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Hello, I am Goosh,
I live with my boyfriend in my boyfriends' parent's basement, it's like a pseudo mini apartment without some kitchen features. They have 3 dogs, a long hair Chihuahua a Shih Tzu of some sort, and an ex-breeder pure breed poodle. What I know about the poodle so far, he was a stud, then neutered, given to someone who couldn't take care of him any longer so my boyfriend's parents adopted him after an older dog of theirs died.
From my perspective, it was obvious that they were harsher on the poodle than their other dogs, something that I brought up to my boyfriend who agreed after he started noticing it too. we bought a ball as the dogs had no toys other than a red laser that the bigger poodle couldn't play with as he just tramples the small dogs. I also bought a harness for him so we can take him on walks without choking him. my boyfriend's parents haven't trained any of their dogs, and they all constantly get into trouble by doing what dogs do when untrained. stealing food off of plates, jumping up, licking spoons/hands with food in them, escaping, not coming when called, etc.
I have taken steps to do some minor training myself with the poodle to try and get him to not be in so much trouble because he really gets the worst of it. It's very upsetting to me when they scream at him, just yell so loud that I can hear it anywhere in the house and even outside, It reminds me of my step-father and It gives me great distress.
He is not a bad dog at all, he is gentle, wants to please you, is affectionate, hardly barks, never have I seen him get
aggressive towards people or dogs ( he has lunge for a cat once but he didn't do anything) he is just untrained at this point because whatever training he did have has not been in use for a long time.
My boyfriend and I have gotten a lot closer to the poodle and I feel terribly bad for him, I think his constant need for attention might come from so many owners giving him up and his new owners kind of rejecting him. we were offered him about a month or two ago, I wanted to say yes but we didn't have the income to take care of a dog. I recently got a new job and we now should have plenty of income and I feel bad for him, but I also don't want to confuse him or make any problems he has worse.
I have tried training him a little, mostly sit, and get down, but it's hard when his owners have no interest in trying to train him or keep consitency. Even if I did have the money I can't keep him locked up in the basement all the time, we try our best to walk and play with him but somedays we are just too exhausted and I am afraid that I wouldn't be a better owner than the ones he has now.
I know nothing of poodles, or really how to care, train, and health of dogs. How would I go about making him understand that even though we are living in the same place with the same people, that we are the new owners? that when we train him and use commands he needs to listen to us? I HATE the name they have for him and I would want to get him acclimated to a new one, he doesn't seem to respond to Utah very well anyways. I want to do all this but also I would feel weird changing his name and asking them to use the one that we want, or if I want to feed him better dog food, (they all eat the same kind and I am pretty sure that bigger dogs and little dogs are supposed to eat different kinds of food but I maybe wrong on this.) How do I tell them nicely to not yell at him when he does something wrong and to keep consistency with my training? Or stop feeding him treats and foods that are bad for him, I just want to help him but I also feel like I may be stepping over my boundaries but if he was my dog his health and happiness are more important to me than hurt feelings or awkward situations. I love my boyfriend but he also has the bad habits that his parents have when it comes to dogs. He doesn't yell anymore and I have gotten him on board with positive reinforcement, but he has a hard time keeping consistency, or switching back to an angry or irritated tone when the dog does something he doesn't want him to or isn't responding to commands.
I am not the best with positive reinforcement either but whenever he does something wrong or isn't listening I always put on my goofy voice because I can't help but hear the screaming in my head and it reminds me to not do that.
I love this dog but I have no idea where to start, if anyone can point me in a direction for help it would be much appreciated! general tips, advice, stories, anything is welcome I have a lot to learn. Thank you

TLDR/too long didn't read
Boyfriend's parents asked for me to take over their poodle who has switched between 3 owners in the last 3 years, I live with my boyfriend's parents and they don't want to train their dogs just yell at them. How do I undo the damage that has been done between yelling, owner switching, and inconsistency with training? How do I get the dog to understand that we are the new owners and ask the boyfriend's parents to respect the new name/ new diet/ training/ not yelling?
any advice/help/ stories are much appreciated.
 

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Yay for you for trying to find a way to help this poodle! The situation is awkward at best and I don't have any quick answers, but I know there are answers.

One thing I feel pretty sure of is that Not Utah will respond to kindness and from that will understand who to look to as his true family. How to get the former owners to back off and out will take more thinking.

Are they the kind of folks who would appreciate an official agreement written out (I'd recommend at least an official "transfer of ownership") or would they take that badly? Still, for licensing and vet care, it's natural for you to want to be able to prove that you're the owner.

There was a member not so long ago who had similar dynamics except the family, their family, and they didn't live together. If I can find that thread I'll link it.

I know he's not a puppy but the resources here collected by Liz are valuable not only for puppies and not only for pandemics.

I expect more members will drop by with thoughts.
 
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