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Convince me not to feel guilty

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
So, I have this client who has a dog that is one of Havoc's sons (actually, it's also Bedlam's littermate) They are nice people but they have spoiled this dog and don't provide even an ounce of discipline--on top of that, like them, they have made him incredibly fat (we're talking coffee table with a head) On top of no discipline and way too much food, they don't make him work for ANYTHING, therefore in addition to the dog just having zero personality, he's also quite the big fat jerk. We've had problems with him being aggresive towards the other daycare dogs. Generally I beat up on him for a week or so and he falls into line, but everytime we get a new dog we need to repeat the process and honestly, I've just become tired of it. Today he attacked one of our long time daycare clients in the back seat of the truck while Steve was picking everyone up-the dog he went for is a little Westie, now I'll grant the little westie is terrier to the bone and does like to spend his days trying to piss off anyone bigger than he is (so pretty much everyone) but in this case dh says the westie did nothing and Shadow just jumped him. Dh was driving on the highway and had to pull over to haul Shadow off. The westie has one puncture wound, he'll be fine and he's out playing and being his normal trouble making self but we've had enough. We called Shadow's owner and told them we're kicking him out of the daycare program
On top of the dog being a pain in the ass, the owners can't afford to pay and this time when they got to 14 weeks without paying they finally borrowed their sisters credit card and asked us if there was anything we were planning on buying that htey could buy for us instead Really, we didn't need anything but ended up ordering 2 britax car seats for when Molly is bigger, but they still owe us a couple hundred dollars.

So, why you ask do I feel guilty about this?? Basically, these people should not own a german shepherd and I know with him out of the program he will get no discipline or excercise at all. He's so bad with them that the vet has requested we bring him for appts because he's fine with us but my vet is actually afraid of him when he's with his owners (and my vet isn't a wimp) I'm worried that they will need to get rid of him and I'm pretty sure they've ruined him and I wouldn't trust placing him in another home--sure, we can handle him, but frankly I don't want a fat, neutered, spoiled rotten jerk of a male german shepherd.

That said, our daycare program is full and I've turned dogs away that I'm guessing would pay their bill and get along with everyone so I don't think we had a choice, but still I feel a responsibility to this dog because he's Havoc's son. Know what I mean??
post #2 of 15
If this was a child, and you did childcare instead of dog care, you'd kick him out of your home daycare because, ultimately, he's not your responsibility, and your other charges need a safe environment.

He's no longer your dog. You're running a business, not an animal rescue. Your responsibility is towards your own dogs and the dogs that you are PAID to care for during the day. You have nothing to feel guilty about.
post #3 of 15
The owners should feel guilty. They are not taking care of their dog as they should. They sound like they are taking advantage of you. I'm sorry. You have nothing to feel guilty about.
post #4 of 15
What they said
post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 
thanks guys, there was a time when I really liked this dog and his owners, I guess not getting paid regularily tends to sour me some.
What really makes me mad is about a year ago (when it started that they couldn't handle or afford the dog) I told them I could place him as a police dog--we were going to have to take 30 lbs off him and do some training but we had a force that was desparate, especially for that particular breeding, they wouldn't think of it. It would have been an excellent placement for the dog, he'd get lots of attention, lots of excercise and get to use his natural talents, but now, he's too old and I really fear he will be put down within the year.
post #6 of 15
I have read a bunch of your threads where you talk about your dogs and doggie daycare, and I have to say you go above and beyond with everything you do for the dogs. And I really think that you did the right thing. You have to think about the other dogs and your family making money. You really have tried everything you could. I am sorry that you are having to deal with this.
post #7 of 15
I completely understand you feeling like a grandmother (sorry - maybe auntie is a better word) to the dog. I used to get the same way when we'd place a puppy and then find out that the owners were being idiots. And I didn't have even a tenth of what you have invested in your animals and those in your care... they'd go to homes at 8weeks. I also know the responsibilty that's felt by a responsible breeder/trainer when you're dealing with large working breeds who are powerful, and even dangerous in the wrong hands. s

You did the right thing. You truly did more than what is called for in this situation. You run a business. Yes, it's more emotionally charged than if you were selling groceries, but it's a still a business, and you have a responsibilty to the other dogs in your program to keep them safe (even little Westies with huge attitudes). I say shame on the owners. People we screened and thought would be wonderful turned into complete dough heads and my Dad would always wonder how they slipped under the radar.

More s. And you should be proud that you stuck it out this long.
post #8 of 15
That is sad. I'm not sure what I'd do. It sounds like they're lousy pet parents.

Is there any hope of convincing them to find another home for him?
post #9 of 15
Man that sucks. People can be so ridiculously stupid with dogs. I just had it out with a friend of mine - I have a huge, dominant yellow lab (he was a rescue and we've had issues ever since I got him, tho he has improved a lot). Anyway we were having pizza in the backyard, and the dog snuck into the middle of us and stole pizza from the box. I removed it from his mouth with a sharp "no" and he promptly went back to circling the group, waiting for the next opportunity. I put him inside (firmly but respectfully) and she freaked out and told me I was being "abusive" and power tripping. Whatever. We've actually had a pretty major falling out over it.

People can be nice, but a lot of folks just don't know how to deal with dogs. I'm sorry these folks have spoiled this dog so badly. Sounds like he had a lot of potential.

If they are not willing to work with you to re-train him (and it sounds like they can't afford to) I would not keep him in your daycare. He is a danger to other dogs, and you are not being paid.

If you feel like you must do something, perhaps you could have a very honest talk with them about what you feel has gone wrong with the dog, and what they need to do.

Good luck.
post #10 of 15
Thread Starter 
That's what is so sad, this dog was pick of the litter, he was just like his dad. Part of the responsibility I feel for him is that they had a shepherd puppy before him who had been coming to daycare for 2 weeks when our group was attacked by a dumped ex pit fighting pit bull. The older dogs were off leash (we hike on a neighbors farm property, with our property 275 acres and they have riding trails that are well maintained) and I guess this pit watched the pack go by and then jumped the puppy-he was on a leash--so he'd be safe Anyway, he was killed instantly and it took Havoc and another big daycare dog named Munster almost 20 minutes of attacking the pit to get him to let go of the puppy (I never let go of the lead) The owners understood (all my clients did actually) they kept telling me they weren't mad, how could I have known he'd be safer off leash, etc etc. I felt so badly for them though and when Havoc's next litter was born I offered them Shadow and they took him. They are good pet owners, just maybe a little too good ya know? They love that dog to death, they worship the ground he walks on--that's part of the problem--he's a strong, powerfull dog who decided if none of the humans were going to take the lead, he'd have to.
I used to have hope of retraining him, I wrote everything out for them, I told them the dog HAD to go on a diet, they had to quit doting on him and they had to take up the sea of dog toys laying around. He was given more food than they could stuff down his gullet, and more toys and attention than he could even want and he never had to work for any of it, so he just rules the roost. I kept him for 2 weeks and he only ate out of my hand and only when he did something to deserve it and the improvement was amazing, they followed through for about a month, then just reverted back to old ways. Honestly they just love this dog so much they don't even see his faults, I'm just really worried that in their denial, somebody is going to get hurt.
So, unfortunately, I've already done all the talking, I've even done some obedience work with him for free but I guess at some point I have to throw in the towel.

Oh, and Annette, I already get the grannie thing--Havoc's breeder, I always used to call her Grandma Sheena and she hated it, then when Havoc started producing puppies she started calling me Grannie :LOL
post #11 of 15
X-posted with you. Spoke before I had the whole backround. I before your dogness, and I can't think of a single thing you haven't tried already. Hoping some solution manifests itself....
post #12 of 15
Thread Starter 
I've thought of that, but you see, you can't remove a dog when it is in no way being abused or neglected. People don't accept spoiling a dog as a form of abuse--and with the exception of excercise (which who knows, now that the dog doesn't come to daycare, perhaps they'll excercise them on their own) This dog is well fed, even though they have no money they continue to buy the most expensive dog food on the market-the same food as I feed-and I'm guessing it is costing them a fortune because they feed him 8 cups a day of a food that Havoc eats 2 cups and Bedlam eats 2.5 cups-it costs me $50.00 a month to feed my 2! They provide him with vet care--again, they're a bit hyper vigilant about it-the dog pukes and they rush to the vet (couldn't be that he's just eaten too much) He sleeps on their bed, he sits on the couch, he goes in the van whenever they go out, they take him to the Harvey's drivethrough and buy him a hamburger. You see, they just aren't abusive or neglectfull owners--they treat him like I treat Havoc--but I didn't treat Havoc like that until roles were clearly defined. Their biggest single problem is that they just CAN'T be mean to this dog, he's their baby--if they could figure a way to sling this 135 lb dog--they'd do it in a minute.

So, no, even with the strictest of purchase contracts, there is no way of removing this dog--and if they fought it, they'd win--and so they should--I'd freak if someone told me I was spoiling Havoc so he would be taken away!!

The issue is not lack of love or attention or lack of anything other than discipline. That's part of what makes me feel guilty--I KNOW how much they love this dog and I'm sorry that I can't help them any longer.
post #13 of 15
absinthe said what I wanted to say, only much, much better.

I don't envy your position, shannon, but I do think you have a responsibility to this dog. Does that mean continuing to keep him in your daycare? I don't think so. But I think if the owners decide they can't handle him any longer, it is up to you to take him until such time that you might be able to find a better home for him.

Have you tried sitting them down and having a very frank discussion with them about where you see this dog ending up in the future? (I imagine you have... just wondering, though).

I'm really sorry - it sounds like you're in a horrible position any way you look at it.
post #14 of 15
Thread Starter 
I've had the discussion many times. I really tried to get them to let me place him with a police force, brought them pics of the dog the officer had before, it would have been an awesome home for him. The problem is they are blind to his faults and while yes I'd try and place him--my concern is by the time they admit he's too much for them to handle, it will be too late. Part of me is hoping that kicking him out of daycare will be a jolt to them that they either need to get tough with this dog or place him--but as I said, in their eyes, this dog can do no wrong.
post #15 of 15
Thread Starter 
Oh, btw, I am not the breeder of this dog, I own the stud dog but I have nothing to do with the selling of the puppies as a rule. When their puppy was killed I told the breeder that I wanted a puppy to be able to give this couple instead of payment for stud fees. FTR though, the breeder would also take this dog back and place him--if we could get the owners to give him up.
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