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correcting a friend's dog?
  • So, I had a few friends over tonight with their dogs. There were four dogs including Lucy and Joey. Thea, quite possibly the sweetest most playful dog I've ever met. She wouldn't know aggression if it was holding her by the throat. She truly is 90 pounds of Swissy love. Then there's the pain in the ass Jack Russell Brodie. Brodie is obsessive, possessive, aggressive, spoiled, and *NEVER* corrected for bad behavior. His "walks" consist of a stroll across the parking lot on a flex leash. He was in rare form tonight. He was growling at Thea whenever she got within a few feet of him. After a while, he started doing the same to Lucy and Joey. At one point, Joey was innocently walking by not even looking at Brodie and Brodie went after him without any appropriate warnings. I broke it up by grabbing Brodie by the scruff and holding his front paws off the ground. Throughout our entire meal, Brodie was sitting next to the table whining and growling at any dog that came near him. At one point he snapped at Joey who was walking *behind him*, again without any warning signs. I again grabbed him by the scruff, only this time I alpha rolled him and made him stay like that until he relaxed totally. He left the other dogs alone for the rest of the night. Right before he left with his owners, he was obsessing over the toy box. In preparation for the evening, I had picked up all of the toys that were laying around. He wanted one. His dad took one out for him. He got up on the couch with it and immediately started growling at his mom for petting him while he played with his toy. She took it and put it away. He again started obsessing over the toy box. I picked him up and put him on my lap to redirect him. He finally relaxed a bit. All was good until his dad got up to leave. Brodie started squirming around like a mad man so I held on to wait for him to calm down. He didn't like that at all and bit me on my finger (it *barely* broke the skin). His mom was shocked and said "OMG, he just bit Dave!". His dad said nothing! I again grabbed him by the scruff and held him calmly on his back until he relaxed before putting him down to leave.

    So, I guess I have three questions. First, am I wrong to be correcting a dog that is apparently as out of control as Brodie? Second, am I misinterpreting things or are his parent's really being rude/assholes/whatever for not correcting him themselves? And third, who the fuck doesn't apologize, let alone not say anything, when their dog bites someone?
  • tobyshibatobyshiba
    Posts: 1121
    Good lord. It kinda gives you the same weirded out feeling when you yell at someone's kid. But, I would've corrected the behaviour if I was there. They were guests in your house, and should have kept control of their dog the whole night. Thats just bad dog owning right there. If the owners don't correct their dog ever, then he will continue to be a nuisance when he accompanies his owners when coming to your home. I would talk to the owners and ask them whats up, or ask why they don't correct them. Are you very good friends? I would certainly tell my friends if they need to brush up on their training/correcting skills if they were terrible at it, or not doing it at all ...
  • RyuRyu
    Posts: 1623
    I think it depends on *who* corrects the dog. If it's a friend, I appreciate the lesson. If its a random person on the street who doesn't know the first thing about dog training, I don't appreciate it so much. Maybe the dad didn't say anything because 1) he was embarrassed that he didn't know how to control his own dog, 2) he didn't appreciate the correction by another person and was being rude instead of asking politely that you not correct his dog or 3) his dog bites him all the time so he doesn't see whats wrong with it. If I were his wife, I would be embarrassed by his reaction (or lack there of). I think you did the right thing because it sounds like Brodie calmed down after each correction you gave. Hopefully his parents learned a few things tonight.

    Oh and poor Joey getting picked on :-(
  • RomiRomi
    Posts: 2722
    I don't think you did anything wrong either. I mean, he was snapping at Joey, who is YOUR dog, in YOUR house. It's a shame that Brodie's parents don't do any training with him. Honestly, it really seems like they chose the wrong dog. Jack Russels need tons of exercise because they have so much energy. And by walking a dog on a flex leash in a parking lot is not exercise. That dog needs some leadership and its really sad that his owners don't provide him with it. Im sure he's just bored, and now he's got issues because he has no direction from his so-called leaders.

    Anyway...I think the husband was really rude to not apologize. I mean...just because his dog is small doesn't mean he can't hurt anyone. I think if the owners really had a problem with you correcting their dog, they would have said something. But im assuming that they noticed their dog was being a bully to the other dogs and realized that when you were correcting him, he was responding to it in a positive way. And I def. agree with Pam, if my friend who had dogs would correct my dog, I would probably ask why and then listen and learn from their answer. But if some stranger tried to correct my dog, I would be pretty upset.

    Overall, I think you did a good job! I think Brodie needed the corrections and actually probably felt some sense of calmness with you.
  • LeonbergerLeonberger
    Posts: 3580
    I don't think you did anything wrong, I would probably have done the same, but I might have said something to the parents to control their dog.
  • ljowen123ljowen123
    Posts: 3105
    I can't believe they weren't correcting Brodie - I don't think you did anything wrong either! I always feel so embarrassed when Jazz does her growl thing at the dog park or at a friend's house - I'm there to redirect - it's not Jazz's fault she wasn't socialized before I got her. I would have no problem with a friend correcting Jazz - not a stranger, though.

    I remember Brodie - he's very into things - I can see the obsessive part. To not say anything when your dogs bits someone - that's more than rude.
    LJ - owned by Queen Jazz, a Shiba Inu, Atlanta, GA
  • tsukitsunetsukitsune
    Posts: 6468
    see, primately speaking, that could be a fine line to cross.. but all canines seem to know a set of body languages, and if this dog gets to call the shots 24/7 in his home, like when he wants a toy, when he wants to be pet, when he wants to play, when he's pissed and allowed to show it, with no boundaries by corrections, he's just like a spoiled 3 year old! And in your house when your dogs safety is on the line from this spoiled little dog - I think you have every right to correct that dog in a way that he can understand. If they are your friends, they should understand!

    My friend is not allowed to bring her lab over anymore because she can't handle my correcting his awful behaviors and rudeness to my dogs, so if she can't handle him, he can't come.
  • MommyofNikoMommyofNiko
    Posts: 2728
    Well one thing you forgot to mention Dave is you have watched Brodie for them before and therefore you have had to take an authoritative role with him. Now I personally dont do the alpha roll and would kick you in the nuts if you ever did it to my girls, but then again, I seem to think my girls are pretty well behaved. I did have one incident where someone smacked Niko because THEIR kids were putting their hands in her mouth. Niko's mouth is always open. I was trying my best to not cry and cuss him out. Niko screamed and cried for a good period of time, which she has never done before while being corrected, they used excessive force. I dont think it is wrong to correct a friends dog, especially in your house and when he is acting out on your dogs. I think one concern I have is doing a correction that the dog may not have ever been used to and that may lead to him acting out even more. I know that alpha roll and restraint would make Niko lash out because of freaking out. I dont know what to say about correcting a dog that is never corrected, I guess the tactics makes me nervous, but the intentions dont. If that makes sense. Grabbing the scuff is something we have done many times and is a very natural response.
    Like I said, I dont know how you correct a friends dog that is never correct, but I would EXPECT a friend to correct my dog the way they are used to be correcting. It is not up to someone else (unless the advice is solicited) to start training my dog.
    Just my thoughts.
  • GreensageGreensage
    Posts: 173
    It seems so obvious that you are the Alpha in your own environment and this little brat has never had to deal with an Alpha.

    It also seems very simple, the steps you used to correct, that these folks should have recognized how simple techniques can be used to control their dog; but it does make me wonder why they wouldn't be begging you to teach them so that they can begin to have a better relationship with this brat. Brats are brats in any form, animal or human; however, if this were a human child I bet they would have jumped on a soapbox and freaked.

    I would encourage them to consider training, not for Brodie but for the parents.

    I bet Brodie is already behaving differently at home. I wonder if his parents recognize why.

  • scarletscarlet
    Posts: 562
    Had it been Jake, you know I have no problem with your taking control, but in this case, it would not have been necessary because I would have taken control and removed Jake from the situation, no doubt, at the onset of any aggressive behavior. I hear the anger in your words and am sorry you have to feel that way, in light of the fact that your friends forced you to discipline their dog. Thinking, ha, had Jake been there, he would have stopped that aggressive behavior real quick :-) He is far less tolerant than Lucy or Thea and Joey is a little too young yet ......
  • JessicaRabbitJessicaRabbit
    Posts: 2217
    First-How good a friend are they?

    I ask because, I think you did nothing wrong. However if they are good friends, they clearly need a talking to. Something along the lines of

    "I am concerned about Brodies behavior. His aggression is making him become less and less of a welcome guest. As you also know he bit me the other night. This is a big concern, because if he bites say-a child even a dog as small as Brodie could cause some serious damage. Also consider if he hurts a person or another dog, you could get sued and he could end up getting put down. You could even lose your home!"

    And frankly I wouldn't let them bring their ass of a dog back.

    There are homes I would never bring my dogs. Some I would just bring Piggy (she has better manners), and there are very few people who I allow to bring their dogs to my home..

    So in conclusion
    1. It is your home and if they aren't going to do something you absolutely can. If they don't like it they can leave.
    2. They are INCREDIBLY rude and inappropriate. And they should be ashamed of themselves. That kind of behavior is deplorable.
    3. Not only do they owe you an apology. But If one of my dogs behaved in such an awful manner, I would send a note of apology along with a gift for you and a gift for each of your dogs, with an assurance that my dog was going to immediatly enroll in an obedience class.
  • MommyofNikoMommyofNiko
    Posts: 2728
    I do agree that your friends are out of control. It is horrible that they took no responsibility of their dog and they should not own a dog, especially one as tenacious as a jack russel. They need to not bring him any longer because there are too many factors involved.
  • Thanks guys. I was pretty pissed off about it last night. Brodie has stayed here before without his parents and within five minutes of them leaving, he becomes this very submissive omega. Last time he spent a weekend here he spent most of his time looking pathetic in the corner by himself while Lucy and Joey entertained each other.

    When his dad is around, its a completely different story. It's such a classic case of poor pack leadership skills its not even funny. In his mom's defense, he is her first dog and she only started living with him six months ago. She was attentive when I explained the reasoning behind my first two corrections; however, the dog is clearly his and not hers and she feels she doesn't have to take the same level of responsibility for it, even though she is trying on some level. She looks to him to do the correcting because Brodie has been his for more than 3 years and she doesn't completely understand what she's doing.

    It's also kinda a weird situation because Brodie's dad helped me out a lot when I first got Lucy. He was the one to show me how to trim nails, give a bath, what things I needed to buy. As far as my friends in Atlanta go, he's a pretty close friend. He would not take it very well if I tried to tell him that he needed to work with Brodie more seriously. He can't even take toys away from Brodie reliably. He'll just sit there with his hand on a toy that's in Brodie's mouth repeating "leave it", "leave it", "leave it" which is essentially teaching Brodie that "leave it" means "hold it". I mentioned it to him once and his response was "oh, he's a Jack". Which means what exactly? That's his standard response for all of Brodie's bad behavior "he's a Jack." Like that makes it ok?

    I don't use the alpha roll on my dogs, but that's mainly because I never have to. In the rare occasion they don't listen to a verbal or body language correction from me, an assertive touch is more than enough to get the point across. And I've never seen my dogs attack without any warning. That's the part that scares me the most about Brodie. The growling and teeth showing, while I think were inappropriate for the situation last night when he did use them, is at least fair warning to other dogs to back off. But he almost never follows that up with an attack. When he attacks, he goes directly from calm to attacking with only a split second notice.

    He can get Brodie to do all sorts of tricks like play dead, but he clearly sits below Brodie in the pack structure. How do I tell a friend that he needs to take control over his dog? Do I anonymously put some dog training books in his mailbox or something?
  • BradA1878BradA1878
    Posts: 2242
    Well, I think [based on the first paragraph of you last post] it is obvious that Brodie's parents are the ones that need training and not the dog as much.

    You guys are dudes - in my opinion you just need to tell him straight up! You should be able to do that w/ a [guy] friend, imo. You may want to sugar coat it and act like you are uncomfortable so he knows you are sensitive to the situation... but just tell him "If you can't take a toy away from Brodie w/o him growing, you may need to work on that". Point out how incredibly dangerous that is if you introduce kids into the situation - ya know?

    but, I am rather blunt... and have rather blunt close friends and we tell it how it is w/ each other. I realize some people will not take that as well as I would.


    If someone corrects my dogs and they needed correction, I LOVE it! It instantly makes me respect them more... now if they correct my dog for something I don't feel the dog should have been corrected for I will get pretty pissed and correct the person.

    I remember Rachael corrected Ahi a few times when she was violating her and it worked great. Jen and I could sit there and correct her [and we did], but she would just keep jumping on Rachael... Rachael broke out the "big voice" and told Ahi "NO!" and Ahi stopped. It was nice. :o)

    Sometimes dogs get it quicker/clearer when it comes from a different source.


    And, yea, they should have at least acknowledged the fact that Brodie bit you. imo.


    I used to surf w/ a dude name Brodie - he wasn't a biter tho. How perfect is that tho? - a surfer named Brodie!

  • Yeah, I suppose I should just sack up and talk to him. I know its going to go badly, but I think it needs to be said. Thanks Brad!
  • JessicaRabbitJessicaRabbit
    Posts: 2217
    Like I mentioned earlier if you come from the angle of "we are lucky Brodie bit me, and not someone who wouldn't take it as well" he may be pissed but he has to listen.

    Seriously I don't know what the laws are in GA but up here if Brodie bit someone he would go into mandatory quarantine for 10 business days. Your friend would have to pay fines out the ass, build a 6 foot tall fence and insure the dog. Some towns Brodie would require a muzzle anytime he was off property.

    And if he bit a 2nd time he would get put down.

    So your talking to your friend is really being a friend.
  • Thanks Jess! That's a good angle to take. I think I'm going to use that.
  • ljowen123ljowen123
    Posts: 3105
    Do your friends take Brodie to the dog park any?
    LJ - owned by Queen Jazz, a Shiba Inu, Atlanta, GA
  • They used to, but they've been taking him less and less due to his behavior.
  • StaticNfuzzStaticNfuzz
    Posts: 1814
    Wow Dave it sounds like you were really frustrated by the experience.

    I would not correct a friends pet physically since it is their responsibility to manage their own “fur-kids”.

    Also, I would not alpha roll any dog. Using that method is a crap shoot sometimes the results backfire. It is not right to put a dog in a position where an animal feels it may need to defend itself or escalate it’s behavior. Some animals when given a harsh correction may respond to what it interprets as aggression with aggression. No point in going there.

    IMHO physically getting a pet to submit is not equal to mentally getting it to submit. The more frustrated you are the more likely the struggle will go from zero to ten. A breather is needed in such cases.

    That being said, you are of course entitled to a sane experience in your own home. For those parents who are less savvy in dealing with their “dear darhling” doggie or have just mentally checked on their duties, I have an x-pen handy in my home just for such occasions/purposes. I will place “sweetie” in the pen when he or she misbehaves. I also explain to the visiting owners that a time out is best for a safe visit to reduce stress for everyone. No harm no foul and the owners might get the picture and learn to manage Browdie better. Some people just don’t know how to deal with obnoxious behavior, thinking it will go away if it is ignored.

    Redirecting the issues in this way, maybe you can now trade places with your friend and show Browdie’s owners the best way to get some structured sanity during a visit. Some dogs, like kids, behave worse in the presence of mom and dad than they do when away at school or care provider.

  • Snf: Thanks for the suggestions!

    Believe me, alpha rolling a dog is not something I take lightly. I would never ever even think about alpha rolling a dog I don't know a lot about. Brodie is by no means a stranger to me though. Next to my own dogs, he is the dog I spend the most time with. He's stayed out the house with us a number of times so I've learned, to some degree, how to handle him. He almost never misbehaves when I'm in control of him. Timeouts are not something that work effectively on him at this point. He's just too obsessive and has too much energy. He'll sit in the pen whining and crying for literally hours which means he would have spent the remainder of the party in there and still been obsessing when the time came to leave. Not to mention the disturbance to the other guests.

    When Brodie stays with me, he gets onto our schedule with long daily walks. After a day or two, he falls right in line with my Shibas, only is more submissive. I know he's a good dog that has developed some bad habits due to lack of exercise and structure in his life. For that reason, I felt comfortable calmly correcting him physically. I saved my frustration for the forum.


    Along those lines, I had Brodie's parent's over for leftovers last night without him. The goal was to have a little chat about his behavior. It was like talking to a brick wall. Perhaps I messed up by starting off subtly and putting them in a "brush off" kinda mood, but that's basically all they did. I made a few suggestions about how they might correct some of his more annoying behaviors and their response was typical "he's a Jack". Then I made some suggestions about adjusting their schedule so Brodie can go on daily runs with his dad. Again, more lame excuses about why that can't happen. Finally I got explicit about the bite, and their response was "well you aren't afraid of him, most people just leave him be when he like that and bitting isn't his first response." At that point I was too taken aback to continue the conversation. I think I'm going to resort to anonymously sending them a book on dog training. :-(
  • LeonbergerLeonberger
    Posts: 3580
    It's kind of sad that they reacted like that. I mean, it's ok that they don't know how to handle him. After all none of us knew what to do until we started learning. What is sad is that they react like that when a friend tries to give them some advice about the way they handle their dog.

    I know they're your friends and all, but for what you've written I'm sorry to say they seem to be serious candidates for the "some people shouldn't have fleas, let alone cats or dogs." :-(
    Post edited by Leonberger at 2008-05-27 10:01:39
  • JessicaRabbitJessicaRabbit
    Posts: 2217
    If I may suggest, perhaps you lay it out straight up; "If you guys are coming by Brodie is not welcome. I will watch him if you need a hand. But I will not condone your indifference to his aggression."
    Like Rui said, I know they're friends, but they are shitty dog parents. I have had friendships end because of pet neglect. Shelby's foster is someone who I will never speak to again because of how he treated her and his own dog.
  • You absolutely may suggest Jessica! When I needed a place for Lucy and Joey to stay in the event that my roommate was out of town and couldn't take care of them, Brodie's parents used to be where I turned. I know for sure that won't happen anymore. I think I'm going to give one more try to giving them a book to read and after that, lay it out on the line. Knowing them, me telling them that Brodie isn't welcome anymore isn't going to get the point across either. I think giving them the information they need will help the most. So, any suggestions on what the best book to give them is?
  • zoiegirlzoiegirl
    Posts: 107
    It really depends on the friends. I live in an apartment complex and we have our regulars that play together. Some doggie parents im close with and they have no problem me correcting their pets and i have no problem with them correcting mine. Others usually the newer pet owners i just mention or hint at and sometimes they just dont know that the behavior is unacceptable or how to correct it. I casually give out advice. Because its kind of like a pack the behavior is usually corrected by the other dogs. but were talking a boston terrier, beagles, chihuahuas, some mixes. So i dont know if the dynamics would be different with more aggresive wolf like characteristic dogs. I alot of owners are real novices to them owning a dog isnt about training and there ok with having a dog that a little sh*t. I know you mentioned that he's a russell terrier so to his parents they might think that thats part of the breed but it doesnt have to be. it sucks they didnt apologize and didnt correct that behavior my dog would have been in deep doo doo. If you feel comfortable that they wont be offended i would talk to them and make a few recommendations. try playing on the fact that what if that had been a child or a stranger they might not take kindely to being bitten as you did.
  • StaticNfuzzStaticNfuzz
    Posts: 1814
    Oh brother, I did not realize the extent of the tantrums for the terrier and that he will not accept confinement at all. Too bad! As Brad mentioned in another post the crate is a super good tool and so are kongs with treats to keep things quiet. I know I would need a time out sanity breaks particularly if I had such a zippy high drive dog like a terrier busting at the seams to play. Pent up energy is a big factor in misbehavior, your point about exercise is a good one!

    Books are a good idea if they are receptive to the concepts.

    (I am big fan of the clicker and in most cases it works out well. Not all dogs adjust to it so you have to do what works)

    1. Dogs are from Neptune by Jean Donaldson. (good for those already adjusted to training and training theory)
    2. Positive Perspectives- Know your dog, train your dog –by Pat Miller (Good to give to beginning clicker families)
    3. Click to Calm – Healing the aggressive dog by Emma Parsons (Good for those who have some clicker basics. Has some good advice)
    4. Ruff Love – a relationship building program for you and your dog – by Susan Garrett. (some folks bash this one but it has worked for the most head strong willful dogs and can be modified to suit your training & basic management needs)
    5. Feisty Fido by Patricia McConnell (Good for leash aggressive dogs)

    Hope this helps…

    As an idea maybe you can ask if they would register and go to training with Brodie at same as you take your dogs. Taking training classes together might be a fun option. Never know who else you might meet along the way….

  • Thanks for the suggestions again Snf!
  • ivanmeza03ivanmeza03
    Posts: 94
    :( people like that, makes everyone look at the Jack Russells like if they were beasts :/... i mean they are hyperactive, obssessives, and possessives but its the breed itself... when Avy see a dog two blocks away, she wanna eat him, but once youre near, she just want to play and have fun.... and the agression i think its because of the poor socialization...

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