My dog is a mood-killer. Make it stop.
January 10, 2010 7:11 PM   Subscribe

My dog is interfering in bedroom activities. I need help figuring out how to handle this. [NSFW/potential TMI details]

I recently adopted an adult dog. I am single.

I had noticed that when I masturbate, she whines at me when my breathing speeds up and at orgasm, she'll jump up on me and lick my face. However, if I can manage to get her to go to sleep in a different room from me, I can get away without her interference.

But then I just recently brought someone home for the first time since the dog acquisition and she was a royal pain in the butt, sticking her nose in our faces and trying to get us to pay attention to her. She would get off the bed if I pushed her, but would try to jump right back up, or if I blocked her she'd sit and whine really loudly. I closed her out of the bedroom, and she jumped and scratched (and gouged) my bedroom door while whining and barking (and it got worse as the bedroom activity got more intense -- it's definitely related directly to what we're doing). I tried giving her treats to distract her out in another room; she came right back. All of this was completely mood-killing and made for an incredibly awkward situation.

Since I'm not in a long-term relationship, and I'm unlikely to be any time soon, it's hard to train her out of this in a consistent way. I can't go through this every single time I bring someone home (plus, the way I'm going, such situations are likely to be few and far between)

So: I need advice on how to train this out of her. I know I need to be more firm with her being willing to stay off the bed or not whine, but I need a way to do it that's not mid-activity. What methods can you recommend? If I approach this with a trainer -- and I've been intending to do a couple of training courses just for "bonding" as a new owner -- how do I even approach this with them?

Some info:

(1) She does not have a crate. She has the run of the house when I'm gone for the day and is normally extremely well-behaved. I tried doing the crate thing with her, but she panics when she's in it (I even tried the food and toys in it, but no dice) and on the advice of the vet I gave up on it since it wasn't critical. At any rate, while I know it'd be most peoples' first recommendation, I don't think it's a solution here.

(2) She's a little clingy, and she's used to following me around and sleeping on my bed, but when I close the door to take a shower or tell her to go sleep someplace else, she's usually good about it. This is the worst behavior I've seen from her about closed doors or not being allowed on the bed.

(3) She does not make any attempt to, erm, "participate" -- it's not like I think her former owners somehow abused her or or anything like that, so I don't understand what the root of this behavior is. She gets plenty of attention and playtime the rest of the day.

Help me, AskMe. This is just ridiculous.
posted by anonymous to Pets & Animals (19 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Get a crate or close the door. Ignore her scratching and whining, or give her a new toy or treat/bone to enjoy while you are enjoying yours!
posted by Jinx of the 2nd Law at 7:16 PM on January 10, 2010 [2 favorites]

Forgive me for asking an obvious question, but have you tried simply...putting her outside the bedroom door and shutting the door when things start happening (either when you're by yourself or with someone else)?

I started feeding my cat in the morning recently, and he adjusted to the shift by coming into my room at 5 am to wake me up because he was hungry. I solved that by simply shutting my bedroom door at night -- there was maybe one morning when he shouted at me through the door for a few minutes, but that was it.

If your dog already responds well when you go behind a closed door, it seems like that's the answer to your problem right there. She already understands "a closed door means mom's doing something and I shouldn't bug her." Just make sex one of the things that mom does that she shouldn't bug you about.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:19 PM on January 10, 2010

Start closing your door regularly to separte yourself from the dog...not only when you masturbate/have sex. You might want to give the dog something to do while the door is closed, like throw a big ass biscuit outside...and make the biscuit smaller and smaller and smaller until its nothing.
posted by hal_c_on at 7:19 PM on January 10, 2010 [5 favorites]

Do you have a back yard? Could you close her outside for the duration?
posted by AltReality at 7:20 PM on January 10, 2010

Yeah we lock the dog out of the bedroom when we have "private time." She's not super-happy about it but a rawhide bone is usually a good distraction. My dog isn't prone to whining/scratching, but if yours is you may need to lock in a completely different room.
posted by radioamy at 7:23 PM on January 10, 2010

Get a crate and make it a happy place. Yea, I know you said you tried but try some more.

Feed her in the crate ALWAYS (with the door open if you wish), save special toys for the crate (frozen peanut butter filled kongs are always a hit and last a long time). Put her in the crate and leave for short periods of time (go out or go to the bedroom) and come back and praise her effusively. Do this a lot, vary the times you leave her and the amount of time you are gone.

Aside for your obvious current dilema (I am a hard-core dog person, live with 11 of them myself but have literally walked out on a guy when his ill-behaved canine jumped on the bed at an inoppportune moment), a dog should not freak out when separated from's just not a "good thing" (tm). Crate training can be a life saver during car travel and a dog that is crate trained is much less likely to have issues if/when they need to go to the vet (or be boarded) for any period of time. Good Luck!
posted by labwench at 7:26 PM on January 10, 2010 [3 favorites]

It sounds like the main problem here is separation anxiety. If she's somewhere else, she'll cry, and if she's with you, she'll be all up in your business. To work with the separation anxiety, crate training is really your best bet. I have a dog with separation anxiety, too, and she would definitely do this if I hadn't crate trained her. She panicked at first in the crate, but you have to ignore it. Since you've already been down this road with her, I would suggest getting her a (secure) crate and furnishing it with a nice pillowy dog bed (with foam, not stuffing- she'll rip it up, on the inside) and a blanket to block out light. Either put a radio or a white noise machine next to it to turn on when she's closed in there. Leave it open all day and throw irresistible treats in there, and ignore when she goes in. I don't let my dog on any furniture, so her crate is her only option for a comfy place to lie down. When she's gotten more comfortable, leave her in there for the night, and DO NOT let her out, no matter how much she cries. After doing all this, my dog loves her crate- she treats it as more of a den. She takes toys in there to chew on, and I often find her asleep in there when I get home, even though I give her the run of the house during the day (she's only crated at night).
Also, when you leave for the day, don't say goodbye to her, and when you come back, don't say hi. Just ignore her. Give her attention when she's not seeking it. Actively ignore her when she is seeking it.
posted by emilyd22222 at 7:27 PM on January 10, 2010 [5 favorites]

If you closed her in the bathroom, would that at least minimize the sound issue? Also, you say that you can't train her consistently because you don't always have someone over, but at least you can work on training her when you're by yourself. Maybe get her accustomed to staying in the bathroom when you do that?
posted by amethysts at 7:28 PM on January 10, 2010

use the sounds of porn to train her. go into your room, close the door, start the porn - follow whatever training dogma you subscribe to (ignore, treats for good behavior, stern "no!" for bad behavior, whatever). this way the dog is trained by the sounds and you're not interrupting your fun time to do it.

overall though, it seems like the issue is that the dog has the complete run of the place and is too clingy (which you might like at all times but sexy times). the long term solution is probably creating more of a barrier. close her out of the room during non sexy/non porn-training times and see if the door gouging stops.
posted by nadawi at 7:29 PM on January 10, 2010 [3 favorites]

Definitely have some super extra tasty long-lasting treat for when you'll be locking her out of the bedroom. Some treats might be:

A Chewnola bar
A toy kong filled with treats and peanut butter
A frozen toy anything
A hollow chew bone filled with peanut butter

Have these ready at home so you don't have to prep them when the mood hits.

I second locking her out at other times when you don't need to, so she gets used to it. Honestly she's probably just making sure you are okay.
posted by bluedaisy at 7:31 PM on January 10, 2010

bluedaisy said what i was going to say at the end there - i'd bet the cause, above and beyond separation anxiety (which i think is playing a part here) is that sexy noises could sound like trouble breathing/in pain noises.
posted by nadawi at 7:34 PM on January 10, 2010

I have a suggestion for a good distraction. Get some frozen soup bones (pieces of leg bone I believe) from the butcher/super market. Keep them in the freezer. When it's adult human playtime, give her a frozen bone in another part of your abode. This should keep her busy for a solid hour or so, as she gnaws at the leftover frozen meat, and deals with the marrow.

Be aware, she may experience 'loose stool' within the next 12 hours or so. Marrow is rich and she's likely not used to it.
posted by Sustainable Chiles at 7:42 PM on January 10, 2010

don't let her sleep on your bed anymore. Get her her own bed and put it in your room but get her used to you putting her bed other places sometimes (like a crate but less stressful if she's claustrophobic- I do not beleive that every dog needs to be crate trained but they do need their own "place").

Once she knows the new "No dogs on the People Bed" rule it's going to help a lot. Teach her to sleep in her own bed outside your bedroom door occasionally, or someplace else that she likes to nap. Then when you don't want her in the bedroom, move her bed outside, tell her to go to sleep and have at it.
posted by fshgrl at 8:03 PM on January 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

An adult dog may have crate issue from something that happened in her past, but you can probably get over this. And you do need to have a dog who is comfortable, if not happy, being away from you and being confined (you want to have this panic thing handled before illness or injury or visting dog-phobic relatives require her to be crated or shut up in a bathroom.)

As people have pointed out, you don't need to have someone over to train her to go to her place and leave you in peace. You should be able to train the dog both to go to her "place" and also out and off. All it takes is a few minutes a day, a few times a day, for a short time. Just be consistent.

Training will also build your dog's confidence, solving some of the neediness problems.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 8:27 PM on January 10, 2010

Just wanted to add that it may actually make the dog's anxiety worse if you put her in another room only when you are making (to her) scary noises. A radio/white noise machine can help when these noises are going to be made, but she should be away from you regularly when you're not out of the house and you're not getting it on.
posted by emilyd22222 at 8:32 PM on January 10, 2010

Another great reason for never letting the dog sleep on the bed.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:44 PM on January 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

My dog does this when closed out of the bedroom but the whining and scratching gets more intermittent as time goes on until eventually he gives up. My partner and I just ignore it. For pete's sake, though, absolutely do not keep the dog in the room with you. Of course she will want to get on the bed if that's where she usually sits in the bedroom.
posted by ishotjr at 11:41 PM on January 10, 2010

I highly suggest the "distract with the Kong" method, at least for short-term relief combined with some of the other long-term methods others have suggested.

1) Get a Kong
2) Chop a hot dog and microwave it until it starts to shrink and gets crunchy
3) Mix the hot dog, some peanut butter, and perhaps some dog kibble
4) Freeze
5) Give the Kong to your dog
6) Get it on with yourself or with a partner

As a side not be careful with rawhides. My dog loves them, but she doesn't chew them enough which can cause problems with digestion and even worse, choking.
posted by Silvertree at 6:30 AM on January 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

I, also, recently adopted an adult dog who can be very clingy (& it sounds like that's the major underlying issue). One thing that has worked well for me is simply ignoring the whining. The idea is that your dog is whining when it wants your attention and when you respond you reinforce the idea that "if I whine, my owner will pay attention to me."

Trust me I (& my neighbors) know it is difficult to ignore a whining dog, but it really worked for me. One of the big lessons from Cesar "The Dog Whisperer" Milan is that you only give attention to your dog when the dog is in a calm & submissive state.

From a practical standpoint putting up a baby gate to your bedroom may help reassure your dog instead of closing the door. Depending on the layout of your place your dog might not be able to see you, but still know you're there.

Any chance you adopted a greyhound?
posted by cuando at 8:27 AM on January 11, 2010

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