Dog Forum banner
Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 6 of 6 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I guess I'm looking for some words of advice, or at the very least someone to tell me I shouldn't feel guilty about my decision ...

Our son is 17 months old. We adopted a chihuahua/jack russell mix from an adoption agency who rescues dogs from kill-shelters. We adopted Charlie 5 months ago and we initially did a 5-day "trial run". At the end of the 5 days Charlie was so perfect, that we signed the adoption paperwork. But two days later ... things changed.

Charlie submissive pees
Charlie was likely the victim of abuse with prior owners. He cowers to the floor when somebody tries to pet him, or put a leash on him, or even if you just bend over to pick something up off the floor near him. He submissive pees all over the ground. Whenever somebody bends over, he rolls on to his back and urinates or cowers to the ground and pees a puddle.

Charlie bit a little girl at the park
Before Charlie started biting our son (before we knew that he had fear-aggression with kids) we took him to the park. He was sitting under the bench and my husband and I heard a little girl talking underneath us. When we looked under the bench, a 4-year-old and 5-year-old girl were sitting under the bench petting Charlie (the girls were being slow, gentle and very kind to him). Charlie growled and then quickly bit the 4-year-old's hand before we could pull Charlie away! Luckily he did not break the skin (and the girl said she was okay) and the little girls ran off and we never saw them again.

Charlie bites our son (constantly)
A few weeks after adopting him he started biting our son. It got to the point where our son (who started walking around the time we got the dog), would run toward the sliding glass doors that lead to the patio, and Charlie who is laying down 6 feet away, would growl and bark. Our son has very gently reached out to pet Charlie's back, and been bitten (more times than I can count). Charlie growls at our son a few times per week and bites him once every other week. The biting usually follows our son trying to throw a dog toy for Charlie, or just trying to pet Charlie's back. Our son doesn't talk yet, so telling him not to pet the dog is like telling a wall not to pet the dog ... our son doesn't understand anything yet!

We took Charlie to a dog trainer
We have taken Charlie to a 12-week obedience training class for a small group of dogs. We have also done 1-on-1 training with a dog trainer. The trainer told us that because he is 1 1/2 years old (he just turned 2 in July), it will be very difficult to train him to stop biting children (his words were: "you can't teach an old dog new tricks - he is not really a young puppy anymore and young puppies are the easy ones to train"). He said that it may not be possible to EVER have them together in the same room if the biting continues. Although Charlie has gotten better over the months, we simply can't trust him. We train with him for an hour (sometimes two hours) every night. My husband, our son and myself sit with Charlie on the floor in the living room and work on getting the dog and baby acquainted, but it isn't working - we have bite incidents almost weekly!

What we WANTED in a dog
We wanted a dog that would play with our son and love every member of our household. We also wanted a dog who would spend time with us in the apartment, but now Charlie spends most of his day outside. Sadly, it is at the point where Charlie sits on the patio all day long, despite the fact that I'm a stay-at-home mom and I'm home ALL DAY. I simply can't have Charlie in the house because I am so afraid that he will bite my son and cause harm. He has left small teeth marks in my son's arm (see attached pic), but has not broken the skin. Although the bites aren't super serious, it is very scary for a parent because at some point they could turn extremely serious! People have told me to keep them separated, but sadly, I can't leave my son unattended at this age ... so Charlie is stuck outside all day. I can't spend time with Charlie if I'm with my son all day long, since they can't seem to get along. I can't even take Charlie to the park with us during the day, because he could bite a child at the playground.

Our decision
I have called the adoption agency and we are planning to return Charlie this weekend. I told the agency that he would do well in a home without children. I can tell Charlie is stressed around our son and it is very sad.

Are we making the right decision? We feel so guilty!! But honestly, part of me thinks we've been dealing with this for too long. Maybe we aren't the right family for Charlie and Charlie isn't the right dog for our home?
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
140 Posts
I have 4 dogs (3 rescues) and love them to death. That said, you HAVE to protect your child. You should not feel guilty for returning this dog to the no kill rescue. You are doing the right thing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
90 Posts
Yes you are making the right decision. Charlie does not sound like a good match for your family. Return him to the rescue so that he can be placed with an experienced foster/adopter without small children. The current situation is not fair to either Charlie or your son!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,869 Posts
Yes, absolutely. I'm amazed that Charlie is still inhibiting (not biting at "normal" force) his bite so much... Usually dog bites increase in severity each time. Charlie is trying his absolute hardest to make kids think twice about touching him, without injuring them. Had Charlie been socialized to kids as a young puppy, this story might have ended differently, but he is who he is and it's tough to expect a toddler to learn how to deal with a fear-aggressive dog. Nipping is also very typical of terriers. They are definitely not a breed well-suited to kids (with some exceptions, like maybe Westies). Same can be said of Chihuahuas. I'm so sorry that it didn't work out for you, but you're doing right by him to return him to the rescue.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,167 Posts
I think you are making the right decision. Not every dog is going to be a good candidate for a home with young children. I personally have a dog who would not do well in a home with young children even though he has improved with how fear reactive he is around them.
Working with him to be comfortable around children is/would be a long process and that doesn't always garuntee that he will be a 100% comfortable around children in the end anyways. Plus you have a young son who isn't at the age were he understands (as you said) not pet the dog or give the dog space ect. And just a note on what your trainer said about his age making it harder to train, that's a myth, any dog at any age can learn something new weather there only a few months old or 10+years old.
Its ok to admit you aren't the right home for the dog, and now the rescue now's that he should not be placed in home with young children so the can find him the right home for him. And you need to do what's best and safest for both your family and for Charlie.
 
  • Like
Reactions: CharliesMomma

·
Registered
Joined
·
37 Posts
My sister's dachshund mix is fear aggressive with children. She's nipped at my 7 year old. She's fine with my 13 and 11 year old. Little people just seem to stress her out. My sister is staying with us, so we have no choice, but to keep her downstairs in our basement. Thankfully out basement is very comfy and finished with carpet and furniture. When my sister is home, she keeps her tethered to her and on her lap most of the time. It's been a good system, but its a temporary one, because she will eventually move out and the stress will eventually be removed.

I agree taking him back to the shelter is probably best. It might be different if your child were a little older, but sadly, he's just too young to be without direct supervision and your dog needs someone who can give him their undivided attention. I'm surprised the shelter did not do more to identify Charlie's limits. Most shelters try to find out things like that by putting them through certain tests in a controlled environment. This way they can place them with the right family. It's important to know if a dog is aggressive in certain ways, so that they can be placed in a home that have the least amount of those triggers. I feel like some shelters get super antsy to adopt out dogs, that they rush the process instead of making sure each dog is put with the right home and then the dog ends up in situations like this. Very irresponsible on the shelter's part.
 
1 - 6 of 6 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top