I'm scared of my dog.
June 15, 2013 7:02 PM   Subscribe

Please help, askme. I've got a dog who is in a constant agitated state and he's started to turn on me. I can't see a trainer until Wednesday -- what should I do to keep us both safe until then?

My dog is an American bulldog/hound mix, approx. 50lbs and just over a year old. I got him when he was 9 mos old, at the beginning of March. He's my first dog.

Over the past two weeks, he’s been displaying more and more aggression towards me (nipping me hard enough to leave bruises on my arms and legs, having freak outs where he’s ripped my clothing, growled and bared his teeth at me), has refused to obey me and today he charged at me as though he were about to attack, but I managed to distract him at the last second. His eyes are black and hard and he is in a near-frenzy at all times. He won’t respond to anything I tell him to do, and for the first time since I got him, he wouldn’t do a “down and stay” before I fed him.

I’ve contacted a trainer, but she can’t see me until Wednesday. She told me to just give him the basic amount of attention until then and not give him any try obedience training in any way (I've been clicker training him, but not correctly, apparently). I’m terrified to be home with him if he’s not in the crate, and I’m not looking forward to walking him, either. What I want to ask is: how can I keep him relatively calm until Wednesday? Should I muzzle him? Or will that just make him more angry? Should I go to a vet tomorrow and get some kind of sedative for the next few days?
posted by LynnDee to Pets & Animals (51 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
You should probably take him to the vet so the vet can rule out any physical problems, like pain. There's no reason to spend time and money on a trainer if it's a physical problem.
posted by jaguar at 7:04 PM on June 15, 2013 [43 favorites]

Do you have any friends who could keep him for a few days? Maybe a different environment will snap him out of this state he's in, and then the trainer can do an assessment. I doubt a vet would prescribe a sedative without seeing the dog first, but you can always call and ask.

If you adopted him from a shelter or rescue group, call them asap and see if they have a trainer or someone who could evaluate him sooner than Wednesday. Or ask if they have a temporary foster home where he could stay until you sort this out.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 7:08 PM on June 15, 2013 [4 favorites]

Jesus Christ, whatever you decide to do, get a muzzle on him pronto!
posted by Specklet at 7:13 PM on June 15, 2013 [20 favorites]

It's worth considering whether you are the right match for this breed, or at least this dog. He may simply need more attention, more energy, or more aggressive play than you are able to give him. If you live alone and he's at home alone for hours during the day, this could be an important issue. Is he crate-trained? Is he gaining size/weight faster than you're adapting?

It can certainly be a problem if you are showing fear or an inability to approach him calmly. Dogs do like to challenge as a way of testing authority, and if you're not able to stand your ground with him he will sense this.

(I just had to yell at two pit bull types that ran out of a yard as I was walking my sweet lab/coonhound mix, they were circling around both of us and snarling, and I gave them my biggest, loudest, gruffest "GO! GO! GO!". Even so, it was only their owner getting halfway across the street -- yes, they crossed the street -- that caught their attention.)
posted by dhartung at 7:14 PM on June 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

Get rid of this dog now.
posted by unSane at 7:15 PM on June 15, 2013 [10 favorites]

(No trainer in their right mind will deal with this level of problem -- the liability is far too great. I speak as the husband of a professional dog psychologist. You are not the right person for this dog.)
posted by unSane at 7:17 PM on June 15, 2013 [8 favorites]

How did you end up with an American Bulldog as a first dog? You do not sound like you can handle this dog. I wouldn't want one, either. That is not to say, before their defenders come out of the woodwork, that they can't be nice dogs. But I have spent a lot of time with a lot of dogs and that is one of several breeds I prefer to avoid. For the record, I've known more gentle pit bulls than not. I would choose a pit bull over this breed. (Though neither if I had kids.)

Please do some research before you get another dog.
posted by Glinn at 7:21 PM on June 15, 2013 [3 favorites]

Go to a vet tomorrow, or better yet go to an emergency vet tonight. This is not normal. This is serious. If you hadn't said it had been going on for two weeks, I would be concerned it could be the emergence of rabies. I do not think this is just an issue for a trainer. I think this dog needs to be medically evaluated. Also, remember that animals can be mentally ill or have an emergence of mental illness, not just humans.
posted by cairdeas at 7:22 PM on June 15, 2013 [37 favorites]

I'm taking a long shot and assuming you got him from a rescue or animal shelter:

Contact the agency/shelter that you got him from with this info, like right now. Send them an email so they get it first thing in the morning. Then follow up with a call in the am. They should be able to help you out and give you some options.

Good luck.

ps. See if you can research some OTC dog sedatives to help mellow him out until you can find some help.
posted by MiggySawdust at 7:22 PM on June 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

TAKE THE DOG TO THE VET NOW. if this really is totally uncharacteristic behavior that just started recently, something is VERY wrong. This is NOT a problem for a trainer to handle.

And for gods sake, please try to find out what is wrong from a vet before considering getting rid of the dog. So many animals are abandoned by irresponsible owners who don't care about trying to help the animal fix what is wrong. Please don't be one of those people.
posted by Librarypt at 7:23 PM on June 15, 2013 [12 favorites]

posted by unSane at 7:28 PM on June 15, 2013 [4 favorites]

I know rabies is unlikely, but it was my first thought upon reading the symptoms and googling didn't rule rabies out. I really think you need to keep him crated and then get him to the vet at the earliest opportunity. If there's a 24-hour emergency clinic within an hour or two, I think you should go there now.

I've owned many dogs of all stripes, and I have never experienced anything like what you're going through. This is a major emergency and the dog needs to be in professional hands, like, yesterday.
posted by Unified Theory at 7:28 PM on June 15, 2013 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: He's been seen by a vet. He's had diarrhea for the past two weeks, and has been treated with probiotics and a medication that didn't work (not at home right now), so he started a new medication this morning. The vet seems to think his behavioural issues were just from over-excitement.

I bought him from an ad online, so there is no rescue to contact. The emergency vet is not accessible by transit, and I don't have a pet carrier or a car, so I'll have to wait till tomorrow.
posted by LynnDee at 7:30 PM on June 15, 2013

Response by poster: Sorry, when I say "not at home right now," I mean I can't remember the names of the medications.
posted by LynnDee at 7:31 PM on June 15, 2013

I know rabies is unlikely, but it was my first thought upon reading the symptoms and googling didn't rule rabies out

It was my first thought too, but the widely accepted guideline is that a dog won't survive longer than 10 days between the emergence of symptoms and death.
posted by cairdeas at 7:32 PM on June 15, 2013

At the very least you have a huge dominance issue which you are massively ill-equipped to deal with as a first time dog-owner. There is no fixing this for you All you can do is ensure your own safety.
posted by unSane at 7:32 PM on June 15, 2013 [2 favorites]

Board him until Wednesday.
posted by Unified Theory at 7:38 PM on June 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

Board him until Wednesday.

I don't disagree, but be careful. Since he's violent, chances are he will be kicked out and you will have to come pick him up. Depending on how he's acting they might not even admit him. If he injures someone or their animal you could be liable. I would say, though, it might be worthwhile to see if you could board him at a vet hospital.
posted by cairdeas at 7:41 PM on June 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

He's been seen by a vet. He's had diarrhea for the past two weeks, and has been treated with probiotics and a medication that didn't work (not at home right now), so he started a new medication this morning. The vet seems to think his behavioural issues were just from over-excitement.

Oh, and I really think you should try another vet. I find it difficult to believe the diarrhea and the sudden behavioral change are unrelated. I realize this is just anecdotal, but I've been around lots of energetic dogs and it just doesn't happen that they take a turn into viciousness "because they're over-excited." I'm wondering whether your dog is seriously ill, delirious, and confused due to dehydration from the diarrhea? He needs urgent care. Take a cab.
posted by Unified Theory at 7:43 PM on June 15, 2013 [28 favorites]

I'm shocked that your vet seems (based on what you say) so blase about what seems to be a very dangerous situation. Did you actually tell the vet that you are terrified to be alone with your dog?

on preview: I agree with Unified Theory that you need to try to see another vet, ASAP -- tonight, preferably, or tomorrow morning at the latest. This is a very serious situation. Make sure whoever you see understands very clearly that your dog charged you and that you are afraid for your safety.
posted by scody at 7:46 PM on June 15, 2013 [5 favorites]

Call Animal Control right now. This is not normal and I agree with everyone saying this is an emergency, possibly a medical one. Animal Control may seize the dog, it's a risk, but one worth taking imho. At the very least they can help you with local resources. Ideally they could take the dog tonight and you can follow up with them and a trainer and a vet tomorrow and next week.

I've also owned many dogs including a feral one and one that came with aggression issues and that's definitely not normal. Don't feel like it's your fault or a training issue, no pet dog should act that way no matter what. If you're scared and he's aggressive you both need to be somewhere safe asap.

How long have you had him btw?
posted by fshgrl at 7:48 PM on June 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

Bazillion-Nthing - whatever you have to do, do it. One of my regrets in life is not having a cat put down immediately that severely scratched my wife. That. was. a. CAT. This is a very powerful dog. I hope you don't have to have him put down, but if it turns out that way, don't blame yourself.
posted by randomkeystrike at 8:14 PM on June 15, 2013

Best answer: Over the past two weeks, he’s been displaying more and more aggression towards me (nipping me hard enough to leave bruises on my arms and legs, having freak outs where he’s ripped my clothing, growled and bared his teeth at me), has refused to obey me and today he charged at me as though he were about to attack, but I managed to distract him at the last second. His eyes are black and hard and he is in a near-frenzy at all times. He won’t respond to anything I tell him to do, and for the first time since I got him, he wouldn’t do a “down and stay” before I fed him.

He's been seen by a vet. He's had diarrhea for the past two weeks, and has been treated with probiotics and a medication that didn't work (not at home right now), so he started a new medication this morning. The vet seems to think his behavioural issues were just from over-excitement.

Of course we don't really know what's happening with your dog, but it seems from what you've described that his behavior has changed dramatically at the same time that he's been sick. This suggests to me that it's likely that he's very sick, and his behavior is the only way he has to communicate his distress. This type of behavior - and particularly this type of sudden change in behavior - is very disturbing. Personally I would take a cab to the emergency vet now. This sounds like a medical emergency, and it could become a medical emergency for you if he continues to attack you. It's really a dangerous situation.

It might also help if you could tell us more about his sickness. Was the vet able to determine the reason for the dog's diarrhea? What tests has he had? What medication is he taking, and why was it prescribed? Has he been able to eat and drink? Is he still having diarrhea? How often? Is he dehydrated? Are there other signs that he's in distress or pain?

Because what's happening is such a dangerous situation, many people (including some who have already answered here) are going to suggest getting rid of your dog or euthanizing it. If you don't want to do that, you need to act quickly to change the situation before things get even worse and your dog more seriously injures you or someone else. Addressing what I think is likely a medical problem would help, and there are also positive training methods that can address the behavioral side but you need to get access to help with this right now.

Any trainer who understands your situation would realize that this is an emergency and would not wait until Wednesday to meet with you. Perhaps you didn't communicate to the trainer how bad the situation is, but I think you need help from an animal behaviorist who has experience with aggressive dogs, not just a trainer. If I were in your situation I would email Mary Straus (of the website Dog Aware, about dog health), and the trainer Pat Miller (PeacablePaws) who trains dog trainers, including some who work with aggressive dogs. Both of them are proponents of positive dog training methods and won't just suggest euthanizing your dog. One of them might be able to give you a referral to a behaviorist in your area.

To hopefully carry you through the emergency, I would try using calming signals on your dog, basically making your body language like relaxed dog body language to try to show that you aren't a threat. Try to stay calm, because your dog will pick up on your tension. Relax your muscles and posture. Breathe slowly and steadily. Avoid direct eye contact (this is perceived as threatening by fearful dogs). Move slowly. Try to be predictable. Don't physically hurt your dog, and while you need to keep yourself physically safe I would not yell at him since that will just ratchet up the tension. Definitely don't reprimand him for growling since that is the way that he communicates to you that something very bad is happening - you don't want to stop him from using growling to communicate distress.
posted by medusa at 8:17 PM on June 15, 2013 [16 favorites]

Nthing what the other say about health issues seeming the most likely cause. Diarrhea in dogs lasting 2 weeks is a very long time and may actually be the symptom of something the dog simply being in stress from pain from something else. Good dogs don't suddenly turn vicious because they are excited. If your vet is hand waving away your problems with no further offers of help find another vet immediately.

While I think the cause is most likely medical I was wondering is the dog desexed? One year old is when all that starts kicking in and if your dog is whole he is a seething mass of hormones right now if he's still whole. While your dog will need training getting him desexed/neutered might help bring things down to a more manageable level.
posted by wwax at 8:19 PM on June 15, 2013 [2 favorites]

This sounds scary, upsetting, bewildering, and heartbreaking. I am so sorry that you and your pooch are dealing with this right now. It sounds like you've been trying to do the best you can given the circumstances, and that the situation has reached critical mass if you're afraid of your own dog.

My suggestion would be to find an emergency vet in your area and attempt to bring your dog there. Call them first, explain that you feel afraid, and ask if sedation might help your dog be less menacing until you can be seen by your primary pet care provider. Maybe that will help in the interim.

Your poor dog, and you, too. Good luck. Please keep us posted. Hope this has a happy ending.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 8:30 PM on June 15, 2013 [4 favorites]

I have seen this first-hand. The key, I think, is not to wait too long to get help. Dogs are not like peple - as harsh as this will sound... they are property and they can be a liability. Talk to your vet and LISTEN to him/her. We are hard wired to love them, but we have brains too. If the vet says the poor animal is too far gone... put it down.
posted by brownrd at 8:40 PM on June 15, 2013 [2 favorites]

Nthing another vet visit (maybe to another vet?), and ditto for what medusa said above. You didn't mention if your vet ran any bloodwork at all or tested his feces? If so, what were the results? What are the medications he is currently on?
Is he neutered? Is he current on his Rabies and Distemper vaccines? Do you know for sure? (I work at a vet clinic, and there are a lot of people who get pets off Craigslist where the previous owners don't give any records and say they're up to date. We treat these pets as if they have not had any vaccines and start from scratch if there are no physical records present).
Is he acting this way only toward you, or others around as well?
These are all helpful things to know, especially the bloodwork portion. Checking a t4 for thyroid function as well as checking for low blood sugar should be included in the panel that your vet should run.
If you feel safer muzzling him, please consider a basket muzzle. It's more comfortable for him for longer stretches of time than the nylon muzzles, and he will be able to drink water while wearing it. You need to make sure you are safe first and foremost.
Good luck, and please disregard others' comments on your dog's breed. I have 2 year old American Bulldog mix who is a sweetheart. There are many misconceptions on many breeds, and the sudden onset of your dog's problems really makes me lean toward a medical issue.
Please let us know how things turn out.
posted by asranixon at 8:52 PM on June 15, 2013 [1 favorite]

You might also check out dogforums.com there are a lot of knowledgeable people over there.

You haven't said anything about the dogs behavior prior to the past two weeks so it's possible he was always a dominant/ fearful dog and this is escalation of his prior issues and has been in the pipe for a while. Or it's possible that there is a medical reason like epilepsy or a brain tumor. Even Lyme disease has been implicated in aggression in dogs (and horses weirdly enough) presumably due to either pain or neurological involvement.

One other thing: is he normally affectionate between aggressive episodes and do they appear to come out of the blue? There is something called rage syndrome that is pretty uncommon but that is the way it manifests. I knew a rottweiler that they initially diagnosed with this but then it ended up that he had a spinal malformation that didn't hurt 99% of the time but when he tweaked it he basically attacked anything within range. Very scary in a big dog.

Remember the most important thing is your safety. If the dog ends up being seized or you have to muzzle and kennel him you can make it up to him later. In the meantime you need to stay safe.
posted by fshgrl at 10:03 PM on June 15, 2013 [3 favorites]

Your question and details make me very worried.
You seem to feel compassion and loyalty to your pet, but it is not worth risking serious injury or death.

If you can't get to an emergency vet, you must get yourself safely separated from the dog. Do not try to handle the dog. Get out of there now. If necessary, leave the dog in alone in the house and call animal control. Stay with a friend or a motel.

This is a sad story. He may be a good dog with a medical problem. But you have to put yourself first.
posted by valannc at 11:13 PM on June 15, 2013

A trainer cannot help you right now. training a dog consists of shaping behaviors and micro behaviors over time. Two weeks of diarrhea and sudden aggression directed at you is a veterinary EMERGENCY.

I'm so sorry you're dealing with this. Your options for a sick dog who is attacking its owner are really limited: animal control, emergency vet, another regular vet but immediately.
posted by ImproviseOrDie at 1:40 AM on June 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

If an emergency vet (not just your regular vet) isn't available to help, try looking for a rescue group in your area who can take him.... and if there's no rescue group available, then call animal control to pick him up: whichever it is, get him out of your home NOW! Quite possibly this is something that can be solved, but in the meantime you are not safe, and either your or the dog has to leave.

Please do not ask a friend to take care of the dog until Wednesday: you know from your own experience that the dog is getting aggressive; imagine how you'd feel if a friend got injured.

Vet, rescue group, or animal control, in that order, but do it now.
posted by easily confused at 2:48 AM on June 16, 2013

Please, please, please take this dog to a vet right now. I spend time around horses and dogs and it is very common in both those species for the animal to act out, often in dangerous ways, when they are in pain. If your dog has had diarrhea for two weeks and hasn't gotten better under a vet's supervision, then I suspect there's something both you and your vet are missing that is causing your dog this distress. Please, please, please. Vet. Now. No matter how much it costs.
posted by olinerd at 3:12 AM on June 16, 2013 [4 favorites]

Yes to a different vet immediately. Even the most gentle of dogs can lash out violently when they are in pain. Several years ago my dog's best play pal for years suddenly became violent with her and sadly it turned out that she had a brain tumor.
It's hard to interpret whats actually going on, but the suddenness of this seems more medical than training oriented.
posted by newpotato at 4:15 AM on June 16, 2013

You might want to have someone else around when you take him to the vet or just get a muzzle on him, in case he reacts badly to either attempt.
posted by trig at 5:24 AM on June 16, 2013

I have seen my sister's American bulldog act the same way to somebody that was afraid of it. They sense your fear in your body language, and it in turn scares them. An American bulldog is not a beginner dog, and hounds are probably not too easy either. I think you probably lack the experience to handle this dog, and contrary to everyone so sure it's medical, I think it is a lot more likely that the dog is reacting to a build-up of a lot of things you are doing wrong, and bad signals you have sent until the dog has become terrified of you. Dogs are very sensitive to tiny, seemingly insignificant changes and actions. You definitely need training classes (they're for you, not the dog) but this dog is probably not right for you. I'd suggest meeting with the trainer, seeing what they say, and rehoming it if they agree that this dog is too advanced for you. Then find some dog training classes you can observe dog-free to learn about how to act before trying again.

In the mean time, for the next few days, if it's really that ba:, crate the dog, doggy daycare, have a friend take it, keep the dog in a separate room from you. Don't use a muzzle. You'll be putting yourself and the dog in more danger trying to put it on and take it off. I think someone with more dog experience could probably handle the dog without sending the signals you do, which are scaring it. In the past have you gotten frustrated with the dog? Yelled at it? You need to project calm and confidence around the dog, but at this point I think you are too afraid to interact well at all. I think avoiding much contact for the next few days will work as a stopgap solution, a sedative if absolutely necessary.
posted by catatethebird at 6:56 AM on June 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: FWIW, we had an aggressive dog many years ago ("rescued" from the side of the road), and when we were dealing with vets and animal behaviorists and training and medication and so on, we called local dog rescue groups. None of them would take an aggressive dog.

I hate to say it, but I agree with catatethebird-- in our case, the dog was aggressive with one of us, but not the other, which I think was due to the micro-signals of fear and dominance. But we tried to tough it out, which ended in urgent care stitches and a five year dog phobia that required serious anti-anxiety meds to manage.

Vet. Animal behaviorist. Rescue organization that specializes in difficult dogs, if such a thing exists (near us, there are so many "not difficult" dogs getting euthanized daily that rescue orgs focused on helping them). Boarding facilities and dog sitters are unlikely to take in an aggressive dog. (And honestly, a behaviorist is not a magic bullet once your dog has reached this level of aggression. We worked diligently with ours, but it took weeks and weeks, and because we were scared by this point, the dog just got rapidly more scary and aggressive.)

FWIW, years after this experience, when we finally recovered, we adopted a lovely, calm, senior dog from a local rescue organization. She is great with our kids, was easy to train, and is very, very mellow. It was the right thing for us to take a break to recover from our first traumatic dog experience, then foster-to-adopt based entirely on finding a friendly, mellow dog. If this dog doesn't work out for you, it doesn't mean you can't have a wonderful dog at some point in the future.
posted by instamatic at 8:18 AM on June 16, 2013 [5 favorites]

Treat this as an emergency. I would try to get some valium or another appropriate sedating medication into the dog if I had access to any. A vet can advise you on this by phone. Crate the dog leaving the leash* on while crated, and take the dog for a long walk/run, and I mean long. You may want to get a friend to come help you accomplish all this. If the vet won't see you sooner (tomorrow morning) on an emergency basis, call vets until someone will. I suspect you are a poor match for the dog, and should strongly consider surrendering the dog to the nearest animal shelter. In addition to the breed's characteristics, the previous owner may have trained the dog poorly (including not at all, which is poor training of a different sort). You can also talk to the shelter about getting a dog that's a better match for you; there are a lot of fabulous shelter dogs and many of them will be euthanized because there are not enough people adopting them.

If your location was in your profile, you might get local referrals or possibly a chance to meet some helpful MeFites with dog expertise (usual disclaimers about safety apply - meet in a park?).

* You can use a short length of rope with a clip to make a short leash stub that's easier than grabbing the collar.
posted by theora55 at 8:31 AM on June 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

From now on NO eye contact with the dog. Ignore him. No baby talk. No getting in his face. New vet asap. In other words, don't try to win your dog over.
posted by futz at 8:49 AM on June 16, 2013

Get this pup to the vet ASAP. Take a cab, beg a ride, do whatever you must to get him to the vet and get him sorted out. This sounds very much like a medical issue, healthy dogs don't suddenly "turn" on their people. Two weeks of diarrhea in a dog is way too long, something else is going on here.

Once he's healthy again, yes, definitely enroll in some training classes so you can learn how to handle him properly. Bully breeds are not easy dogs, they like to be in charge and they will regularly push boundaries to see if they're in charge yet. (I have a one year-old American Pit Bull Terrier who likes to boss everyone around. She is loving and gentle and sweet, and lives up to the breed's rep for being "nanny dogs", but she does very much want to be Top Dog and she requires firm, consistent guidance.)

I know it's pretty fashionable to mock Cesar Millan, but his training advice has been incredibly helpful for me and my family. I highly recommend his Cesar's Way and Be The Pack Leader.
posted by MissySedai at 9:27 AM on June 16, 2013

Rule out medical issues, and when he's calm, get yourself a dog appropriate to your level of experience and dominance. This will not end well for you or this dog as a pair.
posted by Raichle at 9:46 AM on June 16, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks, everyone. His diarrhea cleared up somewhat yesterday (the new medication is working, I guess), but his behaviour toward me is still troubling. At the moment he's in his crate, sleeping, after a four-hour round trip walk to the closest vet this morning. They didn't have an appointment till this afternoon, and couldn't board him.

I've arranged to have him boarded at another animal hospital for the next few days and am seriously considering surrendering him. I'm trying to figure out if there's an American bulldog rescue for southern Ontario/northeast US.

A friend is coming over in an hour or so to help me take him out of the crate and walk him to the animal hospital.
posted by LynnDee at 9:47 AM on June 16, 2013 [4 favorites]

I've arranged to have him boarded at another animal hospital for the next few days and am seriously considering surrendering him. I'm trying to figure out if there's an American bulldog rescue for southern Ontario/northeast US.

I realize this has been very disturbing and upsetting to you, but I hope you will not rush to surrender the dog until you have fully explored the medical problems. If he has been a good dog for most of the time you've had him, the likelihood that his behavior is wholly caused by a medical problem seems pretty high. I have a feeling that your dog is a victim of malpractice by a cavalier or incompetent veterinarian, because dogs do not just turn from good dogs to vicious, uncontrollable ones out of the blue. It just doesn't happen ... without there being some clue or problem that you would already have been aware of.

Consider what you've said in your original question -- the aggression problem is exactly coextensive with the diarrhea. They've both lasted for the last two weeks. This is almost certainly not a coincidence; they must be related.
posted by Unified Theory at 10:11 AM on June 16, 2013 [11 favorites]

I have heard that Lyme disease can cause aggression and diarrhea in dogs. Perhaps it would be a good idea to test for Lyme disease.
posted by parakeetdog at 12:08 PM on June 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

A friend is coming over in an hour or so to help me take him out of the crate and walk him to the animal hospital.

Use two leashes on the dog when you do that, in case one of you has to pull the dog off the other.
posted by jamaro at 12:53 PM on June 16, 2013 [3 favorites]

Is he taking prednisone? That can cause aggression in some dogs.

I had a dog that became extremely aggressive when given prednisone (for an infection), it was frightening. My dog's vet took his change in behavior extremely seriously--so should yours.
posted by inertia at 8:08 AM on June 17, 2013 [2 favorites]

How are things going? Any update?
posted by barnone at 3:00 PM on June 19, 2013 [6 favorites]

Also hoping for an update and hoping you are okay LynnDee.
posted by cairdeas at 4:28 PM on June 21, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I've been putting off updating you all on this, as I'm more than a bit apprehensive about the overall reaction this update might provoke, but, well, here goes: I decided, after a lot of reflection, to surrender my dog. There were a lot of things I didn't cover in the original posting about my dog and me, but I felt that things had reached a point where our relationship was broken beyond repair.

I've been in regular contact with the staff at the shelter he's at, and it looks like he's winning over everyone there -- just like he did at the vet's where he was boarded for a few nights -- and has had no incidents of aggression. A couple came in to look at another dog, but fell in love with him (on his first day there!) and applied for him instead. The adoption process is pretty rigorous, so he's still at the shelter while the staff vets the couple.

I miss him terribly, but I really believe he's going to a better situation and will have the chance to start anew with a family that's better suited to him and his temperament, and that has a better environment for him, too.

As for his health: he was examined by another veterinarian before he was boarded at the animal hospital, and she determined that there was nothing physically wrong with him -- although his diarrhea persisted and the vet did another test for parasites, his second in as many weeks.

Thanks to everyone who helped me and especially to those who sent me private messages of support. I'm really, really sad, but I think it's best for him.
posted by LynnDee at 7:29 PM on June 24, 2013 [5 favorites]

Response by poster: Oh, and the shelter he's at is a no-kill one that never takes more than 8 dogs at a time. The amazing volunteers focus on "difficult" dogs and give them a lot of individual attention (they've been doing some training with him). I gave all of his things to them (including his crate) and they said he's been doing well and learning quickly.
posted by LynnDee at 7:36 PM on June 24, 2013 [3 favorites]

It sounds like you did the right thing. I'm glad it ended well and internet hugs to you.
posted by cairdeas at 8:07 PM on June 24, 2013 [5 favorites]

Thanks for the update, and don't feel bad about this. You and he weren't a good fit, that's all. He now has another chance, and so do you too. What you did shows that you care very much for dogs, and I'm sure there's a less challenging pooch out there that would be so happy to have you care for him or her.
posted by essexjan at 10:00 AM on June 25, 2013 [2 favorites]

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