Please, please help - ideas, sympathy, support wanted!

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bendog
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Please, please help - ideas, sympathy, support wanted!

Post by bendog » Mon Jun 03, 2013 3:04 pm

Over the past week poppy has apparently started 5 "fights" in the house. All have been on OHs watch, I haven't seen any extra sign of a fight when I've been with her. They've mostly been with sash but apparently Molly and Charlie have also been targeted/involved.

She is food guardy, but we never allow other dogs near her food. She's also very prone to be the play "police" and dive in when others are playing and also tends to try to dive in and attack sasha if sash growls or air snaps towards any other dog.

All of the "fights" have apparently been over "nothing" I've tried digging for more info and my OH doesn't have any other than its just "poppy being a brat"

I can't be here all of the time. But its strange how ALL the incidents have happened whilst the dogs have been with my OH. I don't know if I just unconsciously manage things a lot more to avoid scraps (when I'm home the dogs are either doing something constructive - walk, training, eating, or asleep) and he is letting play get too rough or whatever. I suspect it might just be boredom setting them off as its been warm today so they've only had an hours walk and I've been out most of the evening so not much else going on either. Therefore my plan of action is to start getting up earlier in the mornings and do more with the dogs, but not sure how much more I can physically do, as I'm constantly shattered and had to have blood tests the other week because I was just dead on my feet.

The biggest problems therefore are how do I avoid Poppy starting fights when I'm not here to see them start - or else how do I train OH to spot when things might be about to blow up? And also what happens when a fight does start as I suspect he panics and makes everything a whole lot worse. His opinion is that poppy needs to be told off for fighting. My view is that if he paid more attention to the dogs then fights wouldn't start in the first place.

Rehoming her is not an option for me (he would like to). Crating her when I'm not around to supervise is not an option for him (he is dead against crates). We are at absolute loggerheads and I'm really upset. I haven't seen any of the fights so I can't say how bad they are but no-one been injured yet. He likes the dogs (Charlie and Ben are his favourites) but he likes to pick them up and cuddle them and get them all excited and wound up. He doesn't care about understanding them. And he gets annoyed when I "make excuses" for Poppy's "bad" behaviour and "think I know everything" and so on.

As far as I'm concerned, pops is a working terrier, who has pretty much just reached maturity (she's almost 2) and lives wth a weaker, elderly terrier so fights are going to be expected without very close management and supervision. But how do I make him see that?

EDIT: she is due in season sometime around now so that might be affecting her behaviour too
Last edited by bendog on Mon Jun 03, 2013 5:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

bendog
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Re: Please, please help - ideas, sympathy, support wanted!

Post by bendog » Mon Jun 03, 2013 3:15 pm

Have to say the most tempting looking option at the moment is that I move out with Ben and poppy and he keeps Charlie and sash. But we only bought this house a year ago and I don't earn enough to pay rent or get a mortgage on my own. And I really don't want to break up over a dog!

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Re: Please, please help - ideas, sympathy, support wanted!

Post by JudyN » Mon Jun 03, 2013 3:43 pm

(((((((Hugs)))))))) :(

If you break up, don't think you're breaking up over a dog. You're breaking up over a communication failure and a failure to agree how best to resolve a stressful situation. The dogs are just the catalyst.

I am sure that there's a reason why the fights only break out when you're not there, and this fact alone should show that your method of dealing with the dogs is the right one, which should be enough reason for OH to follow your lead.

Poppy is an exceptionally bright dog, as well as having a terrier brain, and this is a recipe for what people tend to call a 'difficult' or 'challenging' dog, but which I prefer to call a 'special' dog, having a very special dog myself! And in a multi-dog household with so much going on that she just has to get involved in, that means she's always going to need careful management. But if OH can't or won't manage the dogs well enough to prevent the fights, all I can think is that they need to be separate - if he won't crate her, could she be in a separate room, say the kitchen, behind a stairgate?

What do you do now when you're both out? And how many hours a day do you leave the dogs with OH for?
Jasper, lurcher, born December 2009

bendog
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Re: Please, please help - ideas, sympathy, support wanted!

Post by bendog » Mon Jun 03, 2013 5:03 pm

Thanks judy. Knew I could count on the lovely people on this board :)

At the moment if we go out we leave sash in the kitchen or upstairs and the others with the rest of the house. They've usually had a decent walk before I leave them and I only really leave them a couple of hours where they are completely alone. If I have to leave them more than 2 hours or so then they get kong toys and I separate poppy and Molly as well.

I have my martial arts training most nights (4x a week) which keeps me out of the house for 2-3 hours, and that's the only time OH is on his own with them, i then usually feed them when i get home but am thinking of feeding them earlier so hopefully they will sleep whilst I'm out. But after dinner is another kick off point with them so I need to be around for at least an hour after they've eaten to be sure they've settled, as usually after dinner they are all a bit hyped up.

Some weekends I occasionally have to work 11-4 (about 1 or 2 Sundays a month) so he has them then too and that's also the only time he really walks them on his own.

On further discussion it seems to be only 3 fights, not the 5 he originally claimed. But still any fights are unacceptable really (especially in his mind) and one was possibly over food (he gave them kongs and didn't pick them up afterwards and thinks one may have had food left in it) which since we know she's food guardy was a management failure. (She's not very food guardy with me anymore, but still is with the other dogs)

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Re: Please, please help - ideas, sympathy, support wanted!

Post by Ari_RR » Mon Jun 03, 2013 5:29 pm

I guess it only takes 1 bad fight for this to turn into a real disaster...

Given OH's resistance towards crating (I am not a fan of crating myself), I would consider barriers as a way to separate.

Or, you can stop attending martial arts training and simply practice what you've already learned on your OH.. 4 times a week for 3 hours each.... that may change his views on dog training very quickly... :lol: :lol:

gwd
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Re: Please, please help - ideas, sympathy, support wanted!

Post by gwd » Mon Jun 03, 2013 6:15 pm

when was poppys season over? i know my girl is extra snarky post-season.

also stress can make dogs a bit more hair trigger.......i know molly is a new addition and you can't really do anything about that, but perhaps all of the extra dogs that are around like the springer, the bassets and the others can be something that you avoid for awhile that is a lot of activity in a household.... perhaps she's just telling you it's too much.
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Suzette
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Re: Please, please help - ideas, sympathy, support wanted!

Post by Suzette » Mon Jun 03, 2013 6:57 pm

I'm so sorry for how this affecting your home and your relationship. I do understand the frustration and the stress. And it sounds like this is starting to take a real toll on your health. Perhaps you could use that to start a conversation with your OH and use it as a springboard to get him thinking of different ways of handling the dogs to take some stress and anxiety off of you.

I do wonder if Poppy coming into season is making her a bit snarky (I know to some extent it does with Piper). If so, it should all resolve once she is done with her season. Of course, that isn't helping you right now. I guess I have no answers, but I do sympathize and wanted to lend my support.
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gwd
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Re: Please, please help - ideas, sympathy, support wanted!

Post by gwd » Mon Jun 03, 2013 7:46 pm

bendog wrote:(when I'm home the dogs are either doing something constructive - walk, training, eating, or asleep) and he is letting play get too rough or whatever. I suspect it might just be boredom setting them off
i'm not meaning to be un-supportive here, and i'm all about providing mental stimulation and physical outlets for energy, .......but it's possible that you've somewhat made her into an adrenaline junkie in which she always expects something to be going on. i see this with some parents that schedule their kids for all sorts of lessons and sports to the point where they need a separate microsoft program to just keep track of the kids activities. the kids then don't know how to entertain themselves and have no idea what to do during down time.

perhaps you could work on her being ok with doing nothing and being ok with that for longer periods
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Sabrina
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Re: Please, please help - ideas, sympathy, support wanted!

Post by Sabrina » Mon Jun 03, 2013 9:26 pm

Here's a boat load of sympathy and support!

... and one measly little idea: would OH agree to setting up a video camera so that you can see just what happens when you aren't there?

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Re: Please, please help - ideas, sympathy, support wanted!

Post by emmabeth » Mon Jun 03, 2013 10:30 pm

I second that idea, video it - if it doesn't show you whats going on, maybe it will encourage OH to do what he probably knows he ought to do/not do the things he knows he shouldn't do.

You have my total sympathy because it is driving me NUTS that my OH won't tkae some responsibility for his own actions or bl**dy well learn something - the other day he took Dilly for a walk, I said as he left, take some chopped up cheese with you because hes a bit edgy lately (kids off school, lots of yelling, makes him pretty edgy), I get 'yeah yeah' and then half an hour later hes back 'oh Dill went nuts at some kids and a cat'........ 'did you distract him with cheese' ...... 'no... didn't take any!'.....

RAAAAAAAR. Does give me a barely controllable urge not to swing for him, really!
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bendog
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Re: Please, please help - ideas, sympathy, support wanted!

Post by bendog » Tue Jun 04, 2013 9:03 am

gwd wrote:
bendog wrote:(when I'm home the dogs are either doing something constructive - walk, training, eating, or asleep) and he is letting play get too rough or whatever. I suspect it might just be boredom setting them off
i'm not meaning to be un-supportive here, and i'm all about providing mental stimulation and physical outlets for energy, .......but it's possible that you've somewhat made her into an adrenaline junkie in which she always expects something to be going on. i see this with some parents that schedule their kids for all sorts of lessons and sports to the point where they need a separate microsoft program to just keep track of the kids activities. the kids then don't know how to entertain themselves and have no idea what to do during down time.

perhaps you could work on her being ok with doing nothing and being ok with that for longer periods
I think maybe I have phrased that wrong, or given the wrong impression. I meant that she's either doing something constructive or asleep. Eg today she has had a 45 min walk this morning, 10-15 mins clicker training and has spent the rest of the time sunbathing or mooching around following me whilst I tidy up. So I can't grasp what's happening to trigger a fight as they all just sleep when not doing anything else with me, but something must happen when Im not home for her to start fights, she's not going to fire across the room and start a fight with a sleeping dog! So I might have to video it to see what happens!

Molly is only here for another month, and hopefully things will settle more once she's gone. We don't have any other dogs come to stay, except the bassets once in a blue moon (twice in 6 months) as a favour for a friend. I have mostly stopped walking her with my dog walking clients dogs but it does make my life MUCH easier if I can take a few of my dogs along to my walks as it can mean the difference between 4 hours walking and 6 hours walking per day. And they rarely "play" anyway, it's more just walking together.

I know when things are likely to kick off and it's things like after mealtimes when Pop wants to go back outside to see if anyone's left anything and whoever is outside wants to come in, or vice versa, things can get heated getting through the doorway as ones desperate to get out and the other desperate to get in and there's recently been food around that might still be there (in the dogs mind), or if someone jumps on sash on the couch and she gives them a warning and poppy can dive in. Or if she sees a cat she can redirect onto Charlie. But not just when they are all lying around asleep!?!?

Emmabeth - my OH "doesn't need treats" as he "doesn't have to bribe the dogs" to do what he says :roll:
Barking at cats, kids and other dogs is perfectly ok in his book. Or else gets a "shut up" and a lead jerk.
No surprise I don't often let him walk them.

jacksdad
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Re: Please, please help - ideas, sympathy, support wanted!

Post by jacksdad » Tue Jun 04, 2013 10:56 am

Bendog, I can identify. I have no answers for you on dealing with the OH...though those martial arts skills ..... never mind, that might get you into trouble...

Wish I had some perl of wisdom, some nifty advice....but all I got is I can identify and you are not alone in this struggle....

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Nettle
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Re: Please, please help - ideas, sympathy, support wanted!

Post by Nettle » Tue Jun 04, 2013 12:55 pm

Sympathy, empathy and respect for all the positives you have achieved.

No advice, sadly. IMO many people are untrainable. :evil:
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JudyN
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Re: Please, please help - ideas, sympathy, support wanted!

Post by JudyN » Tue Jun 04, 2013 1:21 pm

Nettle wrote:No advice, sadly. IMO many people are untrainable. :evil:
Though an alpha roll and prong collar could be worth a try... :twisted:
Jasper, lurcher, born December 2009

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Nettle
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Re: Please, please help - ideas, sympathy, support wanted!

Post by Nettle » Tue Jun 04, 2013 1:30 pm

JudyN wrote:
Nettle wrote:No advice, sadly. IMO many people are untrainable. :evil:
Though an alpha roll and prong collar could be worth a try... :twisted:

He might really like that......
A dog is never bad or naughty - it is simply being a dog

SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS

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