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Question
Posted by: Desperate | 2006/03/31

How Cruel Would it be?

I am at the end of my tether. Most days hubby and I are sleep deprived messes, I can burst into tears at the drop of a hat.

We have a three year old bull terrier who looks more terrier than bull. (Reputable breeders is another story I wont go into right now)

Anyway, we got her as a young puppy and immediately joined the Cape Dog Handlers Club so that she can be socialised and we can give her the propper training. To cut a long story short we eventually gave up as it was way too stressfull taking her there. She had bit one of the trainers (not agressively, just because his hand got in the way when she was going ballistic) and she used to go absolutely insane when seeing other dogs. It sounded like full attack mode but for some weird reason if she actually did get to the dog she wouldnt attack them, but terribly frightning non the less and I couldnt allow her to do that not knowing how the other dog would respond. (Usually not to kindly)

The trainers there said they dont see too many chinese racing pigs and now they know why.

At home she is triggered off by any barking dog within ear shot. She can be in a dead sleep and will fly out of bed making a high pitched insane, purely instinct driven bark, run outside then bark until the others have stopped. This happens day (I work from home, night when we sleep and first thing in the morning before we have woken up) She barks throughout the day, all triggered by other dogs and I dont even want to know what my neighbours must think. I have tried ignoring her, I have tried the tin with pebbles in and one trainer suggested grabbing her, lowering her to the ground and saying a firm NO. Nothing at all has helped, I feel like pulling my hair out.

What I wanted to know is how cruel would it be to have her voice box disconnected? I am SO desperate and feel like a nervous wreck. She is impacting on my life in such a huge way and I cant live like this anymore.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberVet

Hi Desperate

Sorry to hear that. It is not cruel to have them debarked, especially when it has reached the stage of either euthanazing your pet or finding her another home. Finding her another home will be more difficult because then you will be giving someone else the exact same problem.

Debarking is a last resort and I do know of dogs that do just fine. They still think they are voicing their opinion, but no sound comes out.

Good luck
Regards
CDV
Animal behaviourist

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Desperate | 2006/04/05

This thread is getting a bit on the long side so decided to start a fresh one, please see my post dated 5/4/2006

Reply to Desperate
Posted by: Acineth | 2006/04/05

A citronella collar is definately better than a shock collar which is cruel. The best bit, is that is remote controlled. You can press the button a distance away from the dog and release a spray of scented water. The dog doesn't associate it with you, but with the behaviour they were doing as it happened.

Reply to Acineth
Posted by: Blue | 2006/04/05

I seriously doubt Desperate is overly concerned about Pam
Whyte stealing her dog :)

Reply to Blue
Posted by: Desperate | 2006/04/05

I just got back from the vet. Went to buy kitty and dog food and was armed with all my questions. I first asked them about any behaviourists that they personally can recommend and told them that I didnt want to leave any stone unturned, debarking being the very last resort.

The vet then said..oh yes, I personally wont do a debarking but what I can recommend is the anti bark collar. Thinking that it was the citronella collar I said that I was interested in giving it a go if she thought it may help and asked her to tell me more about it. Turns out she was referring to that damn collar that gives the dogs an electric shock.

Now perhaps I may not fully understand this thing but I think thats friggen cruel and theres no ways I will attach that thing to my dog. Besides, if the electric fence didnt phase her I seriously doubt the collar will be of any benifit but holy cow man.

Reply to Desperate
Posted by: Acineth | 2006/04/05

Chill
Recently Pam gave advise on a dog biting situation in a magazine. Her solution to stop dog agression was to over feed the dog. I've also worked with someone who used her and the dog was worse after her help. I've also read that she has stolen client's dogs.

Reply to Acineth
Posted by: Chill | 2006/04/04

Just off on a bit of a side issue for a moment.

I must say I have a problem with certain aspects of members of a newish profession setting up a little 'club' and then 'hijacking' all rights and titles to that profession.

I don't mean that a society which 'accredits' animal behaviourists is necessarily a bad thing... but, Acineth, you've illustrated perfectly the downside of this. Pam Whyte may not be accredited, but that does not mean that she is by definition to be sidelined as though she doesn't count. She has literally decades of experience, has firmly nailed her colours to the mast by publishing a book reflecting her methods and theories, and while nobody is obliged to support or endorse these theories - they DO work, and she DOES have a substantial amount to offer to owners of problem pets.

The value of an organisation that accredits members is a) that it makes it convenient for the public to find a member of that profession, and b) that by joining the organisation, members will have had to sign some undertaking that they have the specified qualifications and are willing to adhere to a code of conduct. Both of the above are good - but it does NOT mean that non-members are by definition useless or not to be trusted.

For the record: Pam Whyte has been working in Cape Town for years and has built up her reputation locally. Do a google on her name, or check out www followed by trustworthydogs.com, and see. Best of all, read her book - it's really incredibly interesting and insightful.

I know there are chancers out there, and it behoves everyone to look out for themselves. It's always worth researching a little when it comes to stuff like this - and I mean no disrespect to the accredited behaviourists at all. I'm sure they do a wonderful job. All I'm saying is, they're not the only ones.

Reply to Chill
Posted by: animal lover | 2006/04/04

Hi
I feel very sorry for you. Chill i feel has given you so much wonderful advise. How much excercise does she get. I mean you playing ball and toys etc. I have a small barking dog who sets all the others off. if they run in my front part of the yard which is off limits if i am not with them, they tire themselfs out and heaven is in the home. I play and throw things and praise them and if they are naughty do a little "no naughty" and if they do good things "good command", and it has also help a lot because i found that they want to please you then. (but no every dog is the same) Food is a big part of it as well, also she had a bad start in life.
don"t give up push through, thank goodness for someone like you that takes the time to give her a chance. Try and see if you can read a book by Vicotria Stillwell called Me or my Dog. maybe the library has it. Very good book. Good luck

Reply to animal lover
Posted by: Desperate | 2006/04/04

Thank you for your post Cat Lady, I really apreciate your feedback. I dont think I could bear to part with her and have serious doubts that the proverbial farm that takes on other peoples problem / unwanted animals even exists.

Off topic now, but a friend of mine works for the SAP and he told me of several cases where a well dressed couple have responded to ads offering a dog to a good home who have in actual fact used these dogs for dogfighting or for the training of fighting dogs (baiting). Thats simply heartbreaking. My first ever bull terrier that I had about 10 years ago was stolen from my friends small holding in Philadelphia (near Cape Town). She used to love going there with me so I always used to take her along. Some of the farmworkers reported seeing someone leading her off (she was very friendly so it would not take much doing).

When I reported it to the police they said it was their fourth case of dog theft in the past three months in their area alone and that they suspect the dogs are being used for fighting. Its one thing to know that your beloved pet has been stolen but another thing altogether knowing that he has been stolen for..that. I was beside myself. I then read in the Argus that peoples dogs were going missing from their fully enclosed gardens and that they had cracked down on a dog fighting syndicate. Unfortunately a couple of months later a friend of mines bull terrier also went missing from their garden. Just thinking about this makes me so very sad and if theres a 0.0000001% chance this could happen to my dog then the risk is too great. I feel a bit like a mother hen when it comes to my animals.

Thanks again for posting, its good to hear from someone who can relate to what you are going through - I really needed that.

Reply to Desperate
Posted by: Cat Lady | 2006/04/03

PS Don't dump her on anyone else. They would not treat her as well as you do and she will get neglected and even worse. In spite of everything I love my collie to death and would hate to see her go to someone ruthless.

Reply to Cat Lady
Posted by: Cat Lady | 2006/04/03

Hi There!

Me again! I don't you think you are being melodramatic at all if you say she has this high pitched voice that sends you 5cm off the bed and dissolves you into tears. I used to have a gardener once every two weeks, not exactly a luxury as I have over 2400 sqm, but her high pitched wailing made me so desperate I actually booked her in at a kennel for the day and we all lived happily for that day. However, I couldn't keep it up and she has improved somewhat but had I known 4 years ago that she would bring me to tears, I would have had her debarked. She is now already 8 and it seems pointless as big dogs don't get very old. I checked with my vet again (I am there at least once a week with all my wild variety/ assortiments of animals and he assures me that she would suffer no pain and would not "know" that her voice had gone. Good luck again.

Reply to Cat Lady
Posted by: Blue | 2006/04/03

Sunrise, you sound very sweet but what you are doing is humanising an animal. No the dog will not think any of the things you mentioned because she is just that - a dog and incapable of the human emotions that you have attached.

Do you really think there are farms out there that will take in someone elses problem dog and not have any other dogs or fibreglass cows for that matter! Come on get real!

Desperate, I think its time for you to take your life back. You have put yourself second for a long time now and its time for that to change. I volunteer at an animal shelter and I commend you for not fobbing her off on us or anyone else or even having her put to sleep. Worse case scenario you do have her barker "turned down", in your case I dont see this as being cruel. What I see on a day to day basis is cruel so I know what cruel is.

By the way for the record: The meaning of cruel
Disposed to inflict pain or suffering.
Causing suffering; painful

You will be doing neither so question answered.

Reply to Blue
Posted by: Desperate | 2006/04/03

Hi Acineth!

Not sure if you missed one of my previous posts as this thread is becoming rather long. I did complete socialising and training with her so she never lacked when it came to that. The higher course / level of training which I saw no point attending covered things like agility etc which is for showing purposes. (ie. running over a seesaw and jumping through hoops) which she doesnt really have the legs for anyway! It was mainly the border collie / alsation owners that enroled for that and benifited from it as they showed and competed their dogs.

I took her for socialising from a tiny pup up until the point where other dogs (especially their owners) didnt take too kindly to being pounced on and virtually attacked. (I have always managed to restrain her from actually attacking) She was a complete disruption to the class and no one would venture anywhere near us. So far I have not found anyone willing to subject their dogs to that for the benifit? of mine. (Even at training so it never helped her in that department) Her obedience without the presence of another dog has never been in question.

After we ended training I asked my mom to meet with me on neutral ground so my girl can spend some time socializing with her docile lab but that ended miserably and almost in bloodshed so my mom said never again.

Im waiting for the behaviourist expert to respond and hopefully give me an idea of what sorting out her hyperactivity, behaviour towards other dogs and mainly her (I cant even call it barking) attacking? will entail so I can finally resume some sense of sanity. I can actually live happily with her being hyper and Im not to phased about her reaction to other dogs as I dont plan on getting another one.

I have vested 3 years in her already, constantly trying various options and now time is running out. It has been emotionally and financially draining but now I dont have the luxury of time to "try" anything else that may or may not work.

Reply to Desperate
Posted by: Acineth | 2006/04/03

Being dumped will be more traumatic for the dog than being de-barked. You should see how depressed they get, and if they do get re-homed they may have trust issues.

I don't think de-barking is the solution to this problem, nor is homing the dog with someone who wouldn't care enough to solve the problem.

The problem is the dog's high prey drive and lack of training/socialisation, barking is just a symptom. I understand your leaving the school, but your dog is exactly the sort that needed it the most. I think your best option would be to take the money you would have spent on surgery and contact an ACCREDITED behaviourist. This is too serious to leave to just anyone.

Reply to Acineth
Posted by: Sunrise | 2006/04/03

I'm sorry. I didn't relize a muzzle was just for biting, I thought they held the mouth shut, so at night you could get some sleep. Anyways, I would still think giving the dog away would be a better choice over having her voice box disconnected. Think how strange it would be if all the sudden one day you couldn't talk. Your dog wouldn't understand what the surgery was for, she'd just wake up with a painful throat and no voice. And it wouldn't be throwing your problem onto someone else, perhaps there is a farm or something that would take her. Then she'd have lots of space, and couldn't bother the neighbors so much. There are multiple options, I don't think de-voicing her is the best choice, I'd cancel it out all together.

Reply to Sunrise
Posted by: Just a Geusse | 2006/04/03

Some dogs are extremely [more than others] sensitive to sound and can get quiete anxious. There is a programme that desensitises dogs to sound.
I am not sure where but a possible avenue to explore.
It sounds like everything u've done is correct so what I am suggesting is that their may be a physical reason?

Reply to Just a Geusse
Posted by: Desperate | 2006/04/03

I wouldnt mind trying one of those collars before actually having to fork out the moola for it because I have serious doubts it would work. Not much phases my girl, she enjoys climbing onto tables like a mountain goat and has eaten the citronella candles off the patio suite.

Someone also recommended squirting the air from a half full dishwashing liquid bottle (with a little eukaliptus) as a deterent because thats what worked for their dogs but all she thought was yumm and went to lick the residue washing liquid from the cap after she was done barking. She has stolen a bottle of two stroke oil from the garage and devoured that on the cream carpet next to my bed.

I especially took her for a walk in the bushes behind the last row of houses so I could take her of her leash and let her run free to try and use some of that energy. One of the houses had a retainer wall and when she spotted a poor unsuspecting little mutt sunning himself next to the pool she went into full attack mode. She stuck her head through their electric fence and went absolutely beserk. She paused for a fraction of a second looking slightly puzzled then resumed the attack. The electric fence no deterrant whatsoever.

So far I have not found anything that can break her focus when she is like that.

Reply to Desperate
Posted by: Acineth | 2006/04/03

Don't want to start anything, but Pam Whyte is not an accredited behaviourist. Check the website for one.

I don't really approve of them, but maybe in this case a citronella collar would help?

Reply to Acineth
Posted by: Desperate | 2006/04/02

Hi Cat Lady!

Thank you for your post. Yep, it is a huge decision indeed. A friend of mine got a rescue dog, a small little mixed breed who had already been debarked by a previous owner and she also sounded like she had laryngitis but a very happy & content dog nontheless. I actually dont know of any cases where their barkers have been completely removed, its more like they have had their volume turned down.

My girl has an incredibly loud and shrill bark which she has no problem using several times during the middle of the night which makes me raise 5cm off the bed and sends the old heart pulpitating. This happens again at some insane hour of the morning when the very first of the neighbourhood dogs bark at workers walking down the road. Needless to say by the time my alarm goes off I am already wide awake and looking the way I feel - overtired and haggard. Most days I feel like a total nervous wreck. (Im with her the whole day)

Thank you for mentioning the alternative remedies as thats something I was looking into. I would hate to give her something that has a sedatory effect but at the same time how would you know how she would react to a treatment without giving it a try. At this point I am so desperate but would like to cross every possible option off the list before seriously considering the debarking route.

I can have a day of sheer hell, one which I've been close to tears (sounds a bit dramatic if you have not experienced it first hand). She will come and lie at or rather on my feet, go to sleep and the next second she will go into a high pitched barking fit which sends my heart visably pounding again. My nervous system is shot...that said, all it takes is for her to "sing" while she yawns and my heart melts all over again. Its a tough one.

Most days I feel so sleep deprived and I am currently in my second trimester so do worry what is going to happen when baby arrives.

Best wishes, D



Reply to Desperate
Posted by: Cat Lady | 2006/04/02

Hi there!

I know exactly how you feel about the barking bit as I have a rough collie (Lassie dog) who drives me nuts - she also sets all the others off. My vet and I have tried alternative remedies, Rescue, both "dog sedatives" and human prescriptions, diet, you name it. Nothing works or it is something so drastic that she passes out for the day. Prozac did nothing. I could go on and on. She is otherwise a lovley dog with a nice nature so I don't have your other problems. I wrote to a cybervet about 4 years ago and he said she was a definite case for debarking. I hated the thought and when I mentioned it to my vet, he said he could understand it but he himself couldn't do it. One of the partners offered to do so but did warn that the vocal cords would grow back again. I did meet a lady who had her Alsation debarked and he sounded as if he had laryngitis. It was either that or euthanisation for him. She said he suffered no ill effects and he seemed perfectly happy but no, I haven't been able to bring myself to do so yet and 4 years later she still drives me nuts. You do get used to it and fortunately my neighbours have not complained - so far.

Good luck with your decisions.

Reply to Cat Lady
Posted by: Desperate | 2006/04/02

Thank you so very much Chill, I apreciate your feedback more than words can tell.

Im going to be doing alot of research and looking into both her diet and alternative remedies. Believe it or not I have even taken her for reiki before which did in fact really help but unfortunately it was not very long lasting.

I got her as a very sick little puppy from a dodgy breeder where I just didnt have the heart to leave her behind so ended up paying the unjustified pedigree prices they were asking. Yes I know..heart ruled over head. Besides all the usual vetenary visits associated with a new pooch such as vacinations and being spayed, I nursed her back to health with daily trips to the vet for injections (he wasnt sure she would make it), then back again the following year when they kept her for an extended stay not knowing why she was so listless. Turns out she ate a piece of carpet that she must have stolen from the fitters which had lodged in several places in her intestines and wasnt showing up on the x-rays for some reason.

After recovering from that we where out one day when she pulled so hard on her leash that she gave herself a hernia which the vet then repaired unsuccessfully. Probably due to the fact that I couldnt get her to rest afterwards.

Back to the vet for regular visits so he could monitor a very bad and itchy rash she had developed on her tummy. No amounts of meds cleared it up completely and after much deliberation he declared that its an alergy to my lawn which I should promptly remove and replace with buffalo. The thought of ripping out 500m2 of lawn or the option of having to keep her locked inside was not a decision to be made overnight but it gave me time to think and decided to try a few other alternatives first. To cut a long story short it was actually the Pedigree dog food causing the itchy tum rash.

So needless to say we have been a long road together and I wouldnt want to give up on her now. Now I have my work cut out for me so best I get to it! Thanks a mil Chill! xx

Reply to Desperate
Posted by: Chill | 2006/04/02

Oops - forgot to reiterate what I said in my earlier post, namely that there may be a component in the dog's food that triggers her behaviour... what I meant there would be something like an additive (preservative, flavouring, colouring) which could be having the same effect that tartrazine has on some kids. In other words, not the actual composition of the food. [Another reason not to tamper with anything without an expert opinion.]

I may help, if you're going to see a specialist, to make a VERY accurate 'food diary' for a bit - you'd have to list everything you give the dog, including treats etc - and you could mark on there if she has any PARTICULARY active spells, and when they happen. That might be a way to see if her behaviour has any specific link to what she's eating.

Reply to Chill
Posted by: Chill | 2006/04/02

Actually... I'm not entirely sure what I'd do in this case. Thing is that you obviously want your dog to get all the nutrition she needs to maintain good health and fitness... but dogfoods seem to be a 'one size fits all' thing... whereas some dogs are a whole lot more active than others, and as with people (athletes, bodybuilders, physical labourers), diet should really be attuned to the amount of energy output that is required. This leads to the one disadvantage of commercial dogfood, namely that it's hard to fine-tune it if you happen to have a dog with very specific requirements.

For example, it's possible that your dog needs less protein - which would mean, I guess, either cooking food for her, or perhaps reducing the amount of the chunks you're feeding and adding some non-protein components to correct the balance. However: there's also a school of thought which says that hyperactive dogs should get less carbohydrate, the same resolution would apply, but instead of adding carbohydrate, you'd have to substitute extra protein. Since I have no expertise in this, I wouldn't want to tell you to do either of these things without a professional opinion. I'm mentioning it to give you some ideas about possible directions to pursue.

If you google the words: dog hyperactive diet you'll find various bits of reading matter... what they mostly have in common is the opnion that diet CAN make a difference.

The notion of 'alternative' meds are supported in some quarters, it seems - I found a website advertising a remedy for the kind of behaviour you describe, and I'll give it below - but please understand that I am neither recommending or advising against it - personally I certainly wouldn't be 'investing' in this stuff without a homoeopathic vet telling me it was a) ok, and b) worth trying. Here's the url: www followed by nativeremedies.com/petalive/problem-pet-barking-digging-control-dogs-puppy.html
It gives the ingredients of the potion, so you could research it further from there.

I quite understand your dread of taking your dog to the vet, but I somehow think you may have to steel yourself to do it... since you're in Cape Town, why don't you get your vet to refer you to the Cape Animal Medical Clinic (which is where the Cybervet works) - they're in Rosmead Ave, Kenilworth, opposite the little shopping centre where the Spar is (just past Kentucky, coming from your side). They have a homoeopathic/acupuncture specialist, who is apparently extremely helpful, and being a specialist referral clinic, you're not as likely to have to run the gauntlet of a waiting-room full of innocent victims for your dog to attack. In fact... if you can get there, phone them ahead of time to explain the problem you have: maybe there's a back entrance or something. Or maybe you could tranquillise the dog (tho I suppose that way they wouldn't see the extent of the problem). Whatever you decide - the care and expertise you'd find there is second to none: I can attest to that. Unfortunately they do cost a bit... if that's a problem, be sure to ask, so that you don't get any nasty surprises.

Keep us posted... I suspect you're not the only person with an uncontrollable dog, so it would be interesting to know if it can be sorted out.

Reply to Chill
Posted by: Desperate | 2006/04/02

If you had to see her you would swear that I fed her methamphetamines! I fed her Ultra Dog for just over a year and as of a couple of months ago switched to Vets Choice Sensitive. Most of the pellets (especially store bought) make her tummy break out in a rash so the choice is somewhat limited.

Do you think I should try another kind of food? I dont mind cooking her something myself.

Reply to Desperate
Posted by: Chill | 2006/04/01

Tell me something... what do you feed this dog? Everyone thinks that 'superb' nutrition is the way to go... but sometimes it actually isn't.

Give Pam Whyte a call... it sounds like you need help, and she is pretty good.

Reply to Chill
Posted by: Desperate | 2006/04/01

Chill, Thank you so much for the advice. You have certainly given me quite a bit to think about and Ill definately be following up on the points you made.

I do agree that a behaviourist is the way to go as I love her to bits but she is so difficult to live with and the barking is only part of it.

I cant take her for walks in the neighbourhood because every house has a dog and our walks normally entail me using every ounce of energy to pull her from one attack situation to the next. I arrive home, arms longer and totally stressed. Cars actually slow down to watch the mayhem. I then started driving from our home in Blouberg to take her for walks in the City Bowl. By the time we arrive there my car is a shredded mess but at least the attacks are reduced to mirrors and reflections in the glass..oh yes..also the fibreglass cow display they had in St Georges Mall.

When I have to take her to the vet I feel like puking, my stomach turns so bad. I know that if there is another dog in the waiting room or on its way out of the consulting room she will go into attack mode again. Many dogs reciprocate and want to attack back, the sound she makes is terrifying. Everyone just glares and shakes their heads at me like I cant control my dog, and thats the truth but I dont know what else to do..besides the obvious..blindfold, ballgag and hogtie?

Thats one of the reasons why I stopped taking her for training. She spent the full hour like that and disrupted the entire class which was not fair to the others. People were petrified to come anywhere near us and that just made things worse because she could see them but couldnt get to them.

The behaviourist I looked into getting was Pam Whyte because she operates in my area but I know its going to take more than one visit...she may even need to move in ;)

Anyway, thanks again. Your advice is hugely apreciated.

Reply to Desperate
Posted by: Chill | 2006/03/31

Interesting thread, this one.

First, I would tend to agree with Acineth that 'debarking' in extreme cases isn't out of the question.

Second - regarding it as in any way similar to depriving a human of vocal cords is utterly inappropriate - antrhopomorphism gone wrong.

Third: A muzzle is out of the question, as you've already decided - and it wouldn't help. It would in any case be far more cruel than debarking.

However: I can't believe that this is a problem that can't be resolved. What I recommend you do is consult a specialist vet, let him or her check the dog out, and then ask the following questions:
1. Could there be a metabolic disorder of some sort causing or worsening these tendencies. What I'm thinking about here is something like hyperactivity, possibly triggered by some element of the dog's diet. Even an overly nutritious diet could cause the dog to have excess energy she doesn't know how else to get rid of.
2. Since the behaviour you describe appears to be quite entrenched, would it be an option to see if this could be broken by a programme of medication (specifically tranquillisers or even Prozac for dogs), to be administered under veterinary supervision, for a limited period of time.
3. Would any 'alternative' treatment be worth trying: I'm thinking here of either herbal/homoeopathic medications, or acupuncture.
4. Discuss the whole debarking issue with your expert, and bear in mind that even if you do go ahead with this, it sorts out only one element of the behavioural problem.

The above should be done in addition to getting information from a behaviourist, both to assess what's causing the behaviour, what you may inadvertently be doing to 'enable' the dog, and what you should be doing to help curtail it.

I disagree with the response that says bull terriers just can't be trained like other dogs. I know that they can, but I also know the trainer has to be competent, and have knowledge and understanding of what makes dogs tick. Which brings me to my last point: if at all possible, see if you can get a copy of Pam Whyte's book called Living with an Alien. It is full of information about how dogs' minds work, and how you can use an understanding of this to get them to do what you want.

Your dog appears to have gotten used to calling the shots - even to the extent of not having to go to school any more. (Wish I'd thought of that myself, actually....) It's going to take some dedication to sort this out, but since you quite obviously care a lot about her, I'm sure you'll be able to figure out a way for you all to get along without all the stress.

Reply to Chill
Posted by: Blue | 2006/03/31

I think a muzzle would be really cruel. Its purpose is for stopping dogs biting when out on the lead and not to control day to day barking. It would prevent them from drinking, eating, licking, biting any little nasties off their coat and totally unacceptable for everyday house hold use.

Btw, it doesnt prevent them from barking as it doesnt seal their lips together.

At the end of the day you have to make a choice you can live with. I cant offer you any advice, those bull terriers cant be trained like other dogs. They are not a breed that is naturally occuring and you will find that both the bull and pit bull have a deeply ingrained need to fight and attack other dogs. They are wired that way.

Some breeders breed these dogs for tempriment and quality, others for a quick buck. Unfortunately if you have a dog from the latter you will be saddled with their irresponsibility.

Reply to Blue
Posted by: Desperate | 2006/03/31

P.S. Forgot to mention..people who have been in my house and had to endure an afternoon of this and also her extreme hyperactivity have told me to put her down, but I could never do that. I dont see it as an option.

Reply to Desperate
Posted by: Desperate | 2006/03/31

Thank you for the feedback.

The training does not address barking or those kind of behavioural problems. It teaches dog obedience and I did complete socialization, beginners and most of intermediate where all they begin covering things such as agility etc. (which wont help her at all) They are all seperate courses if you wish. For example, she knows how to sit and a few other things on command but when in full attack mode (which is when she sees or hears other dogs barking) I cant even restrain her never mind her obeying any commands. She goes absolutely wild and nothing can break her focus. Its totally different to a dog that barks or yaps out of boredom or for attention.

I dont like the idea of muzzling her which would have to be 24/7 (the neighbours are home during the day too)and I dont think that giving my problem away to someone else is a fair option neither. I have been looking into getting a dog behaviourist but thats pretty expensive and unfortunately Im not in a position to do so right now. Unfortunately unless you have been in my home and experienced this its difficult to understand the severity and the toll this takes on you. No choice I make will be made lightly.

Hopefully the behaviourist here or someone will have some practical advice for me to try?

Reply to Desperate
Posted by: Sunrise | 2006/03/31

I agree it would be cruel, and like the comparison of vocal cords for excessive talking. The dog didn't finish her training, and so she doesn't really understand the need to be quiet sometimes. If you had her do more training, (perhaps without other dogs) or sent her to a behaviorist I'm sure they could fix the problem. Also, a less cruel method could be to buy a muzzle, and when she starts yapping loudly at night and in the early hours, you can just muzzle her mouth, and that might help her to learn. I would save removing her voice box or whatever as a very LAST choice. That would be after training, muzzling, and even giving her away.

Reply to Sunrise
Posted by: SallyA | 2006/03/31

Personally, i think it is cruel. it would be like removing someones vocal cords because they talk to much etc. like Acineth says, you need to take her a behaviourist. they will help you with commands etc to teach her that she doesnt need to bark all the time. i've seen many dogs turned around from barking continuously to only barking when alerting you about something., dogs bark for a reason, sometimes there reasoning my be abit out of wack, they just need abit of help along the way!

Reply to SallyA
Posted by: Acineth | 2006/03/31

As an alternative to destroying or abandoning the dog, I don't think its that cruel. Why don't you try a behaviourist first? Please don't go to just anyone - get an accredited behaviourist to help you. They are listed on www dot animal-behaviour dot org dot za.

Reply to Acineth

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