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This isn't working out, and I need help - Page 2

post #21 of 30

It is really important to teach your dog to walk appropriately on a leash NOW!!!


Trust me, it doesn't get easier if you don't make sure she understands walking manners now..


My big suggestion for that would be to scrap the harness, those things don't solve the problem they just make it easier to control the dog...

Use a gentle leader...Those things are absolutely amazing. Your kiddo could take her for a walk and hold the leash with ONE finger once she learned how to walk on it. The learning part is very brief. it is very simple and anyone can teach their dog to walk perfectly on it once they have really read and understood the directions..


Google Gentle Leader and check it out... Goodluck at the dog park. Maybe distance yourself from your DH and dog a bit at the park if you are going to be panicking the whole time.

post #22 of 30

I'm actually a big fan of treats and reward-based training so I think it's a good thing to have treats nearby and great that your DH had some in the escaping the car situation.


I'm also a big fan of the Easy Walk harness. It has a martingale closure in the front so it offers a gentle correction when they pull. My 2 yr old pointer mix (utterly high strung crazy) has done so much better with a harness.


If your dog has some pointer in it, whew!! They can be really really crazy. They can also be great family pets, but they're really bred to be outdoors hunting and running full-tilt through fields and streams, so an under-exercised pointer (or other high energy dog) is going to be a bored mischievous dog. When our pup was leetle (like 3 months) she was so super energetic we were taking her on 2 mile walks just to get her to calm down. She is starting to show signs of being somewhat better at 2 yrs old, but I will make more of an effort to know what kind of dog I'm getting next time 'cause this girl is just crazy as a loon!!


FWIW, your guy doesn't look super pointer-y to me, but who knows. Pointers have really super short coats with no undercoat and are almost slick. Your guy looks like he has a heavier coat like a shepherd or lab.


Also wanted to add a couple of links to positive training sites. I've taken some courses with one of these trainers and really liked what the message is.





Good luck, and it does get better with maturity even if you don't train as much as you'd like. Just keep plugging away at it and she'll get more mature and it'll calm down a bit. Our pointer mix used to do the submissive pee, too, but now hardly ever does.

post #23 of 30

We have a little rescue dog who we got at about 8 months.    We had/have LOTS of those behaviours.  Here's what's worked for us:


  • 1.25-1.5 hours of walking most days
  • Visits to a friendly dog park a couple of times per week, where we supervise closely and leave if we get a bad vibe from any dogs (this is very infrequent)
  • Breakfast in a kong-type feeder (http://www.kongcompany.com/kongwobblervideo.html).  This way they're being fed while exercising their brain and body.
  • Interactive playing in the house (soft bouncy ball, boomerang-type toys)
  • Independent playing in the house (our dog loves those knotted rope toys, and any hide he can chew)
  • consistently working on the jumping up (this is a lot of redirection and praise for staying down, vastly improved with time)
  • consistently working on the mouthing of hands (this is better now that he's older)


We do modest treat training, and do things like don't let him leave the house in advance of us etc. 


A hugely effective approach has been that when he's being a turkey I put him on a leash and run my foot up the leash until he has to lie down.  I then get on with whatever I was doing with him at my feet.  At this point, I only need to keep him in one place for a few minutes and then I leave the leash on him and he remains calm while able to go where he likes.  I was kind of ambivalent about this whole alpha/dominant stuff, but I read somewhere that it's actually easier for dogs to know their pack order and to not be in charge.  I'm a very benevolent leader :).


For walks, we use an Easy Harness with great success. He is a terrible puller on a regular collar, but we're seeing improvement there too.  We started with a Halti type harness and worked on heeling.  This was most successful when he was also being given consistent messages in the house (ie using the leash as noted above in the house).  After say two weeks of using the Halti every couple of days (it's a totally different type of walk), we saw real success with the Easy Harness.  I don't require that my dog walk in a heel position all of the time, but I do want him to not be dragging me and to be able to heel when asked to.  At this point, he can and walking him is great.


Another key thing that helped us was my decision that I was in charge.  That whole Cesar Milan attitude.  I had dogs as a kid, but it really is different when you're in charge.  I am much calmer and I remember that he's a puppy.  Just like a young child, he's exploring his world and figuring out where his natural boundaries are.


Finally - your son may have wanted him, but you got him.  We didn't get a dog until I was ready to do it all myself, and the kids had been begging.  I didn't want the dog to become a burden within the family, or a point of contention and resentment.  I totally get the frustration (we've lost a lot of socks and a few electronics cords along the way to busy puppy teeth), but he really is like a third child in terms of the obligation to meet his needs.  Kids can't understand that at all, but can take on developmentally-appropriate tasks.  Our 11 year old feeds him his dinner every night and ensures his water is always fresh, both kids play with him throughout the day, and they both participate in walking duties etc etc.  My point is really about my belief that our attitudes shape our reality.  You have a young, active dog that may need more exercise, more "discipline" and just plain more growing up time.  This is a rough patch, but you have a lot of power to move through it effectively.

post #24 of 30

There is some great advice and wonderful resources that have been mentioned.  I do want to point out though, you need to let go of the idea of the puppy trying to dominate you.  Half the battle is well, not turning it into a battle in the first place.  Just like if a two year old were to get too rough or not listen, we would not say the toddler is trying to dominate us...they are just acting age appropriate.  Same with the puppy.  Right now she is mouthing and nipping because its what puppies and dogs do, its how they play.  She will learn however that to fit in with humans, that is not acceptable.  The way to teach her that is to make sure mouthing is not getting rewarded by attention...even negative attention.

post #25 of 30
Thread Starter 

Thank you for the continued feedback and links.


The main thing that still really worries me is the mouthing, because the complaint I have is not play mouthing.  She does do play mouthing with the kids, and we say a firm "no!" and she stops.  But she and I are having this never ending battle about wiping her paws/body off when she comes inside.  It's been wet and really muddy around here, so she needs to be quickly wiped down before she comes tromping through the living room.  She is biting at my hands to get me to stop so she can get away.  She hasn't broken any skin, but it hurts, and I really don't think she's trying to play.  She doesn't want to be wiped down, and will try to dart by me when I open the door.  I really am stumped as to what to do about this.  It just happened again, and my hand still hurts a little bit, even though there is no mark.  I've tried laying her down, doing it standing up, sitting, etc.  It's just a quick wipe to get the mud off her paws and sometimes her belly if she's been splashing around.  Does this really sound like normal puppy mouthing?  If so, I'll stop worrying so much about it (even though it makes me crazy).


FWIW, we went on a 1.5 hour hike and another 1/2 hour walk today, so she got a lot of exercise.


ETA:  The harness we use is the easy walk harness.  When we are walking (as opposed to hiking) we keep her on a short lead, and always have her on the right side of us.  We keep a brisk pace to keep her focused and not sniffing all over the place, and also not pulling.  When we are hiking or in more open space areas, we keep her on a longer leash and let her sniff around and explore more.  We have never let her off the leash - I just don't trust that wouldn't jump up on a toddler or anything.


(The only reason I guess some pointer is she does the whole lifting the front leg and putting her tail out straight which I associate with a pointer, but maybe other dogs do that as well.)

Edited by oceanbaby - 3/27/11 at 9:13pm
post #26 of 30

Right now she doesnt like the wiping down and is showing her displeasure, but it still is not dominance.  Work on wiping her down random times throughout the day pairing it with lots of treats and loving attention.  Get her to associate being handled with wonderful things.  She does most definitely need to learn to accept it.

post #27 of 30
Originally Posted by greenmagick View Post

Right now she doesnt like the wiping down and is showing her displeasure, but it still is not dominance.  Work on wiping her down random times throughout the day pairing it with lots of treats and loving attention.  Get her to associate being handled with wonderful things.  She does most definitely need to learn to accept it.

Wiping a dog down is always tricky...I remember when we had 4 and my mom and brother and I would try to get them all as they came in the door. Everyone would end up covered in mud..


Anyway I was reading a dog behavior book and there was a whole thing about dogs being made to wear "coats" and being wiped down...From the animal's point of view, anything coming down on top of their back is a major dominance thing. Another dog would do something like that. Often when you force a dog into a coat they "freeze", this is a reaction of pure submission on that dog's part, as they are being dominated by a coat.

Wiping can be very much the same thing, although not every dog freezes. I totally second the treats while wiping down. I haven't met a dog yet who enjoyed being rubbed all over with a big towel while they would rather do other stuff.

post #28 of 30

My dog also had issues with being wiped down, he started to avoid it, then started to whip his head back to me, sort of a warning.

What helped, finally, was using a clicker. There's lots on youtube about clicker training, it's a way to reinforce desired behaviour with a sound and then a treat. I don't know why, but it was more effective than just doing it with treats and my voice.

Maybe it's because I my approach is slower and more systematic.


I started his "wipe-down retraining" by holding the towel. When he came to see it, I clicked and treated, and repeat a few times. Then put it a foot away from him, click and treat - you get the idea, until it's touching him, then finally a bit of pressure, etc.

Slowly desensitize his reaction, and association with the towel. Now I can wipe my dog down without him reacting. I still treat him for good behaviour, but am assuming this will diminish over time.


I understand your anxiety, I got a pound pup, and it did, and still does, sometimes give me anxiety, but reading and training classes and exercise and socialization all help.

post #29 of 30


OMG - your puppy is my puppy!


We just adopted him on Saturday, so we have had 4.5 days with him so far.  he is 7 months old and 41 pounds.


He is a GS mix.  Mixed with what I don't know.  I was thinking Beagle, but he looks a lot like your pup, especially in the face.


So far our issues are:


"happy pee", or as i read more, submissive pee.  Drives me N U T S!

Grab and chew stuffed animals.

Chew on my antique furniture

Goes absolutely berzerk when he sees: squirrels, birds, other dogs, people who might pet him, cats, foxes, raccoons...

he also barks/howls forever when I put him in the crate to leave the house, but he can sleep through the doorbell ringing.



On the plus side

*He adores my kids and they adore him

*he is obviously very smart, and will hopefully "get it" when we start training


Having a new baby is a new experience for me, and I have having huge issues with the whole dependency thing. I can't just leave the house anymore to run an errand or go to the gym.  And I will likely be starting a full time job next month - what then?



Sorry to hijack the thread - I am perversely glad to see that others are having the same issues with the same type of dog at about the same age.  I hope it gets better for all of us!

post #30 of 30
Originally Posted by oceanbaby View Post

Darn, I lost my post! 


Thanks everyone for your comments.  We will continue training, and I do think that agility would be perfect for her, but these classes cost $150 a pop around here, so we've had to space them out.  The next training class starts on 4/20, so I'm going to do that with her.  Right now she gets on average 2 15 minute walks a day, plus several full run ball throwing sessions in the backyard.  It's been really rainy the past 2 weeks, so we haven't gotten out as much as we'd like.  I also realized that she hasn't had the opportunity to play with any other dogs in awhile.  She used to have regular play sessions during puppy class, but that ended, then it's been raining, and I haven't even taken her to a dog park yet.  Dog parks kind of freak me out, but I'm not sure how else to give her time to play with other dogs.  I'm just so nervous about having her off leash and playing and having something happen and be unable to control her.


I mainly need some guidance/reassurance about normal puppy behavior vs. problematic behavior.  I have such a fear of dog aggression that I freak when she does the thing like mouthing my hand to get me to stop wiping her down.  All the books/trainers say to just walk away and stop playing if she mouths you, but that doesn't work when she's mouthing me to try to get me to stop doing something.  I'm just not sure what to be doing, and we have gotten into some bad spiraling aggression moments that really leave me flustered.  And she is very strong willed:  She'll just stare at me with the forbidden object in her mouth as I'm saying "Drop it!"  She knows full well she's supposed to drop it, but she's just not gonna unless I make her.  We have a lot of moments like that throughout the day.


Here's a pic of her from last month (she's probably at least 5lbs heavier by now):




She looks like she could be part ridgeback to me, although I don't see the ridge, the rest of hers is similar. I have a purebred shepherd and I just do not see shep in her. Same thing with pointer. My dad had a ridgeback.
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