heartbroken and doubting myself

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tinshee

Boxer Buddy
I had posted a few months ago when we adopted a new boxer (our fourth time adopting a rescue boxer) and brought him into our home with our resident 5 year old boxer after our Max crossed the bridge. We also have a (spirited) 2 year old son and an infant.

Long story short, things were progressing ok, but over the last month or so the dogs' aggression towards each other has escalated rather than improving. I have taken our new dog to weekly training classes and also had a trainer come to our house which was really helpful. I have the house set up to be able to separate them if needed. Both dogs are crate trained, we feed them in separate areas, and we keep a close eye out for warning behavior.

In spite of that, on Wednesday I was home with both dogs and both kids by myself. A fight broke out and though I have educated myself on how to safely break up a fight, I wasn't able to. I made a mistake and got bitten. I had to call 911 and go to the ER. Luckily, there won't be any permanent damage.

Both the dogs were injured too. One needed to go to the vet ER and the other went the next day to be looked at.

This was not their first fight, and each fight has been worse than the last. We feel it's not safe for anyone involved, including our dogs.

I contacted the rescue about surrendering our new dog. :( :( :( They will obviously take him but basically told me I'm not committed to our dogs. I've been crying since Wednesday. I love BOTH of my dogs but especially with babies in the house and now a history of increasing aggression feel it is dangerous.

Am I wrong? Am I giving up on our dog and failing him? I never, ever thought I'd be someone who adopted a dog and didn't keep him for life. I'm so devastated about this.
 

johann

Boxer Insane
No, you are not a failure or uncommitted owner!! And shame on the rescue for saying that.

Some times, dogs just don't get along and it sounds like you've made every effort (crating, separate feeding areas, training, etc) to help them learn to coexist.

My 2 year old just woke up, gotta go. But I'll post more later. I was in your same shoes a few years ago, and looking back we are so glad that we did not keep new dog.
 

Jan

Reasonable Moderator
Staff member
I contacted the rescue about surrendering our new dog. :( :( :( They will obviously take him but basically told me I'm not committed to our dogs. I've been crying since Wednesday. I love BOTH of my dogs but especially with babies in the house and now a history of increasing aggression feel it is dangerous.

Am I wrong? Am I giving up on our dog and failing him? I never, ever thought I'd be someone who adopted a dog and didn't keep him for life. I'm so devastated about this.

No you are not wrong! I think you have tried really hard to make it work and it just isn't. I think the rescue is wrong for suggesting that you are not committed. I think in the best interest in the dog, it should be returned to the rescue, so it can go to a home without another dog.

I am really sorry that it hasn't worked out. In the interest in the well being of your young child and your other dog, the latest rescue needs to go. :(

Don't feel guilty about it. It sounds like you have really tried.
 

Stub

Completely Boxer Crazy
That rescue said a very cruel thing, especially after all you have done to try and keep the new dog. You absolutely can NOT be blamed for the dogs not getting along and YES you must think of the safety of your kids and family (including your original dog!) first. Don't let their cruel statement get you down when you know in your heart you have done all you could. Not everything works out as we would wish it to.
 

EAO76

Boxer Insane
I have volunteered with a boxer rescue for many years and have handled many adoptions, surrenders, & returns. In my opinion fighting is one of the few legitimate reasons to return a dog. However I'm not one to suggest giving up quickly and it does sometimes take 3+months for a dog to fully settle in. Only you can know if its a truly hopeless situation. You are obviously an experienced dog owner so trust your instincts.

On a side note if you do decide to return him you can offer to "foster" him while he is waiting for his new home. That way he doesn't have to go to boarding or be bounced around too much. Depending on the rescue they may even allow you to help choose his new home since you know the dog well and can provide a lot of insight into what would be his perfect placement. Obviously if you decide to do this you will need to keep the dogs separated.

Keep us posted
 

tinshee

Boxer Buddy
Thank you

Thank you all for your responses.

We got him from a rescue in the next state over, and the rescue insisted we drive him back there to return him. I was concerned about the added stress for him of a 6 hour drive, but they were insistent. There were a number of other things they said that made me take pause, but ultimately I signed a contract with them and I do believe they help dogs find good homes.

So after a tense 10 days at home with both dogs, I drove our boy back this weekend. He was nervous in the car, but once we arrived a the new foster family's home he was very excited to be meeting new friends. I brought all of his favorite toys and treats as well as his bed that he loves. I cried and cried, but he's a young, smart, handsome dog and I know he'll find a good home where he'll be loved. We miss him so much already.

Thanks again for your words. They all helped so much to reassure me we made the right choice.
 

johann

Boxer Insane
Thank you all for your responses.

We got him from a rescue in the next state over, and the rescue insisted we drive him back there to return him. I was concerned about the added stress for him of a 6 hour drive, but they were insistent. There were a number of other things they said that made me take pause, but ultimately I signed a contract with them and I do believe they help dogs find good homes.

So after a tense 10 days at home with both dogs, I drove our boy back this weekend. He was nervous in the car, but once we arrived a the new foster family's home he was very excited to be meeting new friends. I brought all of his favorite toys and treats as well as his bed that he loves. I cried and cried, but he's a young, smart, handsome dog and I know he'll find a good home where he'll be loved. We miss him so much already.

Thanks again for your words. They all helped so much to reassure me we made the right choice.

You did the right thing for him, your other boxer, and your family. I'm sure he'll find a good home, and glad that you were able to keep him until a foster was available and he didn't end up in a shelter situation.

Thinking of you. It's so hard, and I still think about the boxer we had to give back a few years ago (though now it's more of a "thank goodness, hopefully he is happy in his new home" instead of wondering what we could/should have done differently)
 

Jan

Reasonable Moderator
Staff member
I am sure that you did the right thing. He will go to another home, hopefully without another dog. He will be much happier. I am sure he was stressed in your home too. Some dogs just aren't meant to live together.

Good luck!
 
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