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Re-homing a dog? UPDATE: She found a new home!

post #1 of 43
Thread Starter 

Two months ago our home was burglarized.  I had been looking into getting a dog for about a year.  After the burglary, that cinched it for me.  We went to the shelter and adopted a three year old lab/border collie.  Very sweet dog and seemed good with kids.

 

However, she is growling at my toddler if she goes near her bed or tries to put her arms around her.  I have three kids, ages 6, 3, and 2.  I have to keep the dog separated from the kids when I can't watch everyone.  And the dog isn't happy being out in the yard.  She wants attention and wants to play.  We play with her as often as we can and she gets daily walks.  But I'm afraid I made a mistake in adopting too quickly.

 

How do you feel about re-homing?  I posted on craigslist looking for a good home for her.  I was told I was irresponsible and should be horse-whipped, that I have profoundly let my dog down, and that I shouldn't have any more children until I can grow up.  I'm so surprised at the hateful responses. 

 

I would really appreciate some responses.  But please say them kindly.  I have already been "horse-whipped on craigslist.

post #2 of 43

Find a trainer. This shouldn't be a hard thing to fix, really. The dog is growling to warn the toddler, not biting or acting aggressively. That's a plus. The dog needs to understand that the toddler is above her in the pack order, and it's pretty normal for dogs to not immediately understand this because toddlers are, well, little wobbly creatures with high-pitched voices. That's a pretty easy thing to teach a smart dog...

 

IMO one of the first things a dog needs to learn is "go lie down", which means to go to wherever his bed or crate is, and stay out of the way. On the other hand, that really should be the dog's safe spot, and it's important to try to teach your kids to leave the dog alone there, and to not hug the dog. But stuff happens...  and you can train the dog to come to you when she's feeling harassed rather than growl (and you should then give the dog a treat and keep her safe from the kids). You can start training her this way - have someone (an adult, to start with) pull her tail or something, and then immediately call her over to you (maybe 3 feet away) and give her a treat. Do it again and again, so that she makes the association - if someone messes with me, I need to go get a treat from mom. Keep treats with you, too, especially in the beginning.

 

You can also do things that reinforce your kids' dominance over the dog. Have them feed her, for example - maybe start with the older kids and work down. Make sure she always does something before getting her food - sit, shake, whatever. I would involve them in training as much as you can, just so the dog learns to see them as dominant and sources of rewards.

 

Really, though, a professional would be a good idea, a dog trainer or behavioralist who can work on this with you.

post #3 of 43

Take the dog back to the shelter if its not working out.  And report the agression problems. TIs a dog, not a person. And no you are not a bad person for doing it. You tried.  But you have your hands full right now.

post #4 of 43

Honestly, this is more of a child problem.  The kids really shouldnt be putting their arms around the dog (most dogs do not like this) and they most definitely should have their own areas that the kids know to totally leave alone.

 

What training have you done with the dog?

 

I do feel rehoming on CL is irresponsible.  You do not have the resources to properly screen homes. Also, I do feel it is your repsonsibility to do everything possible to fix the situation.  If absolutely not a fit, you should either return to the shelter you got them from (as that is usually in the contract) or work with a reputable rescue to help you find a new home.  

post #5 of 43
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by greenmagick View Post

Honestly, this is more of a child problem.  The kids really shouldnt be putting their arms around the dog (most dogs do not like this) and they most definitely should have their own areas that the kids know to totally leave alone.

 

What training have you done with the dog?

 

I do feel rehoming on CL is irresponsible.  You do not have the resources to properly screen homes. Also, I do feel it is your repsonsibility to do everything possible to fix the situation.  If absolutely not a fit, you should either return to the shelter you got them from (as that is usually in the contract) or work with a reputable rescue to help you find a new home.  



I am a first time dog owner, so not real confident on the training aspect.  We have let her know that she needs to be on her bed when in the house and she does pretty well with this.  We have also made it very clear to the kids that they are to stay off and away from her bed, her food and not to give her "hugs".  However, my two year old is two years old, and I cannot watch her every minute. 

 

Maybe I don't understand the purpose of craigslist.  I thought it was a legitimate place to try to find a home for a pet.  I've talked with several possible new families.  A few have decided she didn't fit their lifestyle.  A couple didn't show up to meet her.  And one I decided I wasn't happy with how he was planning to treat her.  So you're right, I am not able to properly screen homes.  But I am trying to take responsibility to try and find her a loving home that fits her needs.  The shelter I got her from does not require returning her, as they already are overrun with animals.  However, I am in touch with a local humane society who may be willing to help us find her a home.

post #6 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by greenmagick View Post

Honestly, this is more of a child problem.  The kids really shouldnt be putting their arms around the dog (most dogs do not like this) and they most definitely should have their own areas that the kids know to totally leave alone.

 

What training have you done with the dog?

 

I do feel rehoming on CL is irresponsible.  You do not have the resources to properly screen homes. Also, I do feel it is your repsonsibility to do everything possible to fix the situation.  If absolutely not a fit, you should either return to the shelter you got them from (as that is usually in the contract) or work with a reputable rescue to help you find a new home.  

nod.gif  Almost no dogs like this.  The kids need to learn this.  And I agree with everything else.
 

post #7 of 43

Oh, I dont expect you yourself to be able to fix it...but a professional trainer or behaviorist should be able to teach you how.  

 

Any dog needs training...and needs to start from day one.  

 

post #8 of 43

Not sure what you mean by the dog needs to be on her bed while in the house. All the time? That seems kind of tough to me, to enforce, and hard on the dog, too.

 

We got a rescue dog last year, and he has/had issues that have required work. One of them is that he nipped at one of my sons friends (long story). As it turns out, I put the dog in a situation that made him nervous and he acted out. It freaked me out! I know how you're feeling, but I wasn't ready to give up on my dog. We got a trainer, took obedience courses, I read a lot... it wasn't a deal breaker. He is a good dog that needs support and love to bring out all his potential.

 

Today the same boy came over, and he wanted to see the dog. Our dog is now behind a gate when friends come over, but we told the boy how to behave (look away, don't touch him, don't talk to him) and my dog calmly licked his hand. Progress :)

 

Don't know about re-homing, but if you choose to work on it, you might feel a huge reward in the long run.

 

Good luck!

post #9 of 43

IMO a dog who shows any kind of aggression towards a kiddo/person is not welcome in my home. I would feel not a shred of guilt at returning him to the shelter and letting them know he was growling at my children.  Kids over pets. Every single time.

post #10 of 43
Thread Starter 

She is only in the house in the evening right after the kids go to bed.  When they get up, she goes outside.  When they are outside, she is in the yard behind the gate.  My six year old will play with her, but I don't let my 2 and 3 year old play with her unless I'm right there with them .

 

I appreciate the encouragement to get her training and obedience lessons.  I know that's what I need to learn how to care for her.  And that was our intention.  Now I realize I don't have what it takes right now.  We are helping our oldest who is recovering from autism and then chasing around two little ones.  I understand people feel you shouldn't adopt a dog unless you're 100% certain it's going to work out forever, that it's a lifetime commitment.  I don't know how you can possibly know how it's going to work out until you try it.  There are so many variables: breed, temperament, kids' temperment, your own energy levels, etc.  Isn't there a place for trying it out with the best of intentions and then finding out it's beyond your limitations?

 

I know I'm rambling.  I just feel a lot of responsibility in having made this decision, and some guilt for not feeling I have what it takes to work it out.

 

post #11 of 43
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by CrunchyClark View Post

IMO a dog who shows any kind of aggression towards a kiddo/person is not welcome in my home. I would feel not a shred of guilt at returning him to the shelter and letting them know he was growling at my children.  Kids over pets. Every single time.



Thank you for this...

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by Rani View Post

Take the dog back to the shelter if its not working out.  And report the agression problems. TIs a dog, not a person. And no you are not a bad person for doing it. You tried.  But you have your hands full right now.



And this...

post #12 of 43

Dogs are pack animals and need companionship. Both labs and border collies were breed to human oriented and work in close partnership with their human. Having  dog like that outside without much human interaction makes them anxtious and unhappy. 

Were you planning to have an outside dog from the start or she has to be out because you don't trust her? If you find your dog to be unsafe around your children and put her out into the yard for most part of the day, it would be better for her if you rehome her ASAP to the family who can keep her in the house.

You made a mistake by getting the dog without learning more about her personality and needs first and only responsible options left to you right now is to hire a trainer and work on her issues or rehome her to the family without young children.

post #13 of 43
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lexapurple View Post

Dogs are pack animals and need companionship. Both labs and border collies were breed to human oriented and work in close partnership with their human. Having  dog like that outside without much human interaction makes them anxtious and unhappy. 

Were you planning to have an outside dog from the start or she has to be out because you don't trust her? If you find your dog to be unsafe around your children and put her out into the yard for most part of the day, it would be better for her if you rehome her ASAP to the family who can keep her in the house.

You made a mistake by getting the dog without learning more about her personality and needs first and only responsible options left to you right now is to hire a trainer and work on her issues or rehome her to the family without young children.



I wholeheartedly agree with everything you said.

post #14 of 43

Border collies are one of the most demanding dogs out there in terms of needing mental and physical stimulation. They are definitely not a dog that will ever be happy being separated from their pack and treated like a guard dog, alone in a suburban yard. They need lots of attention, exercise (as in running miles every day), and games and activities. They are crazy smart, like one of the smartest breeds in the world. I would rehome this dog unless you can commit time and attention to meeting the needs of this type of dog.

post #15 of 43

In defense of the dog... she's not being aggressive. She's giving a clear warning because she feels threatened, in situations when it's completely appropriate for her to feel threatened. She isn't being aggressive, she's being defensive. She hasn't been socialized or trained properly and she's doing the best she can in those circumstances. You can train her to trust you as the pack leader and come to you when she feels threatened instead, but you haven't done that, so you can't really blame the dog.

 

Our chocolate lab growled at a toddler visiting our house once. It was totally our fault - the lab was old and arthritic and we weren't properly supervising the toddler, and the dog was laying on his blanket and being petted too exuberantly and was afraid, so he told us what was happening. We removed the toddler, in that case, but if toddlers had been frequent visitors we would have done some dog childproofing, too. But he was totally not an aggressive dog, and neither is yours, and mischaracterizing her as such will make it much harder for her to get to the right family.

 

If there is a breed rescue in your area they would probably allow you to do a courtesy listing on their website, even though she's mixed. Take some photos and write up a description and be honest about your lack of effort as far as training her and socializing her.

post #16 of 43

Another vote here for bring the dog back to the shelter. You haven't had her very long, she's not completely invested in being part of your family pack. It sounds like she'd make a great addition to a home, just maybe not yours. I think border collies are great dogs. Super intelligent, high energy, extremely verbal and co-operative, but they do take a lot of your time and energy. 

post #17 of 43
Thread Starter 

Thanks everyone for your kindness in replying.  I've leanred a lot from you!

post #18 of 43

Yes, some shelters/rescues will let you 'try' a dog. So next time, look for that.  We just recently got a new pup from a nice no-kill shelter (an 18 mos old purebred Sheltie). Their deal was that you pay the adoption fee and you have an agreed upon period to try the dog. If it doesn't work out, you bring him/her back and try another one. It was a great way to see if the dog you liked at the shelter would work at your home as they behave differently in your home! The first one we tried did NOT, and while she was so cute and sweet, she just wasn't for our family (too small and too nervous). We spent several hours at the shelter each time looking at all the dogs, watching them run around and interact with other visitors and other animals and really thought about how that dog would work with our household.

 

People can be so 'fussy' about dogs and dog behavior and trying to fix/dogproof/make it work with dogs. IMO, a dog works and fits in your family or it doesn't. Yes, I believe that truly any dog could be worked with to 'work' with a family, but at what cost!?  Having to do so many things to make the dog work for you completely takes the enjoyment out of having a family pet, and causes so much stress. Yes, I do believe that having a pet is a commitment, but as I said before KIDS over pets every.single.time. I don't like how the shelter/rescue industry calls it 'adoptions' and really tries to play on our guilt and equate it to 'adopting' a child. It is NOT the same. End of story.

 

We've had a good dozen dogs in the last 20 years, and we've rehomed one as well. She was a Border Collie/Lab cross we owned from puppyhood to age 2. We'd had all variety of Border/Aussie/Heeler/Lab crosses in the past so I do know that they are high energy/need dogs, but this particular dog we had to rehome was not working for us. We'd trained/loved/worked/socialized her the same way we had our other successful dogs, but for some reason her 'personality' was different. She was strong willed and would behave for weeks, then run off on a bender and get into all kinds of trouble. She was much better off where she ended up rather than our being unhappy with her/she with us. We rehomed off of Craigslist too btw!  (And I never got any nasty replies....but I live in a smaller town so maybe that's why??) We had several calls and we talked to the people, then took her out to the house that sounded like the best fit, and they took her to 'try' for a few days to see, and she fit great into their lives. We cheked up on her a few times over the next few months and they couldn't have been happier with her.

 

All our dogs have been 100% lenient to the kids. No growling (which I feel IS aggression in my world!). They will let the kids completely maul them--kiss them, sit on them, hug them, roll around with them, pet them until their fur practically falls off, whatever. They know they are to be lenient to the kids and we praise them and reward from the get go for that so they do it. They also know to just 'leave' if they are done and we will let them out. They don't need to growl...they just remove themselves from the situation. It is possible to find a dog that is great with kids...we've had plenty.

 

Before you get another dog, spend some time with people with dogs and see what kinds they have--size, breed, etc. and find out what they like/don't like about their dog/breed. Ask about past dogs they'd had and what they've liked/not liked about them. Really analyze your lifestyle and decide what kind would work for you. Though keeping in mind that breed types are just 'generalities' and a lot depends on a particular dog and how they were socialized and treated as a pup. But, you can get a good idea for what might work, and give you a starting point. So, when you go to the shelter you can say "We are looking for a dog 25-35 lbs, mellow personality, good with kids and cats, and doesn't need a lot of grooming." Or whatever you've decided. The shelter should then be able to steer you to a few different dogs they have that might work. Don't be afraid to leave without one! And don't get sucked into the cuteness! They are all adorable and deserving of a home....just not yours necessarily! Read up on a variety of sources for dog training (there are a ton of different ways...just like child rearing!!) and figure out what sounds like it will work for your family--also see if they say what breeds this might work well with. For example, Shelties and a lot of the 'herding/working' type dogs are praise/food oriented. This is an easy training method IMO and great for kids. They praise, praise, praise good behavior and give treats (who doesn't love that!) and basically 'ignore' the bad behavior, so the dog wants to only do the good and get the incentive. Just a small example, but you get the picture I hope!

 

Our new shelter pup was being rehomed because he was too high energy for the family that had him and they didn't like that he followed/herded the kids and raced around their small yard.  This wasn't a bad thing for us! We live in the country and have tons of space, and we're familiar with the herd dog mentality. They need a 'job' to do and lots of exercise. We were looking for a dog for my high energy 11 yo that wasn't too big and that could keep up with him. We love the 'herding' instinct because they are so much fun to play/walk with and they stay right with the kids when they are out on the property running around. This one is just perfect for us. Within 24 hrs of having him, we knew it would work whereas with the other one within 24 hrs we knew it wouldn't.

 

So, sorry for such a long post that doesn't directly address your current problem...but in a round about way, I'm just saying, rehome the dog, and find one that works. No guilt. It's a dog. Not a kid. You'll all be better off in the end. Definitely check with the shelter, they most likely will take him back and rehome for you.

post #19 of 43

I would suggest either buying from a reputable breeder or rescuing from a reptuable rescue.  Then you do have a pretty clear idea of what you are getting.  I love shelter dogs and nothing is "wrong" with them, but for the vast majority of people they are often not a good fit.  They need a lot of help overcoming issues and time to chill out.  Shelter environment is very hard on a dog and a lot of fear is expected.  A shelter dog is usually a project, which when properly done and time given to is a wonderful wonderful thing. 

post #20 of 43

There's nothing wrong with responsibly coming to the realization that you do not have the time, nor the energy to retrain and add a dog to your family right now. After having two dogs for years, then adding two children to our family, we spent many years recognizing that, for us, it was not a good time to get another pet. We were already stressed with diapers, etc., and did not have the time, nor energy to give to a pet. Recently, our youngest dc turned 4, and we made the decision to add two small breed (think low excersise) dogs to our family. It's been more of a job than I ever expected! But, by waiting, we now have had the time and energy to devote to training, etc. IMO, it would be kinder to rehome the dog than to have a backyard dog that nobody interacts with.

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