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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am forcing back tears, I really don't know what to do, but DH wants to bring our dog to a shelter and I have to say, I'm having a hard time coming up with any reasons not to.<br><br>
We have totally failed this dog.<br><br>
We got this dog a little over 3 years ago. I loved him, he was my 'baby', he went everywhere with me. Then DS was born 15mos ago... and I'm sure you've heard this story before.<br><br>
The dog is what I would call defensive-aggressive. He won't just come out of nowhere & bite you, but if you're about to do something he doesn't want (like take away spilled onions which are dangerous to him, or put him in the bathroom which is where he stays when we're gone so he doesn't destroy the house), then he will bite. He isn't violent, he's a good dog that acts out in pretty predictable ways. However, he has nipped at DS, knocked him over to get at toys, etc.<br><br>
He is a small-breed and besides the aggression, which has become gradually worse, he also won't allow us to groom him anymore. I even brought him to a groomer instead a few months back and he came back so traumatized (he hasn't been the same since) but he won't let me groom him either so I'm in a hard place there. He also has been waking me up every morning, and with a baby who still wakes constantly all night long, I feel so angry at the dog for waking me too.<br><br>
But I know we have failed him. We used to let him sleep in our bed, but we no longer allow him in the same room at night because we're afraid he'll hurt DS. We have to keep him & DS separated all day, which is a challenge because of the layout of our house & also because he wants, understandably, to be near us. He spends too much time in the yard and the bathroom and we aren't able to take him for daily walks, nor can we afford to pay someone else to. I used to spend lots of time playing with him & training him but because my DS is so high-needs, I can't do anything for even 3 minutes straight anymore. And DH plays with him outside but DH feels the dog doesn't listen to him. He does listen to me, for the most part, though, and he will even do tricks for DS like give him paw when DS asks. We can't bring him everywhere anymore though because we no longer have the lifestyle of a childless family, if that makes any sense. I also have a chronic illness so that limits my ability to do the things I'd like to do with him. There are just so many barriers to giving him the quality of life he needs & deserves.<br><br>
I needed to write this all out to organize my own thoughts & reflect on this, but I'm hoping some of you have advice for me. I know he is part of our family but I don't know if this is one of those times when I need to just 'let go' and rehome him to someone better equipped to provide for him. I am terrified he is going to hurt DS (or me or DH, but I think we could take it). I am just as terrified of giving him up. I just feel like a total failure.<br><br>
Go ahead, flame me, I deserve it. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad">
 

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nak and in a hurry, but have you tried a trainer to look at the aggression issues?
 

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First, hugs, not flames. It can be very hard balancing everything,<br><br>
However, now that you have acknowledged the problems, instead of going straight to bringing him back to the shelter, why not be a bit more proactive and look at ways to fix this. Honestly, if you bring back a dog that bites or snaps, odds are not good for him.<br><br>
I will try and write more later...dinner calls
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>greenmagick</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15421050"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">However, now that you have acknowledged the problems, instead of going straight to bringing him back to the shelter, why not be a bit more proactive and look at ways to fix this.</div>
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Well that was my plan over 6mos ago, to try to be more proactive, to come up with creative solutions, etc. When 'proactive' failed (my fault), we were about to give him to a family friend to keep him for a year or so, but we just couldn't go through with it. This was around Christmas time. Now, we are just at a loss, as he's only gotten worse.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Asparagus78</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15421021"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">but have you tried a trainer to look at the aggression issues?</div>
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Well aside from the expense of a trainer, I simply don't have the resources to follow through with it. I am assuming I can't just bring him to a session or two with a trainer and have him come home to everything exactly the same... I'd need to work with him on a daily basis, right?<br><br>
I guess what I'm getting to is, I'm all tapped out. DH is as well. We have dishes in the sink from last week and I've worn the same pair of jeans for 3 weeks straight as we haven't had a chance to do laundry. I didn't plan on having a chronic illness. I didn't plan on having an incredibly high-needs baby. I didn't plan to 'neglect' the dog but that's basically how it's turned out and I don't know where to go from here. I can't spend more time with the dog when I have to keep him separate from DS and DS is with me 24/7. I can't take him for walks when I spend half the day in bed.<br><br>
But this is what scares me:<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>greenmagick</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15421050"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Honestly, if you bring back a dog that bites or snaps, odds are not good for him.</div>
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He is not a violent dog, he is a dog in need of more attention, more stimulation, etc. I do think in the right environment he would be harmless, but I know it may be close to impossible to get him into the right place.<br><br>
I have tried to come up with creative solutions but the only thing I could come up with was getting a second dog to keep him entertained, but obviously that would be dumb of me seeing as I can't even work with one dog.<br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad">
 

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If you are done, you are done...and nothing we can say will change that.<br><br>
I do disagree however that just with some attention his aggression will disappear. I do think with behavior modification you may see a big difference, but shelters and rescues often dont have the time and resources to do extensive modification with a dog. Very few dogs are actually violent, and usually those are because of an actual health reason and cant be fixed. What your dog is doing is not harmless and is probably the exact scenario of most dog bites occuring. I dont mean this to sound harsh, but it is not simply a case of finding a home with lots of time for him to play and walk etc and his aggression will go away.<br><br>
What I mean by being proactive...for example, with the grooming. What have you done to desensitize him to it? Have you tried clicker training at all, offering lots of treats and yummy stuff while brushing, etc? For snapping over spilled onions, he needs to learn "leave it"...for the bathroom does he only go in there when you leave? Are there lots of toys and bones in there for him?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>greenmagick</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15423467"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">If you are done, you are done...and nothing we can say will change that.</div>
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If I was truly done, he'd already be at the shelter, & I wouldn't be looking for help! I am not sure, *maybe* I'm done, but maybe there are options I haven't thought of. I sure hope there are.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>greenmagick</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15423467"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I dont mean this to sound harsh, but it is not simply a case of finding a home with lots of time for him to play and walk etc and his aggression will go away.</div>
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This is exactly what I need to know. I am not by any means a dog expert. I have (had) fun training my dog etc. but I don't know a whole lot about them. The reason I say he needs more attention is because the behaviors have gotten worse just as the attention we've given him has decreased (kinda proportionately). I feel that he doesn't get enough exercise & he is just kind of depressed & acting out.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>greenmagick</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15423467"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">What I mean by being proactive...for example, with the grooming. What have you done to desensitize him to it? Have you tried clicker training at all, offering lots of treats and yummy stuff while brushing, etc? For snapping over spilled onions, he needs to learn "leave it"...for the bathroom does he only go in there when you leave? Are there lots of toys and bones in there for him?</div>
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OK for grooming I have tried in between groomings to pet him where he's most sensitive (face etc.) which he tolerates fine as long as I don't have scissors (and I don't think he's ever been hurt by the scissors so I'm not sure why he hates them). I've also tried lots of treats & praise, but he wants nothing to do with it. We can't brush him because his hair is curly/rough (just like mine, haha) & we can't use clippers because he's always been afraid of the noise they make. I have never tried a clicker with him, that's something we could try.<br>
He is not always aggressive with food, only occasionally. Most of the time he's remarkably good about it. But I cannot for the life of me fathom him listening to "leave it"... he loves food & will eat anything.<br>
As far as the bathroom... he used to be in there all day while I was at work, but now that I WAH he is only in there occasionally. Well actually, we have mostly given up on that & just let him run the house while we're gone. He's gotten better about not destroying stuff in our absence, but I still don't feel comfortable leaving him to roan all night so he spends the night in the bathroom as well (about 6 or 7 hours, and he freaks if we sleep in). The bathroom is pretty large, one of the bigger rooms in our house, and I do leave a couple toys in there but he just sleeps in there so I don't always leave the toys. The other problem with toys in general is that he destroys almost all of them & it's dangerous for DS to have all the pieces hanging around so we can't leave toys hanging around any more unless we're playing with him.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I think I should also clarify that he isn't aggressive on a daily basis. He has bit me twice (that I can remember), once about a year ago & once last night, neither broke skin but yeah, it hurt. He nipped at DS a few times but mostly because DS was pulling at his fur or something (which of course we don't allow but he's 1, sometimes even if I'm right there with my hand on his I can't prevent it). DH however says that he has bit him multiple times (and I know it drew a bit of blood at least once), but he only told me this last night after he bit me. When he was younger he nipped a lot and had the sharp baby teeth but it was playful nipping.<br><br>
Does it sound like he's dangerous from what I've described? Do all dogs react like this when they're feeling defensive, or is it a sign of a more serious problem??
 

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All dogs do have a bite threshold...meaning all dogs will bite if pushed far enough. However, it is not acceptable for a dog to bite over daily occurences, like brushing, taking food, being put in the bathroom etc. My current dogs have never ever bitten me, and they shouldnt ever. I think often toy dogs get ignored or kind of an amused response to biting...but imagine if someone else was telling your same story but the dog was a mastiff, or a rottweiler. Yes, a small dog doesnt usually do as much damage, but the initial response by the dog, and the fact that they are biting is still a big problem.<br><br>
If you are willing to try some more things, I, and I am sure others, am willing to try and help you come up with some things. I am by no means an expert, just really enjoy learning about behavior and training<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink"> Honestly, I know you said money is tight, but your best bet is to get a qualified behaviorist involved.<br><br>
A quick example of something you could do with the clicker...first you have to load the clicker (click, give super yummy treat, repeat over and over til dog gets click=treat). Then do something like just show the dog the brush, click treat when he looks at it. Do this for awhile...then wait til he actually touches the brush with his nose or paw etc....click treat. Then move on to touching him with the brush, click treat. on and on. Each step is going to take different amounts of time...so you will have to go at your dogs pace. If he starts to growl, pull away, etc you went to fast, go back a step.<br><br>
For leave it, yes, even very food motivated dogs can learn it<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
Check out websites like dogstardaily.com and flyingdogpress. there are others as well, but those both have a lot of great articles that can give you some insight
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>crunchy_mommy</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15423618"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">If I was truly done, he'd already be at the shelter, & I wouldn't be looking for help! I am not sure, *maybe* I'm done, but maybe there are options I haven't thought of. I sure hope there are.</div>
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The thing is, you have to be committed 100%. And you have to acknowledge that what you're doing now is not working, but actually making things worse. By your own admission. You CAN over come a lot of the problems you're talking about on a budget, (ie, not hiring a trainer or BCVB), but it's going to require doing things much differently than you are now.<br><br>
I can really relate to your situation though. I have 4 dogs (one is a challenge). I also had really bad PPD (which I see now in hind sight). I really disliked my dogs, and my newest dog at the time, our third, my second jack russell, was only 5 months old when I found out I was pregnant. She really got short changed in the training/socializing department. It was a struggle to do the things I new were necessary to keep them sane. Not just happy and content, but <i>sane</i>. We had issues with Jersey chewing things (like the wall one time), and Rhino, who was always weird before, got even worse and developed separation anxiety.<br><br>
I also have a chronic pain. Some days I can't walk too well, and my hands are very sore. I have very poor strength in my hands lately which makes walking them difficult. I HAVE to rely on good training to make life manageable.<br><br>
So I can totally relate to having a baby, being tired, being sore, and having a pain in the arse dog that you have to force yourself to work with. The decision you have to make is this - do you WANT to make living with this dog work? I can tell you all sorts of things that helped me, but you have to really decide whether or not you want to do it. I was committed to my dogs and knew that I was in a funk and I pulled through. Giving them up wasn't ever really an option for me, the problem was mine and I knew that. I really cleaned myself up first before I even started to think about them.<br><br>
I will tell you that your dog absolutely needs more exercise and stimulation. Those can only come from you. That's going to be paramount in helping him. If that's physically impossible for you right now than you need to determine if his behavior getting worse is worth your relationship with him while you wait for your baby to get older so it frees you up mentally and physically so you can put the time in with the dog.<br><br>
I can also tell you that your dog CAN learn the "leave it" command, and his motivation for food will be what makes it so easy to teach him.<br><br>
I will also tell you that training and working with him can make a huge difference with as little as 10-15 minutes a day. Which is possible to do while sitting on the sofa. The key is going to be consistency when you are not actively training.<br><br>
This is all do-able, but only if you make the commitment to do so. For me, I required gritting my teeth through pain and fatigue to make sure the dogs got a good run, at least with a tennis ball in the back yard while I sat on the steps if I couldn't actually walk them. (Do you have stairs in your house? You can sit on a step and throw toys up and down the stairs.. great exercise.)<br><br>
At this point I think you're asking questions that only you can answer. The only crappy part about this is the fate of the dog if you decide you can't make the investment. Dogs with behavioral problems should not, in my opinion, be surrendered to shelters. I am also pretty against re-homing dogs with a known bite history into private homes, but I think it's better than surrendering it to a shelter. It's like selling a car that has no breaks and watching the buyer get behind the wheel and drive away.<br><br>
If you were to rehome this dog you have to be very diligent about finding the right home for him, and it might take a while. Then you're back to living with him in the mean time.<br><br>
I can't flame you. I've been exactly where are you. But I will be totally, honestly, 100% realistic. You CAN make this work. But it's going to require effort on your part. Between two decent walks per day and one or two 10-15 minute training sessions, you should except to spend an hour per day working with him. I think that is probably the bare minimum for a dog with issues.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"> I'm stuck. I'm just paralyzed by this decision, and I know I need to make it.<br><br>
I know in my heart what I WANT to do & I know in my mind what I CAN do and those 2 just don't match up. UGHHHHHHHHHHhhhhh I'm so frustrated with myself right now.<br><br>
And I agree that giving him to a shelter would be basically a death sentence and finding another home for him would be very very hard & has its own set of issues.<br><br>
I do sit on the steps and throw him a ball... although inevitably he & my DS end up fighting over it so we have to stop so no one gets hurt. I don't think there's any way I could bring him on 2 walks a day. At most I could probably manage 3 walks a WEEK. I can work on training him in a couple 5-minute intervals during the day. I'm just not sure that this will be enough to make a difference (and make it worth the tremendous effort on my part even to do less than the minimum).<br><br>
I can't ask DH to take on any more, he has taken on running the whole house and is struggling with that. I can't get away from DS, this kid is always in my arms, he naps in my lap, there IS not time away from him to work with the dog 1-on-1.<br><br>
I want to help him, but I want to be realistic too.<br><br>
I have a doctor's appt later today & I'm hoping for some kind of new treatment plan or something, maybe that will make a difference.<br><br>
*sigh* This is one of the worst decisions ever for me.
 

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Having a baby and a dog is so hard. If you do decide to rehome him, can you find a breed rescue group? Sometimes they have more resources. Good Luck! HUGS.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
That's a good idea, though he is a mix... I think I will ask DH to at least look into rehoming options. Maybe that will help us decide. If we are able to find somewhere/someone that can truly work with him & can give him the home he deserves, it might make it easier to give him up. If the options are all scary & terrible, it might push us beyond our limits to make it work no matter the toll it takes on us. I'm afraid that just by making some calls, it means I'm giving up on him, but I can't make a good decision without that information.
 

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sorry if this is a silly question, but do you not use a carrier with you child? That is the only way I could get things done when they were younger, as both of mine were in arms babes as well. I am sure the neighbors used to get a kick out of me in the front yard wearing my son in the mei tai (usually nursing, but they couldnt tell that <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1"> ) pushing my daughter in the swing, and kicking the ball for the dog lol<br><br>
and playing fetch, why is your child allowed to play with the same ball? I mean can you get two and have one for him and one for the dog?<br><br>
Again, I dont mean this to sound snarky...but if you want this to work, commit to a plan and dont let little issues (and I am NOT talking about your health etc but about things like the ball issue) get in the way.<br><br>
Fitting in 5 minute training session throughout the day can make a big difference...implement NILIF, play hide and seek with both the dog and your child, teach tricks, etc. Is your baby old enough to feed treats? These are all things you can do fairly easily even just from the couch or sitting on the floor.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>greenmagick</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15426715"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">sorry if this is a silly question, but do you not use a carrier with you child? That is the only way I could get things done when they were younger, as both of mine were in arms babes as well. I am sure the neighbors used to get a kick out of me in the front yard wearing my son in the mei tai (usually nursing, but they couldnt tell that <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1"> ) pushing my daughter in the swing, and kicking the ball for the dog lol<br><br>
and playing fetch, why is your child allowed to play with the same ball? I mean can you get two and have one for him and one for the dog?</div>
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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> Well I toss the ball for the dog & they both go after it. I toss another ball for the baby and they both go after it. I give them each their own stick but they always want each others'. They constantly are fighting for the same thing (even when other things are available) and I usually end up just throwing the ball or the stick out of the yard before someone gest hurt. And yes, I wear DS sometimes, but most often he wants to walk around for a minute, come sit in my lap, walk around another 2 minutes, then wants me to carry him, etc. He wouldn't stay content in the carrier for more than 3 minutes unless we're out somewhere.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>greenmagick</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15426715"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Again, I dont mean this to sound snarky...but if you want this to work, commit to a plan and dont let little issues (and I am NOT talking about your health etc but about things like the ball issue) get in the way.<br><br>
Fitting in 5 minute training session throughout the day can make a big difference...implement NILIF, play hide and seek with both the dog and your child, teach tricks, etc. Is your baby old enough to feed treats? These are all things you can do fairly easily even just from the couch or sitting on the floor.</div>
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I know it probably sounds like I'm making 101 excuses. It's been a rough week and I've been way stressed out so every little thing seems like a major obstacle right now. The big issues are so overwhelming that every other little issue just seems like another mountain to climb. But I will totally take your point to heart, I know what you're saying.<br>
DS does give the dog treats and also gives him his dinner (and asks for "paw" which is so cute coming from a 15mo and even cuter when the dog obliges!) I guess we DO do quite a few little things like that throughout the day, but I really need to work with him a lot more. Definitely involving DS in the training process could work, he is still so young but maybe if DH helped too we could get somewhere. I think the fear (of the dog suddenly going crazy & lashing out at us, particularly DS) is the biggest reason I've been feeling so hesitant.<br><br>
ETA: Please feel free to call me out on all my 'excuses' etc., sometimes a good kick in the butt, a good dose of reality, brings me back to my senses. I promise I won't take it as snarky. I want help.
 

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Just popping in to give a few ideas on how to stimulate your dog during the day with little effort:<br><br>
Put you son on a piece of furniture and have him throw the dog's ball. Even if the dog brings it back to you, hand the ball to your son to throw. That way both feel like they are participating.<br><br>
Give your son a dog treat and help him hide it in a room. Then give your dog the command "find it". Start very simply (ie treat on the floor) and eventually work up to harder spots. When your son is older you can have him hide with the treat and give the command "find DS!" That one is still a favourite with my dog and 5 yo.<br><br>
Help your son take the dog for a "walk" around the house. Put the leash on and help them toddle on an adventure.<br><br>
One thing that I would recommend is to make it very clear on whose toys are whose. The only time my son can touch the dog's toys is when they are playing together and the dog is NEVER allowed to play with my son's stuff.<br><br>
HTH
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thank you for the ideas!! He could probably hide the treat. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> He tries playing fetch with the dog but he doesn't quite get the 'letting go' part of throwing yet. He also is at that stage where EVERYTHING is his and I simply can't keep him from playing with the dog's toys if he comes across them. But I think keeping them tucked away & only taking them out for playtime might minimize that, though it means the dog has less access to his toys. He does hold the leash from his carriage sometimes if we all go for a walk, but I never thought to try it in the house.
 

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<div style="font-style:italic;">ETA: Please feel free to call me out on all my 'excuses' etc., sometimes a good kick in the butt, a good dose of reality, brings me back to my senses. I promise I won't take it as snarky. I want help.</div>
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Ok. Don't shoot the messenger though. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/orngtongue.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Stick Out Tongue"><br><br>
It sounds like you're looking for permission to get rid of your dog. A lot of "yeah buts". You have A LOT of wiggle room if you want to make this work, and as someone who has been in your position with 2 more dogs, it's totally do-able. IF you want to do it. If you don't, own it and find the solution from there. But honestly, I'm not really motivated to take the time to outline things that can help when I'm not entirely sure you even want to do it.<br><br>
I'm not going to tell you it's Ok to get rid of your dog. I understand why people do it and sometimes it's best for the dog. But I'm not going to lie, I think it's the easy way out and would only really condone it if I thought the dog would suffer irreparably if it stayed where he is. I don't think he will. He doesn't sound like a loose canon, as you're painting him to be (though I really can't make that call over the internet). He sounds like a dog in need of some attention, training, and exercise. No, it might not be EASY, but quite honestly, that's the deal you made when you took an animal into your home that has a 15 year life span. Sometimes life happens. We have to deal with it. Now you know when this dog dies (hopefully of old age in YOUR home) not to get another one because of the time and commitment. Lesson learned.<br><br>
You asked. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment">
 

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It sounds like you are mostly convinced and ready to let go of your dog and just need someone to tell you that it's okay. And you know what? It IS okay. Kids change our lives drastically and if you are unable to really give this dog a home that he deserves then perhaps by giving him up you will be giving him a chance for a better home. I have a lot of compassion because this is sort of similar to what happened to me after I had my son and I ended up needing let go of my two cats due a big move that was coming up for us. I STRESSED about it hardcore for months. I just couldnt bare to give them up to a shelter where they would either get put down or go to a home that wasnt good for them. I ended up putting the word out and for months no one wanted them but at the last minute (the day i was going to take them to the shelter!) my neighbor agreed to take them. Once you give up your animal you no longer have any control over how their experience will be. Unfortunately I lost one of cats due to her being let outside where there were coyotes. Her new owner just didnt really "get it" about owning cats. I am a huge believer in taking full responsibility for your animals if you chose to have pets but sometimes circumstances just dont allow you to move forward with them. My cats were MY LIFE before my son and I never thought I would let a move force me to let them go but I just had no choice. I have shed many many tears over my cats and still miss them.<br><br>
I know this is such a hard hard decision. put the word out to your community (craigslist etc) and be honest about his biting tendencies. You may just find the perfect fit. In the meantime, keep finding ways to make it work. You may just need to recommit yourself to your dog...invite him back into the family. It sounds like you have already disconnected from him and this could be a reason why he is being rowdy. Try harder to take him for walks and get some play time in but also keep putting the word out. The right answer will reveal itself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Nooo I'm not asking you all to tell me it's OK to give him up, I'm asking you to convince me not to. I think for the most part you all have. JonahRoo, you are right that I have disconnected from him a lot. I feel closer to my sister's dogs than to my own. I'm just scared, is all. I am afraid that I'll keep him but he'll go nuts one day & hurt my son. I don't think that's likely. I don't think he's a 'violent' dog (though as a pp said, if he was a big rotweiler or something, I'd be more inclinced to label him as violent). It's hard not to be scared though when you have a very young child who doesn't listen to 'no' yet.<br><br>
I am not going to make up my mind about this right now. I have been incredibly sick & depressed this week, and also stressed, and I don't think it's right to make a life-altering decision in this frame of mind. For now, I'm going to keep him. For now, I'm going to try to reconnect with him, spend a few extra minutes a day with him, etc. He's also due for his shots so I'm going to take the opportunity to see if the vet can make sure there aren't underlying medical issues contributing to his aggression (though I don't think that's the case). I'm not ready to 'spread the word' but I will have DH make a few calls just to understand the options around here. North-of-60, you're right, life happens, and right now I'm feeling what's happened in my life is just so crappy & so unfair. I don't think getting rid of my dog will 'fix' that, it may cut down on one source of stress but there are so many others. I am going to try, for now, but keep an open mind. We're also going on vacation soon so maybe a short 'break' from him will remind me how much I miss him when he's not around.<br><br>
*sigh* I'm sorry to have unloaded so much on you all & I appreciate all your insights. Thank you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Well we tried to make it work.<br><br>
It's just not working. The constant supervision & living in fear is so stressful & draining. The dog is miserable, he's not getting his needs met and he hates being separated from us.<br><br>
I'm bringing him to the shelter in less than 4 hours. I cannot stop bawling.<br><br>
It's a no-kill shelter, and last year they had a 97% adoption rate. So I am hopeful that he will have a better life. We're lucky they have room for him. But I feel so horrible that we have failed this dog.<br><br>
DH & I cried all night. I had nightmares and barely slept. DH slept out on the couch with the dog so he could have one last night sleeping at someone's feet. I have been bawling all morning long.<br><br>
We got his stuff together... all his toys and his blanket and his food and meds... we're going to leave some money with the shelter to help in his care... I hope he gets adopted quickly. He is going to hate being there, it's breaking my heart.<br><br>
I know this is the best thing for him & for our family. I know staying in this current situation will just lead him to feel more depressed & likely more aggressive. Maybe another family could have better met his needs... maybe in another family he could have stayed forever. We are limited. We just can't do it. I hate myself so much right now.<br><br>
This is the hardest thing I've ever had to do. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/mecry.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="crying">
 
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