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I am failing my Dog and DH

(31 Posts)
OldEnglishSheepDog Tue 30-Apr-19 08:01:45

I posted last year and got some great advice - thank you. I'm a newbie dog owner and general idiot. DDog is just over one and it has been a HARD year. DH has tried hard but I think now utterly hates DDog. I appreciate that this is my fault - I have been inconsistent in my training (I have been training but I keep switching from one school of thought to the other as I lose confidence in what I'm doing). But now we have a myriad of problems that I need to unpick and I just don't know where to start. I know that everyone's going to say "get a trainer in" and I will (if DH doesn't just sling the pair of us out) but I just need some help to know what to focus on now as I won't be able to get one until the Summer.

The biggest problem at the moment is sleep and guarding of me. DDog had the snip just over a week ago. Because he was in pain I would get up in the night and go and snuggle with him on the sofa. This seemed to help. We are now at a point where this has become a regular thing and I don't know how to break the cycle. I can't just leave him to bark because DH and DS need uninterrupted sleep. He may also be woken by the baby next door.

I'm not overly bothered about this - quite enjoy the snuggles actually - but when DH gets up, DDog barks and growls at him. It's clearly possessiveness as he's on me and preventing DH getting to me for a goodbye kiss. This morning was nasty. DH did all the right things of just backing off and giving space and I talked calmly to DDog. DDog is alright with DH the rest of the time.

DDog also has manic episodes on walks. It tends to be in one particular field. I let him off lead for a bit and he bounces around quite happily. Once it gets to time to go back I put him on lead again and he will refuse to move. Tempting him with treats or pulling him may move him a little way but then he will jump up nipping. I do the usual thing of standing still, arms folded but it doesn't stop him. A few days ago I got a nasty nip that left a bruise - I think if I hadn't been wearing a jumper it would have broken the skin. I have found that the only way to calm this is to pick him up and carry him a little way but this feels like the wrong thing to do.

I try to give him attention and play, he gets a minimum of one walk a day and usually two. He is quite happy to be left but it's three hours at the most and I try to ensure that I make a fuss of him when I get in.

I don't know what to do. The barking in the night is disturbing everyone and DH, while he hasn't said anything, is clearly on the brink of saying he has to go. I want to do the right thing by everyone but I'm clearly not cut out for this.

Not to dripfeed but there are a few other issues at play but they're not directly relevant to this. I could really do with some practical advice.

OP’s posts: |
OverFedStanley Tue 30-Apr-19 08:34:33

Lots of issues here but all pretty common with herding breeds. It would save you a lot of time and heart ache if you got in a qualified trainer to sort this out. It can be sorted out but only by someone in rl not across the internet.

A few changes in what you do and how you do it and you will have a much happier dog, OH and you.

Please contact a trainer either IMDT APDT

BiteyShark Tue 30-Apr-19 08:44:06

What is the reason for waiting until summer to get a trainer in?

If it's a case of your DH saying rehome then I wouldn't be waiting and trying to get this sorted now so you can both see light at the end of the tunnel.

The problem is you have lots of issues as well as having a young dog who will be challenging at that age coupled with an unhappy DH. Whilst people can post suggestions you will get different opinions and probably end up jumping from one thing to the next when you need a sensible plan for you, DH and the dog to work from. Also hearing from someone in RL may appease your DH that with the right changes the behaviours can be managed correctly.

Bluebell9 Tue 30-Apr-19 08:53:22

I agree with PP about the qualified trainer but you have mentioned you can't get one until the summer.

Personally I dont make a fuss of the dog when I arrive home. Don't make it a big thing that you have gone out and are now back. I come home, say hello verbally to Ddog, who doesnt usually bother to get off the sofa now, and then get on with a few jobs, putting shopping away/getting food out for tea etc. I'll open the door if Ddog wants to go outside for a wee but I wont make a fuss of him until I've been home for 5-10 mins.

Who feeds Ddog?

Does Ddog follow you round the house when you are at home?

Ithinktomyself Tue 30-Apr-19 09:08:45

Sorry, should point out DDog is not in fact a sheepdog, he is actually a TT (counts as a utility breed I think). Not that it matters hugely.

You're right of course about the trainer. Part of me is wanting to put it off because work is mental and I want to give it proper headspace and part of me is wanting to ensure that he is definitely not in post op pain. I will call one later today.

In the meantime, any suggestions on the night barking would be very gratefully received.

Hoppinggreen Tue 30-Apr-19 09:52:25

Could you still go and lie on the sofa but settle him in his bed next to you and then gradually move it further away?
I appreciate you can’t go cold turkey as it would keep everyone awake but I wouid try and keep him off the sofa.
Obviously the whole pack thing is rubbish but I do believe that dogs need boundaries and if he is becoming aggressive on the sofa you need to keep him off it. Cuddles should be on your terms, sit on the floor and call him to you. Once cuddles are over you get back on the sofa but he stays on the floor.
Also, I know Tibetan Terriers ( if I’ve got that right?) aren’t tiny but he is a smaller breed and I think that too often people with smaller dogs allow them to do things you wouldn’t with a bigger one.
He’s still young and can learn but you really need to get it sorted now before he bites someone, in which case your DH might insist you get rid of him.

stucknoue Tue 30-Apr-19 09:59:00

The right trainer is key, and you need to be 100% consistent. My ddog is highly protective of the women in the house, but he's also very well trained so stops growling and snarling at my DD's petrified boyfriend or my boss on command and retreats to his bed. If you can put up with a couple of days of whining, barking etc at night it will stop.

Nesssie Tue 30-Apr-19 11:46:53

I think you need to prepare everyone for a couple of nights of barking/whining to break the sofa cycle. Decide where the dog is going to sleep. Downstairs or on the floor in the bedroom?
If downstairs, you need to get him a nice comfy bed, place it next to the sofa, and sleep on the sofa. Upstairs, nice comfy bed on the floor of the bedroom.
He should not be allowed to get up on the sofa/bed. Ignore any barking/whining. Repeat 'on your bed'. Praise for when he settles down.

It won't be pleasant for the first night but he will pick it up quickly.
This is quite important to fix as the guarding behaviour and aggressiveness towards your DH can't be allowed to continue.

OldEnglishSheepDog Tue 30-Apr-19 12:39:45

Right - thank you. Cold light of day (and a lovely calm walk) has made me less panicked but also I clearly need to get a handle on this. I have booked the trainer but won't see her for a couple of weeks. In the meantime I am going to try simply not getting up when he barks. I was doing so because he'd just had the snip and was clearly sad and in pain. I think it's now habit. I have asked DH if he's happy with that as it'll probably mean more barking in the mean time.

I know that DH shouldn't start trying to impose himself on DDog by offering treats, etc but is there anything he could be doing to help?

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Alwaysgrey Tue 30-Apr-19 13:06:30

I feel for you on the training score. We’ve done two lots of puppy classes (one training school recommended by locals, second via kennel club). Both not helpful. And like you its left me unsure where to turn.

Does your dh feed your ddog? How much involvement does he have?

Foxmuffin Tue 30-Apr-19 13:10:22

What OverFedStanley said.

BiteyShark Tue 30-Apr-19 13:14:04

Alwaysgrey scrap the group puppy classes. Find a trainer to do individual lessons which fits your style and dog.

We have got far more out of a few private lessons than any group ones. The only group ones that worked are for things like agility/scentwork. For obedience, tricks and other behaviours you want someone who will adapt and work with you rather than showing 'one way' to do it and just getting you to try for a few minutes whilst they work around the room.

If I could turn the clock back I wouldn't have bothered with any puppy group classes and would have simply had a few 1-1 sessions at different stages of his development.

RidgedPerfection Tue 30-Apr-19 19:45:17

Absolutely agree with getting a trainer in. In the immediate future I would ensure that your dog gets off the sofa when asked, every time he is asked to do so. If he shows any sign of guarding when you are approached then he is asked to get off the sofa and stay off until invited back on. I am sure he'll catch on quickly.

MrsGrannyWeatherwax Tue 30-Apr-19 19:49:24

I got more out of one individual trainer session than 8 group sessions, please get the right support then the group sessions can build on your basic training if required.

missbattenburg Tue 30-Apr-19 20:14:49

If he shows any sign of guarding when you are approached then he is asked to get off the sofa and stay off until invited back on. I am sure he'll catch on quickly.

This could backfire badly. Instead of learning growling = get off sofa, he could learn DH approaches = get off sofa. This will just give extra incentive to keep DH away.

villainousbroodmare Tue 30-Apr-19 23:04:23

Wasn't it you who had the mammoth thread last year about the dog barking at night? You could have solved it then. It's going to be very difficult now. sad

Tbh I think the only option is CIO with a pair of earplugs for you and if necessary, book a hotel bed or inveigle an invitation for DH and DS for a few nights or a week. Keep your dog off the sofa at all times, do not ingratiate yourself to him I can't believe he bites you and obviously stay out of his known trouble spots when you walk him. If you can't rely on getting him back under control, then you can't let him out of your control.

If you don't sort this now, it will get gradually worse over the next ten to fourteen years of the Emperor's reign.

notapizzaeater Tue 30-Apr-19 23:11:42

What's stopping you getting the trainer till summer. The longer you leave it the harder it will be.

StillMedusa Tue 30-Apr-19 23:21:09

Join this group... fabulous force free advice and training on a huge range of problems.

BiteyShark Wed 01-May-19 05:15:03

From villainous post I now do remember that thread sad.

* I was doing so because he'd just had the snip and was clearly sad and in pain. I think it's now habit.*

I think you projected a lot of your own feelings on him. Yes they are in some pain and I also sleep with my dog when he's post operation but it's not 'getting up for cuddles on the sofa and rewarding barking behaviour', it's simply sleeping close by when he is on one of his beds.

I do think you need a trainer ASAP to guide you especially if you are jumping from one thing to another. A lot of it is consistency and understanding how your behaviour affects what they do.

OldEnglishSheepDog Wed 01-May-19 06:28:17

Just to be clear - this is not an ongoing problem from the last thread. We solved that problem and have been sleeping through, separately, for most of the intervening period (the only exception being when he was ill with a tummy upset). We have been working really hard (honestly!) on behaviour but every time one problem is solved another one seems to rear its head!

The big problem is not so much the sleep, more the guarding. This morning I was up before DH but kept my distance from DDog which meant that he wasn't in a guarding sort of position. He came running through when DH said goodbye but wasn't aggressive at all.

@Biteyshark - I hear what you're saying. There's an element of laziness on my part (it's easier to let him snuggle up on me) and also just the fact that it's nice to have cuddles. I'm going to start thinking about the relationship we have and where I need to draw different lines.

Trainer is booked in a fortnight.

OP’s posts: |
hullaballoonie Wed 01-May-19 06:45:37

I'm no expert in dog training whatsoever, but what stands out from your thread (and I don't mean to sound harsh but...) you are prioritising your dog over your DH. Good luck with the trainer, I really hope it helps.

adaline Wed 01-May-19 07:07:57

There seems to be a huge lack of consistency in how you deal with the dog.

For example, you didn't sleep with the dog for a while, then he was barking in the night after his operation, so you started to, and now he knows that barking means company and attention.

Dogs cope remarkably well with pain and you really didn't need to go and sleep with him downstairs - you've disrupted his routine and behaviour now so you'll have to work pretty hard to fix it. He's experienced what he likes best (company and cuddles) so he's not going to let that be taken from him without a fight!

I think it's all linked together with the guarding behaviour - dogs need to consistency and to be treated like dogs, not people! I have no issue with people sharing with their pets (my dog sleeps on my bed) but you need consistency from day one.

Guarding behaviour in itself is pretty common if not ideal. Leash the dog inside (just use a house line) so you can get the dog out of a situation without being snapped at. And teach a solid off command. My pup is allowed on beds and sofas but will get off immediately if asked. Some dogs, however, will always guard the sofa or bed, in which case you need to ban them completely - especially with visitors or small children in the house.

OldEnglishSheepDog Wed 01-May-19 07:17:46

That's probably a whole other thread to be honest Hullaballoonie. You may be right. I simply don't know. And I don't really know what to do about it.

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BiteyShark Wed 01-May-19 07:21:13

I'm not perfect, I know my behaviour affects what BiteyDog does so if there is something I don't want him to do I look first at what I am doing to cause it.

DH is much worse for that and often says 'why does BiteyDog give me the sad face on the knee' or 'why does he jump at me' and I keep saying to him it's because you reward that behaviour so he keeps doing it whilst I ignore it so he doesn't do it to me.

The thing is DH and I are on the same page with BiteyDog so things that other people might not like we don't care about because we are both happy with him. In your situation where there is conflict with your DH and your dog you really need an outside person to come in and guide you so that you have a solid plan and someone to get you both on the same page.

OldEnglishSheepDog Wed 01-May-19 07:47:47

Yes I see what you mean. We are barely seeing each other at the moment due to work (he comes in, I go out) so that's not helping. And I won't be able to book the trainer for a time when we can both see her (hence my initial thought about waiting until the summer).

DH does walk DDog (under duress!) but he's awkward with him. For example, DDog doesn't like it when people go to pat his head (he has a deeply suspicious nature!) so DS and I always put our hands out for a sniff and then scratch him under his chin, eventually moving round to stroke his head. DH always goes straight for the head and DDog always panics and backs away.

The trouble is, getting DH more comfortable with DDog means him doing more stuff with him but that means time and I know DH will feel resentful about losing that.

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