Our son's family (3 elementary age children and one baby) adopted a rescue dog- part Australian Shepherd- almost one year ago. Lisa (his wife) has worked with dogs before and managed a doggie day-care kennel. She has worked with their new dog extensively and she is very intelligent and trainable. BUT, she is unpredictable and has a mean streak- she has now bitten five people when they are in their home (minor bites, so far). They are being told by a local vet that it is not possible to "train out" this mean streak. And the Dog Rescue organization will not risk taking the dog back. Any Opinions?
Type of Animal: Australian Shepherd mix
Name of Dog: Maggie
training her with challenging activities, shock collar for yard boundaries and another one for aggressive behavior, tried a muzzle. She is a rescue dog from another part of the country- history unknown.
Hello, I'm Dr. Bob.I'm sorry to read of Maggie's behavior problem.This is a serious situation that needs an effective solution. There is no statute of limitations on dog bites in children, so if she would happen to bite a small child, your son and his wife may be sued for damages ten or fifteen years in the future. Their homeowners insurance may cancel their policy without warning, should they receive information about this situation.Australian shepherds are beautiful dogs, bred to protect domestic flocks, but they are extremely protective and usually very suspicious of non-family members. This is not a problem as long as they don't act on their suspicions, but when they bite people, they become a very dangerous and potentially disastrous financial liability.The only truly effective way to prevent her from biting anyone else is a basket muzzle. These were developed in Europe for use in dense population areas, and the best ones are both comfortable for extended wear as well as being very hard for the dog to remove. The best ones., in my experience, are Italian in design. you can see and purchase these high quality muzzles here: http://www.dogmuzzle.com/There are other makers and distributors online as well, but good quality muzzles are not inexpensive, so be wary of cheap imitations. A knowledgeable dog trainer may be able to train Maggie and her family to avoid teh situations in which biting is likely to occur, but for real security, a basket muzzle is the only trustworthy solution.If you should have further questions, please let me know.Best regards,Dr. Bob
They have tried muzzles, although I don't know the make. She has bitten a handyman (comes to the house often, babysitter, owner (when starting machinery), and a neighbor child, making a sudden movement. They have been advised to put her down.
I understand the problem, I had a dog myself that randomly bit visitors. i had to put him down myself, which broke my heart because he was a great dog in every other aspect. I didn't know about basket muzzles at that time, but they do offer an alternative to euthanasia which is, of course an option.Basket muzzles are designed for extended wear, unlike most other types of muzzle. I did notice in your "Already tried" section that muzzles had been tried, but this is a different type from most typical American muzzles, more comfortable and more effective.If I may be of further assistance to you, please let me know.Dr. Bob
35 years of veterinary practice in small animal medicine
We have a very sad ending to our problem. Maggie "raged" at two more unexpected visitors who came to the front door and the family made a decision to euthanize. Thanks for your help.
I'm sorry to read of Maggie's unfortunate end. I know the sorrow and pain you feel and you have my condolences.If I may ever be of assistance to you, please let me know.Kind regards,Dr. Bob