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Old 09-25-2012, 08:14 AM
swandaddy swandaddy is offline
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Default Taking rescue dog back (dog-dog aggression), would like others' thoughts...


I recently adopted a rescue dog from the shelter and there is little known about her past. She is 3 years old and was listed as a silver lab, but I think she definitely has some weimaraner (by some of her mannerisms) and distant pit bull (by her face and chest) in her. I'm a single guy and have never owned my own dog before, but have been around dogs all my life and raised 2 different Weimaraners with my family when I was younger.

I adopted the dog because she seemed to have a very sweet/shy temperament and I was told by the shelter (who had not had her very long) that she was generally a good dog and just needed time. Where I work (and spend most of my time) is a house office in the woods where there are several other dogs (1 lab and 1 lab mix and 1 weimaraner) and they have an enclosed area to run around in all day and get lots of attention.

When I first got my rescue dog, I had people come over one at a time and after initially being wary, my dog warmed up right to them and was very sweet and playful. She also got introduced to another dog (who also goes to work with her owner) and generally ignored her but she did snap at her once when the other dog got too close. After that, I made sure the other dog didn't get too close and gave my rescue dog praise when the other dog was around and she wasn't acting aggressive.

When I first took her to work, she was separated from other dogs and I would let her out to go to the bathroom. She saw the other dog outside approximately 30 yards away when I took her outside (who she was introduced to several times previously) and immediately took off after her, tackled her, and bit her on the back. The other dog was not paying attention to my dog at all before the attack.

After that incident, I think I have to take her back. I understand everything is new to her, but if she is showing that kind of aggression, from what I've learned from researching and talking to more experienced dog owners, it could take years to be able to trust her to not attack other dogs and the chances of her being able to be completely free in the environment (like the other dogs) is low. I don't think it is fair to her, the other dogs, or my co-workers to try to get her to work in that environment.

The rescue people told me they do have other people interested in her and I can bring her back no problem, but I just wanted to get other opinions before doing so. They also said the dog just needs more time, but I don't think my lifestyle with lots of interaction with other dogs is a good fit. They also mentioned that she played with other dogs at the shelter, but did have 1 incident with another dog (which I was not informed about before taking her home--the shelter was aware of my work environment). It breaks my heart to return her because we have built a bond in the short time I've had her and I feel bad taking her back after seeing how happy she is at home when it is just me and her. Does she still have a chance w/ a owner with less interaction with other dogs or more time to facilitate dog-to-dog interactions?

Thanks for reading and your thoughts...
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Old 09-25-2012, 10:29 AM
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Maxy24 Maxy24 is offline
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I'm sorry you are having trouble with her. Is there a reason she has to come to work with you? It may very well be that she cannot interact with other dogs at all, but that's not generally too difficult if you don't own any others and just keep her on leash. Obviously it would be nice for both of you if she could come to work, but it sounds like she'd be happier at home.

As far as to whether or not she can learn to get along with other dogs, it's really hard to say without seeing her behavior first hand and trying to determine the cause. You said her shy temperament was one of the reasons you got her, but generally shy means somewhat fearful and a fearful dogs may tend towards aggression to keep what they find scary (in her case dogs) away from them. If it's fear based it's probably something that could be improved (maybe she could learn to trust and enjoy specific dogs that she knows) but I'd guess not entirely cured at her age (she may always be fearful of and aggressive with new dogs). A professional would really be the way to go with any sort of aggression.

If you absolutely need to have a dog friendly dog to be happy then finding her a new home is probably a good idea, just be sure the shelter informs the new owners of her problem. But if you think you can live with a dog who has to stay away from other dogs, it probably won't be too hard, especially if she's not leash reactive (and if she's not I would start work to keep her that way).

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Old 09-25-2012, 07:36 PM
swandaddy swandaddy is offline
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Thanks for the wisdom Maxy24. I do need to be able to take her to work. The time I get off work varies a lot and is not always predictable (anywhere from 4PM to 11PM or later), so being able to bring her to work is a big requirement for me as I don't want her pent up in the house by herself all day. She also needs to be dog friendly as I don't want to bring a potentially dangerous dog around the other dogs, and the acts of aggression she's showed makes me feel like I'll never be able to truly trust her around them. I did decide to take her back tomorrow, and while it's been a very hard decision, I know someone else can give her the environment and individual attention she needs.
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Old 09-27-2012, 04:29 PM
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chaospony chaospony is offline
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I think you did the right thing. If this is your first dog, it really would be a shame to have a dog you are constantly on edge about, behavior wise.
And who wouldn't love to be able to have their dog at work all day!
I am sure someone with expirence will have great success with her.

You'll find the right dog for you!
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