Killer dogs, please advise.

Posted by Marina
Aug 22, 2008
My two dogs escaped from the garden and have killed two of my neighbours Yorkshire Terriers!

The Yorkies stand by the fence and yap at my dogs so they were provoked but I take full responsibility for their actions and am mortified.

The dogs are normally not agressive and get on well with most other dogs, but they do seem to have a problem with small animals and have previously killed cats that have ventured onto the property.

It has been suggested that as the dogs have killed before, I should have them put down.

I love my dogs and will do all I can to secure the property but can't be 100% sure that they will never escape again.

One of the dogs is like Houdini and will find the smallest space to squeeze through.

I don't know whether an electric fence would keep them in or if I should do as suggested and have them put down. What would you advise?
Posted by foxi7778
Aug 22, 2008
So sorry to hear about your situation. What type of dogs do you have? Only asking as it would give everyone a better idea as to why they went for the Yorkies....prey drive, hunting instinct etc. I would take this into consideration before deciding on whether or not to have your dogs PTS. If these were my dogs personally I would not have them PTS as they are hunting dogs and as such would attack and kill animals smaller than themselves given the opportunity (which they don't get). Of course this would be a completely different story if they ever attacked a human.
If you have done everything possible to keep your dogs in a secure environment then I would put this down to a very unfortunate accident and do my best to appease the neighbours...although nothing can bring their dogs back
I can't offer any advice on electric fences...never tried them, and personally don't like the idea of them. Possibly you could build the dogs an enclosed run, so you know they can't escape if left unsupervised.
Posted by deanna
Aug 22, 2008
What a sad situation for all of you. Personally, as much as I love my dogs, if they did something like this, I think I'd have no choice but to euthanize them. True, they only attack small animals, but what if the owner of one of those small animals, or a child, had jumped in to save their pet? People's instincts are to save their animals...I'm pretty smart and logically I know not to get into the middle of a dogfight, but when my puppy was attacking my older dog (previously posted about), I heard my dog crying in pain and I rushed in to save him. Logic goes out the window. And kids especially don't think. If someone had gotten in the middle of this attack, this could very well have become a human injury or worse. I've heard that electric fences don't work, especially for larger dogs. If they decide they want something badly enough, a little shock isn't going to stop them from leaving their property. This is a hard decision for you, and none of us can make it for you...I just worry that in the future, a person will be harmed. It's bad enough that someone's pets are gone...just imagine if it was a toddler.
Posted by Marina
Aug 22, 2008
One of the dogs is a typical Spanish mixed breed rescue dog. Part mountain goat I think. Looks very much like a pointer but with a pointed face and pointed ears. Mid size.

The other is a German Shepherd/Belgian Shepherd cross or so the rescue centre told me. I can see the German but not the Belgian.

On their own I don't believe either dog would be aggressive to anything, but together is another story!

I feel I am at fault as the first dog had been taken in by a family and she fought viciously with their German Shepheard bitch and was sent back to the rescue home.

For a couple of years I put off having the second dog that I really wanted, but eventually decided to give it a try. I took loads of advice and eventually decided on a young male.

The two dogs are great company for each other and I had felt that I had done the right thing.

The first dog is definitely the dominant one and I feel that she refuses to be outdone by the male and this exacerbates the problem. It definitely seems to be a pack thing!

If the either of the dogs showed any other tendancies to be vicious, I wouldn't hesitate to have them put down, but if you could meet them I'm sure you could see why I'm hesitating.

The Yorkies yap at my dogs on their own property so its no wonder mine want to exert themselves! Is this not normal behaviour? If the Yorkies had been bigger dogs the outcome would have been different. However I agree that the situation would have been so different had a child been involved and this is why I'm trying to get all the advice I can.

If I had 10,000 euros to spare I would just build a big wall but I don't unfortunately. I'm in tears as I write this because I am trying to do my best for the dogs and have failed.
Posted by foxi7778
Aug 23, 2008
I agree with Deanna that a human could have become involved....but the fact of the matter is a human wasn't involved. I wouldn't have your dogs PTS, I would make sure they didn't have the opportunity to do this again....thoroughly socialise them with other animals of all sizes... and if you feel it is necessary, seek the help of a reputable dog behaviourist. Do your dogs have to be outside unattended?? Too many people see euthanasia as the only option, without actually considering what else they could do for their animals......and they forget that they are animals that don't share the same concept of right and wrong as we do.
This is purely my opinion and I hope that you manage to find a solution that is right for you.
Posted by elmariachino
Aug 23, 2008
There is no bad dog.
I agree with foxi about socialization. I think this is the problem.
I would give many hypothetical recommandiations but that wouldn't be fair as I have never experienced such a case.
BUT I have one recommandation... Cesar Millan
here is his site
[url=]Welcome to Cesar Millan's Official Web Site[/url]
I think he is the best person to help you.
PTS........ I would never consider this as an option.
Good Luck
Posted by Marina
Aug 23, 2008

I've watched all the Dog Whisperer programmes and bought the books. I try to follow through with the training advice. My dogs are pretty well behaved and do get along with other dogs when I'm with them.

When the incident occured the dogs weren't left unattended. I was in the house but we have all our doors open in summer and the dogs just wander in and out as they please.

I can only thing it happened first thing when I let them out for a wee and they run to the back of the garden. If the Yorkies (which the neighbour allows to run loose) came to our fence and yapped at mine, its no surprise that they tried to get out. I actually have two layers of wire fencing but it doesn't go deep enough and one of the dogs is a digger! Normally she wouldn't bother but I can see that she'd want to get after the yappers. The other dog would just blunder after his pal.

I don't think either dog on their own would attack, but the two together have the competitive, pack instinct.

I'm not going to have the dogs put down at this stage as I really believe that I can manage the problem. I am going to look for an animal behaviourist for advice, but meanwhile I'm going to step up the training and really aim to reinforce the idea that I am the pack leader and therefor in charge. I've also found a dog training class which I hope will help with socialisation.

The fence has been secured at the moment and I'm carefully monitoring the whereabouts of the digger. I'm also going to get an electric fence, I'm just not sure which type is best. The digger is a very intelligent dog and I don't think it will take more than one or two very mild shocks for her to learn to stay away from the fence.

The only other thing I can think of is to muzzle them when they are off lead, just in case we encounter another dog.

Thank you for the kind words and advice. It is much appreciated!
Posted by foxi7778
Aug 23, 2008
Sooo glad you are going to work through this with your dogs and not get them put to the mean time anyway The methods you are going to try all sound great. It may be a good idea to muzzle them at classes when they will be in close contact with other dogs till you see how they react, and also when they are off lead as you said. An idea instead of the electric fence...if you think this might not work... would be to dig a thin, deep trench round the edge of your garden beside the fence and fill it in with concrete....might not look to glamourous, but at least it would take your digger more time to escape and give you more time to catch her in the act Best of luck!!
Posted by Marina
Aug 23, 2008
I'm waiting for a quote for digging and concrete but have been warned it will be very expensive as its a large area with difficult access.

I think the electric fence is the way to go and am going to post a question about it. I'll use a different thred though so it doesn't get lost within this one.
Posted by shannon99
Sep 9, 2008
Hi, I feel for you and your situation and I do not think you should be blaming yourself as this situation is not just on your shoulders, it's funny that your neighbors would suggest that you put your dogs to sleep because theirs got killed but have they accepted ANY responsibility as to the fact that their dogs were in the wrong. I would NEVER put my dogs down for any other human being EVER! Yes your dogs did the actual killing and that is a problem those Yorkies were way in the wrong too and it's not right for your neighbors to act like their dogs didn't do anything wrong, NO ONE should let their dogs provoke another persons dogs period, letting those Yorkies come up to YOUR fence and YOUR dogs should have been corrected the day it started. I own small dogs, pomeranians to be exact, and I, personally, would never let them get away with barking at or provoking other dogs, it's not right and I see it all to many times owners of small dogs thinking that it's cute or all right for their dogs to bark and bark and bark just because they are little and this is a huge problem and it's the reason why they have nicknames like ankle biters because people spoil them and let them get away with [I]everything[/I]. I would do like the others said and try and socialize them with other animals more or if you are afraid of doing that because of what happened try a behavior specialist, there are plenty of solutions to this besides putting the dogs down and it's wrong that anyone would even suggest it, the reactions of your dogs is a natural instinct and your neighbors should have known that their dogs instigating your dogs could lead to a big problem for them to not think it was wrong at the time it was happening is on them and the fact that their dogs got killed because of a behavior problem that they didn't correct is their fault, this quote comes from Ed Frawley of Leerburg Kennels and author of many good quality training videos and lessons:
I will say this – no insult intended, but most people with small dogs anthropomorphize their small dogs (treat them like humans – when in fact they are pack animals.) This creates HUGE behavioral problems in dogs. It’s probably the number one reason for behavioral problems in dogs.
I believe that statement says it all, you punishing your dogs for this entire situation is just wrong and if your neighbors have the nerve to say anything to you in the future I would put them in their place!
Posted by Marina
Sep 9, 2008
Thanks Shannon. I do agree with you. He has made no effort to secure his land at all, or to train his dogs or to prevent them barking inappropriately. Till now. He finally seems to be moving them away when they bark at mine so that's something at least.

I've discovered that the financial cost of his dogs is covered on our house insurance which is wonderful as he was demanding rather a lot of money. He'll now have to prove what he paid for then and I suspect it will far less than he's been shouting about.

Unfortunately I can't really get into much of a discussion about anything with him as my Spanish just isn't good enough, though I can usually get the gist of what he is saying.

Anyway, he seems to have calmed down and I'm getting plenty of exercise as I'm running in and out checking on my dogs every time I hear his dogs yapping, so I'll be fit if nothing else!