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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi there,

We adopted our Aussie mix 3 months ago now and I have tried being positive about things with her. I keep telling myself that it will get better as she gets older that I'll be able to train her. But, I've come to point where I'm realizing that I can't force myself to like this dog because honestly 75% of the time I really do not like her and that is not fair to her at all.

For reference, we adopted her from a shelter 3 months ago when she was 6 months almost 7 months. She is now about to turn 10 months. We also have a 4 year old Shiba and two cats. In the past 3 months, we have taken her to dog training, started her on a routine of going to my in-laws farm a few days a week, we exercise her several times a day, we got her puzzles to do, etc. I feel as though I am exhausted and am always resenting her. I have had these feelings almost constantly for the whole time we've had her and after chatting with a friend I'm realizing that I just can't do this anymore. (I am literally crying typing this right now because I feel terrible)...

We have invested so much time and energy into this dog and I have barely seen any improvement. I just don't think we're the right fit as much as I have tried. Am I a terrible person if I rehome her? I just feel so bad about doing this to her especially because she was previously returned by her former home as well.

I'm tired and overwhelmed and I feel like she brings out the worst in me.

Thanks for your advice.

Stephanie
 

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There is no shame in realizing that a dog is not the right fit for your family. It happens. And, Aussies --many herding dogs, really-- are hard. They can be a lot of dog.

That being said, you've hit one of the worst ages in a dog's lifetime. They're not a cute little puppy anymore, but they're also not an adult with a mature brain. It's a really terrible combination. If you're unsure and still want to give it a try, you can describe your specific problems and we would be willing to give advice. It DOES get better with age and consistent training...but results aren't always as speedy as we would like.

If you decide you would like to return her to the shelter, just make sure your are very open and honest for the reason you are returning her so that the shelter can communicate this to new potential adopters.
 

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If you adopted her from a shelter, their policy might be that you are required to return her to them if you choose not to keep her.

As far as whether or not that would be the right decision? Not every home is a good fit for every dog. You are dealing with the throws of adolescence right now, so that's a particularly tough time for everyone involved in many cases. With time, patience, training & consistency, she might mature & settle down nicely in a few months, or a few years, or... she might remain a bit of a handful right up to the end of her days. Only you can decide what you can live with & how much effort you are willing & able to put in.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you both for your responses.

I know the shelter mentioned that to us in the agreement that we would need to take her back but I really would rather not take her back there. It was a sad place for any dog to be in. Outdoor kennels on concrete :(...

The main problems we are having with her we have tried to resolve with the guidance of a dog trainer. If anything she has gotten worse in the past few weeks and I can't pinpoint why. She is extremely reactive towards other dogs and people on walks. Our neighbor's kids are scared of her because she barks like crazy at them when they're in their backyard. I call her and have her sit with me and she will for a second and then runs back. I usually have to bring her in and crate her because I can't leave her alone in the house. She also will randomly attack our other Shiba making him yelp when we're on walks so I have to walk them separately. She also has started doing this thing whenever one of us leaves the backyard and then comes back in she'll jump on us and bite our arm. I tell her no! and off! firmly but it's almost like she thinks she's playing. She now has her full adult teeth so it hurts. This morning her bite was really rough on my arm and she left marks. She had been quiet at night until this past week. But has started digging at her water bowl in her crate and wakes us up. I honestly don't think she sleeps more than 8 hours combined in a day. Luckily she has started leaving my cats alone because they swat at her and hiss at her so she's scared of them now. She also whines at us even after an hour of running her in the backyard with a frisbee and or ball... I just don't understand as we do this 3 times a day. Like I mentioned we've gotten her into so many activities to hopefully release this energy and socialize her but quite honestly I barely see any if at all improvement.

My husband has actually brought up rehoming her several times but I've always said no because I feel bad. But, now 3 months later and there's no improvement and I think he's right. We wanted to give her to someone in the family but no one wants her. We also wanted her to keep her familiar items like her crate and her toys and leashes and different things so she'll be able to transition a little better. I'm considering asking the dog trainer if she knows anyone. I don't want to set her up to fail elsewhere but I just think she needs someone who can have her be their sole focus. I don't think she is suitable in a house with other pets or kids.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Oh also, we took her to the vet for a check-up and they found she had a UTI so we put her on antibiotics and painkillers for a short term. That cleared her urinating in the house issue. We also have her on cranberry supplements. I thought maybe it was a medical thing that was making her act up but nope.
 

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That is extremely typical behavior for the breed. I'm not at all surprised. Quite honestly, it is a ton of work and training, but I can offer some tips.

1. Reactivity is a common behavior issue among most herding breeds. The "Reactive Dog" sticky on this forum is a great place to start researching training tips.

2. The jumping and biting is natural herding behavior. She does think she's playing, but it hurts us fragile humans. I had the most success with continuing to turn away from my dog when he tried such things. Yes, I got scratched up a bit, but ultimately they want your attention, so deny it until they behave as you want. Crossing your arms over your chest to keep them from flopping limits their ability to grab your arms, too. Only when they are calm do they get attention, and then you can try redirecting that bite to an appropriate toy. You can also try having her drag a leash (only when supervised) and step on the leash to completely prevent the behavior. If you can't work on training, confinement with baby gates is a good option.

3. Remove the water bowl if she's going to do that. Likely the phase will pass. Things like that are generally bids for attention. Smile, ignore, and let them figure out it's not going to work.

4. Sounds like she needs to be taught to settle. Not all dogs come with an off switch. Google "Capturing Calm" by Kikopup. A YouTube video should pop up. Very helpful. Also google "Doggy Zen", which helps teach impulse control. There used to be sticky on the forum for it, I thought, but now I can't find it.

5. You are never, ever, ever, going to tire that dog out physically. You're just conditioning her. She can run circles around you for days. Instead, work her mind. 15 minutes of obedience a day in addition to her regular exercise. Make her do some work for treats, or toys if she's more motivated by toys. You can teach her stupid tricks, like putting her foot on a bucket. Or sitting in a box. Or jumping through a hula hoop. Doesn't matter. If you have treats and 15 minutes you can teach them to do just about anything, not matter how useless or dumb it might seem. It makes them feel accomplished for the day.

6. Attacking your other dog is probably her trying to get the Shiba to play, but I can't see so I don't know. Aussies are a rather physical, wrestling, body slam, type player (they were bred to herd cows, so remember that!) and not all dogs appreciate that. It may continue to be necessary to walk them separately until the pup matures.

I hope that's helpful.

If it's in your contract to return to the dog to the shelter, return the dog to the shelter. If they find out what you did, they'll likely take the dog back from its new owners, which would cause further stress to the dog. Avoid a lot of trouble and do what your contract states if you choose to return the dog. Not to mention, they likely won't adopt a dog out to you again, and neither will any other rescue in the area.
 

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I honestly don't think she sleeps more than 8 hours combined in a day.
This really jumped out at me. If it's actually the case, it might be part of your problem. Adult dogs should be getting over 12 hours of sleep per day, and pups need more. Overtired young dogs are like overtired toddlers - they act like psychos until they crash. Some dogs, odd as it sounds, do not intuitively know how to calm down and rest. My most recent pup was like this - just turned up to 11 all the time, and he'd resist going to sleep as long as there was anything remotely interesting happening going on. Either training, growing up, or both has since mostly corrected the issue (he's now about two and a half) and while he's still a hyper boy he can usually turn it down when it's not appropriate, and he sleeps a healthy amount.

Here are some things that helped me, both in terms of making him more tolerable as an adolescent, and in teaching him to chill out:
  • Teaching a settle/go to mat
  • Sit on the Dog
  • Working on "capturing calm" (go on youtube and search for Kikopup's videos with that term)
  • Crate training and giving him a truly quiet, dark place to sleep when crated

Mine was so tightly wound that I had to start with shorter intervals than trainers recommend, and with as few distractions as possible in the beginning, working up to longer times and more excitement. But it worked eventually.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks again for the responses.

I do actually ignore her while she's excited and won't pet or acknowledge unless she's got all 4 paws on the ground. I just don't want her to get used to biting people like that so I tell her no when she does that.

We were working on settle or relax. It has been incredibly difficult with her. I can get her to settle for maybe 30 seconds if that. Then she's right back at jumping around and being crazy.

We actually give her calming aids every day and they work for maybe an hour. We have her on a pretty regular routine every day. We also crate her every night with a crate cover so there is no potential for outward stimulation. We have her in the living room because otherwise I don't think we would sleep.

I honestly just don't feel a connection with her and maybe that is part of the problem too. My husband is out doing things while I'm stuck with her at home because I work from home. He usually handles her feedings and walks her most of the time. He also puts her to bed every night in her crate because I get so annoyed by her.

I feel like I sound like the worst dog parent ever. I've had pets all my life and this is the first pet I've had that has brought out almost a rage. I grew up with German Shepherds and cats. I feel like if I had more patience towards her like my husband does then I would feel ok keeping her and working with her but she stresses me out too much. Again, I feel terrible saying that but that's just how I feel.

I'll reach out to the shelter and see if it's ok if we can foster her here to adopt out since I know they have limited space.
 

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I've had pets all my life and this is the first pet I've had that has brought out almost a rage.
* * *
I'll reach out to the shelter and see if it's ok if we can foster her here to adopt out since I know they have limited space.
Boy, if you feel like that, it does seem like rehoming is the way to go. I fostered dogs I didn't much care for and actually had trouble adopting out because it was hard to say anything positive about them, but my feelings were always way short of rage. The fostering thing sounds good but maybe before offering give it some careful thought whether knowing she wasn't staying would mitigate your feelings.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Boy, if you feel like that, it does seem like rehoming is the way to go. I fostered dogs I didn't much care for and actually had trouble adopting out because it was hard to say anything positive about them, but my feelings were always way short of rage. The fostering thing sounds good but maybe before offering give it some careful thought whether knowing she wasn't staying would mitigate your feelings.
I know! I feel like the worst person ever saying that. I feel like she just frustrates me so much and plus I'm tired all of the time because of her so I have no positive feelings towards her. Only anger and resentment.

We almost had my in-laws adopt her because she goes to their farm a few times a week anyways and the thought of her leaving made me happy. So, I do think it best for her to be rehomed with someone who can dedicate the majority of their time to her.
 

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Hi there,
We adopted our Aussie mix 3 months ago now and I have tried being positive about things with her. I keep telling myself that it will get better as she gets older that I'll be able to train her. But, I've come to point where I'm realizing that I can't force myself to like this dog because honestly 75% of the time I really do not like her and that is not fair to her at all.
For reference, we adopted her from a shelter 3 months ago when she was 6 months almost 7 months. She is now about to turn 10 months. We also have a 4 year old Shiba and two cats. In the past 3 months, we have taken her to dog training, started her on a routine of going to my in-laws farm a few days a week, we exercise her several times a day, we got her puzzles to do, etc. I feel as though I am exhausted and am always resenting her. I have had these feelings almost constantly for the whole time we've had her and after chatting with a friend I'm realizing that I just can't do this anymore. (I am literally crying typing this right now because I feel terrible)...
We have invested so much time and energy into this dog and I have barely seen any improvement. I just don't think we're the right fit as much as I have tried. Am I a terrible person if I rehome her? I just feel so bad about doing this to her especially because she was previously returned by her former home as well.
I'm tired and overwhelmed and I feel like she brings out the worst in me.
Thanks for your advice.
Stephanie
Avoid overthinking training a dog. Dogs need very little training when it comes to being a dog, its what most of them do best. So long as the dog is not aggressive toward people or especially imediate family and the dog is house broken, viola', the dog is trained for the most part. Your main job as its master should be to make sure the dog eats a healthy diet and gets a good amount of exercise. BTW, post a few pics of the pup on craigs list as opposed to returning it to the pound...
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Avoid overthinking training a dog. Dogs need very little training when it comes to being a dog, its what most of them do best. So long as the dog is not aggressive toward people or especially imediate family and the dog is house broken, viola', the dog is trained for the most part. Your main job as its master should be to make sure the dog eats a healthy diet and gets a good amount of exercise. BTW, post a few pics of the pup on craigs list as opposed to returning it to the pound...
I would usually agree with you on this idea but this dog is something else. My other dog we never had to train. He just immediately got things. Same with my other dogs in the past... They were just good boys and girls. We would correct them with a firm No a few times and they just seemed to get it. This one I've said no to probably close to 100 times on the same matter and she still does it.

I actually reached out to the shelter to see if it's ok for us to foster for now instead of bringing her back. They were closed by the time I reached out so we'll see tomorrow. I am also going to ask the trainer for help if she knows of anyone interested as well as people in our area.

I went out and gardened and did other things away from the house and came back feeling better and that rehoming is 100% the right decision here.
 

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It's a lot easier to teach a dog what TO do than what not to do. Correcting a dog isn't very useful if it has no behavior to replace the unwanted one. They can also be very determined LOL

I would avoid herding breeds in the future if you cannot handle their antics. They are not slugs or couch potatoes. They were born to have a job. They will create one if they need to. They have a lot going on until they mature. They have active, facile minds that are always percolating. They also need strong, fair leadership.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
It's a lot easier to teach a dog what TO do than what not to do. Correcting a dog isn't very useful if it has no behavior to replace the unwanted one. They can also be very determined LOL

I would avoid herding breeds in the future if you cannot handle their antics. They are not slugs or couch potatoes. They were born to have a job. They will create one if they need to. They have a lot going on until they mature. They have active, facile minds that are always percolating. They also need strong, fair leadership.
Yeah, I agree with you... we did not research her breed before we got her and that's our mistake. We've decided to wait a while before adopting again. We currently have our Shiba Inu boy and two older cats that provide us with a lot of love and companionship as it is. Bringing in a fourth we have realized was another mistake. Live and learn I suppose but I hope that Lilly won't suffer because of this. I have been in contact with several specialized rescues and I have a contact who has been reaching out to several people who own farms in hopes that we can combine forces and find her a more suitable home.
 

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Yeah, I agree with you... we did not research her breed before we got her and that's our mistake. We've decided to wait a while before adopting again. We currently have our Shiba Inu boy and two older cats that provide us with a lot of love and companionship as it is. Bringing in a fourth we have realized was another mistake. Live and learn I suppose but I hope that Lilly won't suffer because of this. I have been in contact with several specialized rescues and I have a contact who has been reaching out to several people who own farms in hopes that we can combine forces and find her a more suitable home.
We my wife and I had the same problem with a puppy that they claimed would not get any bigger in size, so after a couple months he gained about 15 pounds and was just tearin g up our home and furniture , so we brought him back and took a lose howevr after 6 months we went to a breeder store and got a very nice small 7 pound little doggy that wont grow any larger and he fit our home perfectly . so do not feel bad about rehoming your dog becasue it wont get any better and will only drag you down. you want to be happy with any doggy .😊
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
We my wife and I had the same problem with a puppy that they claimed would not get any bigger in size, so after a couple months he gained about 15 pounds and was just tearin g up our home and furniture , so we brought him back and took a lose howevr after 6 months we went to a breeder store and got a very nice small 7 pound little doggy that wont grow any larger and he fit our home perfectly . so do not feel bad about rehoming your dog becasue it wont get any better and will only drag you down. you want to be happy with any doggy .😊
Thanks for sharing your experience. I do feel like the longer we have her the more I find annoying about her. We've had to change a lot of things to accommodate her and it still doesn't seem enough... whereas our other pets fit into our life almost perfectly without much adjustments. Just not a fit at all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Keep us posted. I truly hope you find a good home for her.
Yeah, I'm trying... I've shared her all over. Reached out to about 8 rescues now to share her on their social media, a neighbor is reaching out to some friends who have farms, and the dog trainer we were seeing is sharing her with her connections as well. I know someone else more suited for her is out there.
 

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Yeah working breeds are tough! I have an almost 4 month old Giant Schnauzer and my fiancé and I never thought we would have to put as much time and energy into her as we have. I think our saving grace is that we got her young (she was about 8 weeks old) and we immediately starting working on training and socialization as much as you can with an unvaccinated puppy. She’s definitely had her moments (I posted my fears about them on this site) and although she still has a long way to go she is making some significant progress. I love her so much but I can absolutely understand why working breeds may not be a good fit for many people and I think that you’re making the right decision to rehome her.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Update here: We ended up keeping Ms. Lilly. After a few changes in our house and how we were walking her and what "jobs" we were giving her, etc., she has really improved. I am happy to say that she no longer gives me rage which I feel terrible saying before.

1. We had her in a playpen most of the time because we didn't trust her in the house free roaming because she was still having potty issues. She still occasionally has the one off accident but that's usually due to timing error by our part or nerves related. (For example, we just had an A/C guy in the house, and she was nervous around him and then she peed by the door.) She went a month without an accident so we removed the pen. We saw a significant change in her behavior. I guess she really just hated that pen and wanted to be by us so she would act out to let us know she hated it.
2. We changed her harness to the collar. For some reason the harness was making her pull more and now that we have her walking with a regular collar and lead she is much better. Sometimes we even walk her without a leash and she walks with us. She still is reactive towards other dogs on walks but she is getting better. One of our neighbors even commented that she is much better in comparison to a month ago.
3. My husband started taking her with him to his parent's farm a few times a week. She's become his working pal. We put her harness on her when she goes so she knows she's on duty. So far all she does is alert them if there are intruders on the property which my father-in-law really likes haha so he sneaks her some hotdog... But she also has started to carry items for my husband while he's there. So we have given her more of a job in that sense.

Reading over my posts here, I feel a bit embarrassed of how I was acting. I realized that I wasn't really giving her a proper chance. She has learned our schedules and even knows when it's time to chill on the couch at the end of the day. She is sleeping way more and eating better. I am quite shocked in her change and actually feel as though I am bonding with her. Before, I felt very annoyed and overwhelmed by her all the time.

265194


This was her napping with me at the end of my work day yesterday.

Thanks for all of your input and advice everyone. I guess there was a reason why the shelters and rescues I reached out to never ended up working out.
 
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