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

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#1 of 43 Old 02-20-2011, 03:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.

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#2 of 43 Old 02-20-2011, 04:45 PM
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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.


 
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#3 of 43 Old 02-20-2011, 05:36 PM
 
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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.

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#4 of 43 Old 02-20-2011, 05:47 PM
 
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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.  


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#5 of 43 Old 02-20-2011, 06:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.

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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.
 

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#7 of 43 Old 02-20-2011, 08:00 PM
 
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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.  

 


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#8 of 43 Old 02-20-2011, 09:16 PM
 
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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!


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#9 of 43 Old 02-20-2011, 09:45 PM
 
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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.


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#10 of 43 Old 02-20-2011, 11:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.

 

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#11 of 43 Old 02-20-2011, 11:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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...

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#12 of 43 Old 02-21-2011, 01:31 AM
 
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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.

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#13 of 43 Old 02-21-2011, 02:23 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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.

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#14 of 43 Old 02-21-2011, 08:53 AM
 
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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.


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#15 of 43 Old 02-21-2011, 08:55 AM
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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.


 
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#16 of 43 Old 02-21-2011, 09:03 AM
 
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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. 

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#17 of 43 Old 02-21-2011, 09:11 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks everyone for your kindness in replying.  I've leanred a lot from you!

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#18 of 43 Old 02-21-2011, 10:40 AM
 
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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.


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#19 of 43 Old 02-21-2011, 10:59 AM
 
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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. 


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#20 of 43 Old 02-21-2011, 12:26 PM
 
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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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#21 of 43 Old 02-21-2011, 07:38 PM
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I don't have any judgements about you needing to do what you need to do. I have been there. We had 5 ferrets who were "like" our children before DD came along. They had to go unfortunately once she was born. They were sweet but I couldn't keep track of them they way they deserved.

 

If you adopted your dog from a shelter they should have a very strict contract about returning the dog to the shelter if you cannot keep it!

The ONLY thing you should do is return the dog to the shelter if this is the case. I have adopted several animals from various rescues and they generally always include this clause in the contract.

 

Craigslist is not a safe way for your pet to be adopted out imho. I don't trust it and if I did have to adopt out that way I would a home visit of the people adopting and expect serious references and a vet to contact.

 

Goodluck, and please check with your shelter the dog came from so you can see if the dog needs to go back there.


Sorry if someone already mentioned this, I didn't have time to read through.

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#22 of 43 Old 02-22-2011, 02:37 AM
 
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Well , I have been around dogs my whole life and have been working with them for over 20 years , in shelter situations as well as in my own home and counseling people . 

First of all , did you decide to get pregnant before you thought about , what responsibility it is ?

Same thing goes for being a pet owner , a dog needs and craves attention , it deserves love and proper training and it , like a child , needs to know its boundaries .

If you got a dog for guarding purposes , it was NOT the right reason to get one . Don´t misunderstand me , I have 5 dogs , 2 of them huge , and they are very protective , but they are also very much a part of the family pack .

A shelter dog has most definitely had some trauma in its life , otherwise it wouldn´t have been in a shelter .

Those animals (and I am speaking from experience) are usually so grateful , that somebody gives them a home , they guard everything and everyone ,  including , what is probably the first own dog bed , that your dog ever had

The dog needs proper training , it needs to know , that it doesn´t have to leave and that it´s okay for others to live there , too , and that she has a place in the family .

Plus , the mix you´ve got , are two of the most high-strung , energetic breeds , you can have . Those dogs are not only highly intelligent , they also need a job , or else they get bored and in trouble . 

Your kids need to learn to respect the dog´s privacy , that means , leave the dog alone , when it eats , sleeps or clearly indicates " I need my space now" 

That does NOT mean , that the dog is allowed to agressively guard his food (which due to the situation is very common in shelter dogs) , but that´s why it needs to be trained . 

And I have to say , that from what I have seen , most of the cases , when a dog bites a child , it´s something that was provoked by the kid . That´s not an excuse or give the dog a right to bite , but you have to look at the big picture .

I have  kids and they mean everything to me , but they know , that the dogs also have a right not to be harrassed .

Toddlers are rough , and your toddler needs to be reprimanded firmly EVERY time , she pesters the dog , since being loving to her may very well be pestering to the animal .

I totally agree with greenmagick , a dog is a big commitment , and there is no way I would recommend a shelter dog to anyone , who doesn´t have dog experience . Good rescue groups , where the animals are in loving foster homes , and have a family life , before they get rehomed are one thing , but an overrun state shelter , where the animals are caged up , is a whole other ball game . How can a shelter employee , no matter how dedicated , make a real , true judgement as to whether a dog is kid-friendly ?

I´ve worked with shelters and most people , when they drop off their unwanted pets will tell you anything to get you to take the dog or cat , so that is not a good place to go , especially if you don´t have the time and experience to invest in a potentially disturbed animal .

Sorry Crunchyclark , but maybe you are also better off without a dog , since from reading your post , dogs must put up with everything the kids do to them and if they don´t fit the scheme perfectly , they got to go . Well , they are not a piece of replaceable furniture , they are JUST AS IMPORTANT as people and they have the right to a good home .

If one of your kids doesn´t trun out the way you expect , do you send it back as well ?

So , my advice , find a good , reputable trainer , or get in touch with a no-kill shelter , or rescue group , there are plenty online willing to even take mixed breeds . But for the poor animal´s sake , don´t wait too long . !

If you do decide to put in the time to train and keep it , kudos to you , remember , they are SOOO worth it !!!


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#23 of 43 Old 02-22-2011, 06:17 AM
 
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I volunteer with a rescue.  I agree that this dog might work out, but only if you are willing to work with a trainer and put some serious time and effort into the dog, which is  what anyone who adopts any dog should be willing to do.  Border collies aren't for the faint of heart.   They can be great dogs, but they can also be a lot of work.  They are very smart, which personally is not  a feature I find desirable for my family's pets.  smile.gif

 

Craigs List is not the way to rehome a dog, period.  The rescue I volunteer with goes to great lengths to screen out people who aren't suitable owners and people who get dogs for the sake of selling them to research labs.  They work to match dogs with the right families.    You would be horrified to learn what some people do to pets.  Be aware that unless the shelter where you got this dog is a no-kill shelter, chances are excellent that the dog will be euthanized should you take it back there.

 

If I were in your shoes, I would contact your local rescue groups.  If there is a border collie rescue, that's a good place to start.  Rescues are overwhelmed right now because of the economy.  What they may ask you to do is for you to serve as the dog's foster until it can be placed, because most rescues are short of foster homes, and ask this of owner surrenders.  That means that the rescue can make decisions about the dog, but it will live with you.  You may have to take the dog to clinics for meeting potential adopters on a routine basis.  You may have to pay a fee.  But eventually the dog will go to the right home.

 

Be prepared that you might get a little attitude.  The rescue that I'm involved with has people who are incredibly dedicated, spends tons of their own money and time on dogs, and are tireless advocates.  Personally, I find some of them more than a little rigid.  It sounds to me like you didn't think this decision to get the dog out well, and you didn't do enough research.  But that's water over the bridge at this point.  People's circumstances change and sometimes people just make mistakes.  I don't think they should be demonized.  But, if you want the rescue to find a good home for this dog, you may need to have a bit of a thick skin and be willing to work with them.

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#24 of 43 Old 02-22-2011, 09:55 AM
 
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Our family has had a lot of foster dogs and I find that the best thing to begin incorporating a new dog into our family, regardless of its background, it to get it on a regular exercise routine. I put the kids in the double stroller and walk the dogs to the coffee shop every morning, weather permitting.

 

I have a Springer on my bike, which is a spring that attaches under the seat so your dog can run with your bike. Even my pit bull could not throw off my balance when she bolted to the side. A border collie would love it. Most dogs learn within minutes to watch the front tire so you hardly have to give them any commands. I run 2 dogs and pull the kids in the trailer and we all love it! Plus, the fast dogs help me pull. :P http://www.springeramerica.com/

 

I don't know about The Dog Whisperer's other techniques, but I've had great luck with his leash training/pack walk advice. We get exercise and it establishes me as the pack leader. I've seen very consistent, extremely fast results with this. He advices that, to leash train, you don't use verbal commands. Rather, when the dog walks ahead of you, you immediately make him sit and stay behind you until he is calm. When you start walking, don't say anything or pay much attention to him. You basically have a calm, assertive attitude that he will follow you where ever you go, because you are top dog and the lower dogs follow the top dogs.

 

Another thing I do is, especially during initial training, have the dog follow me everywhere I go. When I leave the room, I snap my fingers and have them follow me. When we get to the other room, I sometimes praise them and give them attention and sometimes just have them sit/stay until I go to the next room. Border collies want to be with their people all the time and should have no trouble adapting to this quickly.

 

I go through every doorway first and make sure my kids go through the door first, especially when coming in and out of the house. If the dog charges ahead, I don't say anything, I just put them on the other side of the door, make them stay and wait until I tell them to cross.

 

These are a few simple things that you could try to incorporate if you're interested in trying to work with the dog before giving her up. Sending her back to the shelter will be very traumatic for the dog. I think every time they are returned, their chances for finding a home are diminished. You didn't say much about her, but it sounds like she's not a bad dog, she just needs to understand her place in your family. I have many many more little tricks and tips I could give you if you decide to work with her. Also, even one session with a private trainer in your home could give you insight into the dog's motivations for growling.


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#25 of 43 Old 02-22-2011, 11:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by citymagnolia View Post

Our family has had a lot of foster dogs and I find that the best thing to begin incorporating a new dog into our family, regardless of its background, it to get it on a regular exercise routine. I put the kids in the double stroller and walk the dogs to the coffee shop every morning, weather permitting.

 

I have a Springer on my bike, which is a spring that attaches under the seat so your dog can run with your bike. Even my pit bull could not throw off my balance when she bolted to the side. A border collie would love it. Most dogs learn within minutes to watch the front tire so you hardly have to give them any commands. I run 2 dogs and pull the kids in the trailer and we all love it! Plus, the fast dogs help me pull. :P http://www.springeramerica.com/

 

I don't know about The Dog Whisperer's other techniques, but I've had great luck with his leash training/pack walk advice. We get exercise and it establishes me as the pack leader. I've seen very consistent, extremely fast results with this. He advices that, to leash train, you don't use verbal commands. Rather, when the dog walks ahead of you, you immediately make him sit and stay behind you until he is calm. When you start walking, don't say anything or pay much attention to him. You basically have a calm, assertive attitude that he will follow you where ever you go, because you are top dog and the lower dogs follow the top dogs.

 

Another thing I do is, especially during initial training, have the dog follow me everywhere I go. When I leave the room, I snap my fingers and have them follow me. When we get to the other room, I sometimes praise them and give them attention and sometimes just have them sit/stay until I go to the next room. Border collies want to be with their people all the time and should have no trouble adapting to this quickly.

 

I go through every doorway first and make sure my kids go through the door first, especially when coming in and out of the house. If the dog charges ahead, I don't say anything, I just put them on the other side of the door, make them stay and wait until I tell them to cross.

 

These are a few simple things that you could try to incorporate if you're interested in trying to work with the dog before giving her up. Sending her back to the shelter will be very traumatic for the dog. I think every time they are returned, their chances for finding a home are diminished. You didn't say much about her, but it sounds like she's not a bad dog, she just needs to understand her place in your family. I have many many more little tricks and tips I could give you if you decide to work with her. Also, even one session with a private trainer in your home could give you insight into the dog's motivations for growling.

Edited to add a note that Cesar Milan is generally not hugely supported in the dog training/medical world. His methods are fairly violent and controversial. The running and exercise part sounds great but I really would avoid any of his other methods. Just google some of the issues swirling around his "style" of training.
 

This is all great advice but unfortunately this is someone who is not that familiar with dogs and is a first time owner I believe. A Collie is a tough dog in the best of circumstances. Most high strung dogs are. I agree that going back to a shelter is traumatic but it clearly sounds like unfortunately the OP is not capable of handling the dog in the way that needs to be done. No amount of exercise will stop a dog from being food aggressive etc. This is coming from a person with a toddler and a dog that was returned THREE times to the shelter before we adopted her. A special dog who is sweeter than any one I've owned which has been at least one constantly my entire life.

 

I think for the safety of everyone involved getting the dog a new home would really be the best thing. I mentioned earlier that you should have signed a contract with the shelter you got the dog from and it will probably state that you need to return the dog there. If not then yes find a rescue or no kill shelter. It will be hard but patience is the key. 

If you do need to return the dog to the shelter it came from and it is a kill shelter, I am very conflicted about that, on one hand I don't think I could send a dog to it's death (which is what would happen for sure) but on the other you signed the contract. I myself probably would ignore such a contract unless it was a no kill shelter.

 

Finally I also totally agree with a PP that getting a dog "for protection" is often a disastrous reason for getting a dog period, and this is not aimed at you directly OP, something that people who are experienced with dogs and have done their homework would rarely say. Goodluck, please give another update with your progress!

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#26 of 43 Old 02-22-2011, 04:36 PM
 
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Did you read my post at all?

 

1) Dogs (any animal/pet for that matter) are NOT human and are NOT my children. I happen to have a child with Asperger's and Tourette's, and obviously I didn't return him ;)  I have farm animals and they are well cared for and they serve their purpose. I have pets and they are well cared for and they serve their purpose--companionship and/or working. I am not 'adopting' another child from the shelter. I am giving a dog a home. I find it pretty repulsive how hard-core shelter/rescue folks try to equate adopting an animal with adopting a child. We love our pets as much as the next person, but they are NOT people.

 

2) If you also read, you'll see that I've owned multiple dogs and only ONE did not fit in our household and we rehomed it. So, it is VERY possible to find a dog that WILL fit easily into your lifestyle if you just do a little thinking about your needs with a dog and spend time looking. Dogs do have a right to a good home where they fit, and if it's not mine, I feel no guilt in finding an appropriate place for them.

 

3) My kids and myself certainly don't torture our dogs/animals as you may imply, but yes they must be able to withstand being well-loved by kiddos and not growl or bite. It's very possible, and we've experienced it over and over again. If you find a dog with the right temperament and with a little basic training, you don't need to scold your children for touching the dog/food/toys or expend a lot of energy keeping the kids safe from the dog or vice versa.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tonttu View Post

Sorry Crunchyclark , but maybe you are also better off without a dog , since from reading your post , dogs must put up with everything the kids do to them and if they don´t fit the scheme perfectly , they got to go . Well , they are not a piece of replaceable furniture , they are JUST AS IMPORTANT as people and they have the right to a good home .

If one of your kids doesn´t trun out the way you expect , do you send it back as well ?

 

 


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#27 of 43 Old 02-23-2011, 12:21 PM
 
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Try kijiji, craigslist sucks, imo.  But I`d contact the shelter first and see if you can maybe trade for a younger dog or something.

 

We lost our dog tragically before Christmas and visited the shelter several times hoping the find our new pup.  But we just couldn`t feel comfortable adopting an older dog with unknown history while having 3 small children who wanted this dog to be a playmate.  They had no young dogs available at the time, plus the head gal who was showing us the dogs made me really doubt her sense and judgment when she recommended a particular dog who, just moments before, was snarling and barking viciously and would have gone for the jugular had he not been caged (a very large lab mix)!  She knew we had a 2 yr old yet she suggested he would be the perfect dog for our family- I am very familiar with dogs, her advice was ridiculous and made me completely mistrust her.  So we ended up finding a puppy from a kennel- a goldendoodle (it`s an indoor family dog) who we will be bringing home in a few weeks.  Of course the day after we put our deposit on the the doodle we found that the shelter had just got in ten 7 week old puppies who would be perfect for us!  But it`s not meant to be at this time. Hopefully in the near future we will be able to adopt a shelter pup mixed breed for our outdoor farm dog.  I just wanted to say I understand how you feel and certainly don`t judge your reaction.  Good luck! 

 

BTW, try to ignore the insults.  I too do not equate humans with animals and am quite annoyed at people who think it is paramount to evil to buy a puppy from a breeder or kennel instead of a shelter btw, my doodle was less than the shelter cost!).  I loved our dog as much as the next person, I held him in my arms as he bled on my new coat and boots and sobbed into his fur, kissing him and cuddling him as he died in the road, I cried for weeks every day after he died and still cry for him, I didn`t sleep through the night for weeks on end.  So people can stow the comments that I`m not fit to own a dog because I don`t measure up to their standards.  We made a knee jerk purchase of a golden retriever puppy shortly after our dog died and then we found out our youngest has severe allergies to foods, so we turned around 2 weeks later and rehomed the dog before we got attached to her (still grieving the loss of our first dog) - in the likely event he will end up allergic to dogs.  My dh was reacting to her high shedding as well so it was for our family`s good that we find her a new home.  I had trained her well and she was a beauty at only 11 wks, I listed her on kijiji and screened the interested parties to the ones I felt the best about, I wasn`t selling her to the highest bidder.  She ended up going to the home she was meant to be with all along- a little girl who just finished her chemo for leukemia and her parents were getting her a puppy after she got the all clear from her doctors.  Re-homes don`t always end up so picture perfect, but nor do they mean that the person giving up the animal is a heartless subhuman scum bag, incapable of caring for a pet! ;)


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#28 of 43 Old 02-23-2011, 01:15 PM
 
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Holly , I´ve read your post , very well , and I am not a rescue hardcore , I am an animal behavior specialist and I have a Masters degree in Wildlife Biology .

So , I have to inform you , that from a scientific standpoint , yes you are an animal , we all are , mamals and our official name is Homo Sapiens . We are (most of us anyway) very intelligent , but nevertheless animals .

And if you would have read my post , you would have seen that I said , an animal is not allowed to bite or be aggressive , but that´s not a black-and-white issue .

My very first cat was given up by their owners because she scratched their 2-year-old son after the parents let him play with her like she was a stuffed toy  and when she struck back in her desperation , they wanted to "get rid of the damn thing" . I am not a violent person , but the spanking that boy would have gotten from me , he would have never forgotten !

And the "aggressive" cat was the most loving , gentle and wonderful companion for me for almost 16 years  as well as my 5 kids (one of which is handicapped) anybody could have wished for and I will always have a hole in my heart , that has her shape .

When I moved back home from the US I spent a fortune bringing back all the pets I had then , worth every penny though !

They have souls , they are capable of love and emotions and they are more loyal than anything else .

If you cannot see them for the wonderful creation they are , don´t get one , for their sake as well , but yes , they are worth it .

BTW , I am not trying to beat you down , but if you really want a dog , wait until your kids are older , so they can share some of the responsibility , which will also be a great learning experience for them and get a breed , that is known for being a good family pet  .

And don´t worry about the guarding issue , every dog will normally alert you , when somebody is coming or when something is fishy around the house .

And for this one , try to find a rescue group for one of the mixes your dog is , they are usually quite willing to help you find a new owner or at least they can point you in the direction of a place where you can be helped . I believe , that there are even rescue groups , that take mixed breds . Plus , many people , who are looking for a certain trait in a dog don´t necessarily go for the purebred alone .

For example , if someone is looking for a herding dog and the instinct is strong in a Border Collie mix , they take it ! It is definitely worth a try .

Let us know , if you do find one , I am sure there are others who may be happy to know of such a place , if they need one .


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#29 of 43 Old 02-23-2011, 02:48 PM
 
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You could try petfinder free classifieds.

 

Since you have three young kids, it is going to be hard to do training.  


I adopted two huge dogs when my girls were 1 and 3, crazy, but it worked out because there was no aggression.  For me,  dog growling at a toddler for putting their arms around them would be an automatic out (if I was, because I had young kids, unable to extensive retraining).  Our dogs would never do that.  The one time we got a growl was when one of my girls accidently fell on my sleep dog and must have hit a tender spot.  

 

My dogs had serious issues, serious, we had to work thru.  But none of them were aggression.  Just doesn't work w/young kids.

 

good luck, please don't feel bad


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#30 of 43 Old 02-23-2011, 06:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all of these...very nice. 

 

The shelter is a kill shelter and they don't have a clause to return her.  Which is why I don't care to return her there.  I contacted a local humane society who is going to try and match me up with a family.  They have to pay a fee and I can choose to do a home check and then I get to decide if it's a good fit.  Someone is supposed to be calling me today.  So I'm excited to have some help in finding her a good home.  They felt she should find a home pretty quick since she's such a great dog.  Hopefully...

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