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Arguing with DH over puppy training (long)

(8 Posts)
PuppyProblems Thu 21-Aug-14 10:28:56

My husband and I are butting heads over how to train our four month mini schnauzer in certain areas.

We both attended six reward based puppy training classes, but i don't think my husband agrees with all the training methods - or at least doesn't remember to follow them, and if i try and tell him what to do i get called a nag and he gets cross with me.

The main trouble areas that we both agree on is barking, pulling on the lead in order to meet people (and get under their feet!) and jumping up at the sofa when we are on it. I also think the puppy biting is an issue but my husband insists it's just teething (although it happens outside of play too).

For example, today we walked pup to the local shop and my husband had control of the lead. Pup gets very excited when first leaving the house and yet my husband decided to start on the collar rather than the harness (which we were told to use for when he's likely to pull and we don't have time to do lead training), obviously this resulted in a battle of wills between pup and husband and as such, pup walked quite a bit whilst pulling on his collar rather than my husband stopping and getting him back into position with food at his side as soon as he pulled like we were shown in training.

Then to stop pup from pulling to get to people's feet he attempted a mixture of methods - stamping his feet loudly, shouting 'no', yanking him back, poking him on the hind with his foot and finally a smack when pup tried to play with a ladies flip flops that we were approaching from behind. This is when i got upset and couldn't just watch anymore and took the lead off him. We had only been out ten minutes.

My method has been to scatter feed for any potential triggers, but if i don't get there in time and he starts barking i either just ignore him and pass a stationary trigger, or for a moving trigger i stop still and wait for the barking to stop before continuing the walk. For pulling to get to feet i say 'off' (which is a command he has learnt with food) and praise him for doing so, although progress is slow. The problem is he wants to meet everyone and wasn't socialised with strangers that much as a puppy.

With regards to the biting, i say 'ah ah' stop stroking or playing as soon as he mouths me, if he continues i say 'no bite' and turn my body away from him, or leave the room and then return to the session or game after 20 seconds so we can finish on a positive note. My husband just thinks it's a phase that he will grow out of and although he will repeatedly say the 'ah, ah' , more often than not he will not follow through with a 'no bite' and ignoring or stopping play. If pup really does annoy him he will shout at him and then just stop playing altogether (i.e. doesn't return to the game to continue the training)

With regards to the jumping up, I like to tell puppy 'down' and then give him time to process this and mostly he will sit on the floor after 10 seconds and i praise and treat him. My husband's method is to push pup away with his arm or hand, often causing him to stumble or roll over, and because they roughhouse play, i think pup just sees this as a game as he will usually jump straight back up again, which makes my husband really frustrated and the cycle of pushing down and shouting continues.

Inconsistent training is obviously not going to help our pup and I don't know how we should proceed. I want to follow the reward based training we were taught to the letter, and to do it with patience and calmness, but my husband thinks otherwise.

We are expecting a baby in the winter and I worry because i want these issues ironed out (the biting mostly), and i also worry about DH's apparent lack of any patience - a child is going to be much more trying than a puppy who really just wants to play and please us.

SpicyBear Thu 21-Aug-14 11:15:03

Have you tried to sit down and have a serious chat with him about this without the puppy present, so you are not arguing about methods in the heat of the moment whilst trying to deal with puppy behaviour?

Following your methods you have the makings of a fabulous dog. His behaviour is at a minimum undoing your good work and may also have very negative repercussions. It is not necessary to smack or shout at puppies and can cause behavioural problems as they grow up.

pigsDOfly Thu 21-Aug-14 11:53:18

Firstly I wouldn't have such a small puppy/dog on a collar and lead ever, he needs to be walked on a harness as pulling on his collar is likely to result in damage to his tracheae.

Secondly your DH banging his feet on the ground, shouting, jerking the dog by the neck and smacking it is not an acceptable form of 'training' and is pretty useless, frankly. It's also extremely cruel and will likely result in a fearful dog, certainly a dog that is frightened of your DH. and he's probably setting up behavioural problems for your dog in the future.

Your DH needs to listen to you because the methods of training you are using will, as SpicyBear says result in a well trained happy dog.

Lonecatwithkitten Thu 21-Aug-14 12:35:30

I think another thing to think hard about is if you can't agree on how to train the puppy are you going to be able to 'train' the child.
Working together now will mean that when you have toddler you are a cohesive team.

PuppyProblems Thu 21-Aug-14 12:54:53

I've tried talking to him. He knows how i feel about his methods. I think he feels he knows better, or maybe his temper / impatience means he just forgets the methods he should use in the heat of the moment.

If i try to input on his behaviour whilst he's interacting with pup he gets annoyed that I am 'supervising'.

I think we both want a different adult dog and that's where the problem lies. I want a calm, loving and obedient dog that responds to praise. Whereas, i feel DH wants an excitable character that amuses him when he wants it to and is 'seen but not heard' when he's fed up of it and is fearful of him in terms of discipline.

Also, there may be some contention from the fact that I am not currently working (high risk pregnancy following infertility and previous losses), and perhaps he feels that he shouldn't have to deal with the 'nitty gritty' of dog ownership. I'm not sure.

With regards to lead walking on a collar - we were taught at puppy school that this should only be done when you have to the time to stop as soon as the lead is no longer loose and tempt pup back to your side with a treat before taking a couple of steps and treating and repeat etc... We have the harness so if we want to walk somewhere or we know pup will pull, we can use it, but DH has stopped doing this it seems. I completely agree that we should be protecting pups neck. I might just fix his ID tag to the harness instead for now.

landrover Thu 21-Aug-14 15:18:35

Canny collar is the way to go, its fantastic, like a horses halter, doesn't hurt your dog whatsoever xxx I used it on my 12 stone newfoundland, not a pull in sight, amazing xx

landrover Thu 21-Aug-14 15:19:09

Canny collar on ebay x

PuppyProblems Thu 21-Aug-14 20:27:59

Thank you, Landrover.

He is learning on the loose lead walking front, and it's only an issue when he pulls to get to people usually. It's more the inconsistency in training that worries me.

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