Getting rid of a dog.

I have a female dalmatian/Boston terrier mix about three years old. I also have a male pug about five years old. They have lived together in relative harmony since the dalmatian was a tiny pup. However, within the last few months, the Dalmatian has become extremely aggressive toward the pug, twice attacking him viciously. This past Friday, my wife was home and heard the dogs fighting in the backyard. I’m quite sure that if she hadn’t been home the pug would have been killed. As it is, he had to have about 1/4 of his fur shaved off so the vet could treat his multiple puncture wounds and lacerations.

Obviously, I’ve separated the two dogs permanently, but the dalmatian is not coming near the pug or my 20 month old daughter again. I need to find her a new home, but prospects are grim. I won’t give her to any place that euthanizes dogs, but I can’t keep her.

Any ideas? For what it’s worth, we live in the Pasadena, CA area and have had no luck with dalmatian rescue. If you know of some other group who could find a home for a dog that loves people but not other dogs, I’d be grateful.

Try this for some help if you can’t find an owner. I did a quick search and a bunch of places in California were listed.

No Kill Animal Shelter Search

Best of luck!

If the dog is violent towards other dogs and you are frightened to let it near your daughter, then it needs to be put down. Why would you want to give something you’re afraid of to another person?

No-kill shelters are a dumping ground for unwanted dogs. Most of them are never adopted and live the rest of their lives slowly going insane in a cage.

With all due respect, I wonder why, if you consider the dog to be so uncontrollable as to be a threat to your other dog and your child, you will not consider putting it down?

If you take it to a shelter, a no-kill one is preferable, but IMO you have an obligation to tell the shelter (any shelter) that the dog is aggressive. This isn’t an uncommon trait in dalmations, unfortunately, and it can make them difficult to adopt out because they’re turned in for the exact reason you’re turning yours in – they are aggressive dogs and are not good around other dogs, kids they haven’t been raised with, or strangers. So if you choose not to put the dog down, and you can’t find a decent home for it yourself, you may be sentencing it to life in a shelter. Obviously, the best scenario would be if you could find a good home for it on your own, but I know that’s hard to do.

Yeah, I don’t think my problem is unique. We thought maybe we had someone who would take her, but that person has a dog and we told them we didn’t think it would be good for her to be with other dogs.

I’m not sure I could live with myself if I had her put down, but then I’m positive I couldn’t live with myself if she hurt a child, or even our pug again. It is a very difficult situation.

Yes and no. Not all No Kill shelters are created the same. Just as in most industries some are models to be copied and others are cheap rip-offs. As you might expect the nicer ones are going to be more expensive to place your dog in (they usually require some sort of donation).

If you can’t or won’t pony up the cash for a good No Kill shelter (which will likely set you back a few thousand for the best ones) then the dog is better off dead than rotting in a cage. Whatever the case you must be absolutely up-front about the nature of your dog to the shelter and see what they can do.

I feel for you as getting rid of/putting down a family pet is a tough business. However, leaving an aggressive dog around is no good for anybody…not your Pug, not your daughter and family and not your neighbors (as that case up in San Francisco just showed).

You also might consider contacting an animal behaviorist and/or trainer to see if there is anyway your dalmation can be broken of its aggression. Still, that’s a risky path to take as you may always wonder how far away that aggression really is and the consequences of getting it wrong might be too terrible to contemplate. Nevertheless it may be worth a phone call to get an expert’s opinion on this.

This is an incredibly tough question. I have a Dal mix myself, so I’m just heartbroken at your situation. :frowning:

However: I think it would be irresponsible not to put the dog down. Even if you put the dog in a shelter with full information, and the shelter gave an adopter the full information, you don’t know what the adopter is going to do. The adopter may not be as vigilant as you.

It sounds to me like the dog is having some sort of mental problem. I agree with Whack-A-Mole that it is worth contacting a professional in the field. But ultimately, you’re going to have to either put her down or find a situation where you trust that she’ll be handled properly.

:frowning: :frowning: :frowning:

I work at a full-access shelter, and I know that we’d never adopt out an animal with a history of aggression. I think that most shelters that actively adopt animals out have similar policies.

I’d be pretty scared to give my animal to any shelter that WOULD accept an aggressive animal: I’d think that either they don’t fully-inform adopters, or they don’t adopt out animals at all. Neither of which are signs of a good shelter.

On the other hand, my executive director has four dogs; one of them bit the hell out of another one of them recently, and she’s managing to keep both dogs. You may be able to work with a behaviorist to solve the problem.

Good luck – this is a difficult decision!

There alreadying being a link to a no-kill shelter, this is really more a matter of opinion now, so I’ll move the thread over to IMHO.

Good luck.

Do you have any clue as to why the Dalmatian has begun to do this? Friedo is right, in that if the dog is the problem itself it will only be the same problem for someone else.

No-kill shelters are fundamentally dishonest: either they do put down animals, or they tuen animals away and let someone else do the dirty work. Look at it this way: it’s likely that hundreds, if not thousands, of dogs are put down every month within driving distance of you. Unwanted dogs (and cats) are epidemic. Even if you take this dog to a no-kill shelter, that will just end up taking up a slot that some other dog could have had, and that dog will have to be abandoned or put down: at the end of the day there are only so many resources to go around. It is only right that what resources do exist go to dogs and cats that can live safely with humans. It isn’t a fun choice, but it’s what you have to live with.

In a bit, go adopt an amiable mutt puppy from the pound. Get one that is slated to be put down the next day.

Please, please either seek a professional’s advice or put her down. If you take her to a shelter, my guess is she won’t get adopted–her aggressive tendencies will probably be exacerbated by the presence of so many strange dogs, and the kind of people who will take good care of dogs are probably going to notice the aggressiveness and choose another. Consequently, she’ll spend an indefinite amount of time being miserable and frightened until she either gets adopted by by someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing, by someone who will then sell her to a laboratory for research, or eventually put to sleep. If the trainer is unable to help you, you would save her a few months of misery by having her put down yourself.

I have nothing to say but that I completely empathize with your situation. I have my mother’s dog (who is a behavioral atrocity, but is too small to really hurt my dog, and I don’t have a baby) because my mom couldn’t stand her anymore and was going to have her put down (although she is an otherwise spry and healthy dog).

Like you, I struggled with which was the best course of action (putting the dog down vs. keeping a miserably unhappy dog–who hates my dog–alive). At the advice of someone here at the SDMB, I consulted my vet, who recommended depression/psychosis medication.

Is this an option for you, perhaps?

I won’t lie and tell you that a miracle has occurred, but she has improved a little, and the vet is willing to keep trying until we find the right meds, if necessary.

At any rate, good luck, with whatever you decide.

I’m really confused as to why a dog would suddenly turn on another dog which it should see as a member of its pack -especially if she was raised with the pug since a pup.

Before you do anything else, take your dalmatian to the vet for a full workup. Maybe she has an absess or a bug that is making her sick and in pain and she is lashing out?!?

Before you decide to give her up, check in with a behaviorist who can assess the situation. Not all dogs that are animal aggressive are also aggressive to humans. They can indeed tell the difference.

Y’know, I get this a lot from other folks in animal welfare. I work for a “full-access” (or “kill”) shelter, so I have no vested interest in making the no-kills look good, but I think many no-kill groups do great work.

The ones I respect meet the following criteria:

  1. They treat the animals in their care with respect and dignity, and consider quality of life to be important.
  2. They are honest with the public about what they can and cannot do.
  3. They do not deride full-access shelters for performing euthanasia - especially not in fundraising materials.
  4. They try to work closely and cooperatively with their local full-access shelter.

No-kill shelters who follow these guidelines aren’t hurting anyone, and they’re helping a few animals. Their scope may not be as great as a full-access shelter – our full-access shelter handles 9,000 animals each year, compared to the couple hundred that the largest local no-kill shelter handles – but each animal that goes to them is one less animal that comes to us. For that, we’re very grateful.

Keep us updated; I’m hoping that a behaviorist can help you solve this problem!

Okay, an update.

We’ve contacted a Dalmatian rescue in Long Beach that may be able to find a home for the dog with someone who knows what her issues are. If there’s even a little hope of this, I’m willing to keep her until they’ve had a chance.

She’s a fantastic looking dog and may do well when posted to their website. At any rate, we’ll make sure that her tendencies are made very clear to the adopter.

No-Kills suck. It’s an ass-backwards way to soothe a guilty concience. Dogs don’t know they are dead, but they damn sure know they are lonely, unloved or mistreated.

Secondly…a dog that is DOG-aggressive is not necessarily an “aggressive” dog!! Dog-aggression and people-aggression are very different things in dogs, folks. There are LOTS of dog-aggressive dogs in the world that are living happily with their owners in 1-dog homes and never show a hint of nastiness of any kind towards any human on earth. Don’t be so quick to dismiss the dog as “aggressive” because it is excessively so with the dog it lives with. It sounds very much to me like you have two alphas on your hands and it just took awhile for that to become apparent. (Are the two dogs neutered, by the way, because if they aren’t, that could the source of the problem right there)

On the other hand, if you can’t find a rescue outfit that can help you (have you tried Boston Terrier rescue?) then you may have to have the dog put down.

She’s dog-aggressive, but I have a feeling she might be people-aggressive as well, but only toward strangers.

She has a weird alpha/submissive split personality. She bullies the pug (who thinks he’s an alpha because he’s clueless; she outweighs him almost 3-1) but also rolls over for him and lets him “have his way” with her when he gets excited about going out for a walk.

They’re both spayed/neutered. I would never have a dog that wasn’t.

So, Scupper, have you consulted a vet? I’m with Trishdish and auntie em on this being an important thing to do before you get rid of the dog. A member of our family had a dog who had a sudden behavioural change, and the problem was hyperthyroidism, which can cause rage syndrome-like crankiness. It can be treated.
Good luck, whatever you do.

This is actually exactly what I object to about some no-kill shelters, and as long as they meet these guidelines, that’s cool. I just object to people fooling themselves that they are in morally superior position because they don’t wield the syringe themselves. It’s not reallly far from the sorts of people who dunmp their dog on the side of the road and say 'Oh, I could never take him to the pound! That’d be murder!"