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Old 15.06.2015, 13:02
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Dog rehoming

I'm posting there with some trepidation but here goes...
Does anyone know if there are agencies or organisations here that specialise in rehoming rather more complex dogs?

Following a couple of recent incidents with visiting children and in the light of a long history of fear based territorial aggression it is likely that we will be looking for a new home for our dog. He's great, but our family set up is not helping him or us to have a full stress free life together. I am fearful that eventually our management of his behaviour will not be sufficient and someone, probably a small person, will get bitten.

I have spoken at length with the professional dog handler from the Basel tierheim and I know that I can go to them, but I also want to investigate the possibility of finding someone privately. He'd do best with someone who doesn't have a lot of people coming and going to the house, someone calm with experience of dogs, but I don't personally know of anyone like that. I'm kind of hoping that there's some sort of organisation that can help me find the right place for my dog so we can be sure that he, and his new owners, will be happy and secure.

Any info is gratefully received but please don't tell me that ' a dog is for life' or suggest that I wouldn't have a child adopted if it was being naughty. The issue we have is a difficult one to handle and ultimately is to do with the safety of my childrens' friends who visit. I also wish I'd faced up to this sooner and not been put off finding him a new home through guilt at abandoning my pet.
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Old 15.06.2015, 13:08
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Re: Dog rehoming

I think that you are being very responsible. I can't imagine that anyone will say that a dog is for life etc to you , it must be heartbreaking for you to make this decision. I always tell my children that dogs, cats etc are animals and they can't speak so they will be bark then bite if they are unhappy or unable to control a situation any other way.

You are actually saving a child from a potential bite and then your dog being put down.

I applaud your actions.
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Old 15.06.2015, 13:25
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Re: Dog rehoming

What breed is he?

I can't help I'm afraid, my hands are full.
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Old 15.06.2015, 13:34
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Re: Dog rehoming

Thanks wizwozz. He's great with my children, just very unpredictable when friends call round and it is this unpredictability that is difficult to manage (and confusing for visitors).

Fish Paste, he's an Appenzeller Mischling. The mother was pretty much Appenzeller but the father is unknown - mother ended up in the tierheim and the pups were born there.
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Old 15.06.2015, 14:00
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Re: Dog rehoming

Terramundi, in the case of a dog who has shown aggression I would urge you to consider help from the Tierheim rather than trying to rehome privately.

Is the Tierheim you have been in contact with TBB? If so I would go with them. They have a good reputation. They would fairly assess your dog, assess potential adopters, and would be able to support the new owner with continued training.

In the case of private rehoming you would have to do the assessment - do you feel up to the task? Are you able to handle the legalities - especially wrt to Basel's dog control law - that you have in rehoming a dog who has shown aggression? What if the private rehoming does not work and the adopters demand that you take the dog back - are a you able to do that? Do you understand your liabilities in undertaking a private rehoming?

Private rehoming can work well, but it can also be a minefield. In the case of a dog who has behavior issues rehoming through a reputable rescue organization is often the better way to go - for the sake of the dog as well as for you. Private rehoming 'bounce backs' all too often end up as statistics.

It's important to be realistic when rehoming a dog with behavior issues. To be blunt - folks in Switzerland who are willing to take on a dog with 'baggage' and who have the appropriate accomodation and family situation, are few and far between. It is critical that the dog end up in the right hands. A second failed rehoming might be a death sentence.

It is also important to understand that many dogs with behavior issues do not get that second chance. It's the cold hard reality of the situation.

If you go with the Tierheim, please consider making a donation towards the dog's care. A dog with behavior issues might take quite some time to rehome, and many organizations are already struggling with funding.

I hope that a solution can be found for your dog.
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Old 15.06.2015, 14:15
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Re: Dog rehoming

terrmundi, is there anything in your contract with the shelter that says you must return the dog to them if there are any problems? With the Fribourg SPA for example the animal is "on loan" to you for life, but the SPA still has a say in any major decisions regarding the animal. I'm thinking that you may not be able to look for someone privately if that's the case.
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Old 15.06.2015, 14:53
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Re: Dog rehoming

Thanks very much Meloncollie and Medea. As far as I know there is no obligation for me to return him to the Basel tierheim (it is the TBB and he came from there) but I will double check. They would be my first people to contact. It just kind of kills me to think of him sitting in the tierheim as a 'sorgen kinder' kind of dog, pining away. I had assumed that here in Switzerland dogs were not euthanised if they were in a tierheim - is that not the case (or do you mean melanchollie that if he went to a 'wrong' second home and bit someone then he would be put down then?). Is it really possible that he won't find another home with the help of the tierheim and their network?
I am worried about the implications of private rehoming which was why I thought that there might be agencies that can help - but I guess the nearest thing is the tierheim and their contacts.

He's not aggressive per se, it's a defensive response only on our territory -barking at visitors and warning us when someone is there (typical behaviour is fence rushing, barking at other dogs passing our home, unsettled with visitors and suspicious of strangers). Outside of 'his territory' he's a quiet and well behaved, a bit fearful of other dogs and can give a warning growl if he doesn't want to play and never goes far from me. Honestly, if people rarely came and visited us and we didn't have children coming and going he'd be perfect - smart, obedient (when not over ridden by his instincts) loyal, and definately keeps the burglars at bay. Thing is, we aren't that type of family so it's just not a good mix. There's an element of inconsistency in our behaviour too which isn't helpful but which is sadly our character and personality.

Of course, if I asked for the tierheim's help to re-home my dog I would offer financial support - I always have given to the TBB because I think they do some great work and my dog and cat always go on their holidays there and I think they are great.

Last edited by terramundi; 15.06.2015 at 15:07.
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Old 15.06.2015, 15:08
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Re: Dog rehoming

My heart goes out to you and your pup Terramundi. I think Meloncollie has offerred sound advice, and the TBB is the best place to entrust your pup to. I sincerely hope that all ends well for you both. I have been in this position also, so I know what you are going through.

Good luck to you both
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Old 15.06.2015, 15:46
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Re: Dog rehoming

Have you thought about working with a dog behaviourist with him? They may have some insight on steps you could take to calm down his aggression in situations that are stressful for him.
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Old 15.06.2015, 15:59
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Re: Dog rehoming

Yes, I did work with a behaviourist for quite a few private session and we have worked a lot since then with the dog implementing his advice. We have tried to modify the behaviour (working against nature but we've had some success) and managed the situation (putting him away in his own room if lots of people are coming, keeping external doors shut, putting in a fence at huge cost and making the gate self shutting, managing when people come that he is calm etc.) It has been quite hard work but do-able and he has, until recently, never exhibited behaviour that I thought was dangerous. But now, we have had two incidences where he has unpredictably run at and jumped up at children. The manner in which he did this made me realise that since my daughter is growing older and bringing friends home spontaneously there is a good chance that the dog will react negatively to them at some point. I just can't risk some child getting bitten or equally so scared that they become fearful of dogs. Not here in Switzerland. Fortunately the two girls were from British families so kind of forgave him, not sure that would have been the case if it was a Swiss family.
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Old 15.06.2015, 16:16
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Re: Dog rehoming

Terramundi, do check your adoption contract says about rehoming. Now it must be stressed that each organization works to it's own policies, one cannot make assumptions - but for all the dogs I have adopted within Switzerland the adoption contracts have had this clause.

From my own volunteer work: the organization I volunteer will enforce the clause. If one of their dogs is subsequently passed on to a third party the organization has in the past gone to court against adopters who broke the contract. (But again, each organization has it's own policies.)

It's critical to clarify this, as only the legal owner of the dog can pass ownership on. Where the rescue retains legal ownership, if a dog is passed on in violation of a contract the person who next takes the dog cannot register him in Switzerland. The legal owner will be informed when an attempt is made to register..

One clue - how are you listed in the ANIS database, as the Besitzer, or Halter? If Halter, then the rescue you adopted him from almost certainly remains the legal owner of the dog.

But even if you are the Besitzer you still might be bound by a third party rehoming clause. So check your contract carefully!
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Old 15.06.2015, 16:30
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Re: Dog rehoming

If you have been working with a TBB behaviorist the I would strongly advise seeking their help in rehoming. They already know your dog, know his strengths and weaknesses, and have seen how placement in a family situation such as yours has proved to be problematic. This is experience and knowledge that will be invaluable in helping your dog find the right kind of home. Anyone else will be starting from square one, the folks who already know him are better placed to help him.

I understand your concerns about him going back to kennels. But a stay in kennels, where he is safe and not put into a situation he cannot handle, where the staff might be able to continue working with him, might be a better alternative to the current situation (assuming you cannot continue to manage him safely) or to an unknown situation.

In your shoes I would ask for a meeting with the behaviorist and the shelter rehoming manager. Speak frankly - and I do mean frankly - about your dog's issues and about their thoughts on how difficult (or easy, hopefully) it would be to find him a more appropriate home.

And again, remember that each organization has it's own policies.

Again, wishing you and your dog all the best.
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Old 15.06.2015, 16:34
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Re: Dog rehoming

Out of interest, and to perhaps add more information to the underlying problem, it could be useful to provide a timeline of events - for example:
- Who came first? Children? Dog?
- Has the dog always exhibited strong defence urges?
- How as the dog from the start with the children?
- Did you raise the dog from a puppy?
- What is the dog's age?

It may well be that simple changes in the family's behaviour in how visitors are introduced to the home may actually alleviate the problem and allow you to keep the dog.
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Old 15.06.2015, 16:35
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Re: Dog rehoming

According to the paper from ANIS I am the Aktueller Tierhalter, Detenteur actual. and there's a bit that says Plaziert durch Tierschutz Beider Basel. I don't have the contract I signed with the tierheim, I can't really remember getting one ut I probably did? I have all the SKN certificats for the courses I did at the tierheim though. I'll give them a call, or drop by and ask them about this.

I don't really care how the dog gets a new home so long as he gets a home that is right for him - if he needs to go back to the TBB for that to happen then that's fine by me - I have no preference , I just need to make sure that he finds the right people for him.

I have spoken to my parents in law about taking him - they are active retired, no kids (obviously), another soft old dog that my dog has spent time with before with no problem. They like my dog, it might be a solution if the TBB agrees to it (if they need to do that).
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Old 15.06.2015, 16:47
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Re: Dog rehoming

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If you have been working with a TBB behaviorist the I would strongly advise seeking their help in rehoming.
The behaviourist was one I saw recommended here actually, Buzz Cecil (auf den hundgekommen?) but he doesn't work with the tierheim. I chose him because he is English speaking and Meloncollie praised him! I saw the TBB guy last week because I knew I would probably need to work with the tierheim to find a solution for my dog, so he seemed to be a logical choice and who would know the system and be able to advise me from a 'Swiss regulation/attitude point of view). I have been very frank with him although German is not my strongest language so some meaning gets lost.

Dodgyken, I can answer those questions- kids were first, got the dog because my eldest two will be leaving the home soon and wanted the trailing third child to have a companion. Yes the dog has always been defensive, but has also had some bad experiences with another dog coming onto our property when he was quite young and with other dogs in general (I had a thread here about it). Dog is great with my kids, not so happy with anyone who comes to the house (does the barking thing, gets directed to his basket, is allowed to have a good sniff round and is then more or less OK, kind of). Will get suddenly barky if children are running around or squealing. I got him at 12 weeks from the TBB, he's almost 4.

We've done quite a lot of work with him and I do try and get everyone to behave in a way that accommodates the dog. We have changed our lives and habits quite a bit since getting him, I dislike having impromptu visitors because of the dog, and when I have people in the house I'm a bit on edge, which is really not terribly compatible with an active family life.

Last edited by terramundi; 15.06.2015 at 17:05.
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Old 15.06.2015, 16:51
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Re: Dog rehoming

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Will get suddenly barky if children are running around or squealing. I got him at 12 weeks from the TBB, he's almost 4. ,
Is the bahaviour directly aggressive? Or mimicing?
How did the dog behave when your own children run around etc?

It may well be that through minor adjustments to the families bahaviour the dog can stay with you.
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Old 15.06.2015, 17:13
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Re: Dog rehoming

Thanks again Dodgyken, but really, I know that we will not be able to change sufficiently to make the dog behave in a way that I will be really comfortable with him around other people's kids.
I don't think we're capable of changing in any other way to make things better.

To answer your questions, yes he was directly aggressive - ran up to a stationary child, jumped up woofing in a very unpleasant way, scared the child a lot. He did this again with another child in almost the same circumstances. I don't really understand what you mean by mimicking.

I honestly don't want this thread to go down the route of 'what can you do to make it all OK' because I have tried many different things and we have changed stuff and honestly our family situation and our personalities combined with the dogs' character mean that we are not going to make it all OK.
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Old 15.06.2015, 18:07
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Re: Dog rehoming

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He's not aggressive per se, it's a defensive response only on our territory -barking at visitors and warning us when someone is there (typical behaviour is fence rushing, barking at other dogs passing our home, unsettled with visitors and suspicious of strangers). Outside of 'his territory' he's a quiet and well behaved, a bit fearful of other dogs and can give a warning growl if he doesn't want to play and never goes far from me. Honestly, if people rarely came and visited us and we didn't have children coming and going he'd be perfect - smart, obedient (when not over ridden by his instincts) loyal, and definately keeps the burglars at bay. Thing is, we aren't that type of family so it's just not a good mix. There's an element of inconsistency in our behaviour too which isn't helpful but which is sadly our character and personality.

Some of these characteristics could describe our eldest dog, Hana, who is now 14 1/2. We adopted her when she was 4. My point is that our lifestyle and environment were the right fit for her. Your dog is young and I think you are wise to give him a chance for a new home. It is a tough decision but I think it is the right one. I would also suggest you go through the Tierheim in Basel. I know many who have adopted dogs from a Tierheim rather than from a private person.
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Old 15.06.2015, 21:30
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Re: Dog rehoming

There are some good links on this site, that might be able to offer some suggestions - or perhaps a tierheim that can take the dog for you.
http://www.animal-happyend.ch/linkliste.html
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Old 15.06.2015, 21:41
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Re: Dog rehoming

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There are some good links on this site, that might be able to offer some suggestions - or perhaps a tierheim that can take the dog for you.
http://www.animal-happyend.ch/linkliste.html
Another very good organization.

But just to stress again, Terramundi must first clarify with TBB whether or not she is the legal owner of the dog, not just the Halter, and whether or not the adoption contract stipulates that the dog must be returned to them.

Please, do not contact any other organization until the question of ownership - and thus the legal right to pass ownership on to another party - is clarified.


(FYI, I just looked at my entry in ANIS. For my dogs whose legal owner remains the rescue I am listed as Halter/Deteneur. For those who legally belong to me I am listed as Besitzer/ Propriétaire. Have you looked at your online account, Terramundi?)
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