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My boyfriend and I live together and have been dating for 2 1/2 years. When we met he had his dog, a rescued male Australian cattle dog and German shepherd mix (Name is Tucker). Last Summer we talked about getting another dog. We got lucky and found a beautiful, extremely playful and cuddly Australian cattle dog at a pound near us. He is also a male (name is Smoke).

They do not get along. In the 8 months we’ve had Smoke, him and Tucker have gotten into four serious fights. My boyfriend has scars on his arms from breaking them up. Tucker is the aggressor. He is the one who lashed out every time and Smoke was injured every single time.

My boyfriend wants to rehome Smoke and I am heart broken. His defense is Tucker was here first. My defense is I worry about how Tucker will be when we have kids. He has snapped at small children before. I would much rather keep Smoke and rehome Tucker, or hire a professional trainer to work with Tucker.
I am so heart broken and torn emotionally.
advice and opinions are all welcome.
 

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Well,

If we zoom out then there are a couple of things going on here that are completely logical to the "compartmental" brain that many men have.

1) you had one dog and everything was ok.
2) you got another dog and everything is NOT ok.
3) the problem needs a solution.
4) (and this is the tricky one), the solution is go back to how it was before the problem started.

You can agree with that or not but as an owner of a "problem solving" compartmental brain, I can completely relate to where your BF is coming from.

That said, the compartmental brain is not an empathetic brain. There is logic, there is intelligence but "feelings" are like sand in the gears. That's not to "dis" your BF. This is more the norm than the exception.

The thing your boyfriend has not yet realized (maybe because you haven't told him) is that you -- if I'm reading you properly -- love Smoke and can't stomach the idea of "rejecting" him. I'm going to guess that you're seeing re-housing the dog as something very hurtful, like dumping him for something that was not his fault; like rejecting him for being a perfect dog.

If one reads between the lines then in your post you're saying that Smoke is the "better" dog because he was not the "bully". That could very well be true, but that doesn't make the choice any more obvious. For the same reasons you love Smoke, your BF loves his dog and there is a wide gap that needs to be bridged here.

In terms of solutions, I'm not convinced that either dog "has to go". There is a lot that can be accomplished via training and/or gaining more insight into what causes the altercations. For this you will need to consult a trainer that sees your dogs in person.

If one or the other of the dogs needs to go, then all I can say about that is that you're right. It's heartbreaking. That said, the most loving thing you could ever do for your dog is to ensure that it leads a happy and fulfilling life. The dog won't blame you if you let him go. Dogs adjust in days, or weeks, where it often takes people years. This is one of the things we can learn from dogs; to live in the moment and to not hold on to feelings for longer than they serve us.

Your dog (or your BF's dog) won't blame you for re-housing them. Your only responsibility is to make sure that if you do take this step that you are responsible and find a good home for them.

I don't know if that helps but I do hope that it gives you some food for thought.
 

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I would work with a trainer to figure out the cause of the fights. Or I'd keep the dogs separate permanently. Or I'd tell the bf to get rid of his dog since he's the aggressor and have him think about how that feels. You both obviously love each dog but it's not fair that he wants you to give up a dog that you love.
If his dog has a history of snapping at small children and you two want to have children it's completely reasonable to be concerned about how his dog will be if you have children. That legitimate concern combined with him instigating and injuring your other dog multiple times could be a logical reason to re-home your bfs dog and not yours.
But rehoming either dog should be a last resort. There's qualified behaviorists and trainers that can probably do a lot to help you assess and learn about triggers and prevent future fights and aggression from either dog. I'd do that first.
Although I personally would seriously rethink any relationship I was in where someone who supposedly loved me wanted me to give up a dog I really loved. That would devastate me and I'd never do it for anyone so I'd probably not stay with the person. But that's just me.
Best of luck with this difficult situation.
 
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