I got my puppy from a breeder in eastern Montana that was born in June of 2012. I did not make a secret of my physical limitations or the fact I was a cancer patient to the breeder. I am an experienced dog handler. I raised and trained Rottweilers for over 15 years.
The very first night with Misha, she tried to bite me. She was only 11 weeks old.We had stopped on my way home. I woke her up to leave and she jumped up, teeth fully bared, snapping and snarling ferociously. I pulled her leash and grabbed her by the scruff of her neck. I put it down to the stress of traveling across the state in the back of a pickup truck, uncrated and covered with feces and vomit.
I called the breeder several times with my concerns about her behavior. She told me she carried a metal bucket with her to defend herself from her dogs and used it to beat them with it.
She was the most food aggressive animal I had ever seen and we had a pet bobcat when my kids were teenagers that we had to throw the food into the bathtub and shut the door till she was finished eating. I was told that is just how Caucasians act.
When she was a puppy she didn’t do the eyes glazed, staring, feet planted, teeth bared every time she woke up. But by the time she was 6 months old I was a hostage in my own home. She got so bad I had to get a large cage for her to sleep in because if she fell asleep under my desk I wouldn’t be able to move until she woke up. When I moved she would lunge to knock me down and stand over me snarling and snapping her jaws. That was before she started biting.
Over Thanksgiving I couldn’t let her in the house because she was growling at my guests. My son. His Dad. I thought it was my fault because my house went from being quiet to being busy, cleaning birds and running around busy making Thanksgiving dinner.
By Christmas she was biting me. The first bite broke skin on my leg. The then 15 year old dog never wanted anything to do with her. He’d hide or have to fight her off. He had to eat in another room because she word attack if he or I were in the room her bowl was in. The second bite was trying to put her food dish on the floor.
The day after Christmas was the day I knew I had to put her down. One of the cats brought in a dead mouse and left it on the floor. I was drinking my coffee and saw she had something and I bent down to look with the intention of taking it. She got stiff and growled at me. I told her to drop it and she did but was hunched over it. When I picked it up she attacked me. She grabbed my arm and bit me several times up and down my arm before she got a better grip and really tore into my arm shaking her head pulling me around.
I talked to my friend, she lives up the road from me, she is an Airedale breeder. I talked to several other breeders and a couple rescue groups. I didn’t call the breeder because all she told me to do was beat her with a bucket and blamed me for ruining her. And I knew Misha was not fit to be bred and in my opinion if she went back there she would be a puppy machine pumping out puppies so returning her was never an option I’d consider.
I put in the way she acted into Google and an article of Sudden Onset Aggression came up. Rage. It was exactly the way she acted. I did more research and every article described her behavior. Most of the articles said it was a hereditary form of epilepsy. That the symptoms begin at 6 weeks.
The day I put her down I was talking on the phone to a local mobile veterinarian. I accidentally touched the cage and she woke up as she always did raging biting the wire of the cage. The veterinarian refused to come out she was not going to risk her life to put this dog down.She referred me to a ranch vet who has a tranquilizer gun.
He couldn’t come out until that evening but he told me he would be in the town one town over from me and he gave me 5 pills to give her about half an hour before he got over to my town. We had discussed several ways to restrain her and I didn’t want to do any of the ways we talked about because in spite of everything I loved her and I didn’t want her last moments on earth to be held down by two strange men. So we settled on tranquilizing her first.
She was happily drunk when he got here. I was scared but she was friendly to them and he gave her a shot that knocked her out and for the first time I could sit down next to her while she slept. So I stretched out next to her in the snow. He had to give her 5 shots to finish her, the last one directly into her heart.
The one and only time I got to lay down next to my dog was as she died.
He had a lot of patience with me letting me lay there with my dog as her body cooled. Then when I was ready he bagged her body to take to the crematorium.
A dog is not a child. No dogs life is worth a human life. Nobody should be a hostage to their dog. Not all dogs are healthy. Not all puppies can be saved. She was probably the smartest dog I ever had, ironically. She was the master of the long down/stay within 3 months. She quickly learned everything I knew to teach a dog. The worst she got the more I worked her.
I looked up military canine training techniques to teach her. She revolved only 3 times with me guiding her teaching her the hand signal for sweep the perimeter for her to get it. She was exceptionally smart. I worked her and worked her day after day. She worked off voice and hand command. She learned good recall considering the breeder told me she would never be able to master it.
She was the best trained dog I ever had. But her holding me hostage in the house and being attacked if I woke her up or passed her in the hallway overruled her good behavior. I did everything I could do to run her until she was exhausted trying to keep her exercised to try to curb the aggressive behavior.
Nothing worked. She was a very large very muscular dog. She was an athlete. But that just made her even more dangerous. When she was there was all there but when her eyes blanked out she was gone. She wanted to hurt me when her eyes went blank.And she did. I put her down for my own safety and the safety of everyone else.
She did have typical puppy behavior but in my extensive experience handling dogs I have never seen this kind of aggression. She was an exceptional dog and I loved her. But she was not healthy.
I am a strong minded person. I drove myself to and from every chemo treatment. Even the day I had an allergic reaction that I had to be revived from. I did the best I could for her and for me.