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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Two days ago, our 4 month old AKC German Shepherd got out. We realized he was missing shortly after, and went to look for him. The neighbor told our daughters that he had seen our dog get run over right in front of our house and run off. We live in a small neighborhood on county back roads, where most kids and dogs roam free (I don't agree with it, but that's facts). This car was obviously driving recklessly, and never stopped.

Our daughters found our dog's severed tail not even a foot from our property. It was super traumatizing. We looked and called for him until dark, but couldn't find him. We didn't know if he was dying of his injuries somewhere. There's a lot of private property that we couldn't go too far into.

He came home at 4am, I heard him whine at the door and let him in. What was left of his beautiful tail was a mess of meat and fur. We got him a vet appointment first thing yesterday.

Thank God, he had no internal injuries, but due to his ripped tail he needed the rest amputated. It looks like a doberman dock. The kids say it looks like a cute fuzzy bunny tail.

Now I know that all of this like JUST happened, but he's SO traumatized. He's like a different dog. He's lost all his confidence. He spent the day hiding under our son's bed. He is eating and drinking, but he's not interacting with us or even wandering the house. He's trained to a pee pad so I didn't even try taking him out. He cried the whole way to the vet yesterday because of the cars on the road.

We're concerned because we know that dogs tend to carry their confidence in their tails. He was such an over-confident dog before. Now it's like he's shell-shocked.

Any tips to help him feel confident again? Or experience with trauma? How long did it take for your pup to feel like themselves again?

Here he is prior to his brutal tail rip 馃槩
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I鈥檓 sorry the little guy has to go through this. I鈥檓 not much help but maybe just start slow and use treats for positive reinforcement and mainly give him time to adjust. Best of luck to your pup
 

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It can take up to 72 or more hours for a dog's cortisol levels to get back to normal after a stressful event. What your dog went through was extremely stressful! So for the next few days just allow him to rest and be calm, keep any activities to a minimum and let him heal both physically and mentally.

Chances are his current state will change on it's own somewhat after he's had some time to recuperate. Reassess then...

Sorry this happened, but it should prompt a serious review of exactly how it did, so you can make sure nothing like this will EVER occur in the future!

As far as the tail goes, he'll adjust. Dog's don't carry their confidence or anything else in their tail. They can lose limbs or eyes or even ears, and live long and happy lives.

But it's going to take time for him to heal. As he does, try not to treat him any differently than you did before...it can greatly add to the stress he's feeling!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
It can take up to 72 or more hours for a dog's cortisol levels to get back to normal after a stressful event. What your dog went through was extremely stressful! So for the next few days just allow him to rest and be calm, keep any activities to a minimum and let him heal both physically and mentally.

Chances are his current state will change on it's own somewhat after he's had some time to recuperate. Reassess then...

Sorry this happened, but it should prompt a serious review of exactly how it did, so you can make sure nothing like this will EVER occur in the future!

As far as the tail goes, he'll adjust. Dog's don't carry their confidence or anything else in their tail. They can lose limbs or eyes or even ears, and live long and happy lives.

But it's going to take time for him to heal. As he does, try not to treat him any differently than you did before...it can greatly add to the stress he's feeling!
How it happened was that his very first time taking his very first step off of our property, a reckless driver hit him. The driver could have killed him or one of the neighbor's kids who play in the street. It was a freak thing that happened in a small, quiet county neighborhood. I think if there's any implication of blame here, it belongs to the person who hit him. Obviously it was never our intent to spend nearly a thousand dollars on a dog and then have him mutilated right in front of our house, where our daughter would find his tail and have nightmares for days.

But thank you for your reply.
 

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Sorry my friend, but I don't care if you live in a quiet culdisac or a rural property that has little traffic, it's on you to monitor and keep your puppy safe! The driver's actions wouldn't even come in to play, unless your dog was in the street, right?
 

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The tail is an important part of a dog`s anatomy and is actually an extension of the spine.
He cried the whole way to the vet yesterday because he was in excruciating PAIN, not because of the cars on the road.
Dogs do not 鈥渃arry their confidence in their tails.鈥 I don鈥檛 even know what that means.
This was major surgery. He is hiding because it still hurts, even if the vet gave you painkillers.
Animals do not experience the same psychological hang-ups about amputation that people do.
I鈥檓 sure he will do fine after he heals. Give it at least 2 weeks, and keep an eye out for infection.
Whatever you do, do not coddle him. Treat him exactly as you did before this happened.
@David Winners had a dog who had to have her tail amputated. I鈥檓 sure he will chime in with info about recovery.
 

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Don't be concerned, be strong. The more confident you feel, the best you will help both puppy and child to recover.
Animals don't grieve the loss of a limb as humans do. When they go through shock, they don't brood over things and generate a million thoughts and concerns about it. They just wisely rest and wait for their body and brain to return to calm, then they adapt to their new condition and carry on with their lives :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Sorry my friend, but I don't care if you live in a quiet culdisac or a rural property that has little traffic, it's on you to monitor and keep your puppy safe! The driver's actions wouldn't even come in to play, unless your dog was in the street, right?
As I've said, he was one foot in front of our property, literally right next to our mailbox. So unless you've never taken your dog to your mailbox, you're a complete hypocrite with nothing useful to say.

You're a complete idiot to think any of this was something we wanted "my friend". Obviously we know he was hit. Obviously we spent hours looking for him. Obviously we paid the vet bill.

We did NOT, however, brutally run him over and leave the scene. Do you also blame women who wear short skirts for their rape, because you sure seem to enjoy victim blaming rather than having anything useful to say at all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The tail is an important part of a dog`s anatomy and is actually an extension of the spine.
He cried the whole way to the vet yesterday because he was in excruciating PAIN, not because of the cars on the road.
Dogs do not 鈥渃arry their confidence in their tails.鈥 I don鈥檛 even know what that means.
This was major surgery. He is hiding because it still hurts, even if the vet gave you painkillers.
Animals do not experience the same psychological hang-ups about amputation that people do.
I鈥檓 sure he will do fine after he heals. Give it at least 2 weeks, and keep an eye out for infection.
Whatever you do, do not coddle him. Treat him exactly as you did before this happened.
@David Winners had a dog who had to have her tail amputated. I鈥檓 sure he will chime in with info about recovery.
I'm sorry, I didn't realize that you were in my home with me.

He came home at 4am. I let him in. He did not cry from that moment until the vet could see him, except when he was in the car, when he was panting heavily and whimpering and looking at all the cars with big bug eyes. Once he was inside the vet office, the whimpering stopped.

So please don't speak to me like I'm a stupid child. I know my dog and you do not. He was given painkiller prior to the amputation and it was a clean dock. He does not seem to be in any pain whatsoever now.

I mention the tail because professional dog trainers have mentioned the tail. I've seen a dog trainer tie a string around a dog's tail and lift it while walking to help it not be so timid, so unless you know more than them, please keep your words to yourself, as you have nothing to contribute to this post.
 

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How about we dial it back a bit and concentrate on the dog?

You've got some good advice; keep the dog's activity as normal as possible, follow the vet's advice re pain meds. I'd try to be near the dog but don't coddle/awn over it. They are incredibly resilient and he'll be back to his normal confident self in a few weeks.

I'm sorry for this to have happened and I blame the driver for not stopping but not for hitting the dog. In the absence of information re speeding/impairment etc, accidents happen and a puppy can easily dart in front of a moving car. These accidents are always on us with a pup that young, I'm sure you'll figure out how he got out. Beautiful pup btw, tailed or tailess.
 

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Wow. I'm a little speechless about the OP responses. Not planning on tying a string to a dog's tail any time soon. Yes, it was awful accident and horrible for your girls to find but cars belong on roads not puppies or dogs. I lost a beloved dog due to a frozen gate latch. She got out, in the road was struck and killed. Totally my fault to not ensure the yard was secure. My last thought if the only part of your pup injured was her tail, the driver might not even known they actually struck her.
 

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OP, I'm not sure what forums you have frequented in the past, but calling people names is not allowed here. Don't type with your feelings, please.

WE are responsible for our dog's safety, that's all. My dog isn't out alone, nor does he go off leash. Even if I lived on a quiet road, I guess I'm too worried about something happening. I have had a dog killed on the highway (which is why I no longer EVER have my dog out unattended). He climbed the fence for the very first time and was struck and killed. It's horrible and it was my fault, even though he had never done it before.
 

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Did I missed the part where this puppy's home yard is fenced or unfenced?
If unfenced, then as the owner, that's your responsibility to provide a safe environment for the puppy.

sorry for your puppy, but it sounds like you need to make some changes around the home.
And maybe an attitude adjustment for yourself also. Just sayin'.
 

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At the farmer's market this weekend, a three legged dog was motoring about living his best life. Not sure how he lost the leg, could have been cancer or some natural problem, and not a traumatic accident. But the important part was, he and his owners seemed to be doing just fine.

Hope your boy gets better. I suppose I'd agree with the "don't coddle him" part, if by that people mean don't carry him around like a purse puppy, or allow him to get by with jack wagon type behavior like trash diving and countersurfing, or feed him filet mignon from your own plate, or tell him he's a good boy when he is being anything but at the moment, etc.
But . . . I rarely met a dog that didn't thrive on more attention, whether it was pets and one-on-one time, or for those aloof dogs (of the sort I've rarely owned or been owned by) that can't be bothered with petting and spooning, then maybe more play, walks and work as he gets off his meds. So at least as much and maybe a little more of the sort of constructive attention and interaction he usually gets-- I don't see how that would be a bad thing and might well help him recover from the trauma.
 

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Confidence comes from time, exposure and positive experiences. It鈥檚 not really something you can rush or force. The dog will ultimately be fine, at least physically. You can鈥檛 be over protective, but you need to understand when he鈥檚 getting overwhelmed and take a step back. Side note, what @tim_s_adams said about it ultimately being your fault is true. Not that the driver wasn鈥檛 in the wrong, which they probably were. You are responsible for your dogs well being. You have to ensure that he can鈥檛 get out and roam uncontrolled. That鈥檚 not an attack just the truth. Also if you ask, a lot of people here will say they know more then a 鈥減rofessional trainer.鈥 Professional just means you get paid to do it.
 

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It sounds Ike this community needs a plan to prevent hit and runs. It can happen anywhere, but the next time a person could be killed. Hit and runs are very common in crowded cities and the police often can鈥檛 do a thing to catch and prosecute the offenders. In a small community where people are well known to their neighbors, it should be easier to find the speeder and do something to stop it. It鈥檚 also possible the car wasn鈥檛 speeding but didn鈥檛 see your puppy. It doesn鈥檛 matter what is the norm, unsupervised dogs need training so they don鈥檛 ever leave the property without permission. I would be surprised if other neighbors have not lost dogs to road accidents.

To the OP, we all know that you are very upset. It was a shock to you and very intense for your dog, but we don鈥檛 know you and you don鈥檛 know us. Forum members are very generous in sharing time and experience. If you want a solution to your problem, consider being open to all answers. Use what works and don鈥檛 use the rest. Name calling just means experienced dog owners won鈥檛 want to give you answers if you need further help with this or other issues.

The kind of trainer who ties a string around a dog鈥檚 tail is not someone most of us would ever use. The members here often do serious, high level training for sport or work, and don鈥檛 rely on gimmicks.
 

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I'm sorry, I didn't realize that you were in my home with me.
So please don't speak to me like I'm a stupid child. I know my dog and you do not. He was given painkiller prior to the amputation and it was a clean dock. He does not seem to be in any pain whatsoever...please keep your words to yourself, as you have nothing to contribute to this post.
You are correct, I have nothing more to contribute. I鈥檓 at a loss for words.
 

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You've both been through a traumatic event, you both need time to heal. Can I assume your dog is home with you? treat him as you would treat any person who's been in a horrible accident. When I was a kid our GS ripped his side 70 stitches open. The vet sent him home because he was so emotionally devastated he was afraid to keep him there. He laid under the kitchen table for a long time and I spent a lot of time under there with him. But he did recover and so will your pup. Don't focus on the accident, the driver or anything else, just focus on your pup and your family because that is what will get you, your family and your dog through this. Give puppy a little hug for me.
 

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1. Vet chiropractic adjustments, starting about a week after the accident -- several, over the next few months -- because the spine will almost certainly need them. I think they're invaluable to the healing for for hit-by-car dogs to realign spine and joints to prevent long-term problems. Your vet needs to clear the dog from them, based on the x-rays you've surely taken already. @Sunflowers is correct about the tail being part of the spine--and thinking of this as a spinal injury--I think your anger over the situation maybe caused you to miss the really important, helpful insight she offered. The spinal part of this is why I'd plan to work with a rehab vet team (PT, chiro, etc.) to ensure no lasting damage or impact on growth plates--that stuff sometimes can't be seen or appreciated until it's too late, as some dogs are stoic about pain.
2. Vet acupuncture sessions to deal with any unseen nerve injury and help bring down stress levels. Again, I think this is a really valuable modality for hit-by-car (HBC) dogs. These can start sooner than chiro.
3. Depending on whether you're open to it, maybe a Reiki session for you, your child, and your dog to work on releasing trauma. Mindfulness "grounding" techniques are valuable for people after traumatic experiences too--easy to find on Youtube.
4. Long line for the pup for the future when out in the front yard.

That's all I've got. The loss of confidence isn't from losing his tail -- it's from having been run over by a giant machine. That's a very scary experience. Soft tissue injuries set in 24-48 hours after that sort of injury, so expect him to be VERY sore all over, so hiding under the bed would make a lot of sense to me. If you've ever been in a car accident and remember how you felt the day after, or a few days after when the soreness sets in, it sucks. I've rescued countless HBC dogs out of shelters. It's sometimes not a quick recovery. The body has to fully heal before you can start confidence-building games. Dog pain is very tricky to learn to appreciate -- it's not just "crying" but often much more subtle than that (like hiding under the bed or withdrawal from normal activities). There's a wonderful webinar from an Australian vet about "silent pain" signals in dogs that I just watched that was super-helpful in spotting pain signals that aren't obvious. If he replays it, I'll post the link.
 

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I'm sorry your pup (and your family) had such a traumatic experience - I'm sure you know it could have been far worse.

Docking the tails of some breeds intentionally has been done for centuries. It's barbaric in my eyes (I always wished my Aussie's tail had NOT been docked) - but it except for the pain when it's done and healing, your pup will be fine. I think I'm more worried about your daughter.

Hope your pup heals well, and that your family can get over this soon too. Be safe.

 
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