U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Pets > Dogs
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 05-23-2011, 12:05 PM
 
2 posts, read 2,128 times
Reputation: 17

Advertisements

My fiance and I live in a 2 bedroom apartment with:

Mamma-A 4yr old female Pappillon (Suspected dominance issues)
Lee (Mamma's daughter)-A 5 month old Pappillon (Dominance issues)
Circa-A 4 month old female Black Lab/St. Bernard mix (Seems confused/frustrated)

My fiance has owned Mamma since birth, Lee also. We all moved in together at the start of March, except Circa. She joined us 2 weeks later, when my fiance surprised me with her. However, the pack dynamic seems terribly out of order and I feel as though their unwanted behaviors are a result of this.

Essentially the pack life is:

Sleeping: Mamma and Lee sleep in our bed. (She's always let them and won't budge on it...I've asked lol.) Circa has a crate in the living room but, after causing my fiance weeks of headaches, we broke and now she sleeps on the floor in our bedroom doorway. (Despite her enormous dog bed at the side of ours.)

Eating: The trio is fed at the same time but, Circa in the kitchen and Mamma w/ Lee in my fiance's art room. They eat twice a day. Mamma seems to roam around the house until Lee is done, then eats. Circa always finishes long before they are done, then sits outside the room and barks at them / tries to get to their food but, is usually corrected.

Play: Mamma will only play with Lee or to retrieve a thrown tenis ball. Circa tries to play with Mamma but is growled and nipped at until we seperate them or she moves on to Lee. Lee absolutely loves to play with Circa and they will wrestle or play tug of war for quite a while. (Sometimes it gets kinda fierce, but I am told this is normal.)

Potty: One of the larger problems we've been having, is the fact that they go where-ever and whenever they need to relieve themselves. Circa is getting better at giving a heads up when she needs to go out but, sometimes she'll just do her thing without warning. Mamma and Lee, on the other hand are quite sneaky and like to hide presents under the bed, table etc. Today will be the 3rd time steam-cleaning our carpet in 3 months!

Walks: My fiance and I take them on regular walks everyday. They all do very well on their leads but, I feel as though, Circa is actually following my fiance, even though I am the one handling her.

Relaxing: Usually my fiance and I are on the couch. Mamma and Lee are either on the back of the couch or demanding via nonstop licking and pawing to be pet/cuddled. Circa lays in the doorway of the kitchen and living room. She again gets growled/nipped at for trying to join the couch. Granted she is far larger so we dont want her in that habbit anyhow, but it seems the other 2 are constantly rotten to her.

I appologize for this being so long and I appreciate your time in advance. I am new to forums and wanted to ensure as many needed details were included for a solution. I am extremely desperate to help put harmony back in our home. I love my fiance and our little family with everything I've got and want nothing more than for us all to be happy and not so rediculously stressed/tense all the time.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 05-23-2011, 12:39 PM
 
3,593 posts, read 10,643,727 times
Reputation: 5197
Quote:
Originally Posted by al_simmons587 View Post
My fiance and I live in a 2 bedroom apartment with:

Mamma-A 4yr old female Pappillon (Suspected dominance issues)
Lee (Mamma's daughter)-A 5 month old Pappillon (Dominance issues)
Circa-A 4 month old female Black Lab/St. Bernard mix (Seems confused/frustrated)

My fiance has owned Mamma since birth, Lee also. We all moved in together at the start of March, except Circa. She joined us 2 weeks later, when my fiance surprised me with her. However, the pack dynamic seems terribly out of order and I feel as though their unwanted behaviors are a result of this.

Essentially the pack life is:

Sleeping: Mamma and Lee sleep in our bed. (She's always let them and won't budge on it...I've asked lol.) Circa has a crate in the living room but, after causing my fiance weeks of headaches, we broke and now she sleeps on the floor in our bedroom doorway. (Despite her enormous dog bed at the side of ours.)

Eating: The trio is fed at the same time but, Circa in the kitchen and Mamma w/ Lee in my fiance's art room. They eat twice a day. Mamma seems to roam around the house until Lee is done, then eats. Circa always finishes long before they are done, then sits outside the room and barks at them / tries to get to their food but, is usually corrected.

Play: Mamma will only play with Lee or to retrieve a thrown tenis ball. Circa tries to play with Mamma but is growled and nipped at until we seperate them or she moves on to Lee. Lee absolutely loves to play with Circa and they will wrestle or play tug of war for quite a while. (Sometimes it gets kinda fierce, but I am told this is normal.)

Potty: One of the larger problems we've been having, is the fact that they go where-ever and whenever they need to relieve themselves. Circa is getting better at giving a heads up when she needs to go out but, sometimes she'll just do her thing without warning. Mamma and Lee, on the other hand are quite sneaky and like to hide presents under the bed, table etc. Today will be the 3rd time steam-cleaning our carpet in 3 months!

Walks: My fiance and I take them on regular walks everyday. They all do very well on their leads but, I feel as though, Circa is actually following my fiance, even though I am the one handling her.

Relaxing: Usually my fiance and I are on the couch. Mamma and Lee are either on the back of the couch or demanding via nonstop licking and pawing to be pet/cuddled. Circa lays in the doorway of the kitchen and living room. She again gets growled/nipped at for trying to join the couch. Granted she is far larger so we dont want her in that habbit anyhow, but it seems the other 2 are constantly rotten to her.

I appologize for this being so long and I appreciate your time in advance. I am new to forums and wanted to ensure as many needed details were included for a solution. I am extremely desperate to help put harmony back in our home. I love my fiance and our little family with everything I've got and want nothing more than for us all to be happy and not so rediculously stressed/tense all the time.
Good grief! You have multiple issues going on here. Main one is that the inmates are running the asylum! It all has to do with what behavours you and your fiance will accept from your dogs. When Circa gets nipped at, is the dog doing the nipping corrected and removed from the position of dominance (i.e. taken off the couch) or do you let the dog decide who needs to be corrected? It does sound as if the Paps get away with everything and Circa comes in a far third in getting affection and time with her humans. Circa also needs a lot more exercise than one walk a day can give. Play time also builds bonds. I suggest that you take all three dogs (with you and your fiance) to a trainer so y'all can get control back and some guidance on how to manage your pack effectively
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-23-2011, 12:47 PM
 
2,520 posts, read 5,343,262 times
Reputation: 3502
One of the first things I'd be working on is the potty training. I would not leave any of them free to roam until they have learned to go outside.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-23-2011, 03:25 PM
 
2 posts, read 2,128 times
Reputation: 17
Thank you both very much for responding. Cat, when we first got Circa, I would correct Mamma for being overly protective/possessive and nipping. I wanted it to be clear that they were to all be equal, but my fiance had a pretty good point. She raised the question of what would happen down the road when Circa is 100+ lbs and doesn't fear or respect the wishes of the tiny paps. And "get away with everything" is a gross understatement. I love and respect the wishes of my sweetheart but, no, they are rarely corrected and I know it's detrimental to their growth. The problem, i think, is that she has always treated her dogs like this and she is set in "bad habits" just as they are. Feeding them bits of her food while she eats, etc. (Btw: Could the reason they all listen to her more, be because of her giving in to every one of their demands?) I know she treats Circa differently because she didn't "come first" and she doesn't want the paps to feel replaced or anything. Also, she is more accepting of them doing these things because they are harmless tiny dogs but, if Circa jumps up, begs, paws at the side of the bed, barks etc. she is corrected and scolded. To me, dogs are dogs & disrespectful behavior shouldn't be allowed regardless of size. I just dont know how to get her on the same team as me for this. I respect her 100% and don't want her to feel as though I am attacking her but, regarding size, breed, age, length of ownership, should treating them differently be okay or will that confuse the entire situation?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-23-2011, 03:33 PM
 
Location: Santa Barbara CA
4,705 posts, read 10,126,357 times
Reputation: 8525
Quote:
Originally Posted by kahskye View Post
One of the first things I'd be working on is the potty training. I would not leave any of them free to roam until they have learned to go outside.

I agree and yes there would be crates and very strict use of them at my house until they are housebroken. I have a 13 week old puppy that has only been in my house since I got home at 1AM of this past Friday and she is already leaps and bounds ahead of all of yours in the house training as she has figured out going outside to potty is the correct thing.She is in a crate when I am not around or able to watch her. I own my own place but when I see people talking about dogs peeing or pooping where ever they like I really do understand why people do not like to rent to dog owners. You need to step up and be responsible for these dogs and YOU be in control not them. Sorry but I have had alot of dog owning friends have trouble finding rental and this is why! I am not intending to sound mean but you did ask for advice and having raised a few dogs and most of the time there have been 2 or 3 at the same time I am just trying to share what I have learned.

With my first dog many many years ago I thought crate training sounded mean but when I got the next one as a 12 week old puppy and decided to try it it was so great and I am so very thankful I did it that I knew right then and there that any dog of any age I take in will be crate trained! Done right the crate is not only a life saver if you travel with a dog but it is also their safe place and they will go in themselves when they feel anxious or feel they need a break in a multiple dog home. It is a Godsend!

you will have alot of work to do as Momma and Lee are no doubt more bonded to each other then to either human or the new pup .Since it sounds like you both give in and let the dogs have their way you may need a dog trainer that knows what they are doing AND you then have to stand your ground and do what they say. Dogs need very consistant training which humans tend to lack and is why dogs are so much better at training us then many humans are at training dogs. No more" just this one time" excuses or "Ohhhh she really wants this" as that just causes confusion. if you can not stand your ground and do what the trainer asks then the money you spend on any training will be a waste.

Watch a show like Its me or the dog and pay attention to the huge difference when people do what Victora tells them to as to when they decide to do it their way!

It is alot of work to train a dog but it also can be done as you play or feed a dog, you just work little exercises into everything you do rather then say OK I have 1/2 hour to practice with the dog this way you tend to start making it a life long routine and it is actually fun and very mentally stimulating to the dog. Training at my house is 24/7. They get "pop" quizzes all day long no matter what else we are doing. Mental stimulation really helps tire them out too. Feeding time no one gets fed until they sit quietly and wait then no diving into the food until they get their release word which in my case is " free"

I also have a rule no new dog be it puppy or adult comes to live at my house until the current dogs are well trained that way the trained dogs really do help with the training of the new dog..especially helpful in house training and when I trained deaf Phoenix she learned by watching hand signals then watching Jazz and dash to see what they did and she would copy that and get a treat so was very quick to understand the hand signals and what each meant. She learned all of their tricks and they knew many just by watching them.Dogs do learn from watching other dogs.


Some people may read this and think I sound mean and things are too strict but that is not it at all as I said trainging is part of everything we do and they see it as great fun. People that know my dogs have always commented on how happy they seem and how bonded they are to me then add I want to come back as your dog someday The # 1 thing is my dogs and I have fun as training is not done in a cruel fashion so to them it is all play.

Good luck and please keep in mind that a huge part of dog training is training the owners!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-23-2011, 04:58 PM
 
Location: North Western NJ
6,591 posts, read 20,707,191 times
Reputation: 9580
question, with 3 female dogs in the house, are they all spayed?

same sex agression is VERY common in all breeds, especially between females.

in terms of the potty issues, its not a dominance issue its a training issue...
dogs who are not properly potty trained need to be started all over from step 1, take them out EVERY 30-60 mins and when you cannot supervise them 100% they should be crated/confined. i also suggest using a tether system. untill they can be trusted they cannot be loose unless under 100% ACTIVE supervision (doing the dishes or watching tv ect is not active supervision...)

personally i have no problem with dogs on the bed given theres a few ground rules set...the bed is HUMANS territory, dogs are allowed on it ONLY when invited, they cannot just jump up, they cant come and go as they please and they certainly cannot try to take control of the bed by growling/snapping at people or other pets on the bed...any kind of bed dominance results in agressor getting put right on the floor...same goes for couch...its YOUR couch take control of it, i dont care which dog is biting/nipping/growling at which, YOuR incharge and whoever wants to be the meanie gets removed form the couch (a position of power) imediatly.

continue correcting the barking at feeding time issue, it might be worth feeding the dogs in individual crates (it will also enforce that the crate is a wonderfull place where good things happen)
and dont "wait about" for everyone to finnish on their own terms, again YOU are the boss, you feed them on a sechdual, give them each 20 mins to eat and if they dont, take up the food and wait for the next meal.
try an "eat slow bowl" for circa if she seems to be wolfing her food down (it also helps prevent bloat) or try keeing her busy for longer by giving her 1/2 her meal in a bowl and the other half in a kong or similar puzzle toy.

the playing you mention is very common, its like kids, some kids like to play together, some kids dont...i wouldnt force this issue too much, just make sure everyoens getting equal one on one time with their human play mates

in terms of the walkng it could be a pack position thing (she veiws your fiancee as higher in the pack than you) or it could simply be a bonding thing.

try taking circa out just you and her, no other people, no other dogs, do some one on one training with her just you and her and positive reinforcment, ( i suggest this with every dog in every home, they NeED some ndividual time with their people) the stronger your bond the better attention shell pay to you...build her confidence via fun training sessions and some one on one time

for the couch issues, since you said you dont realy want circa on the couch anyway, try sitting on the floor with her...right now you have mamma and lee and your finace, mamma and lee are in charge, followed by your fiancee, then you then circa, shes pretty much on the sidelines right now. encorage her to join you by getting on her level...and do not allow nastyness form the little ones, if they growl or snap at her remove them form the situation, put them in another room for a time out or simply put them on the floor the MOMENT they start guarding the couch.

youve definatly got an interesting dynamic going on, all of which needs to be adressed but it sounds like mamma and lee have gotten the idea that they rule mommies life and circa (and likley in some aspects you) are simply interlopers.

the biggest thing your going to have to do however is retrain yourselves as humans and get on the same page with the training...
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-23-2011, 08:35 PM
 
Location: Mountains of middle TN
5,240 posts, read 13,979,023 times
Reputation: 6062
Quote:
Originally Posted by al_simmons587 View Post
Thank you both very much for responding. Cat, when we first got Circa, I would correct Mamma for being overly protective/possessive and nipping. I wanted it to be clear that they were to all be equal, but my fiance had a pretty good point. She raised the question of what would happen down the road when Circa is 100+ lbs and doesn't fear or respect the wishes of the tiny paps. And "get away with everything" is a gross understatement. I love and respect the wishes of my sweetheart but, no, they are rarely corrected and I know it's detrimental to their growth. The problem, i think, is that she has always treated her dogs like this and she is set in "bad habits" just as they are. Feeding them bits of her food while she eats, etc. (Btw: Could the reason they all listen to her more, be because of her giving in to every one of their demands?) I know she treats Circa differently because she didn't "come first" and she doesn't want the paps to feel replaced or anything. Also, she is more accepting of them doing these things because they are harmless tiny dogs but, if Circa jumps up, begs, paws at the side of the bed, barks etc. she is corrected and scolded. To me, dogs are dogs & disrespectful behavior shouldn't be allowed regardless of size. I just dont know how to get her on the same team as me for this. I respect her 100% and don't want her to feel as though I am attacking her but, regarding size, breed, age, length of ownership, should treating them differently be okay or will that confuse the entire situation?
First: size means ZERO to dogs. Nothing! I've got everything from chihuahuas to a nearly 100 pound pit / great dane mix. While the Dane can be a butt to the foster dog we've temporarily got, the chihuahuas are relentless about keeping him from being nutso. He's still a puppy and full of energy and they're all older adults and want nothing to do with his playing.

When he gets out of line with the foster (thankfully he's only been pissy once) he goes to his kennel for the night. No sleeping on the bed with us or on the loveseat I'd bought the dogs for bedtime. No being on the bed or any furniture the next morning. The idea is to take away the place of higher authority - any place that's physically above the others.

Luckily for me it worked immediately and we've had no further problems. As a matter of fact he's now trying to get my daughter's boxer / boston terrier mix to chill out. However, if it hadn't worked, we'd have immediately gone to hard core NILIF training for him. None of my dogs are allowed to have any aggression or temperament issues. I've got more than a dozen dogs in the house and have had over 50 at a time when the rescue was at it's height. Issues like that aren't an option, period. I'll be the first to tell you my dogs get away with more than I tell other people to let their dogs get away with. Aggression is not one of them, ever.

You and your fiance need to sit down and decide if you want a balanced pack. If so, she needs to stop humanizing these dogs and get on board. That means no more dogs on the bed or the couch for a while, especially the trouble maker. From now on before anyone eats, they are to sit, shake, etc. - something you mandate. In other words, if they want to eat they will perform a 'chore' for you to earn it.

Go turn on the Dog Whisperer with her there one day. Let her watch a couple episodes. If she's not on board you need to decide if this is how you can live the rest of your life. Because the dogs won't change themselves. And if she allows this behavior to continue it's very possible the puppy is going to get sick of it one day and you're going to have a dead pap. How do you think your fiance is going to like that? And know what? It's going to be ALL her fault for not doing her job as a responsible pet owner.

If the dogs aren't spayed yet, get it done ASAP. Your fiance obviously has very little to no training skills. The last thing she needs is dogs with raging hormones too. She's going to be the reason a very tragic thing happens in your home. I feel really bad for those dogs.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-23-2011, 10:24 PM
 
43,012 posts, read 92,000,781 times
Reputation: 30379
You need to let the dogs work out their pecking order themselves. Stop removing and reprimanding a dog when there's a tiff. The more you interfer, the long it will take for the pack to settle into pecking order. Keep in mind that the pecking order will change throughout the years too. That's okay. It's their business, not yours, as long as they're not killing each other.

Focus on house training your older dogs. That young lab is going to be super easy to train. How your other dogs aren't trained is beyond me.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-24-2011, 04:22 AM
 
25,953 posts, read 26,676,581 times
Reputation: 26711
I have to agree with Mrs1885, you are dealing with two very extreme different breeds and categories of dogs. Size absolutely does not matter one bit. On one hand you have a toy breed which are typically more high strung than a larger breed. Labs are infamousely known as being more laid back, good with kids family dogs. The fact the lab sleeps in the doorway is typical dog protective behavior. Typically, most dogs choose to face the front door no matter what room of the house they are in or how the furniture is arranged. It's definitely typical lab behavior.

Mama is the Alpha dog. Period. And she is cocky and controlling you both instead of the other way around. You are spoiling the hell out of her, thus sleeping on the bed, being fed first, allowing her to gain additional dominance by climbing to a height such as the back of the sofa, among other things, Is just reward for that behavior.

I just had to recently make a huge and hard decision. I have three dogs. One is as large as a lab, very loving and playful and pretty much was born trained. The Alpha of the house is a cocker spaniel, but she is 15 years old and a tad on the grouchy side and doesn't care one way or another about other dogs. I adopted one of my rescue dogs 3 years ago - a min-pin as a playmate for the big dog. She liked to lay on the floor and let those rescue pups crawl all over her and do chase around the yard, she was in heaven and the little min-pin was one of them.

I got in way over my head and had no business adopting a toy breed like a min-pin. I'd never had one before and this particular one had dominance issues and an extremely high prey drive to the point I had to stop fostering because he was a threat to the foster pups. With the larger dog I was putting her through hell and didn't know it. I would throw a ball in the back yard and the large dog would go after it and the min-pin went after the dog and would snarl and be agressive and seem to bite at her sides. She refused to engage in play or chase with the min-pin and just tried to brush him off as irritating when he would jump and snarl at her to play with him. I have a dog door and he would go out first and stand there and gurgle and growl at the others as they came out. This dog wouldn't listen to any training, his issues were more instinctual and innate and training wasn't going to change his behavior.

After 3 years, I had to give him up and re-home in a home with no other dogs and the stipulation the people could never get another dog while they had him. It was the hardest thing I ever had to do, but it was in the best interest in all of them all the way around. Skip ahead a few weeks and the big dog has a new playmate and watching the way she plays with this dog and interacts and sleeps with her showed me just how miserable she was with the min-pin here. She is so much happier now and I really had no idea how much I was putting her through keeping the dog.

It's something you might want to think about, in the best interest of the lab, who seems to be completely miserable in this situation. This pack dynamic is making him/her miserable. I can see all the same things going on that I went through. It's a heartbreaking decision, but you might want to find a friend or someone with another larger dog to dog sit him/her for a week just see if his/her behavior and happiness changes and then make some decisions. I hate to say it but the confined space of an apartment with dominant toy breeds is a pack and environment dynamic that is making the lab miserable.

Last edited by Thursday007; 05-24-2011 at 04:30 AM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 05-24-2011, 01:43 PM
 
25,953 posts, read 26,676,581 times
Reputation: 26711
Another option would be to have a professional trainer stop by your home and give you an evaluation of the situation and they'll advise you on what is going on and what you need to do.

Personally, I think three dogs confined all day in a 2 bedroom apartment is way too much and am surprised your landlord even allows it and a trainer is probably going to tell you the same thing.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Pets > Dogs
Similar Threads
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 11:26 AM.

2005-2019, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top