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What's been going on with Cusco.... (long story)

heeler's rock!
March 18th, 2005, 02:09 PM
Well, as many of you know, I posted a while ago telling you all how bad Cusco (my in-law's malamute) had been doing behaviour wise. After that, my sis-in-law saved the day! She decided to take full responsibility of him, regardless of her full school schedule (she's in nursing) and started working with our friend who is an unbelieveable trainer and has known Cusco for years.

Things seemed to be going well. He was doing good in class, on his walks, and everything seemed to be getting on track. Until last Saturday. Every week, the guy training Cusco takes all his clients on big huge dog walks and Cusco had been going on these without incident. He was playing nice with the other dogs, and usually he can be quite agressive but it looked as though he was learning.

Last week, he snapped. He took hold of our trainer's dog whom he had been feuding with for quite some time. Our trainer's dog is always the Alpha male wherever he goes, and Cusco doesn't like that. So, last week, Cusco grabbed him as he was walking by just around his spine, and attempted to pick him up and shake him. Our trainer's dog is a big border collie, weighing about 60-70 or so pounds, but against Cusco, a whopping 120 pounds, he didn't stand a chance. Cusco would not let go, even though the border was screaming out in pain. Most dogs will let go if they are just disciplining, but Cusco was trying to kill him. It took our trainer and another big guy there to pry Cusco's jaws off of him. We know that if no one was there, Cusco wouldn't have stopped until he killed him as he was showing no relent. Every time the border screamed, Cusco bit harder and shook faster.

Luckily, the border collie is fine with minimal scratches from his canines, and Cusco didn't break the skin so no vet visit was required. Our trainer is also not mad about what happened, and is glad that everything turned out okay, but is concerned about this behaviour. So now Cusco's opitions are limited. 1) Try and find Cusco a new home up north with an owner who doesn't live around people with other dogs. (Not likely) 2) Muzzle him for the rest of his life and continue training with or without medication. 3) Euthanasia.
This has been the hardest decision my sis-in-law has had to make, but she has reluctantly decided to euthanise him. Aftre much research, we found out that he has started a new phase of agression that could lead to people. He is now in prey agression mode, and it is irreversible. Medication is expensive and lifelong, and may not work properly.

I thank you all for your help, and I wish the outcome could have been different. For everyone's safety, Cusco must be put down as his agression just keeps getting worse. We also think that because Cusco has so many unknown triggers for his agression, that it could possibly be partly neurological aswell.

Any malamute owners on this board, please be diligent in training them. Cusco was the boss for too long, and now the damage will last a lifetime. As cute as they are, they grow to be very large and unmanageable. He's pulled my sis-in-law 20 feet before, on her butt trying to get to something. Please be sure to properly discipline and love your mal, so you don't end up like this.

March 19th, 2005, 08:33 AM
I'm so sorry to hear about this. I'm also glad you posted it. It may help others who are in a similar situation, possibly puppy owners who can turn things around early enough to avoid such a situation.
I also think the best decision has been made. It's always hard....please tell your sis-in-law to not feel too guilty. She tried and did her best by the dog. She gave him more opportunity then many, many other owners (family members of owners) would have given him. She's an angel :angel:

March 19th, 2005, 09:09 AM
I also feel you made the only humane decision possible. We were in a similar situation for 5 years, despite our best efforts. In the end we made the decision to have our dog put to sleep, before it was made for us. At least she never knew what happened - had we given her to a shelter or found another home for her, there is no doubt she would have continued with her behavour - and it was always totally unexpected. She would most likely have been tossed into the street. We could not live with that - she had been a rescue to begin with - and was not going to end her life that way. Best thing you can do is weigh your options and make the hard decision of controlling your dog's future. I know it is very hard though.

heeler's rock!
March 19th, 2005, 10:07 AM
Thank you both for your replies and your empathy. We are still struggling with telling my brother-in-law as he has convinced himself that they're keeping Cusco and just muzzling him all the time. That's going to be difficult, but we'll pull through. Cusco could have been such an amazing dog, but unfortunately, too many mistakes were made. They thought they had done their research on the breed, but I guess not. I know I may sound harsh towards people thinking of getting this breed, but knowing what I know now, I would feel immensely guilty if I played dumb. I'll post more on what's going on after we come to some decisions. Thanks again for your support...... :o :grouphug:

March 19th, 2005, 10:43 AM
So sorry to hear about this turn of events. Our thoughts and prayers are with you as you struggle with what you have to do.

March 19th, 2005, 12:14 PM
I'm sorry this happened. If it reminds people that dogs can be very dangerous if left untrained, and prevents this from happening with one other person, his death wasn't for nothing.