This is a very delicate situation. I've become fast friends with a woman who lives in my condo community. She's a very thoughtful, kind woman who has multiple sclerosis (at the stage where she can still walk but shouldn't without a walker because she falls every single day, has hit her head, and injured her neck and shoulders many times). Her husband announced to her 2 yrs ago that he's sick of her being sick and wants a divorce. She was devastated, but they've continued to live together to save money until their divorce is final and they sell their condo.
She can't work, too disabled, and it effects her ability to talk, memory, and frustration level (very low).She and her husband both love their 5 yr old bichon female very much. She had hired someone early on to train the dog, which I'm told went fairly well, but over time, the dog more often than not, will go out for a walk, then come back in and pee and poop in the house. My friend goes ballistic at her, screaming and screaming. I can't stand the noise she makes and frankly, it's abusive. My friend acts as if the dog is a child who is defying her. One moment she's shreiking at the dog, the next when she calms down, she's loving the dog.

I personally feel the dog is an emotional wreck, and is why she's going in the house (every day). The husband said he'd take the dog, but my friend knows he would leave her alone all day and maybe into the evening - she would not be taken care of properly. My friend knows she's screaming at the dog, knows it wrong, and I've seen her try not to do that, but it doesn't last long. We discussed that perhaps the dog is just too much for her, and she agrees, but then when she thinks of having to give her away, she becomes crestfallen and says I don't know if I can give my baby away.

I would take her dog, but I have a special needs dog I adopted 6 mos ago who will not like sharing me with another pet, plus I have my hands full just with my dog.
The entire situation is so very sad, I don't know her well enough to say certain things, but I'm gently working with her. My friend thinks the dog is just acting this way because someone told her that bichons are hard to housetrain, and that the dog feels tension in the house because of the impending divorce. I'm sure there's truth in that, but I feel the dog is having problems over the explosive screaming that goes on many times a day. Any suggestions? It's breaking my heart. Robin

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Dealing with any illness is difficult and it sounds like she need some emotional help herself to learn to deal with it. Be honest with her and ask to take the dog and find her a more suitable home. Explain that right now in her life with everything that is going on the she is not doing herself and the dog any good what so ever. That you would like to help her try and get a hold of the situation and get her someone to talk to learn to control her anger and come to terms with what is going on. If you don't feel you can not do it then see if she has any family you can talk to about this and get them to help.
If she is completely in denial and won't take your offer of help then call animal control. It's abusive no matter what way you look at it.

Celeste
This woman needs help and not just with the dog. Look into every avenue you can think of. That might be a religious group (even if she doesn't attend that church), a social worker, some sort of subsidized home nursing service, a boy or girlscout group who would volunteer to visit and walk her dog, a neighbor who could visit once a week. That's off the top of my head. The idea is that every little bit helps. If she could get someone to help with walking, cleaning up, visiting with her, giving her someone to talk to relieve stress. Anything that takes a little stess off her in some aspect of her life will benefit the dog.
Lia
in thread "Spot" (Email Removed) whittled the following words:
Dealing with any illness is difficult and it sounds like she need some emotional help herself to learn to deal with it. Celeste

MS is caused by the demylinization of the protective covering of the nerve cells.
It's progressively devastating and a cruel disease. The symptoms vary and get progressively worse, but they are difficult for both patient and family to deal with. Emotional help?
Among the symptoms associated with MS are:
depression, cognitive dysfunction, dementia, mood swings, emotional lability, euphoria, Bi-polar syndrome, anxiety, These are the common Cognitive symptoms.Then there are the long lists of visual,motor, coordination and balance, bowel/bladder/sexual, fatigue/sleeping disorders.

Come to think of it, MS runs the gamut of everything out there, because the central nervous sytem is EVERYTHING to any living being.

In a nutshell.She is not going to improve, she can't HELP it.It's the disease doing it. The husband left because he can't deal with her irrationality. She's probably getting emotional support for her disease through the MS disease support system. But it doesn't stick, because her nervous system that formerly gave her control, is disintegrating and running amuck.
I used to have a friend who was a talented dog trainer, and warm and wonderful person. She came down with MS about 10 years ago. She started attacking people irrationally. She's now too feeble to attack, but she's an extremely unpleasant person for anyone to be around. This is NOT "her" It's her disease.
I continue to try to be nice to her, understanding that it IS her disease, but always, I end up leaving her to herself. It's unpleasant hugging porcupines.
Her husband announced to her 2 yrs ago that he's sick of her being sick and wants a divorce.

That sounds familiar. :} At least her husband was honest about the reason, though.
Any suggestions? It's breaking my heart.

It sounds as though she knows what she's doing (taking her frustrations out on the dog), but she doesn't have the emotional stability to stop herself. Unfortunately, there's probably nothing short of psychotherapy that's going to help this situation.
You can try printing this out for her:
http://hometown.aol.com/dfrntdrums/potty-training.html

If she's a reader, there are many books that may help her curb her abuse by giving her a better understanding of dogs:
"Good Little Dog Book" - Ian Dunbar
"Culture Clash" - Jean Donaldson
"Other End of the Leash" - Patricia McConnell
"Don't Shoot the Dog" - Karen Pryor
Bones Would Rain From the Sky" - Suzanne Clothier
However, IMHO, she needs to rehome this dog. Perhaps adopt an older, housebroken, deaf dog.
Canine Action Dog Trainer
http://www.canineaction.com
My Kids, My Students, My Life:
http://hometown.aol.com/dfrntdrums/myhomepage/index.html Build Your Immune System, Lose Weight
http://www.re-vita.net/dfrntdrums
If she is completely in denial and won't take your offer of help then call animal control. It's abusive no matter what way you look at it.

I've never, ever heard of animal control taking a dog away because of the owner yelling at it too much.
flick 100785
That's exactly what it is.
Unfortunately, there's probably nothing short of psychotherapy that's going to help this situation. You can try printing this out for her: http://hometown.aol.com/dfrntdrums/potty-training.html

I just went to that site and read it. Excellent! What it says will happen if you discipline the dog for housebreaking mistakes, it can backfire. The dog thinks you don't want him to GO, resulting in dog sneaking off to hide it, causing him to be reluctant to go outside in front of you. That's exactly what I think is happening. The entire page is excellent, including another page on this site, Breaking Bad Habits. I've just printed out both of them and will give them to her today. I hope this goes well, and that she'll have the cognitive ability to be disciplined herself to follow the suggestions.
However, IMHO, she needs to rehome this dog. Perhaps adopt an older, housebroken, deaf dog.

I sadly agree with you. You're so right about adopting an older dog. My dog is older (9 or 10 yrs per vets), and she is so quiet, never barks, just sits silently by me and waits. My friend just LOVES her, always petting her and saying how cute she is. She wishes her dog was like mine. Thanks Leah, I'll let you know what happens. Robin
Canine Action Dog Trainer http://www.canineaction.com My Kids, My Students, My Life: http://hometown.aol.com/dfrntdrums/myhomepage/index.html Build Your Immune System, Lose Weight http://www.re-vita.net/dfrntdrums

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Thanks Leah, I'll let you know what happens.

Please do. I'd actually hate to see this woman have to give up having a dog (whether it's this one, or one more suited to her needs). Having a pet can be the difference between having a will to live or not.

Canine Action Dog Trainer
http://www.canineaction.com
My Kids, My Students, My Life:
http://hometown.aol.com/dfrntdrums/myhomepage/index.html Build Your Immune System, Lose Weight
http://www.re-vita.net/dfrntdrums
Dealing with any illness is difficult and it sounds like she need some emotional help herself to learn to deal with it. Celeste

MS is caused by the demylinization of the protective covering of the nerve cells. It's progressively devastating and a cruel ... anxiety, These are the common Cognitive symptoms.Then there are the long lists of visual,motor, coordination and balance, bowel/bladder/sexual, fatigue/sleeping disorders.

Yep, she has a lot of the above. She told me yesterday, that earlier in the day, she made a left hand turn on a busy street, but miscalculated and drove into the wrong side of the street directly into oncoming traffic. She said cars were swerving all over the place trying to avoid her.
In a nutshell.She is not going to improve, she can't HELP it.It's the disease doing it.

That is correct.
The husband left because he can't deal with her
irrationality. She's probably getting emotional support for her disease through the MS disease support system. But it doesn't stick, because her nervous system that formerly gave her control, is disintegrating and running amuck.[/nq]Also, absolutely correct. And she is in denial sometimes, and why she continues to often walk without the aid of a cane or walker. She looks like she's drunk when she walks, swaggering. It makes me a nervous wreck - I'm always leaping to prevent her from falling, although she often manages to catch her self before she goes down. She falls every single day, yesterday four times. She's in tremendous pain not only from MS but the damage her falls are creating to her head, neck, shoulders - the entire body.

Yet, she won't consistently use a cane/walker. It's not logical, and why I think she's either experiencing cognitive dysfunction, depression (this I know she is because MS and the divorce), but I have a theory (I didn't make this up, but I agree with it) - that there may be a subconscious desire for serious injury, hoping the husband will re-think his decision,or perhaps she feels she's had enough of this lifetime.
Robin

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