I've had dogs my entire life, multiple dogs. I've never dealt with the issues I'm currently dealing with.
Our current pet family is:
Yoda- a 13 year old Chihuahua mix I rescued from the side of the road 13 years ago when he was a puppy.
Leia- the runt I've previously posted about that I rescued when she was a tiny 1 pound pup almost 3 years ago.
Dude- my husband's very chill, medium weight (45-50 lb) mutt he adopted from the animal shelter last May, he's roughly a year and a half to 2 years old.
Tina- my oldest childs dog that she got (adopted through the local shelter) in August. Tina is full size but still very puppy like. She's a heeler mix, medium weight (45-50 lb) dog, roughly a year old.
Everything was fine during our meet and greet, Tina was curious about the little yappy animals (Yoda and Leia) but not aggressive.
We brought Tina home and at first, things seemed to be okay. They would occasionally play together but they mostly stayed separate, leaving each other alone.
This was fine as Yoda and Leia are both more suited to/comfortable with being little lap dogs and Tina and Dude were both more active/excitable/playful.
Over our Thanksgiving break, we witnessed Tina go after/attack Leia. Leia wasn't hurt and I initially suspected that Tina was just trying to initiate play a bit too aggressively.
Over the Christmas break however, we started to realize we had a real problem.
Tina attacked, without provocation or warning (snarling, lip curling, growling, etc) first Yoda, then Leia, then Yoda AGAIN; then she got loose in my mom's yard and attacked her Chihuahua mix Ninja. Luckily, we were present and able to intervene immediately in all of these situations and the injuries were superficial.
I called and made an appointment with a dog trainer who specializes in behavior issues.
She is coming on Tuesday morning (January 21) for our first appointment.
We have been keeping the animals completely separate to avoid any further issues until our appointment.
Unfortunately, on Saturday afternoon one of my kids opened the back door and Tina ran out while Yoda and Leia were in the backyard.
She immediately attacked Yoda. We ended up having to rush him to the emergency vet clinic.
My poor little man had a major laceration to the back of his neck which required stitches, a drain tube, and of course sedation for the emergency surgery.
He is not out of the woods yet, he has to see the vet in a few days for drain tube removal, and again in another week to remove the stitches.
I've already got the appointment with the specialist on Tuesday but...I'm at a loss.
I don't know WHY this has happened or what I should do. I've never had this issue integrating a new pet into the fold.
Given that she has attacked and, at least right now seems triggered to attack, smaller animals, she can't really be rehomed.
I don't want to put Tina down, she is a bright, intelligent, kind dog who has NEVER shown any aggression towards people; I just don't know what has happened/why she has become so violent towards small animals.
This can't go on though.
We are already struggling financially right now, the emergency vet visit of 700 dollars has made thing incredibly difficult.
The specialist coming on Tuesday morning is expensive, a dollar a minute!
I just...I don't know what to do. I don't want to be one of those people who just puts an animal down because they are a problem. At the same time, I can't keep risking my other dogs lives and I
certainly CAN'T afford thousands of dollars of specialized training for Tina either.
What am I supposed to do??
Any advice or commiseration is welcome. I'm just feeling so overwhelmed with all of it right now that I keep crying.