Advice please - Rescue Dog(46 Posts)
We re-homed a rescue dog yesterday. We asked advice regarding which would be the best dog for us as we have 2 children and a cat.
I am the only adult so it was my decision solely. I met her once and walked her - she seemed fine walked nice, attentive and intelligent.
We got her home yesterday and I thought we would take her for a walk and hopefully see a cat to see how she would react - interested but ok.
Got her home introduced her to the cat - cat went into hiding. All was ok.
My problem is she is a really strong dog. She was a nightmare to walk she kept getting under my feet. I have a daughter who has a problem with her joints and I thought the dog would help get us all out and about and walking. My arms and shoulders are killing me!
At one point I went to pick the cat up and the dog bounded over in a playful way but I couldn't control her. My worry is what if she goes for the cat in an aggressive way or worse still my kids. She is about 2 years old and apart from the above seems a lovely dog. Except when we are eating and she is practically in our faces wanting to take it so I put her in the back yard while we eat.
Can anyone please advise.
What kind of dog is she? Not that it matters really I'm just nosy.
Get a halti/gen-con head collar for the pulling while walking and everytime she pulls stop and correct her then start again.
Make her stay in a different room while you are eating, don't get into the habit of letting her sit and give you the sad eyes while you are eating
I have no idea with the cat mine still thinks the cat is for her own enjoyment!
Well done rescuing a dog, it took our dog 6 months before her body language changed and she properly felt at home or that we weren't going to move her again, it was a long but rewarding time.
My rescue dog took a couple of weeks to stop being so excited. And boisterous. We have a ezy dog lead which is very strong elastic which stops her pulling us over when she tries to bolt after a cat.
Well done on your new dog. It's really early days and it sounds like she's mostly lovely so hopefully you'll end up with a great addition to the family once you get to know each other.
Do you have much dog experience? If not, it would be a good idea to get some professional help with training her or at least take her to some local obedience classes.
She's new and settling in - everything's going to be exciting for her, she won't stay that way forever! Nothing about being boisterous suggests she will 'go for' your kids. Calm down, and look at getting a halti for walking. Have you signed up to any training classes?
I have done cat training with rescue greyhounds and here is what: you get some high value treats, meat or cheese, something she really likes. If she even looks at the cat you say 'ah ah' or something but loud, high pitched and forceful. If she looks away from the cat and at you you give her the sausage. She learns that you and the sausage are more intersting than the cat. I'd probably avoid picking the cat up in the mean time as something about this sets them off.
Don't leave her alone with the cat for the moment or the kids obviously. Don't let them fuss her too much, back her into corners or anything. Just calm supervised patting. Make sure she is given plenty of space for eating and sleeping etc. Take her for training asap.
She is a lovely dog. It's her strength that worries me. My daughter can't walk very far due to a problem with her joints.
I feel a bit crap and that it's all a bit much.
She has been bouncing all over the furnotre and trying to bolt out of the door.
I don't have a lot of dog experience but took the advice of the staff over which dog would be best for us.
I will look for training classes but in the back of my mind I feel I can't cope. She's a mixed breed - staffy cross tge believe.
Thanks for the advice everyone
Dog is bound to be over excited as everything is so new and he has no idea of what's going to happen next or what you expect of him. It took about 6 months for my rescue GSD to calm down.
Lots of information online about loose lead walking.
Training classes, or one-to-one session with a trainer if you can afford it, are essential if you don't have much experience with dogs.
Try to establish a routine of food, play, etc and do the same walks every day for a while so dog can get used to things.
Training classes are for owners as much as for dogs. Dogs can behard work at first but I think well worth it once they have settled.
If your daughter can't walk far however, was it realistic to get a dog to get you out and about? How old is DD, can she stay at home whilst you walk?
DD is 10. I thought the dog would be ok as she walked lovely when I took her out. My DD is quite overweight so I thought a dog would encourage her to walk.
I feel as though I have made a huge mistake.
You have to give it time and patience, get a dog trainer or behaviourist to teach you how to teach the dog! Mine is a rescue staffy cross too and huge, 35 kg! I was actually terrified of her the first time I seen her but boundaries and routine
and treats were important for to feel settled, she now mainly just sleeps and farts!
Food is important for their behaviour too, if she's fed cheap brightly coloured dog food like Bakers that could make her naughty like kids eating loads of sugar!
OP, all of these are fixable with time. Honestly.
We have a staffy/cross who pulled like a train when we got her. She was overweight and the first time I walked her alone I thought we'd have to return her to the rescue place.
We got a halti and worked on her walking. Started in the garden and gradually built up with her. She walks to heel brilliantly now and we don't need the halti.
With ours, she was a big energetic lump. So is there anywhere you can take her so that she can go off lead safely? We took her to a field where we let her run around for ages, throwing balls and things for her. This tired her out and she would walk much better to heel afterwards. Exercise is key to good behaviour with ours.
Ours loves food and would have taken stuff off your plate at first. Before we started to eat, we used the BED command and pointed to her bed in the kitchen. If she went in to her bed, she got a small treat. If she didn't then just ignore her for a couple of minutes and try again. Your daughter could help you with this.
Now when I set the table she goes to her bed and stays there until we have finished eating. I don't need to tell her or give her a treat at all - it is automatic for her.
A little bit of work on your part and you could have a great dog there.
And training a dog to respond to your commands is great fun. It really helps you to bond with the dog.
OMG 35kg yes lots of sleeping and even more fats!
I bought Bakers because I thought it was a good brand - what do you recommend?
She was good all night sleeping on her own but whines and barks when I put her in the back yard.
She has loys of energy so we walked a lot yesterday it was the 2nd walk when my daughter couldn't walk as she was in pain. I didn't want to take her the park and let her off the lead as I worried she might not come back. She loves sniffing too.
I will try the halt lead thank you for all your suggestions I felt like such a failure this morning
It's early days, I know I felt like I'd made a mistake after I got our dog but she's amazing and I wouldn't be without her now.
Bakers is awful, I bet your dog would be a lot better behaved on something else! Our dog was a completely different animal on bett3r food. The allaboutdogfood website is good, don't be put off that it can cost more to buy better food, you have to feed a lot less as it's better quality. We feed applaws and a sack lasts about 6-8 weeks, so is actually cheaper than the supermarket stuff.
You could try a long line and just let it trail if you're worried about her running off. Also training, just little things, is great for mental stimulation and building a bond. I never feed myou dog out of a bowl, it's either earnt through training or given in a kong wobbler so she has to work for it.
Your dog might not like being on her own in the garden, mine hates it! She would never go out on her own and gets upset if she's there on her own. I've taught her to wee on demand so she will now go out when told but other than that, she only goes in the garden if we do!
I'm sure your dog will settle down, take each day at a time.
You are not a failure. You've done fine for the first 24 hours. Give yourself a pat on the back.
I also thought that I'd made a real mistake for the first few days. Would not change her for the world now though.
You said you have a back yard? You and your daughter can work on walking with her out there. Round and round and round.
I'm another one whose dog doesn't actually like being in the garden on her own. Even if I am out gardening she'll come and sniff for 2 minutes and then go back inside for a lie down. She loves her walks though.
Don't try to do too much with her all at once. It is a confusing time for her and she needs time to settle and then you can introduce basic commands as you go.
You'll be fine. Eventually your daughter will be able to hold the lead and the dog will walk to heel with her. Just got to stick with it.
Rather than the yard can you create a safe space in the house you can leave her?
Scent swap between dog and cats. Keep them separate for now.
Find a safe space you can let dog off? You can rent doggy fields.
Toys to direct energy.
Longline in the house if necessary.
Treats and start basic training. Off. Sit. Come.
It sounds to me like you're actually doing ok but have put yourself under a lot of pressure (I'm a newbie dog owner too though). Can you afford training? Or could you get a book and try following a decent YouTuber?
As you got d dog from a rescue they might be available to give you advice and pep talks?
I've heard Baker's is like McDonald's for dogs. One I've gone for and have heard is OK without being too dollar is Skinners. You want a dog food with decent protein and less crappy fillers. There are so many out there that I'm finding the hint for the right food a bit of a challenge the months down the line (but mine has a sensitive stomach so I'm sure you won't have such a long struggle).
A fellow dog walker have me this tip: turn your lead into a long line cheaply by buying a washing longer from a pound shop. I've been using this on a big field to practice recall.
"too dollar"? Don't know why I wrote that, but you know what I mean...
I had dogs all my life as a child along with horses and other farm animals. When I got my first rescue dog I absolutely fell to pieces. It was like bringing a new baby home. Give it a couple of weeks OP. She will settle and you will too.
Thank you everyone.
I bought a Halti harness and we have been out. Girls found it hillarious when I couldn't even get her out of the front door. She is so enthusiastic she nudges everyone out of her way firstly with her nose then with her body. I kept pulling her back so I could get infront of her to try and control her better. When I got the kids from school I was trying to get us in through the door and she escaped. She ran out onto the street and luckily for her and us there wasn't any cars passing.
On the walk she is still pulling really strongly. I think I know every lamppost and car with the slightest hint of another dogs scent. I nearly disappeared through some bushes at one point!
The kids know I'm struggling they have seen how hard I have worked on today's walk. I also did as one of you suggested and had a handful of food and made her work for it when we got in... just worked on sit and bed.
She was running wild all over the furniture so I'm trying to deal with that too.
There is a lot for me to learn. I really appreciate all your advice... thank you all
I wouldn't worry too much about walking to heel etc yet, I'm sure it'll get easier as she calms down. Just take it slow, get her used to her surroundings and work on building a bond/ little bit of training. You could try 'loading ' a clicker so you can use that at a later date, it's really handy for capturing the behaviour you want. Google for more information, but loading is basically just teaching the dog that click=treat. It needs to be done a few times at first so they get the idea. I found it really useful for teaching my dog different commands. Also you could practice recall, I use a whistle and started off just whistling the dog for her tea, treats etc.
Try to stick to one word commands "stop" "off" "stay" don't have conversations with her, don't generally don't understand more than a few commands
I think it's great that people re-home dogs but I honestly don't think your household is correct for this dog.
We once re-homed a dog. They gave us all the usual advice at the centre and we were thrilled with our new pet. I've had dogs all my life so I felt confident I could give this lovely dog a new home. Very sadly she lasted a week with us. How I cried when DH took her back. It was then that they let slip that this was the fourth home she'd been in.
We now have a puppy and have trained her from day one. A dog who has already learned bad habits can be extremely difficult to train and can take months of really intense training. If you have no experience of dogs, I do wonder if you've taken on too much especially with what you're saying.
Thanks Milly for your honesty.
The kids are really upset at the thought of taking her back and I have been tearful most of the day. I really am trying but she really is very strong. I just don't understand why she walked so lovely for me whilst at the centre. My mum thinks she will settle and that she is just too excited.
I understand her scoffing her food (and the cats.... and probably ours given a chance). I understand that she was probably bored out of her brain at the centre as there was nothing to do apart from waiting for someone to peer into the cage listening for a rustle of the treat bag and being fed lots of treats.
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