Dog Forum banner
1 - 8 of 8 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

This is going to be extremely long but I want to be thorough, so thank you ahead of time if you are willing to read all of this.

My husband and I adopted a rescue 3 weeks ago. She is 8 months old, and we were told she is an American bulldog mix- possibly with pit bull. She is currently almost 60lbs. We found her online and submitted an application to meet her where she was being fostered. The foster family had 3 other very large breed dogs, as well as 5 children. We were told she had previously been fostered with 4 other dogs (3 large and 1 small), and several cats/kittens, and was incredibly gentle with the cats, showed no prey drive, and was just a gentle giant. She had been treated for demodex mange when the rescue found her when she was 4 months old, and was being treated. Then, they apparently stopped giving her the medication when she was spayed and the mange returned so she had just started another round of medication for the mange. We were given instructions on how to give her the 6 week course of mange treatment as well as 3 weeks of antibiotics (I'm guessing for secondary infection), and we're told she should start to show improvement quickly on the patches of skin that were losing hair and getting scaby. The foster said her only bad habits were pulling on the leash and jumping when excited. The website had said she was crate trained but the foster lady said she hadn't been crated at her house at all and that we didn't need one because she didn't do any damage inside the house when left. We asked to think about it overnight, but the foster woman became very pushy, and said there was someone else who wanted her who could come get her at any moment and that it didn't matter that we didn't have any dog food/bowls etc that she would give us what we needed to get through the night and that we should take her home with us right away. There was no home check, and she didn't ask us any questions. We know we should've probably not done this, but we left that night with the dog because she was so sweet and everything sounded great.

The first couple of days she was okay with our cat. She tried to engage him, but was relatively cautious and not too overbearing. That quickly changed, and she has become absolutely obsessed with the cat, and tears around the house after him any time she catches his scent and her attention cannot be deterred from him for anything. I wrote to the rescue to ask for vet records and mentioned the cat thing. The person who responded said they had no idea what I was talking about because this dog had zero prey drive and was super gentle with cats. Basically calling me a liar. I then received a second email from one of her previous foster mom's who said she was just very playful with the cats and that if she got to be too much with them, she would just spray her with a water bottle and that took care of it. She also recommended I use a pinch collar to walk her. When I looked up pinch collar, the only thing that came up was prong collars, and I'm not at all comfortable using those. Instead, we purchased a freedom front clip harness as well as a gentle leader head collar. While it helps somewhat, when there's something she wants to get to, it really makes no difference. She has gotten much worse with the cat and has taken to jumping on him from 5 feet away and pinning him to the ground by his neck with her very strong jaws, and will not listen to me even if I am waving a treat in her face. I have to literally pry her teeth off of his neck. He is a large 20lb cat who tries to defend himself by hissing, growling and scrstching, but it's like she can't feel it. She also has been chewing the furniture and taking and chewing everything not nailed to the floor. I know this is typical puppy behavior and am willing to work on it, but the thing with the cat, and other prey, I'm at my wits end. Anytime she sees a squirrel, frog, bird, etc she lunges without warning and has pulled me flat on my face and ripped the leash out of my hand on numerous occassions. She's killed many of the frogs and almost caught several squirrels. So I'd say she definitely has prey drive. And while she is great when someone comes into the house, she barks and growls at everyone on walks, and loses her mind when she sees the horses in the neighborhood (we live in an equestrian community and have an easement on our property outside the fence line where horses come through daily). So we are working on socializing her for that. She seems to have never learned bite inhibition, as she play bites incredibly hard, and draws blood frequently on me, my husband, and my 3 year old son. We are currently trying to curb the biting using the yelp and ignore method, which doesn't have much effect as she runs after you biting at your legs and clothes. Again we are willing to work on that.

She supposedly never showed any of this behavior with her previous foster homes, and if that's true, I can only guess it was because she had tons of dogs to play rough with and occupy her. I spend all day with her as I am a stay at home mom. To the point where I am completely neglecting my son and we havent left the house in 3 weeks. She gets 3, 30-45 minute walks per day at a trot pace; we live on over an acre where we play fetch and tug of war and romp around for up to 4 hours each day; and I do at least 4 obedience sessions with her per day for 15 minutes each time. So far she knows sit, stay, down, and touch. She does great inside when the cat isn't around, but get her around distractions and she turns her hearing and vision off. When there are horses, or prey, or people around on a walk, she literally acts as though we aren't there and I have tried to give her lots of yummy treats and praise to associate horses and people with positive things, but she literally ignores me and the treats and stands up on hind legs trying with all her might to get to them.

We also play hide and seek in the house, and I have gotten her several mind game toys to keep her occupied the few times I am doing something else. She has endless energy which I know comes with a puppy, but I honestly don't think her behaviors are coming from boredom since she is constantly being interacted with when she isn't napping. I also have signed her up for training classes, but the next session doesn't start for another 2 weeks.

Additionally, we have finished the antibiotics, and are halfway through the mange medication and if anything her skin is looking much worse. We were told this would be a one time thing, and they would pay for the skin scrape she needs at the end of treatment. But from what I'm reading, demodex frequently is a lifelong battle for some dogs, and we feel they were dishonest with us, and have been unwilling to work with us on her other issues. They never even responded to my second email I sent them. I have put her on high quality kibble with raw supplementation, and am trying things Ive read to help boost her immune system. While we would always take care of any issue that came up for a dog in our family, we did not want to adopt a medically special needs dog. My husband wants to return her as he is scared of her hurting our cat and son, and he feels that they were just trying to get rid of her as fast as they could (the foster mom had a litter of puppies coming in the next day and was super pushy for us to take her that night, as I mentioned). She really is very sweet with us when not biting, but I feel the gentle giant name was misused on her. I would feel so guilty to return her but we are so stressed now and I'm literally losing sleep because of how she acts around "prey" (she treats my son as prey when he runs in the yard).

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Do you think training and aging will help her with this (especially the prey drive), or would you contact the rescue to see if there is a family better able to meet her needs? For the record, we've owned dogs before. The 4 years before getting her (after my last dog passed away) was the only time in my life I've not owned a dog. None ofy dogs have had this high of prey drive, or been so stubborn with not listening with distractions, so I'm at a loss for how to proceed. Thank you so much!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
202 Posts
What a crappy rescue! She definitely does not sound like the right dog for your family, and I would try to not feel guilty about that. I'd return her and find another dog through a different rescue group. Maybe someone here could suggest a good one if you tell us your location. Prey drive you can work on it some but there's no way to just turn it off no matter what you do and it'll always be an issue.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,919 Posts
Return the dog she does not sound like a good fit for your family. The cat thing can be worked on but it takes time and your cat may be killed in the training process. That if a hard thing to forgive. There are so many dogs that need good homes. Find the right one for your family.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
What a crappy rescue! She definitely does not sound like the right dog for your family, and I would try to not feel guilty about that. I'd return her and find another dog through a different rescue group. Maybe someone here could suggest a good one if you tell us your location. Prey drive you can work on it some but there's no way to just turn it off no matter what you do and it'll always be an issue.
We live in the Chicago suburbs in DuPage county. If anyone knows of a rescue that would work with us to help find a good match for our family if we decide to returm her to this rescue we'd greatly appreciate that! I've never adopted from such an unprofessional rescue before. I realize they're volunteers but I do feel they've been dishonest and downright rude.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Return the dog she does not sound like a good fit for your family. The cat thing can be worked on but it takes time and your cat may be killed in the training process. That if a hard thing to forgive. There are so many dogs that need good homes. Find the right one for your family.
That's what I am worried about. I'm willing to put in time and work to help a dog, hit I don't want my cat and son to be inadvertently injured in the process.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
875 Posts
Return this dog. She is too high energy and prey driven, and you can't train out prey drive, only redirect it; your cat will NEVER be safe with this dog without supervision; it's clear the cat isn't safe now even with supervision. Even if the dog is just playing, 60 pounds vs 20 pounds, what will win if the dog simply lays all her weight on the cat?

Leash reactivity can also be worked with but frankly you were told you were getting a gentle giant and you did NOT. Not every dog is good for every person.

Don't wait. But do document everything, at least with a vet.

Edit: unfortunately some rescues will DELIBERATELY LIE about a dog, /especially/ pits and pit mixes, simply to get them out the door. I have heard similar stories more times than I care to acknowledge. A local shelter here even does it.

Edit 2: for the safety of your son do NOT let this dog and your son out to run around at the same time, especially since she yanks you right over on a leash.

...edit 3: You'll probably feel guilty. But somewhere out there IS the dog for you. It's not an unhealthy untrained pushy prey driven pit mix a foster shoved at you to make room for a dog with far more lucrative puppies.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Return this dog. She is too high energy and prey driven, and you can't train out prey drive, only redirect it; your cat will NEVER be safe with this dog without supervision; it's clear the cat isn't safe now even with supervision. Even if the dog is just playing, 60 pounds vs 20 pounds, what will win if the dog simply lays all her weight on the cat?

Leash reactivity can also be worked with but frankly you were told you were getting a gentle giant and you did NOT. Not every dog is good for every person.

Don't wait. But do document everything, at least with a vet.

Edit: unfortunately some rescues will DELIBERATELY LIE about a dog, /especially/ pits and pit mixes, simply to get them out the door. I have heard similar stories more times than I care to acknowledge. A local shelter here even does it.

Edit 2: for the safety of your son do NOT let this dog and your son out to run around at the same time, especially since she yanks you right over on a leash.

...edit 3: You'll probably feel guilty. But somewhere out there IS the dog for you. It's not an unhealthy untrained pushy prey driven pit mix a foster shoved at you to make room for a dog with far more lucrative puppies.
Thank you. I really do feel guilty, and am struggling with that emotionally rihht now, but I'm trying to see it from a safety perspective. I don't think she's a horrible dog, I just think there's someone who would better be able to keep her (preferably someone with no cats or small children). I'm calling the vet today to bring her in and talk about things and then my husband is going to call the rescue and talk to them.
 
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
Top