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Do I return my puppy???

Discussion in 'Dog Chat' started by Jennie Savage, Apr 8, 2021.


  1. Jennie Savage

    Jennie Savage PetForums Newbie

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    Hi, I'm new to here and only had my 8 1/2 week puppy for 10 days (yes the breeder let us have your young), but I'm seriously considering giving her back and its breaking my heart. She's a westie x Lancashire heeler, we found her by chance on Pre-loved and shes tiny and adorable. We did some research into the temperament of her breed(s) and they found they were suitable for older children, so with ours being 13 and 9 we thought it was ideal. However I didn't take into account my youngest having autism, so he can be loud, unpredictable, and has no concept of danger.

    The first few days were gorgeous and everyone was lining up to cuddle her, however the last several days she's started snapping. She herds the kids and nips ankles (we pre-empted this and can manage it), she growls when she plays (I know this normal) but its a very low snarly growl which scares me (but not my son) and she's probably sensing my fear. But the snapping isn't a playful growl, she's actually swinging her head round to snap at us. It's when we try to pick her up (yes, she obv doesn't want to be, but my kids wanted a cuddly dog, and she's so small we sometimes have to for her safety), or when we try to move her as she doesn't "come" and barely responds to her name. Yesterday she was sleeping on my couch and my youngest gently put a hand on her and she growled at him. Also she climbed on the couch behind me and snapped/growled so I stood up, then she sat there snarling/barking and wouldn't let me sit down again! I've been told this is a territorial thing but again I'm actually scared of her now. She's no bigger than a Sunday roast and I'm scared of the tiny thing!!

    We know we can train her, put the work in, but our issue is even if we manage her (probably normal) behaviour, our son wouldn't. He may still try and lift her when she doesn't want to be picked up, or not recognise when to back off in general, and I'm terrified one may hurt the other.

    We've spoken to the breeder who said the pups siblings are not behaving this way, so were now thinking she is just the wrong breed/personality for our household/family/environment. The breeder said someone who bought one of the other pups wanted a second one for their friend, so we may be able to rehome her. But as I'm typing this she's curled up next to me snoring and now I'm second guessing our decision. Has anyone else been in this situation???
     
  2. Boxer123

    Boxer123 PetForums VIP

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    Hello and welcome

    Growling in play and nipping is all normal however you need to manage pups and children carefully.

    You simply cannot have your dog woken from sleep or picked up by children as things can go wrong. This would be the case with any breed I do not know to much about the Lancashire Herder breed.

    I have cuddly dogs but it’s on their terms they like to snuggly but not to be picked up or cuddled how we humans would hug around the neck. Does this make sense? Even little dogs you don’t want to be picking up use treats and training to get them where you want.

    All of this said if you feel you cannot keep the children and dog separated and safe then there is no shame in returning to the breeder. Puppy will be ok young enough to be re homed.

    Good luck with your decision
     
  3. Nonnie

    Nonnie PetForums VIP

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    I really dont think you have chosen the correct breed/cross for your family situation. Heelers are bred to nip for a start as they are a droving breed.. There is one that lives in my village and he's an evil little bugger; kicks off at everyone and everything.

    If you dont think you can cope, then give the puppy to a reputable rescue. I absolutely would not return her to the breeder, who clearly doesnt care about welfare. Selling too young and willing to rehome to someone who has a litter mate are not the actions of someone with morals or ethics, or even knowledge of dogs.
     
  4. Jennie Savage

    Jennie Savage PetForums Newbie

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    Is it normal that puppies don't respond to their own name? Or is she just being stubborn like many websites say her breeds can be? My sister owns a black lab, he's a big gentle giant and I could happily leave my kids playing unattended with him, I'm not sure if I ever could with this little pup and that would make life sooo much harder
     
  5. Jennie Savage

    Jennie Savage PetForums Newbie

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    The breeder did genuinely seem to care for the pups, she was nearly crying when we picked ours up. We thought this would be the best solution as she would be going to a home where she could see her sibling all the time
     
  6. Nonnie

    Nonnie PetForums VIP

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    Its generally not a good idea to have two puppies at the same time due to litter mate syndrome. A breeder should be aware of this.

    Some experienced and knowledgeable people manage it, but you only have to see how many people struggle with a single pup to see what a bad idea it is on the whole. It can create all manner of behavioural issues.
     
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  7. Boxer123

    Boxer123 PetForums VIP

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    At only ten days in I wouldn’t expect a pup to know it’s name it’s a skill you need to train.

    The idea of children playing with a dog unattended is a different issue. Dogs often give off a lot of signals they are not comfortable that is humans miss. With children I would always involve them in training but interactions even with the friendliest dogs should be monitored. @O2.0 posted a really powerful video on another thread I wonder if she’s about.

    Out of interest why did the breeder let the pups go early ?
     
  8. ShibaPup

    ShibaPup PetForums VIP

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    You have a working breed - trouble with crosses like you have, the litter will be a mixture of temperaments from both breeds. A Heeler is going to need mental and physical stimulation - they're busy dogs.

    Being small isn't really an excuse for picking a dog up - you can move a dog in other ways, luring them with a treat or a house line and guiding them that way. Consider if she was a larger breed how would you move her? Not many dogs enjoy being picked up or carried - it's something you can work on with positive handling training, so she allows it but it may never be something she actually enjoys.
    In the mean time the more you pick her up, when she is showing you she isn't happy about it - the more likely she is to escalate her behaviour with growling, snapping and eventually biting because her subtle cues aren't being listened to, which will also make her feel more nervous and insecure.

    As for her name - it needs positive associations. So say her name - feed her a treat, you can do this with multiple family members so take it in turns saying her name and when she comes to you - reward her with a tiny piece of food or some of her own kibble, initially be fairly close together and as she gets better you can space yourselves further apart of even in different rooms for extra challenge. When you feed her - say her name before giving her the food etc... make her name associated with good things that she likes.

    Another option - crate train her or a play pen, so it's a comfortable space for her to want to be in. Teach your children if she goes in there - it's her space and she should be left alone, obviously you know your son best so you know if it would be possible or not for your family.

    She may not ever be a cuddly dog - she may be a busy active dog.

    Personally my advice would be if it's too much for you, or not suitable for your family to look at a good rescue - they'll help match you, probably with an older dog that is suitable for your family and wants/needs.

    Or if you want a specific breed - I'd be searching for a suitable, typically bomb proof breed and find a good breeder within the breed that health tests, breeds for temperament and a good breeder will help you select a suitable pup from the litter.

    Puppies are hard work though - they all bite, they all destroy things, they're busy and they aren't always the most cuddly.
     
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  9. Calvine

    Calvine PetForums VIP

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    I read it that the breeder already had someone with one of her pups who would take a second for a friend (ie the pups would see each other but would be in different households - maybe I misread that):
    But then she says ''she could see her sibling all the time'', so not sure what the set-up would be.
     
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  10. Jennie Savage

    Jennie Savage PetForums Newbie

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    She said the ver advised her that if the pups were eating and drinking on their own then they could leave their mother
     
  11. Nonnie

    Nonnie PetForums VIP

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    Yeah im not sure either. I dont think i read it properly at the start though :D

    If they lived separately then it would most likely be ok.

    I would still be loathed to give back to the breeder - there really is no justifiable reason other than money to rehome under age.
     
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  12. edinoodle

    edinoodle PetForums Junior

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    I think you're describing a typical puppy, I've had mine 5 days and she play bites a lot. We're consistently standing up and leaving the room when she does but I still expect it to be weeks before she stops biting altogether, it takes time for them to distinguish between toys and people. I don't think it's a good idea to leave any puppies and children unattended due to them being play biting. If your pup left her litter early then she also will have missed some valuable lessons from her mum and siblings so you'll have to be extra patient
     
  13. Jennie Savage

    Jennie Savage PetForums Newbie

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    Yes thats right, a lady who bought one of the pups had a friend who was also interested, but theyd all been reserved. The suggestion now is if the friend is still interested we may be able to rehome her, and if her friend has one of our pups siblings they could see each other frequently
     
  14. bunnygeek

    bunnygeek PetForums VIP

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    Puppies can be a little nightmares, No one would have them if they didn't look so cute.

    Pushing their luck, nipping, growling, all normal puppy behaviour.

    You mention her getting all grumbly on the couch - best to try and avoid her getting on the couch entirely for now. And don't pick her up for now, this is something to work on carefully and get her used to when she's calm and settled. If she's in an agitated state and you try and pick her up then she's going to snap at the moment. This is a problem with small breeds, way too easy to want to scoop them up and snuggle them.

    Use toys to redirect teeth and make it more fun to be in places you want her to be than places she shouldn't be, like the couch.

    Chat to your vet about puppy training.
     
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  15. Magyarmum

    Magyarmum PetForums VIP

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    I read it the same way as you.

    Personally I would let the puppy go back to the breeder and forget the idea of having a dog, until your younger son is a few years older.
     
  16. edinoodle

    edinoodle PetForums Junior

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    I just wanted to add that there is no shame in admitting a puppy isn't for you, I've been waiting for months for mine and in the very short time I've had her already thought "what have I done!" but it is just puppy behaviour. As Shiba Pup said maybe an adult rescue would be a better fit with your family, but if you decide to stick it out then have a read through previous threads on this forum, it's a great source of info :)
     
  17. lorilu

    lorilu PetForums VIP

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    The puppy will be going to a friend of the person who adopted the litter mate, not the same household.

    I recommend the OP give the puppy back to the breeder immediately, and lean more about the realities of raising puppies before adopting another.

    Perhaps an adult dog already trained to live with children wold be more appropriate..
     
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  18. O2.0

    O2.0 PetForums VIP

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    No I have never gotten a dog and needed to rehome him/her, however I have ended up with dogs (and puppies) others couldn't cope with and it has always worked out very well. So giving her up to another family is not the end of the world.
    Honestly it sounds like you're already overdogged and she's only a baby. I don't see any harm in returning her to the breeder.
    My understanding was that the pup was going to a friend of another family, not two pups in the same home.

    No, she's not being stubborn. For a dog to be stubborn she would have to first fully understand what it is you're asking of her, and then willfully choose to not do it. At 8 weeks no pup fully understands anything their humans are asking for.
    Have you taught her her name? Does she associate her name with good things and never reprimands or corrections? You can't just name a pup and expect them to understand that is their name, you have to purposefully teach them their name by pairing it with treats and toys and good things. If the only time she hears her name is preceding a reprimand, yes, she will ignore it.

    Unless you know with certainty that your children have excellent dogs skills and the self-control to inhibit themselves around dogs (like I want to pick the puppy up but I won't because she's sleeping), dogs and kids really shouldn't be left alone together.
    Children need to learn how dogs communicate. We spent literally years in my household asking "what is he/she saying" about the dogs as my children grew up with 4 large dogs. Knowing what discomfort and uncertainty looks like not just in dogs in general but in your own particular dog, and how to respond to it can really help.
    Children do all sorts of things that most dogs don't like. They invade the dog's personal space, get in their face, stare at the dog, loom over top of the dog, reach towards the dog's face, take toys away from the dog, lay on the dog...
    Dogs either learn to tolerate because they associate it with good things, or-very often more likely, dogs become sensitized to these behaviors and one day 'snap' supposedly out of the blue, but it's not out of the blue, they've been signaling their discomfort for years to no avail.

    Speaking of signals, here ya go:
     
  19. Nonnie

    Nonnie PetForums VIP

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    Yes, its quite clear i misread that. Also quite clear no one reads the entire thread and replies as multiple people have pointed it out :rolleyes:

    FWIW - i still wouldnt return to the breeder. They rehomed way too early, which could one of many reasons this puppy is more bitey than some others that stayed with litter mates and learnt appropriate behaviours.
     
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  20. O2.0

    O2.0 PetForums VIP

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    Apologies.
    When I went to reply, @ShibaPup was the last post.
    I wrote a giant post trying to help the op, looked up the video, and in the time it took me to write it all out, find the video, reheat my coffee, then re-read what I wrote, to make sure it made sense.
    I hit reply and saw there were additional posts.
    So no, I hadn't read the entire thread :rolleyes:
     
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