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Dog training and non-dog leader housemate

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posted on Feb, 12 2013 @ 06:06 PM
So I have a huge problem in training my dogs. It's not the dogs- they're smart. Sara (new dog that moved in on 18,Jan 2013), learns most new commands within a few minutes. George learns quickly as well but he is my housemate/uncles' dog.

The problem is my housemate/uncle Bill. He does not show the dogs that he is a leader. The dogs know they can walk all over him. While Bill was gone (2 weeks), I had the chance to work with both of them and we had a nice, peaceful and respectful 2 weeks. Bill comes home and they act like they're retarded.

I can not make Bill understand that he can't beg the dogs, repeat commands (if they don't follow an order the first time, you MAKE them do it). You don't have to be mean or angry- but you make them know (like Cesar Millan says) with calm, assertive energy, that YOU are the leader. Bill can not grasp this. He is 70 years old , next month. I know that it's almost pointless to try to make him learn, but I have to- for the dogs' sakes.

Every command I teach them, he poisons by repeating the command over and over again when they don't listen to him. How do I get passed this? The dogs listen to me 98% of the time. They do not ever listen to him and he does not understand how to make them do what he says. He refuses to learn even though I have told him time and time again. Maybe it's just the fact that I'm "junior" (yes Uncle Bill gave me a masculine nick). I've signed up for obedience classes so maybe, if he hears these things from some one else, he'll listen to them. Sara has only been here for a month, but she's eager to please. George and I are just making friends since I've overcome some personal bias against him. Even though he wasn't high on my list of friends, he does want to please me.

They both see me as leader- and only occasionally can I not grab their attention enough to recall- but those occasions are when I most want them to they see the neighbor and go running to say hi...if 'neighbor' turned out to be a stranger, this could get them into a lot of trouble.

Especially Sara since she has obvious "Pit Bull" looks. She's been listed as "American Pit Bull Terrier" by the shelter, the shelter veterinarian, and my own vet (who loves and lives with pibbles). So for her protection, against the uneducated, she needs to constantly be with a good leader. I [r]really don't want to keep her from these morning (off-leash) walks with George (dog) and Bill(Uncle/Fail dog leader). She enjoys them so much.

It's not that she won't get a walk if she doesn't get to go on those walks- I'll take them both on field and pack walks (leash walks down the roads)...but she's a puppy- only about a year old. She needs all opportunity to get energy out.

I've signed us up for obedience classes in the hopes that if someone else tells my uncle how to interact with the dogs, maybe he'll listen.

I'm really at my wits' end. Every day I try to point out his errors- either directly or by showing him a better way....he just refuses to learn...and he's going to ruin these dogs' training. Not necessarily ruin them, but definitely make my job a lot harder. I need them to listen as close to 100% of the time as possible. I'm very ...ermm.....well...dominant, with my dogs and they absolutely must do as I say most of the time, with very little error.

In closing- I do believe my uncle is the majority of the problem, however, I am still learning too. I do not claim to be the perfect dog leader/trainer- though I have never had problems training a dog for myself or another- as long as the other listened.

I firmly believe in the dog psychology angle. I use that in a combination with clicker training. I'd like to phase out the clicker training as I believe that's not ideal. Dogs want to please their leader. Sara is extremely food driven but I feel like it's too much. If I treat train- she knows i have treats no matter how much I try to hide them, and she knows she will get them if she does as I say. We actually have another food issue with her that maybe I'll go into at another time (fear, not aggression).

I'm rambling- I've been this post has turned into almost a bloggish post (is 'bloggish' a word now?). I apologise for that.

Edited: I should add that my Uncle has shown no desire to work with the dogs in their training. I train, he (tries) to command. Example- he knows to say "off" if the dogs jump on him. I tell him 'stick out your knee, do not speak to, touch or make eye contac twith the dog when she or he is acting out'. I try to enforce the "no talking, no touching, no eye contact' ideal but Bill just won[t get it.

"off offf offf OFFF offf offf"

No! George. Georgie GEORGIE.. SARA COME. GEORGE. NO...

^ Bill.

It's frightening to watch, honestly. Some of you might think it's cute. It's far from cute. I'm like a leader dog and I see him treating my pack this way and I want to....shut him up. It's not good. He is going to ruin these puppies!
edit on 12-2-2013 by Hushabye because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 12 2013 @ 06:25 PM
Unfortunately "your" pack consists of your dog and your Uncle's dog. While you have a responsibility to your dog to minimize contact with the Uncle, you can do nothing to minimize his contact with his own dog. BTW, at 70 you're unlikely to teach the old dog new tricks, sorry.

posted on Feb, 12 2013 @ 06:47 PM
reply to post by SeenMyShare

I know you're right about Bill...he probably just won't learn and the money spent on the classes will be wasted. I didn't pay for private lessons.The main reason I want to have the dogs in the classes is the social lessons- to not act like a couple of excited kids needing a ride on the short bus...but I hope they will help Bill as well.

I'm pretty sure you have to be rich to get Cesar Millan to notice you and your buddies. It's a shame, too. I thnk I need (not necessarily him) some one to show me what I'm doing wrong, here.

I want them to be good buddies. They have the heart- they just need the mind to follow. I mean- they want to please me; the generally do as I say- but as soon as Bill is there- it's time to get on the short bus.

Oh- I should mention too that Bill thinks it's cute when he sees me out training the dogs and them being 100% obedient to me...then when he comes out, I have to become the disciplinarian to get them to listen. They know they can do as they please around Bill and he won't do a thing about it. "as they please" includes jumping up, not coming when called, barking, annoying cats, walking in specific gardens....

Bill isn't like- taking control of the dogs and causing me to complain. He has no control whatsoever with the dogs and he doesn't see it as a problem.

If any of you live in Western New York, I'm completely willing to invite you here to show you my troubles.

On second thought- I guess it is me. I should be able to command their minds with or without Bills' presence. So in a way, he is commanding the dogs. He's just commanding them to be jack-asses.
edit on 12-2-2013 by Hushabye because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 12 2013 @ 07:34 PM
OP please do not take my comments the wrong way, I am going to try to teach you something very important!

The moment you get a dog you have to consider and learn about pack behaviour. That is how the dogs are seeing this and you cannot change this inherent behaviour.

Quite clearly, you are the Alpha female. I am guessing that one of your dogs is the Alpha male, it is possible that it is your Uncle but it does not have to be.

Packs do not have a hierarchy like a military unit. The Alpha pair are in charge but either the male or the female may be dominant. After that it is anyone's guess. Let say there are 10 dogs to a pack numbered 1 through 10. The alpha pair, 1 and 2 are dominant. after those two, 3 may dominate 4 who dominates 8 and 8 can dominate 3. These positions can change over time. Tail end charlie, 10, is usually the pack jester who has an important role as he is the stress reliever.

If your Uncle is not the Alpha male then what you want to achieve is impossible. If your dog is male I can guess that he is the alpha male who will never take notice of your uncle because your dog is dominate.

Lastly, you may also need to understand that many dog owners see their dogs as dear friends and do not want to dominate them. Next time you see the poodle in the owners bag, consider who is the Alpha!

You cannot change your uncle because he sees pets in a different light so stop banging your head against a reinforced concrete wall and accept the fact. When you are home the dogs will do as you tell them because you are the dominant alpha. That is the best you can do!


Having reread your post I think they see your uncle as the dominate alpha which is why they do not have to take notice of you when he is around. The solution is quite simple. You have to fight Bill for pack dominance. Beat him up, stand over him and then walk around the house peeing every where to mark your territory!

edit on 12/2/2013 by pheonix358 because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 12 2013 @ 07:35 PM
reply to post by Hushabye

To you the pack pecking order goes like this - You - Bill - Dogs.

To the dogs the pack pecking order goes like this - You - Dogs - Bill

Being smart critters they know they really only have to mind if you are around. I agree, at 70 he isn't likely to change though.

posted on Feb, 12 2013 @ 08:09 PM
reply to post by Hushabye

You're boned Bro!
If this is like it seems a co-parenting setup then both "parents" must be on the same page for the ultimate benefit of the kids.
I do wish you the best of luck in training your uncle though, maybe swat em on the nose with a paper when he acts wrong??

I kid, I kid!

posted on Feb, 12 2013 @ 08:12 PM
reply to post by pheonix358

The OP could openly hump the uncles leg to assert dominance?

posted on Feb, 12 2013 @ 08:25 PM
"pheonix358"-You're partially right, i think. When Bill is around the dogs go into retard mode- but still mostly listen to me...i.e. I am the only one whom can get them into the house. They do not listen to Bill at all thus he is not seen as an alpha at all. "Offf off offf OFFF off offf offf DOWN off SIT SIT SIT SIT"

Poisoning all the commands because they won't listen to him the fist time. It's ridiculous and it makes me so angry. So I have to have a few deep breaths before I go out there and make them come in...which is giving them time to be assholes to Bill.

"Frogs"- I know you're right...I think I just have to stop letting Bill take her in the mornings, in order to protect her from his inability to control her. She's basically good. She will only lick you to pieces. Thing is though, Bill doesn't since I'm about to start a new job, it's great to have him there to give them at least that bit of exercise.

"g146541" Do you have a newspaper laced with a knockout pill I can borrow? =(
edit on 12-2-2013 by Hushabye because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 12 2013 @ 08:26 PM

Originally posted by g146541
reply to post by pheonix358

The OP could openly hump the uncles leg to assert dominance?

I would totally try...but as his niece...I would need to have a nephews' equipment! It's the Uncles' preference!

tis the truth!
edit on 12-2-2013 by Hushabye because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 12 2013 @ 11:57 PM
Maybe Bill is the alpha in the dog's eyes and they see you as the sub-dominant alpha, if that makes any sense. The dogs will listen and obey you until Bill comes around. Then, they tend to ignore you and do what they want because Bill will let them and you don't put a stop to it.

You have to take control of the pack, Bill included. When Bill is around, in front of the dogs, DO NOT allow him to give commands and DO NOT allow your dogs to ignore you. Since Bill refuses (I say refuse because I'm sure he could do it if he wanted to) to do what you have shown him with the dogs, then tell him that he is not to give commands to your dogs. He can feed them, pet them, play with them, whatever, but when it comes to discipline, that is for you and you alone.

It might be hard for you to talk to your uncle that way, but the situation is driving you crazy and you need to take control.

posted on Feb, 13 2013 @ 07:52 AM
I sympathize with you because, although my situation wasn't nearly as "bad" as yours, I still had a very hard time teaching my husband how to be around dogs. He was always afraid of hurting their feelings or making them dislike him. I was fortunate in that the dogs are mine (or they used to be). Now, they are "ours".
I'm very happy to report that my husband saw his value in taking a leadership position, and has become quite good with them, but only after a few years of coercion, explanation and frustration on my part.

But with your uncle, I don't have the same degree of hope, I'm afraid. The best thing you can do is move out and take your dog. If Sara is confused about her position in the pack, it could really cause some issues. It could even get dangerous. It takes strong leadership to properly raise a dog of the "gladiator" personality, like Bulldogs, Rotties, GSDs, etc, especially if you don't know their pedigree. They need to be in a position where they don't think to challenge the leaders.

I know you probably know all this, but I just wanted to add my sympathy and thoughts. Good luck!

posted on Feb, 13 2013 @ 10:13 AM
Is it possible, as it is with many older folks, that these dogs comprise the majority of your Uncle's interesting situations every day? The reason I ask is that you mention he seems amused by all of this, and most people who are in dire need of attention revel in even the worst kind of attention.

If you dog hurts someone because of his interference, no court will care. Their sole concern will be with your bank account and earning power. A well-heeled victim will financially end you.

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