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Hi All!

Please bear with me as I try to get all the information you need to offer any help and advice.
I've been dating this girl for the past four years. She lives with her parents and they have two dogs, one miniature poodle (considered her parents dog), and a beautiful German Shepherd Husky mix. The poodle is around 11 years old and the Shepherd Husky is around 6-7 years old. The poodle has full access to the house even though after 11 years it still has accidents around the house, and the Sheppard is only allowed to stay in this gated off 5'x5' mud room (not very big for this size dog...around 90lbs). As far as I know, the Shepherd Husky was kept in this room since she was a puppy, so she has little to no human contact outside the family members, and little to no contact with other dogs. The family has a small (25'x25') fenced in backyard where the dog is only let out to go to the bathroom. If the dog is to be outside for an extended period of time, she is kept on a small 6' leash. When I questioned the family about this dogs seclusion versus why the poodle has the run of the house, their reply is the Shepherd Husky sheds too much, she isn't house trained, the poodle doesn't get along with it, etc. etc. My main reason for posting this thread is I want to know, first, is this humane? The dog has lived in this small room her whole life and I want to know if their are steps to take to begin to train this dog to behave appropriately around this house.
Please help!
Thank you
 

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No, I wouldn't consider this humane. My guess is that the dog gets very little human or canine interaction or time out of that room overall, and that's just not ok in my book. I hope for the poor dog's sake that they at least take her out for regular exercise.

Why do they have the dog in the first place if she is just banished to a tiny room? Are they considering allowing the dog into the house? Or are you asking about training because the dog will be going elsewhere? If not, I would try to talk your girlfriend into finding a rescue to take the dog. It may be a rough decision to make, but this is no quality of life for the poor dog.

If y'all are trying to train the dog to be in the house then I'd treat her like she's a non housetrained puppy. Keep her out with the family, but make sure someone is watching her at all times. If she doesn't use the bathroom in the mud room then you can do sort of crate training with her, and use the mud room as the crate. If no one can directly watch her then put her in the mud room. If she starts to have an accident in the house interrupt her and bring her outside to finish. Praise her heavily when she finishes outside! Don't yell at her if she makes a mistake as that can make her fearful. Brush the dog regularly to keep down the shedding, and take her to the groomer to blow out her coat if necessary.
 

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I agree that this is no quality of life for such a good dog. I left the part out on how the dog ended up at this house. The daughter found her as a puppy. A lady was giving them away at a park and she brought one home. Her parents were not fans of having another dog, therefore keeping her in this one room away from everyone and their other dog. The father is retired and claims he walks her around the block a couple times a day for exercise (even though he acts like this is a huge burden). Me and the daughter have talked the parents into allowing her into the basement while we're down there and she is quite behaved and has no accidents. However it is nearly impossible to get her back in her room (can you blame her?) and when we do get her in, she cries and barks relentlessly. The main reason they won't allow her in the house I guess is the shedding and behavior issues. I would either like to sit her parents down and really explain to them how inhumane this is and/or get her out of that house somehow.
 

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Jeez louise! I feel like I'm reading Harry Potter-- but with a dog in the mudroom this time rather than a boy under the stairs.

It really sounds like they should look into a rescue for this dog. Its just not fair to isolate a social animal and make them a seventy-second-class citizen in your household because of your own shortcomings in breed selection and training.
 

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The dog HAS done some damage to the mud room over the years. The cabinets have claw marks and any bed that the daughter tries to give her, she ends up shredding to pieces.
 

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I would either like to sit her parents down and really explain to them how inhumane this is and/or get her out of that house somehow.
I have serious doubts that they will ever try to train this dog, never mind let this dog stay in the house, not if they have kept this poor soul like this for over 6 years. I hope I am wrong. :(

This is so far from being okey that I don't know where to begin.
Cruelty comes in different forms and shapes and it can be completely unintentional. Personally, I consider this cruelty. :(

Bless you for caring and wanting to change things! I hope you do!

If they are not willing to change this dogs life and if they won't give up the dog, I would call the SPCA and explain things and see if there is something that can be done. Of course this would be the absolute worst case.
I really don't understand why they keep him?

What does your girlfriend think of this? Is she on board with you or more along the lines of her parents?
 

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I don't consider this humane. Dogs are very social animals and this sort of isolation and lack of any kind of enrichment borders on cruelty. It would not qualify as cruelty in the eyes of the law but in my mind it's extremely cruel.Ask them if they would raise and maintain a child like this? Dogs and humans coexist so well because both species are extremely social and dependent on that social culture to live a life with any sort of emotional and mental stability and happiness.

Whether or not this dog is suitable for another home is debatable. A dog who has had no early socialization and little contact with the outside world may not be an adoptable dog.

I hope you have some luck talking to this family but I fear you'll find they are completely happy with the situation. :( I hope I'm wrong.
 

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My girlfriend has become more on board with me and has explained to me she's tried for years to create a better life for this dog, but to no avail. I've also tried telling her that once the dog dies, can you look back and say, "yea, I gave her the best life she could have had in this house." And the answer to that is no. I understand its her parents house, therefore, her parents rules as well. But it has come to a point where I am going to sit them down and explain what they are doing is wrong and needs to change.
 

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My girlfriend has become more on board with me and has explained to me she's tried for years to create a better life for this dog, but to no avail. I've also tried telling her that once the dog dies, can you look back and say, "yea, I gave her the best life she could have had in this house." And the answer to that is no. I understand its her parents house, therefore, her parents rules as well. But it has come to a point where I am going to sit them down and explain what they are doing is wrong and needs to change.
This is a very heartbreaking situation and it's not going to be comfortable or easy for anyone. You shouldn't have to have this conversation but someone has to speak for the poor dog. :(

Thank you for being willing to do this and not just turn a blind eye! :)
 

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This is completely inhumane, and I am so glad you are trying to do something about it. I had tears reading about this poor dog's quality of life.

But I have a question: if it is your girlfriend's dog, why isn't she taking it out regularly for exercise/stimulation? She says she has "tried for years" to get a better quality of life for the dog, but it seems that the only person who takes the dog out is dad (if he does), so exactly what has she done to improve the dog's life?

Anyway, I do hope you are able to resolve this for the dog's benefit and that the girlfriend as well as the parents are open to taking more responsibility.
 

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Hi All!
My main reason for posting this thread is I want to know, first, is this humane? The dog has lived in this small room her whole life and I want to know if their are steps to take to begin to train this dog to behave appropriately around this house.
Please help!
Thank you
No this is not humane. Are you in a position to ask if they want to give you the dog. If you could get it out of the house then you could get the dog into a proper rescue or keep it yourself.
 

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The dog HAS done some damage to the mud room over the years. The cabinets have claw marks and any bed that the daughter tries to give her, she ends up shredding to pieces.
Hardly surprising! This poor dog is going stir crazy - think a prisoner in solitary confinement, that's how I see it anyway. This is a high energy dog who needs lots of excersise. Dogs loves company & the thought of this girl being alone & practically ignored appalls me :mad: You obviously have the intelligence to see that this situation is not right, please help her.
 

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I realize this is a long shot but is there a way you could get this family to bring in a qualified trainer? Since the dog was not socialized, the fact that the two dogs don't get along is not surprising. Who's to say the poodle isn't also a poorly socialized dog? There is a great sticky on this forum about how to find a good trainer. A bad one will make things worse. You don't want to see them hire a Cesar Millan wanna be type.

Is it an option for your girlfriend to keep this dog in her room? She can be responsible for keeping the dog clean and groomed. She could teach it some obedience cues and provide some much needed mental stimulation with the training. The dog just might blossom with some time and patience into a wonderful companion and pet.
 

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OP - great on you to care, but let's be realistic. There's nothing you can do or say in order for them to change their ways with this dog. Nothing. People rarely want to listen to others and even more rarely do they want to admit their previous wrong-doing. Admission, in this case, will be listening to you and taking your suggestion.

Change will only happen when the dog is removed from the house, either by you or otherwise.

Consider this: if you pursue this issue with her parents, chances are high you're going to strain your relationship with them severely. It's almost like arguing politics or religion, because it's an issue of belief. By proxy, you may strain the relationship between your girlfriend and yourself and perhaps between her and her parents, if she sides with you.

Bottom line is, if you want to remove the dog from this situation, you will have to take the dog away physically.

You've been dating her a while. Move in together and take the dog. That seems like the best solution to me.
 

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OP - great on you to care, but let's be realistic. There's nothing you can do or say in order for them to change their ways with this dog. Nothing. People rarely want to listen to others and even more rarely do they want to admit their previous wrong-doing. Admission, in this case, will be listening to you and taking your suggestion.

Change will only happen when the dog is removed from the house, either by you or otherwise.

Consider this: if you pursue this issue with her parents, chances are high you're going to strain your relationship with them severely. It's almost like arguing politics or religion, because it's an issue of belief. By proxy, you may strain the relationship between your girlfriend and yourself and perhaps between her and her parents, if she sides with you.

Bottom line is, if you want to remove the dog from this situation, you will have to take the dog away physically.

You've been dating her a while. Move in together and take the dog. That seems like the best solution to me.
I was wondering if this would be a valid option, but age and practicalities may be dictating that this isn't possible. If it is, or if it's possible for you to take the dog, then that's probably her best option for a good future.

Camper may be right, though. Convincing people to change their ways after a number of years can be really tough. Do your best, but you'll probably be let down if you expect him to welcome the dog into the home with open arms.

I also wonder what someone else asked... why is your girlfriend's father expected to walk the dog that he didn't get/didn't want in the first place? It seems like that responsibility should fall on your girlfriend, and if she isn't inclined or able to do so then it's probably best to find a new place for the dog. While I don't condone her father banishing the dog I also wouldn't expect him to do such things with an animal he had no part in adopting.

It doesn't sound like the parents would be too upset if the dog left. If providing the dog a better life in this home doesn't work out then I would seriously talk to your girlfriend about other living arrangements for the dog. Be that moving her and the dog in with you, you taking the dog, or finding a rescue that could help, most things would be an improvement over being locked up all the time. Hopefully she'll be open to the idea for the sake of her dog. In all honesty, if she would rather keep the dog in such an environment than see her go I don't know that I'd want a continued relationship with her. You may think that sounds harsh, but you can obviously see that this is not an ok situation. I know it probably wasn't intentional, but her impulsively bringing home the pup put her in the situation in the first place. If she isn't willing to take measures to make it right after all these years that's not good...
 

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OP I hope you can do something for this dog.

I`d suggest try to move the dog from the situation and then still have a talk with the parents. They probably wont agree that this is neglect bordering abuse but they need to be told what dogs need (in case they ever decide to take another prisoner).
 

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Obviously not humane, but you already knew that.

I think you and your girlfriend need to come up with a solution together. It's her dog, her home, and her family, and she needs to step up, speak with her parents, and, together with you, find a better home for this dog. If she's willing to do this, then maybe she's a keeper. I hope she's a keeper.

Maybe showing your girlfriend this thread will help initiate a conversation that needs to take place. I understand that she may have been rather young and naïve when she brought this dog home. Her parents should have realized that bringing home this puppy was a mistake and found her a suitable home then. And, I'm guessing that your girlfriend doesn't take the dog out now because it's a large, untrained, and probably reactive dog. She's probably intimidated by it. But, years have passed, and the time has come to make things right for this dog.

I understand that you were not looking for relationship advice, but the way a person treats the animals in their care shows a lot about that person's character. It's something to consider as you possibly plan a future with your girlfriend.
 
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