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Thread: Making a decision

  1. #1

    Unhappy Making a decision

    Hi, I am currently in a bit of a situation with my beloved 11 year old female Cattle dog X Akita.

    She has basically grown up with her companion, an 8 year old male Retriever X Akita.

    My 11 year old female has always been the dominant one and my 8 year old has always submitted. Within the last month (or not even) however, things have slightly changed. My girl has started getting grumpy over really silly or non existant things and is starting fights with my male. The problem is , is that the male is well stronger than her now (and larger) and he actually won the fight (first time ever). Marked her, not a scratch on him. Since this first time , my girl continues to 'begin' fights over incredibally stupid things (sometimes it's over one of their blankets, sometimes it could very well be because she wants a fight as there is nothing around) and continues to get whooped.

    The thing to note here is that even though they have had small spats in previous times, those fights have been rare and very far inbetween (and usually over a food thing, which I could understand)

    My problem is that I have 2 young children, 5 and 3 who play in the yard and because these dog fights are increasing in frequency over this short period of time and are unpredictable (last one being yesterday) I feel it is becoming too dangerous. Last night, I was in the way becuase I saw what was about to happen and copped it on my hand (they were caught up in the moment, it wasn't intentional aggression towards me). Next time, it may be one of the children

    Something has to give. I love both of these dogs dearly, they have both been with me from day dot, but this cannot go on.

    I am seriously thinking about having my girl put to sleep, she still has so much vitality left in her but on the other hand her behaviour is becoming too erratic (and my male isn't 'starting ' these fights although he is finishing them). I have thought about re-homing her, but I don't know if this is fair, as I said she has been with me from day 1 and I think I'd stress too much about if she was being treated right. Plus her age is a factor in the re-homing and she has a fatty tumour on her leg (the vets say it's just that and not dangerous in any way to her) but this is still growing and I can't help wondering if this is affecting her even though the vet said its not tender and she's in no pain with it.

    She is old I know but she is not THAT old, I just feel really bad about this, feel like a heartless bitch, but my children are my priority as much as I love her. I would really appreciate your opinions on this matter.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
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    SE QLD
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    If you decide to re-home I think you would have a very hard time finding her one, and as you said it isn't fair on her anyway. You are all she has known and it would cause her a lot of stress to be taken away from you. I personally would not put her to sleep either, but that is just me - the death of a healthy dog is a waste of a life IMO.

    I would be separating the dogs. I am no trainer, but I am sure some of our more experienced members will be on to give you advice

    There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face.

  3. #3

    Default

    Thanks for the response jadielee, I don't understand what you mean by 'separating' the dogs though? They are not indoor dogs, so have only ever lived outdoors in yard. I can't keep them on a run all the time as I don't think that would be fair either for them. I have a tether point for them that I use for 'time out' when I need to but I can't keep them on that. And I can't really separate the yard into two parts....sorry if I sound stupid, I just don't get what you mean?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
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    melbourne australia
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    As your old gal declines in health and therefore status, the younger dog will take over. This occurs in this house, if im sick the dogs chose that moment to try it on, they know and can smell sickness.

    Your dog is 11, and rehoming i think would be tricky.

    Depending on how long this has been going on, ie. it may be temp, and the bitch will roll over to the younger dog coming up in status in her pack, or it will continue till the dog can force the old bitch to roll over and take it. This is natural, normal dog behaviour.

    Personally, i would consider putting the old gal down. Now that will shock some on here im sure. Here are my reasons. You dont have a small dog, you have large dogs, ergo, any damage will increase accordingly with a dogs size. Your children's reactions are going to be way slower than yours were. In fact they wont even notice they are in the way of jaws as they play around the dogs, they will be distracted with their own games, and not vigilant to dog behaviour/moods.

    11 is old for a dog. Not sick, not on her death bed granted. But you want to take a risk for another year or 2 of its life?

    I would put my children's safety first. Imagine how you will be feeling, sat in a emergency dept with a bit kid, knowing you knew this risk was in your home, and you did not protect your children. I wouldn't want to be sat in that seat love.

    This is a tough decision, its bring forward a decision you will be making in the next 2 yrs or so anyway.
    PTS is my opinion. Probably not a popular one either.

  5. #5

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    As hard as it is to say , I agree with Bernie here .

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
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    York Peninsual South Aust
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    As a very new member I doubt that I have the wisdom of the older and more experienced dog handlers. As hard as the decision may be I am wondering why you are even hesitating about what you need to do with your 2 young children in mind. Discuss options with your Vet. If you do not want to put your female dog under any more stress you know what the answer needs to be. Indeed there are too many stories of young children bitten as well as too many children who are hesitant around dogs because of fear built up at an early age. We had 2 dogs 1 male and old, the other female and young. I was pregnant--daughter now 35--it was obvious as the younger dog became more dominant in the fights--the younger dog had to go. We were fortunate she was young enough to rehouse. I even gave away my 2 pure bred siamese cats -- was before the days of the fancy bassinets--I was in fear of suffocation!. Make your decision--but make it fast--before there is an incident. Sorry if I sound tough but at 65 have been around the traps a bit. Your children are too precious to put at risk. Heather

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Lol Bernie does actually make some pretty good points. By separate I meant make it do the dogs have no contact. Like bring the older one inside or something.

    But really it is up to you to do what is best for both your dogs and your family.

    There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face.

  8. #8

    Default

    I do agree with Bernie. I think as a temporary fix you may consider having a crate or closable kennel under cover (say on a verandah etc) that you can put in her for time outs, or when the kids are playing outside. This can work with oldies as they are happy to sleep in a safe place for longer periods than young dogs.

    But the other consideration is that, as the younger dog takes over, she will become increasingly frustrated that she is not able to keep a lid on him, and frustration will lead to more problems.

    Akitas are not known for backing down, they are proud and confident. She will struggle to maintain her position with the younger dog, irrespective of being hurt in fights. If she gets completely defeated she may pine away anyway which is not a pleasant end for a proud older girl.

    If she was mine I would quite likely let her go. But if you need more time on that decision, or are not 100%, you need something to contain her when the kids are around immediately, before something really nasty happens.

  9. #9
    Join Date
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    Yes I agree totally with Bernie, I mean it is a shame to have any dog put to sleep, but if your old gal is becoming increasingly irritable, next time it could be one of your young kids. I am a mum of two young girls so I can totally understand where you are coming from.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
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    I do agree with Bernie......Mostly

    But the only thing I would do is have a health check, some dogs get grumpy when they are unwell, be it thyroid, UTI or pain. And sometimes it is an age thing.....Some of the dog Geriatric pills can have an amazing effect on older dogs.
    But kids safety come first.........If you cannot keep her seperate when they are out there
    Pets are forever

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