HELP! Aggressive adopted dog.

(48 Posts)
Topaz25 Tue 14-Jan-14 06:51:13

Please don't flame me, I couldn't possibly feel worse.

My 2 dogs died of old age in 2012 and I was really devastated. I still miss them every day. We had a very close bond, they were my babies.

I've really been missing having a dog around the house. I felt really guilty when I heard about all the rescue dogs looking for homes. I thought I would be able to provide a good home.

I saw an advert for a dog at a local pound which said he was really friendly and playful. I met him at the pound yesterday and things were going OK until a worker gave me a sample of food to take home. He tried to grab it, I tried to put it my bag and he growled and snapped at me. The workers did react quickly by removing him from the room but they asked straight away if I wanted to go ahead with the adoption. If I had been given ten minutes to think about it I would have said no. I agreed because I was still in shock, I already felt emotionally invested in him and I was worried he would be put to sleep. They assured me he'd never done anything like this before so I thought it was a complete one off. I felt bad and thought maybe I had done something wrong. They said he probably just had issues around food and I thought we'd just be really careful with food but when I got him home he snapped at my husband just for stroking him so it's not just food related. I understand he may be scared of men but now we're scared of him! I really don't think we are qualified to help him with this, we can't cope with an aggressive dog, which is why we went for one who was advertised and assessed as friendly! We could deal with other issues but not aggression. I think I made a huge mistake getting him. I feel so guilty. I don't feel I can bond with him because I'm scared of him. I have been crying all night about this. I don't want to mess him around but it would be more disruptive to keep him longer and realise we can't cope. I just can't imagine the next ten years when I'm already scared of him! I do feel mislead by the kennel. I would never have gone to view him in the first place if he hadn't been advertised as friendly! Then they made me sign a statement saying I was aware of his issues when I was still in shock after he snapped at me!

This has made me think it was a big mistake getting another dog. I thought I was ready, I had thought it through and thought it would be really positive for our family but now I realise I was idealising things and not thinking clearly.

I was looking forward to taking him for lovely long walks but now he'll need to be muzzled and on a lead at all times. I was hoping to have the bond I did with our previous dogs but I don't feel I can bond with him because I'm scared of him.

Also, although my husband and I don't have children yet, we do want them one day. We couldn't trust this dog around children so we would have to put our lives on hold for him. He's not a good fit for our family.

I'm really not a bad or irresponsible pet owner. My previous dogs were rescued and I have other rescue pets. I work with animals. I've always done everything I can to help animals. I previously would never have considered giving up a pet but I feel so out of my depth. I should never have been given this dog in the first place!

I feel like my options are to return him to the pound, to try and find a specialist breed rescue for him, or to go through months of training and trying to 'fix him' when he's gone for us twice in the first night! WWYD?

Mama1980 Wed 05-Mar-14 11:36:51

I don't know about the vets sorry. But I assume it maybe a standard cause that if you choose to rehome the rescue want u to give him back to them.
All sounds like you are doing the right things, I guess you just have to give it time, once he is muzzle trained I imagine life will be easier as the threat is removed so you can work with more confidence.

VivaLeBeaver Wed 05-Mar-14 10:19:35

I don't know about the pound being able to take him back. Did you sign anything to this effect? When I got a rescue dog I signed saying if I couldn't ever cope with the dog she had to be returned to that rescue.

Also have you tried zylkene capsules? Someone on here recommended them to me and they make a noticeable difference to my dogs aggression. If I miss a couple of days the dogs going nuts. I'd previously tried the DAP collar which made no difference.

Topaz25 Wed 05-Mar-14 09:58:25

* hmm

Topaz25 Wed 05-Mar-14 09:56:06

I have another question. I discussed the possibility of having Polo put to sleep with my vet but decided not to go through with it before exploring more alternatives. The vet notified the pound to see if they would take him back. I'm a bit [hmmm] that they did this without my permission. I thought what I talked to my vet about was confidential. If I gave him back to the pound they would either put him down anyway because he has bitten or they could give him to anyone, from a family with small children to a dog fighter, because they don't do background checks on prospective owners. That is not what I want as his owner, if I decided to put him to sleep I would rather it was done in a more comfortable setting, if I decided to rehome him it would be with background checks. After the way the pound handled this whole situation I don't wish to have any further dealings with them. Am I right to be annoyed that the vet notified the pound I was thinking of having him put to sleep? The pound don't have any power to take him back do they? I have paid for him and have the paperwork. I know sending him back to the pound sounds like the easiest option but they could put him in a position where he could bite someone else.

Topaz25 Wed 05-Mar-14 09:45:27

Forgot to say peggyundercrackers good point about giving myself more time to get over losing my last two dogs. I thought I should be over it by now but I should have given myself more time.

Topaz25 Wed 05-Mar-14 09:43:57

Thank you so much for all your responses. I was so upset when I came on this morning and saw that negative comment so your replies have really moved me.

VivaLeBeaver- We've just had the initial session with the behaviourist but we're seeing her again next week, she seems great but too soon to tell if it will help.

Good point about a single person home. He has really bonded to me and DH but I think it is difficult for him to accept our housemate. I am considering rehoming him but only to someone experienced with his issues. I don't think we are necessarily the best home for him because we were expecting a friendly dog that would fit into our household and we have no experience with aggression towards people.

Mama1980- Thank you. We are trying muzzle training, behaviourist help, crate training and a lot of exercise. It's really inspiring to hear that helped your brother's dog.

LEMmingaround- What happened to your rottweiler in the end? Thank you for understanding.

I know Huskies should be working dogs, I would love to do activites with him such as ability, obedience and canicross etc to keep him stimulated but that can only happen if he can be trained to work with other dogs and people.

peggyundercrackers- I would only consider rehoming him to a very experienced owner or a reputable rescue that would not rehome him with a family. I hear what you are saying and that is one reason I would not return him to the pound, because they could place him with anyone.

peggyundercrackers Wed 05-Mar-14 08:30:50

I'm sorry your in this situation, you have put a lot of effort into trying to rehouse the dog. In your situation I couldn't do that knowing he might be rehoused with a family and bite someone else. I think given the dogs continuing behaviour it is time to put it to sleep.

I think you need to give yourself more time to get over loosing your own dogs. It's not easy to deal with the loss of 2 loved pets in a short space of time

LEMmingaround Wed 05-Mar-14 08:29:25

I know this sounds harsh but pts is far kinder than a no kill rescue. Its not fair that your dog would be cooped up all day. Some dogs do really badly in kennels and become terribly distressed.it was irresponsible of the home to let you have that dog. Just as it would be irresponsible for you to pass on the problem. I totally understand how you feel. Give it time. You are doing a good thing. If it doesn't work out he would have had the best chance. Huskies should be a working dog. Hate this bloody trend.

LEMmingaround Wed 05-Mar-14 08:22:12

I had this. Although we were aware there were issues. Ours was a rotweiller and he was terrifying. Lost coubt of how many times he was sat in the car waiting to go back.he came hood in the end but it took time and he bit me a few times. I shed many tears over that dog. I loved him. Would I do it again? Hell no

Mama1980 Wed 05-Mar-14 08:20:55

Please keep posting. You have had some excellent advice on here. Fwiw I think you are dealing well with a impossible situation. Have you looked into finding a behaviourist?
Your flat,ate sounds wonderful and I'm sure there's hope especially as she's so on board.
One of my brothers found himself in a similar situation I have to say with first muzzle training, then behaviourist help, crate training and a lot of excercise he is now the friendliest dog. All of his problems stemmed from insecurity and fear. You would not believe the change in him after a few weeks.

VivaLeBeaver Wed 05-Mar-14 08:18:28

Topaz, I know how you feel and its the hardest thing.

Does he seem any better since the behaviourist?

If not I would persevere with trying to find somewhere that will rehome him, knowing his issues. It may be that your home/set up isn't the best place for him. I know its hard to accept that but sometimes I think its a mismatch in placement. Maybe your dog would be better in a single person household??

I know with my dog I think he'd be perfect in any house where my dh didn't live as he now seems fine with everyone apart from dh. My problem is a lot easier to manage though as I have a small dog.

Topaz25 Wed 05-Mar-14 08:13:03

I don't think you have any idea how difficult this is, if you have a pet imagine how you would feel about having to put them down or give them up. If you don't have a pet, why are you posting on this board?

Topaz25 Wed 05-Mar-14 08:08:34

Now I feel I can't talk openly about this situation with other dog lovers and get advice.

Topaz25 Wed 05-Mar-14 08:06:48

Have you even read the OP, which says "Please don't flame me, I couldn't possibly feel worse." There's no point posting if you don't have anything helpful to say, I am really at my wits end about this situation!

Topaz25 Wed 05-Mar-14 08:05:35

I am working on it with a behaviourist, that sounds like I am not doing anything. It is a difficult situation. I was deceived into taking on the dog without knowing about the extent of his issues and of course we have bonded with him but we never would have got him in the first place if we had known. My housemate also wanted the dog, we agreed to get him together. Why post here if you haven't got anything helpful to say? I am so upset about this situation. Actually my housemate suggested we could keep the dog if we involved a behaviourist and crate trained him, which we are doing, it was up to her. Of course she wouldn't sue us, what a bizarre thing to say. We're best friends and she knows we're broke! She also knows we never would have got the dog if we had known the extent of his issues. I know there is a culture of litigation nowadays but not everyone gets hurt and sees £ signs! I am still looking into rehoming the dog if a more appropriate home can be found but I don't want to just pass the problem on.

quietlysuggests Wed 05-Mar-14 04:59:10

You brought an aggressive dog into your house. Posted about it on the internet for a week before it bit your flatmate. And now still here you are going on about how you love it?
So has your flatmate moved out? Threatened to sue you?
Because I would.

Viviennemary Tue 04-Mar-14 11:51:01

It's not your fault. If you have lots of time and patience then go to dog training classes. But it is really difficult if they can't promise to re-home him. Hope you get something sorted out. The pound is entirely to blame. Not you.

chocaholic73 Tue 04-Mar-14 11:47:29

Not sure where you are but try here http://www.k9interventions.co.uk/ - very small and caring. If they can't take your dog, they may be able to give you advice of who can. The longer this situation goes on, the more risk there is of someone else getting hurt and it might not be someone as amenable as your housemate next time.

Topaz25 Mon 03-Mar-14 21:16:35

There are rescues that will take him, understand how to assess his behaviour properly and do the work.

Does anyone know a rescue that might rehome this dog? I haven't been able to find one and I am still struggling. It's difficult to consider euthanasia because sometimes he is normal and loving but I'm unable to cope with aggression.

noddingoff Wed 22-Jan-14 19:43:40

Please do have him put to sleep.
It's not a question of "deserving" to die or not - no dog "deserves" to die and we don't euthanase out of vengeance.
Big dog + unpredictable aggression = dangerous situation
Under stress, he bites - he has proved that.
Don't send him back to the pound - he'll only languish another 5 days then get euthanased, or palmed off on somebody else, bite somebody, and get bounced back to the pound and euthanased.
A very, very experienced owner with no children and loads of time on their hands MIGHT be able to rehabilitate him. Or they might not, and he ends up getting euthanased.
No-kill shelters are usually chock full and not many have the time to devote to a dog with these needs, so there's a high risk he could spend the rest of his life in a run on his own, in a row of runs each with a large breed, temperamentally unpredictable dog in, barking their way to insanity and none of them getting the huge amount of exercise such dogs need for their physical and mental health.
There are worse things in life than euthanasia.

rumbleinthrjungle Wed 22-Jan-14 18:48:57

It didn't come across as angry at me at all, I have every sympathy.

Please don't have him put to sleep, he doesn't deserve to die for this mistake. It's asking a lot for a dog to cope in its first 24 hours in a new place and that is not a fair judge of his temperament or issues. There are rescues that will take him, understand how to assess his behaviour properly and do the work.

Sadly, if you take him back to the pound, he will almost certainly be killed, as he now has provenance as a biter. Not even a pound will rehome him now.

The only chance this dog has is via either a breed rescue or an all breed, no kill rescue.

BreadRoll Wed 22-Jan-14 17:37:24

You must be a very kind person to be taking so much responsibility but please don't be so hard on yourself. The blame for this situation is 90% the previous owner of the poor animal and 10% the pound for misleading you. Dog training books are not enough in this situation, it takes an experienced professional to properly rehabilitate an aggressive dog and even then it is unwise to have one around children.

One thing to consider, I couldn't find a mention of the age of the dog (sorry if I missed it). The younger the dog is when retraining starts the more successful this is likely to be. Holding on to this dog for as long as possible out of guilt is not going to be in its best interests if it means negative behaviour becomes even more deeply ingrained. Give him a chance (even if it is a slim one) and take him back.

Topaz25 Wed 22-Jan-14 12:45:58

I hope my reply did not come across as angry at you, I am angry at the pound!

Topaz25 Wed 22-Jan-14 12:43:47

Thank you for your advice, it was helpful and not patronising at all.

I would have been willing to work with him but now he has bitten my house mate I don't feel I can take the risk of keeping him. The problem is I got him from a council dog pound, not a shelter so there is less support. When I got him they said they would take him back if necessary (but he may be put to sleep) and give me a replacement dog! He's not a broken TV! I don't think they would be able to handle his issues and I wouldn't want him to think he had been abandoned again and die alone and frightened if they did decide to put to sleep. I also wouldn't want him to be given to someone else who didn't know what they were getting into. I've lost faith in the pound's rehoming procedures. They originally told me he was friendly and then that he has some issues with guarding food, his issues are more extensive and weren't picked up on in their evaluations. The pound also don't do home checks, so they could give him to a dog fighter or a BYB. That is why I am looking for a specialist rescue that could help with his issues. In a way I wish I could give him back to the pound I got him from as it would be much easier but I don't trust them. I think I would prefer to have him put to sleep myself than put back in that situation.

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