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Bernie and Oliver's Mom
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So this is somewhat of a venting post - and a long one (sorry!). I have two golden boys (who are absolutely brilliant btw). My 8 month old (Oliver) is super food driven which makes him pretty easy to train. My 10 month old (Bernie), not only is a teenager, but is completely prey-driven. He'll take treats in the house, and in calm environments, but if anything interesting whatsoever is happening you could shove the treat in his mouth and he'll spit it out. I've had to get really creative with training him because of it (its actually been quite fun).

Anyways..this past weekend we had a barbecue at my Dad's Fiance's house and she doesn't have a fenced in backyard. Oliver is extremely reliable off leash so I kept his 6 foot leash on him and let him roam freely. Bernie on the other hand is much more interested in everything but me and my BF when we're outside so he was put on a long line tied to a tree. Both dogs did great. I was especially happy with how calm Bernie was because he can get pretty excited with children and is scared of water. There were 5 crazy boys playing with water guns, a garden hose, and a kiddie pool and the dogs were great even when getting attacked with the hose :doh:. Oliver was very responsive every time I addressed him which was great. Bernie was responsive maybe 20% of the time :no: not so good. But he's learned that he can ignore us and that there are better things to do than listen to us. I didn't adapt to a training style that suits him until more recently because I'm a new dog owner and well I thought all Golden's loved to eat :D so if anything i'm the stupid one here. Anyways if I waved a bumper around his eyes were glued to me, so we're getting there - just have to start from square one basically. The thing that's frustrating is Oliver is better behaved at the moment so my Dad's Fiance and one of my older sisters always call Bernie dumb or stupid. They see Oliver - Mr. Fattypants (term of endearment) who'll do anything for food and think that Bernie is stupid because he's not at Oliver's level. Its beyond frustrating and it really hurts my feelings. At the bbq my sister called Bernie stupid around 5 times and at one point she put a ton of emphasis on it - when she saw my BF wave a treat in front of Bernie's nose and him completed ignore it - and was like woooooow poor Bernie is Sooooo stupid. My other sister was even taken aback that she said something so mean and asked me "no he's not right?". I almost burst out crying. I tried to stay civil and just said that he's not even close to stpuid and people who don't understand dogs wouldn't know. These dogs are basically my children. I'm not interested in having kids - I just want my golden boys. They're my whole life and I've invested so much in them. Bernie has been a struggle from day one because he has a lot of fear issues, isn't food motivated, and is leash reactive/gets over excited very easily. He's a great, loving, sweet dog. But I think he definitely is a difficult dog for a first time dog owner, not so forgiving with the mistakes that me and my BF have made with him. Any training issue he has is MY fault (or my BF's ;) ). In fact he's actually much better behaved in the house than Oliver is. Its just usually my family only sees them at family gatherings OUTSIDE the home so they don't see this incredible side of him. Right now we're doing field training with both dogs and Bernie's doing fantastic (prey-drive :D). He's doing much better than Oliver with the retrieve and marks. So who's the dumb one now (jk I love my Oliver - he's brilliant :)). My point is they both have their strengths and weaknesses. Unfortunately no one gets to see Bernie's strengths and everyone always sees Oliver's. Our field trainer is SO impressed with Bernie - I have no doubt that Bernie will go all the way to MH. Even with me and my BF's unskilled handling. So there you have it. My dogs are BRILLIANT. Both of them. In every way they're perfect. Any weaknesses they have are MY fault. And it really really gets to me that some ignorant people in my family constantly call them stupid and are just so darn rude. It hurts my feelings. If my sister had children and they were struggling with learning something I'd never call them stupid. I can't expect her to understand they're not just dogs to me, but am I that crazy for expecting her to be sensitive to my feelings? I don't call her stupid for not knowing anything about dogs. I haven't said anything to her or my Dad's Fiance, but I've been mulling over the idea of writing them both an email (a nice-mature one - not angry or rash). Every time I think about Sunday (the bbq) I get really upset and its been distracting me ever since. Am I over reacting? Maybe I'm just too obsessed with my dogs. I just can't wait for Bernie to start passing hunt tests so I can have something to throw in their faces that he is brilliant.


Here's a picture of my beautiful family (me, BF, and furkids).
 

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Tess and Liza
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How much do you really care about her opinions? It may seem a strange question, but one thing I always taught my kids, was that you don't have to feel hurt every time someone says something nasty about you or anything/anyone you love or do. It's hard enough to cope with criticism by people who know what they are talking about, let alone care about all the things the rest of the world thinks. Let her come and watch him in field and hunt class, how driven and motivated he is, how well he works. Don't bother yourself with an email, you will never be able to explain how much it hurts you, and the question is, will she care. She must have seen that you didn't like it. Leave it at that.
 

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Love the pictures and you have every right to feel hurt. People that just aren't that into dogs often think they're stupid and can't understand the attachments that owners have to their dogs. You're right, not many people would tell a parent that their child is stupid.

Since your family will probably be seeing the dogs many times in the future maybe you should take any occasions that come up in the future to educate your family about the dogs and how they differ . . . food motivated vs. prey drive etc.

I probably wouldn't do the email but if it happens again I'd just say something simple like, I really love Bernie and it makes me feel bad to hear you say that.

They sound like great dogs and they're giving you much happiness and that's what's important.
 

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I have no idea what to say to help except, please please be careful about sending emails. Remember the person reading it gets to interpret how they feel the context of the email was written. You could say something in the nicest possible way and they can read it in the worst possible way.

We are actually having that issue right now in my family...When I read the email, I see nothing wrong with the wording; when the intended recipient reads it she see a snotty email....it's crazy!

I am sorry you are having to deal with this. Non dog people just dont get it and some dog people feel they are just a dog...<shakeshead>
 

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Bernie and Oliver's Mom
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Discussion Starter #5
I guess I should just shrug it off. Especially since she doesn't understand anything about dogs. I'll just use that as more motivation in training Bernie. I know she wouldn't be interested in seeing his field training. That right there should probably be enough for me to not care what she says about him. Not worth the wasted energy!
 

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Bernie and Oliver's Mom
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Discussion Starter #6
I have no idea what to say to help except, please please be careful about sending emails. Remember the person reading it gets to interpret how they feel the context of the email was written. You could say something in the nicest possible way and they can read it in the worst possible way.

We are actually having that issue right now in my family...When I read the email, I see nothing wrong with the wording; when the intended recipient reads it she see a snotty email....it's crazy!

I am sorry you are having to deal with this. Non dog people just dont get it and some dog people feel they are just a dog...<shakeshead>
Thanks, that's a really good point. I think if they say something again (which I know they will) I'll just say I don't appreciate them saying that about my dog.
 

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Yep. Shrug it off. She's a jerk and an insensitive and clueless one. Maybe she thought she was being funny, maybe she was being a true jerk, maybe she was trying to hard to impress her boyfriend.

Let it go. The puppies didn't hear what she said, so their feeling are hurt.
 

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I think your sister found a way to push your buttons, so she did. It's not really the dog she was addressing, as much as finding a way to tease you because you care so much about your furry children. Best response is no response. When some people know they can upset you with teasing, they'll do it continuously. Better just let the dogs mature in their own ways and ignore the ignorant comments. Defending them will just show your sister that she managed to get to you - so she wins.

I may be off base, because my older sister was a bully. Every time I got used to one tactic and no longer responded, she would try something new, and often worse. Eventually I stopped most interactions with her, and no longer had to deal with the bullying.
 

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Kate
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Very nice pictures<:

Don't pay them any attention. Sisters can be obnoxious, as can relatives, as can parents. When push comes to shove, they will be there to support you and be your back when you need them.

Speaking as somebody who has 3 sisters - only one of whom is a complete angel. The other two.... bleh. And my oldest sister who got me into dog training is probably the one who drives me the most nuts with some of the stuff she says about my dogs. Same thing with her husband. In fact, some time I need to take a picture of one of the caricature family portraits he did of the family back during the Sammy and Danny days. >.< Bob was the one who physically carried Sammy to the car and held him in the car all the way to the vet and cried over him with my sister. And when Danny died and even now he still remembers Danny as the most gentle, sweet, perfect, and kind dog he ever met. Regardless of how he drew him during life.
 

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In the Moment
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Well it's evident that the stupid one was not the one with fur. I agree with others that say she sounds like someone looking to push your buttons or just a dolt. Tuning her out is the best idea IMO....she doesn't get the satisfaction of seeing you upset and you don't need to suffer the stress of dealing with her. People like that are saying more about themselves than any topic they are addressing.
 

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Bernie and Oliver's Mom
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Discussion Starter #11
I think your sister found a way to push your buttons, so she did. It's not really the dog she was addressing, as much as finding a way to tease you because you care so much about your furry children. Best response is no response. When some people know they can upset you with teasing, they'll do it continuously. Better just let the dogs mature in their own ways and ignore the ignorant comments. Defending them will just show your sister that she managed to get to you - so she wins.

I may be off base, because my older sister was a bully. Every time I got used to one tactic and no longer responded, she would try something new, and often worse. Eventually I stopped most interactions with her, and no longer had to deal with the bullying.

I actually have the opposite relationship with my siblings. There's 4 of us and we're all really close or were until recently. The sister who was being so rude is actually a social worker - go figure. So she's usually more sensitive to things like that and understand a person's feelings. But I think you might be right with her knowing it would upset me. I think maybe she's mad that I'm so happy with my dogs and my boyfriend? I was kind of surprised though because at this family gathering she was introducing her new boyfriend to the family. I thought she'd have been a little nicer in front of him. I guess things have changed from when we were younger.
 

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This is a difficult situation, sometimes it's easier said than done to simply not respond. However, I do agree that it's the best response and they probably won't understand your email anyway. Could your sister be jealous of you? And like others have said, push your buttons for the fact that she's envious and likes to get under your skin when she can? It's very unfortunate, because no matter how much you tell yourself you don't care, when it's family, you want them to understand your feelings and where you're coming from. But if someone is this negative and unwilling to listen and learn about something that's important to you, then it's their loss. And you should deal with them as little as possible so you don't have to deal with unneccessary negativity. It's also unfortunate because I'm sure you wouldn't treat something that's important to her with such a careless and negative attitude. You'll be the happy one. It's very unfortunate, but you're the one winning in this situation. You seem very happy and that's what counts :) Your pictures are adorable!
 

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I think Ginny is right about why your sister said it, and your sister obviously knows nothing about dogs. Mostly, though I came to the thread to say that I've met Bernie twice and he's not dumb at all. Quite the contrary, really. He's a bright, sweet dog. I understand how somebody who doesn't know dogs might equate food motivation with intelligence, but anybody who's trained a few dogs knows that the two have no relationship to each other.
 

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I love your pictures! Such a cute little family :)

I just wanted to say I kind of know how you feel. I have spent so much time researching goldens and training my dog Ben. I feel like he is the smartest dog ever and has come so far. He gets really excited when he greets people though and he doesn't jump(anymore ;) ) but because of this one thing everyone thinks my dog is crazy and "needs some training". :( We're in a a pre novice training class so I feel like he's moving right along. But no one sees that side of him. Most of my friends/family are not dog people so they seem to think only calm and lazy dogs are good dogs.
Like I said its frustrating because I have put a lot of time and energy into him and I love him so much!

I would just make a comment like you and others have said next time someone says something. Some people think they're "just dogs" so they'll never understand.


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Bernie and Oliver's Mom
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Discussion Starter #15
This is a difficult situation, sometimes it's easier said than done to simply not respond. However, I do agree that it's the best response and they probably won't understand your email anyway. Could your sister be jealous of you? And like others have said, push your buttons for the fact that she's envious and likes to get under your skin when she can? It's very unfortunate, because no matter how much you tell yourself you don't care, when it's family, you want them to understand your feelings and where you're coming from. But if someone is this negative and unwilling to listen and learn about something that's important to you, then it's their loss. And you should deal with them as little as possible so you don't have to deal with unneccessary negativity. It's also unfortunate because I'm sure you wouldn't treat something that's important to her with such a careless and negative attitude. You'll be the happy one. It's very unfortunate, but you're the one winning in this situation. You seem very happy and that's what counts :) Your pictures are adorable!
I think the consensus is to keep it to myself. Everyone's advice has been so great, thank you :). I can't imagine why she'd be jealous of me - a crazy dog lady. I'm a senior in college and basically decided to have furry children - tie myself down with responsibility (which is my way of having fun :D). She's 28 and free. OH another thing thats strange. She always takes pictures with Oliver and is somewhat obsessed with him - sending pictures to her friends of him and posting them on facebook:confused:. Maybe she just has it out for Bernie? The poor thing. Its no fair playing favorites. How could you not love this face?

ETA: Like you all said before thank goodness they don't know what she's saying! Now if they did...that'd be a different story. Mama bear would come out ;)
 

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Bernie and Oliver's Mom
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I think Ginny is right about why your sister said it, and your sister obviously knows nothing about dogs. Mostly, though I came to the thread to say that I've met Bernie twice and he's not dumb at all. Quite the contrary, really. He's a bright, sweet dog. I understand how somebody who doesn't know dogs might equate food motivation with intelligence, but anybody who's trained a few dogs knows that the two have no relationship to each other.
Thanks Brian that means a lot!
 

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Bernie and Oliver's Mom
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I love your pictures! Such a cute little family :)

I just wanted to say I kind of know how you feel. I have spent so much time researching goldens and training my dog Ben. I feel like he is the smartest dog ever and has come so far. He gets really excited when he greets people though and he doesn't jump(anymore ;) ) but because of this one thing everyone thinks my dog is crazy and "needs some training". :( We're in a a pre novice training class so I feel like he's moving right along. But no one sees that side of him. Most of my friends/family are not dog people so they seem to think only calm and lazy dogs are good dogs.
Like I said its frustrating because I have put a lot of time and energy into him and I love him so much!

I would just make a comment like you and others have said next time someone says something. Some people think they're "just dogs" so they'll never understand.


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Its nice to have people out there who understand! I feel like its almost insulting to me as well. I work so hard with my boys, devote so much time, give up a lot for them. And then she just craps all over it making me feel like a failure. And I mean...he's 10 months old COME ON NOW. he's a baby... 75 pounds but a baby all the same! But I'll share my successes and the joy these puppies bring me with those who care. And I'll see her at the next family gathering. People don't understand how hard we work with our dogs. But I know our dogs sure do appreciate it. My family is the same way with the whole a couch potato dog is a good dog. I actually wish I could transfer some of Bernie's drive to Oliver! HA. My family probably would think I'm crazy.
 

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People always used to say things like that about my Steve as well. It really made me mad! I started smiling and laughing, and saying things like "oh my goodness thats so funny- he thinks the same thing about you!", or one time "yeah, well, he's also colourblind - but he still wouldn't be caught dead in that sweater!". Dish it back out to them. Suddenly it's a little less fun to take stabs at you (because that's what this is). If you say it with a smoke and a laugh, people feel the 'sting' but can't actually get angry about it.


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But I also want to tell you to give her a piece of your mind! Haha I just have been on the same side as you with my siblings and it's constant and there's only so much you can take. But it's best to be the bigger person. I'd just maybe say something so she knows you notice her favoritism towards Oliver and her comments and how that makes you feel. You don't have to feed into it, but you don't have to put up with it either! But just know you're an amazing fur mama and we all relate to how you're feeling! And of course Bernie is not stupid! All dogs are different, just like people :)


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And I know how you feel about people not realizing how much work you put in. Sometimes people comment on how well Chase listens but a lot of people think its just because he's a golden retriever, not because we've put so much time into training him! These people have obviously never been around a baby land shark :) So I'd definitely be offended if I were you as well! You give up a lot for him and your sister should understand that, even I'd she wouldn't do it


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