there will be some good advice from others here.

 

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I can only endorse what stellnme has said and offer you sympathies.  

 

Have you had her medicated for stress at all.  Perhaps a tiny dose of valium from time to time might help her.  My experience with valium (only for storm fears) was just excellent.  My dog was a tiny little crossbreed who was terrified of storms and, because her behaviour warned of an approaching storm long before it was due, I was able to control her fears by a little dose of valium.  

 

Poor little girl.  She was maybe terrified in the show ring and still forced into it.  I’ve read so much on FB about ethical show dog people who, once they realise that a dog is not happy or not interested or frightened, they stop showing the dog.  

 

I hope you have good vets who understand that some dogs are frightened by pain and they investigate thoroughly and sympathetically.  

 

Good luck.   

 

 

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Oh , that is so sad :( 

I can't think of much .. except maybe a return of illness - perhaps a tumour somewhere now ? 
if many aspects of life are untenable to her , and have you walking on eggshells .. that is not what living with dogs is all about, and , thos heartbreaking , I believe euthanasia has its place here.
yes, it is what I would do /have done . 

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5 hours ago, Dame Danny's Darling said:

Have you had her medicated for stress at all.

Could be worth a shot - I remember in the initial consult I had with the GP for Scotties behavior they mentioned medicating for storms etc was hard because you can't tell its coming.  Obviously you'd be able to tell when you have visitors. Wont help with baby/toddler issues....

Maybe even some rescue remedy or adaptil? 

 

What a sad and stressful situation for you & your family. 

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Thanks for the replies I am booking her in for a vet visit and will have a chat about trialling medication, I hope we can find something that helps, il also get her breathing etc reassessed.

 

We have gotten used to her behaviour and have been able to manage it but in the last few weeks she has unexpectedly bitten three separate people, two of which she's known since we brought her home and has always liked, the third she has seen occasionally, they are all dog people, she would have also bitten my kids friends if I hadn't locked her up.

 

Luckily she is only tiny so no major damage but I still can't excuse the behaviour as it's hard enough to break skin. 

 

 

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8 minutes ago, Powerlegs said:

Just curious. Does she have any strange compulsive behaviour?

Not that I can think of, apart from wanting to spend most of her time in her crate, but I think that's just because it has a heating pad and unless it's over 25/26 degrees she is cold.

 

 

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Maybe harsh but if she has already bitten 3 people I would PTS. By all means check  for possible cause of altered behaviour but it is obvious that there has been a problem for some time.  Sometimes it is the kindest thing for everyone.

 

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32 minutes ago, Airedaler said:

Maybe harsh but if she has already bitten 3 people I would PTS. By all means check  for possible cause of altered behaviour but it is obvious that there has been a problem for some time.  Sometimes it is the kindest thing for everyone.

 

Not harsh and I am trying to come to terms with that.

 

Whats stopping me is her being so good with myself, husband and older two kids any of us can do anything with her and she's not a problem, also every time she's bitten it's been when someone has either stood up to walk or just stepped in the door.

 

If everyone is sitting down she will be friendly but as soon as they stand up she will go for their legs. 

 

Her behaviour with my toddler only happens if she is on our laps otherwise she's fine with her as well.

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I'm not suggesting you pass her on, but Rita at Chi Rescue Vic has been around for about 30yrs and could very possibly be a good source of breed specific information. Couldn't hurt to add add her advice to your tool kit. :) She just might know something that will help. 

I'm really sorry, it's a difficult situation to be in. My question was in regards to hydrocephalus behaviour changes. 

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I would look at medication, sometimes it can be just the thing to give the brain a “break” from the anxiety and allow a new pattern to be put in place by preventing the anxiety escalating. 

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2 hours ago, Powerlegs said:

I'm not suggesting you pass her on, but Rita at Chi Rescue Vic has been around for about 30yrs and could very possibly be a good source of breed specific information. Couldn't hurt to add add her advice to your tool kit. :) She just might know something that will help. 

I'm really sorry, it's a difficult situation to be in. My question was in regards to hydrocephalus behaviour changes. 

Is she an approachable person and someone that would be happy to offer advice if we aren't looking at rehoming?

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If I was to start her on medication how do I go about re-introducing her to people in our house, I can't do it on lead because she runs and hides as soon as she sees it, she's so quick if she's going to react.

 

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Danois   

Bitten 3 people and unpredictable behaviour makes it a no brainer in my books - PTS.  It cannot be much fun for her in her head either. 

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corvus   

Can you set up a pen for her in an area where you spend a lot of time so she can be with you but also physically prevented from doing anyone any harm? If you pay her for going in every single time, there is a good chance she will continue to go in on her own. 

 

I would talk to your vet about some behavioural medication. You could try crowdfunding a vet behaviourist visit. I would support you. :flower:

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36 minutes ago, Danois said:

Bitten 3 people and unpredictable behaviour makes it a no brainer in my books - PTS.  It cannot be much fun for her in her head either. 

Her behaviour isn't exactly unpredictable, it's more she has unexpectedly done it to a few people in the past she was ok with, what she's doing is something we are usually onto.

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31 minutes ago, corvus said:

Can you set up a pen for her in an area where you spend a lot of time so she can be with you but also physically prevented from doing anyone any harm? If you pay her for going in every single time, there is a good chance she will continue to go in on her own. 

 

I would talk to your vet about some behavioural medication. You could try crowdfunding a vet behaviourist visit. I would support you. :flower:

She has an open crate in the hallway she goes into which is her safe zone, if I know someone is going to be at the house for any length of time I move it into my room, that way she can see out of the baby gate, can't reach anyone, has access to water and room to move.

Until recently that worked but now she carries on so much I'm not sure when she's needing the toilet or when she just wants out, a couple of times I've ignored her (after taking her out) and she's gone to the toilet on my carpet.

 

We don't have a lot of spare room to set up a pen for her thsts why we use my bedroom.

 

Il start with medication see if that helps her at all then I guess look into the other suggested options.

 

I assume she's doing it out of some sort of fear although her body language looks more assertive than scared.

 

 

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2 hours ago, Rascalmyshadow said:

I assume she's doing it out of some sort of fear although her body language looks more assertive than scared.

Poor darling.  My little Myrtie was highly reactive on the lead when we were out walking.  I knew it was because she was afraid, but others just saw a snarling barking little ball of fur.  She was also the one who was afraid of storms and I used to give her the tiniest dose of valium.  

 

You say she is okay until someone moves/stands up which makes me wonder if she is having some vision problems.  I would be getting her eyes checked.  And I reckon that thickening scar tissue must be causing her a lot of discomfort.  

 

Easy for us to be armchair experts, but I wouldn’t be letting her go until she has been checked up thoroughly from top to toe.  

 

I appreciate what you said about not having much room to set up the crate, but, if possible, I wouldn’t be moving it when you know people are going to visit, but rather just close the door of the crate.  

 

Just trying to think of anything that could throw her off balance.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, Dame Danny's Darling said:

 

 

Easy for us to be armchair experts, but I wouldn’t be letting her go until she has been checked up thoroughly from top to toe.   

 

Yup.

 

 

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