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Please no negative comments regarding this post. Advice is very welcomed, though.. in any form.

I understand that many people will have differing view points on what I am doing, saying, thinking, dealing with, but please, no judgement. I am trying to do what is best for everyone and everything.. and unfortunately I do not have an infinite supply of money or resources. I love my dog, and I hate to see her, or anyone else suffer.

I will also note that if I thought she, in any way, displayed ANY signs of aggression towards humans, this would be a different story.. just makes it even harder.

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Rein is 5 years old. When we adopted her at the age of 3, her little butt wiggled as she wagged her tail as hard as she could.. I swore that if she ever hit it against something, it would break right open. She was the most powerful thing that I had ever loved. She was my responsibility and I was ready.

Rein is my first dog. I have a special bond with her that I cannot begin to explain. She’s been with me through tough times, sad times, silly times, and a few of the happiest times of my life.

She is so well behaved. She will fetch, return, sit, lay down, shake, high-10, roll over, crawl, and give lots of kisses. She has never chewed a thing, or peed in the house. She doesn’t bark, and she is so gentle with everyone from elderly to babies.  She loves puppies. And I love her.

Rein is aggressive towards other dogs. As my first dog, I learned this the hard way. I was ignorant, and I had no idea what I was doing. Why not take her to the dog park? Her paperwork upon adoption (from a legitimate rescue organization) said she is “great with other dogs and frequents the dog park”. I still don’t know whether they were lieing to me, to themselves, or something changed in her during that four months she was behind bars, waiting for someone, for us….to rescue her. She bit a dog that day, but she did not draw blood. She was so, so sorry. She rolled onto her back and looked at me with her big brown eyes..she didn’t mean to. The other dog was fine, but looking back I wonder if it would have been if we weren’t right next to her when it occurred.

Since then, Rein has gotten worse. At first, there were select, large, male dogs that she could be friends with and play, although dominantly. Now, she is okay with Ben (our other dog, who was adopted as a puppy), and she is okay with puppies. She is not okay with other dogs: male, female, small, large.

We put her through $400 group training, it did nothing. We hired a private trainer. He told me I was being crazy, it was “all in my head’, she was “so well behaved,” and I needed to “learn to trust [my] dog”. She fools everyone. She is such a beautiful soul. On our last session, he felt she was ‘ready’. I knew she wasn’t. He brought his dog, and forced me to introduce her to him. “Trust her, you’re being silly,” he kept saying. I know she can feed off my energy, so I did everything I could and I calmed myself. I trust you, Rein..you are ready for this. She wasn’t ready. This time she drew blood. He said it was his fault, and he was sorry. It wasn’t his fault, it was my fault.

After pulling her off this dog with tears in my eyes, something clicked inside of me. I don’t trust her, and I don’t know if I ever will.

Once, when Ben was just a puppy, house training, and needed to be rushed outside. I had left the door open a crack. I made a mistake and I saw it happen as I looked over my shoulder and up the front steps. It is a feeling I can never explain in words. She ran at a small dog.. It was too much for me to handle. I cried and cried, and J held me and told me it would be okay. Neither of us knew how to handle this. She laid on her bed all night, she wouldn’t even look at us. She knew it was wrong. The dog was fine, but the next day we were given a paper to go to court. We lost, of course, and had to pay the $500 fine. I would pay all the money in the world to have Rein be okay..

It is exhausting. We cannot leave the door open for even one second,  cant unload groceries the way you usually would,  can’t open the doors when it gets hot out–I don’t even trust the screen to keep her in..it’s too risky. We have to cross the road when we see another dog, and I have to be aware when turning corners..always. No one else can walk her– I don’t even trust J. I am so afraid of what will happen.. We can’t take her on walks in busy places, and have to avoid popular hiking trails because we might pass by another dog — it is that bad. I have to walk Ben separately, so he continues to interact properly. I keep telling myself she is worth it..but I just wish she could be normal.

“It’s all about the owner,”  or

“Don’t blame the dog, blame the owner.”

Do you know how many times I’ve heard that? I believe it, too, and I hate myself for it.. Perhaps in this case, it’s all about the owner she had before us..for the first three years of her beautiful little life. Or maybe I just don’t know how to help her.

Last night, our neighbour saw me walking her and told me to give her to him. We know him quite well, and have spent many nights eating many dinners in their home. I told him no, she was fine, and we were headed home. He insisted, telling me she would “never get better if I didn’t train her properly.” He did a few things, made a few Caesar Milan sounds, and next thing you knew, Rein was laying calmly at his feet, succuming to him. He was the boss. Again, if you met Rein in the absense of other dogs, you would think she was one of the most well behaved dogs ever– this fools people. Next thing you knew, he was going to introduce her to his dog. I objected, again, but he insisted it was fine — it was his dog, and he knew how to handle things. I just wanted to believe him. I wanted everything to be fine. Things weren’t fine. Neighbour apologized and went home. He said it was his fault. It wasn’t. It was mine.

I called J at work, crying my eyes out, telling him we had to figure something out. Rightfully, he was frustrated and overwhelmed..who wants to deal with that call at work? I am desperate.

I don’t know what to do. I feel like it is unfair for her to be in these situations. I don’t want to hurt her anymore. I don’t want her to hurt anything else, ever again. Logically, is it reasonable for me to assume I will never let anything like this happen again? For the next 9+ years of her life? She’s always on high-alert, her ears back, sniffing around for other dogs, and when she see’s one, there’s no reasoning with her. She cannot be calmed. She leaves her sweet, calm self, and she transforms into something I never want to see again. I feel like it’s only a matter of time before something bad happens.. It’s horrible to say, but I just don’t know. Are we going to wait until we have a $10, 000 fine (that’s actually the amount for the next offence), court appearances, and someone’s best friend is dead? It’s harsh, but it is a possibility. And what if a kid gets in the middle of it?

We aren’t allowed to rehome her, as the Humane Society had us sign a form saying if we ever got rid of her we would bring her back there… I just can’t do that. Why pawn the problem off on someone else? If there was a way to deal with it.. I would be. I know they will just put her down, after a few (at best) months of trying to rehome her themselves. What is our other option? Do we put her down ourselves? I can’t bear the thought. I just can’t even think of it.

I wish we could move away, somewhere far away and live on a farm with a million acres and nothing nearby. I wish we could save you, Rein. I wish you were old, and could just pass away peacefully in your dreams. I wish that was a reality..but it’s not.

I love you so much, but I have no idea what we are going to do.

 

 

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10 thoughts on “</3

  1. weight2lose2013 October 3, 2014 / 3:55 pm

    We had a spaniel that had springer rage. He just snapped. I didn’t listen to the signs, and I insisted we keep him. One day, my wife was babysitting her friends 2 year old child and the dog bit her in the face, so close to her eye. That was it. I waited too long. It was the toughest thing I had to do up to that point. Thankfully, the little girl didn’t scar and everything is fine.

    Like

    • ashleym October 3, 2014 / 3:57 pm

      Thank you for your response. I am just starting to feel like the signs are becoming too much.. I need to listen. I just cannot imagine.. 😦

      I’m very glad the little girl is okay. ❤

      Like

  2. ijattod October 4, 2014 / 5:24 pm

    How heartbreaking 😦 I’m so sorry. I think you will have to be very, very brave and make a decision that you can live with. Whatever you do, never blame yourself – there are some things that neither love nor discipline can repair xxx

    Like

  3. Julia Bentley October 5, 2014 / 1:59 am

    Where are you located? (I tried to look at your “About Me” page but it kept sending me back to this post) There are behavior modification programs that might help, things like conditioned relaxation. A trainer who can help you see what is driving her behavior – fear, aggression, something else.

    I’ve got my dog (similar issues, though no bites in his history) in a program that is helping. It isn’t a quick fix, but we’re making progress.

    Like

    • ashleym October 5, 2014 / 2:08 am

      We are located in Calgary Canada. I have tried trainers and most of them have told us its us..not the dog. I understand that and we have worked hard with her. Its not the predictable experiences i am worried about…its the one next time she gets loose and we aren’t there to stop it. She can never be off leash..ever. i have a consultation with a new trainer on Monday and hope for the best news: that she is hopeful. Trust me…I’m not just giving up. ..and this is not just her a dog that snaps occasionally. Its a much deeper issue than that. If you have any resources at all, I’d love to hear them.
      Thank you for your support and concern

      Like

  4. laflor5233 October 6, 2014 / 3:39 pm

    Such a hard decision to make. You have my support in what you decide to do.

    Like

    • ashleym October 6, 2014 / 8:25 pm

      Thank you. That truly means a lot ❤

      Like

  5. secretmom2013 October 28, 2014 / 10:06 pm

    (((hugs))) my sister and her husband adopted a gorgeous german shepherd. He’d been an outdoor dog at a junk yard for the first four years of his life. He was sweet, patient, and great with kids but hugely aggressive with all other dogs.

    Like you, they tried everything. Nothing helped. One day their dog pushed open my parents’ front door and attacked a neighbour’s dog, who was injured but thankfully lived. They ended up putting him down.

    One of the trainers said the biggest problem was socialization. That if a puppy’s taken from their mother too soon, they don’t learn how to interact with other dogs. They need those early lessons. And unfortunately you can’t turn back time and give him those lessons.

    Good luck and best wishes.

    Like

    • ashleym October 29, 2014 / 2:51 pm

      Thank you for the response. It makes me feel so much more comfortable in my decision when I hear stories like that… I just feel like I am being selfish by trying to be ‘proactive’ in a way. Not that she hasn’t already done damage, but not recently. I don’t want to make the wrong decision if it’s possible she could live the rest of her life happily, but at the same time, I don’t want to wait for something absolutely terrible to happen.

      Thank you again. I appreciate your support ❤

      Like

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