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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I hope this is in the right forum... I don't know where else to go. I've been researching the topic, but I can't find anything that describes my situation exactly.

I have a 7 year old toy rat terrier who has been house trained since she was a puppy. My boyfriend moved in with us in July. In October or November, I left to go to work, and my dog got into some pizza that my boyfriend had left on the ottoman. She ran away when he came in the room, he chased and spanked her, and she pooped all over herself. I think he then put her in the shower, cleaned her up, then locked her in the bathroom until I got home.

I don't think that was the appropriate response, but since this has become an ongoing problem, my boyfriend argues that I'm not strict enough and that I don't help with the dog... but I don't know what to do.

The same thing has happened several times now. She does something she's not supposed to, he punishes her by spanking and kenneling her, and she pees and/or poops. So now she acts really skiddish around him. She won't come when he calls, and she tends to run away when he comes around. She often cries like she's hurt, pees, and poops if he surprises her.

He's recently been telling me that the "me or the dog" conversation is getting nearer and nearer... I don't know what to do. I feel like she has a legitimate reason to feel insecure around him (he spanks her, yells at her, and locks her up for hours)... but I don't know how to make her feel more comfortable and stop doing this.

Please help. :(
 

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If it were my dog, the boyfriend would be long gone. He has destroyed her trust and she's obviously terrified of him- hence releasing her bowels. She really and truly does have a legitimate reason to be scared of him- for all she knows, he's trying to kill her. He's very lucky that he hasn't been bitten. If you won't get rid of the guy, find a good home for the dog unless he is willing to do some serious trust-building with her.
I'm sorry you're having to deal with this. :( it is your responsibility to protect your dog, though, and your boyfriend sounds kind of unstable to me.
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well, I love both and don't want to get rid of either if I can help it. I think he'd be willing to help me retrain her or do some trust building exercises, if that would help. But how can I get her to trust him again?
 

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He's not training her to be anything but afraid of him, and, as Cali mentions, she is now terrified of him. Have you spoken with him about how to actually train a dog (with praise and rewards)? Spanking and locking a dog up for hours doesn't teach the dog anything but to be afraid of people.

If you are going to keep your living arrangements as-is, I would sit down and talk with your boyfriend about how to correctly train a dog and how to win back the dog's trust. Spanking a dog for his own error (leaving food within the dog's reach) was his first mistake. Dog's don't have a memory like that, and to your dog, your boyfriend was abusing her for no reason.
 

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Its a very very slow and delicate process, especially if she's screaming and urinating/defecating just upon seeing him. Can you tell us a bit about her daily schedule? Will she take treats from him? Or even eat in his presence?
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I hope you dog bites his Balls off!!:mad: (sorry if thats inapropriate moderators)
Because thats pretty much what will eventually happen- and by the sounds of it he deserves it!
Your poor pooch could eventually end up so scared of people that she may become agressive when threatened or surprised! She could end up mauling a child.

I think you should man-up, ditch the jerk and try and re-instate some of the trust with your dog.

Sorry to be so harsh-but it needs to be said!!!!:cool:
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
She'll take treats from him, and she'll eat in the same room as him. She used to sleep in my bed, but she's gradually had to move onto her own bed in the floor, and then shut out of our room, since she's been having accidents. I let her out first thing in the morning, and she goes to the bathroom. A big problem is whenever my boyfriend gets up first, if he startles her in the morning, she just goes right there. We leave at about the same time, and I get home from class in about 4 hours and let her out again. She mainly has accidents in the evening, he'll go to pick her up, just to hold her, and she just pees.
 

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I would have him stop holding her or interacting with her, basically he should ignore her all together. If you can have him drop treats for her (versus her taking them from him), that should help. Someone will have a better explanation, but having the dog take food when it is afraid of someone is a conflict for the dog and doesn't help the dog gain trust as easily. Him holding her is basically flooding (overstimulating the dog to something it reacts to), and will only make the behavior worse. She is literally terrified he is going to kill her at this point.
 

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She'll take treats from him, and she'll eat in the same room as him. She used to sleep in my bed, but she's gradually had to move onto her own bed in the floor, and then shut out of our room, since she's been having accidents. I let her out first thing in the morning, and she goes to the bathroom. A big problem is whenever my boyfriend gets up first, if he startles her in the morning, she just goes right there. We leave at about the same time, and I get home from class in about 4 hours and let her out again. She mainly has accidents in the evening, he'll go to pick her up, just to hold her, and she just pees.
I'm on a phone so I can't type out the whole process, but I suggest you do a site search on "counterconditioning," and hopefully someone else will have some time to post. I just want to stress that this is NOT a housetraining issue, since she's only having "accidents" when he interacts with her.
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
The problem is, he's not a jerk. This has been going on for months now, and it's getting to be an almost daily thing. He's a great guy, but I think he doesn't know how to train dogs. I don't know that much about training dogs either... I just know that he and Dixie are having a big problem. Before I lose one or both, I want to try to reconcile the two if possible.
 

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I hope you dog bites his Balls off!!:mad: (sorry if thats inapropriate moderators)
Because thats pretty much what will eventually happen- and by the sounds of it he deserves it!
Your poor pooch could eventually end up so scared of people that she may become agressive when threatened or surprised! She could end up mauling a child.

I think you should man-up, ditch the jerk and try and re-instate some of the trust with your dog.

Sorry to be so harsh-but it needs to be said!!!!:cool:
This! And good for you Danigurl. I just want to say that if your dog isn't important enough for you to leave this guy or make him follow by your rules then just think how he would be with your kids (when you have them) He will use the same methods with them as he uses with your dog. People like him don't change unless they get a good kick in the butt in the right direction.

Sorry if all this a bit harsh but what he is doing and has done is unacceptable. You obviously do care about your dog but you are going to have to take some very drastic measures to get your boyfriend to learn how to treat others and I honestly worry how he would treat you if you made him really angry so it just seems like a very sad and unhealthy situation. Hopefully one of the other members will have an idea whether you can fix this problem.
 

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Oh wow! Poor pup!
Personally I would not tolerate anyone "spanking" my dogs.

Is your boyfriend actually open to different methods of training dogs? If he is, I would hire a behaviorist so that he would be hearing what he should and should not do from a professional! I am betting that he will listen better to someone he sees as an expert and non-biased, rather than you.
If interested then this site is a good place to find a behaviorist!:)
International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC)

But honestly, if he is already alluding to the "It's me or the dog" conversation I really don't know that you are going to be able to fix this problem. It will take A LOT of time, patience, work, and a complete change in your boyfriend's behavior to even start fixing this problem. You may very well need to choose between your dog and your bf sometime soon. I do wish you luck and hope you do what is best for you and your dog!
 

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It does sound like YOU BOTH need training! Not so much the dog.
And the dog just needs some trust re-building.

Have you asked the Jerk how he would like it?

Eg..
... running away from a fierce angry creature thats over 10 times his size..
....being chased by it....
...being punched by it......
...being so horrifically frightened- he deficates himself......
...This massive angry creature then tries to drown him in a giant shower....
...Then left Naked, Cold and Wet - locked in a dark room empty room.....

OR

............A tasty reward and a fuss and cuddle when he gets something right......
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Yes, Pedro, I could use some training. The reason I posted on here was to find advice on how to help her trust him again. He is trying to work with me, and it's been at least a month since he's tried disciplining her... but I think the damage has been done, and she's very clearly insecure around him. And he's tired of getting peed on, which I think is understandable.

@kmes Thank you for the sincere reply. I found a behaviorist in my area through the link you posted, and we're going to talk to them once the weather clears up (we've been snowed in for 3 days).
 

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Good luck, please keep us updated!
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:( wow, for a dog to just release it's bowels like that means that she is EXTREMELY terrified of him, that is a response of an animal that fears it is about to die. personally, i don't see how anyone who would choose to CONTINUE to "discipline" her after she did it the first time is a very good candidate for change, but taking your word that he might, this video talks about the dog showing an aggressive response, but counter-conditioning works the same if the dog is afraid.


as you work on this, i would kennel the dog when you aren't home to deal with her, and limit your BF's interactions with her to the absolute bare necessities.

a behaviorist is a FANTASTIC idea, and i urge you to contact one ASAP...

take heart though, dogs are very resilient creatures, if your boyfriend NEVER does anything REMOTELY like this again, there is a really good chance that you, and he can rebuild her trust. if he does choose to "discipline" her like this again, then one of the two needs to go, and it will be up to you to decide on which one ;)



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A big problem is whenever my boyfriend gets up first, if he startles her in the morning, she just goes right there.
She probably had to go, and now he scared her, so she'll lose some control, especially she's afraid/insecure around him to begin with. Punishment isn't the answer. Banishment isn't the answer. Anger isn't the answer.

Figuring out why she's peeing (likely fear/insecurity) and working on THAT is the answer.


He is trying to work with me, and it's been at least a month since he's tried disciplining her... but I think the damage has been done, and she's very clearly insecure around him. And he's tired of getting peed on, which I think is understandable.

Then maybe he should actually try teaching her what's right. Has he tried that? Stop with the discipline and start with the teaching and show the dog what he expects of her and reward her for it.

Dogs don't come knowing and it doesn't always transfer immediately/automatically from one person to another (so if you taught her, that doesn't mean she'll do it for him, dogs usually are poor generalizers, the dog literally does NOT know that he wants the same things as you do).

Also, you probably need to do some counter-conditioning, as was said, to lessen the fear response.

Damage has been done. It can also be healed.

I hope the behaviorist can help you and that you and especially him will be willing to work through the process EVEN AFTER there's setbacks and regressions if any should arise.
 

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If he loves and respects You then he will do what ever it takes to help the dog in this situation. This means working with you, learning some dog training, and taking the time do take the correct measures to make your dog feel comfortable again.
 

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Sorry good guys don't hit. That is just my opinion. If he hits a defenseless dog it is a sign that you may be next. I would re home the dog if you keep the guy because I think from the dogs reaction more is going on at home when you are not there.
 
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