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HELP! Need advice about misbehaving dog...

4014 Views 8 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  mother nurture
I really need some advice about my dog... this is kind of long, but if you have any experience with dogs, please help me...

Let me start by saying I love animal, but have never dealt with a problem like this before. I have two dogs, Casper, who is pretty good, a little sneaky, but listens, and Marley, a black lab mix who is driving me crazy. They are both about 12 years old, in pretty good health, they act and look much younger.

I don't even know where to start. I was gone most the day, I got home and threw the ball for Marley (he's addicted to the ball) a few times and went inside. I let him out a few times to pee in the coarse of the next two hours or so. The second time, right after I let him in (he was barking at the door to come in) he snuck into the other room and pooped in our house! I had just let him out. I was so mad, I'm pregnant right now and the smell of the pooh makes me throw up. I locked him on the side yard where he barked and barked. It was almost 10pm and I don't want to make the neighbors mad, but what am I supposed to do?? This pooping in the house thing just started about two weeks ago, and usually right after he has been outside and barks to come in. He has done it several times, and he has even come in and peed!!!!

We use to keep the dogs inside when we left. We have a very large yard, but no fence (we're working on it, but its going to take a while), so we built a smaller fenced area to keep them outside. After a while of staying inside, Marley learned how to open the fridge and freezer and eat everything he could reach. Of coarse anything on the counter and cupboards was fair game to him too. We bunggie corded the fridge, and left nothing within reach. It didn't take long before he figured out how to move the bunggie cord up enough (between the fridge and freezer door) to get in it again. He likes to spread everything out, through out the kitchen and living room. We also can't have a trash in the house because he will get into it and spread it everywhere any chance he gets.

Marley was adopted by my husband when Marley was 1yo. For the first couple years he was a wild hippie guard dog at a citrus and avocado orchard where my husband worked. A few years later I came into the picture. Marley sometimes listens to my dh, but doesn't listen much to me.

I know he hates it when we leave him home, I know he wants to go to the beach everyday and play ball. I know he wants more attention from my dh. My husband works a lot, and is gone at least 12 hours a day, 5 days a week. I am working 4 days a week right now. I know he is just a dog, he doesn't understand why we leave. But he is driving me mad! I am so frustrated! He continued to bark tonight, so I brought him inside and locked him in a different room, he hates that. Right now he is trying to knock down the door that divides the room (he's done it before). Am I doing the right thing?? I feel so bad. I feel like I hate him. I have never hated an animal before. He makes me so mad. I don't want to yell, I have a baby inside of me. Am I a horrible person for feeling this way??? I feel so guilty and I'm tired of it. I very emotional right now and I can't stop crying. I know, he's a dog, we are not the best doggie parents. We don't give them as much as they need. I throw balls in our yard for them everyday, but I only walk them with dh. Marley barks at people and freaks out when he sees another dog. If you have any advice or have experienced anything similar I would love to here your thoughts. Please don't judge me because I said I feel like I hate him. It is something I would never say out load, and something I can't tell dh. I really do love animals, I have been vegetarian for 12 years, I know I'm being defensive, but it sounds so bad. Can you help???

: #1 edd 10/29/05
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For the short term problem of what to do when you are not home, invest in a crate.

Long term, invest in a behaviorist. Your dog has issues. ITA with boongirl, establish heierarchy with your dog. Make him sit and wait for his food until you release him to eat it. Make him earn his keep - anytime he gets attention, either a treat or petting or whatever, he has to sit, or go into a down stay. Games of tug of war should only be won by you or your DH. Dogs with dominance issues should not be allowed up on furniture or beds, as this only heightens their sense of themselves as alpha. A good behaviorist can evaluate you and your dog and work with you both to achieve a better balance in your relationship.

Also agree with the suggestion of a physical. Behavior problems can often be linked to a physical issue.

Good luck with your dog.
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I agree with the others, your dog must know his place in order for there to be peace in the house.

I like the pp's idea about the dog food, I had read that somewhere when I was training my pup (who was my first actual puppy, all the rest were already grown when we adopted them). I would fill his bowl, set it on the ground (dh would make sure the dog would stay sitting) and then we would release him. I would interrupt his eating every now and then...put my hand in the bowl and then let him resume his meal. Lots of praising.

If one were to obsere wolves in the wild the Alpha dog (highest) eats first, the Omega dog (lowest) eats last. It would also be a good idea to eat your meal, and then feed him. All of this is good preperation for having a baby in the house as they all like to experiment with the dog's dishes.

Every dog needs/wants to know their place in your "pack".
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Ok, I'll be the voice of disent. This dog is 12 yrs old right????? Has he always been like this or is this new?? Honestly I see little in your post to make me believe he is dominent over you (possibly that he doesn't listen to you--but the most submissive dog in the world will not listen if he hasn't been trained to do so) First things first, this dog needs a physical. There are meds available now to treat dementia and senility in animals, and for the most part they work. My second guess would simply be that he knows you're pregnant and is anxious about upcoming change--for that in a 12 yr old, I'd go with a combo of meds and some behavior modification excercises. A younger dog I'd just look at behavior modification, but this dog is a little old for that.

So, first things first, book an appt with your vet. Then go and invest in a dog crate for him--get a wire one not an enclosed one--and don't go cheap, if he's a houdini he'll get out of a cheap crate. Try to find a midwest collapsable kennel. When he goes outside, watch him and make sure he goes to the bathroom outside--if he doesn't, when he barks to come in, let him in but put him in his crate. Offer to let him back out 20 min later and again watch. If he poops outside, run out and make a big deal out of it, throw him the ball and love him up. Keep all doors shut inside so it's harder to get to an out of the way place. Have you ever booby trapped things he's likely to steal??

This is discombobulated but basically, from your post, while if I was doing a behavior consult with you, I'd ask a whole lot more questions but my guesses are in order as follows--and actually I think it's a combination of a few issues.

1) Mild senility setting in
2) Anxiety issues from knowing things are changing
3) Some separation anxiety

last but certainly not least, if his behavior changed suddenly and is spiralling down, it's a terrible thought but brain tumor is something not to be dismissed, especially at his age.
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Btw Erin, if you have a good long distance plan, Pm me and I'll pm you my business number, I'd be happy to do a phone consult with you for no charge--just really need a bunch more info before making much of an assessment.
I just can't even imagine having to deal with what you're dealing with while I was pregnant!
Thank you so much for the replies.

I talked to my husband about finding behavioral help, but I think taking him to the vet is a good idea. I really didn't even think of physical problems.

The dogs both use to sleep with us, but as soon as I got pregnant, we moved our bed into a different room & wouldn't let them on it. They sleep on the couch in the same room. I really would love for them to not sleep on the couch. We have had dog beds before, but one of my cats, Poppy, likes to claim them by peeing on them (he's a good kitty otherwise). I have finally trained them "out of the kitchen", so they don't stand under my legs and wait for crumbs while I cook. We use a kiddy gate for them to stand behind while I fill there bowls, and the don't go get the food until I say OK. The bad thing is Marley growls while he eats (I feed Casper in a different room) and there is no way I could touch his bowl while eating.

Marley has always been kind of rebellious, always snagged food of the counter when he could (his favorite is watermelons, whole watermelons, rind and all, tomatoes, and avocados) and gotten into the trash. Over the past 2 years he has gotten way worse.

Thanks again for your replies. There is a holistic vet not far from me, and I am going to talk to dh about seeing her. Last night did not end well, we basically gave in because dh needed sleep and Marley would not stop barking and shredding the door.

edd 10/29/05
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green faery, sorry I didn't read your post as well as I should have. I was in such a rush this morning, I should have taken more time in reading it.

Shannon gave you some great advice (she always does
) let us know what happens.
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Ok, so food aggession now does tell me there are dominance issues in play as well, but I think at this stage in Marley's life, dealing with his anxiety is more important. Erin, I responded to your pm, just email or pm me your phone # and I'll call you tonight when I get Molly to sleep-my long distance plan includes the US and is all inclusive.

When I saw your thread I was drawn to it, b/c we had just started having problems with our dog. Ironically, when I read your post I realized that our dogs are both Marley! And they both are pooping in the house! Our Marley, is 3 years old. I was so frusturated with him today b/c I took him and dd for a LONG WALK and he didn't poop. As soon as I got back in and started vaccuming, he pooped in the middle of the family room

With ours, I know that it is because he was upset with us. I hope that you work this out with your Marley.
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