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Hello all,
my wife and I adopted a 1 year old dachshund mix from our local shelter about a month ago and is the sweetest thing. However, he has this very strong attachment to my father whom lives with us. My wife and I are the ones who feed him, take him out for potty breaks, play with him, etc. My father on the other hand insists on praising the dog for things we don't allow (potty in the house, jumping, excessive barking), feeds table scraps, and dog treats for no reason. Now our dog who once loved hanging with us, now immediately goes running for my dad and my wife is upset. Is there anything I can do? Is this normal when scraps and treats are fed to a dog for no reason?

Thank you,
Shaun
 

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Hey there, I can tell you that the only way to change this is to get your father to stop breaking the rules, and stop rewarding and encouraging bad behaviors. If this isn't done, there is nothing you can do. Your father has to understand that your dog is YOUR dog, and has to follow your rules. If he doesn't, then the dog just has to be put into a different room or in its crate when your father visits. No amount of training can work if any one person isn't on board with the program. You can try to intervene, correct and try to train the dog in your father's presences so the dog learns to behave, but this will be difficult to do, especially if you're competing with your dad (and he is insisted on encouraging bad behavior).

Also, yes, in today’s society it is normal for owners to feed their dogs scraps and treats for no reason, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best thing to do. This can produce a very spoiled rotten dog. A dog could be rewarded for the wrong behaviors, especially if it’s fed right after doing an undesirable behavior. A good reason for feeding a dog treats for doing nothing is when it is being calm, quiet, and good. You’ll be rewarding that state of mind. It’s all about timing, lol. The point is a dog should really work for its treats and food, either it be obeying a command or being a calm dog. This will exercise the dog mentally, but puts you in control of the resources, thus the leader.
 

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I feed my dog 'scraps' (& by scraps I mean excluding things that are obivously & otherwise known to be bad for them) if they are waiting patiently. I see no harm in that.

Tho yes if it bothers you then I would pull the "my dog my rules " card.
 

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Life with your dad is easy for the dog. He gets lots of positive attention and treats even when he doesn't earn them. It sounds just like a typical grandparent/grandchild relationship, doesn't it? Do you have children yet? If not, think of this as practice in parenting... and asserting yourselves with your father. No, it won't be easy.
 

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I encouraged my MIL to treat Kabota whenever. She never bonded with Muggsy (I got him before her) and I really wanted her to like Kabota. Now he runs squealing to her whenever he sees her and I'm quite happy about it. It makes life much easier in my house. And, he doesn't beg at us like he does with her, because it doesn't work with us. I require nice sitting before handing over bits of dinner. Dogs can figure out that different people have different rules.

In your case, I would talk to your father about treating truly undesirable behavior like peeing indoors, but I wouldn't try to disrupt the bond between them. Being jealous over a dog is, well, a bit petty. The dog loves you, too, it's just that grandpa is an easy touch, as grandparents generally are.
 

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I agree with Amaryllis. Pick your battles. Praising over things you find unacceptable (peeing, jumping, excessive barking), yes, those I'd speak to your dad about. Those are behaviors that other people also find unacceptable, including people you might have visit your home.
But, the treat thing, that I'd live with. I might add some ground rules, though. Like, the dog has to wait patiently until the end of a meal for a small bit of food.
Good luck!
 

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Maybe you should crate your father when you can't supervise his time with the puppy? :D

Could your father participate in a puppy class with you so he could be on the same page with training the dog? If he is really going over the top, I think your only choice would be to limit their time together.
 

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You can't blame the dog for acting like that....grandpa is treating him like royalty! Sounds like you need to really 'train' grandpa. He shouldn't be praising the dog for doing destructive things.
 

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famous quote from my Father in law, referring to his grandkids: "I don't spoil them, I just give them everything they want." it is probably going to be harder to train Dad than it will be the dog, unfortunately. Good luck with that part of it. As for the dog, I am sure you and your wife could find something else to do with the dog that you all enjoy, getting out of the house together, a special toy or game, and over time hopefully you guys will get into a routine. Or your wife could try some bacon perfume....
 

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Ask dad to "train the dog for you since the dog really seems to want to please him". Tell him that you really need his help. And then tell him WHAT behaviors you would like him to train (Speak (because then you can teach quiet), sit/down stay (instead of jumping), ring a bell to go out.

Your dad probably feels like he is no longer useful/losing control since he is living with you. He no longer has his "castle" and is no longer "man of the house". Asking him for help rather than lecturing him on what not to do, will go a long ways to get what you really want. You also need to tell your wife to grow up, and stop being upset that a dog is going to someone that gives it a lot of attention/affection/treats. She needs to look at it logically instead of emotionally, and not base her self worth on who the dog likes better. (That may come across harsher than I intended, but I can't think of a better way to explain it. I don't mean it harshly, but she needs to not be hurt by a dogs reaction to a circumstance/person that rewards them).
I feel badly for your dad, because I have a soft spot for older people, especially when they start losing their independence. Please try to handle the issue sensitively, realizing that rather than just ignoring your wishes, he may be trying to control one of the few things in his life that he can.
 
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