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Unruly dogs .... arghhhhhh!!!!

We spent Christmas at my sister's house. It's an average sized house but she has four dogs, three of them are very large & two of the three are still growing & she hasn't bothered to train these two dogs at all. They are awful.

When I came into the house, one of the dogs jumped on me, paws on my chest, & knocked the gifts I had brought onto the floor. One of the gifts was broken.  >:(  They were unruly all day -- absolutely relentless. You could not sit & eat cuz the dogs were right there with their faces in your plate trying to eat your food. If you set your drink on one of the TV trays they would try to slurp at it. They constantly jumped up with their front paws on the dining table, pulling at the table cloth to try to get food. Honestly, I'm surprised her whole buffet didn't get pulled to the floor.

Not to mention they slobber horribly! I wore a nice outfit & was covered with dog slobber when I left. My only memory of the day was fighting off dogs & wiping off slobber. My mother's dogs are just as bad, but at least they are very small dogs & don't slobber, however, one of hers snaps at your face after she leaps uninvited into your lap. Arghhhh!!!! And my family wonders why I don't want to visit them.

Our dog is very well behaved. There is no jumping on people & running about like a wild banshee. He has manners & only comes to guests who invite him. My husband says that he will not go to either of their houses again.

I'm really angry about this. I only do Christmas out of obligation to my mother & to have to tolerate this for six hours was almost more than I could bare. These dogs never get exercised. I realize that's part of the problem, but it doesn't absolve sis of being a good host. Grrrrrrrrr...

Thanks for letting me vent.  ::)

The saddest part of the whole situation is that it's not the dogs fault they are like that--it's their lazy owners!

Even worse, so many of these dogs end up being abandoned to shelters (later to be euthanized bc they're no longer adorable puppies) because of bahavioral problems which amount to a complete dearth of training!

Those who adopt companion animals need to understand the concept of "lifetime commitment" and that, just as with children, the animal's needs must always be considered and met.

But now I'm beginning to rant . . .

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I am with choco.  Having a pet means you owe them to shape their behavior, not just meet their needs for food and warmth.  Like children, a well behaved child is a happy child and a well behaved pet is a happy pet.

We have been thinking about getting a dog, but this is a contentious issue.  We need to think carefully about breed versus house space, yard space, activity level, dietary needs and not go off half cocked here.  It sounds like your sister didn't think of any of these things and that is sad for the dogs.

I can't blame your husband.  I know you personally and I have met your darling family.  I don't think I'd take my little ones to a house like that for their own safety.  I guess this holiday took the last of the fun out of the dysFUNctional family?  I know from past conversations, hosting the holidays isn't a great alternative.  Time to let go of the family of origin and find special traditions for the family of choiceful creation.

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Barbara Woodhouse said it best: There are no bad dogs, there are only bad owners. OK, sometimes over bred  do have genetic problems that can lead to personality problems, but people shouldn't own dogs of any size if they're not willing to properly socialize them so they aren't a burden or a terror (not only for people but for other animals!), and give them at least some basic obedience training. A well-socialized dog is a happy dog. Most dogs actually enjoy knowing they are pleasing you and "getting it right" in training. I have obedience-trained and shown many dogs and they were all eager to get the training collar on and "go to work." All they asked for was the happy-voice "Good boy!" and the strokes and pets, and they were in 7th heaven. And all I had to do was drop my head and look sad, and say "Ohhhh...what have you done? Bad dog!" to see the ears drop and the sad-doggy face. One particularly large Doberman would practically crawl on his knees asking me to forgive him (and no, he'd never been abused...he was just a big softy.)
We have discussed the "dog question" at home and while I would love to have one, I am too aware of the responsibility involved and the needs of the furry ones, to ask a dog of the sort I like to live in a tiny 3rd floor apartment.
Makes me wonder how well this sort of pet owner would train a child...here in Spain both children and dogs are notoriously undisciplined; their parents/owners simply don't bother. Little kids are considered "cute" whatever they do. I just came in from shopping in a couple of small local shops and I spent a considerable amount of time trying to keep another woman's 3-year old from walking all over my feet and my bundles, which he had knocked from my hands trying to push  repeatedly between me and the counter of the shop. I finally spoke directly to the child, saying, "Be careful, kid, you're not alone in here! Watch where you're going!" only to be glared at by all the other women in the shop, particularly the child's mother. I suppose I should have allowed Little Snookums to mash my fresh fruit into mush with his feet instead of voicing my discontent.
Lezly, I think you and your DH are completely justified in refusing further invitations, and telling your sister exactly why. That you might visit if they can guarantee the dogs will be put in the garage or another room for the entire duration of your visit, and that you really do object to being covered with dirt, hair and saliva. This can be done kindly; write a letter if you're afraid to confront her verbally (as often bad petowners--or parents--have a very low flashpoint where their "problem children" are concerned...perhaps because they know they're at fault?) >:(
Excuse the rant, but having trained many dogs from puppies to adults, I KNOW there is no excuse for this sort of situation. If a person isn't willing to help their dog learn to be an asset instead of a liability, they should go without. There are always magazines like Dog World if they want to see the pretty pictures! Or if they want to be around animals without the permanent responsibility, they could volunteer a couple of days a week at the local shelter. That might teach them something about the owner's responsibility to their pets.

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Having 11 rescue dogs of my own  :D, I'd thought I'd pipe in with my 2 cents worth on this one. I believe that my house belongs to me but is also my pet's home. I am the "Alpha" dog in my home and they all know it. My dogs range in age from 9  to 2 years old (at the moment). That does not include Roxie's  puppies that I am fostering and adopting out. All of my dogs know I am the true boss here and respect my wishes. All I usually have to do is stare at them and give a sharp command of" no!" and they will stop any unruly behavior. Many of these dogs had never lived inside of a home before I found them or adopted them. I can tell when a dog has never been inside of a home when it does not know what stairs are, or when you let them outside for the first time (into a fenced yard of course) they refuse to come in. But in time they learn,and for the most part,  have free roam over the house. I have rooms that I keep them out of at times, and also have a 1000 sq. ft. doggy playroom in my basement (great for when they come in from the rain  ;)). I know not everyone has the set up for this and in the same argument, most people don't have 11 dogs. I used to live in NYC with my first 2 rescue dogs and walked them everyday.

Dogs are pack animals and even though I have 2 "Alphas" (Max and Star) as stated above I make them quickly learn that I am the true "king of this castle". It HAS to be that way. Dogs will obey the Alpha and want nothing more then to please the Alpha. Of course they may want to challenge me for top position (when they are new here), but it's a no win situation for them. All I have to do is look at Star wrong, or with a glare, and he will practically "wet" himself. Star is a 90 lb. German Shepherd  that would scare anyone that does not know him to death. But he is also by far my smartest dog and follows my every command. He wants nothing more then to please me and make me happy....it is in their genetic make up to act in this manner.

As far as guests (and I had over 15 people over on the 23rd for my Festivus celebration...Holiday party ...whatever), my dogs are put away. I believe it is their home and they should feel like it is their safe place,  and that no one will ever hurt or harm them here. In the same breath, they know that if I ask them to follow my commands or wishes, that is the price they pay to live here at my little doggy sanctuary. I have friends that are afraid of dogs and others that are allergic to them. I understand this, and though it is my dog's home before it is my guest's home, I am a social person, and from time to time they can sack out on couches and dog beds in their doggy room, or in a spare bedroom. it won't kill them to be put away for a few hours.

At times when I have just a friend or two over (other dog lovers). I will leave them out to greet and meet my guests. They do not jump, and they do not intimidate. That is because I love them and they love me, and if i say "NO" sternly, they stop!....no questions asked! (BTW...I have NEVER hit any of my dogs to dicipline them...besides being cruel...it teaches them that if they want to discipline another dog or person, they will use biting and agression to make their point...they learn to bark their wishes instead....their own way of saying no).  Some of the dogs like it here so much in their little bubble world, and don't want to see guests, so they run off and hide in another room. That is fine with me. I don't force them to meet guests. I will take them out and socialize them. They are very perceptive. they really know who likes and does not like them (and dogs in general). I have seen that so  many times.

As far as your sister's dogs. It is her home and her dogs's home first, but if they have not been properly socialized, they need to put away for a few hours. It won't kill them. All she has to do is give them each a nice big bone to play with so they feel they are being rewarded for being good and for going into another room. After they are settled down, she can bring them out on a leash to say hello and greet everyone, but "no jumping". No eating food off of people's plates etc. She has to become the Alpha in her home, and it is apparent from writings that she lets them run the show.

Perhaps one day when I "retire".....(which will be never, because one never "retires" from drumming), I will write a book about my family of dogs and dog behavior. They each have such distinct personalities, and it has been AMAZING to watch them come into this house as scared strays and then "find" their way into their place in the pack. Of course I'll need a really really good editor, because i have no clue as how to write  ;). I was just talking to Roxie's new mom and telling her about Hershey (you can see her pic in my gallery). When I brought her into my home, I had her in my studio office for a few days. She refused to come out of her crate, would not eat and looked at me with crazy eyes that said, "leave me alone and go away!" After 4 or five days of hanging out in the room with her and trying to give her treats and yummies she finally came out of her little cave and started to socialize. Now she is a complete nut and a very friendly dog. She is still trying to find her place in the pack because it is still changing. She is two now and becoming a real adult and it's fun watching her try to up her position in the pack. So far she has only passed Sabrina. But Sabrina is not the one to challenge and really does not care. She knows she's a "hottie" and she gets by on her looks and personality.
Hope I helped in some weird kind of way...... ::)
-dave

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My brother-in-law has a Jack Russell terrier that acts the same way.  I love dogs, but this little guy is too hyper for me.  I don't like to have dogs leaping at my face.  ;)

Also, my neighbors dog has a tendency to visit my yard (usually when I am setting out the garbage) and scaring the daylights out of me - barking and growling.  I would like to talk to the owners, but don't want to start an argument with my neighbors.  BTW - the owner in question is a defense attorney, so you'd think if ANYone would know better... ::)

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The fellow that appears on TV (The Dog Whisperer) has just released his first video.  I am definitely going to get one to help me with my American Eskimo.  He is shy and that makes him a bit aggressive with other dogs and especially men who get too close to me.

Glen Ellen

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Thanks for all the responses. Yabbit, I like that saying: There are no bad dogs, only bad owners. These dogs not only need discipline, they need exercise! Boy, if we go a couple of days without walking Booyah -- like last week when we got 3 feet of snow -- you can really tell a difference. He gets wily & stir crazy & he's 7 years old! These dogs are only 9 months old & are going to be BIG. My sister should never have gotten these dogs. She doesn't have the time or inclination to socialize them.

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The fellow that appears on TV (The Dog Whisperer) has just released his first video.  I am definitely going to get one to help me with my American Eskimo.  He is shy and that makes him a bit aggressive with other dogs and especially men who get too close to me.

Glen Ellen

Cesar Milan is a crackpot..I beg you please find a local training facility or a trainer to help you out with your issues..don't follow Cesar's advice..His methods are quite archaic and extremely cruel.

I've been actively training dogs for 2 years now (my rottweiler is award winning with AKC obedience titles to prove it)..while I believe Cesar's core training mantras (excercise, discipline and attention) are great, his further methods of controlling animals is awful. He basically beats them into submission..what he shows on TV isn't 1/2 of what he actually does. Scruff grabbing, alpha rolling, pinning the dog and physical submission is rediculous..and usually ends up with the average Joe being bitten. I used to like Cesar, but after reading more about him, actually attending a seminar and watching his show more often he disgusts me (and quite a few of my friends in the dog world as well). While I DO use some correction methods (i.e. collar corrections (please DONT do these unless you've had a trainer show you the PROPER way), a loud "NO", refusal of reward (toy, treat, etc)), Cesar's are to the extreme, he almost NEVER rewards the dog for the proper expected behavior. IMHO, rewarding a dog (verbal praise, treat, playtime) for the proper behavior is MORE important than giving consequences for the wrong behavior. 

If your dog has agression/shyness issues Cesar's methods aren't going to help you at all..they will probably make it worse. A fear-agression dog needs to be handled carefully. Please find someone in your area that can work with you and your dog one on one with the proper methods.

And for the OP..Perhaps you should give your relatives a gift certificate to a training facility  :)

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I can recommend the Woodhouse books, called simply "How to Train  your Dog" or the shorter version, "Dog Training My Way." I like another one of her phrases: "Never strike a dog with your hand; it just knocks the nonsense farther in." She does a lot with the voice and the facial expression, and her methods have worked for me for years. I don't know if you've ever seen the 60's TV series, but it may be out there on DVD. She gave us the word "WALKIES!" in that cutglass accent, and the phrase, "WHAT a GOod DoG!" ;D
You can usually find dog training classes for a nominal fee sponsored by the SPCA and/or Red Cross. It's always best to train your dog yourself, instead of paying someone to do it for you, because besides being much cheaper, you know exactly what methods are being used and the dog learns to respect and obey you, not the paid trainer. By respect, I mean learning that you are their pack leader and that doing whatever it is will make you happy and that you really want the best for them.

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Hey majicka414 !,
I really really hope you did not BUY your dog( "my rottweiler is award winning with AKC obedience titles to prove it)... Actually...I'm an IDIOT for just saying that! ???.....I'm doing an edit to this now and adding this....I'm sure you have A GREAT dog!....I just HOPE he was adopted....if not....! hope your NEXT dog is adopted and rescued  :). There are way too many dogs killed everyday in the US to justify purchasing a dog from a breeder ( and I really hope you do not breed the dog yourself).

I agree with what you said about Cesar Milan. There are much better ways to train dogs than his approach. Dogs do need to know that YOU are the Alpha...just not through any harmful or physical means. They can learn through love and affection that we are the head of the household, and that what we say goes.....The breed of the dog does not matter. They are ALL pack animals and will look up to the head of the "pack" to obey the commands of the leader. All dogs can and will obey your commands once they know you are the boss.

It does not sound like Lezly's sister's dogs have any aggression/shyness issues. They just seem to me to have not been shown that they are lower on the "totem pole" then her sister (or any other family members living in the household).

Sorry, I do not mean to take a "swipe at you" about dogs being purchased from breeders. I am just VERY passionate about getting ALL the dogs out of shelters..... before anyone should be able to" breed" or "buy" a dog. We are not the "owners" of dogs. We are their parents and guardians.

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And for the OP..Perhaps you should give your relatives a gift certificate to a training facility  :)

Harr! When my sister opened a card that had cash, my husband said, "Guess you can afford that dog obedience class, now." My mother laughed & nodded approvingly. My sister glared.  ::)

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Hey majicka414 !,
I really really hope you did not BUY your dog( "my rottweiler is award winning with AKC obedience titles to prove it)... Actually...I'm an IDIOT for just saying that! ???.....I'm doing an edit to this now and adding this....I'm sure you have A GREAT dog!....I just HOPE he was adopted....if not....! hope your NEXT dog is adopted and rescued  :). There are way too many dogs killed everyday in the US to justify purchasing a dog from a breeder ( and I really hope you do not breed the dog yourself).

Welll..here's a bit of FYI for you on me.. I currently have 3 dogs. My first one a lab X came from a kill shelter, my 2nd one a coonhound shepherd mix came from the shelter..and my 3rd one, my rottweiler came from a rottweiler rescue, my first rottweiler who passed away 2 years ago (who started my love for this breed) was also from a shelter, my childhood dog growing up was also from a shelter.  :)

AKC DOES  allow you to  register PUREBRED (looking)  dogs of unknown parentage under their ILP program (dog must be spayed or neutered). It allows you to title your dog in their obedience competitions (you cannot compete in Conformation tho).  You have to take photos of the dog, send in the spay/neuter cert as well as fill out an application and explain why you believe "Fluffy" is a purebreed whatever.  They review the app and if they agree that Fluffy looks like a whatever, they assign you a number and you can enter competitions.

I do support responsible breeders..but this thread isn't about this..it's about unruly dogs.  If you'd like to get into this conversation I gladly will privately. I respect what you do as far as rescue (i am very involved in rottie rescue), but I do believe there is a place for responsibly bred purebreeds. I understand and empathize  with your plight to empty shelters..I wish it would come true. But again..this isn't what this thread is about..

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It does not sound like Lezly's sister's dogs have any aggression/shyness issues. They just seem to me to have not been shown that they are lower on the "totem pole" then her sister (or any other family members living in the household).

.

that was in response to Glen Ellen, he mentioned he was going to buy the videotape of Cesar to help his dog w/ agression issues.

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My original post was more an inquiry of how to deal with the situation socially (human) more than behaviorally (dog).

I don't know a thing about dog training or dog breeding. However, I've lived with dogs my whole life. And these dogs need EXERCISE! They are large, young dogs & need to work off a whole-lotta-energy! Sadly, I don't see my sis & her husband stepping up to this requirement. Perhaps a gift of professional dog walking is in order.

Second, they need what I call discipline, but what I think DaveDrum would call 'clearly defining the hierarchy.' If my sister would exert her Alpha-male status, she could compell them to behave with a simple look, nod, quick hand expression.

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well yknow the old saying..idle hands..applies to idle dogs as well.... :)

i don't know what you can do or say to get this across to your family that excercising their dogs as well as teaching them basic manners is important.  Some people just don't get it..and it's really hard to make them "get it".

Next time you are at her home, perhaps throw a fit about how ill behaved her dogs are and how you don't appreciate being "slobbered" on and if she can put her dogs up for the evening.  Let her know that it's inappropriate the way she's allowing her dogs to behave with her company. It might offend her..or maybe open her eyes as to how rude she's being by allowing her dogs to "rule the roost" even when there are guests present.

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I spoke to my mom about the dogs. She is elderly & frail & I worry that they will knock her over. Turns out she is worried about the same thing & is not fond of the dogs at all. I think I will use this as a way to bring up the topic to sis.

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