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Old 10-11-2019, 07:04 PM
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I think my dog sitter abused my dog


I have an 11 year old chihuahua. Since he was a puppy he would go absolutely ballistic everytime I come home. Jumping on my and barking for attention. It is very aggravating and when you come home tired it does take restraint to be patient with him.

For the past 6 months I have let a girl use my apt all she has to do is take care of the two dogs. She has always favored to beagle/pit mix. I usually come home for 2 or 3 days about once every two weeks. This last time I came home my little dog greeted me silently and shaking, when I go out for a few hours and come home it is the same. He is suppressing his enthusiasm. He has always done this when someone is asleep, I don't know how he learned it but he did that when he was only a few weeks old, he is always silent if someone is sleeping. I can't help but think she came home from work tired and the dog was driving her nuts and she snapped. Before I leave again I intend to see how they interact with one another and if he is afraid of her she is gone. Either way I am going to have a talk with her, something must have happened.
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Old 10-11-2019, 07:40 PM
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Aw, man that's a sickening thought. I hope it's not true. But, otoh, he may be ill in some way. Behaviour changes don't just happen.
He is 11, probably some arthritis and joint pain, as well.
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Old 10-11-2019, 08:05 PM
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I don't know what to say, other than I absolutely feel for you. That must be a terrible feeling. Can you get rid of her and find someone else? Sounds like short notice, so maybe not. Is a camera in the entry way possible?
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Old 10-11-2019, 08:51 PM
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Originally Posted by madmonk28 View Post
I don't know what to say, other than I absolutely feel for you. That must be a terrible feeling. Can you get rid of her and find someone else? Sounds like short notice, so maybe not. Is a camera in the entry way possible?
The camera wouldn't work because she would have no privacy. I know she has normally been good with the dogs but I also know her to have a short fuse especially when she drinks. I guess I will just have a no nonsense talk with her and try again. It appears that she has trained the dog not to be so exuberant so maybe it won't be an issue anymore. I just hate to think what she might have done.
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Old 10-11-2019, 09:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Beckdawrek View Post
Aw, man that's a sickening thought. I hope it's not true. But, otoh, he may be ill in some way. Behaviour changes don't just happen.
He is 11, probably some arthritis and joint pain, as well.
Yes, I wouldn't rule out illness. I dog sat my cousin and his girlfriend's dog several years back, and he was a wonderful, gentle, Staffordshire Terrier that I always treated well (in fact, he was the inspiration for us to get our own dog), and when they picked him up after his second or third stay with us, he was exhibiting behaviors like your dog. He was mellow, not responding with the typical enthusiasm, and just acting "spooked." I thought it may have been because of a recent thunderstorm (he started hiding and hanging out in the closet for days after a storm, and he was known to be afraid of thunder.) Luckily, nobody intimated or suggested mistreatment, but they did notice the weird behavior, and took him to the vet, and it turned out he was, indeed ill.

I don't know if this is the case in your case, but I wouldn't necessarily be too sure the sitter has been mistreating the dog.

Last edited by pulykamell; 10-11-2019 at 09:02 PM.
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Old 10-11-2019, 09:07 PM
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Perhaps she actually trained the dog to not jump all over people when they come into your house?
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Old 10-11-2019, 10:18 PM
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Perhaps she actually trained the dog to not jump all over people when they come into your house?
I have considered this, the little guy is overly sensitive and maybe some firm treatment traumatized him a bit. He does appear healthy and normal in all his other activities, the only thing that has changed is he method of greeting me. I spent a good part of my life training bird dogs which are much bigger and emotionally pretty tough I admittedly have been too easy on this little guy.
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Old 10-11-2019, 11:48 PM
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I dunno, I'd say a visit to the vet is in order. If there is nothing wrong with the pup, yeah, I'd have a talk with the sitter. Dogs and cats are people, meaning they have individual personalities, some level of intelligence, self awareness and emotion. They also don't just bounce back as easily from abuse, if they do at all. I really hope the poor pup is just ill, and the age does give a strong nudge to that, because...grrrmmmm, I'm getting angry just thinking about it, animal abuse just ..... yeah
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Old 10-12-2019, 12:03 AM
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If I were in your shoes Id be sick with fear over what may have happened. But given the breed, and the fact that he's exhibited this behavior before when simply restraining himself, there may be nothing cruel or negligent going on.

Chihuahuas are infamously "soft" dogs. Yell at one for pooping on the floor and it will interpret this as "Never Poop Again!!" They are easily traumatized by what we'd consider normal corrections. It is not necessarily that she has been violent or vicious to him, she may simply have yelled at him.

The dog is trying to please. Shaking does not necessarily mean fear.

That doesn't mean it wasn't untoward behavior though. It might have been. I agree with those recommending a Vet visit. You know your dog, and this person. Your assessment of her temper is concerning; I wouldn't put a person like that in charge of a sensitive animal.

Overall, I say ask questions. Ask until you feel you really have the truth. Was she just training him? Did he rip through a silk skirt and she yelled once? Or is there more to it?

One thing to check for is hand shyness. When you put your hand over his face to pet him, does he duck? If you move your hand swiftly toward his behind, does he yelp or jump away? That's a pretty sure sign of a dog that's been hit. Also check his little legs. Just gently rub them all the way down. Does he pull any of them away from you, or show signs of pain? If one leg is hurting, that would affect his dancing greeting and put him in a state of anxiety between the urge to greet and the fear of pain. Same with lower back or hip pain. All of these could result from abuse, or age, or a rousing game of "fetch."
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Old 10-12-2019, 12:11 AM
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Has it been recent that you’ve been out of town for these extended periods? Some dogs may feel they were abandoned by their owners and the abandonment was some type of punishment. Maybe he greets you silently and shaking because he feels he did something wrong.
We’ve had dogs act odd after leaving them at sitters or boarding them. When we got back they were either kind of timid about approaching us or they would even ignore us as of they were pissed off.
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Old 10-12-2019, 01:28 AM
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I was tasked with walking my mom's dog recently while mom recovered from a broken hip. About the second night out, dog got me all tripped up on her leash (yeah, I know. Some old bullshit) and I fell down and nailed her on the way down.

She held it against me for a week. Wouldn't want to go walksies.
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Old 10-12-2019, 01:39 AM
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Originally Posted by TruCelt View Post
If I were in your shoes Id be sick with fear over what may have happened. But given the breed, and the fact that he's exhibited this behavior before when simply restraining himself, there may be nothing cruel or negligent going on.

Chihuahuas are infamously "soft" dogs. Yell at one for pooping on the floor and it will interpret this as "Never Poop Again!!" They are easily traumatized by what we'd consider normal corrections. It is not necessarily that she has been violent or vicious to him, she may simply have yelled at him.

The dog is trying to please. Shaking does not necessarily mean fear.

That doesn't mean it wasn't untoward behavior though. It might have been. I agree with those recommending a Vet visit. You know your dog, and this person. Your assessment of her temper is concerning; I wouldn't put a person like that in charge of a sensitive animal.

Overall, I say ask questions. Ask until you feel you really have the truth. Was she just training him? Did he rip through a silk skirt and she yelled once? Or is there more to it?

One thing to check for is hand shyness. When you put your hand over his face to pet him, does he duck? If you move your hand swiftly toward his behind, does he yelp or jump away? That's a pretty sure sign of a dog that's been hit. Also check his little legs. Just gently rub them all the way down. Does he pull any of them away from you, or show signs of pain? If one leg is hurting, that would affect his dancing greeting and put him in a state of anxiety between the urge to greet and the fear of pain. Same with lower back or hip pain. All of these could result from abuse, or age, or a rousing game of "fetch."
He still comes up and licks my face but I have to invite him to now. Before this it was a straight 5 min of yelping and bouncing on me and almost licking my face off. I had to physical grip him until he calmed down. I am enjoying the new restrained pup but I am worried about what got him that way, he really looks scared when he comes to greet me, you can tell he doesn't know if it will be safe or not.
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Old 10-12-2019, 01:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Hampshire View Post
Has it been recent that you’ve been out of town for these extended periods? Some dogs may feel they were abandoned by their owners and the abandonment was some type of punishment. Maybe he greets you silently and shaking because he feels he did something wrong.
We’ve had dogs act odd after leaving them at sitters or boarding them. When we got back they were either kind of timid about approaching us or they would even ignore us as of they were pissed off.
This has been going on for 8 months, she has been the primary caretaker but he has always still recognized me as his primary master.
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Old 10-12-2019, 09:49 AM
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Our own chihuahua mix (a little under 3 years old) is alone in the house when we're at work, weekdays from 8:30 to 5 PM. We set a camera on him the first few weeks (in 2017) to make sure he wasn't overly desperate, the expert told us he seemed to be coping well. He's always been extremely glad to see us when the first one of us comes home at the end of the day, much like the OP's dog.

But these past few months, he's started behaving strangely when one of us comes home: he'll join us at the top of the stairs near the door and just stand there, looking at us blankly (not face-on: sideways a bit), unmoving, ears back. Not trembling, not growling, just hesitating. It takes several seconds of talking to him to get him to unfreeze, at which point he's as happy to see us as ever and starts to lick our face off. His hearing is good (too good) and his sight seems to be fine, so it seems to be a psychological thing.

We don't see anything (event or environment) that might have triggered this change. Maybe the OP's dog has also changed without a reason.

Last edited by Heracles; 10-12-2019 at 09:53 AM.
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Old 10-13-2019, 08:18 AM
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We don't have any livestock around the house, but if you suspect abuse, I'd suggest a nannycam, see what if anything is going on.
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Old 10-13-2019, 09:18 AM
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I am thinking I over reacted, he is pretty much back to normal now but is a bit easier to calm down once he gets started. She may have just given him a little stern training and his over sensitivity is what i was seeing.
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Old 10-13-2019, 09:21 AM
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I think the trembling may just be his contained excitement, not fear. The sitter has possibly gotten him to stop jumping, but the energy is still going to be there?
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Old 10-13-2019, 02:58 PM
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Originally Posted by manson1972 View Post
Perhaps she actually trained the dog to not jump all over people when they come into your house?

That would be my guess.

Owners are far too easy on small dogs, they let them misbehave. And yes, Op that's you.
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Old 10-13-2019, 05:25 PM
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I can only imagine how a person must feel when their child has been abused. I will even be a little more tolerant of those who are overly suspicious of their child's sitters.

The dog only jumps on people he lives with not very social.
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