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This is a question that occurred to me while reading the "AKC show bred puppies for $1,500.00" thread. I suspect the answer is “just fine.” I often experience a twinge of annoyance at the term “forever home.” It strikes me as being a little on the Disney side. (All families are happy ones, there is no divorce, and when there is, the children trick their parents into falling in love again.) Divorce happens. Sometimes there is a very good reason for it. The same is true of rehoming a dog. Sometimes it’s better for all concerned. Sometimes it is unavoidable. In my many years of Collie rescue I never saw a single dog that had much more than a short blip of depression/confusion with going to a new home. Most had no reaction at all, except “Hey! Check it out! This person lets me get up on the sofa!” I would imagine that a pup that has been well and truly started on stock will form a bond with its handler/owner. So what does the dog feel when sold to someone? Knowing what little I do know about working Border Collies, I expect the dog’s internal dialog runs like this: “Oh, phew! He/She has sheep (or cattle). Cool. What’s for supper?” But I wonder… Is a dog that is being retained for starting on stock, with the intention of selling it when it proves out, treated any different that dogs which will be kept? If so, how?
Members, thanks to all for your advice. I’m hoping some owners more experienced than me can offer perspective on the best life for my sweet BC Winnie, 5-7 y.o., adopted 7 months ago. I love her dearly, but I fear her lifespan will be very short if she continues to live with me in a busy suburb with lots of car traffic. I need some perspective on whether to rehome her to give her a better life. Or whether I should keep trying and give her more time. She is my second BC, third rescue dog, fifth dog I have owned, first I have ever considered giving up. She came to me in recovery from heartworm disease, and very emotionally shut down. After 7 months, Winnie has blossomed into a very affectionate and loving companion. She gets along well with all dogs, loves every human she meets, and isn’t in the least fazed by other dogs barking/lunging/acting unpredictable, and is a pretty good (not always perfect) leash walker. Her obedience and recall are very good indoors or small enclosed areas, like a tennis court sized space. BUT, despite months of private (positive) training and follow up by me, she cannot be trusted off leash, has low impulse control and door dashes unpredictably – front doors, car doors, gates –she will exploit any small gap and then just run away until a Good Samaritan finds her. She has no typical BC herding drive, or focus on her human companion when outdoors, or interest in toys -- so I can’t get her to return by offering the chance to play tug, retrieve Frisbees or tennis balls. Instead, she has an overwhelming obsession with car traffic. When we go to the dog park, she ignores the other dogs and sits by the fence fixated by passing cars. If she dashes out the door, she will sometimes travel to a nearby street, lie down a few inches from traffic, and give it the “collie eye.” I found her like this a couple of times, but it was only luck that she didn’t decide to go into traffic. At home, she will for hours sit by the fence and just “listen” to traffic passing on the busy street close to my house. This is such a powerful drive that I don’t think I can extinguish it. I worry every day that this could be the day she bolts and is killed in traffic. I am not hypervigilant enough to prevent the “next time” chance when I fail to close a door/gate etc. fast enough. She is presently living a very restricted life to prevent her from bolting. She has to be leashed at all times outdoors; she can’t loaf around the house or backyard when I leave but has to be crated so she can’t door dash when I come home. There are no large fenced athletic grounds nearby that allow dogs or that I could take her to for better training off leash. She can’t run off leash in a nearby wooded park; thus she can’t get enough exercise to keep her weight down, and she needs more exercise to build up her muscles to counteract severe hip dysplasia. Please, I would appreciate compassionate yet no nonsense feedback. My heart is breaking as I write this, but I lie awake at night and worry about this constantly.
After much thought, my wife and I have made the hard decision to rehome one of our two BCs: Cocoa, a 2.5 year old red female, 51lbs, spayed, and up to date on her shots. Cocoa is so sweet, full of love and excitement. She loves people of all ages (she has been great with our son, from birth to the toddler he is now), and has just enough "puppy" left in her to be fun and trainable. Unfortunately, although we purchased her as a companion to our 4yo male, Toby, she just isn't good with other dogs, not even him. While it appears to be aggression, we believe it's mostly fear. Basically, she growls and barks at other dogs from a distance, and she may nip at them if they get too close, especially big black dogs. Obviously her behavior is not terribly uncommon, and is far from severe. If we weren't a family of two working parents with a 2 year old son and another son due in two months, we'd definitely do what we could to train this problem out of her. Overwhelmed, as you can imagine, it's just not in our capacity to address the problems properly right now, and it just isn't fair to her to have to live with this correctable problem. Cocoa is an ideal family dog. She was an "indoor" dog with us, but as a purebred from a working line, she is intelligent and loves being outside too. Cocoa would do best in a family where she was either the only dog who didn't get taken to "dog-rich" environments often OR with an owner with the time, resources and patience to work this problem out of her so she could live a full life! We live in Colorado Springs, and we'd be happy to work out specifics with any interested party.