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Thread: Help training a previously abused dog

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  1. #1

    Help training a previously abused dog

    I desperately need some help with a dog problem I am having because it is starting to cause a potentially huge rift in my relationship.

    I guess I should make it clear first up that I am really, really, really not a dog person. I just don't really like them very much. I grew up with cats, and I find dogs extremely difficult to live with unless they are exceptionally well behaved.

    I recently moved in with my boyfriend who has two dogs, a well behaved 3 year old male Border Terrier mix and a 2 year old female Maltese x King Charles that was abandoned by its previous owners and seriously neglected as a puppy, resulting in some severe behavioural issues.

    Quite simply, the dog does not stop barking. I can't watch TV in peace, and I work from home as a website designer and I find it hard to concentrate when I have to get up to yell at the dog every 10 minutes. And to top it off, I honestly can't remember the last time I slept through a whole night without being woken up by barking. The thing is, it's really difficult to discipline her because she only barks when she's alone. She will sit outside and yap constantly and as soon as I go out there to tell her off, she stops immediately and hides under a bush where I can't get her. Before I moved in my boyfriend would let the dogs sleep on the bed with him, but I don't like sleeping in a bed that stinks like dog so now they have their own beds in the laundry and get shut in there at night. So she sits in there and barks constantly and as soon as I get out of bed to tell her off, she stops before I can actually catch her in the act.

    It's really starting to make me very depressed and angry and hateful towards the dog, and being someone who has never lived with a dog previously, I am finding it really difficult to cope with. My boyfriend is the best thing that ever happened to me and apart from the dog issue our relationship is perfect, and I'd hate to see it ruined because I can't handle living with a dog that never stops with it's harsh, grating yapping.

    I'm feeling really upset and desperate and I don't know what to do, so any advice would be very much appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Waltham, MA, USA
    Okay, buy yourself some ear plugs so you can get some sleep, because there is no instant fix for this. Sadly, by going to scold when she is barking, you are actually "rewarding" her bad behavior.

    She sounds like she could really benefit from a basic obedience training class with YOU - so the two of you can learn to respect and understand each other. That, and crate training, so she has a place where she can feel safe and secure enough to be quiet.

    She sounds like she has separation anxiety, which is real and treatable. It will take a little time, but you and she will both be happier once it is under control. Do a search for "separation anxiety" here - there are many discussions on it.

    We'll be thinking of you!
    I've Been Frosted

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Blog Entries
    Special training is required for abused dogs.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Methuen, MA; USA
    First, it is unbelievable to me that someone who is this opposed to dogs as you sound, would even CONSIDER moving in with 2, let alone with one who has major issues. Your disgust comes through SO LOUD, and the fact that you never once give either dog's name is quite telling as to your attitude re dogs. WHY would you think you could live with 2?!!

    A Maltese x Cavalier King Charles is NOT an outdoor dog and should NEVER be outside alone. This is a dog who is social and needs to be with her humans AT ALL TIMES. Like my bichons, she will go out to do business then come right back in. And around here, small dogs like this can't be left out anyway as someone is sure to steal the pup, right from a fenced in back yard. The only time this dog is going to be happy outdoors is with her humans out there too - either pottering around in the garden, or sitting on a chair reading. And even then, she is not going to be happy unless she is up in the lap. Maltese and Cavs are lap dogs, plain and simple.

    Yelling at the dog is a HUGE no no. This serves NO purpose as the dog does not understand what you are saying and THINKS you are joining in the noise, making her believe there really IS something to bark about. In other words, yelling encourages a dog to bark MORE not less.

    An abused dog needs to be treated with extreme amounts of patience and compassion. She needs to learn to trust, and the humans she is with have to spend lots of time building trust. Most likely, she will never learn to trust 'humans,' but rather, she will learn to trust individuals based on repeated positive interactions with them.

    I have a puppy mill rescue, Tasha, who was almost 5 years old when rescued. She was born and raised in a cage in Missouri, and had NO positive human interaction up to her rescue. She has lived with me 4 years, and has made HUGE progress. I have spent hours and hours working with her, and the first 18 months were the hardest -- it took that long to get her potty trained. She is to this day skittish, nervous and easily spooked. She hates going through doorways. Rehabilitation for a mill rescue is a life long work in progress. So I know where of I speak. With luck, the Maltese x Cav will not need as much or as extensive reha as Tasha and mill dogs need, but it sure sounds like she needs lots of training and work with her humans.

    javing this dog sleeping on the bed with her humans is perfectly normal FOR THESE 2 BREEDS. Booting her off the bed and worse, out of the bedroom, is just further proof to her that humans can NOT be trusted. Again, this is a social dog that NEEDS to be with their humans in order to survive and thrive. Can this dog learn to sleep off the bed, and out of the room? Yes, but that will take time, because of her background building trust is going to have to be the first step. Working with another dog, with no background of abuse, you could just shape the dog's sleep pattern to a new location, but for a dog with trust issues, each and every step of training will have to start with a trust building exercise.

    I worry what would happen should you some day have children, and one of the babies cries and is colicky, when you write this: " I can't handle living with a dog that never stops with it's harsh, grating yapping. " Here is a living being with feeling who is communicating in the only way she knows how, letting you and the world know that something is not right, something is bother her, and you have shown NO caring or compassion towards this being what so ever. IMO your presence in the home is continuing the abuse of this poor doggie. I may sound harsh, but the rescue I was with for 6 years trained us to always put the dog FIRST. We are their guardians on this earth, responsible for them in so many ways.

    I agree YOU need to change. YOU need to attend training classes with the dog, YOU need to learn how to read the dog's body language, how to communicate with the dog, and how to work on building trust with the dog so she is calmer and happier in her life. YOU need to do all the home work and practice sessions between classes -- a dog does not learn anything in a one hour class, the guardian learns and then practices working with the dog. It is the guardian who is learning a new language, NOT the pet (dog or cat). We have to step in to their world, and work through things with them using their methods. Only then will they sometimes venture into OUR world, and work with us.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    North Carolina, USA
    I feel sorry for the dog--not you. Honestly, have you even tried to be friendly and patient with the dog?? Why can't dog stay in the same room while you're working on webpage or whatever? Poor little dog had a terrible life until rescued and needs help. I agree with those who suggest dog training for the two of you.

    You said dog barks while it is alone. Why can't she stay in the room with you??
    You said at night you put dog in laundry room. That sounds very lonely and scarey for dog. I would not want to be shut up in a laundry room with no way out--claustrophobic for me.
    You said dog hides under a bush when you go out to yell at her. That would indicate to me that dog is outside and alone. I hope it is not cold... poor dog.

    Another option: You could always get your own apartment where they are NO dogs.

    I hope this doesn't come off sounding rude. It's just that I find your attitude totally selfish and immature. Do you not have any empathy for what the dog has been through? One needs patience and concern to help this dog AND dog training for the two of you... Kay in NC

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Waltham, MA, USA
    Folks, this original post is from 2009, LeonilCraig is a new person and probably didn't notice the date when he/she posted in it today.
    I've Been Frosted

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