View Full Version : Need your option

01-18-2010, 11:12 AM
You all know topper has a aggression problem. Well this sunday it hit the top.
We had feed the dogs. Topper got his treats and I was doing things around the house. My husband was in the kitchen he went to pick up topper bowl. Topper growled and bit him in the face. Not real bad but bad enough. Then later in the evening I was sit there on the floor petting topper. About 5 minute later has was growling at me. We took him to the doctor. The doctor he says he is at the point of no return. Topper is already on prozac he up that to 80mg twice a day and then started him on Diethytibestrol 3mg. I know in the long run I am going to have to send topper to heaven. Does anybody heard of other pyrenees doing this. Or I am wrong about heaven. My thought is on that I would hate topper to hurt a child or me/husband/teddy. :(

01-18-2010, 12:17 PM
I am so sorry to hear about this. I know you are in a really tough situation and may face a very difficult decision. Let's run through a few things that came to my mind. First, I assume that the vet has run a thryoid panel and ruled out thyroid issues?

What was his attitude after he bit your husband? Did he slink away, or did he continue to growl or exhibit other forms of aggressive behavior? What was his body language when you went to pet him later? Did he change his attitude to aggression while you were petting him?

Did he do anything over the weekend that he could have hurt himself? If he's in pain, it would explain the anti-social behavior when humans are too close to him.

I know you've talked about his aggression, but does he regularly show aggressive behavior which you have been able to manage / correct or has he not had aggression issues, be it toward human or dog, in some time? If yesterday's aggression came out of nowhere after a period of no aggression, then I might lean toward medical causes.

Why is he taking Diethytibestrol? I did a quick look on that it is usually used for, and it's apparently commonly used for incontinence. Did he just start taking this drug? Could it possibly be linked to the aggression??

Unfortunately I have heard of one pyr having been put down for aggression. The last straw was when it attacked one of its owners. The owners are experienced dog people. I know the stress of owning an aggressive large dog. The akita I got as my 16th birthday present was known as "killer" in our neighborhood, and I am not proud to say that. He bit several members of our family and was aggressive to people and dogs.

I know that you've put a lot of efforts in to help Topper. Sometimes though, they can't be fixed. But only you will know whether that's the reality. We are all happy to be your sounding board to see whether there is anything that you may have missed that could help him. But I will respect whatever decision you eventually make.

01-18-2010, 01:18 PM
We get topper blood tested quite often just to watch things. As far as that goes he is in great health.
After he bit my husband he was still growling. At that point my husband hit him in the nose and topper backed off and sat down.
This weekend was great we all had a great weekend no aggression. It was nice both day so were able to go in and out as they pleased.
Topper has only showed aggression toward other dogs until yestersday. He takes the prozac for this. It helps but not to the point were you can leave him with another dog by himself. The vet gave us the Diethytibestrol just today. It is to help with him male hormoes. The vet said it probally will not help but he knows we never give up on our dog until there is none.
We took topper into the vet today to see if there was maybe a medical cause.
At least for a while no grand kids will be at our house.

01-18-2010, 02:56 PM
I am so sad to hear this about Topper. I think that if this were a medical issue, it would have come to light by now. I'm not sure how Topper came into your lives, whether as a rescue or a puppy but it does sound to me that he has developed an aversion to people and other dogs....that somewhere along the way he has gotten his signals crossed. I also get the feeling that because he has "turned" on both you and your husband, there might be a hint of distrust both of you feel towards him which I am sure Topper can sense as well. This might make him more unstable and test you more. A very difficult decision for you.....I agree with Jewel....only you will know what the right decision is. Good luck with this. :(

01-18-2010, 03:26 PM
We have had topper since he was 9 week old. The vet says it is probally bad breeding.
My husband show the most distrust. I am not afraid not yet. I am for my other dog for he would just let topper do it. Topper stay the closest to me. I didn't think to much about him bitting my husband until he showed the aggression to me.

01-18-2010, 04:41 PM
Man that sucks. I don't think it is a medical condition to be honest with you. Hell I don't even know how to fix the issues my Shar-Pei has with anxiety yet. Though him and I are going to be going through more training to see if that will help but I don't know if you can train the problems with Topper away. Though it would be nice if you could. In the end it is all up to you.

nick's spirit
01-18-2010, 05:13 PM
80 mg twice a day of Prozac is quite a bit. That should make him fairly mellow I would think, Holly is on 10mg twice a day, but that is for anxiety, not agression. As Jewel said a good thyroid work up might be a source for an answer. There is a good test by Jean Dodds, she has been working on Thyroid and agression issues specifically. Also there is a test called "the Michigan State" thyroid test that goes a bit further than most...sounds like you have a good vet, might want to check with him on these...or discuss if it is worth it. Our friends had the Polish version of a Pyr, an Owczewark Podhalanski, by the time their male was 2 years old, it could no longer be controled. A very dominant, agressive dog. It ended up pinning their 8 year old daughter to the floor, face down, growling over her. Luckily the breeder took him back. Please keep us informed, my thoughts and heart are with you and Topper
Nancy & Holly

01-18-2010, 05:32 PM
I am so sorry to hear about this. I have to say that you and your husband are very tolerant...I'm not sure if that played into anything with his behavhior or with this particular show of aggression. I can tell you that if any of my dogs exhibited that type of aggression toward me and actually bit or tried to bite me in the face or stomach region (very specific targets), I would've ended my dog right then and there - I would have to have the dog euthanized. I have zero tolerance for that type of behavior under any circumstance from my canine companions. Our dogs are too big and strong NOT to know and understand that that behavior is unacceptable, or their place in our pack. That is a liability with which I am not willing to accept.

pyr haven
01-18-2010, 05:53 PM
dear topper, i am so very sorry to hear. i know tat welfare of humans must always be the priority oevr the dog's. here, like my vet is buddhist, putting down is always the recourse tat is avoided, cos they believe in karma etc. Mind u there are plenty of bad breeding here, but responsible ones do keep thier dogs away from causing any harm, which of course begs the ques then how is the quality of the dog's life compromised? I have been told to put down my 2 previous dogs due to ill health/old age, but i know the will to live was still strong, so i basically wait for my dogs to tell me, i based my decision and timing to euthannise on tat. U will know the right decision and whatever decision u make, I am sure it'll be the right one.

01-18-2010, 08:08 PM
Like the other posters, I want to extend my support to you. I can't imagine how difficult it must be for you- but I do think that you will make the best decision for you and your family. I am truly very very sorry to hear about this.

01-18-2010, 08:19 PM
This is an unfortunate situation. IMHO, medicating dogs with mood altering drugs should always be an absolute last resort. Many Pyrs have aggression issues with other dogs, but this should not be treated with medication, rather handling, socialization and patience will usually resolve this.

Such meds can and usually do have side effects, and this can often cause unpredictability. You may remember that story a while back where that chimp viciously attacked a woman, the chimp was also being fed mood altering drugs
Sometimes these side effects can create bigger problems than they solve

My suggestion might be to take your dog off meds and then have a professional such as an officer from the local shelter or a canine behavior professional to do an aggression assessment.

01-18-2010, 09:55 PM
i can't seem to find the post that explains what happened with your topper, but my heart really goes out to you. you obviously love him very much,and are well aware of his agression issue. i have very little experience with the pyrs,compared with other folks on our forum, but lots of life experience and love my joy and this breed. forgive me if i'm being redundant, but have you talked with a pro that has experience with agressive dogs? do you have alot of nervous energy in your home? because i've noted that great pyrenees are very sensitive to their environment. you don't live near me, but the trainer that came to my home a couple of months ago was particularly good with agressive dogs, and helped ME to help my joy. maybe this doesn't apply to your dog and your family, but if i can help in any way i will. we all know how much you love your topper,truly. peace to you.

01-19-2010, 05:58 AM
Unfortunately, an aggressive bite to the face/throat or stomach area is not a warning- or fearful-type of bite. The bite that Topper described appears to be part of established aggressive behavior that now has little or no regard for the humans in the home, and indicates to me that the dog feels that he is the leader in this household. It sounds like the dog has been raised since a puppy by the same family, which means that it will be very difficult to adjust the pack order and change the dog's behavior. His aggression was probably a concerning situation before, but is a very dangerous situation now that he's bitten his owner in the face. Please be safe and I wish your family the best. Good luck.

01-19-2010, 09:25 AM
An awful situation. I feel for you but will offer my honest opinion. If Topper has a history of aggressive behavior and it has now escalated to a bite to the face of an owner I'd put the dog down. I'd shed tears but I would not tolerate that type of behavior. Very dangerous.
I don't know how big Topper is but Great Pyrennes were bred to protect livestock from bears and wolves. They have the capability do do a lot of damage to soft tissue in a very short period of time.
I could never again fully trust a dog that bit me or my wife in the face. I think you'd be taking a big chance letting Topper near any children. Ever.
If putting him down is not an option I'd follow risestar's advice and get him off the meds and keep a close eye on him.
Personally I don't think I could go through the rest of my dogs life worrying he may seriously hurt someone.
I'm sorry anyone has to face the questions you're facing. Good luck.

01-19-2010, 09:41 AM
Thanks to you all. Topper has had his aggression problem since he was 8 months old.
We went to our vet and he said we needed a behavior professional. We have none in WY so we went to Fort Collin, CO for there is a great vet hospital there. We had taken two of our past dog there for cancer. The doctor down there did blood test for everything in the sky. She had us bring all our dog down there. She seen want was going on. She is the one that put him on Prozac. I didn't want to do it. But she said with all the training we do and going to do with topper she is hoping that he is a audlt could off of it.
We work with topper every night.
Topper is now on 160 MG of prozac.
I so do love this guy. (Tear are coming down my face as I type.)
Poor little teddy is even afraid of him
The odd thing tho is in the morning time he is the greatest even teddy play with topper. But night time come watch out.
Well maybe we are good leaders for Malamute but not strong enough for the pyrenees.
Well we tried.

Thank again.
I will let you know.

01-19-2010, 10:18 AM
I definitely feel for you, but I believe you have a grandchild(ren) - their well being and safety would be my primary concern. I don't think the issue is so much the breed. It could be a myriad of things either in physiologic or emotional development to the household dynamics. I adopted a 2 year old Aussie/Samoyed mix male that spent his first two years of life on the streets of East San Jose and was quite aggressive. He required a lot of behavioral vigilance and consistency on my part, particularly the first couple of weeks. Once he understood who was the pack leader, he was the most loyal companion and went on to be my most active therapy dog, specializing in cases of children of domestic violence. I feel it is important that the humans fully establish themselves as the pack leaders with any dog, regardless of breed. Some of the most viscious dogs I've encountered were cottled Dachshunds and Chihuahuas that probably never received a correction in their lives, while having their anti-social behavior reinforced by their owners. My very best wishes to you and your family.

01-19-2010, 10:26 AM
I agree with everyone else that keeping an aggressive large dog is a dangerous affair, but that is ultimately a decision that only you can make. Should you choose to keep Topper, it is of utmost importance that you figure out as many trigger points for his aggression as possible. You mentioned evenings being the time for his aggression. Would you say then that the day turning to dark is a trigger? Something just came to mind as I type this. If his aggression shows after dark, could it be that he has vision problems? It is not unusual for a vision impaired dog to be aggressive, even to its owner. I know this is grasping at straws, but if you do keep him, you need to explore every avenue.

What about his body language? Do you detect any warning signs before he starts growling? Did you notice any warning signs before he launched at your husband? In most cases dogs give warning signs before they snap.

What about the other dogs, have you noticed any change in their reaction to Topper depending on the time of day? Or are they afraid of Topper all the time?

01-19-2010, 10:45 AM
Also, did you get him from a breeder? I would definitely let the breeder know about the situation. Even if they are not able to help with the circumstances (I forgot who it was who said a friend of theirs had to return theirs), they should be aware of the temperament of every dog they sell and what happens to each of them.

01-19-2010, 12:23 PM
We have had topper since he was 10 weeks old. I have gotten a hold of the breeder and told her want was going on with topper. All she would say is that they have a job to do so you must keep them busy. Most the time there is no warning. He does a growl and then he is there. The husband was just bending over to get topper food bowl and topper did one growl and that was it. Me and my husband have been doing a great deal of talking. We are going to give topper one week to see if the add medicine does anything. Or sooner if we need to.
Teddy will show he is a afraid. But teddy love his brother. Watch out for topper but keep his distance. Like last night we let him out with topper. Teddy wanted back in a couple of seconds. Now this morning they had a play time for about 45 minutes. Will see tonight.

Well thanks everybody
I will let you all know.

01-19-2010, 02:02 PM
hey--just another thought. i found the dog trainer that came to my home through our s.p.c.a. maybe they can be a resource for you. also the internet might help to look for one in your area.

01-19-2010, 02:22 PM
Topper has been seeing a behaviorist since July 09.
Is a trainer the same

nick's spirit
01-19-2010, 04:09 PM
I once had to find a new home for one of my dogs, it was an Aussie, she had almost killed our other Aussie...I know a bit of what you are going through. The only answer is the one you & your husband decide on, you know your situation and your dog the best, no one can tell you what the best decision is. It sounds like the breeder does not want to take any responsibility, so that's fine. You are not a bad owner, you have done everything you know how to make Topper the best dog that he can be. And are still doing it. May you follow your instinct and may it lead you to the best decision for all
Nancy & Holly

01-19-2010, 05:00 PM
i think a behaviorist is the same as a trainer. the fellow that came to our house 'specialized' in agression. what does your behaviorist say? have they been to your house?

01-19-2010, 09:59 PM
You mentioned an increase in aggression in the evening. What is the normal evening routine, is he about the house as normal, inside or outside or is he kenneled? Remember that by nature, Great Pyrenees are nocturnal and its very likely that he feels the need to "do his job" during this time, however if that need is interrupted the dog can become frustrated or neurotic.

If you live in an area where you can have him outside, I might recommend putting him out during the night to see if this alters his mood

01-20-2010, 08:12 AM
Our behaviorist live 250 miles away from us. I have to go to colorado for stuff like this.
The outdoor thing. I have been doing that but topper hates the wind. The wind blows hard here good day here is between 30-60 miles a hour. I was thinking last night is build him a big nice dog house and but him in the backyard all the time. For we have them kenneled all day that might be a problem. I never wanted my dog to live outside but this might be want topper want or need. It is worth a try.

01-20-2010, 06:36 PM
hey, pyr friends--just wanted you to know that myself and others are thinking of you, hoping for the best for you. nobody knows your topper like you do; sending thoughts and prayers your way. peace.

01-21-2010, 07:38 AM
Well here was a surprise for me yesterday! This just goes to show you how unpredictable these Pyrs can be sometimes. You may remember my mentioning the issues I've had getting Queenie to get in/out of the car by herself (without having to lift that furry white butt!) I don't think I mentioned that I sold that small SUV about 2 months ago and took over my husbands full size Ford Supercrew truck. Well, yesterday I decided the Queen was going to take a walk down by the shore, so I went to put that $100 ramp (she won't use) on the running board to see if she would walk up into the back seat area of the truck....(first time ever she has ridden in the truck, too!) The ramp was way in the back of the bed out of reach so I said the heck with it and led her up to the passenger door. Lo and behold she jumped right into the back seat area! I almost fell over from surprise. I praised her too profusely, I'm sure. So off we go down to the river (which is actually the Intercoastal Waterway) and we have a nice leisurely walk around the entire area for about an hour. She just loves all the attention she draws. I get back to the truck and open the passenger rear door thinking now she was going to give me a hard time getting in and guess what?? Yep, into the back she jumps again! I am floored! She seems to have this attitude now like "I'm tired of you leaving me behind so I'm going with you from now on!" I'm guessing she could do this all along but chose not to up until now. Okay by me, cupcake! Whatever the reason, I am a very happy Pyr owner right now. Today I am taking her to a local wildlife preserve that allows dogs on leashes. Let's see how she does this time! It feels great to finally get out to different walking places now! I hope she enjoys this enough to keep getting into the vehicle by herself.

NH Romie
01-21-2010, 12:15 PM

You should definately try keeping topper outside. These dogs are outdoor dogs. Some have never even seen the inside of a house. It's not cruel, they love the outdoors. I live in the city and Romie is only 3 months right now so she is in her kennel during the day and for bed time, but as soon as we are home she is outside for the most part of the late afternoon and night. We are in the process of fencing off an area for her that will also have access to our barn, yes we live in the city but have the only barn in town, and its a big 2 story one, so when she is older she will be able to maybe spend her days outside also, depending on the barking. She hasn't started that yet.

01-21-2010, 01:25 PM
Yep this weekend we are going to put a dog house in the backyard and do some stuff so he feel it is his home. He is not going to like the backyard you can see things but not as good as the front. But the front is only a 4 foot fence and the back is a 6 foot and is already fix up so he will not be able to dig out. My husband had a malamute that would dig or would lift the gate and get out. Been making him stay out side more the last couple of day. If I didn't think
it was going to snow this afternoon I would have left him out because he want to. But I have no where for him to get out of the weather if he needs to. :)
Poor little teddy his brother the Malamute doesn't understand what is going on.
I have been trying to let teddy and topper be to geather for a while but teddy loves his brother and want to know he is but is afraid of him. And when topper no this that is big trouble.

pyr haven
01-21-2010, 09:56 PM
topper my heart goes to u. on the fencing part, i add some brick/cement about 1-2feet into the ground to prevent digging, and so far it's been good wit my pups (actually now i just realised except for our beach gate) but they have always respected their "borders" incl baby gates in the hse (which i know they can jump oevr in a blink)

sorry another quick fix is sinking in many steel bars (they are about 3feet and slim rods) and mesh fencing, but it's not cheap but done properly very secure.

01-22-2010, 03:49 AM
good morning--i'm sure i mentioned before that my joy came from a farm in virginia. some of the pyrs there never went in the house. either lived in the barn, or on the property. her dad is 180 pounds; never went in the house, had a bed on the big front porch, even when it snowed. best wishes on your new outside venture; topper is a lucky guy that you all are so attentive.

01-22-2010, 06:02 AM
We had this problem with our aussie, and was never able to control her with meds or training. She had thyroid problems, and turned out to be diabetic-which was some of the cause of her problems behaviors. She protected us though, but others....yikes!!! City made us keep her in a kennel during times we were away; she had to have a muzzle on when walked. As she aged, she did settle down some, but was still aggressive.

01-22-2010, 06:06 PM
Has your behaviorist told you to completely ignore your dog for two weeks? I a mean no talking, petty, walks food and water, and that's it? That is where everything should start, it's called passive dominance and works like a charm to gain your dog's respect and trust. Amazing start. Just curious. I know lots of 'trainers' I would not send any dog too. Just curious.
You don't mess with agro pyrs, that's for sure.

01-22-2010, 06:33 PM
The outdoor idea is a very good start, some GP's just don't do well as indoor dogs, especially ones that are dominant in their personality

01-22-2010, 08:06 PM
when my joy had an obnoxious adolescent-behavior issue, ignoring her for a few days did indeed help, also, please let me add that i have found a food that works for her, with her allergies to wheat and beef--nature's balance limited ingredient, lamb and rice formula. i am not thrilled with the lamb choice,actually feel guilty about it. she rarely itches now and is calm and
herself again. next thing is canine good citizenship certification, and maybe therapy dog, which she kind of already is. thanks for reading, and peace to you.

lovely mornings
02-04-2010, 09:54 AM

Behaviour such as this is known in dalmation circles due to deafness and poor sight.

The dogs become jumpy and fearful because they can not hear well or because they are losing their sight. They see quick movements as an impending threat.