Dogs with behavior problems that no-kill shelters won't take or will kill

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by MidwestMom, Oct 29, 2012.

  1. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I'm really in a bind.

    I was not a very good dog mommy when we first got our three dogs who are now ten and eleven (and they aren't going to die any time soon...they are healthy). The reason we went so crazy and bought three puppies is because the boy we adopted (remember psychokid?) killed two of our dogs and we were grieving and wanted to give our children new puppies. We lived on a farm, our kids were our first priority (not the dogs) and so it goes. They were neutered young, but always marked their territory, but on the farm they were outside a lot so we didn't notice how bad it was.

    Nine and ten years later, we have three dogs that I can't handle anymore, although I love them to pieces. Two of the dogs, both brothers, mark constantly even though we are all so paranoid that we let them outside to do their business ALL THE TIME. It doesn't work...marking seems to have nothing to do with needing to pee. We had to stop allowing them in the living room because they ruined the carpeting and we rent (we had to buy new carpeting and forbid them from going into the living room). Our house isn't big anyway and they are confined to a foyer that is tiled. The tile is going bad from the urine and poop. Every night I get up and pick up poop and wash the floor. I do this sometimes during the day too. On top of that, the two boy dogs sometimes fight. Not always, but sometimes.

    I feel like my dogs have a terrible life. In the old place we had a big yard. Now they can only go outside in a small territory because we can't have them pooping all over the yard and ruining the grass. We are good at picking up after them, but they still ruin the grass. Also, there is no fence so we had to put up a small fenced area. They can't run free in the NOT fenced part of the yard. They would run off. They are n Occupational Therapist (OT) really friendly with people or dogs who are not in their pack. My kids don't bring anyone home because of the unfriendliness of one of the dogs, their barking, and the possibility that the tile may be wet or worse. Again, this is not our house. I guess we will be buying new tile next (foyer and kitchen). Here is my dilemma and I really need feedback from dog lovers.

    We can't afford a good trainer and the dogs are older anyway. So getting a trainer is not an option anyway...especially for three dogs (two are much worse than the third). Even no-kill shelters will not accept dogs they consider unadoptable and these dogs are unadoptable. I am looking at sanctuaries for dogs and not having much luck. We would travel for a good one. However, one in MN shocked me because they ask $800 (yes, you saw correctly) for every dog you bring to their sanctuary. That is way out of our league. For the most part, that's what the very few sanctuaries do...they charge A LOT to care for your dog for the rest of it's life. I don't blame them, but we don't have the money.

    I wouldn't even try to rehome the dogs. They'd end up in the pound and euthanized. Yet I may end up taking them to a no-kill shelter and, once the no-kill sees their behaviors, they will euthanize them too. See, no-kill doesn't mean no-kill. It means they don't kill for space, but if they don't feel a dog is adoptable, they do euthanize. What kind of dog mommy am I to let these kids get euthanized after all these years? One more big problem...

    We have to move in two years. If we move, it will probably be a downsize to a mobile home or apartment. But probably a mobile home, which appeals to me and hub. We just can't afford (yeah, it gets old hearing "I can't afford") living in a house and paying big house bills...large heating bills, electric bills, huge water bills, etc. We won't have a choice. We won't be able to stay here. Sometimes we are so broke it is hard to get food between paychecks, so we have to get out of a house and go to cheaper digs. We can't bring four dogs with us to an apartment or mobile home (we have one little doggy who is very well behaved...but our kids are older now and we have all the time in the world to train him!). Even if some crazy landlord allowed all these dogs, or some nutso mobile home park, the dogs would destroy the place much faster than they can destroy a house.

    Does anybody have any advice or any knowledge of a dog sanctuary that takes in dogs with behavior problems? We are willing to travel to get them to a safe place. They just can't charge us $800. I swear, one sanctuary charged (LOL) $16,000. I just stared at the figure. We only make maybe fifteen thousand more than that per year.

    Our last option is to stay in this house, keep fixing the house, wait until the dogs are gone (these dogs live around sixteen years) and we can keep stepping in poop in the middle of the night and I can mop the floor at 1am and the tile can rot. I love my's almost tempting to do it. If we could AFFORD to stay in this house, that's what we'd probably do. But that's not possible.

    I realize there are probably no good suggestions, but I'm up for anything. We did try putting bellybands on the two marking dogs, but they both bite them right off. So much for that. LOLOLOL...what a mess, no? (in more ways than one!)
  2. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    I'm sorry, if I sound harsh, but as an animal lover and dog person I can see only one viable and human option. You have three older dogs (and yes, they get older, sicker and more expensive with vet bills quickly at that age), you can't keep and who you will not find new homes. Dogs have behavioural problems and because of that their life quality is poor. You need to euthanize them. And do it yourself, not take them to some shelter and let them do it after few days or weeks dogs have had a big change and stressor. You need to take them to the vet and euthanize them.

    Dogs don't think tomorrow or yesterday, they live in the moment. They will not be missing the days, they will not live, what matters to them, is life quality then they are alive. And you will not find a place that can offer a good life quality to dogs you describe.

    If you think you could keep and retrain one of the dogs (it is much easier when there is no pack, but just one problematic dog), you can do that. But be aware that it will be a lot of work. House training an adult dog is hard. You need to teach them like puppy, but it takes longer and they are not as predictable. You would need to take a dog to the walk several times a day etc. especially when teaching him, but also later. If that is possible, you can keep one of them. If not, you have to put them all down.

    Taking a puppy means you also take responsibility of all the hard decisions you need to do with dogs. And now you have to shoulder that responsibility.
  3. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Do you walk them?
  4. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    IF you are home all day, and IF you are decent at figuring out how to do things from reading about them, get a book on dog training. MOST of dog training is actually OWNER training. Give it a few weeks but you will HAVE to keep the dogs right with you at ALL times except when in a crate/pen area for bed at night. this means having the dogs on leashes about 6 feet long and having htem within those 6 feet of YOU all day no matter what you are doing. You have to catch them right when they are starting a behavior to stop and retrain both them AND YOU.

    Sadly, I don't see that as being very realistic. I do think you are at the point of either finding someone who wants a challenging dog or else euthanizing them. They are having a quality of life that is poor and they are lowering the entire family's quality of life. They are also costing far more than you can afford. You probably won't like hearing this, but it is totally irresponsible to try to keep several large pets when you are having trouble feeding your family. Your kids MUSt come first, regardless of how much you care about pets. If you just had the small dog, that would likely be affordable. But keeping these large, unmanageable dogs, with their poor quality of life and the way they are keeping your kids from bringing friends home, is just not OK.

    I am sorry because I know how hard this decision will be. I wish there was an easier answer, but there isn't.
  5. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    When I had a marking issue with a male it was a "territory" issue. He'd not dream of doing it anywhere else in the house except rooms he wasn't ever allowed in. (in other words, didn't have his scent) I never got him to stop, but he was rehomed to an exceptional family and got to live mostly outside with a cushy heated shed of his own as a stud. They adored him. I never again had rooms my dogs were not allowed in and it has never again been an issue.

    Why couldn't you rehome to people who live on a farm who could let them be outside much of the time like you used to do?

    There is a large difference between "marking" and breaking house training and due to the feces; they're not just marking. You have a house training issue.

    I reinforce house training with a treat, every single time they go out and do something. I have trained adult outside dogs to the inside, the treat thing works wonders. You have to keep it up for a good long while too. Maggie is 6 months and she still gets a small treat every single time she goes. She will for a very long time. The point is I want her to get very used to inside stays nice and clean; outside is where you go. She hasn't broken training in a very long time.........and that was only due to a very nasty case of diarrhea.

    If they can't hold it during the night, they need to be crated. Period. They will learn quickly that they will NOT like going in their crate and avoid doing so at all costs.

    I realize your dogs are older. Rowdy is 14 and has been outside his entire life. I can bring him inside any time I want. He has never ever had an accident inside, yet he's never officially been house trained. But when he comes in due to bad weather, he has no choice but to sleep in a crate. (just in case) His scent is nowhere in this house, yet he has never marked once. He might rub up against something, but no peeing anywhere.

    If you are determined to keep them, you're going to have to try to retrain them that outside is for potty and inside is to stay clean. After all this time, that is not going to be easy to do. You're going to have to be much more stubborn than they are.

    Also, how much exercise do they get per day? Now that Rowdy is walked faithfully every day he has once again stopped pooing in his kennel (even though he is outside he is smart enough to prefer his kennel to be clean). He saves it for his walk instead. A trade off for us. We don't have to clean out the kennel but we do have to pick up after him on a walk. Even the girls rarely go in the yard now that they take a 2 mile walk per day.

    And I've had dogs my entire life..........never once had dog poo or urine kill the grass. If urine is doing it, they're usually not getting enough water. If feces is doing it you might want to change their food.

    This is a big problem. I know I wouldn't have let it go on for this long and I'm a very patient person when it comes to dogs. But stepping in poo over and over again in the middle of the night?? Uh, no.

    First, I'd look at diet and exercise. Make sure they're getting lots of outside exercise with pottying outside reinforced with a treat. I'd crate at night to make sure the house stays clean when you're not up to watch them. I'd crate when you leave as well.

    I've only dealt with 2 no kill shelters. The one in dayton could care less if a dog is house trained or not. (they'll just tell potential adoptees they're not house trained) The one down here doesn't even ask..........and still do NOT euthanize unadoptable dogs. They have 2 that have been there for 7 yrs now and too scared of people to be adopted. The only reason a no kill shelter considers euthanasia is usually aggressive behavior. At least in this area. Under some circumstances, that isn't even enough reason.

    Besides if the dogs found a new home with say a doggie door to a yard they could roam and run in at will, the issues you're having may not even come up with a new owner. Know what I mean??
  6. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Around here, the definition of "unadoptable" is... aggressive. But it doesn't sound like your dogs are a danger to anybody - they just aren't well trained, especially for indoor living.

    I'd be really surprised that someone wouldn't take them - individually or together - for outside dogs. Lots of people want a non-aggressive dog around... it's a deterrent even if the dog isn't aggressive, but doesn't come with the risk of someone being attacked.
  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Well, I won't euthanize them.

    I am trying to find new homes, and I like the idea of a farm because there are a lot here.

    The dogs appear to be happy dogs and I do walk them twice a day. It is getting harder because I have arthritis in my hands and hub has arthritis in his hips. The kids do it if they are home. Jumper is not usually around w hen we walk them. I have ads up on Craigs List looking for sanctuaries w here they would have a wonderful I'm not going to do anything right at the moment.

    I didn't think there would be any real answers, but ya never know. And whoever said that the fact that they are in a pack makes it harder is 100% correct. If there was only one dog with behavioral problems, that would be manageable, but the two of them pick things up from one another.

    I'm going to start to crate them at night. I did it last night and everything went well. Maybe I need to crate them while I'm at work too. I'm only gone about four hours a day.
  8. Ktllc

    Ktllc New Member

    Yes, use the crates! It's going to be your best friend (really should use one per dog or if they are really buddies you could use a bigger one for two).
    I have a rescue dog who comes from a puppy mill. She is still to this day not completely house trained... And she has access to several acres when ever she wants. She is just really damaged from past experience at the mill.
    But as long as she is in her crate at night, everything is fine, I don't have to pick up poop or clean urine anymore. And yes, I have been training her for over 2 years now. She has made progress in her general behavior, but is still kind of weird.
    So really get them on a crate routine. Give it a bit of time.
    If your lives are still very negatively impacted, I would put human lives before doggie lives. I know it sounds harsh, but that's just the way I think.
    It would be hard, but it's not like you haven't tried a lot. Sometimes you have to listen to reason and forget your heart...
    Hugs, I know it will be tough no matter what.
  9. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I am having a hell of a time training Abby as far as house breaking. The crate just doesnt seem to work because she goes in it at night and will just stand there shivering. I end up having to clean it every day. I have been putting puppy pads down every night for her and that works fairly well but I dont want to have to deal with a full grown 80 pound dog using puppy pads!

    She simply doesnt get the idea of coming to me to tell me she needs to go out or she cant hold it all night. I have tried feeding her only in the morning, not giving her water past about 5 pm, making sure she stays outside from 8:30 till 10 when I bring her in for bed and nothing helps. When I am outside and she goes potty I praise her like she has laid a golden egg. She is also not leash trained and taking her to the vet to get fixed made her terrified of being on the leash because I had to put her on one. Now she associates the leash with the vet and she shakes like I am going to hurt her. I think they must have put the IV in her left front leg too because now she gets very aggressive with us if we so much as try to hold on to that leg like to clip her toenails. That never happened before. She doesnt like us doing her right one but she doesnt go berserk.

    I am still trying though. I dont know how I am going to do it though. Really she is only expected to last in the house and hold it from about 10 at night until 4 am when Tony gets up for work. You would think that wouldnt be so hard for a 7 month old puppy. I just dont know. Maybe if I keep putting her in the crate she will get the idea. I gave up on the crate after about a week of having to clean it every day. We still have it inside but she just doesnt use it. I thought maybe her sleeping in bed with me might stop it but she will leave my bed and go out to use the pad and then end up on the couch for the rest of the night.
  10. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Our new guy, JJ, loves his crate. I always put him in if I have to leave him (he comes with us if I have Q). I now trust him at night but took him out in the middle of the night till recently. Only one accident when he was sick. Our little old Buddy dog has to use pee pads. I'm so glad we crate trained JJ though he seems to just have trained him to be honest. I know it is hard with the little one...I feel for you.
  11. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Janet, if you've used the crate will take some time for her to stop having accidents in it. It should only be large enough for her to basically lay down in. Maggie has a new one, size large, because in her puppy crate it had gotten so small for her she couldn't even stand up right in it. Even with the large though should she have an accident she will find herself in it. ick And dogs hate that........unless they've grown used to it. (even then though natural instinct is to stay clean) She will learn if I go in my crate I have to wait for it to be cleaned.....and she will eventually stop going because it will be the having to sit in it until you get up to clean it that will be the deterrent. She will also learn that going in her crate won't prevent her from sleeping in it or allow her to sleep elsewhere. (you're accidentally reinforcing the behavior)

    With the leg issue per nail clipping........get a nice little treat, like those liver snacks at TSC, gently stroke that leg.....tell her she's a good girl and give her a treat for letting you. Work up to her calmly letting you take hold of her again, always I touch/you get a treat for letting me. The area may still be tender depending on the tech that did the IV, and I can't recall how long ago she was fixed exactly. Do the same with the leash. Put it on her, love on her, tell her what a good girl she is, give her a treat. Repeat a few times each day. Work up to walking her on it.

    I had a vet do this to Molly, actually the tech not the vet. It's the reason Molly still (all these yrs later) gets so scared over the vet. I had to do the leash bit. Then we made sure we took her bye bye many times over that had nothing to do with the vet but everything to do with having fun for her. Now she only reacts in the vet office.........and only if they touch her without us also right there.
  12. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Being crated for 4 hours is not cruel - although some might argue with me.
    All day - sure. But 4 hours is just a "long nap".
    You do, of course, give the lots of love and attention for the rest of the day anyway.
    Just make it a habbit to always take them directly outside as soon as you get home.
  13. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Lisa, her crate is barely big enough for her to stand up in or even lay down in comfortably. We have another one that we were supposed to be bringing in for her that Jamie gave me but because Tony got two beagles that live out in the kennel now, they are using that for a dog house. But she started having accidents in her crate the same time she started having the issues with the loose stools and that has never stopped. They arent diarrhea but are just very loose. I took a sample into the vet and it isnt worms. The vet said it could be the fact that at one point I gave her Puppy Chow because that is known to cause this but now she is on a very good food so who knows. It is slightly better but still looks like thick wet cement. Good darned thing she is so Im telling you one thing, this food makes her coat so soft and shiny her face feels like a seal.

    I think I will try the crate again for a month or two and see if we have more success. I want her inside. I also have to get her used to the leash but I have to get her a new collar this weekend. She has outgrown another collar!
  14. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Janet, some dogs like a harness better than a collar, for attaching the leash. Instead of pulling at their neck, it pulls at their body (not that they SHOULD be pulling, but... ). Ours are that way. If you don't want pulling, get a no-pull harness, where the leash attaches to the front of their chest. If they pull... they end up spinning around. Even if it isn't a collar/harness preference, given that she associates the leash with something negative (vet), using a different connection point may be easier.
  15. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    I second to this. And anyway re-train her to the leach slowly. First train her to like having a harness (or collar, if you don't want to use harness) on. With harness don't even dress it first. Just put it over her head and give a treat. Again and again. Do it few times at time few different occasions during the day and in few days you have a dog who loves her harness. After you are there, attach a leach and give a treat and take it off. Do it for example five times three times a day. After that leave the leach on when she eats. After she loves her leach too, only then it is time to move outside. First walk on the yard, treat her and then move to the walks. All in all, it should not take you more than two weeks and maybe two or three hours all together to get her re-trained.

    It sounds like she is quite sensitive in the way that she remembers bad experiences for the long time and quite strongly (I can't remember the terms to describe dog character 'officially' in English, sorry) so positive reinforcement is likely to work with her the best.
  16. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Well, Janet if it's loose stool.......that is far more difficult to hold. Something she is getting is not agreeing with her. (may not be her food, maybe a treat or something) I had to go back to pedigree puppy to get Maggie solid again. She might like other foods, they don't seem to like her though. I *thought* it might be some of the scraps she was getting from the table (although I'm careful with what I give her) but it was the dog food itself, not the table foods. It was a process of elimination, then I had to reintroduce things slowly to watch her reaction. Some rice cooked in beef/chicken broth mix with your baby's food might help firm her up again. But that will not eliminate the problem because you won't know the cause.

    Maggie does fine on the leash 99 percent of the time. I had to switch to a harness, otherwise it was a constant battle of tug o war with the leash. (play type) That one percent when she is the tug o war, usually because Molly has either stopped or slowed down to the point where she has gotten bored. I have also switched to a retractable leash......when she's naughty she gets put on a "short leash" in which I shorten it to the point she can no longer play tug o war and it stays that way until she calms and resumes walking the way she is supposed to.
  17. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I dont even give Abby scraps. I am hugely careful about that. If Buddy is getting scraps, she is outside. The beagles get them but they are in a kennel. She cant get in. The only thing she does get is deer bones but this was happening before those. Now she has been getting a peanut butter cookie from walmart but only one a day and they dont have corn in them.
  18. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    Four hours in a crate is NOT that long for them! I have four dogs with several "personality clashes" between some of them so they can't all be out of their crates at the same time. They each spend about 4 hours in the crate, then two hours out ... my "crate and rotate" routine (two are big buddies and get out together). When they're out, they usually run around and play for about two hours, then find a comfy spot to take a nice long nap. This way, they can just nap in their crates. Doesn't hurt them one little bit! And three out of four of mine sleep all night in their crates. They're used to it, they'd be sleeping during those hours anyway, and they don't mind it at all. The fourth one, Ragan, is a ten year old Boston who takes Lasix for heart issues and just can't go all night without having to go pee. So she's out all night. She sleeps with me and when she needs to, she just gets up, runs in to the bathroom, and uses her little pee pads that I put down for her. Works for us.

    I really don't know if my dogs are potty trained or if I'm the one who is trained! I take them outside on leashes at set, regular intervals - each time they get out of the crate, then again at bedtime, and we have very few accidents. I don't so much go by them going to the door to be taken out. They're clever enough and sneaky enough that if they know that standing by the door gets them a trip outside, they'd all be standing there at the door all day, guilt-tripping me into taking them out.

    I think though, that if an adult dog can't go all night without peeing or pooping in their crate, something is wrong. If worms have been ruled out, I would look at what they're eating and maybe change their food. No food, even the expensive premium foods, is right for every dog. My little Trace, my adorable one-eyed Boston rescue boy, has a very sensitive stomach. I had tried him on at least six of the expensive, high quality foods and he still had very soft poops and some accidents at night. It wasn't until I tried them on the grain-free Taste of the Wild (available at Tractor Supply stores) that he finally straightened out. They all do very well on it, even Ragan with all her allergies, and now all have nice, firm little poops and no accidents. Some dogs do much better on a grain-free food. And they should NEVER have food with corn in it. Corn is used as a cheap filler in some dog foods ... dogs can't even digest corn and it makes them have massive poops because it goes right through them. You just have to remember to switch them over to any new food very gradually, adding a little more of the new food each day, ideally over about two weeks for the complete change-over.
  19. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi again and thanks.

    Again, I will not have them euthansized. I believe animals and humans are equally as important (I know...I'm a bit kwazi). The crating last night worked well and Prince isn't marking today, which is odd. I guess I could crate them for my work day too. It's not even for four hours. I work two hours or two and a half hours on one route, then come home and go back at 2:30 and do another route of the same duration. Then when I come home, I let them out right away.

    I have about two years to try new methods and/or to find them awesome homes. That's a lot of time. Also, I'm willing to travel the country to get them into a great home or sanctuary.

    Even if they reduce the marking enough to make it tolerable, they have no big yard to run in. They need a fence a nd this is not our house and the landlord doesn't want us to build a fence so we can't. They are not allowed outside and off leash without a fence. We do have a very small pooping/peeing area that we fenced off just for that one purpose. They can walk around a little, but they can't run. They do get walks. But I can't help wishing they had a big yard to run in, like they did when we lived on the farm. That's why we bought the dogs. We didn't expect to have to move. One more thing: In two years, like it or not, we have to downsize and move. We have to have found them a good home by then. We are going to probably move into a mobile home park (a nice one near our home), but they only allow two pets (we have four dogs...two who are not a problem) and there is even less yardage there. But we aren't moving until Jumper graduates and she's just a junior right now.

    In spite of their issues, I am thinking that we should be able to find a good place within two years...or come across a good sanctuary with l ots of room to roam and run! I just can't consider killing my doggies. They are still happy boys and wag their tails constantly. I could only do that if they were suffering.
  20. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Donna, Lord I hope I dont have to go to Taste of the Wild. That is really expensive and she will be about 80 pounds full grown. I am using a gluten free, corn free, diary free food. When this first started I got a small bag of this fishy food at a pet store here in town until I could get to a regular pet store and get a better one in a bigger bag and she hated that fishy one. The one she does like now is lamb and brown rice. It does have veggies in it though and maybe she is allergic to one of the veggies. does my mutt have more issues than my purebred? I have a purebred with a cast iron stomach! He can eat a whole bag of chocolate and never have a problem other than wanting