I Can’t Believe I’m Writing This…

Yesterday, Aaron stayed home to wait for the internet provider to come and finally hook us up. He had Sammie and Emma in the backyard when the neighbor came out with her little dog to go to work. Apparently, her dog came up to our fence and started barking – Aaron rushed out, but just in time to see Sammie hop over the fence and start attacking the neighbor’s dog in our driveway.

Our neighbor rushed the dog to the vet where it had to have surgery to put in about 25 staples, some stitches, and a drain. She showed us pictures today and it was… horrible. I can’t believe Sammie would do that to another dog! Apparently it’s not out of the woods yet and has a long way to go to heal. I’m still in shock.

She hasn’t asked us to foot the bill, but she has told us that she no longer feels safe with our dog next door and has asked us to consider giving her up. She’s also considering whether to call animal control. We told her we are going to put in a new, taller fence as soon as possible, and until we do, that we will be outside with Sammie (and probably have her on a leash) to make sure she doesn’t escape our yard again. But we also told her we aren’t willing to give Sammie up.

We’ll do obedience classes, we’ll do whatever we need to in order to make sure nothing like this happens again. I’ve been crying off and on all day since we talked to the neighbor. Sammie’s my baby, and we made a promise to her that we’re going to be her forever home. I can’t abandon her!

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24 comments

  1. colinandray · December 10, 2015

    You may need to consider a lot more than obedience training as you need to understand why Sammie was aggressive. Intuitive prey drive? Response to perceived (or real) threat? Territory protection? You may want to consider involving a dog behaviorist. If you can identify the reason for the aggression, then it becomes behavior adjustment training (aka BAT training). Obedience training may be questionable when you are not around to supervise her. Finally, depending on your local by-laws, Sammie may not get a second chance so this must be treated very seriously. i.e. immediate increase in fence height and immediate steps to identify why the incident happened. Wishing you all the best as she seems a lovely dog.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Saving Sammie · December 10, 2015

      Thanks, Colin. It’s been an awful two days… I think she’s protective of Emma and sees her a bit like her ‘pup’.

      Like

      • colinandray · December 10, 2015

        Perhaps, but you need to consider what might happen if a child approached her “pup”.

        Like

    • sanseilife · December 11, 2015

      A dog behaviorist is a great idea. I had a gsd once that was starting to get out of control. It turns out he didn’t think I was smart enough to know danger. Once I learned his triggers and learned when he might make a decision on his own (his mouth would close and his eyes would key in on perceived danger) I was able to work with him with stopping any aggression when it was just a seed in his brain and before he could act on it. Great advice to get some expert help.

      Liked by 2 people

      • colinandray · December 11, 2015

        Our Ray had similar problems. When confronted with people, or other dogs, he would (unbeknown to us) glance at us for direction. In the absence of any, he simply took control and it was not nice! A trainer picked up on it right away and showed us what he was doing and so we could start adjusting his perspectives.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Saving Sammie · December 11, 2015

        That’s what I’m hoping to learn – Sammie’s body language so I can better understand what she’s thinking. And I figured obedience training would be a good way for her to start looking to Aaron and I for guidance, not just in sit, down, stay, heel, etc, but in ALL aspects of what she should be doing when.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. littledogslaughed · December 10, 2015

    We are thinking of you all and hope everything works out for Sammie- my pittie Jack Henry is not real good around other dogs and I learned that the hard way. So between obedience and BAT training his environment is closely managed- it is hard work sometimes but worth it-good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Saving Sammie · December 10, 2015

      Thank you! We’ve taken her to the dog park without issue, had friends over with their dogs, gone to other people’s houses where they have dogs… So now we’re looking at doing what you said – controlling her environment.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. lexitheschnauzer · December 10, 2015

    Lexi’s Mom here. I am so sorry. My heart hurts for you all, as well as the neighbor and her little dog. I have been on both ends of the leash, but without the damage that was done. I know you will do all that is possible to keep others safe and to help Sammy change her behavior. Prayers for you all.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. carolynswriting · December 11, 2015

    Thinking of you guys – I know all too well the issues. I hope things are resolved safely for all of you. Giving her up might only increase or trigger behaviour issues – not a good scenario for Sammy or any future owners/animals. So hard but I know you’ll do the right things.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Saving Sammie · December 11, 2015

      Thanks, Carolyn. We’re going to do whatever it takes to keep her and make sure that people and their pets that come and go can do so without issue. It’s moments like this that I wish our pets could talk to us and tell us what’s going on!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. brendablagdon · December 11, 2015

    So sad. I will be thinking of you and Sammie and hope all works out.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. micaelabeth · December 11, 2015

    I’m so sorry to hear this! I know dogs are more territorial with their own home, hence why the dog park and inviting your friends is ok because Sammie sees that you approve. Tucker feels more comfortable when he sees us invite someone in the house, otherwise he barks from the stairs for a while. I also know fences are expensive and I know a friend who used a Lowes or Home Depot card to purchase tall fencing with no interest. Not ideal when you just purchased a home but I would think the fence would show you are taking action.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Saving Sammie · December 11, 2015

      The fence is our top priority. We’re going to look around at different options this weekend and figure out how much we need so we know what we’re in for.

      Liked by 1 person

      • micaelabeth · December 11, 2015

        Good luck to you! Its unfortunate this happened but it is nice to see such responsible owners that are not giving up on there dog.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. jeaninerenzoni · December 14, 2015

    Always awful when something like this occurs … scary, sad, makes you question yourself and what you thought about your dog. But it’s also a wake up call; an alarm to get a plan that’s detailed. And getting the Why (we can’t know why a dog does certain things) is something that is not likely to happen (oh we can make up reasons aplenty), but you can become aware of the triggers and the body language that precedes certain actions — you can learn to predict and intervene and desensitize.

    As a trainer who runs obedience classes … I’m afraid that dogs that do this much damage to another dog and are the attacker, wouldn’t be welcome in class … have to be private sessions and muzzle on for any dog/dog stuff. Sorry, but the risk would be too high even for my reactive dog class. Ian Dunbar suggests counting up the number of fights/arguments your dog has had with other dogs and the higher the number that resulted in no damage the safer your dog is … the lower the number and the more extreme the damage the more risk, less bite inhibited your dog is. So a safer reactive dog has had lots of fights that were growl/body slam matches but no vet visits needed or if there was a visit it was less than $300 (vets are expensive).

    I’d make a list of at least three things I was going to do today to manage or solve the issue … like: order a Baskerville muzzle, always go outside with the dogs with Sammie on a leash, look at adding a visual barrier anywhere there’s even a chance of practicing lunging or fence aggression or window aggression or … because the neighbor will need to know. And even though a taller fence should resolve the most immediate ‘hop over’ issue, the severity of the attack sounds ominous. I wish you the best, hoping for a nice recovery for the victim and some good Behavior Adjustment Therapy for Sammie.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Saving Sammie · December 14, 2015

      Those are all things we’re trying to do! So I’m glad to read we’re on the right track at least. I’m also glad you gave a muzzle recommendation – I’ve been wondering what kind we should invest in (figuring if we did go to a class we’d have to have her on a muzzle now).

      Like

    • colinandray · December 14, 2015

      I can highly support the Baskerville muzzle recommendation. It worked very nicely for Ray (75lbs Shepherd/Rotti X), and I can only endorse getting professional help. Too many people try to resolve these issues on their own and, after a severe bite on a child, or major vet bill, or the death of a less fortunate dog … they regret their decision. You really have a “loaded gun” there so get all the help you can regarding understanding it. Dogs that are euthanized as a result of biting are very rarely responsible for their actions. It is the owners who, because of pride, ignorance, or whatever, have not taken all the care they should of their canine buddy.

      Like

  8. noodle4president · December 17, 2015

    Oh my! I was so confused when I saw your post earlier so I cam by to see what I missed. I can’t even imagine how you feel. No judgments here. Just love. ❤ Samantha & Noodle

    Liked by 1 person

    • Saving Sammie · December 17, 2015

      Thank you. That means a lot to us. People judging Sammie has been what I’ve been most scared of. I was afraid our family and friends would no longer welcome her into their homes, but it seems that’s not going to be the case. Another thing for us to be thankful for!

      Liked by 1 person

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