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DDog tried to bite. Rehome or PTS?

(170 Posts)
TetleysSurpassesYorkshireTea Fri 07-Dec-18 11:21:06

Hi, I have a 10 month old Maltese-Westie cross.

Today, after his bath, I tried to remove some dirt from his face and he tried to bite me. He is normally very placid after a bath, and I had him wrapped in a towel having a cuddle. He had let me wash his face in the bath, but as soon as he saw my hand approach his eye, he tried to bite. He has tried to do the same thing before in similar circumstances, when being groomed.

DDog does have a history of nipping ankles and hands, and we have redirected to toys or said a firm "no". We have also gently pushed him away or distracted by getting him to sit and calm down.

I do feel DDog's behaviour is deteriorating. We have contacted the Behaviourist, based at the vet, about the nipping and have followed her advice, but DDog still tries to attack feet and hands, often in an attempt to play, and despite our best efforts.

DDog has also become very barky. Again the Behaviourist advised us how to deal with this, which I thought was going pretty well, but he has now started barking and growling at people just passing the house.

It sounds silly, as he is only a Maltese, but his nips really hurt.

I have an 8 year old daughter who cannot cope with th1r barking or nipping due to Aspergers. I am worried that the dog will try to bite her when she pushes him away from licking her fave etc.

It seems as if in the past few weeks, the behviour has deteriorated more.

Does anyone have any advice re what the best thing to do in this circumstances?

We were looling at rehoming anyway due to the barking and its adverse affects on my daughter. I have contacted Maltese Rescue and have arranged for the lady to call me back.

Do I try to rehome or PTS? Any advice would be great.

Frequency Sun 09-Dec-18 19:00:25

The behaviourist and the vet need retraining. I would report them to their governing bodies, if I were you, OP.

Frequency Sun 09-Dec-18 19:14:04

To clarify, the question I asked which was deleted was more of a statement of fact, than a question.

There are zero reported cases of rage syndrome in Maltese Terriers. For a behaviourist and a vet to jump to rage syndrome in a breed it is unknown in without running EEGs and a battery of other tests is utterly bizarre. If they did tell you your puppy, who is, by all descriptions on this thread, displaying utterly normal behaviour for its breed and has a 'kind of rage syndrome' and they haven't done tests or referred this to the Royal College of Veterinary Science for further research, then they for sure need reporting.

It's not great to take on a puppy and then decide you can't cope and rehome but it's not the end of the world. You don't need an excuse other than I can't cope.

starcrossedseahorse Sun 09-Dec-18 19:14:04

OP my advice to you is not to engage further. Just get your puppy re-homed by the breed rescue.

TetleysSurpassesYorkshireTea Sun 09-Dec-18 22:52:21

starcrossed - thank you, I do intend to rehome via the breed rescue. DDog is currently snoring happily on the bed next to me.

It is easier said than done not to engage. I appreciate that how I posted initially may have got people's backs up, but I have explained over and over again. I can only reiterate what I was told by the vet.

As I am not (despite the apparent beliefs of some on here) a complete fool, I was very accurate in the info I told the vet. I explained the context of the attempted bite. I did also tell her that DDog's behaviour had recently started to suddenly change and he will race around the house growling, then kind of snap out of it and go back to being his happy self, albeit he seems exhausted after his OTT racing around growling etc. I told the vet it had happened a few times over the past month or so - maybe twice a week - and that this had been seen by the Behaviourist on one of their visits which I was glad about.

I am not a vet and have zero idea what can cause this, but she said that apparently there are some syndromes which can make dogs seem really angry and then they stop.

It is horrid enough having to rehome DDog who I am really attached to, and who is very attached to me. It is also horrible knowing that I have inadvertantly provoked him into trying to bite me - of course I feel terrible about that and DDog shouldn't in any way have to pay for my mistakes. I panicked and could only think about what if he tried to bite my daughter.

I never wanted to have him PTS. I mistakenly thought that any dog who attempted to properly bite someone had to be. But I asked here because I didn't want to and wanted to make sure.

Surely it is obvious that if I had wanted DDog put to sleep, I would have simply gone to the vet and done so, without posting here first.

I am upset at being called a liar. It is unfair and unfounded. The vet said that if DDog does have some kind of Rage syndrome, then putting to sleep is kindest. She also mentionned possible epilepsy causing similar outbursts of strange behaviour (not the biting, nipping or barking but the other sruff) which my STBXH has reminded me about this evening.

I don't know who or what to believe any more. Posters here are saying that Maltese dogs cannot get rage syndromes. Which would mean the vet is wrong. The vet and breed rescue lady have contradicted each other. I don't know which way is up and am then getting ripped to shreds on here. It is horrible. Really upsetting.

I have posted that life is very stressful at the moment, and I guess I thought I would just get my question answered without receiving such abuse in response.

So not engaging isnt that easy when my integrity is being called into question.

TetleysSurpassesYorkshireTea Sun 09-Dec-18 22:53:56

Frequency - that isn't what the vet said and not what I wrote. If you read back, they are querying it as a possibility. And DDog would need tests to see. I wrote that for goodness sake!

TetleysSurpassesYorkshireTea Sun 09-Dec-18 22:57:27

ExcitedForChristmas18 - No, of course I wouldn't. I would have asked the vets advice, which I still did anyway.

fleshmarketclose Sun 09-Dec-18 23:30:40

Tetleys the running around the house growling and then snapping out of it is puppy zoomies, it's completely normal and generally happens when a dog is happy with his lot or has had an especially nice experience. So a walk in the rain and mud sets Bella off.

fleshmarketclose Sun 09-Dec-18 23:38:28

Here look

fleshmarketclose Sun 09-Dec-18 23:49:02

Obviously it's different for all dogs, but Bella runs circuits of the downstairs growling, Eric tends to run round jumping on and off furniture barking but both of the conk out exhausted afterwards and sleep.

TetleysSurpassesYorkshireTea Mon 10-Dec-18 00:12:52

Flesh - thank you for that. DDog does do that, but the running around growling is in a different way than in the film. He seems furious and his growls seem more directed towards us than growling in general IYSWIM.

He will race about, stop, growl at us, then carry on. He just seems not himself when he is doing it. Like he isn't "there" anymore. Then suddenly, he is "back".

After a bath, he has the normal mad half hour that dogs have, when he races around like a bonkers thing, and is utterly hilarious. We just let him get on with it and watch with amusement.

It sounds ridiculous because pup is so small, but the running around growling he has started to do over the past month, and the nipping that he does during that, seems different to the nipping he does when he is trying to play and seem like playbites and mouthing.

The nips during these sudden outbursts seem like angry nips if that makes sense, and that they only feel like nips because he is so small. But still, the proper aimed bite attempt the other day (which I accept was my own fault) would have been scary as hell if DDog was bigger.

The running around growling and seeming angry is why I called in the Behaviourist. Because it seemed so out of character. Behaviourist has provided notes to the vet as part of the same animal hospital so on the same computer system. And Vet has responded as I explained earlier in the thread.

If poor DDog has been in pain, that would hopefully explain this behaviour.

TetleysSurpassesYorkshireTea Mon 10-Dec-18 00:16:04

Sorry, posted too soon....

If pain relief doesn't help and DDog continues having these weird outbursts, then vet says he should have more tests. That's when she mentionned anger conditions and epilepsy as possibles, and gave the prognosis if it is the former, when I asked.

tabulahrasa Mon 10-Dec-18 00:24:01

“I am upset at being called a liar. It is unfair and unfounded.“

I didn’t call you a liar - but I did say there’s something wrong with either how you’re describing his behaviour here or to the vet...

Basically because it’s like saying you took a 2 year old to the GP because he had a tantrum and bit you and the GP suggested a really rare developmental disorder...

fleshmarketclose Mon 10-Dec-18 00:25:13

I think if you came here when Bella or Eric were having zoomies you could probably be frightened by them because they do sound aggressive and Eric's leaping about on the furniture looks intimidating. Your dog is at the right age for a surge in hormones which makes them stroppy little gits at times. I remember Eric's adolescence and shudder more than I do about him as a puppy and that wasn't pleasant either. But even though he was a little git then when he pushed every boundary and then some he's a lovely dog now and I'd hazard a guess that your dog will be once he's settled in his new home. There is a reason Bella is a rescue dog and that is because Eric as a puppy and an adolescent put me off ever having a puppy ever again.

Dottierichardson Mon 10-Dec-18 00:45:26

1.) Okay first of all it is not important whether your puppy is a pedigree or not, he is an individual not an appliance or a car...all dogs' temperaments addition many breeds/cross-breeds have been so overbred/poorly bred the genetic predispositions that may have been true of them in the past are often now not the case. Also docility is not guaranteed in any animal, calmness comes with training, decent handling/care and maturity...

2. Any behaviourist that does not refer you to a decent rewards-based trainer to deal with helping you and your puppy develop a good bond and interact appropriately - and living with a dog is a two-way street, humans need to learn how to act around them as much as vice versa - is not a behaviourist to stay with...

3. Growling, nipping, rushing around, and not just mad dashes - but both my dogs, and my husband's twelve previous dogs - as lived with dogs from early childhood - had periods as puppies when they have mad hours for no apparent reason. Similarly if your puppy has hip pain, then rushing around will exacerbate that and make them act out. Puppies like small children cannot make connections between pain and causes, so if you wrapped them in a towel at some point and this put pressure on the hip and caused pain, they may now associate that pain with you haven't done any formal, rewards-based training to develop a good mutual relationship that is even more possible.

3. If your vet is saying rage syndrome that's very weird, have been around a lot of dogs and puppy classes, all young puppies nip, are overly exuberant, some are more growly than others, it's not abnormal in any way...but it will lead to expensive tests...very lucrative. Get a second opinion.

My older dog was condemned as aggressive by a vet when very young, because refused a muzzle...Vet very seriously harangued us about putting him to sleep i.e. killing him. Got a second opinion, turned out had hotspot under fur and muzzle was being jammed onto that, any dog would go ballistic as hot spots are very painful. Maybe the difference was that we wanted to fight for our dog and weren't prepared to give up on him without exploring all possibilities. Look for a vet who has done work with animal charities or with the RSPCA, they will have an animal-centred practice and are more likely to be sensible...

4. Reputable rescue centres will assess a puppy and rehome accordingly, this is a puppy they will be able to deal with that.

5. Don't get another dog ever, they all dash around, have periods when they don't want to be handled, have certain likes/dislikes about training, need people who champion them....and don't fixate on what type they are...any/all can nip and bite if put under certain kinds of pressure. Puppies will allow all kinds of handling when very small that they will not when older, this is why training so crucial, which means that people who have no idea how to train get away with things when dogs are young and then can't cope with resultant behaviours when dogs are older. Also as puppies get older they will test boundaries and so on...just like children really doesn't sound as if you can cope with that or maybe are sufficiently dog-centred to commit to it...the fact that you even contemplated killing such a young dog for such normal behaviour speaks volumes. I think posters on here have been kind...

TetleysSurpassesYorkshireTea Mon 10-Dec-18 01:41:34

Dottie - you think people have been kind? What would you have preferred them to say to me? Abuse? That I am a liar? Unfit to ever have a pet? Yeah well, all that has been said.

To be honest, the flaming from people such as yourself has now gone past upsetting to almost amusing.

I am stepping back from the thread for a while. I have real life to attend to. I need to chase up the breed rescue lady tomorrow and look at taking pup to an alternative vet for a second opinion. I also need to find a decent dog trainer and tickle DDog's tummy whilst he whimpers with pleasure.

And that's before I get around to the frogs that require blowing up with straws up their bottoms, the spiders whose legs I need to pull off, and the kittens that need kicking. So sadly, I don't have time to hear how cruel I am any longer. Such a shame.....

adaline Mon 10-Dec-18 07:45:01

That behaviour you're describing is totally normal though OP. All dogs growl in play and yes it can look aggressive but it's just doggy adolescence.

Mine is the same age as yours and does it whenever he's overtired or over stimulated. I either give him a frozen kong to occupy himself with or one of us will play tuggy with him.

He's a beagle so much bigger and more energetic than a Maltese and I think if you came to my house during one of his moments you'd be quite scared because you don't seem to accept that it's totally normal behaviour. Undesirable? Of course it is. Tiring and frustrating? Absolutely. But it's still totally normal and absolutely no reason to mention it to the vet!

Rage syndrome indeed!

TetleysSurpassesYorkshireTea Mon 10-Dec-18 09:22:52

Adaline - the Behaviourist saw it themselves on one occasion and was concerned. It concerned me, the Behaviourist and the vet. Also my STBXH.

Should I go with those concerns, three of those people who have seen the behaviour, or just go with someone on the internet saying it is normal. Even though they have never seen the behaviour I am describing?

Surely that would be foolhardy?

Anyway, end result is that DDog is being rehomed when a suitable family is found, and he will have a lovely life, as he currently does. Surely that is now all that matters?

DanielCraigsUnderpants Mon 10-Dec-18 10:20:10

That absolutely is all that matters. You're doing the right thing

TetleysSurpassesYorkshireTea Mon 10-Dec-18 14:11:29

@DanielCraigsUnderpants - thank you. It will absolutely break my heart when he goes but I know it is best for both him and DDog.

If anyone who has read this feels that they may be in a suitable position to adopt DDog, please contact Maltese Rescue.

Mindgoinground12 Mon 10-Dec-18 17:03:49

Op i think you need to calm down a bit people are giving you advice and youre shooting the down, it seems that if its not something you want to here youre shouting back at them.
Eve if he is a full maltise that dosent mean his personna will be that of a stero typical maltise it matters alot about envirment and training ALL puppies will be a bit livly there children!!
I sympathise with have an autistic DC i reallly do, but aving a diagnises dosent automatically mean a dog will be hard to have around, I obvisuly dont know you DD, but dogs can be great companions for those with Autism and can be a real confidence booster.
But it sounds like hes to much, i would re home, but please dont get another dog thinking it was the bread.

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