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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My grandmother is getting ready to move in with us and her 11(ish) year old Australian Shepherd mix, Girl, will be moving in with her. She's a REALLY good, well-trained dog and a wonderful companion for my grandmother, but...she's starting to lose it, I think. She's always been a little on edge - very protective (she was a stray and we think she was abused) - but as she's aged it's gotten increasingly intense. Her first instinct is to come flying at you, teeth bared, even if it's just me walking into the room (and she used to be my dog!)...

But that's not the problem. She gets along with all of our dogs EXCEPT our Welsh Corgi mix, Bruno. Granted, he's a bit of a dick, too, but from the very first time she saw him (almost a year ago) she has HATED him. She's about 45, maybe 50lbs, and she pulled a 10' x 6' chain link kennel about 6 feet (it finally snagged on a tree stump) last year, ripped the door open, and almost killed him. She had him by the neck and was shaking him so hard that if he even turned his head for the next two weeks he'd start screaming. The only thing that got her off of Bruno that time was Jaeger. My mother was trying to pull her off and almost got bitten, so Jaeger rushed in and took half of Girl's face off (literally...his one bite went from the right side of her muzzle to behind her left jaw).

She's gotten ahold of Bruno twice more since then with similar results. Of course, it doesn't help that now HE hates HER (for good reason) and starts growling right away.... Yes, he will fight back. Hard. I can't even pull them apart without my arms getting torn up.

What can I do? I've tried everything I can think of. It's going to be really hard to have them cohabitate on a permanent basis if they can't be in the same house without trying to kill each other.
 

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Personally, I would have her checked for any health issues/imbalances related to aging. Dogs can suffer from dementia and all, too. She might actually BE "losing it," as you put it.

If that's the case, you might be able to put her on medication that will help, or you might have no other choice than to either put her down or keep her separated from the other dogs.
 

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Kristen Cabe said:
Personally, I would have her checked for any health issues/imbalances related to aging. Dogs can suffer from dementia and all, too. She might actually BE "losing it," as you put it.

If that's the case, you might be able to put her on medication that will help, or you might have no other choice than to either put her down or keep her separated from the other dogs.
What she said.

There are actually successful antidepressant meds now for some of the dogs who suffer early dementia (and forget people, forget their beds, etc.).

In addition, she can be checked for a gradual hearing/vision loss, either of which (in my experience) can frighten a dog enough to cause aggression.

Then, if she is a healthy 11-ish, then you will be more equipped to make decisions about keeping the dogs 100% separated, getting an experienced trainer in to deal with the aggression, etc. It's hard when you don't really know what you're dealing with.

BUT, all that said, it sounds like pretty bad people- and dog-aggression that has been allowed to escalate, and the topic of PTS might have to come up. :cry:

I think others will have suggestions, too. I'm sorry to sound so negative. It sounds like a bad thing to me.
 
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If you're going to be a hotel, charge like one: PET FEE :lol: . Kidding. Nice thing to do, having your grandmother move in w/you, but not a nice thing for you to have to deal with. Sounds like Miss Aussie has discipline problems. They're all going to have to be separated. The last thing you need is for Dom to get involved in a situation like the ones you mentioned. He's at a bad age (not that there's a good age) for that kind of thing. Prevention is the best medicine. I'd talk to Granny and see if you can take the dog to the vet and go from there. It's gonna be a hard adjustment all around. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the advice everyone. :)

Kristen Cabe said:
Dogs can suffer from dementia and all, too. She might actually BE "losing it," as you put it.
I've been saying this for a while, Kristen, but my grandmother doesn't want to believe it. I guess all of us are guilty of thinking our dogs are perfect at one time or another. I'll push the issue, though, and try to get her to see that Girl is a serious danger to our dog.

Connie Sutherland said:
BUT, all that said, it sounds like pretty bad people- and dog-aggression that has been allowed to escalate, and the topic of PTS might have to come up.
We've had her since she was about 6-8 months old, Connie, but the vet said she'd obviously been unhappy wherever she'd been because she chewed through a wire pen (the vet noticed the cuts in her gums) to get out...and she's never tried to run away from us. We suspect she was abused, though, because she has a strong and otherwise inexplicable hatred for certain stimuli since the day we got her. I have to ask...what is PTS?

Jenni Williams said:
If you're going to be a hotel, charge like one: PET FEE Laughing . Kidding. Nice thing to do, having your grandmother move in w/you...
And Jenni, you're just hilarious. You'd REALLY think it was nice of me if you knew the whole story... Anyway, no, I don't want Dom to get tangled up in something like that. I'd KILL Girl...probably quite literally...if she hurt him.

So the vet is the first stop, then the looney bin (keeping her in a separate room) if that doesn't work?
 

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Go to your vet and they should have loads of reading material free to you about dog demensia. My mother-in-law's dog Cupid, a 13-year-old Mini American Eskimo Dog, used to (attempt to) fly at me, teeth bared and all, when I would come in. One day, I promtly muzzled her, grabbed her up, and took her to the vet office where I worked. The vet examined her and, in addition to demensia, she also has disc problems and arthritis that my in-laws didn't "notice" (no, they aren't the sharpest tools in the shed, that's for SURE!!). Of course, she was put on Rimadyl (anti-imflammatory and pain reliever) and she also was perscribed "chill pills" (Ace-tabs) for time when company was over.
Of course her aggression wasn't just because of the health problems, she was not properly socialized with children, other animals, or really any people outside the family. Now, any time I'm forced to attend their little "dinners" I grab the dog, pop an ace-tab or two and watch as she goes into drugged-up bliss. :twisted:
I sigh to think what's to come from my bro-in-law's new pitbull pup. :(
 

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Alicia Mertz said:
...........
I've been saying this for a while, Kristen, but my grandmother doesn't want to believe it. I guess all of us are guilty of thinking our dogs are perfect at one time or another. I'll push the issue, though, and try to get her to see that Girl is a serious danger to our dog....... We suspect she was abused, though, because she has a strong and otherwise inexplicable hatred for certain stimuli since the day we got her. I have to ask...what is PTS?...... Anyway, no, I don't want Dom to get tangled up in something like that. I'd KILL Girl...probably quite literally...if she hurt him......

Your grandmother might take it better if you couch it in terms of the dog's possible confusion/bewilderment/dread. She is not doing the DOG any favors by withholding medical eval and help.....leaving you and your dogs out of it just for that point to get across.

PTS....sorry...put to sleep.

Abuse, whatever, in her past, she has had aggression that was allowed to escalate. Fact, right (setting aside all the unknown past)?

I think you'll have to make rules, maybe, right now. The poor dog is obviously not a happy secure dog. Vet eval for everything mentioned above (good to take a list of her symptoms, and the things you'd like to check out), and if she's healthy, then you'll have to make hard decisions.

Obviously, no matter what, if the dog comes to your house, she has to be separated (not *sometimes*), but I'd want a skilled trainer to assess her before she ever moved in (if she checks out healthy) -- one who has aggression experience.

I feel for you. This in not going to be fun. :cry:
 

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Sarah Hall said:
Go to your vet and they should have loads of reading material free to you about dog demensia. My mother-in-law's dog Cupid, a 13-year-old Mini American Eskimo Dog, used to (attempt to) fly at me, teeth bared and all, when I would come in. One day, I promtly muzzled her, grabbed her up, and took her to the vet office where I worked. The vet examined her and, in addition to demensia, she also has disc problems and arthritis that my in-laws didn't "notice" (no, they aren't the sharpest tools in the shed, that's for SURE!!). Of course, she was put on Rimadyl (anti-imflammatory and pain reliever) and she also was perscribed "chill pills" (Ace-tabs) for time when company was over.
Of course her aggression wasn't just because of the health problems, she was not properly socialized with children, other animals, or really any people outside the family. Now, any time I'm forced to attend their little "dinners" I grab the dog, pop an ace-tab or two and watch as she goes into drugged-up bliss. :twisted:
I sigh to think what's to come from my bro-in-law's new pitbull pup. :(
OMG Sarah, you are too darn funny!!!!! My parents had an aggressive little $%%$$^ of a dashshund/terrier mix that I would have loved to do that to.

It's sad to hear that poor Girl is having such problems. My mom's 18 yo dachshund Mandy had signs of dimensia just before we had her put down for severe medical problems last summer. Poor girl would just snap and go off on a person every once in a while! I hope there's a fix for that poor pupper (and YOU since you get the joy of living with her)
 
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