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Canine Behavior/Dog Behaviors


I have been staying at my son's for several months, and have a mixed breed dog that has to behave.  She even had to give up chasing "varmits" out of the back yard, but still insists on sniffing "others" like she is in a trance.  I could brag some more, but she is not the point.  
My son had two dachshunds that I swear is compulsive (a little humor) before they got a male for breeding.  The male barked a little when they got him, but it has been increasing ever since to the point the small female joins in.  My dog may bark once in a while if it is a noise outside or someone at the door, but is sent to her room in a stern voice if it is more than a few barks.  The dachshunds are usually corrected in a normal conversation voice repeatedly over and over without much result, if at all.  
I am not allowed to correct them, but have to endure their barking, yelping, and running up & down the hall even while I am sleeping. The other female whines for no reason, constantly when she is taken in the car, quite often when they are downstairs, and even when everyone is watching TV.  The dogs are left upstairs when they go to bed, and when the wife gets up or comes home, the dogs are allowed to go nuts jumping around and licking the face.  
I am usually in the bedroom when I am at the house unless I am cooking or doing laundry.  I feel the male has become aggressive.  He will come toward me while barking with the hair raised all the way down his back.  I am prepared to do what I have to do if it continues to escalate; but I do not want to hurt the dog, nor have a family war.  I have made suggestions such as using a crate to train the dogs, but they refuse to crate them.  The dogs are taken outside to potty more than I have ever seen before, but continually potty in the house (both forms) without any real correcting before or after cleaning up the mess.  
Please help me out here.  Is the dogs behavior normal?  Am I out of line to expect dogs to be trained, not bark over everything, know the basic commands other than "sit pretty", and to obey commands?  
By the way, my dog is usually closed in the bedroom when I am not there.  I am not concerned about her pottying in the house during emergency situations even for that long, but will give them credit for letting her out to go potty once in a while.  The only complaints is her white hair and putting her nose in a hand that is hanging over a chair.  My son has a problem with her being stupid for prancing around - when the other dogs are getting attention.  My dog is passive to the point of allowing the smaller dogs to take toys and food from her.
Please comment so that I know if my judgments are out of touch with reality or not.  Thank you for your time and for being wonderful by assisting those that cannot afford expensive treatments or simply needing to know a few things.

It's amazing to me that your dog has habituated to this environment as well as she has.  Putting a "nose" into a human hand is not obnoxious, it is a bid for attention.  She must be quite overwhelmed by what's going on in that household and yet she is still well behaved.  Any dog requires at LEAST THREE opportunities to eliminate outdoors, optimally four to five (especially an older dog).  Your son's dogs are not house trained, at worst; at best, the male is "marking" because there are intact bitches in his "pack".  From his behavior, he is NOT a candidate for breeding, nor should anyone who does not know what they're doing be breeding ANY type of dog, especially a breed known for physical problems (inherited) and behavioral problems.  None of these Doxies appear to be temperamentally suitable for breeding.

That being said, it's not your house and you apparently have very little influence.  When the male approaches you with hackles raised, it is either fear (lack of good socialization or an acquired fear response to you, personally, perhaps because you are afraid of him) or a statement of social hierarchy.  You do not have to "hurt" any dog but you are a Human living in an intolerable, disrespectful situation and you should NOT have to endure ANY display of aggression by any dog in this home.  Carry pepper spray.  You can get it on the Internet or even from most veterinarian.  If the dog charges you, spray him.  It will stop him and it will most likely prevent a repetition of aggression toward you (by his association with the consequence of his immediate behavior).  If he simply approaches with raised hackles, even if vocalizing, stand your ground.  Do not back up.  Break eye contact.  When he has desisted, keep moving.  If he's a fear biter, he may come at you from behind, so have the pepper spray ready.

This is not an acceptable way to live.  I don't know your situation so I can't advise you but I think that, if at all possible, you need to find another living arrangement.

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Jill Connor, Ph.D.


I have spent my entire professional life rehabilitating the behavior of the domestic dog and I can answer any question regarding any behavior problem in any breed dog. I have answered more than 5,000 QUESTIONS on this site in the past (almost) eight years. If you are a caring, committed owner and need advice, I'm here for you. I am personally acquainted with my colleagues (Turid Rugaas, Ian Dunbar, etc.) who were members of an elite group in EGroups that I founded: K9Shrinks. THERE ARE NO QUICK FIXES for serious behavioral issues; not only is it unprofessional to offer same, it is also unethical. IF I ASK YOU SUBSEQUENT QUESTIONS, I NEED YOU TO INTERACT WITH ME. More information equals more credible answers and a more successful outcome. If you want ANSWERS THAT WORK, participate in any way I request. I'm quite committed to working on this site for YOUR benefit and the benefit of YOUR DOG. Help me in any way you can.


30 years of solving serious behavior problems in domestic dogs; expert in dog to human aggression; Internet columnist for for 5 years; former radio talk show host, WHPC.FM, Garden City, NY "Bite Back" (1995 through 2000). List owner, international animal behavior experts, Seminar leader: "Operant Conditioning and Learning"; "Aggression in The Domestic Dog"; "Solving Problem Behaviors" -- conducted for various training facilities on Long Island from 1993 through 2000. Former clinical director of "Behavioral Abnormalities" in conjunction with Mark Beckerman, DVM, Hempstead, New York.

Member, APDT (UK); Psychologists in Ethical Treatment with Animals

Harcourt Brace Learning Direct: "The Business of Dog Training" "The Fail Safe Dog: Brain Training, not Pain Training"

Ph.D., UC Berkeley

Past/Present Clients
Board of Directors: Northeast Dog Rescue Connection; The Dog Project; Sav-A-Dog Foundation; etc. Pro Bono counselor: Little Shelter Humane Society My practice is presently limited to forensics. I diagnose cause of dog bite, based upon testimony before the Court, for attorneys and insurance companies litigating dog bites, including fatal injuries. I also do pro bono work for bona fide rescue organizations, humane societies, et al, regarding such analysis in an effort to obtain release for dogs being held for death in municipal shelters in the US.

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