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Possible dog adoption - WWYD?

(35 Posts)
DoggieDilemmaNC Wed 24-May-17 16:30:34

Quick background - have wanted a dog for a long time, work/young kids/living situation has previously prevented it. I was obsessed with dogs as a child, loved my childhood dog to the ends of the earth etc. Now I WFH, my DH is on board, DC are old enough to be sensible (8 & 6) and we have been seriously looking into rescue dogs. Though I am the dog-lover, my DH was happy with the idea of applying to adopt from the Guide Dogs Rehoming scheme - we don't want a puppy, I want a rescue, we need something good with kids and cats, we are both naturally drawn to larger breeds so Lab, Goldie etc.

But - we have the opportunity to privately adopt a dog we already know, a terrier crossbreed.

Pluses - family dog, so good with our children and known to them already. Has lived with cats, and is not that bothered by the ones he's grown up with. I have a massive soft spot for him. He is intelligent and charming.

Minuses - badly trained. Has no recall, and is fearful of other dogs - barks at every dog he sees that gets close enough. He will need a lot of training and commitment from me. Presently he barks when guarding the house - he is stressed in his present environment, and we live in a house with windows onto a road and a suburban garden surrounded by other gardens. There are no other dogs near us - at the moment, but obviously can't guarantee that will always be so.

He is not the breed we imagined - not a problem for me, but possibly more of an issue for my DH. We had imagined a family dog we could take on camping trips and days out and walks etc. - certainly in the short term this would not be possible.

He's also always slept on his owner's bed - and I'd always imagined a downstairs dog/upstairs cat divide...

I think he is a lovely lovely dog, a real sweetie - but with issues. If we take him on and it didn't work out, it would be awful ... from that perspective it would be better that he's rehomed outside the family, perhaps? And I wonder if best for him too that he goes somewhere more rural where he can terrier around to his hearts content?

But - perhaps I am being too pessimistic about him - could these issues be worked on and trained out of him? At the moment he is not walked at all, and has a tiny garden, and is one of 3, so he is stressed, full of energy he can't release and he is intelligent, so with work he could learn boundaries and calm down.

Or will I always be responsible for a fearful dog who can't accompany us on holidays etc and has to stay home?

Wise people of The Doghouse, WWYD?

creepysleepy Wed 24-May-17 16:32:15

Any idea how old the terrier x is?

Will the old owners still want contact?

Loopytiles Wed 24-May-17 16:33:12

I don't have experience of dogs but it'd (sadly) be a no from me on account of the poor training, fear and barking. Sounds like he is unlikely to easily be rehomed if you don't have him though! Not that that would be your fault at all.

rizlett Wed 24-May-17 16:47:14

might you be able to have him for a trial period - his training 'issues' may not be such a problem in a different environment.

recall is easy to teach too - he might just need to go back to basics for a while - so you'd just be doing the same things you would do if you'd got a puppy but he'd probably catch on quicker.

rizlett Wed 24-May-17 16:48:49

i would want to know though - has he ever been left on his own - and if not - would that be an issue for you - that he might not be able to be left on his own even for short periods?

CornflakeHomunculus Wed 24-May-17 17:07:05

His issues might be entirely fixable with training, they may be fixable to a degree or he may always have issues which need careful managing. Whilst most issues can be sorted with training and lifestyle changes there's always the chance that they can't be, you'd need to prepared for that as a possible outcome.

I'd also be cautious with regards to the cats. Dogs (particularly those with a high prey drive) can view new cats very differently to how they view the ones they've grown up or lived with.

The issue with a private rehome is that you have no back up if things don't work out. A decent rescue will either have a resident behaviourist or a behaviourist they work with on a regular basis who would be able to help you with ongoing training. They will also take a dog back if it turns out they're not actually suitable for that particular home. Obviously they will try and avoid issues in the first place by matching prospective adopters up with the dog as it's in everyone's interests to put the right dogs in the right homes first time.

If you've not had dogs as an adult before then I would caution against both going via the private rehome route and taking on a dog with so many known issues.

DoggieDilemmaNC Wed 24-May-17 17:12:14

He's 2-3, I think.

Never been all on his own - this is another concern. He was Dog 2 of now 3 dogs. So he came as a pup into a household with kids, cats & 1 young dog. So when left he's always had dog company. So this is a concern possibly.

I think he is trainable - but it will be work.

Family member had a volunteer from local rescue in. Their opinion was that they'd look to rehome him from foster as an only dog. I'm going to chat to them. Their opinion was apparently lovely dog who just needs a firm hand.

If we took him "on trial" and it was a failure, I worry that would be worse all round than backing out now.

DoggieDilemmaNC Wed 24-May-17 17:18:06

Cornflake I think I know that's probably the logical course of action- to say no.

I just love him (& he does love me too, so the feeling is mutual) & I'm so sad he's going to need a new home & feel like well, perhaps he is supposed to live with us.

But I want the best for him and us.

Floralnomad Wed 24-May-17 17:22:52

Why are they wanting to get rid of him ?

ofudginghell Wed 24-May-17 17:34:26

I would have to take him.
I've taken two rescues in the last ten years and grew up with rescue dogs.
I get so much out of helping them.
They teach my dc how to respect animals and to have compassion etc etc.
I have a ten year old I bought as a puppy and a five year old rescue greyhound and they're both fab.
Getting any type of dog means training with a firm stance regardless of if it's a puppy or a rescue.
My grey is like a five year old loose cannon puppy as she was a racing dog so never had domestic training.
She's been with us five months and is training really well.
I believe most dogs behaviour can be trained with positive discipline and a good owner.

Take the dog op grin

rizlett Wed 24-May-17 17:34:42

A puppy will also come with some issues too - all dogs have some issues - just like all people.

Just before you decide though - have you considered becoming a puppy walker rather than rehome a withdrawn guide dog puppy?

DoggieDilemmaNC Wed 24-May-17 17:41:22

We don't really want a puppy. They are cute, you can work to make them totally your own etc but I would much prefer a rescue - that's always been my stance. And much as I really respect puppy walkers, we want a family dog to keep for the long haul, I couldn't bear to give one back at 12 months after all that hard work!

BagelGoesWalking Wed 24-May-17 17:45:14

I think the guarding/barking issue could be quite a big problem, if he feels he needs to guard you in particular, i.e. guard you from the other members of the family IYSWIM.

If you decide to look at other rescues, consider these:

Happy Paws specialise in retrievers

You could look at this rescue. There is a lovely boy called Jack looking for a home. Has been assessed for living with young children.

Sasha

Dora

Manila

Griffon Adoption Group UK has some lovely dogs

CornflakeHomunculus Wed 24-May-17 17:52:54

It could be worth asking the rescue if they'd be happy with you fostering him with a view to keeping him if it works out. They may be open to this idea, although if he doesn't fit in well they may not be able to find space for him immediately. They may also prefer, if they're getting involved at all, to have him with one of their own fosterers to asses him properly themselves before letting him go to anyone else.

It would be a good idea to try and find out (are the current owners likely to be honest?) about whether it's possible to leave him on his own. He may be fine despite never having been an only dog. My DDog2 has never been an only dog but she's perfectly happy being left completely on her own. If he can't be left though could you accommodate that until it was sorted?

DoggieDilemmaNC Wed 24-May-17 17:54:33

He doesn't guard from people - it is dogs out on walks, and that's because he's scared and missed getting the socialisation he needed.

Wolfiefan Wed 24-May-17 17:58:08

Could you be the foster family? See how things go.
If you want a bigger dog can I plug black retriever x. They offer ongoing support and their dogs are in foster and honestly described.

picklemepopcorn Wed 24-May-17 17:58:55

Why don't you do a daily walk with him, train him on a long lead, have him in the house for visits?

In the house, do some intense training games, get him to associate a whistle with treats and a fuss.

See how responsive he is.

You have no guarantees that any other dog won't have issues, these ones are known at least!

DoggieDilemmaNC Wed 24-May-17 18:13:14

My only concern with being the "foster family" is that it will set up the - not unreasonable- expectation that we're keeping him forever.

I think the rescue would be willing to help us - have arranged with the volunteer to meet next week to take him out together and talk about it.

There are not just my DC involved, but also DC in the family that are giving him up who are already very upset about the prospect.

pickle I think that may be a plan. To take him on day release for a bit?

DoggieDilemmaNC Wed 24-May-17 18:15:22

Totally unknown whether he's OK alone as an only. The other dogs in the house don't really go out for walks either, so he's never on his own.

picklemepopcorn Wed 24-May-17 20:43:18

Dog share...

Blackfellpony Wed 24-May-17 20:59:13

I would never take on another 'reactive' dog m and if I had my time again I wouldn't have the dog I have now. Mine is terrified of other dogs but it's such a hard thing to deal with as dogs are everywhere and most people can't control them!

It has restricted our lives massively. No fun family days ot due to off lead dogs spoiling it and everything is stressful.

I would consider taking the dog on walks etc to see how bad it is but I would be very wary!

AnUtterIdiot Thu 25-May-17 09:41:33

I really wouldn't. This is your first dog as an adult and you've got children who are still relatively young. I really would not underestimate the work involved in socialising a reactive dog, no matter how good he is with you one on one, or for that matter how a reactive dog can end up being the focus of every decision you make. I think it is unlikely that you will be able to leave him alone if he has never been an only dog. Are you really going to want to try to find a dogsitter every time you go out if you can't take him out with you as a family? Or will you end up making excuses not to go out?

DoggieDilemmaNC Thu 25-May-17 10:15:19

Oh I know you're all right. sad

My logical head says it's not a good plan. But my heart is sad.

I was a bit hmm when he was bought ("2 dogs are no more work than one") and even more hmm when puppy no.3 came into the house, as poor dog 2 had been showing he needed training and attention for a long time. Puppy has exacerbated issues like barking - 3 dogs can make a lot of noise, and a house move to a more built up area has not helped. He's not actually the one who is a persistent barker, but if he "speaks" once, the others then go on and wind each other up. Neighbour noise complaints etc.

Owner wants the best for him, he is much loved but they're not equipped to train him, especially now with 2 others to manage. He's obviously vying for attention he can't get.

So some of these things make me think he could be brilliant with some work. But am I up to the task, that is the question really.

Damn bleeding heart.

TheFlyingFauxPas Thu 25-May-17 12:40:40

You want a lab. This is a terrier. That's like you want a horse. Here's a zebra. Completely different Imo. I wanted a terrier and that's what we got. Labs tend to be placid, well behaved and amenable, good with dogs and cats.

My terrier is a bit happy, shouts whenever he sees another dog or cat, has unreliable recall and can fly about like a taz devil. And he is sleeping on beds. He insists on it.

I love my zebra! But you may be happier with a horse if you want a horse.

Justmadeperfectflapjacks Thu 25-May-17 12:47:53

Hello op - your predicament has been on my mind!! I found myself with a foster dog that I had known for 4 years. Undecided whether he would fit into our household full time with 3 ddogs already!! I took the sad decision to let him go. . . And wow am I glad I did!! He has been adopted by a fantastic lovely woman and her dc. . He is a different dog to here I had him!! He has totally blossomed with her!! So in answer to your dilemma I am saying let him go!! A complete fresh start may also be what he needs too!! I have a feeling he associated us with his previous bad life and it prevented him moving on fully from it. Good luck anyway!!

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