I'm almost ashamed to say this, as I am a huge dog person, but I hate my boyfriend's dog. Like just looking at it makes me blood boil at this point.
Long post ahead, beware:
Our story may not be typical, being a gay couple, but I hope some can relate or at least provide some advice/insight. My boyfriend and I have dated almost 3 years now. The dog was obtained from a previous owner about 1 and 1/2 years ago. He is a maltese. 4 yrs old (now 6). We did not live together at the time.
To be honest, I didn't care for the dog too much in the beginning. Didn't hate him, but didn't love him. He seemed a bit too uppity, didn't really listen to instruction (besides a few useless "roll over" commands), and seemed just...to have that "little dog" personality (which I totally understand is mostly owner-induced). But, it's my boyfriend's life and decision. I'm not controlling in the least. Usually I just love seeing my loved ones happy. My boyfriend took this indifference as "approval." Haha. The odd thing is, Joe (my bf) didn't like him much either, but was determined he could correct any bad behavior the dog may have. He basically just wanted him for the cuteness factor. Yeah, bad reasoning.
The dog was a nightmare, yapping nonstop, pissing everywhere, etc. I concluded this was all due to shock of losing his previous owner, as it was claimed that potty training/general obedience was taken care of. The dog protested a lot. We would try feed him, and he'd knock over his bowl, stick his head in the air all proud, and walk away in a little prance. Since I am used to dogs that pretty much ate whatever you gave them, this infuriated me a bit. It wasn't any different food than the last owner gave him.
The dog even took it as far as to sometimes smush the food into the carpet or flooring. And then walk away with this terrible, snobby strut. Head all high in the air. Nose pointed up. My boyfriend eventually had to tape the bowl to the bin, which the dog soon learned wouldn't allow him access to knock it over and smoosh the food. After 3 days of refusing to eat, he finally did.
On to the water bowl. Same issue. The dog would violently knock the bowl over and then strut all proud after. It's not like the bowl was just loose in the middle of the floor. We had it in a little doggy bin, so it took a LOT of effort to knock it. Again, tape. The dog still didn't like this, and would splash all the water out of the bowl. My boyfriend finally had enough and decided the gently rub the dog in the mess each time this happened. The dog stopped the behavior and began drinking. Even to this day, we often find the dog trying to knock over the bowl.
Time went by and I learned to accept the dog. Even like him a bit! He was cute, and I enjoyed playing ball with him when I was over (as long as Joe was in the room). Increasingly, however, the dog began "obsessing" with my boyfriend. He had to know where he was at any moment. Whenever he was in sight, the dog would stare at him with a "glazed" look, kinda like in the below video: YouTube - The ORIGINAL Stains from "It's Me or the Dog"
It became quite creepy. Whenever Joe would leave the room, the dog became obviously upset, and would stop playing or paying attention to anyone else in the room. He would wait by a doorway for Joe to return. I just wanted to play with the fella, but he ignored me 100% if Joe was not in the room. It was like I was not even there.
Fine. This annoyed me, and I knew it wasn't healthy behavior, but it doesn't really affect me. But it just grew worse. The dog would leave little piss marks wherever he walked, but only if Joe had left the room. The piss marks turned into puddles, and started happening at least once a week.
Since it wasn't my house, I couldn't ever get truly angry, but I did constantly encourage Joe to get it some training. Eventually he did try. We cannot afford actual lessons, so we purchased books, read lots of stuff online, etc. We tried to be as positive and encouraging to the dog as possible. Treats, click-noise stuff, the works. The dog's obsession just grew. He had no respect for anyone but Joe, and pretty much viewed others as a.) toys b.) things to be scared of. But mostly just toys that shouldn't be obeyed.
After months of failed training, and having the dog pee directly on me numerous times, I was saved by the bell, so to speak, when Joe went insane (not caused by dog) and became uber religious. This meant breaking up with me, as God and homos don't mix, supposedly.
Well, this didn't last. We were back together in like 3-4 months, once he decided that religion isn't for him. Odd, yes, but I did and do love him. I come back, however, to an even worse dog. Yapping at any strange noise he hears, going insane if someone knocks on the door, leaving tinkle marks constantly around the house when Joe left a room, peeing directly onto freshly cleaned laundry, pissing on his roommate's cds, etc.
Despite all this, we decided to get a place together, on the condition that we get the dog trained. I do not like piss all over my house, nor do I like obsessive barking.
Things started out bad. The dog obviously hated the new place. Bark bark bark bark bark. He'd bark immediately when we'd leave the house, and we'd come home to him still barking in the crate. We experimented with not crating him when we leave, in case that was the issue, but returned to a house soaked in piss.
The dog continued to be overly concerned about what Joe was doing at all times. It would truly be often content waiting by Joe's door for 8 hours straight, just staring straight ahead (Joe and I often don't sleep in the same room, as I get sort of claustrophobic). Dog wouldn't sleep. Wouldn't care about me moving about the house. It would just obsessively wait for Joe at his door until he'd come out.
I tried to lure him my way with treats or the chance to play ball, but it just ignored me. Wasn't scared. Just ignored. When Joe was in visible site, the dog acted a lot better, and would actually mind my commands. Sit. Roll over. Speak. Etc.
As I work from home, and Joe does not, I took on the responsibilities during the day. Taking him out. Feeding him, etc. This became VERY difficult, as the dog didn't want to listen to me. And it seemed he'd purposely save up pee just to relieve himself on my stuff. He'd peed on my expensive tv stand at least 5 times, my clothes (at least 2 dozen times), my Playstation 3, my hats, my couch, my blankets. While I make it sound like only my things were soiled, he also let go on Joe's stuff.
I didn't have the heart to crate him all day, so I'd pray each day that while I worked, I would not walk into the living room and be greeted with a piss parade.
We agreed that this behavior was likely separation anxiety based, so we read up on some more training. We agreed for Joe "ignore" the dog almost completely. I would reward only good behavior, like calmness and after eating/excersize. I became to sole walker, feeder, affection giver, etc. We kept this up for almost 2 months.
The dog became worse. He became MUCH more depressed, MUCH more concerned about where Joe was (frantically checking on him at all times, whining and scratching at Joe's door, barking to get his attention, etc). The pissing got worse, and the dog added pooping to the mix. Over many blankets and clothes I'd sometimes leave out.
If someone came to the door, the dog wouldn't shut up for a good 5-10 minutes. Since I worked at home, and was often in meetings or talking to my manager on the phone, this just wasn't acceptable. So, we tried many training similar to this: YouTube - How to Train Your Dog : Prevent Your Dog from Barking at the Front Door: Part 1
And variations of that.
We've tried treat-trainings (the dog doesn't care about treats when he's worked up, or in "obsession-mode" with Joe). Ignoring. Tons of positive reinforcement trainings. Taking the dog to a doggy daycare to have him socialize with other dogs (sulks the whole time there). Taking him to doggy parks. Etc etc etc. We're very careful not to scream at the dog or to express anger when the dog does bad stuff. We even tried meds at the vet's suggestion!
I had my fill the last week when the dog's pissed almost every day Joe was at work. He decided he'd outdo himself and piss on a DVD shelf of mine (it's high up off the ground!!!!) and near ruin 3 hardback books I have, and a few very rare video games. Today he pooped and peed all over the living room while I gave Joe a massage in the other room. I had just taken him out 30 minutes prior for a walk, and he definitely let go of much waste in that time.
I've just had enough. How do you train a dog to not be so insanely obsessed with someone to the point where he can't function without them being in sight? Especially when, be it Joe is around, the dog is a bit better behaved (no peeing or pooping, just obsessive staring). I've been nothing but sweet to this little monster, and it's stressing me out to no end. Living in fear of my things being peed on is no fun.
So, yeah, this is a nightmare and I am very near moving out. Joe is open to getting rid of him, but I cannot do that to someone. It's obvious Joe cares about the dog a lot, and the dog would like commit doggy suicide they were split apart.
The only weird thing about all this is that if Joe let's the dog out to pee without a leash, he'll try to run away. If I do it, the dog will pee and come back to me.
Sigh. Thanks if you read this all. There's actually a lot more misbehavings than I have mentioned here. I just don't have the time for a novel. Any advice? Is it best for me to move out? Is it possible that some dogs are just one-owner creatures, and no amount of training can correct that personality trait?