Am I a bad owner? - Page 3 - Golden Retrievers : Golden Retriever Dog Forums
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post #21 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-01-2013, 04:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Tayla's Mom View Post
IMO while she might be far from the perfect owner, use this as a coaching moment and not a chance to chase someone away. My fear is that saying what we sometimes think in a harsh way scares new people away. Giving them the benefit of our combined knowledge may help them be a better owner. Going after them with both barrels just keeps them from ever asking a question again. I asked a question on FB once after I got Tayla and people were so harsh and judgmental (one of them is on this forum) that I cried. I was told I was doing everything wrong and shouldn't even own a dog. Was it helpful, NO. In no way was it helpful. It is helpful to point out what someone could do to correct a problem. If you notice she has not responded again. Opportunity lost? Sad.

I was not the first one on this thread to suggest that the dog should be surrendered but I will agree that I was the most direct and the hardest.

When nothing is going right it is usually time to stop and look at yourself. Time to ask "What am I doing wrong?" Even harder is to then accept the answer to that question!

From the wording of the post it appears that the family does not have the time, space, energy, or finances for a dog. Never once did the op state how much she loved the dog or how much joy he brings to her life. If she gets good and mad at my post then maybe she will work hard to prove me wrong and give the dog the exercize, training, and attention that it deserves. If not and she surrenders it, then the dog has a chance at a life with someone who understands the needs of a golden.

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post #22 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-01-2013, 04:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Leslie B View Post
I was not the first one on this thread to suggest that the dog should be surrendered but I will agree that I was the most direct and the hardest.

When nothing is going right it is usually time to stop and look at yourself. Time to ask "What am I doing wrong?" Even harder is to then accept the answer to that question!

From the wording of the post it appears that the family does not have the time, space, energy, or finances for a dog. Never once did the op state how much she loved the dog or how much joy he brings to her life. If she gets good and mad at my post then maybe she will work hard to prove me wrong and give the dog the exercize, training, and attention that it deserves. If not and she surrenders it, then the dog has a chance at a life with someone who understands the needs of a golden.
The fact is that she may never request information again and keep the dog and everyone will live a horrible life. If they can just change one thing, maybe give the dog more exercise, and work on one suggestion at a time, but when you are at a point where you can't see the forest from the trees and you feel so lost and alone you just need someone to offer concrete advice and not be overly harsh. I'm coming from a place where I just needed direction when we got Tayla. We had dogs all our lives, but none like her. This forum was the first place I found someone who was kind enough to say, I've been here and here is what I did. And another chimed in and said I understand and try this. No one said you are a horrible owner, you are doing everything wrong, you don't deserve to have a dog. I took all their advice and tried things I hadn't thought of. Things got better. Someone suggest a breakthrough item that I tried and it helped more than anything. Today, at 1.5 years old Tayla is a much better dog and I'm a much better owner because I had a difficult dog and got through it. My point is just that I've been there and being harsh and hurtful really doesn't have the outcome you might think it does.

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post #23 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-01-2013, 05:13 PM
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Dogs repeat whatever was rewarding to them.

Try getting a clicker and some treats and go on youtube for kikopup videos. Training and learning can be just as tiring as exercise. Good luck!
This is a really useful point. If grabbing the shoe gets your attention( reward) it will be repeated. Try catching the pup being good. Give him a huge dose of attention for any behavior you want repeated. Like laying quietly chewing his bone etc.

I had three goldens and a sometimes 60 hour a week job at one point, and I set my alarm for 3:45 am to take them on a five miles run in the mornings, and then a walk in the afternoons too.

There are off leash places absolutely every where, or ways to get the pup some quality exercise daily.

Try to ask some fellow dog people, or get in with the early am dog walk crowd.

The dog needs a minimum standard of living to be sane and well-mannered.

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post #24 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-01-2013, 05:21 PM
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One of the things I learned is that saying no over and over (like my husband does) doesn't work. Tayla loves to go after our shoes when we are putting them on. Drives us nuts. So, when I get ready to put on my shoes (usually means a walk is coming), I put Tayla in a sit stay and then move away from her and put on my shoes. It works nicely. My husband, who doesn't work with her nearly enough has to put them on in another room or enlists my help. I like my way better.

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post #25 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-01-2013, 07:02 PM
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What I am hearing is that your family does not have time for a dog. My younger son played Varsity sports three seasons. My younger dogs always attended soccer and lacrosse events at schools where they were allowed. Hockey was tricky...although his private school at one time allowed dogs at the rink... I work full time, but dogs can come to work with me..my sister works full time, but has a dog walker... And dogs do not generalize. If my dog can sit and heel in my family room, she might not do it in the kitchen until she learns to generalize. My first golden would have fit into any family dynamic. The next nine have needed much more attention...

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post #26 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-01-2013, 08:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Tayla's Mom View Post
The fact is that she may never request information again and keep the dog and everyone will live a horrible life. If they can just change one thing, maybe give the dog more exercise, and work on one suggestion at a time, but when you are at a point where you can't see the forest from the trees and you feel so lost and alone you just need someone to offer concrete advice and not be overly harsh. I'm coming from a place where I just needed direction when we got Tayla. We had dogs all our lives, but none like her. This forum was the first place I found someone who was kind enough to say, I've been here and here is what I did. And another chimed in and said I understand and try this. No one said you are a horrible owner, you are doing everything wrong, you don't deserve to have a dog. I took all their advice and tried things I hadn't thought of. Things got better. Someone suggest a breakthrough item that I tried and it helped more than anything. Today, at 1.5 years old Tayla is a much better dog and I'm a much better owner because I had a difficult dog and got through it. My point is just that I've been there and being harsh and hurtful really doesn't have the outcome you might think it does.

Yes, I too have been there and gotten a dog that was a Ferrari instead of the Ford Focus I was used too. I too thought I was a bad owner and an incompetent trainer. I called my breeder (who I did not know that well at the time) and he told me that the dog was fine but I needed work! It was a total kick in the butt. It had the right outcome because I went home, rolled up my sleeves and went to work.

For you, the soft approach might have been the right approach but that is not the right approach for everyone. Some people (myself included) need more direct pressure in order see that "I don't have a problem - I am the problem".

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post #27 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-01-2013, 10:52 PM
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Are you a bad dog owner? Nope. Should you give up your dog? Nope, but you do need to understand that your dog is not going to train himself. He can't read the 'manual' so he will need you to show him what you want and reward him for doing it. Training sessions need not be a 'formal' set aside time to train, training can and should happen every time you interact with him. He wants a pet, ask for a sit, he wants to eat, train him to sit and wait for permission, (teaches self control as well), you want him off the couch, lure him off (if need be) with a treat, reward him when he has 'four on the floor'. He needs his leash on, get the sit or the down, before putting the leash on, he wants to go outside teach him to sit and wait for permission to go through the door. You want him to leave the shoes alone, put them away and teach him 'leave it'. Teach him to fetch, then while you are making supper, get your son to play fetch with him in the backyard -even 10 minutes will help to burn some energy.
Understand that a dog who does not understand (has not been taught) what you want him TO DO and is rewarded for doing it, is going to choose behaviors that are rewarding to him. Getting on the couch receives attention, picking up the shoes, gets a reaction - rewarding to him.
Having a dog is not that much different than having another child, the dog has needs that must be met on a daily basis, just as your children must have their needs met and be interacted with, your dog needs and deserves that as well.


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post #28 of 28 (permalink) Old 07-01-2013, 11:09 PM
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After reading your posts you sound very frustrated. Have you had a dog or puppy previously or is this your first one?

When I got Chloe I was told by a few different people that I shouldn’t get a puppy (or a dog). I worked full time, I lived in a high-rise condo and I lived by myself.

I got Chloe as a puppy and I was a “single mommy”. I was fortunate to have my parents puppy sit for me when she was a 8 weeks to about 7 months old. Since Chloe was 7 months old she has been staying home all day with no accidents or problems. I am happy to say that it is possible to work and have a happy dog. However, it means that you have to sacrifice and dedicate a lot of time for the dog. In my opinion it is soooooo worth it!

When Chloe was younger (from 7 months until she was 2 years old) I was up at 5am during the week. Chloe got at least an hour walk and a 30 min off leash play session. I set up a camera during the day so I could spy on her and make sure she was ok. Since she had so much exercise in the morning she would sleep the day away. I never stayed late at work (which meant during busy days I worked through my lunch). After work I would walk her (20 mins) as soon as I got home, then dinner, training session, and at least an hour walk in the evening and most days she would play with a neighbourhood dog off leash for another 30mins to an hour. I would usually come home around 10pm with a happy and tired pooch. I would have an hour or so to myself to shower, clean and get ready for the next day. On weekends I would get up around 7am, take Chloe to the park in the morning (spending 2-3 hours there) or the beach if it was hot out. I would go out and do errands

Puppies and dogs require a lot of time, patience and love. In my opinion, its so worth it! My dog is a part of my life and I wouldn’t change it for anything in the whole world.

No, I don’t think you’re a bad owner. I think you and your family really need to sit down, think and discuss Fenway. I am sure you love him and want what is best for him. I would really encourage you to try and increase his exercise and set a routine so he knows when he can play and when its time for him to relax and rest (ie: when you are at work). Do you have family or friends that would be willing to take Fenway for an hour or two to break up his day? I believe you said your oldest was 12, could he walk Fenway after school or play with him in the backyard? Can you take Fenway to sport events and train with him? In my old condo building, there was a single mom (she had a 10 year old daughter), they had a few cats and just recently got a puppy the same time as I did. This was her first dog and she was overwhelmed with how much time and energy was required caring for a puppy. We often got together so our dogs could play and tire each other out, and we also got to socialize for a bit. Could you find a dog that Fenway gets along with and have doggie play dates a couple times a week to burn off some excess energy? I would also encourage you to work on training with Fenway. If you can’t afford a trainer at this time, there is plenty of great information on the internet that can help you. I would strongly recommend Victoria Stillwell (Victoria Stilwell Positively*|* It’s Me or the Dog).



Sorry for the long post, I hope some of it helped!

Last edited by mudEpawz; 07-01-2013 at 11:38 PM.
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