questionscan i bring a shelter dog back?


You need to consult a trainer that deals with behavioral issues. Shock collars are not the way to go with this type of problem. Pain will only make the dog more aggressive. If I may ask, why did you pick this dog instead of one more suited to your particular situation? Lots of issues to deal with here.


First and most important: you have a seriously crappy, rotten shelter if their advice is to increase the shocks on a collar. Very few reputable places ever recommend a shock collar. Ever. Don't do it!

You have a dog that should be adopted only by someone who is experienced in handling and healing an abused dog and who is prepared to take on the task. Either the shelter was seriously less than honest with you or you over-estimated your ability to work with this dog. I suspect it was the former, which is not at all unusual, especially for under-funded, over-loaded no-kill shelters. Either way, this is the wrong dog for you.

Of course you can take the dog back, but that's not helpful to the dog. Is there another shelter or rescue group you can contact? If not, do a google search for "humane society" followed by your city, county, or state name. Call around. Explain exactly the situation, and for suggestions and referrals. Give us a city or county name, and I'll help search.


@magic cave: I sort of feel like this is one of those rep building questions. They've really hit all the high notes for problems that I used to see all the time when I worked in a shelter. We generally didn't see all of them in one person though. We're only missing a couple like food aggression and digging holes in the furniture/yard/walls. Biting kids or excessive chewing/barking are some more good ones. I wouldn't think deals.woot would be at the top of my list for dog problems. Torn between wanting to help and being cynical...


I really understand this issue, I have experienced the same problem with a dog I adopted from the "Pound".

My dog, Sheldon, was abused for many years, then when he got a new home, he didn't know how to react.

Should he be playful, or should he protect?

He still has "stranger danger", but I love my dog


Yikes!! There is so much wrong with this post I wonder about it's legitimacy. The OP asks if the dog can be returned, and the answer is yes, it should be.This dog should not be in this environment. A 60+ pound dog in a condo with a 60+ year old non dog-savvy owner is a disaster in the making. Place the dog with someone else or return it to the folks from which it came - immediately. I am a veterinarian and deal with difficult animals all the time. You are not equipped to do so and should extricate yourself from the situation.


Why on earth would you bring home an animal you were not equipped to care for? I'm going to guess you didn't realize what you were in for. Next pet - look for med dog/low energy.

If the "shelter" really did send him home with a shock collar, I'm afraid for every animal that goes through there. Aggression issues require patience, time, and TRUST.

Imagine this, if you will - every time you get scared, or angry and show it, someone zaps you with a taser. You may eventually learn to not show your fear/anger - but that doesn't mean it just stops being there. If you don't address the aggression issue at its core, this dog will do what he has to do to feel safe, that may include biting.

I want to tell you to take the dog back, but I'm not a fan of a shelter that recommends shock collars for aggression issues.

What state are you in? What breed is the dog? Perhaps there is a rescue group that could get involved?

(ETA: I should have read Magic Cave's answer, she's on the same page.)


@zuiquan: This is a fantastic place to get some solid pet advice. Most here are animal enthusiasts, if not shelter/rescue volunteers outright. I think answering is best, because if this is a genuine question, all involved need whatever help they can get.

Even if this is a fake question, what do you lose by being helpful?


@zuiquan: I am in complete agreement with you, since my first thought was why would a total stranger come here to ask such a peculiar question that requires personal/localized information to answer?

That said, it took only a few moments to write an answer on the off chance (VERY off chance) it's legitimate.


@thumperchick: "This is a fantastic place to get some solid pet advice."

For you and me and @zuiquan it is, especially since we know @nortonsark hangs out here. BUT the OP is a stone newbie to deals.woot (unless, as well may be the case, she's just another sock for someone stirring the pot) who'd have no idea at all who posts here.

The Spouse says my personality is split between having a heart as soft as pudding and a brain as suspicious and cynical as a cop's. The "total stranger with disconnected question" scenario nearly always leaves with a strong sense of fake/troll.


@magic cave: It doesn't matter to me if it's a fake though. Approaching things and people, even "strangers" with an open mind makes more sense to me than starting out cynical or mistrustful.
Like I said before, what do you really lose by just answering? Nothing.
Even if OP is fly by night or trolling, etc. your answers here are helpful, informative, backed with years of varied experiences and insights - and they might just help someone else, someone who wouldn't ask - maybe for fear of being accused of being a troll, because they're a stone cold newbie. So, why not just answer and leave the other part to the wind? I guess I'm saying that I don't understand what the cynicism gains you.


I don't disagree with the cynicism of @zuiquan or @magic cave but I'm with @thumperchick all the way on this one. There's a couple of possibilities as to why the question was asked here, and I point out (before going on at length, which you know I'm about to do) that I often see signs that the "new" account created seems to be someone that's already got an account, but doesn't want to ask the question with it.

I don't really think of this one as reputation related. It doesn't have any sign that the person is about to post a product, or anything in the shill arena. I'm willing to bet that @lorettagar's first name really is Loretta, and it honestly doesn't matter to me whether this situation is real, or not. I've seen it happen before, and if it isn't real this time it still deserves the answers (and there have been some very good ones).

Shock collars are EVIL.



It's Friday afternoon. Everyone find a nice comfy chair, somewhere, and cuddle up with whatever fills you with joy. Personally, I'm about to curl up with some books, and later on, I might even make some mulled wine (it's COLD outside).

If this was a physical room, I would hug @nortonsark (everyone's favorite deals dot woot veterinarian), and give him some nice warm cookies fresh from the oven. Be nice to each other.

Pretty please.


@shrdlu: I'm being nice. I think I'm going to have a rare glass of wine (not mulled; it's still 81 here), and go back to the mystery book I bought at Amazon yesterday. And cuddle with my elderly little poodle, who follows me around the house as if he were velcro'd to my ankle.


@thumperchick: It's okay that you don't understand what cynicism gets me; I don't understand why it's an issue for you, since I answered the OP's question to the best of my ability.

Cynicism -- or perhaps more appropriately "skepticism" -- is a valuable personality trait when used judiciously. Some things in Life just don't sound/feel right: they don't hang together properly, the details don't quite fit, the story doesn't match the affect of the teller, etc.

I've spent several years participating in a very small mail-list of dog fanciers spread across three continents and four countries. We have a retired professional breeder/trainer, two professional breeders, and a handful of amateurs who might as well be professionals. Most work with or have worked with a lot of rescue groups and no-kill shelters. I've never heard of any rescue or shelter that would advise a woman who lives in a condo to take a 65 lb. dog with a history of abuse and failed placements.



[cont'd] But let's assume some shelter did exactly that; they were desperate for a home, or maybe she fudged her ability to love the dog into good behavior.

Does it really sound likely that the shelter would then not only give her a shock collar to control the dog but also would then tell her to crank it up higher to force the dog into better behavior? That doesn't set off sixteen different alarm bells for you that something isn't right about the story?

Nevertheless, I treated her question as totally legit and answered it fully, offering to provide more help if she'd provide more info. Heaven knows, weirder stories have proven true. Still, when those old alarm bells right, I know to listen to them; they're seldom wrong.

As to what cynicism/skepticism gets me? It keeps me from replying to offers of USD $2mil to help the widow of the premier of some African country smuggle USD $22 mil out of the country, and it keeps me from wasting time on never-ending tales of woe from a stranger.


@magic cave: " I don't understand why it's an issue for you, since I answered the OP's question to the best of my ability."
Because you replied to that one specific piece of everything I said, so I took the opportunity to alleviate my confusion. If you would note, I absolutely acknowledged how helpful your answers were.

Now I'm off to go track down that Nigerian prince who I trusted with my bank account number...


@magic cave: Before you run off, I have to say that (and it brings tears to my eyes to say it, and you KNOW that's not easy) I've seen bloody horrors from some shelters, in some areas. I've seen things recommended to control or "train" animals that made me try (sometimes successfully) to have the place shut down. I'm not much of a softie, but I know that it's possible that the details in the story are true.

Give your poodle a hug from me (gently, of course). XXOO


Sometimes someone adopts a dog out of their realm b/c it is a special breed and they really wanted the pretty dog.
The shelter really wanted someone to take a problem dog off their hands and fudged.
That said, If a dog is a true biter ( as in aggressive , not just play nips and /or inappropriate expression of feelings/wants/needs by nipping ) Shelter will put it down. Even no kill shelters.
A family member bought a purebred dog {they were looking for this particular breed } from a breeder who said it was already field trained and he was going to breed it , but decided not to and so would sell it at a discount ( un-neutered )
Family member heard what they wanted and was ok w/ getting it fixed, etc.. because of the discounted price of this trained dog.
Dog at home cowed, and shook. Had obviously been abused. He got it fixed, etc... and was taking very good care of dog.
Dog still, of course had issues. One day out of the blue in the yard, charged another family member


pg 2
I was there -- no provocation at all. Anyways charged and bit. From then on became territory aggressive. Was scary to neighbors and anyone except adopter. {who went into denial for awhile} I talked to shelter for them. They said b/c it bit they would have to put down. They are no kill, except for health or severe behavior { and these folks take all the big dogs or scary breeds to a special training/ eval place}
They suggested a trainer or breed rescue.
Called breed rescue. They did an eval and thought they could work w/ issues. They asked person to fudge on the turn in papers on reason for giving up. { There were some other issues that made working intensely w/ trainer and this dog impossible}
They kept in touch with the rescue and they worked with it, decided it needed to be only pet w/ breed and behavior experienced folk. Eventually rehomed when they rehabbed it "enough" for the right folks.

I share this for couple reasons.


pg 3.

1. all sorts of things happen at different shelters. Some will do and say anything to avoid putting a problem dog down or putting training/rehab into the animal. Other groups will take such animals and work to turn them around.

Returning to the shelter it came from would be my very last extremely desperate choice only. If they adopted out a dog 3 times b/c of behavior and did not rehab they will either put it down or pass it on. They aren't problem solvers. And don't get me started on the using shock collars.
I would either commit to a trainer and/or animal behavior specialist ( Cornell has an excellent long distance consult animal behaviorist btw) and work w/ the dog. OR find a rescue group that will work with the dog. If it is a certain breed that would be the first direction to look. ( or enough of a mix of a certain breed , even if not purebred, they will sometimes take. )

Good luck.
In a way I hope it was not a genuine question, b/c it is a sad for the dog.


No one has asked the dog's breed. It seems like most folks are assuming the "nipping" is aggression, but it's a very common problem with herding breeds and doesn't come from aggression or fear. I have a friend in her middle sixties who has an otherwise well-behaved Australian cattle dog that frequently tries to "herd" her by nipping her ankles and calves. Not to say this behavior should be tolerated, but the training response to a misplaced herding drive is somewhat different from that to an aggression or fear biter. The OP also didn't mention if the dog nips only her/him or other people. My immediate advice would be to seek out an experienced dog trainer. If the dog is a purebred or nearly so, I'd advise seeking out a local breed rescue club and asking for a trainer experienced with that breed. A breed club would also probably be able to help find a more appropriate placement than the shelter appears to be capable of.


@moondrake: Dang! Great observation! I was bouncing off the point that the dog seems to have a fear response to a brush, but you're absolutely right about breed issues.


Take the Efin Shock Collar OFF !

Then put it on the person at the shelter and zap them.


@thumperchick: I know that, you know that, my mom or someone else without any prior affiliation to woot would not know that. So, out of the vast webospere, woot would not be a place I'd think to come to for animal advice unless I knew the people that hang out here already.

I only have my time and sanity to lose. I have to admit I got pretty burned out on people in general when I worked at that shelter. For every good story I've got five or six truly awful ones re: humanity and its general treatment of companion animals. I know we killed more animals than we adopted out or found their lost owners. I get that most people aren't like that but then you aren't dealing with most people at a shelter. You're dealing with a lot of people that have serious issues or are severely ignorant most of the time and not responsible, caring owners. This question set off alarm bells because there's so much wrong with it and the situation as described that it's really quite amazing.


@zuiquan: I lack the emotional stamina (and the ability to avoid violence toward abusers) to do rescue work. I'd end up with 46 dogs. I so respect you for having worked there!

When the world is bleak I often turn to Eldad Hagar's youtube clips for a boost. Eldad and his wife run a two-person non-profit rescue from their home in L.A. He has a small group of dedicated volunteers, and he partners with a couple of vets and a few bigger rescue/foster groups. I love his vidclips because he is so calm, patient, and caring and because I get to see before-and-after dogs. I now send him a small monthly donation; I like to think it covers the cost of cheeseburgers (his tool of choice) for one rescue each month. If you'd like bit of uplift, a youtube search for "eldad" will do it.

These are two of my favorites. One is the rescue of Fiona, who reminds me a lot of my shaggy little poodles, and the other is a follow-up a few months later.


@magic_cave, @ziquan: I friend of mine just told me about this place this morning. I'd love to be able to volunteer here. Thought you might be interested


@magic cave: Those are great videos, she acts just like my crazy poodle mix. Good stuff.

@moondrake: Looks very cool.


What happened to the OP ?
There has been absolutely NO response !


@computiac: That's not the least bit surprising, actually. Just another drive-by question, quite possibly trollish.


@magic cave: Obviously it can not be anyone seriously too concerned about the dog.
If it were me, I would be back and forth with a mountain of questions, trying to understand the pooch in question and his reason for the behavior .


@computiac: The likelihood is that the question wasn't legitimate. We get that a lot here. Mostly they're idiot questions that get one or two responses at most. This one had the pontential of involving a dog in trouble, so a lot of folks responded.


Well if the intent was to get a lot of people riled up, then they succeeded.

On the other hand, it shows just how many can come together to brainstorm a solution to this problem, as it is all to often a real concern.


This post definitely produced some good participation from the Woot Community, but since the OP never came back with follow up info (like the breed), I'm thinking the cynicism/skepticism expressed early may have been spot on. Nevertheless, Good Job Wooters!