Are there some dogs who don't really care if they please you or not?

(42 Posts)
Dieu Fri 05-Feb-16 09:56:04

Hi. We have an adorable 9 month old Shih Tzu pup, and we love him to bits. It's all going really well and we wouldn't be without him. He seems happy and very fond of us too.
This morning, I had him at the park (well, private gardens in the square where I live) and when it was time to go, I called him over. He completely ignored me and ran off when I went to fetch him. It took me a while to catch him (he's not normally quite like this), by which time I wasn't best pleased! I think I would have understood it more if there were other dogs around, but it was only us in the gardens.
Anyway, I reprimanded him, but got no reaction. He never seems to be able to read us, or situations, particularly well.
Is it just his age, or do some dogs genuinely not really give a shit?!
Thanks.

2legit2knit Fri 05-Feb-16 10:02:35

Yep, mine doesn't give a shit. grin She loves a gravy bone though wink

pigsDOfly Fri 05-Feb-16 10:05:58

Not sure any dog is really trying to please. If you train your dog with rewards: food or toys, he's doing what you want because it suits him becaue he gets what he wants.

In the case of your dog I would say that he's hit adolescence now and has decided he's going to do things his way; mine was 8 months old when she started doing the same thing.

I had terrible trouble with recall for a while so had her on a trailing lead for about 8 months, found, what was for her, a really high value treat - dried chicken liver - and eventually we achieved a brilliant recall.

So yes, it probably is his age. It can be a trying time.

LBOCS2 Fri 05-Feb-16 10:06:43

From the reading I've done, some dogs are praise motivated and some are food motivated. Yours might just want some cheese instead of a well done ;)

LilCamper Fri 05-Feb-16 10:21:59

Never, ever repremand a dog no matter how long it takes you to get them back. All you will achieve is making them less likely to return to you next time.

MiddleClassProblem Fri 05-Feb-16 10:26:13

Sounds like you made catching him a fun game. You need to make coming back to you the fun game and not just a walk is over thing.

Lokibuddyboo Fri 05-Feb-16 10:27:01

My ddog at about 8/9 months old just stopped listening to me and coming back when called he would run away at the park and I'd have to chase him, one day I spent 45 minutes trying to catch him in a small enclosed Park in the rain I only caught him as he was to knackered to run anymore.
So I back to training classes we went now at 2 yes old his recall is great.
So I think it's their age they get alittle stubborn and independent attitude when they go through adolescence but just stick with training recall and he should start to listen as he matures more. Good luck.

PacificDogwod Fri 05-Feb-16 10:29:51

Dogs really, really don't 'get' a 'telling off' grin

You need to shamelessly bribe her - every time you call her and she DOES come, lavish praise on her and give a treat.

Everything every dog does is all about 'what's in it for me?'

Fwiw, we have a greyhound (the most cat-like of dogs, apparently) and he does not give a flying fuck about what anybody says. He does come back to me if I turn my back on him and make to leave though grin

TooMuchRain Fri 05-Feb-16 10:34:34

The praise vs food motivated distinction makes a lot of sense. Our first dog was the runt of the litter and always seemed desperate to please and hated being told off so I suppose was praise motivated. Current dog couldn't give a shit but will do anything for a bit of liver cake. And yet both very friendly and always want/ed to be with people, just totally different characters.

Floralnomad Fri 05-Feb-16 10:37:12

My terrier has always been a bit so so about coming back , but I found that if I shout 'down and wait' he will stop where he is and wait for me to go to him , it has never failed me yet (5 yrs) . So in theory my dog has poor recall ,but in practise I have absolute control - it's also very useful for if they are running into trouble / about to annoy someone .

Dieu Fri 05-Feb-16 10:38:15

Thanks everyone.
The only other dog that I've had was our family Staffie when I was a teenager. I remember her possessing what I can only describe as a strong sense of empathy; she was very much in tune with us, our moods, and had a very strong will to please. I suppose I just assumed that most dogs were keen to please their owners!
Yes, he is definitely a mini teenager, and you are right in that I made coming to me too much of a game today. However, he wasn't responding to the offer of a treat, which is most unlike him as he's normally very food motivated. Hopefully just an off day!
LilCamper, you never tell your dog(s) off? Fair play to you, but I'm not sure I see it as a big problem tbh.

tabulahrasa Fri 05-Feb-16 10:40:19

There are a couple of breeds that will work just to please you, staffies and labs for example...mostly though it's just training and reinforcement.

Anything described as wilful by the breed club (Shih tzu's are, lol) isn't really going to be motivated by a well done, you need a reinforcer that's worth their while.

Dieu Fri 05-Feb-16 10:40:48

... although admittedly it doesn't work; it's just me being human grin

Dieu Fri 05-Feb-16 10:41:54

Sorry, that was in addition to my last post.

And yes tabulahrasa, they're wilful wee buggers for sure!

MiddleClassProblem Fri 05-Feb-16 10:43:13

You can try other things like running away so they chase you or you can try pretending you have found the most amazing thing ever on the ground by you, often crouching with arms stretched out to the side and calling in a fun voice is successful because you are their level. Basically making a tit of yourself could be worth a try grin

Dieu Fri 05-Feb-16 10:44:05

Again, thanks a lot for the replies everyone. Puppy ownership has been a huge learning experience for me, and this forum has taught me so much. star

tabulahrasa Fri 05-Feb-16 10:44:47

"LilCamper, you never tell your dog(s) off? Fair play to you, but I'm not sure I see it as a big problem tbh."

Well potentially what you've just taught your puppy is that when you catch him or he comes back to you you reprimand him...he doesn't know it's for the five minutes before that.

Dieu Fri 05-Feb-16 10:46:04

Oh MiddleClassProblem, believe me, I must have looked a f@nny to any of my posh neighbours!
Great tips, many of which I did try today, but to no avail. Hopefully a one-off!

Dieu Fri 05-Feb-16 10:47:16

Point taken, thanks.

tabulahrasa Fri 05-Feb-16 10:47:17

They do start to go - well what's in it for me? Btw as teenagers, you just carry on your recall training and eventually it sticks, lol.

Running off in the opposite direction can work quite well - some dogs still just go hmm nah, I'm good thanks...

Dieu Fri 05-Feb-16 10:50:24

Lol, that last sentence had him written all over it!

In desperation, I even let myself out of the gardens and stood outside the gate. For nothing!

potap123 Fri 05-Feb-16 10:55:33

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

LilCamper Fri 05-Feb-16 10:59:03

And, no, I can honestly say I NEVER have reprimandeed my 4 yo dog. If he has done something I don't like it is my fault for lack of training or not controlling his environment properly.

ShitFacedTinyTim Fri 05-Feb-16 11:01:24

How do you initially summon him back? Pups at that age are adolescents and need signals really spelling out to them so rather than just call his name whilst still walking, especially if you call to him for other reasons whilst on your walk - he won't know how to differentiate. Firstly, stand still. Then, hold out a treat, and call him saying "[Dog's name], come. Treats!" When he comes to get the treat, and you may need to try lots to find his doggie treat crack equivalent, have him sit first, which is good practice before giving any treat. Clip the lead on before you give it to him, and then give lots of praise.

It's a good idea to practise this in the garden for a few mins each day to reinforce that coming to you means delicious treats, and I know it's a total PITA when they don't come back but never ever tell them off once you get them back or they learn not to come to you, and absolutely don't chase them as then you are making it a game.

insan1tyscartching Fri 05-Feb-16 11:01:34

Eric was a stroppy PITA at about 9 months and would and did do entirely similar on more than one occasion. It lasted until he was a year old and ever since he has been much more biddable. That's not to say he's perfect (hence the nickname Irksome) ,you can regularly see the struggle on his face between doing what he's told and doing what he wants,what generally swings it is that I hold the ham grin

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