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Sally G.
Sally G., Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 7939
Experience:  Therapy dog evaluator and trainer, AKC evaluator, pet first aide and member of PAS Animal Response Team.
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I have a friend who has two dogs. Both boys, named Jasper and

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I have a friend who has two dogs. Both boys, named Jasper and Banyon. They are 5 years old and to the best of my knowledge are mutts. I'm not sure what mix they are. They are about 65-75 lbs, with brown and black long hair. Beautiful dogs, very sweet natured, wonderful companions, and very obedient. They are the best dogs I have EVER been around. Honestly, I myself am not much of a dog person, but I absolutely love these dogs. I live with my sister, her husband and their two sons, ages 5 and 2. We have 2 dogs, one is a shelty named Shelby, who is months from being 10 years old. She is a pure bred, and is about 25-30 lbs. She is meek, quiet, gentle, and extremely passive. Especially in her old age. Our other dog, Polly, is (we believe) a lab/hound mix of some sort. We rescued her from a shelter so we aren't exactly sure. She will be 4 this year, and is about 30-40 lbs. Polly is by far the alpha female in our house. She isnt an aggressive alpha, and never had to do much to assert her dominance, but Shelby being as passive as she is, relented to Polly from day one.

Recently my friend had to go out of town for work and he left his two dogs with me at our house. Jasper and Banyon had no problem warming up, Polly and Shelby were more apprehensive. I could tell the bigger boys made the girls nervous so I tried to give them their space. Banyon, is the alpha male of his 'pack.' From day one I think he sensed Polly was the alpha in our home and he definitely made a point to assert his dominance. You could tell just by the way he carried himself that he was trying to dominate. He and Polly would growl at each other, or bark through the door, or even sometimes wrestle. But it was just playing. Jasper and Shelby are both so passive they had no problem with any of the dogs. One day, my sister said she walked in to find Banyon had jumped on Polly and had her head/throat in his mouth. She quickly grabbed Banyon off of her and Polly ever since has felt very uneasy with Banyon. She goes crazy barking if she can even smell him. Shelby got along with the 2 boys just fine. There were times I would walk in to find them all cuddling on the floor together. Polly was so disturbed by Banyon, that we could no longer let them be near each other without her barking. So to save our sanity we kept them FAR apart. If Polly was outside, Banyon and Jasper were inside. They ate on opposite schedules, played apart, slept apart, lived apart. Everything seemed to be fine once we made that adjustment. We were keeping the dogs for about 2 weeks, after about 9 days, my sisters mother in-law came to visit and decided the dogs 'should be friends' so when my sister and I were asleep she let all the dogs out together and stayed outside to supervise them. Polly and Banyon were constantly wrestling/rough housing. It seemed completely playful. The MIL said they were fine to be together as long as we didnt leave them alone. We still didnt feel right about it because we could sense Polly's anxiety. Banyon also seems to be somewhat sexually frustrated. He is fixed, but my sister complains that he is always trying to smell/lick her crotch. Hes never tried to do that to me tho. He also mounted my 5 year old nephew while he was on the floor playing. At the time we just laughed it off. Banyon and I grew VERY close, and from day one he became oddly possessive/protective of me. He wont allow anything to come between us, if I start to show another dog attention he runs across the room and puts his body between me and the dog. Hes also pushed another dog off the couch when it was sitting next to me. It's very obvious to not only me, but others that he is somewhat territorial over me. He followed me everywhere, even slept in my bed with me at night. Because of this we grew very close and my emotional attachment to this dog has grown to far surpass that of any dog I have ever owned. On monday of this week, the day before they would be returning home, I was in a hurry to get somewhere and realized Jasper and Banyon needed to pee before I left. Polly and Shelby were outside, and instead of bringing them in I decided I was going to just step outside, let them pee, then bring them back in so I could leave. I stepped outside with them, and all 4 dogs were out. Polly freaked out a little, but everything seemed fine. All of the sudden I heard my nephew crying inside, so I ran inside to check on him. Once inside I became side tracked and it slipped my mind that all 4 dogs were together. About 3-5 minutes later my other nephew (5) came home from school and said he was going in the back yard to play. I walked out the door and said good bye to my sister. About 3 minutes down the road my sister called in hysterics so I quickly turned around and rushed home. I ran outside to find blood everywhere, and found Banyon covered in blood. I saw Jasper and Polly both hiding, and my sister in the grass screaming and crying. As I walked closer, I saw Shelby, her body ripped to shreds, her jugular had been ripped out and her head had been ripped off. The whole moment was such a blur. Unfortunately, my nephew witness the whole thing. He said that Banyon out of no where charged across the yard and jumped on Shelby, ripped out her throat, then grabbed her by the neck and dragged her all over the yard, then finally bit off her head and lapped up her blood. When I turned to Banyon, he was wagging his tail and panting, and wanted to play just like usual. He was not phased at all. I quickly gave him a bath to remove the blood and locked up all the dogs. Then cleaned up the back yard. I then took Jasper and Banyon home and kept them there until their owner returned the next day. Banyon has shown no signs of aggression since, and to be honest I hadnt really noticed any before. My sister is convinced that Banyon is a killer dog that needs to be put down immediately. My emotional attachment to the dog is clouding my judgement, I have a hard time believing Banyon did it on purpose but was perhaps playing too rough. I am so at odds about all this. The owner and I are both hesitating to put Banyon down because we dont feel he is a threat. However, if he were to attack again, and it be a child, we would never forgive ourselves. What is your professional opinion on this? I'm dying for some insight!
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Sally G. replied 1 year ago.

DakotaSouthFive :

Hello,


 


Thank you for using this site to help you with your problem. My name is XXXXX XXXXX X have been in the dog field for 25 years. It will be my pleasure to help you today.


Customer: I appreciate it!
DakotaSouthFive :

It seems from your story that clearly Banyon felt he was the alpha and there was a struggle between Banyon and your dog Polly, in which your other dog got caught in the middle being the weaker dog

Customer: I tried to give as much info as possible to help you. Was it informative enough?
DakotaSouthFive :

The fact that you say that Banyon mounted other and especially children tells me he feels he is in charge

Customer: Do you think he was being malicious?
DakotaSouthFive :

Dogs never see children as an equal, I think hat he was acting on dominance and what set is off is hard to say

DakotaSouthFive :

If there were toys in the area or if the other dog got in his space that can do it

Customer: Do you think he is a danger ?
DakotaSouthFive :

but Banyon took it one step to far from just punishing the other dog to killing it. This is not a dog I would trust at this time

DakotaSouthFive :

as I stated they do not see children as equal or above them so I would never allow contact with this dog and a childe

DakotaSouthFive :

As far as being dangerous in general, if Banyon feels not immediate threat or challenge then all should be tine

Customer: Do you think it is necessary we put him down?
Customer: Or just keep him highly monitored?
Customer: Do you think it's possible he thought his owner abandoned him and frustrated him?
DakotaSouthFive :

This is a situation where you have to think how well the owner will keep the dog contained, how well the owner will change the position of the dog 's status. but I would think those who enter his path that he does not see above him would be in danger

DakotaSouthFive :

When you run a home with multiple dogs or one dog that feels it is above you , this should not be allowed at all

DakotaSouthFive :

It is the owner who is to be in charge of the home

DakotaSouthFive :

the dog does see us in a pack type of way but also realizes were are not dogs, so it is important that when we take them into our home we stablize that alpha behavior

Customer: If we muzzle him and closely monitor his interaction with other people/children... Is there still room for concern?
DakotaSouthFive :

There will always be a cause for concern because the dog could not stop until this other dog was deceased this tells me that the dog has not control, is not really an alpha persay because they don'

DakotaSouthFive :

don't act like this as alphas to carry it to that degree of putting another dog in its place

DakotaSouthFive :

It tells me that especially when you say that afterward the dog acted normal, tail wagging that there may be some mental cause also taking place

Customer: So aside from killing the dog, is the way he did it particularly alarming?
DakotaSouthFive :

yes, if he were only acting as alpha, he would have fought with the dog until the dog backed down, but he went beyond this and acted normal after. This could indicate rage syndrome wihch is cause for concern.

DakotaSouthFive :

However

DakotaSouthFive :

you also put them all together in an place where they were not comfortable so that could have been a contributing factor

Customer: So it's your belief his actions were deliberate and by no chance an accident?
DakotaSouthFive :

Accidents like this don't happen. For some reason Banyon went off on an older more feeble dog and took it to the extreme which really given the fact that Shelby was not in any way aggressive or a real threat to Banyon makes me believe that another incident could take place

DakotaSouthFive :

If he were just admonishing the other dog because there was a toy that he wanted the fight would not have gone to that extreme

Customer: So is there a chance his brother, jasper could be in danger?
DakotaSouthFive :

It seems like he saw this dog as prey and treated it as such, why is the question, and can it happen again, I would say yes

DakotaSouthFive :

There is always that chance for danger when you have a dog that is allowed to control. My thought would be to have the dogs health examined for possible neurological problems which can cause the aggression to worsen. It is hard not having seen the dog right after the attack or seen the interactions between them before the attack

Customer: If this was your dog, what action would you take?
DakotaSouthFive :

I personally would find someone to come in and monitor the dogs behavior, I am on line I cannot see the interaction between the two dog but I say this because he did also go after Polly, but luckily someone intervened

DakotaSouthFive :

I would talk to the vet and ask for a recommendation of a behaviorist in your area to assess the dog first hand before taking any action. I would also keep this dog separate from the one that lives with him

DakotaSouthFive :

If it is from something like rage syndrome the dog goes blank this in itself is dangerous

Customer: Here's the thing. Banyon and jasper both have acted completely normal since it happened. Ad their owner is a man who is very firm with them and banyon is not allowed to be alpha
Customer: So my thought was maybe with him being with just me and my sister and 2 girl dogs, not really having a male authority, and having alpha male tendencies was confused or feeling insecure and frustrated
DakotaSouthFive :

Well you say that he is not allowed to be alpha, yet clearly at your house for some reason he thought it was okay. If he was trained properly from the onset his view on his role in life would be different. Do you understand what I mean? Much is going to depend on how your friend is keeping him under control or thinks he is under control.

DakotaSouthFive :

When trained to take things down a notch they learn how to behave with other dogs they don't know

DakotaSouthFive :

clearly this dog is not well socialized or he would not have felt a need to take over at your home

Customer: Yes, I see what you mean.. I was concerned with the lack of remorse show. Which caused me to think there could be psyh issues. If so, would they treat it?
DakotaSouthFive :

you have to determine if it is treatable and only an exam and someone to look at the behavior around other dogs and children would determine that

DakotaSouthFive :

My fear is that he mounted a young child, He was out of control because he could not overtake Polly so he went for the weakest

DakotaSouthFive :

in the home or the more vulnerable

DakotaSouthFive :

which would be Shelby and the child

DakotaSouthFive :

If no one was in the room with the child you have to ask yourself what could have happened

DakotaSouthFive :

Dogs can be put on prozac for emotional instability but I am not sure this will help this dog. I would say a combination of serious training, confinement to the home is the only way to keep this from happening again

Customer: Yes, I had that thought too. It could've easily been one of the kids. So your advice would be to have him evaluated before making any assumptions?
DakotaSouthFive :

yes, that is what I would do only because no one knows what actually happened, though this dog definitely stepped way over the bounds of putting another dog in its place spo my fear would be does he actually know how to control being in charge

Customer: Yea, I see what you're saying. I'll definitely look into evaluation. I'll do anything to prevent putting him down.
DakotaSouthFive :

That would be a starting place, but also be very honest with yourself you would feel worse if it were a chlid

Customer: Oh absolutely, and that's what I wrestle with. I appreciate your help. It's nice to have an outside professional opinion.
DakotaSouthFive :

Once you have rated my answer I would like to schedule a free follow up with you in about 4 weeks to see how things are going and if you need any additional help. However, please know that should something arise before the follow up you can always contact me via this link. http://www.justanswer.com/pet/expert-2ndchances/


 

Customer: Ok, thank you. I am very appreciative!
DakotaSouthFive :

you are most welcome. I wish you the best in whatever decision you and your friend make

Customer: Thankyou. Have a good day :)
DakotaSouthFive :

you as well

DakotaSouthFive :

Is there anything else I can do for you today and were you satisfied with my answer ?

Customer: I'm very satisfied!
Sally G., Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 7939
Experience: Therapy dog evaluator and trainer, AKC evaluator, pet first aide and member of PAS Animal Response Team.
Sally G. and other Dog Training Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Sally G. replied 1 year ago.
Hi,
I was just checking in to see how you were making out with Banyon and if there have been any decisions made.

Sally

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