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Dealing with people who don't respect your rules?
  • I apologize in advance if there's a thread with this question already; I tried searching, but I couldn't find anything.

    So here's my issue: my in-laws don't respect the rules I've set for Sushi. He first met them when he was 9 weeks old (11 weeks now); we went to visit them at their home for the weekend. Obviously, during his puppyhood is when I'm strict with my rules, and I've spent a lot of time training and reinforcing positive behaviours.

    Background info: my in-laws have a 7yr old shih-poo. In my opinion, one of the worst behaved dogs ever. She wasn't socialized as a puppy, so as a result, she's incredibly jealous of her mom petting or being near another dog. She has horrible food and toy aggression, and will growl and/or bite as a result.

    When we first got to their home, the dogs did the usual sniffs, and their dog immediately growled and got defensive. To a certain extent, I can understand that this is her home and her turf. When she got nippy and growled, my in-laws said things like "yeah, you show Sushi who's boss" or "tell him this is your house". Then when it was treat time, I told my MIL that I make him sit before treats, and she said "well, he's at grandma's house now, so he doesn't have to do anything". Ok... definitely not what I just said. It was Christmas dinner that weekend, and I told them to please not feed him anything new, as he hasn't been introduced to it before and I'd like to monitor intake/output so I know how he reacts with new foods. I later found out that they fed him chips with dip, turkey, honey glazed ham, cookies... the list goes on. Needless to say, we went home and he had the runs and threw up a couple of times.

    Discipline - another tough issue. I am all for positive reinforcement. If I can help it, I try not to ever touch him (unless he's trying to eat a cat, and then I have to physically separate). But for example: Sushi was chewing on this decorative fluff they had on the ground. First time doing it... obviously never been taught that this is a no-go. So I'm just about to go distract him with a toy, and my FIL threw his hat at Sushi's face. That would never be acceptable to me. I tried explaining that, but apparently they're suddenly experts at training, and told me that he's establishing alpha. I felt like I was talking to a brick wall.

    We're here again for Christmas, and I got the same thing: "it's grandma's house so his rules don't apply". I'm trying to train and establish manners and rules for Sushi, and it's like taking 10 steps back every time we come here. It's incredibly frustrating, and when I tried explaining myself and my rationale, they said that since they've had a dog before and I haven't, that they know what they're doing.

    I don't know how to deal with this without causing WWIII or a ridiculous amount of tension and fights. Am I approaching this the wrong way? Is there something else that I could do? Any thoughts or ideas would be greatly appreciated.

    And as it's Christmas Eve, I hope that everybody has a great holiday season!! :)
  • Kira_KiraKira_Kira
    Posts: 2482
    Merry Christmas!

    I'm sorry that you are going through this frustration, I would certainly be equally upset. If you have made it clear that your rules are to be followed and they do not comply, then I would refrain from allowing excessive interaction with your in-laws if at all possible.

    Did you bring a playpen or have a secluded room that he can stay in?
    Cynthia, Proudly owned by Kira
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    Kira the Cream Shiba Inu 吉良 - Facebook Page
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    “Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.”
  • Yeah, I would suggest limited access as well. He might have to stay in a kennel or maybe next time, find someplace to board him (local vet, breeder, daycare). I've found that rules at my in laws house always apply as well, even if I don't like it. They live on a farm, so when we visit with any of our dogs, the dogs are not allowed in the house at all. They have to stay in a stall in the barn or tied up outside. Which they hate and so do I. :/

    But yeah, if you have a kennel with you, maybe keep him in your room and tell your in laws he is sick with (make up whatever you want) and that they cannot give him scraps and he can't be out wandering the house. Of course, if this were me.. I would also be telling them that he got very sick off the human food they gave him and next time, they will be paying for his vet bills. But again, thats me. heh

    My step dad thinks he knows everything about training dogs because he's had Rotties and dobermans that he has trained himself. Yes, they are VERY well behaved dogs and they do just what he says. But the way he trains is not good for Shiba's. It involves pinching, yelling and force. I told him several times that he cannot treat Tang like that. It won't work and will only make him bite. I had to be very vocal and pushy about it, but he finally listened to me.


    I think you really need to put your foot down. :/ I guess the way you do it will depend on you and how they will react.

    Good luck!! And Merry Christmas!


  • BootzBootz
    Posts: 3495
    Your in laws... So why don't you talk to your partner about it? And have him/her redirect the message more buntly?

    Honestly though as much as I feel your pain.... Their house their rules. If they don't want to respect you and your dog, either don't go to their house.... Or throw the party at your place so it'll be your rules.
  • @Kira_Kira As stubborn and hardheaded as my inlaws are, I think I may just have to be more direct and adamant about my stance. I'm ok with them being pissy at me, they'll get over it. I think what I may do is get a baby gate and section off the floors, so that way the dogs don't have to interact. It's a good idea to give them limited access to each other. I spent the entirety of my visit so far keeping the dogs away from each other. Yaaaay.

    @MoxyFruvous Thanks for your input :) I hate confrontation, so I really hate being "that" b****, but I think I'm just going to be firm next time. My MIL actually asked me whether or not Sushi could have something yesterday, so at least that's a step forward. My FIL will be the hardest to change. He's definitely one of those old dogs who can't learn new tricks, lol.

    @Bootz I tried that... but he also doesn't want to create drama. We've (or maybe I, haha) have stirred the pot a couple times. I love my inlaws, but I will not sit around and listen to racist or homophobic slurs, and I certainly won't tolerate prejudice and discrimination. So, I've called my FIL on it many times through the years, and they didn't like that very much. But it just frustrated me that they didn't even listen to me at all. Nevertheless, it is their house, so either I'm going to have to suck it up, or they'll change. Stay tuned, haha. But thank you for your input :)

  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 8583
    @SushiShiba - There are several threads about this, but I am enjoy family time and do not feel like searching, so when you get a chance, search the forum (using Google) and you will come across some great advice.

    But I am going to be super blunt: This is YOUR dog. Do not "suck it up". Put your foot down. If they are unable to respect your wishes, then do not leave them alone with your dog. If your spouse is unable or unwilling to back you up, then you will have to be "that bitch". I have done it and it has saved my dogs and myself a lot of trouble (mine have food allergies, in addition to some other medical issues).
    Bella 2Mountains 2Nola 2
    Casey, with Bella and Nola, hanging out in the mountains of Virginia.
    I Wander, I Ride
  • Kira_KiraKira_Kira
    Posts: 2482
    I agree whole-heartedly with sunyata on this - Sushi is your dog and it is your responsibility to be your dog's ambassador. I relate being a dog owner like being a parent and protecting your child - I won't hesitate to snap at someone for doing something to Kira that I don't agree with like trying to pick her up or feed her treats that I don't approve of.

    To be honest, if you aren't firm with people from the very beginning about your dog then they will always assume that you won't stand up for yourself if you won't do it for your own dog. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being dedicated to your dog and his well-being, even if it means that you have to be a bitch about it. They might think you are crazy, but most people will understand and respect you for being firm and standing up for YOUR DOG!

    And honestly, if you think about it - you are setting the future of your interactions with your in-laws. If you let them bully you around, they always will and will not respect you for it. Do you and your husband intend to have children one day? Because if you do, you need to start standing up for the things that you care about now when you interact with them or they will take advantage of your willingness to let them do what they want. Good luck.
    Cynthia, Proudly owned by Kira
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    Kira the Cream Shiba Inu 吉良 - Facebook Page
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    “Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.”
  • Thanks for the advice, guys. I've decided that I'll just be super vigilant when we're around here, and not allow an opportunity to arise where there would be potential conflict. Sushi's also learning not to bug their dog quite as much (he wants to play, and she obviously doesn't). I'd rather be the bitch than risk putting his training back. I guess I was just nervous to stand up to them, but you guys are all right - I'm setting a precedence here. Parenting kids and dogs are on the same level for me, so since I know that I wouldn't hesitate to stand up for my child, I shouldn't hesitate for Sushi. I'm going to be that Tiger Mom one day, haha... I grew up with very strict Chinese values and rules, so I've got that Tiger Mom gene somewhere in me :)

    I really appreciate all your feedback, thanks for being my kick in the ass!! Maybe next time I won't be such a pansy off the hop, lol.

    Hope Santa was good to you all!
  • Kira_KiraKira_Kira
    Posts: 2482
    We had a great Christmas - hope yours went better with the in-laws. Glad to hear that the advice was helpful, parents will always think that they know more than you. No matter what (I'm 36 and my mom still does). You have to be firm in what you believe!
    Cynthia, Proudly owned by Kira
    imageimage
    Kira the Cream Shiba Inu 吉良 - Facebook Page
    Follow Kira on Instagram! Kira_the_cream_shiba_inu
    Kira's Life Story & Photo Thread - Chronicles of Kira

    “Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.”
  • Thanks, Kira. Christmas was great; a lot of travelling. Our families are all 2hrs away from each other, so lots of driving! The in-laws went better... I just kept them separated with a baby gate, and made sure that Sushi was around me when he was out and about. It'll always be an uphill battle, and kids will make it worse, lol. But one step at a time. Thanks again for everybody's input! Greatly appreciated :)
  • tysaaantysaaan
    Posts: 122
    I'm sort of in the same situation currently.

    My parents constantly coach me on how to train my dog, even though I never ask them for advice nor want it. I tried staying as open-minded as possible, but pretty much ended it once they told me to fill my puppy's bowl to the top, and letting him control how much he eats. They also tell me to do things such as sticking his nose in his pee/poop when he makes accidents in the house, and yelling at him (which I know is NOT a useful technique). I want to say something but they'll most likely turn it on me, calling ME hard-headed and "believing everything on the internet".
    Post edited by tysaaan at 2015-02-14 01:04:28
  • koyukikoyuki
    Posts: 1244
    Best way to tackle this "its my dog and I make the decisions of what training methods are best suited to me and my dog. I take responsibility for how well rounded and sound this dog will be, thanks anyway". That and why not enroll the puppy in a positive reinforcement based training class or puppy school? That way they will understand that it's not just you believing everything on the Internet. I have been there done that with an in-law-someone who is old school with certain things (never abusive or anything like that), we just have very differing views. You are your dogs advocate, be firm and stand up for what's best for your dog.
    Koyuki - red female
    Takeo- cream male
    Kenji- black and tan male
    Suma- sesame female
    Haruki-brindle Japanese Akita Inu
  • I feel like my current situation might fit here.. I just got my shiba baby this past monday. Of course my family and my bf's family ALL want to see and play with a new puppy but I feel like it's too stressful for both myself and my puppy. Socialization is great.. in moderation. For example, my mom has become a toddler since seeing him. All grabby hands, and "let me see him" "let me play with him", constantly picking him up when it's obvious he's not comfortable. Today she DROPPED him! He cried and cried until I got him and soothed him. (No limping or anything since) but he immediately wanted to go to his crate and stay away from her. Its only been about 30 mins or so since (I'm furious) but he just wants to sleep in his crate now when he was playful before. I feel like she just set him back.

    On my boyfriend's side, they're always calling/texting/posting on social media to say, bring him to my house or my work or to my child's birthday party. Not asking him. Telling him. Like its a family dog. Mind you, my boyfriend has a VERY large family.

    I don't want to come across as rude but I just think it's too much. It's definitely too much for me. My boyfriend caves easily and he doesn't really see the issue. I'm so stressed out today, people drive me nuts!
    Post edited by imizamonster at 2015-02-19 12:14:14
  • tysaaantysaaan
    Posts: 122
    If you feel like it's too stressful for your puppy, you're probably right. If your puppy feels overwhelmed or shows signs of stress, don't be hesitant and do what's right for your puppy. Like @koyuki said, you are your dogs advocate, you speak for him. If your mother dropped him, I would be very stern with telling her that he is still a puppy and to be careful, and would make sure to tell her not to drop him again. About the pestering on social media, if you can, ignore it. I do it best, especially on Facebook where you don't have to respond. If it gets really persistent, clearly tell them that he is still getting used to things and is overwhelmed easily. However this is just my opinion and I'm no expert, so take it with a grain of salt.

    My parents were constantly coaching me on how to train my puppy, causing me AND my pup to be confused and frustrated. I took Koyuki's advice, and after I was persistent and trained him my own way, they stopped telling me how to raise him, as they could see that he was making great progress and learning just fine.
  • koyukikoyuki
    Posts: 1244
    @tysaan that's excellent news.
    Koyuki - red female
    Takeo- cream male
    Kenji- black and tan male
    Suma- sesame female
    Haruki-brindle Japanese Akita Inu
  • EmilyEmily
    Posts: 7
    This is a very frustrating problem. I'm away at school but have a dog at home that I worked with very hard for 8 years before I left. My parents rave about how great I did and that he's the best dog they've ever had. Yet when I go home on breaks, his training it out the window. It's like they don't realize that the work is never done; you need to continue reinforcing things even after they've learned.

    It's very hard on me because when I go home and make him sit for treats, won't give him handouts, and will not accept him ignoring my commands to come in the house or the like, they tell me I'm being mean. I love my boy more than anything and want him to be a well trained dog. But I'm not going to come home and treat him like a prince for nothing like they do. It's hard hearing them think I don't appreciate and love every second I get with him. But I can also see that he respects me way more than them; they're always yelling for me to get "my dog" in the house because he won't listen to them. They stand outside yelling for him over and over, then I step out and simply say in my normal voice "Spencer, come" and he comes running.

    I also got crap when he was a puppy and I monitored others interactions with him. I think my biggest tip would be that you need to "train" the humans just as much as you need to train the dog. They too respond to positive reinforcement. Whenever people ask me if they can pet him or give him a treat, I don't just say yes, I say "yes, thank you for asking". That simple addition to your response is like a treat for a dog, basically saying "you did something right". I've found that if I respond in this way, they're much more likely to ask every time. ( @SushiShiba this may help with the in-laws, you mentioned that your mother in law asked one time to give something to Sushi, maybe being gracious that she asked will get her to do so more).

    Just my 2 cents from my experiences.
    Post edited by Emily at 2015-02-21 14:31:35
  • @Emily - I couldn't agree more that humans also need to be trained. What I've tried to do is to condition them to certain behaviours, such as asking permission before giving a treat. My psych degree is serving me well, lol. All those hours spent with Pavlov. My MIL isn't such a big problem... she seemed to understand it a little faster than my FIL. He hasn't, and I highly doubt, that he'll ever change. He thinks that because he's trained huskies and a shih-poo that he knows everything about training. He wouldn't hesitate to pin Sushi and dominate him at the slightest "misbehaviour" on Sushi's part. I've tried everything I can think of to get him to not do that, and as he's decided not to change his behaviour, I've decided not to leave my dog alone with him. Simple as that.

    It sucks that your parents don't continue the training that you worked so hard at, but at least it's good to know that he still respects you and you still have that special bond :)
  • Sukis_MomSukis_Mom
    Posts: 19
    I really appreciate this thread! I've been going through a bit of my problem of my own. When I lived with my parents they never ever really wanted to have dogs. (We had them when we did not get another one after I turned 5/6). Both of my parents think that dogs are too messy, that they do not want a dog to dig up or use the bathroom in their yard, and the like. I've had my girl for a week now and my mom (the bigger "dog hater") of the two keeps asking me to bring her over or to watch her. My issue is that I know that if my girl gets in to something she shouldn't, has an accident in the house, or even tries to put her paws on the window to look out of it (which happened the last time I was over there and my mom freaked out), that they will hit her or try to do some other crazy Ceasar Milan influenced way of doing things. The next time they ask I'm definitely going to stand my ground.

    *In regards to the window incident, I have taken her to my parents house twice since I got her. The last time we were over we were sitting in front of one of their doors which has a really large window in it. Being the curious puppy that she is, Suki simply stood on her hind legs and kind of pawed the window a bit. I didn't think anything of it really but my mother started to get upset and told me to prevent her from doing that. So I started playing with her with her toys and trying to keep her focus. But of course she kept on going back to look out the window. My mom then told me that positive reinforcement/ redirection just doesn't really work on a dog because they are not smart enough to understand and that if I hit her on the nose/head that she would "get" that she wasn't allowed to do something. :-? This is all coming from a woman proclaims that she doesn't like dogs (but still wants mine to come over and wants to babysit her while I am at work?) and has also never had to train one (because the ones we had were all outside locked in a pen all the time :/ )

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