Rehome dog as pregnant?

(15 Posts)
Applesinthepan Mon 16-Jun-14 18:57:43

Hi all, just after some advice. I never thought I'd rehome an animal having mainly taken on rescues myself over the years, but I'm now in a position where I need to rehome one of my dogs. She's terrified of children (I didn't know this before I fell pregnant, and have tried to work on this but it's impossible to do safely within the time frame that we're in) and I've tried to think of ways to keep her separate from the baby but realistically this would put the dog in a very difficult, and no doubt stressful position, as we only have a small house.

I've been trying to rehome her for the past 4 months privately, through breed rescues and by contacting all the rescue centres I can find numbers for - even some as far away as Wales (I'm in Yorkshire). With the baby due relatively soon I'm conscious that time is running out and I'm really not sure what to try next - any ideas? Obviously I would never just dump her, but being pts has been the most recent suggestion provided by one of the rescues I spoke to, and there must be a better option.

Lilcamper Mon 16-Jun-14 19:08:09

Get an APBC behaviouris in to help you, now.

MrsWolowitz Mon 16-Jun-14 19:10:23

That sounds very stressful.

How does she react to children? Is she aggressive or is she just very nervous? Does she calm down after a while?

LEMmingaround Mon 16-Jun-14 19:10:43

What sort of dog is she? Why is she scared of children and why have you only realised this recently? I can't help nut wonder if you are imposing your anxiety onto the dog

D0oinMeCleanin Mon 16-Jun-14 19:11:29

Well a baby is not mobile so it should be relatively simple to keep them apart, I'm not sure what the rush is?

But yes, a APBC or APDT registered behaviourist will be able to talk you through a training plan to solve this.

Baby gates and dog crates and simple doors were all used here to keep dogs toddlers apart.

Applesinthepan Mon 16-Jun-14 20:34:07

To cut a long story short, it was a breed-specific behaviouralist who recommended that we rehome her. For the longer version, see below.

Truthfully I don't know why she's scared of children. We got her when she was 9 months old having met her several times in one environment with no children, and we'd been told by her previous owner that she'd been 'sheltered' but weren't aware of just how little socialisation she'd had until later. Over the next two years we worked with trainers to tackle her various issues and she made a lot of progress, especially through doing obedience and agility to build her confidence, but she was never exposed to young children as we don't know any.

When we found out I was pregnant we met some children to see how she'd react and it didn't go well. She has a similar reaction to dogs who are scared of fireworks - panting, sweating, shaking - and growled if a child came too close. Obviously we wanted to work through this and she's a Belgian Shepherd so we consulted a behaviouralist who specialises in the breed but his advice having assessed her was that it would put her under too much pressure to bring a child into a confined environment and then completely change her routine - i.e. lock her away - so that they were separate. If we had years to work on this then progress might be possible, but he advised that a matter of months incorporating a huge change - the arrival of a baby - could actually make her problem with children worse. We've considered building kennels outside but then what sort of life is that for her?

LEMmingaround Mon 16-Jun-14 20:40:10

I would rehome. Bs are quite nervy dogs ime. If she is agility trained could you contact the bd club? You are right -I think she would find life with a child v stressful. I hope you find her a lovely home. Don't be disheartened if you can't find anything immediate as I am sure she wont be a threat to a new born. Bug once mobile its a whole othef ball game. Good luck x

muttynutty Mon 16-Jun-14 20:44:13

The advice you were given from the behaviourist was very poor. The whole point is that you would work to a situation where your dog would not be stressed and you would certainly not put the dog into a confined area with a child.

You are not giving birth to a child - you are giving birth to a baby. If the dog has only positive associations with your baby then your dog will not have the fear that she has with other children.

It will not take years.

If you were my client I would visit in your home and see things in rl.
Initially I would be working on a quiet safe area for your dog and show you how to make this a pleasant relaxing place to be.

We would then work on a relaxation protocol and see what rewards your dog likes

Then would come the introducing to the baby or initially pretend baby - The aim being that when your baby arrives your dog will be ready happy and relaxed.

Contact APDT or APBC for help this can be worked around even with those lovely intelligent (but overthinking) Belgians smile

This will be done in

muttynutty Mon 16-Jun-14 20:45:20

No idea what what this will be done in.....is about! sorry blush

I really think that you need to contact a behaviourist that is accredited to the APDT or APBC. If you check your insurance documentation, there may even be scope for you to be able to claim for this potentially.

The behaviourist will work out a strategy or plan for gradual introduction, ensuring the dog doesn't go over it's stress threshold. Ensuring accreditation to the above associations will mean the methods used are only positive, kind and gentle.

Good luck smile

Applesinthepan Mon 16-Jun-14 21:02:38

Thanks LEMmingaround. It's because she's so nervy really that I think the happiest home for her would be without a child in, rather than a home where there was a constant stressor present. I know we could keep her outside locked away from a baby but she's a gorgeous girl who loves her people, so she would be very unhappy.

That's interesting muttynutty. She is generally relaxed and quiet (sleeps most of the time) at home, but when we brought children and/or a child to the house, she became uncontrollably fearful and frenzied. We have overcome a lot of other fears with her (cars, dogs, older people, hats, chairs, dog toys and open spaces, to name a few) by exposing her to them in a very calm and controlled way but her reaction to children is really something different altogether, if that makes sense.

AliceinSlumberland Mon 16-Jun-14 21:05:14

Have you tried posting in agility net, if she has done agility before? They have a rehoming section.

Applesinthepan Mon 16-Jun-14 21:08:29

Thanks needastrongone. I checked with the insurance company and even though it's Petplan covered for life insurance (we have this for all our animals) they won't cover another behaviouralist. I'm about to go on maternity leave and also found out last week that I'll be taking a 15k pay cut beforehand due to changes at work, so we just can't afford to pay for another behaviouralist privately on top of the one and all of the trainers we've already worked with.

LEMmingaround Mon 16-Jun-14 21:11:14

Also. With the best will in the world you can't really introduce children in a controlled way. They are unpredictable noisy wee things. A abay may well not stress her and she will grow used to it maybe. But clearly it is the unpredictable nature(from her perspective) of children that stresses her. I honestly think she will be happier in a new home. Much nicer than having to suddenly be separated ftom hef family and locked away. So thats the easy bit. Hopefully you will get some help with rehoming - your vet will have a directory of local breed specific rescues. She usnt without her issues so it may be difficult. Fingers crossed for you x I know how hard it is.

affafantoosh Tue 17-Jun-14 07:22:35

I totally agree with mutty.

Our old boy had zero experience of children and still finds them worrying. But babies were easy because they didn't move - it's the unpredictable nature of children's movement which causes the greatest worry to most dogs. We used a safe haven we'd made for him behind the sofa, and travel cots and stairgates to provide separation without exclusion. Now my youngest is nearly 4 and he chooses to lie with them. Close supervision is still required but that would be true of any dog.

BS are highly strung <diplomatically avoids using the term "neurotic" wink > but they're also very clever and quick to learn. You have a long time in which to sort this out and in fact the very slow and gradual way a baby develops into a child is a golden opportunity to acclimatise her to a child in the home.

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