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Do you think this dog has a chance?

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  • Do you think this dog has a chance?

    My Mother-In-Law recently took in a 7 year old Bassett that had a rough upbringing. She was in the middle of a chaotic household with abusive children.
    IMHO this dog is just nutso. I understand having a lack of trust, or not liking children, but she snaps with no warning or trigger. You'll just be petting her, and out of nowhere, she wants to bite. Has attempted several times to bite several people, but has broken skin only once. I will no longer even reach down to pet her...even when she's begging me with those big stupid brown eyes. And my 9 year old daughter isn't allowed to give her any attention, either. I feel really sorry for her, and my Mother-In-Law is at her wits end. The dog belongs to her 18 year old grandson (who pretty much escaped from his former household with dog in hand.) And she tries to bite him, too. (He wasn't one of the children tortmenting her.) Anyhoo, my MIL is ready to euthanize. Not very comfortable re-homing her. Can't figure out what makes her decide she suddenly wants to be a butthead. She has also attacked my MIL's 8 year old Great Dane...grabbing her by the ankle and refusing to let go. Tenacious little sucker. And she BARK BARK BARKS!!!!! For those of you with training or a bit of behavioral you think this dog has a chance of being salvaged...if even by someone else with more time to commit?
    My MIL is fighting giving her to anyone knowing how she is. I don't think that she'll commit to consistent modification training. She has alot going on and is very busy. I think I'll go check out a Bassett rescue sight. Just fishing for opinions. No one here wants to euthanize a healthy animal...but if she's not mentally healthy. She's been to the vet, no tumors or anything of that nature. Vet even recommended trying the "alpha roll"...didn't work. Not something I particularly agreed with anyway. I am a lover of ALL animals, but I think this dog just has deeper issues than can be dealt with by my MIL. She's put ads in the paper and Craig's list with no luck, and I THINK she was in contact with someone from a rescue group, but that also fell through. Sorry so long, just feeling sorry for the dog at this point.

  • #2
    I'm sorry, I don't have enough experience with badly messed up dogs to really give you much info on gut says yes but I wouldn't know how to tell you to go about it. However, I do have a comment...I feel that it would be a huge mistake for you to try and give her away knowing she has those problems. Most rescues would probably euthanize anyway because she cannot be re-homed in that condition. If you (or family) can't deal with her, trying to pawn her off on another family when she has significant, ongoing, and dangerous issues is irresponsible IMO. Just my 2 c.
    There are 3 different kinds of people in this world: Dog people, cat people, and rational people who don't have a problem liking two things at the same time.


    • #3

      if Cesar isn't coming to visit soon, the dog may have a short life. That is sad. Cesar can't save every dog, but if he had the time, I bet he could. Maybe buy one of his books? watch his videos first before you let the dog go.


      • #4
        Trying to pass off a problem dog onto someone else and withholding information on it's true nature, is incredibly wrong and reckless. By doing so, you are endangering people. It's horrible to think some nice family that wants to do a selfless thing, like adopt, could end up with a dog like this. The dog is a liability. You may be able to get a rescue to take the dog but the truth likely will be, they will euthanize. They don't have the money for all the consultations this dog will need. Being a rescue volunteer, I'd be furious if someone misrepresented a dog and I think you would too.

        I say the dog is a liability, I'm not saying your mother-in-law can't get help for it. Get a consult. But I can't say how wrong it is to pawn off a biting dog to an unsuspecting person. Scary.
        That Tenacious Terrier!


        • #5
          Although I understand why the dog was taken from its home, the dog does not.As far as he is concerned you are all strangers .The dog was ripped out of her home and away from his family.We all know a dog is always forgiving to his/her master the most cruel of masters still find loyalty from the dog.this dog should be placed with a strong skilled type person with training and rehabilitation experience .No children ,As for barking welcome to the wonderful world of the basset hound lol....that's what they do.this dog may or may not have a chance but due to her upbringing and abuse she is not a good fit for the everyday household.good luck with her. The only person I know of even remotely capable of giving the best advice for this dog would be Cesar Millan you can visit his web site maybe he can shed some incite on the issue for you and possibly take a personal interest.its worth a shot.


          • #6
            My thoughts

            You don't say how long your MIL has had her now. At 7 years old and with the types of problems she has, she needs time and knowledgeable behavior handling to help her out.

            Here is one thing about the petting, although I have not seen her in action. Does she snap right away, or only with a bit of continued petting? My rescued dog could be petted only BRIEFLY when he first came (I mean 2-3 short strokes ON THE HEAD - nowhere else!). This was because in his previous home petting would turn into tormenting. The Bassett may have had similar experience, or she may have done "puppy biting" that someone would then wrestle around with her after they petted her for a moment. If she is looking at you interestedly as if you should still be engaging her after she snaps, that is probably what happened. She thinks there is a game coming. After 7 years, she does not know that her new family finds this scary and offensive.

            So my first recommendation if she allows 1 or 2 strokes, is to pet her only this amount at a time, then stop. This will break what may have been the "cycle" she is familiar with, as well as allowing her time to realize that no one in her new family plays the old "game". Mostly dogs from this kind of situation need time to relax in the new place, and "forget" the old ways.

            If she is not biting or showing other aggressive behavior when she has done this, I am pretty sure you are dealing with a decent dog. However, she needs to be monitored and these behaviors need to be understood AND if there are too many people in the household, it is difficult to make sure everyone is on the same page. The first person I would ask about the possible "play-biting", by the way, is the 18-yr-old who took her with him. He's a guy, right? I'll bet he waves his hands around her and she is supposed to "catch" them with her mouth. From now on, no more of that, no teeth on skin. He can play with her with a TOY, a tuggie, whatever. He needs to be aware that if the dog does not learn this, she could scare someone, break the skin, be euthanized.

            If the family can afford a positive reinforcement trainer to come to them to see the in-home behavior, this would be worth quite a bit in terms of improvement. The trainer will show them how to ignore/NOT reward unwanted behavior, as well as how to get more of the behavior they want. It's not choke collars and commands, and it gets you a happier dog who understands what behaviors get the good stuff, and the people learn how to really communicate what they want from the dog as a household pet.

            I really don't think this dog is a wacko based on your description, just needs to undo some old bad habits and get into some new ones. (Also, depending on what she is barking for - and the 18-yr-old can probably tell you the "old" habits and "payoffs/patterns" - a citronella spray collar is simple, humane, and effective for $60-100.)

            As for the Great Dane "attack" - sounds like she was playing. What did the Dane do? Dogs don't always play the way we think they should, lol, but if the Dane isn't afraid of her, it may be nothing to worry about.

            A rescue is the best place for her - they often do wonders and will likely keep her for about 6 months to allow her to settle into her "true self" with better behaviors. Keep trying for a rescue for this dog if the family is not willing to modify their routines around getting her to change, and if they don't want to pay for a positive reinforcement trainer. (They are easy to find these days from your vet, local kennels, yellow pages, etc. There is even a franchise called "Bark Busters" that has trainers in lots of areas.) Call your local pound and ask if they work with a Basset Rescue, as well.

            Good luck - please don't just dump this dog for behaviors that were encouraged and allowed for so long. Her behavior is NOT her fault, and she sounds really workable.


            • #7
              I would suggest consulting a behaviorist. If they aren't willing or able to do that, the dog is a huge accident waiting to happen. Since she knows the dog is a biter, if someone willing to sue gets bit, the financial damages are going to be way expensive, not to mention the physical and psychological damage. It isn't really fair to the dog to be this unbalanced and euthanasia might be the most humane thing to do.


              • #8
                this would be a long term serious commitment on anyones part to rehab this dog, if no rescue will take her and mil is'nt financialy, emotionaly able to do it.. sorry i ahve to say do the humane thing before someone does get hurt. jmo she can be saved .
                ~~Everyone is entitled to my opinion!~~


                • #9
                  I'm with Debbiedogs and Odette wholeheartedly on this one. Also, see if you can get Jean Donaldson's [i]Dogs are from Neptune,[/i] there is a multitude of good advice on what to do with dogs like this, including the "open/closed bar" technique. I don't know enough about it yet, as I've never tried it, but it sounds extremely effective.


                  • #10
                    I'm sorry, but I've seen enough of Cesar Milan to know I wouldn't let him near my good dogs, let alone a bad one. That's my personal opinion, and has been for a while. And I'm not interested in arguing the point.

                    I'd have the dog completely evaluated by a vet first, then a CERITIFIED behavioralist. As in having at least a Master's degree in behavioral psychologist, an specializes in canine behavior.

                    But whatever you're MIL decides, there isn't going to be a quick fix for this dog. It's going to take time to sort her out and make any changes in her behavior. And without seeing the dog, I'm not going to suggest anything, because it would be too easy to assume one thing is going on, when it might be something entirely different.

                    And to be honest, sometimes it's not worth the trouble. Some dogs will never recover, and will never be trustworthy. Those dogs, sad to say, should be euthanized.


                    • #11
                      What rescue will take or can take a biter? I have a rescue friend that pulled two very sweet Bassets, and trying to get them into rescue. She's still waiting. Rescues are full. I know of very few that would take a proven biter. Yes, it would be an ideal situation for the dog, but unfair to those sitting in the shelter waiting for their chance. This dog has a family and have the potential to help it, one way or another.

                      If you contact a rescue organization be honest about the situation. Including bite history.
                      That Tenacious Terrier!


                      • #12
                        Okay guys...I thought I made it pretty clear...but let me spell this out...My MIL would NEVER "pawn this dog off" on anyone without absolute complete knowledge of both her history and her issues. And no one is looking to "pawn her off". We are feeling for this dog and her situation, and are looking at as many options as we can. Thank you everyone for your views and opinions, it was exactly what I was looking for...honest answers from true dog lovers. I'll keep ya'll posted as to what she does.


                        • #13
                          I figured you were being honest with prospective adopters (hence the "no takers" part) but still...knowing the dog's an unpredictable biter and giving it to someone else cuz you (or she in this case) is still not a good idea IMO. Again, it's just my opinion, but I would feel guilty as hell if I were in this position and the dog hospitalized-or worse-their new owner. I volunteer with several rescues as well and none have taken any with that serious a history. There are a few that can't be rehomed due to medical or behavioral issues that have kind of become mascots in a way, but none of them are unable to be around other dogs or children. Giving that dog away sounds like it increases her chances of getting euthanized greatly.
                          There are 3 different kinds of people in this world: Dog people, cat people, and rational people who don't have a problem liking two things at the same time.


                          • #14
                            realistically I don't think the rescue would take her. Good for you guys for trying to make a responsible decision about the dog though. If I were you I would attempt to find a trainer who might be willing to take her and work with her on all the issues. It must be really hard to have a dog who has those sort of issues. If you can't find a trainer, honestly, I'd put her down. It is just too risky.


                            • #15
                              I read your OP and..."got it" Elise, .

                              I swear...the MEANEST dog I ever, ever, had to deal w/ was a Bassett, and his "symptoms" initially sounded just like this gal's. (He got worse and worse) The owners of this dangerously possessed dog...never took any steps, behaviour or otherwise to get a handle on it.
                              He was completely unpredictable in his later years and ripped a shirt right OFF a kennel asst. that did not heed the warning on his run. (Can't watch 'em every second...but she always listened to me after that.)

                              I doubt it was a brain tumor, because he lived too long...but I always thought he definitely had an imbalance or something.
                              The owner casually mentioned after he was euthanized, at the age of 11, that he had meningitis or something when he was 6 months old and all this started not long after that.
                              Even the owners were terrified of him in the end. Man..that was 1 bad dog!

                              I guess one of the big questions is...would she EVER be trustworthy?
                              I agree w/ Helly's 2nd paragraph, I would do that, and than make a decision based on the evaluations. Sometimes, when you get the experts involved...these "things" have a way of presenting you (your Mom) with clear answers. Good Luck.
                              Often it's not what you say, but how you say it.