Jump to content
BC Boards

Very troubling behavior


Recommended Posts

I truly believe that the folks who don't think Pip's behavior is anything more than an intense desire to "work" the other dogs aren't really understanding the full picture. I've had dogs like that before and this is not the same thing. Pip is basically over threshold just by the presence of other dogs, even if he can't see them. If he hears a dog or thinks he hears a dog, he begins spinning, pacing, and barking. I've attached another video of Pip exhibiting this behavior when he hears a dog moving on the other side of the door.

 

 

This is not just a management issue. I'm quite experienced with using management as a tool to keep harmony in my house. After all, I have Skittles. We have and use baby gates and crates and rotate dogs when necessary all the time. But, Pip obsesses and acts neurotic just at the sound of another dog. And it's not just a matter of "not tolerating the behavior." I don't think Pip has any control over his behavior. He is just reacting.

 

He has also been redirecting his anxiety and frustration about the dogs towards us more and more. For example, yesterday afternoon, we were getting him ready to take him to the park. I was trying to adjust the harness that he was wearing when a dog in my house barked. Pip immediately launched at my face and snapped. He managed to connect with my face, but I must have managed to turn my head in time to avoid a direct hit. I only ended up with some saliva and a sore chin where he hit me. Then, last night, I was spending some time with him in the garage, just sitting with him and petting him. Suddenly, he heard something in the house and turned and chomped down on my arm. He didn't do any damage, but I'm just concerned that he could up the ante as his frustration and anxiety grows.

 

As far as taking him to sheep, that's not really possible. I don't have sheep and don't have easy access to sheep. I have a friend with sheep and I'm sure she would be willing to take him and work with him, if I thought that was what he needed. However, she also has other dogs and foster dogs and I know that she would not want a dog like Pip around terrorizing her other dogs. Pip is also still not healthy. He is still severely underweight. He weighed 25 pounds when I took him to the e-vet the day after we got him. He should weigh closer to 40 pounds. I'm sure he has put on some weight, but he is still all skin and bones. Pip is also still anemic and we are still doing follow-up visits with the vet to check his RBC count. And Pip has heartworms, which will need to be treated at some point. So, I can't really ask her to take all that on, as well. She lives over 3 hours away from me, so it's not like I could just swing by and pick him up for vet appointments.

 

We have already decided that we will move Pip back to Steve's house once the puppy is gone. But, that won't happen immediately. I would like to give the puppy at least one more week to finish shedding parvovirus before I allow him to go to someone else's home. I don't want him spreading virus, if I can help it. And he still needs to be neutered. Moving Pip to Steve's house will at least remove the stimulus and give Pip a chance to relax while we work on his issues. Of course, it's not an ideal situation and can't be a long-term solution. I am also planning to have my friend who is a trainer and who specializes in reactive dogs come and evaluate him. Meanwhile, I'm wracking my brain day and night trying to come up with a long-term solution for him. Unfortunately, I don't have unlimited resources or time, given that I work a full time job and have other responsibilities besides Pip. That doesn't mean that I'm not willing to put in extra time and effort on him; I am. But, I don't think what I alone can offer is enough to rehab him.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 72
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Mary,

 

This is one of the things I hate most about doing rescue. Coming upon a dog that will require tremendous amounts of time and resources without knowing if it will do any good in the end. I'm very disturbed about Pip's aggressive behavior. This is the biggest red flag for me. Would you ever feel safe adopting out an animal that is very clearly capable of biting and inflicting harm?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you are going to work with this dog I would get him on anti-anxiety meds ASAP. The second thing I would do is quit giving him any sort of freedom until he has time to decompress. I'd keep my interactions with him to an absolute minimum for a week or two. Crate him, take him out on a leash to potty and for light exercise, but other than that, just leave him be. Let him figure out his world from the safety (for both him and you) of his crate.

 

I really think before you're going to get any headway made with the dog issues, he has to trust you and you need a highly valuable working reward system in place.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Listening to you explain the dog and his behavior, I can view the first video with new eyes. He does look fearful and he does look like he's working the other dogs - but I'm thinking that "working" is simply this dog's particular OCD. Some dogs spin, some chase cars, etc., etc. This particular dog's crazy comes out in a way that mimics working, but isn't working! So - the fearfulness and aggresssion overlaid by obsessive tendencies to get at other dogs.

 

It's very upsetting to hear that he's biting at you. He reminds me so much of my dog, who took months in dog-free settings to decompress from whatever his previous life was, plus shelter life. I'll be thinking a lot about him and you.

 

Mary

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mary - you're the one observing the behavior 24/7, and I'm just looking at a couple of minutes of video. So I believe your assessment over mine.

 

I had a chow once who'd do as you describe - if crated or confined away from other dogs, he never setttled. He'd keep banging himself against the crate, squeaking, and would get himself so worked up over the idea of other dogs in the vicinity that he'd refuse food or water for 12 hours at a time.

 

That one? I kept him isolated from every other dog in the world except his bitch. And the two of them tried to kill each other about three times a year, LOL.

 

He was a right pain in the @$$ but lived a good long life and was one of my favorite dogs. Oddly, once he found a human he trusted, he was absolutely the perfect pet. He bit me a few times over the years, but only when I was trying to restrain him when he got into a panic. He was like Pip in that he never broke the skin - although, being a chow, he did put a pretty good bruise on me now and then. Anyway, I think that's a positive sign that Pip does show some restraint when he bites.

 

All that to say, that Pip definitely has a good shot at future. You just need to find someone like me when I took Pud (yes, that was really his name) - a twenty-something who's not too smart, has no assets to lose if she's sued, and who doesn't mind taking a chance on the dog.

 

Thank you for being there for Pip. :)

 

Hope Skittles is doing well.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi, Mary. Just wondering if there's been any settling with Pip? Hoping for your sake that he's shown some improvement.

 

I know it's not really feasible with us being so far apart, but I wanted to offer to put him on sheep with my trainer, if you wanted to at least get an assessment. With my household, I have even less of a chance to keep him isolated from my dogs, but I could probably find a place for him to stay for a day or so if you wanted to give it a try. I know Cathy T has sheep, so she might be easier, but wanted to offer.

 

I was thinking if he shows promise on stock, that might make him easier to place, but the problem remains that most people who work their dogs, will already have several. If he needs to be an only dog, that might not be much help, but if he gets a good assessment on stock, I can start asking around for someone who might be looking to get started in herding.

 

Enough rambling from me.

 

ETA: I meant after Pip is healthy again, Mary.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If Pip is in Vero then he is only about 30 minutes form Judith Kelley. She has training days every Saturday- All day- & I'm sure she could give some thoughts on his abilities. This weekend is the That'll Do Farm trial so she will be running but it is right around the corner from her so I bet she will back at her place in between runs. Please post if you are going I'd love to see him in person & I plan on being there training this weekend.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

After having read through this whole thread I have to say that if time and money are limited and Pip is a major head case who has shown a willingness to act out his frustrations on humans--and this all while he is still feeling poorly and is relatively weak--I think I'd be thinking about putting him down. I know that's not going to be a popular opinion, but it's dogs like this one that wear rescuers out and frankly I think he would be nearly impossible to place without some serious intervention--both medical/pharmacological and training. Is this something your rescue (you) really want to take on Mary? I know dogs deserve a chance and that it's probably not Pip's fault that he is the way he is, but his reactiveness and aggression toward both humans and dogs make me wonder if he won't do some serious damage before he can be gotten rehabbed or under some sort of reasonable control. If you had a resource--a person who was willing to take him on exclusively and work to rehab him--that would be one thing, but trying to do that in an overcrowded house with your attention divided among all the other dogs--yours and fosters--just seems like it could be a recipe for disaster.

 

FWIW, while I think that putting him in a working situation *could* help him, after reading this thread and watching only one video, I can tell you that he's not a dog I would want to take on as a working dog. He would be a liability, IMO.

 

J.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Paula,

 

Sorry, I hadn't realized more posts were made here. Pip is doing OK. It's just not the ideal situation for him, since he has to be kept separated. We have been taking him separately to the field to play with the Jolly Ball, which he LOVES. But, even that's tough because we have to exercise dogs in two shifts and we can't get to the field most weekdays until after 7 PM because they have classes there. So, our lives completely revolve around taking care of dogs right now. (Let's not forget little Stevie who I am still keeping in quarantine until next week, just to be safe. So, really there are three separate dog "shifts" that we rotate through each evening.) We have an appointment with the vet behaviorist scheduled for next Wednesday. I'm hoping we can get a specific plan and maybe some anti-anxiety meds to help take the edge off while we work with him. I thought about trying to take him to Cathy's this weekend to try him on sheep. But, the thing is, if I'm not able to regularly work him on sheep (and I'm not), I'm not sure what good this would do.

 

MyTDogs, I am aware of Judith Kelley.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I wanted to add to my previous post...I know, I am a bit slow. LOL

Years back my old man was a working fool. I knew that I did not have the time, money or ability to work him as he needed. But, I did end up putting him in training (first and only dog to ever leave my home for training and I only did it because I trusted this trainer 100%) and it did allow him to one, channel his energy and to an extend, his aggression (trainer wanted him as a cow dog but I nixed that idea). Two, which was invaluable for me, was that it made it possible for me to follow up with spotty training much easier as the trainer established essentially a reason for the work and installed a shut off button.

This happened many years ago. But with the dog I have now, this has been the same effect.

Keeping my fingers crossed for you and Pip.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I understand Mary. I just thought it was an option that needed to be put out there. I don't think rescuers need to burn themselves out on really hard cases.

 

J.

 

 

 

Very good point Julie. This is an issue that has been very much on my mind lately. CBCR has a handful of dogs who are aggressive and basically not adoptable. We have a policy never to pull a dog that shows either human or dog aggression, but sometimes these behaviors don't show up until a dog is

settled down and feeling comfortable in the foster home. Some of these dogs have been in foster homes for years and are both a psychological and a financial burden to the rescue. I know we have to come up with an official policy to handle these circumstances, but it is such a divisive issue and one that people don't seem to want to confront.

 

I'd love to know how other rescues handle this.

 

Jenn

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I took in a BC back in May who had the same behavior with my other two dogs. The biggest mistakes I made are #1 Not keeping him on a leash AT ALL TIMES when he was around my other dogs. And even after I was semi comfortable with his behavior around the other dogs, for at least another month he drug the leash behind him. #2 Letting the other dogs correct him. That was a mistake that I hope you don't make. Once you see it happen you will never forgive yourself for letting it escalate to that level. Anyways thats my $0.02. Good luck!

Oh yeah, And we are living as a happy family now!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Some of these dogs have been in foster homes for years and are both a psychological and a financial burden to the rescue. I know we have to come up with an official policy to handle these circumstances, but it is such a divisive issue and one that people don't seem to want to confront.

 

I'd love to know how other rescues handle this.

 

 

I don't know about other rescues, but I euthanize dogs like this. My resources are finite, and I won't adopt out anything that I would consider dangerous, so that leaves no other options. I would never ask my volunteers to take on what amounts to permanent management of a dangerous animal, so if a dog is not adoptable, I euthanize it. That doesn't mean the dog in question is not given loads of chances to succeed of course - that includes behavioural modification and pharmaceutical intervention. But if a dog is not safe to adopt out, it can't be adopted out, period.

 

I don't generally consider dog aggression in this category. Most dog-aggro dogs can be successfully rehabbed, or at least their behaviour can be somewhat modified and managed. Dogs who bite people in the face though - they get euthanized.

 

RDM

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dogs who bite people in the face though - they get euthanized.

 

We put down my previous foster for just that reason. He was clam, cool and calculating when he bit one of the other volunteers and harassed and went after people in his previous foster home. As with RDM's rescue, we euthanize dogs that are too dangerous to adopt out. You could count on your hands the number of times we have had to let go of a dog and ABCR reached 1000 dogs rescued this year.

 

Mary, you have all my sympathy and fingers crossed. What a difficult situation.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, I went through the whole thread and I've got to agree with Julie. I'd definitely think about euthanizing the dog. I certainly do not hold dog aggression against a dog. Both of mine have it to some extent, but I will not tolerate a dog that's willing to redirect on me.

 

Mick tried snapping at me once, and he had a "come to Jesus moment" and it never happened again. But, in his case, it wasn't fearful, it was a "don't boss me around" type thing...and it was directed at my hand, not face. Now both of my dogs have accidentally bitten me pretty hard during play, and both IMMEDIATELY freaked out that they did something wrong. That's something I'll tolerate. Accidents happen. I wouldn't trust a dog who's reaction is to redirect at my face, and I'd consider it a major liability to adopt out.

 

Plus, I tend to lean more towards the practical side of there's so many awesome dogs without major issues being put down that I can't see putting too much time/effort/money into one that may or may not be able to be rehabbed.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Plus, I tend to lean more towards the practical side of there's so many awesome dogs without major issues being put down that I can't see putting too much time/effort/money into one that may or may not be able to be rehabbed.

Sad, but true. Why spend the time and resources on a long-shot when you could re-home a couple of steady, uncomplicated "issue-less" dogs?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sad, but true. Why spend the time and resources on a long-shot when you could re-home a couple of steady, uncomplicated "issue-less" dogs?

 

It is sad, but true. I think Sinead was the main catalyst into me thinking that way. I mean, she was almost PTS for a combination of having her time being up and having kennel cough. She is what I consider an issueless dog. She does not like small dogs, but I expect some form of dog aggression in pit bulls. It's part of the breed. Other than the KC, she was in good health, young (3 years), housebroken, knew basic obedience, good with kids and cats, etc. I'd rather see time being put into dogs like that, than long shot dogs. She's been an awesome breed ambassador. Multiple "I hate pit bulls" people have met her and been loving on her in short order.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ms. Mary writes,

 

if I'm not able to regularly work him on sheep (and I'm not), I'm not sure what good this would do.

 

I generally find that household manners improve with dogs exposed to sheep work- whether or not it's ongoing.

 

 

That said, Three dog shifts pretty makes anything new - however promising - impossible. My wife and I work at home but two dog shifts is difficult and three (one new dog, one dying dog, one dogpack) taxes our limits.

 

Donald McCaig

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Very good point Julie. This is an issue that has been very much on my mind lately. CBCR has a handful of dogs who are aggressive and basically not adoptable. We have a policy never to pull a dog that shows either human or dog aggression, but sometimes these behaviors don't show up until a dog is settled down and feeling comfortable in the foster home. Some of these dogs have been in foster homes for years and are both a psychological and a financial burden to the rescue. I know we have to come up with an official policy to handle these circumstances, but it is such a divisive issue and one that people don't seem to want to confront. I'd love to know how other rescues handle this.Jenn

 

We don't go through the regular means that most rescues do to get their dogs. Our dogs all come from the First Nations Communities in Southern Alberta, so basically, their histories are never known. Most of the adult dogs that we get in are friendly enough because they've had to be to survive into adult-hood, but we've had a few cases that behaviour modification and/or meds didn't help and we've had to euthanize. Our foster homes are equipped to deal with certain behaviours and we have trainers on staff so most minor issues we can deal with. We don't adopt out dogs who could be dangerous. Last summer, we had a pitty named Pumpkin. She was the epitome of awesome dog. She would sell her soul for humans. Unfortunately for her she had been a fighting dog. She was covered in scars and her dog aggression was above and beyond anything we had the resources to handle, after enough time to prove her self and repeatedly fail, she was euthanized.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...