Behaviour support please

(9 Posts)
PookieDo Tue 25-Jun-19 20:39:27

The dog is my dog being a nuisance! I’m feeling concious of it although no one has complained. I have taken in dog from a relative who found him too much so I am new at this and he has behavioural problems. He is clingy anxious insecure and not very well trained and is 5. Is an adult dog untrainable? Should I be realistic that I can only do so much because a lot of this is ingrained now?

I live in a quiet street and the dog sometimes barks (one loud bark) during the night at what I assume is his imaginary enemy of a car door slamming or at my cat. He is a v anxious dog and I will reassure him when he does this by putting my hand gently on him and say ‘no barking’ and he will usually stop and go back to sleep but he sometimes will not settle down all night and keep waking everyone up. If he’s left downstairs he will cry for hours. If he’s upstairs with you he will not cry but he will wander about if any slight noise disturbs him. I’ve tried playing brown noise it did nothing for him but gave me disturbed dreams! If it’s hot and I have the windows open I have no hope of getting much sleep because he is so noise reactive. Pheromone plug ins don’t do anything either. I really don’t want to piss my neighbours off and I want some sleep

I make him come in from the garden if he begins to bark at other dogs barking and sometimes he will stop or not do it if he sees me stand up. Sometimes he will sit when told but often not. He also won’t have his lead put on going for a walk and will run around crazily for absolutely ages dodging you trying to catch him. So I usually catch him first before he sees the lead

He ignores my cat all day but wants to chase her at night from 8pm onwards. She mostly avoids him but he is very territorial in the evenings only. I wonder if his eyesight isn’t great so I will ask the vet. The cat is more active at night so this could be why he’s more jumpy

On walks he has made no dog friends because he approaches them so ridiculously - straining at the lead, growling but wagging and sniffing just OTT excitement and other dogs do not like this usually owners will cross the road to avoid him so he never gets to sniff the dogs at all. I will stop and get him to look at me, use treats as a distraction etc but nothing much changes. He’s ok with dogs he does know and will play nicely but he is almost dog biting bait the way he carries on!

Ive just walked him this evening a new road he hasn’t been down for awhile and he was virtually diagonal to the pavement straining to walk along the kerb by the road. He has no road sense. I will not let him do this and have to keep stopping and telling him to walk on the side away from the road. 30 seconds later he’s dragged himself back to the kerb.

He is greedy and will do commands for treats but they don’t seem to be consistent and this does not solve my night time problem!

Does anyone have any helpful advice?

OP’s posts: |
missbattenburg Wed 26-Jun-19 12:57:07

What breed is he? I ask because answers may vary slightly depending on the breed. Or at least, an idea of how feadible/much effort it might take.

In short, though. All dogs are trainable. Yours may take longer because :
a) he has had plenty of practise at the 'wrong' thing
b) he may not have a history of learning and dogs that have had practice at formal learning/training find it easier to learn more and different things
c) some breeds and individuals are just quicker than others

missbattenburg Wed 26-Jun-19 12:57:58

Also, how long have you had him?

PookieDo Wed 26-Jun-19 13:14:56

A few months in my house and he’s a Yorkie x Maltese
I have known him his whole life though so we have a good bond and previously he was intrigued by the cat with sniffing her but never chased her or shown any aggression. She has always warning growled at him to back off and he would

This only started to be lunging aggression after he felt more ‘at home’ and settled in

Last night it got worse - he was brewing around the cat on the back door step but I was really strict on him and actually managed to command him to sit still for at least 5 minutes to let the cat pass by. (I feed the cat up high because he will eat all the food otherwise) and the cat wanted to come in from outside

30 mins later we went up to bed he saw his chance to go for it and went after the cat in a chase and he made physical contact. Paws I think not teeth trying to pin the cat down but the cat is quicker and same size so he can’t get him. It’s not playing but it’s also not lunging to kill the cat, it seems to be like scrapping with the dog trying to warn the cat off certain areas of the house

I did the whole reprimand/sit/stay very firmly after I caught him and he seemed actually contrite about getting a telling off then did settle all night when I removed the cat from my bedroom. I didn’t make a fuss of him I told him to lie down whenever he got up

My bedroom has become a territorial war ground
I am considering crate in my room
I cannot put him downstairs he would be unbearable but I block the stairs in the day to separate him and the cat, and I block the bottom of the stairs in the night so the cat can go down without being followed by dog

OP’s posts: |
PookieDo Wed 26-Jun-19 13:24:36

His training consisted of being confined when he behaved badly.
They had a big house granted so space wise he was not confined in a cruel sense but he was often alone and confused about what he had done wrong, then would go OTT when let out and repeat repeat. Nothing was consistent. He’s very attached to me and I think he trusts me he just is stuck in a cycle of no consistency and very erratic!

OP’s posts: |
PookieDo Wed 26-Jun-19 13:29:28

FYI i don’t have a crate and the only confinement I use is he can’t go upstairs during day and can’t go downstairs at night. Neither of which he cries about because he doesn’t care which floor he is on as long as he is with a human but if you go upstairs without him he will cry for you. If you go out, he doesn’t cry at all, he goes on his bed

Keeping him downstairs during the day works because he only tries to go upstairs to chase the cat and my bedroom isn’t ‘his’ and commandered by him. He has a bed of his own and he likes it during the day but wants mine at night

OP’s posts: |
missbattenburg Wed 26-Jun-19 13:33:52

Ah, I'm not totally following the setup in the house and hopefully someone with greater experience might come along but if he were mine I might try something like the following:

At times where a chase is likely (e.g. 8pm in the evenings) I would have the dog on a light, long lead in the house. To give me extra control. I would use it to keep the dog away from the cat while we practised nice, calm lie downs instead. This constant exposure and breaking the link between walks and leads might also help with the lead issue. I would only do this if I were sure the dog was not afraid of the lead.

At other times, I would be practising house recalls, sits and stays like crazy with lots of treats and then deploying them whenever it looked like there might be trouble with the cat. Baby gates can help keep everyone seeprated for a few weeks, months while they all settle in. The cat can get over them easily but the dog cannot. I would, personally, never scold for cat chasing because I think the risk is too great of him linking the cat to the scolding (rather than his behaviour) and trying even harder to keep the cat away next time. Instead, I'd want him to see the cat and think "ah good, if I go over to pookie and sit nicely I will get a treat". If the chasing is predatory then you may find the fun of the chase is always too big a temptation...

On treats and training generally, there is some good advice about only about how the freqency and ratio of treats can affect how quikly and reliably the dog performs a behaviour. Put very simply, when you are training something new (or new to you) treat often and lots. Everytime if possible. Once the dog is quikly and reliably perofrming for a treat, occasionally miss one until the dog is never sure if it is getting a treat or not. This random nature is, like gambling, what makes sitting when told almost addictive - if done right smile The dog never knows if the next sit will earn a treat so it's always worth giving it a go to find out and means treats will not be necessary every time for the rest of his life. Google intermittent reward schedules for more info.

Crating at night might be a nice idea. The cat is safe and the dog may well feel safer in a dark, comfy den with lots of coverings. If he is not used a rate take the time to introduce it slowly and properly.

On lead/by the road walking takes practice. Try it away from the road to start with (for safety) and only move to on road walking when he's better.

Re other dogs, keep away. Work to keep and gain his attention when the other dogs are so far away they don't matter. Once you feel like you have a nice, solid polite walking pattern set up then start to get a bit closer (likely to take several sessions). If he is more than slightly interested in the other dog, you are too close so back away again. Be prepared to spend your time turning around on a pin and walking back the way you came because you spotted a dog you cannot avoid. In the meantime, if you know any calm, patient and friendly dogs you can arrange play sessons with then do so. Only allow him to 'go free' where it is safe to do so and when he is calm. if this means staying at a distance, do so. if you don't know any suitable dogs, don't worry about this bit.

They would be the things I tried, anyway.

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missbattenburg Wed 26-Jun-19 13:35:46

he just is stuck in a cycle of no consistency and very erratic

It will take him time to learn that you ARE consistent so if he always does x then you always do y. Once he 'gets' that, he can start making decisions that change and control his environment which is when training really starts to kick in. Just make sure you are being consistent and this should come.

PookieDo Wed 26-Jun-19 14:01:12

Thanks yes basically it is a baby gate but he is allowed in the whole house, just not at the same time does this make sense? So he doesn’t have free reign all day and night

I have a long lead and I will use it. He isn’t afraid of the lead he doesn’t like a harness. And that is what he won’t have on. Any harness. this one is a padded soft nice little Puppia one but he doesn’t like the clips. due to his size lunging and pulling I am not going to put a collar on him, I don’t know if he would prefer a pull on harness?

I totally understand the cat chasing but it is all territorial IMO, he doesn’t seem to care about where the cat is until bedtime. We had an initial period where the cat under estimated the dog and would try to come on the bed too when I was asleep 🙈 so they were both vying for prime position

I am doing that with dogs on walks so feel confident to just keep doing it. He always seems to be a twat about it though! I really think he’s at risk of being bitten if I don’t really control him. I don’t trust him enough to let him off lead

He is great on ‘his’ walk but any diversion he doesn’t like at ALL

I will carry on with treats for sure, I just still feel it’s so hit and miss I can’t seem to gain control of this side of it - I cannot get him to do hardly anything without him seeing the treat, even trying to turn it into a silly run away game because he wants me to throw the treat for him not take it out of my hand

OP’s posts: |

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