(Closed) Problems w/ dog I adopted 2 weeks ago, not sure what to do.

posted 4 years ago in Pets
Post # 31
1412 posts
Bumble bee

Both of my dogs are rescues (one of my horses is too!) I love them, both of my guys are great- neither is aggresive, very well socialized, and they were adopted by me at ages 8 and 2. I got lucky! But many do not. 

You need to think about how you will feel if your dog does end up hurting a family member, friend or stranger when you could have prevented it (by returning him). I believe ALL animals have the ability to injure- even those who appear docile and sweet up until they lash out (not all will- but all are capable!!) 

Owning a dog that you know is aggresive can be dangerous for you liability wise. Trainers are expensive, but your homeowners insurance premiums will go up (if they will even cover the dog) and what’s more expensive would be a lawsuit where you have to pay for someone else’s medical bills, lost wages and disfigurement! Makes a trainer looks cheap!

I would have a trainer come evaluate the dog. Be honest in YOUR abilities to train/contain/manage the dog. If the trainer thinks it’s best the dog goes back, I would do that. For your safety, the dog’s safety and the safety of your friends, family & neighbors!

Post # 32
144 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2016

When adopting a dog they take time to adjust. I would give it a bit, but take him to training. There will be people at will come to your home to talk about your concerns with the dog.

As far as the reaction with your aunt, he could be more protective of his home since it’s a new surrounding for him. Once he gets comfortable and knows it is his home, and not going to be taken away from him, he should be better.

Post # 33
402 posts
Helper bee

View original reply
Petals2002:  I was in a similar situation to yours a few years ago. A former coworker put the word out to the office that there was an elderly female golden retriever who needed to be re-homed, urgently. She belonged to a couple that was in the middle of a messy divorce. My husband and I had been talking about adopting a senior dog. We had two senior cats at the time, and liked the idea of opening our home to more senior animals who might get overlooked at shelters.

Long story short, the rescue organization was incredibly dishonest about the dog. I think they were desperate to find her a home and were basically telling me all the things I wanted to hear. I was very clear with them that, since my husband and I both worked full time, we were open to adopting a senior, quiet dog who was verrrry comfortable being home in the peace and quiet for most of the day. We certainly did not feel like we were in a position to adopt a dog that would need constant companionship, or a puppy who would need more hours of attention during the day. The shelter assured me that this dog was just looking for a “quiet landing spot” and actually preferred being left alone during the daytime hours to nap.

Well, the only things they got right were her age and her breed. Beyond that, she was severely overweight (which made her hard to handle on leash), completely untrained, barely housebroken, high-energy, and full of deeply rooted anxiety issues because her former family had essentially emotionally neglected her for years. I felt terrible for her, but my husband and I were not in a position to give her the type of home that she needed, and we were clear with the rescue organization about that before we even met the dog. It was only when we met her at her foster home that the foster told us about all the issues. Her exact words were, “Wow, you’re going to have your hands full.”

At the time, I believed that I owed it to the dog to keep her simply because we had already agreed to it. We had her for 3 weeks before it became too much, and it wasn’t just about the burden on us (although that was a factor) – her anxiety was rapidly worsening because of my husband’s and my full-time jobs. She began to get more and more aggressive in the mornings when she figured out that we were getting ready to leave. I called the organization for advice, and they told me I should crate her during the day (which I HATED doing, but she was starting to destroy home furnishings in our absence). One day, I walked over to her so that I could guide her to her crate, and she snapped at me. That’s when I called the rescue organization to tell them it wasn’t going to work out.

I agreed to help them find another foster so that she wouldn’t go into a shelter, and she ended up going back to the foster home where we picked her up. That foster was home full-time, was an expert when it came to training and remedying behavioral issues, and had another golden who got along well with the dog. It was undoubtedly the right decision, because a few short weeks later, I had a major family tragedy and had to leave town for a month. It would have made things even harder for that dog, had she stayed with us.

Unlike many posters, I believe humans come first, then animals. That might make me wildly unpopular here, but that’s my value system. I’m sharing this story with you because I no longer believe that you are obligated to ride out a potentially dangerous adoption situation, especially since it sounds like you were misinformed by the shelter. Your dog might be much better off in a home where he’s not in the presence of smaller animals, children, the elderly, or cats. Another foster with extensive training experience can help the dog and prepare him for a permanent home later. You need to consider your quality of life as well as his.

I think your idea of fostering until a more suitable arrangement is made is a very wise one. Like you, I’d never want to see a pet go to a shelter if a home can be found, even if it’s a temporary one.

Best of luck – I hope it all works out.

Post # 34
5085 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: December 2014

I’m all for honoring your commitments when it comes to getting an animal, but I draw the line at aggression. If it were just the leash pulling, there are tools to deal with that. But an aggressive dog really needs an experienced trainer. If you are not able to properly train the dog and don’t have the means to hire a professional trainer, then I’d consider rehoming (or fostering until a new home could be found, as you said). 

Post # 35
3166 posts
Sugar bee

Finding the right forever home for a dog is as much about doing the right thing for the dog as the humans. If you dont think this dog is going to be happy with you then I say make the decision ASAP so you can let the shelter know and volunteer to foster it. I couldn’t return an animal to a shelter, but finding it a more suitable home could be the right thing for everyone

Post # 36
1315 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2016

Yup, +1 that if you feel confident that with time, careful management, and A LOT of hardwork that you can make this dog work in your household and enjoy having him around — then keep him.

But if you’re going to keep this dog he really does need a big investment in terms of training. And training a reactive and large/strong dog like this requires intense vigilance and an armory of behavioural tools. This is not “simple” stuff that requires a few obedient tricks and *if* he became reactive towards your aunt because he was protecting “his” house (questionable though), that is not going to get better just with time and “settling in”. Settling in is going to make him MORE protective unless your proactive in teaching him the right behaviour.

There are SO many well behaved, sweet, and well-behaved shelter dogs out there. I’m all for committing to a pet once adopted and not giving them up for reasons that are the fault of the owner (i.e. “omg I want to adopt this border collie!” one week later “ummm this animal is too much work, he needs a lot of walks and attention” — sigh) but when an owner is mis-informed and is in over their head with a dog, it’s safer for everyone involved that the dog is put in a home where his issues can be properly managed so that EVERYONE is happier.

Post # 37
7429 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: February 2013

My opinion won’t be popular, but I would take the dog back to the shelter ASAP. I wouldn’t be willing to risk the safety of my loved ones because of a dog. My DH works in the ER, and he has told me some horror stories from when dogs have attacked.

Post # 38
1908 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: February 2015

View original reply
RedHeadKel:  I’m sorry but I lol’d at your first two sentences 😂

OP, I think you should try getting a trainer as several others have mentioned. Also, it’s only been a couple of weeks, so give it a little more time before making a final decision.

Post # 39
23 posts

I adopted a dog about 3 weeks ago, I have a female rescued dog and 2 rescue cats, I had MAJOR post adoption depression after I adopted the newest one, I have always adopted animals and never felt that way before, but after reading other peoples stories on the internet it is a true thing, I looked for every reason to give this dog back, if he took a toy from my female dog I thought he was being aggressive, if he went up to the cats I thought he was going to bite them, if he lifted his leg to pee I thought he was being dominant.

The first week I cried every day, I took 2 days off work cause I was so upset about having this dog.  I feel horrible about that now, he is the most loving sweet dog ever, I love him so much and my other dog loves him so much, he is in school with me once a week, he goes to day care once a week, I can’t imagine life without him.

My point is it took me really until this week to really start loving him and to know that he isn’t my other dog, he needs training and he has his own personality and it’s awesome, please give it a couple more weeks to see if things get better, it’s a very hard adjustment for shelter dogs, my boy wouldn’t get in the car the first 2 weeks probably because bad things happened when he went for car rides (new homes, going to a different shelter) now he loves them cause he knows good things happen when he goes in the car, every time we went to pet him the first 2 weeks he would crouch down and hide his head not sure he was hit while living on the streets, but now he loves to run up and get snuggles, they just need time and love, he has changed so much in 3 weeks and so have I.

Post # 40
732 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

View original reply
LadyJDAG:  this. 

I’m very pro-rescue – I adopted my cat as a rescue almost 10 years ago and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made! That said, adoptions do not always work out for a variety of reasons and I think shaming/judging people for potentially having to return their adopted pet for very legitimate reasons is somewhat counterproductive to an overall great cause. I think it’s safe to assume that the vast majority of people who rescue a pet want to keep them, otherwise why would they have adopted in the first place? 

Post # 41
221 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: February 2016

You need a real trainer, 1-1 classes. That’s step 1. Invest in a harness that hinders pulling. This URL has a few different reviews: http://www.petexpertise.com/dog-training-article-choosing-a-no-pull-device-from-pet-expertise.html


Aggression is often from lack of socialization. You haven’t had your dog very long, and you’re in for a lot of work with this one. Have people come in with treats, and come in your home calm. Reward positive behavior with positive attention.

Post # 42
1 posts

I would invest in a harness. They can work very well. Find one that works well with pulls. It will make quite a difference when hes pulling on you and wanting to go after a squirrel or cat etc. I tryed the harness on my old english bulldog but he still kept pulling. i resorted to a choker collar and it worked much better and it was alot easier to pull him. 

Post # 43
1475 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2018

I’m also all for adoption but as PPs have stated,you and your family’s safety comes first and foremost. No sign of aggression is tolerated in my household from ANY animal. We had a shelter lie to us only to have the dog turn on us 2 years later after being a perfect angel and we did everything right with the training and socializing. There was something in her head that couldn’t be fixed (jakal and Hyde syndrome or something of that nature) and that info only came out after she seriously attacked my mother, another dog and myself (ER visit ect) and had to be put down. Don’t end up in a situation where you think it’s dangerous. Be realistic and if you feel uncomfortable at any time then it’s really time to listen to your gut with this even though your heart says otherwise. Good luck OP, hoping for the best for you and your pup! 

Post # 44
1534 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: December 2014

View original reply
Petals2002:  Sounds to me like you just need to invest in a qualified trainer (and not just one of those Petsmart trainers… you need one-on-one behavorial training). I think he can be saved with work 🙂

Post # 45
621 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2019

$1200 is not a stretch.  She doesn’t need a leash trainer more like a behavioral therapist for her dog.  I’m more concerned about her aggressiveness than leash pulling. 

I know a couple who blew through their savings and separated all because of a dog.  It was an aggressive tiny dog, who destroyed much of her furnitures and bit her niece.  It barked constantly.  It was the bane of her existence and I felt for her.  I too am a proponent of “people first”, but her Fiance loved that dog. 

They took in a trainer for 6 months, plus play dates, change of diet, leash training, babysitter.  All of this to ease the dogs anxiety and aggression And excessive attachment.  In the end, she couldn’t take it anymore they separated.  

Since then he’s been bad mouthing her around town calling her a sociopath who hates dogs.  But losing your $15k savings, most of your shoes, and all your lovely furnishings can take a toll.  Plus the fear of having the dog bite her cause her major anxiety too!! So nightmarish. 


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