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Rescue terrier cross not happy

(20 Posts)
caesar04 Mon 25-Jul-11 20:37:03

Am taking the plunge in posting this, please be gentle.

Have had our lovely rescued terrier cross for 10 years, we think he is about 14yo now. He was a bag of nerves when we got him, hit by a car (we think) and had hip displacia and couldn't walk on his back right leg.

Gave him lots of love and rehabilitation and he grew into a fab dog albeit with a strange lurching run!

Cue arrival of DS, all fine till DS reached about 2 yo and started fussing the dog, not in a bad way just wanting to cuddle stroke etc... Dog has started being grumpy and has put up with alot of hassle from DS. I always deal with this behaviour and DS is getting better as he heads towards 3yo but he just bloody loves the dog and won't leave him alone.

Dog has recently (since arrival of DD now 7 months) started displaying alot of his original behaviour, nervy, skittish, very barky, running back to car on walks, refusing to be walked by anyone but me or DH.
This week he has snapped at DS sad and caught him on his hand.

I was feeding baby so didn't see it...feel mega guilty, not dogs fault, all mine for not watching DS properly.

Am now really worried about how dog will react to DD, she has just started to crawl this week, and just can't see how we will all live together in the future.
Dog seems utterly miserable and lonely, I can't give him the attention he needs, have been trying after DC's in bed but he seems really stressed.

I have been thinking about re-homing but could not send him to kennels, he would hate it and be even more miserable, is there any way to find him another home nut stay with us till that happens?

Feeling all sad and mixed up...any advice?

MotherJack Mon 25-Jul-11 21:57:02

He's 14 years old. It's like letting your kids beat grandad with a stick giving them access to him by the sounds of it smile. I would suggest a baby gate/crate between your DC's and the dog at ALL TIMES you can not give proper supervision at that age (the DC's age, that is). Your dog has started to be grumpy because he does not like the attention of a 2 year old and would probably appreciate a safe space. You can no longer take him to kennels, I believe, in any case. The RSPCA won't take on any dogs that owners no longer want, I'm pretty sure.

I can understand your confusion. You are probably knackered with 2 young kids. But even if you contacted your local independent rescue who could actually conceive the idea of yet another dog to advertise, who would want a 14 year old dog?

Is there no way you can keep him separate during child waking hours?

coccyx Mon 25-Jul-11 22:01:33

dog needs somewhere thats his sanctuary. is there somewhere he can go? a room with his bed in and no access from toddlers. roomgates, crate etc
would be awful to try and rehome him, for him and you

DogsBestFriend Mon 25-Jul-11 22:14:56

Essentially I agree with the previous 2 posters and they're suggesting what I'd do without a shadow of a doubt. There are rescues of course which are foster home based and not kennels based but as a rescuer myself I can tell you that spaces are like rocking horse poo and besides it wouldn't be fair on the dog. I know off the top of my head only one rescue which rehomes where it can direct from the owner's home having acted as middle man for homechecks and assessment. Add to that the fact that many rescues are not no-kill, even if they claim to be - many will use age or temperement as an excuse to PTS - and you have a problem, or rather, pooch has a problem.

Added to the stairgate and seperating advice I'd also suggest that you buy a crate which pooch can escape to, perhaps with a blanket over the top to make a "den" for him, and place in a very quiet area of the home. NEVER lock him in it as a punishment or he won't want to go there at all (not saying you would!) and unless really necessary for short periodss please don't close the door on it at all. And lead by example - teach DC not to go near the crate at all, that's pooch's place, and of course never to disturb a sleeping or eating dog or take his toys.

It is possible to handle this, honest, if you're willing to make some adaptations and be vigilant and consistant with the DC, which it sounds like you are.

hellymelly Mon 25-Jul-11 22:24:04

I don't think its just the children.I think its the children combined with the fact that he is old and more frail and thus less tolerant. Had you thought about the fact he may be in pain? My own 13 year old terrier is on daily pain meds now and certainly would be a far less happy dog without them (he has spinal degeneration) With your dog's hip problem i imagine that joint is now rather arthritic. I do agree with giving him a safe child free space,but i also suggest asking the vet to try pain medication and see how he seems on that too.

hellymelly Mon 25-Jul-11 22:24:32

Oh and for her/him to give your dog a thoughrough check at the same time.

chickchickchicken Mon 25-Jul-11 22:34:47

i agree with all of the above. i have a 14yr old terrier. although she is generally healthy she would not want kids fussing her too much. she is very happy to sleep a lot and come out with us for quiet walks. do get dog checked out for pain and make a separate area for dog to have a place to rest undisturbed

DogsBestFriend Mon 25-Jul-11 22:38:22

Very good point, hellymelly. (D'oh, didn't think of that!). blush <<feels a ruddy fool!>>

Yes, please DO get pooch checked over by your vet.

multitask Mon 25-Jul-11 22:40:14

Agree with other posters, and can I suggest you print off these posters for you and your children to read and follow.

chickchickchicken Mon 25-Jul-11 22:58:03

multitask - i like the posters. would be great if they could be made compulsory for all dog owners with children. i am constantly amazed how much some parents expect their dogs to tolerate from their dcs (not referring to you OP, just making a general point)

Scuttlebutter Mon 25-Jul-11 23:04:27

Multitask, those posters are brilliant. Thank you.

I'd endorse what everyone else has said. Please get your dog checked by the vet - arthritis is very painful and 14 is very, very old. I'm sure you wouldn't let your DC bounce all over a great aunt in her 90s - your dog is in the equivalent bracket age wise.

One other point. Please don't underestimate the stress of children's noise - parents can often become accustomed to a lot of noise from DC - but many dogs will find constant squealing, shouting, screaming etc very, very stressful - this could be adding to the burden.

MotherJack Mon 25-Jul-11 23:19:04

I really like those posters MT. I think OP's kids are way too young for them (sheesh I remember 2 year old anarchy like it was yesterday!! <breaks into sweat>), but for slightly older kids I think they are great.

All of this is on the OPs shoulders with kids this age, which is what probably makes it so hard.

And yes... Hellymelly. Too true. I too was too busy looking at the really young child/dog interaction side of this and it could well be that the dog needs vet attention.

Will you let us know your thought, OP? Young kids do make things hard... and not just where dogs are concerned. Mums of teenies are often sleep deprived and knackered beyond all reasonable hope and we all understand that. Take a deep breath and find the dog a safe haven and then get him to the vets. I do think dogs need somewhere that is their safe haven, whatever the age of humans they live with tbh.

MotherJack Mon 25-Jul-11 23:21:31

I think that is my record.... a cross post spanning 20 minutes. Damn those duvets slipping off 6 year olds! grin

chickchickchicken Mon 25-Jul-11 23:24:04

<waves to MJ> i mentioned you on another thread tonight. the one about whether to get another dog

MotherJack Mon 25-Jul-11 23:35:38

Ooooh! I'll go have a sneaky peeky....

multitask Tue 26-Jul-11 09:14:42

Glad you like the posters, I too feel they should be compulsory for all pet owners and especially those with young children. Vets should have them on display also.

Dogs have become 'humanised' through silly films, clothes (for dogs), cartoons and ads. Many children aren't able to see the difference in real life dogs to those on TV and their Nintendo DS games. I am not in any way suggesting that the OP poster is like this, it is just an observation that I have made over the past 10 years in particular. This coupled with the attitude of 'we want a dog so therefore we shall have one' regardless of our circumstances, the dog can adjust to our lives and heck when it doesn't work out sure dog can be rehomed!!

I agree with the suggestions of taking the dog to the vet for a good check up, a nice secure crate and time away from the kids. The dog is in the last years of his life and deserves some peace and quiet and given that he'll be much happier and so will OP who won't have the worry and stress.

Joolyjoolyjoo Tue 26-Jul-11 09:21:37

I was going to suggest taking dog to the vet first, to check for pain- if his hips and spine etc are sore he will be nervous about being handled by your ds.

Agree with everyone about making sure the dog has time and space. Our dogs are getting older (old boy is 16 next month) and more hirply, and I am very vigilant that the children are kept away from him for the most part, except when we are all walking etc. I worry they might hurt him!

caesar04 Tue 26-Jul-11 10:26:50

Thank you so much for all your suggestions, I am feeling a bit teary even reading this thread because he is a wanted dog, very much so and he has been part of our family for many years. Its not that we don't want him anymore, I just think he is really miserable sad and am a bit worried he might hurt DS.

I knew really that re-homing was a massive long shot, have a lovely image of him settled with a nice old lady fussing over him!! Totally unrealistic I know.

I will definitely try the crate idea, I know my brother has a spare one somewhere. I'm not sure dog will like it, he generally hates anything like that, I think it reminds him of his time in rescue kennels but as long as door stays open and his bed is in there he might venture in unprompted.

Dog bed is currently in the dining room in an alcove, he quite likes it tucked away in there but unfortunatley we don't have space to separate him off in another room and he does prefer to be in the same room as me or DH but not DS!! Quite a logistical problem if nothing else.

We need stair gates again anyway now DD has started to crawl so am going to get those up this week.

Another great point about noise, DS is VERY loud and had not even thought about that.

Thanks for link with posters multi, I will attempt a conversation with DS about it, he's almost 3 so should be able to get it. He does do alot of the things on the what kids should do, especially walking him on the lead and does that really nicely. It just that he also does alot of the things he shouldn't, like hugging and putting his face near the dog, trying to kiss him etc..

We have had him to vets fairly recently, he's got a couple of cysts and we had it checked out, benign apparently, can have removed but I wouldn't want to put him through operation for no reason as its not bothering him at all. Dog absolutley HATES the vet anyway, reminds him of all the operations he had when he was first rescued.
But I will get him checked out for pain, he has never liked being carried or lifted so will yelp and struggling if we try and pick him up, we were on a walk yesterday and had to lift him over a stile! He wasn't limping anymore than normal though and if he's really in pain, usually from too long a walk, he'll carry his back leg and he hasn't done that either recently so hopefully he's ok and not suffering sad.

Poor old man sad

Thank you again for your responses and information, very helpful.

Will let you all know how he gets on with the crate and vet.

Scuttlebutter Tue 26-Jul-11 12:24:36

Good luck with this, Caesar. Vets can provide excellent pain relief these days, so it'd be lovely to think of him being a bit more comfortable. Also, you might find it helpful to have a chat with your vet about hydrotherapy? This is usually covered by insurance and given your dog's limb problems, might be very helpful in maintaining muscle tone around that leg - as it's non weight bearing it's ideal for older/arthritic dogs and can provide a lot of benefits.

hellymelly Tue 26-Jul-11 16:59:11

Terriers are a supremely stoic breed and will put up with a lot of pain without protest.The yelping when lifted is a big red flag for arthritis . Looking back my own dog must have been in pain for quite some time before we and the vet realised,and he'd had x-rays etc.sad Likewise they will only limp when the pain is really sharp,but the nagging pain of arthritic joints often gets overlooked. We found a lost 17 year old dog once.He squealed when I picked him up and seemed stiff,but after a painkiller he was bouncing about.When we tracked down his owner,she was shocked,she thought that he was just old,and didn't realise that much of his behaviour was down to chronic pain.I also agree with the noise thing.My own doggie is very easy going with my dds,who are now 4 and 6,but he does hate a lot of noise or things banging,bumping about etc,so I don't let them play like this around him.As scuttle said, like a very old man,and he needs to be treated with rather more tlc now than a younger dog would. Its hard juggling children and older dogs (mine has bladder control issues which are extra hassle)but a small price for all those years of joyful companionship . btw if you need a stairgate and haven't bought one i think we have one or maybe two that we never used,so pm me if needed as I'll happily give them to you.

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