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Dr. Kara
Dr. Kara, Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 14859
Experience:  Over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian.
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Hi my 2 year old lurcher killed my neighbours dog we do not

Customer Question

Hi my 2 year old lurcher killed my neighbours dog we do not know if it came through our fence - our neighbours are stating that our dog dragged theirs through the fence - should we have our dog put to sleep ?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. Kara replied 2 years ago.
Hello, my name is Dr. Kara and I have over 20 years of experience as a veterinarian. My deepest condolences to your neighbors. I am sure that was a horrifying event to witness. I am assuming that your neighbor's dog was a small breed dog.

Your dog's behavior is upsetting but it is understandable given her breed. She is a hunting dog and these breeds are selected to aggressively respond to prey. It makes them terrific hunters if they have this sort of instinctive behavior as well as they ability to learn to hunt. There can be a very strong prey drive in some strains of hunting dogs that is almost automatic behavior. There are certain stimuli and cues that they respond to, and are almost unable to help themselves when they are exposed to them. I suspect that this is the case with your dog. For whatever reason the way your neighbor's dog behaved triggered instinctive behavior in your pup. These "cues" can be the sounds an animal makes, the way it moves, their size, and scent.

She is not a bad dog necessarily, and I would not expect her to be aggressive in other situations, but I would never trust her around small animals, including kittens, small breeds of dogs, pocket pets like hamsters or rabbits, or even a human baby.

You can consult with a professional trainer or a veterinary behaviorist to try and change the behavior, but there is no guarantee that it will be effective and I would never feel 100% secure even if she seems to improve.

Whether you choose to keep her or not depends upon whether you can keep her away from small animals and feel comfortable knowing her ability to behave this way.
Knowing her nature I would not ever leave her outdoors alone, and I would be very careful with her on walks, making sure you have full control at all times.

If you want to read more about predatory aggression here are some very good articles about it and possible ways to deal with it:
1) http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/virtual-pet-behaviorist/dog-behavior/predatory-behavior-dogs

2)http://www.petplace.com/dogs/predatory-aggression/page1.aspx

I know that you are feeling very emotional now. Please let me know if you have any further questions.

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