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My dog is a nightmare, tearing my hair out and feel we have tried everything.

(118 Posts)
marne2 Wed 03-Dec-14 11:03:55

It's actually making me depressed, it's effecting my other dog and effecting my relationship with dh ( oh and probably my social life ).

We have had him for almost 2 years, he is a lab x ( possibly collie ). He Cries all day, I get up, he cries for food, I feed him and he cries until he gets walked, I walk him for an hour, he sleeps for 5 minutes and then he cries, a hour before his dinner he cries and then the crying for his 2nd walk, he finally sleeps at 10pm and then awake by 6am. If anyone visits the house he barks constantly and jumps up ( not aggressive, just wants attention ), I remove him from the room and he barks louder and destroys the door/gate. No one will visit us or bring children in the house. My other dog is a wreck because when I raise my voice at the lab x is scares her, the only thing he listens to is me shouting ( and that's hit and miss ), we have tried clicker training, rewarding the good behaviour, ignoring the crying, shutting him outside ( removing him from the room ) but he gets worse.

My husband has had enough, the kids have had enough ( dd2 has ASD and the barking really hurts her ears ), the only thing that would keep him quite was to be walked all day. I know he is a working breed and needs to have a job to do but when I got him from the rescue I was told he would be a small dog ( he is not huge ) and I thought 2 walks a day would be enough ( plus we play ball ), he has puzzle toys, balls, bones and my other dog to keep him entertained but he will not play without me, won't go in the garden to play ( we have a large garden ).

No one will visit us for Christmas because of the dog. He has a crate which we no longer use as this seemed to make him worse. I feel so sorry for my other dog, she is so laid back and I can tell she is really annoyed with the other dog leaping around all the time and crying.

I can't afford to get a behaviour specialist in.

I have posted here so many times and I feel I have tried everything people have suggested.

He does have a few good points, he is very loving, he is great with other dogs, great off the lead ( good recall ), in a way he would be much happier living on a farm or being worked.

ovaltine Wed 03-Dec-14 11:07:49

I've got a collie x and he also drives me mad - he needs wearing out mentally rather than physically it seems! Shutting them out the room doesn't help; people need to ignore him and avoid eye contact and when he calms down then fuss him. Easier said than done, I know!! People are harder to train than the dog smile I feel for you. How would you feel about rehoming him?

marne2 Wed 03-Dec-14 11:46:18

I've walked him twice as far today and instead of helping him find his ball in the long grass I made him sniff it out ( took a while but meant he was using his brain more ), my other dog gave me 'the look ' when I dragged her around the field for the 2nd time. The dark evenings are not helping as I can't take him out late which is probably why he's still hyper at 9pm. I try and hide his food around the garden or feed him with his kong wobbler in hope to work him a bit more. It's just so frustrating, he never plods around, he bounces and runs knocking the kids over sad.

tabulahrasa Wed 03-Dec-14 11:47:55

Have you contacted the rescue? Some rescues have behaviourists available.

His insurance may cover it if you check your policy.

Also, some behaviourists have a lower rate for rescue dogs...also the rate they do charge is for the initial consultation with email and phone back up and any further appointments only done as and when needed and at a much lower cost, so if the plan they give you works it could well be a one off cost anyway.

Realistically your options are to get help or to return him to the rescue.

marne2 Wed 03-Dec-14 11:49:30

Tbh I would happily rehome him to the right home, I don't want him going back to the rescue as they are not that great, they would just rehome him anywhere and he really needs to be on a farm. We did have someone who knew a lady who may of took him ( on a farm ) but it would depend how he gets on with chickens, I may look into that again. I'm sure the rescue would be fine if we found him a home as long as do checks and pass on details to the rescue. I do love him but I often feel I can't give him what he needs sad.

Edenviolet Wed 03-Dec-14 11:52:35

If I were you I would rehome him. You sound exhausted and you have done all you can.
Don't feel guilty about it, it sounds as if it will be a huge burden lifted on you and your family, just try to do everything you can to help with the re homing process if possible so that you know he has gone to the best possible place for him and will be well looked after.


marne2 Wed 03-Dec-14 11:53:41

I have spoke to the rescue ( a few months ago ), the only advice they gave was to try raw feeding, they said his brother and his mum are both the same, we got him as a pup and the lady from the rescue has kept his mother, a relative has one of the other pups. Tbh when I met the pups and the mum the mum was very Barky and jumpy, I chose the most laid back of the pups in hope he would be calmer, mum was a small lab x so we didn't expect him to get as big as he is. When we were looking for another dog we were really looking for a bull breed to go with our other dog but the rescue persuaded me into having one of the pups.

tabulahrasa Wed 03-Dec-14 12:02:23

Most rescues have a clause saying that dogs should be returned to them rather than passed on included in the paperwork when you adopt a I doubt they will be ok with you finding him a new home.

marne2 Wed 03-Dec-14 13:45:57

Tabu, the rescue are happy for me to rehome, they are turning dogs away at the moment and struggling to find foster homes for the dogs they have, it makes no difference to them if he goes into a foster home or if he stays here until a suitable home is found as long as I give them the details of the new home and do a home check.

I feel guilty giving up on him, I don't want to be one of those people that gets rid of a dog, he will stay here unless I find a very special home for him, if I can't find the perfect home he will be staying here with me.

ovaltine Wed 03-Dec-14 13:48:31

We do raw feeding (well a bit of both). He does have some dry food but it has to be decent quality stuff. Bakers etc have always sent all my dogs slightly mad! See if you can put some feelers out for farm rehoming. Have you tried flyball/agility at all? Even 5 mins of "training" in the house, getting them to do different things can help. I'm sure you have prob tried all this.

As I type my dog is jumping all over my room like a possessed thing. Gah to have a quiet sleepy dog!!

marne2 Wed 03-Dec-14 14:23:06

We have no training classes near by, we do a lot of ball work when we walk him, most of his walk is off lead in fields so he will retrieve the ball ( would happily do it all day ). He's on a expensive dog food as he has a sensitive gut, I don't want to change him to raw because it took so long to find a food that doesn't make him poorly and I don't have the room to store raw food.

I stopped letting him chase the ball for a while after someone on here said 'I'm probably just making him fitter which will give him even more energy', today I took the ball, walked twice as far and he has settled down ( though I am knackered ), sadly I can't always spend that much time tiring him out and there are days when he has to make do with a shorter walk ( as I can't take both dd's with me and dh is at work ). I'm sure he will be bouncing off the walls again very soon.

I keep thinking 'he will calm down as he gets older' but how long could that be? He's over 2 years old so he has quite a few years yet.

Booboostoo Wed 03-Dec-14 15:07:13

2 to 4 years old is the most active time in a dog's life.

Your dog sounds bored and under stimulated. You need to go to training classes even if they are a bit further away as they will show you how to stimulate his brain by teaching new behaviours. You may also want to try agility training, most dogs love it.

I know you say he is walked twice a day but how good are your walks. Do you do at least one hour for each walk, off lead and in loads of different places?

muttynutty Wed 03-Dec-14 15:56:47

Marne I remember your other posts.

Just to clarify a few things but I do understand how difficult it is to live with a dog that is demanding.

Do not throw the ball for your dog ever. Do not increase his exercise to compensate. He does need a good off lead run but an hour twice a day is fine.

What he does need is mental stimulation - so on the walk , put him in a wait you may need to tie him to a tree to start with, let him see you hide the ball - let him find it, Make this harder and harder - do it three or four times that is enough.

Can you get him to run around a tree using the ball in you hand as a lure - again do this once or twice do it to the left and right.

This is being done in the hour walk.

Collies actually do not need loads of exercise but they do need things to do so you can very easily overstimulate them and get loon dogs - collies can do loondogs very well!

Does he do down, sit and stand? Have the ball in your hand go to throw it and say away - he should run away then ask him to go down, then sit etc after a couple of calm commands throw him the ball to catch.

Don't worry about your other dog - they will be able to chill out and not be at all worried by your other dogs behaviour - if you are still chilled with the dog. Do they have a place they can go to get away from loondog

What do you do when he cries?

If you want to pm me where you are roughly I may have people who could come and give you an assessment foc just to see the situation in real life.

Some farm dogs have a horrendous life and tbh not many farmers want a labcross sad Collies can have days on the farm where they do nothing - they are not required and learn to just chill.

If you do decide to rehome again as I may be able to help.

marne2 Wed 03-Dec-14 16:59:28

Thank you Mutty, I will try tying him to a tree and hiding his ball. He is walked for an hour at a time, we are limited to places where I can take him, he's walked for 10 minutes on the lead and then the rest if off lead through fields, as soon as I let him off he goes crazy, runs around in circles but will come when I call him, when we get to the end of the walk he will sit, drop his ball and wait for me to put his lead on, he walks nicely home ( not so good on the way ). He knows sit, lie down, down, bed etc... But sometimes he struggles to sit for very long as he is hyper. Sometimes the more I ask him to do things the more excited and jumpy he gets. If I use treats as a reward he seems to get even more hyper though he will follow commands in between crying and leaping aroun
We live in the middle of nowhere, I can't get him to training classes which are at least 20 miles away, I only have a tiny car and he doesn't travel well, I don't feel safe driving with him as he yelps and cries continuously.

I don't like having to use the tennis ball to amuse him as I agree it's just going to make him more fit and demanding but today I was so fed up with the situation and I just wanted to tire him out so I could get on and do some jobs. It did settle him down for a while so now I feel slightly more sane.

We tried ignoring the crying for so long but it went on for days, this meant I could not walk him or feed him as I would be giving in to him sad

My other dog sits and shakes near dinner time as she knows loonie dog is going to cry, bark and I'm going to get stressed.

muttynutty Wed 03-Dec-14 17:14:04

He does sound like hard work.

Dont worry about using the ball to give you a break - that sounds just the way survive. You often find with dogs that their behaviour will get worse before getting better as they try hard to get back the old ways. So you will need to be prepared to make a commitment for a few months to see a big difference. Only you know if you can cope with this.

Re the crying does he pause - for a milli second? I would reward that - many collies just love a kind word and a pat - calming but also attention.

So if you want to go for a walk ask him to go down, if he is quiet for a millisecond reward - the aim being to make this a longer period. It will take time.

I would teach a settle command. When he is lying down and being undemanding - reward quietly and calmly maybe a bit of boring kibble or a slow stroke and quiet good boy.

I would also work on the crate - let him in the crate and reward with food - yep he will go crazy gradually ask for a down in the crate and then reward when still build this up again for a longer duration until he can be quite still in the crate - do not lock him in it just encourage it to be an area for chilling.

A good book is Control Unleashed by Leslie McDevitt - it is devised for agility dogs but there are exercises in it that will work. If a dog can be calm at agility then they can be calm in the house smile

Wish I could help- I am itching to sort out your dog smile

marne2 Wed 03-Dec-14 17:44:36

Have pm'd you Mutty.

He doesn't really pause, if he does I try and reward him but even a simple 'good boy' said quietly makes him start jumping around and then he tries to kiss me to death grin.

On the rare occasion that he is calm he is a lovely dog, my daughter will cuddle up with him, he has even been known to wear the girls pj's ( he likes being dressed up ) grin, he's never shown any signs of aggression. My daughter has even accidentally trod on him and sat on him and he doesn't bat an eye lid, I just wish I could slow him down a little bit ( a walk rather than a bounce or run whilst In the house ) and stop the crying.

Booboostoo Wed 03-Dec-14 19:25:31

Try Adaptil collars and diffusers, they work well for some stressy dogs, or possibly Zylkene tablets.

20 miles does not seem that far, if you live in the middle of nowhere, as do I, surely you are used to such distances? Can you not put him in the crate so that he is safe and ignore the noise just to get to training classes? That way you can get professional advice from someone in RL who actually sees the dog.

To be honest the chances of re homing a hyper collie cross at 2yo are very slim. Farmers have dogs from good working lines and are not really queuing up to rehome unwanted pets.

crapcrapcrapcrap Wed 03-Dec-14 19:48:47

I'm reading this and thinking about Karen Overall's relaxation protocol. It's really hard work but for a dog like this who sounds very on edge much of the time it could be helpful. Also NILIF, to allow for constant reinforcement of calm behaviour.

marne2 Wed 03-Dec-14 20:04:57

Boob, he won't fit in my car sad, I have no idea how I'm going to get him to the vets 5 miles away let alone 20 miles. I managed to get him in dh's car when he went for castration and he was licking my face all the way to the vets ( can't fit a crate in dh's car either ). I wouldn't be able to get child care to take him to classes anyway, I have 2 dd's with sn's and dh often works late.

marne2 Wed 03-Dec-14 20:06:48

I will have a look at Karen Overalls.

Scotlandfordogs Wed 03-Dec-14 20:09:34 might be able to help?

crapcrapcrapcrap Wed 03-Dec-14 20:23:48

Sorry to be so blunt, phone battery was about to die!

NILIF is when a dog gets no free access to food (ie you don't give him a bowlful - he works for every morsel) or other things he finds rewarding without doing some "work" for it first.

To me this dog has learned to cry for attention a lot, which is fine - he needs a lot of attention, as you know all too well. But these dogs are often tetchy and edgy because they seek attention all the time - I suppose it's a bit like gamblers, who get such a hit from a win that they persevere obsessively even if they get very little back. By making them "work" all the time and for all food and attention, they start to learn that they cannot control when you will interact with them - you will interact with them on your terms only.

You can and should also apply this to anything and everything the dog wants - if he wants out the door, ask for a sit first. If he wants to greet another dog, ask him to heel or make eye contact, or even just sit first, before releasing him. If he cries for attention, wait until he is quiet, then ask him to sit or lie down, then give the attention.

It is all hard work BUT becomes second nature quickly and if you can pour your heart and soul into this for a week or two I'd expect you to start seeing glimmers of improvement quite quickly. It takes about 6-8 weeks for it to become more effective, but the actual time it will take to be helpful depends completely on how much you can put into it. It will be harder for you to do with this dog than it was for me with a brand new dog and a psychologically clean slate!

NCIS Wed 03-Dec-14 20:39:36

Whereabouts do you live? I can recommend a really good trainer for problem dogs if you're anywhere near me? I too have a collie.

marne2 Wed 03-Dec-14 20:46:11

Thank you, I don't feed him with a bowl, i scatter it around the garden or in his kong wobbler ( he eats too fast out of a bowl ), I use some of his food for rewards but often this makes him more hyper.

I have done some of the things you mentioned above but maybe I havn't stuck to it for long enough? I have been trying to get him to sit still before his walk for weeks, I won't put a lead on him until he's sat still, if he starts to move I take it off and start again until he is still, he then tries to drag me out the door leaping around, I bring him back in and we start again, this can take up to half an hour but it still doesn't seem to register, we still have to go through it every day sad.

We tried the 'walking backwards' approach too whilst walking, one day it took a hour to get a few metres, eventually he walks a little better, I reward him and then next time we are back to the same sad, we did this for months with little improvement ( and it meant walking the dogs separately which took up so much time ).

He is very intelligent ,this used to be a bonus, he was easy to train as a pup but now he uses it to his advantage and he has forgot everything I taught him as a pup.

crapcrapcrapcrap Wed 03-Dec-14 20:53:02

You need to spend 2 or 3 minutes a few times a day on clicker training - anything will do, eye contact is good, or "down"/"bed" on a mat, whatever. Just doing this starts to wire his brain into looking to you for instructions. If you feed kibble, hand feed the whole lot through the day - that can be literally hundreds of opportunities to train him.

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