Friday, February 14, 2014

Bed Time With Barry ~ Revisited

I posted recently about how we allow Barry to sleep with us and nothing has changed, he wasn't acting out, etc., etc. Well, it has come to pass that Barry has started sort of taking over. Not taking over the bed but kind of taking over a few things. Like the back room. He has continued to use the back room as his bathroom - taking it over essentially, and also GROSS. When we walk him he is taking over the walk. We can redirect him but all in all he is leading us during our walks. It's even getting to the point where he is not enjoying his walks at all. If there is a dog around in eye sight he is done. This has suddenly gotten worse. He was doing better for a bit but it has gotten bad again just recently. He is so focused on the other dog that nothing else around him matters. It doesn't matter if he needs to use the bathroom. It doesn't matter that we wave summer sausage in his face to get his attention. It doesn't matter that we're holding the leash and trying to redirect him. He's whining and his whole walk is ruined. It's kind of sad actually. Then he doesn't go #2 outside due to being totally obsessed and distracted by the other dog and guess what happens to our back room?

Boundaries? I don't need no stinkin' boundaries.
Cause just look at me.
So, Husband and I discussed, maybe we aren't giving Barry enough boundaries. He needs boundaries and guidelines. We haven't given him many. He's been a pretty good dog thus far and haven't had the need to give him too many boundaries or rules. Now that's coming back to slap us in the face. We should have laid down the law (so to speak) from the start. I think if we had established the boundaries right off and showed him what we allow and what we do not allow then this wouldn't have spiraled out of control. It's our fault. Barry needs those rules. He thrives and works best under healthy boundaries and rules.

Therefore we're starting with bed time. We will make him sleep in his own doggie bed and will only be allowed in our bed upon invitation. This will break my heart. It will probably also beaks Husband's heart. Barry can really do a number on our emotions but in order to make him the happiest and most well behaved dog that he can be we need to set these rules. This will benefit not only me and my husband, but Barry too. Eventually it will come to be that he will enjoy his walks again. Where he won't get so upset about seeing another dog that he can't even go to the bathroom.

I'm gonna take over everything now, okay?
Having a dog in your home is a continuos learning experience. We've learned a lot during our short time with Barry so far and I have feeling that we'll continue to learn even more. Even though, Barry has been with us for 2 1/2 months we are still getting to know him! He's wonderful and fun and I love his personality. We can always improve our relationship with him and we will work to do so.

I think this is a good example of how delicate the decisions about your pooch can be. Literally days ago I made this gushing post on letting Barry sleep with us because he's so well behaved... Now we are having to take that decision back. Our original decision to allow him to sleep with us wasn't a wrong one. The circumstances have changed and so we need to rearrange the situation a tad in order to get him back in line with what's healthy and good for all of us.

When my husband said to me that we need to make him sleep on his doggie bed and regain control again I first thought of the blog. I thought how strange it was that I had just written about this and now I would have to be honest and share the experience of it all. I have no regrets with the decisions we've made so far. I think we could have been a little more strong-handed (not physically of course) with Barry but everything that has happened has been something we are learning from. This is simply our path to discovery and it's not a smooth ride but we'll continue to stick with it because eventually things will even out and it's totally worth it. Barry is totally worth it.

Having a hard time understanding why I can't sleep with
Mom & Dad right now. I don't wanna get outta bed.
**Last night we started our new bedtime routine. I wondered if it would go well or if it would be hard since he's so used to jumping into bed with us every night. We did not let him in our bed ~ at first. We made him lay on his own bed. That took quite some coaxing. He was just staring at us with his big brown eyes. I could see he was totally confused and upset. We made him lay down - he got back up. We had him lay down again, putting a couple of toys in his doggie bed (which is in our bedroom at the foot of the bed on the floor). We pet him and let him know we were very happy each time he got onto his bed. He wound up laying in his bed for about 30 minutes then I heard him get up and walk to my side of the bed. I told him to lay down. He walked to Husband's side of the bed. Husband told him to lay down. We quickly discussed a new strategy. As it was getting late and we had to work in the morning I suggested that we allow him in bed so that we could get some sleep but that it would be on our terms. By inviting him into our bed that meant we were the ones that decided he could come into bed with us. So that's what we did. He was only allowed in once we told him it was okay. We'll need to work on this and soon I think he'll understand that he's not allowed in our bed unless we invite him. It's a start!**


  1. Hey there! I stumbled upon your blog from the Two Pitties in the City blog. I hope this doesn't come off the wrong way, I just wanted to say that as a first time dog owner, I'd really recommend taking your dog to a basic training class sooner than later. I waited over a year to do this with my bully mix rescue since I felt bad for him and just wanted to spoil him. In retrospect, I wish I had done it sooner and started him on good habits as soon as I got him. The more a dog practices a certain behavior, like pulling on leash, the harder it is to unlearn. There are lots of methods and tools to help train a strong dog to heel but they are best used under the guidance of an experienced trainer. Barry is gorgeous by the way! I've learned the hard way that my Spartacus is the kind of dog you can't cut corners with, and he reminds me of your Barry. Best of luck, he seems like a great dog.

    1. Hi! I'm so glad you commented and I couldn't agree with you more. We actually have taken Barry to a 6 week obedience course and it taught us so much (I'll have a post all about it at some point). Now that that's over we have a Chicago area animal behaviorist/trainer coming to our home to help us with issues we are encountering on a day to day basis. She comes highly recommended and we'll meet her in two weeks.

      I think after about our second week with Barry we had him started with the obedience course. Now that Spring is upon us (sort of?) we'll be walking all over & we want to enjoy our walks and want Barry to enjoy them as well. Due to our total inexperience (as you can see with many of my posts) we have really needed to get as much advice as possible and are open to all that we can get.

      I am loving your blog!

    2. Oh wow, that's great that you got started on training right away! Barry sounds like he's getting more used to living in a home by the minute, I'm sure he'll be gloriously heeling by your side in no time!
      I let my dogs in my bed btw, Spartacus has nightmares every night : ( , so I don't care what any trainer says, he's staying in the bed. But he has to wait until he's invited, and that means no begging.

      We're moving to Chicago this summer, and our Sparty needs ongoing training - if you have a good experience with your trainer, we'd be eager to get her contact info. Thanks for stopping by our blog, it's a work in progress for sure!

  2. You'll love Chicago! It's a nice city and pretty dog friendly. I'll let you know about the trainer. She was recommended to us and her prices are very fair - which is always something we are concerned about. We can't wait to meet her and get started and I'll be sure to share our experience.

    I am a firm believer that if you feel one thing is right for your dog then it is. Letting the dog sleep in bed with you is your own decision. Barry is still sleeping with us but we are making it on our terms and when we say. I just love to have him in bed next to us and we'll probably wind up buying a bigger bed at some point just to accommodate the three of us!

  3. I think letting your pup sleep in your bed is totally fine. He just wants to be close to you guys as well as a comfortable spot. Nothing to do with dominance. Perhaps other dogs are just a 'trigger' for Barry and eventually he is going to learn how to cope/manage as well as learn to be secure with you guys. You are doing such a great job and I love your blog!