Help--Family Member Causing Dog Problems

Discussion in 'Dog Behavior Problems' started by tx_cowgirl, Feb 27, 2009.

  1. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Ugh, so here's the sister-in-law is causing major regressions in Mud's training. She has a lab mix who is allowed on furniture, allowed to jump on people, allowed to eat scraps, etc. Mud has always been very good about staying off of furniture, not begging, and not jumping. I've spent a lot of time getting her to be a polite member of the household, and she's wonderful. But here lately everytime someone sits down I'm having to tell her to get off the new leather couch, or having to get her off of a visitor and put her in a sit-stay to let them pet her.

    I've told my sister-in-law a thousand times to stop this. It's caused very obvious new behaviors with Mud, and I'm not exactly thrilled. Last night she ate at our house and kept calling Mud to her to take bits of food. Naturally, in only a few times Mud was hovering near her. I took to tossing treats far in the opposite direction every time my sister-in-law called Mud over, but still... This is incredibly frustrating and I don't like seeing regression in training. Pissed off my sister-in-law, but I don't care. The only idea I have for the food is teaching her "YUCK"--turning her face away every time 'people food' is offered. I don't mind using cooked meats for training, but I am not going to have a beggar when she wasn't even a beggar when I got her.

    Talking to my sister-in-law is obviously not doing anything--I've beat the issue to death trying to get her to stop. I'm not sure what to do about the food except for the "YUCK" command, which is a cute trick anyway. As for the couch, I'm at a loss. Every time she so much as raises a paw towards the couch, I give an "Ah-ah" and she'll sit and wait for petting. But the fact that she's still trying after a couple weeks is irritating, because Mud knows better. If you ignore her instead, she'll leap on the couch. My parents have told me that while I wasn't home, if she was excited and playing around the house, she would leap on the couch and have herself a seat. They don't allow this either, and they handle it exactly as I do--so I know it's not a consistently problem, aside from my sister-in-law. My parents have tried to tell her to stop as well and she just doesn't see it as a problem. What can I do to teach Mud to ignore the things my sister-in-law is instilling in her?

  2. princessbride029 Well-Known Member

    Aww, tx cowgirl, I'm sorry about this situation! I sometimes have that same problem, but with my husband! He reinforces things I've been trying to teach our puppy NOT to do, like begging from the table and chasing the cat. It can be so frustrating to see all your hard work disintegrating before your eyes!

    What I've chosen to do is to crate Cassidy while we eat dinner. I feed her first, give her a tasty treat or fun toy, and have her "crate up" (door closed) in the next room while we have our meal. Then I clean up (saving any scraps my husband wanted to give her) and let her out for some fun training time with the scraps. My husband doesn't realize I've adjusted this way BECAUSE of him... lol. Maybe you could involve your SIL in some fun training or trick show-off with the scraps? "I know how you LOVE giving Mud treats - why don't you save some on the side of your plate so that when I let her out after dinner she can show off some tricks for you!"

    Is your SIL over just occasionally? If so, maybe you could also give Mud a great new bone to chew on to keep her ignoring SIL when she's there and you're just visiting.

    You have my sympathy, girl... good luck! :dogsad:
  3. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    I did end up crating her last night when I got tired of trying to get SIL to stop. I didn't shut her in but I told her to stay so didn't have to worry about her coming back to us, despite SIL calling her. :dogdry:

    I've offered to have her do her tricks, and her reply is always, "You make her work too much, just give her the treat." :dogdry: I've done everything I can to try to get my sister-in-law to understand that I don't want Mud doing these things. She's 4 yrs old and is very well behaved--I got her a year ago and she had never been a house dog, but she's been lovely. Despite a history of neglect, she's never been a beggar, ever. Normally she's happy to just lay down somewhere or busy herself with a toy while we're eating. But since my fairly new SIL, that's just out the window. Right now she isn't really a beggar, but when the sister-in-law is here, Mud's hovering around her constantly until I toss her her favorite toy or put her in a down-stay at my feet. But it doesn't help that when she plays with her toy or loses interest in my SIL's food, she calls her back for snack. Last night it was FRENCH FRIES, which really annoys me because that is in no way healthy for her.

    My sister-in-law has been making frequent visits lately with my brother for various reasons. A begging problem hasn't completely started yet, but if this keeps up it probably will. The couch-jumping and jumping on people is very irritating though, because that's something I worked on right from the start and haven't had a problem with at all whatsoever since the first week I had her. If I ask Mud to do the opposite of what SIL's asking of her, she's going to be confused. (I.e, SIL enticing her to jump on the couch and me telling her "off") But, if I let it go, it's going to get worse.

    I've worked a lot on getting her to listen to many people rather than just me the trainer, so I'm sure she's confused with me trying to get her to ignore my sister-in-law. She's been doing well though and her listening to me hasn't been a problem.
  4. princessbride029 Well-Known Member

    Hmmm... does your SIL just think she's hilarious, or what? Or does she enjoy tormenting you? What she does sounds akin to teaching someone's toddler that it's fun to use the couch as a trampoline, or to draw on the walls!

    And poor Mud gets caught in between. I'll look forward to some others weighing in on this one. :dogsad:
  5. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Lol, she is indeed becoming a pain in the neck. I don't think it's her just trying to be annoying, she just doesn't think it's a problem for dogs to do these things...hers jumps on people, sleeps and lays on any piece of furniture she feels like, etc. Mud jumps on me on command, but otherwise it's not allowed and she knows this.

    Thanks for your help though. :)

    When I tell Mud to kennel when I'm tired of trying to get SIL to stop, she tells me I'm being mean. Obviously she doesn't understand that I'm not using it as punishment. :dogdry: She tells me that I shouldn't make her work for everything(not seeing that Mud thoroughly enjoys her trick training and would probably hate me if I stopped trick training) because that's mean, that her jumping on the couch is just because she wants to be with whoever's on the couch, and that her jumping on people doesn't bother her--perhaps, but it does bother many/most people, and will definitely bother mothers of knocked down 3-yr-olds. (This hasn't been a problem at all, as she still does sit to greet youngsters and is happy to roll over for them for a belly rub. Adults however she has jumped on recently.)

    I do think the "YUCK" trick would be a humorous way to make her lose interest in giving Mud food at the table. I just don't know if that would make Mud stop hovering around her when eating....perhaps after many "YUCK"s she would see that begging SIL doesn't get her snacks. Hmm. Not sure. Like I said, the people/couch jumping wasn't an issue until SIL kept rewarding her for it. Just not sure what to do. :dogsad:
  6. yvonne Well-Known Member

    Sorry to be thick but what is the Yuck trick??
  7. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    When offered a human treat(or anything at all, really) the dog turns her nose down and looks away. It's a common movie trick, but I learned it from the book 101 Dog Tricks with Kyra Sundance and Chaucy.

    I thought this would be helpful because if my sister-in-law offers her something, I could simply say, "YUCK." and have Mud turn down the food. My sister-in-law would eventually lose interest and give up trying to make a beggar out of my good girl. :)

    I tried to find a pic from Kyra's website but no luck. >< Awesome book though, you and Dude would love it.
  8. CollieMan Experienced Member

    I did a review of the book on my blog, here.

    It's a great book, for sure.
  9. snooks Experienced Member

    Sorry to hear about the SIL debacle. I usually crate my dog when someone like this is over. I also will enlist their help and make it very clear since usually they just don't know that this is not accepted behavior and I need their help not to untrain my dog. I explain that every time a person does this it takes me 20 or so times to retrain it. I also use body blocks and say Betty EH-EH humorously. Or just Betty STOP! firm but nice stepping between them.

    She is probably just trying to fit in and doesn't understand or have any real capacity to listen or understand in her nervousness. Most people esp non dog folks have no idea what this does and are struggling to endear themselves to you through your dog without realizing that it's doing the opposite. So be humorous but strong and brief. EH! or STOP! Joke about how that works with your hubby etc.

    Make it very clear no table scraps because she barfs on the rug! Exaggerate, be disgusting about puke, whatever it takes. Get her to help you do a few tricks and get the idea that she can endear herself appropriately. You can also leash the dog and manage things closer to you and it might be easier.

    Sometimes if you get your dog in real trouble and a make the person feel horrible they'll quit. Not that I would seriously worry my dog but I might say....oh you got on the couch. who let you on the couch, now you'll have to be crated for weeks instead of running free....etc etc. has anyone let her on the couch? last time i had to crate her for 5 months to get her to quit that. she sprained her paw and had to go to the vet twice etc etc. exaggerate shamelessly if you have to.

    i have a huge problem with people petting my jumper so i make them feel awful and they stop. i know it's horrible sounding but it beats having a jumping 55 lb dog that knocks me down. this is why i can't let her around people, if only i had someone to help me train to ignore when she jumps. hey could you help...just give her a treat when all four paws are on the floor and hand her the treats. but no table food because she puked all over the rug last week and i had to have steamatic out about expensive.

    sometimes you have to actually touch them or gently restrain them b/c the see the dog and turn off their ears. hence why a body block works. :dogbiggrin: good luck, i feel your pain.
  10. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    We've known her for quite a while, so I don't think worry about fitting in is an issue. Actually, she's more "at home" with my family than her own--she comes from some doozies. Lol!

    She has a fairly basic-intermediate understanding of dogs, and she knows that she is causing these issues---she just doesn't see why it's an issue. Maddie(her lab mix) can sleep in her bed...lounge on the sofa...sit in the chairs...jump on people....etc. (The sleeping in the bed doesn't bother me a bit, but Mud prefers her kennel anyway for the majority of the night, so that's alright.) I can either put Mud in a down-stay at my feet or put her in her kennel while Elena's there and she's fine, but I hate to exile her everytime SIL's over. I know that's not how Mud thinks of it, but you know...

    The "people training" would probably irritate her...she's one of those people who gets really bent out of shape over little things, lol. I am wondering about allergies lately....nothing serious; no hair loss and raw paws mind you...I suppose this could curb her snack sneaking? If she gives her a french fry she's going to rip the hair off her paws? Lol. I did try the tricks--she's not all that interested because supposedly "I shouldn't make Mud 'WORK' for her toys and food, etc." She doesn't realize that to Mud it's not work, it's all fun play. ^^

    Next time she comes over I'll have to try a few things. Thanks for the tips everyone!
  11. snooks Experienced Member

    ahh i see. make mousse and mix ex-lax fast acting in hers. She won't be available to bother ur dogs. Did type that or just think it. :dogtongue: :doglaugh: oopsee guess those french fries were a little rich eh. At this point I would EH and body block maybe explain in our house we do it our way. when we come to your house we'll do it your way. Maybe just a private heart to heart on how it makes YOU FEEL, no dispersions on her but that you are training for a purpose and would love her help in sticking with the program since she loves dogs or is good with dogs or whatever you can come up with. That or a crate, if she asks where's the dog explain ... not being given food and getting on the furniture we'd rather not start that again. if tactful enough it might get a positive response.

    the most appropriate person to actually stop the SIL is the brother to which she is married if he'll do it. he can do it without engendering any bad feelings hopefully if charming. x fingers for you there. it's just insensitive. I always ask how people prefer their dogs treated and never ever feed them unless given a treat to do so by the hosts. :dogtongue:
  12. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    We'll give it a go the next time she comes over. On the plus side, we haven't had a couch issue in the last couple weeks. Yay. :)

    My brother has complained to her about getting the dogs riled up, getting the dogs on the couch, etc...he doesn't allow Maddie on the couch at their house when it's just him, but when it's just SIL...she's anywhere she wants. Very sweet dog, just not completely trained.
    We'll see what happens. :)
  13. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    Ah, Tx, you have my empathy. I had a similar situation, but i was pretty assertive and won out, yeah, i lost points for not being 'super-sweet' but i dont' think the person i was up against was as bad your SIL. Wow, unnnnnbelievable.

    With my 'person'--also an SIL,!!!!--- i was trying to stop-giving-scraps of lousy food to my dog i pointed out (on about thrid try) that sometimes it's easier for folks to think about how we honor each other's ways of raising children, we tend to stick to the outlines the parents want, and it's kinda the same for the dogs in our lives. Or maybe it was the glint of impending danger in my eye:msnmad: that caused her to stop feeding my dog...

    I gotta feeling if you do have kids, this SIL should not be allowed to babysit,:msngiggle: You'd see your lil children driving her car and with their tumies full of sugar, red dye#3, beer or something!!

    I with Snooks, put some ex-lax in her dessert. Or ipecac. (makes ya haha!!
    Also, as Snooks said, it'd be nice if you had some back up. Some things are complicated, not every setup is ideal, but it would sure be nice if you had some back up from the brother....If that isn't gonna happen, get the Ipecac. :msngiggle:
    wow, sorry, i got nothing.... but empathy. And i thought MY person was YOurs is way worse...

    My SIL, thinks i am mean to not let my dogs get fat off cookies and ice cream. but i did get her to stop feeding my dog. Yeah, she thinks i am a crank, (but i think she shouldn't even be allowed to have a pet, her dachsund is too fat to walk!! That is ABUSE!!) but at least now my dog is safe from her lousy food :dogtongue:scrap throwing....:msntongue:

    Wow, keep us posted if anything you tried worked....your SIL is off the hook. HOw rude of her to ignore your requests for your own dogs!!! Poor Mud is probably getting pretty mixed up!!!:dogunsure: Tx, i do understand about your dog loving/needing to do tricks and stuff, mine is same way.
    CAn you send her some DVD of dog training or nutrition? :msngiggle: Or people manners? :msniwonder:
    TX, YOU ARE SOOOOOO NICER THAN ME, I'D BAN THE GAL FROM MY HOUSE!!! Relative or not, play by the rules or yer out!!
    Tx, are you too sweet to tell this gal, "You can't come back over til you agree to leave my dogs alone?" or anything as assertive as that, or would WW3 break out...? EY! I'M FEELING VERY MOUTHY AND IRRITABLE TODAY, I'LL TELL HER!!:msngiggle:

    Okay, now my inner brat got a hold of me, how about, you find something that irritates her, just keep doing it, and telling her it's no big deal?
    Are you guys glad i am not an ambassador, or what!!?? bah ha ha!!:msngiggle:
  14. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

  15. snooks Experienced Member

    Tigerlily you have me laffing myself silly. I see I'm not the only one that imagines just awful things like the ex-lax and ipecac...that was a nice one. LOL You're good. I do it mostly for comic relief and would never really be nearly as bad as I joke.

    Working for treats is mean eh. I guess my dogs are the most abused in the world with those waggy tails and happy smiley golden faces. They really deserve better. :msngiggle:

    I guess a prickly SIL in law is better than an outright raving alcoholic cheating madwoman which I did have as a SIL---now ex SIL thank goodness. As my grandpa used to say it can always be worse. He was pretty smart for an old guy, and a great reality check or me often.

    I too offer empathy for people that just have no idea how a dog thinks and believe they have license to behave badly. Very good point about people not being so presumptuous with children Tigerlily, I might point that out to some people I know that rev my puppy up. Don't rev a nuclear bomb it's not a good idea. :dogtongue2:

    And just in case you needed want me to send my big hairy uncle over to rough her up?? Just kidding but sometimes it feels better to have someone offer backup. :dogmad: :doglaugh:

    Hang tough, we're behind u all the way!!! At least the couch incidences are down.
  16. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    LOL thanks guys.

    Well, haven't been around her yet...but tomorrow I will see her, and I'll keep y'all posted. Lol, Tigerlily you sure know how to handle things huh? :doglaugh:

    Snooks, thanks for the offer of your uncle, lol. If I don't set her straight I'll be sure to take up the offer. ;)
  17. frecs New Member

    Frankly, I'd put my foot down. Let her know that she either follows the rules of the house or she can just not come to visit. I think it is incredibly rude of someone not to follow the rules of someone's house. Whether she agrees with your rules or not is simply not the issue, they are your rules for your dog. PERIOD. I know she is your SIL and you don't want to create a family feud but REALLY...she's the one creating the problem, not you.
  18. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Indeed. The last couple times she was here it was fairly late and Mud was zonked out, lol. So no issues there. Mud was snoozing so I just woke her up to kennel her. No couch issues in the last several weeks, and as for any begging the most she's done is lay across the room and give you the eye every now and then like, "Sooo, anything in that plate for me, or is mine still in the bowl?"

    But all in all, no problems in a while. Sister-in-law hasn't been too bad--maybe she's finally getting it. My brother just got a Weimaraner/German Shorthaired Pointer who is generally very good in the house, but...well, his first morning SIL came in to find Dakota with his front paws and his head buried in the sink sniffing for any tiny leftover bits of food on the a morning dish. Lol. Pretty sure that kind of woke her up to why I want my dogs to behave well inside. Think it gave her something to relate to, and she's been a little better. We'll see what happens, but so far all is well. :)
  19. brenda taulbee New Member

    I can definitely empathize also, but instead of an SIL I've got a mother-in-law to deal with.

    I am also mean for making Kenzii work for treats. Obviously she deserves treats just for being alive. Also unimaginably cruel:

    1. Kenzii can't get on furniture
    2. Kenzii isn't allowed to knock me over on the way out the door or up/down stairs
    3. Kenzii has a fixed eating schedule (She once asked me if I ate the same thing at the same time every day. I told her, no, but I also don't have four paws and a muzzle)
    4. Kenzii learns tricks (Obviously a cruel way of making her entertainment, since we don't have television)

    The list goes on and on! Our problem is that we work three nights a week, and Kenz goes to "Grandma's House". They don't just let her on the couch, they make her crawl up there with them. Definitely tough. Kenzii is my first dog, so every time I bring up our house rules and behaviors I don't want her to learn I get the "I've raised more dogs than you, so I obviously know how it's done."

    Good luck, everybody, with your difficult whatever-in-laws. Keep fighting the good fight!
  20. tx_cowgirl Honored Member


    Indeed the furniture is made for people and dogs alike---but when it comes to cleaning--geez, I can't get all this hair off the couch...(Hmm, wonder why.)

    And the tricks, even though I constantly hear the "I wish Maddie knew that"s, are so awful...making a dog work for things, that's just terrible. I guess welfare is the answer for the whole human population as well then huh?

    Mud didn't used to have a furniture problem either, but SIL coaxes her. (And Mud doesn't take much coaxing.) SIL also encourages her to jump up to greet her. SIL unfortunately is 10x worse with the pets of the equine kind...she uses rougher methods than I and tries to take over constantly. What finally got her to back off was when I lost my temper and very rudely told her to stop, then proceded to get my horse to do exactly what I wanted without being pushy by any means. And my horse was happy to do what I asked of him. SIL is just one of those take-over types. Very irritating...but apparently being rude gets through to her. ><

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