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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 19832
Experience:  Dog breeder/Trainer and Behaviorist 18+ years
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We have made the heartbreaking decision to have our staffie

Customer Question

we have made the heartbreaking decision to have our staffie cross boy aged 3 put to sleep tomorrow. You are our lasr resort. He had a terrible start bred from 2 aggressive parents, left to grow up in a boiler cupboard and then teased with boxing gloves by teenagers. \M y daughter took him on at 16 weeks old. She never had a dog before, she didnt realise that is behaviours of biting her legs and being disobedient was wrong and never stopped the behaviour. He got too much for her so we took him on, he has bitten my other dogs very badly, bitten me when I tried to stop him fighting. Even walking him with a muzzle on he goes into full attack mode. We cant answer the door as he attacks us and anyone at the door. He is very unpredictable....things we do on a regular basis a hundred times he doesnt react then WHAM he tries to bite. From witnessing the awful way he attacks me and my other dogs....I can not and will not have my toddler grandchildren in my house as I know Reggie has the ability to kill them, I asked a vet to remove his teeth he said it was ethically and morally wrong and now I have divulged that reggie has bitten he said if we don't have him euthanized he will report us to the police for having a dangerous dog. A dog behaviourist refused to come to our house to help as a she said a dog that has attacked their owner is to high a risk for her to intervene. We have tried EVERYTHING. self help books, positive reinforcement, separation...playing toys for agility etc etc. Reggie now has until the morning until he is put to sleep. I just need to kow it is the right thing to do morally and ethically. What else can we do? I said to my mum it feels so heartbreaking wrong to put such a gorgeous healthy animal to sleep who has no health problems....but my mum said he is ill...he is mentally ill. Please advise???
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 1 year ago.

Hi JaCustomer,

My name is ***** ***** I’ve been involved professionally with dogs in the health and behavioral fields for over 18 years. It will be my pleasure to work with you today. I want to let you know I'm working on your response right now.

Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 1 year ago.
This could be a medical issue. Dogs with thyroid imbalances can have bouts of sudden aggression. Read about medical causes of aggression on the following pages. However, dogs have to have discipline espectially strong willed breeds like the staffie. Male dogs are also less aggressive if neutered early. Strong willed dogs do challenge their owners. Often this starts early but I've seen it most around 18 months of age. If there has not been a strong foundation of obedience training, the dog continues to push if they are not controlled fairly quickly. If the dog did not have a good foundation in obedience, he would likely obey when he wanted to but ignore commands at other times. Once he knew that there was unlikely to be any reprimands for not obeying, he would push the boundaries even further. After a short while, he would eventually start deciding that he was in charge. When that happens. any person or animal that does something the dog doesn't like, might end up being reprimanded by the dog with a growl, a lunge or bite. This might be getting too close to his bowl, trying to take something away from him, or just walking too close to the dog in what he considers to be his space. It sounds like you would need to do a lot of work with him and even then he could potentially still be unpredictable. It is my understanding that to have him euthanized would require him to be deemed dangerous first. Now you might call around to the vets close to you and find out if they would be willing to take him. You will need to contact them to have a thyroid panel to rule out a medical cause. That does take specialized tests to rule out. I do understand your thoughts. It can be very difficult to make this type of decision. I've had to make it once for a dog with an inoperable brain tumor. Even then it isn't an easy decision since he was otherwise in very good health for his age. I hope this information is helpful to you. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have . If you do find this helpful, please take this opportunity to rate my answer positively so I am compensated for my time.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
maybe the vet is quick then in making the decision? H never even mentioned thyroid problems
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 1 year ago.

He really should have let you know that a thyroid condition could cause aggression.

Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 1 year ago.

Hi Again,

I just thought I'd check in to see how things are going for you and your dog. Let me know if my answer was helpful.