Would you rehome in this situation?

Discussion in 'Dog Chat' started by SilverFalcon, Jun 13, 2018.

  1. SilverFalcon

    SilverFalcon Registered Users

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    My sister has a nearly one year old Papillon, and an older Golden Retriever. The Retriever is your stereotypical loving friendly dog, not aggressive in the slightest. However the Papillon is quite possessive/territorial and attacks the Retriever quite regularly, to the point where the Retriever is quite wary of her now. It has bit her on the jowls causing minor bleeding, and this sort of attacking is commonplace although she tries to break them up prior to it escalating to that point. The Papillon is extremely affectionate and loving to the human family but does not like any other animals or people.

    My sister understandably loves this little Papillon to death and feels like rehoming is not fair to her, and also feels like there would be a lot of stigma to giving her up, like she's a failure. She did a lot of socialising with her as a puppy (classes, lots of outings and positive experiences, etc), but it seems as she's gotten older, she's gotten worse. My sister does not feel like she is capable of training this situation as she feels she's done everything "right", yet the Papillon is still like this. For example, my sister was in the front garden and a delivery man came by. The Papillon was out and chased the poor delivery man to the gate, snapping at his heels. This had never happened before so my sister was understandably shaken.

    I told her I would get some advice here, as there is so much collective wisdom! Would it be better for her to find this young Papillon a new home with a breed specific rescue group?
     
  2. snowbunny

    snowbunny Registered Users

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    My initial thoughts are:

    What would happen if this were the other way round? If it were the GR with the behavioural problems? How would she address that - by separating the dogs? By rehoming the GR? Or still the Papillon? Getting a behaviourist in?

    It's clear there is an issue here that has to be addressed and that the Pap is very unhappy for whatever reason. Dogs don't behave that way when they're happy and feeling secure. Has she had a full vet check for the Pap to rule out any physical problems that might be causing the behaviour?

    My first thought wouldn't be rehoming, although I'd also not rule it out either. But this dog is unlikely to find another home whilst exhibiting these behaviours. Initially, and after a thorough vet check, I would separate the dogs, give the Pap a very quiet space where she can feel safe, away from the hustle and bustle of the house if it's busy, but with lots of calm contact (massage, strokes, scatter feeding etc) with your sister. I'd stop letting her out in the garden or situations where potential stressors can't be controlled. Don't even take her for walks for a few days; let her de-stress completely.

    Once this has been done, get a behaviourist in to observe her and give her a plan of action.
     
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  3. kateincornwall

    kateincornwall Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Oh dear, what a dilemma , and a sad situation . What you must impress upon your sister is that she mustn't base any decision upon " what others will say " , its not them who have to cope is it ? I really can empathise ,we rehomed a little terrier about five years ago , ( having been told that she was shy but lovely natured ) but she terrorised Sam , he was frightened to death of her and so we had to return her and later were told that she had been homed with an old couple as an only dog . I can understand how she feels , its awful to think that we are letting a dog down, but really we aren't , we are trying to do the right thing all round . I don't feel able to advise one way or another , except to say that the stress must be awful , for humans and for the dogs , don't let anyone judge , they have no right and I wish her well x
     
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  4. charlie

    charlie Registered Users

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    I'm so sorry this is very difficult, anyone who has rescued a dog never knows what baggage it will come with, heaven knows my Charlie came with a bloomin' great case full :rolleyes: I cried buckets over Charlie and on a few occasions David and I felt we couldn't go on but we did, but that was totally our decision at the end of the day, we don't regret it for a single moment. As a last resort could your sister get a Behaviourist in to access the Pap and GR, maybe give her some tools to help with the situation? Otherwise if it's too stressful for humans and dogs she must make the decision that's best for all concerned. No judgement here only sympathy for trying to give a dog a home and it not going how she planned :( xx
     
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  5. snowbunny

    snowbunny Registered Users

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    I don't think the Pap is a rescue dog - not that that makes any difference to the seriousness of her behavioural problems or necessarily the understanding of what caused them. Sometimes dogs are just predisposed to emotional and behavioural difficulties. No judgement either way, she must be really upset.
     
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  6. kateincornwall

    kateincornwall Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    No , I understood that the owner had the Pap as a puppy, but just wanted to add support in that sometimes, things just don't work out, no matter how hard we try and how much we want them to x
     
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  7. SilverFalcon

    SilverFalcon Registered Users

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    I'll be passing along all of your advice so thank you all for taking the time.

    As to the vet, the Papillon was spayed a few months ago and had a checkup then, no health problems were detected at that point. She behaved similarly back then as she does now, although the behaviour has gotten worse. She has always been wary of strange people and animals but the behaviour has ramped up as she has gotten older.

    That is a good point regarding rehoming issues while she is like this. After digesting what you've said, I wonder if additional training around staying calm/building patience would help. Namely, she's very good with sits, downs, fetch, and so on, and is very smart, however she's quite hyper and not good with stays/waits. I was wondering if slowly training her ability to stay/wait would build patience/staying calm and might help her reactiveness and build confidence? Starting at home, then in the garden, then outside in a low key environment, etc. Or is that totally out of left field.

    Yes this situation sounds pretty similar! I will talk to her about getting a behaviourist in, but if all else fails, perhaps a single-dog household that was quite calm and quiet would suit. She's quite a high strung and wary dog, but of course the worry is that she'll end up getting shipped from home to home if the future owners can't handle the behaviour either.

    I know what you mean, we have a rescued little Jack Russell mix who was and still is in some ways quite a handful! She was so much so that we called her moods "demon-mode" - she would really go off on one sometimes. We've now had her over two years and she's come along remarkably, but the early days were ROUGH. Ruff? :eek::p Anyways she's settled into a lovely little dog, but she still does have some lead reactivity that rears up from time to time. It's not easy to deal with and sometimes the case really is that a dog with issues may fair better with someone else who happens to have the skills/patience to deal with them better than someone else.

    Yes, my sister met both the parents and they were quite calm and lovely, both around other dogs and strangers. It just seems this little Papillon has these issues for no known reason other than as you say, predisposition. She's had nothing but a loving home, but this is just how things are at present.
     
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  8. snowbunny

    snowbunny Registered Users

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    Building general confidence is never a bad thing, and teaching calm behaviours similarly. But I think the first thing to do is appreciate she is already pretty well "trigger stacked" and that needs sorting out. It's not fair on the GR that she should be allowed to attack him (hence the "what if it were the other way around" question) and might start causing behavioural issues in her, too. So they need to be kept apart by using baby gates, pens or whatever and the whole family needs time to decompress.
     
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  9. SilverFalcon

    SilverFalcon Registered Users

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    Yes I totally agree. I've passed your advice along and it seems there are already signs of very small improvements - very early days but perhaps there is a bit of light at the end of the tunnel here.
     
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