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Please talk me out of wanting my dog re-homed

(51 Posts)
BoojaBooja Wed 29-Jun-11 16:44:03

We re-homed our dog about 15 months ago. She's about 6 years old and is a foxhound cross.

I have always had dogs and really want to love her. But I just don't.

Despite regular grooming, she sheds fur all the time. Both DD (aged 3) and I are allergic to her. She makes DD 'snuffly' and gives her dry patches around her mouth. sad

She has long walks, but still managed to fill our garden with poop! Of course I try to pick it up as soon as I see her doing it, but I don't always catch her in the act and it's a large garden. This morning DD walked in one patch of poop and wheeled her little toy pram into another.

She has destroyed external doors trying to get to the cats' food.

She runs away on about 20% of her walks. We've got this down from 100%, but it's exhausting and stressful as she opens doors into people's houses in search of food. She needs to be able to run off the lead and has pulled me right over when she's in pursuit of a scent when she's on the lead. Really hurt my shoulder!

I REALLY don't want to give up on her, but it's making me depressed, I think. I'm ok first thing in the morning, but then I remember that I live with the dog and it makes me want to cry. I can't explain it properly.

Please talk me out of bundling her into the car and taking her to the animal shelter. I think she's happy in our home and, despite being a healthy good-looking dog, I don't think she's be 'snapped up' by new owners for some reason. sad

BoojaBooja Wed 29-Jun-11 16:55:43

By the way, the dog has a lot of exercise and her walks are a BIG priority in the family. She isn't pooping in the garden because she's not taken out. She just seems to 'go' all the time. I'm keen on allowing dogs access to the garden, particularly as she's so large. I mentioned it to the vet when I took her for a routine check-up and they don't understand why she poops so much!

I know this will seem ridiculous, but I used to work in re-homing animals. I can't believe that I'm thinking of giving up on her. I can't face living with her though. It's very weird and difficult.

ditavonteesed Wed 29-Jun-11 17:15:58

what food is she on, are you giving her the right amount? How long are her walks?
Do you use a furminator? (dont know a lot about them as my dog is wire haired).
recall, is there a particular time it is a problem, if you have got it from 100% unmpredictable to 20% then you are obviously doing really well and surely the last little bit cant be far off.
Where do you mainly wlak her?
you sound like you are doing a great job.

BoojaBooja Wed 29-Jun-11 17:23:43

She has James Wellbeloved food, which is great and she enjoys it. We always measure it properly. The consistency of her 'outgoings' is normal - there's just a huge amount of it.

She walks for at least two hours per day, in open fields. It's usually more like 3 hours.

What's a furminator? I like the sounds!

We've worked hard with the re-call and always carry sausages with us on her walks, which is what she comes back for. The problem is that she runs away on the scent of food, and will scrape at people's doors, or even open then and run into houses. It sounds comical, but it's actually very distressing.

We walk her across fields, on footpaths.

Thank you for your kind words. smile

BoojaBooja Wed 29-Jun-11 17:27:34

Although enjoyable, the length of walks she needs it also a bit tricky. We made the commitment to do it when we re-homed her, but sometimes, especially in the mornings, it's difficult to fit an hour and a half walking in. I can't complain at that though, as I knew she'd need that sort of exercise when we took her on.

ditavonteesed Wed 29-Jun-11 17:32:41

furminator as a say dont have any personal experience but I know people who swear by them.
sounds like lovely walks, can you accupany her into garden so you see when she does her poos.
I have a terrier and she will run up to every body on wlaks just in case they have food, there is one lady in the park who she can spot from a mile away and I have no chance of getting her back, lady says 'just one more then you go back to mummy' cause that'll work.
You say she is a rescue, was she starved? doesnt help but makes it more understandable. the scent thing is infuriating in terriers, they just go deaf blind and completly one track minded dont they. how can she open doors, is there any way you could teach her to do it on command, and therfore hopefully stop her doing it without a command.
have you thought about getting a trainer in to give you some ideas (I dont really know what I am talking about)

BoojaBooja Wed 29-Jun-11 17:34:59

Come on, Valhalla. I need a stern talking to!

BTW, DP is not happy (understatement of the year) about the option of re-homing the dog, but he can see how allergic DD and I are to her. He also feels like he hasn't bonded with her like all of our other dogs. Although of course that isn't reason to have her re-homed - just a bit of info really.

BoojaBooja Wed 29-Jun-11 17:38:08

I'll certainly check-out the furminator, thanks so much dita!

No, I don't think she was starved but there is the possibility that she was in a hunting pack and so certainly wouldn't have been looked after properly. She was found as a stray in fields.

We've seen two trainers and an (excellent Behaviourist) but she as she's so large, she can pull down door handles fairly easily. She's obviously learned it somewhere (not from us!) and uses it to her advantage. She covers a great distance in a short amount of time, so we have no idea where she's gone, until someone calls us on the numbers on her collar.

It's so stressful. I really, really can't bear this situation.

BoojaBooja Wed 29-Jun-11 17:39:25

She also has zero road sense and so I'm very worried that she'll be involved in an accident.

As soon as she's on a scent, we lose her.

BoojaBooja Wed 29-Jun-11 20:23:20

Anyone have any comforting or stern words to make me re-think and keep the dog, please?

thebestisyettocome Wed 29-Jun-11 20:28:05

I think scent hounds are the hardest dogs to keep. I used to walk with a lady who had two rescue beagles and she struggled with them.

I don't know what to say really. I suppose as long as you know you have really tried your best but this is starting to severely impact upon the quality of your life, you have little option but to rehome. As long as you make sure the dog ends up in a situation which is great for him/her, perhaps it's for the best.

DooinMeCleanin Wed 29-Jun-11 20:39:27

Firm words/ I'm not as firm as Val but I'll give it a go grin

Poo - You're just gonna have to suck this one up I'm afraid. It's part and parcel of dog ownership. Did you not realise this when you took a dog on? They do not just magically start pooing in their special poo corner unless they are my whippet but you can train them to only poo in one corner, if you are willing to put in the effort. MJ explained more about this on another thread www.mumsnet.com/Talk/the_doghouse/1246496-No-1-reason-why-you-shouldnt-get-a-dog

External doors/cat food - Chicken wire stapled over the doors will help protect them. Supervise her while the cat is eating. Everytime she goes to the door to scratch give a firm "NO" - treat her when she stops. If she does not go to the door, but walks off or lays down - treat her. She'll get the picture soon enough.

Running away on walks - This is not acceptable, not even 20% of the time. You need to finda secure area to practise your recall training in and buy a recall lead. Buy a whistle at first use it in the house only. Whistle every meal time so the dog associates the whistle with food. Once she is coming as soon as the whistle is blown, start whistling at various periods during the day, feed very tasty snack when she comes. Once she gets the whistle in the house, take it to a secure and practise recall with the recall lead. It's best to do this after a walk so the dog is less energetic and when the dog is hungry. Some dogs might never have 100% recall, my Fox Terrier is terrible and can only gbe let loose in secure fields. Take her running or get on your bike and have her run aong side you for exercise.

Shedding - Again, what did you expect when you got a dog? The furminator will help. Washing her in petal clense might help with the allergies.

As for rehoming her, the poor thing has already been in one rescue/home before yours. Sending a dog back is the worst thing ever for them. Dogs who ahve had homes fail are much harder to replace. Your dog is poorly trained and 'elderly' compared to many young dogs. If you place in rescue, it is very possible that you would condemming her to a life in kennels. Rescues are jam packed with puppies and young dogs, your dog wouldn't stand a chance against them.

Dogs are hard work. Very hard work, but very rewarding if you are willing to put in the work. Please don't let your dog down, like so many others do.

BooyHoo Wed 29-Jun-11 20:44:21

scent hounds are very hard work. you have my sympathies. start weight training with your lead holding arm grin

i had a harrier hound and when i took him to puppy class the trainer said she would give me the award just for attempting to train him! grin (she was half joking)

BoojaBooja Wed 29-Jun-11 20:49:11

Thanks, thebest and doin.

Yes, I did realise that a dog poops, but she's like a machine! I know this is daft, but I've had dogs all my life and never experienced anything like this.

I do treat her and attempt to play with her when the cats are eating, but she's obsessed. Usually DP walks her so I can feed the cats, but he's away a lot with work so there's nowhere to put her if it's just me and DD in the house. She can smell it from the end of our road! I'll keep trying to distract her though and good advice re. chicken wire.

We've done lots of recall training in a secure area with her and it has progressed well. We've used whistles in and out of the house, as well as clickers. We've used a long leader (10m I think), but this was no good as we always got tangled! You're right, 20% isn't acceptable. This is my biggest problem. It's exhausting and such a worry.

The fur is unfortunate because we're both allergic to her. Again, I've been lucky to not be allergic to other dogs I've had. I have been allergic to a cat, but she was tiny and there was little fur or dander, so it wasn't really a problem. I think because of the size of the dog, clearing up the fur is a non-stop job. BTW, we've taken lots of other steps to limit the allergic reaction possibilities, including having wooden floors, wet dusting thoroughly. DD's now on medication for it though, which I really don't like. I'll have a look at petal cleanse - thanks for that.

Yes, I know that she wouldn't be re-homed quickly and possibly not to a suitable home. The rescue we go to is excellent though, but there's always a risk of the wrong people being matched with her.

Thanks for your last line. I needed that kick. Thank you. I'll try harder. Even though I'm crying about it right now!

BoojaBooja Wed 29-Jun-11 20:53:41

BooyHoo, it's crazy isn't it? The rescue centre actually did a little story on us for the press as with all the training they claimed we "turned her around", i.e. she ran away a lot less with the constant recall work we've done. I think this is an exaggeration though.

The problem with keeping her on the lead isn't just my arm, but the dog won't get the exercise she needs. She actually pulled me into a stream once which was frightening as DD (then just about to turn 2 years old) followed me down and slipped into the water. I know this all seem comical, but it was a panic at the time! Basically keeping her on the lead isn't an option.

DooinMeCleanin Wed 29-Jun-11 20:56:47

Aww don't cry. It is obvious you care or you wouldn't be posting. You need to find a more distracting game for when the cat is eating. If she used to be a hunter I bet she loves raggy ropes and squeakers? Get a Kong Wubba and only use it when the cat is eating or for recall.

Try BARF for the pooing. It's difficult to get to grips with at first, but they do lovely firm poos and they're not stinky at all. Plus they poo less, which is always a bonus.

My Fox Terrier loves the cat food. I feed the cat first and then go straight for his food bowl so he is more interested in what I am doing than what the cat is eating, plus my cat will kill for his JWB white fish grin, even I daren't go near him when he is feeding hmm

thebestisyettocome Wed 29-Jun-11 20:57:00

If she is a nightmare on the lead could you try a gentle leader or similar?

DooinMeCleanin Wed 29-Jun-11 20:57:44

Have you tried a halti harness to help with the pulling?

BooyHoo Wed 29-Jun-11 20:57:59

yes that sounds scary!! do any of the family run/jog. would it be possible to get a treadmill and train her to walk on that for a portion of her daily excercise, meaning that walks out of the house wouldn't need to be off lead?

BooyHoo Wed 29-Jun-11 20:59:01

at least until her recall was reliable- which will be a while considering her history and breeding.

jensape Wed 29-Jun-11 21:03:18

With regard to the poo, my dog was on james wellbeloved and pooed very frequently. We changed to another brand (Barking heads) which is much better and she only tends to poo twice a day now. I have heard quite a few people say that james wellbeloved causes some dogs to produce lots of poo but obviously this is just hearsay. Burns is another brand which is recommended for frequent pooers I think!

BoojaBooja Wed 29-Jun-11 21:05:46

Thanks all. smile

For some reason, she's not interested in pulling games at all. When the cats are eating, I hide bits of sausage around the garden, so she has a little treasure hunt. I fill her Kong too. It just doesn't last long enough. The cats need to eat more quickly!

What's BARF?

Yes, we've tried a gentle leader and a harness, but she just pushes with her paws until the leader comes off. It didn't work enough anyway. I can't believe how strong she is. She's larger, broader than an average foxhound.

We've taken her out on bikes before but again, she just runs away. She's also been attacked by a weimaraner (sp?) a couple of times and so I like to be very vigilant and make sure he's not in the vicinity. A treadmill's a good idea. I haven't tried that. It's not really about the running away for the sake of the exercise for her though, it's more about running towards a scent. She could be tired, but she'll soon charge off if something smells good.

BoojaBooja Wed 29-Jun-11 21:06:45

Thanks jensape, I'll look into that. She was on Burns until recently when someone recommended James Wellbeloved for the same reason!

BoojaBooja Wed 29-Jun-11 21:07:57

Maybe I should buy a peg for her nose! grin

DooinMeCleanin Wed 29-Jun-11 21:10:50

Biologically Appropriate Raw Feeding - basically you feed her on raw meat, raw meaty bones and a little bit bit of blended raw veg. Like she would eat in the wild. Landywoods are the cheapest BARF stockists afaik and there's loads of info on the net about it, some even say it helps with behavioural issues.

When I take my dog out on the I use a hands free lead, which goes around my body. You can also get bike attatchments to clip your dog's lead to, but only you know if this would be dengerous, you know how strong and how fast she is.

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