The dog musing/vent thread

milos_mommy

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I agree with everyone else who said some dogs just aren't fit for a certain situation, especially a high energy working breed who grew up in a different environment.

I think there's a good chance she could start to settle in and with a lot of training you will see a good improvement. Do you know if she showed any discomfort or aggression when people came to her foster home? If she was protective or antsy in the slightest in her foster home, I'd imagine it is somewhat territorial. If it suddenly popped up, it could be the stress of apartment living entirely.

My course of action would be to plan on giving her a few weeks, maybe 4-6, to see what kind of improvement she makes (reevaluate this if she continues to get worse), but keep in mind and prepare yourself that she may not be the right fit, and maybe let the rescue know that she's not adjusting as well as you'd like and if she doesn't improve you think another home would be best, maybe offer to keep her as a foster until then, if her original foster can't take her back.

If her issues are very severe, since she's new to this environment and you, I think I'd consider returning/rehoming her (especially if she did well in a non-apartment home) before I considered medicating or something.

I'm so sorry you're dealing with this :(
 

BostonBanker

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Well the first is easy to overcome. As the little old stallion who insisted on live cover only got older and stiffer, they used to just stand the mare in a bit of a hole for him.

I mean, buy an ottoman and give Ru a boost! That's what a wingman (wingwoman?) is for!

I can't help you on the other issue.
 

lancerandrara

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Just breathe a bit and try to think calmly and rationally. Imo there is no harm in returning a rescue if it is just the wrong fit. Sometimes that happens and I knew getting Hank that there were deal breakers.

That said, it can take time to adjust so keep that in mind too. There was a point in the first couple weeks where I really didn't know if Hank would work out but I am glad I kept him through all that. That said, he never had any serious behavioral issues.

I don't think people should rehome at the first sign of issues but also people shouldn't just keep a dog they know won't fit and would be happier elsewhere.

I don't think you should rush the decision. Just think it through and think about what is best for you and for Signal too.
I 100% agree with all of this.

I am sorry that you are having to deal with this, and I wish you the best of luck whichever way you decide. I know for me, personally, I would not be comfortable keeping a dog with certain behavioural issues. Especially if I had just gotten the dog and was looking for something very specific. I think everyone has their deal breakers and what they are and are not willing to live with. I definitely commend you if you are willing to work through these issues, but would understand if you chose not to as well. She sounds like a fantastic dog in every other way.
I agree with everyone else who said some dogs just aren't fit for a certain situation, especially a high energy working breed who grew up in a different environment.

I think there's a good chance she could start to settle in and with a lot of training you will see a good improvement. Do you know if she showed any discomfort or aggression when people came to her foster home? If she was protective or antsy in the slightest in her foster home, I'd imagine it is somewhat territorial. If it suddenly popped up, it could be the stress of apartment living entirely.

My course of action would be to plan on giving her a few weeks, maybe 4-6, to see what kind of improvement she makes (reevaluate this if she continues to get worse), but keep in mind and prepare yourself that she may not be the right fit, and maybe let the rescue know that she's not adjusting as well as you'd like and if she doesn't improve you think another home would be best, maybe offer to keep her as a foster until then, if her original foster can't take her back.

If her issues are very severe, since she's new to this environment and you, I think I'd consider returning/rehoming her (especially if she did well in a non-apartment home) before I considered medicating or something.

I'm so sorry you're dealing with this :(
Thanks guys.. and yes, any sign of aggression or whatever fear issues technically was supposed to be a huge deal breaker for me in a next dog. But now that I actually have her, making this decision is really difficult... I'm not aware whether she was antsy or had any territorial behavior in her foster home. Her foster home has 8 other border collies and aussies, and they probably don't get many visitors out there unless someone was coming in to adopt one of them. There might have not been any visitors at all since the foster mom received Sig- I think I probably was the first one.

I talked to the foster mom and she's very willing to take Sig back if it doesn't work out.

Another thing that I'm actually worried about is that she is also territorial and very reactive inside my apartment- strong tendency for reactivity at people both off the balcony and at anyone walking by in the hallway. The reactivity builds up to a peak too, if I don't snap her out of it. When I'm home, I distract her with toys, but I don't think she will be okay when I'm away during my working hours, unless I lock her in my bedroom. My roommate wouldn't be able to control her while I'm gone, and my roommate isn't ALWAYS at home either. I really don't think it's ideal at all to lock a border collie in a bedroom during the day. This whole situation just doesn't sounds right, with how she is adjusting to apartment living. I really don't know. It just doesn't seem like the right environment in any way at all for her, the more I look at it.

Also, repeating that I am legit cursed. If Signal doesn't work out for another week or continues to become worse, and I make that decision to return her, I don't think I will keep trying to adopt another dog until I move out of this apartment. Nothing's going right, and maybe it's just fate telling me to wait. Or I'll get some tiny fluffy king charles spaniel who loves everything. (jk.. don't think that will happen)
 
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milos_mommy

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1. I don't think having her in a bedroom during the day is a huge issue. Lots of dogs stay in crates or gated off all day while people are at work. As long as she's otherwise getting enough exercise and you give her chewies or toys or whatever, it really doesn't seem like it would be a big deal to most dogs, even higher energy ones. Depending on your schedule/hours, obviously, but even if you work a 7-8 hour day I don't think it's unfair if she's getting a decent morning/evening walk and sufficient exercise and training during the time you're home.

2. I totally thought Signal was a dutch shepherd. I'm not sure why....was it you who was looking at a dutch shepherd rescue a while ago?
 

PWCorgi

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I echo that it's not a big deal to keep Signal in a room, and if she's showing some of those behaviors in your apartment, it might not be a bad idea for her to stay in a crate where she can't practice the behaviors when she is looking out windows, etc.

Skill and Siri are both kenneled when I am gone, and I would say the majority of high energy dogs that people have are going to be kenneled when they are gone, and do absolutely fine.
 

meepitsmeagan

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I echo that it's not a big deal to keep Signal in a room, and if she's showing some of those behaviors in your apartment, it might not be a bad idea for her to stay in a crate where she can't practice the behaviors when she is looking out windows, etc.

Skill and Siri are both kenneled when I am gone, and I would say the majority of high energy dogs that people have are going to be kenneled when they are gone, and do absolutely fine.
Crating is definitely something I do with my crew and they all cope just fine. Tulsa would destroy our house (she doesn't even sleep loose at night because she will wake up and chew inappropriate things). Rider is crated as well. So yeah, both of my higher energy herders are crated and do just fine. :) It actually came in handy that Tulsa was crate trained super well so young since she went on crate rest for so long.
 

DJEtzel

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Yeah did a miss a reason why she can't be crated? My crew is crated for 8 - 10 hours a day.... That's the safe thing to do to prevent injury to anyone, in your case.
 

lancerandrara

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Oh man, that's good to know though. I really... have long hours (she'd be crated from 8:30am~12pm and 1pm to 7pm). After seeing her at her foster home with all that open space, a doggy door, and basically free roaming the entire property all day without a care though- I really understand that you guys and I know a LOT of high-energy sport dogs do get crated during the day and everyone does just fine. But it's not something that just personally sits right in my heart, for whatever stupid reason, mainly because of my hours. But seriously though, it's actually a huge relief to be reinforced about crating and how okay it is for future reference. x__x The crating or not is a small thing for Sig though, and I'd totally crate in this case (I already am), if she did not have other severe behavioral issues.

More terrible stories for today that happened 1 hour ago... I'm dying here.
I just happened to be bringing Sig out to potty, and some rando girl let her two dogs off leash IN THE HALLWAYS of the apartment. The two crazy dogs actually charged us, but in just an overzealous/crazy/happy/non-aggressive way, and Signal abruptly snarling and snapping and she is freaking strong and scary. I actually used my foot to half-kick the other dog away and PICKED HER UP while screaming at the other dog "owner" lmfao.

Signal's supposedly GREAT with all dogs, according to her foster mom. There are just more and more things adding up that I'm experiencing with Sig here in my apartment that is the polar opposite of how the rescue and her foster mom on the ranch described her, and I'm leaning more and more towards the choice of returning her to find a better environment than an apartment... whether her behavior is based in anxiety in an apartment or another type of aggression, I'm really getting set that this is not something I want to deal with again- and especially not to her extreme. Lancer has been conditioned and improved so well, but I worked with him in a single-family home with a lot more room between houses, and this hotel-apartment is NOT an ideal place to have and work with a dog with extreme aggression issues. I'm honestly dead.

I currently have ahold of my emotions and the realistic pros and cons, but just wait a couple hours before I randomly cry again like a giant flipping wussy lmfao.
 
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Laurelin

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It does sound like maybe returning her is the best decision right now. That said my dogs are all crated while I'm at work and do well. Hank is very high energy too and he is great with it.
 

Slick

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Honestly, the more stories you tell, the more I think it might be better to return Signal and look for a different dog that matches your wants and desires.

And I think you should feel ZERO guilt about it either. Signal is clearly NOT at all like she was advertised, and that is not your fault at all.
These things happen.

It's not fair to you, to be saddled with a super aggressive/reactive dog when you were explicitly looking for the opposite, and did your due diligence in researching. And frankly, its not fair to Signal either to be stuck in a situation that is going to put her under a lot of stress, just because her foster parents did not accurately know her issues.

She does not sound like an apartment dog.
 

DJEtzel

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I think returning Signal is a good idea.

The problem is, most adult herding dogs are going to act differently from person to person, house to house. You don't have the means to be able to handle problems like this, so it might be a good idea to start off with a puppy that you can mold to your lifestyle?

You just don't have much wiggle room here with your desires and expectations and I worry that no dog will fit in there.
 

lancerandrara

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I think returning Signal is a good idea.

The problem is, most adult herding dogs are going to act differently from person to person, house to house. You don't have the means to be able to handle problems like this, so it might be a good idea to start off with a puppy that you can mold to your lifestyle?

You just don't have much wiggle room here with your desires and expectations and I worry that no dog will fit in there.
It's definitely NOT a matter of my desires and expectations and that no dog will fit, but that aggression within this hotel-apartment situation is not something that will work for a variety of reasons... and I did not think that the hallway would be a problem for herding breeds until I got Signal, honestly. And I believe that many herding dogs will more likely have the same reaction in the hallway (maybe not to Signal's extreme, but in the same direction).

Signal is a PERFECT dog otherwise, and the foster mom actually did a good job matching her with what I was looking for in a sports dog. She loves people and dogs when away from the apartment. But no one would have known how she would act in an apartment unless tested first... in this case, I was the tester.

She would have no problems of the sort with me if I lived in a house, and she would totally be staying forever.

At this point, waiting until after I move out of this apartment is the best option.

ETA: As for my "desires and expectations" that no dog will fit in, you say... my first priority really is simply a stable dog who is a take-anywhere-do-anything dog with no fear or aggression issues, relatively trainable/not independent, and would enjoy playing ball and hiking and stuff like that. That's it. Whether or not they are a candidate for sports can come later- I'm not aiming to be extremely competitive at all, though it would be NICE extra credit, and sports is really way a second-priority. Competing in sports is definitely fun and I'd really like to start, but it's not at all a necessary part of the whole package. For those who actually followed what I was looking for, a Border Collie was not at all even something I was thinking of adopting, because I'm NOT aiming for the top and I realize that herding breeds are sensitive and can develop behavioral issues in different environments. (Obviously Signal is an extreme case) I originally had my eye on this Golden Retriever, but he was adopted before my adoption date was scheduled.

The only reason Signal came home with me is BECAUSE the rescue was so sure that she is exactly what I was looking for even temperament-wise, had zero aggression whatsoever, would do fine in an apartment, AND is a great sports dog. But the way she changed is not something that anyone would have expected, until tested.
 
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Beanie

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IMO it is probably better to return her now before you get even more attached. It will just be harder in the future when you love her more.
 

Laurelin

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I don't think just because Signal isn't working that you should have to totally give up on the dog in your apartment thing. I think there's lots of dogs out there that could handle the situation better and would also be fun active dogs who could enjoy trying sports. Hank actually fits that really well, lol. Lab or lab mix might be something worth looking into since they're so common (lots to choose from), can be pretty drivey but also generally good with people and dogs, and you seem to like retrievers since you were looking at a golden?

I dunno just some thoughts.
 

teacuptiger

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I am so sorry for everything that is going on with Signal. That's really rough and I wish both of you the best. You WILL find the right dog for you and your situation, I believe in that.
 

JessLough

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Agreed with above that returning her now will be easier on you , as well as on her.

I also just wanted to touch on the apartment thing. I've actually spent way too much time trying to figure out if I was missing something, and it may just be an area thing, but like 99% of apartments around here are just like you describe yours to be... A hallway with units on either side, just like a hotel. I actually can't think of what else an apartment would be like, other than say a duplex-type situation. So really all that to say, you shouldn't give up hope of a dog because that is how the halls are, many people have dogs in the same set-up and can get in and out fine.
 

lancerandrara

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Welp... updating. Her foster mom is very willing to take her back tomorrow and is sorry that Signal didn't work out in my hotel-apartment. x____x There's really no way of knowing how Signal would behave here unless someone or a foster mom was able to TEST her first, aka... I was the tester. The rescue had no idea that her behavior would be so extreme, or change much at all.

I know for a fact that she would do so well with me if I lived in a single-family home somewhere. Once she is out of the apartment, her aggression is just totally gone. She just has this severe behavior in the hallways of this apartment and waiting at the elevator (which is the path we have to take to potty), territorial-based or apartment anxiety or whatever reason.

Technically, the foster mom was not wrong in how she matched us, with what I was looking for in a sport dog... just everybody would never know how she would react in my hotel-apartment until now .___. Nobody knew about her extreme car-chasing either, but that's no big deal. Car chasers can just be crated and covered during car rides. But it just goes to show that the foster mom really didn't bring her anywhere since she obtained her, so her analysis is just how Signal acts in her house/on her ranch.

I always want what's best for my dogs and I'm like... realistically, I'm 99% sure that she would find a much lower-stress single-family home environment outside of the city and she would be a lot happier as well.

And I apologize if any of this sounds nonsensical or wrong or something, because I can't tell right now. And THANK YOU very, very much to all who offered advice about Signal and my situation. Now I'll just cry for the 2938423904th time. x__x

Lauren, I guess I didn't give up yet on having a dog here- but I just feel like everything absolutely continues to go wrong with my adoption attempts. I don't know what this is supposed to mean. And thinking about it more, I'd really like to just have a house, a big backyard, a doggy door, and the dogs can just have free reign and pee in the yard whenever they want... obviously a super ideal situation, but I just keep getting the feeling that this hotel-apartment isn't the end of the dog problems. .__. This apartment is only temporary too- I will be 100% moving out into my own home in a couple years, when house prices start going down a bit.

Agreed with above that returning her now will be easier on you , as well as on her.

I also just wanted to touch on the apartment thing. I've actually spent way too much time trying to figure out if I was missing something, and it may just be an area thing, but like 99% of apartments around here are just like you describe yours to be... A hallway with units on either side, just like a hotel. I actually can't think of what else an apartment would be like, other than say a duplex-type situation. So really all that to say, you shouldn't give up hope of a dog because that is how the halls are, many people have dogs in the same set-up and can get in and out fine.
Oh man, I didn't realize- this is actually the first time I've lived in this type of apartment and the first I've seen it. This style is probably more common in certain areas. The apartments I've lived in in the past are usually just various separate buildings, 2 floors, maybe 3~4 families per building- and they lead directly to the outside and the grass and all that. And are located in very quiet suburban areas. Kind of like town homes. I'm right now smack in the middle of a super high-traffic city city. I just moved in to this city in LA a couple months ago.
 
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