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Thread: My dog is ruining my life!!!!

  1. #1
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    Unhappy My dog is ruining my life!!!!

    I am the owner of a beautiful one yr old pitbull-german shepard mix named Darcy. I love her to death, but she causes me more grief than pleasure. She has a whole laundry list of problems so if you could tolerate reading all of this and maybe help me out I would be very greatful. First of all, Darcy loves people and she isn't afraid to show it. Anytime someone besides me is around she will charge at them and jump all over them. Darcy is very big and strong so she usually ends up injuring the person she is greeting. This behavior has forced me to put her outside when people come around. Unfortunately Darcy barks at anything and everything she hears or sees outside. She barks so much that our neighbors now hate us and we have been fined for the nuisance. So I've resorted to leaving her in the garage for long periods of time. So while she is in the garage she gets restless and eats things. She got violently ill when she ate a soda can. The only time my dog behaves is when its time for bed (she sleeps with me and for some reason is on her best behavior when in my room) and when I take her on walks. I do have a job and a life and I can't spend 24/7 with my dog. I have tried to train her, but it seems she is just getting more and more disobidient the harder I try. If I let her in the house she charges in and runs around destroying everything in her path. I've tried showing her whos in charge by not letting her come inside till she is calm and submissive, but as soon as I open the door there she goes charging in. I've tried mussling her when she barks. It worked at first, but now she just barks with the mussel on. I've scolded her when i've found her chewing on things. I don't hit her, but I usually wrap my hands around her mussel and tell her "no" in a firm voice. Lately she won't even come when I call her. If she is outside and barking and I want to get her inside so she won't distrub the neighbors she just runs away from me and ignores my calls, all the while still barking. I'm at a loss and I fear that I might have to give her up. She destroys everything and has costed me a fortune in repairs and whatnot. I'm so lost and at wits end. Please help!
    Thanks a bunch!

    --Danielle--

  2. #2
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    I think you've already said what you needed to say...that you've "tried to train her". It seems that both you and she need a better teacher. The behavior you describe is that of a dog who seems starved for attention and good training. Leaving her in the garage "for long periods of time" is only going to make the situation worse for you both. I am not a dog trainer, but I do have three dogs and I know how much responsibility taking care of a dog requires. We do have members on this forum who are dog trainers and perhaps they can give you some specific information. You definately need to make a renewed committment to Darcy's care and training. I do sympathize with what you are going through, I've had some frustrating moments with my guys too. You began by telling us how much you love her and I think that shows wonderful potential for a really great relationship...you just need some better help with learning to train her.
    Again, I'm sure some trainers on the site can provide some advice and/or resources for you. Hang in there.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
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  3. #3
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    yeah i think she need a proper and better behavior training. training your dog will took a lot of time. yes it's not easy but the care and the love you share i know you will make it. their are more good people around the forum. just wait i know they will help you more.
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    I have a couple of suggestions for you:

    1. Invest in a dog behaviorist. You should be able to find one in your local yellow pages or through a good pet store. They will come to your home and help you further assess the situation.

    2. Have you thought about crate training your dog? This way, when you are not home, she is in a safe place where she cannot destroy things. When you are home, you can let her out and monitor what she chews on.

    3. Are you giving her proper toys to chew on? Kongs are a great toy that is pretty much indestructable. Not providing appropriate things for her to chew on is a big problem, especially for a young dog. Also, when she chews on something she isn't supposed to, you take it away from her and give her the toy she is allowed to chew on.

    4. You should NEVER lock your dog in the garage or outside when people come over. You are just making the situation worse and getting the dog anxious which is why she barks like mad. If she is properly crate trained, when people come over, you should have her go into her crate. Her crate will become her home, her place of safety. She should be relaxed when she is in there. (if the training is done properly)

    5. It definately sounds like she does not take you seriously as pack leader. Even though you think she is calm before you let her in, she probably isnt. Also, scolding her by wrapping your hands around her muzzle is a challenge and is doing more harm than good. You should just take things away from her. After you do this a couple of times, then introduce the word "no" in a firm voice. If you say no right away, the dog has no idea what it means - she needs to associate her actions with the word first.

    There are many things you can do to help with the situation. I stress contacting a behaviorist and a trainer. Please don't give her away because with these problems, she faces euthanasia at a shelter because she won't get adopted with these issues. (and her breed mix doesn't help either)
    Krystal

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  5. #5
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    You have a dog that at one year old is just beginning to become an adult. The problem will become worse as she grows if you do not act now.

    Crates....I agree 100% with Krystal on that. My 19 month old is very high drive, I still keep him crated at night, when I go out, and whenever he is too much for visitors to handle. The crate allows the dog to still be 'inside the pack' yet in a controlled atmosphere. It is not a punishment, and should never be used as one. It is his place to rest, think, and calm down. I even feed in the crate. I also agree the garage is a very bad idea. A dog like this needs socialization of the highest form.

    Behaviorists are a great idea, but many can not afford one. They are not cheap, and finding a competent one is not as easy as picking up the phone book.

    There are things you can do though.

    First, I believe your dog is not getting the exercise it's age and breeds require. Both GSDs and Pits are high energy, working breeds. Walks are not enough. One option is to invest in a bicycle springer, it is an attachment that goes on your bike, the dogs goes on the other end. You ride. The springer makes it much easier to handle the dog while riding. Great exercise for you and your dog.

    Another (if your dog retrieves) is to play two ball. Throw one ball, the dog brings it back, and you throw the other.

    Swimming is also another tiring exercise.

    Training is the best exercise of all. It tires the mind and body.

    Your dog, as stated above, is not respecting you at all. Keep a leash (no handle) on her and allow her to drag it. Do this when you are there, not when she is alone. First, she must learn sit. Then she must learn down. On your terms, not hers. At first, don't expect to much, reward with food, or a short game of tug (which ever she prefers) for any signs of trying to obey. Don't expect a sit/stay at first. As soon as the butt hits the ground, reward. Same with the down. No sit, no reward. Ask again. It does work. Never correct until you know the dog knows what your asking 100%.

    Her recall is becoming bad because you have trained her to ignore you. NEVER give a command you can not enforce. It will sabotage your training efforts. Only allow her out on a long line. 30 foot lines are available, use one. When you call her in, make sure she comes. You are not asking! Once again, never allow her off line if she will not come. Take her to a park/field, and use the long line to make recalls fun. Run (as fast as you can) away from her.......call her to 'come' while you are running. Most dogs love this game, and come fast, and instantly. If she doesn't encourage her with the line. When she comes, REWARD. Your dog sounds like she has a high prey drive, tug toys work very well as a reward with dogs like this. As a reward, you offer the toy for her to bite, and when she grabs it, you play tug. Teach her the 'out', then go about the next lesson. If you decide to use a toy for training, it is only for training. Not for chewing or playing with. They toy is yours, that you allow her to play with during training. Make it high value to her. Same with food if you go that way. Stop all treats. They will only be for training. Find a treat she loves. I myself prefer the toy reward. People laugh because I always have a tug toy tucked somewhere in my clothes!

    Hopefully the sit becomes learned quickly. Remember, be consistent, fair, and praise quickly for success. In the beginning ignore sloppy results, ask for more precise quick sits as time goes on. Withholding the reward is punishment enough. Use the sit (on a leash) and invite people over. Have toy/food on hand. As they approach, ask for the sit. If she complies, high praise and reward. If she ignores you, turn around, walk away and then try again. Do not give up. She must sit. Even one sit will be a good ending for this exercise. If she is very excited, do not allow the visitor to pet her at this time. After one sit, put her up (crate). End on a positive note.

    Do this as often as you can. Teach her to sit for quests. No more greeting people off a leash. Control what you can. Her greeting folk, you can control.

    Control her entering the house. How? You guessed it, on a line. No more charging in. Sit before she enters. Sit after she enters as you close the door. If you must, go in and out 10 times in a row. You are in charge.......or is the dog?

    You state you can't be with your dog 24/7, this is true, but I imagine you can spend more time than you have been. Make it quality time. A working dog is happiest when working. Training is work to them. They love it. I also believe a healthy, good training session at least twice a day, will help with the barking. Keeping her with you, will also help with it. Her excessive energy and boredom are two reasons she barks. Her two breeds are another reason, you can lesson it to a large degree, but I doubt stop it entirely.
    Last edited by Macawpower58; 01-23-2008 at 09:48 AM.
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  6. #6
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    May 2006
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    35
    Not sure where you are but many shelters offer discounted training sessions that are pretty good. It will help train you just as much as the dog, which is what seems to be required.

  7. #7
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    Thank you all very much for your advise. It is greatly appreciated. I do admit I don't use the correct training methods and whatnot. Darcy was a gift about a year ago from my mother. My mom got her for me bacause I was always home alone due to my mom working 7 days a week, living in a rural area, and myself only having school once a week. I treated Darcy like my baby (probably the worst thing I could do for her). She was my companion, the one who kept me from being so lonely. I did teach her to do a lot when she was much younger. I tought her to sit, lay down, shake, and roll over. Somehow she learned all that without learning to respect me as her "pack leader." I do walk Darcy often and she is very well behaved when we are on our walks. Thats why It drives me crazy when she is so unruly the rest of the time. She knows when she has been bad, yet she continues to misbehave. No I can't afford a behaviorist. I've thought about it a lot, but its out of my reach on my salary. You all talked about crate training. I don't think I've ever seen one. What exactly are they? and how big? I'm sure they are expensive as well. Lately the weather here has been awful and so I haven't spent as much time playing and walking with Darcy. I refuse to give up though. My boyfriend keeps telling me to take her to a shelter, but I know that will be the end for her because no one will want a dog as unruly as her. I could never give her up anyways. She is still my baby, no matter what she does. I have taken all of your suggestions into account and I will start working with her today. I was thinking of a trip to the pet store to get some new toys and treats. Thank you all for your advise, it means so much to me. I had almost given up hope, but I just pray that with some work she will start to improve. Thank you all again!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Muzikfrk888
    You all talked about crate training. I don't think I've ever seen one. What exactly are they? and how big? I'm sure they are expensive as well.
    Here is a link to what they generally look like:

    http://www.petco.com/product/103930/...ic-Kennel.aspx

    you can get them at any major pet store, and some small shops as well. They are used mainly for transporting animals in vehicles, airplanes, and giving dogs their own den. Wolves use dens to raise their young, so this is why they are so effective with dogs. A properly trained dog will learn that this is his home and it is a safe place and they will love it!

    Yes, it is going to be expensive. You're going to need a fairly big one, so I would expect it to cost anywhere from about $50-$100. (however, they are pretty much indestructable so it's only a one time cost) Think of it as an investment. If you are truely determined to keep your dog and help her become less of a trouble maker, this is really the best way to go about it. If you do purchase a crate, make sure you get one that has side walls like this one. The ones that look more like cages are no good because the dog can see too much of what is going on around him. They should learn that being in the crate is a time to relax and nap, or chill out and chew on a toy peacefully.
    Krystal

    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  9. #9
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    She knows when she has been bad, yet she continues to misbehave.

    With dogs, it's usually not so much that she "knows" she's been bad as that she's bored out of her mind. GSDs are intelligent dogs with lots of energy. And if they're not stimulated either physically or mentally, they'll do all sorts of obnoxious things to entertain themselves and get attention. And even getting yelled at (to them) is more entertaining than being bored off their rocker for 2-3 hours.
    You can think that I'm wrong, but don't stop thinking.
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  10. #10
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    When I was on a fixed income when my kids were little, my dog was a barker, the neighbors complained, etc. I built a crate out of wood. The panels they use for flooring and such, they are about 3/4 inch thick. My crate had a floor, roof, three sides, and a hinged door. When she would bark at night, I'd shut her in the crate, after correcting her. I had two dogs at the time, and since they'd never been separated when the girl went in the crate, so did her brother. He couldn't bear to have a wall between them! LOL Anyway, the crate was really only big enough for one of them. So, the two of them would spend the night pretty uncomfortably, it only took three nights, and from then on, the minute I told her to 'shut up', she did.

    Anyway, if you have any handiness at all, you can build your own crate. But the plastic ones from Petsmart, WalMart and Petco and places like that are very easy to use. And they work!
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  11. #11
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    Talking Help for Darcy

    Hello everyone. I am glad I found this forum. I just wanted to say that I too have a one year old dog. It seems that what Darcy is craving more than anything is your undivided attention. Yes I knowyou have a life but you decided to take on the additional responsibility of taking care of Darcy. Believe me she loves you but wishes she had more of your time. Please refrain from locking her in the garage or outside for any length of time as this does send a negative message. This is why she is refusing to listen to you now. Once you have gotten some training advice (or you could even do this yourself and give her treats once she has done it right), you will have to reinforce it as often as you can. Good luck and keep us up to date. I personally don't want to see Darcy in a shelter.

  12. #12
    FurryCrew Guest
    I can't offer much better advice than what has been given, but I wish you the best of luck! Some pet stores have training sessions as well.

    The thing I like about classes, though they do cost a little more, is it's a set thing that you can't back out of or make excuses to not attend [and why would you when you paid for it?]. They can be great places to pick up a lot of healthy habits. If you bring yourself to make more time for Darcy then I think you will see a major change in her behaviors as you "re-welcome" her as part of your pack.

    Pitbulls are known for their ability to be incredibly stubborn. I know how it is, Tango is very hard-headed as well and refuses to do some things when he really doesn't want to. Part of my problem is using my "crate" properly [not as a dungeon, but as a refuge].

    Again, best of luck in your venture to teach Darcy that she is an amazing dog.

  13. #13
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    My best friend had a problem dog adopt her, and even though it was trouble she loved it and welcomed it into her home. She tried everything to curb the bad behaviour, and nothing worked. Finally she got a dog trainer who specialized in trainging the owner, not the dog. Sounds kind of crazy, but it worked wonders. Her behaviour was causing the dogs bad behaviour!

  14. #14
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    Sounds like you really spoil her. But it's not too late, best thing to do is to bring to behaviorist. Crate training with something to play with could also calm and silence her. More exercise plus socialize her with other dogs will also help on her behavior. Best luck for you and Darcy.
    [CENTER]"Play with me and keep me busy! You have your work, your entertainment, and friends. I only have you! "
    - Unknown

  15. #15
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    some other thoughts

    I just read some of the beginning post and skimmed through the suggestions.

    Your dog, much like my Princess who is not a pit bull, but a lab cross has so much energy and is bored that your dog "NEEDS a job to do.

    Just a couple of ideas about your dog, "greeting people, and this was told to me by Princess's Pet Smart trainer, two things to tell your guests prior to them coming to visit. "I don't know about it. I prefer the one much more than the other.

    1. If your dog insists on jumping on your guest at the door, tell your friend, and they may have to practice it some, "Walk in the door like an oncoming speeding freight train. "She said, You don't much like getting run over by a freight train and they don't like it either. It changes their idea from I want to jump on you to Let me get out of the way.

    2. Usually for very short people, Bring the knee up, but gently to protect your own chest, don't thrust or push just put it up in front of yourself, and the dog's grea paws are blocked from getting your chest. For me, it's necessary because of surgeries I've had in the chest cavity.

    3. You can give your pet a job to do. Although quite amaturely done, through video's and through Pet Smart lessons, and web site sintructions I was able to teach Princess bring my cane, keys, and purse to me. She's learned, Help mommy up the stairs, she knows unfortunately about cell phones too!

    you can teach him how to help you with the laundry. For a while even though I didn't need it Princess drug a laundry basket for me too.

    Sometimes she and Ebony learn how to pull my unneeded wheelchair down the street too.

    Although I doubt it will happen and I hope that it does not, because my parapalygic friend will not accept a professionally trained dog, I think it's part of the denial that he'll never walk again that if something happens to us, or if he really does say, hey you know what I really would like Princess, she will go to him.

    I feel really bad about his current circumstances at this time because his "Larger than life German Shepherd Harley, "Also not professionally trained," died a few months ago.

    The other dog they have is an absolute tease. But that dog was smart enough after being dumped in the desert to find them. When my friend returned, Cooper, was inside the house standing next to my friends chair.

    so just know, you can teach that over energetic dog some things he can do, and I'm sure he'll mellow out.
    good luck to you.

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