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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Note: I didn't meant to post this in the new members forum...but I'm not sure how to move it. Also, I am a new member...

Two years ago my family (my dad) got a dog, and then earlier this year they (my dad) got another. We all love them, but as you can tell, the theme of this post is that my dad makes his own decisions, without a lot of consultation, and he isn't too open to advice.

Dog 1: By appearances, clearly an American Pit Bull mix, though that has often been glossed over on official papers for her sake. Adopted from an elderly lady. Dog 1 is pretty well behaved now but she clearly overestimates her place in the pack, and tries to place herself maybe 3rd, after my mom and dad. When in the house she is very lazy and prefers to sit at my dad's feet all day, so we have her on a diet. She also can get pretty aggressive towards other dogs, especially while on a leash, and will lunge and bark. When she first joined our family we took her on a charity walk, and she was terrorizing the other dogs so much that in my desperation I dumped a little paper cup of water on her head as soon as she started up again, which actually shut her up for the rest of the day. It was so embarrassing, I saw somebody pick up their toddler out of fear, she made an older dog whimper and hide, and an event organizer tried to come over to ask about her breed (likely to try and kick her out because he could see she was part pit bull). The big problem is that my dad treats this behavior as totally excusable ('she just wants to play! she only gets aggressive if she is on the leash') so I have never seen any serious attempt to correct this behavior. She has improved, but we never really know how she will react when we meet another dog. Oh, and my dad also lets her roam in the neighborhood. Other dogs in the neighborhood do that too (which is no excuse of course), but she goes the farthest out from our house.

Dog 2: A purebred English Pointer, adopted after her owner died, may have been used for breeding, probably never left her yard. Initially, she didn't even come into the house, and even now she doesn't roam the house. Probably at least 3 years old, though I have no clue as to her actual age. An extremely active, muscular dog. When at home, she likes to go out to the yard and chase birds and lizards. Very submissive dog. Accepts her place as dead last in the pack. Doesn't respond well to her name. Will bolt out the front door or off the leash to go romping around the hillside and will never come back or even turn if you call her name. Can't walk on a leash at all...pulls until she chokes. She doesn't socialize with or even acknowledge other dogs (except her sister Dog 1) which does mean she's a lot easier to deal with than Dog 1 when walking by yards full of lunging, barking neighbors' dogs.

My mom tried very hard to train them, but they are being confused by the lack of consistency in their training. My dad is not so strict with them. If I could have two totally untrained dogs and a dad who was capable of accepting advice I would go for that, but that will never happen.

I am living at home with them for the summer, and I want to make a small difference at least. I am also planning on adopting a dog in a year or two, after I have settled in to my new home. I took Dog 2 out for a walk today, only around the block, though it took an hour, and my reward was that for the last section she actually walked on a totally loose leash, which I have never seen her do. But I'm afraid she'll forget it all in a second unless everybody insists on not letting her pull.

So, what can I reasonably expect to accomplish? Ideally, Dog 2 would learn how to walk on a leash without pulling, learn how to come when called (and even return in the event she bolts out the door again, rather than needing to be caught, which is exceedingly difficult), and learn to bring the ball all the way back when she plays fetch. I have given up training Dog 1, she is so closely bonded with my dad that I feel I can't really make a serious difference without his cooperation.
 

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It's really difficult, nearly impossible to train a dog if the whole family isn't on board with the rules and training. Dog 1 can still be helped, but your dad has to change his perspective of her and treat her differently. I think you're doing a great job with Dog 2, things are happening and the dog is responding. Keep it up and you'll see her change into a well behaved pooch. You know, Dog 2 probably has too much energy pent up, and that was the reason why she was so good at the end of that long walk. She finally got enough exercise and it cleared her head so she was able to listen and follow. And now that you're also giving her clear instruction on what she is supposed to do, practicing and training with her, she's picking it up really fast. Remember, the more you get her outside and seeing and smelling new things on a regular basis, she will have no reason to try to run away. I think she was just bored. I think if your mom keeps up with the same routine of how you walk Dog 2 and as long as she gets enough exercise and is rewarded for doing good things, Dog 2 won't forget what you taught her. You and your mom just have to make sure your dad doesn't reinforce bad behaviors and she will be just fine. As for Dog 1, you can try to get her to exercise more and use positive reinforcement training to teach her being calm and nice is a good thing. You have to take baby step though. However, I really strongly think if your dad refuses to jump on-board, accept that she is aggressive (or at least too intense in her excitement), and discourage that overly excited behavior, it's going to take forever to try to get her to calm down. He is just feeding the behavior, and as long as she is rewarded for that, Dog 1 has no reason to change.
 
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