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Dog turns suddenly vicious, wwyd? Update post#74

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  • Dog turns suddenly vicious, wwyd? Update post#74

    Let me say up front I have a vet appointment for this dog. But wanted to hear from anyone else on what could be causing her sudden attacks.

    I've had this Cassie and her brother for 5 years, since they were puppies. They are Saint Bernard/Lab/boxer mixes and weigh over 100lbs. I have two other dogs and three cats. All of these animals were well established in the house when the puppies arrived. Cassie has always been more dominate than her brother but she is normally very sweet. She is create trained and all has been well until about six months ago. Cassie attacked my smaller whippet mix female. I pulled them apart and kenneled Cassie. Everything went back to normal happy house until two weeks ago. Cassie attacked her brother and ripped up his ear. There was one growl before the attack and then blood flying all over the kitchen. I was standing right there and tried to pull her off him. But she wouldn't let go. I ended up slamming her into the kitchen cabinets and jamming my knee into her ribs to get her to release the other dog. She just kept going for him even after we got them separated. She wasn't hurt and didn't care about me, my commands to back off or anything. I kenneled her. Yesterday Cassie went for the whippet mix again and tore up her ear. I was standing nearby and the rest of the family sitting watching TV. There was no warning Cassie just attacked. Again Cassie wouldn't listen and even though I grabbed her within seconds my other dog was still hurt. Cassie's attacks are so fast and she is so strong and they've escalated in intensity I'm afraid she'll kill one of the smaller dogs or cats. I'm also concerned that she'll turn on me or my kids. I am at a loss why she is doing this. One minute the dog was walking across the living room and the next a snarling snapping dog fight. None of the fights have been about toys, food, bones or any else I can see.
    Last edited by jnel; Aug. 19, 2010, 11:59 AM.

  • #2
    Make sure the vet checks the thyroid. Have heard of dogs suddenly getting aggressive when the thyroid levels are off.

    Comment


    • #3
      If there isn't any negative type body language prior to the attacks or at any time of her establishing dominance over the other dogs...it's probably medical. Could be neuro, could be she's ill and over protective of herself, could even be a psyche issue.

      Tough thing is you may never find out what's causing these issues.

      For now keep her totally 100% separated from the other dogs/cats and children. She will most likely escalate the attacks if there's been multiples already. For the safety of the others (children and pets) she needs to be contained. Or muzzled, although muzzling and kept loose among other dogs can cause serious anxiety issues.

      So sorry this is happening, but please consider that there might not be an issue found and you may have to make a tough decision about euthanizing. Although I seriously hope that isn't the case for you.
      You jump in the saddle,
      Hold onto the bridle!
      Jump in the line!
      ...Belefonte

      Comment


      • #4
        Folks, never raise two puppies together, because too many times, that is what will happen once they mature, even if the puppies are not from the same litter.

        There may be other reasons, maybe her thyroid is low, maybe she is hurting from some physical reason, hip displasia comes to mind with that cross and is just extra cranky from it.

        Once that kind of aggression start, with or without reason, the first recommendation is to place one dog in another home.
        If not, keep them separated, because all the training won't help that one time something sets her off again.
        The real fight is with the other dog, but any bystanders will be a target, displaced aggression causes that to happen.

        Sorry, I hope your outcome is different, but I have yet to see two puppies raised together that start fighting once older resolve well.
        If kept together, sooner or later, another fight will end up with someone at the vets to get put back together or one dead.

        Why would we want to keep two of anything that are mortal enemies and make them live together, where they can't get away from that continuous stress?
        That is not doing right for all involved.

        Sad situation.
        Hopefully you may find a good resolution.

        Comment

        • Original Poster

          #5
          Folks, never raise two puppies together, because too many times, that is what will happen once they mature, even if the puppies are not from the same litter.
          I've never heard this before. But she attacked her brother once and my female whippet twice. The whippet was an adult when Cassie came into the house. I'm also thinking there is a medical reason for this. I was just wondering if anyone had any experiences where something like this had a happy outcome.

          Comment


          • #6
            thyroid problem, brain tumor, severe pain

            Comment


            • #7
              After the vet checkup, do get the Cesar Milan books "Cesar's Way" and "Leader of the Pack".

              I know, he's not a "trainer" per se but he doesn't claim to be; I was skeptical at first too, but the books are a good read, and in the end using his concepts and techniques has enabled me to keep my 4 large breed dogs (2 giant breed) together. Before I read the books, I was having skirmishes, occasional, but scary in the ferocity. The dogs being equally matched, I wondered where I was headed; I really didnt' want to have to separate my "pack" I prefer to have all my dogs with me!

              Using Cesar's techniques I can now silence a snarl up with a sharp "SHHHHSSS!!!!" just like he does in the show. It is more than that sound though, it is the whole attitude he trains you to have, and his strategies of having the dogs exercises, and teaching how to "lead" on walks (I was guilty of letting them drag me around on a Flexi and/or considering letting them run around the fenced yard adequate exercise - now that I make the time for actual disciplined WALKS I have 4 totally more respectful, happy dogs).

              I know some folks raise eyebrows at Cesars ideas, but I have to admit, they worked for me. I feel your distress - if you can imagine two giant 150 pound Caucasian Ovcharkas intent on ripping each other apart in the living room, it's not fun at all!

              But do have him checked out of course, and then go order those books on Amazon! You wouldn't believe I ever had aggression in my "pack", they all look at me now in a whole new way, and fighting is NOT allowed!

              Comment


              • #8
                Are they spayed/neutered?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by jnel View Post
                  I've never heard this before. But she attacked her brother once and my female whippet twice. The whippet was an adult when Cassie came into the house. I'm also thinking there is a medical reason for this. I was just wondering if anyone had any experiences where something like this had a happy outcome.
                  Our dog club classes to the public gets these regularly, where we have to tell people coming in with two puppies what it will take for them to raise them as independent individuals, so they will not fight once grown.
                  That is what breeders and dog trainers do, they kennel both puppies by themselves and raise and treat them like any other dog.

                  I really don't know of one of the many cases we had to retrain that had a good ending, other than lifelong separate management of both dogs.
                  Ask your vet when you take your dog in about this, they are the ones that get to sew them up again.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I had a dog a couple of years ago who was always somewhat dominant, but safe a reliable. Then, all of a sudden, her behavior changed. She attacked another dog when we were out walking, and she wouldn't stop until I pulled her away. It happened a second time, and I considered putting her down, but since she was otherwise a good girl (and good with our other dog), I just kept her on lead and away from strange dogs.

                    Unfortunately, it turned out that she had a brain tumor...or at least that's what we believe, there was no final diagnosis. She began to have other neurological signs...trouble getting into the car, losing her balance, then pacing endlessly in circles. Hindsight is 20/20, and if I had put her down for the agression, I could have saved her a lot of later pain and stress.

                    So a vet check is imperative, but a sudden change in behavior after all these years certainly sounds more like a medical problem than a behavioral one.

                    Good luck..

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      You may want to have the whippet checked by the vet too. It isn't unheard of for dogs to start turning on an older or unhealthy dog in their 'pack'. And the disruption can trigger other fights too. Since she's gone after the whippet twice now - and you mentioned that the whippet was an adult when you got the pups 5 years ago, I'm guessing the whippet might be getting up there in years. You may not even realize that the whippet has something going on but your other dog might.

                      Best of luck.

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        All my animals are either spayed or neutered. Usually a sharp command is enough to the dogs to obey if they are being naughty but it happens so fast that she doesn't seem to even hear me.

                        I am guilty of not taking them on regular walks. We have a large fenced yard with a creek and woods to there is plenty to play with. But I will add regular individual walks to our routine.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by joiedevie99 View Post
                          thyroid problem, brain tumor, severe pain
                          This is what I was going to say, and add vision problems.
                          "Perhaps the final test of anybody's love of dogs is their willingness to permit them to make a camping ground of the bed" -Henry T. Merwin

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Arcadien View Post
                            After the vet checkup, do get the Cesar Milan books "Cesar's Way" and "Leader of the Pack".

                            I know, he's not a "trainer" per se but he doesn't claim to be; I was skeptical at first too, but the books are a good read, and in the end using his concepts and techniques has enabled me to keep my 4 large breed dogs (2 giant breed) together. Before I read the books, I was having skirmishes, occasional, but scary in the ferocity. The dogs being equally matched, I wondered where I was headed; I really didnt' want to have to separate my "pack" I prefer to have all my dogs with me!
                            Please please please do not follow this advice. Even the American Society of Veterinary Behaviourists are publicly speaking out against his methods

                            http://www.avsabonline.org/avsabonli...0statement.pdf

                            That and the fact they often back fire. The reversion rate is pretty high. His methods are based on suppression vs teaching a new behaviour. So if the dog ever gets past the fear of the consequence the bad behaviour is going to resurface, only stronger.

                            Bullying a dog might make the problem go away, but likely it will show back up again like any other bandaid solution. Even if it works why would you want to bully your dog when there are more effective and less harmful methods?

                            No good trainer or behaviourist recommends him. And there are some very good reasons why. I have article after article from professionals who have reasoned and articulate reasons why this man has put dog training back 20 years and that over all he is doing a great disservice to dogs. Even news programs have covered this.

                            Anyway on to real advice. Pretend this was a horse who all of a sudden disliked another... would you label the horse vicious? Not likely. If medical reasons are ruled out then work with a good behaviourist to see if you can get the dogs co habiting again. Though in the mean time crate and rotate..

                            oh and the two puppy thing is BS. As a trainer and breeder I know loads of people who have raised puppies together (I have done it multiple times) and they are no more likely to fight than any other dog. IME they are LESS likely to fight. (and I have working bred JRTs that are not known for getting along)

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Seizure disorder (petit mal) maybe? They tend to stare off into the distance and when they come too are very disoriented and can attack.

                              My cocker had a seizure disorder following lyme disease. Frontline Plus, the Preventic collar and other chemical irritants (lawn chemicals, etc) seemed to set it off.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Aven View Post
                                Please please please do not follow this advice. Even the American Society of Veterinary Behaviourists are publicly speaking out against his methods

                                http://www.avsabonline.org/avsabonli...0statement.pdf

                                That and the fact they often back fire. The reversion rate is pretty high. His methods are based on suppression vs teaching a new behaviour. So if the dog ever gets past the fear of the consequence the bad behaviour is going to resurface, only stronger.

                                Bullying a dog might make the problem go away, but likely it will show back up again like any other bandaid solution. Even if it works why would you want to bully your dog when there are more effective and less harmful methods?

                                No good trainer or behaviourist recommends him. And there are some very good reasons why. I have article after article from professionals who have reasoned and articulate reasons why this man has put dog training back 20 years and that over all he is doing a great disservice to dogs. Even news programs have covered this.

                                Anyway on to real advice. Pretend this was a horse who all of a sudden disliked another... would you label the horse vicious? Not likely. If medical reasons are ruled out then work with a good behaviourist to see if you can get the dogs co habiting again. Though in the mean time crate and rotate..

                                oh and the two puppy thing is BS. As a trainer and breeder I know loads of people who have raised puppies together (I have done it multiple times) and they are no more likely to fight than any other dog. IME they are LESS likely to fight. (and I have working bred JRTs that are not known for getting along)
                                While I agree with most of your post, you may not have experience with the problems two puppies raised together may have when adults and I don't know if it is more or less common than other fights, but it is not "BS", as you call it, but a well documented problem.
                                I am surprised you have not encountered it yet, but I expect you will one of those days, as it is very common, ask any veterinarian.
                                Just google and you can find some:

                                http://www.google.com/#hl=en&source=...804d37b84b33a1

                                Please, if you breed dogs, NEVER sell two puppies together to be raised in the same household, unless the people are aware of how to raise them so there won't be problems later.

                                You are the first breeder I hear that doesn't yet know that!

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Check out this website. They do alot of advice about training and dealing with problems, specifically biting between dogs or biting people. They seem to have good techniques and alot of experience. Good luck!

                                  http://leerburg.com/forums/ubbthreads.php

                                  PennyG

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I don't sell working bred JRTs to anyone who isn't VERRRY dog savvy (read, experienced dog sport people, or working terrier people). But of all the issues (and there are many) that can arise I haven't heard of anyone who had fighting issues. So it can't be that common.

                                    The foster homes do it all the time with litters of puppies (I work with the JRTRO rescue too).

                                    I have kept two from most litters so far, and when I went down to the US to pick out a long haired whippet pup for hubby I came home with two lol. Whippet people don't think anything of two together, as long as people are going to take the time to spend with each one individually, as whippets tend to love each other's company so much.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      You won't have problems until they are adults, not as puppies.

                                      If you kept those two puppies together all their lives, too many do end up eventually needing to live separate or one rehomed, read the literature.

                                      Definitively most breeders today know not to sell two puppies and those of us that train dogs have seen it way too many times to think it is just a coincidence.

                                      Now, we don't know that is what is at play with the OP's dog, but it is one more fact to consider, since she did say she raised them together as puppies.

                                      I hope she lets us know what the vet check found.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Well as the oldest are 5 I am pretty sure they are grown. The youngest pair that I have are a year. (though I am looking for a home for the boy) I know MANY people in real life and on dog forums that happily raise two puppies. But these are people who will take them to separate classes etc to make sure they get socialized seperately. The biggest issue I have seen in clients who got two puppies (and didn't work at it when they were young) is separation issues, and dogs who are more bonded to each other than the humans. Ie one dog can't possibly listen and function, either with out the other, or the other is too big a distraction.

                                        Dogs can fight for so many reasons. Being raised together really is such an inconsequential reason. Perhaps could be correlation though not causation too.

                                        Comment

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