Mom's dog wasn't trained properly or socialized with other animals. I'm afraid it will bite her. What can we do? - AgingCare.com

Mom's dog wasn't trained properly or socialized with other animals. I'm afraid it will bite her. What can we do?

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Several months ago we moved my MIL into a house we own right next door to us. She has early to mid ahlzheimers and we wanted to be able to be closer and make sure she eats well, takes her meds etc. We have taken over control of her finances because she was being scammed and loaning money to people she shouldn't. She wanted her car, so we brought it to keep her happy, but made sure it will not run. Adjustment was a bit rough, but is much better now. Our next hurdle, is she has a little Yorkie that she loves, but the dog has bitten her a few times. 3 times to the point of drawing blood. I don't think it is safe that she keeps the dog, but when we have brought it up she gets heart broken and always says "it is the 1st time she has bitten me:. I went over this morning and the dog had bitten her finger and drew blood. My mother in law has lost so many things...her home she lived in for years..her ability to drive, her independence, managing her money, that it breaks my heart to take her dog away also. But for her safety I know its what needs done. Keeping the dog at our house is not an option. We have 2 dogs and 3 cats already. Her dog was not trained properly or socialized with other animals. This might be the hardest thing of all because she always talks about what good company the dog is, and she doesn't know what she would do if she doesn't have her. Any ideas how to handle this? When we are there the dog knows it has to abide by the rules and not bite, but we both work so can't be there all the time. It usually happens when my mother in law does something that makes the dog mad, like take something from it, or try to put it outside. The dog definately thinks it is the alpha when it is just them in the house. Today I told her it scares me that the dog might bite her so bad she needs stiches someday. Sorry this is rambling but I am upset!

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There is a lady in my friends building that had a cat. This lady had a stroke years before and didn't have very good control of her right side. Well, that cat got tired of the lady strangling it every time she picked it up. The lady couldn't help it cause she didn't have control of that darn right hand, and would squeeze the life out of that cat. Finally the cat bit her so bad that she got an infection and had to be hospitalized. When she came home she had a bag of antibiotics hanging onto her person, constantly pumping into her system. She finally did get better, but the cat had to go. Not the cats fault, and not the lady's fault. It was a draw.
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Sounds like the dog senses that your MIL is no longer in charge. I'd say let the dog continue to bite her as long as she enjoys it's company. If she does things to irritate the dog, the dog is going to respond. I guess people with Alzheimer's can't learn new behavior.

The only other idea I have is to get another calmer dog and phase out the Yorkie to another home.
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May not be the dog's fault - yorkies are small and it may just be defending itself and an older dog may not be the answer either. As my folks declined, some of their "pet-care" strategies went back to the ones used by a 2 year old. With Mom, we could (in a mild form) demonstrate to her what she did felt like to her dog and she stopped. Dad kept on picking, so the dog just steered clear of him and snapped if he got cornered. When we witnessed what happened - and why - we basically told Dad he got what he deserved. He got mad at us, but he quit harassing the dog.
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You could hire a trainer to come to the home to work with your MIL and the dog. Explain to your MIL that she can keep the dog safely if she'll listen to the trainer and actually follow through. If your MIL can get out, she could take the dog to group training as well. Consistent training can make a huge difference in a short time in the dominance situation you mention.
Or, is there someone who would just be a perfect match for the dog who would LOVE it so much who you could convince your MIL to let take the dog? Then you could work with a shelter or rescue group to find a good fit for a dog to live with your MIL. Maybe an older dog with a good temperament?
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If you are asking about possible solutions to keep the dog: I don't know anything about dogs but is it too late to train the dog and, after training, keep the dog separate from MIL unless they are supervised? (you say it wasn't trained but it seems like it is only reacting to MIL's actions toward it) Is there a dog friendly spare room in her house where the dog can stay during the times no one is there which you can lock so your MIL can't open it? Is there a friend or family member who can adopt the dog and bring it for visits?
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