My dog has to go... :(

(46 Posts)
AllIWant85 Sun 29-Jul-12 07:31:16

I have a 4yo JRT who is my life. We got him from a rescue centre 3 years ago when I was suffering from depression and he put me back together. He was the calm influence I needed to slowly sort my head out and on those really low days he was right beside me curled up, silently supporting me.

He's always had a few issues - he had separation anxiety which we resolved with crate training, he is dog aggressive (which we sought help with) and very protective of me and the house. On the whole though he is the most loving dog in the world.

When we found out I was pregnant we knew things had to change. My DH started doing more with him and for him. We changed where he slept, we tried to teach him to calmly greet people instead of bouncing all over them and licking them. All this was going fairly well although the over excitedness was still there.

Fast forward to this week at I give birth to DS. We knew the introductions would have to be gentle and gradual. The first couple of introductions he was in a state of anxiety. He panted rapidly, cried and constantly pulled on his lead to get to the baby. The next day he was allowed a bit closer and he sniffed and licked the baby again whilst on a lead as he was too excited. Yesterday afternoon went to do the same and he sniffed and licked the babies feet and then sat near. Then all of a sudden he just lunged at DS and went to bite his head. It was only the quivk reactions of DH that stopped him. There was no batking, growling, etc. DH took him back to his bed and resettled him.

We returned from the hospital on Thursday, the dog was brought home Friday morning. He hasn't eatrn since then, has been very agitated and is farting like a troooer, all things he never normally does. He is quite obviously unhappy. My DH took DS out yesterday and I spent some time with the dog and it was lovely.

Now though, after the incident, DH says he has to go. He says we will never be able to trust him and how would we live with ourselves if he injured DS. I think deep down I know he's right, I can't fully trust that he wouldn't attack. I also know its no life for him to keep him locked away most of the day.

I haven't stopped crying. I don't want him to go, he is like a child to me and I owe him my sanity, my life. I feel guilty for even considering returning him, I want my dog. I don't know what I hope to achieve from this post, I guess it helps to write things down. Please don't flame me, I am feeling very fragile at the moment.

sad sad sad

TooImmatureTurtleDoves Mon 30-Jul-12 11:50:16

OP, my dog behaved in a similar way - he's a whippet-Staffie cross, first day DD came home, she cried and he jumped up beside me and got hold of the foot of her babygro (which luckily was a bit big). We all shouted at once, which I know isn't good, (me, Mum, DSis) and Mum pulled him off. He then displayed fear behaviour - lots of high-pitched barking or crying. I was devastated - thought he'd have to go, petrified he would hurt DD.

We put his crate in our room so he could hear DD cry without being able to do anything, and he settled surprisingly quickly at night. A dog behaviourist suggested that we make positive associations with DD's noises. She said not to feed him a main meal, but instead to get some really good treats (cheese or chicken worked best - he completely ignored dog treats) and train him while DD was crying, while making a huge fuss of him. It really did work, and quite quickly. As soon as she made a noise and/or he got agitated, someone would get up and say 'X, time for treats! What a good dog!', give him something and then start making him sit/lie down/shake paws/etc. It worked on 2 levels - the food being one, but it also gave his brain something to do apart from worrying about the baby.

It was very, very time-consuming. DH or Mum had to be doing it constantly for the first week. Luckily Mum was staying for a week and we had a dogwalker who took him out for long walks, so at least he was getting plenty of exercise and was out of the house for 2 or 3 hours and the pressure was off.

Now, 4 months down the line, I can leave DD on her mat without worrying. The dog tries to lick her dry when she comes out of the bath and is completely relaxed. My only worry is that he's still a clumsy clot without much awareness of where he's putting his feet, so I need to watch out in case he stands on her.

Good luck, OP - PM me if you want any more details.

LookBehindYou Mon 30-Jul-12 11:58:06

123, no flaming from me. It was a tough thing to have to do.

AllIWant85 Mon 30-Jul-12 19:47:04

Well we have managed to contact a behaviourist today who is coming to assess our situation.

I am hoping we can reach some resolution. I know it's going to be hard work but my DH supports me in this as he also doesn't want to get rid of the dog.

I just hope it works.

EasyToEatTiger Mon 30-Jul-12 20:17:39

Well done AllIWant. I hope the behaviourist is helpful. It can be quite difficult to find someone to work with. Please keep us updated!

Lucyellensmum99 Tue 31-Jul-12 20:37:01

How did it go today?

AllIWant85 Wed 01-Aug-12 09:48:53

It's today that she is coming. Bit nervous really but she seemed very optimistic on the phone.

Our friend who is currently looking after the dog is coming over with him later on, I can't wait to see him, it's amazing how much I've missed him. smile

oldqueenie Wed 01-Aug-12 22:41:47

hope it was helpful op. I do understand why you are so concerned about all this but please remember whole household has been turned upside down by all this. Sorry to read that you and the baby had a difficult birth too, that won't have helped in terms of how anxious and stressed you must feel. dogs (especially terriers?) are incredibly sensitive as you know to moods and tensions and if your dog is very bonded with you he is probably badly affected by all this.... all I'm trying to say is that things will settle down for all of you. good luck with adifficult situation / decision. ooh, and CONGRATULATIONS!

AllIWant85 Thu 02-Aug-12 18:08:44

Well the behaviourist was very good. She has given us an in depth program to follow to retrain him and after observing him thinks his behaviour is down to anxiety and not aggression.

He is home today and it's been ok although he injured his paw overnight so has been pretty subdued anyway today as he's feeling sorry for himself. He's only displayed anxious behaviours when the baby has cried.

It's going to be very hard work, especially next week when DH returns to work but I really want to make it work.

D0oinMeCleanin Thu 02-Aug-12 18:18:22

Yay. I'm glad you found her helpful. Anxiety is much easier to solve than out and out aggression, but also more common. Dogs being aggressive towards people for the sake of aggression/dominance/whatever is extremely rare.

I'm so glad you feel more positive now. Training anxious dogs is hard but so rewarding. If you're anything like me you will cry with pride when you realise he 'gets it' blush

Good luck with it and remember we are here to advise/listen when you need us.

Lucyellensmum99 Thu 02-Aug-12 18:25:21

I really admire you, so pleased you are giving your dog a chance to settle, im SURE it will work out and he and your baby will grow up together and be the best of friends.

It will be hard work but it will get easier and easier. All the precautions you will be taking will be what anyone with a dog and a baby will do sensibly anyway, by the time your baby is toddling the dog will be used to him and it will all be good.

I agree with oldqueenie - terriers really are very sensitive, my JRTx knows if i am stressed and his whole demeanour changes, so please try and train yourself to be confident and calm. The reason he is anxious when the baby cries is because as a new parent, it makes you anxious when your baby cries, that will pass. I am sure you will have been given lots of great advice from the behaviourist - i wish you the very best of luck, and respect for trying so hard to make it work.

AllIWant85 Thu 02-Aug-12 18:31:01

Thank you,the support here is what spurred me on to hold my ground and not give in.

The training seems quite alien to me at the moment but I've spoilt him so much that it will do. No more duvets in beds (he uses them for forraging), no more soft or squeaky toys (confusion with baby toys), no more going upstairs, sleeping in crate in the kitchen, no jumping on furniture, only showing affection when calm.

We also have to increase his daily walks. Today that's already gone to pot because the poor thing is walking on 3 legs. The exercise will be hard as it'll only be me home next week and recovery is currently ongoing from the birth and SPD.

I guess this is all stuff I'm going to have to figure out!

If you don't mind me asking, why no duvets in beds? What on earth is he doing with them? grin

Would it be worth using a professional dog walker to help up the exercise while DH is away?

RedwingS Thu 02-Aug-12 18:58:52

That's great news! I'm so glad to hear that the behaviourist was helpful. The training will be hard work at times, but so worth it in the end. The dog might find it hard at first too, but he'll get used to the new rules. Like Dooin said, I bet one day you will cry with pride and happiness at it all working out.

Maybe a friend or relative could help with the dog walking next week?

I hope you can still find time to rest and take care of yourself with all this going on. Good luck with it all, and come back and let us know how it's going.

D0oinMeCleanin Thu 02-Aug-12 20:53:55

I'm a meanie. I stop the kids having the squeaky toys and if they bring balls home they must accept that they will get popped.

Balls, squeakies and tug toys for the dogs, but they're all kept in a box and only brought out when I want them to play, otherwise they harass guests to play with them for hours and hours on end. No cuddly toys for the dogs, to stop confusion.

funkyhat Thu 02-Aug-12 22:16:56

I'm a volunteer dog walker with the Cinnamon Trust, (http://www.cinnamon.org.uk/) and have had references checked and been CAB checked. I love walking dogs and would be more than happy to help you out if you're in my area. PM me if you'd be interested. Good Luck with it all - life is tough enough with a new baby on the scene without having to cope with re-training a dog too. As someone else said, we're all here to support you. smile

Lucyellensmum99 Thu 02-Aug-12 22:19:03

funky, that is such a lovely thing to do x

AllIWant85 Fri 03-Aug-12 10:48:18

Thank you funky that is a lovely offer, I am near Plymouth so probably a long way away but I really appreciate your generousity.

Friends and family either work or are unable/unwilling to take him out which I can understand as he is a handful.

I did think of hiring a dog walker but the cheapest I found was £20 for 1 hour walk. If I used that it would be £100 per week (Mon-Fri, DH home weekend) and I'm only earning £135 per week (SMP) so it's not really viable.

With the duvets, he would bury,dig up, re-bury and pounce on toys in them. Very funny to watch and knackering for the dog but the behaviourist feels it is obsessive behaviour and needs to stop.

We had a successful first night. He slept downstairs with no whining which is a first! My house does now feel like a prison though, there are always 2 stairgates between the baby and the dog just in case! What with the leads attached to the gates so he can have controlled access to rooms when we are in there, it's quite an odd setup at the moment!

GhostShip Sat 04-Aug-12 13:10:05

I feel so so sorry for you.

Please don't give up on your dog. You've been given some fantastic advice in this thread, particularly from doingmecleaning.

Wolfiefan Sat 04-Aug-12 13:14:36

Glad you have got some help OP. Your dog is lucky to have you. Could cinnamon (or another charity) help a bit with walks? I'd love to help but we are a good way from you.
Anyone else near Plymouth?!

booboo247 Tue 07-Aug-12 02:03:16

In admiration x

Charliesmum09 Thu 09-Aug-12 17:44:50

123caughtaflea having just read your post I know it's not just me that has had the decision to rehome a dog, I am mid way through rehoming my gsd I started a thread on doghouse, I have been slated quite a bit but I did expect to be as my initial post on here was knee jerk, my gsd was my child before my little one arrived 3 years ago but she bit him the other evening I can't take a risk and so am rehoming her having read the posts, initially I thought all I would be able to do was pts I now know this isn't the case.
As for the crying my eyes are red raw this isn't a decision you will have taken lightly and neither have I.

Op to echo the words of123caughtaflea I wish you the very best of luck xx

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