Your Questions: 'I'm at my wits end with my pug'
Cahal Milmo is the chief reporter of The Independent and has been with the paper since 2000. He was born in London and previously worked at the Press Association news agency. He has reported on assignment at home and abroad, including Rwanda, Sudan and Burkina Faso, the phone hacking scandal and the London Olympics. In his spare time he is a keen runner and cyclist, and keeps an allotment.
Saturday 21 March 2009
Q. My partner and I own a lovely two-year-old pug. He was mine originally and when I moved in with my partner things started to change. He follows her everywhere, will not listen to anything I tell him to do, sleeps in our bed between us and hates it when we cuddle. I'm at my wits' end. Help! Chris, London
A. Our canine companions should be a welcome addition to the family, not a cause for disagreements. If the problem is not resolved quickly it could end up with somebody being kicked out of the family home – human or dog! People don't always want to admit they are jealous of the dog because they are embarrassed, but some of us do prefer dogs to humans! What you've got to look at is your family set-up and the role you play in the group. Of course your dog is going to prefer your partner if she is the one walking, feeding and giving him attention.
To get things back on track you need to pretend that your partner isn't there. You and your pug are going to do everything together. This way he has to look to you as the giver of all things nice. You are going to take him out, feed him, brush him, but you will also put a few simple rules in place. I would leave a lead on him in the house when you are training him so if he tries to get between you and your partner on the sofa, or elsewhere, you will be able to control him with a lead. If he gets up again, repeat and put your foot on the lead so he can't jump up.
He can sit on the sofa if you want him to, but only on either side of you two. The bedroom, on the other hand, is a different matter. I would stop him getting on the bed. I would crate-train him (by keeping him in a confined space) and this way he can still be in the bedroom with you, but he will have his space and you will have yours.
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