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?

ChippingInNeedsSleepAndCoffee Wed 25-Sep-13 14:43:55


Poor old boy sad

Please whatever you do, do NOT allow the breader to have him back, it would be kinder to have him PTS than that.

Would you say he is 'happy' at anytime or is he constantly nervy & stressed?

TakingTheStairs Wed 25-Sep-13 14:52:05

Thanks Chipping
When he is at home with DH and I, when he is out playing with his ball and when he out walking with no others around, he is as happy as they come.
He loves to swim too.
I believe he has a lovely time when he is out with his walker too, she thinks that because he is in a pack of other dogs he feels more protected and doesn't worry about other people. And judging by her FB photos, he has the BEST time when he's out with his friends.

I'd rather have him PTS than go back to the breeder too tbh.

ErrolTheDragon Wed 25-Sep-13 14:54:26

Yes, it sounds like you're doing the right thing. The experts who know this dog think you need to rehome, its for his sake as well as everyone else's.

Poor chap. I do hope you can find him an appropriate home.

TakingTheStairs Wed 25-Sep-13 15:00:42

So do I Errol We're going to hang on for about another month and then his lovely lovely walker/trainer said she would foster him until we found the right home for him.

My issue is (and please, any advice on handling this would be very much welcome) that I'm afraid the breeder will find out we're trying to re home him and demand him back. He's not a hugely common breed in the UK and I'm sure it will get back to her.
We signed a word document receipt when we re homed/bought him saying if he needed to be re homed we would let her know but I don't want to let her know as I don't trust her to do the best for him. I'm FB friends with her and she "likes" my walkers FB page to see the photos of my dog so we can't really publicly say we need a good home for him.

Aw what a horrid situation sad

I have to commend you on your hard work and the love you have shown this poor little dog. I agree that the breeder is not an option he deserves better sad

If he gets on better with people among other dogs then maybe that's what he needs, a home with other dogs for company. Have you asked the vets if they know of anyone who would be suitable ?

Loathed to say PTS really but I do think that is the better option than the poor thing being passed from pillar to post and never given the love and support again that he has received from you. What happened in the past must have been so terrible for it to be like this. Poor little guy sad

TakingTheStairs Wed 25-Sep-13 15:04:27

I know it's hugely selfish, but I would rather him PTS than to have his little heart broken and passed around too.

Though his walker is having none of that. She says she won't see him pts.

He needs a home with other dogs and with someone who is hugely experienced with dogs.
Thankfully, he doesn't seem bothered by children so that's a plus but I have never tested that theory.

It's not selfish. Chances are it would be done anyway and best it happens with you who loves him than in a shelter with strangers. sad

It's not selfish. Chances are it would be done anyway and best it happens with you who loves him than in a shelter with strangers. sad

Mummyoftheyear Wed 25-Sep-13 15:09:26

Really feeling for you. Such a sad quandary. I can understand your hesitancy around keeping him when baby arrives, too. Sometimes, when babies do arrive, animals adjust as by the time bubba moves around, the dog/ cat has acclimatised. But you understandably don't want to chance it. I also wouldn't want to have my home off limits to friends/ guests because of my much loved pet. Tough one and I understand why you want to rehome him.

TakingTheStairs Wed 25-Sep-13 15:09:52

Thank you.

And now I'm crying again sad sad sad sad sad

Whatever you decide, that poor dog no doubt has had his best days of his life with you and your dh and your dog walker. Even if the damage is to severe to ever undo, and despite the reactions he's had to people, he would have undoubtedly felt the love you have for him. And that's something he won't ever forget, not in this world or the next.

(((Hugs))) x thanks

ErrolTheDragon Wed 25-Sep-13 15:24:00

Do you think the breeder really would demand him back? Given that they'd had no luck breeding from him before and they can't keep pets, I'd have thought it a little unlikely. What did the document you signed say - if it was just to 'let her know' then there's no way she could actually force you to hand the dog to her. (I don't know if it would be legally binding even if you'd signed something saying you'd only rehome back to her)

Awks Wed 25-Sep-13 15:27:55

You poor thing, what a horrible thing to have to consider. But what someone else said upthread about his best days being with you is probably true and you will contunie to think about his best interests even if that means he isnt with you.

TakingTheStairs Wed 25-Sep-13 15:30:12

Thank you Wheresmycaffeninedrip thanks

Errol I can't remember the exact wording of the document, but it was basically to let her know if we were re homing to give her the option to take him back (if it suited her)

That document wouldn't stand up legally I wouldn't think, and especially since she wasn't honest in the first place about him and his issues.

My plan is to hopefully find a good home for him, and then let her know as a courtesy, rather than giving her the option of having him back.

idirdog Wed 25-Sep-13 16:02:40


What you must do is get qualified professional advice. Not from people on the internet who have no idea what they are talking about. These threads will be filled with inaccurate and poor advice.

So contact APBC or APDT. They can assess your dog and give you the correct professional advice and way forward with this dog.

(What sort of breeder breeds from a dog that they know has behavioural issues!!!!!!!!!)

<Hides thread and tries not to be judgey re another thread with new baby and reactive dog when obviously no research was done before purchasing>

TakingTheStairs Wed 25-Sep-13 17:03:58


If you read my post, I have had professional advice.
He has been taken to a specialist behaviourist as recommended by our trusted vet. His professional walker is also a behaviourist. And we have spoken to the vet about the best options for him going forward too.
I posted looking for reassurance from people that might have been in my position or understand what I'm going through.

And please remove your judgey pants. We did a lot of research into the breed before deciding on this one. We had two visits with the breeder and a million phone calls about the dog before we committed to taking him.
So actually, a lot of research was done. But research is no good if I am lied to about the particular dog and his issues.

And we worked our asses off with him for 7 months trying to help him before the baby arrives and we have run out of time.
The issue isn't that the baby will take precedence, the issue is that the professionals are telling us that the baby will probably push him right out of his very narrow comfort zone and I don't want to be cruel to him

idirdog Wed 25-Sep-13 17:19:06

Bugger thought I had hidden thread .sad

A dog walker is not a qualified behaviourist - what ever they call themselves

A vet has no behavioural training unless they go on to do a qualification after they have qualified as a vet. Of which there are a handful in the UK. If you wish to pm me I can tell you if you vet is one of those.

Contact a qualified behavourist. Qualified to degree level with theoretical and practical work not just someone who walks dogs.

Get the correct advice from the correct people that is the very least that your dog deserves

LEMisdisappointed Wed 25-Sep-13 17:20:26

Right - the breeder is a cunt of the first order and needs reporting to the kennel club. Fuck the contract, he/she must never get that dog back, never.

What sort of dog is he? Is tehre a breed rescue?

I found myself in a very similar position with our dog, a surprise pregnancy with a food possesive and toy posessive rotweiller was a scary prospect. Sadly we lost him to bone cancer but he was fine with DD when she was a baby, we had decided to rehome him when she became mobile as he had bitten DD1 (not his fault or DD1s - she was 16 at the time) We contacted the behaviourist who helped us with hiim when we first got him - to be fair, we knew he had issues just wasn't expecting a pregnancy! and he was working with us to find him a good home, as it was, he died but i would have had him PTS before i returned him to kennels, although we got him from battersea and they said that they would have had to PTS anyway as he had a history of biting sad

You have time on your side, can your dog walker help you find him a home? I totally agree with you that it needs to be a special, vetted home with someone with lots of experience.

TakingTheStairs Wed 25-Sep-13 17:30:05

I know you want to make sure we are doing the best for him, so do I. Please don't presume we haven't gone to the correct people just because I posted here looking for support.

We did bring him to a qualified behaviourist. Someone that is member of the APDT and a full member of The CFBA at The Company of Animals.

Lem our walker is going to try and help us find him a home yes. Thankfully. And I think you're right about reporting the breeder too.

topbannana Wed 25-Sep-13 17:30:45

PTS seems quite drastic a thing to suggest without knowing a little more info. For starters we don't even know the dogs breed hmm
I do think that with a baby coming the professional advice you have been given WRT rehoming is probably the best. PTS when the dog walker has already offered to foster him seems unnecessary at this point.

TakingTheStairs Wed 25-Sep-13 17:35:09

You're right topbannan
PTS will not be happening if at all possible.
He will be fostered with his walker until we find a home for him.

A history of biting does make re-homing difficult. Not impossible, but difficult.

LEMisdisappointed Wed 25-Sep-13 17:40:46

I really hope you manage to sort something for him OP, its heart breaking but I would really rather PTS than risk him being passed from pillar to post. Our rottie was a handful but didn't have fear aggression, i am not sure i could have coped with that.

It sounds like you are doing all you can stairs

The beef lies with the breeder who lied and the bastards who have mis treated him so badly and caused such psychological damage to the poor guy.

It's sad to think that it could be irreversible but it is a possibility.

I really wish you all the luck in the world, and hope you can either make a break through or the right home can be found. Please don't be hard on yourself. You couldn't possibly have known and no one can question the efforts you have made to help him.

TakingTheStairs Wed 25-Sep-13 18:10:29

Thank you x

Sorry to hijack slightly but I was concerned to read about the breeder running a working kennels and they don't keep pets? In what way is that not a puppy farm then? Particularly if they are choosing to breed from a dog with known behavioural problems. confused. To me it sounds like the "breeders" have seized upon a gap in the market if the breed is rare in this country and see it as a chance to make some money. When I've had dogs in the past they have been from breeders but the parents have been show dogs AND pets and kept as such in the family home.

Is it easy to make the mistake of buying from irresponsible breeders? Am just worried in case we decide to get a dog in the future and get the wool pulled over our eyes like the poor OP.

TakingTheStairs Wed 25-Sep-13 18:49:35

I don't think they were puppy farmers. We did go to their home and see all their dogs. I think they bought a Sire that didn't work and they saw a way to try and make some money back. They probably gave me the no pets line to seem less harsh. They do have at least four dogs that breed but are pets too iykwim.
But was I taken in. Yes.

davidtennantsmistress Wed 25-Sep-13 19:08:17

If I may, I had a gsd who was my pride and joy, we had him from a pup but for some reason he was a nervous dog, I suspect xh tbh, however I didn't see anything, he would herd us when we were out, he would defend me to the hilt and he would push me out of the way on his hind legs when xh came near.

When I fell for ds1, I was scared stiff that he wouldn't take to ds, positively petrified, however in my heart I knew that if it came to it I would re home but we had to try for my sake as much as the dog.

He was 3 when ds was born, I stopped in hospital for a good spell, and xh would take home every scrap of everything that ds had touched peed on, been cleaned with so that the dog could have a good smell, likewise every toy teddy item for ds I set up before he came along and let the dog have a good old rummage through it all, if he tried to take the toy he was told to leave, he slowly learnt what he couldn't touch.

The day we brought ds home, I was so scared that it would go badly, however, to my surprise, I went in cradling ds in my arms head on my shoulder and knelt down next to the dog, close enough for him to sniff, but far enough away for me to get away if needed, xh held the collar gently. The dog bless him, sniffed ds head, very gently. I'm not sure what went through his mind, mostly inquisitive I think, but from that day he had his snout next to ds's feet in his bouncer. Or laid next to him if I left the room obviously he was removed, and likewise the dog was not allowed to roll on the floor with him.

Ds and the dog were the best of friends, the dog saw ds as no threat as was an extension of me, and he knew that I would protect ds if I had to.

My long winded point is, is it possible for your walker to foster your dog, on as a three month basis, when the baby first comes, and have you guys try to see if he would fit in with the family. Be guarded yes, but give him that chance. You never know, it maybe the very setting he needs to settle him down, oh and fwiw my gsd, would also be the same as yours in the house.

ErrolTheDragon Wed 25-Sep-13 19:25:09

Curly, we got our current (totally unproblematic) dog from a breeder who'd kept him as a potential show/sire but then he started to go bald so they wanted to find him a 'pet' home. They said they'd have had to neuter him if they'd kept him, which they didn't want to do (breeders don't always think quite like most others on that subject). But he had been a pet up to that point, the dogs all lived in the house. I think breeders simply can't always afford to keep too many non-breeding dogs - its a bit of a catch-22 that if they're doing it properly its not very profitable.

Thanks. OP, it sounds like you did all you could to be sure it was from a reputable set up then. I really feel for you.

TakingTheStairs Wed 25-Sep-13 20:24:00

I'm so glad your gsd settled. That's wonderful

But what also runs through my mind too is where do we draw the line in terms of biting. I'm ashamed to say how many times he has nipped and I don't want to wait until he has been freaked out by the baby and bitten or gone the other way and got over attached to the baby and won't let anyone near the baby.

He is already so nervous

TakingTheStairs Wed 25-Sep-13 20:24:45

And thanks Curly

Floralnomad Wed 25-Sep-13 20:45:39

Just as an aside have you had him neutered ,as that would render him useless to the breeder so they are less likely to want to hold you to your contract .

davidtennantsmistress Wed 25-Sep-13 20:48:02

Does he learn from the nipping at all?

Perhaps in these instances depending on the breed finding a farm maybe of more use? Lots of open space to run about on sort of thing?

TakingTheStairs Wed 25-Sep-13 21:09:20

We haven't had him neutered as we have been told it would make his fear aggression worse. But oddly the breeder wanted us to have him neutered, I presume so we didn't breed from him (which we never would have done anyway)

The only thing he seems to have learnt from his nipping is that it is effective at getting what he wants, people away from him. The qualified behaviourist told us that unfortunately negative reinforcement can be stronger than positive (treats, clicker training) which is why it has been so hard to break the habit.

Arudonto Thu 26-Sep-13 02:17:40

I am going to go completely against the grain here and say that I would personally PTS..and I think you are being very very unreasonable to consider rehoming a nervous dog, with a strong attachment to one person, who bites........

Perhaps a professional could take him on and manage his issues..... but yet another change of home and owner is not exactly going to a stressfree experience for the dog. Especially if he is very strongly bonded and protective of you as well.....

But living with an aggressive dog (nips are aggression and he has learned to use this to his advantage...also just because he has not broken skin yet doesn't mean he wont if he is pushed to his limit) is not a nice scenario,not being able to have people over in case the dog freaks out and bites them is not a way to live longterm.

Dogs are not toys and are not disposable in any way shape of form but at the same time having a dog should enhance your life more than they should limit it.....How is having this dog as a pet enhancing you life?Do you think the dog has a happy life when he feels scared enough to be trying to bite this frequently? Both you and the dog sound pretty stressed out to me.

The changes that are coming with a baby in the house are quite likely to increase his anxiety as people coming over to see the baby,new equipment in the house and a whole new range of noises and smells from the baby could be a tipping point for him...and from reading your description it sounds like he might never safe to be trusted to be unmuzzled anywhere near a child who might spark his fear aggression. That would just be irresponsible parenting.If he is fine with a newborn.... how do you think he is going to handle a toddler screaming and babbling around the house and trying to play with him? Do you have the room to segregate him completely from a child areas until the child is is old enough to learn how to interact with the pet and not be bitten?

It sounds like you have done a serious amount of work and have had a lot of professional help....and you still have a an unsafe animal in your house....What sort of environment do you see him thriving in?He needs to be muzzled when out in public in case he bites people...he has had 7 months in a stable home and professional training and advise and has made very little progress.....

If he was mine he would be given everything he enjoys for one last day and then taken to the vets happy as larry not knowing what was going on then go for his final sleep....

_Sits back and awaits flaming_

LeoandBoosmum Thu 26-Sep-13 02:28:32

Do you have the dog insured? I know our insurer (Pet Plan) will pay so much towards behaviour therapy. I know it's very difficult but I don't think the problems are insurmountable with the right help and advice. Please don't get such a young dog with so many other great qualities PTS. I wouldn't send back to the breeder either. If you try to rehome I think it would further compound the dog's problems. The problems need to be addressed. Rehoming is not the answer for a dog that is already insecure. What happens if the next person gives up on him? Please try to keep working with the dog (if you're not insured and you have some funds then you might see incredibly dramatic positive results with a dog behaviourist). I'm not meaning to guilt trip you. You sound like you really love the dog and want the best for him. I hope you can get meaningful help (there is actually a lot of good advice/ forums on the net who might be able to offer much better insights than you'll get here). Your dog sounds so lovely in so many ways. Someone's got to stay the course with him - I hope it can be you.

TakingTheStairs Thu 26-Sep-13 07:21:56

Thank you Arudonto and LeoandBoosmum
You both make very valid points. We (DH and I) don't want to pts if possible as he has good qualities but they are definitely outweighed by the issues. But we also don't want him passed from pillar to post which is why we really want to get him rehomed with someone that should have more success with working with him, a trainer or a behaviourist, who will keep him forever.

TakingTheStairs Thu 26-Sep-13 07:23:36

Leosmum, we have seen a behaviourist already unfortunately

confusedwwyd Thu 26-Sep-13 07:42:05

theres nothing you can do once he leaves you to control whether he gets passed on. i would have thought it would be even more likely especially if he is a rare breed. its not up to your dog walker whether he gets pts or not and the only way you have any say in what happens in the future is to pts. how would you feel if you found out his new owner passed him on to a family with young children? pts isnt always the worst that can happen. obviously its not my dog and you must do as you feel is best but there arent a lot of homes out there for fear aggressive biters.

ChippingInNeedsSleepAndCoffee Thu 26-Sep-13 08:16:22

TTS it is just so very hard isn't it sad I think I would only consider rehoming him if your dogwalker will keep him, not foster him or someone a behaviourist you trust can guarantee will not 'pass him on'. If your dog walker would keep him (as long as she totally realises what he is like at home), I'd let him go now, if not I'd see how he goes with the baby things arriving, the baby arriving and people coming to the house - if he's getting too anxious then I would probably do the kindest, hardest thing ever, and PTS sad A little while ago someone said something along the lines of 'animals don't think in terms of 'a future' - it is the 'here and now' that matters' so they are living in the moment'. He wouldn't know what was going to happen and he wouldn't be unhappy & anxious anymore and all of the regret for his 'future' would be yours, not his. I hope that makes some sense. I really, really feel for you, it's a truely shitty situation x

TakingTheStairs Thu 26-Sep-13 08:28:33

Thank you confused and chipping. Our dog walker is fabulous but I'm feeling a little railroaded by her into not pts. He is fine with her as he is never in a stressful situation for the couple of hours he is with her per day but she does know what he is like as he stays with her if we are away and for that reason she doesn't even feel she can take him full time as she already has one high maintenance dog and can't give attention all the time to ours.
You're right , Confused, I have no control over his situation after he is gone and I don't want him ending up somewhere where he is passed on again.

After hours and hours of taking with DH last night and this morning, we are going to continue in our search for a behaviourist/trainer/professional to take him on forever. He is not suitable as a family pet. If we can't find that for him, he will be pts. It is harsh but the kindest thing for him.

Lilcamper Thu 26-Sep-13 08:45:50

I really would suggest looking here APBC or here PPG

ender Thu 26-Sep-13 09:01:03

Have you completely ruled out asking a rescue if they can help? You might have to search but there are some fantastic ones where dogs are fostered by really experienced caring people. I've recently adopted a dog that had been badly treated as a tiny puppy, he'd been through 3 owners because he had some issues. He was in a foster home with other dogs, a huge garden, and was having a lovely time. The rescue had done a lot of work with him and I really got to know him before I finally brought him home and he's turned out to be a lovely dog.

JesusInTheCabbageVan Thu 26-Sep-13 09:02:45

Hi OP,

A very brave post, given the way these types of threads can go. I'm not expert and can't offer anything constructive, but wanted to add my voice and say: it's clear you've tried everything you can think of and worked really hard with him, and I think you're doing the right thing.

Yes, things could work out brilliantly with your baby, but I really do think the odds are stacked against you and I think it's a chance in a million. If it doesn't work out - without wanting to sound alarmist, at worst your baby could be in danger even if you are careful with supervision. Our greyhound was the gentlest boy on earth, but was clearly affected when DS was born. He NEVER acted out towards him, but had terrible nightmares for a while. One evening we were sat on the sofa - dog to one side of us, DS in moses basket on the other side of the room. Suddenly our dog ROARED, shot out of bed and across the room. He was asleep and (presumably) woke up in mid-bolt. He just stood there with a WTF? expression which would have been funny if it hadn't been so shocking. If he'd gone for DS, I think he would have got there before we did.

TakingTheStairs Thu 26-Sep-13 09:29:33

Lilcamper those links aren't working on my phone so I'll check them later. Thanks though

ender I don't want him going into rescue and I think with his biting history he wouldn't have much luck

Thank you so much jesus you are so kind. I'm so glad it worked out with your two boys thanks

LeoandBoosmum Thu 26-Sep-13 18:13:37

TTS, one thing I'll just add is that there are dog behaviourists and dog behaviourists! Did this person come recommended? Were they able to show you examples of successes with other dogs? Even dog behaviourists have specialist areas so it is worth ringing a few and being detailed/ asking questions. A good dog behaviourist will be open to you asking questions to find out if they are the most suitable for the job, especially if you explain it's make or break. Your vet may be able to point you in the right direction... Have you spoken to your vet? Where in the country are you (if that's not too personal a question)?

TakingTheStairs Thu 26-Sep-13 22:03:51

Hi LeoandBoosmum. I have spoken to the vet a couple of times , and I'm going to speak to our behaviourist from Company of Animals (vet referred and properly qualified) for more advice
Just waiting for her (the behaviourist) to call me back.

Nothing is being done in a hurry or without a lot of thought and proper qualified advice for our dogs best interests.

TakingTheStairs Thu 26-Sep-13 22:04:17

And I'm in London smile

TakingTheStairs Fri 27-Sep-13 14:17:10

a little update.

I've had advice from our trusted, vet recommended Company of Animals APDT/CFBA behaviourist.
She said that he is one of the worst cases she has ever seen, that he was incredibly nervous and that our chances of re homing him are slim. To try, but if we are honest about his issues, there are very very few people that will take him on.
That we are making the right decision. That we know in our heads it is the correct thing to do, it's our hearts that are making us doubt ourselves.

And that it would be kinder to him, if we can't find a suitable re home, to have him PTS when he is loved and comfortable, rather than risk him being passed from pillar to post and then PTS anyway.


TheTruffleHunter Fri 27-Sep-13 14:38:56

Oh Stairs I really feel for you.

I have a rescue GSD cross who is also completely attached to me to the extent that he will not go for a walk or be fed by my DH, and I really think that it would be kinder to him to pts (horrible thought!) rather than rehome so I absolutely get where you're coming from. Fortunately he is great with my 6 month DD.

Don't Dogs Trust have a place in N.I. where the un-rehomable dogs go where they can be looked after by specialist handlers? Might be worth a call if you would be prepared to fund his place?

TakingTheStairs Fri 27-Sep-13 15:37:19

Thank you.
I appreciate the thought Truffle, but I'm not sending him to a rescue centre where he will be confused and upset and wondering where DH and I are and make his issues even worse. They may have specialist handlers but it's not a home sad

I think the best thing you can do now is just love him and spoil him rotten. You have done and are doing everything you can. This isn't your fault, you didn't make him this nervous , and don't let anyone make you feel bad. I don't think anyone can disagree that you have done so much to help him and I hope one day karma gets those who are responsible for this.

I will keep hoping for a miracle for you all, but I do agree that PTS may well be the best option if this miracle home can't be found. X

TakingTheStairs Fri 27-Sep-13 16:05:39

Thanks so much wheresmycaffeinedrip thanks

I can't wait to get home and spoil him with cuddles and kisses.
I get so wound up when I think about the people that made such a lovely dog this insecure and defensive.

Whatever happens now jut be thankful you found each other. It may have been a difficult road with no happy ending but without you he never would have known what a loving home was. You gave him something no one else did an something every pet deserves but sadly many never experience. You made a difference to him. And im sure he would tell you that if he could. X

Whatever happens now jut be thankful you found each other. It may have been a difficult road with no happy ending but without you he never would have known what a loving home was. You gave him something no one else did an something every pet deserves but sadly many never experience. You made a difference to him. And im sure he would tell you that if he could. X

TakingTheStairs Fri 27-Sep-13 16:16:22

Thank you so so much. That is such a lovely thing to say


Booboostoo Fri 27-Sep-13 17:13:20

I've had to put an aggressive horse to sleep after 4.5 years of trying every vet, behaviourist and trainer around and getting the same answer: too dangerous to handle and ride. It's a horrific situation to be in and it takes guts to PTS an otherwise healthy animal but you have to be strong and do what is best for him. Because at the end of day, hard as it is, it is best for him to be PTS rather than go through the upheaval of another rehoming, the possibility of an unsuitable home, the disaster of a further rehoming and so on, always with the possibility that he will bite someone more seriously. The worst bit is making the decision and carrying it, afterwards you have the happy memories and the knowledge that you did the right thing by your pet.

idirdog Fri 27-Sep-13 17:23:39

There is a huge difference between training for 4.5 years and just a few months as in this case. Everything has not been done, she has only had the dog a few months, but very similar to another thread, has now got other things going on in her life and the dog is too much effort to keep working on.

The threads do not add up. " Our cleaner says he is lovely with her when I'm not there," then why can he not be rehomed - if he is better without you.

" If anyone comes over we have to have them basically sit down and not move for fear of him freaking and biting." - just put him in a room away from your visitors

How do you know there is no home for him - I have rehomed 8 "aggressive" dogs (they have never bitten me or anyone since I have had them). I knew they were aggressive and was quite happy to take them - i am not the only one who does this.

Your mind was made up from the start of this thread - so then just do. It does my head in when people post but have no intention of changing their mind but just need people to tell them it is ok.

Booboostoo Fri 27-Sep-13 17:42:37

I understand what you say idirdog and I feel your frustration in general. In this case I was going by the OP's claim that the behaviourist felt this was one of the worst cases he/she had seen. That is a pretty damning conclusion. I suspect that many of the cases behaviourists see can be helped with the right training so for a professional to make such an extreme claim must be rare and has to be taken seriously.

Floralnomad Fri 27-Sep-13 17:49:20

OP can I just ask ,had you not had the incident with the dog in the park would you still be going along this path or did that influence this decision?

Years in isolation wearing a muzzle is not exactly a life is it though idirdog do you really think that if there was any real hope that the vets and specialists wouldn't be thinking the sane thing.

TakingTheStairs Fri 27-Sep-13 17:57:41

I'm not saying he can't be rehomed. I'm going to do my best with as much as help as possible to find another home. But I am saying that with all his issues it is going to be very hard to find a home for him.

If you are willing to try and help me find a suitable home for my fear aggressive, guarding, herding, biting, insecure, scared of men, over attached (hence why he freaks when I'm there) scared of eye contact dog then please do

But idirdog you decided from the beginning that I wasn't being responsible enough. You accused me of doing no research and of not using a properly qualified behaviourist. Both accusations were untrue.
And as I said above, the behaviourist said (today, after a long talk) that in his case I was doing the right thing
You don't know my dog. You don't know his issues. You have decided I'm not doing enough when I have tried my hardest for him.
I'm glad you're so perfect. It must be very reassuring for you.

TakingTheStairs Fri 27-Sep-13 17:59:51

floral, that had no bearing what so ever. That was 100% not his fault. I don't count that towards his issues at all. He was attacked, and he tried to get away himself

And yes it has only been a few months but trauma can affect animals that way. As it can in people. Lives can be changed forever in a split second and they never ever recover. If a dog can't be a dog, run play enjoy company and affection, then what life will that animal have. Keeping animals alive just so you can pat yourselves on the back for a job well done is not always what's best for an animal.

That was to idirdog not you stairs x

TakingTheStairs Fri 27-Sep-13 18:09:54

I thought so caffeine but thanks for clarifying.

idirdog Fri 27-Sep-13 18:11:56

But it need not be years of isolation in a muzzle. One of the dogs I now own was tied with a metal chain 24/7 because it was thought to be too aggressive to ever go out. It had seen so called behaviourists, however in different hands with someone who had time and knowledge the dog has shown no aggression at all. He regularly competes at agility and is happy amongst people and dogs.

I do have one dog that is very very nervous and fear aggressive. He is fine on our land but he is not taken out and about but he has a fantastic life - loads of training, tracking and working trials but all done without anyone else about smile

I could go on and bore you with the histories of the other dogs but my point is that there are people out there who are willing to help BUT it will take time to find them.

The OP can not cope - fine - but I do feel that the dog does stand a chance with someone else even if it is difficult for the OP to find them.

I guess I am being hard on the OP (for that I apologise) but so often dog behaviour comes to a head when other things in life get in the way.....and that is not the dogs fault and I feel that some owners just need to face up to their responsibilities.

In 20 years of working with dogs I only once seen an aggressive dog that needed to be PTS and that was due to a brain tumour. Yes it took time to work things out but there are nearly always solutions that are better for the dog than PTS.

However if an owner feels that is the way forward for them - then do it but don't ask for public approval, it is the owners lot to live with their decision.

idirdog Fri 27-Sep-13 18:12:59

TakingtheStairs I have already rehomed two MN dogs - this is your responsibility but I will pm you some contacts.

idirdog Fri 27-Sep-13 18:14:51

Takingthestairs You are right we do not know your dog so why ask on here for opinions? That is exactly my point..... you post people give advice and unless we agree with you we do not understand the situation but if people agree with you they do.

Be honest with yourself over this decision

TakingTheStairs Fri 27-Sep-13 18:19:40

You're right. It is my responsibility. But thank you in advance for the contacts. Any help is most gratefully received.

QuietTiger Fri 27-Sep-13 18:25:47

OP, I am not going to comment on the rights or wrongs of PTS for your dog, I am only going to tell you our story.

DH & I are very experienced collie owners. We work our dogs, as well as have several pet collies with "issues" (one has nervous aggression). Because I am experienced with collies, I was asked to take a "failed farm dog" by a friend of mine, who had been living on the end of a chain in a kennel for 7 years. She didn't want to PTS, but couldn't cope with taking him on herself.

He had serious issues, one of which was that he'd break out and disappear. He was also food aggressive and whilst most of the time he was OK playing with other dogs, he'd occasionally snap and become dog aggressive. He was frightened of strangers, had issues with cars, was herdy, would nip, and was desperately insecure with severe separation anxiety. We discussed many times the PTS option and many times tried "something else".

We had him 6 months. We tried many things, including using a qualified behaviourist, following her advice once it was given, and trying to implement the changes recommended. One day, he turned on one of our other dogs for no reason other than he was looked at wrong. One minute he was calm and lying down, the next minute he was trying to rip our dogs throat out. He then attacked and bit DH, because DH stupidly tried to break the fight up.

Our vet was present and saw the incident when it happened. She was on the farm seeing some of our cattle at the time and was talking to DH next to the dogs.

The vet, at our request, euthanaised him there and then. Not because it was "revenge" for him biting or "he was a dangerous dog", but because he had so many issues he couldn't cope with life. I could have very easily passed him on to a specialist collie rescue, because I work with one, but all that would have happened is that they would have been handed a completely un-rehomable dog and he'd have languished there in a kennel permanently.

I was not happy that we made the decision to kill him. I use the word deliberately, because that is what we did. But I also strongly feel that I did my best by him. We took responsibility for his life. He wasn't passed from pillar to post and home to home because we couldn't cope, but couldn't bear to make a tough choice, he wasn't abused, he wasn't confused because he'd been dumped and abandoned, he was relaxed and calm and was held and cuddled by my DH as our vet stuck a needle in his leg, and in familiar surroundings while he died.

I can't tell you what to do. I can only tell you that you took on your dog and you owe it to him to take responsibility. Regardless of what that is. No doubt there are many people who would flame me mercilessly because I elected to put a "healthy" dog to sleep. But I also don't worry about where he is or what has happened to him because I passed him on.

ender Fri 27-Sep-13 18:37:18

idirdog has said what I wanted to say, but put it much better than I could have. I was worried about causing offence to OP who's already upset but this is a dog's life at stake.
You said you've ruled out rescue because you don't want dog to be upset, but he might be fine.
Couldn't you at least have a look at some rescues? What have you got to lose? If you find one that looks OK see how the dogs seem, talk to the people that work there, you might be surprised. I know I was when I visited the one I got my dog from. The foster carers had other dogs , some were there because of biting, fear aggression etc with previous owners and were in process of re-training. They were all running about playing happily together.
It may take time to find the right place but surely its worth a try?

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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