Seller lied about new dog - please help

(57 Posts)
Biddie191 Tue 11-Dec-18 13:02:18

Sorry for the long post, but I really would appreciate help!
Having searched for a while, we finally found the dog we wanted. I asked the seller a LOT of questions, as we had quite a way to travel, and I didn't want to visit and fall for a dog only to find it wasn't suitable.
Living on a small farm, and in a rural area, number one priority was that the dog was good with livestock, most specifically with sheep and chickens. My son has chickens he saved up to buy himself from a chicken farm, and he loves them. This was carefully explained to the seller.
Second was that the dog was house-trained - as the dog is a year old, training should be established, as trying to start at this age is far harder, and finally, the dog must be trustworthy off the lead (so come back when called).
I was told the dog was fine with animals, including chickens. I was also told that she was house-trained and would come back to you when called.
Getting the dog home, we decided not to let her off the lead until she was settled, and knew us well, but the 2nd day she shot off out of the door when one of the children was bringing shopping in. She proceeded to run straight to my son's chicken run, and massacre his hens. In her frenzy she would not stop until my daughter rugby tackled her to the ground, and still she wouldn't let go of the bird in her mouth.
She is not at all house trained - despite being walked 5 or 6 times a day, when she's loose she will just squat on the floor, even if she's just come in from a long walk, and doesn't seem guilty about it (so doesn't seem aware that it's not on). Obviously you expect some initial 'accidents' but it's not improving.
She is selectively deaf, and only comes to you when she wants (ie when you have treats, and even then when there's nothing else going on more entertaining)
After the massacre I messaged the seller to tell her, no response. We've worked with her for a few weeks now, but have been unable to let her off the lead at all when outside. She escaped again at the weekend, I called to her, with her favourite toy, she half came to me, then shot straight around to the chicken run again. Fortunately we managed to grab her as she squeezed under the gate, so no deaths, but her intention was clear.
It is only a matter of time before she gets out again, and kills, whether our hens, the neighbour's hens or sheep, the neighbour's cats.... She can't stay, as this is not something any of us can cope with.
Messaged seller again, who ignored me, until I threatened legal action. I've read up on it, and it seems that as she lied (in writing) she has to take the dog back, and refund the money, but she is adamant that she doesn't have to.
What can I do?

OP’s posts: |
fenneltea Tue 11-Dec-18 13:18:43

Legally, if you can prove that you were lied to you can say that you were missold the dog, but I would expect it to be a lengthy time consuming and costly process; there is also the old adage of 'buyer beware'. Basically you could still be stuck with an unwanted dog for some considerable length of time until things get sorted. I've never purchased dogs, but have plenty of experience with horses and my first rule is to never believe what you are told by sellers, go on the animal that is in front of you.

I think in your shoes I would focus on training the dog while she is in your posession, it is possible to housetrain an older dog the same as a puppy with no more difficulty, and they can be trained to not chase; but if she is very prey driven it is more difficult. I realise that this wasn't what you wanted to do, but for your and the dogs sake someone needs to take on the traning. Getting a behaviourist on board will probably be beneficial.

If that is something that you really can't deal with then I'd contact the local Dogs Trust branch and arrange rehoming through them.

I'm sorry you've had this experience, but as dogs are living things and can react differently in different situations it can be more difficult to prove misselling.

missbattenburg Tue 11-Dec-18 13:54:37

I would be amazed if you could claim anything as a result of the dog not being behaviourally how you wanted because dogs do behave differently in different scenarios, react to their environment and behaviour is a constant changing thing. For example, this dog could have always ignored chickens before but for whatever reason decided to investigate the coop on the 2nd day, got caught up in a frenzy and learned that killing chickens is fun. I would have thought you would have to prove the seller knew the dog to be dangerous around chickens and lied vs just not having extensively tested the dog around chickens in different circumstances and so assumed she would be fine.

I'm not a lawyer, though so I'd take my 'legal advice' with a large pinch of salt. I cannot imagine a dog that has experienced the sheer joy (to her) of killing chickens in such a manner is ever going to be safe around them again. I would have thought the lure of the coop would always be greater than whatever you are offering.

With regards to some of the other behaviours a dog may always recall reliably with one person but not with another. I imagine a dog may also be clean in one house but struggle in another, just down to a lack of learning in different environments and, of course, once they start to go inside a house it can become a new habit. Both of these sound like they might equally be about the current training methods not suiting the dog (for whatever reason) as much as their experience in their last home. Again, I think you would have to prove the dog was always poor at recall or was not toilet trained and cannot imagine how you would do this. The time and effort involved must surely outweigh just writing the money off and rehoming the dog with a charity.

Caveat emptor indeed.

BiteyShark Tue 11-Dec-18 14:16:22

Can't really add more to what's already been said.

Unless the seller changes their mind you are probably looking at long legal battle and I haven't a clue whether you would win or not.

Honestly if I was buying a dog, even from a rescue, I wouldn't assume anything they said was 100% as dogs behaviour will change depending on the environment and the people around it. For example, my dog will pass rabbits etc on a walk with me because he is focused on me and playing ball. Now you might take my word for it that he is ok with rabbits. However, if one was in my garden then he would be going frantic to get at all.

Biddie191 Tue 11-Dec-18 14:17:34

Thank you both.
When the seller replied after the incident, she said that she'd told me that she wouldn't trust the dog around chickens. However, I have her written message (from before I bought the dog) that she is good around animals, and when I visited (so sadly this is just verbal, so no proof) I specifically asked about chickens, due to my son's flock, and she was very 'oh yes, she's been with chickens before and is absolutely fine'. When she escaped on the 2nd day we had her, she went straight round to the chicken run like a shot, (she'd not even been round there before, but had obviously heard them) even through an electric fence to get to them. She is incredibly prey driven, and I really don't think she would ever be trustworthy. Between the 1st and 2nd escape, I took her through on a lead, she obviously knows about them as she cowered at the sight, as if she's previously been punished for going after them, but still once off that killer instinct overrode any fear and she was going in whatever.
Again, in the seller's post-incident reply she said she told me the dog had always lived outside and wasn't house trained - I have in writing her pre-sale reply that she lived in and is fully house trained. With the off the lead stuff, yes, I know they behave differently with different people etc, but also have quite a lot of experience with dogs, and she's just very wilful.
I know I'm probably on a hiding to nothing, I'm really upset that despite explaining why I needed the dog to be chicken proof, the seller lied. Her behaviour around chickens isn't as if it's the first time. I have other dogs, all of whom were quite excited initially by the hens, but who are trustworthy around them now, but I really can't believe she ever would be. It's obsessive. I've never been one to give up in the past, but the thought of this dog never being allowed to run free, as she really is that single minded, really saddens me.
The bottom line is, if I can't get the seller to take her back then I will have to do everything I can to rehome her, but I will be scrupulously honest. The difficulty is that without her being house-trained, she wouldn't be suited to a town home, but with the running off, and the obsessive behaviour she wouldn't be suited to somewhere more rural.
I just feel so stupid.
She's a really sweet dog - except when she sees anything she considers prey. If it was just the housetraining we'd cope, persevere, whatever, but it's the killing that is a deal breaker.

OP’s posts: |
adaline Tue 11-Dec-18 14:20:28

I'm sorry for what happened but I doubt you have any comeback with the seller. It sounds to me like they just got rid of a one-year old dog they couldn't cope with, and told you whatever you wanted to hear so that you took the dog off their hands. You also took the dog in the condition that you saw it, which is why people are continually told not to rehome/buy dogs via private selling sites. You have no idea about this dogs' health, background or personality yet you took it into your home with your children with no professional input or advice.

You now have an adolescent dog behaving like, well, an adolescent dog. Lots of teenage dogs go backwards in training which is why so many dogs are re-homed between the age of 12 months and 2 years old. They can't be let off the lead, they're not interested in coming back because new smells and small animals are far more interesting than people, particularly people they don't know very well - you're practically strangers to her, after all.

If you really don't want to keep the dog then do the right thing and hand it over to a rescue. Her behaviour is relatively normal for a teenage dog that hasn't received any training but to overcome it you need to be willing to put a lot of work in. If you can't or don't want to do that, give her to rescue and just accept you've made a mistake here. People are constantly told not to rehome via the internet and to go to a reputable rescue if they want a dog - this is why.

Biddie191 Tue 11-Dec-18 14:21:21

I think it's the fact she's lied, which is shown by her trying to back-track, which really gets me.
I tend to take what people say with a pinch of salt (having been around horses and dogs all my life I've learnt the hard way) but she seemed so nice and genuine, yet now has basically admitted the dog is neither housetrained nor trustworthy near animals. Hard when you live on a farm.

OP’s posts: |


MothershipG Tue 11-Dec-18 14:25:54

How did you find the dog? On gumtree or similar? Or from a breeder? What made you think you could trust this person?

adaline Tue 11-Dec-18 14:26:01

I think it's obvious why she lied - she has a dog that she hasn't bothered to train, and saw the opportunity to palm it off on someone who lives several hours away, hoping that would be the end of it and she'd never see/hear from you again.

Not right, of course it's not, but that's why you don't buy dogs from strangers over the internet.

Nesssie Tue 11-Dec-18 14:26:05

You won't get anywhere with legal action.
Now you know the traits of the dog you have, you need to work on them. Sign up to training classes, and work on developing your bond (agility is a good way to do this and wear her out mentally/physically)

Taking a dog from one situation to another is unpredictable.

Assuming that a year old dog is house trained enough to not have accidents in a new house is naive tbh. Even 6 year old dogs tend to have accidents when moved to a new house.
You need to act like she is an untrained puppy for a few months - taking her out at appropriate times and telling her where to go. Also doesn't seem guilty -dogs don't feel guilt.

As for the recall - she may come back to her original owner, but she doesn't know you so of course that would take time. Use a long lead and high value treats.

You need to fully secure the chicken coop anyway- if a dog can get in, surely a fox could?
And then work on counter conditioning her to the chickens, have her on a lead, with a barrier between them until she learns to be calm around them. There is no guarantee this will work though so I would just keep them separate to be honest.

Unlikely she is going to kill your neighbour cats, generally they can stick up for themselves.

Frequency Tue 11-Dec-18 14:27:52

Why would a non housetrained dog not be suited to an urban home? Toilet training is simple at any age. Recall training is harder but far from impossible.

The hens thing might be impossible but keeping the dog away from the hens should be relatively simple.

If do decide to rehome do it now and go via a reputable rescue. The sooner the better. It's best for the dog not to bond. Too many homes in too short a time can cause significant behavioural problems.

Nesssie Tue 11-Dec-18 14:29:25

You are expecting way to much of her. The difficulty is that without her being house-trained, she wouldn't be suited to a town home, but with the running off, and the obsessive behaviour she wouldn't be suited to somewhere more rural. is ridiculous. You are making her out to be unhomeable when really she is just a puppy!
She can be house trained, she can learn a recall, and if not, plenty of dogs do not go off lead, or use long lines. And she doesn't have obsessive behaviour - she has a normal dog prey drive.

Kittykat93 Tue 11-Dec-18 14:30:18

The seller obviously was just telling you any old crap to get rid of the dog quickly, and unfortunately it worked.

Judging by your op I think you need to get the dog to a decent rescue who can give him an appropriate home. Do it now rather than waiting.

You've learnt your lesson now - don't take people at their word !

PrettyLovely Tue 11-Dec-18 14:32:32

Can you not try and work on her, try and toilet train her yourself and work on her behaviour with some classes?
Give her a chance? Chances are she has probably been repeatedly passed on her whole short life with no one willing to put the effort into her.
It would be a shame for her to be palmed off on someone else again.
I also agree about the chickens she shouldnt have been able to get in so easily.

BiteyShark Tue 11-Dec-18 14:33:17

The bottom line is, if I can't get the seller to take her back then I will have to do everything I can to rehome her, but I will be scrupulously honest. The difficulty is that without her being house-trained, she wouldn't be suited to a town home, but with the running off, and the obsessive behaviour she wouldn't be suited to somewhere more rural.

Don't make the same mistake twice by selling on privately. Rehome to a rescue where they can find the right home and will provide support to any new owners.

Spudlet Tue 11-Dec-18 14:34:18

The seller doesn't care about the dog, that's the long and short of it. She's lied through her teeth, going by what you say, to get it off her hands and make it your problem. So sending it back would be out for me - god knows who she'd palm the poor bugger off onto next. It could end up anywhere.

So your choices seem to me to be to rehome or to retrain. Retraining is possible - my own dog was an 18 month old 'not cute enough any more' untrained reject, and now he's an 11 year old working gun dog and all round good egg. But I knew what I was getting myself into, at least more or less - you didn't. So you can either do this or you can't - if you can't, do use a reputable rescue if you can. They'll be able to start with training and find the dog a home that does know what they are getting.

I'm sorry for you and the dog that this has happened, and for your DSs chickens, he must be gutted, bless him. You have to think of the dog though - please don't send her back to someone who doesn't give a shiny shit.

PrettyLovely Tue 11-Dec-18 14:34:45

I also agree if you wont put in the effort yourself and train her give her to a rescue centre.

Biddie191 Tue 11-Dec-18 14:35:30

Thanks Nesssie Adeline and others - appreciated.
With the house training, I know they don't feel guilt, as such, but she genuinely doesn't seem like she's been house trained before - I've re-homed several dogs in the past, used to the mishaps with toilet training at the start, but this really is like she just hasn't been house trained. Previous dogs have had that look about them when they wee on the floor, whereas she'll just suddenly squat - not marking territory, or anything else.
Yes, seems I've been taken for a muppet - sadly the local dogs trust doesn't allow re-homing to anyone with children (despite mine all being used to dogs, and secondary school age) which is why we didn't do so. We did go in and enquire. Seems crazy, with so many dogs being put down every year. Our rescues are so overcrowded that I'm reluctant to take her there, so will continue to work with her.

OP’s posts: |
Shinesweetfreedom Tue 11-Dec-18 14:35:40

I take it she wasn't selling a stolen dog.Has the chip been checked.

Wallywobbles Tue 11-Dec-18 14:37:58

We had a 1 yo rescue collie x spaniel cross. Never again. Massive prey drive. No recall ever. Ended up having to pts after he killed a neighbors cow. We had him about 3 or 4 years and it was a killer. But every walk was a fucking misery with him despite a massive amount of training. The only difference with you is that he was at least clean.

adaline Tue 11-Dec-18 14:39:13

She probably hasn't been house-trained. You know nothing about her background - just what this lady has told you and you already know that she's lied.

You say you weren't eligible for a rescue, but of interest, what made you look for a private seller online as opposed to going down the breeder route and getting a puppy? Because at one, this dog isn't fully matured by any means, she's an adolescent dog herself - much harder to cope with and train than a puppy you can train from 8 weeks old.

TropicPlunder Tue 11-Dec-18 14:39:41

It could work with time, but yes, re-home if you're not willing/don't have time. It must have been really upsetting about the chickens, and maybe it's affecting how you all feel about the dog at the moment too.
How did you train your current dog to leave the chickens be? My dog has lived with free range chickens, and it took a lot of supervision, time and patience. We moved country , and I think if we got chickens again, that training would have to start again from scratch (time awsy from chickens, different environment, etc).

Biddie191 Tue 11-Dec-18 14:40:02

The hens are in a run surrounded by electric netting - we live in a very rural area with lots of foxes. We've had hens for 8 years, and the fox has never got in (we've lost a few to buzzards, and a couple to foxes when the hens escaped to lay away). I've never seen a dog go through an electric fence, getting zapped, and still go for it. Determination. Bless her, my daughter followed to try to stop her, and got zapped too.
My son is gutted, but fortunately sensible about it.

OP’s posts: |
ExcitedForChristmas18 Tue 11-Dec-18 14:41:34

Why don't you get a dog behavioural specialist out to your home, to work with you and the puppy?
You can't take anybody's word for it when buying an animal. Everything to this puppy is new and exciting. You have got her now. She is yours.
These issues can be fixed!!!
Give this puppy the time and patience it needs!!

Shmithecat Tue 11-Dec-18 14:45:49

Where did you find the dog, and what breed is it?

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