I have a nine-year-old male dachshund who is very mean. To date he has bitten five people, sending two to the hospital and two others being family members living in the home. We are now expecting our first grandchild in January. I was wondering if there is a medication that would help him. I don’t want to have him put to sleep, because 90% of the time he is a very loving dog. However, I am afraid he will bite the baby. Please help!
If you haven’t got his aggression under control in nine years and unless something has drastically changed since his last bite it’s worth considering for the baby’s sake that you have allowed a known biter to seriously bite 4 more times past the first bite and with that track record I’d say the baby is at risk. For safety reasons alone, as things stand, I certainly wouldn’t let my child anywhere near your home if that dog resided there.
I’m not a big fan of the 90% of the time the dog is “good” rationalization. So are most abusive partners in human relationships. When the 10% involves violence (that includes hospital visits (or not)), it’s time to give yourself a talking to regarding what constitutes a good relationship. I’m sure you expect better from your spouse and your spouse from you. I expect no less from a dog.
Unlike a human counterpart, he may very well be capable of change. I’ve turned around hundreds of dogs just like him. However, some variables influence risk, and one is handling ability. You should give some serious thought to your track record to date and decide whether you’re the person for the job before you expose your grandchild or anyone else to further risk. If you think there’s potential in both you and the dog and you can find a good trainer to help then go for it. If not, give him to someone that can bring about an attitude adjustment in him – or put him down.
If this ebooklet What Are The Different (and best) Ways To Train a Puppy Or Dog? – John Wade doesn’t turn up any local candidates contact me to book a Skype consult. I’ll do everything I can to get him on track (short of anything that will compromise the safety of anyone else and especially a child.)
Keep in mind before considering booking with me that I’m not the sort of trainer that signs his emails – from John and his fur babies. You probably have a sense of that by now anyway but worth mentioning. While I have enjoyed every minute of my almost thirty years working with dogs that doesn’t mean I’ve lost my love of people and especially children. As a result, expect straight shooting.
The only medication that I can think would impact this behavior is if the problem is caused by thyroid issues. There are other possibilities, but there really isn’t any magic stop aggression pill for the vast majority. I suspect this is more because of genetics and even that is a low probability but most likely because of the way he was raised. If you think there’s something physical compromising his stress threshold and causing irritability book an appointment with your veterinarian for a full workup.
If the grandchild is going to be around a lot the first article below is very applicable. If not, you may be able to just work around things by boarding the dog during visits?
The first link below is to an article I wrote regarding a dog with a less violent history. The second two are for free booklets.
- What Are The Different (and best) Ways To Train a Puppy Or Dog? – John Wade
- Prepare (Assess) Your Dog For Your Baby – The Right Way with John Wade
John ‘Ask The Dog Guy’ Wade