At What Point Is It Appropriate to Say "This Dog Is Just Not a Fit for Our Fam?"

Updated on June 28, 2008
R.C. asks from Albuquerque, NM
4 answers

Let me start by saying that I love animals. I always have. So this is a particularly difficult problem for me. We got our first dog last January when he was just 5 weeks old. He will be two years old in November and is a large breed with lots of fur. And I'm just not sure I can or should keep him anymore.

I'm not even sure if I can explain what the problem is. He's actually a very sweet dog and, as far as two-year-old dogs of his breed (pyrenees) are concerned, he's pretty well-behaved. But he is definitely still a puppy. With a lot of energy, right when I seem to be completely out of my own energy. And a tendency to soak my morning room in urine if I don't come downstairs immediately at 7 and take him out at "first whine."

Frankly, as I describe my problem, I feel irritated with myself because it seems all my fault. He's a beautiful good dog, who for some reason seems to drive me insane just when my patience is at its lowest point (my husband, too, so we are not balancing each other out). We both are at our wit's end, though. Tired of being frustrated at the dog. Tired and confused that we do not enjoy being dog-owners like the other dog-owners we see. Tired and sad that he spends most of his time in his cubby (though he seems perfectly content with that). Tired of dog smell, dog urine, barking, whining, and white dog hair floating through my house and finding it on my work clothes. I know these are small irritations, I really do. Then, of course, there's the immense amount of money that we invest in him between vet visits, grooming costs, boarding during trips, food, toys, etc ($$ that always also seems to be spent right when we have the least to spare).

Maybe we got him at a bad time (my baby was only one year old, my husband and I are both working full time, and now I'm pregnant, so I'm tired a great deal nowadays). Maybe he's the wrong breed or size for our family. (My 2yo has a defensive posture he adopts whenever our dog goes charging, so our dog has obviously barreled into him more than once.) I keep thinking that, maybe, once I'm a stay-at-home mama (starting this fall, before the baby arrives) I will be able to give him more attention and training about around-the-house behavior (so that maybe he'll be calmer... which i guess is what I was really looking for, a calmer gentler dog)...

So anyway... though you may think I'm the most horrible pet-mommy in the world... I really do want your input, in all its honesty. I'm wondering at what point I should decide he's just not the right fit for us? He's been with us 1.5 years and we've spent most of that time frustrated (with him and with ourselves, too). Should I give it more time? Try harder? Or would he just be happier with another family? And if I do place him up for adoption, should I ever consider us eligible to think about another dog someday? I think if we place him with someone else, I will always feel like I failed...(a feeling I confess I am not very used to, as a perfectionist) and I will always think, deep down, that maybe I just shouldn't ever get another dog. Then again, this frustrating experience is not exactly making me want another dog someday... but I figure my kids will probably want a dog someday and I wouldn't want to deprive them of that joy (that other people seem to get from dogs, and I get from cats and babies and just about everything else, sigh).

And do you really think I'm as terrible as I think I am?

What can I do next?

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So What Happened?

Well, after much hand-wringing, crying, talking it out and prayer, my husband and I decided to put our 2yo pyrenees puppy up for adoption at the local Kettering SICSA. Ultimately, we felt we were not giving him the home he deserved and our stress level (with a house on the market, job changes for both of us, moving cross-country, the possibility that an apartment would not allow such a large dog and a baby on the way) was just too high for us to be good parents to him. This was so hard, so sad. We all miss him -- my little boy still gets teary-eyed and says he wants to hug and kiss him again -- but he has found a new family already! The ladies at the SICSA were very loving and kind, they adored and loved on Bean for me, and he found a family with a bigger yard and he has already been on a parade! (Something we could not have done with him...) While we do miss him, we are content with the decision and believe God answered our prayers to put him in a good family. We are also grateful for the little bit of decreased stress at home. Thank you to those who provided input, but especially to the SICSA ladies for being so understanding, loving and kind to a very emotional me and to my sweet dog.

More Answers



answers from Dayton on

When the dog causes you to loose joy in raising your kids then it's time to get rid of him. Your kids are more important and if the dog is stressing you and your husband then I'm sure your kids are picking up on that as well. If your dog is a pure bred you can look into a rescue home for that group. Call your local animal shelter to see if they have any recomendations. If you give your dog to a rescue home he won't be put to sleep. We had to get rid of our Shiba Inu after only having him for a few months (and paying $3000 for him) because he kept attacking my husband and son. Although I loved him and my son hated to see him go, it was best for our family. We were able to find a rescue home for him to go to and so we had no worries that he would be put down if not adopted.



answers from Dayton on

First off let me say this, it's your decision on wheteher or not the dog should stay in your family. But I think so many people get animals (especially dogs)and they are so cute when they are litle puppies, but no longer want the aggravation when they are big puppies. I have to assume you did research on the breed before you bought it so you knew how he would behave. It is very common for larger breeds (I have a lab) to stay in the puppy phase until they are 2. Also dogs cost money. I assume you were aware of that before you bought him too. I have the exact same problem with my lab. It seems he needs to go to the vet only at times I do not have the money for it. He now has skin cancer and just had a surgery at a very difficult time for us. I knew what to expect before I bought him and I can't blame him for basically just being a dog. He sheds all over, he steals food whenever he can, and if he sees something interesting outside he will chase it even if that means I have to get in the car and search surrounding neighborhoods. And yes these things can get on my nerves. But he is just being a dog. I would get rid of my dog if I ever saw him become agressive with anyone. We got out lab when I was pregnant with my first of three kids. Also my first and second are only 19 months apart so I have been in your shoes with a big puppy a 1 yr old and another one on the way.
I really would not keep the dog out of obligation. It isn't the dogs fault and he deserves to be in a home where he is wanted and loved. I will say that if you do get rid of him I would not get another dog. The problems are going to be the same.
I am not trying to be rude at all, but the only people who easily say get rid of the dog and get another whenever you want are people who think it's ok to get and give pets. I think pets become part of your family and YOU CHOOSE THEM! I have a friend who has never kept a pet. She had 2 dogs (at 2 diff. times)that she kept for a few months. ABout a year ago she got akitten then a few weeks later she got another. Well about a month ago she got a puppy and she got another a week ago. Needless to say she is trying to find a home for the 1 yr old cats. They are no longer small and cute and my personal opinion is that she is bored with them. She finds excuses to complain about them and reasons she should get rid of them. I know that as soon as the puppies get to be a little older and they are the same amount of trouble, but not as small and cute she will come up with some reason to get rid of them too. She makes excuses so that in her mind she isn't doing anything wrong. She thinks bc she didn't mistreat the animal its ok. But you buy an animal to become part of your family and not a toy to play with until its boring.



answers from Dayton on

Wow! Does this ever sound familiar? When I got married 20 years ago, I had a cocker spaniel who'd been my "baby" for 7 years. My husband never liked her, but I loved her. When our daughter was born a year later, he demanded that we "get rid of" the dog. It was either him or the dog... for the baby's sake, yada yada. So I gave her to "a nice family" whom I never heard from again. Twelve years later, when my second baby, a son, who had been begging for a dog for several years, turned ten, we adopted another dog--a big one who my husband would also love. Well, shortly after that, my husband left me, with the dog, of course.

Now I'm paying for all of those dog expenses you named and need new furniture, carpet, etc, because of the extra wear and tear. Our dog, Grace, is very well behaved and sweet, but I just don't have time to take care of a dog, walk her, clean up after her... you know. And I don't have the money to put into her care. We've had her 8 years, and my son who begged for her is now leaving to go to college, and Grace is staying.

I've had the same thoughts as you for 8 years, and it would have been so much easier to adopt her out 6 or 7 years ago. I've grown to love her and would really miss her, but am I even being responsible to keep her? Food for my kids? or food for my dog? I've put ads in the paper several times over the past 5 years, but have gotten to takers. My youngest son, who will still be home for 3 years, loves her, too.

So, my opinion? You should probably give the dog away, and not get another one. They never get easier, in my opinion, and I imagine it getting lots worse as they get older and need more health care. Good luck!



answers from Dayton on

I do not know the answer to this question, but know what you are going through--- Santa brought a chocolate lab puppy for our 3 kids last Christmas ;). We had 2 cats (I am such a huge cat person) but had to put them down 1 was 15 and the other 22. I could not have another cat so soon after losing my babies,,, but the kids "needed" a pet or so I heard over and over. Everyone told me that dogs are so good for kids, and they lower BP which I have to add because WHAT? Lower? Not that mine was high but I bet mine has jumped since we have had him! LOL. I do have to admit,, I didn't research about dogs,,, I had some mutts in the 80's when I was growing up,, they weren't much work-haha,,, I loved them. I just knew I wanted a dog that was known to be good with kids. I didn't want a dog that was testy and I'd have to get rid of because it nipped one of my kids. So I looked in the paper and low and behold,,, lab puppies that were ready for Christmas and in our town- PERFECT! So we get this puppy that chewed on us non stop, he chewed and chewed. You couldn't even put your hand down to pet him. He chewed on furniture, shoes, just whatever he could get in his mouth. I wanted a loving dog that you could cuddle with. HAHA. I have to say he was easy to potty train,,, and we have no accidents- but he is 8 months old and 80 pounds (not overweight- but going to be the bigger lab breed so I have since learned about ha)... The chewing has gotten way better thanks to bitter apple,,, but buy him a toy and he has a mission to destruct. He chews it up in 15 minutes. So you can see the stress with 3 kids' toys laying around,,,. I wouldn't get rid of my pup though but not to say I haven't dreamt of it :),, the kids that like him around but don't really want to play with him would be devastated. So my loving pet that I could cuddle with can be best descibed as a deer in a car,, with all legs and jumping around. We have tumbleweed on a daily basis all over our floors (which makes me crazy because I too am a perfectionist) We buy the expensive 40 dollars a bag dog food,,,, he likes to play keep away with things he shouldn't have- nonstop,,, but I do LOVE him. I miss having cats though,,, LOL. I feel like I made the decision/commitment to get him and I need to fulfill it no matter what it takes. That is me though. I hope whatever you choose,,, it goes smooth. Good Luck! And congrats on the new baby on the way.

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