Adopters not training puppies I gave them (or maybe the dogs are just crazy??) - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 12-04-2016, 10:24 PM Thread Starter
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Adopters not training puppies I gave them (or maybe the dogs are just crazy??)

I rescue and foster a lot in my community. I usually foster a couple of litters every summer and some adult dogs here and there. This past summer I got a litter of lab (we think) mix puppies. A friend of mine's mother adopted two, a brother and a sister. I tried to talk them out of the two they selected as they are both dominant and the most energetic of the litter, but they still wanted them. Anyway, they invited me over to visit them the other day and I was horrified. They are super aggressive. They are only 5-6 months old. I have never in my life seen PUPPIES act like this.

The female is 1000x worse than the male. Actually, the male isn't really even bad, he just has no manners and snaps at you (playfully) a lot. He got me pretty good on the mouth. But he is at least friendly. When I walked in, they both went nuts, barking nonstop. The female would not stop. I sat down and ignored her, trying to get her to check me out and see I wasn't going to hurt her. She still wouldn't come near. I got up to leave the room and she bit me! So much for a thank you for saving her life, lol. I know it isn't unusual behavior for dogs to be protective of their home and bark at strangers. But the fact that she bit me (aggressively, not playfully) really concerns me.

Is this just horrible training by the new owners or has anyone else seen this kind of aggression in super young dogs? I don't know my friend's parents super well, but I know they haven't been abusing them or anything. they adore these dogs. And apparently they are pretty well behaved when strangers aren't around.

Seeing them now that they're older, they do look like they may have pit or some kind of bully breed in them. I'm worried they're going to attack someone. Not because what breed they might be, but because of their training, which is what I am thinking is the problem. I just don't want them to seriously hurt someone and have to be put down. And plus then the stigma around pit/pit mixes will continue.

I don't want to be accusatory or intrusive. I know the family enough from my friend, but not super well, so I'm not sure it would be appropriate to say anything. I just feel like if they are acting this way at 6 months old, things are just going to get way worse as they get older. I just would feel absolutely awful if something were to happen. And even though they aren't my dogs anymore, I'd still feel sort of responsible. Any thoughts?
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post #2 of 17 Old 12-04-2016, 10:50 PM
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Did they apologize for their dogs attacking you or repremand the dogs at all??

If the dogs have zero manners when strangers come by, they should at the very least be on a leash so the owner can be training them and keeping visitors safe. =/
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post #3 of 17 Old 12-04-2016, 10:59 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by secuono View Post
Did they apologize for their dogs attacking you or repremand the dogs at all??

If the dogs have zero manners when strangers come by, they should at the very least be on a leash so the owner can be training them and keeping visitors safe. =/
Nope :/ I don't think they really know a lot about training dogs. They've only had little dogs, who aren't much of a threat lol. She was kind of frazzled, the only way she knew how to calm them down was to distract them with a treat. So obviously, they're just letting the behavior continue by rewarding them for biting people!
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post #4 of 17 Old 12-04-2016, 11:04 PM
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The male will be a big issue later when he hits puberty and has no manners. Probably will end up in the pound. No one will want him and he'll be euthanized.
The female is a big issue right now. She is one face bite away from euthanasia. It will probably be a child.

Trust me on this.

If you want to intervene, now is the time.
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post #5 of 17 Old 12-04-2016, 11:11 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Avna View Post
The male will be a big issue later when he hits puberty and has no manners. Probably will end up in the pound. No one will want him and he'll be euthanized.
The female is a big issue right now. She is one face bite away from euthanasia. It will probably be a child.

Trust me on this.

If you want to intervene, now is the time.
Right, but what do I say or do?? I hardly know them.
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post #6 of 17 Old 12-04-2016, 11:12 PM
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Originally Posted by xxEmilyxx View Post
Nope :/ I don't think they really know a lot about training dogs. They've only had little dogs, who aren't much of a threat lol. She was kind of frazzled, the only way she knew how to calm them down was to distract them with a treat. So obviously, they're just letting the behavior continue by rewarding them for biting people!

Based on just that I'd say in all likelihood it's the training, you said they were dominant and energetic puppies and with a lack of proper training/socializing it's not surprising they would become aggressive. Aggressive small dogs are a dime a dozen exactly for that reason, people get them and don't understand how to train dogs.

Escalating to biting is, like you said, very bad. Not only for the victim (which could easily be a child), but she could also be sued by anyone her dogs bite. Are there any dog training classes nearby you could suggest to her?
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post #7 of 17 Old 12-04-2016, 11:32 PM
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Sounds like these dogs are not getting enough socialization first and training second, as @Dwarf said.

Socialization is HUGE especially for any breed that has any kind of guarding instinct. If these pups are dominant and energetic types, they need their owners to take control with training, authority, and a commanding presence. Some (maybe even most?) people are not suited to be able to do this, and so they should not own animals with the kind of temperaments to need a leader and direction.

Perhaps you should suggest the owners get into something like agility with these dogs with the excuse being their high energy. I think getting them around other people who actually know a thing or two about training dogs will be key here. Since they already did not listen to you about taking these pups, they are not likely to listen to you about training. However, if you plant the thought in their heads in a roundabout way "hey, doing agility would be a great way to bond with and exercise my dog", they might just listen.

Tough situation. The biter definitely needs something done, and something done NOW. She's only going to get bigger and more aggressive, and isolating these dogs in their house is not going to help them.
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post #8 of 17 Old 12-05-2016, 12:22 AM
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Did you say they adopted a brother and sister from the same litter? You should tell them to google littermate syndrome. It's almost never a good idea to adopt sibling puppies.
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post #9 of 17 Old 12-05-2016, 10:16 AM
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There is not much you can do if they are not willing.

However, you could tell them that the female only needs to break the skin on one person and a lawsuit is *unavoidable*. What happens is the person goes to the ER, the ER has to report it, and the medical insurance company sues the owner's homeowner's insurance company for reimbursement. That's just standard procedure. The person (or their parent) is understandably traumatized and lawyers up, the lawyer sues (your homeowner's insurance company), which pays out, typically between $25 and $100 THOUSAND DOLLARS. You will be very surprised to find out how many nice friendly people will sue you for $100,000 if they think they may have a case. Then your insurance doubles or triples for several years, and if you get rid of the dog or keep it from biting someone else in that time, it goes back down again. That's just the civil side of it.

In your state it may be required that the police AND animal control pay you a home visit. Depending on your state laws, the confinement system in place, and the severity of the bite, the dog may be confiscated and euthanized or you may get one or two more chances.

Why yes, I have a biting dog, why do you ask?

The male would probably do fine with a (different) experienced, strong-minded owner. The female can only be saved with professional training help and maybe not then. The fact that she is showing aggression at such a young age is a big red flag. Both these dogs also need a great deal more exercise than I am sure they are getting.

Perhaps you could offer to take the pups and in return give them a small, sweet, docile dog? Of course, then the dogs are your problem.

Having been in dog training circles for about 45 years, I can say from your description that the chances of these people even being able to handle the male alone is fairly slight, unless they make a commitment to take him to good weekly training classes for at least a year, practice their training homework every day, totally change their daily handling technique, and give the dog at least an hour of vigorous exercise every day. Which, c'mon, is unlikely.
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post #10 of 17 Old 12-05-2016, 11:55 AM
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I would be concerned about littermate syndrome as @Uze has mentioned. I have seen first hand how bad that can get.....

My friend and her mom had adopted puppies out of the same litter. Even though the siblings didn't live together, they got to play a lot together when my friend would bring her puppy along with her when she visited her mom. My friend had good intentions, however her puppy started developing aggression issues. Now this was mostly aimed towards other dogs and not at people (more like leash-aggression).
However, one day all the dogs were at my friend's mom's house. And the two siblings OUT OF NOWHERE attacked and nearly killed one of the senior dogs that was at the house. This was a dog that both were familiar with and one of the puppies grew up with.

At any rate, those puppies lives ended that day. Both dogs were shot - they couldn't trust them, and when there are grand kids running around, that kind of behavior is unacceptable.

I know this is a tough situation, but I think you need to suggest that both puppies are put into obedience. This can very quickly become dangerous. If you aren't comfortable talking directly to the parents, can you have a conversation with your friend about this? I can already see what will happen to these dogs. It is lovely that these people wanted to rescue the dogs, however if they have no clue how to train & discipline a dog (especially a large dog), then this is just a recipe for disaster.
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