Dog Sitting Nightmare!

Updated on January 12, 2012
R.B. asks from Decorah, IA
18 answers

My Dad asked if we would watch his dog (11ish) while he is out of town for the rest of the week. He told him it was fine and he dropped the dog off last night. These two dogs have been together many times since we got the puppy 2 months ago, there has never been a problem. After 5-10 mins they get their sniffing out of the way and they play fine together or are atleast ignore each other while in the same room. On Christmas and New Years they were together for hours with out a problem. Not this time!!

If mine walks in the room, my dads with attack him ( he isn't biting him... yet, but will run after him growling and barking). If anyone is petting or playing with ours, dads does the same thing. he will even jump down if he is getting attention and go after ours. Last night we had to tell the kids not to go near our dog, I was afraid that he would bite and didn't want the kids in the middle. At bed time I felt so bad, ours sleeps with us. Dad's jumped on our bed and wouldn't let ours on it. I kicked dad's off and put him in our chair ( atleast he would be in the same room) and let ours on to our ( his) bed. Nope it jumped off and onto the bed and on top of us went after our puppy. Ours did go and lay with the babies for a while. But if he would even walk into our room dads would go after him ( made for a very long sleepless night!!) We shut our door so he wouldn't come in but then he sat at the door scratching and crying... then dads would go after the door.

Today hasn't been any better... no matter where ours goes... if dads goes into that room and ours is already in there he chases him out!!

I can't leave dad's dog at his house. If he is alone longer than the normal work day, he tears things up and goes into almost a depression. Even with me going over every couple of hours to let him out and play with him.. he has to have someone there with him at night. So keeping him there until Friday is not an option. There is nobody else that can take the dog for us. A boarding place isn't an option either... neither one of us can afford that.

My poor dog is literally trying to run away from the dog and hide where ever he can... and dads little bully will hunt him out and go after him!!

I tried putting up gates to keep them in separate areas of the house, but dads just stands at the gate and barks and goes after it knowing ours is on the other side of it.

Im going on about 3 hours of sleep and Im so stressed out by these two that Im snapping at everything. What can I do to atleast calm dads dog down? Dads dog is getting positive attention when he isn't going after our dog. Im not going to make my dog stay tied up outside, I have never made him stay out there by himself other than being tied for bathroom breaks. He doesn't like being outside very long after he is done with his duty and will bark until we bring him in. Well my neighbor will call the cops on the excessive barking if I would leave him outside all day. dad's dog has such short hair that it gets cold after being out there for a short amount of time, so I can't tie him up out there.

They are driving me nuts!!! What can I do to keep the peace until Friday?

** Both are males. I have never brought my dog over to my dad's house. He brings his over atleast once a week when he comes over. Like I said its never been a problem. Dad's dog does have his bed and his dishes here. My dad doesn't let him sleep with him. Dad has his bed at the foot of dad's bed. But I thought being out of his home for the night and I know how he is about nights if he felt more comfortable sleeping with us we would allow it. Neither dog has never been crated. I don't even have one to put him in. But I do have a bathroom! ;)

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answers from Jacksonville on

Sounds like Dad's dog is trying to establish dominance over your pup. And being that your pup is a pup, he probably will keep on trying until he succeeds. You may want to consider crating dad's dog for the remainder of his stay at your house.
Visiting is one thing, but "moving in" requires the dogs to establish a hierarchy of pack order. It's what dogs do. It can be partially avoided if YOU are the pack leader, but it doesn't sound much like either you or your husband are. Rule number one (I've always read) is that your dog doesn't sleep in your bed with you. The pack leader gets the "choice" location to sleep, and everyone else positions themselves around that, wherever they are allowed. Usually the closer to the pack leader, the higher their rank within the pack. So since you allow your pup to sleep in the bed with you, Dad's dog is trying to usurp his pack position. You closed your own dog out of your bedroom after allowing him to sleep in your bed--of course he is going to whine all night. And of course dad's dog tried to keep him away. Those are both understandable dog behaviors.
I'm not sure I have a good solution for you, except crate dad's dog and take him out to play often. When you take him out, keep him on a leash while crating your pup. And for sure, crate Dad's dog at night. Put a blanket/sheet over most of the crate to make it more cave-like.

When dogs know there IS no pack leader, they will fight to establish themselves as the pack leader. That's the most basic thing to remember, in my opinion.
Good luck to you.

You might also try taking them on walks together (you with one, hubby with the other) and wear them both out on a long walk heading in the same direction. The longer the walk the closer they will be able to walk near each other, but at the start have them on opposite sides of you and hubby. Not sure if you can go far enough to make this work, since yours is a puppy still.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

I don't think this is something you can easily correct in one day. Contact your dad if you can, tell him what's going on, and see if he will agree to have the dog boarded at a kennel (or his vet's office, if they offer it) for the rest of the week. The dog may not be happy about it, but he'll live. And tell your dad that you are sorry, but this arrangement won't work any longer.

I would not recommend pinning the dog on it's back to show it who is boss - many trainers and behaviorists do not advise that approach and you could very well end up getting seriously hurt. There's being firm and consistent, and then there's just being rough and harsh, and the latter does not teach the dog anything except to either be afraid of you, or to possibly retaliate. Better to allow the dog to be cared for elsewhere by people who are used to handling dogs like this.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

totally agree with showing your dominance over Dad's dog. Flip him on his back & hold him. He has to accept you as "his leader of the pack". Sounds goofy, but this is exactly what our vet told us to do with our "fully-intact" male dog!

& I also agree with crating...but my vote is for both dogs. Sounds unfair, but they're both at issue.

& now for my really crazy thought: we use Benadryl for our dog during periods of anxiety. Sometimes this anxiety is due to allergies (spring & fall)...& sometimes it's just because he's a little insane. LOL. & this idea came straight from our vet..... Check with your dr before trying it...since you'll have to know the dosage.

Hoping your TGIF comes quickly!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Fort Wayne on

you need to become the pack leader!!!! have a collar and leash on him at all times (dads dog). and when he charges your dog grab the leash to snap him back, it will not hurt him but it will snap him out of his target. he needs to learn his place that is what is going on here. give him a time out with you or dh or any of your kids standing over him with him laying inbetween your legs. do not let him out of it until you feel comfortable and he has calmed down then have him stay until you move away from him and say OK. if he gets up before that start over again, he will get the point. gl

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

YOu will just need to isolate them until Friday. This is already Wednesday. Hang in there. I am not surprised by the change. Your puppy is getting older and the other dog's intuition is to make sure that he reminds your that he is the alpha. Unless these dogs are going to be together on a regular basis (then I would suggest obedience/socialization) then keep them separated and keep the peace until the dog goes home.

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answers from Columbia on

Victoria is right on the money.

Also...Flip that dog over on his back every time he shows aggressive behavior and hold him there. Growl in his face and keep him held down until he stops struggling. Only when he stops growling and struggling and averts his gaze from your face should you allow him to get up. Establish yourself as "pack leader."

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Rapid City on

They are fighting for the alpha male part and being older your dad's dog is putting your puppy in his place. When your dad is there he is the alpha male and his dog will not fight for that place. You and your husband and children need to let this dog know YOU are the alphas pretty much the same way as you let your children know you are the boss. When he does something wrong, stop it each and ever time. If he jumps on the bed and you want your puppy there, remove him back to the chair each and ever time. I use my fingers in a biting motion on the neck when my 12 year old dog misbehaves. They say it is the best way to correct them because that is what their mothers would do. Consisitancy is as important with pets as it is with Children.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Louisville on

Koren is right - he is trying to be the boss of your family. Can you call your vet and ask for advice? Maybe they can give you a doggy pill to calm him down until your dad gets hoem.

Dont ever take him again and tell dad why.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

When the animals start doing this we keep them separate. Put dad's dog in a bathroom or laundry room or garage at the other end of the house and ignore him for a few hours. Make sure he has food and water and let him have some blankets to bed down on. He'll get the idea when he goes in there every time he gets aggressive.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Take him to a local dog kennel! They are professionals and, at the very least, the dog will be safe and cared for. When your dad returns, show him a copy of your posting. If he won't reimburse you, it will be money well spent for you so that you can have some peace for the rest of the week and you will have learned the lesson never to do this favor for your dad again!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

When you said "nightmare" I was afraid the old dog killed the younger dog. Hope your dad comes home soon.....ONLY advice here, don't do it anymore!




answers from Wausau on

My moms dog does fine with my 2 labs but if any other dog is around she becomes territorial and attacks (with out actually biting but it's scary!). Is your Dad's dog maybe doing the same thing with you? Is Dad's dog fine with yours when there are no humans present? Is it fine when you husband is only present? I am not a dog expert by any means but sounds to me like the Dog is scared and the guard is up. It could also feel abandoned that his master has left him. Now at Christmas time etc. where you at the dogs house? Maybe this is a new situation. Also are they both males or females etc. Maybe bring both dogs to your Dads and see how they react there. Is the temperment changes at his own home hang out there for a while and when it is time to go grab a dog bed or blanket for the dog so when the dog is at your house it still feels as if it has it's own space. (on a chair etc.)
Good Luck, I can't imagine how stressful this is for for but please try to understand the dog. If it is usually a mild mannered animal It's prob. scared to death, and only punishing it will make the situation worse.. well unless he starts being really aggressive then the dog might need a little poch on the nose etc. What would happen if you would say "Wanna go for a walk?" Maybe some fresh air and one on one time is what the pooch needs, or see if it calms down if you try walking both dogs, that way they are both outside their comfort zones. Last but not least are there any dog toys? If so I ould also take all of them away for now to liit the aggressiveness until can pin point what is causing this.
Good Luck!



answers from Chicago on

I would try two things. the first is to go to your dads house and get an old shirt or something that smells like him and bring it to your house. then put your dads dog in a crate at night with the old shirt that smells like him. the dog may be experiencing some separation anxiety. I see you said you don't have a crate. you can get a crate at most second hand stores for less than $20. He will tear up your bathroom door if you try to close him in that way. the second thing i would do if this doesn't work is to take the dog to a boarding place and have it boarded until your dad gets back. this is done at most vets offices for about $15 to $20 a night.



answers from Washington DC on

My aunt used to bring her dog over to our house when they went on vacation. Out dog and hers would fight, bring blood actually. They were always jockeying for Alpha position.

You have two days left. If you can't crate Dad's dog keep him in the bathroom. He'll be OK.



answers from Boca Raton on

I would call my dad and let him know that something needs to be done and what does he suggest? It sounds like his dog has some serious guarding issues.

I would not want my new puppy developing an aversion to other dogs thanks to this other dog's behavior.

Barring any other option I would crate him (dad's dog) in the bathroom and let him whine (making sure to give access to food and water). Or do you have a basement?

I might also try to find a pet calming supplement at Whole Foods or another health food store. ETA: Ask your dad and a vet first.



answers from Miami on

Yes Older dog is jealoous of the younger dog. All I can say is give dads dog some attention and a walk on his own for a while so he can feel less threatened byt the pulppy. The hard part is the more you punish your dads dog the worse he will treat the puppy



answers from Milwaukee on

I wish I had an answer for you. I'm disabled at 53 years old. And I love animals way to much. So everyone asks me to watch there dogs when they leave town. Every dog that I take in, ends up like your situation. My dog will love these other dogs, but once I bring them home, it's war. I don''t know either, I've tried everything. It's got something to do with the other dogs being in the wrong territory. Needless to say, how do I tell all these people that I don't want to do this anymore. No one gets it. So I guess I wrote to say, I know what your going through. Good Luck.



answers from Duluth on

Something you might try is called DAP - Dog Appeasing Pheremone. They make it in collars and diffusers and sprays. It's the pheremone that mama dogs give off when they are nursing their pups and makes dogs feel calmer. I'm not sure how it works in dominance issues, but it might be worth a try. It's drug-free which is nice. It is labeld to help with new animals and anxiety and mainly things that normally make dogs nervous. I'm not sure where they are available where you are, but we sell them at our vet clinic.
If you don't choose that p[tion, I think just keeping them seperated is your best bet.
Good Luck!

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