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Corgi bites! Vet recommended putting down?

This is a discussion on Corgi bites! Vet recommended putting down? within the Behavioral Issues forums, part of the Behavior & Training category; Hi, everyone! Sorry beforehand for my little life's story here, but it's done just so that you all have the ...

  1. #1
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    Join Date Oct 2012
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    Unhappy Corgi bites! Vet recommended putting down?

    Hi, everyone! Sorry beforehand for my little life's story here, but it's done just so that you all have the facts.

    My corgi Pippa is 14 months old now and is 95% of the time a very happy, friendly and loving dog. I've had her since she was 8 weeks old.

    However, as she aged, I noticed some aggression develop. At first, I thought it was possessive aggression. She would growl and snap when we tried to remove her toys from her, but we caught onto the behavior early and corrected it. We can now take away her toys and other possessions with no problem.

    But then I noticed also that she would become very alert and would growl if I was with her on the couch or on the floor--anywhere really--and she heard someone (usually a family member) approaching. A few times, she's snapped at my sister for passing by. When we noticed that she was doing that, we forbade her from going on the couch. However, even if she's lying on the floor and detects someone coming, she'll be alert. Sometimes she'll growl. Other times, she won't. And still, other times she'll outright charge.

    Then, quite recently, my family and I were in our living room, watching TV. She was sleeping on the floor. My dad, who was on the couch, stretched and yawned and I suppose it must have startled her, because she reacted to it by biting him. She caught his toe and let go when I grabbed her, and she didn't draw any blood. But since it was the first time she's expressed aggression towards my dad, he flipped and said that she needed to be put down. Since then, she's gotten worse. She bit my sister who was sitting beside her doing homework, and one flip of the papers in her hand provoked my dog to lunge and bite. She bit her in the arm and didn't draw blood, but did cause a large bruise.

    What I don't understand is how, when I take her for walks outside, she is all wagging tail and happiness when she meets strangers. She also loves children, and does fine with them petting her. Of course, I am supervising all of the interactions. I have her sit before being petted. Yet, at home, she expresses such aggression towards the people who take care of her. Granted, she is not like this all of the time. Most of the time she is loving and playful, but there have just been some instances that cause me to worry.

    Also, I'm afraid that this biting and aggression may be expanding to other dogs as well. Since she's bitten my dad, I've been watching her closely, trying to figure out what are her triggers, and I've noticed that when she sees another dog approaching on her walks, she'll stop dead in her tracks and move to the side. Some dogs she'll bark at for no reason. Other dogs she'll feel brave enough to approach, though very cautiously. She's also not keen on very eager dogs who walk right up to her face to sniff her. She gets very twitchy, and a few times she's snapped at a few dogs who have gotten too close and personal for her.

    I really don't want her to be afraid of other dogs, and I've tried to associate approaching dogs with good things. I'd have her sit and feed lots of good treats to her while the dog approached, and it seemed to work for a time, but she still got a bit snappy when they got too close, or sniffed somewhere she didn't like. A part of me believes this is because when she was very young, our neighbor's dog (who doesn't get out much) got out, off leash, and came up on our porch. I was out on the porch at the time brushing Pippa, and my dog had gotten a bit aggressive because this new dog whom she had never seen before was suddenly on her doorstep. She reacted defensively, and our neighbor's dog snarled and bit my dog, drawing a wound above her eye. After that encounter, my dog became very wary around and aggressive towards dogs that resembled our neighbor's.

    I visited my vet to discuss this problem, and after describing Pippa's behavior, they believed that she is a fearful dog.

    They gave me a few plans of action. They said that I can see a pet behaviorist, but it is costly, and I was told that there is no guarantee that the fear anxiety will ever go away. They also encouraged me to put her back into obedience classes (she took them as a puppy), perhaps even one specifically geared towards fearful dogs. And last, but certainly the hardest one for me to swallow, is for her to be euthanized.

    Her biting as a result of her fear is too much a risk to take, especially since most of the bites have been done to family members, and I don't want the day to come where my dog really hurts someone. Yet, she's been to the groomer's where they have had to handle her--cutting her nails, bathing her, cleaning her ears and brushing her teeth even--and I have NEVER had them call me saying that she bit them or was being bad. ALL of their comments on her behavior have been positive. Some of the groomers are always especially happy to see her and even those who have never handled her before are surprised by how sweet she is.

    I don't want to risk her being a danger in my own house to my own family, yet the fact that she is such a well-behaved and sweet dog most of the time makes it very difficult for me to want to see her put down, especially because I am the kind of person who feels, if something is not going right, it is my fault and that there is something I can do to improve the situation. I know I would feel exceptionally guilty if the behaviorist or the classes did little to help her aggressive behavior and my only option would then be to have her euthanized.

    Even though she is only 14 months and I've had her only for little more than a year, I love this dog dearly, but I also don't want her to live muzzled for the rest of her life, and I certainly don't want my family to live constantly on edge, wondering what might trigger her next bite.

    I really don't know what to do. I want what's best for both my family and my dog, but I don't know if I could face the truth--that perhaps the only way to give my dog the best is to have her put down.

    And I know that my story is not a unique one, that there are of plenty of other owners who were just dealt a bad hand, but still, just thinking about having to put her down brings me to tears. Any advice--criticism even, I don't care--would truly be appreciated.
  2. #2
    Global Moderator
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    There are a couple of things that immediately spring to mind. if she is fearful in general then there are natural herbal or flower/plant essences remedies for dogs with no side affects that might just make her more easy minded ie less fearful. These usually do not come from vets - but there is a vet in Wellington where I live who specialises in natural remedies for all kind of circumstances. You tell her the problem and she does the mixing of this and that into a little bottle and you give your dog a drop or two daily and the results could be extraordinary. So find such people in your region or online.

    The second thing is that if your Corgi has an undiagnosed brain tumor this can make her react abnormally in the most normal of occasions. I had ro have my very first Corgi euthanased because of this when he had reached 18 months of age. The tumor had started from a knock to his head as a 3-4 month old pup.
  3. #3
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    I have heard of this type of situation with my neighbors poodle. They were told it comes from an attachment to one person, and the dog doesn't want anyone getting to close to their (attachment) person. Not sure if this applies but I do know Corgis will chose a special person to follow, although they will listen to others commands.
    Kailey Mae & Kobi Bear's Grama
  4. #4
    chrismunkrn's Avatar
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    Try the classes again. In the meantime, when she nips someone...put her in time out. Yelp loudly, like her littermates would do if she bit them, and remove her from the situation...preferably in a crate for a time out. She'll get the message that this is unacceptable. Everyone has to be consistent for it to work though. Praise her when she does she does something you want her to keep doing, time out for those things that you don't want to see again. Good luck.
    Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among stars. Les Brown
  5. #5
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    Hi, Pippa is still very young,she can be brought out of this, Have you looked at patricia B McConnell's books?I agree with Chris's comments, especially about everyone being consistent.I wish you good luck!
  6. #6
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    Did the vet do a health exam?

    With the situation you have described the vet should have checked thyroid levels as well as done a full body exam to check for possible sources of pain.

    I would definitely get in contact with a certified behaviorist. This dog is not a lost cause and the fact that she hasn't drawn blood says a lot imo.

    A dog who wants to cause damage can easily take a chunk out of a human. A dog that feels threatened/fearful and sees you are not understanding their warnings may feel they are forced to bite to protect themselves/their possessions. This could easily escalate to more severe bites if you don't get her help soon.
    glencorgi likes this.
  7. #7
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    Thank you all for your input and advice.

    Unfortunately, Pippa hasn't gotten any better. Just recently she bit my sister in the face, and blood was drawn this time. No deep gashes or anything, but her teeth punctures did pierce skin, and I am certain there will be bruising. The attack was also unprovoked. My sister was sitting right beside her and then all of a sudden, she was screaming out in pain and Pippa was barking.

    My brother and I harshly reprimanded her for the bite, removed her from the situation and put her in her crate, but after this bite, I'm not certain if my family can be safe anymore with Pippa in the house.

    I feel like now the only option is to have her put down. As much as I love her and as much as she is a good dog most of the time, I can't put her before the safety of my family.

    I also don't think giving her over to an animal shelter will be of any use, as she is already a proven biter and no one would want to re-home a dog that bites.

    I am truly distraught over this, but her bad behavior seems to be escalating. I will call my vet in the morning to see if there are any other options available for her, but after this incident, I'm pretty sure they will recommend nothing else but to put her to sleep.
  8. #8
    Senior Member
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    I am so sorry to hear about Pippa. It's beginning to sound like she may have a brain tumor or "rage syndrome". Neither of which can be treated. If it were either of those, she would not want to live with not being able to control her biting and emotions.

    Most rescues won't take her as there is too much liability in placing her.

    I am truly distraught over this, but her bad behavior seems to be escalating. I will call my vet in the morning to see if there are any other options available for her, but after this incident, I'm pretty sure they will recommend nothing else but to put her to sleep.
    I'm so sorry I don't have more advice or help to offer you. This is a very hard situation. I agree to talk with your vet first, but there may be no other options.

    Sending cyber hugs and lots of support.
    Jim & Peggy Newman
  9. #9
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    I am so sorry to hear Pippa is not doing well and short of this being a physical/health problem you have done everything in your power to give Pippa every benefit of the doubt
    We recently rescued and 3 year old male Corgi that will need lots of re training and it has been very challenging.
    I do know these little guys can be a real challenge with their temperament and determination.
    Best wishes as you make a really hard decision, but can fully understand your situation
    Kailey Mae & Kobi Bear's Grama
  10. #10
    Global Moderator
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    I think your Corgi is definitely unwell either mentally or has a undiagnosed health issue that is causing her to "lash" out.
  11. #11
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    Do you have your corgi on oral flea medicine? My late corgi Autumn would act this way when I would give her oral flea medicine (comfortis). Took me a little while to catch on but when I stopped the flea medicine the aggressive/fearful behavior went away.
  12. #12
    Global Moderator
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    If a Corgi is "fearful" then it is worthwhile trialling 'calming' medication from natural remedies through to vet prescription medication.

    Michael Romanos likes this

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