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  (#1 (permalink)) Old
MsNobleEleanor Offline
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Roommates and my dog - May 23rd 2016, 12:32 AM

I recently moved to a friends house and I have roommates. I am already having issues with them and I am trying to address those issues with them, but it's causing to be problematic. They all think I am cruel for crating my dog while I am out, at work, or whatever else that I need to put him in there. They think it's not okay that I shouldn't trap my own dog to a confined place. I told them he's always been crated and does fine. They made this huge issue about it saying, "well we can walk him, let him out, you don't need to crate him." My response which was very like, stern, "if you want to do that you need to make sure he doesn't run out, you need to watch." What happens this morning? I didn't crate him and the one roommate went for a cigarette, Bentley ran passed and ran away. Getting a call from 24/hr pet watch while leaving the doctors isn't a phone call I want to receive. My cousin is calling me, said she had picked him up (she is my emergency contact) and will be picking me up. Fine. My cousin said don't let them touch Bentley and to be stern about crating him.

I return home with him and I am late for work so I crate him tell the one roommate, "okay so Bentley is in his crate he should be fine in there till I return." I don't remember if I said not to let him out, I might have. Anyways, I get home and guess what? The same roommate tells me, "oh my brother and I took him for a walk," I nearly blew up but instead I am like, "how was he?" Later she tells me he got out but they called for him, which he came back then ran away, but came back. I am pissed off she was scared, she knew I was pissed off and I didn't say anything. Later, she tells me that her brother fed him already...

I don't want them feeding my dog, I don't want them going into my room to let him out and take him for walks, they already lost him today and nearly a second time today. Am I being to protective of my dog? I care for my dog and I'll do anything for him, he is used waiting in his crate for more than 8 hours. I control what he eats because I am a good owner and don't want my dog eating crap and getting sick. Can't they understand that? I don't want him having people food and I only give Bentley people food at a controlled rate and I know what I am giving him that he won't end up sick.

They all love Bentley, they seem a bit obsessed with him, wanting to do things with him. I am flattered, I really am, but I am his owner and I am the one to decide what lifestyle he follows.

The one roommate has bought him bones (he asked me what my dog can't have, told him) and has helped me bring in things, so I feel a little bitchy about everything. They lost him this morning and nearly a second time today. My cousin told me I need to put my foot down with everyone.

I am in the middle of training him the commands "come" and "stay" but with my injures I am slightly slow cause I need to heal. I've mentioned this to them.

Am I going overboard with this?

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Re: Roommates and my dog - May 23rd 2016, 12:44 AM

I think your feelings are valid. We've almost always had a dog, and we always crate trained them. They like it, it's their own space. I think the roommates who think your being cruel don't understand how dogs are.

I agree with your cousin, you need to set some boundary limits with your roommates. But I'd approach them calmly about it and not angry and upset. I'd tell them you appreciate their help and support with walking your dog and stuff, but if they are going to do that, they will need to abide by the rules you make, so something like that. Making them go by the rules sounds so bad when they are trying to help.

But your trading the dog to, so consistency is important, so everyone should be doing the same stuff. But if someone lets the dog out of the crate, they need to be responsible, use a leash, and crate the dog when they leave
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Re: Roommates and my dog - May 23rd 2016, 02:03 AM

I understand not wanting them to feed him, or going into your room. If you think they'll continue going into your room you could always get a lock that has a key so they can't enter while you're gone.

However, I can understand them not being comfortable with you crating your dog. Do you crate him at night as well as when you're gone? Because if you're gone for 8 hours during the day and sleep 8 at night, that's over half the day the dog is in a crate. I disagree with Samuel. There's a difference between a dog having their own space that they are free to enter and exit when they want to and being confined all day.

I think your best bet is to sit down with them and listen to their side, and have them listen to your side and come to some sort of agreement on rules.

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Re: Roommates and my dog - May 23rd 2016, 03:51 AM

Just reading the scenario made me feel the worry for you. I have an incredible relationship with my dog. She truly saved my life. I don't think you are being overprotective, you have all very valid reasons. You were worried something bad would happen, tried to prevent in the best way you could, and he still got out... I know I do not trust other people to watch my dog and handle her like I would, and that's what it really comes down to. You have taken so much time I'm sure to research how to take care of a dog. How to discipline it, how to train it, what it can and can't eat. There are a lot of people-food that are straight up poison to dogs, and it's easy to make that mistake if you are uneducated. My dog gets terrible separation anxiety, and I had to crate her for a long time when I was out of the house for her own safety. I listened to people saying how cruel it was, so I caved and didn't crate her. I came home to my room destroyed and Rosie ate something and had an impacted bowel. $300 in emergency vet bills later, luckily she didn't need surgery. Now I'm not saying this to scare you, I just think that maybe with some explanation behind why you do what you do, I'm hoping that your room mates will respect your decisions. I think it's fair to set boundaries, especially when you need to take care of yourself after your accident. If you want to, maybe you could try and set some time aside to really help train your room mates? I feel like they really do have good intentions, but they just don't know how to handle dogs. I could help you figure out or find something online of like mini training sessions with your room mates? Just totally throwing ideas out there, but maybe you guys just start with walking the dog together and helping your room mates learn how to walk the dog so you can help guide them. This way you are building trust with not only your room mate's and your dog, but you and your room mates, and even your dog with your room mates... And maybe you decide you're not even ready to do that yet, and that's totally okay. I understand the frustration and panic, I really do. I would be beyond upset. It's okay to give yourself some time and ask your room mates to let you be the parent for right now. Tell them that you appreciate the concern and help, but maybe you're not ready yet. Please feel free to PM me anytime. Take care <3

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Re: Roommates and my dog - May 23rd 2016, 05:30 PM

I believe what you are doing is totally ok many people ik do it its your dog and your decisions not anyone elses.
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Re: Roommates and my dog - May 23rd 2016, 08:23 PM

This morning, I told the one roommate (the sister) I want him in his crate while I'm gone and he remains there until I return. She told me that it's wrong I leave him in there. She mentioned he barks when he hears others. My response was, "he needs to get used to it, he'll stop barking." I also mentioned it's his safe place and she questioned me.

The other roommate (the brother) woke up and I should have waited till later but I didn't. I sorta snapped and said I don't want Bentley out of his crate, he summed up what his sister said to me. I told him he is my dog and he's been crate trained for over a year now.

The landlord, my friend talked to him, not sure about what. My friend thinks it's my choice what I do with him. I also don't want Bentley on the couch, it comes down to a respect thing for me. He says he doesn't care but I do care. I'm not worried Bentley will ruin his couch but if I take him to someone else's home and he jumps up on there furniture it's now a problem. Comes down to I want my dog to be respectful. He has a chair which they moved outside, a indoor chair outside to be ruined. I'm moving it back inside when I get home. It doesn't belong there. Bentley knows he's allowed on his chair because that's how I taught him/trained him. Any other furniture he isn't allowed on, aside from my bed when I'm laying on it (reading, watching TV, etc.) at night he's in his crate.

I don't want to come home and find Bentley out of his crate or receive a phone call telling me my dog is somewhere like at a animal hospital or someone's place.

I know I shouldn't have snapped and the roommate (the brother) was in a mad mood after and I don't mean to be snappy, he is my baby and everyone needs to stop questioning my training. I use positive rewards, like treats, petting him, or saying "thank you".

It's like I need to train them and I'm training Bentley, why do I need to train others when they think it's wrong I crate him? They don't get the concept or want to even hear me out. It's pointless really.
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Re: Roommates and my dog - May 23rd 2016, 10:37 PM

Here's the thing:

I know people who have crate trained their dogs. The dogs got used to it but the thing is they only crated them for a short time at night and then once the dog got better they stopped using the crate.

Here are some things I found about crate training:

  • Don't leave your dog in the crate too long. A dog thatís crated day and night doesn't get enough exercise or human interaction and can become depressed or anxious. You may have to change your schedule, hire a pet sitter, or take your dog to a doggie daycare facility to reduce the amount of time he must spend in his crate every day.
  • Puppies under six months of age shouldn't stay in a crate for more than three or four hours at a time. They can't control their bladders and bowels for that long. The same goes for adult dogs that are being housetrained. Physically, they can hold it, but they donít know theyíre supposed to.
  • Crate your dog only until you can trust him not to destroy the house. After that, it should be a place he goes voluntarily.
I couldn't get an exact estimate on how long you can leave a dog in the crate but I would think that longer then 8 hours would be too much. Are you crating him simply when you go out or at night as well?

Crate training, from my understanding, is only supposed to be used as a training tool and then once the dog is trained you are supposed to switch from using that. I know my aunt crate trained her dogs and then once they were out of the puppy stage she stopped.

So, I understand why your roommates are weird about the crate thing. I would suggest that you get as much information about crate training and show them that keeping him in there for eight hours is perfectly okay. I couldn't get anything more than a rough estimate but I also did a really quick search.

Personally, if you aren't keeping Bentley in the crate longer than 8 hours I think that you should be fine but finding information to convey that to your roommates would help the situation. If worst comes to worse change the lock on the door so you need a key to get in.

As for your roommates not listening to you about food you need to be very stern with them about that and explain that you don't want him getting sick or gaining an unhealthy amount of weight. Really, you can't force them to listen. All you can do is be stern with them and hope for the best.

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Re: Roommates and my dog - May 24th 2016, 02:43 AM

Think you might need different room mates
Sounds like the ones you have aren't very good friends
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Re: Roommates and my dog - May 31st 2016, 11:51 PM

Hey there (and sorry for the upcoming giant post),

I'm going to respond to your points, but first I want to address something:
Originally Posted by ~Abibliophobe~ View Post
Crate training, from my understanding, is only supposed to be used as a training tool and then once the dog is trained you are supposed to switch from using that.
This is not strictly true. In the cases you're thinking of, the dogs were probably being housetrained or maybe being treated for separation anxiety, but crates are so much more than a training tool. I didn't crate train my dog until she was an adult, and it's one of the best things I've ever done for her; her crate is her safe space, the one place in the house that is entirely hers. She sleeps there at night (because if she was allowed to roam the house she would definitely chase the cats, who probably wouldn't appreciate it), but she also takes herself there during the day, sometimes just to sleep and other times when she wants to be left alone (if we're playing a game of tug and she wins, she often takes the toy as a trophy and leaves it in her crate, knowing that once she puts it in there I'm not going to take it back because it's her place).

I know with the OP, their dog sleeps in their crate, and it's also useful if you need to confine the dog to a certain area (for example if you have visitors over that you don't want your dog to interact with, or if you're cleaning a certain room and need the dog out of the way). Aside from all this, crates can be very helpful if you're travelling with your dog, if your dog is recovering from surgery, and in many other situations. It's definitely not just for training purposes, and not just for puppies or young dogs.

Anyway. With the roommate situation, you are well within your rights to ask them not to interact with your dog, or to interact with him only in your presence. You're not being overbearing or unreasonable; this is your dog and it's your job to keep him safe. You can't do that if people are disregarding your requests and potentially putting your dog at risk. I would recommend talking to your roommates all at once and laying some very firm ground rules, explaining your reasoning for each one. It could help to acknowledge that you appreciate their concern and love for Bentley, but that for his health and wellbeing you need them to follow your rules. I know that with my dog, there aren't many people who I'd leave her alone with for any long periods, and I won't leave her with anyone unless they know some of her basic commands (like stay, leave, and chair/bed) as well as her release cue (okay). I can't imagine what I'd do if I lived with people who didn't respect the fact that I'm allowed to make decisions for my own dog.

I really like Kay's idea of involving your roommates by doing activities together. You could explain that you want to work together, and that you need to be able to trust them fully before you feel comfortable letting them do things with Bentley when you're not home. That way they'll feel like they're getting somewhere, but you can also be sure you're doing the right thing for your dog. You could talk them through some of Bentley's commands, as well as telling them what you're currently training him (and how they can avoid messing that up - for example by not flippantly using any of the command words you're trying to teach him). Eventually you may trust your roommates enough to be able to leave them alone with your dog, but in the meantime you can show them that you're a responsible dog owner and that you're only doing what's best for Bentley.

As far as the furniture issue, that's entirely fair. My dog isn't really allowed on furniture, aside from her chair; the exception is that she's allowed to jump onto my lap if I'm on the furniture, but only if she's specifically invited. That way I get to enjoy her company, but she's still being respectful because she has to wait for me to tell her she's allowed up. Maybe you could introduce something similar with Bentley, if you're comfortable with it? You could introduce a command that lets Bentley know he's allowed to get onto the couch, and make sure that a) he only ever gets onto the couch when you give him that cue, and b) your roommates also follow that rule. I would also try explaining to your roommates that you don't want your dog learning bad habits - explain it how you explained it here, by saying that even if your roommates are fine with him being on the furniture, not everyone will be and you'd like to be able to take your well-trained, responsive dog to other people's houses. To me it's on par with, say, someone interacting with your child, who says a swear word, and then them saying that it's okay because they don't mind swearing. That's well and good, except that behaviour isn't acceptable in most situations, and it's definitely not something to be encourage because the parent wouldn't approve of it. So I would stand firm with this because you're allowed to dictate how your dog is trained, and what the boundaries are.

I know this is a massive response, but I'm pretty passionate about crate training and one of my biggest pet peeves in dog training is other people not listening to the owner. So, to sum up, talk to your roommates and explain your concerns for Bentley's safety and training, and see if you can come up with some kind of compromise (eg. that you can all walk him together sometimes). At the end of the day he's your dog, and you need to stand up for him so that he's safe, happy, and well looked after.

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