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#1 of 30 Old 03-25-2011, 07:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I grew up with dogs, but they were my mom's dogs.  I've never had a dog of my own, and frankly, never wanted one.  But, my older son (who is almost 10) adores animals, and has been begging for a dog since he could talk.  We moved to the 'burbs a few years ago, and have a big yard.  Everyone has a dog.  Ds would even go do dog project meetings at 4H and be the only kid without a dog.  Dh has been an IT manager a non profit Guide Dogs organization for 10 years.  Anyhow, we finally relented and adopted a puppy from a shelter about 2 months ago.  She is now about 5 months old, and I've been hoping that she would grow on me.

 

She is sooooo strong willed, I don't know if I can take it anymore.  She only listens when we have a treat - she knows, she just always knows  She's very smart - she knows the commands but chooses when to listen.  She won't stop grabbing things and running tear ass through the house trying to get us to chase her.  She was very puppy bitey in the beginning, but that got a lot better, but now she is gets bitey as a means of control.  She does it with my 6yo, and me when I'm trying to towel the mud off of her and she wants to be let go, for instance. 

 

We did a puppy training class.  I've read the books, watched the shows, read the websites.  I've tried turning her on her back when she mouths my hand, but I can't even get her on her back any more, only her side, she's so squiggly.

 

She jumps up constantly, even though we never give her attention for it, and either knee her off or turn our back.  She gets so overly excited when a visitor comes that she will pee a little bit.  I've never taken her off the leash anywhere except our backyard because she runs so fast and I can't guarantee she will come when called.  She loved playing with other dogs, but again, gets so overexcited that it's hard to control her.

 

She is crate trained, but I don't feel right leaving her in there for more than 2.5-3 hours at a time, although she does sleep in there.  House training is pretty good, with very few accidents.  At this point I'm constantly putting her on the tie down.

 

I am at home with her during the day, and am not enjoying her.  I find myself angry all the time.  I don't know what to do.  The kids love her, and at this point rehoming her would be very traumatic.

 

I don't know what is just puppy behavior and what is problematic behavior.  I don't have the money to be hiring a bunch of personal trainers (which run $50-$80/hr in our area).

 

Is this all just a puppy phase that will get better?  Or are these serious personality/behavior problems?  (She is a german shepherd mix - she has the facial markings of a germal shepherd, but her whole body is golden and she is short haired, so we don't know what else she is mixed with.)

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#2 of 30 Old 03-25-2011, 11:39 AM
 
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I dont know what breeds she is, but this could be a teen phase, and they are rough.  She should be in classes still IMO.  Puppy classes are great but its a continuing thing.  

 

How much exercise is she getting?  How much fun training are you doing a day?  Clicker training is a lot of fun and your 10 year old should be able to help out.  Dogs need a lot of physical AND mental activity.  Funnel all that energy into what you DO want instead of fighting about what your DONT want.


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#3 of 30 Old 03-25-2011, 12:13 PM
 
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I definately think that her behaviors could be greatly helped by an increase in exercise. Many of those puppy behaviors could be calmed WAY down if she had an appropriate way to get out some of that energy. Maybe your 10yr old could play an active game of fetch with her several times a day? Is there a way she could get a half hour or one hour walk each day?

 

Perhaps some mental stimulation like puzzle toys (like the kong wobbler type things) for mealtimes? I agree with the pp that puppy classes are a good thing at this age. Our dog went through beginner and intermediate, and as soon as my baby is a bit older (7 weeks tomorrow!) I plan to get back with advanced followed by agility classes.

 

These are just some of the things that have helped with my dog. Good luck!

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#4 of 30 Old 03-25-2011, 04:54 PM
 
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I am going to agree with everyone else! When my dogs were pups we took them to the dog park to let off some steam which accomplishes playing and socialization. Long walks + dog park + some toys that make her "think" may be good, she's in that weird puppy stage and well, puppies can be adorably annoying. 

 

 

My Shepherd also pees (it's submissive) and what I do is when he's really excited but also submitting I just ignore him or walk away, don't make eye contact and don't touch his head. That helps! Especially when we walk in the house...


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#5 of 30 Old 03-25-2011, 06:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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):

 

IMG_3191.JPG

 

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#6 of 30 Old 03-25-2011, 07:05 PM
 
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She's really cute! 

 

It really does just seem like normal (if anything maybe a little dominant) puppy behavior. When you say you are afraid you can't control her at dog parks what do you mean -- is she just excited and jumping and playing with other dogs or is she aggressive? 


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#7 of 30 Old 03-25-2011, 07:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, we've never been to a dog park before, but she does get super excited when playing with other dogs.  She plays well, though, and I've never seen her get aggressive, but I'm worried about if it happens and I can't rely on her to listen to my commands.

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#8 of 30 Old 03-25-2011, 08:21 PM
 
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It's hard to tell from the pic, but perhaps Shepherd/Lab?  I have a shepherd lab mix, who was almost exactly as you describe.  And looks very similar (though again, hard to tell from the pic.

 

Anyway, if she's just mouthing and not actually biting, I wouldn't be too concerned about aggression.  Still be on the look out but remember, dogs don't have hands, so all they have to put on you to try to get you to stop doing something they don't want you to do, is their mouth.  Think about a toddler...if they want you to stop, they put their hands out, sometimes try to hit.  The dog is just doing the equivilant.  Now, if you are talking about real biting (which doesn't necessarily mean breaking the skin) and has growling and such, that could be an aggression issue.

 

If you have a shepherd lab mix, if it's anything like mine, I am sorry to say the energy lasts....like forever.  Mine is now 7 and is only just now calming down.  Getting her to listen to all our commands is still hard.  We have been to training classes, I have watched the shows and we have worked and worked and worked.  Most of the time, I can get her to reliably obey: sit, heel, out (the command to leave a particular space) down (when she jumps-I can't always get her to not jump, but I can almost always get her off with the command if she does.)  and downstairs.  Stay is a sometimes thing, Come NEVER happens.

 

I will say, both our dogs are 70lbs...we don't keep them inside and we don't crate train.  I dispise crates, I think they are too cruel to big dogs.  We have a big backyard, fenced it, so both dogs are indoor/outdoor dogs.  They are not in any way outside 100% of the time...they sleep inside, eat inside, and anytime the weather is bad, they are in.  But, during the day with nice weather, they are out.  And, they seem to be happy that way.  Often, if I am trying to bring them in at night and it's still nice out, it's a struggle to bring them in even.  They have lots of space to run and play out there, and the fence keeps them totally safe. 

 

Stopping the mouthing specifically...a few things I have heard to try: Holding her tounge down in her mouth and saying no very firmly.  Or, holding her mouth closed firmly with both hands, repeating "no."  Also, requiring the dog to sit (by holding onto the training collar-not a choke chain) and stay until he calms down...takes more work and patience.  Honestly, I can't remember what worked for Lilo, I think we ended up just having to wait until she grew out of it.

 

For us, the biggest thing as been establishing that I am alpha dog.  I do this by basically just being intimidating.  Standing high over the dog, projecting a low tone firm voice, continually moving into the dog's space, forcing the dog to back away.  I avoid getting to the dog's level if I can, that just seems to invite the dog to climb all over me.  Because we have 2 dogs, I do witness some dominance behavior, Lilo is dominant over the other one...but she NEVER exhibits that behavior on me or anyone else in the family.  That, imo, is the biggest key to stopping unwanted behavior, just being sure the dog knows that you are the one in charge. 

 

 

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#9 of 30 Old 03-25-2011, 08:29 PM
 
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Originally Posted by sesa70 View Post

I definately think that her behaviors could be greatly helped by an increase in exercise. Many of those puppy behaviors could be calmed WAY down if she had an appropriate way to get out some of that energy. Maybe your 10yr old could play an active game of fetch with her several times a day? Is there a way she could get a half hour or one hour walk each day?

 

Perhaps some mental stimulation like puzzle toys (like the kong wobbler type things) for mealtimes? I agree with the pp that puppy classes are a good thing at this age. Our dog went through beginner and intermediate, and as soon as my baby is a bit older (7 weeks tomorrow!) I plan to get back with advanced followed by agility classes.

 

These are just some of the things that have helped with my dog. Good luck!


Completely agree with this!

 

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#10 of 30 Old 03-26-2011, 05:51 AM
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Well, we've never been to a dog park before, but she does get super excited when playing with other dogs.  She plays well, though, and I've never seen her get aggressive, but I'm worried about if it happens and I can't rely on her to listen to my commands.

ETA: 2, 15 minute walks a day are NOT long enough at all....At least half and hour twice a day or a full hour is needed for any dog really, especially high energy puppies.
 

First, she is adorable!

Second, dog park dynamics are very tricky things. She is going to immediately pick up on your anxiety about being there and that will affect her behavior...Maybe your spouse can bring her without you a few times so you can learn that it will be ok?

 

Second, she is small still and most adult dogs won't have an issue being dominated by a puppy...Even small adult dogs are tough generally and dogs at dog parks especially can generally handle rough and tumble play...

She may  be a very very dominant little girl but I guarantee you that if an adult dog there isn't interested in her BS they are going to let her know very quickly...Keep in mind that dog play always looks worse than it really is..If you watch very closely you can pick up on the rapid play initiation cues and note that although there may be a ton of noise coming from the dogs and it looks like they may be biting a lot, most of the time it is simply mouthing and just noise, no aggression just noise...

 

I think it is REALLY REALLY important you get that puppy to a dog park, other dogs will show her better than you how to be submissive and how to behave in a group setting. She NEEDS that socializing to teach her how to be a dog. You don't want to see what a dog is like when they haven't had regular contact with other dogs...I suspect my dog (before we got her) did not have much contact with other dogs, amongst her other issues (most likely abuse of some kind) and it has taken us a long time to get her to behave better around other dogs although we still have days where I want to pull my hair out...

 

Goodluck mama, remember, puppy will pick up on your discomfort or fear so keep that in mind. Also don't be afraid she will be trouble at the dog park! Like I said, most puppies I have seem at the dog park get swarmed right away by happy dogs and they go totally submissive because in a puppy's mind (even a dominant puppy) it is a good and safe idea to be submissive to a bigger stronger adult dog!

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#11 of 30 Old 03-26-2011, 06:05 AM
 
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She's still a baby!  Really, she's 5 months old - everything you described is totally normal.  She'll (hopefully) calm down eventually.

 

You've gotten some great advice.  More training, tons more exercise and get that dog to a dog park!  The other dogs will tell her how to behave.  Do it now so she can get socialized because you don't want to end up with a full grown, high energy unsocialized dog.  That will drive you crazy.


My spaz of a dog is now 2 years old and finally calming down and turning into a great dog.  At 5 months?  Oh gosh, I was ready to strangle him but I knew it was just a waiting game and he'd settle down eventually.  He did.  He still has his moments but overall he's a very good dog now.

 

And I wouldn't let a 5 month old dog off leash either - they just aren't ready.  Luckily our dog park is entirely fenced in, it is awesome.  If you are worried, start with a really long leash (like 25 ft) and see how she does.  Chances are she'll be fine, just start early!

 

You have a 10 yr old boy who really wanted this dog, no reason he can't be responsible for 2 walks a day.

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#12 of 30 Old 03-26-2011, 07:18 AM
 
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Personally I do not like dog parks.  Too often people bring unsocialized aggressive dogs in and fights happen.  That can really affect a pup for the rest of its life.

 

I also totally disagree with the advice to initimidate and be the "alpha dog"

 

As far her her knowing you want her to drop it, no, she is a baby.  She doesnt know:)  Its like a toddler at this point...the have really short attention spans and really dont remember things...its all about learning about the world at this point.  How did you teach "drop it"?


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#13 of 30 Old 03-26-2011, 08:13 AM
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Personally I do not like dog parks.  Too often people bring unsocialized aggressive dogs in and fights happen.  That can really affect a pup for the rest of its life.

 

I also totally disagree with the advice to initimidate and be the "alpha dog"

 

As far her her knowing you want her to drop it, no, she is a baby.  She doesnt know:)  Its like a toddler at this point...the have really short attention spans and really dont remember things...its all about learning about the world at this point.  How did you teach "drop it"?


I was actually just reading an article online about the "alpha roll"...it is apparently causing a lot of problems with dogs and owners because people who don't understand it are using the technique...I myself have never been a big fan and have only done it a couple of times to my dog in a couple of very intense situations...

Most good trainers strongly advice against the "alpha roll" technique...I am trying to find the article I read about it as I type...

 

 

ETA, I have been to dog parks a lot and I have never EVER seen an actual dog fight...There is a big difference between a momentary struggle for dominance that looks ferocious and an out and out dog fight which is a scary thing that I have witnessed first hand... I find most people who bring their dogs to the dog park are actually over protective and very cautious about any hint of a disagreement between their dogs...Then again the dog parks I have been to have been frequented by the same groups of people over and over so everyone is fairly familiar with each other.

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#14 of 30 Old 03-26-2011, 01:15 PM
 
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ETA, I have been to dog parks a lot and I have never EVER seen an actual dog fight...There is a big difference between a momentary struggle for dominance that looks ferocious and an out and out dog fight which is a scary thing that I have witnessed first hand... I find most people who bring their dogs to the dog park are actually over protective and very cautious about any hint of a disagreement between their dogs...Then again the dog parks I have been to have been frequented by the same groups of people over and over so everyone is fairly familiar with each other.



I haven't taken our pup (8 months old) to the park much, really just in the past couple of weeks, and he never did puppy classes because of the vax issue (completely unvaxed dog). But despite not being around many dogs, Oscar was super well behaved at the dog park with the other dogs, although he is apt to glom onto one dog and stick with them, so you just never know. I have to say, I have been pretty impressed with the dogs and their owners, things have never gotten out of hand. Dog parks in our city have a notice outside saying aggressive dogs are not allowed, and I guess people respect that rule.

 

To the OP, please give your dog time, she is still very much a puppy. Everyone has given you great advice.


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#15 of 30 Old 03-26-2011, 01:33 PM
 
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Well, I am glad they are working for you guys...many people do use them.  I just know on hte couple dog forums I am on for every happy story you hear a tragic one...so just be careful:)


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Well, I am glad they are working for you guys...many people do use them.  I just know on hte couple dog forums I am on for every happy story you hear a tragic one...so just be careful:)



I just so disagree with this! I have never met a person IRL who has ever seen a TRAGIC outcome at a dog park...Don't scare people away!

The internet is a place where I feel like all I ever read are crazy stories..I'm thinking of the boards here even. It's not like people post about how nice and normal and boring things are..

 

I don't know, I maintain that dog parks are just about the best place you can socialize your dog. Most owners know their dogs well enough to avoid them when they need to. I myself don't even go with my dog all that much anymore because she just jumps on too many people, gets way to crazy.

 

 

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#17 of 30 Old 03-26-2011, 02:56 PM
 
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To b clear, I dont mean tragic like dogs being mauled.  I mean learning really bad behaviors and having bad interactions which definitely can lead to problems down the line.

 

Again, if you are happy with them thats awesome!  I just would not trust them myself and know many other dog people who feel the same.  They to me are a great idea in theory, just not so much in practice.

 

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I agree that more exercise will probably hugely benefit you.  

Not a fan of dogparks myself - for exactly the reasons already mentioned.  An alternative could be local meetups where you have a bit more control over who's involved.  Even better go for plain old leash walks or back to obedience class (group class - less expensive) to help teach your pup proper behavior in a more controlled setting.

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#19 of 30 Old 03-26-2011, 07:10 PM
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To b clear, I dont mean tragic like dogs being mauled.  I mean learning really bad behaviors and having bad interactions which definitely can lead to problems down the line.

 

Again, if you are happy with them thats awesome!  I just would not trust them myself and know many other dog people who feel the same.  They to me are a great idea in theory, just not so much in practice.

 


Ok in my head, I was thinking like major attacks or dogs needing stitches etc...My imagine was running away with me I suppose.

 

Also, I think a factor in our local dog park is that it is literally the same crowd at the same times of day, every day...These dogs were all pretty familiar with each other and we were all able to remember who was who...I think I might have a sheltered dog park experience because we are not in a heavily populated area by any means..

 

Oh, OP, I don't know where you live but another great exercise is swimming! Nothing tires our pooch out like a good swim. Almost every day all summer we would take her. She loves the water though, so that is something you'd have to feel out with your dog.

 

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#20 of 30 Old 03-26-2011, 07:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We definitely plan on upping the exercise.  We were having an issue with walking her on a leash, as she was just pulling the entire time, frustrating us and her.  So we bought a harness, and that worked great, until we left it on her one day and she chewed through it.  It took us a few days to get the new harness but then it was almost constant rain for 2 weeks.  She also gets a couple of sessions of fetch in the backyard, and runs like the dickens.  Dh and the kids took her for an hour long hike today, and we plan to do that more often.  Ds is more than happy to take her for walks, but I don't feel comfortable having him walk her alone yet, because she gets really excited if she sees another dog, and I worry that if he didn't have a firm grip on the leash she might be able to get away.  But yes, more exercise.

 

Dh is going to come with me to the dog park Monday am, so that will be nice.  He's calmer in these situations, and she listens a bit more to him anyhow.

 

We do think she may be a lab/shepherd mix, with maybe some pointer?

 

The mouthing is definitely mouthing, not biting with growling or other signs of aggression, but it's also done in a way to try to dominate me, and I don't like it at all. 

 

On the upside . . . on the way back from the walk today, dh heard her chewing on something in the back of the car (we use a tiedown in the back of our station wagon).  He pulled over and opened the back, and she jumped and bolted from the car!  Turns out she had chewed through the old leash we were using as a tiedown.  She ran down the sidewalk, but he called her, and she turned around and came back!  (It didn't hurt that he had treats on him.)  So that was reassuring.  Now, had there been another dog or something else exciting I'm not sure that she would have listened, but it made us both feel a bit better that she is getting it.

 

I'm a high anxiety person in general, and man, this whole dog thing has given me a whole new world of issues to freak out about!

 

 

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#21 of 30 Old 03-27-2011, 06:09 AM
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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.

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#22 of 30 Old 03-27-2011, 06:46 AM
 
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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.

 

http://www.dogstardaily.com/

http://www.bluedogk9.com/

 

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.


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#23 of 30 Old 03-27-2011, 03:37 PM
 
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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.


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#24 of 30 Old 03-27-2011, 08:21 PM
 
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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.


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#25 of 30 Old 03-27-2011, 08:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.)

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#26 of 30 Old 03-28-2011, 07:00 AM
 
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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.


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Quote:
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.

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#28 of 30 Old 03-29-2011, 02:53 PM
 
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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.


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#29 of 30 Old 03-31-2011, 01:06 PM
 
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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!

 
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#30 of 30 Old 04-01-2011, 05:02 PM
 
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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):

 

IMG_3191.JPG

 



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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