My heart is breaking, am I making the right decision? (very long)

(78 Posts)
TakingTheStairs Wed 25-Sep-13 14:36:37

Please be gentle, as I am very upset and have been crying for days but am genuinely trying to do the right thing for my dog.

His history
My DH and I rehomed a dog in Feb. At that stage he was just under 3 years old and we were his third home.
We have been told by several sources that know the dog, that he was very very badly treated in home number 1. (breeders)
Home number 2 said they bought aged about 1/1.5 him primarily to get him out of the awful situation but they also bought him as a Sire as he was the "perfect example of his breed"
After they had had him about a year, DH and I called them saying that we didn't want a puppy but we were looking to re home that particular breed and if they knew of any dogs needing homes to please let us know. They said they had bought him as a Sire but they had had no luck with him for over a year and as they were a working kennels, they couldn't just keep pets.
I asked all sort of questions before we went to meet him any issues/level of training etc. We were told he had issues previously but he was mainly fine. There were a few red flags that I didn't realise we red flags at the time but we took him and brought him home.

With us
It took him over two weeks to get used to my DH, he'd be fine with him in the evening and the next morning would growl at him as if he'd forgotten him. Fine, we expected a settling in period. But it seems that he doesn't trust any men and is only okay with my DH as we made sure he fed him and did half the walks so he would associate good things with him.

But basically, what has come out over the past 7 months is that he has a lot of issues. We have tried so hard to work with him. He has had one on one training, group adolescent classes, a big session with a behaviourist and he has a professional walker/ trainer that he goes out with every day (The behaviourist we took him to said she hadn't seen anyone as nervous as him for years and he had really bad fear aggression).

DH and I have tried to do everything these professionals tell us as I know so much of the time the issue is with the owners doing the wrong thing.

He is a guarder, a herder and he bites. He is muzzled now when we go out but he has nipped or tried to nip SO many times. Thankfully no 'proper' bites. Sometimes when he felt threatened which I understand (but don't think is acceptable, no matter the reasoning) but sometimes with no logic.
He has fear aggression and over attachment to me. Our cleaner says he is lovely with her when I'm not there, but if I'm home he is defensive and barky at her.
The dog walker has mainly no issues with him on his walks.
He has great recall, is so lovable and clever, but unless he is in his comfort zone of being at home with just DH and I he really is at the limit of his coping levels.
We can't bring him anywhere, we can't have anyone to the house, despite months of training and working on that. If anyone comes over we have to have them basically sit down and not move for fear of him freaking and biting. Keeping him muzzled in the house isn't the answer as he would still freak and scare people.
His walker/trainer came over at our request to have a big long chat about his behaviour on Sunday and said that she thinks we needs to rehome him. I'm 7 months pregnant and we genuinely think that the baby is going to tip him over the edge with his coping levels. He needs constant vigilance as it is, and when the baby comes he is going to be more unstable when we are going to have less time to work with him.
we have tried so so so hard with him and we love him SO much, but we just can't seem to provide the right environment for him.
I don't think he should have been re homed with us in the first place tbh, it is not the right fit, but he was and we are trying to deal with the situation the best we can.
I love him and we have tried so hard but we are obviously not the right environment for him.
His vet and his walker both say that he needs to be rehomed with a professional: a behavourist or a trainer that is willing to take him on long term as a project, but the damage that was done to him when he was young is so deep that it may not be able to be reversed.
The easy option would be to send him back to the breeder that we got him from, but we were certainly not given the whole story when we got him and I don't trust her not to pass him on to another unsuspecting family which is not fair on them and certainly not fair on him

I am so sad about the whole situation and am struggling not to cry as I type this. I just want to do the best thing for him. It's not that our baby is taking precedence, it's that we already can't trust him and we are worried the baby will push him over the edge. If we had another 6 months to work with him we would. He has improved since we got him but not enough. Even his trainer says the progress is too slow.

We are doing the right thing aren't we?

TakingTheStairs Fri 27-Sep-13 18:37:48

Thank you for sharing that QuietTiger I appreciate it

ChippingInNeedsSleepAndCoffee Sat 28-Sep-13 10:54:21

It's so hard isn't it. So many valid but conflicting views - and I find myself agreeing with most of them sad

I would say though, that you have a few months until your baby is crawling to get things sorted out... so you don't have to decide about anything for now, just keep looking and researching your options.

Please don't be pressured by your dog walker, she isn't prepared to take him on permanently, so yes, hear what she has to say - but it isn't her decision, you owe her nothing. This is hard enough without the pressure from her for you to find someone willing to do that which she isn't.

Big old hugs for you, DH & woofa x

TakingTheStairs Sat 28-Sep-13 15:14:49

Thank you x

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