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Rescue Dog Woes

A few months back I posted about our rescue dog Martha whom we've had since February showing aggression towards our toddler daughter randomly one evening. Since then, 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 or something to constantly clean up after.  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.  I know that having a dog is a lot of hard work, responsibility, & dedication, but Martha's issues are extremely excessive to what we were expecting when adopting a dog.

My mother in law, suggested having her put to sleep since 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.

Added: Got in contact with a friend whose a Vet Tech, she's coming over this afternoon to run some suggestions & give Martha a look over. Hopefully we can figure something out.

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What about a veterinary behaviorist? Dog woes are most of their work =) There aren't too many though, so not sure if there'd be one near you.

For the GI troubles, have you thought of taking her to an internal med vet practice? They may be able to work up her condition better than an emergency vet or a general practitioner, and are used to "mystery" cases.

For the housebreaking issues, there are a lot of things that could be tried (I'm sure you've done most of them by now!), but one that comes to mind is training her to a substrate. If she tends to go in a certain area/room all the time, maybe you can line it with puppy pads or newspaper. If she continues to go on that surface, and after she gets used to it, you can try taking those newspapers/pads outside, even dirty with urine/feces, and she may be ok going to the bathroom just on the newspaper, and outside. At least for puppies, sometimes they don't quite get it, and it's not a question of indoors vs outdoors, but pooping/peeing on just carpet or wood. They go outside, and it's all grass and cement, to which they're not trained. So using a common substrate may do some good, maybe not.

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What about a veterinary behaviorist? Dog woes are most of their work =) There aren't too many though, so not sure if there'd be one near you.

For the GI troubles, have you thought of taking her to an internal med vet practice? They may be able to work up her condition better than an emergency vet or a general practitioner, and are used to "mystery" cases.

For the housebreaking issues, there are a lot of things that could be tried (I'm sure you've done most of them by now!), but one that comes to mind is training her to a substrate. If she tends to go in a certain area/room all the time, maybe you can line it with puppy pads or newspaper. If she continues to go on that surface, and after she gets used to it, you can try taking those newspapers/pads outside, even dirty with urine/feces, and she may be ok going to the bathroom just on the newspaper, and outside. At least for puppies, sometimes they don't quite get it, and it's not a question of indoors vs outdoors, but pooping/peeing on just carpet or wood. They go outside, and it's all grass and cement, to which they're not trained. So using a common substrate may do some good, maybe not.

I haven't tried a specialist, I figured our regular vet could get the job done, but after meeting with my friend who works at a different clinic yesterday, I really realized I'm handing out all this money & I'm not getting any answers! I'm going to try my friend's boss, (the vet) & see what he recommends. Cutting back on the wet food is something we're going to be working on, she eats 1 can of wet Iams in the AM with 1/2 a cup of kibble & repeated at night. She has really bad teeth from what we were told so our Vet encouraged that regimen, but it looks like she just needs a cleaning NOT a dental specialist to pull teeth!

As far as when I run out for a few minutes, I'm just going to keep her outside, she's a bit too large for the puppy pad method, & that would be quite a lot of pads to go thru since she does it ALL over two large bedrooms on the upstairs of our house.

Keeping our fingers crossed on this new Vet!

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Kudos to you for your effort!  I imagine that the last 6 months have been hectic (with a toddler, a new dog (+a foster dog), a pregnancy and a move) ...maybe things will improve once she feels more settled. 
As for not going outside, that is odd.  Was she kept outside before you adopted her?  In my experience, our dogs that prefer to be inside are the ones that weren't allowed in before they came to us.  You could try a dog house/crate in the yard for her, so she has some shelter when she's out.  Try to make yard time fun (fake it if you have to) and unhurried.  If she likes treats, only give them to her outside. 
I've been away from the States long enough that I had almost forgotten about the exorbitant vet bills.  A good teeth cleaning can do wonders for a dog's health and attitude.  Our dogs are on a mostly raw diet so plaque is rarely an issue, but it often was when they ate kibble exclusively.  I wish you luck and infinite patience!

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