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.

SnakeyMcBadass Mon 13-Jan-14 10:24:25

Oh dear. I think it is possible to just not 'gel' with a dog. My DH is ambivalent about our spaniel, but adores our cockapoo. I do wonder if you're expecting too much though? It sounds like you had an idea of a dog in your head, and that the actual experience is different. My dogs aren't sympathetic if the DC are ill or sad. They're dogs. They might lay with them on the sofa, but that's because it's comfortable grin Most dogs don't adore small children ime, they tend to prefer older children who can interact appropriately. You can teach a dog to play, which means they will be more interactive. Does your girl like playing any specific games? If she's spaniel like, she'll probably enjoy fetch and find it games. Likewise, you can teach recall so that you can let her off lead. My spaniel can cop a deaf 'un if it suits, but consistency is key. Anywhere you can safely let her off lead to practice recall?

lougle Mon 13-Jan-14 10:26:56

What a sad post. You've only had her 5 months, and she is 2 years old. In dog years, you've had her 3 years and she's 14 years old! It's no time at all. She needs to build trust with you and the children. Dogs respond to affection and they know when people like them. They are incredibly astute.

My dog knew that DH tolerated him - he would feed him, stroke him, etc., but the real affection wasn't there. Then, something softened in DH and he started to give him a random pet when he didn't strictly need to, etc. Patch has latched on to that and smothered DH with affection. DH has responded to the affection by returning it - they're building a huge bond.

Food is a basic motivator for a dog. If you want your dog to love the children, carefully support them to give her the food, etc.

Give her time. She's only known you such a short time.

lougle Mon 13-Jan-14 10:29:09

Patch adores our children and will always want to sit with them if they are poorly. They get annoyed by that! They spend most of their time pushing him away or shutting the door so he doesn't get their food, etc. The poor thing comes back time and time again for more. stupid mutt .

I think most dogs have some undesirable traits. You just trade the good for the bad. Just like people.

Thanks for replying Snakey - the only safe place to practice recall is our own garden - she has the hang of it there, esp if food treats are involved... but we live very rurally, which means that if she ahd recall there are lots of wide open (unfenced) fields and huge tracts of forest where she could be off the lead, but there are no enclosed dog excercise fields or anything like that. We went to a training class and she had recall in thier training field too, but mainly because there I was her point of sanctuary I think (she remains anxious about other dogs, but that isn't a big issue as you can walk for an hour here and not see another human or dog).

She hasn't really got the hang of fetch - she will only bring the toy back if I throw, and only in the living room, not even in the garden. I tried with a dummy in the garden and she just kept runing off to worry it, then when she worked out that she got the treat if I had the dummy she started to sit and wait expectantly every time I threw it - I think she thought she was being trained to "leave" not to "fetch" grin In the house she will fetch and return one particular tied rope toy, but won't do it for anyone but me... hmm She is somewhat fixated on me and I can't move around the house without her following me right, directly under my feet, and if I go into a room she is not allowed in she either throws herself against the door or sits quietly outside it til I come out, even if the DC try to interact with her, which to be honest irritates me hugely.

lougle Mon 13-Jan-14 10:35:50

She's bonded with you - it's a good thing grin

She'll bond with them too. It will just take time.

In the nicest way possible, i think you may have had a romanticized idea of what it is like to have a dog. I wouldn't expect a dog to act worried about the kids if they were ill, or do the whole loyal friend act unless they're used to getting lots of attention from them.

I would guess that your children are picking up on your dislike of the dog and the will almost certainly be picking up these vibes from all of you.

Have you tried acting like you want to feel, so make a huge fuss of her like you think she's the loveliest dog in the world. She will probably start to give a bit more back in terms of affection and loyalty once she feels like part of the family.

lougle she is fixated on me and I don't like her sad The DC initially loved her, and my poor 6 year old ties himself in knots over how he feels about her - he says he loves her but she makes the house stressful and she doesn't love him so he wishes we'd never got her - and she ignores him as if he is an inanimate object, unless he is holding food or trying to answer or go in or out of the front door.

My eldest gives her her lunch and my DH her dinner, I only do breakfast (for logistical reasons). She has 3 meals a day due to very sensitive stomach and the fact she was emaciated when we got her - she is up to correct weight now and has been for a while.

MrMini I grew up with dogs, though she is the first I have owned myself, as an adult. She is nothing like the dogs I grew up with, temperamentally. You may be right though, maybe I had misremembered. My parents still have dogs, and they are not so - well - needy, or clingy, for want of a better word.

Acting the way I want to feel may be a good suggestion though. I will try. She is a bit "give an inch and she'll take a mile" - the more I fuss her, the more she pushes the DC out of the way to be fussed more. Of course I liked her at first, before I "got to know her" and I paid lots of attention to her, but have started blocking her out more because of the way she barks and pushes between the DC and I every time one of them wants me - esp if they are hurt or crying or the little one wants picking up - so now if a DC wants attention I either put the dog out or block her mentally and ignore her, because if I don't she is encouraged by being given a stroke and barks and shoves herself between the DC and I more and more...

SnakeyMcBadass Mon 13-Jan-14 10:46:23

Interesting that you say she ignores the children. My spaniel ignores what makes him anxious, in a 'I can't see it so it's not there' kind of way. I wonder if your girl is a little fearful of your DC? She sounds like she has attached to you as her point of safety. Thing is, the more you reject her the clingier she will become. Perhaps it's time to have a really good and honest think about whether you have made a mistake sad It's never desirable to rehome a dog, but it's also not desirable to just put up with one. She deserves more, to be frank (And I do understand, the Bastard Spaniel has driven me to my knees on occasion, but I love him however much of a PITA he's being).

SnakeyMcBadass Mon 13-Jan-14 10:49:54

My spaniel is very needy. I think they just are. With regard to pushing in between you and the DC, I'd put a stop to that with a firm 'No' and leading her to her bed, then treating when she is 'good'. My spaniel needs firm boundaries, I think because he's very bright. You need to be consistent and firm while also being gentle and kind. It's a fine balancing act, because my chap is a nervy, sensitive arse grin

Snakey I am thinking that too. It is a dilema as I have no odea of anyone who would take her. The charity we got her from have been very uncommunicative since they'd safely passed her along, despite offering support, and I doubt they'd take her back - they use foster homes rather than having a kennels as a base so there is nowhere to take her to and insist they accept her. Taking her to a general dog shelter feels wrong - after all we can keep her physically safe, well fed and exercised. There is no bond though.

I will try MrsMini's "acrt the way you want to feel" advice for a week or so - it works for pretending to feel confident etc. so maybe it could work in this case... worth a try. I am sure Mrs Mini is right that the DC pick up on how I feel about her, from odd comments they make. sad

Blimey "a nervy, sensitive arse" - that's exactly it snakey grin I appear not to tolerate that well and didn't know it was a spaniel trait - though she isn't all spaniel, its just sort of what she looks a bit like...
The dog my parents had when I was the age my older kids are was a lab-spaniel mix and wasn't like this... they had her from a puppy though, a mix breed but an accidental pregnancy of a friend of my grandmother's dog, not a rescue.

SnakeyMcBadass Mon 13-Jan-14 11:03:38

grin I think spaniel types benefit from having a job to do. Is she easy to train? Could you try clicker training her to do some tricks? My woof will pick up new tricks within 5 repetitions. He can roll over, put toys away in his box, fetch certain toys, close doors etc. Wearing them out mentally makes a huge difference to behaviour. One of my boy's favourite activities is 'Find it'. I shut him outside or inside, and hide tiny bits of food all over the house/garden. He will spend half an hour very happily going over and over the ground in the hope that even more treats will appear, and it gets him thinking. In an emergency, I just fling his kibble all over the garden and leave him to find it all. I enjoy watching him work, and that helps me to bond with him. Is there anything specific you enjoy doing with her or that makes you smile? You need to find something that is fun otherwise it is a daily grind of work and responsibility.

Floralnomad Mon 13-Jan-14 11:03:48

Perhaps she is not keen on children but could you not play with her and the older 2 which may encourage her to think they are fun . Get an agility course for the garden and get the kids running about with her ,or get your eldest to look up clicker training online and start doing that . Hopefully then her attachment will change a bit . Our terrier is obsessed with me ,I do all the walking ,feeding etc and nobody is allowed to hug me or he gets really upset , but my children are older and find it funny so they just do it to wind him up ( poor dog) .

sugarandspite Mon 13-Jan-14 11:09:26

Our trainer recommended DH and I hand feeding all meals to our dog to help build up a close and trusting bond with him.
Pretty icky at first but seemed to help.

I also agree with another poster that giving her opportunity to play with the DC should really help too. We find fetch tricky but our boy adores tug - with a particular toy and set of rules so it doesn't get too overexcitable. Or get DC to sit on the floor and hold a rawhide chew for her while they watch TV etc?
Just so they become providers of 'nice stuff' to your dog, rather than people who stop you being with her.

I think if it were me I would agree that we as a family would work really hard at more closely integrating her into the family for say 5 months (and decide specific things to do) and then review how it is then.

lougle Mon 13-Jan-14 11:32:30

Oh yes, we did the hand feeding thing, too, because Patch was quite a nervous dog.

Thanks everyone. Feeding is a tricky one because she is a rescue who was starving when found (literally) and when we got her she had absolutely huge food stealing and defending issues - she was painfully thin and would leap and steal food from the DC's plates or hands even when they were standing up (not just the toddler but the older 2, who are both in age 9 clothes so not small-medium dog head height). She also inhaled her meals in under 5 seconds. In order not to end up with a snappy dog I only let the DC give her her meal (in a bowl), and the oldest is allowed to drop single pieces of kibble in front of her as rewards when she trains her.
Nobody is allowed to go near her raw-hide chews once she has them, though the eldest is allowed to make her sit and then hand them to her. This (and feeding her 3 times a day, and changing her food so that she no longer has constant bad diorreah and has achieved a normal weight) have reduced her food issues so that the DC can now eat their own food in front of her, but I am reluctant to have them hold her food while she eats it - recipe to invite her to bite I think sad

I wouldn't say she is easy to train, though we have made some progress... Theory of the charity we got her from was that she was intended to be a gun dog (she has a docked tail) and didn't make the grade due to being too giddy, so was abandoned.

I shall begin with the attitude adjustment - have been fussing her more, but so far this is only causing her to jump up and put her paws on me, which I had recently managed to put a stop to... Shall continue for a week.

Setting a point a few months ahead to review is also a good idea.

This isn't going to be a particularly helpful post...

We have had a our springer for just over a year now. I love the very bones of him.

It wasn't always this way.

I felt that I needed to 'do it right'. Read every book going. Confused myself. Met his needs (and more, poor sod was socialised and trained to death!) but forgot to love him I think.

I posted on here. Was supported. I relaxed with him. The love came. Initially a trickle, then a drip, then a big flood smile

I didn't do anything different really. Perhaps interacted a little more on walks but nothing major. I just relaxed I think. I let myself enjoy him.

We are getting another dog on Saturday. God, I am looking forward to it, looking forward to the nipping and the mess and training and the chaos. I missed out first time.

DH just went with the flow and never read a thing, although did most of the KC obedience with Ddog, as he enjoyed it so much. The dog and DH adore each other, absolutely bonkers for each other.

The DC are lazy tbh with the dog, therefore the dog, although he loves them, has bonded best with DH and myself.

I second the idea of the games. 'Find it' with either a toy or food is an absolute favourite for us both and occupies the dog for ages. He's just had a kong too, which took about 20 minutes to eat.

Good luck.

lougle Mon 13-Jan-14 12:52:10

"have been fussing her more, but so far this is only causing her to jump up and put her paws on me, which I had recently managed to put a stop to..."

At the moment, she's treating your affection like someone who's starving would treat their first meal - she's getting as much as she can while it lasts.

That will fade as she realises that you intend to fuss her consistently.

SnakeyMcBadass Mon 13-Jan-14 12:55:50

need I remember your earlier posts and how miserable you were, I'm so glad to hear that you've grown to love your bonkers spaniel smile I remember the early days so clearly, the upheaval, the crushing sense of responsibility, the desire to be a 'perfect' dog owner...The dog didn't give a shit as long as he was fed, warm, exercised and loved. I was having panic attacks hmm

Was she in a foster home with children? How long for? Did she bond with them at all?
Tbh, it does sound like this is not the right dog for you: an abandoned, needy and nervous spaniel cross would not be my first choice for a family with 3 children esp. if first-time dog owners.

Can I ask which organisation you got her through? Because they should provide back-up support and if necessary organise a new foster home for her. (I'm also in Germany and got our second dog through a rescue organisation, as did a friend of mine, I'd be very interested to know)

I also think that the sooner you make the decision, the better it will be for the dog. The longer she is in a home where she's not really wanted, the harder it will be to find somewhere new for her.

* snakey* - I expected to get slated, deserved to in a way. You were very kind and understanding I remember (and perhaps a kindred spirit over the internet smile. I am by no means a perfect dog owner, but I think that I am a good dog owner now and our dog means the world to me.

I think we sometimes 'humanise' dogs, give them feelings and emotions that they are incapable of having.

Good to read you 'two dog' stories smile

ps - needy dogs can be wearing. Mine won't got for a wee in the garden on his own!! Once I accepted him for who he was, that got easier. Not saying you should, but it's a way to deal with it.

NuttyMuttie Mon 13-Jan-14 15:58:12

I think your post is incredibly sad as your dog is just being a dog.

"Once we got her home she wasn't "the same dog we had visited in the foster home" so the only thing that has changed is her environment so that means she can be the dog you want and maybe it is you that has changed her behaviour.

All the issues you have mentioned can be trained so that you dog gives an alternative behaviour. Many of the behaviours your are describing is appeasement behaviour. eg your dog is aware that things are not correct so is trying hard to make you happy/alter your mood.

Train her to have a settle eg every time she is in her bed reward her - Get a cup of coffee sit near her and (possible feed one of her meals this way) if she is cam in her bed she gets the reward. She will start to go to her bed and each time she does reward reward.

Start to move away from her and then throw the treat into her bed when she has stayed and you are able to move away. Just increase the distance over time and reward.

Very few dogs do the cuddling up to ill people generally they do not like illness and will take themselves away - there will of course be the exception that will but this is very normal doggy behaviour.

The reason she gets between you and the dc's is that dogs do not understand physical closeness. If two dogs are very close in a fight situation a third dog will try to split this up - they will do this by standing between the two dogs. Your dog is misunderstanding the closeness between your DC. This is clearly a sign of an anxious dog so I would ignore the behaviour maybe just put a hand down to her to show her it is not a situation she needs to be concerned about.

I would seriously get the DC and you clicker training. This will grow the bond between you all and give the dog something else to think about rather than try and guess what you want her to do. She is aware the mood is not happy.

Clicker training is all positive so she will only get rewarded and will be happy to offer behaviours - usually DC's are fantastic at it. Get them to teach her some tricks - the dog will love the happy reaction she gets from you when she does it right.

Re feeding Get her on a lead before you start to prepare the food do not let her throw herself at the door. She needs to be calm before her food is given to her. Do this with small amounts of food in your hand with your hand closed. She will try really hard to get the food (you may want to have gloves on) when she backs off and she will click and give her the food - she will learn that by waiting she gets the food not just grabbing it - this can take time with a rescue dog that has been starved so I may leave this to a later date to introduce. But you can stop the throwing at the door behaviour.

Get a tuggy or a flirt pole (not weird at all honest!) It is a pole with string on it and a toy on the end gig it around like a cat toy and your dog will love to chase it and play with it.

I would also look at going to a training class - at first you may feel despondent but when you see your dog doing well and learning new tricks and possible being the best in the class or getting an award I promise you that you will feel very differently about her - make sure that it is a positive training class run by PPG member or APDT.

She is just being a dog.

The dog that runs behind the children wagging its tail and lies with its head on their lap, fetches the paper, ball looks loving at its owner, walks perfectly to heel - usually has had hours of training,and is not just born.

I feel so depressed reading you post and hope that things work out for your post OP. sad

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.


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

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

ender Wed 15-Jan-14 11:27:57

It sounds like you had zero support from rescue, if I was in your position I'd probably be struggling as well.
I've had my GSDx rescue for five months and was told that it'd take about six months for him to settle down, he was 8 months when i got him and had already been rehomed twice. His behaviour was similar to yours, following me everywhere etc. and it did get on my nerves but the rescue explained why he was doing it and gave helpful suggestions which worked. One thing that really helped a lot was letting him sleep in our bedroom, I'd always hated the thought of dogs in bedrooms but the rescue said it'd probably make him feel more secure and calm him down. He just comes in, gets on his bed and not a peep out of him till I get up in the morning, and mornings are much calmer, he used to be frantic after being away from me all night.
In the past week he's just started going into the utility room in the afternoon and sleeping with my other dog which is a real breakthrough.
I really think it would be worth getting a good behaviourist to help you.

She can't sleep in our room ender for all I totally see the logic, and see is insane in the morning, barking and flinging herself at the stair gate once activity starts upstairs, but won't go outside to pee or leave the stair gate when my husband leaves for work at 6.15am - the kids will no longer go downstairs without me, which is yet another way she has made life harder (the oldwer 2 used to be happy to get their own breakfasts at weekends and to go on ahead while I sorted the toddler and followed 5 or 10 mins later on week days).

Other people suggested she sleep in our room too, but it doesn't work with the house lay out (our room is an attic level mezzinine without a door nor any way to fit one - the stairs open into the middle of the room - and open slatted stairs). Our room is also our study/ office, and would be quite hard to make dog suitable (the kids are only allowed in there with us, not on their own). Esp given she has "accidents" and there is a computer with periferals and all the associated cabling, plus files etc. that really do not need to be soaked in dog pee... More importantly my toddler still wakes 2 or 3 times most nights, and I couldn't handle her coming with me, winding around my legs and probably tripping me on the stairs in my zombie middle of the night state as I go to him, and then barking and trying to squeeze between us and peeing on his floor when I re-settle him (which takes 15 minutes with no dog involved but I imagine he would be awake til morning with a dog barking and carrying on!). We don't let her upstairs at all, though we were going to, but the first day we had her she jumped straight onto my youngest's changing table and did a poo on it, and did it again on the floor in his room the same afternoon! Rather put us off her going upstairs!

I think now I have made the phone call I am resigned. I think maybe the problems started with the foster family who were too eager to get rid of her to a family with a nice cozy house and somebody home all day, and so were not up front and honest about ehr issues, even if they are "normal". Normal non rescue adult dogs don't act the way she does in my experience - and esp bearing in mind she is better now than when we got her by a long way, in terms of the all night barking, the out of control food stealing done at a run from people's plates out of her eye line with the person right there, and the frequency of toilet accidents, as well as no longer having the absolutely chronic uncontrollable liquid diarreah she had for her first 6 weeks - also not normal!

At the foster family she lived with 4 other dogs... I do wonder if that is a huge factor in why she is so needy with me - but obviously it would be beyond certifiably insane to get another dog to see if that helps!

I cried when I made the call and for hours after and totally wasted the precious bit of child free time I usually get on a Wed and Friday... and I haven't told the kids. But now I've made the call I don't want to draw things out, and as long as the charity's co-ordinator does sort out a foster family to take her as long as one becomes available then she is going.

TotallyBursar Wed 15-Jan-14 14:47:22

MrTumbles sad

It's a rock and a hard place. I hope now you have made the decision a weight will be lifted and the feeling of permanence, is this what I have to be dealing with now forever more, will give you the mental space to not find it a grinding relentless chore.

Personally I do believe you can not suit a certain temperament of dog, in the same way as people. I also feel that it is unfair on dogs to attempt to train them into being something they're not.
Yes, some of us are lucky enough to be in a situation that is conducive to taking a high needs dog and work, work and work some more at uncovering the dog underneath. But that relies on a couple of things 1) having the knowledge/experience or access to a support system that has it & the time to do so 2) that the dog underneath the anxiety behaviour is a dog that is a better fit.
Some dogs are routine driven or prone to anxiety, some are highly social & need more companionship, some are not fussed about people at all - there can be a huge variation in base personality that is not a pathology or needing correction as it's just who they are. It's not a situation of fault or blame, they are just being a dog. The problem comes when in order to fit into a certain household it is viewed as a problem because the two aren't suited. It's not a problem family or a problem dog.
One holds more responsibility than the other but that's not the responsibility of changing a square peg into a round one.
You did what you thought was correct on the advice of the people who should have known better. The dog has been let down, but so have you. The lack of ongoing support is not acceptable - rescuing dogs is a noble vocation but it doesn't stop once they leave, that duty of care multiplies to include the family, it doesn't reduce.

It's very hard sometimes to see past one's own situation when advising - you feel you can see the problem & the solution, that you would graft through the hard part and not 'give up' - it forgets to take so many things into account, that each family & dog are a unique unit even though the issues may be familiar, that people's skills strengths weakness & tolerance are different and often we see a smaller task (deal with dog, solution x) when the person in charge of change often sees a much bigger one (deal with dog - deal with dc, dh, solutions? Difficult) I've said plenty of times before about involving children, forgetting I know the dog but not the kids. I'm as guilty of this as anyone, but if I can do x anyone can, forgetting the bigger picture sometimes. Although of course the above is a bit of a generalisation.
The fact remains though that if a particular dog will thrive with a single experienced owner, no kids pets or working then a family of 5 can never be that, no matter how much they try.
It's important that the rescue take the responsibility for her seriously, take on board what you say and find her a more appropriate home - it's gutting she will be moved again & it's not ideal but if she hadn't been misplaced or they had supported you/there was better accessible support it may not have come to it. Unfortunately it is her that takes the brunt of it which is why rescues need knowledge not love to run well.
Long-term it is the best decision for both of you. Sometimes doing right by them is not hanging on for grim death hoping for something that might never come. It can be taking an honest but hard decision. So sorry you were in this position.

SnakeyMcBadass Wed 15-Jan-14 14:53:37

YY Bursar. Everything you said with knobs on. I blunder through with my high needs dog, but I'd be lying if I said I always enjoy owning him. Today, he raaaaahed at my friend's friendly lab who was sniffing his butt hello. No harm done, except he has once again learned that raaaahing gets the other dog to leave. The pup is a sociable, friendly little chap and some days I walk them separately just so that I can enjoy walking a dog without incident <kicks kerb, trips over own lip>

ender Wed 15-Jan-14 15:28:33

Brilliant post Bursar.
OP - so sorry for you and dog sad

LadyTurmoil Wed 15-Jan-14 15:40:03

Definitely a brilliant post, Bursar. I remember when you first posted, Mr Tumbles and I was very enthusiastic about adopting a rescue dog. I am really sorry if that led you to do something that's causing you distress now.

I think the rescue has been very unfair with you. I fostered a dog recently and I had a couple of wobbles (because I'm not hugely experienced) and they were always available via FB or phone to chat which reassured me.

It sounds like you will have to hassle the rescue to get your dog moved, they probably won't be proactive about helping you, just as they weren't proactive in giving you help before.

But don't be downhearted about this experience. Things don't always work out as we'd wish, as it does sound like a case of incompatibility which the rescue/fosters/homecheck should have picked up on.

If I am completely honest, I would be the same as you, I would know that I haven't got the experience, time, willingness to invest so much time and energy in training a dog, compromising my family time without knowing for certain that if it was going to turn out ok. I think you are doing the right thing, and understand that it's a very difficult situation for you. But you will feel a great relief and you shouldn't feel too bad about it.

I really feel for you, OP, but I think you are doing the right thing for all of you.
I also think the rescue needs a kick up the backside tbh because there's no point getting a dog adopted into a "safe home" only for everyone in that home to be miserable and for the dog to end up back in rescue again.
Do keep on at them, stressing that the situation is getting worse for all of you. Did you sign a contract with them? In ours, it specifically says that they have a duty to take the dog back if necessary. Insist on the next available foster place. I realise that they want to save dogs by bringing them over from Greece (I think it's Greece?), but what good does it do if eg your dog ends up in a German Tierheim? In fact, in our contract it specifically says that we are not allowed to pass our dog on to anyone else at all - if we cannot care for her, we HAVE to give her back to the rescue (also does not have its own Tierheim but only Pflegestellen).

The sooner it happens, the better for all of you.

In the mean time, maybe try and think of her time with you as also a kind of Pflegestelle because you've done lots of good with her, and this is part of her journey to her proper forever home?

34DD Wed 15-Jan-14 21:11:05

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AwesomeMrsFox Wed 15-Jan-14 22:50:47

I totally feel for you MrTumble. We had a similar situation. I really tried everything but could not bond with the dog at all. Even the one to one behaviourist that came in completely 'got' the situation and actually told me not to feel bad if we did rehome her. I tried for almost 2 years and it never really got better. The dog was not spiteful but I hated being downstairs due to the constant stress. Eventually a friend approached us as she actually wanted a 'challenging' dog. We did a trial weekend and although I felt bad in pangs, the relief when the dog left was enormous. I do not regret the decision at all, the dog was not right for us and was probably unhappy too. It did have a happy ending all round and as PP have said I'm sure your dog will found a right home.

We have had dogs before and eventually another since and really all dogs are different, you might just get the odd one who does not work for you. Don't let it put you off dog ownership for life and please don't beat yourself up about it - you tried your best.

Thank you everyone, will post more later but thank you for the support.

Sorcha1966 Thu 16-Jan-14 15:31:21

I really feel for you OP. d I agree with the last few posters, you have done your very best and been let down by the rescue centre. You cannot live with a dog which makes you all miserable... thats no life for you or the dog. I hope she is found another, more suitable home soon.

BullyMom111071 Thu 16-Jan-14 21:36:25

OMG I would have to return her to the rescue. If it is a reputable rescue they will have her back in a heartbeat. A dog is meant to enrich your life and give you joy. If you all feel miserable I really wouldn't carry on. Some things are just not meant to be. They will find the perfect match for her.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now