Let's go for a- walk!
|Barked: Sun Jul 7, '13 3:39pm PST |
|1. One problem is the dog poops in the house, much less frequently now than when he first moved in. But I'm afraid either he is pooping and eating it, or my wife is cleaning it up before I get home so I don't notice. I notice new stains on the floor, but when asked my wife says she didn't clean it.
Did the dog poop in the house before the marriage and the move? If not, it's an adjustment issue, which takes time, as well as a training issue. Consistency is essential, and it seems possible that your wife is, instead of being consistent and getting him outside frequently enough, is possibly being lax and cleaning up after to mollify you.
2. The dog doesn't listen. There are several instances of this. One he has a problem with licking his paws raw. He has seen the vet about this. My wife will make a hissing noise which he supposedly listens to. But most times he will stop until she looks away, then start again. Or move somewhere she can't see him to do this.
If he is licking his paws raw, there is something wrong. This is not a problem of "doesn't listen." This may be from stress (you really do desperately need to improve your relationship with this poor dog, and sincerely believing you're not doing anything to stress him doesn't mean you aren't), or it could be from allergies--food allergies or grass allergies are both real possibilities.
You need to take this seriously. This is not a discipline issue.
3. He constantly licks the carpet where she feeds him treats. I don't like this at all. She started giving his treats in his bed, but he still licks where the treats were previously even after i vacuum. I tell him to stop, snap my fingers to get his attention, tried to clap my hands. If i approach him, he will run and hide near her, then come back a few seconds later to continue. To me this just seems defiant.
No, this is not being "defiant." This is a dog being a dog. There was food there, so he'll keep at it till he's sure he's gotten it all (especially if he's a bit insecure and stressed), and your wanting him to stop makes no sense to him at all.
Is there a reason why this is actually a problem, or is it just that you "don't like this." You do have to make some compromises to live with a dog, and if you want to live with someone who loves dogs. On this one, you might just need to get over yourself.
4. When being walked the dog leads. My wife likes to joke that he is "being the leader of the pack". I've always been told you do not allow the dog to be the leader, you have to be or he will not respect you.
Nonsense. Popular nonsense, but nonsense. What it means when the dog is in front of you on a walk, is that the dog happens to be in front of you. Actual behavior problems: Lunging and pulling on the leash.
Well-trained dogs should learn to heel, but that takes training. There's nothing obvious about it to the dog, that if they respect you they should follow rather than lead. It's about safety and not being a pain to other pedestrians, not making sure the dog respects you.
The human should control the direction of the walk. This is different from actually being in the lead.
5. The dog sleeps in the bed. I don't want to sleep with a dog. That's my issue. But the wife has chosen that the dog sleeps in the bed, and I am sleeping on an air mattress in another room. My wife has told me I have to sleep in the bed to let him know the bed is mine. But when I try that and try to push him into his bed in the middle of the night he yelps and she gets mad at me. How can he be trained to sleep in his own bed, rather than ours?
This is primarily an issue between you and your wife, and only secondarily (at most) a dog problem. You need to reach agreement on what you are going to do. Until you are actually in agreement on where the dog should sleep, you will not be able to train him to do it.
Pushing the dog may be causing him pain. I know it is not intended to, and it isn't necessarily doing that, but it is possible. Take him to the vet and FIND OUT. After that, and after reaching agreement with your wife on where he's going to sleep (you should know that lots of dog owners like their dogs, especially small ones like Bostons, to sleep in their beds with them; she needs to know that the frequency of this actually happening goes down dramatically when there's a second person involved), then you can get on the same page and train him to do that. As with all training, consistency is vital.
6. He tries to get food off the table. We don't typically eat at an actual dinner table as it's just the two of us. But the dog is constantly putting his face as close to the table to get food. If i attempt to push him away he yelps and hides next to her. If we do eat at a table he will stand on his hind legs and attempt to lick things off the table. He is rarely if even told not to do this. If he is told he is doing something bad he will soon be scratched and petted, which I feel tells him that it's ok. If he jumps on someone else and tries to bother them for food, my wife says he's bothering them so they can tell him to get down.
Your wife is training him to beg for food when you eat. Not intentionally, I'm sure, but yes, she's reinforcing the behavior. It is a natural behavior, but one that's fairly easy to stop with consistent training.
When I have dinner at my sister's house, with her dogs and mine, my brother-in-law and my niece are the constant focus of attention from all the dogs (although they have learned not to actively beg), while my sister, myself, and our mother are ignored by them. Guess why. This is, again, something you need to discuss with your wife. And again, pushing the dog, resulting in yelping, might mean the dog is experiencing some pain. It's also not the most effective way to discourage this behavior.
And, while I'm not a big one for eating at a table either, doing so would remove temptation further away from your Boston's face. Food is a huge incentive for dogs; once you've worked this out with your wife--and unlike the bed issue, this is an issue where it's not just a matter of making a decision one way or the other; you are right about this, unambiguously--eating at a table while you do initial training on this would make the training go easier. Once he's mastered Not Begging at an actual table, then you can move on to more challenging exercises, such as not begging while you're eating in the living room.
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