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I'll try to give as much background as possible. Also, I'm just trying to get some advice from people who maybe have dealt with this kind of thing before.

Gadget is a long-haired Dachshund/Corgi Mix and is pretty small, about 11 pounds. We adopted her in May, and is about 4 years old now, so full grown. She came to us very shy, but has gotten a lot better around us. Other people, she's not so sure about but we have a few friends that she sees often and lays on them sometimes. We always are thinking of ways to help get her more social and outgoing.

Side story, but still relevent: A housesitter was bitten when we had her watch Gadget while we were attending a wedding. She was growling, cornered, and then the sitter tried to pick her up. We had thought she'd be ok since she has great bite inhibition while she is playing and cuddling. We have gotten a trainer to help us increase her confidence even more, and have had one session so far.

Anyway, we had to go home to my fiance's for two days for a funeral. So, everyone is dealing with grief in their own ways, AND we have to bring our dog. They have a stir-crazy, untrained Border Collie (Blue) that we knew we would have issues with, since we tried to introduce them a while ago (when Gadget was still new to us), and their dog just went crazy and they were seperated through a door and a crate. So, their initial meeting is fine, we keep Gadget moving so she doesn't get "stuck" or cornered. The problem is that this border collie was given up because it kept trying to herd the other small dogs in its house. It just stares, sticks her face in the other dogs face, and stays there. When Gadget growls, or shows signs of being uncomfortable, Blue could care less. When they're cat was alive, it would harass it for hours, even after it was bitten. The family's response to the dogs meeting was "Well, Gadget SHOULD bite Blue and then maybe she would learn her lesson!" 1. I don't want to have my dog feel like she has to do that. 2. Blue would really not learn from this anyway.

After a couple hours of supervised interactions, and breaks, Gadget finally had enough, and took two warning snaps at Blue's face. I tried to seperate them by putting Blue in a room, but the door wouldn't close, and Blue doesn't know how to stay on command. So I didn't even get to deal with my dog, who was just watching and scared before I was getting yelled at. I was told that I should have gotten my dog out of the situation first. I was just trying to get the instigator out first, and them seperated, but whatever. What should I do next time? It was just me in the room, the sister's and mom's arms had gotten tired of holding Blue, and had stopped paying any attention.

I really wish they would train their dog. It's going to be an argument point between my fiance and his family. We are really trying to work with Gadget, and she really has improved a lot, but we also know exactly where her limits are, and they are quite reasonable. She doesn't like big playful dogs insistently trying to be in her face. They are just unwilling to change anything about what they are doing. I wish I could tell them to let us take both of them on a two hour walk until Blue calms down, but Blue pulls so hard on a leash and is so obsessive that I really think it would take longer than that. I wish I could have them teach Blue to "leave it" before we go over next, but I can't because it is their dog. Any time we go over then, we'll have to have our dog crated up, which is just kind of disappointing for us since she is such a big part of our family. The father and sister are really just plainly mean people, even when there aren't funerals going on and I doubt they will change. Now we have to desensitize Gadget again to larger dogs, and now she is starting to snap near our faces to show her fear towards something. This really set her back a few weeks and I am frustrated about that too. I am not sure when to schedule the next trainer session. Do I work with her more first, or should we get it in sooner rather than later? It's been a few days now, so everyone is calmed down.

Has anyone been in a similar situation? Any small pieces of advice about what to do when seperating dogs that aren't getting along? Any advice about conflicting family situations? Thank you for your time!!
 

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Well, how much do you HAVE to spend time with them? You are clearly less than thrilled with them. And although they may be your fiance's family, is your fiance aware of your feelings? Ok, that came across kinda nosey, but it is kinda relevant, because the more your dog bonds to you the more she's going to pick up on your feelings and react towards the people causing them.

I'm not sure there IS a solution to the family part of the problem other than avoidance. For Blue, do they have a fenced yard so you can run him around (fetch, something) till he's tired?

I'd call the trainer, go over everything like you did here and get their advice too. Likely they can make suggestions on how to help, and at least they need to know about the setbacks.
 

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Update

My fiance feels the same way towards his family, and we've talked about it. Really the only issue he had with the situation was the order in which I addressed the dogs' behavior. He was questioning how big of a deal it really was until he was seeing some of the behavior changes from her over the next few days. We also live together, so Gadget is totally OUR dog. I was also trying to keep positive during the situation, praising both dogs for doing the right thing. Blue was getting better, being able to relax slightly and being able to look away, but only when the mom was there holding Blue. She is really the one who understands what is going on, and I feel really bad for her since she has no sense of control in the situation. Blue gets visibly nervous when the dad starts drinking too much and ranting, so it's not really just us throwing off stress signals. It's just unfortunate that the family relations will continue to be strained because of this even farther than they are now.

They don't have a fenced in yard and have no way of exercising Blue. Walks are exhausting because she pulls so much, and she usually freaks out about other dogs (scared), so apparently the dog park is also out of the question. We were throwing a toy for her, and while that was out, her focus was totally on that, which was good. But the sister stopped the game because Blue's gums were getting sore or something. Otherwise I would have kept playing. I wish either they would be able to get her tired, or let us be able to, but unless we want to make things tense, it's going to be very difficult.

I took Gadget on a walk a few days after this and she was getting really freaked out about other dogs, and we actually had to stop and let one pass when it was approaching from behind. Usually she just ignores them until she has to interact with them. We took her to the dog park yesterday, and was doing alright, but when a large puppy jumped on her, we did see her make a snapping motion. Yes, you shouldn't really like a large puppy jumping on you, but it is still concerning that her reaction is moving in this direction when she is scared or cornered, especially when both my fiance and I are there (she feels safer when we are both present).

I'll contact our trainer and try and have her over in the next week.
 

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She's adorable!

I can't help much with the family side of things. I don't get along with my mother, but at least I can honestly say that she does what she does because she cares for me and just has no off switch.....

The only other thing I can suggest for Blue is a 30ft leash and a good long game of fetch.....why are his gums getting sore playing with toys?? Never mind, it fits in with what else you're telling me about them.

I don't have much else to offer unfortunetly. Keep us updated with how things go please!
 

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I don't know how accepting your fiance's family would be but I would suggest to let the dogs take turns spending time in the circle of family, while the other is resting in a room with the door closed. At times, when people have the peace and time you could have both dogs out at the same time, and when they become stressed put one away again!?
 

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Update

I think we can try having them out at different times next time, but the sister was getting jealous. There were a bunch of people, and once it settled down, I let Gadget out, and she said "Well, if your dog is out, then I'm getting mine out too", or "Hey if mine is away then yours should be too". It would be a problem if Blue was being annoying even when separated. If Blue was out, she would keep trying to get to Gadget, and if Blue was away, then maybe would be annoying trying to get out of the room. I think they worry too much about that. Like, if both dogs are away from each other, I think you could just ignore it for a bit. Anyway, this probably seems like the best thing to try at first. It seems like it would make the most people least upset.

We did introduce them outside the house on a walk, but it was really only a block long and Blue hadn't even begun to settle down yet before the sister wanted to turn around and go back. I might be able to talk them into letting me and my fiance take both of them on a really long walk. We do have a friend that lives close by that is happy to let us stay there if things don't go well (if he's not busy), so maybe we can plan to visit him and make a trip home during the afternoon or something, so we aren't obliged to stay over there. It makes it more stressful I think if it is more like "We can leave if things go badly", rather than "We will visit for a while to work on things, and we will leave no matter how far they get".

About a year ago, Blue got very overweight and was really lethargic. It was really sad. We did start feeding a raw diet to Gadget a month after we got her and tried to talk it up with them, but the sister was worried her dog choking. The dad was really into it, but for some reason it didn't work out. I think they didn't want to wait through the soft stool stage. I don't think they ever knew what it was (maybe food allergies?), but her weight is better now, but still overweight. Her teeth are also dirty, so a raw diet would have helped with that. So I'm sure maybe a nutritional problem or the dirty teeth could be part of the gums issue.

I wonder if Blue could ignore a lot of dogs at a dog park if we brought a toy along. Gadget doesn't play with any toys, so that would be fun for me if we got one of those ball throwers.
 

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I wonder if Blue could ignore a lot of dogs at a dog park if we brought a toy along. Gadget doesn't play with any toys, so that would be fun for me if we got one of those ball throwers.
Please don't involve innocent dogs in that. I take my dog to the dog park and I wouldn't appreciate it.

If it were me, I wouldn't bring my dog over there. She's better off waiting at home or being boarded at the vet. The thing with the sitter was, to me, the sitter's fault. If you know anything about dogs, you know not to corner them and then reach for them as they snarl at you. That's just stupid.
 

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I guess my opinion is going to be the opposite of most. If someone brought their dog into my home, I would not be ok with 1) a dog showing aggression towards my dog. and 2) locking my dog away.

The only resolutions I see here are to either take both dogs for a month, supervised carefully and show them how to get along, or to never have them interact again. Short visits are not going to solve this and I think will be detrimental to the shy dog's progress.

My one dog is very friendly and playful and would want to play with any other dog that came into this house, or any animal period. We have used her to work with foster dogs who were shy, and neighbors new dogs who were shy because she is no threat to a dog and very friendly and submissive. My other dog is a border collie is a rescue and has a prey drive and I have already told family not to bring their small dog to our house because I can't trust her, even though she has no history of attacking any animal I know she has a prey drive.

I don't agree with how they are handling their own dog, not exercising, plus knowing Blue has problems, and you said gets nervous when the father starts drinking and ranting, makes me feel like it isn't the best home for the dog.

Now that I think about it, I just don't know.

My opinion is this: dogs come to my house knowing how my dogs are, deal with my dogs because I do not want to change my beagle/lab's personality. But she is non aggressive and I know this, and she would not go to the point of harassing another dog. We had kittens dumped here and she wanted to play with them but she didn't intentionally frighten them or corner them.

If my dogs go to someone elses house, we play by their rules and if their dog has problems that will be a decider on whether or not my dog goes there.

however, you are taking steps to help your dog. They aren't. You are willing to try to work on their dogs problem, and they aren't. I would lay it out for them exactly like that and see what their thoughts are then. If they are unwilling to do anything, or let you do anything, don't put yours who is already shy through more stress. Your dog needs to be around more dogs that help her, not make things worse.
 
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