Rescue puppy- a couple of questions please

(18 Posts)
TheFantasticMrsFox Tue 19-Aug-14 09:51:30

I posted last week about our possibly rescuing a 16 week old Staffie bitch. I got lots of advice and as those of you who read the thread will know, we did get her and she's brilliant smile However......
She has a new name. Seems to respond well to it but it's obviously not yet instinctive as it would be if we'd named her at 8 weeks (TBH she didn't respond to her original name either) She's also had a lot of upheaval in the last 4 months- I get that and am more than happy to cut her some slack but I'm aware that we have already missed out on 8 weeks of socialisation and training so really need to make up for lost time as well.
My biggest issue (in my mind at least) is that she won't sit. She's been allowed to bounce around crazily on her back legs which I would like to cut down on but am wary of pushing her away so soon. So we neither encourage or discourage it but I would prefer to give her a sit command and then reward her for that IYSWIM? However no amount of cajoling will elicit a sit out of her. Guiding her nose up with a treat causes her to jump up, even lightly touching her bum sends her into overdrive, finger in the collar even more so hmm Personally I suspect she's been dragged by her collar and manhandled into doing things she didn't want to sad She's also incredibly resistant to wearing a collar, winding herself into a frenzy of scratching, trying to bite it and generally getting into a real state over it. Currently we put it on for short periods and remove it when she's not making a big fuss but it's obviously something she needs to get used to.
Apart from that she's been amazing, eats well, 99% clean, walks nicely on the lead, has met numerous people, dogs, tractors etc with no fuss so overall I am thrilled. I just wonder if a) I am after too much too soon? and b) should I continue to press for the sit, give up completely for a week or so and put up with the jumping or perhaps try some other form of distraction?

EvenBetter Tue 19-Aug-14 10:14:53

Have you looked on the Dog Training Advice and Support group on Facebook? It has files on 'all four paws on the floor' where you 'rain' high value treats when all four of her paws are on the ground! And when she jumps up the treats stop.
I taught ours to sit by that moving a treat over her head till she sits and clicker as soon as her bum touches the floor, insert treat into gob. But as she's still a baby and is in an all new environment I'd just give her more time...

Our dog has never worn a collar (well, she's a year old, so she might do at some point in the future), she only wears her harness when she's going out, personally I'd never attach a lead to a collar, and her tags are on her harness. I think most dogs scratch and fuss at collars at first, but it's like when you wear a new ring, you're aware of it for a few days and then you can't feel it at all.

TheFantasticMrsFox Tue 19-Aug-14 11:06:30

Thanks even, I'm in between broadband suppliers ATM so my use of Dr Google is strictly limited until Friday.
Moving the treat over her head causes her to jump up if it's too high or snatch at it if it's too low (DH has nicknamed her The SnapDragon grin)
The collar issue is not huge, aside from the legal aspects. The boys never wear collars when they're working so once her recall and reliability is better I'm not too fussed but until then she does need one. I have taken to walking her on an old slip lead as she walks beautifully so the lead is loose round her neck but I still have control if something approaches.
Given what she's been through she's amazing but I don't want to be too slack and allow her bad habits to flourish without trying to instil any of our own smile

You might find it easier to train a Down first. Interestingly, I am trying to teach a greyhound to sit ATM, for our Rally classes. Our tutor recommended that when she gets up from a Down, click and reward the point where she is sitting as she gets up. We've had to suspend training at the moment as she's just had an operation but it's a different way of approaching it.

TheFantasticMrsFox Tue 19-Aug-14 13:05:49

See I'm totally inexperienced in the breed and wondered if they, like greyhounds, are not natural sitters. She certainly seems to transition (rapidly!) from upright to upside down with not much recognisable in between grin
I think the down might be easier to start with though, thanks. It just seems that we are alre

ClaimedByMe Tue 19-Aug-14 13:11:47

You may need to find out what treat she will do anything for, mine will sit automatically if you bring cheese out the fridge, she will do any command for cheese but other treats she will do things at her own pace or not at all!

It also took her about 6 months to relax and be settled with us, she was also a rescue but much older and different circumstances, when she had settled she was much better at commands.

SpicyBear Tue 19-Aug-14 13:48:31

Staffies are fine at sitting so I doubt she finds it uncomfortable, just doesn't know it. It's only people that are obsessed with sitting. My staffie was a brood bitch and had absolutely no clue what sit was. We actually had to wait until she did it spontaneously and say "sit" for her to learn it. She will absolutely not do a down unless on a very squashy bed, but will happily go into a wait and stay standing up so I don't worry about it.

I would focus on general manners before worrying about the sit too much. So just general impulse control and politeness. The all four paws on the floor training above is good. Also, for example, teaching to take a treat gently by putting it in a balled fist and only opening your hand when she backs away a bit. Your hand might get munched to begin with but she should soon pick up.

I think once she learns a bit about self control around resources (food and attention), she will be easier to teach commands. In a week or so you could start trying again with the sit, introducing a leave it and drop it etc.

Spicy has made a very good point about Sit, in that it's only needed if you are going to do Obedience/Rally competitively. What you DO need is a dog that will wait nicely by your side but as Spicy says, and as we do with our greyhounds, this can be very easily a calm, attentive Stand. You don't need sit for your KC GC awards - again as long as you have a Down and a Stay, these are actually probably more useful.

Once she's settled in a bit more, probably in a couple of months, think about enrolling her in some classes. You'll both have a lot of fun, and it's very useful to have a tutor there to help things along. Our trainer is an APDT one, so only uses positive methods, keeps classes very small, so they are stress free and you get lots of attention, and is very rescue dog savvy.

Good luck - she sounds like such a character. smile

TheFantasticMrsFox Tue 19-Aug-14 16:02:06

claimed my go-to treat was always Primula cheese but I try and keep that in reserve for emergencies grin

Thank you spicy, that's really helpful. I had rotties in the past so understand the need for good manners and control. At the moment we are treading a careful line between clamping down on her worst excesses and not crushing her when everything's so new to her. As far as good manners go she rarely nips or mouths me or DH, only when she's very over excited (we fold our arms and turn our backs, at present she can only reach our knees so easily ignored) She's much better with DS but they need careful supervision as they are devoted to one another (currently both sat on the sofa watching Percy Jackson- we don't have dogs on furniture hmm)
I really appreciate all the advice, it became quickly apparent that Staffies are very different to working spaniels grin

SpicyBear Tue 19-Aug-14 16:59:26

Oh yes very different! I always struggle to express it well as I sound like I am insulting working spaniels and the like, when I do genuinely like all types of dog. Staffies are a bit more relationship based and sensitive to what you want, perhaps. A bit less technical input (training) = output (behaviour) than working breeds. Very focused on their people emotionally. They are traditionally house dogs and selected to be soft hearted and cuddly in a busy family home.

SpicyBear Tue 19-Aug-14 17:04:29

Oh and meant to suggest you look at the clicker for training if you haven't already. Especially as she is sensitive to some types of handling, you can use it to address that and also train in a very hands off way, shaping behaviours. Like scuttle I would definitely recommend finding a great APDT trainer to help.

ClaimedByMe Tue 19-Aug-14 17:17:56

I was told by my trainer that they are people pleasers mine is fekin stubborn though and only pleases herself but that is due to a bad start in life.

TheFantasticMrsFox Tue 19-Aug-14 17:52:05

Well........
In a new low in my dog training life I have achieved a beautiful sit with the unintentional use of Mini Cheddars hmm Both boys were begging sitting attentively while I munched and the little madam came and plonked herself right between them in a textbook sit. Luckily I had the clicker in my pocket but all I had to hand was 1/4 of a Mini Cheddar which I figured was better than nothing (though I shall definitely need to amend my training treats!) Several sits later and she seemingly has no concept of the command, only mirroring what the boys do when there's food about grin

In other news, definitely a house dog. We had our first puddle indoors because it was raining and she flat out refused to set foot outside the door- any hopes I may have harboured of her joining us on smaller shoots in the beating line are rapidly fading grin

Also another question for those of you in the know. DS is dead keen to train her and has asked if he could take her to lessons. Given that the day to day general manners and stuff is my domain, as are the main walks during the week, would this be ok? I would obviously be there as designated driver and responsible adult but I am happy to let him have a go if we can find a trainer who's willing and it was generally agreed to be acceptable.

ClaimedByMe Tue 19-Aug-14 18:06:59

Ahhh she sounds fantastic!!

I know a few classes round here let older children join in with training and local dog shows have a child handler section so I think it is acceptable.

Heehee at the walking in the rain, I liken taking Rose out the door in the rain to helping a cow birth, I am halfway down the path pulling the lead while Rose is sitting inside the door refusing to move!

SpicyBear Tue 19-Aug-14 18:22:19

I could talk all day about precious staffie behaviour. This weekend DH had to carry her into a country fair because it was wet and madam would not get out of the car. He is now immune to the people laughing at them. She does brilliant sad eyes and staffie shakes at the prospect of going out in the rain and if that doesn't work, point blank refuses to move a muscle. On one notable occasion the heavens suddenly opened in the playing fields behind our house and she, usually my shadow, sprinted home. I hotfooted it after her and found her waiting in the porch... I also had to shut her out in the garden for quite a long period and not let her back in the house until she'd weed in order to completely housetrain her. Then for a while she tried squatting briefly and fake weeing in order to be let in! A dog walking acquaintance has to mow around a certain patch of lawn - if he cuts it short his staff will not come and sit in the garden with them. Good luck grin

How old is DS?

tabulahrasa Tue 19-Aug-14 18:38:17

If DS wants to go to lessons with her, he'll also need to practise between times with her.

IMO the more people in the house doing consistent training with a dog the better.

Most good dog trainers welcome older DC/teenagers, alongside their parents. I've done classes with several teen/tween/adult combos and the DC are usually lovely.

Roaring with laughter at the refusal to go out for a wee - very similar to a pointy in that respect! Also allergic to rain. grin

TheFantasticMrsFox Tue 19-Aug-14 20:41:47

Great, will start to investigate once I'm properly in touch with the world again. In the meantime it's a trip to the vets to discuss how we deal with spaying. We cannot in all seriousness allow her a season as both boys are entire but spaying so soon just seems so harsh- she's just a baby and so newly settled sad

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