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Not good dog owners

(76 Posts)
stardusty5 Tue 18-Feb-14 20:34:32

My DP had just got a new Sharpei/Staffy when I first met him. The dog is now just over 1 year and i am really concerned about him.

He has terrible separation anxiety which is very upsetting for us both. This behaviour can at times be very destructive, but at other times means that he just cries and shakes when he knows we are going out. It has affected how often we socialise as a couple because we feel it's not worth putting him through the stress. It also means that he sleeps in our room now instead of the kitchen, as his crying and scratching at the door was unbearable and would go on for hours.

Secondly, he is not good on the lead- he really pulls, and i am too frightened to let him off the lead when there are others around as he tends to jump and say hello to them.

We both work full time, and i am of te opinion that we are not a good enough home for him. DP has not really trained him, and is only now promising to take him to a proper class, at my insistence.

While i love him, and think he is very cute, i can't help but think that we have made him into a very difficult and troubled dog. We are hoping to TTC soon and these stories of dog attacks terrify me.

I guess i wish that i had met DP before he got the dog. It would be heartbreaking to get rid of him but I don't think an empty house is suitable for a dog.

ender Tue 18-Feb-14 20:54:06

It all sounds fixable. Good that DP will take him to training classes, also there's lots of information online to help with separation anxiety and pulling on the lead. Of course dog will need some company and entertainment in the day if you're both out, dog walker ideally.
Also best wait until dog is trained before TTC. No need to be terrified of dog attacks, just make sure you never leave dog and baby alone together and read up on dog body language so you'll be able to spot warning signs.

Spero Tue 18-Feb-14 20:59:17

I think its fixable but it will be a LOT of work and effort and you just can't leave a dog alone all day every day. It will go mad.

Once you have sorted out the training, if you can't also pay for dog walker/dog day care you should rehome the dog with someone who can care for it properly.

stardusty5 Tue 18-Feb-14 21:04:43

Thanks Ender, I think I have a tendency to think the worst. I'm scared that the training won't have momentum if we are out all the time.

We have had some small victories- his recall is good when he is off the lead, but that is because we make sure we go to places where we are likely to spot others before he does! Rules out local parks with all their trees tho- so he is on the lead for his normal walks. His excitement would definitely override our calls etc.

We have also stopped him climbing on the sofa. Cuddles we nice- but spilled cups of tea, not so much!

stardusty5 Tue 18-Feb-14 21:09:58

Ultimately i agree with you Spero. DPs parents have a farm amd have said that they would be willing to take him, but DP would be heartbroken. I feel as though I need to allow him to come to the right conclusion himself, without me being Cruella De Vil- The One Who Sent His Dog Away

Happiestinwellybobs Tue 18-Feb-14 21:13:03

Check out doggy daycare in your area. Ours goes three days a week and much better value for money than a dog walker. He is playing from 9.00. - 4.00pm. The days he is at home, he is too tired to do anything but sleep!!

Spero Tue 18-Feb-14 21:18:31

I know it is very upsetting but if you can't sort something out for the days, he needs to accept that he is being cruel. Dogs crave human companionship. Hopefully the penny will drop at the training classes, but if it doesn't drop pretty soon, then I think you have got to spell it out to him - otherwise you will end up with a dog that is ruined for any other family and that's not fair.

nuttymutty1 Tue 18-Feb-14 21:26:06

Spero on another thread you were quite happy for a dog to be left alone all day and argued quite vehemently against others who said anything different. I am glad that you have had a change of heart.

OP it will need work and you do need to get someone to visit the dog when you are out. You can change the dogs emotional state but this will not be through training but through behaviour modification programme so I suggest that you contact an APDT to help you with this

stardusty5 Tue 18-Feb-14 21:38:31

Thanks for all your replies and for seeing i'm not a selfish dog hater!

I'm going to press for DP to start taking him to stay with his brother at the farm on days where we are out all day. This has been talked about but DP was worried about taking advantage.

Usually there are 2-3 days in the week where DP works evenings, so the dog is only left from about 2.30pm- 5pm when i get home.

BitsinTatters Tue 18-Feb-14 21:41:45

I don't think it's taking advantage.

Between my siblings and I we all take care of each others dogs and animals on long days or weekends or holidays away. It's fairer on the animals than being left alone and it's like they get a mini break themselves

Spero Tue 18-Feb-14 23:13:15

nuttymutty, you are talking absolute crap.

What I said was that I was happy every now and then to leave my dogs for up to five hours.

This happens about once every two weeks.

Any longer and I would make sure they were looked after by someone else.

If you want to attack my position, at least have the honesty to attack what I REALLY say and believe.

WimbledonDogs Wed 19-Feb-14 06:54:47

Suggest you get a professional in to help you with the separation related behaviours (SRB). Once you understand the problems and have a behaviour modification plan, you are better informed to make a decision. Also, it is fairer on his parents if you provide them with full details of the work that needs to be done if you decide to rehome the dog.

A training class is not the place to resolve SRB, you need a consultation.

For relief during walks, try a harness to combat the pulling. If the face shape allows, get a Gentle Leader, otherwise you will probably need a body harness.

Booboostoo Wed 19-Feb-14 10:21:31

There are quite a few, relatively simple things you can try before you give up on this dog.

Training classes are a must! Anyone getting a dog should factor in a couple of years of training classes, with time spent reinforcing the training at home. It is not too late, things like pulling on the lead can be easily resolved when your trainer shows you some techniques.

There are also solutions for separation anxiety. I would agree with WimbledonDogs that you are best getting a consultation with a behaviourist to help with this. He/she will identify the source of the problem and help you work through it. Meanwhile Adaptil collars/diffusers and Zylkene tablets help a lot of dogs relax.

It doesn't really sound like you have serious problems with this dog and certainly nothing that would suggest the dog is aggressive or likely to bite any children you may have so I wouldn't stress about this right now. If you are very worried get the behaviourist to show you some of the signs of a stressed dog who is about to bite (turning head away, licking lips, rigid body posture, moving away from you) and see if that makes you feel more confident.

NumptyNameChange Wed 19-Feb-14 14:31:22

i think if there is a home ready there for him with your partners parents and he gets on with them and you're confident that they'll commit to him for the rest of his life then it's kind of madness not to let him go stay there rather than be miserable.

do you think you could convince dp to send him there for a few days break initially now and then and it would begin to dawn on him how happy he was there and how he'd still be in his life to visit and stuff?

NumptyNameChange Wed 19-Feb-14 14:31:53

couple of years of training classes??? god i've been lucky with my dogs.

Spero Wed 19-Feb-14 14:36:14

I agree that 'a couple of years' training sounds excessive! I have managed fine with puppy training over six weeks and then just clear consistent boundaries after that - and of course not leaving them alone all day everyday.

My dogs seem to cope quite happily with a few hours alone each day and occasional periods of up to five hours - but I think any situation where a dog is left repeatedly for long periods of time just isn't fair on the dog. It is little wonder that behaviour problems develop when this happens and I imagine the longer you leave it, the harder it will be to turn it around.

NumptyNameChange Wed 19-Feb-14 15:19:37

my lab went about 4 times to puppy class but i spent tons of time with her and on her training and she is fab. my lhasa didn't go to classes as she was getting lots of socialising with my lab and out on walks in the fields wit dogs and people and from friends visiting with dogs. she was a bit of a royal pita but now, at nearly 2, she's lovely and much more able to be obedient and responsive. she is also only now really beginning to lose her puppy coat. slow burner. don't think classes would have helped.

Spero Wed 19-Feb-14 16:16:19

I think the training was much more for the owners benefit than the dogs...

stardusty5 Wed 19-Feb-14 16:55:50

Thank you for all your replies. I would like to do the right thing by him, whatever that may be. I just don't think that dp thought it through properly, and has tended to think i'm over the top when talking about sorting day care out for him.

He'd definitely rather do that than give him up though.

Spero Wed 19-Feb-14 17:44:53

You are definitely not over the top. At the very least you need a dog walker to come in midday and take the dog out for an hour - but if you are both out all day at work, dog day care is probably better.

Booboostoo Wed 19-Feb-14 18:07:11

Well that is my experience as a dog training assistant. Most people take a couple of years to get the basics right, considering that puppies regress around 12-18 months old. After two years of regular training you should have a dog that has very reliable commands, e.g. strong recall (not "comes most times, unless there is something exciting"), good 'leave it' command (not just at home but even if the dog finds a chicken carcass on a walk), as well as loads of practical things like not leaving the car until asked to (not "a bit of a pita" dog, that really does not count as well trained!), etc.

For those of you who manage to get dogs to KC Gold standard in a few weeks all I can say is wow that is impressive and you probably could have an alternative career as outstanding dog trainers.

stardusty5 Wed 19-Feb-14 19:35:09

I've found a KC registered trainer in our town which i am going to show dp. He was planning on taking him to the local community centre, but i'm not sure what the credentials of this class are.

I think even a secure bronze certificate would be an achieveable and really helpful goal.

He has agreed to arange day care with his brother for the long days. Progress! smile

Spero Wed 19-Feb-14 19:39:24

O for goodness sake. I don't have a dog trained to 'gold standard'. I have a dog that sits and waits when I tell her, that gets off the bed when I tell her, who doesn't jump up etc when I ask her.

That's fine by me.

All this 'years of dog training!' is way over the top. If you have a half decent dog and a half decent owner, you really don't need that.

Spero Wed 19-Feb-14 19:44:44

Sorry op I am too busy being irritated to say Well Done. seriously, well done. I think you will have a much happier dog and that is going to be good for all of you.

stardusty5 Wed 19-Feb-14 20:09:33

Thank you! All your help and perspective has made it feel more do-able. It felt like a Catch 22 situation really and i was expecting a bollocking!

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