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Monday, March 7, 2011

Hard decisions


This is Gabby. She's been a member of our family since last July, with the promise that she was great on a leash, good with cats and housebroken. She gets me out of the house and walking for miles at a time. She is Robbie's constant source of laughter. 

She is our constant source of frustration.

When we first got her, she had some bathroom accidents in the house. I chalked it up to adjusting to a new environment. She stole things like stuffed animals and shoes to get attention. She'd take them, run off and wait for someone to play with (read: chase) her. 

But over the course of the past several months, she has decided that our home IS her bathroom. She has moved from stealing toys to snagging and chewing to bits pencils, Legos, plastic bowls, TV remote controls and telephones.

We have reached the end of our rope. A few weeks ago, I called an animal trainer to get some help. She told us to take her out, stand with her on the leash for 10 minutes, praise her if she does her business, and put her back in the crate for 10 minutes if she doesn't. Lather, rinse, repeat.

And she has shown some mild signs of improvement. But not enough. I've e-mailed the rescue where we got her to ask for some suggestions and to see if they might take her back. I've looked into no-kill animal shelters. 

She is a sweet, sweet, mild-mannered dog. She rarely barks and she is so tolerant of the kids -- especially Robbie. And considering surrendering her is breaking my heart. The kids are sad, not to mention angry at Mike and I. 

Annie has suggested taking her to a kennel for the week, having all the carpets cleaned and bringing her back to start fresh. It's an idea that seems reasonable, except for the fact that we are 5 people living on my part-time income at the moment and a week at Chez Pooch and a whole house carpet cleaning just aren't in the budget right now. 

If there were a way to keep the better and jettison the worse of this bad dog who I we love, I'd be all for it.


Stacy said...

Oh, that would be killing me, too. You can just see all that personality on her face. I am praying that you are able to find a solution to the problem without having to give her up/away. I can't imagine life without my beagle/basset.

Momza said...

this is tough. We have our dog crate trained...and if she's in the house but we're not home, she's in her protect our home and keep her safe.

Anonymous said...

I feel your pain. We have a dog that we've owned since he was 6 months old. He is almost 5 now. He hs taken to peeing on everything and eating anything he can get a hold of. EverySingle.Time we leave him out of the cage he gets into stuff. I don't know what to do. He will NOT poop outside unless left out there for hours, and hours, and hours...and then we suddenly had a new problem. Fleas.

I wish I had some advice! Hang in there and I commend you for trying as mch as you have. Most pet owners these days don't try at all. :(

Eternal Lizdom said...

We had to give a dog back to a rescue group once- I hope your group is more understanding and works with you more (sounds like they are). Our dog was a biter, a nipper, and we were bringing home our first baby. Not a good combo and I wasn't willing to risk my baby's safety. Rescue group didn't take kindly to our choice and were pretty rude about it.

It's a tough choice and I hope you find the right answer. Some trainers are against punishment but I believe in the dog world, dogs let each other know when they've been bad. Look at a mom dog and her pups- she will growl and nip and bark when they act up. I don't believe in beating a dog or anything like that. But if my poodle poops on the floors, she knows that's her poop- I don't care how long ago she did it. Hence the reason they sniff every tree, stump, hydrant, and mailbox on walks.

Hang in there...

Susan said...

I know this is going to be hard on you either way. I wish I could take her home with me!

Mary Watt said...

The doggy is really adorable. But Carpet cleaning London advised me to be careful with pets, unless they are well-trained, they can harm all carpets and furniture, especially if they are under stress.