My dog Hank is something special.
He’s an American Foxhound. We got him from the shelter when Rosie was a baby. He was biding his time, just about out of days until…you know. The shelter warned us not to adopt him because he was a handful.
Apparently he escaped one day and ran out of the automatic doors, down a busy four lane road, and no one could catch him. They gave up. A few hours later he came right back in through the automatic doors and went back to his cage. He was given up for adoption at two years old because his owner could no longer handle his antics.
Tyler insisted that we *needed* this dog. We didn’t own any pets except for my Gus cat. He swore he would take care of the dog, just like a begging little kid. I gave in, and so we brought him home. His name was Muttley, but we quickly renamed him Hank, which came with all kinds of funny names like Hankity Spank.
He was a bad dog. A loving, adorable, floppy eared, bad dog. He ripped all of the screens out of the windows one day when we left him outside. He flipped over his wire crate and busted the top off then ran through the house destroying. He ripped all of the clothes off of the hangers in the closet and then pooped on them. He jumped up and knocked me over. He used his mouth to pull on my shirt and ripped my clothes. When walking him on a leash I had to grip parked cars and passing trees in order to not fall flat on my face.
He was so terrible! And then he laid his big huge hound head in my lap and wagged his tail.
I thought about getting rid of him, but I couldn’t do it.
Instead I made the best of him–trained him to sit. Trained him to lay down to get attention instead of jumping. Perfected his potty habits so that they only happened outdoors. It took lots of work. Tyler didn’t help me, either! When I dedicate myself to something I stick with it, no matter what. See it through to the bitter end…or happy ending…
Today Hank is a good boy, mostly…he doesn’t tear stuff up except if he’s alone with the trash. He’ll counter surf and eat what he can find too–his favorite thing is a banana, he’ll eat the entire bunch including the peel. It’s a hound thing though, he’s very food motivated. He can’t help it. He’s sorry, you can tell by the look on his face. Silly beast.
He’s laying his big head in my lap right now while I’m writing this.
Last summer we got new neighbors. A recently divorced middle aged lady and her two sons. They moved here from New York because her sons are going to our local university. They have a funny dog named Rosie! Rosie Dog is a mix between a Basset Hound and a St. Bernard.
For some reason the new neighbor lady loved Hank. She started feeding my dogs those giant milk bones over the fence.
Abby, my black lab mix, wasn’t really phased. She likes food but it doesn’t rule her world.
Hank, on the other hand…hounds can be completely controlled with food! Hank loved the treats so much that he decided he had to beg for them. First he would run over to that corner of the yard and do this horrible howl/bark/yelp nose non-stop any chance he got. If I was busy with the baby then he would keep doing it until the neighbor came out and praised him and gave him a treat. That annoyed me, because it was reinforcing his bad behavior, but I figured it wasn’t that big of a deal in the long run.
Then it escalated.
Hank realized he could climb over the fence and go to the neighbor’s door and beg for treats.
It happened several times and I felt terrible that my dog had escaped and begged at her door. We tried to only let him out when we were watching, but that’s hard to do with kids to take care of. So we ended up getting him a chain. He only goes outside to take care of business, so it’s not like he’s chained for long amounts of time or anything. Not too bad. Occasionally we’d leave him out on the chain to lay in the sun on a nice day. He is a dog after all, he enjoys laying out in the yard and smelling the wind, or treeing squirrels…
One day we came home and he’d hung himself over the fence while on the chain, trying desperately to reach the neighbor. Luckily the chain was long enough that he was standing on the ground, just trapped against the fence. I’m telling you, hounds will do absolutely anything for food! During this time the neighbor was continuing to reward him with treats over the fence…
Now it’s gotten even worse. The ground keeps freezing, and the chain has lost under mud and snow. Half of the time it’s iced to the ground. I let the dogs out and stand in the door way watching them until they come back in. Sometimes Rosie will accidentally let Hank out, or I’ll get distracted from watching him, or Tyler will let him out and not say anything, and Hank immediately hops the fence and goes to the neighbors house.
I am so frustrated with her right now. Hank paces my front window and door trying to get out to go to her house! When he does manage to get out I panic that he’s been hit by a car or something. We’ve spent hours looking for him only to find out that he’s in the neighbor’s house. She lets him in!
One day I tried to talk to her about it and she asked me if she could have him. As in, keep my dog. Uh, no!
She asked me a second time, when I tried to talk to her about the issue again, if she could have him. She wants my dog! She told me the reason he runs away is because we don’t walk him enough. Yep, I don’t walk him much in cold weather and not as often as I’d like in warm weather. I have two kids…I’m doing the best I can.
AND the reason he runs away is not because he isn’t walked enough. We play with him all day, feed him treats and scraps, love on him, he plays chase and ball. He’s not neglected. He climbs the fence only because she trained him to do it by rewarding his bad behavior!
Besides, if she really cared and wanted to help then why doesn’t she offer to walk him? She walks her dog twice a day. Instead she keeps locking my dog in her house…
Funny side note–during that second conversation she also accused my cat of eating her chipmunks. She hand feeds them peanuts, but one day they disappeared. Hahaha.
Today Tyler put Hank outside because he kept throwing up. (Silly hound beast ate something bad, of course.) I was asleep and didn’t realize. A few hours later I noticed he wasn’t asleep in his dog bed like I’d assumed. He was in the neighbor’s house, in her kitchen, laying on his own dog bed eating a huge $15 rawhide bone.
I just don’t know what to do. Before she moved in he never climbed the fence. He might hop over it occasionally and come around to the front door, but he didn’t take off. He only did that a couple of times in his life. Now he will go over the fence any chance he gets. He’s desperate to get to her house, and even though she hears us outside calling for him she doesn’t give him back. She keeps him until we knock on the door.
It’s kind of weird and really awkward. Who takes someone’s dog?
She really loves him. I think she’s just a lonely single middle aged lady, it’s nothing with ill-intent. It’s just frustrating that she’s trained my hound beast to come to her house. It causes me lots of extra stress and I don’t know what to do!
I’m considering getting him a shock collar, but that seems so mean. The chain is only semi-effective at keeping him in. I can’t afford a taller fence.
I acknowledge that it’s partly my fault because he’s my dog and he’s escaping my yard, but what do you do when someone else keeps luring your dog over the fence?