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Discussion Starter #1
So Leeroy, as some of you read, was hit at his prior home when he'd submissive wet, and had rocks thrown at him when he'd bark, along with goodness knows what else. He used to also wet anytime his previous owner approached him.

Long story short. The previous owners are my family. I want to be able to go visit them without animosity. They treat dogs completely differently than I do. Obviously.

Leeroy hardly wets anymore, he only had a small accident when we had to bathe him or when my husband makes certain sounds when they're playing together. It's still rare. But no more wetting every morning or cowering when we throw a ball or walk toward him. He goes around with his tail in the air.

I worry that if we drive to my family's house to visit for a day long thing this coming Monday, that he might wet, or get yelled at for barking, or they might use his old name. I don't want to see him regress or to put him in a negative situation needlessly.

They also tend to let their dogs run wild in the yard... Granted we have deep snow now, so I'm not sure if they will this time, but they also don't watch the dogs or the kids, and there have been moose around. Sometimes the dogs just run off nowhere to be found.

I don't want to be a stick in the mud for Leeroy if we take him with us, I want to be able to take him to family things, but at the same time I'm not sure how to handle the situation.

Do I keep him on a tether? Watch him? Let him run free and have fun and hope for the best?

And I am not sure how to handle how the family might treat him as they were his previous owners. I don't want to cause a weird rift. Having different ways of caring for dogs has already caused one, and now that we have Leeroy, I get super protective of him and the work we've done to help him recover. He is so super sensitive and I can't stand the idea of him feeling scared like that.

The worst part is my family has no idea how I feel and talking about it won't work as they're stuck in their ways. And again.. I don't want to cause an unnecessary rift beyond what's already there for me.

I'd love some advice. Thank you.

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For everything that you’ve mentioned, I don’t see one good reason to bring him back to where he was abused and where his previous abusers live.

There is no sense in trying to change your family, they won’t. I understand you want to keep contact with them, it’s your business, but your dog shouldn’t have to. He’s suffered trauma, you need to have sympathy for him. He is all that matters.

Please find a dog sitter and let him have a nice relaxing day.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
For everything that you’ve mentioned, I don’t see one good reason to bring him back to where he was abused and where his previous abusers live.

There is no sense in trying to change your family, they won’t. I understand you want to keep contact with them, it’s your business, but your dog shouldn’t have to. He’s suffered trauma, you need to have sympathy for him. He is all that matters.

Please find a dog sitter and let him have a nice relaxing day.
Yeah I've been worrying about that.

It's hard because they have boats and like going on the river and out in the woods in ways we can't and I thought he might have fun. But yeah. Leeroy is family to me. I love him so much and I don't want him to think, first and foremost, that we're taking him back. That would break my heart. Maybe I'll need to just do neutral places maybe... Like if we go meet them at a lake or something in the summer.

Still not totally sure. I'm trying to take it one step at a time.

Thank you for your thoughts.

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I would never bring Leeroy to that home, ever. There is simply nothing good to come of it and lots of potential for horrible events that set him back. You have worked to hard to bring him along as far as you have.
 

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Yeah I've been worrying about that.

It's hard because they have boats and like going on the river and out in the woods in ways we can't and I thought he might have fun. But yeah. Leeroy is family to me. I love him so much and I don't want him to think, first and foremost, that we're taking him back. That would break my heart. Maybe I'll need to just do neutral places maybe... Like if we go meet them at a lake or something in the summer.

Still not totally sure. I'm trying to take it one step at a time.

Thank you for your thoughts.

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Maybe it’s beautiful up there, with nature and all, but he certainly wasn’t happy before and he won’t be now.

Don’t undermine what you are giving him : security, love, good food, vet care, a nice home and hopefully training and exercise. That’s all he needs. Beautiful means nothing if it comes with abuse.

As for going in neutral places with him, if you can’t control how your family is going to be around him, then you can’t go. Even if there is a just a slight chance they will treat him like they did before and bypass your authority, you can’t go.

I find it sad that your family abuses animals. But I’m happy you don’t and thank you for getting this poor dog put of there.
 

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I feel sorry for you and Leeroy. I agree to never take him to that house and frankly I wouldn’t allow any of the inhabitants to see Leeroy even in a neutral territory. I hope you also can block anyone who harmed him from visiting your home. Dogs don’t forget who harmed them and it can set him back.

Get a pet sitter or leave him with a loving friend or board him whenever you visit with your family.

If it’s a problem keeping Leeroy and your family separated, perhaps you should rehome him.
 
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Discussion Starter #7
Rehoming Leeroy will never be a possibility. He is our family. We are his third home already. My family hardly ever comes to visit, and we don't often go out to visit them. They're 2 towns over.

Anyway thank you for the advice and insight, it is very appreciated. Sometimes it's hard to see the forest for the trees, especially when family is involved.

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Ever see one of those posters that says, "live in the moment." Usually there's a waterfall, or a bird soaring in the blue sky. It's supposed to be good to live in the moment. Dogs live in the moment for the most part. They do remember the past, otherwise we couldn't train them. And they do have a vague sense of the future, burying bones for later, for example. But, they don't have a concrete sense of the future like humans do. They have now. The next now. And the next now.

Your dog remembers a past that was painful and scary. On top of that, he has no concept of temporary. So, you would be bringing him back to a bad place. Leeroy would experience emotional distress. He would have no way of knowing that you would be bringing him home later in the day. And no matter how many times you say, "it's okay, good boy," he won't understand. Now is bad and all that exists is now.

Not only wouldn't I bring him back for a visit, I would make a zero contact rule. They do not get within a one mile radius of Leeroy. That way his now is good and peaceful, and his next now, and the now after that.
 

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Pet sitter, definitely. Leeroy will be saved from a very upsetting experience, and you will be able to meet up with family without risking arguments and a rift over how they treat him. When they visit you it is easier to set the rules, and you can make sure he has safe places to escape to, but I would not take him to visit them. And if you think he would enjoy outdoor adventures plan some without your relatives - you will all have much more fun and much less anxiety!
 

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I wouldn’t bring him there either. I think it would traumatize him all over again and what if he thought you were going to leave him there? I wouldn’t want him to have that stress. How do they not know why you took Leeroy? I feel like I would find it necessary to speak up about it, but that’s just me, it would eat at me until I said something. I’m sorry your family is like that. It makes things so awkward for you.
 

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It's hard because they have boats and like going on the river and out in the woods in ways we can't and I thought he might have fun.
First, my heart breaks for Leeroy :love-over:

Second, dogs don't care as much about stuff like being out in the woods as they do with being with their people.

Your relatives are not his people. I'd have a hard time, frankly, being around people who would treat a dog like that. :fish:
 

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another vote for getting a pet sitter and leaving him home. dogs dont forget and poodles are sensitive. when my kids are bickering, milo usually retreats and goes to my room or his bed away from it.

you have worked tremendously hard at having him bounce back from his previous situation. i though feel he is not yet at 100% confident dog, and i feel if you bring him back, expect him to regress or possibly worse.

i agree dogs dont care if they go in the woods or on a boat. they just want to be with their humans. i am not saying you should ice your family due to leeroy though, so i dont think you should stay home with leeroy while the other half of your family goes away. you can do this. if you cant find a pet sitter, kennel him. not ideal but bringing him to see your family is a bad idea.
 

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I agree with what everyone else is saying. Leave leeroy at home where he is happy & secure. If it will be a long day get someone in to stay with him. I would not subject my dog to his past experience. You have come a long way and have been so diligent in re-training .
 

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I also agree with what's been said. It's a terrible thing that he went through. I wouldn't let them within a mile of Leeroy. I wouldn't let them come to your house or if you must, Leeroy needs to go stay with someone else or be boarded in a reputable place where he's treated gently. Even closing him in another room wouldn't be good enough, as he would hear them and even smelling their scent when they leave might alarm him. I just wouldn't have them to your house at all frankly. You've done wonders for him. If he so much as has any contact with his abusers again, he could be ruined again. I know you love your family. But I wouldn't let them near that sweet dog. Way, way, way high risk. They should not have dogs. It is a shame. It's not just a different way of relating to dogs. It's abuse. I'm so sorry you have to deal with this. I'm with RSH in that I'd have a hard time spending time with people who abuse animals. But you do the best you can. It's your family and such a dilemma. Good luck. And kudos for the good you've done for Leeroy.

You can find a fun, woodsy place to go for a hike with him on your own or with a friend. You don't need your family to have a fun place to take Leeroy for an adventure.
 

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I agree that it’s best for Leroy to stay home. I also think it’s best for you because if you take Leroy with you then you won’t enjoy the visit either. You’ll be worrying the whole time about Leroy and it’ll probably come up and turn into an argument with the family.
Go, enjoy your family & everyone relax.


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I am just echoing what everyone else has said - get a sitter for the day, whatever you need to do. He can't go there.

What was said before about dogs living in the now, and the fact that he would get there with no understanding that he would NOT be going back to live there and he would not know he'd be going home with you. That is all the reason to never near them again.

Just because he is yours now, there is no guarantee they would treat him any differently.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thank you all for listening and pitching in with advice. We're not going to take Leeroy. I do enjoy walking him at our nearby fields. More than that, we'd taught him to play fetch with tennis balls (he bounces like a baby deer when he runs after them) and we got him a large flirt pole. In the summer I hope to take our kids to the lake, I might try to take Leeroy to that.

Aside from that he has a large kennel we keep him in when we leave. It has a plush pillow, his 2 favorite chew bones, water, and a blanket over the back half so it's like a safe cave. When we're going somewhere we talk softly and let him know we'll be back, and we turn off the lights and keep one light on over by the door so he won't be in the dark. When we come home I let him out with a treat and cuddle him in my lap until he calms down.

I Kong feed him so sometimes I'll give him his Kong as we leave depending on the time. Anytime we go anywhere we always track the time and think about how he's doing.

Anyway we love him dearly. I call him our cuddle flop. He is a goon and the training has been hard (along with his rehab), but I wouldn't trade it for anything. It keeps getting better and better and he's such a lovey. He's part of our family.

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I'd add one more thing if not too inconvenient to you. Before picking him up at a sitter's, I'd toss my clothes in the washer, shower, and wash my hair to remove the scent of his former abuser(s). With my shoes, I'd run a scented rag over them with a water/bleach mix for the soles.

It sounds excessive, and some will think it is, but a dog's of smell is like a second sight. Like a human child who is just a tad bit too young to understand the complexities of relationships, just knowing where you've been may be enough to trigger an emotional regression.
 
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