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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We are at our wits' end... Our dog, Beest (the name was SUPPOSED to be a joke) bit someone at the kennel for the second time. She is from a well-established and renowned breeder, is now nearly 10, and has always had the tendency to bite. In her first year, she was frequently ill, and so we attributed the bitie-ness to that. But she has bitten all of us for various reasons-- generally because she was startled, but occasionally because she can be territorial. The first time she bit was when she was 9 weeks old and I went to put more food in her dish. Broke the skin that time. She went for dog training but after a year and a half, she was no better. Most of the time she is happy, playful and snuggly, but, she has always growled at our son, now 21, who has ASD. She often growls when he moves his fingers. Anyway, about 3 years ago, we were to leave on vacation on a Saturday and went to drop her at the kennel. No one told us they were closing early. When we arrived, all was locked. We scrambled to find another kennel, found one the next day but had misgivings because within the first few minutes she injured herself on a gate that had too large a space for her head. We took a chance and called our regular kennel at the vet again and miraculously they answered -- they usually don't on a Sunday. Long story short, we dropped her off with written details explaining what to be careful of and finally got to our destination. We received a message late that night from the county health department. The phone message said the dog had been reported for biting. We were stunned and spent the next 16 hours agonizing over what had happened and whether our dog had been put down. We eventually were able to speak to the vet's office which stated that it was just standard procedure and that the dog was "in isolation." I felt like one of our children was in jail. Apparently, a new person had tried to put a leash on Beest from behind. The dog was already agitated and scared, and unexpected movements have triggered biting before. We just had to leave her from Friday to Monday this past week and were told Beest bit someone who tried to clean her kennel...while she was still in it. We were told if she bites again they won't take her anymore. We don't know what to do. When she was a year old, the vet suggested a behaviorist. We spoke to her during an intake session, told us it was a "breeding issue", a hopeless case, and suggested we should put the dog down. We did intakes with two other behaviorists and were told the same. When the dog was a year old, w 1624301766816.png e contacted the breeder and learned that she had passed away. Our son, now at a conservatory in Boston, will need to be checked on periodically due to his ASD, and we are now afraid to bring her to a kennel. Does anyone have any advice? Has anyone dealt with something similar?
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I urge you to work with the vet's office to train your dog to accept wearing a basket muzzle. If no one in the vet's office is qualified to train her on this I hope they will help you find a behaviorist trainer, such as a CCBC-KA certified trainer to help make that happen. Vets and their staff are always facing risks of being bitten or otherwise injured and I can't say I blame them for doing whatever they need to to reduce that risk. I also think it sounds like your dog does really have a rather poor temperament and think you should have been much more proactive about working with the early behaviorists you consulted. I will say (not that you wnat to hear this) that this dog seems to have some neurological damage and that it is unlikely to become better at any time. Many people would recommend euthanizing a dog with the history that you have on your hands. I am sorry to say this, but in situations like this many qualified behaviorists would recommend she be put to sleep.

My dogs are not prone to biting, but they have all been trained to accept basket muzzles anyway. Any dog, if injured, is likely to bite and therefore I felt it was important to train being muzzled as a favored to the dog and to all people who need to handle the dog.
 

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I have a dog, a pom chi mix I inherited from my mom when my mother passed away. Gracie, the pom chi has inappropriate aggression, toy aggression, food aggression and people possessive aggression.
I tried to rehome her after my mom passed, but was told the kindest thing to do was to euthanize Gracie who was 10 years old at the time.
I thought I owed to my mom to try, I tried the homeopathic approach witha thunder shirt, rescue remedy, Bach Vine and even a pheromone collar to no avail.
Behavior modification was a bust, there was no soothing Grace.
Then it was pharmaceuticals, first with Prozsac, maxed the dose with Prozsac then added Trazadone, along with allergy meds because being itchy pushed her too far. As Gracie aged, she started to develop cataracts Pet vision Pro was added and kept the cataracts at bay. Feeding her separately from my dogs.
Gracie is nearly 16, she is fairly happy but I cannot forget that she has bitten 5 people and bitten other dogs. Is she perfect no but Gracie is no longer a lit stick of dynamite.
My suggestion is try medication, knowing that it will take a while for the benefits of the medication to kick in as in weeks to months and it might not work at all.
Everything I did with my own dog, was always countered if that if this medication didn't work that I would have to invariably euthanize Grace.
I know probably not the answer you wanted, there are no easy fixes to an unbalanced dog.
 

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I know a lot of dogs who can’t handle the stress of a kennel. And reaching into an anxious dog’s “safe space” is such a big no-no. I would be figuring out other boarding options. Do you have a family member who knows her and could watch her for you?
 

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(By “went for dog training” do you mean a board and train facility? Has anyone used aversive methods against Beest? And did the behaviourists actually meet her? Given the age of your girl, I know there is a lot more to this story and your life with Beest, which you couldn’t even begin to dig into here. I don’t expect you to. But when you’re reading our advice or opinions, do keep in mind how little information we have.)
 

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I am so sorry to read this. When I was reading your post, "The first time she bit was when she was 9 weeks old and I went to put more food in her dish. Broke the skin that time." this quote jumped out at me. This is a sign of early neurological damage in a puppy. A nine week old puppy showing human aggression to that level is not a mentally sound dog. For anyone reading this post in the future, if your new puppy is showing human aggression at 9 weeks--not nipping because of puppy excitement, but genuinely biting with intent to cause harm--please contact your breeder and return the puppy immediately. Sometimes puppies have brain damage from birth trauma. It looks like aggressive biting in a puppy, along with an extreme responses to startle and an unstable temperament. Sadly, I agree with the behaviorist you took the dog to at age one. Training isn't going to fix this problem.

I work as a professional dog trainer. I get dogs dropped off at a facility where I train them. If the dog has a history of human biting, they aren't welcome in my training place because of the risk to me and the rest of our staff. If you need to kennel this dog frequently, it will be harder and harder to find places where she is able to stay.

My heart aches reading this. Three behaviorists have said your poor dog is suffering from birth trauma. Euthanasia is never an easy thing to do, especially with a dog you have raised since puppyhood. I am so sorry you are facing this decision.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I urge you to work with the vet's office to train your dog to accept wearing a basket muzzle. If no one in the vet's office is qualified to train her on this I hope they will help you find a behaviorist trainer, such as a CCBC-KA certified trainer to help make that happen. Vets and their staff are always facing risks of being bitten or otherwise injured and I can't say I blame them for doing whatever they need to to reduce that risk. I also think it sounds like your dog does really have a rather poor temperament and think you should have been much more proactive about working with the early behaviorists you consulted. I will say (not that you wnat to hear this) that this dog seems to have some neurological damage and that it is unlikely to become better at any time. Many people would recommend euthanizing a dog with the history that you have on your hands. I am sorry to say this, but in situations like this many qualified behaviorists would recommend she be put to sleep.

My dogs are not prone to biting, but they have all been trained to accept basket muzzles anyway. Any dog, if injured, is likely to bite and therefore I felt it was important to train being muzzled as a favored to the dog and to all people who need to handle the dog.
I urge you to work with the vet's office to train your dog to accept wearing a basket muzzle. If no one in the vet's office is qualified to train her on this I hope they will help you find a behaviorist trainer, such as a CCBC-KA certified trainer to help make that happen. Vets and their staff are always facing risks of being bitten or otherwise injured and I can't say I blame them for doing whatever they need to to reduce that risk. I also think it sounds like your dog does really have a rather poor temperament and think you should have been much more proactive about working with the early behaviorists you consulted. I will say (not that you wnat to hear this) that this dog seems to have some neurological damage and that it is unlikely to become better at any time. Many people would recommend euthanizing a dog with the history that you have on your hands. I am sorry to say this, but in situations like this many qualified behaviorists would recommend she be put to sleep.

My dogs are not prone to biting, but they have all been trained to accept basket muzzles anyway. Any dog, if injured, is likely to bite and therefore I felt it was important to train being muzzled as a favored to the dog and to all people who need to handle the dog.
I urge you to work with the vet's office to train your dog to accept wearing a basket muzzle. If no one in the vet's office is qualified to train her on this I hope they will help you find a behaviorist trainer, such as a CCBC-KA certified trainer to help make that happen. Vets and their staff are always facing risks of being bitten or otherwise injured and I can't say I blame them for doing whatever they need to to reduce that risk. I also think it sounds like your dog does really have a rather poor temperament and think you should have been much more proactive about working with the early behaviorists you consulted. I will say (not that you wnat
I know a lot of dogs who can’t handle the stress of a kennel. And reaching into an anxious dog’s “safe space” is such a big no-no. I would be figuring out other boarding options. Do you have a family member who knows her and could watch her for you?
to hear this) that this dog seems to have some neurological damage and that it is unlikely to become better at any time. Many people would recommend euthanizing a dog with the history that you have on your hands. I am sorry to say this, but in situations like this many qualified behaviorists would recommend she be put to sleep.

My dogs are not prone to biting, but they have all been trained to accept basket muzzles anyway. Any dog, if injured, is likely to bite and therefore I felt it was important to train being muzzled as a favored to the dog and to all people who need to handle the dog.
Thank you for responding. Lily cd re: Re the use of a basket muzzle-- she was wearing one when we arrived at the vet Friday and I was told to remove it. Perhaps I was not clear: the vet did recommend a behaviorist. The first step with a behaviorist is called an intake before the dog is to be evaluated. As I stated, we tried 3 behaviorists and never got past the intake so I don't see how we could have been more "proactive" with them. All said we should put her down and that it was a breeding issue. We have had her 10 years since then and she does not bite all the time. Fear aggression is not unusual; however, a vet's kennel should have a better sense of protocol. It is important to "read" such a dog and know the proper way to deal with her. Please don't misunderstand: this is a nervous dog, not a vicious dog. Yes, no doubt it is a breeding issue, despite her parents' pedigree and the reputation of the breeder. The vet did not indicate that there might have been neurological damage; I think that's hard to say.
She was put on trazadone but it did not seem to do much. Euthanasia is NOT an option. Our kids would not be able to deal with that. I guess the question here is can anything be done to help her? Or is there any way to help us to help the kennel deal with her? Are there kennels that deal with this specific issue? Mind you, she has been staying there every year for a week or two at a time for 10 years. And yes, I agree that reaching into the kennel was not a great move. She has not bitten anyone at home in years, but the vet and kennel seem to be a problem for her, especially in recent years.
 

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In that case a pet sitter who can spend time getting to know your dog in your home might be the safest option for everyone.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Re: family nearby-- no, unfortunately. Click, the dog came to us with giardia, coccidia and an eye infection as well as anaplasmosis so we ascribed the biting to her not feeling well. After the behaviorists weighed in, we did reach out to the breeder, but she had passed away a few months before. She is a good dog most of the time and frankly the immediate "solution" to euthanize seems too extreme. This is a dog who bites -- singly, rarely, and only when scared. Surely there's a better solution.
 

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Like Click I am a certified professional dog trainer. I read and understood your history regarding past efforts with behaviorists. Since I wrote my reply in between grading papers for my microbio course that meets in the evenings I was sparse in some areas of my initial reply. In the mentime I was happy to see that Click offered her POV. I suppose I was trying to be gentle, but I really agree very much with her that your girl probably suffered a traumatic brain injury at birth and that she will never be able to moderate her behavior which is why I suggested the muzzle. My only critique in your reply is that you had one on her and took it off when you probably had a nearly 100% expectation that she would bite. A behaviorist should be able to help you have an effective management strategy for your girl including possibly anxiolytic or other drugs that might reduce her likelihood of biting.

Bottom line is I am very sad about this. Your girl is super pretty and I am sure these problems have been a source of ongoing heartache and disappointment. I wish you peace by whatever means you can find it.
 

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Right there with Catherine. It's an agonizing problem to have. If you cannot kennel your dog, can you switch off visiting your child at school, so someone is always home with the dog?
 

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the dog came to us with giardia, coccidia and an eye infection as well as anaplasmosis
All of these things could fundamentally shape behaviour, especially at such a formative age, and especially all at the same time. I’m so sorry, for you and your girl. :(

What you need to understand now—and I’m sure you do—is that your dog’s bite history is a major liability. Personally, I would not allow anyone but a family member to watch her moving forward. It sounds like this won’t be easy to arrange, but I’m not really sure what an alternative would be. Even if she magically overcame all of her issues overnight, that history isn’t going anywhere. She’s got to wear a muzzle whenever she leaves your property.
 

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I ascribe to the theory that all dogs might bite and bark, that said, groomers, vets even White House staff can say your potentially aggressive dog is not welcome. (I’m wondering if the Biden’s shelter GSD is coming back from Delaware. Barney, the Bush’s Scottie, bit a reporter. It happens....)The thing is, our dogs can’t hide behind an Oval Office, because of local regulations. In many places, one bite, with charges pressed and your dog is done. If you can find a gentle, easy pal to park your dog with, as Click suggested, grab that option.
 

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I have a dog that I love dearly, but she is not fond of strangers and there is no way I could ever board her in a kennel. Kennels are stressful, even for well behaved dogs. I think it's important to know the limits for your dog to make sure the dog and others are safe. It sounds like having someone come to your home to watch your dog when needed would be the best and safest option.
 

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You have a fear biter, not an aggressive dog. I have one of those. He’s drawn blood from me, from his pet sitter and tried to bite the vet. He will react to anger with fear and bite in response. That’s one of his triggers, but he has other ones.

Those dogs can be managed if you explain how to not trigger them well. You should have a list of how to behave with the dog and how not to. And be upfront about it, so people who agree to take her in know what they are dealing with.

What I don’t understand is what has happened that made this particular stay at the vet different than all the other ones in the past ? What was done, or not done, for this to happen ? Was it a new, unexperienced employee ? Negligence on their part ? In any case, I would want to discuss this further with the vet, and start exploring other places, with the list of triggers.

I also believe the best solution is to have someone come at home, knowing that this person also needs to be informed of all the triggers. My pet sitter got seriously bitten for trying to put a harness on my dog the wrong way. These are not dogs that can be forced into anything. They have to want it or else they bite out of fear.

To conclude, if the dog doesn’t pose a threat to the family, especially the kids, and if she hasn’t bitten anyone in years, I certainly wouldn’t consider euthanasia. But if she did, if I was just the slightest bit worried for my kids, then yes, I wouldn’t hesitate to do it.
 

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What I don’t understand is what has happened that made this particular stay at the vet different than all the other ones in the past ? What was done, or not done, for this to happen
If I’m understanding correctly, this was the second bite incident at this same vet’s office. The first occurred three years ago when a new employee trying to leash her from behind. The second incident (which prompted this thread) was due to someone trying to clean the kennel with her still inside it.

I’ve always thought veterinary clinics are very stressful places for boarding and should only be used in exceptional circumstances. Certainly they are not going to be a good fit for all dogs.

It sounds like Beest needs a much more relaxed, predictable environment.
 

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You'll probably laugh derisively at this, but I offer it anyway. IMHO, a pet's name is a very serious matter, and we dishonor them when we consider it something of humor. Yes, humor can make sense in a registered name, no issues there. But a call name means a tremendous amount to owners, and as strange as it sounds, in my experience, to an individual pet.

Your girl started out with so much against her, and then she received something of a critical name, despite all she did to help you help her survive.

In your situation, along with stopping leaving her places and rebuilding all plans around her limitations (or humanely euthanizing), I suggest renaming her a respectful and respecting name. Something loving and gentle. Ask her to help you. Oliver kept his first name when his first family rehomed him to me, but through his reaction, he later chose his middle name. My late cat likewise had no choice with his first name, but clearly chose his (surprising) middle name in a way I won't go into here. Both have loved their middle names and I have used them constantly over the years.

This won't change your girl, just it could potentially change how you all react to and treat her, which in the long run might make her a bit more comfortable.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I know, Dechi, that your reply was well-intentioned, but you are way off the mark. The name came as a result of our son who has ASD not understanding irony when reading Harry Potter when he was 8 yrs old. He did not understand that the 3-headed dog's name, Fluffy, was ironic humor. His little sister, then 3, was born sarcastic. She explained how this type of humor worked and said that if we ever got a dog, we'd get a small one and name it a "big scary name." 3 years later, I brought home our poodle, and our daughter, then age 6 named her. The name stays. It has no impact on how we treat her. I say this as Beest is cuddled next to me. It is important to keep one's sense of humor in life. For those who responded earlier, thank you for your advice. We spoke with the vet/kennel. They are working with us to find a solution. We're she a vicious dog, attacking at random and without provocation, euthanasia, sadly, would be on the table. It is not because she is fear aggressive and has immune system issues that have affected her health. It is a genetic/breeding issue, by all accounts and we will be using a combination of medication and providing guidelines for kennel staff to be posted in writing. Having someone come to the house is not an option and might actually be more of a threat to her. This is a small dog who is loved, and generally a good dog. A dog bite is serious, but this isn't a dog who attacks or mauls. We have kenneled her successfully for many years, but the folks at the kennel admit the incidents happened with "new workers." Having consulted with three behaviorists at this point, it is unlikely that a nearly- 10-year-old dog will change. It is unfortunate but I have since noted that in the last years of our breeder's life, several of the dogs she sold had temperament issues. We love our dog, but we hope breeders take note and don't sell or breed dogs without being mindful of weaknesses in the line.
Again, thank you to everyone for their thoughtful responses.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
And we did ask about the basket muzzle training. The vet informed us that dogs can't eat or drink through it and having staff put it on her and take it off her might just create more problems. We'll keep trying.
 

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Basket muzzles that are properly fitted do not prevent being able to eat or drink. I doubt it would need to be taken off and replaced. This is the description from the listing for the model of muzzle I have in my dog first aid bag from this link. https://www.amazon.com/Baskerville-Ultra-Basket-Dog-Muzzle/dp/B0051H45GC

  • SOFT & LIGHTWEIGHT rubber basket design gives all-around mouth protection allowing canines unrestricted eating, drinking and panting while preventing biting. Used for safe socialization, safe handling during vet visits, grooming or dog travelling.
  • SAFE & SECURE ergonomically designed safety strapping ensures muzzle will remain securely in place and features two attachment points using an attachment loop designed to attach to your dog’s regular collar and an optional, removable over-head safety strap
  • ADJUSTABLE & COMFORTABLE Neoprene padded lining for added comfort and fully adjustable neck and head straps with pre-holed webbing for a quick and secure fit.
  • DOG FRIENDLY – allows canines to drink, pant and be rewarded and treated. Perfect for daily dog exercise and walks
  • EXTREMELY TOUGH AND DURABLE made of a malleable thermal plastic rubber which can be heated and shaped for a personalized tailored fit around dog’s snout, including broad nosed dogs. Gives all around protection for biting or snappy dogs.
 
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