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Help! My mother currently lives with us & is foiling our attempts at puppy training!

As I said, my mom has been living with us for two months. We have a 5 month old puppy that my husband and I have been doing our darndest to train with consistency since he was 8 weeks old. However, no matter how many times I tell my mother to use the same commands we do or ignore him when he whines etc. etc. she just cannot manage to grasp these concepts. So yes, I have attempted to discuss her being on our “team” in terms of consistency. It’s true what they said about “old dogs”.

I need a new plan.

She has never had a dog before (I hadn’t either, but I sure read up and figured out how this stuff works!) so she could take him or leave him. But of course he’s adorable so when he’s being good she wants to love on him. But since she can’t seem to manage the training aspects, I really don’t want her to be giving him the wrong idea and taking him two steps back for every one step forward at this super critical time.

I plan to get him in obedience classes soon but what can we do at home? If I tell her she needs to just absolutely ignore him – positive, negative, or otherwise – how would our puppy view this? If she just gives no commands or attention to him, would that help? Have the last 2 months ruined our shot at having a dog that will ever listen to us?!

I’m just at my wits’ end and need to figure out what we can do to prevent any further derailing of my husband’s and my training efforts. She’ll be staying with us another couple of months (if I don’t kill her first). Help!
 

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Re: Help! My mother currently lives with us & is foiling our attempts at puppy traini

It's much easier to train dogs than people.
 

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Re: Help! My mother currently lives with us & is foiling our attempts at puppy traini

Ugh. This would drive me crazy! Your house, your rules. If she doesn't want to follow the same training techniques as you, then ask her to not to be involved with the dog at all.

I wouldn't say that your puppy is ruined for listening to you though. Try to do your training sessions without your mom around. Or maybe have your mom watch once you start classes so she understands the concept behind the training.
 

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Re: Help! My mother currently lives with us & is foiling our attempts at puppy traini

Guess you can't crate train relatives.

Bring your mom to class and get her involved that way. Maybe give the instructor a heads-up on what you're dealing with. A good trainer will try to incorporate some of those issues in class, where possible.
 

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Re: Help! My mother currently lives with us & is foiling our attempts at puppy traini

If you can, get mom to go to the classes with you. Maybe when she sees how quickly some techniques work she wil buy in. Otherwise, just crate the dog when you leave and ask her to leave the dog alone unless it smoke or blood.
 

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Re: Help! My mother currently lives with us & is foiling our attempts at puppy traini

Newspaper across the nose ! Oops, sorry man, it's your mother :)

Accept there are some people who won't learn, and consider them to be distractions, an important part of training. Like Je2010 wrote, do the majority of training, when you mother isn't around, introduce distractions, and train so that the dog listens to you all the time. Your dog will learn that you mean business, and that he can do what he wants with your mother. As long as you enforce training, that'll be OK.

Try to make sure that your mother doesn't feed people snacks, doesn't feed from the table, doesn't hit the dog, ... and if you can do it, doesn't feed the dog anything, ever.
 

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Re: Help! My mother currently lives with us & is foiling our attempts at puppy traini

What is she specifically doing that's so bad? I agree with others that it's harder to train dogs than people, and getting her to attend obedience class will help.

I also think it's probably not as big of a deal as you think it is. In my own household, I do most of the training and enforcing of rules. My husband does a lot of cuddling and play, but he's not very good at training. There are so many times he has asked for a sit, gotten a down, and rewarded it. Or told the dog to stay, the dog broke, and he rewarded him anyway. It really doesn't impact the dog's ability to listen to me though. He just knows that I'm clear in what I mean and he has to do it, and he knows that my husband doesn't really care and he can get away with more.

If she's leaving in a few months, I wouldn't make a huge deal out of it. Just keep training the puppy, see if you can get her involved in classes, and just work with him on your own. Maybe he'll always be terribly behaved with her, but he can learn to be well behaved with you.
 

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Re: Help! My mother currently lives with us & is foiling our attempts at puppy traini

I agree with just using your mom as a distraction. Dogs are smarter than we often give them credit for and your pup will quickly learn that Mom has different rules than everyone else. A few months with her undermining your training efforts is not likely to do any lasting harm, especially if you continue to be consistent with the pup. It does mean that your dog may never listen well to her or take her seriously, like elrohwen's example, but it likely will not mean that the dog will carry over those bad habits to you, as long as you remain clear and consistent.

It's just like kids with grandparents that spoil them. Usually all it takes is a bit of reminding that they are back home and not at grandma's and they get back with the program. :)
 
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