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At my wits end (long)

(43 Posts)
BangersAndMashh Wed 13-Feb-13 15:29:33

Ok so I suppose I better give you a back story on my dog. She is a 2yo chocolate labrador, we have had her since she was 8 weeks old. When we first got her we ensured she was introduced to all household noises (hoover, hairdryer, bin bags rustling, loud music etc) so she wasn't nervous of noises (unfortunately the hoover fell on her head when she was 12 weeks old and she has been scared of that ever since and barks like a nutter at it).

Myself and my partner never hit her ever as we don't believe that is any way to discipline a dog. However, we had a lodger living with us when we got her and he used to kick her and slap her no matter how many times I tried to keep her away from him and tell him not to - this really frustrated me and the lodger was asked to leave shortly after. I have also caught one of DP's friends hitting her hard on the head a few times - what is wrong with these people - I would never dream of going against someones wishes and hurting their pet?!?! She has also been attacked by a couple of dogs on her walks as well, which really doesn't help matters, so as you can imagine, my lovely bouncy dog is sometimes a very nervous, timid creature!

Now, whenever anyone comes to the door or she hears the back door open, she barks. Now you might not think this is a problem, but you haven't heard how loud her bark is and I don't like dogs barking when someone is at the door anyway. I am 25 weeks pregnant, and want her to stop barking like this because she will constantly be waking the baby when it's born! We have tried lots of things to stop the barking, but has anyone got any suggestions?

Another problem I have is her point blank refusal to poo at times. It gets to the point where it is literally a power struggle. We have got into a routine where she does her business in a morning before getting fed, then is walked an hour or two after being fed. Then she is let out in the garden again in the evening and does her business before being taken for a walk and then we have our tea then she has hers. Sounds simple right? Well it would be if she didn't stand there and stare at me and point blank refuse to have a poo. Sometimes she is literally bulging (sorry if tmi) and desperate to go, but she completely refuses. Whenever we have given in and taken her for a walk anyway, she literally gets outside the gate, we walk up the street and she will squat and do it (really winds me up!)

It might not sound like a big deal to some people, but it is turning into a power struggle - she knows she is supposed to do it and refuses and does it on the pavement instead. It is driving me nuts because sometimes I am in a rush and need to get somewhere, yet I have to wait until she will do her business (can't just leave her in her cage without doing her business and having a walk!)

Any suggestions anyone?

Sorry for the long winded post, but needed to post background info.

OLynnO Wed 13-Feb-13 15:51:36

What's wrong with her doing it on the street? just take a bag with you and clean it up...job done, you can't expect her to poo on your command, and to say/think she's holding it in just to be awkward is ridiculous!
Regarding her barking all you can do is distract her with with something she finds fun, make it a game, clicker training is brilliant if done right, you can get them to do anything (I did)
And as for the people around that have hit/abused her!!! Get them out!!! nobody would hurt my dog, especially in my own home!

needastrongone Wed 13-Feb-13 16:07:39

You can teach your dog not to bark by teaching it to bark first, then not giving the command. Good clicker training videos available on the web, Youtube etc. Also, praise her when she is quiet and calm on her mat, to reinforce this behaviour maybe?

Not sure why she can't go to the toilet outside if you would explain?

Although, you can teach dogs to 'go' on command (I haven't managed this!) but our friends dogs go to the command 'be good', usually in a field out of the way of a path.

BangersAndMashh Wed 13-Feb-13 16:38:31

Because we have trained her to "go" on command - that was our chosen method of toilet training, and it has worked. And because even when you take a baf it is still not good - there are 3 schools on our walkibg route and I do not want her pooing outside a school! Even when cleaning it up.

OLynnO If you read my post properly, you would see that the lodger was promptly asked to leave... Why did you even reply if you are just going to criticise? I asked for advice. And FYI, you can train a dog do go on command, my other dog, and all previous dogs I have owned, have gone on command - they are in a routine. My lab does hold it in to be awkward, I don't care if you think that is ridiculous - my vet, who is also a dog trainer, said it is a common prob in labs - using toileting to be in control (i.e to be fed before they will go) and it often turns into a bigger issue of authority if not addressed. However I thought I would ask on here before spending god knows how much on hiring her. Last time I make that mistake... People are too friggin judgemental on here!

BangersAndMashh Wed 13-Feb-13 16:39:30

Oh and needastrongone cheers I will try the barking on command, she does everything else on command, don't know why I hadn't thought of that tbh!

RedwingWinter Wed 13-Feb-13 16:42:36

There's some good advice on stopping barking here. It involves giving her treats when someone comes to the door or opens the back door so that she learns to associate them with good things. If you can get a friend to help you practice (by repeatedly coming to the door) it will speed things up.

Can you not just let her toilet on the street, and the pick it up? Some dogs don't like to go in their own garden and prefer to go somewhere more out of the way. Also, a short walk helps to get the bowels moving. She's not doing it deliberately to spite you.

I don't understand why someone would hit someone else's dog. The 'friends' who did that don't sound very nice and I hope you can keep them away from the dog so it doesn't happen again.

Getting in to a power struggle with a dog seems a bit pointless. If you want her to poo on command and she's fallen out of the habit, go back to basics. Praise/treat like mad when she does perform, and ignore it when she doesn't. If she's smart, she'll pick up on that quickly. That said, my dog likes to poo in various places on our walks because that's where other dogs poo. It doesn't bother me where he goes, tbh, as I pick it up regardless.

BangersAndMashh Wed 13-Feb-13 16:54:20

He has never had a dog so doesnt get why its not right and hit her when she knocked his broken arm, I obviously bollocked him and told him never to hit her but he did it again so I got DP to tell him.

As I have already said - she is trained to go on command and 9 times out of 10 she does it in the garden before we go for a walk, but now and the she just goes outside, sits on the wall and stares you out. She is mentally and physicslly stimulated during the day and is never left for long in her crate. Like I said, a lot.of the time she does this refusing, she clearly needs to go because her butt is bulging and she will literally get to the gate and do it there.

Last time she did it was when we got a new living room suite, wondering if the change in environment spooked her that time? But normally nothing has changed.

BangersAndMashh Wed 13-Feb-13 16:57:53

Chickens, its not every time - she still.remembers the training because like I said, 9 times out of 10 she's fine.

And I don't want her shitting in the street! Many people I know are the same! There are no bins on the route and I would rather not carry a bag of shit for an hour with 2 dogs and a buggy.

CrumbyCrumbs Wed 13-Feb-13 17:32:38

Finally - someone else with a labrador as stubborn as mine! I have exactly the same problem as you, Bangers. My 4 year old chocolate labrador is trained to "go" on command as well and occasionally she decides that she is going to be stubborn and not do it! I completely understand where you are coming from and really sympathise with you on this, it is draining standing in the garden for an hour trying to get a stubborn labrador to have a poo. My labrador will literally hold it in for a full 24 hours. They always give in eventually.

And FWIW I also do not allow my dogs to poo in the street - there is no need for them to do so when they are trained to go on command!

And although it is not great that your lodger and friend have hit your dog, I also understand that you asked the lodger to leave and have told your friend you don't find it acceptable to hit your dog. I know people who have had others it their dogs, similar situation to you.

For those of you just here to criticise the OP, why are you even posting? They asked for advice, not for you to preach your oh so perfect methods.

BangersAndMashh Wed 13-Feb-13 17:38:31

Crumby Yeah, we tried to keep her away from the lodger, but that just wasn't possible - she would have spent 24/7 in her crate which just isn't fair. He just took it upon himself to "discipline" her which really pissed me off! Glad someone understands where I'm coming from with the training on command - it is the best way to get into a routine.

MrsHoneybean Wed 13-Feb-13 18:21:14

Really sorry to hear about your doggie issues.

I have had assistant dogs to stay for b&b with us and they are not allowed to go on their walk until they have done their business at home.

Roughly (and I am no expert) you choose a place in your garden that you want them to use and always stick with that same place. Anyway some like going on gravel or grass or soil etc. Choose a command like "gotta go now" or whatever you prefer and only say it once or so not over and over and over. I guess you reward them once they have done their business.

I know this all sounds easy! It was easy for me as when they came to stay they were already trained!!

Anyway, not ideal for you but, perhaps you could adjust your routine ? Can you keep taking your dog out soon after they have eaten to the spot and if they don't go. Come in and try again 15mins later and so on. Keep trying this until they finally do go and obviously praise and give them a treat. Don't take them for a walk until they have been!!! This may mean you have stay at home for a few days. It also means they are not allowed a walk until their business is done.

I know what I'm suggesting is easier said then done but I thought I'd share with you.

By the way, one dog we had was really shy and had to poo behind the bushes in our garden and wouldn't go otherwise!!

Perhaps you need to just find what makes your lab comfortable?!! Could it be she prefers pooing on concrete? Maybe you could set her business area up with some concrete slabs?!!

Good luck smile

MrsHoneybean Wed 13-Feb-13 18:26:08

Ps we were trained to always take them to their business spot on the lead...

BangersAndMashh Wed 13-Feb-13 18:31:48

MrsHoneyBean Thanks so much for your response, some really helpful stuff there smile

We have a grassed area where she normally goes to one particular corner and does it there, and we do use a cue phrase to get her to go as well. Funny you should say about the shy thing, 'cause she always sticks her head in the hedge as if she's hiding!

Prob with it is, we always walk her then feed her as she doesn't get fed til 7.30 (we feed her at 7.30 AM and 7.30 PM, always have since she has been on 2 meals a day). So as you can imagine, if she doesn't poo, she doesn't get walked then she wouldn't get fed either - it puts everything back a good 2 hours when she won't 'go'. In a morning she runs straight out and does it becaus she knows when she comes inside she will get fed, whereas at night time she knows it will be a walk before she gets fed. We never give in and just take her anwyay, like I say she always gives in eventually, we tend to let her out, use cue phrase and if she stands there and stares at me I calmly bring her inside, put her in her crate without saying anything and try again in 10 mins. We tend to have to repeat this process for a good hour or so until she finally gives in, goes out and has a massive poo lol!! Thank goodness it's not every day and it's only like once every couple of weeks!

We sometimes take her round the front as well to where the gravel is to see if a change of scenery will do the trick - sometimes does, sometimes she just sits there and looks at you as if to say "not a chance".

Just a bit worried how all this messing about will tie in with my routine when my baby is born in 15 weeks time! Might have to change her routine a bit to make it easier on everyone, will just have to play it by ear.

BangersAndMashh Wed 13-Feb-13 18:33:09

MrsHoneyBean Yeah, we always let her out on the lead, because otherwise she spends half her time eating bits of dirt and sniffing for where next doors cat has been wandering! grin

firstpost Wed 13-Feb-13 18:35:50

I had an identical issue with my lab barking when the door bell went. I am the very opposite of an expert smile but I got so fed up with her waking the baby we had a trainer out to deal with it. He diagnosed excessive house guarding and said it was a game because she was bored. He gave us a small water bottle half filled with stones - I kid you not - the problem was solved in less than 30 minutes. He knocked, we rattled the stones in her face, she stopped. Now if she forgets herself (when she just wakes us for example) we just have to look meaningfully at the bottle and she stops!

MrsHoneybean Wed 13-Feb-13 19:26:56

I do do feel for you and if you can get her into a new routine you've got 15 weeks to practice!!

I am going to give your routine some thought - just in the middle of bathing my little ones.

I agree you want to get the barking pooing sorted if you can now because your mind will be elsewhere in 15 weeks!!

The bottle of stones thing is interesting. I guess barking is a hard one and one I have no advice/suggestions. However the only thing to consider is that your lab is guarding you in a way and perhaps there is a way of rewarding/reducing? So out if my depth tbh on the reduction of barking!! But there is a reason for it...

Will give your routine more thought and see if my poor grey cells come up with something!

Hang in there, you will get this all sorted out. smile

By the way I am not a completely terrible mother - I haven't left my baby drowning in the bath - he's 6 and thinks he's a fish! wink

BangersAndMashh Wed 13-Feb-13 19:44:57

MrsHoney Thank you so much, I thought I was only going to get responses like the first ones, telling me what a terrible dog owner I am for not allowing my dog to poop on the pavement! We've been in the same routine since she was 8 weeks old (except then obviously she was fed at 7.30, 12, 4 and 8).

firstpost That is a good idea, I like the use of the stones in the bottle - I was once told to spray water in her face and was horrified by the idea - she's petrified of the hose pipe so I can't see that being much fun for the poor lass! Will run it by my other half and might give that a go, thank you smile

Also, she barks like mad for attention if she is left outside for any length of time - an example of this is when we go to visit my DP's grandad he lives in the middle of nowhere and we take her for a big walk and then if the is too muddy to clean with a towel we leave her in the outbuilding or in the porch area with some toys and a bowl of water and she just barks and barks this high pitched attention seeking bark - different to the bark she does when someone comes in the door. Now if you have a lab, you know how loud their bark is (she sounds like a boy dog!) Any ideas how I could stop this as well?

She's a fantastic dog in every other way - brilliant recall and stuff!

MrsHoneybean Wed 13-Feb-13 22:12:46

Still havent figured out what else you can do....

I am completely with you though about pooing on the pavement. Disgusting and my worst nightmare having to carry a hot poo bag round. Yuck yuck yuck. My only suggestion could be that when your dd is having a stubborn refusing to poo morning can you leave her at home and come back for her after the school run? Perhaps take her to the woods wherever you take her, in the car afterwards if you drive? Not very useful if you dont?!!

My theory of feeding then walking wont work either as she'll be evenmore likely to poo on pavement!!

Is there a reason or trigger for the days she refuse not to poo?

Oh I wish I was an expert and could say oh yeah you just do this....

Anyway, hopefully someone else will come up with some good ideas x

foolonthehill Wed 13-Feb-13 22:31:42

I am no expert but this worked for me...

Training to bark on command (my command was speak) stopped my collie and my lurcher barking for attention :we had it down in about 3 days...haven't had to with foolish dog (springer) as she is practically silent!

foolonthehill Wed 13-Feb-13 22:35:02

PS if you have no problems in the morning because lab comes in to food...why not alter your routine to do poo, then food, then walk in the evening as well?

Dogs don't need to be on a strict 12 hour regime any more than we need our food spaced in 8 hour chunks to see us through the day

BangersAndMashh Thu 14-Feb-13 08:18:50

Eating before her walk wouldn't work - you have to leave an hour before you can walk them and we have our tea before she gets hers - I don't think dogs should be fed before the owners.

Also, the reason we do it this was round is because in a morning DP goes downstairs before work and lets her out, has his breakfast then feeds her while I have a shower and stuff. I do the.morning walk an hour after she's been fed. If I'm at work that day she is walked before she is fed as there wouldn't be time to leave the hour gap. She goes up to my mums house to play with her dog while I'm at work (would never leave her crated for more than 4 hours in the day time) and I pick her up when I finish (usually about 3). Obviously if I'm not at work (I work part time) then she stays at home with me or we both go up to my mums. Then DP finishes work at 5-5.30, and this is when she is let out to do her business. He then does the evening walk while I cook tea, we have tea when he gets back then she gets fed after that (usually about 7.30 by the time all thats done - I don't stixm to a strict 12 hrs that

BangersAndMashh Thu 14-Feb-13 08:24:52

Argh - premature posting - silly phone.

I don't necessarily stick to exactly 12 hrs but that is a guide so shes not eating at 5 then going right through til 8 the next morning - I think I would be hungry if I did that!

So obviously this routine is gonna change when baby comes - DP will be doing morning walk n I will do evening one.

I like the idea of putting her in the car n going to the field, only prob is I don't want her to want that every day as it would be difficult with a baby and she is the sort of dog that thrives on routine, and if she did it a few tines then she would prob want to do it every day smile

Argh bloody dogs! grin

needastrongone Thu 14-Feb-13 09:33:01

Bangers - I am no expert but I don't think it matters if a dog eats before it's owner or not, there's a lot of new thinking about this. Doesn't teach the dog it's top of the pack or anything. Other people who know more would be able to explain why! I just get puppy to sit an dwait before he eats for good manners.

Our puppy who is 16 weeks gets his meal at 5-5.30pm then eats at 7am, he's hungry but fine. I use the opportunity to train a bit pre breakfast as he's hungry and will work for it! smile I figure in the wild, he would eat when food is available.

Puppy pooed outside school this morning, I bagged it immediately.

My friend has a dog who goes in the same place each morning, she bags it, stashes the bag, does an hours walk and then collects bag and bins. Would this work for you? She once forgot and fretted until the next morning!

Good luck, all my posts are with good intention, people have differing (strong) opinions but are not necessarily being unhelpful smile

Noodled Thu 14-Feb-13 09:37:59

You know as an aside my three dogs bark up a storm for the postman etc my baby sleeps through this, their play fights and other dog related chaos. They get used to it in utero so don't worry if retraining takes a while.

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