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Hello everyone, it’s been a very long time since I’ve been here.  Gracie my 4 year old Border collie has become the greatest dog I have ever had the pleasure of owning.  My Chihuahua is just as loved and was here first, both dogs are our world.  Gracie and Bella have never once had a problem with each other, I know this for sure because I’m with them all day everyday and have cameras when I’m not home for the sole purpose of looking at them when I’m gone.  Okay finally the problem...there is a lab that I may have to take in and keep for forever for reasons that are dire.  When Gracie and CoCo are alone together, aside from Gracie snapping at her because CoCo is still under one year ( she is around 8 months 9, something like that), they get along playing and laying down next to each other, but when I bring CoCo into my home, things change dramatically!! Gracie stands over my Chihuahua and starts growling as if she is going to bite her, I have to pick up Bella and remove her from Gracie’s behavior, I KNOW she is getting ready to bite her! but for the life of me I can’t understand why, Bella has done nothing! she is simply here, she is usually sitting down or standing there doing absolutely nothing to instigate the behavior Gracie is exhibiting.  I have to take this Lab because I for one love her and she deserves a life outside of a life in a cage, I have been taking care of this dog from the time she moved into the neighborhood, ( literally right across the street ).  What can I do? Help!!

One more thing, I have seen Gracie do this to Bella if she doesn’t like something like a human , this is a strange thing to me. As far as those two ever having a problem outside of this there is not one issue, they will eat together, lay together, kiss each other, etc.

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Is it possible that Gracie is guarding Bella from a perceived threat?  Or that Gracie does not want Bella to interact with the other dog or human?

I'm glad you are rescuing Coco, but in the short term you will have to keep the dogs separated until you figure this out.  Try baby gates and different combinations:  Gracie with Coco, Gracie with Bella, etc.  And just generally, most Lab puppies are too big, clumsy, and goofy to play safely with a Chihuahua.

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Hi there. I can only answer you with the knowledge I gained when I was in a position in which I  felt I absolutely had to bring home another animal due to dire circumstances. Because it was a promise I made, I was determined to make it work no matter what, and no matter what I did, it didn't work out.

My household of animals had been living for years in peace and harmony with no issues at all between the animals and no problems for me. the introduction of this other one, who did not fit into the household at all, broke that peace and created chaos. suddenly there were numerous problems and animals who were doing bad things they had never done before.

I was so determined that I stuck it out (and made everyone else stick it out) for three long miserable years. I finally had to re-home the newcomer and once I did, the household returned to peace and equality and happiness, although the extinction of some of the bad habits took another year of careful work on my part.

I now look back and know that I was trying to do the Right thing and the thing I thought that I Had to do, but I was wrong and should have found a different home for that animal after a month or two when things didn't settle down. I truly regret that I put myself, my other animals, and the newcomer as well, through so much when it really was not necessary.

You say that you think you "have to take in this dog and keep her forever". But you don't.  There are always other options. Someone else can take in the dog, or she can go to a lab rescue who will find her a home. You already know that taking in this dog will disrupt your family considerably, cause problems, and that doing so for whatever reason causes Gracie to treat Bella in a disturbing way. If this escalates, your tiny dog could be badly hurt. Knowing this ahead of time, I feel it would be inappropriate for you to take in this dog, and my feeling is that if you do you will have reason to regret it. Find a different way to rescue the lab puppy. Lots of people love labs and would be happy to have her.

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Michael Parkey, D'Elle. Thank you so very much for your input.  Michael, I thought that very thing at first, my husband said that it was Gracie protecting Bella, he still believes that, I WANT to believe that! but what if we are wrong, Bellbell is only 4 pounds, she is such a gentle dog, this chihuahua doesn't bark incessantly, bite, most of the time doesn't want to be bothered, she has been that way her whole life, doesn't play either, weird.  Gracie on the other hand wants to play and is always in your face wanting attention, she wants to be with you constantly, which of course is fine with us.  Gracie is getting cranky, if she doesn't like someone she tries to let them know not to mess with her by lowering her head, going to her cage, she isn't aggressive but when she doesn't want to be messed with and you continue you will get a snap or growl, with us she is loving, her and my husband have a bond I have never seen in dog/humane before. Coco is still a puppy but Gracie puts her in her place, or at least she used to, the dog can out run her and stays away from her snaps, but on a few occasions didn't get away fast enough and learned, well, for a minute anyway, she circles Gracie while running and Gracie is constantly on the defence until finally Gracie just goes where she can't be bothered in the truck or behind me, I keep Coco from her because I know she has had enough. When it comes to our home CoCo isn't allowed in it for the most part, she tries to eat all the dog food and drink all the water, she is allowed only two meals a day from her owner, she is healthy dog, she is allowed treats at bedtime, one! I break that rule.  Coco is in a cage all day and all night, rarely out for exercise and general love or human contact, I hate it for her and always have but I tried to rescue her by going over there an letting her out as often as I could sometimes that number would reach 4 times a day for an hour or longer each time, it became a problem with my husband because we have a company to run. I love that dog so so much and right now she is in a cage, now in the garage, used to be in the house but I don't know what happened, alone, it's horrible, I don't know what to do.  I really believe that my household will like you said D'Elle will be uprooted, its a smooth running place, everyone does their own thing and when Coco comes in it's chaos. Will it stop? Who knows. Do I put them through what you put your's through only to find it doesn't work.  It doesn't work now! can you imagine that beautiful animal over there by herself with no one to love on her, talk to her, it kills my very soul.  I know my husband to, he doesn't like chaos, in fact it's his least favorite thing, peace and quiet, me I can take it until it runs its course. lol.  Still I think I know it won't work. I'm depressing myself.

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Roxadee, I am sorry you are going through this. I truly sympathize.

You have answered your own question, though, and it becomes more and more clear the more you write about this that you cannot bring this dog into your home permanently or even for any longer than you have.

Have you talked to the owner, and been told that they will be willing to give her up? If so, or if they have already given her up you need to find a labrador rescue and take her there. If the owner has not stated a willingness to let her go, there's unlikely to be anything you can do about it because I doubt the owner is breaking any actual laws. But  I am not  really clear from what you say if she is actually at your home being kept this way or at the owner's house.  Either way,  to keep her  in a cage or in the basement, is not doing her or you any favors.  If the owner has not stated a willingness to let her go, you can put a case to him and see if they will let you take the dog to rescue.  But to let her run circles around a tiny dog is unfair to the little dog.  To keep hanging on with this situation is unfair to you because it is so upsetting. If the owner will surrender, take her to a rescue where she will be adopted to someone who can care for her the way she deserves. I typed in "labrador rescue Texas" and came up with four. there are probably more. You know the right thing to do. Stop agonizing and do it. 

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Roxadee, adding my sympathies for your situation. I agree totally with what the others have said. The longer you hold on to the idea that you can 'rescue' Coco the harder it will be to let her go.

If you haven't called the Animal Control authorities in your area, if you have any, start there. Unfortunately, if Coco has shelter, food and water, as D'Elle says, the authorities are likely to leave her there. And, if you're bringing Coco to your home without the owner's knowledge and consent, you could be in legal trouble.

This is a heart-breaking situation, but your first responsibility is to your own family and home. 

Ruth & Gibbs

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Hello there everyone, I'm so sorry I neglected to state that the owner has indeed asked me to take Coco, she works full time and has a relationship with a man who also has a pitbull a very big scary pitbull that is a lovely animal, he is sweet and I adore him as well, he, like Gracie doesn't get along with Coco and although he has never bit her or anyone for that matter they are worried that that will change on a dime. The pitbull (Jax) is around Gracie's age and is not wanting to play chase.  I have met with him and his owner who both say just give Coco time and on the other hand they to agree with the owner that the idea of that isn't practical. We are all in a pickle so to speak, we all love Coco very much and the owner knows my connection with her so she would prefer I take her where I'm sure she can see Coco from time to time, there is also a child involved, a boy, the dog was purchased with him in mind but he really doesn't take care of the dog the boy is around 11 or 12, his Xbox takes precedence.  I keep thinking if I bring the cage here and when my dogs go out she can stay in, then reverse, the cage by the way is big enough to fit a small pony inside, it's everything else though, feeding, sleeping, playing, bonding.  I'm afraid that if I don't take Coco the alternative would be worse, she could go to someone who would be horrible, I keep seeing her eyes and how she was last night when I took her inside her own house, she layed on the couch and was in heaven, it was like, oh yes! I miss this, comfort and contentment was so obvious, I melted.  I wish with all my heart god would give me the answer.  Poor Coco, was a precious animal.  This is a horrible situation.  I would have to have her fixed. Geez what a mess.

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Have you contacted Labrador Rescue?

It is not a mess unless you make it a mess. It is not a horrible situation unless you let it be one. Simply explain to the owner that a rescue is the best way to go and then take her to the nearest one. You are only making yourself miserable second-guessing the whole thing when you already know you cannot in any form of good conscience take the dog into your own home. Let her go where she will have a better place than either the one she is in or your house.

 

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What D'Elle said. Coco's original owner, your neighbor, could have done some of the work of finding a rescue rather than dumping Coco on you and trying to make it y our responsibility. Has she even called the shelters in your area, or asked about rescue? From what you've said, she has not. And the 12 year old is not being taught responsibility, either.

Coco is lucky to have you as a friend. You can call around about rescues or good shelters and give that info to your neighbor. Doing the trading of dogs in and out of crates all day long would be burden on you and your family very quickly.

It is very sad that Coco is being abandoned by her owner. It's not your responsibility to pick up all the pieces and make it all right for them, at the expense of the peace of your own home and animals. 

It's a very difficult situation, and I feel for you. Hoping for the best for Coco.

Ruth & Gibbs

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Urge to herd and D'Elle, your both right, no question about it, your both right.  I will tell her tomorrow that she is going to have to make other arrangements, I will call some rescues as suggested and leave the information with her.  I did bring Coco over tonight, maybe a part of me wanted to see one more time if it could work and I wasn't surprised to find that it of course would not.  I do love her very much, I will miss her a great deal, I have taken care of her for almost a year daily. I know she will find a forever home where she can finally be the center of someone else's world, she deserves so much more than what she is living tonight, alone in a cage in a garage like she was all day and yesterday and so on.... 

Thank you both for caring enough to give me advise, your truly appreciated, I mean that. 

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Roxadee, you are welcome. I know what it is like to feel you are in a quandary, and sometimes it takes eyes of an outsider to see things clearly. I am glad that you are going to see to it that she is put into the right hands to find her a suitable home.

(Just BTW......I have also lived in a situation in which there were dogs who absolutely had to be kept separate at all times. Believe me, it is not something you want to do for any length of time at all. the hassle is ridiculous, and there's always the worry that there will be a slip up, and it's not fair to any of the dogs. Or to the people who had to be diligent and remember the routine at all times. I  was in that situation only because my house burned and I was temporarily homeless, and I wouldn't do it again.)

I have done rescue work, and been a foster home for several years. I truly fell in love with more than one dog I had as a foster dog, and with one in particular it just about broke my heart to let her go to another home. I still think of her. But she was not the right fit to be a companion for the dog I already had, and I knew it was the right thing to let her go. You get over it, when you know the dog is in good hands.  I always put the welfare of the dogs ahead of my desires.

Best of luck with the rescues. I am sure from what you say that Coco will have no trouble finding a great new home.

 

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Confirming D'Elle's and Urge to Herd's excellent advice: Do all you can to get this dog into a rescue - preferably a labrador rescue, but it doesn't have to be a labrador rescue, just a reputable rescue.  NOW is the time to act because it sounds like Coco is still enough of a puppy to be very attractive to potential adopters, and she should be adopted into a home quickly and able to start her new life.

I volunteer for a border collie rescue, and I am heartened by how a dog can blossom in a new home when the match between adopter and pup is right. Check out local/regional rescues to find a reputable one. For example, at the rescue I volunteer for, we ask the potential adopter to fill out an application, then we check their vet reference AND 3 personal references, and we also do an in-person home evaluation, in addition to often a long conversation with the potential adopter to discuss the dog, their lifestyle and daily schedule, and any other topic as appropriate.

After volunteering and fostering for almost 10 years, I am strong believer in rescue (done appropriately). It is a win-win for dog and adopter. It is often the best thing that can happen for the dog.

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