Staffy with behavioural issues. Is this doable?

(60 Posts)
NotTheSpiceOfLife Fri 01-Jan-16 13:47:04

Ok, complete novice here and looking for some advice please!

We have decided that we would like a dog to join our family.

I've been contacted by a lovely lady that needs to rehome her 9 month old Staffy bitch and I've just spoken to her on the phone to discuss.

She's been very honest with me and told me that the reason for rehoming is because the dog is very destructive - she says that this is because she didn't crate train her when she was a puppy, as she thought it was cruel, and fully admits that she has inadvertently caused this problem. Her vet has told her it's not too late to resolve it, but as she works full time, and still doesn't want to put her in a crate, she needs to rehome the dog.

She can't take the stress of all the destructive behaviour, and also said that staffy has separation anxiety, and this contributes to the destruction - she is fine when someone is in the house, but if she is left alone, she causes carnage.

Is this a lost cause for our family, do you think? One of us is at home most of the time now, and although we might be able to put the time in to resolve this, is it too hard at this age?

Honesty please!

Thanks ever so smile

CMOTDibbler Fri 01-Jan-16 13:53:07

I think if you haven't had a dog before, then this dog will be too much for you imo. This poor pup needs someone with a huge amount of time, maybe a dog companion, and probably no dc around.

But there are lots of lovely dogs out there waiting for homes - from pups to oldies.

Hetty3838 Fri 01-Jan-16 13:54:51

Well it depends on your circumstance. Of course it's destructive if she works full time and dogs home alone all day. My dog was described as "destructive" was just bored. I work part time so on days I work I take her out for an hour before work, leave her with a kong stuffed with food and a dog walker takes her out again at mid day so she's to tired to bother being destructive. If you are around a lot and willing to pay for dog walkers/day care when your busy I can't foresee it being an issue but obviously check what she's like with other dogs (or you have to pay more for dog walkers if they don't get along with others).

Thattimeofyearagain Fri 01-Jan-16 13:59:12

What has the current owner already tried? How is she with other dogs?

NotTheSpiceOfLife Fri 01-Jan-16 14:01:11

There were a couple of other things that I forgot - she has been brought up with 3 dc between 6-11, and her owner said that she's fab with the dc. Not sure what she's like with other dogs, apparently she's hard to walk as she pulls too much. But I will ask her.

We are very time rich just now. Our children are a bit older, almost all teenagers, and one or both of us are home nearly all the time. We love walking, and taking her out lots really wouldn't be an issue.

I do need to ask about our cats - we have 2, and it worries me that they could be put at risk. As we have no experience with dogs (well, I don't, DP does), I don't know how risky it is. Again, something I shall ask her.

NotTheSpiceOfLife Fri 01-Jan-16 14:02:42

Have asked the other questions now, will see what she says.

stardusty5 Fri 01-Jan-16 14:07:52

We went through destructive separation anxiety with our dog at around that age and found crate training not helpful. We found he was more relaxed having space to wander and relax in familar places, though we did insist that bedrooms were shut.

Three walks per day and always before being left for more than an hour or so, plus radio or TV on, plus interesting and varied toys with treats in, that are put away when we came back in to keep them exciting. We keep this routine every day.

Initially we had to remove all items that we thought he would destroy, and gradually built up the time alone. We also had an adaptil diffuser which seemed to be beneficial.

Now we can leave him no problem. He is so excited by his toys that he runs off with them and doesn't care that we have left the house! When we come back he is always yawning and stretching so we know he has been sound asleep and comfy. He does occasionally open our post though ...!

NotTheSpiceOfLife Fri 01-Jan-16 14:12:32

She has said that she's great with other dogs, and is happy to go off the lead and come back when called. She doesn't know about cats, as they don't have any, but says that she would doubt she would even growl at them as it's not in her nature.

3 walks a day would be no problem. Is is usually a case of tiring them out loads, and stimulating then to prevent too much destruction?

Lurkedforever1 Fri 01-Jan-16 14:18:13

I wouldn't say it sounds like the dog has behavioural problems. Nor do I buy the balls about it being the result of not caging it as a pup. Just the natural result of having an owner who didn't think through their circumstances before taking on a puppy. Although credit where it's due at least the owner has stayed away from cages.

Tbh I think with a bit of time it would be fine, if you're prepared to put up with some chewing and having a dog glued to you 24/7 till it gets the confidence to realise you aren't going to leave it. Exercise, stimulation and company will also decrease the destruction too, even before the separation anxiety starts to reduce. Whether that's either practical for your family or the ideal first dog is another thing.

Floralnomad Fri 01-Jan-16 14:20:20

I would not ,if I were you ,take on this dog and btw crate training is not the answer to all this dogs problems and if the lady works ft it would be very cruel to keep a dog in a crate for that length of time .

stardusty5 Fri 01-Jan-16 14:25:17

I thought of it as conditioning and getting him to associate us going out with fun stuff and a positive experience, rather than fear and anxiety. The walks take the edge off and make it easier for him to lie down and sleep.

Little things i read online such as not fussing over him when we left or returned seemed to be helpful too. We just put the toys out and left without a word, and then acted normally and calmly when we came back in. Modelling 'i'm not bothered by this so neither should you be' seems to have worked with fireworks too as he looks to us for our reactions.

NotTheSpiceOfLife Fri 01-Jan-16 14:26:42

Ahhh I knew you lot here would be helpful! It sounds more positive the more info I get. Have been talking to her owner on FB this afternoon as well, who has answered all of my questions so far.

I'm getting a bit excited. We're going to visit tomorrow.

Floral may I ask what would be your reasons?

MrsS182 Fri 01-Jan-16 14:29:55

Are you taking this dog from a rescue or is it just straight from a private home? If it's from a good rescue then the dog should be assessed for issues (ie good with kids, cats etc), you have plenty of advice on hand should you need it and if it doesn't work out they should take the dog back. If it's not through a rescue then you'll be left holding the dog.
It's hard to say without seeing the dog. If the destructive behaviour is from boredom then it's easier to fix as the dog needs more stimulation, walks and toys etc. I don't believe it's not from crate training. However, if the destruction is due to the separation anxiety it will take longer to resolve as will the separation anxiety on its own as a separate issue.
Staffies are great dogs though and very loving smile I have two rescue staffies

Floralnomad Fri 01-Jan-16 14:31:19

I would be very concerned about the cats ,so I'd go for a rescue that was cat tested . Plus although this lady seems to be being honest I would take that with a large pinch of salt .

RoseDog Fri 01-Jan-16 14:33:47

Staffies are very much people pleasers and are food orientated greedy so she should be easily trainable with the right treat.

We have an older rescue bitch and it really was a case on you cant teach an old dog new tricks, she had never been trained or socialised with other dogs and she is very dog aggressive that can be managed but not trained out of!

From what you say the dog seems to need routine, security, lots of walks and for someone to be consistent with her. I wouldn't even say she needs a behaviourist but def some sort of puppy class which you benefit you as much as the dog.

Wolfiefan Fri 01-Jan-16 14:40:19

The cats thing would worry me. Many dogs will chase playfully rather than attacking but dogs play with their mouths. Unless you are experienced with dogs, can separate them or the dog lives with a cat then I wouldn't.
Remember this owner wants rid of the dog. They are not impartial.

NotTheSpiceOfLife Fri 01-Jan-16 14:44:04

It's a private home, not a rescue, although I believe she was a rescue pup originally.

I must admit, my biggest concern at the moment is the cats. Purely because she has no experience with them, and there's no way to test it without face to face confrontation iyswim.

She sounds adorable. She's not barky, or aggressive, and her owner seems genuinely heartbroken at having to rehome her.

She is a Staffy cross, do I need to know what she is crossed with? Does that make a difference? I've always believed that Staffies are great family dogs and good with children, I know a few owners that have told me that.

RoseDog Fri 01-Jan-16 14:51:56

She can maybe be desensitized to cats, she is still young, a behaviourist would be able to show you how and tell you if could be desensitized.

Lurkedforever1 Fri 01-Jan-16 14:56:57

For the cats, I'd say the only way to find out is by getting current owner to bring it round on a lead and see how it reacts. Mine lives happily with cats, and fine in any house with any cats. But will chase them in the garden or outside if they are running. Doesn't do anything, just chases and loses interest. Only problem is if/ when pup tries chasing them in the house, and cat tells him to get to fuck he doesn't listen and the cat goes beyond a quick warning and really hurts him.

Do you know anyone who could come and give you an experienced opinion when he meets the cats? Sometimes you just know it definitely will/ won't work but most of the time unless you know a lot about behavior it's hard to know if they'll settle down together or not.

MrsS182 Fri 01-Jan-16 14:56:59

poor dog only 9 months old and will have been through two homes sad

I'm unsure about the cat to be honest. My two aren't aggressive, don't bark and have never met a cat. But they are very playful and although I know them I wouldn't know how they would be with one

Floralnomad Fri 01-Jan-16 15:02:06

From your cats POV what she is crossed with will be relevant . I'd check where she came from , many rescues expect dogs to go back to them if they have to be rehomed .

Booboostwo Fri 01-Jan-16 15:07:02

No, sorry all this sounds terrible.

If you want to rehome go to a reputable rescue who will have done an assessment and will offer you back up if anything doesn't work out. If the puppy is originally from a rescue then the owner she go back to them for help.

It sounds like a typical case of someone who bought a cute puppy, did no work with it and wants rid now that it is too much trouble. Do you trust this woman to have socialised the puppy? Missing out on socialisation can cause very serious problems later on.

Being destructive is a sign of stress which won't go away simply by crate training. The separation anxiety is another huge indicator of stress. Are you prepared to take on a problem dog that will need training and may need help from a behaviourist or specialist vet? The separation anxiety is something you should take very seriously. Can you cope with the dog howling and chewing the place down when you leave her for 10 minutes? Will your neighbours be OK with the noise?

NotTheSpiceOfLife Fri 01-Jan-16 15:53:37

There are some very varied opinions here!

Thattimeofyearagain Fri 01-Jan-16 15:59:27

Where did she "rescue" the poor pup from ?

NotTheSpiceOfLife Fri 01-Jan-16 17:00:39

I don't know. I was assuming she meant a rescue centre of some sort.

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