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Dog destroying relationship - WWYD?

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  • Dog destroying relationship - WWYD?

    I've posted about this dog before, but unfortunately it's getting worse as time goes on. Quick run down... Dog is a jack Russell/Beagle, Was only dog for a year (here) I moved in, brought my GSD with me and a few months later my now fiancee adopted a 2 year old pig bull, So we've been living with 3 dogs, on a working farm in a small farm house. Anyways, when it's just two dogs here (Jack/Beagle) and ether my gsd or the pit, things are fine. But when all 3 are here, it's not relaxing or fun to say the least.

    Dog hates me, bites, snaps, growls at me, the whole 9 yards, I have scars from this dog. I refuse to have anything to do with her, because it happens so much. We know she's jealous. But she because of this and her dislike for me, the fiancee leaves for work at 630 (I start at 9) so I have to let the dogs out in the morning, Jack x will NOT go potty for me outside at all, no matter what I do... the gsd and pit, no problems... But the other will run and not go outside, but she'd much rather wait until she goes back in the house to pee and poop. I've tried everything to get the smell out of the floors, It seems like I'm running in a circle and getting no where - I can't take the smell of dog pee. Worst case is if we're not watching her, she will go somewhere, go to the bathroom and we'll find it at 3am in the bathroom on the floor. IMO, this is unacceptable. She knows better.

    Also, she and the pit are in a crate while we're at work and the jack x at night (she will also pee in the house at night - since we've locked her in the crate that has stopped) But she is only out of this crate from 6pm until 9pm. So I kind of feel bad about that because she gets no time to play really.

    I'm getting married in June, and we want kids. I'm scared to death because when she is chewing a bone on the floor, if we go near her, she will growl and snap. I can't have a baby and a dog that does that. Jack x has also gone after the GSD and pit. It scares me

    But for me, it's to the point where I almost dislike coming home because of the smell in the house, the dog in general, If I liked getting bit, sure... but I don't.

    I shouldn't dread coming home, I love my fiancee, but I'm afraid this dog is coming between us, Both of us get annoyed when she goes to the bathroom in the house and then it carry's on to how we act around each other. He said we'd find her a new home, but It's not my dog, I don't want to be the bad one for "making him find her a new home". I want him to do it if he wants. For me, I'm afraid its going to come down to me getting bit again or something and having to say, I'm moving out until she's gone, I Don't want that at all.

    I spend every Saturday pretty much cleaning the house top to bottom and every Saturday it looks like I've never done it - I don't think it's fair for me to put all this effort into the house only to have it become a toilet for this dog.

    I'm frustrated beyond belief. It's been said that I refuse to give up my dog, she is all I have left (Sold pretty much everything I owned when I lost my job in may - sold horses, truck, everything) and he's said he wasn't getting rid of the pit bull, which is fine, she's a good dog. And 3 dogs is way too much for the size of the house.

    His dad is a big dog lover, and keeps saying, she's scared, she's jealous this that and everything, fine, she may be... but doing what she is doing has no excuse. There is NO excuse for a biting dog. At. All!


  • #2
    So this dog belongs to your fiance? But you are doing most of the work? Maybe if he has to take over all the work he'll make addressing her behavior more of a priority. If she won't potty for you, have him take her out (and only her) to potty before he leaves in the morning. When she potties in the house, let him clean it up. The quickest band-aid to the potty in the house issue to to supervise her every second she is out of her crate in the house. Snap a leash to her and keep her at your side, just like you would a puppy.

    I do think she might not be getting enough exercise, and you're correct in thinking that she is crated way too much at this point. If I read your post right, she is crated 21 hours out of every day? Someone needs to kick up the directed exercise of this dog a whole lot. Just putting her out in the yard to play with the other dogs isn't going to be enough.

    If you don't want to be a meanie and demand that the dog leave, your best bet is to contact an experienced dog trainer that is qualified to deal with behavior issues. Work with that professional. It does sound to me like you and your fiance are trying the same things over and over again (like keeping her crated so much), and even though these actions aren't working, you keep expecting something different/better to happen as a result. What you're currently doing isn't working, so it is time to move to plan B.


    • #3
      Well, it certainly sounds like the Jack mix is unhappy in your household, the way it is setup these days. If your fiance's father likes dogs, would he take him?

      We had a female cat for many years and she did well in our busy household (dogs, boys, other peoples' boys). But, when she got older, she was very stressed by the activity level and was clearly unhappy. We tried anti-anxiety meds, but they turned her into a zombie. I HATE giving away animals, but we couldn't exactly give away the kids, who the cat suddenly found so stress inducing. I sent the cat to live with my mother, who lives alone with one quiet, elderly, dog. Hard choice, I love the cat, but she was no happy in our home any longer. She looooves it at my mother's. She's no longer hiding, she is more active and she's 19 and still very healthy...probably wouldn't be if she were still so stressed out.

      BTW, if you like a really clean home and don't like the smell of pee and poop, you might think hard about the kids thing . The boys, at various ages, have done more damage and made more mess in our home and all the pets put together.


      • #4
        If it were my house, the Jack Russell would be spending a long while either attached to me on a leash or in a crate. And we would be instilling the concept of "nothing in life is free" or NILIF. This means that she earns everything: food, playtime, treats, etc. You own all the resources; she gets to borrow them if and when you allow it.

        Right now it sounds like she thinks she's running the show, and she's not afraid to express her opinion when things aren't going her way. She is making lots of bad decisions, so it's time to seriously limit the decisions she gets to make (i.e., make it hard for her to continue repeating the behavior you don't want and start creating more opportunities for her to offer behavior you do want). She may also be really unhappy/stressed in her current living situation, which could cause and/or exacerbate her behavior.

        If you want to keep this dog and regain a (mostly) harmonious household, find a good dog trainer/behaviorist and either have this person come out to your place and show you what's going on and how to fix it, or sign yourselves (yep, SO too) up for some basic manners classes.

        And as a CYA, you may want to get the vet to check her over and make sure her attitude is not pain-related.
        Full-time bargain hunter.


        • #5
          I agree that life is too short to have a biting, aggressive dog. There are too many good dogs out there to tolerate that.

          I agree with onelanerode—she needs boot camp, and I think your fiancee needs to be willing to pull some weight too. It sounds like you're putting in most of the work here.


          • #6
            you need to decide now, if you want to live with this dog or not.

            if you do, you're going to have to learn how to train it.

            if you don't, you need to discuss your feelings with your fiancee.

            Personally, I'd have to think long and hard about living with a dog who bit people as a routine thing. I'd think longer and harder if I planned on having kids.


            • #7
              I'm also of the opinion that a JackX crated for 21 hrs a day is a recipe for disaster. Tongue on the ground as well as NILIF can cure many problems. By TOTG I mean she needs to be physically and mentally exercised until she is really tired and her tongue is dragging the ground. And since she is biteing you, it might be best for the fiance to do the NILIF and TOTG work to start. And when her behavior changes then you can take over some of the work. But this dog need exercise, lots and lots of it.

              She has resource guarding issues, they need to be worked with as well. management will help. I think that some people can manage and probablly turn around a resource guarding dog so that it is never an issue with a new baby int he house. But those people will have a positive dog trainer to help them out. Most people can't (usually but not always b/c they use negative reinforcement based training) and it is best for the dog to be re-homed.

              No one on the internet can tell you when it's time to rehome the dog b/c it could be a danger to a baby. YOU have to know that answer. you are the only one there.

              About the dog is jelous thing. I don't belive that dogs get jelous. I do belive that they can be territorial and resource guard. So it sound like the dog is territorial over your fiance. Again I think that this is an issue that a good dog behavior person or positive trainer could help you out with. But you have to have access to the right resources. IOW you need ot find a trainer who has sucessfully rehabbed dogs like this. Just any petsmart clicker trainer isn't going to be able to help you.

              think of it this way, your Jack X is an OTTB that is getting fed way to much sweet feed and it only gets out of it's stall for a hour a day. And during that hour it's a reall A$$.

              I totally support you in your decision if you decided that the dog needs a new home. If you can't provide the right home for the dog (by giving it loads of exercise and training and counter conditioning all the resourse guarding ssues) then it's totally fair to find the dog a new home. I do think that life is too short to live with a biter. However know that rehoming a known biter is difficult. Not impossible, but just difficult to find the right person who will take on a biter.


              • #8
                This is a tough situation.
                I hear you saying, "She knows better." Obviously she does not. Yes, this dog is exhibiting a lot of very bad behaviors, but I think it's important not to anthropomorphize the situation.
                If your fiance wants to keep the dog, then I think it is important for him to get her into a training class ASAP. Eventually, it would probably be beneficial for you to do some training with her, but I think he should do the initial work.
                Instead of crating her all of the time, can you install an outdoor run of some kind? That would give her a little bit of variety. I agree with you - she's crated too much right now. She probably also needs more walks and exercise.
                As far as the potty training, I think she does need a tether in the house. If she's having a lot of accidents in secret, then it's working for her right now. She needs to know that if she piddles in the house, someone will see her, say "No," and take her right outside. Which brings me to . . . in the morning, she needs to go outside on a leash. If it were me and I were taking her out, I'd have treats to use a reward and hopefully she'll eventually start going quicker.
                Resource guarding (i.e. the bone): I have an interesting story here. I had a dog that *loved* food and bones. When he was just over a year, he growled at me when I walked too close to him chewing his bone. This was a big dog. I freaked out and took him to a behaviorist. The behaviorist observed him - wanted to see that he would "down" on command, etc. He said that his opinion was that I could do a lot of work with him and eventually get to the point that I could take anything away . . . or I could just stop giving him bones. He recommended the latter, and I took the advice and he lived a long happy life. He was never food aggressive, but he never had another rawhide.
                In general, I'd work on the resource guarding. When she's eating, walk by and add something way better. If she's playing with something, say trade, have her release it for a treat and then give it back.
                This is all obviously a lot of work. If she's biting you all of the time, then I don't see a rescue taking her. Perhaps the father would be interested. If you are thinking about having kids within her lifetime, then have your fiance take her to a very good trainer and find out if it's feasible to have her living with kiddos. If it's not and you can't wait until she passes, then you might have to euthanize her if you can't find her a home with a very experienced dog person. She sounds like she needs a home very dedicated to working out her issues.


                • #9
                  Wow, Bounceback, I have to say I found this quite hard to read being the owner of Jack Russell's myself.

                  21 hours a day in a crate is not compatible with the JRT temperament, or any dog's... but particularly feisty little characters like the JRT.

                  You say things are fine with two dogs, but not three - and then go on to say the JRT 'hates' you... Does she 'hate' you all the time, or only when there are three dogs? The issue with the growling and the food suggests she doesn't respect either of you, so I'm assuming it's all the time.

                  Someone else has already said that it doesn't sound like they are getting any actual exercise. I find actual exercise, rather than just letting them out in the yard, crucial for the happiness of my pack of dogs - and off the lead, together, they generally all get on well. In my experience (and I'm NOT a dog trainer), it's when dogs are cooped up together or some are confined or on a leash and others are loose that there are more problems.

                  Do you take them for walks? You as an individual and You as a couple? JRT's tend to adore anyone who'll take them for an adventure. I find it almost impossible to believe that out on a walk you can't get her to do her business and that she holds it all in. I also as the poster above said, struggle to imagine you with a baby... Dogs and babies are pretty similar... eat, then pee; nap then pee; a break from doing something you were concentrating on, whether gnawing a bone or playing with others, then pee. If you take her outside and walk (a proper walk, not just out in the yard) after these events you just won't have wee in the house, it really is that simple. (For baby humans, the walking won't work; you just have to hold your breath and change that nappy )

                  If I am reading this right, and you aren't giving any of your dogs actual exercise of at least two hours a day (I do 45 mins before work, 30 mins at lunch, 45 in the evening of active walking and playing, not just sloooow leash walking), then rehoming may be best for her - but given the fact she has given you scars, euthanasia would really be the only option as it would be unethical to place a dog that bites severely enough to scar multiple times. I also think this is true of the Pit Bull temperament and that you may be best either with cats instead or a 'lazy' breed like greyhounds.

                  Here is the American Kennel Club guide to being a dog owner. Please be honest with yourself and see how many from point 58 onwards you and your fiancé fulfil. In fact it sounds like you need to read the whole list, but from reading your problems, it seems most of the angst stems from the two of you simply not being friends.. . and I don't mean in a sappy way, the dog has to respect you (and for that reason, I'd ignore the advice to give treats), but before you can start training her and instilling respect she needs to be mentally less stressed (ie by you giving her exercise and companionship).


                  I wish I had never opened this thread. My heart is heavy for this little dog.


                  • #10
                    This is your fiance's dog...why isn't he taking it for a good walk before he goes to work? It's early, sure, but when our ACD was younger (she's 13 now and doesn't tolerate much exercise), I took her for a run at 5:00am, because I had to be at work at 7:00am and she was NOT a well-behaved dog unless she had several bouts of REALY exercise every day. 2-3 mile run at 5:00am, 30 minute walk in the woods with my son and I at 3pm when I got home from work and another 30-45 minutes of fetch or swimming (depend on the season) after dinner with the whole family. She was a good dog with that level of exercise, a very naughty (and aggressive) dog without it. Our BC mix is still too young for that amount of exercise, with her growing joints, but when she hits about a year or so, I'll be back on the dog exercise treadmill . Keeps me fit anyway! Plus, we take our dogs everywhere with us when we aren't at work, except into restaurants of course, they get to see things, interact with different people and dogs, makes sure they are well-socialized and they don't get too bored or lonely.

                    JRTs, despite their small size, are not dogs bred to sit on the couch (or in a crate) all day. There is a JRT down the street who is absolutely miserable. He barks all day, he escapes from the yard, he chases people and other dogs and bites them, he's been hit by cars several times chasing them. I don't believe him to be a bad dog at all, but he does have bad owners. They got him because he was cute and didn't know enough to know he isn't really a "pet" type dog you can just keep in the house and yard all day and pet when you feel like it. They never walk him, never play with him, he's unhappy and everyone suffers. I've been bit by that dog, my dogs have been bit by that dog. It's not his fault. JRTs are smart dogs, they need exercise AND some intellectual stuff to do and a lot of interaction. I put him on a par with my ACD and Border Collie mix...these are very smart, working, dogs, they are a big responsibility and require you to rearrange your lifestyle to meet their needs, or choose a less demanding type of dog or another type of pet altogether.
                    Last edited by Canaqua; Nov. 19, 2011, 03:09 PM. Reason: typo


                    • #11
                      Just a further thought. I totally agree with the sentiment of TOTG (we posted at the same time so I had not read this when I wrote my post), but be sure to build the fitness gradually.

                      A muscularly sore dog will potentially be more snappy/snarly than before including with the other dogs if they try and play with her and she is sore. Imagine if you were in an office at a desk 21 hours a day, let out 3 hours to walk around a bit and then asked to run a marathon, imagine running the marathon and then the next day having people come up and punch you in the arm, 'great to see you, fancy a run', it would be the very last thing you'd want.

                      In short, she needs to be happy-tired, not I-can't-move-for-the-next-week tired.


                      • #12
                        I agree with most of these posts; people keep pointing out the JRT side, but Beagles are high-energy dogs as well, so this poor gal must be miserable being crated all the time.

                        Truly, I hate to say it, but the OP & her SO are letting this dog down in a big way.

                        And they are o/o their depth in terms of training. Seriously the very first time the dog even snapped at you was the time you both should have jumped on the issue.

                        As for the others suggesting the OP's SO do the training, walking,etc. I DO disagree with this. If the OP does it and does it correctly, the dog will not only respect her, but fall in love.

                        This dog does not fit your lifestyle; you must decide if you are going to commit to the dog or not. If not, re-homing it is the the kindest thing.

                        If you have time to spend cleaning the whole house from top to bottom, you have time to devote to the dog.


                        • #13
                          I'm not gonna read through all the replies. I'm sure they are telling you all the reasons why the dog is doing these things and how you can change them. All good advice I'm sure. But IMHO this dog needs to be out of your home. Your lifestyle, time, etc. aren't suitable to fit this dogs need for training now and in the future. You need to find a rescue that is willing to retain this dog. Unless you are super committed to retraining ( you and your SO) it may be more work than you are up to. Adding a baby in the future to the mix.....I don't see it working out.
                          I don't mean to be harsh...
                          "If you've got a horse, you've got a problem"


                          • #14
                            There is no shame in finding a new home for this dog. She isn't happy, and you aren't happy. Your lifestyle isn't going to suddenly change in her favor and it doesn't look like she's going to be able to adapt to your way of life. Three hours out of a crate every day? I'd bite you too.

                            We had two dogs before we had kids, both were fine with us. The female would growl at the baby as he was crawling around on the floor and get very irritated when he touched her at all. The male dog would actually get between her and the baby, even lay down encircling the baby to protect him. He accepted the baby as part of the 'pack' but the female didn't. It took ONE little snap and we immediately started looking for a home for her. Just by word of mouth, my husband found a guy that would take her, and he didn't have kids. She was happy, we were happy, and best of all, the new guy was happy with having her. Rehoming a dog doesn't have to be a bad thing.


                            • #15
                              I wouldn't want to spend any more time a day with a dog that tries to bite me than you already are. Lots of dogs don't bite their owners even though they don't get two hours of exercise and training a day! Being locked in a crate probably isn't helping her state of mind either, this is just a bad fit all around.

                              If you're going to get married and have kids you will have to make decisions together. If he says go ahead and rehome her go ahead and do it if he is serious. Only you know if he's going to blame you in the future or if he will take an active role/responsibility in the process. Parts of the old single life sometimes need to go when you get married and have kids. You sound like you know what you want to do but you're hand-wringing a little bit. Kick yourself into gear and take the next step.

                              I'd at least look into other homes for her, just the right thing might present itself and make it an easy decision and improve everyone's lives.
                              “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Stephen R. Covey


                              • #16
                                I agree with the exercise points everyone's made but I think something else needs to be emphasized as well (people have said it, but not quite as forcefully maybe) - the OP seems to be accepting waaaaaay too much of the burden for the situation. Not just the care, but the moral responsibility for what happens to the jack/beagle mix. She's not the dog's owner; it's on him, not his girlfriend/fiance, to give his dog a good, happy life where she's not crated endlessly, not soiling the house, and not taking her anger/stress out via her teeth. The OP makes it sound as if the dog's owner isn't doing much except getting stressed that this is happening.

                                OP should (and I know, easy to say) hand over the problem to Darling Boyfriend with the words "Your dog is biting me; your dog is unhappy. Fix it." And if his fix is to jetison his dog I'd be seriously looking down the road at his approach to family. That may sound harsh to BF or overly dramatic because this relationship is with a dog, but it is telling to see how much effort he's willing to put in to fixing a relationship that's become difficult and strained.


                                • #17
                                  That's one way to look at it-I was leaning more toward not wanting to marry someone that chose his biting dog over me! I do agree this is a good test of problem solving, priorities, and motivation for both of them though.

                                  I would ideally want to see him do what he could to fix the dog but if she wasn't responding I'd want to see him choose to keep his new potential wife safe and happy.

                                  Odes of in-law battles are in here...
                                  “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Stephen R. Covey


                                  • Original Poster

                                    I had said earlier about the time out of the crate, we live on a 138acre farm... THEY RUN... We get home, they are out running and playing. From Summer to winter her "opinion" of me does no change, she still bites me.

                                    It's not that I want the dog just gone, She's great with kids, small/med dogs... just not a lot of them... And from his parents she's done this up at their house too (they have 3 dogs also), She prefers to be a lap dog, but it's gotten to the point where they aren't allowed on the couch, We've had to throw away one couch already, she peed on it, multiple times.. I just can't have it. It's not healthy for us to be in a house that reeks of dog urine, finding little "presents" around the house, and I'm not for having a kid crawl around and find one ether...

                                    IMO, I can't handle 3 dogs, a kid, house cleaning and a SO who will be doing in for a second hernia operation. I just can't handle it all.

                                    Someone posted about training, The GSD has been pro trained, the pit listens like her life depended on it, but the jack x... not a chance, you discipline her, she gets mad, crouches down, and low and behold, pees...

                                    I'm just frustrated...


                                    • #19
                                      I think it is too much on OP's shoulders. Cleaning the mess up all day Saturday every Saturday would definitely put me on edge as well. I think the fiance needs to help or hire a cleaning company.
                                      I do think that *if* they keep this dog, then OP will have to do some of the work with the dog because right now, the dog is being aggressive towards her. This is a serious problem and I think that eventually, OP will have to do some things with the dog in order to address this. Actually, I once heard someone say that she had a dog that hated her husband. She totally ignored the dog for 6 weeks. Food, attention, exercise, everything came from her husband, and that fixed the problem. The difference was that they were tried and true dog people and in it together, so to speak.
                                      As far as rehoming the dog . . . no, rehoming is not always a bad thing, but let's face it: this dog is a mix, this dog is not housetrained, this dog has (apparently) a bite history. Many rescues are not even able to take a dog that has ever bitten. I would say that the absolute best case for this particular dog would be someone with a much more dog-oriented lifestyle who really wanted to work on the dog's issues. Finding that is hard. I would definitely have a trainer involved in this whole scenario because unfortunately, the biting has put this dog's life in jeopardy. A professional should really be involved.


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Bounceback View Post
                                        I had said earlier about the time out of the crate, we live on a 138acre farm... THEY RUN... We get home, they are out running and playing. From Summer to winter her "opinion" of me does no change, she still bites me.

                                        It's not that I want the dog just gone, She's great with kids, small/med dogs... just not a lot of them... And from his parents she's done this up at their house too (they have 3 dogs also), She prefers to be a lap dog, but it's gotten to the point where they aren't allowed on the couch, We've had to throw away one couch already, she peed on it, multiple times.. I just can't have it. It's not healthy for us to be in a house that reeks of dog urine, finding little "presents" around the house, and I'm not for having a kid crawl around and find one ether...

                                        IMO, I can't handle 3 dogs, a kid, house cleaning and a SO who will be doing in for a second hernia operation. I just can't handle it all.

                                        Someone posted about training, The GSD has been pro trained, the pit listens like her life depended on it, but the jack x... not a chance, you discipline her, she gets mad, crouches down, and low and behold, pees...

                                        I'm just frustrated...
                                        You're a moving target here. I think you need to identify the real problem. YOu say she bites, could bite a kid and then you say she's good with kids.

                                        What's the number one problem-the house peeing situation? That is incurring your work and disagreements? If so, I'd rig her up with an outside kennel, heated if necessary. If she comes in for family time put her on a leash or in a pen where she isn't on her own to pee/poo. I think you should do that anyway, to be honest. It might line her out, she would have her own territory/space and she might stop feeling so competitive with the other dogs. To people, she's locked out in the cold and so sad b/c she's alone but to her, it might be a welcome relief. You say she wants to be a lap dog but she might just be establishing her territory by sitting on it (if she can't pee on you she will sit on your lap instead) Try putting her outside while you sort out the rest of it.

                                        Are you ok with her snappy behavior? or not? Willing to see if she changes her snappy behavior with a lifestyle change? Is that your next hurdle with her?

                                        Are you sure that SO shouldn't be stepping up a little more than he is? Is that the stress, frustration and overwhelmed? Because that is a different problem than this dog. The dog will leave and a frustrating, stinky, demanding small child (they all are!) will take her place. Is he going to let you become overwhelmed with that situation too? Are you being clear about what you need him to do? are you being clear with yourself?

                                        I don't really get the feeling that you know exactly what your problem is... maybe it's her, maybe she's just the prism through which you're seeing your problem. Food for thought...

                                        Good luck though, stress and frustration aren't fun and I hope you get it all sorted out for yourself!
                                        “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Stephen R. Covey