Impossible to place dogs.

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Impossible to place dogs.

Postby BigBadPibbul » Sat Mar 26, 2011 3:54 am

What does one do when one has a dog that just won't place? Mischief got adopted once and never picked up. Mischief got adopted a second time and the people who adopted him returned him because their older dog wanted to kill him. Well yeah! You assumed just because they're both labby dogs they'll just automatically get along? I think those people just returned him to get the little yellow lab pup they showed up begging shots for the following week. I didn't answer my phone when they called the first night, then three days later they called while I was in the middle of some important biz and demanded I get him right now or they'd take him to the pound, after they agreed the second day to keep him a few days and keep the dogs apart until everything settled down. I was really angry that they would threaten to take an adopted rescue dog to the pound like that.

SO now Mischef's been with us over a year, he's a black dog, he's a pit mix, and he's an adult in need of some minor behavior tweaking, he pulls a little despite our best efforts to teach him not to and he digs when he's bored. Take a dog like that to a shelter and you might as well assume it's over.
All of the rescues are loaded down, no surprise there. We all do the best we can with what we have to work with.
I love mischief, with some time to dump into training he could be a perfect dog for anyone, he's so smart and eager to learn, I've even thought he would make the ideal therapy/service dog if someone could take the time to train him to do what they needed done.
I really wish he didn't have so much against him, I don't see why black dogs are so hard to place! He's an awesome dog.
I've got four of my own, I've payed out the ear a couple times for Mischief because he brings us one dog over the local limit. I love him to death but I wish there was someone who could open their hearts to him.
When we finally get a new house Jake really doesn't want to take him along, he's got time, we're not moving for a while, and I'm certain that I'll have no trouble convincing Jake that he won't be an issue should we have to take him but that's far from the point.
Mischief is an awesome dog who deserves a good happy life and not one stuck in foster sharing time with four other dogs.
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Re: Impossible to place dogs.

Postby buckaroo » Sat Mar 26, 2011 12:18 pm

Can you link his adoption page and also the main website of your rescue? A lot of it has to do with how you market them. First thing I'd do is change his name on your website at least, if not the name he responds to as well. That name isn't going to get him adopted. It might if he were little and cute, but not on a big black dog. If I can see his adoption page, I'd probably have other suggestions.

Also, how often does he get to adoption events? How well does he do at them? How do you market him at the events?

You can probably get him adopted but your marketing strategy likely needs to change.
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Re: Impossible to place dogs.

Postby Amy Hendrickson » Sat Mar 26, 2011 12:38 pm

Sometimes I think I'm the queen of hard to adopt but it can be done. The things that aren't in his favor are

1. BLACK
2. BIG
3. Pit mix

Sadly, you can't change any of those. However here are some things you can try.

Crosspost him on all breed rescue websites. Give him a REALLY good bio, and I mean really good. Detailed, specifics....make him seem better than sliced bread - but don't lie. Get him some training, if you can get him some basic obedience, even see if your local club can get him his CGC. We have a lady in town who will test for CGC even if you haven't taken a class with her. That would help.

Get him some really good photos. Consider finding a pet friendly photographer and getting some professional shots. Good pictures MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

Take him to adoption events.

If all else fails, you might consider a DNA test. Honestly, I think they are worthless sometimes BUT we did get one of our mixed breeds adopted because she was NOT a pit mix even though we rescued her as one. One of the adopters of her brother had him tested and he came back Boxer, Labrador and Argentine Dogo. So Onyx's adopter wanted an already mostly trained Tween dog that wasn't a pit bull. She got one. We'd still have that dog if it weren't for that DNA test.

And consider changing his name. People are going to think he's a big black trouble maker with that name and stay away.
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Re: Impossible to place dogs.

Postby heartbullies » Sat Mar 26, 2011 12:46 pm

Do you have good, clear photos of him in natural light? LIke, a side shot of him leaning against a human's legs being touched, so people can see his size and body style and that he is ok with people standing up and bending slightly to touch him.... and a good, clear face shot (take it in a shady spot on a sunny day, and get low so you're at dog-level)... and then some fun ones of him being playful or chewing on a bone or cute angles like looking up at the camera. I can't remember seeing a clear pic of Mischief on here.

Yep, a new name might help. Mischief, Bitey, Barky, Chewie.... might all be descriptive and accurate names, but hopefully these issues are being dealt with to make these dogs more adoptable, bc people don't really want either the behavioral issues or the name associated with it.

Does he know any tricks? Teach him a few tricks or some basic obedience stuff, and take a short video of him fetching, rolling over, doing hand targets, heeling, whatever. Video really seems to help b.c it shows people his size and also his energy level and overall attitude much better than a picture. Maybe do some CGC training with him and have someone take clear, well-lit photos of all of this!

If you post up his adoption page we can all probably come up with some edits that might help. Is he mostly pit bull? Or mostly lab? How much does he weigh? Does he have a Lab coat? How tall is he at the withers? What did he do in response when the yellow Lab attacked him and then bullied him repeatedly?
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Re: Impossible to place dogs.

Postby merriterrier » Sat Mar 26, 2011 1:34 pm

I personally know Mischife. He is an awesome boy. He is one of those Lab/Pit mixes that could almost pass for a lab, but looks pretty pit-esque from the right angle. Also he was totally ripped the last time I saw him (which is great for him, but adds to the Pit Bull look). He is actually a pretty bomb dog. With a little training he could definitely get a CGC, and with some dedication he would be a fun dog for agility, rally, dock diving or the like. He would be a prefect jogging or biking companion.

I agree that a name change might help. Even though it really shouldn't matter; people are strange and that sort of thing does have an impact. Maybe something like Chief? which is similar sounding, but has a much more dignified ring to it. Sorry I don't have very good name ideas, after naming so many dogs at the shelter I just kinda draw a blank. :tongue:

If you want me to post him on PBRC for you I can do that (I can also list him on Petfinder for you through the shelter). Also if you need; I would be happy to meet up with you and help you get good pics. (you know it is kinda fun to get out of the country and visit the city occasionally sans adoption events lol )


Hope all is well! We haven't been going up to Pueblo for a few months, and I miss seeing you guys!
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Re: Impossible to place dogs.

Postby BigBadPibbul » Sat Mar 26, 2011 6:29 pm

Robin that would be fantastic!! I'm at school monday through thursday from 8am to 1pm but I'm free almost any other time. Just let me know when you'll be in town :)

We've got Adoptapet.com but unlike Petfinder it just doesn't circulate at all. Here's a link to his existing page though I'll admit it does need a serious update. http://www.adoptapet.com/pet4014391.html I'd go update his page but Marilynn is mad at me right now and changed the password to the VIVA account. Sadly I've never been able to convince her we need petfinder, she thinks adoptapet is the greatest thing on earth but it seems rather useless by comparison, I even told her I'd do all the footwork and all I'd need is a copy of our 501c3 thingie. No dice.

I think he might respond to either Chief, or Mister though they are both kind of plain names, If anyone knows a foreign word that might sound to him like Mischief I'd love to hear it. One of my friends suggested "Master Chief" like the main good guy in the Halo games lol
Mischief came to me with the name and even though it doesn't describe him it fits him, he's such a busy guy.
We were going to adoption events every saturday for the first year we had him, I even took him the first weekend he was with us, that was the adoption that never came for him, I told them I'd be happy to keep him a couple weeks and work on his leash manners for them, they paid for him and we never heard from them again. I haven't had Mischief at nearly as many events since october, I had some serious personal issues going on and now I'm busy with school but still trying to get him to events as often as I can, we go about 2x a month as of late.

I had a lady drive in from Cannon City a few weeks ago to take a look at him as a potential stability dog for her son who needs help walking, I think if he were a little older and a little more calm he would have been perfect for them. We both came to the same conclusion, while they were just fine with a dog that had zero training for such a capacity as they wanted to train their own , Mischief is just a little too high energy for that specific task since the little boy in question was very tiny and frail.
If Robin comes up and we get some awesome pictures of him I'd be most grateful to anyone who crossposted him and got him out there. Mischief is the first adult foster I've taken in that wasn't a small breed. I've had amazing luck placing tiny dogs and puppies, the last one we had was a corgi pup that I nearly ran over on my way home from a crappy neighborhood, we called the pound and looked for his owners all week, the following Saturday we took him to an event and he placed before any of the other dogs even showed up lol
I figured I'd have the same luck getting Mischief into a good home as well but no such luck. I think in the future I'll stick to puppies and tiny breeds for foster lol
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Re: Impossible to place dogs.

Postby BigBadPibbul » Sat Mar 26, 2011 6:57 pm

Lets see, I don't want to repeatedly quote so I'll post the points you guys touched on here.


Mischief came from an abusive situation, because of this he is occasionally shy with new men especially if they are short and blond. You wouldn't know him from the dog we brought home, he would actually pull away from new men no matter their size. After dealing with Jake's infinite patience for so long Mischief has learned that most men are not bad guys and most are happy to stop and be friendly. He's also now horribly drawn to large men with deep voices lol He loves going to adoption events, after the first few moments of wild dog syndrome he calms down and relaxes or tries to greet people and dogs that walk by. He's only raised hackles at one other dog who was being horribly aggressive while bouncing around on the end of a flexi. More on dog interaction later.

I've got a few pictures of mischief, I'll post them at the end of the post, usually he's uber busy and hard to get good shots of especially since I'm working with a cell phone 90% of the time.

I didn't personally see the repeated attacks on Mischief by the other dog but I have to believe what they told me, they said Mischief just kinda stood for it or tried to back down. They said he did not react at all, which doesn't surprise me. Chino can be somewhat snarky with male dogs other than Mambo, she's gotten in his face a couple of times and all he's done is assume her "hey no I don't like that" behaviors just mean he needs to try a different way to play. He and Mambo do not get along together too well, Mambo is very possessive of "His" women and "His" property and since he grew up with all of my girls he sees them as his I guess, Mischief tries to play and greet him properly but in the presence of other males Mambo is all seriousness. I'd imagine just based on his behavior with Mambo and the random male strays that Mischief would do just fine with other males as long as they aren't horribly domineering.
Mischief does really well with female dogs, I've actually used him when working with Loki on her dog aggression because his reaction to everything is play. Loki has successfully done "drive by greetings" with Mischief which is great for both of them.

Mischief could potentially get along with cats. He does try to play with them and has scared a few. Our dearly departed Ratchet would occasionally go up to Mischief to visit him, that never lasted long because Ratchet didn't much like dog play style. Mischief was never mean to him and took great joy in slobbering on him if Ratchet came to say hi while Mischief was drinking. I think that he may try to chase a new cat but when he has encountered strange cats that have arched up and hissed & spat he gets spooked and backs away quickly. I think that any issues that could potentially come up with cats would be easily remedied.

MIschief has learned a couple tricks but he's not always reliable, he does shake, occasionally too much lol and he knows how to play fetch, again he's not 100% reliable as he forgets to return the ball some times, most times he will actually stop in front of you and sort of toss the ball at you.

I can't afford to do a DNA test out of pocket and Marilynn would never spring for it, she's kinda loosing it as of late anyway and fighting with 99% of our foster homes. I've always thought Mischief's looks screamed LabX perhaps a little bully or Shar-Pei but it's tough to tell because the Labrador really dominated his mix.
Mischief is the one in front, my eldest Stormy is in back closest to the door.
Image
Bad lighting but this shows his profile.
Image
For some reason I can't find the rest of the pictures I've got of him, I'll have to go rooting through my photo server things on the net.
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Re: Impossible to place dogs.

Postby Amie » Sat Mar 26, 2011 9:11 pm

Honestly, I wouldn't worry too much about changing the name to something that sounds like Mischief. I know people tend to like to keep the name if the dog is familiar with it, but familiar might just as likely have bad associations for the dog, and we all know plenty of dogs that learn new names late in life (I have yet to meet a stray that tells me what his original name was anyway!)

Pick a name that seems to fit him, preferably relatively unique (not Prince or Lucky or something), then do some training with him to give him new positive associations. Names my BF and I came up with off the top of our heads: Tux, for his coloring, perhaps, sounds classy and rich. Penguin is cute and shy. Maestro = regal and dignified (and they wear tuxes lol ) Pele ("pay lay")- a soccer player, to show his athletic side, Black Gold - a famous race horse, but also a play on his color and value! :D
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Re: Impossible to place dogs.

Postby buckaroo » Sat Mar 26, 2011 9:46 pm

The bio has got to go. First of all, you're contradicting yourself in it. The very top line says he is housetrained but the bio basically says he isn't. The first line also says that he doesn't hold true to his name but then you go on to say that he's having trouble with potty training and he can't walk calmly on a leash. So which is it? To the average person, that is confusing and makes him sound untrainable.

The bio has lots and lots of negative things in it. NEVER do that. Turn a negative into more of a positive if you feel a need to mention it at all. The bio is a marketing tool. You use it to get someone's attention. Highlight Mischief's strengths not his weaknesses!

Also, don't start off with the wishy washy breed guesses. It's really hard to get through and it doesn't really matter because you're just guessing. It comes off as you not knowing the dog. Call him a lab/pit mix and call it a day. People aren't going to read a book about the dog and you don't want to lose their attention on the breed guessing.

You say you have trouble getting good pictures. Do whatever you can to get excellent pictures. Beg, borrow, steal to get a good pic. It's an absolute must. And can you post more than one? You should be able to post at least 3 but if you cannot, at least include a link to more pictures in the bio or even better, a video. Videos work wonders to get animals adopted.
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Re: Impossible to place dogs.

Postby BigBadPibbul » Sun Mar 27, 2011 1:05 am

As I said earlier I can't get in to update his Bio again. The bio that's up right now is a mix mash of three different edits though adoptapet doesn't seem to get anyone very far. Last time I was able to get in to the rescue account it told me Mischief had only been looked at by one person since having been posted, that person having been myself from a different computer to see if the picture loaded properly.
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Re: Impossible to place dogs.

Postby heartbullies » Sun Mar 27, 2011 3:35 am

Well, you can use a clicker and some hot dog, and get him orienting strongly towards whoever says a certain word... that certain word being his new name, in probably 3 15 minute or less sessions. So don't worry about being stuck with something that sounds like Mischief...

I am totally computer illiterate! I was able to use blogger to make a little page about an adoptable dog. You can make one, and then use that link in other bios, like on PetHarbor if merriterrier will let you use her account there. Just put in the link and say, "Link to more info, pictures, and video here!" Seriously, the blogger site was super easy to use. Like, I use a 2002 Nokia phone with no camera or graphics capabilities, and I was able to do it. lol It lets you put video links and pictures on there along with text and the pre-made backgrounds and set-ups are all pretty palatable if not outright appealing.

The picture on the link you posted, he looks totally different! He has a cute little face and I would definitely show that off. I often will pose Booker in a sit-stay or down-stay and take pictures that way. I taught him to "look" and after a few shots then I go in and reward him in place... it helps work on his stay command and also lets me get all the photos I always used to post of him... lol If he doesn't have a reliable "stay" then I'd just tie up his leash to a tree on a sunny day, and step back a foot or two. He'll be in the shade but the light will be good. Lie down in the grass and snap some photos. Roll him a ball and take some of him being cute chewing the toy, at dog-level.

What activities do you do with him now? Can you record any of them? Video is really helpful.

If he's housebroken and rings a bell to go out, but if nobody responds he'll go in the house, then I'd say "I ring a bell to let you know I need to go out to the bathroom" or something positive like that. If he's totally nonconfrontational with dogs and doesn't even spark up when a dog goes after him, that's pretty impressive, and I'd say "I was adopted to a home with a older dog who bullied me around too much. I still really like friendly dogs! I would like to [play tug/slam and wrestle/play chasee and chaser/whatever his style is] with your well-matched, friendly dog!"

In what ways does he act like a Lab? You could say, "Thanks to my Lab heritage, I love to swim! I'd be a happy, brave companion on camping and fishing trips!" or "Yep, I'm mostly Labrador, which means I LOVE to play fetch! Do you have a Chuck-It and a supply of tennis balls? I'm your guy!" rather than, "I'm mostly Lab! I bark a lot and shed like crazy and tend to put on weight easily!" hah hah.

As far as being afraid of men... does he just duck? Growl? Bark? What does he do when pushed? Can you continue to do work on that (which would make him more adoptable) by having lots of men either toss him treats or toys and not rush into any physical contact? "I used to be a little timid around men, but I've come a long way using treats and my favorite tug toy! I've never growled or nipped at anyone while with my foster family. If you give me ninety seconds and my favorite snacks I recover quickly and will be everyone's new best friend!" or whatever is true here.

Is he able to relax in the house? Is he destructive? Does he pace? Alarm bark? "I do a good job of barking when someone is at the door, but as soon as I know they're friends, I'm all wiggly!" or "When I hear people outside my front door or noises-- I never bark, I just start drooling, because it might be pizza delivery!" "I'm a high energy guy outside of the house and can go for long hikes with you! But on busy weekdays if I get to play some fetch and go for a walk, this works for me, and I will curl up and snuggle next to you for hours!" or "I need lots of exercise! A doggy treadmill helps me on the days we can't go for bike rides. Making sure I can run for 30 minutes twice a day helps keep me from developing naughty habits" etc

"I'm already crate trained! I sleep in crate quietly when my foster mom is at work. At night time, I sleep on my own dog bed, which will come with me to your house!" or whatever

"I'm mostly Labrador, which of course means that I LOVE food! This means that training can be easy. My foster mom has already taught me _____________. Here's a video of me showing off my skills!"

Stuff like that. "I am very good for getting my nails trimmed and my ears cleaned! Plus the vet said I was a star at the clinic," or "I am learning to accept my pedicures; my foster mom will show you how far we've come! I'm scared of needles so the vet is not my favorite place, but ever since we started dropping by for a quick visit and a treat, I'm starting to realize the staff might not want to eat me."

These give an honest idea of the dog's personality, and can be kept reasonably brief. Nobody wants to read 5 paragraphs about a potential foster. They look at the pictures, find a cute dog, read the description, and halfheartedly look for serious incompatibilities.

That's depressing about adoptapet. Don't feel too badly he's only been viewed by you, it isn't a big system. If MT can get him onto petharbor, that will help, I think. Also, is there a lab rescue there that would be willing to cross-post him and a link to his new awesome bio when it's done? I mean, I would be willing to help you with the blogger part of it, I just can't guarantee it will be done in the next 3 days or anything, but if you can get some new pictures/vid/descriptions of him I can probably get it onto blogger and looking cute. Then you can facebook/e-mail/twitter the heck out of it.
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Re: Impossible to place dogs.

Postby BigBadPibbul » Sun Mar 27, 2011 3:59 am

Wow that was a ton, I did read it but at the moment I'm not sure my wreck addled brain exactly took it all in the right order lol I will definitely re-read in the morning once the stiffness leaves enough for me to move some.
As far as his pictures, the grainy one is about 48hours after he came home with us, the one on his bio page is about six months old and the one with Stormy waiting at the door to go potty is about a month or so old. It's really hard to believe he's even the same dog that he was when we got a hold of him, before he would tuck cower and pee when men approached him no matter how friendly they appeared or how far away they stopped. He would run and hide from Jake and avoided the other dogs, his former owner kept him chained in a tiny yard with zero dog interaction and minimal attention, think sling a bowl of kibble in his face, when he was allowed inside by that person he was constantly getting screamed at and hit for anything that might have tweaked a nerve in the guy, I was told that he was slapped severely for looking at the guy funny.
Now he's doing much better, he wants to play with other dogs, he seeks out attention from men and women alike, absolutely adores the kids next door who like to feed him peanuts and cheetos through the fence when he's out front, doesn't hide when he's scared anymore but tries to get closer to the people he's hanging around with. It's been a 100% turn around for him but I think it's high time he got the chance to have a family of his own you know? Gods I'm rambling like an idiot, don't mind me I'll be back to normal in a couple days.
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Re: Impossible to place dogs.

Postby buckaroo » Sun Mar 27, 2011 6:48 am

If the person controlling the website is being that difficult, why not just request a transfer and have them move him to another foster home?

If your only online marketing tool is adoptapet then the best chance you've got of getting him adopted is at an adoption event. Looking at the other large dogs in your rescue, Mischief seems like one of the easiest ones actually. At least he's not a dog aggressive, chicken killing fence jumper... lol! Who is writing these bios!? I don't think it would be possible to make a dog sound less adoptable unless you showed a picture of it eating a child.
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Re: Impossible to place dogs.

Postby BigBadPibbul » Sun Mar 27, 2011 12:08 pm

I won't transfer him to another foster within VIVAs network, with the way Marilynn's been as of late a great many of our fosters have backed out and dropped dogs off at the pound or given them away indiscriminately to the first taker.
Mischief's got a pretty big story to his life, he was bought for my son by my ex who later dumped him on me because he got sick of dealing with him. If I had space he'd be a permanent resident.
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Re: Impossible to place dogs.

Postby heartbullies » Sun Mar 27, 2011 12:09 pm

buckaroo wrote:....Looking at the other large dogs in your rescue, Mischief seems like one of the easiest ones actually. At least he's not a dog aggressive, chicken killing fence jumper... lol! Who is writing these bios!? I don't think it would be possible to make a dog sound less adoptable unless you showed a picture of it eating a child.


!!!! oh dear!
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