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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi! Thanks for the warm welcome in advance!

I am watching some dog training shows on Animal Planet and decided that while my dogs are pretty well-trained, I could use some help.

I'm a 22 year old male college student who recently moved back home with my family. I will hopefully be moving out in about a year, so a big goal of mine is help my parents become more effective owners.

Right now I have 3 dogs in the house. Cooper is a 5 year-old Jack-Russel mix (my guess is springer spaniel.) He is the one I picked out and chose the name for. He is also the one we have had longest. To me, Cooper is usually the most well-behaved. He responds to my commands, but the problem is that he usually responds with fear. My parents think he is a lot like me- aloof and anxious but sensitive, sweet, and fun-loving. Another problem is that he is a marker- especially when he gains access to parts of the house that we usually close off.

Maggie is also 5 years old and she is a black lab mix. My guess is beagle- she is beagle-sized, but looks like a mini-lab. Maggie is probably the most loving dog I have ever met. She thrives on attention and loves to be pet. Unfortunately, this can go a bit far as she is known to sit on the couch next to me and dig her snout under my hands while I try to type. Maggie's main issue is her weight. She is extraordinarily lazy. Also, I hate to say it, but she is not nearly as intelligent as cooper. She is very stubborn, extremely hard to train, and rarely responds to commands when no food is involved. She is also known for getting in a sniffy-mode where she travels the house, sniffing everything in her path, especially garbage cans. In this mode, she does not listen to any commands and could care less about cuddling. Also, a few times a month she gets very uncomfortable at night and wants constant attention. She will sit on our faces if that is what it takes. She is obviously very very uncomfortable- probably due to an upset stomach from ingesting random particles in her sniffy-mode. We think she may have a thyroid condition.

Teddy is a new addition to our house. He is a shih-tzu runt who I think is about a year old now. He is my sister's dog, but he spends a lot of time back home. The past few months I have fallen in love with him since my sister left him with us as she spends the summer in Europe. Teddy is sweet, funny, and very cuddly. To be honest, the only issue we have with this spoiled little dog is that he likes to eat his own poop. Yuck.

So these days, there is a lot of action in my house. And a lot of noise at times. The main issue I have with these dogs as a whole is that Cooper absolutely can't stand the rambunctious shih-tzu. Teddy LOVES dogs and wants to play with them all, which makes things even more tense. When I think about it, we really should have socialized Cooper more. When we got him, we had a 14 year-old golden retriever female who he loved. When she passed, we got Maggie, who cooper made great friends with. But when we introduced the tiny male after 4 years of him being king of the roost, he became extremely anxious and upset. He growls when teddy comes within a few feet, but in a very non-threatening manner. He growls all the time- when he is being pet, when he is playing-- it is not a violent growl, but in some cases it is a sign of annoyance. None of my dogs have EVER bit out of anger (though they have given many warning nips with no contact).

From what I have learned so far, the main thing I need to do is exercise the two big dogs much more often. Cooper because of the emotional issues and Maggie because of her physical health. Unfortunately, I refuse to walk them both at the same time, and after a long day I rarely have the energy for two walks. As I can relate to Cooper's anxiety, and as it can get very annoying, I usually choose him. Both dogs are very poorly behaved on walks, which is a big issue for me. I take a very military-style approach to their training while my parents allow the dogs to take control. My dad recently had a knee replacement, so he can't handle walking with them, but my mom walks them more than I do, and she hates any form of discipline. Her solution is to jog, slowing down as the dogs get tired. This means that after a single run with her, they forget every second of my training.

As we all left for college, my mom started treating her dogs like her children. She pampers them constantly.

My goals on this forum are to help her and my dad gain more control, but also for me to deal with some issues I have that concern the dogs.

I look forward to learning from you all!
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