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Question for dog people
Old 01-20-2021, 11:52 AM
  #1

Need advise. First of all I am a big dog person. This is a long story but I'll stay concise.

My son (22) and I adopted a dog Rus two years ago. I also have a sweet lab rescue. Rus was one year old pit mixed that my friend had fostered for about a month. She said he was a good dog--no problems. He's adorable and we love him.

He's always been a biter (some stitches needed) but it's escalated (three episodes in a month) and last night he attacked a dog that we've played with for months. He's in training with a guy who specializes in dangerous dogs.

I called the rescue and said I can't handle Rus anymore. He's well behaved then snaps and goes crazy. He's powerful and strong.

They said that it's because of my training (or lack of training) of Rus and he just needs more discipline and training. I LOVE this dog but I don't feel he's trainable. They want me to pay to have him boarded and trained for six weeks and have me go to training with him then have him return to my house or I can relinquish him after training. He's too dangerous for foster care.



I don't know what to do; but I want to do the right thing. No one is safe in my house with Rus and I am even scared of him. The other major thing weighing on me is that about four years ago I rescued a little dog that almost killed my dog and had to put that dog down so I feel like a terrible person.

Your thoughts are appreciate (please don't tell me not to adopt again--I am already beating myself up and realize I need to not save an older troubled dog. I don't have the discipline for it).


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Sad Situation and I am Sorry
Old 01-20-2021, 12:00 PM
  #2

you are having this experience.

If I were scared of a dog I would try to find a better place for it to live.

I would get the training done and then see how I feel if I were you. Maybe the training will change your mind and maybe it won't.

Safety of self and family plus neighbors and friends who visit is very important. So if you decide to release the dog do not feel guilty. Good luck to you and Rus.
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Safety
Old 01-20-2021, 12:05 PM
  #3

I would not keep the dog. It sounds as if there have been multiple instances of bites, some requiring stitches. You may have been lucky up to this point. Even with training this dog may snap. I admire you for wanting to rescue an older dog and would not criticize you for that. Good luck with your decision.
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Old 01-20-2021, 12:10 PM
  #4

That's so hard and I am sorry you are going through this.
I foster and know there have been fosters that have gone to training camps and it has helped. The fosters have said the training truly saved the dog's life and they went on to be adopted. Of course, these programs are very expensive. Does the rescue want you to pay for this? I don't believe the rescue should place demands on your surrendering this dog. They should take it back, evaluate, do the training and get him adopted out.
I think your gut is telling you that this dog is too much for you, and that's ok.
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Old 01-20-2021, 12:16 PM
  #5

I’m a huge animal lover and I believe that in *almost* every situation you keep a pet you’ve adopted. This is the exception to that rule. You and your family (and your other dog) are not safe with that dog and if the rescue group thinks he can be retrained they need to be the ones doing it. It’s time for you to give him up.


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((Hugs))
Old 01-20-2021, 01:11 PM
  #6

You have honestly tried.
Give yourself permission to regime this dog for your safety as well as other dogs. 💕
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Old 01-20-2021, 01:19 PM
  #7

I'm so sorry you are going through this. You have a good heart but I agree that keeping the dog is not advisable. There is too much at stake. If he has a history of biting, you will be held accountable if he hurts or does worse to someone. If you decide to keep him you would need to increase your homeowners insurance to cover any injuries and/or law suits. I enjoy watching Judge Judy. Some cases are ridiculous or funny. The worst are the ones that involve pit bulls. The owners always claim what a sweetheart the dog is. They have young children, other dogs and cats. Then Judge Judy shares a letter from a grandfather whose heart is broken because his grandson was hospitalized after being attacked by the "friendly" family pit bull pet.

I know how easy it is to become attached but in this case, IMO, I believe you have been given wise advice. Do not give up on being a dog owner. So many need a good home like yours.

Just a thought, if the boarding and training is not too expensive, maybe you could pay for it with the understanding that they re-home him. If too expensive, maybe you could offer to pay half?

Also remember some pet advocates can be a little bit too fanatical and not too reasonable. It seems to me they are blaming you without hearing you. You have every right to be concerned and scared. They should acknowledge that and not blame you.
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Hard situation
Old 01-20-2021, 01:26 PM
  #8

I am sorry you are going through this. Even though it is sad and you feel very badly about doing so, I don't think you should keep the dog. He could severely injure someone, or person or animal, or even kill. I know it is easy for me to say, but stand firm with the rescue. Don't let them bully or shame you into keeping the dog.

I am a dog lover, and would never keep a dog that bites like that.
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Old 01-20-2021, 01:36 PM
  #9

I am also a dog lover and one of my close friends is an experienced dog trainer.

If I were you, I would not keep the dog. It sounds to me like you have done what you can as a family. Not every dog is a good fit for every family. It is not an easy decision to make, but in the long run, returning the dog would be best. Take care. 💕
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Dangerous dog
Old 01-20-2021, 02:20 PM
  #10

I agree with PoohBear and others who say itís time to relinquish this dog. A large and unpredictable dog who bites is DANGEROUS to you, your other dog, and to anyone who comes into contact with him. This dog is a tragedy waiting to happen.

Some dogs cannot be rehabilitated. The rescue should NOT blame you. They are the ones who likely did not vet this dog properly before placing it. They may not even have been honest about the dogís temperament or history. Return the dog, and let them deal with it. There are many truly good dogs who deserve a loving home, and who do not bite. Help one of them.


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Dog
Old 01-20-2021, 02:29 PM
  #11

I am truly sorry that you are dealing with this situation. As others have stated, return the dog. You tried and the safety of you and your family comes first.
In our area if a dog bites someone, the dog can be put down. There may even be charges against the owner.
My nephew fosters dogs and has returned a few dogs. He has been doing this for about a year now and many of the dogs were adopted by others.
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Dog
Old 01-20-2021, 02:41 PM
  #12

You are scared of the dog- you canít keep him. He is a danger, and people come first.

We had a dog for a very short time as a trial, and he bit my son and turned on me for apparently no reason. I was scared of him, and needed him out of my house.

Please donít hesitate and have the dog removed. Iím so sorry you are going through this, you have my sympathy.
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Old 01-20-2021, 03:30 PM
  #13

I'm so sorry that you're having to go through this. It sounds like your heart is in the right place. I feel frustrated that the rescue is pressuring you when clearly it's not a good fit.
Here's a story FWIW: I have a rescue dog that looks like a fluffy version of a border collie. She's actually a Karelian Bear Dog that is used to track and tree bears. Her breed is used in places like Glacier National Park to reduce human-bear incidents. In short, she looks fluffy and cute but can kick a bear's rear end.
We had a neighbor across the street that had a large German Shepherd. We were walking one day and the dog got loose from her and came straight for my dog. I was able to step on the dog's leash and keep my dog on a short leash on the other side but it wasn't good. Another day, the lady decided that they'd been working on training the German Shepherd and that she wanted to try walking with us (without asking me), largely on the basis that we'd walked by her once and her dog didn't lose its' mind. Well, her dog again tried to attack mine who proceeded to systematically bite the fur off the GS's rear end as a warning to get back. It was so systemic a warning that I was shocked. at how deliberately my dog got the GS to back off. But..I was pissed. The GS was clearly too much for the woman who owned him. In a different circumstance, the GS might well have been fine but clearly shouldn't be in a suburban neighborhood with lots of dogs walking by. Came to find out later that the GS almost killed another neighbor's dog in a very similar incident (pulled away from the owner and went after the smaller dog).
Needless to say, the home wasn't the right one for the GS. Your home doesn't sound like the right one for this dog. Don't beat yourself up about it. I think you're doing the right thing in trying to find a better home for the dog.
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Old 01-20-2021, 03:39 PM
  #14

Sad to say dogs who have history of biting are a liability. Many insurance companies will not insure homes with certain breeds. You would feel life long regret if that dog turned and seriously bit a child or neighbor. You said he has always been a biter. If I understand you, the dog is in training right now with a person who specializes in dangerous dogs. What does that trainer say about the recent escalation?
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Your last paragraph says it all...
Old 01-20-2021, 03:50 PM
  #15

I feel sorry for the dog, but you cannot put your life and your sonís at risk. The next injury could be even more severe. With his bite history and unpredictability,I would be very nervous and you have another dog to think about. It would be expensive and unfair to train with him and then decide to relinquish him, but even with training, I do not think I could trust him.

I totally get it. A number of years ago, I wanted a second dog. I read about a dog online through a rescue that needed a home. They assured me he was good with other dogs. He attacked my sweet lab mix on several occasions, and displayed resource guarding. Clearly, in his paperwork, it said he attacked another dog at the shelter, but I was told none of this. I also live in a townhome, so separating the two was hard. My dog started to be fearful and did not want to come downstairs, even if he was crated. I wound up relinquishing him to a woman the rescue knew who had a very mellow dog. I felt terrible for not seeing the commitment through, but it was the best decision for me and the dog. Good luck.
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Old 01-20-2021, 05:06 PM
  #16

I love dogs and been an owner. I feel for you and Rus, but I wonder if the best thing is to put him down. If he is a biter, perhaps he has a problem in his brain that is causing this. I don't think you should keep him, no matter how much you want to do what you think is right.
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It's
Old 01-20-2021, 06:31 PM
  #17

Just a poor fit. Many dogs must be the only dog. I pray you find him a home that will work for him. You're doing good reaching out for advice.

I nearly adopted "Chico" but didn't because the people at the pound said he had a "strong prey affect" meaning WOULD KILL CATS, etc.

Be kind to yourself and all creatures great and small.
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Put to Sleep
Old 01-20-2021, 07:28 PM
  #18

Given the rescue's response to you. I would not return him. They are going to proceed to adopt him out again, and it could well end in tragedy. My heart breaks having to give this advice, but he needs to be put to sleep before he seriously hurts someone.

If you choose not to put him to sleep, then he'd need to be treated as a vicious dog. Muzzled whenever he's near any dog or human not in your household. Your yard secured with cement under a 6-8ft wooden fence to avoid digging and with roller bars on the top to avoid climbing out. Padlocks on all gates to keep people from gaining entry to your yard without your knowledge. A secure concrete foundation kennel for anytime that someone may need to access your yard. Due to his bite history, depending on your state you might be held liable if he hurts someone. If you've needed stitches, the hospital should have already reported him to animal control.
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Old 01-21-2021, 02:04 AM
  #19

I admire you for trying. This is why I stay away from rescue dogs, but I certainly think your heart was in the right place. You did the best you could. This dog just might not be within your ability to rescue. I would be scared of it too. Don't let the rescue tell you to keep the dog if you don't feel comfortable. Let them deal with it if they feel he is fixable or you can always put the dog down. It's a no win situation and my heart goes out to you. I'm sorry, but don't beat yourself up. You definitely did your best for the dog.
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Old 01-21-2021, 03:48 AM
  #20

I agree that you do not seem to be in a position to keep the dog. The rescue you got him from should be responsible for taking him back. Even if he truly does "just need more discipline," they should recognize that you are not able to provide that after 2 years of trying and take him back to be evaluated and fostered with someone who can provide that. If they aren't willing to do that, I wonder how responsible they were with placing him with you in the first place.

It is also possible that he is simply temperamentally unsound and will never be reliable and safe no matter how hyperaware of your environment and diligent in your dog management strategies you are. In that case, no amount of board and train or specialists will get him to the point where he is a stable family pet.

If his original group won't take him back, there are rescues out there that will take on project dogs with a problematic history. However, there are so many project dogs and so few people qualified to deal with them, that, in addition to thinking it's unlikely you'll find him a placement, I personally question the ethics of pouring resources into project dogs without a very good reason when thousands of perfectly sound dogs are lacking homes and resources.

What does the trainer say? Is he a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist (CAAB) or a veterinary behaviorist (ACVB) or at the very least a Certified Professional Dog Trainer who specializes in treating canine aggression? Or is he just someone who claims to "know dogs"?

Patricia McConnell is a PhD zoologist and Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist who I have taken seminars from in years past. She's wonderful. This is one of her articles about canine aggression and making the decision to rehome or euthanize. https://www.patriciamcconnell.com/th...sive-to-people

Good luck with a difficult situation and decision.
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PM Sent
Old 01-21-2021, 06:28 AM
  #21

Sent you a PM. I am also a dog rescue mom, and have a lot of insight for you.
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Great article
Old 01-21-2021, 08:05 AM
  #22

Gromit: thanks for posting that article. It was well written and very thought provoking.
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not fun
Old 01-21-2021, 12:30 PM
  #23

I'm so sorry that you are faced with such a dilemma. You want to make the right decision for the dog, but know safety is most important. You are not to blame in any kind of way. It happens. I hope you find the answer and peace whatever you decide.
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