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Major Help Needed!

About 2 months ago my husband and I adopted a 1.5 year old female sharpei mix. We had found her thru a woman that pulled our dog, Martha, and her little of puppies from a shelter that was going to euthanize them. We took Martha after she had weaned the puppies. After taking her to the vet, she was evaluated and needed to get into a healthier physical state. IE: put on weight, skin antibiotics, and treatment for a major, major digestive tract infection. So Martha has been in and out of the vet regularly for the past two months. We have a 16 month old daughter who is very active, and Martha is always sweet. About 3 weeks ago, Martha barked and snapped (did not make contact) at our daughter. We seperated them, my back had been turned so I figured maybe Mara had just accidently hurt Martha..well tonight, Mara walked up to Martha sitting in her dog bed and Martha freaked out, barked a lot and snapped at her. Immediately I scooped Mara up and told Martha to "GET OUT OF HERE" I know yelling wasn't the right thing to do but I thought she had actually bitten Mara by the way she was screaming and crying. Once I looked Mara over and saw she didn't have any bite wounds, my husband told me to call the police to send Animal Control to remove Martha. I called up the non-emergency police department number and the woman informed me that Animal Control would not pick up a dog that turned on it's own family and that animal control will tell me to take the dog to the vet. I want to believe that maybe something is underlying with Martha, but how can I take the risk of her actually biting my child? Does anyone have any ideas on what to do? I obviously will call my vet monday, but Martha was just there last week for a follow up and all her results were fine...she hasn't had any formal training since we've been focusing on getting her health up to par... she has become a member of our family in these past two months..but my daughter is my daughter. I can't stand to bring her to the pound. Ugh. Help?!

I'm sorry you're going through this, off the top of my head, here are a few options you have:

1) Contact your local humane society, see if they have any programs to evaluate Martha's agro, and for info on classes (vets may know of these, but most don't or pretend not to)

2) Get in touch with the woman you originally adopted her from, she may take Martha back, and rehome her with a family without small children and/or give you more info on Martha's background as well as other possible resources.

3) Rehome Martha yourself. My dad did this with a dog he adopted from a rescue agency (the dog was younger and required more time, bigger yard/fence then he could provide), he talked with a few families and had the new family write a check payable to the rescue as an additional donation. A month later, the mother called, raving about Daisy, how she sleeps with one of their boys every night and what not. In the end, Daisy got the home she deserved and a family got their first dog.

Again, I am sorry you're going experiencing this. This is one of every pet owner-parent of a young child's nightmares. You don't necessarily have to take her to the pound, remember, you do have options!


Rehoming Martha is definitely something we are trying to avoid. My husband said it more out of the moment being in shock. Martha absolutely loves our daughter and being housebroken, lately she has started pooping in the house, connecting the two, it might be very likely that Martha has a problem internally that we need to address. I think our plan of action is Vet visit, Dog Trainer, & Close supervision. Thanks for the reply! It's definitely a scary time in our life right now. 


I am willing to bet that something is bothering Martha internally.  Really if she WANTED to bite you child, she would have.  She was warning her to stear clear because she didn't want to be touched (maybe because she wasn't feeling good.)  I think if you are willing to work with her seeing a vet and a trainer are the first steps.  Also of course keep your child and her separated until you have figured something else.

Dogs can't always tell us what's wrong and you are lucky to have a dog that knows that she needs to warn the child but doesn't actually have to bite her to get her to leave her alone.  A lot of dogs bite with no warning and those are the ones to worry about, even if they do it out of fear or pain especially around children.


Thanks everyone for replying; I contacted a few trainers in the area, one said "This dog doesn't sound like a good fit for your household." The next trainer that my vet recommended said, "I can't promise that Martha is a safe dog until I evaluate her, but to me it sounds like you have a very nervous dog that needs to be trained properly" Well that sounded a bit more reasonable. Martha has a follow up with the Vet soon for her skin treatment, I'm not sure if she was lashing out at Mara because the Cable repair man had come earlier in the day and made her nervous and on edge the rest of the evening (she's had negative reactions to tall, heavy set men, so I"m thinking maybe they resemble her previous owners were abusive). The Vet staff & both the trainers I spoke with did say that if Martha wanted to bit Mara she would have, so to me that's a good sign. Again, thanks everyone for your input, it was comforting to know that I wasn't doing a terrible thing working with her & not just immediately rehoming her.


Hey, how is Martha doing?


Martha hasn't showed any aggression since that incident. But we have been back & forth to the vet quite a bit. Just last weekend we had to go the ER vet in the middle of the night because she was vomiting, shaking, & had bloody diarrhea. After a 921 dollar vet bill, they wrote it off as her being stressed from the 2 hour car ride to Iowa over the weekend. We were also informed she is  A LOT older then our regular vet estimated.

She hasn't bonded with us, doesn't play, etc. Basically we just feed her & pet her when she wants to come around us. We moved into a new house in the past month & thought with a big back yard for her to exercise in that she'd come around more..she HATES being outside. With us, or without us. She stands in the same spot & barks & whines. She's nearly impossible to get to go poop outside, & has started peeing & pooping all over the upstairs of our house. Even if we just let her out 20 minutes before that.

Just this morning I ran to Walgreens 4 blocks from our home with my daughter, & was gone MAYBE 20 minutes, came home, & Martha pooped upstairs. I let her out for 30 minutes this morning.

I'm really at a loss on what to do. We have a second baby on the way, I wanted to provide Martha was a loving, forever home, but it's so hard when all she has turned into is a financial expense. I don't mean to sound cruel when I say that, but we have tried including her in outings, going to the parks, loving on her, & it seems like she either gets sick, or could just care less. My mother in law, suggested having her put to sleep since she has so many veterinary problems & rehoming her would be extremely difficult with her age, diet, & amount of veterinary care she needs.

Anyone have any suggestions? Just to show a bit more of her mindset...we've had her nearly 6 months & she still doesn't know how to sit. She just has no interest. We even tried getting her a companion dog (started as a foster) & Martha was extremely hostile. So I don't think this is a lonely depression she's going thru.

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