When rescue dogs don't work out :( - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 25 Old 12-19-2010, 11:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I believe in rescuing pets.  I think it's the right thing to do.  I've met so many awesome dogs while working in rescue and during visits to shelters.  The best dog of all time, our 9yo lab mix, Raven, is a rescue from the SPCA.

 

But I'm struggling because 4 out of the 5 dogs I've adopted as an adult have bitten kids.  My son has been bitten by our dogs and so have his friends.  Two of those 4 dogs live with single female family members of mine now, one was rehomed with an older couple, and we just took one back to the rescue group.  I feel like a failure as a dog owner.  None of the dogs were/are vicious--just intolerant of or scared of kids.  But I still feel like I failed them.  Especially our most recent adopted dog, Bob.  He has so many behavior issues that I don't know about his prospects for a permanent adoptive home.

 

I don't know if it's that I choose the wrong dogs or if this is common in homes with kids or if there's something specific that we are doing wrong.  But I don't trust my judgment when it comes to choosing a dog any more.  I'm afraid to rescue again. 

 

I don't really know why I'm posting.  It just makes me sad to realize that something I believe in hasn't worked for my family the vast majority of the time.  I'm a dog-loving, pro-rescue person who is now afraid to adopt a rescue herself.    greensad.gif     


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#2 of 25 Old 12-20-2010, 01:11 AM
 
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I don't think it's just rescue dogs, but ANY dogs.  There are so many breeds and personalities and little dog quirks that when they are brought into any situation, there are needs that must be met (don't bite the kids, be nice to the cat, don't eat the neighbors), and not all dogs mesh.

 

My friend is the most patient loving dog owner and when searching for a new dog she must have fostered 10 of them first.  All she asked was that it didn't bark too much, and didn't eat her 4 lb dog.   She didn't even have kids she had to bring into the mix. The one she ended up with is most people's nightmare, a 200lb great dane/great pyrenees mix PUPPY (not baby puppy, probably a year or so when she brought him home).  He ate a freakin COUCH!  But she loves him to death.

 

There are some bad rescues, just as most adult dogs just wouldn't always fit in every situation.  My dogs are MY dogs, I had to get to know my rescues, and raised the other from a pup. They are my perfect dogs, but other people would find them a challenge mostly because they don't know them.  They don't know that Leah needs to be reminded at mealtimes not to growl at Buddha, and she doesn't like you to sneeze, or that Buddha doesn't like things (objects) to touch her when she lies down, and that she will whine/bark/howl when you're in the bathroom (she's 14 now, I've given up on trying to stop that one), or that if you open that gate without telling Harley not to bolt, he will bolt.

 

I have seen amazing dogs in rescue, as everyone has, I'm sure.  I was transporting one from the city (kill em if they don't get claimed) pound to the shelter and he almost didn't make it to the shelter, he was so perfect.  Another kept getting passed by at the shelter because he was hyper in his kennel (he was border collie and golden retriever!).  I took him out one day, calm as can be, super sweet, well mannered, great on leash, in car, with kids, dogs, cats.  I got him out and to a rescue just in time.

 

My hardest dog ever was my australian shepherd, Gypsy, who now lives with my parents. I got her as a puppy from a breeder and did so much training it was crazy.  When I got Leah, she terrorized Leah.  She'd look at her from across the room and as soon as they made eye contact, Leah had just the amount of time Gypsy could get across the room to get under the bed.  This is why Leah must be reminded about growling at Buddha, she has to remember that buddha is not a threat to her and won't try to kill her for eating her food.  Gypsy is 11 now, and still a bad dog (but she'll drop into a down from 50 feet with just a hand signal) :).

 

Ok, I think I had a point in here somewhere...oh, yeah, I don't think it's you, or rescues.  Just individual doggie personalities, and un-meshiness.  And perhaps less scrupulous breeding going on these days.


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#3 of 25 Old 12-20-2010, 03:59 AM
 
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We met with a dog behaviorist when our adopted as an adult beagle bit our kids - He strongly recommended starting with a puppy so that it could be socialized properly.  Most of the dogs you see that are in shelters are there because of behaviors stemming from the fact that they weren't socialized properly as puppies.  

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#4 of 25 Old 12-20-2010, 07:19 AM
 
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Are you adopting through rescues or shelters?  Shelter dogs tend to be a bit more fearful and have some more possible hidden issues as they are not really given a chance to show their true personalities.  If you go through a reputable rescue the dog is fully checked out and many actually live in foster homes with children.  

 

Now, I dont mean this to sound like I am casting blame but I am a bit concerned that you have had several dogs where it actually escalated to biting.  There are many signs and warnings that lead up to an actual bite.  So while it may be that you got several dogs who just didnt like children, I have to wonder what the circumstances were surrounding the bites.  Did you work with a trainer or behaviorist with them?  Did you notice warning signs and what did you do?  How were the introduced to the children?  Did the dogs have their own spaces where the children knew they were off limits?  

 

Now, there is NOTHING wrong with getting a pup from a reputable responsible breeder (just make sure to REALLY research the breed and know what reputable breeders do...dont fall for the gimmicks and sales tactics of BYB).  I had a couple really hard rescues that kind of burnt me out on it for awhile, especially with my children being so young.  I went with a good breeder for my last dog and she has been great.  The breeder helped me pick the temperament I needed and then I have had her in training since we got her.  I have been studying and discussing dog behavior and read whatever I can get my hands on etc.  Its given me back some confidence I lost and I feel soon (my son is three and just a bit nutty right now lol) I will rescue or foster again.  


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#5 of 25 Old 12-20-2010, 09:51 AM
 
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I don't think I would ever be able to take a dog from a shelter or even rescue, but I certainly admire all those that do because these animals desperately need loving homes. I feel very blessed that my puppy, and this is our first dog, is turning out to be such a joy. But I was very careful to find a puppy who was well socialized and completely unvaxed and had not been chemically wormed. I realize this is controversial, but I am absolutely convinced my dog is partly the way he is because he hasn't had to deal with chemical toxins, obviously we picked him for temperament too. Shelter dogs in particular are over vaccinated and over medicated on top of likely being highly stressed and puppies are likely to have been subject to pediatric desexing. Our next dog is definitely going to come from a breeder who naturally rears their dogs, no vaxes and weaned to raw.


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#6 of 25 Old 12-20-2010, 09:53 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'd like to reply more fully, but I've got to run.  I posted here about our most recent situation.  We've adopted twice from a shelter, twice from rescue groups, and one dog (Mac) we found abandoned running in a neighborhood.  There are several Mac-related threads here at MDC!  lol.gif  He lives with my mom and her two cats now.  He's much happier not being around kids and other dogs on a regular basis.    


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#7 of 25 Old 12-22-2010, 08:14 PM
 
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i can totally understand your feelings!

We just rescued our puppy almost 3 months ago. When we met him he was the mildest mannered dog we could have imagined, and ran right over to our daughter. About a week after he was home, we realized he is pretty nervous and barks at people randomly... not just woof woof its the mailman kind of thing but woof woof stay away from me or I'll eat you type thing. So far it has been more of a fearful type thing where he backs away from the person he is barking at. He did this to both my MIL and FIL on seperate occasions. Recently though my friend came over with her son and he barked at her son (he's 7) and actually ran towards him hackles raised. That freaked me out.

 

The good news is that he responds to correction very well, and seems to be eager to please. He did exceptionally well in obedience classes and was housetrained in 4 days! He gets along well with our other dog and is generally a very sweet dog, always near us and good with the kids. We saw a trainer who gave us some tips, but we are actually worried he might bite someone. He is young (9 months) and I have alot of concerns. Its a tough road, and I don't know what to do about him. I can't imagine giving him back to the shelter, but I also have reservations about his behavior and I am fearful for our guests and their safety.

 

I feel like this experience has shaken me and I don't have confidence in my ability to select a dog. I don't think this is something we could have anticipated, and I feel stuck inbetween a rock and a hard place.


so...  I didn't mean to take over your thread, but I wanted to say that I understand how your feeling and that shelter dogs need us the most but are also the most challenging.


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#8 of 25 Old 12-25-2010, 09:47 AM
 
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I think one of the biggest challenges with dogs and kids is in the *choosing* of the right dog, but there are a TON of other factors at play, too. 

 

In maaany situations I'm called into as a dog trainer, people have gone for the cutest dog, or the dog that seems to "need them" the most vs. taking the time to find a dog who, while s/he may not meet all the superficial qualities, has the right personality. 

 

You want a dog that ADORES kids, not just one that tolerates them.  You need a dog that isn't going to be too high energy that exercise needs are difficult to meet but one that isn't so mellow that it gets annoyed with the busyness that comes with a household full of kids.  And on top of all that, your whole family needs to know what their "absolute must" requirements are for the new addition and which ones can be flexed on.

 

Of course, finding that "right" dog behaviorally isn't the only thing you need to do, you also need to ensure that your children know how to treat a pet and *you* need to be well versed enough to see body language that indicates a dog is uncomfortable and you need to step in before escalation occurs.  Every dog has a point at which they will bite - they have teeth after all - so you need to know how to recognize when your dog has had enough and prevent these triggers from stressing your dog out to that point.

 

It really is a tricky balance!

 

My favorite book for every household thinking about getting a dog with kids in the home is Colleen Pelar's "Living with Dogs and Kids Without Losing Your Mind" book and her website - she's a mom and a dog trainer and offers valuable suggestions for all ages and stages of dogs and kids!


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#9 of 25 Old 12-25-2010, 02:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for not blasting me, y'all.  I'm sure I've made plenty of mistakes--in the name of love and impulsivity(!)--when it comes to our pets. 


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#10 of 25 Old 05-05-2011, 09:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Just going though old posts and reread this thread.  Sorry, greenmagick, that I didn't address your concern about the biting.  We were in the middle of moving at the time. It's still helpful for me to talk about it now, and maybe it will help someone else.  So here's our dog history.

 

1999 - Mittens was a mini poodle/mini schnauzer mix we adopted from a rescue, and our first dog as adults (we didn't have any kids at the time).  The group had recently rescued her from the city shelter.  She and her brother were brought there by an elderly man who was going into a nursing home.  Her brother was adopted from the shelter, but she wasn't.  The rescue group didn't have a foster home for her, so she was at their vet for a couple weeks before we adopted her.  About a year and a half later, we had our son.  She didn't bite him because he wasn't mobile yet.  But she bit my friends' kids.  She was just afraid of kids.  They didn't try to pick her up .  They just went near her and she bit without warning.  I assume she must have been mistreated by kids in the past.  I was afraid she'd bite our baby, so we rehomed her through a rescue group with an older couple.  It broke my heart to part with her.  

 

2003 - We tried again.  This time we adopted a lab/border collie mix from the SPCA.  She's awesome!  She's 9.5 now and has never bitten or snapped at anyone.  We spent months visiting shelters and rescues looking for the perfect family dog.  I asked at the shelter what dogs of theirs would be the best with young kids and two different people said on two separate visits that Raven was the one.  She hadn't been adopted in the 9 months she'd been at the SPCA because was a black dog in a sea of black dogs, according to them.  She was chosen as a pet therapy dog by the SPCA.  She visited nursing homes as an outreach of the shelter.  We wish we could clone her!

 

2005 - We wanted a buddy for Raven.  Ruby was a lab/blue heeler mix that we adopted from the SPCA.   The dogs got along great.  At that time, my son was 5.  He grabbed her and she nipped him.  Only nips, but once it left a mark above and below his eye.  He has sensory integration issues, and we just couldn't get him to stop grabbing her.  Sometimes he would "stim" by bonking his head on her back.  I think she was just correcting him like she would a puppy.  The near-eye bite made me scared, so she went to live with my aunt and her pack of dogs.   

 

2007 - Mac (the old Jack Russell we found wandering in a neighborhood) has a valid excuse for being cranky.  He's old and arthritic.  Also, he's a bossy, reactive Jack.  Most of the biting issues with him were when my friend's kids came over and tried to pick him up without permission.  I didn't have a crate for him to keep him separate.  He went to live with my mom not because of biting, but because my grandparents had to move in with us for care and their little dog came with them.  Three dogs and a grandfather on hospice for lung cancer  was too much for me, so my mom offered to take him. 

 

2010 - My grandma and her dog moved in with her son, so we had one dog again (Raven).  I asked my mom if she wanted us to take Mac back, but she said she thought he was happier with her (no other dogs).  My son was 10 when we adopted Bob (a lhasa apso or lhasa mix) from the rescue group I used to foster for.  We did see a behaviorist about him.  She said like a lot of lhasa apsos, he has "handling issues" and is likely to snap if handled abruptly or just if you try to make him do something he doesn't want to do (such as get down from the couch).  Yes, we let him on the couch... Sheepish.gif  He was terrified of the groomer until we found a good, patient one, and he would bite the brush if we tried to brush him.  Our rescue group found him abandoned and full of mats in an apartment complex.  He was so matted he had to be completely shaved down.  So I'm sure that had something to do with it.  He was a sweet dog, but in a family situation, you've gotta be able to handle your dog!  The rescue had him listed as a shih tzu mix, and that's what we were looking for temperament-wise.  Our vet (an owner of lhasas) is the one that said he was heavily lhasa if not a (poorly bred) pure lhasa.  So perhaps breed also played a role in that situation.  Bob went back to his foster mom, and as far as I know, he's still there.  After our experience, they had to list him as not suitable for a family with young children.  I'm afraid that affects his chances at finding a permanent home.  BUT his foster mom is great, and he seems happy there with a pack of little dogs to run with.  She doesn't have any kids.  Looking back, I should have limited our options to dogs fostered in families with kids.

 

If you're still with me, thank you!!!!!!!

 

Because we've had so many challenges and several situations haven't worked out, my husband doesn't want to get another dog until our dog Raven dies.  And I'm ok with that.  I never considered adopting a puppy before.  I always thought that although they are super cute, they are much more work.  I've never potty-trained a puppy!  However, we have had adult rescue dogs pee and poop inside and chew up rugs and carpet and shoes, so that's probably not very different from a puppy!  My belief was always that the perfect dog is a 1-2 yo fostered with a family rescue dog.  But maybe I was wrong.  I know that puppies are in demand, so I thought I was doing something good by adopting adults. 

 

I'm so grateful to have you guys here for advice.  I want to do what's right.  Irresponsible pet owners drive me nuts, but with several rescues that haven't worked out, sometimes I worry that I'm one of them!  :(

 

 

 


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#11 of 25 Old 05-05-2011, 09:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by sesa70 View Post

i can totally understand your feelings!

We just rescued our puppy almost 3 months ago. When we met him he was the mildest mannered dog we could have imagined, and ran right over to our daughter. About a week after he was home, we realized he is pretty nervous and barks at people randomly... not just woof woof its the mailman kind of thing but woof woof stay away from me or I'll eat you type thing. So far it has been more of a fearful type thing where he backs away from the person he is barking at. He did this to both my MIL and FIL on seperate occasions. Recently though my friend came over with her son and he barked at her son (he's 7) and actually ran towards him hackles raised. That freaked me out.

 

The good news is that he responds to correction very well, and seems to be eager to please. He did exceptionally well in obedience classes and was housetrained in 4 days! He gets along well with our other dog and is generally a very sweet dog, always near us and good with the kids. We saw a trainer who gave us some tips, but we are actually worried he might bite someone. He is young (9 months) and I have alot of concerns. Its a tough road, and I don't know what to do about him. I can't imagine giving him back to the shelter, but I also have reservations about his behavior and I am fearful for our guests and their safety.

 

I feel like this experience has shaken me and I don't have confidence in my ability to select a dog. I don't think this is something we could have anticipated, and I feel stuck inbetween a rock and a hard place.


so...  I didn't mean to take over your thread, but I wanted to say that I understand how your feeling and that shelter dogs need us the most but are also the most challenging.



Wow!  Housetrained in 4 days!  Do you still have him?  If so, how is he doing now? 

 


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#12 of 25 Old 05-05-2011, 09:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by stardogs View Post

You want a dog that ADORES kids, not just one that tolerates them.  You need a dog that isn't going to be too high energy that exercise needs are difficult to meet but one that isn't so mellow that it gets annoyed with the busyness that comes with a household full of kids.  And on top of all that, your whole family needs to know what their "absolute must" requirements are for the new addition and which ones can be flexed on.

 

...

 

My favorite book for every household thinking about getting a dog with kids in the home is Colleen Pelar's "Living with Dogs and Kids Without Losing Your Mind" book and her website - she's a mom and a dog trainer and offers valuable suggestions for all ages and stages of dogs and kids!



Thank you so much for posting this.  I'm sorry it's taken me so long to say that!  In the confusion of moving, I forgot about this thread and wasn't at MDC for awhile.  What you wrote in bold make sense.  It's common sense, but strangely, nothing I considered before! 


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#13 of 25 Old 05-05-2011, 10:14 PM
 
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I just saw this thread, recently revived after a while. candle.gif

 

I think this whole thread raises an "aha" moment, a sad one. There are some really sweet and wonderful dogs out there who have had circumsatnces and situations that have given them certain behavior issues. Some one can bend a little for. Others, no chance.

 

Our sweet dog Doris, 9 and a half now, has been with me since the beginning. By my side before kids, and grown up along side them. She has little personality quirks (like how she will lean her butt on new people and growl at them while wagging until they smack her bum), but she is one of us.

 

We have also fostered some dogs while she has been a part of our family, and some dogs just don't fit in our family. They are sweet and endearing, but not one of our own. Does that make sense?

 

There is great advice on here from different posters about why it sometimes works better to get a puppy. There are puppies that need to be rescued, too, into the right family for them that will give them a forever home, as opposed to the one that thinks said puppy is cute right now, but will ditch him/her in 9 months when they start to show those quirky behaviors are in fact, habit.

 


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#14 of 25 Old 05-05-2011, 10:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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It does make sense.  I know exactly what you mean.  No behavior that our 9.5 yo dog Raven exhibited would make me consider placing her somewhere else!  She belongs to us, period.  But I don't know what made her different initially.  She was 15 months old when we adopted her.  And she'd been in a shelter for 9 of those 15 months!  Yet she is perfect for us.  

 

In all the dogs we've had, including our fosters, only one dog besides Raven has really fit.  Ginger was a lemon beagle that a neighbor kept in her backyard with a privacy fence 24/7.  irked.gif  Ginger wanted to be around the neighborhood kids, so when she heard them outside, she escaped the yard and went visiting.  The kids kept taking her back home, but she kept escaping.  She came to our house one day.  I tried to take her home, but her "owner" said she was tired of her getting out and she didn't really want her anymore.  I told her there's a high fine in our town for animal abandonment and took Ginger home.  I fostered her through the rescue group I worked with and showed her on weekends.  She was such a calm, sweet, friendly dog.  Her only issue was that if she was left outside for even 10 minutes without a person with her, she'd dig under the fence.  And usually show up at the front door!  LOL!  She just wanted to be with people. 

 

We were seriously considering adopting her permanently when the rescue group got an application and called the people's vet the same day and told them they were approved without giving us a chance to decide to keep her.  (Usually foster families get first dibs.)  Since they'd already been told they could adopt her, we had to let her go.  We cried!  Fostering can be a great way to find the dog for you, but there's alot of potential damage (to floors, furniture, toys, hearts) that can go along with it.  My son was having too hard a time letting our fosters go when they got adopted, so we stopped fostering.  And then we found old Mac and our "dog vacancy" was filled! 

 

I still feel like that--that two dogs is just right.  Although history hasn't proven that for us, and our dog Raven can't stand rambunctious puppies!


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#15 of 25 Old 05-06-2011, 08:13 AM
 
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Its so hard, isn't it? greensad.gif When we were looking at getting a dog we met some great adults at the shelter. My husband seriously fell in love with one of them. But he was a little fearful around our daughter, would jump in his skin and quiver if she made a quick move near him. I ended up saying I was not comfortable with the dog, as we have packs of kids whooping and hollering through here on a regular basis. I didn't feel like I could trust the dog around kids, and it wouldn't have been fair to subject him to stress all the time like that. But we REALLY wanted him. He was so loving and sweet.

I finally convinced my husband that we needed to start with a young puppy so that I could do very careful socialization with children. He really didn't want a pup, but I stated my reasons and didn't feel comfortable otherwise. So we got our pup, exposed her to kids in lots of positive ways, and she really loves children.

It was a lot more work for those first 5 months, and I felt bad about not adopting an adult dog in need. But when I thought about it I realized that adopting a shelter puppy was every bit as good. Lots of folks adopt shelter puppies because they are so cute, and end up poorly socializing the pup. Those pups end up back at the shelter when they are 9 months, big, and active. By adopting a pup I can start her out in life in the best possible way and assure that one more pup doesn't end up back in the shelter system.
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#16 of 25 Old 05-09-2011, 04:32 AM
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hmm I've been thinking about this thread since last night. I was going to respond then but I wanted to think more about it before I responded.

OP you mentioned the word "impulsive" and that was a big red flag to me. Perhaps in your zeal for adopting a dog (and all the good feelings that come with it) you are making choices that might not be as thought out or as good for your family as they could be, in regard to which dog you pick? I can see 1 or 2 dogs being a fluke but FOUR dogs that have bitten your children is a lot. I'm not gonna lie and I don't want to be mean but my first thought is what are THEY (the humans) doing wrong with the dogs?? Are the kids playing to rough etc? I'm not even saying you guys did anything wrong at all, that was just my first reaction. 

 

Sometimes dogs just aren't a good fit and that might be it too. The shelters might not have known as much as they needed to about the dogs to adopt them out to a home with kids. I have a shelter dog myself, she has a myriad of issues (she was abused/neglected and in and out of shelters for first 9 months of her life) but with DD there are no worries, although I still monitor closely. As a PP pointed out, you need a dog that ADORES children not just tolerates them. 

 

Don't beat yourself up! I would just step back and really ask yourself some questions about what is happening when you are adopting these dogs and frankly how your children are behaving with the dogs and if you are missing some pretty obvious signals of discomfort from the dogs. Unfortunately the reality is you could get a puppy and it could still end up biting your kids. If it is FOUR dogs that have bitten I would be examining my own behavior closely. A shelter/rescue dog could still work for you in the future but you need to really evaluate a dog as much as you can before taking it home (easier said than done I know!)..Our shelter dog may have problems but she fits our family like a glove and is here for keeps. 

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#17 of 25 Old 05-09-2011, 08:57 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Lauren,

 

Thanks for your insights.  I think you're right about impulsivity, or maybe it's impatience.  I chose all our dogs, except our long-time dog Raven, fairly quickly and based on initial impression and size (smaller because I thought if they did bite, it wouldn't do as much damage as a big dog would).  That was before watching The Dog Whisperer!

 

With Raven, I spent months visiting shelters and talking to workers, visiting rescue group showings and talking to foster moms, doing breed research, and I read Mutt's: America's Dog.  A bonus to adopting from the SPCA:  adoption coordinators.  And Raven's about 45-50 pounds, a nice medium size. 

 

I think the dogs I choose are great--for me.  As companions to grown ups or teenagers.  I intend for them to be family-friendly, and if I'd known the not just tolerates but adores children guideline years ago, I probably would have chosen better!  In post #10, I summarized each dog experience.  Looking over that, I see several things we did wrong.  I should have had a crate and been more vigilant about giving our rescues time away from kids.   And more vigilant about supervision when we had kids over to play.

 

I don't think it's the rescue dogs' fault.  I still love rescues.  I think, going forward, I need to improve both on selection and on supervision.  I grew up with laid back family dogs, usually a dog that someone found as a stray and brought home.  They were all low maintanence, and we didn't have behavior issues to deal with.  They were also bigger dogs.  I came into dog ownership as an adult thinking most dogs are super sweet and affectionate and tolerant.  Sheepish.gif

 

Chronicling my experience has been helpful for me, and I'm grateful for everyone's insights.  I hope the mistakes I've made helps someone else not to make the same ones!


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#18 of 25 Old 05-09-2011, 09:05 AM
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I'm glad I didn't horribly offend you with my post!

I was thinking about it a lot since I read it. I have been impulsive too with the animal adoption thing. Ask me how DH and I ended up with SIX ferrets at one point. Those critters are straight up addictive...

 

When I hear the word impulsive in relation to adopting dogs though it can absolutely be a problem! Did you bring your kids with you when you adopted those dogs? I don't recall if you mentioned that. Bringing kids can be both good an bad. Good because obviously a dog needs to interact with the whole family, bad because a kid can fall in love with a dog you won't ultimately end up with. I won't be one to discourage you from adopting again though! There are lots of puppies who need adopting and even adult dogs who could fit your family. It just takes lots of patience to find the right one. We were casually looking for a dog for over a year before we settled on our Billie. She is the apple of my eye! Or the non human apple of my eye! DD gets the human prize.

 

It is hard to find the right fit for your family, the bit about you finding a dog thats good for YOU is important. You realize what you are doing "wrong" and that means you can at least take steps to work on it. I hope you do find another 4 legged family member who is great for your family and works well with your situation. It just takes time...Sometimes a lot of it. Don't beat yourself up about before, you won't make those mistakes again precisely because you are questioning what went wrong in the first place!

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#19 of 25 Old 05-09-2011, 09:37 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Lauren,

 

Yes, I did take my son (I only have one) with me on all my dog searches.  And in the chaos of the pet store (rescue groups) or shelters, the dogs did fine with him.  But none of the dogs were fostered in families with kids.  That was a big mistake on my part!  Maybe, for example, a dog can tolerate kids in small doses, but constant interaction is too much.  You wouldn't know that by spending 15-20 minutes with a dog at a rescue group showing or shelter.  So that's something I've learned! 


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Lauren,

 

Yes, I did take my son (I only have one) with me on all my dog searches.  And in the chaos of the pet store (rescue groups) or shelters, the dogs did fine with him.  But none of the dogs were fostered in families with kids.  That was a big mistake on my part!  Maybe, for example, a dog can tolerate kids in small doses, but constant interaction is too much.  You wouldn't know that by spending 15-20 minutes with a dog at a rescue group showing or shelter.  So that's something I've learned! 


You are so right, 15-20 minutes is not enough time to figure it out. The shelter system is hard for dogs to show their "true colors" anyway. They are so stressed out by being there in the first place, coupled with the reasons they are there and the fact that many of them are abuse/neglect cases. Personally I think it was a failing on the workers at the shelter to at least not talk in depth with you about dogs that had never been fostered with kids before. Then again they are overworked and tired and deal with tons of animals anyway! It's hard for everyone involved and the dogs unfortunately end up the losers a lot of times. I volunteered at a shelter for a while and I just couldn't do it anymore. It was breaking my heart and I wanted to take every sad case there was (which was almost all of them)...I would have ended up with 20 dogs in a month!

 

If you are still looking I second and third anyone who suggested private rescues of specific breeds, they are doing what the shelters do but they generally know more about the dog are more in tune with the dog itself and have a better idea of what kind of home might be good for a dog. Also the process can move more slowly. At a lot of shelters they are desperate to get the dogs adopted out because of space issues. That doesn't mean they don't care or take time to find a good fit but there is always that pressure at their backs. Just watch out there are also some really shady "private" rescues out there that are basically animal hoarders in disguise..Ugh I could go on and on about that mess. 

Sigh, the next dog you get will be a lucky one if only because you will have learned so much from past mistakes!

 

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#21 of 25 Old 05-10-2011, 01:21 PM
 
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Looking over your list of previous rescue dogs, it looks like most are all or part of a breed that I would not usually recommend for a family with children. I agree that purebred rescue would be a better fit for you especially if you are open to a kid friendly breed like a Golden or Lab who will likely have a more resilient temperament for kids even if they were not properly socialized as puppies.  I know our local Golden rescue fosters their dogs with families and most of the foster people will let you meet up with the dog and spend time with them at their house or a local park before you decide to adopt them. I think that when you have kids it's critical to adopt a dog that has lived in a home with a foster family before you adopt so that they can give you an idea of the dog's temperament. If you go to GRCA.ORG they will have a list of Golden rescues by state.

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#22 of 25 Old 05-11-2011, 11:20 AM
 
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Wow!  Housetrained in 4 days!  Do you still have him?  If so, how is he doing now? 

 


Yes, we do still have him. he has been home for 7 months now. He definitely still has some of his initial 'issues' but we have worked out a way that we can mostly avoid problems. If i know I am going to have guests he has a hard time with, I take him to doggy daycare for the day. He is happy, I am happy :) I saw how fantastic he was with my kids, and how much they loved him, and I realised that if I put in the work we could figure out how to make his issues more workable. So far so good!

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#23 of 25 Old 05-11-2011, 03:13 PM
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sesa I love the picture of your dog! Looks like a very happy pooch!

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#24 of 25 Old 05-12-2011, 07:56 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I know opinions differ here, but I love labs and lab mixes.  They are my favorites!  But I like them after the adolescent period!  lol.gif  However, maybe if we used a crate with a younger dog, it would be more manageable.  We don't use one for our dog Raven because she doesn't need one.  We adopted her at 15 months from the SPCA and she was housetrained very quickly and never chewed things up.  Our local Lab Rescue is a really good organization.  They foster all of their dogs in homes and are very picky.  They have some older puppies too, but most of their dogs tend to be in the 2-6 range.

 

Perhaps by the time we're ready to adopt another dog, my son and his friends will be old enough that I won't have to worry about this so much.  He's 11 now, but we have kids as young as 5 come over. 

 

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Looking over your list of previous rescue dogs, it looks like most are all or part of a breed that I would not usually recommend for a family with children. I agree that purebred rescue would be a better fit for you especially if you are open to a kid friendly breed like a Golden or Lab who will likely have a more resilient temperament for kids even if they were not properly socialized as puppies. 


Book-lovin', relaxed homeschoolin', dog snugglin' mom of the best kid EVER!  AND...waiting for baby #2, due 5/9/14!  stork-boy.gif

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#25 of 25 Old 05-12-2011, 08:22 AM
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I myself have a lab shepherd pointer mix...I actually prefer mutts over purebreds as a general rule their health is better...

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