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Is it cruel to separate these dogs?

Posted by newhomeseeker (My Page) on
Wed, May 25, 11 at 15:31

I adopted two dogs from a shelter about 2 months ago. They are rat terriers- one is 4 and one is 2 years old. They were surrended by their owner who had them since they were puppies because- get this- they shed too much!! They were very scared at the shelter and afraid of everyone. I saw them online and even though I haven't had dogs for years (I have six cats though) I went to see them- bad idea. I fell in love with the larger one who is two years old. The minature one (4 years) really didn't take to me at first.

Now two months later they seem to like their new home. they get to sleep on the bed at night and get to go for walks. They LOVE people and don't ever want you out of their sight. I was told they were house trained (they were NOT) and that they were very attached to eachother. THey do play a few times a week but the bigger one seems to boss the little one around alot and the bigger one is very puppy like and jumps on everyone and always wants to lick you in the face. She also chases my cats (I was told they get along fine with cats) which I can't stand.

I know I should give her more time but I have a friend who adores this dog and he has a rat terrier and 2 shelter dogs (all female) and he has expressed interest in adopting my dog if she is too much for me.

I know that part of her problem is she doesn't get a lot of exercise unless it is running around the house. We've had so much rain lately (think one nice day out of a month) that i can't take them for walks as they hate even going outside to use the bathroom in the rain.

the smaller dog (4 years old) seems more attached to people than her "sister". She is always sitting on my lap or anyone's lap that she likes. they both follow me around everywhere. the larger dog is always getting yelled or reprimanded because she is so hyper and I don't like being jumped on and scratched or licked to death. I feel bad for yelling at her so much and trying to correct her. She also urinates and poops in the house and doesn't let me know when she needs to go outside. I can take her outside and twenty minutes later she does her business in the house. This is frustrating and I work 8 hours a day and drive time is an hour so I'm not home much and they are in a crate while I'm at work.

This dog loves my friend who wants to adopt her. WHenever she sees him she throws herself at him and lays on his lap. She does seem to be attached to the smaller dog though. She will groom her and lick her face and they sometimes cuddle on the couch.

I would hate to separate them and I never thought I would be one to give a pet away(I have never given up any of my cats no matter what their problems or habits are) but I'm not sure I can handle this dog and she doesn't deserve to be treated like she is a nuisance. She can be calm and sweet and I give her a lot of attention when she is but when she is hyper bouncing off the walls, scratching everything up, peeing all over the place I get mad at her and avoid her. I also have to correct her all the time (I just take a newspaper and slam it on a table and say "NO" and she runs and hides behind the couch) when she chases my cats.

Should I #1 give the dogs some more time to adjust and maybe I will get used to her?

Should I #2 return them both to the shelter so they may be adopted into a new home together?

#3 give her to my friend who I know would give her a great home but this may cause problems with the other dog as they were raised together for the last two years?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Is it cruel to separate these dogs?

Well, when I first started reading your post and saw that you have 6 cats, my first thought was 'uh-oh'! The breed you've adopted has a natural instinct is to hunt, so thank goodness only one of the dogs is chasing the cats!

Based on what you've written, I'd say you need to let the one dog go to your friend. You couldn't ask for a better pairing since he knows her and what he's getting!
It's obvious you're frustrated, which isn't helping your situation and the fact both dogs need training and more exercise you'll find it easier to train one vs two.

I would recommend you start over with crate training with the dog you keep and sign up for some obedience classes and take her walking in the rain.......if it's not pouring. Just because she doesn't like to go out in the rain to pee doesn't mean you can't walk her in a light sprinkle/shower. Buy her a raincoat and head out!

Don't feel guilty separating them. I've had dogs that ended up doing much better as single pets (when older ones past away). Another example is DIL owned 3 Min Pins and two of them always bossed the smaller one around. After both of the bullies died, the smaller dog ended up being much calmer and his personality just bloomed!

The question is: do you really want the remaining dog and are you ready to work on training and exercise?

Here is a link that might be useful: Rat Terriers


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RE: Is it cruel to separate these dogs?

If a dog is driving you crazy enough that you are responding to it by yelling at it and correcting it, instead of investing the time to actively teach it what you want, then give the dog away.
Dogs respond best to people when they are instructed what TO DO, not just told what NOT TO DO.


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RE: Is it cruel to separate these dogs?

I had a guilt trip lain on me when I adopted our little Italian greyhound/JRT mix at the shelter. One of the attendents suggested I also adopt his brother since they were raised together. I knew exactly what I wanted, and how many I wanted and visited daily for a week to be sure it would be a good match.

The one I took home was very underweight, and his sibling was obese. I suspected that there was a dominant dog in this pair and the one I wanted wasn't it. I stuck to my guns and took just one and if there was any angst on his part about losing his mate it is long forgotten. This dog is now a proper weight, gets undivided attention and has been a joy to train and teach being an 'only child' with two doting adults.

Ain't nobody happy unless mama is happy and you sound pretty stressed by now. Some shelters make you sign papers that dogs will be returned ONLY to them, so if you are considering giving one away to an appropriate home make sure you aren't breaking a contract.


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RE: Is it cruel to separate these dogs?

I agree with the others ... let your friend adopt the one.

It doesn't sound to me like they are really that attached. My 2 dogs play constantly, lay butt to butt, sleep next to each other, always need to know where the other one is ...

The one you keep will get over it, and might even be a little relieved to get ALL the attention!


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RE: Is it cruel to separate these dogs?

You are such a wonderful caring person! I think you should give this dog to your friend on a "trial basis". Maybe several dogs in the house will keep the hyper dog busy enough and maybe also help potty train it. Your smaller dog may be very happy to have you all to itself and I am SURE the cats will be much happier. You are not failing the dog if you have found it a good home!


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RE: Is it cruel to separate these dogs?

Nothing is going to change if you aren't willing to invest any time in working with these dogs. None of the behaviors you've mentioned will be resolved by 'yelling' at them. If your friend is willing to take one of them, perhaps he will be willing to train the dog and give it a better chance. Wonderful dogs end up in pounds, but they need owners who are willing to bring out the best in them with structure, exercise, training, and predictability. I'm amazed you haven't had growling or biting issues if you are yelling at them when you don't like what they do. Dogs need basics. If you can't commit to working with your dog, and providing exercise and structure, consider returning or rehoming both.


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RE: Is it cruel to separate these dogs?

Of course cynthia's point is valid, in that most dogs can begin to fit into a family, but and especially so, rescues sometimes have baggage and require some 'untraining' before you can go forth and bring out the best in them. My eyebrows raised immediately when you said you took home two ratties. I am a terrier person from way back, and they are for the most part extraordinarily intelligent dogs but terriers are hardwired for a certain type of personality and can give you a run for your money if you do not enjoy an active, curious, assertive animal. Did you consider their personalities before you adopted? Another breed might have been a better fit for your lifestyle.


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RE: Is it cruel to separate these dogs?

I feel that when you take on new dogs and especially older dogs you have to have a commitment to deal with the baggage that they bring as well. All of the older dogs I have taken in over the years all had issues and behaviour problems (which is why I ended up with them) and it does take time to work through it with retraining and banging a newspaper and using negative reinforcement won't work, training involves teaching the dog what you want from them and praising and rewarding them for it. for example, with toilet training you take the dog out and wait until they go to the toilet and praise them, taking them out and bringing them back in before they go doesn't teach them anything because they don't understand the point of going out.

Honestly, this dog needs someone who has the time and motivation to work with it, so be sure your friend is prepared to do that and knows what he is getting into otherwise this dog is just going to get bounced around, if you aren't 100% sure your friend can do this then return the dog to the shelter and let them rehome it.


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RE: Is it cruel to separate these dogs?

I discussed my lifestyle with the people at the shelter before I decided to take the dogs home. They assured me the dogs were housebroken (and at 2 and 4 years old I would think they would be) I also told them that I am gone about ten hours a day M-F for work. I informed them how many cats I had and they said the dogs did not chase cats. I did some research on rat terriers online too before i brought them home. I didn't pick the breed on purpose, it was their story that compelled me to adopt them, not what breed they are. I feel terrible that I really don't have enough time and patience to teach the younger hyper dog much. They are very smart in other ways and they just want to be around people 24/7. I let them sleep on my bed and even if I slept 12 hours straight they would sleep there the whole time and not budge. As for toilet training, I do take them out and praise them when they do their businesses but sometimes they do everything and then ten minutes later they come in and pee or poop on the floor. Or I can have them out walking around for 15 minutes and they won't go and I assume they don't have to and one of them will come in and make a mess on the floor. I don't undertand it.


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RE: Is it cruel to separate these dogs?

You've learned the hard way that shelters don't always know the breed they're dealing with. Apparently they just repeated to you what they were told by the previous owners and some people who have to surrender dogs will say anything in order to make the dogs look like perfect pets.
Since these dogs were not in foster homes, the shelter should have never said they didn't chase cats and were house broken.

Regarding the term house broken: it doesn't mean that a dog that was house broken in the previous owners home is going to enter a new home and know exactly what to do. Dogs have to learn the routine of the new household, become bonded with the new owner, and the owner has to learn how often the pet needs to go out to empty it's bladder/bowels. That's why I said you need to start over with crate training, but since you're gone so many hours that's going to be difficult.

Your dogs could have a bladder infection which is causing the frequent urination, but it's also possible they just aren't staying outside long enough to finish peeing & pooping. My guess is that after being in a crate for up to 10 hours, they're spending their time sniffing and checking out interesting odors. Just putting them outside does not guarantee they're doing their business so you need to stay with them and work on training them to go on command....... better still.......take them for a long walk. All this will be easier with one dog, but as everyone has said, you've got to want to put in the time and effort that it's going to take.

You need to gain their trust but right now your frustration just adds to their confusion of what to expect. You've got to change your whole approach if you want to see results.
If you return them to the shelter, be sure to give the staff an honest evaluation. That way the shelter will have a better assessment of the dogs for the next home.
My guess is they were turned in for the very behaviors you're seeing......not enough training and little knowledge of the breed.


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RE: Is it cruel to separate these dogs?

Terrier = high energy, high prey drive. That's why they are nicknamed "terrors". Terriers are NOT lapdog material without lots of exercise and training. Rat terriors were bred to hunt and kill rats around the barn/homestead. Of course they chase cats. Of course they're hyper. It's what they are bred to behave like. You can't trust a shelter to be informed about the dogs you consider for adoption. You need to do your own research.

You have a lifestyle issue here. You have the wrong category of dog for your sedentary lifestyle. Unless you are willing to do WORK with the dog with 2x daily walks plus obediance training, you are not a candidate for a terrier, and both you and the dogs will be unhappy.


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RE: Is it cruel to separate these dogs?

You did everything you needed to do in informing the shelter of your schedule and this is not the first time I have heard of shelters being irresponsible. In my area 99% of the time they tell a prospective adopting person that the dog they are wanting is a lab mix not a pitt bull mix. It is a disservice to the general public and highly irresponsible - however shelters are absolutely innundated with dogs and they need to house them - most of them will say anything to someone interested in a dog just to make room. So this situation is not entirely your fault. It is good you are recognizing the dogs are not getting what they really need.
In your reply you wrote you would take the dogs out for 15 minutes and they would nto do anything. It might help to think about your schedule - once you leave your home, how many times during the day do you visit the bathroom? Get up and walk around? Interact in another environment? Your dogs dont get to do any of these things, after sleeping all night long they get let out for a couple of minutes, fed and left for another 8 to 10 hours - not much of a life if you ask me!!
Most dogs need to have a good leash walk of 30 to 45 minutes at least twice a day, once in the morning, once when you get home from work. Not 15 minutes. Leash walking is terribly important to the relationship between a dog and an owner. Leash walking a dog, having it by your side, not letting it pull you, not letting it sniff every blade of grass give the dog a good work out and helps with bathroom duties.
So, give the dog to your friend, and interact a bit more for the remaining dog. Dogs need stimulation just like people do and the more you can interact as an owner - teaching your dog stupid pet tricks, making your dog wait before going out or in a doorway, not letting your dog jump on furniture unless invited etc...dogs, much like young kids thrive with direction in their lives. Good luck


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RE: Is it cruel to separate these dogs?

NHS, the best way to tell if they would mind being apart would be to send the one home with your friend for a trial separation to see what would happen. Chances are the dog you keep wont mind if its being dominated by the other one, and the other one may benefit being part of a pack to learn how to behave properly.

Don't let anyone make you feel bad if you end up rehoming the dog or even returning it to the shelter. You can't tell everything about a dog in the short visit you make at a shelter so there is always a chance that its not a 'match' when you take a dog home. If you honestly think that you don't have the desire or the patience to give this dog more time to fit in then you probably should either re-home it or return it. The dog will not benefit from the stress of always being in trouble. If you can give the dog to your friend and know it will be taken care of properly, and you wouldn't be violating any adoption contract then by all means let it go for a trial visit with your friend.


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RE: Is it cruel to separate these dogs?

I also had bad information from a shelter on a dog ... I ended up taking him back after he had my 6 lb 13 year old cat in his mouth and wouldn't let her go. And this was supposedly a "cat friendly" dog. I cried when I handed him back over, we had bonded, but I had to be responsible for the safety of my cats.

He also was food aggressive, which they didn't know.

I was also criticized on this forum by probably some of the same people who are criticizing you, about working with him and keeping him. I did not, and do not, have the time or patience or desire to work with a dog in what could end up to be an unsafe environment for one of my other pets.

I found a wonderful dog to adopt a couple of months later. He loves my female dog and all my cats. He fits right in and is part of my family.

You do what you need to do. Period. It IS your life and lifestyle.


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