Dog Aggression in "Other Breeds"

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Postby maberi » March 1st, 2010, 8:40 pm

I was speaking with a friend at the shelter this weekend and they brought in a long term foster they have had for a few years. I'm not sure of the breed but it looks like an overgrown spaniel of some sort (some sort of fluffy dog). Anyway, apparently the dog has developed quite a bit of dog aggression as well as resource guarding around the other dogs in their house so they have had to start crating and rotating. Many of their dogs are seniors with disabilities so it is far from an ideal situation.

It's interesting because as a pit owner dog I always kind of blow off dog aggression. Certainly I would prefer not to have it in a dog, but if it is there, it is generally easily manageable. I've never given any thought to how people outside of the pit world perceive dog aggression in other breeds. Many are terrible taken back by it and have a hard time trying to deal with it. Finding a responsible home for a pit with dog aggression isn't easy, but it's definitely doable. What are the chances of finding a home for a little fluffy dog (I need to find out the breed) that acts like a pit? :| They are very concerned with trying to adopt the dog out because of the dog aggression because they don't trust the novice owner (understandable) and are considered euthanasia.
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Postby airwalk » March 1st, 2010, 9:31 pm

Wow Matt, your post actually brings a number of questions to my mind instantly. A foster they've had several years??? What is several years? We, other than very special situations, try to limit our "fosters" to no more than 6 months (and that's the outside edge). Longer than that the dog is becoming stable and a part of the family.

After anything considered years, I think you are now not adopting the dog you are rehoming a dog..cause the dog doesn't understand.

Dog aggression can and does happen in every breed..but this sounds like resource guarding. It is interesting that it appears to have just been recognized. I'll bet there have been behaviors there for a while, they are now reaching a level that is recognizable.

I guess the question I always ask my staff is...if the one perfect home walked through the door today and said pick me the best dog in the place...is this a dog you would choose for them to meet? Typically we have so many really great dogs, with so few issues, that I am concerned about using resources on a dog that has, what sounds like, a number of issues.

To answer your question...finding a home for a dog aggressive dog, regardless of breed, is very difficult.
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Postby amazincc » March 1st, 2010, 9:34 pm

maberi wrote: What are the chances of finding a home for a little fluffy dog (I need to find out the breed) that acts like a pit? :|


Why, Matt... I'm *almost* offended by that statement... almost. :wink:

Before I was owned by Pits, and knew about actual real bred-in DA, I was under the impression that just about all breeds tend to have members who can exhibit DA. Especially the "little fluffy" ones.
Two houses away from me live three yappy little chi mixes who wouldn't hesitate to rip out my boys' eye balls if they could get in our yard. Horrible aggressive little shytes, I kid you not. Except... they're little and fluffy, so the owners think it's cute when they charge my fence... :rolleyes2: >(
I bet their reaction would be quite different if my dogs acted that way. :neutral:

They are very concerned with trying to adopt the dog out because of the dog aggression because they don't trust the novice owner (understandable) and are considered euthanasia.

Chances are that little fluffy dog can be managed, just like a DA Pit... common sense, crate&rotate, an only-dog home, no dog parks... there are quite a few possibilities out there. I hate when people jump to the *easy* euthanasia solution right away.
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Postby katiek0417 » March 1st, 2010, 9:37 pm

maberi wrote:I was speaking with a friend at the shelter this weekend and they brought in a long term foster they have had for a few years. I'm not sure of the breed but it looks like an overgrown spaniel of some sort (some sort of fluffy dog). Anyway, apparently the dog has developed quite a bit of dog aggression as well as resource guarding around the other dogs in their house so they have had to start crating and rotating. Many of their dogs are seniors with disabilities so it is far from an ideal situation.

It's interesting because as a pit owner dog I always kind of blow off dog aggression. Certainly I would prefer not to have it in a dog, but if it is there, it is generally easily manageable. I've never given any thought to how people outside of the pit world perceive dog aggression in other breeds. Many are terrible taken back by it and have a hard time trying to deal with it. Finding a responsible home for a pit with dog aggression isn't easy, but it's definitely doable. What are the chances of finding a home for a little fluffy dog (I need to find out the breed) that acts like a pit? :| They are very concerned with trying to adopt the dog out because of the dog aggression because they don't trust the novice owner (understandable) and are considered euthanasia.


Drusilla is VERY HIGHLY female DA...and is rather picky with people as well. I will say that Dru is absolutely relentless if she gets in a fight. This is a dog that has broken INTO crates to fight another dog. She crate fights with every female in the house. She has fought dogs that are submissive (Sacha, for example)...She has taken off down the street to start a fight with a dog...she is a bully (not like a pit, but like a playground bully :wink: )...

However, I will tell you that after she was sick last summer, I made the choice to spay her...and because I really can't risk her getting hurt, she no longer worked, and she would no longer breed either. I had people tell me to just place her in a pet home. However, I was pretty sure if I tried to place her, she would've ended up being euthanized. I know that being in my house and being on a very strict crate and rotate isn't ideal for her....but I also know that we know how to manage her DA...and we've even gotten to the point where we can take her out on walks, and rather than reacting to another dog, she starts to do an attention heel...I don't know how she'd be in another person's hands...
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Postby maberi » March 1st, 2010, 9:50 pm

These are all good questions Diane and I actually asked a few via e-mail when her husband contacted me.

They are very much against giving the dog up to another person because they feel like they are passing their problems off onto another person but at the same time their other dogs aren't safe unless on a crate and rotate situation. From my understanding the dog came in as a foster during Katrina but was kept due to some of the issues described. The fights have gotten bad enough that one of the dogs had to be taken into the vet to get sewn up.

My guess is that most of the aggression issues are due to resource guarding of one thing or another. I saw a dog approach and nip the dog in question and the dog just sat there wagging his tail. Most dogs I know with real dog aggression would have taken the other dog's head off.



airwalk wrote:Wow Matt, your post actually brings a number of questions to my mind instantly. A foster they've had several years??? What is several years? We, other than very special situations, try to limit our "fosters" to no more than 6 months (and that's the outside edge). Longer than that the dog is becoming stable and a part of the family.

After anything considered years, I think you are now not adopting the dog you are rehoming a dog..cause the dog doesn't understand.

Dog aggression can and does happen in every breed..but this sounds like resource guarding. It is interesting that it appears to have just been recognized. I'll bet there have been behaviors there for a while, they are now reaching a level that is recognizable.

I guess the question I always ask my staff is...if the one perfect home walked through the door today and said pick me the best dog in the place...is this a dog you would choose for them to meet? Typically we have so many really great dogs, with so few issues, that I am concerned about using resources on a dog that has, what sounds like, a number of issues.

To answer your question...finding a home for a dog aggressive dog, regardless of breed, is very difficult.
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Postby airwalk » March 1st, 2010, 9:54 pm

Well I guess if there is concern about the "average home and owner" being able to manage and it's become an untenable situation in the foster home...then the responsible thing to do is make a decision one way or another, rather than "let it ride".

Christine I hear what you're saying about not jumping too quickly, but that is okay when it's your personal dog. This is a foster dog that is owned by the Government and supported by tax dollars along with every other dog for which the shelter is responsible.

The shelter needs to ask itself how long is too long before you are no longer being humane and you are warehousing dogs.
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Postby amazincc » March 1st, 2010, 10:00 pm

Finding a responsible home for a pit with dog aggression isn't easy, but it's definitely doable. What are the chances of finding a home for a little fluffy dog (I need to find out the breed) that acts like a pit?


Why wouldn't it be doable for a little fluffer-nutter then? He most likely needs some training (NILIF), and he needs to be "an only child". I don't see a huge problem. Or am I missing something? :|
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Postby maberi » March 1st, 2010, 10:03 pm

airwalk wrote:Christine I hear what you're saying about not jumping too quickly, but that is okay when it's your personal dog. This is a foster dog that is owned by the Government and supported by tax dollars along with every other dog for which the shelter is responsible.

The shelter needs to ask itself how long is too long before you are no longer being humane and you are warehousing dogs.


Totally agree, but I do know in this case that the dog is not a county dog and the volunteers have been paying for the care of the dog out of pocket.
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Postby maberi » March 1st, 2010, 10:06 pm

amazincc wrote:
Finding a responsible home for a pit with dog aggression isn't easy, but it's definitely doable. What are the chances of finding a home for a little fluffy dog (I need to find out the breed) that acts like a pit?


Why wouldn't it be doable for a little fluffer-nutter then? He most likely needs some training (NILIF), and he needs to be "an only child". I don't see a huge problem. Or am I missing something? :|


I guess my point was that most people who are attracted to pits are fully aware of the dog aggression present in the breed and it comes with the territory. Does that same luxury exist for a dog whose breed isn't notorious for having dog aggression? I'm fully aware that dog aggression is present in all breeds but when it isn't the norm, I would think it would make it that much harder to place a dog.

I agree, to me it isn't that big of a deal. There are MANY dogs out there that should be only "childs"
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Postby amazincc » March 1st, 2010, 10:12 pm

maberi wrote:
I guess my point was that most people who are attracted to pits are fully aware of the dog aggression present in the breed and it comes with the territory. Does that same luxury exist for a dog whose breed isn't notorious for having dog aggression? I'm fully aware that dog aggression is present in all breeds but when it isn't the norm, I would think it would make it that much harder to place a dog.

I agree, to me it isn't that big of a deal. There are MANY dogs out there that should be only "childs"


Oh... I guess I'm so used to reading ads on CL where all sorts of breeds need to be rehomed as an "only dog" (because of DA) that I thought it was a pretty common situation. :)
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Postby airwalk » March 1st, 2010, 10:53 pm

It is fairly common..the problem is that many of those dogs don't ever get rehomed responsibly.

There are many fluffy butts that are a variety of aggressives...dog, people, fear based...some people can and will manage the behaviors appropriately; unfortunately, many of the folks attracted to fluffies aren't necessarily the ones that are readily committed to management - thus all the little ankle biters out there that are just plain nasty and end up surrendered for biting.

One of the major differences is folks that are attracted to breeds where dog aggression is an expected trait, or very high prey drive or folks that are typically knowledgeable enough and committed enough to manage it. Not all - as we all know, but many.
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Postby amazincc » March 1st, 2010, 11:06 pm

airwalk wrote:It is fairly common..the problem is that many of those dogs don't ever get rehomed responsibly.


Yeah, sadly, that is very true. :(
But in this case, if the people are honest when trying to rehome this dog, the potential new owners will know what they're up against right from the start. I still think DA is much easier to manage than HA, and if the dog is an only child the problem is half-solved already. Coupled w/some common-sense approaches (like no dog parks, some NILIF, etc.) the little fluffy could definitely make someone else happy. :D
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Postby airwalk » March 2nd, 2010, 1:41 am

Not disagreeing with you...but I have people tha bring back puppies because they can't be bothered to go home at lunch for a few weeks to housetrain, I highly doubt they would responsibly manage a DA dog. :|
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Postby CinderDee » March 2nd, 2010, 4:46 am

My sister adopted a dog like Matt is describing so I think that there are people who take those types of dogs. :|
She hasn't done one thing to improve his behavior though. :neutral: I think NILIF would make a world of difference.
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Postby SassyCassie » March 2nd, 2010, 10:00 am

maberi wrote: They are very much against giving the dog up to another person because they feel like they are passing their problems off onto another person but at the same time their other dogs aren't safe unless on a crate and rotate situation. From my understanding the dog came in as a foster during Katrina but was kept due to some of the issues described. The fights have gotten bad enough that one of the dogs had to be taken into the vet to get sewn up.



My question is 'Why did they bring it to a shelter if they felt the best thing was to have the dog put down?'

I went thru this with my Springer. (it was felt later that he developed Springer Rage) After three unprovoked biting incidents, the last of which required a trip to emergency for my husband, I made the decision to have him put down. Later, my mom (knowing what a softy i am) said she was surprised i had him put down, and didn't try to rehome him thru the shelter. I said i didn't want to read in the paper that he had ripped some kids' face off. If I didn't think i could keep him, i certainly didn't want to dump my problem onto some (possibly unaware) person.

I don't know anything about this dog, but as someone earlier said, there are many adoptable dogs without issues (or minimal issues)
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Postby maberi » March 2nd, 2010, 10:36 am

I agree but I think we need to make the distinction between human aggression and dog aggression because there is a difference.

An important thing to note is that not all dogs are social and we really shouldn't expect them to be. Many dogs guard food and toys from other dogs and this is pretty normal. It certainly isn't uncommon to see a dog listed in a shelter or rescue as one that needs to be your only dog.

3/4s of the dogs on this forum wouldn't respond well if you threw a toy or food in a circle and let them all go after it.
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Postby airwalk » March 2nd, 2010, 2:38 pm

Absolutely Matt, resource guarding isn't the end of the world and guarding from other dogs certainly isn't. Lots of dogs live quite nice lives as only dogs. In the hands of someone that "gets" that, it is very good.

The challenge shelters have is in the hands of someone that doesn't "get" it, you have just placed a dog that is likely to be returned to you because of a bite that you will have to quarantine and you just opened up the door of possible liability. :|
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Postby Malli » March 2nd, 2010, 2:48 pm

SassyCassie wrote:
maberi wrote: They are very much against giving the dog up to another person because they feel like they are passing their problems off onto another person but at the same time their other dogs aren't safe unless on a crate and rotate situation. From my understanding the dog came in as a foster during Katrina but was kept due to some of the issues described. The fights have gotten bad enough that one of the dogs had to be taken into the vet to get sewn up.



My question is 'Why did they bring it to a shelter if they felt the best thing was to have the dog put down?'

I went thru this with my Springer. (it was felt later that he developed Springer Rage) After three unprovoked biting incidents, the last of which required a trip to emergency for my husband, I made the decision to have him put down. Later, my mom (knowing what a softy i am) said she was surprised i had him put down, and didn't try to rehome him thru the shelter. I said i didn't want to read in the paper that he had ripped some kids' face off. If I didn't think i could keep him, i certainly didn't want to dump my problem onto some (possibly unaware) person.

I don't know anything about this dog, but as someone earlier said, there are many adoptable dogs without issues (or minimal issues)



I believe the dog is being fostered(for the shelter) by these people, they just aren't sure if they can handle him any more or if he should be an adoption prospect ;)
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Postby pitsnok » March 2nd, 2010, 3:41 pm

We have a sixteen year old chihuahua named George at my mom's house... he is by far the meanest dog I have ever met. He bit several people back in his heyday luckily they were always family members who didn't press charges or anything. He was always extra protective of our house and family. He used to take prozac daily, and valium when we were having company over. And it is true, because he was small and never really did any damage it wasn't ever that big of a deal. The only person ever affected was my grandma who he bit last year. (He has back problems, and she was picking him up, just not in the correct way and it hurt her)... anyway she had to get a tetinus shot because the bite got infected.

I find it really interesting that now in his old age, and his complete inability to hear he has actually gotten about 80% nicer than he used to be.
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Postby TheRedQueen » March 2nd, 2010, 4:59 pm

There is a reason I see so many little/small dogs with aggression problems...tops on my list chihuahuas, dachshunds, tiny designer mixes (puggles are awful!), cocker mixes (and cockers...but they're not small)...because they're easier to deal with. You can scoop up a little dog that's being a jerk, and remove him completely from the situation easily. So instead of working on training that issue, it's just ignored because it's easier to manage the dog.

John's sister has three chihuahuas and one bc mix (plus three kids)...the two younger chi's get away with murder...biting ankles, hands, attacking my dogs when they come over, etc. If that bc mix did anything like that, I'd guess he'd be out on the street before he knew what happened. They just laugh about the chi's. :bs:
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