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Long post.. but advice much needed!

Sorry in advance for the long post. I'll break it down a bit!

My parents are going away from August-November for work. They asked my husband and I to watch their 2 dogs. We have our own Jack Russell, Dexter. In Sept I will be back in school full time, and working part time on the side. Here's a bit about each dog.

Dexter- neutered male JRT, 10yrs old. We adopted him from the shelter, and he is a sweet, timid, sometimes hyper JRT, Amazing dog! 

Parents dogs:

Russ- neutered male JRT, 11 years old. (Only owned him for 1 year) Adopted. Sweet dog most of the time, but gets kind of neurotic.. when you pet him or walk in to a room where my mom or dad are, he starts growling like he's going to bite your face off. Once he stops growling then he starts crying like he's stressed out. Extremely high energy and always needs to be playing with or chewing on something. I love him but he growling and territorial issues worry me, but has never bitten a person.

Joe- neutered male Shepherd/Lab mix, 6 yrs old. (Adopted as a puppy) Sweetest boy in the world, extremely laid back and loves everyone. 

I absolutely love both of their dogs. My only concerns are watching them for 4 months, (3 of which I am in school and the dogs will be alone during the day) We live in an apartment in town. Dexter is very quiet during the day. Joe and Russ are used to living their whole lives in the country where it's quiet. I am worried of them barking and barking and driving our neighbors nuts. On Dexter we have used a spray collar (sprays citronella when they bark and they don't like the smell) which has completely trained him out of barking while we were away. (We were getting complaints of him barking) 

What are some suggestions to use while we are away that will help prevent the other 2 from barking. Use the citronella collar as well? I think Russ will be the instigator for barking and the other 2 will bark along as well.

 My second concern: Last night we were visiting my parents and their dogs with our dog Dexter. Dexter was in the corner looking at something when Russ noticed and instantly came over to check it out as well. Russ started growling automatically at Dexter and I knew trouble was coming when Dexter backed out of the corner. As soon as he turned around and saw Russ in his face, he growled back and Russ bit his head, trying to put his whole head inside his mouth which gave Dexter a cut right above his eye. Dexter then grabbed him by the throat and would NOT let go, he was holding on incredibly tight. After about a minute we finally got them apart, luckily my dog did not give him any puncture wounds. Joe, (the shepherd/lab) could care less and took this time to snoop through the garbage can lol.

I am very very concerned about this happening while we are away at work or school. I also can't have the neighbors hearing constant barking which is something else I'm concerned about. My parents have tried and tried to find people to watch the dogs but we are the only people able to at this point.

I feel incredibly guilty but I've looked in to places to board Russ for the 4 months but I know that's not going to be possible as rates are up to $3000 for that length of time. I know Joe is not going to be a problem at all, it's Russ and Dexter that I am concerned about - fighting, barking, etc.

 Any suggestions or thoughts would be appreciated. I don't know if its crazy to take in 2 more dogs for 4 months, it is a big responsibility while I am so busy but I love these dogs and they need a place to stay. 

Re: Long post.. but advice much needed!

  • That is a tough spot to be in. I would also be worried about your dog... Is there any way you could just watch Joe for them, and someone else watch Russ? I know it would be hard to separate them for so long, but it's a suggestion.. Since Joe seems to be more laid back and Russ seems to be more "aggressive."

    If you do decided to watch both of them, maybe let your neighbors know. Just tell them you are watching some dogs for a while that aren't used to your environment so they may be a little loud at first. Maybe they will get used to it.

    image
  • I am currently looking in to another spot for Russ, but it's making me feel so guilty :( I definitely will warn the neighbors! I am just thinking of things like keeping the AC fan on high so maybe they can't hear the noises outside, keeping curtains closed so they don't see people walking up and down the street, etc. 

  • image melissaepiphany:

    I am currently looking in to another spot for Russ, but it's making me feel so guilty :( I definitely will warn the neighbors! I am just thinking of things like keeping the AC fan on high so maybe they can't hear the noises outside, keeping curtains closed so they don't see people walking up and down the street, etc. 

    I understand why you would feel guilty.. My sister and I split up our mom's two dogs for about a month while our mom was away on business. We both felt kind of bad about it, but neither of us could take care of both of them on our own. We got together every weekend with the dogs so they could visit each other. Maybe that will work for you if you can find someone else to watch Russ?

    Dogs have such great hearing that I don't think keeping the fans on high will help much, you could try a sound maker, perhaps? I know you could probably get one at Goodwill for a few bucks....  maybe keeping them in a room/rooms what are far from the street and/or front door will also help with that. We also put a blanket over one of our dog's kennels growing up so only one side of the kennel could be seen out of. The top and 3 sides were covered, so our dog would not react to every little noise or person with wild barking and whining.

    image
  • First, I assume there is a reason your parents cannot take the dogs with them wherever they are going?  I can't imagine being away from my dogs for that long, so I personally would look for any option to take them with me.

    Assuming that's not possible, 4 months is a very long time to care for 2 additional dogs 24/7.  Perhaps you could offer to do it for some shorter period of time (1 month, for example), and your parents can find others to each take 1 month or a few weeks.  It might be tough for the dogs to be moving around that much, but 4 months is a lot to ask of one person/couple/family.

    Another thing to consider: does your apartment complex/landlord permit you to have 3 dogs in your apartment? If not, you either can't watch them or you need to get permission from your landlord. I personally would want permission in writing just in case there is an issue at some point during the 4 months. I've known landlords who give verbal permission for a pet and then change their minds and threaten to evict the tenant if s/he doesn't get rid of the pet. It's despicable, but it happens, and you wouldn't want to be in that situation.

    If you do decide to watch them for the 4 months (or any length of time), I would keep the dogs separate from each other when you are not home to supervise them (or at least keep your parents' dogs separate from your dog if your parents think their dogs are ok together unsupervised).  You can do this by crating some/all of them or baby-gating or shutting them in separate rooms.  You may want to crate your parents' dogs at first anyway to make sure they aren't destructive in a new environment.

    I don't have much advice on the barking issue, as my dogs don't bark when we're gone, and we're training one of them not to bark when we're home (but we don't use any type of collar, just teaching "quiet" and positive reinforcement for being quiet). You could try a white noise machine or fan/air conditioner to drown out normal apartment noises. Some people use the TV, but since you never know what sounds might come on, I'm wary of it (for example, if a doorbell sounds on TV, one of my dogs goes nuts).  Also, you could try to keep them in rooms that are insulated from the common areas of the apartment building (rather than letting them near the front door where it's likely they'll hear people in the hallway).

    I would also discuss the dogs' care with your parents well in advance - who is paying for their food?  What happens if they need veterinary treatment while in your care? Are you expected to exercise them - if so, how often/how much? What if you need to go out of town during the time you're watching them? Where will they stay? Who will pay for it?

    This is really a personal decision, but those are some things I would think about. GL!

    [url=http://www.thebump.com/?utm_source=ticker&utm_medium=UBB&utm_campaign=tickers][img]http://global.thebump.com/tickers/tt136343.aspx[/img][/url]
  • image Caz1221:

    Another thing to consider: does your apartment complex/landlord permit you to have 3 dogs in your apartment? If not, you either can't watch them or you need to get permission from your landlord. I personally would want permission in writing just in case there is an issue at some point during the 4 months. I've known landlords who give verbal permission for a pet and then change their minds and threaten to evict the tenant if s/he doesn't get rid of the pet. It's despicable, but it happens, and you wouldn't want to be in that situation.


    I agree with everything Caz said but wanted to comment on this particular paragraph. We used to live in an apartment and our landlord had told us several times we would be allowed to have a dog if we wanted. We were in the process of buying a house, had an offer accepted but it was a foreclosure and took awhile. We had an opportunity to adopt an aussie puppy. We brought her into the apartment, she spent time with us, we realized she was THE dog for us and agreed to buy her. When we called to tell the landlord he informed me that he had just told the downstairs neighbors they weren't allowed to get a dog and didn't think it would be fair to let us have one. Even though we were ideal tenants and the downstairs neighbors were terrible, it didn't matter. 

    So, our puppy when to live with my grandma for a couple of months while we closed on our house. My grandma is a lovely, wonderful woman but does not train her dogs. She has a handful of yippy maltese dogs that jump and bark and are completely unpleasant to be around. Our Aussie picked up a couple of bad habits from these pups and just lack of training and we're still dealing with some of them.

    Absolutely make sure that you have something in writing before you agree to take two more dogs for 4 months time. I would also look into finding a different place for the Russ.

    [IMG]http://i49.tinypic.com/2r7awbc.jpg[/IMG]
  • I can't imagine going away for that long and not taking my dogs. If your parents are just going on some sort of optional trip (vacation?) I would not feel bad for only offering to watch one of them. I wouldn't feel bad if I couldn't watch either of them. I also don't think it would be healthy for either of them to be boarded for that length of time. 

    Can they absolutely not take the JRT with them? Is he small enough to be a carry on (if they're flying)?

    I think they should have planned better, and found a dog sitter before making any travel arrangements. If I go away for a week somewhere, I make sure I have accommodations for my dogs lined up before booking my flight/hotels. It is the responsible thing to do, and I think your parents are putting you in a bad place. 

    I would talk to your landlord first. If he says no, then problem solved for you - its time for your parents to be adults and take care of their pets. I also would not leave your Dexter to be abused and exposed to the kind of hostility you described, on a daily basis. It's not good for any dogs mentality to be put in that situation - he could forever be dog aggressive after the 4 month stay is over.

    If you do take them, you MUST never leave them alone unsupervised together. You also must be aware that Dexter and your parents JRT may really go after each other on a regular basis - you have to be prepared to somehow keep them separated 24/7 if you need to (i.e crate and rotate - crating their boy in a spare bedroom, and only letting him out when Dexter is in his crate in another private area). You also should feed separately. You may even have to walk them separately. Walking three dogs is a lot of work to begin with, but add in two that do not like each other and it gets exponentially harder. You'll also need to give them separate play or cuddle time, where they can actually relax and not worry about getting attacked. 

    It's a lot of work managing multi-dog households, and a huge responsibility to undertake with dogs that do not get along. As PP said, what if your landlord says they have to go? What is the "back up plan"? You will absolutely need to be prepared for that.

    Good luck! 

    image

    TTC since March 2012. 

  • If Russ and Joe get along fine that might be what makes the whole thing easier, do you kennel your dog while you are gone or are the other two kennel trained? If you have a few months between now and then you can work on doing kennel training for all the dogs and put the two that get along well in one room or area together and the other one alone.

    Sometimes dogs bark for boredom, attention or because they are just that personality. I use peanut butter treats- put natural peanut butter in a Kong and freeze it, it lasts for a long time and keeps them busy until they are tired enough to go to sleep. I have a high anxiety dog that has some similar traits to Russ (Some rescues seem to have a lot of anxiety or aggression issues)- I use some natural remedies to calm her down - exercise - the PB treats - not putting her in a kennel alone - putting a loud fan in the room with curtains drawn so its dim, and there is background noise.

    If you plan on taking both dogs in for a few months I would socialize your dog with the other 2 as much as possible; sometimes aggression is showing whose the pack leader or alpha male in the group and that will all get sorted out the more the dogs see each other and are able to interact. I do agree with others about the apartment situation- make sure they are ok with you watching the other 2 dogs for a few months and if your friendly with your neighbors its nice to give them a heads up.

    Good luck and I hope it all works out! 

    ~E~
  • Everyone has taken the time to give you great advice. I'd back up all they have to say.

    But the post-and-runs around here lately are pi$$ing me off! If you needed advice so badly, you shouldn't be posting and then never returning to read/respond to/thank people for what they've written! GAH! 

    image image
    Daisypath Anniversary tickers
    TTC since July 2012
    BFP #1: 11/9/13; spontaneous m/c at 6w2d, 11/25/13
    BFP #2: 12/31/13. B/w 12/31: betas >1000, progesterone 13.6; B/w 1/2: betas 3065, progesterone 10.2
    B/w 1/8: betas 17,345, progesterone 25.6
    Progesterone suppositories started 1/2. Please stick, baby!!
    Fiona Elise born 9/9/14 - welcome beautiful girl!
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  • image LuckyAngel07:

    Everyone has taken the time to give you great advice. I'd back up all they have to say.

    But the post-and-runs around here lately are pi$$ing me off! If you needed advice so badly, you shouldn't be posting and then never returning to read/respond to/thank people for what they've written! GAH! 

     

     Oh, Well I actually do work full time, have a husband, and have a busy schedule and find it hard enough to even respond to emails from my own family. I actually felt badly about not replying until now so came on first thing this morning and get your note.

     I DO appreciate everyone's responses. Anyways, I'm off work today finally and wanted to reply to everyone but thank you for your assumptions.

     My parents are going away for work, it's not a "vacation". Where they are going, dogs are not permitted. They didn't even know they would be away until this past January (really long story), and since then they've got people lined up to watch their house, water the plants and  take care of their lawns, but unfortunately no one they have asked so far is in the position to take care of their dogs as well. Their dogs to me are like family members, so I am here to help them.

    Our landlord is fine with 3 dogs, so that isn't an issue. I've decided I will be leaving them in separate rooms when we are away.. Walking them shouldn't be an issue all together, they're actually all been walked before and Russ and Dexter have been to the dog park before with no problems. They dogs will be fed separately as well.. Russ and Joe are already fed separately.. and not due to aggression actually. Russ just won't eat around Joe, so they definitely will be fed separately anyways.

     elineager, I'm definitely trying the peanut butter in the kong idea! Russ always needs to be chewing/doing something so I think this would keep him really well occupied! Luckily all the dogs will be getting together 2 more times for a couple of days before they come to our place. Once will be here at our own house too so we can kind of see how it goes for a few days.

     Thanks everyone again for your comments, I have definitely taken them in to consideration and appreciate them! 

  • image melissaepiphany:
    image LuckyAngel07:

    Everyone has taken the time to give you great advice. I'd back up all they have to say.

    But the post-and-runs around here lately are pi$$ing me off! If you needed advice so badly, you shouldn't be posting and then never returning to read/respond to/thank people for what they've written! GAH! 

     

     Oh, Well I actually do work full time, have a husband, and have a busy schedule and find it hard enough to even respond to emails from my own family. I actually felt badly about not replying until now so came on first thing this morning and get your note.

    I work FT and have a husband and busy schedule as well, though I am able to pop online while at work. I'm glad you returned to get people's responses and reply further. There have been a LOT of people that tend to post about really needing help and then never bothering to acknowledge people's responses, so I have no idea if they ever even came back to read them. I'm glad you did!! 

    It sounds like you have a good plan in place for dealing with any potential issues. One thing further that might help is using something called Rescue Remedy or DAP collar if anyone is getting stressed out with the arrangements. They might help mellow everyone enough to settle into the new living situation. 

    image image
    Daisypath Anniversary tickers
    TTC since July 2012
    BFP #1: 11/9/13; spontaneous m/c at 6w2d, 11/25/13
    BFP #2: 12/31/13. B/w 12/31: betas >1000, progesterone 13.6; B/w 1/2: betas 3065, progesterone 10.2
    B/w 1/8: betas 17,345, progesterone 25.6
    Progesterone suppositories started 1/2. Please stick, baby!!
    Fiona Elise born 9/9/14 - welcome beautiful girl!
    image
    Badge Unicorn
    image
  • Lol, I rarely eat or sit down at work let alone get online, so my days off are my only chance. Once I get home from work I just want to hang out and relax.

     I've heard of rescue remedy but never of a DAP collar.. I'm going to look in to these. I always wondered how well natural anti-anxiety remedies worked for dogs. I would really love to try it. I'm going to do a bit more research on those, thanks for the reminder!! :) 

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