Considering Euthenasia - My Heart is Breaking
I don't know where else to put this, and I have no one to talk to. I would love outside opinions, but please be nice.
I am very dog experienced, all sizes, genders, temperaments. Been working with rescues my whole life and dealt with tons of issues. I've read and watched every bit of dog training info I could over the years, as well as learning from other trainers.
Almost two years ago I took on a 6 month old shepherd mix. She had been owned for four of those months by a mentally unstable man who was large and abusive. When she would run in fear she would be chased down, pulled out of hiding and punished. She learned that you couldn't run, you had to defend yourself. Her owner was taking her to the vets to get her put down when I offered to take her.
she was good with kids, good with cats, liked horses, great with other dogs. I live in a situation with other people and she was great with them. Super fast learner, willing to please, naturally submissive, loves car rides. She has a bit of the shepherd guarding tendencies, but otherwise nothing, just a fear of tall people with an abrupt nature. I was waiting for her to misbehave, but Nothing happened. About 4 months into owning her we were out at the barn, at night. She was laying outside the door when a large man she's never met came walking up unannounced to the barn in the dark, wearing all black winter clothing, very similar to her old owner. It was the bo's husband, and she ran over, bit his leg(wearing snow pants) and took off back into the barn. She was acting extremely fearful and shaking. I dealt with the issue, and she spent time around him no problem. No damage to any one, not even the snow pants.
I started working much harder on socializing her around different people, traveling to different places. She gets a ton of exercise and exposure. She sits, stays, comes, shakes a paw, high 5's, speaks, sings, lays down, dances and plays dead. She knows the command "off" and will instantly move away from an object. She heels perfectly and her recall is flawless, she will leave any room or go outside a fence at the command "out". Loyal, loving, playful, my parents favorite 'gran dog'. I've had her at parties with scors of children, several other dogs, lots of men, no issues.
Then I was camping with my dogs, and I had them tied away from the main camp just in case, while I went in to change. A relative of a relative that was there walked across the camp waving a large sunshade, backed her to the end of her lead into a corner so she was choking herself to get away and before anyone could stop him, she nipped him and ran. Left a bruise on his leg. I apologised sincerely and watched her like a hawk.
a month or so later she had a brief incident where a big guy walked through the door of my house unannounced and she nipped at his hand. She was disciplined and had no more issues with him or anyone else, for 8 months. I was aware of her issues and have been careful around new people.
which brings me to this week. We were at the end of the barn painting, it was dark. She was laying in a narrow aisle between the wall and a pile of boards, when the barn owners husband came up from behind her and tried to step over her. She bit his leg and ran. Didn't puncture the skin, but bruised him.
I have reached the line in my mind where I need to make a decision. I can't predict when some guy is going to upset her. The bo's husband has stepped over her before with no issues. I don't know that she is going to get better, and I don't know if / when it will happen again. I can't have her biting people, its totally unacceptable. I can't rehome her, and I wont keep a dog locked up at home for the rest of her life, while my other dog goes every where with me. That's not fair.
I've never been in this situation before. Its like she suddenly flashes back to when she was being beaten up, then after she's all shame and apology for what she did. I don't know when its going to happen and I can't train something that happens randomly out.
how can I look into the eyes of a dog who loves and is loyal to me and kill her???
do I have any other choice?