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Q Tip's picture
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Joined: 2009-03-22

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Hi guys.
I think my ten month old male has just entered a sticky patch with some dominance issues.
Q has been walking to heel off leash for the last 5/6 months without a hitch. For the last 3 walks that we have had he has refused to come when called. Preferring instead to circle and bark at me not letting me touch him. Ive ignored this behavior and  have carried on walking, changing direction when he galloped off in front so that he would have to turn back and follow me. Only after a good 15 minutes of this could i get him to finally sit so that i could get the leash back onto him.  :(
This evening he refused to sit for his dinner... he has been sitting for his meals ever since I've had him. I put his food bowl back up on the counter and tried again an hour later until he did sit for me.  I'm a bit perplexed to be honest as to what has got into him. :( Exercise wise...he gets a good five miles a day and we go to obedience classes most weeks.
Is there anything I am doing wrong?  I always make sure I leave and enter the house first. I'm wondering if I should just keep him on the leash from tomorrow but then he wont be able to run off any of that energy.
I was hoping to wait a year before neutering him but I'm not sure that the neutering would make a difference.?
I feel a bit sad at the moment because of this, as the last six months with him have been wonderful. All ideas gratefully received.I just want to do the right thing and nip this in the bud :)

.

rgreen4's picture
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Joined: 2008-10-26

What you have on your hands is a rebellious teenager. You are doing everything right. He is growing up and wants to assert himself. You are handling the situation correctly in not playing his game. This is the stage where owners lose control, the dog won't come so you chase them. Then the dog wins as you are playing his game by his rules.

By turning and walking back, you are telling him that you control the schedule. By refusing to feed him until he does what he is supposed to do is reinforcing the fact that you are the Alpha. Yes you are correct in that it is a sticky patch. But, like all phases, it will pass. Be persistent and when it passes, you will have your delightful Q back again.

Remember, this is the stage where his wild cousins are kicked out on their own, no longer having the protection of mama. While they usually stay in the pack they have to assert themselves to find their place in the packs pecking order.

This is the shouldering issue you posted about previously. You noted correctly he would only do it to the younger, larger dogs, those whom represented to him a competitor, not a challenger per se, but more of a rival. The older dogs are settled in their position, the smaller dogs are not worthy, but those his age and size are rivals.

You are the Alpha and he wants to test his bounds. I have observed the exact same routine among boys in Scouts. When they come in at 11, they are for the most part compliant to the rules and directions, although they may challenge with a "Why?". Later in their mid teens, when they are on the cusp of manhood, they again hang around the leaders and to any particular answer will again ask "Why?", but this time it not the whiny challenge, but the serious question. They want to know the process by which you made the decision. If the leader is strong enough in his knowledge and experience not to fall into the trap of "Because, I told you so", but willing to sit down with them and explain the reasoning, a bond of friendship is formed and the youth will see the Leader as a mentor, not a tyrant.

You are about to lose your puppy but in his place you should find a delightful companion adult Dobe. I have noted in the females a similar challenging of the Alpha, but not to the same extent as in the males.

Q Tip's picture
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Joined: 2009-03-22

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:) Thank you so much for all that good info. I read it this morning before we set out for our walk and felt much more positive about everything. I bet you were a great scout leader :)
I also remembered something that Cesar Milan wrote about dogs living in 'the now' and don't really ponder on what they did yesterday so it would have been silly of me to go out for our walk in a 'grump'
Today we went to a different beach...change of environment was good and Q wore his backpack starting of with 1lb weights in each pannier. As we walked I added stones...zipping and unzipping the pack which Q tolerated well. Maybe it gave him the idea that he had a job to do?. Anyway he was much more better behaved and was still able to run after his ball for a good hour...the last half an hour he just trotted beside me. Just one misdemeanor >:( he chased a horse, for which i profusely apologised to the rider and put him back on the leash. That could have been very dangerous. Teenagers dont seem to have any fear.
I weighed the panniers when i got home and was surprised that the weight had jumped to 6lb with all the extra stones. I hope this wasn't too much for him. He is fast asleep now on the deck despite all the building work going on next door.

taken just now. This backpack was a much cheaper one than the one that I wanted but I wanted to see how Q went with it first.

rgreen4's picture
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Joined: 2008-10-26

Good photo, and a very good looking Q. He is showing the maturity in his deep chest and muscular shoulders. I have the beginning of a rebellion by a teenager as well, Princess is beginning to get the idea that she only needs to do what she wants, not what I want. I just walk around a corner and she comes looking for me. Destroys her whole position. The other night she refused to come and go into her crate. I took a lease, made a loop through the handle and let her to the crate. Now, when she refuses, I just pick up the leash and she goes right in.

I just had to take a break from typing this, I had a red dobe head come around the screen looking for a petting. She decided that my time is better spent giving her love than typing. Have to agree. When she went back to bugging Red, I finished up.

Q Tip's picture
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Joined: 2009-03-22

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:) Thank you as always for your comments, gosh yes Q's chest is no longer used as a pillow as its too hard :) The boy has been good today too :)
Princess sounds a darling... :) and there's nothing better than seeing their tails wag ten to the dozen after a big hug :)

Q Tip's picture
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:)One last question on dominence before this thread goes to the back of eyond.
Neutered or not Q is always going to want to be a dominent dog as that is the nature of his breed? So its me that needs to 'up the anty?

rgreen4's picture
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Joined: 2008-10-26

No, I think it more of a male thing. Teenage boys, dogs etc. are always trying one another. My younger male Schnauzer is always pushing the older one, snarling and jumping on his dad. Once that is over, the two are fine in the back yard together and in fact travel to the vet in the same crate when I take them for boarding. To date, no blood has been spilled.  :o

Once Q and the other dog have encountered each other enough to settle the "who's boss" question, they should get along just fine. You are correct that neutering has no effect on it.

flgirl's picture
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Joined: 2009-12-29

Q and Major could be twins ~ ears and all.  I need to figure out hoe to post a photo.