Insubordination in the Ranks

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blue4's picture
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Joined: 2011-02-28

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Well doberfriends, Reesie is at it again.  Maybe this is "doberteen"?  Doesn't seem old enough for that.  Here's the situation I'm asking for advice with.  You may recall in "attack of the growling puppy" thread that Reesie was growling at my son.  We have worked on so many things since then.  He has made extreme improvements and so have we.  So, I guess he's just testing us, but here's the problem.  He's been getting "bites" in on my son.  I say bites because it's playful, as with a littermate, just little snaps as he jumps and plays around.  They were gentle at first.  We worked hard to stop it.  But my son has never gotten on board with it.  He's 7 and feels intimidated by the rough play.  He wants desperately to play with Reesie, but Reesie is just so rough.  The last two days, Reesie almost brought blood and left a bruise with one.  The trouble is, I'm never "right" there.  Always across the yard or in the kitchen while they're in the living room.  I know some of you will say, "never leave them alone".  I don't intentionally, but life happens and I need to cook.  So, let's say we fix it so that he's in his crate if I'm not there.  How does that help my son to stand up for himself?  How can I help my son gain confidence in training and controlling him?  I kept thinking if I got Reesie to a certain point it would be easier for my son, and the kids have helped in training some.  But just over the last two weeks, Reesie is increasing in sneakiness to get a snip on.  We caught him last night as my son was on the couch.  Reesie gave a little bite to the sock.  My husband was on it immediately - gave the low firm NO, put him in his kennel.  When we let him out a few minutes later, he right back over to my son, LOOKED at my husband, then bite my son on the leg!  My husband repeated with two NO's, a no bite and then a crate time.  What do you guys think?  We've made so much progress.  I know this is just another thing we can cross - I just want my son to have the dog friend he's been dreaming of.  I keep encouraging him to stand up for himself, tell Reesie with firm No and put him in the crate.  But my son is very slow to do that.  He just stands there and sometimes cries.  It is really a trouble to me.  I want to empower him to know that he doesn't have to take that.  It almost feels like bullying!!!  But what first step can we take?  Them training with me and me making sure Reesie follows with them?  We do that some - Reesie is perfect when I'm close.  How do we get a carry over.  Gosh this is long.  So sorry.  Anyone who   cares enough to get to the end, thank you.  Bless you.  Any input appreciated!!

cisco9510's picture
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Joined: 2010-11-10

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My suggestion is classes and not just obedience classes- there are classes/trainers that deal w/ specific problems and make sure your son is there... It is probably just reesie trying to dominate a litter mate, if you will. Cisco does it w/ Ross My 12 yr old step son... It is easier for ross to take control because he is older- but he went to class with me and was part of his basic obedience and now his intermediate/behavioral training... Thats all I got! Hope it will help!

Mandy

blue4's picture
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Joined: 2011-02-28

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Thanks Mandy!  I know you've really done a lot with them, so I'm going to look around.  Nearest trainer is probably 2 hours away.  But it would be worth it if we could find a way to work this out.

jeshykai's picture
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Both the girls I nanny are young (10 and 6) but both have full control of Steve and always have.  When Steve is rowdy when they first come in, I assign the 10 year old to leash Steve up with his prong collar and hold him and correct him when he goes to bounce off the walls in pure joy that his friends are here.  At first because the 6 year old is his size, he was very interested in rough play with her (tackling her from behind, munching on her legs) but I nipped that by giving her sister (another child) control over him.

When we walk, 10 year old walks him.  I make her practice his sit, lay down, and stay.  It has given her such confidence to walk Steve around and it has shown the 6 year old that he isn't scary.  Once he's settled down with them, he can come off the leash, and if he winds up again he's back on.

I agree a trainer of course is ideal because they can help troubleshoot and give suggestions on things you may be missing (and so not sharing) but I think in this case you can start right away.  I know that the prong seems like a scary thing, but what it allows is someone who is lighter than the dog to control the dog.  You can show your son the proper use of the prong and never allow him alone with the use of it.  But I let the 10 year old play with Steve in the yard while I'm cooking or doing something else, always within ear shot and a quick visual check now and then.  I have a video of her and him working on his tricks in the yard.  It's amazing that this 83 pound, unneutered, moose will follow her with rapt attention.  I get funny looks on walks because I've got Harry (12 year old pom) and she's got the big boy.

PM if you want further suggestions on integrating Reesie with your son, I have worked very hard on getting all my dogs to respect the kids and vice versa because they don't come all the time.  Best of luck!  :)

bbroyles's picture
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Joined: 2010-09-09

Blue, it might help your son to have some practice without Reese around. It can be hard to gain confidence in real life, needing to react immediately, without being prepared. So try setting up different scenarios, and show your son ways to react. Then let him practice with an object that represents Reesie. A toy, a box ... Anything to react to. Maybe some play practice will help build his confidence.

jad
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Joined: 2011-03-29

Hi Blue4

 my grandchildren were 3 and 5 when i got Bella and they were great little pack leaders , get your little boy to join in with games with Reese hide and seek is great but you stay in control of the game , this will give your little boy more confidence with Reese , you can add a sit and snack when he finds your son but make sure your son gives the command for these actions.

Reese is treating him like a litter mate but you must catch it in the bud now as he is going to be very big and strong quick. 

Make your puppy think he is hurting any you each time he has a nip .
This method replicates the way dogs sort out this biting amongst themselves. When puppies are biting and nipping each other it only stops when one puppy lets out a yelp. We can use this natural way dogs learn by letting out an Ouch! or an Arrr! every time one of our puppy's bite. The trick is to startle your dog with your voice, and then pull away and stop playing with your puppy for a while. Your pup will soon learn that when he starts to bite, his playmate (you and your son) go away, don't take Reese away to his crate as he just does not understand time out and he will not learn a crucial part of growing up.

I hope this does not sound like a lecture, just trying to help , hope everthing works out Reese looks like a beautiful boy.

Dabbles's picture
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Joined: 2009-02-20

Good point about the yelping Jad!  Mother Nature's way really does work!

Also a good point about the "time out" - Dogs don't rationalize.  They don't think like humans.  As Cesar Milan once said, "a dog doesn't wake up & think - This nice lady feeds me my food & gives me a nice house to live in so I won't nip her son today!"  It just doesn't happen!  A crate should be a safe haven for a dog - not a punishment.

This is going to sound snarky - please take it the way I mean it & not negatively, it's just something to think about...  Your son is also getting attention when this happens and the whole scenario may be reinforcing his lack of confidence.  I'm not saying your son is provoking it nor am I saying that Reesie isn't doing wrong!  All I'm saying is that the combination of events needs to be looked at from "outside the box"...

(I also had to look at things "outside the box" with my daughter when Brinks was a puppy.  Bree is NOT an alpha, no matter what she might say or think!!  Not nice for a mom to say - or even think - but truth is better than a ruined daughter/son or ruined puppy!)

blue4's picture
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Joined: 2011-02-28

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Thanks everyone!  Lots of good stuff here.  I can see that I, being the controller that I am, am probably not letting the kids do enough of his training. 

I'm going to try the role playing thing today - and practice a yelp!!  Guess I hadn't thought about the time out thing.  I guess we were looking for a way to remove him from the situation and calm him down.  I thought maybe....oh never mind!!  Now that I think about dogs natural behavior, they wouldn't make someone be seperated from them, they'd just make the unacceptable behaviour known and then move on together.  Sometimes you can't see the forest for the trees...

And Dabbles, I didn't take anything in a bad way.  One thing I always love about this forum is that people will be honest with me.  And that's what I want.  An outside, honest opinion (advice, help, etc!!!) of our situation.  BTW, my son is NOT an alpha in any way.  I wish he would get a little alpha in him!  Just when you think you're getting a handle, you realize you still have a lot to learn!

I appreciate everyone helping me get refocused and motivated. 

Dabbles's picture
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Joined: 2009-02-20

Yeah...  About that controller thing!  I am very much a controller too.  I know how hard it is to let go  - it might not get done the way I want it!!  Still workin' on that one after all these years...

You have said you're pretty far away from a trainer.  How far is the nearest PetSmart?  I took Brinks to their puppy kindergarten.  I know they have starter classes for older pups where I went - at almost 7 months Reesie is a bit older for the baby one.  I went thru' the class with him & took Amy & Bree with me a few times.  After the class was over, the trainer worked with me on the price & Brinks & the girls took the class over again.  (Not for Brinks - he got it all the 1st time thru.)  I would leave the store & let the trainer work with them.  (I truly had to physically leave the building - I kept interfering from the sidelines & telling Bree to do it "this" way...) 

BTW - yes, Reesie is entering his "doberteens"...  Good luck

GingerGunlock's picture
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I definitely agree with what Jad said!  Any mouth contact at all, have your son YELP!  It may also help if your son is the one who says "NO."  So, play bite happens, your son goes YELP, your son says "NO" and then "Sit" or "Down", to drive the point home that the bite is not okay, and that Reesie could be doing something better with his time.  I also agree with above mentions that your son should be involved in the training in some way. He doesn't need to be "alpha", he just needs to show that he isn't a toy or a puppy and won't put up with that kind of stuff, and the structure of training would perhaps help Reesie get that.

glengate's picture
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Joined: 2009-07-22

I think you realize that you need to "train" your son as well as your dog, but every time you leave them alone and this happens, it reenforces bad behaviour.  I realize that life happens and you need to go to other rooms, etc but is there some reason why you can't keep a long line or leash on the puppy and take him with you?  If you have to tie him to a door knob or table leg, so be it.  You have got to be on this puppy every time he tries to nip your son, period.  You're just really going to have to make a bigger effort to oversee all of their interaction until this situation improves.   

blue4's picture
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I like the idea of the sit or down command after he tells him no...

Ah, us control freaks...but apparently not enough, in some ways!  I see your point Glengate.  I had not thought of a long leash.  Reesie tends to follow me where I go, but on occasion (usually when the above said problem happens) he'll go off with the kids.  I need to get my A game back on.  I guess I'm getting frustrated over something that is normal and I need to just work harder like we did the beginning.  On a positive note, Reesie is doing wonderful in other training aspects (finding hidden objects, heeling on walks, heeling offleash, coming when called, stays...I just felt I needed to say something positive b/c I get on here and complain about him sometimes!).  Thanks everybody for the input.

BTW, PetSmart is almost 2 hours.  In about 2 - 3 hours in any direction I could be somewhere with trainers or a PetSmart.  I like the idea of them doing classes.  I like the idea of trainers.  I just need to get linked up with something amid our busy schedule.