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problem dog, new home?

Discussion in 'Dog Chat' started by jen0155, Feb 3, 2008.


  1. jen0155

    jen0155 PetForums Newbie

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    Hi everyone,

    I'm looking for some good advice as we have a very tough decision to make.

    We found Ralphie - a bearded collie cross at our local cat and dog shelter around 2 years ago. We absolutely fell in love with him, and after a few walks decided he was the dog for us.

    At home he quite quickly became difficult on walks, pulling very hard all of the time, lunging at passers by, snapping and mouthing ankles. When off the lead he's jumped up and been quite aggressive to men walking by. He also very regularly bares his teeth and growls at our children (they behave very well around him but they only have to pass by for him to behave this way) this obviously worries us a great deal, I adore Ralphie but have to put the children first.

    We have put every effort into helping Ralphie, reading numerous books, visiting a behaviourist and seeking advice from various places as I am a great believer that his problems are not his fault, they are our responsibility to sort out.

    However nothing has had a lasting effect on him, he now pulls so hard on his lead that he makes himself sick - we've tried stopping whenever he pulls, changing direction when he pulls, haltis, harnesses, different leads, everything!...not looking for a quick fix but something that will help long term.

    His aggression (which stems from different things depending on who you ask) seems to be getting worse and I am so scared that eventually he will bite somebody and we'll be forced to have him put to sleep.

    After 2 years I have run out of things to try, we are not experienced dog owners and are now left wondering if he needs somebody who has more experience - and more importantly no children.

    I don't know if I could bare to part with him but thought I'd get as much advice as I could before thinking about what to do.

    If we decided to find him a home, how could I ensure that the person was going to be experienced and care for him really well? - and do you think that the right person could help him with his problems or at 3.5 years is he stuck in his ways?

    Any advice would be really appreciated, I have no idea what to do.

    Jen x
     
  2. griffpan

    griffpan PetForums VIP

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    Hi there

    This is a dreadful situation for you to be going through and i think an urgent one as well, especially as you have children and the seriousness of poor Ralphies problems.

    Now given the nature of his problems please don't find a home for him yourself, you should take him back to the rescue shelter you had him from and explain all his problems. They'll be able to assess him and find him a new home in time.

    It's a big job for anyone to sort out so don't feel guilty, just remember by taking him back to the rescue shelter (if thats what you decide) you will be giving him the best chance you can and doing your best for him as you have been doing.

    It's a sad decision to make but just remember you've done loads for him and still are.

    Sorry i can't be of help behaviour wise but you seem to have done everything i can think of at the moment.
     
  3. Jenny Olley

    Jenny Olley PetForums VIP

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    Hi Jen, sorry you are having so many problems with Ralphie, and some of them very serious.

    The safety of your children is of paramount importance, the fact that he regularly bares his teeth and growls at your children is a major concern, these are warning signs, a bite may follow.

    At the moment you are responsible for this dog, I know you didn't cause his problems, but he should not be off lead in a public place if he shows aggression to people.

    As regards changing his behaviour he is not too old, I don't know what behaviourist you saw or what advice was given, or whether you followed it, did they do any follow up rehabilitation work with Ralphie, or were you just sent away with a written program to follow ?

    As for would he be better off with a more experienced owner, possibly, but to be honest people are not queued up to take on a people aggressive dog.

    You've got a difficult decision to make here, I don't envy you.
     
  4. jen0155

    jen0155 PetForums Newbie

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    I'm a little dubious about our local cat and dog shelter - when we got ralphie from there they wern't interested in talking to us about our situation or telling us anything about ralphie, we just got rushed through the paperwork and ushered out the way for everyone else in the queue.

    I'm wondering if the RSPCA one about 40mins away mite be a little better?

    When we're out with him I'm often in tears he's such hard work but then back at home I start to think I can't face the guilt of handing him over, I'd feel like we were letting him down.
     
  5. jen0155

    jen0155 PetForums Newbie

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    - I forget the name of the behaviourist but we did a lot of research and found a very recommended one....she thought that ralphies behaviour was all down to herding instincts and said we were doing the right thing by avoiding people and distracting him with toys etc when we were out....she gave us a plan which consisted of games etc to help tire him out which we followed but none if this dealed with the actual problem they just seemed like distraction tactics.
     
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