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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This will be long since I am really trying to give you as much info as possible to help me make the best decision for our family.<br><br>
We are a family of four. Dh, me and our two kids, ds 4 and dd 3. We also have a lovely mix breed dog (australian sheep dog and probably lab) who is neutered and we have had since he was about four months old. He is now 4 1/2 years. He is a very good dog for the most part but I am clueless so I desperately need help. Life was very chaotic for the last four years (ds has some MAJOR medical issues) but life is calming down. I am now staying at home (dh used to stay at home). We had been talking about "giving the dog back" (the adoption agency takes animals back if you can no longer care for them - no kill) but despite my insistence that I don't like the "stupid dog" I am a bit fond of him but more importantly the dog means A LOT to my dh. He is a dog person, I am not. Hoover is a medium sized dog (about 50 lbs).<br><br>
We are about to get our house renovated at the end of June while we are away on vacation. During that time he will either be at a friend's house or at a kennel (if he hasn't gone back to the shelter). We will be getting wood floors instead of the carpet we have now. Also, the upstairs will probably be done first and the downstairs (with kitchen, living room, et al) will probably still be in transition. We have a gate right now dividing the two floors to keep the dog downstairs. He is a very sheddy dog and I can't stand the dog hair all over my house. We have a Kirby but it just doesn't pick up enough. I'm hoping someone can give me advice about cleaning dog hair up off wood.<br><br>
Ok. sorry so long. Here's my issues/questions. Hoover has started to poop on our carpet in the middle of my living room whenever I am gone all day. He usually only goes once a day in the morning but when I am gone all day (errands, whatnot) he seems to "punish me" by pooping on the floor. This started when ds was in the hospital in the fall and ds and I were gone for six weeks. He is very attached to me even when I was the one working and even though I don't walk him, or feed him or even pet him. He also "protects me" whenever dh and I argue (by staying close to me, at my feet or behind my chair). He has also destroyed my furniture and when we remodel we will have to get rid of all our living room furniture because none of it is savable.<br><br>
I would like him to stop pooping on my floor (he is crate trained but was also wondering how big his crate should be), stop climbing on my furniture (and digging at it), stop barking at everyone who walks past the house, stop "escaping" from the house when we open the door and in an ideal world, learn to sleep on a dog bed in our room (for my dh's sake who would rather have him in our bed but I will draw the line there!). Oh yes, and stop jumping on everyone who comes into the house! We do have to gate off the kitchen because he is big on jumping on the counter for whatever is on there but hoping that once we're remodeled, I can get rid of the gates and keep food of the counter (dh's fault, he loves feeding the dog scraps from the table).<br><br>
Ah yes, one more thing. In July and then again in September, ds will hopefully undergo his last surgeries (six hours away) so Hoover will be home alone until dh comes home at night. It will probably not be a six week stay but likely to be at least a week each time.<br><br>
Saying all this. Can this be done? Am I expecting too much? If it can be done, please toss me some resources! He "knows" I am the dominant. That is clear. He sometimes thinks he's over the kids but I or dh put him in his place immediately. He is a good dog. He doesn't bite, loves to be pet, is always full of energy and just craves human attention and praise. The only thing I worry is that he is a very energetic dog and we don't have an enclosed yard so the only running he gets is in the house unless we can get to the dog park 20 mintues away. Anything I need to consider. I want to make one more real effort to make this work <i>if</i> this is really doable.<br><br>
Please no flames. We are really trying to do what is best for everyone and really were doing the best we could at the time. Thanks. I also know that it would be a lot of work and I'm willing if its doable I just need to know where to start and how to proceed from there. Thoughts?
 

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My husband and I are canine behaviorists, (dog trainers), and everything you describes is pretty typical for a dog that has had kind of a chaotic background. With everything going on with your DH's medical issues you probably didn't get a chance to take him to obedience classes. His issues sound easily fixable though.<br><br>
Shedding - Groom the dog more often. Get a good quality stripper like a Mars Coat King. You will use it like a brush, (outside!), and it will pull all of the dead undercoat out. Less dead coat on the dog = way less hair in your house. We raise Golden Retrievers and I do a quick brush with a slicker brush once a day, (it takes literally 5 minutes), and then use the coat king a few times a week when they are shedding. If your dog isn't already on a good food, switching to a quality kibble like Canidae, Solid Gold or Innova will help. Raw food is even better for shedding if that's something you would consider. Dog hair generally vacuums off of hardwood well.<br><br>
Housebreaking issues - Your dog has probably begun to regress his housebreaking due to changes going on in the house. Crate him while you are gone. A 400 or 500 series vari-kennel should be fine for a 50# dog. Your dog is not "punishing" you, although he might have a bit of separation anxiety.<br><br>
Behavior issues - Hire a good dog trainer/canine behaviorist to do a few in-home lessons with you, DH and the dog. All of the issues you describes are very basic and any decent dog trainer/behavioist should be able to give you some training strategies that will solve these problems with only a few lessons.<br><br>
Please don't send this poor dog back to the shelter without trying to do some obedience work. This is seriously a very easy case to fix and it will take you a lot less work than you think.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I think we're done. He got out again and this time it was when all the kids were coming home from school. He was chasing kids and wouldn't come back. Took me an hour to get him back and that was because he was plum exhausted. He was snapping at kids and I'm just tired. I can't have him terrorizing the neighborhood kids because my kids want to go outside to play. Its not fair to them nor him. I'm so sad I'm just bawling. He needs a home that can take care of him and its just not us.
 

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I think that with those 2 breeds and still a relatively young dog, you're dealing with a very smart and very bored dog. Both breeds are very active and are bred for a specific job....Aussies to herd (from that you get the nipping at the heels behaviour) and Labs to go all day with their master while hunting. If this dog is not given exercise, training, discipline, and a JOB it is going to find one in the form of eating your couch, etc. Like a PP said, most of these ill behaviours could be easily fixed if you are committed to it. If you cannot provide the guidance and exercise that this dog needs, then you're right...he is not the right dog for you and vice versa. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"> I'm sorry that you are going through this.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I think you're right. I just don't have the time to run with him all day. He so needs the energy and I know he's a good dog. He has never bit our kids and our kids are very rough and tumble with him. The most he's ever done is "mouth" their arms. But he was nipping at any of the kids on bikes or anyone that ran. I think our cage may be too small. I just measured roughly (its a Petporter, I think) and its about 30 by 20 or so. He fits and he can turn around in there but if he's in there for even 1/2 hour, he overgrooms. I so wish someone who keep him for me for just a year so I can get my life completely in order and the kids were a little older but I don't know anyone who could. I'm still bawling here. I am so sad. I agree he is a very smart and bored dog. He chews everything we give him within an hour. Even the giant mammoth bones. its in shreds within an hour and we have to take it away or he eats the shred and the vomits (on my carpet, of course). Everything bores him to pieces.<br><br>
Thank you guys for not flaming me. I really mean well.<br><br>
Just checked and we have the Large Deluxe Pet Porter (36X24.5X26)
 

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I just want to offer one more thought-- is there anything you like about the dog?<br><br>
I wonder if you spent more time bonding with him, both of you would get more joy and then it would lead to good changes all around.<br><br>
I think it could start with really simple things like just brushing him daily. You brush him (and you could get the kids to help), he loves it, you have less shedding. Win win.<br><br>
Walking him-- this could be GREAT for all of you. Talking him out on walks will give you all bonding time as well as amazing health benefits. Can you enlist your DH to take him on another good walk? (You once and him once.)<br><br>
Just a guess, but I imagine the stress of your DS's health is taking (understandibly) a huge toll on you and the dog is the last straw. I can see how hard that would be since you can only do so much and your plate is full. The only reason I asked if there is something that you personally like about the dog is to see if you can turn around the stress he brings into something beneficial for all of you.<br><br>
Good luck with your decision. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug">
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks. I do appreciate it. I do "like" the dog. I love the fact that the darn dog likes me more than dh, in a sicked twisted way. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1"> He and I do play "catch" in the house regularly. If I'm sitting at the computer, he usually brings me something to toss for him and that's nice. I think that's why this is so hard. He's not a bad dog. He's a really good dog but I think that it is so much for me to do. I'm feeling quite stressed today and he's getting the brunt of my frustrations. (not that I'm taking it out on him or anything.) I am also worried that this isn't fair to him. He really would be so happy herding sheep somewhere, I think, and I don't have sheep, nor anything else to herd, nor any place for him to run even. Dh was originally going to run with him but its too much for him right now. I also think that I am quite embarassed by the fact that he got out today and was terrorizing the school kids. I really was gung ho when I originally posted and having him escape <i>again</i> and at this time was just so overwhelming. Running around the neighborhood with a four and two year old after a dog who wouldn't listen (and I don't even yell at him when I get him back. He's just smart enough to know that he goes back inside the house when he gets out).<br><br>
Ok. Here's some questions. Is the crate we have too small for him? If not, what can we give him so that he doesn't overgroom. His chew is very strong. Should we get a bigger crate and crate him at all times unless I can give him my attention (like a puppy) and start over with him? He's really smart. If I'm consistent with him he can and does heel, sit, off and lay down. I've been working on stay with him recently as well as enough (when he's barking). How do you teach a dog to come when they don't want to?<br><br>
thank you all for your support. I really do appreciate it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Oh and how long is a "long walk"? He gets at least two 10 minute walks a day (which obviously isn't enough) as well as several 3-5 minute walks.
 

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First of all <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"><br><br>
I would suggest that you take him to training classes. It will be bonding time for you and him, as well as help you learn how to deal with him appropriately.<br><br>
I agree with the long walk advice as well, I would definitely try to hit 30 minutes+ daily. A tired dog is a good dog.<br><br>
For the kennel, I know its advised to give just enough room for them to stand and turn around. One of my pups crate trained with no problems, the other took a little longer to get used to it. Try it for a few minutes at a time, and stretch to longer intervals. Maybe make a rule that he has to be in the crate before anyone opens the door, at least until he's trained well enough to not escape, so he doesn't go out running after the kids. I think this is something that could make a huge difference immediately.<br><br>
For toys, I like the Orka toys at Petsmart. I have an Australian Cattle Dog/Yellow Lab mix and these and Kongs are the only toys he hasn't totally destroyed. I don't bother with rawhide anymore, like you mentioned they're gone in a matter of minutes. The Orka's especially have been great for him to chew instead of our end table. He sure loves wood...and he's descriminatory between real wood and laminate...he won't touch the cheap stuff <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"><br><br>
Honestly, it's do-able, and really just making a few changes could make a HUGE difference. Good luck!<br><br>
Oh, and the fur...brush regularly and get a Dyson. They work wonderful even on wood floors (there was a thread about this just recently).
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Ya know, I called him a sheep dog but I guess he really is an Australian Cattle Dog. I can never get his breed mix right. LOL<br><br>
The cage he has lets him do just what you said. It just seems so small to me. He has no problems being in his cage. He doesn't cry or whine or anything. He just overgrooms and I know its because he's bored. I'll try those toys you mentioned. Boy do these dogs have strong jaws. It just amazes me how gently he is with the kids when he "mouths" them. We've been lucky in that he stopped chewing our antique table after about a year. The couch otoh, it was destroyed, as was the second one. I'll also get the Mars Coat Clean for his brushing. We do brush him regularly but there's always more in the spring. How long is it reasonable to keep him in his cage?<br><br>
thanks for all the advice. I'm reconsidering again. Maybe I can do this.
 

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I agree with a lot of the advice given. A couple of things...imagine your life without the dog...does it seem happier or lonely? My bet is that you truly care about the dog (which you have said) but are overwhelmed with life's dealings these days and the dog is tipping you over-the-edge. I TTA with the poster that says you need longer walks ~ and I think that would help all involved. When you walk him you might consider giving him a doggie backpack (filled with something...water bottles, rocks, etc.) and put it on him while you walk. You could even make it your 'baby bag' while you walk. This will give him a sense of purpose and I think carrying things tires them out faster...and gives them more of a workout.<br><br>
My neighbor has a dog that is blind and deaf...he is very young and lots of energy to burn that he cannot burn during the day in a crate. So she walks him this way and it is sufficient to burn his extra energy up within a 30-45 minute walk. You might notice walking will help the chewing too ~ I suspect the chewing is out of extra energy and boredom rather than out of over-grooming. I would recommend doing this at least 2x's daily which I know is a lot with children. Another way to get his energy out (if you have a fenced yard) is to have the children play fetch with him in the backyard when possible.<br><br>
I would venture to guess that after this year is over and the dog is gone ~ you would be sad. I can imagine it is hard...but it sounds like he is a family member and one that would be very missed if he was gone!<br><br>
One other suggestion if you do not have the time ~ see if a teenager in your neighborhood might be interested in walking him daily? You could pay the teen $20 to walk him for an hour a day! Doggie babysitting!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks again for the advice. I do care about him. Things really are overwhelming and only going to get harder this summer but you guys are giving me renewed hope. Ok. I must be overwhelmed. I'm crying again. I will definetly look into a doggie back pack. Time I have, in a sense, at least over the summer. I stay home and we often go to the park. I just have a hard time controlling him (we do a choke chain since he pulls me right off of my feet when he goes "chasing") as well as two preschoolers on bikes/walking. Any suggestions? Also, any suggestions on how to work with him at the park? He just wants to play with the kids so much that he's constantly pulling. I keep him in between my legs to try and keep a good grip. I see people who connect their dogs to the benches and mine would just pull the benches right out with him!
 

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One other quick suggestion...does your city/town have a dog park? This tends to be an 'easy' way to exercise your dog. They are usually fenced and give the dog free run with other dogs (is your dog friendly with other dogs?). Stay for 30mins-1hour and let the dog run and play with other dogs. Of course you stay and monitor but might be a way for you both to get away from the stresses you are both currently facing (or send DH...but I know how much I value 30 mins out of the house to relax on stressful days!)
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>wendygrace</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/8164321"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Thanks again for the advice. I do care about him. Things really are overwhelming and only going to get harder this summer but you guys are giving me renewed hope. Ok. I must be overwhelmed. I'm crying again. I will definetly look into a doggie back pack. Time I have, in a sense, at least over the summer. I stay home and we often go to the park. I just have a hard time controlling him (we do a choke chain since he pulls me right off of my feet when he goes "chasing") as well as two preschoolers on bikes/walking. Any suggestions? Also, any suggestions on how to work with him at the park? He just wants to play with the kids so much that he's constantly pulling. I keep him in between my legs to try and keep a good grip. I see people who connect their dogs to the benches and mine would just pull the benches right out with him!</div>
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Gentle leaders work for some dogs. I have little dogs so I am not sure I can give you much advice there...but my brother has 2 big dogs and the gentle leaders worked for both! It is a leash that goes around the muzzle of the dog. It teaches the dog to not pull when used properly.
 

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I believe the recommended time for them to be crated is 5 hours at a time max. I have crated over night though, about 8 hours, until both pups were house broken.<br><br>
For walks, is there time in the evening when your dh is home and you can walk him then? That way you wouldn't have the kiddos and could control him better. Or maybe dh could walk him <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink"> I second Lokidoki's suggestion of a gentle leader, we used one with Lucy and it really did help. They come with an instructional DVD and are pretty simple to use. I would personally crate him while going to the park and walk him later when you have both hands free, kwim? At least until you get better control of him for walks.<br><br>
Big <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"> Mama, it really does sound like you're overwhelmed with it all. Don't forget to try and get some 'me' time too. It's hard to be everything to everyone.
 

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If your DH really wants the dog, I think he needs to step up to the plate and do at least one walk a day.<br><br>
Also, I know what it's like to think he'd be happier elsewhere (I think that sometimes about my cats) but it's hard to truly find a situation like that. It sounds like he is a happy dog overall, just needs more of the basics (exercise and training).<br><br>
It sounds like you really care about the dog, and that he really cares about you, too. The good news is that he WILL survive your times of stress. They will pass and your doggy will be there! It sounds like it's about finding a solution that will make YOU happy (or at least less stressed), too during this rough time.<br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug">
 

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Here's a good website w/training & activity links: <a href="http://www.dogplay.com/" target="_blank">http://www.dogplay.com/</a><br>
You're getting some good advice; for the pulling, I'd try him in a prong collar, it's more like "power steering" & although it looks scary, can't actually hurt his neck (like a choker can). A lot of his annoying behaviors (jumping, running off) are very fixable w/training - a well trained dog does take some extra initial effort to get them that way, but it's a big pay-off for the rest of the dpg's life for you. If you check w/the local training club (ask your vet or look in the phione book for AKC or UKC affiliated clubs), are there any responsible teenagers who might be interested in working with your dog (or even a responsible local kid who'd like to take him jogging), for the fun & experience of it? (He's showable in fun matches, UKC & ASCA trials, & AKC is considering opening obed. trials to mixes). A basic fun book on training is: <i>What All Good Dogs Should Know</i> <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=motheringhud-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FWhat-Good-Dogs-Should-Know%2Fdp%2F0876058322%2Fref%3Dpd_bbs_sr_1%2F104-5570117-4912708%3Fie%3DUTF8%26s%3Dbooks%26qid%3D1179600356%26sr%3D8-1" target="_blank">http://www.amazon.com/What-Good-Dogs...9600356&sr=8-1</a>
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Thanks for all the advice. I so appreciate it. Dh is working 14-16 hour days right now so walking him long doesn't work as the kids would never see him. He does do at least two of the shorter walks. The closest dog parks are 20 minutes away and with the price of gas these days.... I so wish our neighborhood would stop talking about building a dog walk and just do it. (We're in "new development"). Oh, and he is so funny at the dog parks. He doesn't run. Just walks around and looks at the other dogs. When they get near him, he gets really close to me (or dh) and actually tries to crawl into our laps if they won't leave him alone. He is so not an alpha dog. hehe<br><br>
Thanks for the link. I will take a look at it. I'll also look at he prong and gentle leader. I wonder if the prong is what we have. I'll have to look at pictures... Yes, after looking at the pictues. We have a prong collar, not a choke collar. Oops! We call it his hearing aid. We walk him with his regular collar but if he starts to get feisty, we put his "hearing aid" on so he stops pulling. LOL Sometimes all he needs is the rattle of the chain.<br><br>
thank you all very much for all the advice...and for talking me "off the ledge". I'm still thinking I may look to see if someone can take him for at least the couple of months that life will be crazy this summer (with our Make A Wish trip and then ds' surgeries) but also work on finding solutions so we can keep him home. Thanks again!
 

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how about a buster cube? you can put some food in it and it makes them work work work at getting it out. please dont send himback to the shelter it will break his heart. shelters changes doegs and can make a great dog go bad and then he will be unadoptable.
 
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