Female Berner attacks without warning

Discussion in 'Bernese Mountain Dog Training Forum' started by aweeres, May 29, 2013.

  1. aweeres

    aweeres New Member

    Hi, my 2.5 yr old female (spayed) BMD attacks other dogs unprovoked and without warning. We have had her for a bit over a year now and she had several owners before us. Last week she attacked my then SLEEPING Border Collie mix viciously. My husband pet our male BMD on the back to say good night and our big boy was already asleep and he startled a bit and barked and our female woke up from that, got up and ran towards the SLEEPING Border Collie and attacked her (And I don’t mean nipping). This was a scene from a nightmare coming true. The week before she attacked my senior lab who was then recovering from an earlier surgery (and still from 4 weeks of radiation treatment for his cancer). If you wonder why we don’t separate dogs (we do!) I will get to that. If I sound a little off please accept my apologies as I am very sleep deprived right now and English is not my native language. We think we know now why the female had several owners before us … Last year she needed a home badly and we love the breed and we were not told that she had any issue so we took her in and we have really tried so much with her since… She was afraid of people in the beginning and not really housebroken at 13 months. Xrays showed she has horrible elbow dysplasia. Since she was in heat when she was dropped off we waited till it was safe to have her spayed but by then she was in her next cycle. Unfixed, she would have easily cycled 4 times a year. So after the second heat we basically RAN to the vet (she was safe!) and after the surgery he showed me pictures of the tissue changes and so on… that didn’t look good. You could see how she actually felt much after wards. Her already intense energy level almost doubled up (since I was told NOT to run or really exercise her (elbows) This was going to become a problem. She settled and I would take her places to prevent her from being bored and “grow her mindset” but every time she would get overly excited (certain people coming over) she would try to attack the smaller dog. So we learned… separate the females, do more obedience training and then some more obedience training. It really seemed to work … Also: We would never let the 2 females unsupervised, separate them when gone (they play together so nicely and they go look for each other so they WANT to be together). So when she attacked my male senior Lab the little female dog was not around and when she attacked our little female she was not un-supervised but this was something I never thought could happen. My husband said he HAS HAD it now. Gone are the days of open floor plans … now we have safe zones …. Dogs got out in shifts … always 2 and 2 …. I called the Vice president of our local Berner Club and also the head of the Berner rescue operation. They are so nice and helpful but one told me that a “fast-cycling-bitch” can be VERY moody even long time after spaying and the other one that it could be a hormonal imbalance. But they both kind of don’t think so, tell me to keep them separated, do a hormone check (including thyroid) and find a professional behaviorist and that I then will maybe have to make a very hard decision…. Needless to say I will be at a specialty vet tomorrow at 11. We will hopefully also review her X-rays again. They told me NOBODY in the rescue could take her because of her unprovoked aggression issues (did I mention THAT SHE DOES NOT GIVE A WARNING and she is really fast). For some reason it was pointed out to me by both persons that her not having any dew claws removed plus the ED would point to VERY poor breeding and the only dogs the rescue ever had to put down came from similar backgrounds. We don’t know where she comes from. We barely know the last owner (said they couldn’t keep her because of another baby on the way (REALLY???) and they only had her for a few months. I LOVE our girl! She is such a big snuggler and a joy to train. She has more energy than all 3 others combined. I want to keep her but my husband is right, we cannot keep the dogs separated for ever. And you start asking yourself that if she always goes for the weakest pack member, what happens if she get “into it” and there are only people around? Would she attack a person? I am having nightmares. I started calling “expert” trainers for the last few days. Less than 25% called back. One trainer told me to basically provoke her and “beat the crap out of that dog” “again and again” until “she knows who is boss”. I do not want to comment on that –I have no words for it. I don’t know what I am hoping for tomorrow at the vet. I doubt it is the hormone imbalance. All I know is that we need a solution. I always think that if we could exercise her more (WAY MORE) she would become a calmer happier dog. So I will bring that up tomorrow. We live close to Chicago but I am willing to drive if somebody knows of an experienced trainer who could work with her. I am thankful for any input and still waiting for a bunch of calls (back) from all the training facilities I called but it looks like nobody wants to deal with her. I know I will lose my Lab to cancer (even with the radiation treatment) but we are fighting it and he is back to enjoying life (and food!) for now. Any ideas? I am desperate, she seems like the perfect (and now nicely trained) dog – until she loses it
  2. LittleBo

    LittleBo New Member

  3. BernerRescue

    BernerRescue New Member

    I am sorry for all you are going through as this must be very stressful on everyone.

    I agree that you need a resolution to this asap, as you cant just manage this forever.

    I do know of a couple of berners that have been very aggressive like this....it was genetic in their cases and just bad lines.

    But i also had a golden retriever with a hormone imbalance...it is incredibly common and I am thankful I tested and found it as the poor girl became increasingly grouchy to dogs...albeit never aggressive.

    So testing is worth it and not very expensive. It should go to the Univ. of Tennessee and may help.

    Please do not hire a trainer unless they are educated....and by this I mean that they didn't learn from so and so, but are actually educated in animal science and have a CPDT accreditation.

    Association of Pet Dog Trainers - Dog Training Resources

    You can find a trainer near you on this site and look for a "professional member" with CPDT behind their name. This is the only respected authority licensing dog trainers and you wont find Cesar Milan here.

    In the meantime, you may want to consider getting a soft muzzle for her to help all of your other dogs relax knowing she cant hurt them...

    Pink Lined Fashion Dog Muzzle - DogSupplies.com
  4. Mahallum

    Mahallum New Member

    Positive K9

    There's a place called positive k9 that works with agressive dogs
  5. BernerMax

    BernerMax New Member

    DO you know if she could be placed in a single dog household with no children?
    Out here in the Bay area there is a waiting list for berners (ours came out of a newspaper he has his dewclaws but we love him, he is a great dog and healthy high energy and working out great as a family farm dog)...for both Breeder dogs (our giant schnauzer is from titled parents, has papers etc.. the whole shebang so we have gone down that route as well) and Rescue dogs....

    I know your dog sounds like a handfull but trust me the Bay area has alot of people who are willing to take the time and trouble for a difficult dog and you sound like you have your hands full-- plus -- if you have a dog that has doesnot tolerate other dogs, why make her?
    (we had a DA pitt bull that we placed with our elderly parents and she had a happy life with them in their house and large backyard with no other dogs in her life-- she just didnt want to be around other dogs!)
    I am guessing if you reached out to northern CA berner club rescue they could help place your dog here is the link:


    When you are ready that is... thats my 2 cents....
  6. jacky374

    jacky374 New Member

    Do not hire a trainer unless they are educated and by this I mean that they didn't learn from so and so, but are actually educated in animal science and have a CPDT accreditation.
  7. Frances

    Frances New Member

    Hello BernerMax

    It very difficult to alone at home with such a dog that nobodies know when , how, and where she react. it very dangerous ....
    I think you should need to give training to her so that she behave very well.
  8. BernerMax

    BernerMax New Member

    No one is suggesting handing the dog off to somebody (like putting an ad in Craigslist).

    My suggestion was 1) training and 2) going thru Berner Rescue to get her placed, as there are MANY homes on waiting lists that she could be carefully evaluated for and placed with.

    In my area single dog homes with no children, are the norm.
  9. dogspotindia

    dogspotindia New Member

    Dog Behavioral Training

    In this situation, I think their is need of top class dog behaviorist only that person can understand Wat's wrong with your pet. And he can suggest you to what is necessary to overcome this problem. because it's very serious, and I am sorry for all you are going through.
  10. komalsharma1

    komalsharma1 New Member

    This is a different type problems attack without warning by your pet. I think you should meet a dog expert to know what,s going with your dog.
  11. BernerMax

    BernerMax New Member

    Hey all! Its been awhile wondering how things went for the dog....
    Aweers? Did things work out ?...

    Oh and looking at this now,
    in the attack on the sleeping border collie,
    the bitch wasnt provoked by the border collie, but she was Startled from a sound sleep by the male berner barking,
    and overrreacted...

    Hypervigilance and overcompensating aggression responses to fear stimuli-
    typical of abused/ neglected/ traumatized animals (and people too- just ask all those Vets coming home from tours of duty)....
    Last edited: May 6, 2014

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