I posted this as a private message to an online friend over facebook but would also love the input from you ladies.
If you made it through that thanks for reading.I hope you don't mind me bringing this up with you, I have a bit of an internal conflict I can't figure out, it's in regards to a dog.
DH and I went to a dog festival in June had a great time, it got me thinking of what I want in my next dog, it came down to us wanting a boxer mix from a rescue organization.
Cesar then released a list of top family dog breeds and I was looking to see what mixes would be best, one of them was a boxer/lab. I typed in several searches in Google to try and get an idea of what the mix looks like and ended up on Pet Finder. I was scrolling through and found this adorable dog, he is in a shelter just 45 minutes from my house.
DH drives by the shelter on his way home from work and went to check out the dog yesterday. He told me that the dog is 1 year old, it's been in the shelter for 7/12 months of it's life, the people surrendered the dog as a 5 month old pup cause it was chewing everything. Right now the dog has quite a bit of issues, he chews everything, nips in an excited but not aggressive manner, he doesn't have manners and jumps on people which can be a problem since he is LARGE. All of these things are a huge concern when you have 3 pets already (2 cats, 1 dog) and a pre-schooler in the house.
When we got Sadie (our dog) she had issues too, many of them similar, but she is much smaller and we only had one child, who was 8 at the time. Sadie improved so quickly under our care so I am positive that we could do it again.
DH and I really want this dog but am not sure if he would fit into our family dynamic at this time. I'd honestly love to foster the dog see how things go without having to commit the money (other then day to day care), and if it did work out I would adopt him, unfortunately the shelter is city run and doesn't allow fostering. It's also unfortunate that the shelter is a ways away, another option I would love to do is to volunteer time there, help them get the dogs in a more adoptable state.
I do know pets are a huge commitment and would never abandon the animal if I did take it in. I had a cat with dementia for the at least the last 3 years of her life, we eventually had to put her down at 16 years of age due to cancer. Sadie (our dog) has a sensitive stomach and we ran tests to figure things out (got no real answers) paid $700 for that and also spent over $1000 removing a fatty deposit from her butt by her tail. Thankfully my other pets haven't had any serious medical issues yet, but all animals have had regular vet check ups.
I'd appreciate it if you could give me some feedback, and help me make a decision on what to do, DH and I really want this dog but are unsure if it's really meant to be. If you have any questions feel free to ask away.
Last edited by Muddee; 07-25-2012 at 02:09 PM.
* Amanda *
We had a boxer when I was growing up... We got her when I was 10 and she died when I was 23. She was a GREAT dog, seriously... I agree with all the things about boxers being great family dogs. She was an empathetic dog, if that makes any sense. Like she could sense when you were sad, sick, in pain, etc. and her mood would go somber and she'd just cuddle with you. She was very playful and great with kids (of course I was an older kid, so I could hold my own... you'd have to supervise closely and make sure the dog was gentle with Natalie, at least until the two were familiar with each other). As for chewing, jumping, etc.... Yeah, our dog was bad about that. I'd say at 1 year old with a boxer, it's par for the course, at least in my experience. Her "puppy" phase went on for years. They're high energy and need LOTS of activity. We had two large trees in our yard where my parents live, and she would just run huge figure-8's around them over and over to burn off energy. Anyway, I may be biased, but I loved my boxer and I'd seriously consider getting another one somewhere along the line after we move.
Sean Thomas - 6/30/09 @ 7:17pm 8lb 8oz, 19", 40w5d
Calvin Michael - 2/28/11 @ 7:39pm 6lb 8oz, 18", 37w5d
Nolan Matthew - 5/1/13 @ 11:54pm 6lb 4oz, 19", 38w4d
May 26, 2010 - 7w1d
Oh I probably should have mentioned that the shelter said that the dog wasn't a boxer/lab but a mutt of unknown origin (I'd get the vet to run a DNA test if I did get the dog), I was trying to get all the details in about other matters I completely forgot to mention that.
Last edited by Muddee; 07-25-2012 at 12:29 PM.
* Amanda *
All puppies chew until 2+ years of age. Obviously when they're bigger it's more damaging (well, usually, haha). That said, it's temporary. Also, you're a responsible pet owner and I think you could do what needs to be done to help with the chewing (and any other behaviors). Most importantly, WALK the dog on a daily basis for long, brisk walks. That kind of dog NEEDS it and it isn't negotiable. If you're willing to do that and provide outlets for chewing/energy/etc. (toys, play, etc. ) then I think you'll be just fine. You just have to be willing to put the work in.
My sister has a boxer and she is the sweetest dog EVER! BUT she's super high energy and requires a lot of walks. And she only has 3 working legs!
Hey Amanda! I saw this on FB and here, figured I'd respond here with my thoughts
Time spent in a shelter is hard on a dog. This dog has spent very important periods of puppy socialization and learning in a shelter. The months most puppies are socializing, learning boundaries, proper bite inhibition etc were spent in a shelter with limited exercise, no training and limited human/canine interactions. In some dogs that means little in other dogs it can mean a lot. One of the most frustrating thing I've run in to with dogs from situations like this is that both positive and negative reinforcements seem to encourage them. I have that with my one foster dog right now. Where a pup you've raised from the get go strives for the positive and gets the negative a dog who has basically had no real attention in a shelter gets ramped up whether you're saying no or good boy. So it becomes really important to be consistent - pick a strategy for dealing with the negative behavior and ensure everyone follows it all the time. We redirect with a sit command, a watch me command and if he's really bad I put him in his crate (with no real correction, just a quiet time out) or I put him in the yard for a few minutes. He's REALLY mouthy and it's very hard on Evan. Evan is too little to really handle it so I have to manage it all.
This is the kind of dog you'll probably want to do obedience classes with. For multiple reasons -- socialization with other people and dogs, bonding with you and your family and then just general training. The exercise piece gets hard when you start adding dogs. Chances are he has no leash manners. Walking him, your other dog and having kids will be hard because he's going to really require some focused training on walks. If you have time to do it it will be great for him again bonding and training but at least for me I've found the more kids and dogs I have the harder it is to really focus on that training. You need a good amount of time a day AND you need enough patience not to get frustrated. Being honest even when I have time the patience is probably my biggest opportunity.
I would also mention the dog-dog and dog-cat dynamics. Do you know how he does with both? Upsetting the dynamic happens no matter what but a dog with limited socialization and potentially limited exposure to other dogs and cats can be more difficult to integrate. The cats especially. If he has any prey drive it can be tricky. Some dogs do fine some are cat killers.
If you bring him home assume for a good while EVERYTHING will need to be managed. You don't know anything about him and he's lived in an institution for a long while. All food, toys, freedom etc will need to be supervised. I wouldn't leave him alone with kids, other dog or cats until you give him time to settle in and understand if he has any additional issues with resources. Resource issues in shelter dogs are common - food, space, territory. He will need to be fed in his own space, toys should be picked up for a while, don't assume he can handle a toddler hugging, pulling etc Especially at first as he learns to trust and settle in.
I of course think it can work or it might not. I love my rescue group because we consider the first 2 weeks a trial -- to help eliminate the guilt, people need to be able to try and see if it works. And the dogs are coming from homes so we can provide help. But shelters aren't so lucky they are up against a lot more with over crowding etc.
Let us know what you decide!
Meet the dog today myself, DH took the dog we were looking at for a quick walk when we first got to the shelter, we then went to the "gym", just a larger empty room, and brought the girls and Sadie to meet him. Sadie is a bit timid of him, probably cause he has no doggie manners, but was fine to just look and keep her distance. Natalie he just sniffed and then walked away, Dana could have interacted with him a bit more but she's 13 so I am sure she'll be fine. My impression is that he's a really good dog, really smart, even tempered and eager to please. So we filled out the adoption papers, they gave DH a quick call to go over some of their concerns (mainly the cats and how we'd manage introduction) and they'll get back to us on Monday to let us know if we've been approved.
* Amanda *
Very cool Amanda!! Just give the cats lots of escape routes to safety and realize if he has a really strong prey drive it might not work. But giving him a chance is certainly better than not. I'm of the opinion that a GOOD chance with a GOOD home is always worth a shot. If it doesn't work because of something like the cats everyone knows more about him than they did before. I know it's emotional and no one wants it to not work out but every placement is a chance to learn (I had a dog go out EIGHT times....seriously....EIGHT #9 was his forever home...I have a lot of stories lol).
GL! And post pics!
My mom is being a complete spazz about the whole dog thing, she thinks it's a bad idea, and she's constantly telling me her opinion on the matter and doing it in a belittling way. Still haven't heard from the shelter if we are approved to get the dog, and I am not sure what I'll do if we don't. I found a pup (5 month Catahoula Leopard Dog/Boxer Mix) at the local humane society and would love to check him out if the dog we applied to adopt falls through. But at the same time I really really really don't want to deal with my mom and her BS again.
* Amanda *
We get the dog!!! The papers are going to be signed off some time tonight and DH can pick him up tomorrow
* Amanda *