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Soleil's picture
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I'm not sure how to phrase this... But I have two dogs a 2yr old golden retriever(male) and a 1 1/2 Red dobie (female).  Overall they are great dogs and well behaved but we had a change that is causing some bad behavior in them. I live in a multi-family house that shares a fenced in yard with another family.  They also have two dogs.  Both around  7 months old and smaller a boy tiny terrier and a female mutt.  My neighbors are a bit more relaxed about what I consider to be bad behavior in a dog.  Their dogs barks, they dig, they chew through the fence, they don't come when called.  Since the new dogs arrived my pups have been giving me hard time.  They still listen but they are testing a lot more. How can i fix this?  I have worked very hard training my two but the I feel that they are picking up/ reverting back to bad habits... some that i spent a lot of time fixing.  (like digging).  Any advice? 

AlphaAdmin's picture
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Hi Soleil,

Our neighbor's dog likes to bark with our dogs - I'm not sure who starts it, but I bet it's usually the neighbor.

Are your dogs digging along the fence, like to get to the other dogs, or are they just remembering how much fun it is to dig?

Anyway, don't get frustrated. Before you know it you'll be marking profanity in the neighbor's front lawn with gasoline.  ;D But seriously, look at this as an aid, not a hindrance. One of the most important parts or training is distraction. You never know where you're at with obedience until your dog needs to obey while being distracted. That's why puppy classes are so helpful. If you dogs were being good before the distraction, you were ready to move them up in difficulty.

Once they understand they need to follow your commands and rule regardless of who's doing what - you'll reach another level of obedience. Some people pay for this type of distraction.  ;)

Soleil's picture
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No.. my dogs are not trying to dig under the fence to get to them... My dobie is just remembering how much fun digging up the yard is.  She only digs where the other ones dig first.  I guess this will just be a lesson in patience and in training.  I do not enjoy that they are trying to use my dogs as a lesson in socialization.  :( (this seems to happen to me quite often everyone sees the golden and thinks awww he must be sooo sweet and since I did not crop my dobies ears people thought she was a mutt or a chocolate lab.) One of them is just fine in holding her own in playing with my two.  (my dogs rough house with each other)  But they have a little one who torments my dobie.  She won't go into the yard if he is there.  I have caught my golden just pinning it to the ground with his paw and holding it there.  He just lays down with one paw over the little dog and looks at me like "What I'm not hurting it." It quite comical. But playtime has escalated to more than play.  No one has gotten hurt but I am a worrier.  Any suggestions for keeping playtime just play?

AlphaAdmin's picture
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The best way to keep dogs from fighting is to have a strong alpha around. In the wild, the alpha keeps everyone in line - no fighting.

I misunderstood your first post. You have one big yard - so your dogs are right out there with the neighbor's dogs. That's a tougher situation, especially if their dogs are jerks and escalate play into fighting. The thing about little dogs is they often are not bred for stable temperament (because their little so their not dangerous - right?), so they often has weak temperaments which can cause them to get aggressive or frightened and start fighting during play. If this happens what are you dogs to do? They'll probably just try to disengage, but if they can't they'll be left to defend themselves, which means sending a "poor defenceless" little dog flying and squealing across the yard. Your dogs just can't win.

Even if you have your dogs totally under command, you can't tell the neighbor's dog to stop. You can spray them with the hose of a squirt bottle though - I don't know what your neighbors will think about that though.

You may want to discus this with your neighbor. Are you friendly with them? Perhaps you could have certain time allotments. Perhaps you could convince them to participate in training sessions with you and your dogs. I don't know the situation, but I do know the average dog owner is an extremely bad dog owner who barely knows what a dog is. The fact that you put effort into training and care enough to come on this forum with questions automatically puts you in the top 1% of dog owners - believe me! So - getting them, assuming they are the average, to properly train their dogs may be tough. Don't tell them this, but what you'll actually be intending to do is train them - the people - you'll just SAY you are interested in getting together to train your dogs.

I have a couple of good tricks for preventing dogs from digging. One is to bury their poop in holes they dig where you don't want them digging. (this doesn't work with mommy-dogs) Another idea is to have a designated digging area. I've done this with our mom-dogs and with rescues we've brought in. You can bury treats and toys in the area and bury poop in the bad holes. The trouble with this is that ever now and them a dog gets in the way of another dog's digging and gets covered in dirt...

It is tough when people just assume they can use your dogs and all the work you put into them to "socialize" their crazy animals. It might be a good sign though. If they at least know the word maybe they're actually interested in learning how to train their dogs. Just don't be afraid to speak up when they are doing something you don't like.

Soleil's picture
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The backyard is a mini dog park these days!! Yeah my dogs always seem like the "bad guys" when things escalate even though it is normally not their fault.  They just outweigh the dogs by so much that even them giving a gentle push away sends the small ones flying. I am getting to the point where I might try the squirt bottle on them.  I doubt my neighbors would like though. 

It's rather hard not to correct someone's dog when it is being naughty.  I have caught myself giving them a stern "no" when they were doing something particularly naughty like digging under the fence to escape. I tried the poop in the hole technique so far so good....  I am becoming a master at the "evil eye."  Most of the time that and a snap is enough for me to get their dogs to walk away.  We have a deck that leads down into the back yard and we had to rig a fence cause I was finding poop on the deck.  I am getting frustrated cause this is time I could spend training/playing with my dogs.  I can't train outside when the other dogs are out cause they constantly annoy my dogs.  I can put my dogs in a sit stay but its not really fair when they have two puppies trying to use them as chew toys. 

My dobie is a wimp (I mean that affectionately) when it comes to their little terrier.  She looks at me like "protect me mom" She kinda seems to know that if she does anything she will get in trouble so leave it to Mom to fix it.  Which is good.  The Golden is a bit less tolerant (there is a busted stereotype for you... Go Fig!)  Mostly of the male.  I have more problems with him in dominance department.  He still challenges occasionally (he is a work in progress)  He does not like the little dog running around the yard and acting dominant an I worry this will lead to problems. 

These two new dogs are rescued puppies so they are working from the ground up.  I think its just a lot to handle for them. I think 2 rescues or puppies  is a lot for anyone to handle. They are nice people with dog experience but maybe they took on a little more than they could handle.    Soleil was a terror as a pup and I got her when my golden was around 8 months old (I vowed NEVER to do that again I apparently had NO idea how difficult it would be to raise two puppies at the same time. ) But I would not trade them for the world. 

My temporary solution is I won't bring both my golden and my dobie if they are in the yard.  I take mine out one at a time so I can keep an eye on them and nip any problems in the bud.  Things only get a bit outta control when its all four of them.  But I can't do this forever... is it too much for me to hope that they will calm down a little bit.  But the lines of communication are open and we have started to speak with them about our puppy problems.

Sorry about the long venting post.... ::)  Any tips and comments are always appreciated!  ;D