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About to adopt a dog...advice?

(15 Posts)
sNoway Tue 21-Dec-10 19:01:50

The dog my DDs have fallen in love with is a GSD/Rottweiler cross, but he's also been in the shelter for 6 years shock.
Didn't think any of this was a problem, then PIL has asked if I'm actually going the allow the DDs around the dog - I was thinking of course I am, why wouldn't I? They've been nagging for months!

Where he proceeded into a long 30 minute discussion with MIL about how violent rottweilers are and how there's very obviously a reason he's still there after 6 years, along with all the violent dogs he's know over the years hmm.

Was more than a bit upset tbh, feeling very defensive of the dog.
Do they have a point? If he is aggressive, what can I do to help him? Any advice in general?

Alouiseg Tue 21-Dec-10 19:06:18

I have no idea, but good on you for taking on a rescue dog. I expect one of the experts will have good advice soon.

pageturner Tue 21-Dec-10 19:22:03

What do the shelter say?

Mutt Tue 21-Dec-10 19:25:17

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Mutt Tue 21-Dec-10 19:26:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Mutt Tue 21-Dec-10 19:27:33

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SantasNutellaFairy Tue 21-Dec-10 19:29:13

Why has he been at the shelter for 6 years is certainly the question I would be asking first.
If it's because of his breed- and he sounds like a big dog, and not because he has discipline issues such as lead pulling/excess herding instinct/ extreme protectiveness or territorial behaviour then I would tell PIL to butt out.

He will need to be kept busy- both Rotties and GSD were bred as herding animals and are very intelligent. Very loyal, but both equally protective of family.

Also, do you have enough time and space for such a large dog? are there medical issues with him which can sometimes be a reason for languishing in kennels.

Well done for wanting to take on a rescue animal- I'm no expert but have always loved dogs. I don't have one at the moment as I couldn't do justice to the animal.

VallhalaLalalalalalalalaaaaaa Tue 21-Dec-10 19:29:57

ARRRRGH!!!

Bloody ignoramuses!!

<<sigh>>

Sorry - it's just that I'm both an independent rescuer and a volunteer for a rescue shelter and hear this kind of crap all the time.

All too often there is one and only one reason why such a dog is in rescue... and that is because of scare-mongering, ignorant opinions which are bandied around by people like your PIL. If I had a pound for every person who came up with this crap or a pound for every dog which was languishing in rescue for years because of it, I would be able to afford to save them all.

Rotts are right up there with Staffies as allegedly dangerous dogs by those who know no better and GSD are not far behind. Which, as you gathered, really pisses me off, particularly as I own 2 GSDs (and a Labrador and 2 daughters!) and as my daughters are also rescue volunteers, one of whom spends a particular amount of time with Danny, her favourite of the 60 dogs in our local rescue. Danny happens to be a Rottie.

No particular breed is a danger. That's as logical as saying that if you come from Mexico you're a danger but if you come from Tunisia you're fine. Daft, eh?

Tell me, what have the rescue told you about the dog you've fallen for? I'd think, unless they are a dodgy one - and I don't deny they exist, not all rescues are as scrupulous as the one I volunteer for or those I work alongside - they probably know the dog extremely bloody well after 6 years!!

If you have had a homecheck and been approved, if you have had long and earnest, honest conversations with the rescue, if you and all your household have met and interacted with this dog under the supervision of the rescue, and if this rescue is reputable, I think you have no reason to be suspicious. If these things aren't insisted upon then you must think again.

You know what you want and need in a dog. Now what you require is to know what you need in a rescue. If they have homechecked/will homecheck you, if they have vaccinated, neutered and microchipped the dog, if they have assessed you both, met the household and give you a written contract promising you lifetime support and that they will take the dog back at any stage in his life if you are unable to keep him, you are fine. If you are not given these things, consider VERY carefully whether you want to proceed. At the very least. Better still, walk away, there are thousands of other dogs begging for homes and hundreds of rescues which WILL offer these things... and I would consider these things to be essential for those with a young family and without rescue contacts.

Finally, may I ask which rescue it is you are dealing with? I may have more knowledge of and/or info on them or know someone who does.

sNoway Tue 21-Dec-10 20:28:38

They've told us little so far - that he's not good with young children, but as DD2 is 13 she's not a young child, though we'd have to be cautious with visiting family and friends (I'd expected that with any new dog to the family, though.)
We're expecting a flood of info after our home visit - is that when I'd receive any relevant info or would that be after the adoption is complete?

Though please don't take my OP the wrong way - I wasn't concerned about him being a Rottweiler or a GSD, I was more worried about why he has been there for 6 years and if this could be because he is very aggressive, what could I do in this case?
I'd be worried about any dog mauling my DDs, regardless of breed, though I know this is unlikely.

sNoway Tue 21-Dec-10 20:33:59

PIL are generally against any pet owning, so I take anything they say with a tub of salt.
But they did raise that fear of waking up to find our dog-to-be had attacked one of the girls, and tbh it's more than a little difficult to shake off.

Hope the shelter will be able to calm these worries soon, but they may well be a little U anyway <hopefully>

JaxTellersOldLady Tue 21-Dec-10 21:36:34

Valhalla is right, all of the questions raised should be answered by the shelter and a home visit will ensure you are a suitable adopting family.

Is there information on the rescue website?

I have had a rottie X GSD, a soppy lump of animal with a very strong, hard head. grin

Well done on giving a rescue dog a chance.

NellyFartado Tue 21-Dec-10 21:41:42

I would think v carefully and make sure you have every scrap of info you can possibly get. Personally (and I have a lot of experience of rescue dogs), I wouldn't take on a dog that had any kind of bad track record with young children. I know you don't have little ones, but you will obviously encounter small children when you're out and about. Do you have experience of dogs? As a very experienced dog owner (including of rescue dogs), I would not advise anyone inexperienced to take on a dog that has been in a rescue shelter for that long. Is it a dog that your DDs will be able to manage? Even a small dog can be hard for a thirteen-year-old to hold on a lead if it is trying to do a runner...

Scuttlebutter Tue 21-Dec-10 23:22:35

Interestingly, there has been some research done which says that big dogs, especially black ones are harder to home than any others (regardless of temperament). There is also the case (as is happening in this instance) that potential adopters are put off by the fact this dog has been in kennels for so long. So they don't adopt him, he stays in the kennel and so the vicious cycle continues, meanwhile the dog may be completely blameless.

Many rescues will not home ANY dog to an environment with small children, not because they think the dogs they look after are slavering hounds who enjoy a nice fresh baby for dinner, but because small children and dogs as a mixture require a great deal of commitment. Dogs deserve a home where they are not constantly prodded, poked and disturbed.

Your home visit is when the charity will be assessing you and potentially making matches with the dogs in its care. If it has mentioned this dog to you, it sounds as though the people concerned think you could be a good fit for each other. Have a think about trying the dog out - any reputable rescue will be on the end of the phone with lots of advice and support and I'd strongly endorse getting signed up for some classes, which will help with recall, lead work and other basic skills. When I recently did KC Bronze and Silver with one of our greyhounds, there was an ENORMOUS mastiff in the class who weighed over ten stone and looked very intimidating, yet made great progress and was in fact a gentle giant.

If you are truly committed to owning a dog, not just because your kids nag, are willing to sign up for training, and happy to put some work in helping him back into a home life, then this dog could be immensely rewarding for your family. So far the only person who thinks he is definately aggressive is your MIL (clearly she has psychic powers, and will shortly be setting up with Cesar Millan). Rescues want adoptions to work - it's in nobody's interest for them to put the wrong dog with you - so ask some more questions, be honest about your commitment and expectations and this could be the start of a beautiful friendship. Good luck! smile

Beamur Tue 21-Dec-10 23:29:54

I have a rescue dog, from the RSPCA. Tbh, I don't think we were matched brilliantly well with our dog, and it's been a mixed experience.
She is in the main a lovely animal, and I couldn't ask for a better dog around the kids and in the house, but outside she is hard work - despite taking her to classes.
But, even though at times my patience has been pushed very hard, we would not give her up and I am glad we got her.
Rescue dogs can come with extra baggage, but do deserve the chance to have a happy life.

Ephiny Thu 23-Dec-10 15:49:14

I obviously don't know this particular dog, but just wanted to say please don't worry about breed 'reputation' and the ignorant comments people like your PIL make. My dog is a rottweiler (came to us from rescue) and is the most lovely, gentle, affectionate boy you can imagine, loves being with us and having cuddles and is good with children (we don't have children of our own, but he had lived with a baby/toddler in his previous home with no problems and is great with our little nieces and nephews). I think they're a nice-natured breed as a rule, going by the ones I've known.

I know you don't have this breed prejudice as you said, but it could be a reason he's been so long in rescue. And older dogs are often harder to rehome. Also the 'not good with children' thing, people might assume this means he would bite or be aggressive to a child - this is probably not the case - often it's because a dog is a bit nervous or likes a quiet home and would be stressed by small children running around being children and making noise. So it's not necessarily cause for concern, as your DDs are presumably old enough to behave sensibly around him? If he had shown any aggressive tendencies or other problem behaviours, surely the rescue would have told you, and would be very careful to only rehome him to someone with the necessary experience?

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