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Working with a seriously aggressive dog


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My 30Kg dog (Rebel) has attacked my 18Kg dog (Sam) and badly beaten him up, including taking a large (50cm plus) chunk out of the littler guy's upper shoulder/neck. He also did it a week ago or so, but without the  damage. From what I saw, the intent was there, but unskilled in the first attack. I have told the rescue people that I need him removed, fairly quickly.


We took on a "staffy cross" ("American" Staffy? cross).

He has quite serious joint and tendon trouble and that leaves him in a fair bit of pain. We are treating that with Gabapentin and Previcox. We took him on knowing that it was going to be $$. Nobody else wanted him. He had been fostered for at least 18 months. The woman who was fostering him said that the previous foster home did not want him back He was extremely bark-aggressive towards me and my wife, but we could see a spark in him and never felt endangered by him.


One problem. His name is Rebel and his previous owner is in jail....hmmmm.


After spending 4.5 hours with him, with the foster owner there but staying back, I got him to let me put a leash on him. After that it was all gravy. He was amazing on lead, with no weight. He did, however , have a halti chest tightener setup, because he is VERY strong. If he took into his head after a cat or whatever, the halti _might_ do the job.


He is a _seriously_ beautiful dog once knows you, as we had figured.


But he does not play well with delivery drivers or tradies coming onto our place. Some get scared, some ignore him. But he is aggressive with them, as he was with us. Unfortunately our smaller guy makes things worse by attacking Rebel while people are there and of course that winds up Rebel. Unless I have warning there is nothing I can do, because they just run  away.


My "solution" is to just shut them in  when I know somebody is coming onto the block. Not the best, but these people are in a hurry. I can hardly say' sit there for a while I train my dog to ignore you"


Anyway. Now to the real problem.


Twice now, Rebel has attacked Sam ferociously and sustained, after they have run together and Rebel has "hunted Sam down" at the end of the run. In both cases I could hear the difference in the noises they were making and went as fat as I could to stop it. Shouting did not work: Rebel was into the job and did not listen. First time I smacked  (belted) him hard with one of those plastic ball throwers. Second time I belted him with my fist: against all advice, I know, but you try watching your dog being dragged and shaken to apparent death. 


What do I do? Talk of training just does not work for me. This is so unpredictable and so possibly fatal for my little Sam, whom I had to watch totally helpless and being dragged across the ground and shaken, by his neck, fearful and in pain.


Muzzle? All the talk is that a muzzle is not the solution but a safety measure while you train. Do I care? Can you train a dog to not spontaneously tear up another dog?


I still love Rebel and do not blame him. But this was awful.



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I'm sorry to say that my advice would be to give Rebel his wings... he is in pain, and he's aggressive. He most likely will not change his behaviours, and he will eventually kill Sam, or injure him so badly you will have to have Sam put down.


It sounds like no-one has had the guts to call it like it is with this boy... he is not a happy dog by any stretch of the imagination. He is in pain, and most likely has some anxiety issues as well. Just because he has a pulse and can be a "nice" dog sometimes does not mitigate the fact that he is a ticking time bomb... a very strong time bomb with teeth...


His reactions to strangers (of the human kind) is also a real problem. If he decided to take umbrage with a child, you could be in all manner of trouble with the authorities.


Please be a really good mate to Rebel and allow him to sleep the long sleep... I really think he deserves that respect, as it's not exactly his "fault" the way he is, but it is cruel to continue on trying to "fix" him. Sam also needs to feel safe in his own home, yes?



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Many times I have read newspaper reports that a dog or dogs have killed or wounded a person, child or baby.  Often the reports say the dog or dogs have never shown any previous aggression.


Your aggressive dog has shown you what he is capable of.  He is definitely a time bomb with a very short fuse.


I feel very sorry for your original dog Sam.  He shouldn't have to tolerate this type of aggression.  

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8 hours ago, REALOldNick said:

I still love Rebel and do not blame him. But this was awful

Arghhh :(

I can understand a bit  of how you are feeling . 
many years ago , we 'rescued ' a wolfhound cross - friendly girl, obedient, - but a hunter . That was fine - we live in the bush - plenty of rabbits , and the odd pig.  fast forward  to the awful day she killed one of our bitches who was in whelp  :(:(
She was happy to see her humans come home ...but . For everyone's peace of mind, she was euthanased. It is just not worth the heartache /the 'what ifs/the constant preventative measures...
Your Poor Sam :( his personality will change from being attacked. YOU will change from having to try & manage Rebel's behaviour. REBEL is NOT a happy and comfortable dog .
You love him? He is lucky. he gets to be respected and sent on "the long sleep" by people who DO love him and want there to be no more mistakes- no more pain. 
In my mind there is only this one plan of action- sorry. 

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No one here would ever lightly tell you to euthanise your loved dog.  We know the pain and heartache you are going through.  We know the sick horrible feeling in the stomach and the heart of having to make this sort of decision.  Most of us have all had to do it at some stage.  


What @tdierikxhas said below is 99.9999% guaranteed to happen.   

5 hours ago, tdierikx said:

I'm sorry to say that my advice would be to give Rebel his wings... he is in pain, and he's aggressive. He most likely will not change his behaviours, and he will eventually kill Sam, or injure him so badly you will have to have Sam put down.


The rescue group is totally at fault in this case and have been derelict in their duty to the dog, the foster carers and, in particular, to you and Sam.  


My deepest sympathies are with you, but for the sake of Sam, yourselves, delivery drivers, tradies, you don’t really have a choice.  Chose a day and time, load Rebel up with painkillers, give him a great time and the true love of releasing him from his devils.   



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Keeping these dogs in any sort of proximity to each other even with fences doors pens carefully managed etc, it’s akin to making them live in a domestic violence relationship. 
While ever Rebel is still your dog, Sam is living on eggshells. It’s not fair. 

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Wow .... I think you know the  answer , you.ve got a loaded gun there  all ready to fire , its just going to need the  right circumstances and  it will be Whoops , sorry your honor , i did'nt really think he would tear the calf muscle of a tradie ,  or  Sorry Sam ,  i knew i should of got rid of him ,,,, You know what to do  you don't really need anyone on here to tell you ,,,, With saying all that  i blame the rescue group , the fact that they had to watch you and the dog for so long  means they KNEW  that dog was'nt suitable for rehoming , not everyone is Ceasr Milan ,, and a dog that bites  especielly one that bites through fear or pain is a potentially dangerous weapon ,, If you paid for him i would be asking for my monbey back , they took advantage of your good nature

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