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Who really knows about dogs & their behaviour?

(3 Posts)
MaryTheBookeeper Sat 31-Oct-20 19:14:22

I've found some old family letters I'm slowly making my way through. The one I'm currently on was written in 1965. I've never had a dog myself so don't really understand doggy psychology. This family member, lets call him Bill, wrote about his dog Max. From the grainy photos Max looks like he could be an all-black German Shepherd perhaps, or maybe a black mongrel? Perhaps slightly smaller. Bill goes on to write that they've just had to take Max to the RSPCA to be put down because he'd bitten 5 people. (on separate occasions). Torn the new trousers of the neighbour & tore open a young woman's shopping bag in the market totally without provocation. Bill goes on to write that he can't understand it, that Max behaves perfectly ok at home. He goes on to say that it's curious his childhood dog was just the same & that had to be put down too. But auntie so&so had a miniture poodle & that was docile like a teddy bear. After Max was put to sleep, a further 3 people came forward to say they'd also been bitten.

What do you think was happening here? I'm wondering if it was more than a training issue? Was the dog traumatised perhaps? Was there some dynamic with Bill if this isn't the first dog he's had put down? I'm just curious if you have any ideas?...

Daisymae Sat 31-Oct-20 21:08:49

German shepherds are known to guard so possibly the dog was being protective. I think that today there's more awareness of the need for early training.

grandtanteJE65 Tue 03-Nov-20 12:55:58

Your relative may just have been unlucky with his dogs.

Alternately, either the dog was badly trained, or simply not trained.

In the nineteen sixties, it was still fairly common to hear people shouting at dogs or even slapping or booting them.
That kind of treatment will often make a dog aggressive.

Presumably, the dog felt threatened by the people whom he bit, otherwise he wouldn't have bitten them.

With such sparse information, I don't think anyone can tell you exactly what went wrong here.

Dogs are frightened quite often by people who are mentally afflicted, who drink or use drugs. If Bill had any of these problems that might be the answer.

Like humans, a dog can have mental afflictions. A Labrador we had when I was a child, developed a mental condition that made it necessary to have the dog put down.