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Old November 13th, 2013, 07:22 AM
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Considering rehoming and need advice

I never, EVER, thought it would come to this, but I am considering rehoming my Shiba Inu. If you can help us out with some advice to hopefully avoid the issue, please, I would love to hear it.

Our Shiba Inu is 5 years old. He is a wonderful dog. We got him at 9 weeks old and he was our baby. When he was 1, our first child was born. They were great together. We walked all the time with the baby in the sling.

The problem is now that our son is much older, nearly 4 years old. He is autistic, and moderate to severe. He does not speak, he screeches and wails, constantly (I'm sure you can picture what I mean).

My dog is just not adjusting to this. It has been almost 2 years since this behaviour has started. He is constantly upset, cowers, shakes, his tail tucks under, he tries to get outside asap. He's always sad. This dog is never happy anymore, except on his walks (which he still gets). The walks are another problem - he can get them during the weekend just fine, but I need to bring out son during the week. And the dog absolutely hates it. My discipline voice terrifies the dog, but there is no way I can do it without a certain tone of voice.

We've had another boy since then (he's 1) and him and the dog are great together. He's great with other kids that are "normal".

I cannot "fix" my autistic son's behaviour. This isn't a case of a bratty kid - they do not hurt the dog, tease, pull him. They love him. I feel bad for Simba, but I don't know what to do.

He will be started special-ed school in September, should I just wait it out and see if the "break" from him helps a lot? I will still be at home with the other baby but the older child will not be.

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Old November 13th, 2013, 10:16 AM
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I'm so sorry to be reading this shibamom. I know we like to say that pets are for life, but sometimes life throws us hard curveballs and hard decisions have to be made.

If I was in your position i too would consider rehoming....but perhaps we can offer some help/advice.

Perhaps there a few things that could be done that might still be able to help you. The first thing that comes to my mind is desensitization. I might try to record your child's voice and play it at a reduced volume during something the dog likes (perhaps a walk). Gradually I'd increase the volume to where it matches your son's voice. This might get the dog to become desensitized to the wailing and outbursts.

I'd be very curious to hear what other members advise as we have some very experienced and smart members.

If nothing worked and I did need to rehome the dog...the best candidates might be people that already know the dog. Gradual visits to their home would be my preference along with bringing a tshirt with the smell of any new potential owner.

This is so hard - I'm so sorry for your situation and I hope some members may have additional suggestions or insight.

Good luck!
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Old November 13th, 2013, 10:39 AM
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Goldfields Goldfields is offline
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That is such a sad situation, shibamom. I have seen both my breeds react badly to children who have had a handicap. One was my nephew, my sister didn't realise he was deaf as he lost his hearing after learning to speak, and had taught himself how to lip read. The dog knew it though, I had my then fiance's cattle dog at my place and it kept wanting to heel Peter. Pete did regain his hearing after an op.. The other was a Downes Syndrome girl who came here with her mother. I had Tammy (Sheltie) locked up and they insisted I let her out. Of course she had been watching the child, knew there was something not right, and she immediately flew in and bit her. Most embarrassing. So, you are lucky your dog hasn't attacked at least, but what a shame it's scaring the dog. September is such a long way off. I don't know what to say, honestly. I know you must love the dog.
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Old November 13th, 2013, 11:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marko View Post
I'm so sorry to be reading this shibamom. I know we like to say that pets are for life, but sometimes life throws us hard curveballs and hard decisions have to be made.

If I was in your position i too would consider rehoming....but perhaps we can offer some help/advice.

Perhaps there a few things that could be done that might still be able to help you. The first thing that comes to my mind is desensitization. I might try to record your child's voice and play it at a reduced volume during something the dog likes (perhaps a walk). Gradually I'd increase the volume to where it matches your son's voice. This might get the dog to become desensitized to the wailing and outbursts.

I'd be very curious to hear what other members advise as we have some very experienced and smart members.

If nothing worked and I did need to rehome the dog...the best candidates might be people that already know the dog. Gradual visits to their home would be my preference along with bringing a tshirt with the smell of any new potential owner.

This is so hard - I'm so sorry for your situation and I hope some members may have additional suggestions or insight.

Good luck!
What if shibamoms made the same sounds as her son in a playful way when playing with her dog , Shiba may learn to associate the sounds as a good thing and not a threat. I know if I say a word to my dog in a playful way
he will not mind, but if I say the same word as if I am mad at my dog he will back away.
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Old November 13th, 2013, 12:53 PM
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Shibamom, what a tough spot to be in. And while we all hate the thought of rehoming our dogs, I applaud you for having the courage to put the dogs consideration up there. Not an easy thing to do. I like Marko's idea of desensitising. It can't hurt to try. Otherwise, myself I could look for a Shiba rescue. Many purebred breeders are also part of rescue groups. Is Simba from a registered breeder, you may want to start there if he is. I know with my Malamutes, I actually have it in my contract that I have to return them to the breeder if I can't keep them. My heart breaks for you Shibamom, bless your two boys and your whole family. It will all work out in the end I am sure - have faith.
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Old November 13th, 2013, 03:07 PM
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Thank you everyone

I will try through this winter to use the ideas you have posed. I really want to make this work out. We have another meeting with my son's psychologist next week and I will bring up the subject with her.

Yes, he is from a reputable breeder, but unfortunately since we got him, he has passed away, and his wife (co-breeder) has terrible Lupus. She will not be able to take him back in, but I'm sure she will know who would be willing to take him. He's an amazing dog with a wonderful temperament which is actually not typical of adult Shibas.
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Old November 13th, 2013, 03:10 PM
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I took this a few weeks ago. He's such a good boy, he loves my youngest son (who doesn't make a sound and never cried). I really hope we can work something out.

Does anyone know if there is material/literature on this subject I can read up on?
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Old November 13th, 2013, 03:46 PM
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I have a friend back East who unfortunately is in the hospital right now, but I will ask her if she has any suggestions. Sorry, forgot to say she is a dog trainer and very knowledgeable.
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Old November 13th, 2013, 03:48 PM
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Thank you so much. We are on the south shore of Montreal right now.
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Old November 13th, 2013, 03:55 PM
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Shiba Mom I just want you to know I applaud you for coming here and discussing something of such a sensitive nature. I know that most folks wouldn't. I think you have some wonderful suggestions given and thought I would just add another thought.

I know there are some guide dogs out there that work with the blind and most recently we have been hearing more about dogs that can sniff cancer, tell if someone is going to have a seizure etc. I googled whether there was an organization that offers assistance to those families that have children with autism and found a site here : http://autismcanada.org/treatments/o...FadFMgodxzoAYA

I am in no way suggesting that you get another dog or anything but I am wondering if they could offer you some suggestions that could help your pup adjust to the situation? I mean it cant be easy for every guide dog at first right? they must have to learn about the noises etc when they are trained?? Just hoping that they will offer you anything that can ease the situation at home.

My heart breaks for you it has to be tough!

Good Luck
Cindy
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Old November 13th, 2013, 09:16 PM
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Shibamom, if I get the opportunity I might bring this up with Michael Tucker on Sunday, he's a pro trainer. Might run it by my sister also, she's right into Obedience and tracking and would know the right sort of people to give good advice.
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Old November 13th, 2013, 11:47 PM
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Great idea to try Cindy! I hope things work out. Shibamom my friend is in the hospital right now, but I did send her an e-mail and hopefully when she's out she can give a bit of advice. I know you're not rushing this though, so that's good.
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Old November 15th, 2013, 07:34 AM
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Hi everyone, thanks for the great advice! I would love to hear feedback from any contacts you have.

A short but plentiful update...

Yesterday, we had a GOOD walk with him and the two kids as my son actually walked without darting into traffic (he is too big for a stroller). No discipline means Simba did not suffer any stress.

We have figured a game out that they both like to play called Go Simba Go, where basically they both run around like nuts on the bed together. Normally dogs and kids probably shouldn't run around on the bed together but hey, we're trying to build a relationship right?

MIRA (Quebec special needs dogs) had a huge editorial in my local paper yesterday on children with autism and dogs (how random!). My French is terrible so on Monday, my husband has the day off and we're going to go talk to them about advice - perhaps get a visit from a pro?

Tuesday, I have a friend coming over who runs a dog rescue and she's going to offer her informal input. Her kids are the exact same ages as mine and she specializes in aggression so I'm hoping she can help me out with a difficult situation.

My son's psychology centre offers autism/horse therapy, so when we see them next week, I'm going to ask for advice on dealing with autism/animals.

Wheew! That's a lot. I felt so bad for him when I posted this, but I think a renewed effort to integrate them will really do some wonders. I don't think it will come to rehoming but if it does, I know there is no shortage of good homes for a non-aggressive gorgeous Shiba Inu. But we're not at that point yet!
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Old November 15th, 2013, 07:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goldfields View Post
Shibamom, if I get the opportunity I might bring this up with Michael Tucker on Sunday, he's a pro trainer. Might run it by my sister also, she's right into Obedience and tracking and would know the right sort of people to give good advice.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dog Dancer View Post
Great idea to try Cindy! I hope things work out. Shibamom my friend is in the hospital right now, but I did send her an e-mail and hopefully when she's out she can give a bit of advice. I know you're not rushing this though, so that's good.
I would love the expert advice!
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Old November 15th, 2013, 08:15 AM
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Thanks so much for the update shibamom and it's great that it has such a positive start
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Old November 15th, 2013, 10:44 AM
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I don't have any expert advice, however I had a situation that is interesting. I run a daycare and I had a Manchester dog that was raised with the children from 8 weeks of age. In later years I noticed when I raised my voice to discipline the children he would get very anxious as though he was helping me. I would send the child to time out chair and he would almost kind of follow. It was kind of weird, so he reacted to my voice and was very anxious when it changed from mellow tones. If you know what I mean.
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Old November 15th, 2013, 11:41 AM
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Shibamom that all sounds wonderfully hopeful! I am glad you have found a renewed source to motivate yourself. Will let you know as soon as I hear from my friend, but as I said she is in hospital right now for a few days. I am so glad to hear things are looking more promising. You are determined and sound like the resources are there, I just have a really good feeling about this now. You are a strong woman.
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Old November 15th, 2013, 01:56 PM
Barkingdog Barkingdog is online now
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I was wondering have you tried teaching your son some sign language ?
I use a forum for deaf and hoh people and some people where talking about how having an autistic child who not deaf or hoh but they use ASL with their child or a child they're working with. When I got my hearing dog there was a child there getting a dog to help the child feel more comfortable being around people , the dog was more of a social dog and a friend for the child.
It would be great if you could get your dog trained so he could go places with your son.
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Old November 15th, 2013, 08:31 PM
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Goldfields Goldfields is offline
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Hate to put a dampener on things but my sister feels that you may be headed for trouble with your current dog, as in it snapping and biting your son out of fear. She thinks that, at least in Oz, you can get Personal Assistance Dogs that are trained to cope with autistic children, and she added that not every dog can. Still, let's see if I can ask Michael what he thinks, he's been training dogs for a very long time.
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