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She's driving me crazy

(4 Posts)
mineallmine Sun 22-Jan-17 22:50:23

We have 2 dogs, a male Welsh springer spaniel aged 8 and a collie aged about 4 or 5. We've had the spaniel from a 6 month old puppy and he's easy. His only down side is that he pines horribly when we go away on holidays.

The collie belonged to my elderly uncle and he asked me to take her if and when he died. Well he died a year ago so we've had her since then. He got her as a 2 year old who was a failed sheep dog. We do not know too much about her life before she lived with my uncle but she was definitely not socialised much. With my uncle, she was the boss- allowed to stretch out on the couch while he sat on a kitchen chair etc.

Before I go on and on about how she drives me crazy, in her favour she is very very loving, would be happy to be petted all day long.bshe is also very gentle with the children in our house - our own two and the countless pals that troop through the place. She has had a huge change in her life- from being in the country with my uncle to city life and for the most part she has coped brilliantly.
BUT she has three 'flaws' that are driving me crazy.
Firstly, when she's being walked on the lead, she will be aggressive with each and every dog we meet. I only walk her on lead late in the evening to minimise the number of dogs we might meet. When she's off lead, she'll run after and bark at every dog she sees but doesn't fight with them. She's much much worse on the lead.
Secondly, when she's here in the house and the doorbell rings, she goes crazy barking and runs barking madly at the door. She's so loud and this in particular drives my husband crazy. (I could cope with this but I'm the one who walks her and its the aggressiveness with other dogs that is my primary concern)
Also, she makes our older dog's life a misery- his love in life is chasing and retrieving a ball and she tries to herd him and nips at his neck when he tries to bring the ball back.
I had dog trainer to the house not long after she came and while she was nice, her solution was to do a lot of one on one work with the dog and I just don't have time to do that.I have 2 children, one with SEN, a job and a mother who needs care (dementia.) There is no extra time to walk the two dogs separately, as she advised.

Right now she's curled up in my other dog's bed - I think this is a power thing with her. The two beds are the same but in different parts of the kitchen but she will always try to take his bed. Why is this?
To be honest, she would be better in a house with no other dogs but she's here to stay.
I don't know what solutions I'm looking for. She probably does need lots of intense training, but to be honest that just isn't going to happen. I work week on, week off and in my week off the dogs get a good long walk off lead every day but on my 5 working days, they get a 20minute spin around the block on the leads. There just is no more time for anything else.

TrionicLettuce Sun 22-Jan-17 23:58:11

As hard as it may be I would seriously consider whether you're the right home for this dog.

All the issues she has sound like they would be fixable with some training, in fact you'd probably see some improvement just by upping her exercise and mental stimulation, but if you can't manage those things (entirely understandable in your circumstances) then there's not much chance of her behaviour improving.

If you could stretch to it financially then a dog walker who is also a trainer/behaviourist could be an option, at least in terms of getting her more exercise and working her issues out of the house.

You could try doing some more mental stimulation at home, it doesn't have to take loads of time on your part. Rather than feeding her from a bowl you could use puzzle balls of varying difficulties or even just chucking her food around the garden for her to sniff out.

If you could squeeze in the odd clicker training session, even if it's only a few minutes here and there, she'd probably thrive on it.

Neither of these things will work miracles but without the time for more exercise, better mental stimulation and proper training I'm not sure what else to suggest.

In all honesty, from what you've written here, it sounds like the best option for all of you would be finding her a more appropriate home via a breed specific rescue.

Blackfellpony Mon 23-Jan-17 07:28:29

You have exactly the same dog as me grin

I'm sorry to say 2 years down the line despite weekly training and paying fortunes for behaviourist sessions I am still trying to find the answer. My dog is much improved but it's took lots of work and money.

I would read up on reactive dogs and see if it would be possible to do some of the training or whether it's too much. You have a really high energy herding breed which wont help! Lots of it is simple changes to your lifestyle rather than training itself but it will be restrictive and you need to be consistant.

Mine herds my other dog. I can't stop this as it's partly instinct and partly too much excitement so we had to adjust. I don't throw anything for either dog and take my older dog out to play ball without the reactive dog. It's not fair to stress your spaniel out having him harassed by her.

I also wouldn't let her off lead to go up to or chase other dogs- she's very lucky she hasn't come into contact with an aggressive dog or someone who would report you for this.
She's probably nervous of it and running up to get rid of it, but you really can't allow this behaviour.
A basic excersise is to teach her to watch you. So you see a dog, ask her to focus on you and then treat when she's not reacting to the dog. Eventually she will learn that being quiet and paying attention equals a treat and by going mad she gets nothing.

If yoy haven't got the time I would rehome her or you will end up still in the same position in 10 years time, she needs work and lots of it!

mineallmine Mon 23-Jan-17 22:22:45

Thanks for the responses. I really can't rehome her. I'm her 3rd home and besides, my uncle would haunt me! And while she drives me scatty, ive grown to love her.

She really needs more exercise. Even writing my post myself last night clarified a few things for me. I need to get up a bit earlier to give them both a quick run before work and I need to give them a good long walk even in my working week. I've loads if weight to lose myself so it'll do me good too. We walked for an hour this evening and they're both flaked out now. We were speed walking cos I needed to be somewhere before they closed and we met 2 dogs on the way but she was so busy walking quickly that she barely looked at them.

Blackfell, my dog herds my other dog too. She makes his life a bit of a misery! We no longer throw balls or sticks for him. She also chases bikes if given the chance. She sounds just like your dog!

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