I hate my boyfriend's dog! (warning: long post)

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I hate my boyfriend's dog! (warning: long post)

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Old 01-12-2010, 05:34 AM
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I hate my boyfriend's dog! (warning: long post)

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?
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Old 01-12-2010, 11:09 AM
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You need to start working with the dog yourself.

Get into classes with a reptuable trainer immediately.

No, it's not best if you move out because of a dog. It's a dog.

It's not doing this to upset you, to spite you or whatever else you are feeling. You are inflicting your emotions and thoughts onto the dog and it's behaviours.

Has your pup been tested for a UTI? Bloodwork done? Full panel?

You need to ensure the behaviour is not a medical side effect before you go any further.

After all the "medical stuff" is out of the way, start by leashing the dog to you at all times.

Crate the dog when you are away. They are den animals and actually feel SAFER inside their crates then when alone in a huge house by themselves.

You definitely need a experienced trainer. Start there.
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Old 01-12-2010, 11:47 AM
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I agree with elisabeth.

The dog (and both your BF and you) needs professional help from a certified behaviorist (not the generic Petsmart or other trainer type trainers)

I saw the episode about Stains, that dog does have one creepy obsessed stare.. :P

I am sorry for all you went and still are going through between you, your BF and the dog. There are others on here that can definitely help you out more than I can, but you have a ton of sympathy and support over here from me to make you feel better? I hope.. LOL

Welcome to Dog Forum!

~MSE

Last edited by MySoulmateEmmy; 01-12-2010 at 11:53 AM.
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Old 01-12-2010, 12:41 PM
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Totally agree with the other posters. Dogs don't do things out of spite or revenge or being proud. I know you're saying you can't afford it, but getting a behaviorist or a good trainer with behavioral experience/education is really going to help at this point, even if it's just 1 or 2 sessions to help you with a plan.

I can really only add a few things to this thread because the behavioral challenges are beyond my experience, but I know you'll get some other good responses.

Quote:
Originally Posted by killertofu View Post
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.
Has the dog been neutered? That will help a lot. You may have to untrain a lot of the learned behaviors, but it will be much easier.

Quote:
Originally Posted by killertofu View Post
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.
With regards to the peeing, you may just want to treat him like a puppy at this point, and re-housebreak him. Visit this thread for info on that: http://www.dogforum.com/housebreakin...-how-tos-2135/ Basically start from the beginning, and take him outside every 30 minutes to 1 hour for the next few months when you are supervising him.

I know you say you feel bad for crating him, but if crate trained properly, he will enjoy being in the crate, and when you can't supervise, you crate him, so there will be no accidents. Visit this post for info on crate training: http://www.dogforum.com/dog-training...ge2/#post20180

You want to be really consistent for both to work. It could take several months.

Quote:
Originally Posted by killertofu View Post
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.
It sounds like you need to start smaller, like on a smaller volume. Instead of using the doorbell/knocking, use a recording of the doorbell or a recording of a knock and click/treat before the dog barks. Increase the volume slowly (this might take a long while). If the dog ever gets too excited (non-stop barking, won't pay attention to you, etc.), you've moved too fast and need to go back a step or two. Move on to the real doorbell/knocking only when the dog can be calm with a lower level of it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by killertofu View Post
We've tried treat-trainings (the dog doesn't care about treats when he's worked up, or in "obsession-mode" with Joe).
I had a dog that did the same thing. I recently rehomed him because I couldn't work with him any more without giving myself a nervous breakdown. The point with a dog that has a short arousal (excitement) trigger is to work with them on their trigger on a super low level. Basically you NEVER want them to get worked up. This book Amazon.com: Click to Calm: Healing the Aggressive Dog (Karen Pryor Clicker Book) (9781890948207): Emma Parsons: Books really helped me understand how to retrain that type of behavior.

Quote:
Originally Posted by killertofu View Post
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.
I'd really suggest a behaviorist or experienced trainer for a plan on the separation anxiety. The only thing I can think of on this is that he might have gotten worse before getting better (extinctions burst). Two months seems like a long enough time for the extinction burst to occur, but since I don't have any experience beyond my own dog or how to treat SA, I really don't know.

Quote:
EXTINCTION BURSTS

Your dog already knows that he can demand your attention and he knows what works to get that to happen. As of today, it no longer works, but he doesn't know that yet. We all try harder at something we know works when it stops working. If I gave you a twenty dollar bill every time you clapped your hands together, you'd clap a lot. But, if I suddenly stopped handing you money, even though you were still clapping, you'd clap more and clap louder. You might even get closer to me to make sure I was noticing that you were clapping. You might even shout at me "Hey! I'm clapping like crazy over here, where's the money?". If I didn't respond at all, in any way, you'd stop. It wasn't working anymore. That last try -- that loud, frequent clapping is an extinction burst. If, however, during that extinction burst, I gave you another twenty dollar bill you'd be right back in it. It would take a lot longer to get you to stop clapping because you just learned that if you try hard enough, it will work.

When your dog learns that the behaviors that used to get him your attention don't work any more he's going to try harder and he's going to have an extinction burst. If you give him attention during that time you will have to work that much harder to get him turned around again. Telling him "no" or pushing him away is not the kind of attention he's after, but it's still attention. Completely ignoring him will work faster and better.
From Nothing in Life is Free

Really, even if you can only afford one or two sessions, a behaviorist can help you come up with a plan. It can end up being worth it if you're buying book after book that isn't helping. It sounds like the separation anxiety may be the biggest hurdle.

EDIT: Also, AKC has really affordable basic obedience classes if there is a club in your area (like $50 for 6 classes/6 weeks).

Last edited by seebrown; 01-12-2010 at 12:47 PM.
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Old 01-12-2010, 12:47 PM
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First I just want to say that as much as it may seem and you may think the dog IS NOT doing anything to get back at you or because he doesn't like you. Dogs aren't humans they don't think like that. The first thing you need to do is talk to your veterinarian about potty problems. It is possible the behavior is medical. Also, I believe if you continue to let him have free roam of the house with no supervision while you work the problems will continue. You need to read up on crate training and then put him in a crate whenever you cannot 100% supervise him. Dogs LOVE their crates if trained correctly. Not having a crate in my opinion is like having a child that doesn't have his own room. It gives them their own space; somewhere they can relax.

I also think you should hire a trainer to help you and Joe learn how to deal with the problems that you are having.

1. Take him to the vet
2. Get him a crate
3. Hire a trainer
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Old 01-12-2010, 12:48 PM
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Welcome!

We don't mind long posts-it's nice you included all the info and history we need to get an idea of what's going on.

I really think this dog should see a vet if he hasn't-it wasn't mentioned so can I assume he hasn't been? In fact even if he has seen a vet-unless it was specifically for these behaviors (I'm thinking the urinating inappropriately and the anxiety) then he should see a vet again specifically for these.
There could be something very wrong physically -as well as the behavior problems-and you'll get nowhere trying to correct behavior that has a cause in disease or illness -so vet checkup first and foremost.

Next-a lot of dog problems are caused by insufficient exercise and stimulation. You mentioned walks...but...dogs need a lot of exercise and stimulation so he may not be getting enough. So how much and how long is he walked for? Does he get a chance to run?

Getting out once a week for a run and daily for walks even may not be not enough-it needs to be physically challenging daily exercise. A pain I know-but you are all in this together-you Joe and the dog. So work something out-and exercise the snot literally out of him

Seperation anxiety-especially if it's had time to fester is going to be challenging to change-its getting deep roots now. I'm going to let our other mods who are quite skilled with anxious dogs answer your questions on Seperation Anxiety (ie how upset he gets when Joe is not around).

For potty training-and I know some of the peeing is anxiety based, some of it seems purposeful or destructive-just wipe the slate clean. Pretend he's a puppy with no idea of appropriate potty behavior and start over. Here's our sticky we prepared on potty training-that covers everything you need to know-but just read it and start as if he's a pup with no idea-because essentially he is a dog with no idea
http://www.dogforum.com/housebreakin...-how-tos-2135/


Quote:
It's not doing this to upset you, to spite you or whatever else you are feeling. You are inflicting your emotions and thoughts onto the dog and it's behaviours.
THIS is so true. And I know you kind of know that-it's very frustrating when a dog is misbehaving and it's easy to get upset and think they are doing it on purpose. But trust me-it's either really quite upset or sick. Dogs were bred for 1000's of years to please us and they do not do things on purpose to make us mad-but it soooooo can seem that way sometimes
So take heart this is a dog with issues-that can be worked out and we understand how frustrating it can be. and take heart the dog doesn't hate you

Vet is first and foremost on my recommendations though-this dog could at the very least be diabetic or have a UTI which is causing the urinating all over.
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Old 01-12-2010, 12:52 PM
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I don't have time to hit all the points I want to right now but the first first first thing that came to my mind is has the dog been tested for deafness?

Its VERY common in maltese and even if he is partially impaired it can cause alot of the barking/phobia type things you are seeing.

As far as the peeing goes. Its allll about supervision. The dog cant' pee if you are watching him like a toddler. Two weeks to a month of you watching him closely will fix this, if it doesn't then he needs to be tested for a UTI or bladder problems..

in the mean time, get a belly band to stop the marking and get the floors in the house sanitized. If he can smell it, hes going to pee on it.

You write really well, I enjoyed reading the story, I'll try to hit up more when I have a moment, tho it looks like you've had great advice already
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Old 01-12-2010, 01:31 PM
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hi...welcome..

you've recieved a lot of good advice so far, ditto all of that . i'm just going to touch on a couple of things... first, your dog soundes extremely insecure, this imo...is most likely the root of many of his issues... i'd advise that you think "confidence building" whenever you are working with him. start with extremely small criteria and help him to win, everytime... make all interactions with all people as positive as you can. do not correct him when he "misbehaves" just ignore unwanted behavior... watch him like a hawk so that you don't miss any opportunity to reward him for appropriate behavior(this will help with potty training too). get a dog bed/mat and reward him for using it (drop treats on it, etc), this will help him with seperation anxiety. you also want to keep all arrivals and departures very low key, no excitement from you.
if you don't want to keep him in a crate, i'd recommend a "dog room" if possible and if not, then an x-pen, on a tarp (to protect your floors) and lined with potty pads... you can put a bed in his crate and put the crate in the pen so that he has a "safe" place to lie down.

what are his food and water dish made of? some dogs don't like those metal bowls.

are you familiar with "clicker training"

oh and like the others said, a vet check is called for, if his issues are medical, no amount of training is going to help you.
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Old 01-12-2010, 04:12 PM
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Just to expand for Crio

Quote:
in the mean time, get a belly band to stop the marking and get the floors in the house sanitized. If he can smell it, hes going to pee on it.
Belly bands are: https://secure25.securewebsession.co...ybandsnew.html
Basically a training aid

Quote:
You write really well, I enjoyed reading the story
Ditto-great you hit so many points and gave us so much history to work from And a nice read to boot
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