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can anyone empathise having a dog that isn't the dog you thought you'd have?

(50 Posts)
dogwoes Tue 28-Jun-16 17:16:25

Terrible title, and I'm off out shortly, but...

We rescued dog2 in March. She's beautiful, house trained, travels nicely in the car, great with the children, doesn't chew, great with dog 1 etc...

but she's highly reactive (wasn't when we got her but just got worse and worse). She lunges and barks at other dogs and is becoming more aggressive. I can't walk her at the moment. Dh is doing all the walking. She's beagle size but just pulls constantly and is on high alert all the time.

Recall is shit so she doesn't go off lead. We hire a secure field once a week. She has weekly training and we've done workshops. She has a bloody expensive diet and she is the cutest thing ever but she really isn't a dog I want for the next 15 years.

We're not going to rehome her or give up. I'm stuck with her, but for example I'm gong to collect the kids. I'd go on foot and a normal dog would come out for a stroll with me. I can't take her as there are too many triggers around (dogs!) or she'll just pull my bloody arm out. She'll just stay here with dog 1 so they'll both miss out. She'll get walked by dh when dark later.

We've tried various harnesses with little success.

I dunno. I loved doing canicross with her and can't at the moment due to my own injury. Maybe holding on until I run again will keep me sane.

How do you make your peace with the dog you have?

dogwoes Tue 28-Jun-16 17:18:51

See? Bad to the bone.

Notthecarwashagain Tue 28-Jun-16 17:28:04

My girl dog sounds very much like yours. (Looks like her too! Is yours from abroad?)
Simple things that you've always taken for granted are so hard to do when you know your dog is going to sound off about it.

Our houses have fairly big front gardens and most people here have their dogs on the front.
My puppy has a lovely time watching the world go by, and I know girl dog loves it out there too, but she screams and barks at any male voice she hears, or any lawn mowers, drills, car horns...she's always the one who has to be sent back in in disgrace.

She's been with us for just over 3 years now, and is actually getting lots better, but I totally get what you mean!

dogwoes Tue 28-Jun-16 17:34:35

Yes! From Croatia. It wasn't intentional. She was from a local rescue that had helped out another one.

Notthecarwashagain Tue 28-Jun-16 17:36:41

She's gorgeous smile

Greyhorses Tue 28-Jun-16 17:54:13

I feel hour pain on this one.

We lost our perfect dog and a week later I impulsively took on a broken 3 week old puppy that has turned out to be nervous aggressive to everything in the world. I did everything right with regards to socialisation but she has so many issues.

I have spend and continue to spend fortunes on behaviour training and take her religiously to classes but her improvements are slow. Ive got to the point where I can pass 90% of things without fuss but she will still bite anyone who puts a hand out or a dog if it gets in her face. She is fantastic at home but strangers of dog and human variety in her safe space are a no go!

I have sort of given up thinking she will ever get better. I can't go on holiday or leave her with anyone so we try and make the best of it. I walk her at quieter times in a muzzle and try and egnore the horrible looks I get from people.

I do really miss sitting at the park with an ice cream or just spontaneously going somewhere without worrying about dog touchers grin

It's annoying though!

dogwoes Tue 28-Jun-16 18:10:51

Thank you. This is helpful smile

Titsywoo Tue 28-Jun-16 18:35:02

Kind of but in a different way. More the kids than me too as I'm not really a dog person. DH got us a rescue bulldog after begging for 13 years and me finally saying we could handle it last year. She is lovely and no real trouble but she doesn't really do much grin. Just sits there most of the time and sleeps a lot and can't walk far without gasping for breath sad So the long walks I would have enjoyed are out of the question with her. But everything else has been much easier than I would have expected from having a dog!

Shizzlestix Tue 28-Jun-16 23:29:39

Have a look at figure of eight using a sliplead. It gives you back a lot of control, she won't be able to pull. I would back it up with a collar and lead or harness. The reactive thing, yep, mine is appalling. Walks are not relaxing, it's constant fetch the ball, look for the ball, keep eyes off other dogs. If she's keen to retrieve, this could be a lifesaver for you.

tabulahrasa Tue 28-Jun-16 23:33:40

I wanted a family pet that I could take for long walks, maybe do a bit of (for fun not competitive) agility with, with a low maintainance coat, a fairly easily fulfilled list, you'd think.

I have a dog with elbow dysplasia, a spinal issue that can't have NSAIDS because he tried to die on them, which have combined to make him human and dog aggressive and just for fun he's recently developed a dust mite allergy, which means he has almost constant hot spots and I've had to start clipping his coat.

He's literally the opposite of what I got him for...

BlueKarou Tue 28-Jun-16 23:41:07

This happened to me with my younger dog - I had just got pregnant and wanted to find a dog who would play with my clingy 2 year old Romanian mixed breed. Went to Dogs Trust looking for something a couple of years old, medium sized and fairly laid back. A week or so later I came home with a 9 week old lurcher.

I love the leggy bugger to bits, but he's such a pain in the arse, and it turns out the clingy dog didn't even care either way about a newbie and is still a slightly needy thing.

The lurcher is a hunting, scavenging, running thing... so, um, a typical lurcher. He stealthed out of the front door this morning when my mum popped round; he found some shit to roll in, then came trotting back to me all proud of himself for doing good recall (I'd say I have a 75% success rate on the recall, so in certain places he's not allowed off lead)

So yeah; I now have two dogs on the nervy end of the spectrum, who couldn't be more different. I wouldn't be without them, but boy would my life be easier if I hadn't brought that scrawny leggy critter home with me.

Strokethefurrywall Wed 29-Jun-16 00:12:29

Yep I feel the pain.
DDog1 we got as a pup from the pound and he's lovely - friendly, well socialized, loves people. Has shite recall so can't let him off leash anywhere other than canal walkways that are far from houses otherwise he just follows his nose and buggers off into other people's yards.
So we got DDog2 who was found on the streets as a 6 week pup. DDog2 reacted nervously to the DDog1 barking when the doorbell rang so now, 6 years later we have DDog2 who is the loveliest family dog, sweet natured and gentle with our kids, but nervous of strangers and hand shy. And when the doorbell rings it sounds like he's going to eat whoever is in the other side. Which doenst make for easy entertaining.

DDog1 is one I wanted to go for lovely runs with but alas is officially the laziest dog know to man.
DDog2 loves running and has enough energy for 3 dogs but is terrified of strangers.

So now we have 2 crazy kids and 2 dogs who are equal parts lazy arses and equal parts terrified of the door and strangers.

We move into our new home in a few months and DDog2 will be spending a lot of time with the behaviourist to break the negative/excited associations with the door and new people coming to the house. He also pulls horrendously on leash and DDog1 I have to drag everywhere.
He's exceptionally bright and excellent in so many ways but I can't deal with the rushing at the door and barking.

Doesn't help that they're both long haired shepherd mixes and weigh 80lb each God love them.

Next time, short haired dog who weighs no more than 15lbs...

dogwoes Wed 29-Jun-16 09:50:56

Testing... Couldn't post on the app....

dogwoes Wed 29-Jun-16 09:54:59

Right. That's better!

I have actually walked her with a headcollar and body harness. Yes that's right 3 actual attachments to one dog. shock

It was fine until dog 1 needed to go back on the lead and I ran out of hands.

Did anyone have a lightbulb moment or just a dawning realisation that their dog is the way it is?

I keep trying new things and think I've cracked it but then disaster will strike and we're back to square one. (Escaped from a secure field we paid for... Went for an elderly spaniel.... Chased a horse....)

Not all on the same day, but pretty bloody awful. Nobody has been hurt luckily.

tabulahrasa Wed 29-Jun-16 11:53:11

Mine is walked on a headcollar and harness as well...and with a muzzle on, it takes longer to dress him as than it does me, rofl.

But I have to, it's the only way I can keep hold of him when he kicks off, he weighs 38kg.

"Did anyone have a lightbulb moment or just a dawning realisation that their dog is the way it is?"

I've pretty much accepted that he isn't really going to improve, I still try and work with him, but, the underlying issue with him is pain from his medical issues and since he can't have NSAIDs it's never been under control enough to actually be able to make any progress.

Mostly, I just manage him.

CommunistLegoBloc Wed 29-Jun-16 13:37:35

Yes. I love him but bloody hell. Perfect in the house, pretty good recall, travels well, can be left, house trained etc. Not the bounciest, friendliest dog with people he doesn't know, but he is with us. He's a rescue and getting more interested in new people.

But OMG with other dogs...nightmare. Lunging, nipping, barking, snarling. Unless they happen to bark at him first, in which case he shuts up. He's badly socialised and a total berk. I keep looking at other rescue dogs who are all friendly and lovely to other dogs and I have to admit I get twinges of 'what if'. Our trainer told me most people would have returned him. I won't give up on him but I do have some regrets.

Oblomov16 Wed 29-Jun-16 13:42:37

My mum has this. Not the dog she wanted.

insan1tyscartching Wed 29-Jun-16 13:50:46

Well mine is really petty in comparison in that I wanted and still want a poodle but Eric is a poodle cross.I love him dearly and temperament wise he is poodle but he just doesn't look like a poodle and I wanted one for silly haircuts and pointy toes and that lovely graceful walk.
I console myself that after Eric the next dog will be a poodle no matter what dh thinks.

dogwoes Wed 29-Jun-16 13:52:07

Oblomov - what happened?

Has anyone got to the point they have contacted the rescue centre/breeder?

We absolutely wouldn't give her up. No way....

But there is such a massive part of me that misses my old dog life of just going wherever/whenever and never even thinking about it. I mean, obviously we had to rearrange things if we were out for a long day, but now everything centres around naughty dog.

I'm overdramatising but it just feels so massive.

CommunistLegoBloc Wed 29-Jun-16 15:23:52

I know how you feel. Everything would be a lot simpler if he liked other dogs. I have to comfort myself with all his positives, but life would be easier if I'd got a different dog I think.

I contacted the rescue and they were useless. A lot of dogs get returned there and it's obvious why - owners aren't told of their issues and can't handle them. Next time I will go for a breed specific rescue who really knows the animal before they rehome it.

DiamondInTheRuff Wed 29-Jun-16 15:48:35

Funnily enough I keep thinking about starting a Rescue Dog Support Thread.

We got pupdog about 3 months ago, having lost our damn-near perfect 6 year old lab to cancer in January. Our girl dog wasn't coping on her own (also a rescue and quite nervy). DH was missing agility (he competed with our boy).

We knew pupdog wouldn't be easy, he came to us at 9 months and we're his 4th home. We were told he was and escapologist. We did not expect a dog that could clear a 5 foot wall with no run up or climb trees.

The biggest shock was that he's really reactive on lead in enclosed spaces (so first night of his training class was quite a shock. Getting to know him better we can see anxiety in a few areas.

I'm hopeful we'll be able to make some progress with his issues, and actually for an adolescent lab he's pretty good. Our girl was a lot worse when we first had her and she's a dream now.

tabulahrasa Wed 29-Jun-16 15:57:15

"But there is such a massive part of me that misses my old dog life of just going wherever/whenever and never even thinking about it. I mean, obviously we had to rearrange things if we were out for a long day, but now everything centres around naughty dog."

I haven't considered rehoming him, his problems are too severe, it's keep going or have him PTS.

I have considered having him PTS, I never stop considering it TBH.

My life is organised him way more than it should ever be for a dog really, no-one can walk him but me, he can't be left with anyone except a few close relatives and friends and none of them are in a position to actually have him to stay or stay at mine, so I have people who can come and let him out into the garden, but nothing more than that, I can't even put him into kennels because he will not allow anyone outside that circle of people he's ok with to touch him and he has medication every 8 hours.

I have to be careful where and when I walk him.

Going to the vet's is a nightmare, I can't just go in and wait in the waiting room, the vet can't really examine him...this week I ended up in the back of a dermatologist's office sitting on the floor with him for 45 minutes waiting for stronger and stronger drugs to knock him out just so the vet nurses could get past to do their jobs with other animals (the sedation was necessary for the tests btw, not just for, lol) but even normal vet's visits are stressful and he has loads of them.

Anyone coming into the house means an almost military lockdown of the dog.

But, he's my dog and actually if it was just us and him alone somewhere he'd be a fantastic dog, he's fun and affectionate with people he knows and I've spent so long training him that in every other way he's really well behaved.

Some days I think, I know this isn't what dog ownership is supposed to be like, but, at the same time I know that when I do have him PTS either because I can't cope any more or because his health affects his quality of life too much, I'm going to be heartbroken.

dogwoes Wed 29-Jun-16 17:11:34

Wow. Thank you for sharing flowers

I feel a bit stupid whinging about mine now!

tabulahrasa Wed 29-Jun-16 22:15:15

"I feel a bit stupid whinging about mine now!"

Oh don't really, please... I was just going, yeah it's a bit rubbish sometimes.

Unless it's helpful to go, dear god it could be worse? Lol

Actually the hardest bit with mind is the dog aggression, because the rest of it you just manage and can avoid lots of things.

But if I want to walk him and I do because other than those few minutes he's reacting to a dog, he enjoys them then I can't avoid dogs completely no matter how hard I try.

dogwoes Thu 30-Jun-16 18:06:24

smile thank you

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