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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
ETA update: I’m not getting him. I really thank all of you. My husband will not get on board with a rescue who can’t be walked without basically going through rehabilitation. But I’m here on the board now committed to adopting a Maltese. Thank you for the warm welcome. You’re all so lovely to have responded to my plea. Susan

P.S. the plan is to adopt a Maltese puppy from a well respected breeder. We’re in Northern Virginia.

purebred Maltese. Hi everyone, I am new here and I’m sorry this is going to be rather abrupt because this adoption is going very quickly. You don’t have time to think when you adopt a dog from the shelter. I haven’t met him yet but in photos he looks purebred. I’m curious as to thoughts about adopting a Maltese from the shelter. He’s been returned to the shelter at least once that they’ve admitted. They said that the owner returned him within 3 days because they said he aggressively jumped up on their neighbor and that he snapped aggressively at them. I of course think their expectations were probably way too high for a shelter dog’s behavior and I don’t expect him to be himself for many months. I will post a photo of him that they sent me. Thank you for any input you may have. Not sure whether I mentioned that they said he’s 3.5 or 4 so cynical me thinks 5.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
purebred Maltese. I haven’t met him yet but in photos he looks purebred. I’m curious as to thoughts about adopting a Maltese from the shelter. He’s been returned to the shelter at least once that they’ve admitted. They said that the owner returned him within 3 days because they said he aggressively jumped up on their neighbor and that he snapped aggressively at them. I of course think they’re expectations were way too high and I don’t expect him to be himself for many months. I will post the photos they sent me. Thank you for any input you may have. Not sure whether I mentioned that they said he’s 3.5 or 4 so cynical me thinks 5.
 

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Elisabeth and Poodles (plus Zooey in heaven)
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He is adorable, but personally, I would pass. Aggression is one thing I will not deal with. My Maltese was from the shelter and she was a gentle angel, as every Malt should be. I feel very sorry for this poor little Malt you posted, but aggression is not something that you will train out, in all likelihood. Adopted dogs actually tend to be on their best behavior (aka, the honeymoon period) for the first few weeks, then after that you get to know the real dog.

Just my humble opinion based on many rescued shelter dogs.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
He is adorable, but personally, I would pass. Aggression is one thing I will not deal with. My Maltese was from the shelter and she was a gentle angel, as every Malt should be. I feel very sorry for this poor little Malt you posted, but aggression is not something that you will train out, in all likelihood. Adopted dogs actually tend to be on their best behavior (aka, the honeymoon period) for the first few weeks, then after that you get to know the real dog.

Just my humble opinion based on many rescued shelter dogs.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Thank you! I just looked at what the shelter coordinator told me and she said that the person who adopted him and returned him within three days said that he “got loose on walks and was jumping up on and nipping neighbors” and that he nipped at his adopter in a non friendly way. The shelter coordinator then added that they have not seen anything resembling aggressive behavior. “Nipped in an unfriendly way” sounds like they’re trying to minimize the behavior, doesn’t it?
 

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First, good for you for considering a shelter dog. They are wonderful! My Tessa was a stray and has turned out to be the best dog ever. I've had her for 12 years this coming March.

How does he act around you and your family? Is he timid? nervous? aggressive? Put a leash and harness on him and walk him around the property. Is he pulling? aggressive? How did he get out on walks? Usually that happens when you use a collar instead of a harness, a harness that's too big, or a retractable leash because they reinforce pulling and can be easily pulled out of your hands.

I disagree with Elisabeth - I think this precious boy deserves hard consideration to see if he will fit into your lifestyle. Do you have the patience and resources for a trainer to help him become comfortable in your home? If not, take a pass, but if you do and are willing to make a lifelong commitment to him, then give him a chance.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
First, good for you for considering a shelter dog. They are wonderful! My Tessa was a stray and has turned out to be the best dog ever. I've had her for 12 years this coming March.

How does he act around you and your family? Is he timid? nervous? aggressive? Put a leash and harness on him and walk him around the property. Is he pulling? aggressive? How did he get out on walks? Usually that happens when you use a collar instead of a harness, a harness that's too big, or a retractable leash because they reinforce pulling and can be easily pulled out of your hands.

I disagree with Elisabeth - I think this precious boy deserves hard consideration to see if he will fit into your lifestyle. Do you have the patience and resources for a trainer to help him become comfortable in your home? If not, take a pass, but if you do and are willing to make a lifelong commitment to him, then give him a chance.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Hi! Thank you for your reply. I have not met him yet. The adoption coordinator is having me talk to her manager today and from there I think we decide whether I should meet him. I have the resources to hire a trainer. I am taking Zooeysmoms warning seriously. I guess there will not be a unanimous opinion about this topic. If the board is interested I’ll update after I meet him. My problem is that even though I understand that there is help for any problem, and although I raised a rescue dog many years ago, I do not currently have the skill set to deal with behaviors that need to be corrected. Obviously if I’m trying to adopt a dog I need to learn some skills ASAP. I’m reading dog training books and watching dog training videos as fast as I can.
 

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Could he possibly be nipping out of fear. Who knows what this little guy has been through in his life and if he got off his leash and people he didn't even know were grabbing at him trying to catch him, it might have startled him and scared him and he might associate that with bad things that have happened to him. Even the new adopter was only someone he knew for 3 short days. He might need to learn that people aren't going to hurt him. Just something to ask the shelter about.
 

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Sandi-- w/Kitzel (Kitzi) & Lisel (Lisi)
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Hey, and welcome to the SM family. What a cute little guy & he does look maltese!
It would be good to know if you have small children? That may not be a good mix for this pup & you certainly don't want to set him up for failure. It isn't good for him to be returned again & again. I would also ask if you have lots of time to devote to training? He will need some specialized attention & possibly a positive based trainer---are you willing to work w/him, are you patient? I would say to think carefully & IF you have what HE needs then go for it! Rescue dogs, once secure, make the most loyal pets---but it can be a long road. We are here to help should you decide to go for it. Stay w/us & let us know!
 

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Hey, and welcome to the SM family. What a cute little guy & he does look maltese!
It would be good to know if you have small children? That may not be a good mix for this pup & you certainly don't want to set him up for failure. It isn't good for him to be returned again & again. I would also ask if you have lots of time to devote to training? He will need some specialized attention & possibly a positive based trainer---are you willing to work w/him, are you patient? I would say to think carefully & IF you have what HE needs then go for it! Rescue dogs, once secure, make the most loyal pets---but it can be a long road. We are here to help should you decide to go for it. Stay w/us & let us know!
 

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Thank you to everyone who is replying, and in advance. I am grateful for everyone’s input! I should have said that my husband and I are in our 50s without children living in the home. So I got to have a long talk with the shelter manager today and he clarified that this dog is not aggressive but is totally unmanageable to walk. This is a highly reactive dog. He’s fine inside, potty trained, crate trained, very affectionate but if you walk him and he reacts to seeing another dog or hearing a loud truck he cannot calm down and will remain activated for hours at home doing such things as jumping his bed presumably to try to calm himself. Yes my plan would be to invest lots of time into positive training and as he is adjusting to a new home I would not walk him like a regular dog. I would take him somewhere to walk him where there are no dogs for him to encounter. I would be working with him and formulating plan to work up to being able to walk him like a “normal” dog. The manager explained that the supposedly aggressive behavior is that the dog rough houses. The manager said his theory is that the dogs first owner, a young man, perhaps roughhoused with him. This young man surrendered him because he said he was moving to a commune in Tennessee.
 

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“Nipped in an unfriendly way” sounds like they’re trying to minimize the behavior, doesn’t it?
Yes, it sure does. My old landlady had a Chihuahua mix that would run up to me and "nip" me (aka attack) every time I walked to my car. Even though the dog was small, it was not pleasant and honestly terrified me. If you have a dog that bites people and draws blood and they report it, it can also be a legal issue.

Oh, I just saw your new message above. Okay, so that's good the shelter manager thinks the dog is not as aggressive as he sounded in the first post. However, I'm still very concerned about the fact that he's so reactive and can't settle. There are absolutely no guarantees that is going to change, even with positive training (I'm a positive trainer myself!). So ask yourself if it's something you can live with. The thing about these adopted adult dogs is that what you see is usually what you get for the life of the dog.

Again, my humble opinion that anyone is welcome to disagree with :)
 

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Yes, it sure does. My old landlady had a Chihuahua mix that would run up to me and "nip" me (aka attack) every time I walked to my car. Even though the dog was small, it was not pleasant and honestly terrified me. If you have a dog that bites people and draws blood and they report it, it can also be a legal issue.

Oh, I just saw your new message above. Okay, so that's good the shelter manager thinks the dog is not as aggressive as he sounded in the first post. However, I'm still very concerned about the fact that he's so reactive and can't settle. There are absolutely no guarantees that is going to change, even with positive training (I'm a positive trainer myself!). So ask yourself if it's something you can live with. The thing about these adopted adult dogs is that what you see is usually what you get for the life of the dog.

Again, my humble opinion that anyone is welcome to disagree with :)
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Thank you. It’s very hard to get to the bottom of an issue because I have absolutely no reason to doubt what you’re saying but then I read that you can definitely train an older dog but that it takes longer. Do you think that the rescue community is promoting the idea that these problems are all fixable because they just don’t want to euthanize animals? I don’t want to believe what you’re saying, that what you see is basically going to be what you get, but down deep I am afraid you’re right. ETA: I edited my first post to say that I’m not adopting him. Sorry if this upsets anyone to have heard about this situation. It definitely makes me sad but I hope he ends up in the right home. ETA it’s because I could not get my husband on board and it was turning into an argument with me arguing the dog can be helped/trained, met by his skepticism,
 

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Thank you. It’s very hard to get to the bottom of an issue because I have absolutely no reason to doubt what you’re saying but then I read that you can definitely train an older dog but that it takes longer. Do you think that the rescue community is promoting the idea that these problems are all fixable because they just don’t want to euthanize animals? I don’t want to believe what you’re saying, that what you see is basically going to be what you get, but down deep I am afraid you’re right. ETA: I edited my first post to say that I’m not adopting him. Sorry if this upsets anyone to have heard about this situation. It definitely makes me sad but I hope he ends up in the right home. ETA it’s because I could not get my husband on board and it was turning into an argument with me arguing the dog can be helped/trained, met by his skepticism,
Shelters are often staffed by volunteers who may or may not have specific training in behavioral issues. They DO NOT intentionally downplay a dog's problems to avoid euthanasia. Rather than a shelter, you might look for a rescue where the pup is in a private home instead of a shelter with other dogs. That will give you an idea of their true behavior. And just because you get a puppy from a breeder doesn't mean you get a dog without behavioral issues. Behavior is often an outward display of health, genetics and environment so if any one of those three isn't perfect, you'll have to work with the outward display.

I'm glad you've decided to pass on this one - it sounds like it's not a good fit.
 

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Sandi-- w/Kitzel (Kitzi) & Lisel (Lisi)
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You are making the right decision. If you husband is not a partner in the plan it would not work. I hope & pray you find a pup that fits in well for both of you. I think the shelter dog deserves the best possible situation too.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Shelters are often staffed by volunteers who may or may not have specific training in behavioral issues. They DO NOT intentionally downplay a dog's problems to avoid euthanasia. Rather than a shelter, you might look for a rescue where the pup is in a private home instead of a shelter with other dogs. That will give you an idea of their true behavior. And just because you get a puppy from a breeder doesn't mean you get a dog without behavioral issues. Behavior is often an outward display of health, genetics and environment so if any one of those three isn't perfect, you'll have to work with the outward display.

I'm glad you've decided to pass on this one - it sounds like it's not a good fit.
 

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Thank you.
You are making the right decision. If you husband is not a partner in the plan it would not work. I hope & pray you find a pup that fits in well for both of you. I think the shelter dog deserves the best possible situation too.
 
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