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Unread 01-20-2013, 12:51 PM   #1
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Unhappy Newbie w/Serious Issue-7 dogs

Hi there, I need some advice please. I have 7 dogs of various breeds all fixed, 5 males, 3 females. One of my females is a 3 legged Shepherd/Akita?? mix. She has been 3 legged since about 4 mo old and is almost 5. Montana is a hyper dog but will listen to me. She is as agile as my 4 legged guys.

My problem is when Montana came to live with us after her amputation she got along just fine with all my other dogs. Then one day she just turned on my golden and chewed up his leg good. She wouldn't let go even with the hose down her throat practically. So needless to say we had to separate her from all other dogs EXCEPT my black border collie (female) and black lab/pitty (male). Montana is black as well. We say she is prejudice against "white" dogs.

I had her worked with extensively and she exhibited all proper behavior and didn't go after my golden until our back was turned. So we realize she just can't be with the "white" dogs. She attacked our lab once and my husband practically choked her out. She went for our golden mix with little damage and stopped without too much interference (well I did tackle her and lay on her).

So we keep her separated except from the "black" dogs. Last week my lab/pitty had a mast cell tumor removed and we have had to keep him couped up in the house for 2 wks. We kept Montana away from Blade until about 3 days ago and all was fine. Then last night she decided to "attack" Blade but whatever reason I didn't see. I got up from my chair and she went for Blade. However she did no damage. My husband hates her and threw her outside and said we need to get rid of her. Yeah who is going to take a 3 legged "aggressive" dog with Pannus.

Montana isn't "aggressive" with my border collie nor with the lab/pitty until last night. She shares her dog food with one of my cats and lives with 5 cats. Montana is mostly an inside dog because of her Pannus except for her alloted time outside when we play ball. She doesn't even show aggression through the chain link fence to my other dogs. It's like a switch gets flipped and she goes crazy.

I don't know what to do, my husband said get rid of her or put her to sleep. My heart is breaking. I don't consider her to be an issue because she is separated from all the other dogs. She grew up with the border collie and is her best friend.

Please give me some advice.

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Unread 01-20-2013, 05:02 PM   #2
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Sorry I can't help you but welcome to df!
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Unread 01-20-2013, 05:37 PM   #3
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Welcome to the Forum! I'm not a professional trainer, so I really can't help out here. Let's hope another member can help you.
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Unread 01-20-2013, 08:23 PM   #4
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Hi, welcome to the forum.

Unfortunately I am not sure how much help we can offer in this situation. I agree that rehoming is not a viable option for Montana, so you are left with the options of continuing to manage the situation by separating the dogs, or humane euthanasia.

Given that the fights have been very difficult to end, and you indicate that some damage was done, as well as the dog's age, I am not sure this would be a case where I would rate the chances of training being successful very highly. Was there any identifiable trigger for any of the fights? Presumably the recent one was simply the dogs having been separated then back together?

Before making any decisions I would recommend that you take Montana for a thorough check up with your vet. Three legged dogs do put additional strain on the remaining limbs as they get older, and the pannus could potentially be causing some discomfort I presume. We certainly do know that discomfort can contribute to aggression so may perhaps be a factor in this scenario.

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Unread 01-20-2013, 09:02 PM   #5
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I think for the time being you are managing the situation as best as you can by keeping them separared while Blade is recovering. Even though Montana may be as agile as your other dogs, tripawd dogs are less able to protect themselves, which is why play and interactive times with other dogs should always be supervised. The pannus may be complicating the situation, while it is not painful, you can't be sure how much of her vision (and therefore perception) is affected without veterinary input.
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Unread 01-20-2013, 10:03 PM   #6
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The only thing I can add is seek a behaviourist's advice on this cause it's happened more than once it will happen again something isn't right. As you can't really be watching 24 hrs a day it only needs your back turned on them again and the oppurtunity is there I don't normaly suggest a crate so at least this will give you some piece of mind just a thought! And good luck
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Unread 01-20-2013, 11:31 PM   #7
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It is clear that she has a trigger, I have never seen a random attack..
I would suggest to bring in a veterinary behaviorist to see what is really going on. But even then, it needs to be very well managed..

I would probably suggest to train her with a muzzle to be comfortable with that and then follow any training suggestions a behaviorist is giving you. and it has to be a behaviorist, not a reg dog trainer.. This is a serious issues..
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Unread 01-21-2013, 02:47 AM   #8
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The first thing I suggest is going for a vet visit. Given her amputated limb and pannus, there may be a medical reason she is lashing out. As already mentioned, her pannus may be limiting her vision, which means she's might be more likely to startle and lash out aggressively. Also, keep in mind that being a three legged dog IS hard on her body, even though she still seems very agile.

Normally the impact of running or trotting is distributed fairly evenly on all four legs. But she is missing a leg. That means that the remaining leg next to the missing one has to take ALL the pressure from that half of the body. With each step, each impact, it's working twice as hard as it would if the other leg were present. You mentioned she may be german shepherd/akita mix. Those breeds can be very prone to hip displaysia, a condition where the ball of the femur doesn't fit properly into the socket in the pelvis. It can get worse as a dog ages. If her missing leg is a rear leg, then she could be pain sometimes.

If you can rule out medical problems as the cause of her behavior, or at least rule it out the best you can, I would say to hire a behaviorist. Not just a dog trainer, I mean a behaviorist. You need somebody who can come to your home and observe her behavior. None of us here can really give you much help because we can't physically see the dog. We can't see what is triggering her to lash out at the golden and your other dogs.

If you can't afford a behaviorist, then the best you can do is to just keep managing things the best you can by keeping them separate and save money so you CAN hire a behaviorist. She should be kept separate from ALL other dogs when you can't supervise play. And as monkey said, you might want to invest in a muzzle for extra safety.

You should be aware that even with training, she may never be the kind of dog that you can leave unattended with other dogs and not have to worry about a thing happening. Vision and potential joint issues aside, Akitas and their mixes are known for being prone to dog aggression. My family had a german shepherd/akita mix who had issues with "traffic cop aggression". It's a more mild form of dog aggression that usually just involved her wanting to aggressively correct my other dogs for things she just didn't like. In her younger days, she did put holes in our other german shepherd's muzzle, but that's as bad as it ever got. It took a lot of training and consistency to keep her under control, and more or less constant supervision.

So just keep that in mind as you go about deciding what to do with her. You have to decide if the responsibility is worth it. You have a dog that could seriously hurt or even kill another one of your dogs, even the border collie and lab/pittie if they trigger her. 7 dogs is a lot of dogs to keep track of at once. You also have to make sure that your husband is going to be on board with whatever you decide. Consistency in her training and routine is vital, and your husband has to be on top of things when it comes to letting dogs in/out. You can't have an accident where she is allowed access to another dog. She really shouldn't be rehomed. If you rehome her, then you are just giving somebody else a dog that could potentially cause some real trouble for them. She would need to go to an experienced person ONLY, and probably somebody with no other dogs in the house.
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Unread 01-22-2013, 11:47 AM   #9
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Everyone's advice is awesome, thanks so much. Right now my present separation of the dogs is working but my lab/pitty has now brought in a needed reevaluation because the 3 black dogs usually hang together. I do want to assure those that mentioned Montana's Pannus that it is in remission and she has no vision issues. She got lucky there. Wouldn't know what to do with a hyper 3 legged dog who couldn't see. As for her 3 legs I do give her glucosomine supplements daily, she stays in the house 75% of the day and I don't believe she has any pain issues. I work at home so I am able to observe my dogs daily. Another brief history - I have had Montana since she was about 6 months old (my vet tech daughter took care of her after amputation then had to leave her with me when she moved). She recovered from her surgery with all my other dogs without any issues with them. Until one day when she was about 2 I believe she just turned on my golden. There have been several other instances but since I am able to keep them in different parts of the yard all has been well. I struggle with her fate especially right now after she went for Blade. I do know that if she ever goes for my border collie who I consider her to be her best and only friend then I will know for sure something is messed up in her head and she will have to go. I will NOT rehome Montana. But how can a dog who was been with my others dogs for 2 yrs just flip? Hard to understand.

Yes I do have quite a few dogs but they are all pretty much well behaved. My golden does have some food aggression but I know how to handle where he is fed and he stops when I command him to. They all get along very well; all 6 that is.

I was in dog rescue for many years however these dogs weren't from dog rescue. 3 were because of my vet tech daughter and the rest...well MustLuvDogs247. My oldest is a 13-14 yr old lab/golden. Blade is 8.5, Moses & Brandee are 8, Kodee is 7, Shadow & Montana are almost 4.5.

I can't afford a behaviorist right now especially after spending money on the mast cell surgery and I have a newly diagnosed diabetic kitty. But honestly don't know if there is really anything that can be done with her. She listens to me, obeys commands. Loves her border collie, hangs with my cats, eats with one cat. What could possibly trigger her that could really be fixed?

Montana's total attacks have been 5 (in 3 yrs) including Blade w/3 injuries (golden's was worse and required ER care) however she does stop now when I go "after" her.

BTW I will be purchasing a muzzle because evening times Blade is used to hanging with us before bed along with Montana and Shadow.

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