Struggling with dog... Still

(47 Posts)
lainiekazan Tue 18-Jun-13 06:51:20

I posted about dog previously - but that was more about me than the dog so I've started a new thread.

golde retriever, 3 months old, is quite challenging. On sunday a dog trainer came to the house to observe him and said he is very dominant and gave us some training help. I also consulted local doggy woman who said he is strong-willed and independent.

Yesterday was a Bad Day. Lots of snarling and he flew at me when I said "Off!" when he was on the sofa. That was quite scary. He also bit through ds's top - not play biting - ds was practising the "leave" command and the dog snapped at ds's arm - not at the egg box he had.

He also doesn't seem to care for playing/human interaction. If I try to have a game he'll just wander off.

Any ideas?

lougle Tue 18-Jun-13 06:54:56

I wouldn't be letting your ds practice any command with him if he is not responding to you yet! It will confuse him and your DS could get hurt.

He's not dominating, he's a puppy.

Are you clicker training?

littlewhitebag Tue 18-Jun-13 07:24:32

I was part of the last thread you started. I can only offer what i did before - that your puppy sounds perfectly normal for 12 weeks. Our golden lab was exactly the same. Keep being firm and consistent with training and commands. Treat for all positive behaviour. My DD's advice is be as patient as you can you will be surprised at how well your dog will turn out. We thought we had the dog from hell and now we think we have the perfect dog if only her recall was better

Aetae Tue 18-Jun-13 07:36:34

Our dog was a pain in the backside for most of his teenage months- he's very intelligent and very strong-willed. I guess it lasted until he was about 18 months or so, but he's a small breed.

We just stayed as consistent as we could: rewarded good behaviour (with a variety of things to keep him guessing, treats/games/cuddles), always used a time out if he crossed the line (growling at us for example), regular short training sessions again with variety, puppy and obedience classes...

Stick with it - this phase seemed endless at the time and I really didn't like him much but now he's lovely and a great dog. He still steals tissues but no one's perfect smile.

Lonecatwithkitten Tue 18-Jun-13 07:52:09

I read the previous thread. As previously said he is 3 months a toddler he is tantruming. I would be very wary of any one who told me a dog was dominant and particular a puppy this theory he been disproven.
As others would suggest at this stage training needs to be really consistent and would be best only carried out by adults to ensure this.
At this age my beautiful mobile mop made holes in several DD's clothes. I found the best thing was to get her to make a sharp noise when he did it and then stand completely still with hands by side and if necessary turning back to him till he calmed down.
Do you go to puppy classes? As this weekly consistent support is really helpful at this stage.
Is this your first dog or first puppy? Your first as an adult?

idirdog Tue 18-Jun-13 07:56:47

I am not sure where you are but you need to change your trainer. Any training talking any dominance or strong willed is wrong. They will give you incorrect advice that can make matters worse.

Your dogs behaviour is normal puppy behaviour. However that does not mean that you have to put up with it.

As much as you can prevent the behaviour, so if he does not like getting off the sofa don't let him on the sofa. However the easy way to get him off the sofa is to put a yummy treat on the floor say "off" and praise him like mad when he gets to eat the treat.

To teach leave it I hold low value food in my hand and have my fingers closed around it, when the dog back away which he will do eventually I click and treat. The dog is learning that impulse control will allow him to get the food. or you could do it like this video teaching leave it

If you want to pm me where you are I can find you a trainer that can help you get back on track and enjoy your puppy.

Whoknowswhocares Tue 18-Jun-13 09:52:10

I would be very wary of advice from someone who calls your tiny puppy 'dominant'!
It sounds a bit like a battle of wills is going on. You are 'telling' him to get off the sofa and he is therefore deciding to argue rather than comply.
You need to change it so that getting off the sofa is the nicer option for him. Think about it from his perspective...... He is sitting in a nice comfy spot and you come along and demand he vacates it (possibly with confrontational eye and body contact?) with no incentive. How would you feel in his position? Petulant and stroppy, I've no doubt!
What has worked with our golden retriever pup, now 5 months is to give one calm OFF command and then COMPLETELY ignore her until she complies. no eye contact, no second demand, nothing.
If she does get down (and she will eventually, cos she will get bored of being ignored), we IMMEDIATELY produce a treat, get down on the floor with her and play/make a fuss of her. So you end up conditioning her that the floor is the better option if that makes sense?

mistlethrush Tue 18-Jun-13 09:58:21

You've also got to be the most interesting thing for him to interact with - and if that means lots of silly encouraging voices, plenty of being down on his level etc, so be it... You need to be fun and enthusiastic when he's doing something you want. You need to be the person that gets his training going well and children need to then be trained to get the right response by you, with puppy, when he knows exactly what he's meant to be doing and you can help your child do the correct command very clearly.

He is not dominant. He is a 3 mo retriever puppy - a breed fairly well known for being somewhat loopy (I'm sure that someone will come along and tell me that theirs was doing heel work to music at 4 mo, but I still think that statement stands).

You need to change your trainer.

Whoknowswhocares Tue 18-Jun-13 10:05:14

Loopy? Yep
Heelwork to music? Does being dragged into a bush with rhythm count? grin
But loving, adorable, very intelligent (that one has good and bad points wink and easy to train once you know what makes them tick.
And fluffy. Fluffy is very important grin

OP.... Where abouts are you? Perhaps someone can recommend a proper better trainer?

I have to agree with all the posters that say change your trainer.

He is not trying to dominate you, he is a puppy.
He doesn't know anything.

LittleDog was an absolute nightmare when we first bought him home. He literally had me in tears.
I've always had older rescue and foster dogs so it took me by surprise just how much hard work he actually was.

Dogs are normally fairly simplistic. They do what works.
I really would recommend puppy classes.
I loved puppy classes because I was not the only one with a nightmare dog worrying what to do with him.

Clicker training and reward based training works. And it works because dogs really don't have complex emotions.

They sit/leave/wait= good stuff.

Use high value treats and just do short bursts of training.
We did 5 minutes, 1 command at a time.

lainiekazan Tue 18-Jun-13 12:55:45

I suppose I'm being a wimp.

Puppy training starts tonight! I shall post again if we get thrown out...

mistlethrush Tue 18-Jun-13 13:07:05

We didn't get thrown out of dog training classes with our terrier/collie cross who managed to cross the entire hall (between sleeping hounds) during a 'long down', whingeing all the way. Or the other collie cross that would wait for all the other dogs to drop off then woof loudly and set them all off (her timing was absolutely perfect - and of course, SHE stayed in her down whilst they all jumped up wink. Mind you, she was the oldest 'puppy' (nearly a year) in the puppy class we took her to and spent most of the time trying to crawl onto a lap or get out of the door - she had not been socialised and it was a long journey with her.

Have fun this evening - and see if you can get any suggestions from the puppy trainer (I hope its someone different from the person that says he's dominant???)

idirdog Tue 18-Jun-13 13:09:49

Don't worry about puppy classes and also don't be worried about asking for advice. It is the numpties that don't work on behaviour and give up that are the idiots.

There is no reason you should know about dog training unless you have done it before so the sensible thing is to get the correct trainer and to ask ask ask. Keep asking until it becomes clear to you and then you will see such a difference in your relationship with your dog.

WhereMyMilk Tue 18-Jun-13 13:22:55

Sounds like our devil dog-she is a lab and also reduced me to tears on numerous occasions and nearly sent her back!

Ours was one of a big litter so hand had mum keeping her in line so much. Our trainer said she was rumbunctious! Lovely word! We started small-making her wait before we opened her crate was an easy one as if she didn't wait the door got shut again! Once that was learned (which was very quick) we went on to her waiting and letting us go through doors first, waiting before eating (she still does this and doesn't eat till given permission-which has proved useful as she doesn't steal food)
The other big thing that helped was a bit of time back with her mum and brother as the breeders so wanted to help us succeed & taught her bite inhibition. Maybe your breeder would help too?
We also always had a long lead on her and if she jumped/bit we held her so she couldn't carry on with a firm NO
Time out is also good as she didn't like that is a nosy cow
Good luck-remember that as with babies-this too will pass!
Devil dog is a delight now and so soft with the DC. Just need to teach her to not get the rabbit out to play with next!!!

Whoknowswhocares Tue 18-Jun-13 15:01:27

One thing I don't think we have mentioned yet........ The Zoomies!

The snarling, lunging silliness phases could well be this. All puppies get them. Usually when overtired/overstimulated they seem to lose control of their senses and turn into a biting monster (often also charge round and round the house/garden at breakneck speed to the point where you are absolutely certain they will crash) incapable of rational thought or action.
If this sounds familiar, then the only solution os a time out in the crate or similar quiet space so they can rest and recompose themselves. There is no reasoning with a Zoomie puppy!
Try it next time and see if it works

lainiekazan Tue 18-Jun-13 15:04:42

Yep, that's it. Seems to come out of nowhere, usually in the evening.

Whoknowswhocares Tue 18-Jun-13 15:19:11

Fantastic news, now we know what it is!
He is not being naughty. He is not being dominant. He is not even capable of NOT doing it at that point
He is overtired and overraught. Just like an overtired toddler, he is having a meltdown because it has all got too much for him.
He needs to be put to bed as soon as you see this behaviour building up, preferably before he gets too 'over the edge' so he can rest and regroup
I'm sure this will solve a huge percentage of the issue

Oh Lord. The puppy zoomies <lays down in a dark room>

LadyTurmoil Tue 18-Jun-13 15:52:17

<makes gin and tonics for all those with puppy zoomies>

Abra1d Tue 18-Jun-13 15:54:58

When our puppy was about the same age she was also snappy and over-hyped in the evenings. Treat as you would a toddler--calm, early bedtime.

mrsjay Tue 18-Jun-13 16:37:54

your dog will be a pain in the wotsit for months to come he is just a baby and then he will be adolescent sigh puppies are not dominant they do need boundries though give him a time out and play little games and often they have attention spans of gnats, he will be skittery and a bit jumpy and snappy sometimes, and when he is over hyped put him for a sleep honestly naptime as PP have said and dont let your son try and train him alone , good luck

mrsjay Tue 18-Jun-13 16:39:04

* he's very intelligent and very strong-willed. I guess it lasted until he was about 18 months or so, but he's a small breed.*
my dog is 16ish months and still in his teen years

cazinge Tue 18-Jun-13 23:31:51

Our 2-2.5 yr old wild guestimate terrier X still does the zoomies occasionally & grazed my leg with her teeth the other week on her way past. This is after 15mo of putting a v nervous & poorly socialised dog in situations she'd never experienced and never seeing any aggressive/bitey behaviour before so I agree if you have zoomies then timeout is the only option.

The right puppy class is invaluable. We have been going to ours (adolescents/'moving on' class) for a yr & have become a community/support network for each other so if one of us is having a bad dog day we know no one will judge & owners and trainers will all offer advice and/or a shoulder to cry on.

Even as an experienced dog owner the first 3-4months were hard & over a yr down the line I am only now just starting to feeling like it's easy going. Stick at it and don't be too hard on yourself - you want to do the right thing & are asking for help, this makes you a responsible owner.

tabulahrasa Wed 19-Jun-13 01:47:13

I've had 3 dogs of my own, family pets as a child, I've taken in other people's dogs for varying lengths of time, in amongst them I've had to deal with 5 year olds with not even basic training, adolescents with severe seperation anxiety, terrible aggression problems with other dogs, a sheep worrier while living in a rural area and a fair bit of chewing, mouthing and housetraining.

None of it was as hard as the first six months with my puppy, it's normal to find it hard work - because it is hard work.

willow Wed 19-Jun-13 07:59:27

Just wanted to say that, as the new owner of a "rumbunctious" ten-week-old Ridgeback, it is really reassuring to read all this advice! I've had dogs before, while growing up, but this is our first pup and our first ridgeback, so it's good to know that this sort of behaviour is normal - and that I'm on the right track with her training. Thanks all.

happygardening Wed 19-Jun-13 08:08:03

Op Im no dog trainer although I have owned dogs all my life IMO sometimes it better not to set up confrontation in the first place especially at the moment. If you don't want your dog on your sofa don't let him in the sitting room. I don't want my dogs on the beds so we keep the bedroom door closed and or use a stair gate so they cant go up stairs I don't want them on the sofas either so we keep them out of the sitting room when we're not in it and take their beds in when we are and they sit on those. Don't allow unpleasant situations to arise you wouldn't let a toddler walk along a road unsupervised and then tell him off if he was hit by a car.
Dogs horses cows and indeed children (I've worked extensively with the last three) read us they know when someone is "in charge" and when not. I'm not talking about pack leader stuff some people have a natural air of authority, they make it clear even with out speaking and certainly not shouting whats expected and only those most hardened individuals challenge them. Dogs like children/cows/horses need clear consistent guide lines firmly but kindly given they need to know what is expected of them and what is not we also need to make sure our expectations are realistic and within the capabilities of dog/cow/horse/child. Training is not a 2 hour a day job, you need to be doing it all the time whilst your dog is awake but it doesn't need to comprise of learning to shake paws and rolling over, just learning to sit quietly in his bed whilst you cook a meal, or lay quietly in the garden whilst you weed is also training.
Farmers manage large numbers of life stock a key to their success is they expect something to happen e.g. cows to come into a parlour to be milked and and stand still they obviously harness the cows natural instinct to follow its fellow members of a herd but the structure is in place to enable it too happen their body language and way they handle them clearly say do this and stand still. Ditto horses (who make dogs look like a walk in the park) consistent realistic expectation from professional grooms pays off.
Finally OP have you gone back to the breeder for advise reputable breeders generally give life long support and back up.

mrsjay Wed 19-Jun-13 08:40:35

OP keepposting on here about your puppy I got great advice with jaydog we got him as a 7 month old tazmanian devil pup and posting and just reading threads has given us loads of tips and advice with him,

lainiekazan Wed 19-Jun-13 13:42:40

Dog training last night was a partial success. On the plus side he coped better in the car and didn't poo. He was, however, sitting up on the back seat looking out of the window. I shall get him a seatbelt/harness thing.

On the minus side he was by far the worst dog there. He was quite cheerful but barked very loudly. He over-indulged in liver cake (it's Positive Training) and was sick on my jeans. He pulled me around the hall on his lead. When he was supposed to be learning to swap toys he was staring out of the window and refused to participate.

And to make matters worse there was another golden retriever there whose behaviour was exemplary. Same age dog, but she was sitting there gazing at her master and performing every move in text book fashion.

Another plus point was that he was so tired afterwards he crawled into his crate the minute we got home and was snoring within ten seconds. Still up at 4.30am, though...

Its your first time, so dont worry about being the worst dog there. Its all new to him and to you so give yourself a break.

LittleDog was by far the worst dog at puppy classes for a long time

Whoknowswhocares Wed 19-Jun-13 14:03:37

Mine was the worst behaved by a country mile to start with. Barked her head off non stop for the whole hour and totally denied I even existed, never mind did as I told her!
She has got better every time though and now listens some most of the time!. Stick with it, it will get better

Mine was either a paragon of virtue or a little shit smile

You are getting up very very early and the sleep deprivation must be awful. I am only on our first puppy too so I don't have any answers but I wonder if anyone with expertise can pick up on how to get him to sleep a bit longer?

A covered crate perhaps? We moved our puppy to the utility room from the kitchen (he's out of his crate now), the kitchen is dual aspect and has double patio doors too, it's never really dark, the utility is still a decent sized but only has a small window.

Hang in there! smile

lainiekazan Wed 19-Jun-13 17:07:04

He sleeps in a crate draped in thick velvet curtains (not bought specifically for him! - they're old ones) and all light is blocked out in the room. He has an internal alarm clock...

I am suffering from sleep deprivation. I'm so groggy and doing random things - yesterday I found the butter in the bread bin.

Aetae Wed 19-Jun-13 18:43:09

4.30??? Our dog wouldn't live long if he tried that! I assume he gets bored and he's learned that if he barks you will come and reward him by letting him out. I suggest getting up (so he knows you can hear him) but completely ignoring him - don't let him out, don't look at him, don't talk to him. Just look busy doing something. Then go back to bed. He should (eventually) get the message that barking won't get him what he wants. This may take some repeating, depending on how pig headed he is!

LEMisdisappointed Wed 19-Jun-13 18:56:02

Can I make a suggestion re the getting off sofa etc. One of the things i was told by the dog trust trainer when we got our dog was this. Never grab a dog by the collar to pull off furniture, in fact, never lay your hands on your dog to do anything other than show affection. This way, they will never associate being touched with being threatened and manhandled. They sell great little "house" leads, that are very lightweight shortish leads that you just leave on the dog, that way you can gently tug them off the sofa with the "off" command.

As for leave - WHY is your DS taking stuff away from a dog? That is madness and quite frankly dangerous. The way to teach leave is to swap things, so dog has egg box, you swap for higher value toy/treat. That way leave becomes a positive thing to do. A lot of people fall into the trap of taking things away from the dog to show who's boss etc, but this causes dogs a great deal of anxiety as they think their stuff is going to be removed and causes lots of possession issues.

Why was the trainer talking about dominance? that theory is long been disregarded.

I think you are passing a lot of your anxieties over to the dog and possibly over training. The dog is not enjoying it and it is making it ANXIOUS not dominant.

Try and relax a little, invest in a house lead and enjoy your dog x

Whoknowswhocares Wed 19-Jun-13 19:03:34

So what do you do at night time exactly? If my pup wakes at that sort of time, I take her out for a quick wee if I think she needs it (based on how long since last one) Keeping very quiet, no play, limited eye contact etc then put her back in her crate.
Ok she will whine. She may bark. Howl even........
Ignore. Ignore. Ignore
I've found she gets bored and eventually falls back to sleep. The first few times it will probably take a while, cos he's trained you nicely to come when called so far wink but stick with it and you should see results. Do not go back while he is making a fuss, even if you have to wait outside the room for a few seconds of quiet between blasts! He needs to associate you coming with him being quiet, not noisy

mrsjay Wed 19-Jun-13 19:24:53

They sell great little "house" leads, that are very lightweight shortish leads that you just leave on the dog, that way you can gently tug them off the sofa with the "off" command.

yes we had 1 of those for jay dog well it was his free dogs trust one but it is lightweight and was really handy in the first few weeks days that he was a handful we still use it if he is getting a bit hyper and not listening

lainiekazan Thu 20-Jun-13 07:02:41

We are not taking things off him - he bites and obviously it hurts and difficult to do swaps in this instance. Swaps works fine if he has, as yesterday, a roll of bubble wrap. He surrendered that (almost) straightaway. But he jumped up and had his teeth in ds's arm and we really don't know what to do about that. Ds wasn't interacting at the time; he just jumped at him. He was biting a lot yesterday. Giving treats does get him off, but isn't that not teaching him that biting is unacceptable - it's just distracting him so he instantly starts off again.

Aetae Thu 20-Jun-13 07:19:43

What kind of biting? There is puppy play biting (mouthing), and there is genuine biting. The first is natural learning, the second is more of a problem.

The former you can deal with using whatever 'that's incorrect' noise you're teaching whenever teeth touch skin (we use "ow", said very clearly and crisply) and then a timeout for a few minutes - just ignore him totally with your back to him or in extreme cases of naughtiness actually remove him from the group - not in crate which you shouldn't use for punishment, but in a boring room with nothing chewable, like a loo.

The latter is more of a problem. You definitely shouldn't treat- aggressive biting is not a "leave it" situation. An adult dog dealing with a puppy doing this would show anger (growl) not fear - that's what I would do (not aggressive yelling, but more the tone of voice when you're show a toddler they've totally overstepped the line - it's not aggressive, it's controlled and very serious). It's not punishment as such, it's clear boundary setting. And again I would remove him from the group. Dogs are pack animals, they will try to avoid being ostracised.

idirdog Thu 20-Jun-13 08:05:43

Lainiekazan can you contact an APDT member. You do need educating on current training methods and everything will begin to fall into place.

No you are not rewarding for biting if your give a treat to get the dog to give your something.

However it does sound from your threads that you need to work on basic behaviour. EG I would be working on clam sits before I took the item then the dog could not be jumping up and down and biting as you swapped things it is holding.

There is a lot of foundation work that can be done that does not seem like training but will make official training easier.

The first thing to do is teach the dog how to take treats as mentioned in my previous post

He the next thing is to work on a reinforcement zone eg when the dog is near you reward, then the dog works out that pleasurable things happen around you, this means recall is easier and removing items from the dog is easier. (But work hard to make sure he does not get the items in the first place is much better)

Re biting, all interaction stops, no shouting, no yelling, nothing just walk away. Nothing happens at all when he is biting. If everyone is consistent he will get this in a few days.

Get a clicker and just say his name and then click and treat when he looks at you - do this several times a day and your dog will not be staring out of the window at training!

Get a tuugy toy and teach him how to give up toys, play tuggy then release the dog and the game ends, ask him to give hold smelly yummy treat on the end of his nose, give him this when he drops the tuggy immediately run away and let him chase you for the tuggy. This is teaching recall and give in a fun way. Your dog will luuuuurve you for it!

lainiekazan Thu 20-Jun-13 08:26:06

I really am trying and doing the positive methods. Dog is no fool, and when practising "swaps", he quickly lies or puts a paw on his object in the hope that he can get the treat and not have to swap!

It is hard to get the dcs (and me as well!) to not react if he is jumping and biting. Boisterous playing is fine - he's a puppy. But the snarling and hanging on for dear life is painful and dd bursts into tears when he starts doing this.

mistlethrush Thu 20-Jun-13 08:38:53

But he doesn't know that play fighting with you (which it sounds as though he's doing) is not acceptable! If he was with other older dogs he would soon find out what was acceptable as if he went too far he would be told off. I know that puppy teeth hurt - I was frightened of the puppy we got when I was 5 because of her razor sharp teeth - but she learned not to bite. As for hanging off arms - well that's what they do - they grab something and pull - its just that he's grabbing something that he needs to learn he can't grab. But you need to teach him that - dogs don't learn not to bite by being allowed to continue doing it.

And if he's putting his paw on 'his' item and having a treat, you are not teaching him to swap at all. You are teaching him that he can have both things.

tabulahrasa Thu 20-Jun-13 08:54:45

How can he get both? The treat is only given when you've got his object.

Whoknowswhocares Thu 20-Jun-13 09:24:29

So if DS wasn't interacting and puppy tried to initiate a game by jumping up and biting, what happened next?
If it was a load of attention (even bad attention, telling pup off is still rewarding for him) then in his eyes, jumping and biting gets you what you want ie. human interaction
With our pup, the SECOND she did that the person she'd bitten would let out a high pitched yelp. That's dog language for 'that hurt, please stop' Everyone would then turn their backs on her and totally ignore her. Leave the room and shut the door. Letting her realise that the cause of the removal of her favourite things (you!) is the biting
It doesn't stop overnight, but it quickly lessens. Very shortly they realise it gets them the opposite of what they wanted and give it up.

idirdog Thu 20-Jun-13 09:35:31

If he is putting his paw on the item just move the treat for the dog to follow so he leaves the item behind and cannot put his paw on it.

This is a puppy you have to be brighter than he

If your dog is constantly jumping up at your son then have dog on a long line, the minute he jumps up you take the line and remove dog...happy son and dog will learn very quickly

Boisterous playing is fine - he's a puppy it is absolutely not fine he needs to learn to play gently do not let any boisterous play happen as it is this that will escalate into the biting etc. You need to give clear messages to your puppy, you play with all 4 feet on the ground and mouth closed or else the interaction stops.

We offered another toy when our puppy started the biting thing, when he nipped either our clothes or us, we gave him something it 'was' acceptable to bite. I think the biting is him playing, it's how they play as littermates, it teaches them bite inhibition, as, when they bite too hard, their sibling squeals and withdraws, a bit like us shouting 'ow' and stopping interaction.

Clicker training is great and easy, buy a few clickers (I lose mine, they are a couple of quid max), initially click and treat just for looking at you when saying his name. Kikopup on Youtube is worth a look, her videos are fab (my only caveat is that her dogs 'get' everything very quickly, I find it takes some more patience, maybe our dog is thick!).

I also treat behaviour that is good even if you are not specifically training, ie sitting quietly on his bed etc, being calm. Dogs seem to generally do what gets them love or food I have found!

Maybe limit the training your kids do too initially? If you feel unsure about it anyway.

mrsjay Thu 20-Jun-13 10:34:53

we were told to walk into the dogs space if he gets in yours they do have an instinct to back off so when he goes for you walk into his space and say off as dogs do understand personal space but he is a puppy and still learning the boundries , we used to have jay dog snarling and hanging off us but a few days of off and stepping in and then have a toy distraction really helped us and him, I also started saying no teeth when he did it and sometimes if he gets a bit nippy I will say it and he does stop , god puppies are l exhausting eh

mrsjay Thu 20-Jun-13 10:36:29

because we got out dog at 7/8 months he came with the biting thing previous owners had been hitting him with newspapers sad to get him to stop that just winds them up even more

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