Advice needed on a touchy subject. Disliking my lab.
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Thread: Advice needed on a touchy subject. Disliking my lab.

  1. #1
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    DefaultAdvice needed on a touchy subject. Disliking my lab.

    I am a regular member here but have chosen anonymity in order for me to feel comfortable about posting this. I have debated about posting for some time and finally decided that I needed the advice or support from fellow labrador families.

    I want to start by saying that I love labs, I do volunteer for a rescue and I feel so much for labs, or animals in general, who are abandoned by their families. I have more than two animals in my home and more than two labs. The youngest lab i have (now 2.5 and has been with us for almost 2 years) came to me through rescue and we kept him because we could not place him. I have to honestly say he has never quite "fit" with us. He gets along with the other animals in our home very well and has bonded particularly to one of the dogs, but we have never, me especially, truly bonded with him. He is, for lack of a better word, very obnoxious. He has been trained but most of the time his training falls by the wayside and he is just downright annoying to guests in our home or dog/lab company we may have. He (neutered) has marked several times in the house. No matter what we do, we cannot seem to stop this. We do crate him when we are gone, however the marking happens usually when no one is looking sometime throughout the day when I am here. (I have other responsibilities in the home so I cannot watch him constantly nor could i crate him constantly) He stinks. His breath, no matter what we have done (brushing teeth, mint chewies, etc) is so horrible. We cannot stand when he pants in our direction. We have taken him to the vet over this and they cannot find a reason as to why, just that it's the way he is. He is constantly licking. Constantly licking "himself" and to the point where I have to sleep with the TV on because i feel so irritated in the middle of the night when i hear the constant slurping. He digs. He's constantly filthy when he comes inside, however he always loves to BE outside. He barks randomly for no reason. he will be sleeping and all of a sudden lets a loud bark just for the sake of barking. this drives us mad.

    As i write this i sit here thinking to myself what an absolute monster I am.

    I just don't like him.

    I don't give him affection. I am not mean to him, but I am not pleasant either. I just simply exist with him while inside feeling like i would prefer if he weren't here. He has a pretty cush life with us. I mean he is allowed on the furniture, eats quality food, plays outside with us, has toys and my significant other will scritch him behind the ears and pet him and talk to him. But I don't. I also don't like it when he's on the bed with us while the other dogs will be. I will make him get down.

    I am not sure what the prupose of this post is. i think i just have to get it out. and i am wondering if he would be beter of with another family. but i feel bad to do that to him because he and another of our dogs are very close. has anyone else ever NOT liked one of their animals? I feel like a failure. a monster. This is very NOT like me. I have tried to spend time with him one on one to force myself to like him but i don't. I truly think i never will. Any advice you could give me would be helpful. please please please don't tell me how terrible i am. I am already very ashamed of my feelings and it took a lot of courage to talk about this in the first place.

    TIA

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  3. #2
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    DefaultRe: Advice needed on a touchy subject. Disliking my lab.

    As far as the marking, you can get male doggie wraps to help with that. I have one who will occasionally mark; no rhyme or reason as to why, but he gets to wear a doggie diaper....this is not one of my labs, but my little guy.
    For the breath, maybe a change in food; if he's licking and has bad breath, if could very well be the food.
    Don't feel bad; sometimes not all animals touch us the same way. If you are giving him a home because no one else would, you have done a lot. I not really too fond of my husband's lab ... he's obnoxious, demanding, pushes his way around, just different from my others. He lives the same good life the rest of them do, but I often wonder if he knows he's not exactly at the top of my list!!
    Don't beat yourself up. Try the wraps and maybe food change. If you're still volunteering for the rescue and they can possibly find him a home, don't feel bad about giving him up. They do adjust very well, especially if it's to another home with dogs for him to play with and love. In the meantime, just know that you've given him better than what he had before.

  4. #3
    Buckyball's Avatar
    Buckyball is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Advice needed on a touchy subject. Disliking my lab.

    Maybe he can sense what you feel about him and hence acts up and is aloof towards you? I can understand you being frustrated with him and that leading you to not liking him. Maybe you should give him up if you can find him a good home with capable people who will work with him one on one and continue with his training. I'd say that would be the best thing for him. Maybe even a home where he is the only dog so he can bond with the owners instead of another dog. You just have to make sure you find him a very good home with people who understand what he is like and what to expect.
    I am no dog expert but I really do believe they can sense how you feel about them. I know my pup could even when he was only 8.5 weeks old and I don't think I am imagining this.

    As for the smelliness of breath and such...it could be the food you are feeding him. My pup used to stink when he was on purina puppy chow..that was one of many issues he had when he was on that food. I'd have to bathe him every two days cuz the smell was that bad. Once we switched over to solidgold within a month all his problems went away. So, perhaps you could experiment with another quality food and see if he stops being a stinkpot.

    I hope this help. I don't think you are a monster. You can't like every person you meet nor will every person you meet like you and I think the same can be applied to animals as well.

    You provide for him very well despite your feelings towards him. Alot of people in your position wouldn't. But I feel like he needs more than just the material stuff. He needs your love too. If you can't give him that I feel like you should find a place where he will be given an abundance of both
    <3 01/01/2006-03/18/2017 <3

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  6. #4
    TobysTrix is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Advice needed on a touchy subject. Disliking my lab.

    I'm not sure what to tell you, other than I'm sorry you're in this situation. If it makes you feel any better, I don't think it's too stong a statement to say that I HATED my ex-husband's cat. I am and have always been a cat person (now I'm a lab person, too). I have met almost no cats that I have disliked, but I couldn't stand that particular animal. My feelings were like that from the beginning, even before we got married and in the early days when things were good between us. I tried, I really did, but I could barely tolerate her. When he moved out, I was quite relieved that he took her with him, I'm not sure what I would have done if he'd decided to leave her behind in his haste to get out.

    Of course, the situation is always made worse because the animal can tell that there are negative feelings and then it becomes an endless feedback loop, re-inforcing the feelings on both sides. Perhaps re-homing will solve the problem both in your house and with his behaviors, if you can find a good place for him. Whatever you do, it won't be easy, so good luck.
    Toby and Chamois say: GO STEELERS!
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  7. #5
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    Trickster is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Advice needed on a touchy subject. Disliking my lab.

    Well, I can safely say that personally, I don't 'dislike' any of my animals -- my life would not be the same without them so I can't really sympathize with you on the same level.

    His issues can be worked through. Bad breath and persistant licking are classic signs of a food allergy. You may find that adjustments to his diets eliminates both problems. Dogs dig and bark because they are bored. They need exercise and mental stimulation. I would recommend nothing less then one hour of vigorous exercise EVERY day for a young adult dog.

    Are your dogs issues the reason you have taken a dislike to him?

    Have you TRIED interacting with this dog? you know, taking him for walks, playing with him? I'm not trying to criticize you, just trying to understand the situation better.

  8. #6
    Chester B. Dickens is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Advice needed on a touchy subject. Disliking my lab.

    Several thoughts:

    Start treating him as a dog, not a family member. In other words, get that dog out of your bed, pronto.

    And resurrect the training. If it 'hasn't held,' nobody's enforced it (or vice versa). Some manners training will go a long way to making him more acceptable in your home. He should know that marking in the house is VERBOTEN (I see this as an alpha challenge more than anything else -- another reason to get him off the bed. And maybe begin NILIF work).

    Breath - Go to the vet. There may be something viral or dental going on.

    Digging - That's boredom. Pure and simple. Maybe when he beings being a better housemate, you'll overcome your reluctance to spend time with him and the digging/boredom will end.

    Good luck - Labs are terrific dogs, as you know, but they do take work.

  9. #7
    AngusFangus is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Advice needed on a touchy subject. Disliking my lab.

    First of all, no, you are not a monster. Silly! It absolutely did take a lot of guts to come on here and "own" these feelings you are having. Perhaps just writing it down, getting it off your chest as you say, will help clear your mind about things.

    As Buckyball said, it's not realistic to think that you will like every other person you meet, or every other dog! I am about as big a dog lover as there is, but there are a few once in a while that I meet that I really, strongly dislike. Hate would not even be too strong a word for one or two.

    I can also empathize from another perspective: Living with a dog that you just don't like. Those first few months of Angus' life were absolute torture for me. I felt horribly guilty about leaving him to go to work, but I positively dreaded coming home and having to "deal" with him. There was no pleasure in it for me. He was not cuddly: All he did was bite me and jump on me and try to eat things that could potentially kill him. And I felt much like you. I kept saying to myself, "How can I be living with a dog that I do not even like? I can't believe this! What is wrong with me?" Combine all this with the fact that I was still grieving my perfect dog, and it was a recipe for great unhappiness.

    Fortunately, in my situation Angus just needed to do a lot of growing up. With a lot of training and patience, he has grown up into an absolutely stellar dog. He is truly the apple of my eye. I would have never thought it.

    Unfortunately, in your situation, it sounds like you have given this a lot of time, and your feelings haven't changed. He's all grown up now, and his basic personality will probably not change at this point.

    Do you think if you could deal with the smells and the training issues that you might feel differently? I guess that is the question. I suppose you could try to examine the behaviors that could possibly be changed, and ask yourself if changing those might make a difference in how you feel?

    This is a very difficult situation, and I wish I had a really great answer for you. :-\


    Connie and "The Boys":
    Angus, Yellow Lab, CGC, RE, CD
    Simon, d.b.a. Flat Coated Retriever, CGC, RE, CD

    Gone ahead, but forever in my heart:
    Crash, Pit Bull x Rottweiler x Golden Retriever

  10. #8
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    DefaultRe: Advice needed on a touchy subject. Disliking my lab.

    Not a monster...I can relate in a way. I absolutely prefer Gunny to Autumn. I just love his temperment, goofiness and the fact that he prefers me to anyone on the planet..makes me feel special. Autumn is a sweety but more independent, stubborn..she barks a whole lot more (it's the hound in her)..not nearly as obedient, even though they get the same consistent and amount of training...she's just a different dog. Yet I feel guilty. Otherwise you've been given great advice just wanted to share.

  11. #9
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    Rushpuppy is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Advice needed on a touchy subject. Disliking my lab.

    The advice given here has been great. The only thing I want to say is if you feel like keeping him for the rest of his life is going to be difficult for you, maybe you need to look into finding him someone who can better cope with his pecularities. It's ok to not be madly in love with him, but you should like him. If you find that difficult, in all fairness to him maybe there is a better fit for both of you. I have felt that way before with a Golden I rescued and it just wasn't a good relationship for us. When I found her another home, she became a totally different dog, they loved her to distraction and the feeling was mutual. In this case it worked out for both of us and it eliminated all the guilt I felt for not liking her. Good luck with what ever you try. Remember we are here for you.


  12. #10
    AngusFangus is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Advice needed on a touchy subject. Disliking my lab.

    Rushpuppy, that's a really good point. It reminded me of Simon.

    Someone gave up Simon to the shelter at six or seven months. Whatever issues they had with him could not be resolved, and those issues were apparently deal-breakers for them.

    Now he lives with us. Yes, he does have some issues. I suspect that I could guess exactly why he was given up. But...I love him to pieces!

    You know...everyone is different. We enjoy and appreciate different qualities in dogs. I love enough things about Simon that, for me, his issues aren't all that big of a deal. I'll take them to also enjoy the things I love about him. But to whoever gave him up, they were a VERY big deal. That doesn't necessarily make them bad people. It just means that we are different.

    Someone else might not adore the boys the way I do. Someone else has a dog that they positively worship, and I can't stand to even be in the same room with it.

    Just because these issues are a big deal to you, they might not bother someone else nearly so much. That's what is nice about having a wide variety of dogs in the world from which to choose. I guess what I'm saying is, if it does come to finding another home, as rushpuppy said, it may end up being the best thing for all involved.


    Connie and "The Boys":
    Angus, Yellow Lab, CGC, RE, CD
    Simon, d.b.a. Flat Coated Retriever, CGC, RE, CD

    Gone ahead, but forever in my heart:
    Crash, Pit Bull x Rottweiler x Golden Retriever

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