Monday, March 28, 2011

The Dog Dilemma

We have two dogs.  Sometimes I think we have 2 dogs too many.

Lola: 7ish, 85 pounds, lab/pit/? mix, and a people kind of dog. 
Clyde: 3, 60ish pounds, Aussie/lab, and a "whomever will give me attention, but you better approach me slowly" kind of dog. 

When we had only Lola life was good. Sure it was tough when she was younger, but as time went on (and training had been done) she became and easy dog.  She was cuddly, walked nicely on walks, played with other dogs nicely, and NEVER barked. 

Then we got Clyde.  He was a 10 week old puppy when we first got him (great prep for those middle of the night feedings once S came).  At first Lola could have cared less.  He was merely a nuisance and, although she would put him in his place ever so often, she didn't change much.  In the beginning, he showed real understanding of how to walk on a leash and be social around other people.  Unfortunately, there were gaps in what I exposed him to and he began to develop some skittishness. 

Now Clyde barks at the slightest noise.  If my husband puts his coffee down to loudly, he barks.  If someone next door shuts a car door, he barks.  And if someone dares to ring our doorbell or enter our home? Ugh!

Between the barking and the fact that Clyde tends to not really follow our "rules", Lola has begun to tweek out a little.  She tries to control Clyde when he is being mischievous and he tries to argue back.  As you can imagine this results in 140+ pounds of canine craziness.  Not fun.

We also have a neighbor with FIVE dogs. They bark a lot. My dogs like to bark back at them and it got so bad that they began to fence fight. 

Now, our once lovely dog that never barked, barks a lot.  Our dog that barked a lot, now barks non-stop.  We have tried several different no bark solutions and none of them seem to work for long.  It has gotten so bad that I have a snow fence about 10 feet from the shared fence.  It stopped the fence fighting...sort of.  Clyde will bark at them, Lola will bark at them, and then Lola will get mad that Clyde is barking at them and goes after him pretty aggressively.

As you can imagine I hate letting them outside.  We have resorted to only letting them out one at a time, and although that helps the fighting, it doesn't really help the barking.  I can only imagine what our neighbors think of us.  I hope they can hear us out there with the dogs trying to get them to stop it, because I have to let them out to pee once and a while.

I will be honest, we have more bark free trips outside than we use to have.  I think that is the only thing that gives me hope. 

I also know that if we could get them more exercise they would behave better.  We don't give them walks like they deserve, but I don't know how to fit them in.  I can't walk them together because of their "pack mentality" makes coming across other dogs a dangerous possibility for Superman, all the dogs involved and myself.  We bring Clyde to day care once a week to try and help, but it isn't enough.   I am hoping that once it gets warm out, I can start taking them out individually (with Superman) throughout the day.  However, once the baby comes that will not be possible.  My husband works hard and is tired, so adding another thing to his "to-do" list is not possible. 
The whole thing is just exhausting.  

I should be honest and say this isn't a real dilemma...we aren't going to get rid of our dogs, but

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