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Discussion Starter #1
I am moving in with my boyfriends family in a few months and they have two large one year old dogs that are about 60-70 lbs. Basically, when they were puppies my boyfriend's mother went from a job at a elementary school (where she had plenty of time to be home and train the puppies) to a job at a sleep study (where she's gone long nights and sleeps during the day two weeks at a time).
Since she could no longer focus on training, the dogs got more and more rowdy, and with them getting so big so quickly the family resorted to putting them in a kennel (approx, 9x9) all day, everyday. which has created a rift where they are now so attention and stimulation starved they tend to overwhelm anyone who pays attention to them, especially the 6 and 7 year old who live there.
I am planning on taking them (along with my dog) to the dog park regularly and giving them some of that love and affection they need. with the end goal being that they will calm down and I can train them to behave better to reincorporate them with their family and get inside more often. These are sweet, loving dogs and the family are not bad people, they are just overwhelmed and misinformed.
I am confident I will be able to make a positive difference here. But any help from a more experienced dog owner would be greatly appreciated. I've only had one dog myself and although he was a rescue from outside, I've been extremely lucky and had no behavioral issues I've needed to address, so I fear I'm a bit out of my league. Thank you for reading all this and I appreciate any help you can give me!
 

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Sounds like typical 1-year old puppies. They overwhelm anyone who shows them attention because they are bored. Try taking them on daily runs, or at night if needed.
 

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While I totally think it's wonderful that the dogs are getting more attention, I wouldn't blame that on the owners. My dog is 10 and is nutty when it comes to attention. She doesn't necessarily have a high need for exercise, mild to moderate exercise will tire her out. That said even tired she struggles with proper manners even when tired....she just LOVES LOVES LOVES attention.

She would prefer to be touching a human at all times and if possible being petted by one---she's just a very socially oriented dog. I slept with her before getting married and she has had an exceptionally hard time sleeping by herself.

Before people get to know me they often think that I neglect her but it's just not true.

It does sound like they could use more attention and the family is overwhelmed, I would just encourage you to not come across as so judgemental as you are do in the beginning post. They very much sound like very, very normal one year old dogs....it dosn't sound like the owner has been negligent or even particularly neglectful. 9x9 is small, but it's better than a 2x2 crate.
 

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It's awesome that you're helping them out. I'll have to say that I don't think you're being judgemental - dogs should be taken out for a walk or have some kind of mental stimulation each day, and being cooped up in a kennel every day, whether the kennel is big or small, does not make the cut. Daily walks/ runs for exercise and stimulation is part of the package when you agree to take a dog on as a pet. These dogs are at a rebellious age (adolescence) in which it is super important to continue on training and socialization. If you are taking their dogs to the dog park, I'd also take them out to as many places as you can - busy city streets, cafes, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I didn't mean to come of judgmental, I'm going to move in with them and I love them all dearly. What I meant to say but didn't explain clearly is its gotten to the point where no one gives any attention to these dogs, at all. They are fed twice a day and that's the extent of their human interaction. I understand how my boyfriend's family got into that situation, however I'm more focused on trying to get them to grow up learning how to behave before it gets any worse. And I like the suggestion on taking them out to places with other people, however I'm kind of small and they would drag me around everywhere. Do you have any good suggestions on harnesses? I don't want them dragging me out onto the street lol. Thank you guys!
 

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I definitely recommend taking only one dog out with you at a time. Training is really best done one-on-one and you can tailor the "outing" to the individual dog's ability/comfort level/needs.
 

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I definitely recommend taking only one dog out with you at a time. Training is really best done one-on-one and you can tailor the "outing" to the individual dog's ability/comfort level/needs.
That's a really good idea! Does it have to be a busy place? The closest place I can think of with lots of people and distractions is a half hour away, which would be fine if I was taking both, but one at a time makes for a ton of driving. Could I train them at home until they'd be calm enough for me and my boyfriend to handle them in a busier environment, or is it essential since they've missed out on so much socialization that they get out there asap?
 

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That's a good idea, I'd take out one at a time until they are are trained and calmer, and then later on you can handle them in multiples. I really like the harness called Freedom Harness that I purchased on Amazon.

No worries, you are in your right to be concerned. A lot of the time, these kind of neglected dogs end up at the shelter, because once they grow up and they haven't been trained/ socialized enough, the owners cannot handle them! It seems that they may have missed out on some key socialization in an important stage. I say expose them to whatever you can now...for eg., it's easier for them to get used to being on a busy city street now as a puppy vs seeing it for the first time when they are 5 years old and being fearful of the crowds and noises. However, this sounds like quite a job for you (with the driving, as you mention)...and hopefully the owners will help you, since they, well, they are the owners.
 

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How socialized with other dogs are they? If they've only ever really had each other for company and have a year's worth of pent up energy, my guess is they're not likely to have great manners/ be very good or attentive in reading other dogs. Personally I would not use a dog park as the first resort for exercise unless you are going when there are no other dogs and just using the area as a fenced yard for exercise. I think dog parks can be a very risky outlet for exercise and socialization for a lot of dogs- it's very easy for an under socialized, rude or over stimulated dog to set off fights and it's also really no fun at all to be the owner with the most unruly dog that plays too rough and makes others yelp; I've been on the receiving end of death stares and rude comments. Also, owners can be really sensitive- a lot of rough play that is 100% fine will have other owners storming up to you and yelling and snapping for no good reason. This is definitely a biased opinion from someone who struggled with a fear aggressive dog growing up whose fear aggression was largely fostered at dog parks where she interacted poorly with other dogs and me and my parents reacted equally as poorly after traumatizing experiences. I personally only bring my dogs to dog parks after they: 1) have a rock solid recall so I can call them away from situations I see escalating or dogs that are clearly uncomfortable/about to snap, 2) I know they have a good basis of social skills and are not going to resort to aggressive behavior out of fear, and 3) are already well exercised- I only bring my dogs to an enclosed park after a walk so that they've already started to burn off some energy and aren't going into the park in a frustrated or hyper state of mind.

I agree with the suggestion to work with the dogs one on one; if your current dog is a good citizen and has good recall and can be trusted to do his own thing while you work with the new dogs then bring him along as well, but I'd only work with one new dog at a time.

I would start by trying to walk them until they start to calm down, try not to flood them or overstimulate them with the outside world, and bring lots of food and toy motivators. A long line of 15-30 feet and a harness would be a good way to give them more freedom in unfenced areas as well once you're confident they're not going to bolt and hurt themselves/you. Work on recall training on a long line to start getting them ready to go to parks and work on other basic obedience behaviors and manners (ie, no jumping or mouthing, etc). A good first goal would be to be able to bring both of them along with your dog on a nice long hike or walk.

For now I'd work on basic manners, basic obedience, and loose leash walking. If you have other people willing to bring their dogs around for socialization I think that would be great, but I really would caution bringing them to a dog park until they're a little more under control/pleasant to be around. At this point I don't think a few months is going to make a difference in socialization- I personally don't think there's a whole lot different between 12 and 18 months of age when it comes to socializing.
 
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