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Help! Ignoring him is not working too well...

October 24th, 2006, 08:35 PM
Evening all!
I need help!

Between my husband and I, I am more strict with our dog than my husband. My husband "gives in" more, allowing Rudy to jump up on him whenever, wherever, letting him paw at him every night when we're trying to relax after work and watch tv or read, ...the list goes on. It's a bit of a "sore spot" between my husband and I actually :(
But...the kicker seems that our dog sees my husband as more of the alpha than me! Rudy will actually sit in front of me while i'm on the couch, paw at me a few times and when I say, "no...down!", he'll put all four on the floor, but he'll bark like CRAZY about 5 inches from me for a LONG time! I mean, I feel like the windows are going to cave in it's so loud. He does this until I give in just out of frustration, and give him a good rub on the head or back. I know giving in is wrong, but it's the only way I ever get 5 minutes of peace! However, he never barks at my husband to get what he wants. Ever. Most likely because every single time Rudy approaches my husband no matter what the situation, my husband pets him and loves on him. EVERY time! That's nice and all, but not realistic. Plus, you'd think it would give the dog too much power. But, like I said Rudy seems to feel that my husband is more of the "in charge" one of the house. I just don't get it.
I realize that most of the problem is the inconsistency between my husband and I in the way we train Rudy and I'm trying to work on that, but what do I do in the meantime? This might sound like a very minor issue, but put it this way....Rudy actually had me in tears last night! I was crying like a baby. My husband is away for a few weeks for his job, so it's just me, pooch, and the kitties. I can tell the dog is starting to "press buttons" to see how far he can get since my husband's not around. I'm trying SO hard to be stern and to ignore him when he starts the barking every TWO minutes, but I just couldn't deal with it anymore last night. I've even been making efforts to walk him after work every day, play with him in the evenings on the floor or in the yard....but when I'm trying to unwind at night....he's a completely different dog! I don't want to get so frustrated with him at night that I start to dread hanging out with him after work. I love him to death, but this is madness!
Any suggestions would help!!

October 24th, 2006, 10:15 PM
I really don't think he sees your hubby as the alpha. He sees him as the easy push-over, and sees you as a challenge. He's not sure if you're below him or not, IMO. You just have to be firm and consistent. And in the meantime, maybe teach him "no barking" or "shhh".;)

October 24th, 2006, 10:38 PM
Dogs have extinction bursts.. it gets worse before it gets better, and the more you cave the more you reinforce the behaviour so the extinction burst will take longer.

If every time you poked my shoulder I gave you a loonie.. you'd keep poking me. If I decided to stop giving you a loonie when you poked me, you'd likely start poking me like a broken elevator button lookign for your loonie.

It's like that with your dog. Dog barks barks barks, you cave he got what he wanted..

When you stop it'll take lots of barking and barking and barking before he gets it doesn't work like that anymore because it used to.

October 25th, 2006, 08:49 AM
It works the same way as it does with kids. If they want it and know that they can pester you into it, they have infinite patience and time to pester. It will take a while and you may need ear plug but don't ever give in. With our pups they never get lovin' when they ask unless they come to us and sit quietly beside us. We taught them by making sure that that was what happened every time. When Rudy starts barking try telling him to sit. When he does, and is quiet, pat and love like crazy. Don't worry too much about doing things exactly the same as your husband. If he's happy patting Rudy every time that's OK. Rudy is smart. He'll learn that to get lovin from you he must sit and that he doesn't need to do that with DH. There are some instances when it's so important to be on the same page but for things like this Rudy will learn how to get what he wants from each of you - even if it's not the same way.

October 25th, 2006, 11:58 AM
Excellent advice.

I would also increase the amount of physical and mental stimuation he gets. Find ways to squeeze in more training or physicaly activities. Do not just give him his food in a bowl, make him work for it, preferably through training but even just putting it in a treat ball will give him something more to do.

Also, remember that to most dogs, any attention is good - whether its positive or negative is besides the point to them. So even when you think you are correcting or disciplining him for barking, he is still getting what he wants.
Dogs need and love physical contact with us - do you spend some time during the day cuddling/petting or brushing your dog before he starts demanding it?

If you feel really overwhelmed, there's a book by Terry Ryan called "The Bark Stops Here".

While I agree that this behaviour is demanding and unacceptable, I am not convinced that he is doing it for dominance reasons. He's just confused and persistent because it works on hubby and not you. You really will have to convince your man to not give in, otherwise any progress you make while he's away won't last:p

October 25th, 2006, 12:02 PM
don't give strong!!
I know it's hard! Maybe you could have him do some obedience when he starts barking. Buster wil often bark when he decides it's time to play. He allowed one or two barks, then if he's insistant, I put him in a 'down' 'stay'. I think when they have to concentrate and lying down and staying in that position, they forget that they were barking! Plus it reinforces your role as alpha.

October 25th, 2006, 12:03 PM
I would also increase the amount of physical and mental stimuation he gets. Find ways to squeeze in more training or physicaly activities. Do not just give him his food in a bowl, make him work for it, preferably through training but even just putting it in a treat ball will give him something more to do.

Excellent advice! a tired dog, is a well-behaved dog!

October 25th, 2006, 06:11 PM
Thanks for the help!
I'm going to try some things and I'll keep you updated.:fingerscr