Crazy dog whom I dispise - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 14 Old 10-28-2010, 04:27 PM - Thread Starter
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My mom got a dog a few years ago. She has Alzheimer's, and it was WAY too late in the progression of the disease to get a dog... but she did. The treated the dog horribly - not physically abusive - but she did not let go of its collar all day long. Really, she would literally hold the collar every waking moment. She fed it cold cuts, wouldn't let it outside, so it peed and pooped all over the house. I think the dog picked up some of mom's problems related to the Alzheimer's.

Mom moved to my state (1000 miles away), into assisted living. I took the dog in with me. We have two dogs and three cats already, and I did not want mom's dog, but I felt obligated to take her, since surely with her horrible behavior she could not find another home. Plus, mom loved the dog, and I feel obligated to her.

Anyway, I took the dog in in March and things are still really horrible. She is not house-trained, so I leave her in the yard (fenced-in) during the day, and baby-gate her in the kitchen at night. For the last few weeks, she has been literally destroying the kitchen and waking up the family at 3-4 am. I tried to put her in a crate, but she ate through the bars of two crates (and made herself bleed a lot). She snaps at my son, so I need to keep her away from him. She has broken through all the screens, ate through walls and molding on doors.

She is a king Charles spaniel, if that matters. I have her on clomicalm, and ace, which are both supposed to make her chill out. I don't know if its working. I am at my wits end. Last night at 4am I hit her, and I am not the dog-hitting kind of person. I don't think I have ever hit a dog before. I really don't know if I can take it much longer, but I can't get rid of her, and I don't know what I can do to make the situation any better.

Any advice?

Mom to DS 12/07 and DD 11/13, plus a bunch of chickens, dogs, and cats.

Moving past many years of infertility and always thinking of my friends in the infertility forums.

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#2 of 14 Old 10-28-2010, 04:47 PM
 
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Ace is probably not helping - it's not an anxiolytic, just a paralytic from my understanding. Do you have the ability to go to a veterinary behaviorist? It really sounds like a professional who knows their meds *and* behavior might be your best option vs trying to go it alone.

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#3 of 14 Old 10-28-2010, 04:49 PM
 
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I'm so sorry you're in this position. But ya know... I bet you there's someone out there who would love to pour their heart and soul into this dog, and wouldn't mind that she isn't fully housebroken yet. You're fortunate that the dog is a purebred, and a very cute little breed, too. Find a breed rescue near you that will be able to place the dog with a foster home while she waits for a permanent placement. You can always stipulate that the dog will be returned to you if there are any problems.

I know that you feel an obligation toward your mom's pet, but that obligation will be better fulfilled by finding her a happy, permanent home. There's nothing to feel guilty about by doing the best for her pet.
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#4 of 14 Old 10-28-2010, 04:53 PM
 
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Attack of the double post!
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#5 of 14 Old 10-28-2010, 09:09 PM
 
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First, big hugs. That is a really rough situation to be in.

I do have to ask though, what have you been doing to help modify her behaviors? Have you worked with a trainer or behaviorist at all? Why is she being drugged?

Nicole - )0( unschooling mama to Lilahblahblah.gif (12/21/05) and Cianwild.gif (9/21/07) as well as 3 dog2.gif 2 cat.gif,  4 rats, chicken3.gif and ducks
 
 

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#6 of 14 Old 10-29-2010, 01:25 AM
 
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wow--I'm lovin the wisdom coming from SoulCakes.

I hear you saying you can't get rid of the dog...but I wonder what your mom, before the Alzheimer's, would have wanted.

If you're set on keeping the dog, I would consult a behaviorist and be prepared to do significant rehabilitation. It takes time and patience. The two really jacked up dogs I have turned around took *years* before they were really ok, and they never did get to be what anyone would call sound. I did it, though, and I loved every little gain. I didn't have kids then. No way could I do that now.

If you're unwilling/unable to devote the time to her, I think it's in the dog's best interest (and yours!) to find someone who will.

My guess is that your mom's younger self would understand.

I'm sorry.

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#7 of 14 Old 10-29-2010, 01:32 AM
 
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Originally Posted by SoulCakes View Post
I'm so sorry you're in this position. But ya know... I bet you there's someone out there who would love to pour their heart and soul into this dog, and wouldn't mind that she isn't fully housebroken yet. You're fortunate that the dog is a purebred, and a very cute little breed, too. Find a breed rescue near you that will be able to place the dog with a foster home while she waits for a permanent placement. You can always stipulate that the dog will be returned to you if there are any problems.

I know that you feel an obligation toward your mom's pet, but that obligation will be better fulfilled by finding her a happy, permanent home. There's nothing to feel guilty about by doing the best for her pet.
I agree with this. It doesn't sound like you have the time to devote to this dog (not blaming you at all). I am sure a breed rescue would take her. She is used to being with you mom 24/7, imagine how she is feeling now in a totally different type of household and without the person she loves.
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#8 of 14 Old 10-29-2010, 01:44 AM
 
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Do you have the ability to go to a veterinary behaviorist? It really sounds like a professional who knows their meds *and* behavior might be your best option vs trying to go it alone.


Your mother's dog sounds much like my crazy dog Harry. A vet/behaviorist, various meds, and time eventually allowed him to be manageable – and actually a great part of our family. (He's a handful again now but that is old age and dementia.)

It can be very draining, all-consuming and difficult to care for a dog like this. But hopefully he will improve and win your heart.

Regarding finding him a new home…I don't think that w/b a bad thing for you to do, but most likely it won't be easy to find a home to take the dog. I've volunteered with a rescue group for years. People will take dogs with physical issues (like missing a leg) but rarely can we find a home for a dog with behavioral or personality issues. However, as a pp mentioned, being a purebred will help.

I hope it works out for you and the dog.
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#9 of 14 Old 10-29-2010, 01:48 AM
 
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Your mother's dog sounds much like my crazy dog Harry. A vet/behaviorist, various meds, and time eventually allowed him to be manageable – and actually a great part of our family. (He's a handful again now but that is old age and dementia.)

It can be very draining, all-consuming and difficult to care for a dog like this. But hopefully he will improve and win your heart.

Regarding finding him a new home…I don't think that w/b a bad thing for you to do, but most likely it won't be easy to find a home to take the dog. I've volunteered with a rescue group for years. People will take dogs with physical issues (like missing a leg) but rarely can we find a home for a dog with behavioral or personality issues. However, as a pp mentioned, being a purebred will help.

I hope it works out for you and the dog.
I also worked with rescue and I did not find this to be the case, especially with little cute dogs like this type.
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#10 of 14 Old 10-29-2010, 01:52 AM
 
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I also worked with rescue and I did not find this to be the case, especially with little cute dogs like this type.
That's good to hear. Maybe it is just our area and the fact that we deal mostly with mixed breeds. The past couple of years we are finding few homes even for healthy 'normal' dogs- but our area has been hit hard by the economy.
I hope the OP has success like your group.
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#11 of 14 Old 10-29-2010, 02:09 AM
 
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hi OP: that's a rough situation but you asked for help. although the wording of your description says something to the effect of you can't let go of the dog b/c it was your mom's, the headline to your post says that you "despise" the dog. (i can't blame you -- she sounds destructive and difficult to say the least.) you have been focusing a lot of efforts towards finding a way to keep her; give the same focus now to finding her a more appropriate home -- one where, as others have noted, someone perhaps does not have young kids to attend to and can truly work on/with the dog.

you despise the dog, or her behavior or actions -- or maybe just you despise this situation you find yourself in. that's not good for the dog (or you or your family). don't let guilt or obligation become the reason to live with a situation you despise, or the bad situation will only get worse.

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#12 of 14 Old 10-29-2010, 10:41 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the replies. I appreciate your help. Stardogs, that is a great idea - we live near a university with a vet school. I can't believe I didn't think of that before - we take our other dog there for allergies. I am going to call them today.

As for getting rid of her, that is really not an option for me right now. We are in an area (alabama) that is really hard-hit by the economy. The shelters are full. In fact, they are moving dogs to the midwest now, since nobody is adopting them around here. In the south, people think of dogs as disposable anyway, so the economy has only worssened the problems.

I prefer to work with her to try to make the situation better.

Ellies, good point. Actually, I don't dispise her... I just despise the situation. Not with my mom - with the dog. I want her to be a normal part of the family, like my mom would have wanted.

Mom to DS 12/07 and DD 11/13, plus a bunch of chickens, dogs, and cats.

Moving past many years of infertility and always thinking of my friends in the infertility forums.

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#13 of 14 Old 10-29-2010, 04:20 PM
 
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That's awesome that the vet school is close by - you may need a referral, but your vet should be able to do that. The money is well worth it - much better than picking a trainer out of an online list or out of the yellow pages.

Erin
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#14 of 14 Old 10-30-2010, 07:46 AM
 
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It sounds like you want to keep her, but thought I'd chime in. I have a Cavalier, and I think you'd have great luck with breed rescue if you decide to go that route. In my experience, Cavalier rescue takes in nearly all needy Cavaliers, and its no-kill.

Her temperament is not at all typical for the breed, but might be related to her previous treatment. I would work very hard at getting her housebroken. Cavaliers are VERY people-oriented. While some dogs would relish being left in the yard all day, for a Cavalier, its torture. I'm wondering if she would behave better if she could be inside and near people, which is what the breed really craves. Of course to do that she has to be housebroken. The tether method works well for many folks, and a Cavalier would love it.

I hope she starts to do better. If you do want to look into Cavalier rescue, let me know and I can PM you some info.
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