So my dog had a litter of 7 puppies that are now 9 weeks old. They are a mix of black lab, black and tan, border collie and chow. They have been fantastic, never hurt anything, or so we thought. A few weeks ago one of our goats and two chickens died. Well today two male puppies pinned a girl puppy by her neck and were being pretty vicious. She was crying so I went and broke out up. I sat back down and heard them fighting again and when I got back up they had already killed her. It took them about five to ten seconds. I'm no expert but it seemed intentional. So I have a few questions. Could they have killed the goat for sport and left it intact? Second, what should I do with them. I wanted to find them nice homes but I don't want to put anyone in danger. They have never even growled at me or my three year old daughter, who is pretty rough with them. What should I make of this and what are my options? Two have already been given away, should I inform the new owners? Thanks in advance.
I am so sorry that you have to experience this. This is a potential "breed cocktail" with lots of positives, and unfortunately some very strong potential negatives as well when mixed (chow-border collie.)
Yes they can kill for "sport," and yes the other animals you have currently lost could have been to these two males. I am sorry you lost the little female. As for recommendations, I would have them "put down" immediately and there gene combination is not something to spread, nor does this behavior curb itself typically. Which means you have 3 left. Can you tell us about the parents there breed combination, disposition, and how the other three puppies seem to be?
I know exactly what I would do, I would put them down.
posted 3 years ago
Ahhh, so sad I'm going to cry. The parents are both great. The mom is ours, she is lab and black and tan. Wonderful dog. She is very reserved and submissive. If you go up to her while she is eating she will back up and let you in as if to say "you can eat first". The dad is our landlord's dog. He's border collie and chow. He's a wanderer out here in the country so I don't see much of him, but I've never seen him be aggressive. But I know for sure the aggression did not come from the mama. Unfortunately I can't tell three of them apart so I don't know which two it was. There are four left, should they all be put down? And what about the ones I already gave away. One was a boy that looked like the mom (not sure if looks have anything to do with what personality they have), and the other was a female. I have seen aggression in three of the four we have left.
Nine week old pups are equivalent to a human toddler. They cannot be held accountable. It is probably a case of not knowing their own strength. Perhaps the female was sick or just fragile without showing signs and unable to withstand the rough play. Young pups like this want to play with anything and everything and don't understand that they can harm. They should not be encouraged to play roughly by children because by doing so, they are being taught to be rough. How are you determining aggression? Many people mistake mouthing like all puppies do as aggression but that behavior should not be allowed. If a pup mouths a human, they can gently catch its bottom jaw with the fingers for just a moment. Just long enough for the pup to begin to be uncomfortable. Stop playing immediately and even "talk dog" by whimpering. They will probably be surprised by the reaction and even try to console with kisses. They will soon learn that human parts get stuck if they are held in a dogs mouth. Take them out on leashes with the livestock and if they lunge toward the other animals, scold them in a deep resonating voice for several minutes. A mother dog talks to them in this way to teach her pups. When she is pleased with them, she uses a high pitched happy voice much like we do when we "baby talk" to our young. Starting at 7 weeks, puppies are ready to interact with the outside world and experiment. These have had an unfortunate start. They must be supervised when introduced to the livestock. It can be reversible with training. I understand that it is very difficult to forgive these accidents but remember that these are babies and give them a chance. I don't think you need to inform the new owners just give the rest to city people not farms. Hopefully the new owners will train the first two. Dogs who grow up to kill livestock don't turn on people any more than other dogs. Humans are the dominant species and are instinctually feared until a dog learns not to fear somewhat but stays respectful. Dogs that attack are trained to by a method that involves teasing and reward. Another thought. Has Mom been removed from the pups? Can she be allowed back with them to help with training? Perhaps her shyness keeps her from being a disciplinarian. That just means more work from people to pick up the slack. As far as the breeds in these pups should not be a problem. Mixes are usually well balance psychologically. The border collie does have bred in herding that can be kind of like OCD disorder in humans and Chows can be protective but since the parents are fine, those genes are too diluted to have any effect on the pups. I cant understand why people breed for herding ability (involves chasing and harassing) and then shoots dogs for chasing and harassing. Why do people breed dogs to bring back birds to the owner and the neighbor shoots him for carrying off his chickens? The dogs don't know the difference. I hope this helps because that is my intention.
p.s. I don't think they killed the goat. It would have been treated as a plaything and severely mauled.
How much do these pups weigh? I can't imagine two month old puppies killing a goat. Wait, how old were the puppies when the goat and chickens died? You say they are 9 weeks now and the livestock deaths were "a few weeks" ago? Now I'm even less able to imagine the puppies being responsible.
Although, I'm baffled that puppies of any age could kill a sibling, so this may just be entirely out of my realm of imagination.
I will put in a good word for second chances. My 14 month old puppy killed a chicken at 9 months (after being marvelous for them since two months). In retrospect I blame myself because I was encouraging her to chase and hold them for me when I needed to catch them, from three months on. The death happened when she was unsupervised, and a chicken got loose, and she did as previously directed by me but I wasn't there to stop the predation sequence (which is pretty hard-wired, and super stimulating with chickens, who do all the wrong things when it comes to dogs).
I was really worried about it happening again, and it could happen still, but she seems to have learned to leave them alone.
You're right Julia! I reread the original post. It was "weeks" ago, the pups were no more than 7 weeks, maybe less. It would be impossible for them to kill anything. I have been a professional obedience trainer for 45 years and a pet rescuer for most of my life and have never heard of 9 week old pups killing anything let alone a sibling. This is my area of expertize. Maybe the poor little female pup was injured internally outdoors sometime before the boys tried to play with her. In play, one pup will take on the role of the victim like saying "you're it!" and the boys had no way of understanding that she was really hurt. There is definitely some info missing of which the owner is unaware.
posted 3 years ago
I really want to give them another chance too, and I actually have after each chicken. (Which I know they killed). And even the mom has killed and eaten a chicken and I know that that is normal dog behavior. They were hunting for their food. Especially since they have lab and black and tan in their blood. But hunting and playing are different than what I saw yesterday. There was no remorse from either dog. No wining or nudging for her to get back up to play. They smelled her and walked away. It just didn't seem normal. The mama was the only one who showed signs of grief. As I look back another thing that was odd was their total lack of attention they paid to my foot when I broke up the first fight. They did not attack it and it didn't stop the fighting. I actually had to kick the dogs off of her far enough away for her to get up and run, and when she ran it was with her tail between her legs. The puppies should be socially aware enough by now to know that she was in distress and any 'playing' would have ended. Plus, two on one isn't a fair fight. I really only know what I observed and maybe there is an explanation, I don't know enough about dogs to know, but my gut tells me something is off.
Jay C. White Cloud
posted 3 years ago
Now you have a spectrum of views and recommendations, as well as more things to think about...
All puppies do have a "learning curve," yet it has been my experience with most Canids as well as other herd/pack animals, that the foundation of social behaviors is set down in the neonatal stages of development and genetic propensities can have a very overwhelming influence.
The parents where the "unknown" for me, and now I probably would contribute the aberrant ethology on perhaps the male gene pool as Chow's and Border Collies both have been know for "sport killing." Even with close supervision, these individual animals from this litter may not ever be suited to be around livestock, even with intense behavior modification training. I personally have never known anyone effectively "training out" or "reversing" baseline ethologies, whether working with large predator Felids, Ursids or Canids. It has become a current trend in "extotic pets" and other breeds to romanticize these animals and believing the "baseline behavioral installations," can be removed by training or other means. Such notions, whether with a breed or within individual animals could be looked at as imprudent and potentially taking unnecessary risks of future owners that may be naive. I also, in good faith, would not every pass on any animal, to others without full disclosure of not only parent breed, but also the current litter history. This is considered standard protocol for any breeder of "good standing," of any animal line.
Doges, of course can be trained to be aggressive, and "rough play" when young is a common "gateway" activity for such future "poor behaviors." What you have described could well have been exacerbated by such play, but that is not to suggest that they won't (or didn't) develope this completely on their own. Champion Border Collie breed lines have been known for throwing out "sport killer" animals that will run sheep off cliffs one after another just to watch, or just kill them indiscriminately for sport in a misguided and futile attempt to "herd." These animals are put down immediately and never tolerated as the risk of passing on this "intense trait" to herd/control must be eradicated within the bloodline.
Early "weaning"can have some limited behavior challenges, yet not as presented in these two males. Breed gene profiles are "very much" part of understanding how a particular "cross breed" is going to behave. There are very strong and distinct breed characteristics not only in physical traits, but in baseline ethologies as well, and you are wise for not only asking these questions, but taking note of them as well. "Mixing" (aka hybridizing) an animal can have some very positive outcomes, as I stated before, unfortunately it can also have some extremely unwanted characteristics as well which may only manifest in certain individuals of a litter. For this reason alone, I would recommend only culling the males, and perhaps only after an "observation period" and the less dominant male may well be following the more aggressive litter member.
As for the ability to kill in young animals, I have a long history of many such anecdotes from countless incidents, including one of my own involving a 6-7 week old female Mastiff/Rottweiler cross (she killed a 5 day old doe Nubian goat and goslings), that later broke my heart when I had to put her down for killing a horse and cattle. She was not overly aggressive, and didn't (as many don't) maul, or overly "mouth" the victim animals. This alone is a trait of a "stock killer" as their only drive is to stop the animal from moving and when it does...they lose interest immediately and go on to other "moving targets." I would further note that she was the only one out of a litter of 6 to present with this behavior and the others pup (including both parents) had been excellent animals. My dog too was great in all ways, and never even played rough, but could not stop herself from attacking anything that moved. It was clear this was and further became a "compulsion" that was not going to be modified in any way.
Hope this additional information is of use. Please let us know the outcome and if you have other questions.
Remorse is a human emotion. It is a mistake to expect animals to feel human emotions, they are not human.
I think what you describe is worrisome but not necessarily a death sentence.
Sure, dogs can have mental health issues. Perhaps they have a mental disorder that makes them unsafe. Maybe they don't.
I've broken up a lot of fights. I have a lot of dogs and I expect fights to happen from time to time, and they do. My dogs do not pay attention to any of my body parts when I break fights up. They aren't interested in me. So them ignoring your foot is no biggie to me. Also of no big deal to me is the fact that they would go back after her. I find a separation helps the blood cool enough for them to be ok when I release them back together.
Chows are particularly known for their ability to kill things. I've buried neighbors cats, my birds, wild birds, an antelope once. This doesn't even count the endless number of rabbits we are totally fine with them eating. I expect when you get a fair amount of dogs together, hunting breeds in particular, that things are potentially going to die. Hence the big ass fence we have between the dogs and nature. If nature crosses the fence....sorry nature.
Anyway, I guess I think you should do some reading, take some training courses, figure things out a bit. I'm no dog whisperer. My dogs have very low standards from me so they don't do too terribly much. But I do know my dogs and my dogs behavior. I know what they fight about, how to prevent it and how to handle it when it happens. I also know how to train some behaviors out of them. Food aggression is something you seemed to touch on. That can be handled with training or organization. None of my dogs are fed next to each other. I see no reason to encourage them to become possessive.
Anyway, if you find them homes I think you should certainly let people know what has happened so they can seek the advice of a trainer.
Probably wouldn't hurt to have the mother fixed either. She may not have negative behaviors but that does not mean they aren't there somewhere, in her genes. I know I was surprised to get black shoulder peachicks. I thought my peahen was totally india blue. Somewhere in her lineage, she had a black shoulder relative. Something recessive until she was bred with a black shoulder cock. So you don't know what is there, best not risk it again.
They're your dogs so it's your decision, but, with that decision comes the responsibility of any future actions of those animals. Personally I will not knowingly allow an animal to leave my care with a known or suspected problem. That is the number one reason it's next to impossible to find quality working stock these days.
In Real Life I'm a pro dog trainer with 45 years and over 2500 dogs worth of experience (and 14 generations of my own bloodline to date). I train working retrievers, and I give remedial lessons for pets that have gotten out of hand (usually due to "positive only" methods).
Fact is, nearly all dogs love to fight, but most won't go out of their way to start it (tho any dog will pile on once a fight does start). And even dog-aggressive dogs generally don't show dog-to-dog aggression til about two years old. But there are exceptions -- some puppies show intent-to-kill aggression very early. This is genetic, and really not desirable in dogs not intended to fight. Such dogs will be a problem with other dogs their whole lives, and will even do abnormal behaviors like beating up the opposite sex (which normally never happens).
Such a dog is really only suitable as the ONLY dog in its household, and can never live safely with other dogs. It will kill lower-ranked dogs, and will often not respect a higher-ranked dog either, thus gets itself chewed up as well. (Social rank in dogs is inherited, not made. In a fight, the lower-ranked dog ALWAYS loses.) This will get worse with maturity, not better.
Such dogs are not always human-safe either, especially with inexperienced owners. You're fine unless you go down and scream or there happens to be more than one dog present -- then pack instinct kicks in and the human who goes down and screams is now the target of the instinct to "kill the rabbit". And it's more easily triggered when a dog is already looking for an excuse to jump other dogs.
Many dogs are not social with other dogs no matter what (unless neutered so young that they remain psychologically juveniles, which has other undesirable consequences: aggression can be transformed into fear-biting). This lack of desire to socialize with other dogs is pretty common in working dogs, but most will just ignore other dogs or tell 'em to "stay outta my face". However, some won't tolerate other dogs at all and will treat them as hostile intruders. This isn't truly dog-aggression, but do remember that not every dog wants to be buddies with other dogs; quite the reverse. In fact, the more the dog wants to be YOUR buddy and work for YOU, typically the LESS it wants the company of other dogs. They are often not social with strange humans, either. (A desirable trait; you don't want your working dog to abandon its job to go play with the pack, or hand over your sheep to whoever comes by, do you??)
Chows are typically extremely unsocial and often aggressive with both other dogs and strange humans. Mix that with a border collie's desire to chase whatever moves, and you can have a problem. (The issue of conflicting inherited behaviors is one of the reasons mutts are, generally speaking, 3x more likely to bite: per CDC numbers, "rescue" dogs, which are mostly mutts, are about 18% of the pet population, but commit 50% of the serious bites. Chow crosses are among the most likely to bite.)
ALL predators kill for sport; two or more dogs running loose (and not bred and trained as flock guardians) is a blatant invitation to kill livestock. So no surprise there. Even puppies can take down a larger animal, given the right circumstances, and aggressive dogs generally have a very high pain tolerance and won't be bothered by, say, getting kicked by a goat (if anything it'll egg 'em on).
Keeping the wild animal genes at bay is an ongoing affair that needs attention with every generation; it's not a done deal. Personally, I'd cull a problem animal; I wouldn't keep it in the gene pool nor pawn it off on anyone else.
Dogs act like dogs. If you think of them as children in furry coats... well, you need to reread Lord of the Flies.
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