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Question
Posted by: New mom | 2011/10/18

Disturbing puppy behaviour - Not for the sensitive

I have a mixed breed puppy (boerbull and german shepard). Our bigger dog, when unleashed, strays and has a tendency of bringing trash items into our yard.

As a result this is what I think happened, the big dog came off its leash and dragged another dead puppy into our yard (perhaps it was lying in the street after being hit by the car...I'm really not sure but I'm still trying to find out).

One thing for sure though, I dont think it killed that puppy cause it gets along with other puppies. Be that as it may, upon my return, I caught the puppy feeding on the other dead puppy. I do leave its food and water behind but seemingly, yesterday it decided to do this bizarre and scary thing.

I'm really shocked and scared and I'm not sure if I'm still allowed to keep a puppy that behaves in this manner. I love it but what if it continues with such behaviour...pls advise.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageDog Behaviour Expert

Hi New Mom, gosh, I have never heard of anything like this before in all my years in the industry. The only circumstances that I can think of this occurring is that of a dog being starving and having no other food available. I do know that a wolf or coyote will eat from a carcus, but I have never heard of a dog doing it.

If we look at dogs in their natural environment, they are scavengers and if your puppy is very food driven or came from a litter where it had to fight for food, then this could be a contributing factor, but as i said above, i have never heard of this before.

what I really would suggest you do is to phone your vet and see what they have to say about the behaviour first.

another point is that it can be incredabily dangerous for a dog to wander, both to itself and others, so do try the management approach and make sure your older dog does not go walk about by simply shutting the gate and telling all members of the family to do the same. It may cause a bit of inconvenience, but I really do believe that prevention is better than cure!.

thanks for getting in touch and I really would appreciate it if you would let me know your vets opinion on the behaviour.In between, i will try and do some research and see if I can find instances when this has happened before and if I find anything will post below this comment. Thanks Scotty

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2
Our users say:
Posted by: scotty | 2011/10/18

Hi New Mom, I have done a fair amount of research on this after replying to you, and none of the behaviourists I spoke to have never heard of this. It is not uncommon for a bitch to eat a new born pup that has died, but circumstances such as yours appeared to be unknown. I then decided to phone a vet/behaviourist, Dr. M. Greenberg, who has been in practise for many years and he says that he has heard of cases such as yours before. It is not a common occurance, but does happen, and is more likjely to occur when a pup has not received early socialization and been kept exclusively in the garden. He says that statistically about 5% of dogs that are killed in a dog figtht in the home environment will exhibit this behaviour. thanks Scotty

Reply to scotty
Posted by: Dog Behaviour Expert | 2011/10/18

Hi New Mom, gosh, I have never heard of anything like this before in all my years in the industry. The only circumstances that I can think of this occurring is that of a dog being starving and having no other food available. I do know that a wolf or coyote will eat from a carcus, but I have never heard of a dog doing it.

If we look at dogs in their natural environment, they are scavengers and if your puppy is very food driven or came from a litter where it had to fight for food, then this could be a contributing factor, but as i said above, i have never heard of this before.

what I really would suggest you do is to phone your vet and see what they have to say about the behaviour first.

another point is that it can be incredabily dangerous for a dog to wander, both to itself and others, so do try the management approach and make sure your older dog does not go walk about by simply shutting the gate and telling all members of the family to do the same. It may cause a bit of inconvenience, but I really do believe that prevention is better than cure!.

thanks for getting in touch and I really would appreciate it if you would let me know your vets opinion on the behaviour.In between, i will try and do some research and see if I can find instances when this has happened before and if I find anything will post below this comment. Thanks Scotty

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