Can you just be temperamentally incompatible with a dog?

(62 Posts)

We have had a rescue dog since September 2013. Did lots of research before we got her, took our time etc. Thought we had the right dog. Once we got her home she wasn't "the same dog" we had visited in the foster home. She was very difficult and made our lives hard and unpleasant.

Training has improved a lot of the actual problems, but I just don't like her, and I don't think I ever will. sad I am the one with primary responsibility for her, and the one at home most of the time. We live abraod where the school day is morning only, and have 3 young DC, so I will be home most of the day all the dog's life. She makes me enjoy my home less and makes me feel miserable the moment I walk up the drive.

I hate the way she jumps up and tries to walk under my feet every time I move about. I hate the fact that although she is not agressive at all with the DC she has no interest in or afinity with them - if they are ill or sad she doesn't do the doggie sympathy thing, instead she barks and tries to get between them and me, to stop me focussing on them and make me focus on her. I can now tell her to sit or put her outside - but she lacks the traits that make many dogs lovable IMO.

I enjoy walking her and don't mind feeding her (though I hate how she throws herself at the kitchen door at feeding time, and this is one we are not managing to stop). She has improved, behaviour wise, in the 5 months we've had her. But I don't like who she is sad The kids don't like her much because she doesn't seem to like them much - or rather she doesn't acknowledge they exist, adn they were so excited about getting a dog (the older 2 are 8 and 6 and old enough to interact sensibly with her, but she ignores them unless they are holding food or opening the front door...

Help! Has anyone been in this position and changed it. She's supposedly 2 years old, and certainly a young dog, I find myself thinking that she'll live the kids' whole childhoods and I will be a miserable git the whole time they are growing up becuase of my owen mistake in getting a dog, for all we thought about it for years before going for it and thought we had prepared. sad She is a mixed breed but somewhat cocker spaniel like, though finer boned. I walk her for an hour a day through forest, but she has selective hearing and when outside our property has no recall, so she is always on a lead. She responds to training well when everything is calm and quiet around her and she is in an enclosed place, but it goes out the window when there are distractions.

I wish every waking moment that we had never got a dog.

Do you ever walk with anyone else OP? You sound quite low and i wonder if finding someone else to walk with, and chat about your dog and their dog if they have one would help.

I used to live in a country where my kids only went to school in the morning - I knew very few people and spent all morning on my own and all afternoon with the kids - I think I became quite depressed without even realising it. Certainly my weight went up and I did not look forward to the start of each day.

I now love my life - I walk my dog most days with a friend who doesn't have a dog and sometimes other friends with dogs join us and we chat for an hour every day which sort of sets me up for the day, whatever I'm then doing. We often chat about dog things - it's a bit like having toddlers- chatting to others going through the same challenges, helps in little ways.

Thekitchenwitch we got her via paroshunde.

Yes she was fostered with children, that was one of our criteria! However I don't think I looked at it correctly - I watched her not react to the wild play of the 2 boys in the foster home (I have 2 boys too, and a girl) and sit calmly by the foster career (a woman)'s feet, and thought good, she's calm and doesn't get over excited by their play... but didn't think through the fact she was ignoring the kids completely and clinging close to the woman - she didn't seem anxious, just laid back, but I totally read her wrong I assume... However she lay on DD's lap (it was a hot day and we were in the garden the whole of both visits - again. perhaps that is odd on reflection...) and I thought they would bond - we had in fact gone to see a wire haired terrior, not the spaniel mix, but the foster carer recommended the one we have as being "Kinderleib" and ""brav mit Kinder" as opposed to the terrior, who had a look at us for 10 mins and rtushed about a bit, then wandered off to take refuge in his bed...

Sorry, will read and reply to the other posts a bit later, think dinner may be burning...

Grunzlewheek Mon 13-Jan-14 20:03:34

The dog I had as a child was my best friend, when I got my first dog as an adult the relationship was different, I had to be the leader/mother/dominant.

Sounds like this dog adores you, but is very insecure, if you aren't happy I guess she is picking up on that and trying to please you by being always with you, or from your point of view, under your feet.

I hope you can work something out.

Owllady Mon 13-Jan-14 20:24:22

Do you go to training with her?
If not do
It will help you bond with her better
It will improve your confidence
It will make her better trained
You will all be happier

Dogs don't babysit children. Lassie was a fictional character

Thanks for that insightful comment owllady I never knew dogs weren't babysitters, thought they were all Lassie. How patronising and off putting. I have not said a word about babysitting, simply wishing she would respond somewhat to the DC and their attempts to play with her. I have mentioned already that we have been to training and how she responded in the enclosed training field.

Terribly sorry to depress you Nutty - why do people write that on MN to show thier world weary superiority. I have said in my first post that we are making some progress with the actual behaviours, but that the problem is the dislike and lack of bond is there now.

She was hugely difficult to begin with - she barked all night, she barked if I left the room, she barked if I stood up, she hated DH (even though at the foster home she had no adverse response to him and allowed him to stroke her) she barked at him non stop when he came home the first day we had her and we worked slowly to get her to accept him, which took about 3 months. She is OK with him now. She was either not properly toilet trained when we got her or had stress incontinence or something - she would pee in the middle of the living room even with the garden door open if any adult other than DH or I were in the house, she would pee in the kitchen right in front of me each time I worked an evening, even though DH would try to let her out while I was gone and the first thing I did when I got in was to let her out and stand outside for 20 mins with her, when I was knackered and wanted to go to bed. She would bark and bark and bark and bark and bark and bark and bark every time any of us tried to go through the front door, even just to the bin. She would worm out of the front door in front of the kids and stand in front of it barking and refuse to be caught and go back inside, when I needed to take DC to school or clubs or their friends houses or to do a supermarket shop etc. She would steal food from the table with a child sitting right there, from a child's plate as he walked with it from counter to table. She was truely horrible to live with. She made us all utterly miserable. None of us wanted to come home, including my small children.

She isn't the dog the rescue club who we got her from said she was - apart from anything they said she was healthy and had a slight tummy upset from eating bird food which would pass in 24 hours, but she had uncontrollable liquid dioreah for most of the first 6 weeks we had her, til I changed her food from the one the rescue charity said she had to stay on, to kibble - that and not allowing her to eat anything else at all except rawhide have cured that.

We have trained her and dealt with a lot of the wort of the behaviour in 5 months, but I posted about the lack of bond to ask opinions on whether we might be an incompatible match. All the first people to reply helped, and gave some good ideas on looking at this differently, but thanks Nutty and owl for instead being patronising and judgemental and downright unpleasant. Won't bother next time, just in case I might depress some superiour being who knows the difference between television and reality.

Great.

Owllady Mon 13-Jan-14 21:09:55

Pardon?
I am posting off my son's tablet. I wasn't being judgemental at all!
The lassie thing was a joke sad

Owllady Mon 13-Jan-14 21:11:09

I am sorry btw. And I wish I was a superior being grin

Oh sorry then Owl really. This is really getting to me. I thought I was happy 5 months ago but I am so incredibly miserable since we've had this dog, I snap at the kids, I don't want to be in my own house, when I am I don't want to get off the sofa because if I do she jumps up instantly (if I just sit on the sofa like a lump of lard she lies contentedly in her bed a few feet away). It was Nutty not you who wrote "your post depresses me" or some such - that is where the note of world weary judgemental superiority kicked in. As you were joking I have clearly lost my sense of humour.

I guess it's similar to having a really difficult baby who cries a lot, doesn't smile much, has health needs etc, especially with the sleep deprivation you had at the start. In those circumstances mums often have problems with bonding and that's a human baby, so no wonder you're struggling to bond with her!

I think that as these problems gradually get resolved through training and her getting used to the family, you will find yourself growing more fond of her. Be kind to yourself, you can't help how you feel, but you obviously care and want to do your best for her or you wouldn't be posting.

Owllady Mon 13-Jan-14 21:21:05

Do you go to training class with her?
I used to dread going with mine, but it does help and it will help you too
The children are young atm too? Which makes it a bit harder

NuttyMuttie Mon 13-Jan-14 21:30:05

Excuse me I was only trying to help.

I have read your original thread where you were saying how unhappy you were - your emotions were discussed and I expressed how sad that was and you give me a bollocking confused

No world weary superiority at all -confused

I spend 20 mins composing a thread to try and help you and you give me a bollocking - why do people post if they do not want to hear opinions i did not judge you only gave you useful training advice sorry if you have hear it before but how was I to know that.

I think you have been very unfair

Listen learnt by me to avoid to try to help make a situation easier for people.

NuttyMuttie Mon 13-Jan-14 21:37:31

Very upset by your comments but no excuse for my typos

Thanks Mrsmini for understanding.

Mintchoc thanks to, I overlooked your post earlier - actually walking her on my own is about all I do like about her, as I am very rarely alone (atm I get 2 hours twice a week, though it will be 3 hours 5 days a week from April). I love to do varied and new long walks on my own on my youngest's playgroup days, and at the weekends when I can leave the kids with DH, my nearly 3 year old and I do a shorter forest circuit that takes the same amount of time at his pace on the 3 week days he is home with me. I have tried walking her with another dog owner and it was probably good for her, but we have only found one dog she can cope with being around (crazily a male Weimerarmer) in all honesty I only know 2 other dog owners local enough to walk with regularly, and our dogs hate each other and bark and pull at the leads non stop if we try to talk if we meet on walks, and the other 2 ownsers assure me it is because all the dogs are female... Never knew that was an issue (all are castrated) but they say it is the problem... I should probably try to walk her with the Weimerarmer owner again, I don't especially enjoy being with the owner, though she is friendly, she only does short tarmac walks and she constantly reads out texts from her boyfriend to me hmm rather than talking about the dogs, or even our kids (her youngest is in my oldest's class at school) or anything else remotely interesting... It would probably be good to socilaise the dog more though, I think being with other dogs on a short walk or taining session tires her more than lead walking alone.

Owl we are not going to training atm but have done - I went to one disasterous session that just wound her up and didn't address our problem, with a trainer who was very pessimistic, then found a better one which we attended on a 10 week ticket. She tended to be difficult and wound up at the actual classes while on lead, but obedient off - but she wanted to stay close and was (or seemed) scared and unhappy. I haven't been back since the last of the 10 sessions we paid for, but continue practicing at home. The trainers didn't use clickers, just food rewards. Food is tricky for us due to her stomach - we use her kibble, but even with that if she eats more than her daily allowance she vomits, and if she doesn't get fed after we have each meal (I have all 3 kids home for every meal so its hard to be subtle about us eating) she gets restless and barky, obviously not understanding she's had her meal as training treats... so I feed her a bit, and she gets sick... Its a balancing act but makes the training that bit harder to do, esp to let the kids (really just my eldest, who is 8) be involved with...

I shall go to bed now, tbh the act the way you want to feel tip seems the most useful, and I am trying. Training is a work in progress and is not always sucessful, but we are getting somewhere, it is the emotions that are the problem tbh.

Nutty excuse me if you were trying to help not judge, perhaps I misread your tone, if so I am sorry. I read "your post depresses me" on other MN threads (not addressed to me) and it always sounds like an eye roll or a ffs - judgemental - as if to say how depressing that people with your attitude/ crappy mothers (or in this case dog owners) like you exist. It always sounds judgemental and superior to me, but perhaps it isn't, or is sometimes and isn't others...

furbaby Mon 13-Jan-14 22:05:03

Chin up op , I am sure with time things will improve .
I do feel for you all , it must be hard .
Have you considered one to one training .
I know the puppy training group we did also do training in your own home .
Maybe someone could see your dog in its own environment and be able to help especially if she gets nervous around lots of dogs .
Poor love she does sound very confused and unhappy , probably didn't help that she was starved before you had her and so is bound to have issues over food .

The idea of getting someone to come to you is really good - could you try that? We had a trainer come to us when we were struggling as I felt really anxious at puppy class about our puppies excitable behaviour (and home behaviour was worse). The trainer spent 2 hrs with us, watching us interact with dog and each other. She noticed really helpful things - basically without realising it we were encouraging barking and other attention seeking behaviours. Simple when it was observed by a third party - impossible for us to spot. The visit cost us £50 but we were left with a long list of actions and masses of helpful tips.

Could you ask around for recommendations?

It sounds like she loves you lots. My pup can be a complete pain but it ry and see it as a reward from her to me for looking after her.

I don't have much advise but I didn't want to read the whole thread and not leave some support.

You haven't had her very long and it sounds like you are trying you upmost to do the best for her, you rescued her from near death.
I hope it all works out for you thanks

mooomeee Mon 13-Jan-14 22:31:43

My boys are both rescued, both totally and utterly dote on me. they follow me everywhere. I can not pee in peace any more. they are there watching and waiting. They have almost killed me many a time getting under my feet on the stairs, or actually stepping so close they stand on the back of my shoes!

They show absolutely NO interest in my DH, even when he offered to go 'walkies' they looked from me to him and if i wasnt going then neither was they.

We worked on this by DH taking them for walks and doing 'good' stuff like dinner time.

One of my boys is like yours and totally ignored children, i like this because he is fab if kids are nervous or unsure because he will just stand there and ignore them and they can work up to stroking him at their own pace. i dont have children myself, so it is not a problem that i have in my household.

could you encourage DH and kids to teach her tricks or play games with food etc, to get her more interested in them?

I had my first boy before DH and i think, like yours, he idolises me because i saved him, he was a rescue too. No one ever compares to what i am doing. DH and i accept that, i can understand how tough that can be if she was to be a family dog.

I also think that sometimes you just can not get on with a dog, my friend has a dog that whilst i love him and think he is very sweet - he drives me bloody insane and is TOO mad and hyper and barky for me!

5 months is a very short amount of time, she is probably feeling very unsure and insecure.

God it sounds like a really awful situation for all of you.

I guess because of her history she will need more time to settle down and feel she can trust all of you and that this is her proper home now.

Lots of the behaviours you've described are imo typical of rescue dogs and don't show their "true" character at all.
Did the rescue not discuss all these issues with you when they did the home visit? Perhaps get in touch with the Pflegefamilie again and see if they can offer any tips or advice?

I don't know whether you can be incompatible with a dog's personality - I suppose it's possible, though I'm not sure that that is the issue here tbh. A lot of it is just doggy behaviour imo. My two follow me around most of the day too, if I sit down they sit with me, if I get up they usually come too. Ddog1 less so, as she's 8 and we've had her since she was a puppy, but ddog2 is only 1 and also came from a rescue 6 months ago - she's a lot more bothered about where i am and wanting to be with me. I think that's normal and suspect she will chill out after a few more months.

The Pflegefamilie stopped returning my calls or answering the phone to me kitchenwitch and they didn't discuss any problems, just looked around the house and garden said it was suitable, drank coffee, did paperwork, warned us to be sure not to let her off the lead, left. They even said she doesn't need more than a 20 min walk, which isn't true.

About to walk her mow, paying her more attention seems to be backfiring as she has regressed to hours of barking, and this morning sat right up close to me while I knelt on the floor and helped my toddler on with his shoes and coat and did an enormous pee, even though she had been outside twice already, before and after breakfast. soso

Sorry posted too soon - meant I had to change my lothes and we were late for Kindergarten, and it puts me in a foul mood with everyone - she hasn't done that kind of huge indoor "accident" in a couple of months...

I think we will have to get somenody in for an at home visit as several people suggest, though I will ask around and find somenody new. Ptherwise I think we will have to rehome her somehow eventually. Kids will be upset even though they don't have much to do with her, as they are kuds, and sentimental... Guess I wasn't meant to have a dog, I thought an adult rescue was the rigjt way to go and thought we'd chosen carefully, but either way this isn't working well!

Floralnomad Wed 15-Jan-14 10:24:00

I think you are right that you are not cut out for having a dog as TBH your dog sounds pretty normal and I think you have an idealised vision of what a dog should be ( I'm not having a go at you ,just seeing it as it's been written on this thread) .

SnakeyMcBadass Wed 15-Jan-14 10:30:15

The peeing sounds like anxiety. She knew you were going out and leaving her. There are things you can do to make her less anxious, but it takes time and patience. I think you need to either commit fully to her, or find someone who can before she loses the chance to have a forever home. I'm not judging, it's hard having a needy dog and I have fantasised about rehoming my boy after a bad day. Thing is, I can't bear to part with him because I love him and want to make sure he is secure as possible. If you don't feel like that, I can imagine it's hellish.

Have called the HQ of the charity (over the heads of tge people we've dealt with) and insisted they take her back. I am a shit mother with this dog in the mix and enjoyed being a SAHM before, now I hate every second. I don't think this dog should have been homed with kids as small as my younger 2, nor in a house with lots of coming and going - sometimes I have no choice but to be in and out in errands 6 separate times (not including her walk) and always with one or two or all 3 children, and every attempt to leave the house is made a nightmare by the dog. Also any interaction I have with the kids physically is ruined by her anxiety or jealousy. You are right I haven't got any affection for her left, and she needs to be somewhere else.

Apparently it could take weeks for a foster family to take her back, as she is phydiczlly sage

* physically safe

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