Re: I got this email, what do you think?
This was my response, too much info? I am trying to learn hear how best to answer such requests:
Yours is a very hard situation and I am surprised you still have someone willing to provide homeowner's insurance.
Ok, territorial aggression is not uncommon, but it is not necessarily good either. I have one bitch that bares her teeth and barks and growls when strangers come up to her kennel or if she is in a crate. Outside of the crate/kennel and outside of my property, at the vets, groomers, training classes, etc., she is fine. This dog will never be bred because what I want to see is a dog that gives an alert but can also calm down if I am there. I see it as flaw in temperament.
When I am not right with a dog, that dog is generally kenneled. My kennels are a minimum of 10' x 15' and 6' high made out of treated 4x4s, and nine gage chain link fencing on a concrete base and covered over with fencing. They are located in my back yard which is fenced around as well. This is to protect my dogs, because if my dogs bite a person, than I stand in peril of losing all of my dogs. If I cannot have homeowner's insurance, I cannot have my house loan and will lose my home. If I lose my home, I will lose my dogs. This is my attitude and why I take the stand I do and why I am vigilent with my barriers.
The first thing You need to do is FORGET that you have an electric fence. You cannot allow a dog to go outside on its own. The dog has bitten five people. That is huge. You need to take your dog out on a leash, a six foot leash and allow her to potty, and then take her back inside. Even if you had a six foot fence around your acre, it is not ok to let her out on her own, because she could dig under or climb over that fence.
If you truly want to keep this bitch, you need to First contain her properly, meaning that you must take her out on lead only. I would suggest building a kennel like mine where you can be 100% sure she is safe -- escape proof, concrete base, nine gage wire, covered over, etc. This could be inside your home in your basement too, when someone comes to your home if there is any question, remove the dog to her sanctuary.
Chances are your dog is fear biting. She is afraid that these people are going to hurt her. Put her in her kennel and keep them away from her.
After she is properly contained, then you can go to competent behaviorist and determine a treatment plan. Training does not consist of a puppy class and a 45 minute training session to keep her in the yard. Training consists of taking her to classes weekly, six week classes, Basic Obedience, Advanced Obedience, Canine Good Citizen, Another Basic course, An agility course, another advanced course. My current dog has been through ten sets of classes and he is not yet four years old. I do not do this for ribbons and titles. I do it because the dog needs to get out amongst people, and he needs the mental and physical work that training classes give him. It improves his bond with me, and solidifies my place as leader and his as follower. It increases his confidence level and makes him less likely to overreact in every situation.
Google on the net NILIF. This stands for Nothing In Life Is Free. It is a new attitude for you to use with your dog. It does not entail striking or punishing your dog. Some corrections, but for the most part you are the leader and it gives you simple, non-confrontational methods of treating your dog that will make it clear to her that she is the follower and you are the source of all good things. Even if she loves and respects you, if she is Protecting/biting so much, than she has a problem with understanding who is the leader and who is the follower.
What you really need to do is to write down all the facts of each bite incident without cleaning them up, the honest picture, not making your dog better or worse than she is, and discuss each of them with a behaviorist. They can give you the help you need. Training is good, but you may need bahavior modification before attempting a class. Leadership at home is good, but it may not be enough. Containment is essential. If you cannot contain your dog, please put her down.
Euthanasia is at least not painful. The vet puts her to sleep and then the drug shuts down the organs. Generally, it is the last gift we can give our best friends, when the dog is in pain and not going to get better. It is never easy to make this decision, and particularly when the dog is healthy. I look at it as a last choice. I do not know if you are there yet.
Rehoming this dog has to be done with careful consideration. Hopefully, she is spayed, so she will not land in a puppy mill because she should not be adding to the gene pool. What aspect of her temperament that is not genetic, she may still imprint on puppies while she is caring for them in the litter. She should not be bred.
There are not necessarily lines of people willing to give a home to a six year old dog. Add physical problems to that and the line gets way shorter. Temperament problems are much worse because of the liability. You have had your dog since she was eight weeks old, this makes her your responsibility. If you cannot handle her and give her what training and containment necessary, then you should put her down. Dropping her at a shelter would be a hideous thing because her last few days will be emotionally terrible, being confused and abandoned, and the shelter will likely find her unadoptable and put her down, probably by heart stick or gassing as they can administer these without wasting money on the vet. They cannot euthanize humanely as the vet does as it requires drugs and the vet must administer. Worse though is if they do not find her unadoptable and give her to another family and she bites more people.
I am not sugar coating this because this is the reality. You need to decide what you are willing and able to do for this dog.
If I rehomed an adult dog and it bit someone they could come back and hold me liable.
I think that if you could properly contain the animal in a proper kennel, you can show your family that the dog will not be left outside unattended or unleashed and will be properly contained when people come over, I think that it would be a start, and you could probably release the family pressure.
Our breed has a negative reputation because some people allow their dogs too much freedom, and allow them to become repeat offenders. Right now the choice is yours to contain and work with your dog, or to put her down. With another incident, that choice may no longer be yours. A hefty lawsuit may accompany and heartbreaking situation.
I am really sorry that I cannot do much for you. Containment, NILIF, a behaviorist, step up the training, and if you cannot do all of these, then, euthanize her at the vet. I will not say any of this is cheap or easy or quick. It is not. You will need to be careful of her for the rest of her life. I know it is hard.
Heidi Ho, Odie
Joy-Joy, Bear Cub, Hepsi-Pepsi
Cujo2, Karma Chameleon
Ramona the Pest, Kojak -- who loves you baby?
Tiny Tinnie, Susie's Uzzi, Kaiah -- The Baby Monster.