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What should I do with a badly behaved dog?

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Question - (10 March 2018) 7 Answers - (Newest, 10 March 2018)
A female United Kingdom age 30-35, anonymous writes:

I have a bit of a problem and just wanting advice. I have a dog but I have had for 10 years since I was 20 years old I probably been through more with the dog than anyone in my life. he's always been a bit of a problem and recently I am living in a rented house. the landlord knows about him and it's fine but every time me and my partner go to work he does something destructive. We have inspections every 3 months to check for pet damage. he chewed a door frame which I had to buy wood filler and varnish to fix and he also chews up everything within reach so he has to be in the bathroom while we're at work. he has even developed the disgusting habit of eating his own poop and the cat poo and vomiting it. within the first 3 days of Us moving here which might I add is a very nice house he vomited poop all over the carpet and nearly destroyed it. I think sometimes I keep him because I have had him so long that I would feel guilty to give him up. but it's become such a problem. my fiance is not from the UK and Everytime We Go to see his family for a few weeks once a year we need to pay £300 Plus to have someone take care of him. it's a big expense. also before when we couldn't find accommodation that accepted dogs we were homeless because of him. I actually think it sounds completely crazy. honest opinion what would you do? bearing in mind that he is 10 years old which for his breed is very old he is a Staffordshire Bull Terrier

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A female reader, Anonymous 123 Italy + , writes (10 March 2018):

Anonymous 123 agony auntYou have done a lot for the dog OP and I feel it's the frustration talking now. I can only imagine your predicament... You can't live with him, you can't live without him.

OP you have given 10 years of your life to this guy and he doesn't have much time left so just grin and bear the last few years that you have with him. You have obviously taken good care of him for him to have had a long life. The dog is old now and needs you more than ever before. You've done so much, just a bit more. Trust me OP, you won't regret it.

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A female reader, Youcannotbeserious United Kingdom + , writes (10 March 2018):

Youcannotbeserious agony auntIt sounds like you love your dog very much but it also sounds like he is bored and frustrated when you are not around. To put this into perspective, lock yourself in a small room with absolutely NOTHING in it. All you are allowed to do is sit/lie down every day for hours and hours at a time, with no stimulation whatsoever. PLEASE try it just ONCE for a few hours. How long before you are driven to distraction? Imagine how your dog feels, being left like this every day. He is so bored and frustrated, he is destroying things just to have something to do.

You say he destroys things even if you are only gone a short while but he doesn't KNOW you have only gone for an hour. As far as HE is concerned, you have left him AGAIN and he will immediately start stressing. I'm guessing, when you were homeless, you had with him with you all the time? This is possibly where he has grown so dependent on you. He is not being naughty or badly behaved. He is behaving as he does because he is scared that you have left him and frustrated with being alone for hours on end.

I totally get that you have to work and have to leave him. However, you need to make arrangements for him. Someone has already suggested day care (there are loads of day care places springing up all over the UK so there will be one or more near you). If this is out of the question due to cost (still probably cheaper than replacing furniture, etc), what about advertising for someone local to look after him during the day? Some people love dogs but are not in a position to own one. However, they may be happy to look after him during the day while you are at work (and occasionally when you need to pop out). Obviously you would need to pay them but it would probably be cheaper than day care. What about leaving him lots of things to keep him busy, like stuffed kongs? Freezing the contents will slow him down even more and will keep him occupied emptying them and, hopefully, take his mind off your absence. Can you afford to get a good behaviourist in to assess your dog and offer help? If you go this route, please get one who only uses positive reward based training methods. There are some sadists out there masquerading as dog trainers/behaviourists, who will merely traumatise your dog and make him worse.

Ideally he should be desensitised to your leaving over a period of time but I get that this is an immediate problem. Sadly, with dogs (as with all animals) there are no magic instant fixes.

At 10 years of age, he could have a good 5 years or more left in him. I have not long ago lost a much loved 17 year old part bred Staffie myself, whose loss I am still mourning.

I hope some of the above suggestions are worth a try for you. Nobody can fix your dog overnight. In fact, it may not be possible for him to ever be left without getting stressed. All you can do is find a way to manage to situation. It won't be easy but, if you love your dog (as I feel you do), you will find a way that works for you both.

Good luck.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (10 March 2018):

also how dare people judge me saying that people like me are irresponsible for getting bored of them and giving dogs away I have had in for 10 years I am not giving him away I am asking for advice because I cannot risk being homeless again. finding this place with a dog was near impossible.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (10 March 2018):

well I cannot believe the comments on here to be honest I have had him for 10 years I have tried a lot of different things bar putting him on medication. he does get long walks before and after work he also gets a lot of attention. maybe get your facts right before you start calling me an irresponsible dog owner. I wonder how many people would be homeless to keep their dog? we tried crate training but he chewed his way out of the crate and got blood everywhere. so we decided obviously that didn't work. what am I supposed to do quit my job and end up homeless again ? asking for advice that help. the destructiveness doesn't just happen when he's left while we're at work it can be while he's alone for one hour while we go shopping so what am I supposed to not go shopping anymore for food?

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A female reader, Honeypie United States + , writes (10 March 2018):

Honeypie agony auntHe sounds bored.

And I agree with Allumeuse, take him for a good long walk BEFORE going to work and consider kennel/crate training him. While I'm NOT a big fan of dogs being in kennels/crates all day for some, it DOES work AS LONG as they have had some GOOD exercise BEFORE spending 5+ hours in one.

If you can't spend the time taking him for a long walk in the morning before work and one after - I think you need to look into re-homing. Look for a BREED specific rescue.

I also agree, that you are being responsible to let this go and then whine about it. As for the 300 - YES! having a dog isn't cheap!

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (10 March 2018):

Do you have doggy daycare in your country?If you do take him there.He has too much energy and playing with other dogs all day every day will tire him out and then he will be a good dog.No one will take a 10 year old dog as he is so near the end of his life.If you take him to a shelter he will be put down due to his age.When this dog dies please do not get another one because you just cannot take care of one .You do not have the time to tire him out everyday.If you did you would have done it with this dog.Dogs are work you get what you put in since this dog is having problems you have not put in much.Poor dog...it is all on you.

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A male reader, Allumeuse United Kingdom +, writes (10 March 2018):

How long do you leave him at home? Realistically he sounds like he's not badly behaved just starved of attention and stimulation.

Try taking him for a walk before and after work but if he's being left for more than 6 or 7 hours it's just not fair on him.

If you are looking for permission to give this dog up then you should know that you shouldn't have let it get to this- you chose to have the lifestyle that led to this and you should have considered his welfare when making the choices you shouldn't have made. You are the epitome of an irresponsible dog owner who gets rid of them when they no longer suit you. A dog loves you and that love requires sacrifice. Limit yourself to goldfish and hamsters in future and be ashamed of your selfishness.

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