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Dog is ruining my life(33 Posts)
Partly a rant, partly a plea for useful advice.
Dog was "found" by Dh in an abandoned building as a puppy. Dh is soft and took it home. We went to the police and rang various dog charities but somehow he ended up staying (the dog, not DH.)
In many ways he's fine, friendly but good lord as he's got bigger he's become increasingly boisterous. He's now 6 and really hurts me. he does this thing of leaping up in affection/joy and sort of slamming your chest or belly with his front paws. He also scratches when he does that. Again not on purpose but still.
The barking - anything sets him off and he has a loud DEEP bark at 4 am. We now have two small kids (didn't have any when we got him) and it wakes them.
Can't afford behaviourists or anything but I am at my wits end! He's some sort of collie, we think.
’Can't afford behaviourists or anything’
Have you looked up prices yet? Sonething like a pack walk group will be helpful and won’t cost that much.
Think about ways to up his level of stimulation: collies need a massive amount of exercise and also mental stimulation as well. You need to wear him out.
No idea about the barking though, I’ve never found out how to crack that one!
Dog would completely freak out at a pack walk. In any case it's the jumping and leaping around that's a problem and he does that even if he's been charging around for a while!
You’ve had him 6 years but these things are just an issue now, or have always been an issue but ignorable, or have been getting worse?
Collies are so intelligent they need a lot of brain work to tire them out, as well as exercise. Do you manage to give him enough of both now you have DC?
Why would he freak in a pack walk? Is he reactive to other dogs?
Get a white noise machine (or a fan if you have one) and turn that on at night. It really does help block out sounds.
You said you couldn't afford a behaviourist but can you afford a trainer to come and help you even if just a couple of sessions as you get tons of useful info which is specifically tailored to your situation (one I used cost £30 per hour).
What do you do when he slams/jumps or paws you. The most effective thing I do with my dog is a time-out so I remove myself or the dog for a couple of minutes so that as far as he is concerned when he does something I don't want the 'fun' stops.
Generally is he getting enough physical exercise and mental stimulation?
Yes, Squirrels, we have had him for six years.
We have tried various things but one house move, two children, two full time jobs ... it's not like for six years we have been sitting around saying "but what should we do about the dog" IYSWIM. As I've said, he's not aggressive or anything and I know no fucker would want him and anyway we don't want to rehome him, but I really do find he raises my blood pressure!
When he slams you can step away but he just BARKS and then does it more when you go back to him. Shouting NO gets him even more wound up. He's a liability.
We did have a behaviourist for him a while ago, before we moved house which was early 2016. Can't remember exactly when. Wasn't helpful tbh. Maybe he's just a nutcase.
When is he jumping up? Is it to greet you when you return home (or from another room!), or randomly or when he's excited, etc?
To start now, I would immediately turn my back on him each and every single time he jumps up. And walk away and ignore him for a few seconds. You need to teach him that 4 paws on the floor is very rewarding (and that jumping up is not worth anything) - there are loads of positive ways to do this, try looking for Kikopup on YouTube. Really sorry this isn't a click link
Oh I wasn’t having a go, OP, just wondering if it was a sudden change (which might be easier to identify stress e.g. barking in the night) or if it was more ongoing.
Have you tried clicker training?
Cheers. he jumps up whenever he's excited. And he's excited a LOT
Barking: agree with PP to use white noise or a fan at night to help mask noises.
Are there certain noises he reacts to? If so you need to desensitise him to these noises. If you can give some examples of what makes him bark I will try to suggest some things.
Fair enough Squirrels, sorry. It can be tricky in here sometimes. I mean, he's ours, DH loves him to bits, I'm fond of the daft mutt, but at the same time, we don't spend every waking moment worrying about him, you know?
You have the wrong dog for your family and you don't have the experience for a family. I would take the time and trouble to find him an appropriate home.
Certain noises - other dogs barking, loud traffic, lawnmowers, gun shots, planes, music, live videos ... you get the picture!
You could try using the Jan Fennel Amichien method. It means changing your behaviour (and your dp's) but it really worked with my failed sheepdog, who was three years old when she came to us, had never lived indoors, had no manners... and became a fabulous family pet.
That would have been helpful six years ago youlet
Dh wouldn't rehome him. Neither would I, on balance.
Thanks Hirples, will Google
The jumping up is so hard to stop - mine is only a pup but he jumps, and because people think he's cute, they fuss him, so he does it because he gets rewarded with attention. It's a vicious circle.
Like a PP said you need to teach him that jumping won't get him anywhere - no fuss, no verbal communication, nothing. So cross your arms and turn your back, avoid eye contact. As soon as he has four paws on the floor, reward! Either with a treat, fuss or toy, whatever motivates your dog.
It's hard though, I know. We do this with ours but he still leaps up to fuss people who dare to make eye contact with him!
No need to apologise!
I think get your DH to investigate clicker training. Collies love a job - and if you guys work FT presumably he’s alone for periods of time, so then when his people pack are back home it is really exciting and he’s getting your attention - but doing it in the wrong way.
So if you can give him ‘jobs’ totire his brain out a bit he’ll need to demand attention in the undesirable ways less?
Shouting NO gets him even more wound up.
I suspect shouting no just means to him you are joining in with his enthusiasm. I would try and turn away arms folded and ignore, or leave room until he stops and keep repeating this until he gets the message.
Thanks a lot!
DH often takes the dog to work with him, he's never left more than two hours. But it's true, you go out for five minutes, return, and it's like you've been to Siberia.
Collies need to keep track of their pack so even if you’re just outside the front door he’ll be wanting to round you up!
If your DH spends most time with him, get him to research and commit to some extra training. I bet he’ll take to it (dog, not DH!)
Hello! Just a couple of thoughts. When he jumps up, turn your back. Ideally before he jumps but even when he's jumping would help. Then he's not getting attention for it, and also you are protecting yourself from scratches etc. Insist he's only greeted when he's got 4 feet on the ground, and then bend down to fuss him to encourage him to stay down there for his fuss. You can teach everyone in the house this tactic and even regular visitors. You could reinforce this with clicker training, which you can look up. If you don't want to use a clicker you can use a marker word such as 'yes' and use cubes of cheese as a high-value reward.
With the barking, hard one to correct through training as you're likely to be in a different room when it's going on. I second getting a white noise machine for the kids. I got one recently for about £16 from Amazon. Should help block out any barking so there not disturbed. Then you could also try a couple of gadgets to put the dog off barking in the first place. You can get a plug in gadget that emits a high noise which we can't hear but the dog can, which is set off every time the dog barks. Or you can get an anti-bark spray collar which sprays pressurised air (with/without lemon scent) when they bark.
Good luck 🐕