Reesie is growling again...

28 replies [Last post]
blue4's picture
Offline
Joined: 2011-02-28

Pet Profiles

Folks, I don't know what is going on. We implemented a lot of training into our lives for our dog. I have stuck with it, even built upon it. Spending 45 minutes to an hour every morning, I train Reesie in basic obedience and some agility stuff for fun (no jumping, don't worry). He's never allowed on furniture. He's not allowed on our bed. He doesn't sleep in our bedroom.
I've been thinking he's the perfect dog - perhaps even thinking I've had a part in raising the perfect dog (this was probably my mistake...we all know that pride comes before destruction, right??). Sigh.

Some of you may remember what a terrible time I had with Reesie when we first got him. He's matured so much and become such a wonderful dog I thought it was all behind us. So here's what's happening. He's been jumping on the bed. We tell him no and get him down if he doesn't obey immediately. Now, he's sneaking into the kids' rooms and getting on the bed. When they try to get him off, he growls at them. Today he even "snapped" at my daughter.
I supervise the kids getting him off the bed and coach them on how to be confident and let him know they are in control. Before this week, a verbal command has done the trick. Today, we tried racing out of the room (thinking he would follow us - he's always ready to run). We tried a treat. I tried to be positive. She said "oh Mom, he's so cute, couldn't we leave him?" and when she leaned her hand in to pet his head that's when he did the pull back and snap thing. I say it in quotes, because I saw that it was not a forceful snap. It looked a lot like the snap he uses when he plays. So I thought, I would just grab him by the collar and pull him down while telling him down. I didn't go in quick and angry. But the minute my hand came near him, he did the snap thing at me.

Can you guys offer me any advice?? Is this the full fledged doberteens???? I am assuming someone will tell me this will pass....

Livelaughlove1's picture
Offline
Joined: 2009-01-16

Pet Profiles

O wow, I really wish I had some advice for you.  I have never had any issues with Bella or Mopar in this type of a situation but one of Bellas male siblings had a similar problem in his last home.  He got so bad that she gave up and I found him a home with a K9 officer in Florida.  He now is very respectful and has not had a single dominance issue since his departure. 

It sounds to me that he is testing his role in the house and you need to asssert your dominance as pack leader ASAP. Keep the kids doors shut and if he gets on your bed stand firm and make him get down.. Be sure he understands that you and your children are the boss. 

I iwsh I had better advice but I also know that someone else will chime in.

DJ's Dad's picture
Offline
Joined: 2010-10-04

Pet Profiles

Uh-oh.  Doberteens, maybe, but that's no excuse for him snapping at your kids or you, either.  You really need to let him KNOW that he is not getting away with acting like that.  I'm a 'positive rewards' kind of guy, but when my dog snaps or growls at me, it's time for something negative to happen.  If you think he's getting into the habit of doing that, leave a short piece of a leash attached to his collar all the time...something to grab a hold of without getting your hand right there in the 'danger zone' so to speak.  I'd grab hold of the leash and yank him off the bed and let him KNOW that he did something bad.  I dont believe in scolding and 'brow beating' a dog at all, but snapping and/or biting is something that you really need to get control of NOW. Immediately put him in a time out place---in a room by himself, in his crate, even outside if nothing else will work. 

I'm sure that there are other ways to approach this problem.  I hope someone else will give their opinion, also.

blue4's picture
Offline
Joined: 2011-02-28

Pet Profiles

Thanks LLL.  I just can't figure out where we went lax in the role thing.  We have been so careful to do all the things you're "supposed" to do (no scraps from the table and all the stuff I already mentioned).  I just wondered if he decided to try and assert himself again to see if anything changed. 

I did go ahead and grab his collar, Paul and yank him off the bed.  Gave him a very firm no and put him in his crate.  I've read some on here saying not to use the crate like that as a time out, but I did anyway.  I like the short leash idea.  Hadn't thought of that.  We do keep the kids rooms shut, but he can open the doors.  They have those handle type instead of round.  Appreciate your help.

I wonder...do you think he will keep trying this periodically or out grow it?? 

After launching him off the bed like he was connected to the working end of a trebuchet, take over EVERYTHING that he likes and needs. Anyway you can think of to DOMINATE him til he sees YOU are Big Dog. Figuratively speaking, tighten up the leash. Don't even allow him in the bedrooms, hell, down the hall anymore.

You need to get this under control now! But you already know that. Time for correction training.

Yes it is Doggyteenagehood. He's trying to work his way up the totem pole.

cisco9510's picture
Offline
Joined: 2010-11-10

Pet Profiles

Cisco does this to me and only me when he is not in the mood to listen. We have tried so many things... He will stop for a while and then boom it starts again!  Mr G is going to come over tomorrow night and see how we interact here and see if he does it. He probably wont lol... IF he does and I get some good insight I will let u know!

bbroyles's picture
Offline
Joined: 2010-09-09

Yes, I agree he is ready for the challenge, he's bringing it. You have to meet it with a more dominant attitude! Don't think about it, don't analyze! React. I would yank his butt down on the floor and stand above him. Make him stay under you for a few minutes. You loom large and strong and he's not going anywhere for a couple of minutes. you want to do this with firm resolve and determination. Do not be angry just matter of fact! Be over/above him.
You haven't done anything wrong. It's just time for the boy to challenge and time for you to set him straight!

Lady Kate's picture
Offline
Joined: 2009-10-28

Pet Profiles

Great advise everyone.. If all else fails, try scrunching up the nape of his neck and giving him a firm


"NO!"

Sofia has decided that she 'owns' the other side of the sofa.. (Mike's side..) as I'm curled up like a cocktail shrimp on the love seat, trying to watch television.. the two of them are squaring off sides..
This is getting amusing..

...Mike 2

...Diva 3..

Bets anyone???

My money's on the Diva .

caljur's picture
Offline
Joined: 2011-02-16

Pet Profiles

Sasha has recently begun the growling and trying to show all her teeth when I stop her from doing negative activities.  She also is not allowed on the bed nor on furniture.  She's been seriously testing my nerves in a number of ways lately.  I've had to show her repeatedly I'm the alpha dog around here and she needs to fall in line.  There are good days and bad days.  Unfortunately, this new Sasha (just turned 6 months old) is not the one I like.  Helping her find her inner good Sasha again.  Reminds me so much of raising kids at times.  

 

Sasha's Dad

bbroyles's picture
Offline
Joined: 2010-09-09

Amen! And one reminder might not be enough!

bbroyles's picture
Offline
Joined: 2010-09-09

Haha Katie! I know you're not getting off that couch now that you've dug in! Let 'em fight it out with the avaiable end!

blue4's picture
Offline
Joined: 2011-02-28

Pet Profiles

This is great advice.  It makes me more motivated to buckle down.  Spent 30 minutes this morning in our training session on playing and making him stop and wait for the release cue.  I took all the toys he really loves (thank you GunS.) and kept them and made him work to get to play with them. 

Yes, Caljur, it does remind me of raising kids.  You can never think training is done!!

Barb, I like that idea of being calm, but making myself "big".  Why do I ever think one reminder is enough??  I feel like I have a toddler again - "obey right away without delay..." mantra.

Katie, I'm just glad it's not you and Diva...and put my money on the Diva.  Sorry Mike, but guys have a soft spot for the ladies in their lives.

 

jeshykai's picture
Offline
Joined: 2010-09-02

Pet Profiles

I think you got some great suggestions here.  And please forgive me, but I honestly can't remember if Reesie is neutered yet?  It might be time to do that if not.  I know we've talked about that one before.

I force Steve to do a lot of things he doesn't like to do.  Always have and always will.  If he shows me at all he doesn't like something, he has to do it longer.  I think in a way it has helped me not have to handle "growling/snapping" and I'm a little old school in my response to that.  I am extremely negative when responding to any displays of aggression.  There is no room for tolerance, positive training, or avoidance in that case.  If he shows his teeth to your kids, you get in there, yank him off the bed, give him a nape shake and throw him on the ground and stand over him like Barb said.  Glare down at him and keep trying to get eye contact with him.  He will be SO SHOCKED you can probably see it on his face. 

If this is a new way he is trying to move up in the pack or trying to get negative attention I'd say the next time he pulls this he is crated and make sure all doors are closed.  We don't have this luxury anymore as Steve knows how to open all our doors (great way for Stella to run in and pee/poo where no one is watching).  I use baby gates in my house a lot too.  If I don't want Steve somewhere I use my body to push him backwards and out, make him lay down, and go back to what I'm doing.


I know I have had some people not like my more hands on approach with the dogs, for fear of themselves or others getting bit.  I wouldn't have your kids do this level of discipline with Reesie at all.  But on the other hand, you could empower them with a squirt bottle (it works wonders for aversion training with Steve).

It's just a backwards step, takes some reassessing and moving forward.  He is still on the right track towards being a wonderful dogs.  Some dogs just need more work, that's all. 

A couple more suggestions,

When your not formaly training:

When he's laying on the floor napping, take his spot, sit in it and make him move. Don't say anything, just move in and sit for a few minutes. Never give him food without him doing SOMETHING for it, "sit-stay" "lay down" something. Heck roll over and skip rope, anything.

I constantly use NILIF (Nothing In Life Is Free) with all (now 3) dogs. Even Jax. He must sit and stay before I put his fool bowl down and I feed all 3 within 2 feet of each other. No Bowl Grazing, that will get you a (in our house, Platz-blipe [down stay]) and get to watch the others eat.

Oooo, I get the stink eye with that! LOL

bbroyles's picture
Offline
Joined: 2010-09-09

Jess, I'm glad you mentioned not to have kids do the "put him down" method. I meant to add, but forgot. Kids aren't sure of themselves. Dogs would sense that. You wont be either, the first time you try this technique, but youll be able to fake it! Kids don't think ahead to possible outcomes or snap decision change of plans in mid air! Also, I'd tell your kids, specifically, they are Not too! One of mine would never have tried this as a youngster. But my son, well, he was born thinking he could and should attempt anything that entered his mind!

blue4's picture
Offline
Joined: 2011-02-28

Pet Profiles

Thanks so much!  I was thinking my daughter would be able to just reach in and get his collar and gently tug and he would move.  Didn't realize it was going to get bigger than that.  Learned my lesson.  I just wanted them to feel confident giving commands and having him obey.  He's done a really good job of that - most of the time. I won't have them do that again.  I think the hands on is needed here.  No teeth yet.  But I wouldn't want it to go that far.  I am a bit of a push over and this is good for me to remember I can't be or he really will take advantage of me and right down the line.

He is neutered.  I think it's been close to two months.

I like to use NILIF.  Do it for most things - not as good at doing it for toys or when we're all sitting around and he wants attention.  I should get more in that mode.  He always has to do a sit/stay to get his food.  I like your idea about getting his spot.  Hadn't thought of that either.  But that would be a great idea to remind him that I am in control.

This is great stuff guys.  Really helpful.

KevinK's picture
Offline
Joined: 2010-07-15

Pet Profiles

I agree with the "expecting something to happen in order to get a reward" and I use that all the time.  You want me to throw your ball?  Better be sitting nicely.  Pat on the head?  Sit.  Treat?  Sit.  Having a dog work for what it wants is a great way to show you're in control.  How does a dog know you're in control?  Simple.  You control the resources.  That's it.  And you do.  You have control over every single thing your dog could ever want, it's up to you to realize and udnerstand that.

Personally, I think displays of dominance towards a dog are not only very dated, but they go about things in a negative way as well.  They instill fear in your dog, and if your dog is responding out of fear, is it really obedient?  If you thought I was going to beat you up, you'd probably do what I told you to...  But isn't it better for all if you WANT to do what I'm telling you?

Look back to marker training...  If a dog growls at you, you can pin him down, you can drag him off the bed, you can put him in a down/stay, you can do whatever you want.  If you're not marking the behavior, you're not effectively teaching your dog what he's being punished for, which makes it pretty worthless.  You can be as "dominating" or intimidating to a dog as you want, but are you marking the exact instance of what was wrong?  Or what was right?  If you don't mark that exact behavior, any punishment is a waste of time, as it accomplishes nothing.  So, remember to mark the behavior, THEN punish.

Many times I have a leash handy.  Dog doesn't listen, goes on leash for a few.

jeshykai's picture
Offline
Joined: 2010-09-02

Pet Profiles

Good point on the marking behavior, Kevin.  Just because you punish, doesn't mean anytime is appropriate. 

Also blue, make sure Reesie doesn't make a game out of this.  Eli has created a game with Steve where Steve runs out in the yard and barks his head off for no reason other than it gets him attention.  Eli doesn't see that, he sees Steve barking and annoying his neighbors, so he tries to go and bring him in.  It results in a game of chase and tackle.

I wish training the significant others was as easy as training the dog can be.

You'll figure out how to communicate what you want and how you want it done with your dog.  Not one method works for all dogs (in my opinion).  For example, the squirt bottle works wonders to immediately tell a dog "no!" in my household when doing a behavior I want to discourage.. with the new puppy.. she's like OH COOL WATER!!!! and amps up even more.

bbroyles's picture
Offline
Joined: 2010-09-09

 @ Jess  "You'll figure out how to communicate what you want and how you want it done with your dog."

Jess, I have similar observations with some things my son teaches Leo. He'll teach a command, but not the end of command... example Play... But no signal or command for Enough Play.. Sure that this happens in all households and that is an important consideration when we begin training with other family members. IF Everyone is on the same page, results are faster and more ingrained into training, stronger... Age of other trainers, experience, maturity... they all play a role in the outcome. It's not realistic to think everyone on the team will be on the same page, (adult or kid) but really helpful to dogs and people alike when we are in unity. I suppose like many of life experiences, one has to have the negative experience to readjust and reevaluate their methods. Otherwise, we'd all have listened to our Mothers! And would never have caused ourselves so much wasted time/money,emotions, etc! Ha ha! I'm the best at rebellion, ask mom!

The maturity in training comes from many mistakes in training!

We learn and become experts and get another puppy!  

Ouch, was that a shark on my foot?

blue4's picture
Offline
Joined: 2011-02-28

Pet Profiles

Ok, so marking behaviors.  I understand marking positive behaviors...I do that frequently with a clicker when we work in the yard.  I haven't done it for things in the house.  How do you "mark" a negative behavior without being negative??  I don't mean to sound so simplistic, but I really am off the radar on this one.  If I am marking positive behavior -you sat nicely while I chopped the sweet potato, so I gave you a piece, then what is the counter part for marking what I don't want?  I can mark positives all day long.  But he still finds things to do that I don't want.  Clearly a firm no did not get him off the bed.  "Get down" did not get him off the bed (Please Note::  we have worked on this when he jumps up on the bed.  We did the get down command and gave a treat.  This was done everytime he got on the bed.  Does it keep him from getting on the bed??  NO.  But at least he got off the bed when we said so.)  Am I to say no as he is getting on the bed (if I can ever catch him) so that he knows that is not something he should do?  Oh, doberfriends, I've got to figure this out!  Thank you for your help.   

We are potentially moving and this is exciting for me b/c it would mean on opportunity to get with a trainer.  I'll keep you posted on that at a later date.

LOL Barb,

Around here it very well  could be !

jeshykai's picture
Offline
Joined: 2010-09-02

Pet Profiles

Marking for a negative response needs to happen right after they do the behavior.  Think of finding a poop or a pee in the house.  If you didn't see the dog do it, grabbing by the collar and dragging them over to "rub their nose in it" won't register with them.  All they will think is, "my owner is pyschotic!" but if you witness the dog peeing on your couch, you can rush over and say a loud "NO!" and spank them or whatever you want to do as a discipline.

Does that make sense?  You can't do an after the fact punishment.  But in the moment, when they are acting out (like Reesie was) you sure can if you need to.

blue4's picture
Offline
Joined: 2011-02-28

Pet Profiles

That makes sense.  I do that.  I've got a water bottle we can use.  And this may not be the best solution, but I've blocked off the hallway.  He has no access to our bedrooms.  I figured this may help him understand his place in the pack is not even high enough to sleep where we sleep -anytime (he'll sneak in there for a nap). Maybe I'll unblock it in a couple of weeks.  Maybe not.  I've been taking away toys with the drop it command while he's playing and making him wait for it.  Just generally trying, as you said, to get everyone on the same page again and working hard to train.  Thanks so much for your advice and for coming back to check on us!

DJ's Dad's picture
Offline
Joined: 2010-10-04

Pet Profiles

Blue, Reesie is going thru a phase right now. Most ALL of them hit that age sooner or later, and it's tough  to feel like you're being "hard on them", but it's not being hard on them nearly as much as it's just setting boundaries for his adult doberhood.  If you get him back on track now before he convinces himself that he is the boss of you, you're gonna end up with an even more beautiful relationship with your dobie in the long run. 

Good job!

blue4's picture
Offline
Joined: 2011-02-28

Pet Profiles

Thanks Paul!  I appreciate it.  All the work will be worth it...just like the $20 bill!!!

KevinK's picture
Offline
Joined: 2010-07-15

Pet Profiles

Blue, to answer your question about marking negative behaviors.  It's something we probably all do, without even realizing it.  Here is an example in a video I took a few weeks back.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mTXtm5u9Ep4

 

At the end, you can see she goes into one of my flower beds.  I tell her "Eh eh" (same as no) and then give a new command, "Back in the yard", and when she gets back in the yard, I mark it.

So, let's think about that, using the yard as an example.  This goes back to it being easier to tell a dog what we DO want vs. what we DON'T want.  In my yard, there's really only 1 area where I WANT Dakota to go...  the grassy areas of the yard.  There's probably 200 places I DON'T want her to go...  Multiple flower beds, apple trees, raspberry bushes, sticker bushes, in the hedges, etc.  So instead of teaching all the bad places, it's so much easier to teach the good places.  With consistent repitition, Dakota now understands that if I say "Back in the yard" she crossed some type of line, and goes back the way she came.  I marked it as soon as she went in the bed, and marked it again as soon as she went back in the yard.

If you think about this example, it's simply re-direction.  No different than if a dog is chewing on your couch, you say no, give him a toy, and praise for chewing the toy.  The "No" marks the negative behavior, you replace with something acceptable, and praise for doing the acceptable behavior.  If you tell a dog no, you should always give a new command, because "no" is pretty vague.  There's too many things you don't want a dog to do.  This is why re-directing to something good is such a powerful tool.  It's also the reason why it's best to catch the behavior as soon as possible.  If Dakota was in that flower bed for 5 minutes, even if she's still there, what is she really getting corrected for?  Was it  for sniffing the mulch, did she step on a flower, did she look at a bumble bee, it gets too confusing. Marking both positive and negative behaviors works best if you catch is either right before, or immediately during the behavior.  If she WAS in there for 5 minutes while I was doiing yardwork, I would have simply called her over, and not told her no, and back in the yard.  too late.

If you redirect a pup that's chewing your couch, you're not really teaching the pup to not chew the couch... What you're doing is teaching the pup if he wants to chew, a chew toy is an appropriate item to chew.  Again, same as above... In the simplest terms, there's really only 1 thing in your house you WANT your dog to chew...  and that's a toy.  EVERYTHING else is off limits..  But, realistically, you can't walk around teaching not to chew every single other item besides a toy, that would be ridiculous and impossible.  That's why as soon as we see a dog chewing out couch, we say "No" and then replace the couch with an acceptable toy.

Now, if a dog has been chewing your couch for a minute, and you correct, what is he getting corrected for?  Is he allowed to chew the couch, but not certain parts?  Is he allowed to chew, but not rip a hole?  Is he allowed to rip a hole, but not pull out stuffing?  Is he allowed to pull out the stuffing, but not eat it?  This is why during training I always stress that people keep a constant eye, and if they can't, put the pup in a safe place.  The absolute most effective time to correct a dog in this situation is either right before, or the first second those teeth hit the couch.  Any other time is not going to be too effective, because it's too confusing.  If you catch something late, or after the fact, you have to just suck it up, and give yourself a reminder to watch a little more closely.

So, the simplified version, give your "No", "eh", or whatever you use when your dog does something you don't want... Immediately give a new command that your dog understands, then praise or at least mark the behavior that you WANT.

jeshykai's picture
Offline
Joined: 2010-09-02

Pet Profiles

Much better, detailed, great example Kevin.

blue4's picture
Offline
Joined: 2011-02-28

Pet Profiles

Thank you Kevin.  I know that took some time to compose.  I see what you mean.  There were a lot of good examples there.  Blocking off the hallway has done kept Reesie from the unacceptable areas - even though there are some acceptable areas back there.  We don't let him typically roam the house, but sometimes I get sidetracked.  As my dd pointed out, Reesie doesn't get the stuffed animals (which are very much like his stuffed toys) and we don't have to worry about taking them away.  Thanks everyone for checking in and helping us to remember we aren't the only ones.  And thank you for the great advice.