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This is the hardest decision I've ever had to make...


Some of you may remember me from my post back in August of 2005.


For those of you who don't, I got a border collie puppy, who I named Tad, last May. I tried to follow all the books/breeder's advice to the letter to raise a great dog. I took him out and started socializing him as soon as he got enough of his shots for it to try to get him accustomed to as many different people as possible. I also took him to puppy classes and obedience classes as soon as he was old enough (16 weeks, I think?). He did wonderfully at first, he loved people, loved being pet by people, and loved the attention. We started slow, of course, with just a few strange people, and slowly worked our way up to walking outside of strip malls and such. Since I got him he was a nippy puppy, I had a heck of a time getting him to stop "play" biting me...I tried all the tactics I could find, and eventually got it under control. Once, when he was 10 weeks or so, too young to walk along with me in the pet store, he was in the cart and a young boy came up and pet him. He puppy-growled and snapped at the boy's hand. Tad got in trouble, of course, but I excused it for him being upset/scared by the sudden motion of the boy and the sudden hand appearing. He was okay after that, I don't remember him trying to bite anyone else.


But at about 16 weeks, that all changed. He started to behave more aggressively toward strangers -- growling and barking at them if they got too close. Thinking he needed more socialization, that I wasn't doing enough, I began to put him in more situations where there were strange people. Eventually, he learned that if he didn't want to be pet by someone, he could bite them, and they would react in the most interesting fashion and back off.


I, of course, panicked. A biting/aggressive dog isn't accepted in our society -- for good reason. I began pouring over books (by Patricia McConnel, Barbara Sykes, etc), this message board, asking border collie trainers, Tad's breeder, our puppy class instructors, etc what to do, and I followed their advice as best I could. I took him to classes consistantly and tried to introduce him to strangers in a low-stress way. I've tried shaping his behavior when strangers are around with a clicker and lots of yummy treats, since Tad is extremely food motivated. I've tried getting the point across to him when he acts that way that the behavior is in no way acceptable. It hasn't gotten better. If anything, it's become less of a reaction and more of a behavior.


Tad is a very dominant puppy. At home, he's wonderful. He's extremely affectionate with his family and people he's accepted. I've done all the recommended exercises to convince him he's not "boss," and he happily complies. He listens very well. I can take away his food when he's in the middle of eating, I make him wait and do tricks before he can get his food when it's sitting on the ground (Tad is VERY food motivated). He'll drop a bone/rawhide he's chewing on in my hand if I ask (he loves those too). He has the most amazing down I've ever seen. He follows me around the house in "pack" position (behind me, letting me decide where to go and following). I make him sit and wait and let me go first before we go outside or inside. He's never shown any aggressive behavior whatsoever to his family. But when a stranger comes around, that all changes, and he starts to try to take control of the situation (because, apparently, I don't handle it the way he thinks I should ). When that happens, he ignores whatever I say, be it come, down, whatever. Due to experience, I usually have him on a leash when we have these encounters. His usual reaction, if he hasn't accepted the person yet, is the bark, growl, and lunge. I've tried all sorts of tactics recommended from various sources, and it hasn't worked. He will accept someone eventually, after a few days of them being around, and after that he'll treat them like family and be the most loving, affectionate puppy you've ever seen. But until then, he is such a danger to anyone who comes over to our house or we meet on a walk.


When he's in my control (on a leash, namely), I can keep him from biting, of course. But I don't think I can be on guard for the rest of his life. I've already messed up at least twice -- let down my guard and let him get too close to a stranger. He recently bit a friend we had staying at our house because I moved a little too close to her with his leash in my hand. She was following my advice I had given her the other day, as well. She wasn't looking him in the eye or anything challenging (well, she was facing him, but again, that's my fault, I wasn't thinking). Luckily, she is a good friend and won't press charges.


The fact is, he's such a liability right now. I can't even imagine what might happen if we're out on a walk and he sees a child playing and somehow gets out of my hands. He could do some serious damage. He's shown he'll bite. I think he likes taking control of the situation, and I know he likes the reaction he gets (squeally and jumpy) when he bites.


Of course, I could just crate him or keep him in the yard when we have company over, but what if he escapes the yard some day? Is that even fair to him? Is it worth keeping a dog who could maim, even kill, a child? Can I take that risk?


I'm pretty sure that no matter what training he undergoes, the desire in him to control a situation with a stranger won't go away, and now that he's bitten people, I can't trust him around strangers at all. Raising Tad has brought me so much joy and so much pain and worry. I can't help but think that I messed up somewhere, that I could have avoided this problem if I had done something different, but I did my best, and unfortunately, have failed him.


The above is my interpretation of events...I realize that the aggression may not be dominance based, but something else. At first I thought it was fear aggression, but later changed my mind due to the way Tad acts. Tad is now just over a year old (and neutered, by the way). I've also noticed that his reaction to strangers is the same whether he's fresh and full of energy, or exhausted from playing/training.


So now I'm faced with a horrible decision. I've been a wreck over it for days, and I still don't know what to do. I love this puppy so much, he's been my constant, attentive companion for the past year. I was really looking forward to when I could start him in fun things like agility and herding.


I can try to keep him, pay thousands of dollars to take him to an animal behaviorist, take him to reactive dog classes, try to suppress the problem, but never truly get rid of it.


I can try to find him a new home with someone who wants a wonderful, affectionate puppy who's very protective and scary when it comes to strangers, or to someone who lives somewhere where they don't have many people visiting or around their area.


Or I can do what seems unthinkable and put him down.


Right now, I'm leaning toward trying to find him a new home. I realize chances of that are slim... but maybe the "right" person will come along. I have this crazy fancy that maybe that person will live within driving distance so that I can still see Tad from time to time and hear how he's doing.


The following is a link to a directory where I've uploaded pictures of Tad, if anyone's interested in seeing him: http://www.furry-paws.com/tad/


Any advice is appreciated. I've been on these boards for a few years now (thought mostly as an observer) and I really respect your experience and opinions.


Thanks all, and sorry for the novel of a post!




(I know this probably sounds incredibly selfish, but I really do not want to be on tv, so I'm not willing to petition "The Dog Whisperer," although several friends have suggested it.)

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I hate to say this, and I don't say this lightly, but you just CAN NOT rehome this dog - a dog that bites and is as dangerous as you say can be managed and maybe you'll find a person willing to take him in, but if he bites again after placement, you could still be liable.


If you cannot work with him, then, as horrible as it is, you should have him humanely euthanized.


I own a dog who is a rescue and she used to be very shy/reactive with new people, but given her inherent good temperament she's improved a bazillion times. It sounds as though Tad might have a chemical/hormonal balance issue or a genetic predisposition given all the work and socialization he had as a pup. I therefore second a vet workup before making any decision.


You can manage Tad - why not muzzle him when he's outside? A plastic basket muzzle won't interefere w/ breathing or drinking and will protect everyone, not to mention reduce your stress levels.


Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but I just had to say something both as a pet owner and dog trainer.

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Wow, this was a good post. You clearly have worked on this situation. Since he is still young, he may still be salvageable, I am not a behaviourist, but I think one thing that might help is videotaping his behaviour toward strangers. Not letting him bite of course, but his body movements,etc. I will say this: there are many dogs out there who were deemed "bad" to the bone dogs, who, in the right circumstances came around. I think you need to put him with a qualified behaviourist, as in living, and get a read on him when he is in a home where he is not the boss from the start, and also, in a home where perhaps he can do some work, every day work, like busy all day. I am not saying it would fix it, but he sounds intelligent, and sometimes dogs/owners aren't always a good fit.



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I haven't had a complete medical work up done yet, but I'll call and set up an appointment to have that done soon.


MaggieDog, I know you're probably right. His breeder, Karen Lacy, said basically the same thing. It's just such a hard fact for me to face, so I guess I'm grasping at straws, hoping I won't have to do it. A muzzle might work, it might also scare people away from trying to pet him, which wouldn't be a bad thing :rolleyes: I'm a little worried a muzzle might just make the actual behavioral problem worse, not that that matters much, at this point...


Thank you, Julie. A behaviorist is something I've considered looking into, but it's something that's bound to cost thousands of dollars, and sadly, I'm not sure if I can afford that. : It would be a dream come true if I could find someone to take him who could provide him the situation you described, who could keep him busy and away from strange people.




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Yes, Karen, the breeder, took him for a week (several times, actually) and worked with him. He exhibited the same behaviors with strangers at her farm and I want to say he got a little better, but to be honest, I'm not sure. Karen's such a wonderful person, she has been with me and supporting me throughout the whole thing.

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Jenny - I am sorry to hear this about Tad. My Celt is from Karen (and so was my Skye, who is deceased). I think the world of her and would not hesitate to take her advice. I've seen her turn some dogs with problems right around but not every dog's problems can be solved.


I'm hoping a medical work-up might shed some light on this subject, and respect your concern for the safety of others and obvious love for Tad, and all the efforts you've made to socialize him.


In the meantime, the wire basket muzzle might be a good device to avoid a serious bite.


Best wishes for a happy solution to this problem.

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Originally posted by Jenalyn:

Karen's such a wonderful person, she has been with me and supporting me throughout the whole thing.

What does the breeder recommend now? Did you consult with a behavioralist at any time? Have labs been run to make sure things are medically ok with him, especially thyroid?


Last question is how bad are his bites? This is really important to know. An inhibited biter is presents a different level of risk and liability than a hard biter. Is he breaking skin? Are there puncture wounds, if so, how many punctures and how deep in one bite?

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Are any of Tad's littermates exhibiting similar behaviors? I can only speak from my experience, I have a dog who became unpredictably aggressive when he was under 1 year. After a year or so, and much work with behaviorists etc etc, he was no better and was finally diagnosed as hypothyroid. Once on medication (and neutered) the behaviors didn't go away completely because at that point, as you said, it was almost habit, a learned behavior versus a fear/anger/whatever.


But as we knew exactly was going on, we were/are able to work with him, and keep ourselves safe at the same time. Through the smallness of world that the internet creates, we discovered that some of his littermates have similar issues so we're all kind of comparing notes.


I would definitely get a complete medical work on up on him and would have to concur that he cannot/should not be placed except under the most amazing of circumstances. I know that my dog would not be adoptable, even now, when he is 98% better.


Best of luck!


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Thanks Sue, I appreciate your support.


Liz, her advice was to put him down, but she's offered to put him up on a website if I want to try to find a new home for him. I haven't consulted with a behaviorist, I suppose I've been trying to use up relatively inexpensive resources. I've talked with Tad's breeder, our puppy class instructors, the vets, lots of books and message boards, but that's about it. I haven't gotten a full workup yet, but I'm planning to now, after hearing the advice on these boards.


The bites really aren't all that bad. He has pretty good bite inhibition. He's only broken skin twice, and the wounds no worse than a scratch (one shallow puncture). From what I can tell, he doesn't bite to hurt, just to get a reaction.

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Hi Jenn - Sorry to hear Tad is still acting out his ill feelings toward the world. I know you have worked extremely hard with him. You have given it more than a fair shake, and taken all the advise to heart.

This may be a controversial stance, but I do believe that there are some dogs that are just not cut out to live in a social world - in order to survive and live contently, they need to be on their own little piece of turf with their own humans or pack members, where the outside world doesn't intrude. I think for those dogs, if we try to insist that the world be part of their lives, they MAY be able to learn tolerance,self control and redirection; but may never be truly content, constantly worry, and eventually lash out when they reach a certain point of social frustration and anxiety. This dog IS a liability, and the owner needs to accept the position of being in constant "leadership/training mode" to manage this type of personality in public. IMO this basic personality will not be "changed", just managed. It is managed by the owner being in constant awareness in public, and training the dog to defer to the owner or redirect his response.

Livestock guardian dogs are hardwired to be wary of and "not tolerate" anything strange; they protect what they perceive as their flock.

Some Border Collies are that way, to an extent, but either just choose to ignore the outside world - rather than lash out at it or react to it. Generally, people and other animals that are not part of their pack may be tolerated but disregarded as not important.

IMO, the difference between the "tolerant dogs" and the "reactive dogs" may be the inate self confidence that the dog has, and his ability to supress first response reactivity. Instead of being able to confidently "ignore" the intruders in his life, Tad feels he must address them, especially when they don't read his body language to "get back or I'll have to back this look up with action". And maybe he's decided that "the look" obviously isn't working, so he's just going to go with "the action".

What a tough decision to have to make! When was the last time you spoke with his breeder? I don't know for sure, but bet that the breeder would take him back to work with him and evaluate him for stock work (maybe for someone on a working farm/ranch who isn't interested in taking him around to socialize). If you decide to keep him and work on it, I'd contact Kathryn Malcolm, our reactive dog trainer at A Click Above. Her website is www.caninecharacter.com. She is teaching independently now, but does Saturday reactive dog classes in Leesburg.

edited to say -oops- while I was writing you answered the question about Karen. Also, I agree with having the medical screening done to rule out abnormalities, although I find it hard to believe his thyroid is that off from such an early age.

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Jenny, I see that you live in Chantilly Va. I only live about 1 hr from you. I recently contacted a behaviorist, Dr. Karen Overall. She is taking clients, and she charges, I think..$350 for the initial consultation/observation and I think that is about 2-2 1/2 hrs. I will try to find her email address and/or web site, and send it to you.

I know one thing for sure, (as a trainer), the age he is now is a really wackey age. He is just learning his place, and he may not be secure in what he thinks he needs to protect you from and when you need "help".

A Behaviorist, will evaluate and possibly prescribe medication, while working on the behavior.

I would most definately get the physical, with lab work (although) the Behaviorist will probably do that as well, so check with her/him first, may save you some $.

My feeling is at his very young age, this is something that should be able to be dealt with and hopefully have positive results,by a very qualified person, and Dr. Overall is known world wide. She is in Pa. by the way. She teaches at the U of Pa.

I will get back to you with her address.

Be very careful, on choosing a Behaviorist, there are ALOT of people who call themselves just that, and have NO, REAL experience and most importantly credentials to be doing this. There are no laws regulating dog trainers or animal behaviorists . Please be careful.

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Ok, Jenny.. Here is info on Dr. Karen Overall


Dr. Karen Overall, VMD, PhD.

School of Veterinary Medicine

Dept. of Clinical Studies--Philly

3900 Delancey St.

Phil., Pa. 19104-6010


Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist...


I am also sending through your private email a list of Behaviorists throughout the country, so keep your eye out for it. I will try to send it now.

Good Luck... Please keep us up to date on what you do.

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Nothing against Karen Lacy since she seems to have a nice dogs and I am not sure which litter Tad comes from but I do know that awhile back she took back another one of her puppies that was aggressive and it only got worse in the short time the family had the puppy. I think the returned puppy and Tad are similar in age so could be the same breeding but who knows. The person that I know that returned the puppy says the sire (I believe) was from overseas. I believe that the dog that Karen took back is still with Karen and I believe the dog only lives a workers life which probably suits the dog just fine. I heard the dog has even bitten Karen but is a good worker so she manages the dog as best she can...


I give Karen credit for trying to do what is right.


I would do what Laurie suggested and see if the dog has enough ability to make a good worker for someone on a farm. That way the dog is saved and won't have to be bothered by people... it is always a thought and a good one...


Please no one take what I am saying as me saying anything bad about Karen. I do not know her and have nothing against her. She seems to try and do right by her clients and the dogs. Every breeder is going to get a couple that just aren't cut for the pet world or any world.


You have a hard decision to make and I don't envy you. Putting a dog dog down for aggression is a responsible choice if nothing seems to be working and you are not seeing any improvement. If you choose to euthanize for the sake of people in general, don't let anyone make you feel bad. You have tried more than most people would...

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Behaviorists do not cost thousands of dollars. Normally you will see the behaviorist once, maybe twice, and have plenty of support by phone and email. This is my experience.


There are very few options for troubled dogs. The mythical farm home or home in the country or home that wants a protective dog really doesn't exist for most of these dogs.


Tad sounds totally trainable and manageable in my book, particularly if you seek professional help -- from a certified veterinary behaviorist, not some random trainer or books. These can help, but they're no substitute. In my opinion if you're going to try to fix this you have to REALLY try to fix this. No half-measures. He's your dog and you owe him that.


In the end what it really boils down to is what you can do and still be able to look at yourself in the mirror in the morning. Once I went through an epiphany very much like yours, when I realized my dog would never be the sociable, easygoing dog I thought I wanted at the time. I did not feel up to the challenge. I wanted very badly to shirk it.


Ultimately I realized that I could not live with myself if I gave up on this dog. He'd already been let down by every other human in his life and if I gave up on him, I'd be just like all of them. So I stopped feeling sorry for myself and started putting him back together.


Tad is your dog and your responsibility. The odds that you will find another good home for him are very slim. Karen Lacy has a LOT of dogs and he needs individual attention. You are his best hope and possibly his only hope. I think you can do it. You who have known him since puppyhood, and love him, are the most likely person to make this happen.


The reason I am saying this to you is that there are plenty of people out there who will tell you to kill your dog and pat you on the back for doing it. I won't do that. I won't encourage you to give up on your dog. You can do this. You can at least try.


Once I faced a very similar decision and it changed my life. I would not trade Solo for a thousand normal dogs. He is my heart, my teacher, my soulmate. And hey, he got me a job.


If I were you I'd get on the horn and call Karen Overall ASAP. She's the one who gave me this very pep talk about Solo. If anyone can help you fix Tad, it's her.

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I too am very sorry to hear of your problems. I'm glad Melanie posted, as we know she has had wonderful support from Dr Karen Overall, and has had the experience of being able to give a satisfying life to a dog with problems which would have overwhelmed many others.


FWIW, if I were in your situation, I think I could not decide to euthanize a dog such as Tad without at least one consult with a highly respected and trained veterinary behaviourist such as Dr Overall. If she were to say that Tad could not realistically be treated and managed, then you know you've given it your best shot.


In the meantime, I would certainly be muzzling Tad when he's out. He's not really going to care, other people are less likely to come and try to pet the cute puppy, you will feel more relaxed, since you know people are safe, and therefore he will feel better. Here, all greyhounds are required to be muzzled when out in public, and it seems to be no biggie.


Good luck.

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I don't muzzle Solo in public. He is manageable without a muzzle, and I find that if I am putting him in situations where I think he would need a muzzle, it means I'm putting him in situations that aren't doing him or anyone else any good. Trips to the vet are an exception to this.


Solo can look scary, but has demonstrated in many circumstances that he doesn't actually want to hurt anyone. He has excellent bite inhibition. He is extremely predictable. His triggers can be seen and avoided. I think these statements also probably describe Tad. Solo does not react to strangers or strange dogs unless approached closely and very directly (i.e., direct eye contact, reaching toward him). It took work to get to this stage, but we're here.


I might add that Solo had more problems to overcome than Tad -- he did not come from a loving home, and had about five owners before me (I adopted him when he was 16 months old), and his experiences before coming to me had scrambled him up pretty darn good. I do think he would have been weird even if brought up right -- but maybe not as weird as he was when I got him. (He was alternately catatonic and freaked. It took about a month for him to start growling at strangers.)


Solo is still not OK meeting random pushy strangers on the street (ones who can follow instructions and ignore him are OK) and he doesn't want anything to do with most dogs that we meet. To this I say, so what. It's not important to me that my dog is everyone's friend, and we go to the park to play together, not to play with other dogs.


Yeah, so maybe you wanted a dog who would love everybody. That's tough luck, but I don't think a dog deserves to lose his home, or die, because he doesn't love everybody.


ANY dog big enough to land a bite bad enough to damage is a liability. There is no such thing as a dog who would "never" hurt anyone. Dogs are dogs. They all have their limits. Managing a dog responsibly is about knowing his limits. It seems difficult at first but after you decide to dedicate yourself to the task and find some good mentors and teachers, it gets easier and finally, it is second nature.


This is my problem dog (actually, the problem dog is the little one on the left, but you get the point):




He has soul.




Does he look like a "bad dog" to you? Should I have kicked him to the curb? Yup, this looks like a dog who'd be better off dead, huh?


Sure, I've had plenty of people tell me that Solo doesn't deserve to live. As far as I'm concerned, those people can all go to hell. To me, Solo is worth ten of their "perfect," normal dogs. If Solo were in a burning house with ten of their "perfect," normal dogs, I'd run in there and save Solo. He is not less than other dogs.


Everyone has to make her own choices. This was mine. Again, I am telling you this because there will be a dozen voices to my one and they will all tell you to kill your dog. You deserve to hear the other side of the story, from someone who made the opposite choice.


I would euthanize a dog for only one reason: quality of life. If I had a dog who was so fearful and so uncomfortable in the world that he had little quality of life -- even after literally everything had been done to help him -- I would euthanize that dog. Being that this is a very humane-sounding excuse for euthanizing a dog with behavioral problems, it is trotted out very, very often. However, I believe that very few dogs actually fit this profile, and certainly not all the dogs who are killed by their owners because their behaviors became difficult or inconvenient. Quality of life also covers health issues -- obviously I would euthanize a dog who was too old, or too sick, or too whatever to have a quality life despite the best veterinary care.


I should note that in the responses to this thread I am speaking only for myself, and not the project that I work for.


Good luck.

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Cheyenne, my little muttley, while she does NOT ever bite down, she will snarl her lips, and act like a regular Cujo. She will put her mouth on someone, just not bite. But you know what? She is MY dog. Not the rest of the worlds. If she don't wanna be around strangers, ok. Jackson thinks EVERYONE belongs to him, and has come just to see him! He's conceited! But that does not lessen my Cheyenne's worth. I just don't let strangers pet her. And she is just the cutest thing, but as soon as I see people approach, I tell them, she bites! They back off, that's it. When there are children around that she doesn't know, she is put in my room. Mainly, so there is no accident, you never know, and also so she doesn't have to deal with what I know upsets her. She means everything to me. She was never properly socialized, she was a trucker dog, and yeah, I guess I encouraged this so people would stay away from my truck. So now she is what she is. You decide where to take your dog. If strangers are coming over, crate him or lock him in a room.


DON'T give him away, don't put him to sleep. He is a member of your family.

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Beautiful post. Great words and thoughts!



You and Tad are not too far from me. I know you have put a lot of thought, care, and effort into this. Give me a shout, I may be able to help you and find a farm type situation where Tad may go.


I think Erin and a few others have said the right things that need to be said. If Tad can not properly interact with humans, then there may not be a place for him. I WOULD DEFINATELY TO A FULL HEALTH CHECK before making any decision and do it as soon as possible. It is amazing what they can find and correct.

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I thought I would add a bit, just to clarify a few things.


Melanie, those were wonderful posts; I wish there were more people out there so committed to doing right by their dogs as you have. I too have a dog that others considered unadoptable where I saw a diamond in the rough. Like you, it has taken a lot of time and work to get Maggie to where she is, but I would not trade her for anything in the world, even if I do sometimes wish her start in life wasn't as rough as it was.


All that said, my original post still stands - if someone has a dog that poses an active danger to others and they are not willing/able to keep the dog and others safe, often euthanasia is the most humane choice.


One of my previous dog training clients had a great wolfhound/shepherd mix. We worked on basic obedience for about 4 months together. 6 months after the last time I saw the dog, he appeared at the animal shelter where I volunteered. He had been given up because he 'got too big', but after a few days it became apparent that he was male stranger aggressive, so he was moved out of adoption for observation.


I loved that dog; he had a ton of promise and was incredibly sweet with me, performing all his obedience commands flawlessly and joyfully when I asked and happy to join me on walks, but he had been given up on. :rolleyes: After one too many reactive episodes with a few staff members and a 'trainer' who evaluated him (without my knowledge unfortunately), he was euthanized. If I had had room in my home for Tookie I would've taken him in a flash and I have no doubt that I could've turned him around with time and care as I have with Maggie, but I didn't and now he waits on the other side. His owners knew what they could do to prevent this behavior and chose not to do it, I even suspect there may have been some abuse involved to turn the friendly, biddible young dog into a stranger aggressive adult in 6 months, but I will never know.


Tookie is my warning to all those who think they can get away with not training or managing their dog effectively and he now stands as an example of what can happen when humans fail dogs.


None of the above is meant to apply to the OP or anyone else on this board, but it is my way of explaining my position on humane euthanasia of aggressive animals when no one takes responsibility or action on their part. It would not have been responsible of the shelter to adopt out this dog given his reactions unless it was to a very unique home that did everything possible to manage and treat the behavior issues he had and those are next to impossible to come by. If Tookie hadn't been one of my former dog training students, I wouldn't have knowingly adopted him myself - I already have one work-in-progress dog.

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Maybe not thousands, but $350 per session sounds pretty close :rolleyes: Please understand that my reluctance to call a behaviorist isn't just because of the cost. I have friends who have called behaviorists before, and to my knowledge, they haven't done much good. It seems like, instead of solving the root of the problem, they prescribe medication that drugs the dog into a drowsy, relaxed state all day. Although, maybe the medication was the only way to help the problem, I don't know, I can't claim to know the entire situation. But, I don't want Tad to be drugged for the rest of his life. I don't really want Tad to be muzzled for the rest of his life. If the mythical place of a farm who wants him does exist, would it be more fair to him to let him live a full life, unsedated, unmuzzled, there? That's more of the question I'm facing when I talk about giving him up. I wouldn't give him away to just anybody, it would take a very special person to handle his problems and keep him happy.


Karen Overall sounds as if she'd have better suggestions than just sedation/medication, however. If there is no mythical home for Tad, I'll definately give her a call. I really can't stand the thought of euthanizing my wonderful pup, and if I can help it, that won't happen. But I'm afraid that I might not be able to help it. As I said, I try my best to be on guard every time we go out in public and every time we have friends over, but I have slipped up, and that's what scares me. I don't want Tad to hurt someone, or someone's child. I say that Tad has great bite inhibition, and he has in the past, but this last person he bit got a wound worse than any he's ever dealt out before. I'm worried that his innate bite inhibition may be starting to get "overwritten," if that's even possible.


I have an uncle who had an aggressive dog (not intentionally) who somehow got out of his control and attacked a child. The kid had to have plastic surgery. The dog had to be put down, by law. I don't want that to happen to Tad. I don't want to have to stand in front of a mother whose child is disfigured for life because of my dog, who I knew was aggressive.


I've to worked with Tad since he starting showing the behavior consistantly at 16 weeks. At first, I admit, I didn't react well, but after a week or so of seeing that what I was doing wasn't working, I sought the help of my vet, Tad's breeder, and my training instructors. The books I got from recommendations from this board, on my previous post. I followed their instructions, and Tad did improve a little, but he still lunges, growls, and will bite, with little to no provocation.


Yes, Tad doesn't have nearly as many problems as Solo did. Tad only has one major problem, in my book, not just his aggression, but his determination to bite. It's not just that he doesn't love everybody, I don't care about that. My other dog doesn't love everybody she meets, either, but she doesn't react by biting or causing harm. Tad does.


When I got a puppy, I thought I was prepared to handle anything and everything that he could throw at me. I sure tried. I used all the resources available to me at the time, from people I respect greatly as dog trainers (except a behaviorist, yes, but I was hoping his problems could be resolved without having to consult one). I have given this puppy my all and I don't want to give him up, in any way. If it were only me in the picture, I'd keep him, no doubt. But as it is, I don't live alone, I'm still a minor, and I have other people to consider.


Thank you, Laurie, for your support throughout this whole thing. You've been so kind to me, both here and at classes!


Joe Anne, thanks for the contact information, I'll definately keep that in mind.


Melanie, I appreciate your passion and your advice. I'm glad your experience with Solo turned out so well. It's great to hear a story of success in a world mired with so many stories of failure.


Marie, the breeder called Tad's siblings, and both of them are doing great, with no troubles.


I took Tad to the vet yesterday, by the way. I should get the results from the blood tests back today.




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To add a note- especially to anyone who is thinking Jenn is "giving up" on this little guy to quickly. The big difference between Tad and dogs like Solo and Maggie is that he has been in a stable, loving, nurturing environment since day one. No abuse, no insecurites. His breeder is more experienced than 3/4 of the breeders out there, and Jenn has done a fabulous one-on-one training job with him. He even lives with a wonderful, confident sweet spayed female BC as a role model. He just came out of the box this way - he is not what anyone would expect from a well bred herding pup, who has had the best of the best in his life. He does not trust the world outside his family. He never has. That's just how he is, and I personally don't think any amount of money spent will really change that. A behaviorist may be able to help Jenn manage it and train through it, but I don't feel it's fair to insinuate that she hasn't already done the best she can, or that a behaviorist will be able to work miracles. Tad is who Tad is.

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