Gauge - class, life and antics

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bbroyles's picture
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Yep.

tans0077's picture
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But then, there's this.  Sweet face.  Quiet boy.  Dober love.  Momma's tired, but her heart is mush.

 

Happydance's picture
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I see that he's like Fancy and totally disapproves of where you place the pillows!  Just a suggestion, run off several of this picture and put them up all over the house.  It might feign off some of the thoughts that surely run through your head when he's acting up.

tans0077's picture
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Yeah, the first thing he does when he jumps up on the couch is moves most of the pillows to the floor. LOL 

He's gone to the boarding for the weekend.  It's quiet here in the house, as we're not leaving until the morning, but it's kind of a nice break.  Bad dobie mom, I know.  The kitties are happy as hell though, they've actually ventured past the door to upstairs. 

We're out for the weekend.  Please don't ask me about it on Monday as I'm probably not going to remember a lot of it.  We're headed north for the annual Firefighter's Memorial Fest.  It's ALWAYS a good time. :)

HarleyBear's picture
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Woohooo and have a good time!  Enjoy the break, everyone needs one once in awhile.  

Happydance's picture
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Have a great time!!! (Can we at least tease you a bit??)

cisco9510's picture
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Have a blast!!!!!

Lady Kate's picture
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Tonya Tonya TON-YA!!

You sweet adorable trusting mama..

Don't let the innocent face fool you..  he's only dreamin' and a schemin' of the next dastardly deed..

Patriot's picture
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Safe to say you've earned a break this weekend.Hope you have a great time.

tans0077's picture
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Oh, a blast was had.  We're home, one more pup-free evening and we'll pick the boy up around noon tomorrow since the vet/kennel is closed on Sunday. 

I had placed an order before we left for something our trainer recommended, and it arrived in this weekend's mail.  I'm not going to say what it is, but I'm anxious to try it out tomorrow when big G gets home. 

I promise to report back, but I want to see how it works on my own before getting outside opinions - valuable as they may be!  ;-)

Kate, I KNOW that visions of what to do next were dancing in his head -- no doubt!

Back with a report tomorrow.  :)

Happydance's picture
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So glad you hear you had a great time!  We'll be awaiting your new Gauge update.  Maybe he'll come back from the kennel with a new attitude.  Now you have me anxious to hear about your new idea with the training.

tans0077's picture
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Yeah, it's not going to work.  It wasn't anything to do so much with his training as his general anxiety, separation or otherwise.  We ordered him a thundershirt ( www.thundershirt.com ) but it lasted all of 5 minutes before he figured out a way to chew it off.  (bye bye another $40).

Training is not going well. Intermediate works outside and is supposed to build on getting the dogs to pay attention to you instead of everything else around him.  I am not going to even go into what a disaster it's turning out to be. The trainer is doing her best and giving us all sorts of help in and out of class (so much that I'm pretty sure she's going to start deleting my messages and putting me on her spam list). 

I'm going to take a little break from the updates for a while.  I'll still poke around and chime in if I can on something but I'm beyond frustrated right now and I can't stand to be the person who doesn't have anything good to share.  I love the pup but the feeling is clearly not mutual and AJ and I need to think of what the next steps are. 

So, I'm around but will probably observe for a bit.  Thanks as always for your support and help.  I knew there would be challenges, but I figured we'd have at least made a bit of headway over the past almost 3 months. 

DJ's Dad's picture
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I have read a lot about the Thundershirts, but never needed one for any of my dogs.  Too bad it didn't work.  :(   Ziva doesnt like clothes....she even chews her harness in two if I dont watch her carefully.

I know about those outside distractions stealing your dog's attention...when I took Ziva to basic agility class last year, it was held outside near a small airport, and every time a plane would fly overhead, she would stop whatever she was doing to watch it in the sky.  None of the other dogs even noticed it, but Ziva sure did.  She's very observant about everything, which has its good moments, but also makes her easy to distract.

Happydance's picture
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Tans, so sorry to hear.  The only thing I might suggest is to find a different trainer, someone who uses a different method.  Maybe find out the trainer in the area that trains the police dogs and their handlers in your community.  Maybe there is a doggy boot camp around like Cisco went to?  I am not in any way putting down your trainer, but it just sounds like it's not a good fit. I know 3 months must seem an eternity, especially with a big rambuncious boy like Gauge.  But, it took my little feral dog longer than that to even begin to trust us (me) and she's still got a long way to go.

I'm sad to hear that you won't be posting as much, but know that we're here!

KevinK's picture
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Ok, a few questions I have...  He seems to be boarded fairly regularly, how many times has he been boarded?  And how long have you had him now?

What is your daily interaction like, timewise?  How much time is spent 1 on 1, real interacting.  Whether it's play, training, etc.

Have you consulted a behaviorist for  1 on 1?

When he poops in the house, what exactly do you do?

When he doesn't listen to a command, what exactly do you do?

tans0077's picture
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Hi Kevin.

He normally would not be boarded, but he came to us at a time when we had all of these "oh, we don't have a dog so we don't need to worry about things like that" plans already scheduled. Trips were booked and bringing him was not an option.  He's done 2 overnights and 2 "trips" - 1 for 4 days and 1 for 5 days.  He came to live with us on June 18 and started to exhibit the behaviors before his first boarding overnight 10 days later. 

Daily interaction is actually quite great as far as amount of time.  My husband works a shift where he's only gone every 3rd day, so the only time G is in his crate for any period of time is when we're both at work.  Adam takes him out in the yard to play with him quite a bit when I'm working, or for a run.  When I get home, he and I will go outside and play or work on our training, and he's constantly with us.  I can't even go to the bathroom alone anymore.  So, he's interacted with for a good portion of the day. We're not sit around and watch tv people even when we're home, so he's up and with us inside and out, or exercising, playing, etc. 

I have consulted a behaviorist recommended by our trainer, as well as looked into 1 on 1 training.  There's no way I can put this gently, so I'll just say it.  I'm paying a nice sum for training.  The trainer, while available to me for questions and a sounding board, charges double for 1 on 1, and even higher for her to come to me.  The behaviorist would only be affordable if I picked up another job.  Firefighters and office drones aren't rolling in the green.  While we're willing to invest all the time in the world, investing a good portion of our take home pay is unfortunately not an option.  Their rates seem to be on par with others I've looked into for our area. 

When he poops in the house, he's reprimanded vocally.  If he's just run out of the room and we caught him, he's brought back and shown why he's being a bad dog, and he's put on his couch until we say he can get off.  Of course, he jumps off immediately so we put him back on  repeatedly until he's there for a few minutes solid. We don't talk to him during that time either, and he's not given any treats or allowed any toys during this time, or for a short time after.  When he does something we ask, we start to allow the toys and treats back into his space.  If we don't catch him and find it, he's shown it and is told "BAD DOG!" but it doesn't go into time out because in his mind it's done and over with, and for all he knows, some other dog did it. 

When he doesn't listen to a command, he's made to come back and do it until he does it correctly.  Perfect example is the stairs.  I half joke that he's just gearing to take me out because he'll run right past me up or down.  He'll be told to sit and stay.  I open the door and he'll wait until I'm about halfway before he comes barreling through.  I'll call him back and repeat until he's waited. Then he's praised.  Of course, this only works if we have all the time in the world.  Mornings, if he doesn't do it after 2 or 3 times and we have to go, he's in his crate without a cookie, which he knows he gets if he's a good boy.

His toys are not regulated unless he's in time out.  I don't believe in withholding something that makes him happy if he's being a good boy.  He's also high strung, so if he's chewing on his bone vs. my pillows, then we're good. 

KevinK's picture
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So sounds like timewise is good.  One thing about the poop...  You should never bring him back and yell at him, or punish, or anything.  I will bet a million dollars that he is afraid to poop in front of you, and that's why he won't go when he's outside.  In his mind, he's being punished for pooping, as opposed to being punished for pooping outside.  He will wait until he can't hold it anymore, and then he just goes wherever he is standing, preferably somewhere without you looking.  You say he looks upset, so he knows he's wrong...  I don't think that's the case.  I think he knows after he poops, you're going to yell at him.  That's why he's scared, and won't go outside with you anymore.  Makes perfect sense.  If you find a mess, it's too late to do anything, just clean it up and move on.  Never, ever punish him after the fact.

As far as the commands, they should never be repeated.  If he doesn't listen, there must be a real consequence.  If you have to, put him on a leash in the house, so you have more control.  You should never give a command that you can't or won't back up.  Even if you put him in bed without a cookie, it's teaching him that he doesn't have to listen if he doesn't want to, because after 2 or 3 times, he just has to go to bed.  (sounds like he was going to bed already anyways)  You put him on the couch, he jumps off... you put him on the couch, he jumps off.  Eventually he gets released to  do as he pleases.  But, you shouldn't allow him to leave the couch, if that's the punishment.  Again, use a leash if you have to.  But if he is allowed to jump off the couch, and you tell him to go on, he jumps off, you tell him to go on, he jumps off, he goes back on, he sits a minute and is released, he is not understanding.  He probably thinks that if he jumps off the couch enough, he will be released.

These are just a few examples of why consistency is key.  Your dog will never, ever behave if you are not more consistent, and keep a better eye on him.

tans0077's picture
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Ok. The pooping thing?  I am never going to be able to explain it in a way that makes it sound like he's freaked out to do it in front of us. Because I am willing to bet dollars to doughnuts that's not it.  How can I tell?  Because there are times if he can't get into the office that he'll come out and squat right in front of us.  There is no "oh no, I'm a bad boy I'm doing wrong."  He's flat out rebelling, most of the times looking square at us.  However, we can't yell at him when he's in the act because then he will be afraid to poop. In or out or wherever.  These times happen after he's been reprimanded for something else. 

I'm not saying you don't have a point, but I'm pretty much done trying to explain it.  No one is going to understand until they witness it.  Period.  I will try and refrain from complaining about it becauses apparently it's my fault, even when we give him every opportunity to go outside, on and off of his leash (he has a 30' lead in the yard which allows him to roam away from us). 

What I don't understand is this:

"As far as the commands, they should never be repeated."

and then:

"These are just a few examples of why consistency is key. Your dog will never, ever behave if you are not more consistent,"

How do you drive consistency if you can't repeat something? 

So, if I tell him to stay and he walks away, just let him go? How does that do anything but reinforce the fact that I'm only going to tell him once and he gets to do what he wants anyway?  As for "real consequence", what do you suggest?  Everyone talks about "stern tone" and the like, but he ignores tone.  You raise your voice, he thinks it's playtime.  You say something in an angry voice and he just looks at you and walks away. Go to get in front of him to get his attention and he goes down into the play stance and gets ready to pounce with a wagging tail and a happy "yes! playtime!" smile.  He's like an indigent child.  Oh, and not that we abuse animals, but if he gets a smack on the ass, then we're bad parents.  If I tie him down, he barks like a madman and makes me even more angry because he will not be quiet for 10 seconds.  So it's either repeat commands, he does what he wants or the neighbors start filing complaints because he's constantly barking and I dive further into the bottle of Excedrin. 

I am sorry that this sounds bitchy.  It was not my intention. Unfortunately you're the one talking at present so you're getting the refocus of my frustration.  I thank you and I understand you're trying to help.  As much as it may not seem so, I do appreciate it.  But telling me that I need to keep a better eye on him? Dude.  He is all I watch anymore.  I can't remember a night in the past 3 months that he's been here where I haven't done much except watch him, where I've paused the tv a million times or interrupted a conversation or tried to do chores or found that dinner was cold when I got back to it because of him, or interspersed my phone calls with "Gauge, no!" "Gauge, come back here" "Gauge get out of there."  I have become what annoys me about my friends with kids while we're on the phone trying to have a conversation.  I don't have kids. I have a DOG.  Who gets plenty of attention and has it pretty damn good for the way he's acting on a consistent basis. 

Please don't run away and not comment again, please feel free to post a rebuttal.  I'm willing to continue the conversation.  I like conversation.  I'm glad discussions can be had here.  I'm not a troll who is going to take my toys and go home because we disagree.  I'm also not going to back down if I disagree. 

Thanks Kevin (and all of you who are here for support).  Honestly. 

KevinK's picture
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Think what you want about the pooping.  It's doing much more harm than good, regardless of the reasons why he's doing it.  I'll leave that out, since you don't want to talk about it.

As far as the repeating commands, I'll touch on that.  You NEED to get the response every time you give a command.  That should be the only option. That's why I recommended having him on a leash.  Some dogs are stubborn, and don't want to listen.  If you repeat your commands, you're telling your dog one thing, and one thing only.  There is no reason for him to listen the first time.  You can be the best trainer in the world, if you're repeating your commands, you will never get the response you are looking for.  A big tip is to NEVER give a command that you can't or won't back up.

Let me put it a different way...  You tell him to do something, he doesn't listen.  You get angry, he can sense that.  He knows your weak.  Like it or not, it's true.  You're lacking confidence, and likely expecting him NOT to listen.  He knows this.  When you get upset, your body language changes, and dogs are very keen on this type of thing. He knows after a few attempts, you will give up, and he gets his way.  So, why SHOULD he listen?  He puts up a fuss, he gets his way.  This is a downward-rolling snowball that will only continue to get bigger and bigger as time goes on, and he realizes more and more that he has more control over his environment than you do.  It's really a quite simple fix... He does NOT control the environment.  In the simplest terms, he is helpless without you.  So start showing him that he does not make the rules.  Start showing him that when you are not happy, his world suffers.  He does not determine when he listens.  He does not dictate the mood of the house.  YOU do.  Make a set of rules, and stick with it, every single time.  Never repeat commands.  If he doesn't listen, there is consequences.  Commands can be re-inforced because he is on lead.  He breaks his stay stand on his lead so he can't move.  He starts barking, put on a muzzle.  He puts up a fuss, wait him out.  He sits calmly, and he gets the absolute biggest reward possible.  Use confident body posturing.  Don't just act confident, BE confident.  You control more about your dog than you are realizing right now.  You control the keys to everything that your dog wants and needs.  Not the other way around.  Start using this to your advantage.

Now, if you want to get into more nitty gritty stuff, give me some more info to work with.  This way I'm not giving generalized answers, and can give answers that fit your particular situation.

1) What training methods do you use, and what training methods are you familiar with?

2) How often do you train?

3) What, if any jobs do you give your dog to do on a regular basis?

4) Has he been trained, or have you thought about training for any sports or competition type stuff?  Even if you don't plan on competing?

5) What's his daily exercise like.

6) What motivates your dog most?

7) How would you rate your dogs drives?

8) How much daily interaction does he get, in terms of training, and having fun?  What do you do with him to release his energy?

blue4's picture
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Hi Tans!  Just wanted to say I liked the picture of G on the couch with all the cushions on the floor!  We can't even let Reesie on the couch.  He takes advantage of us if we do!! 

Hope you guys have some fun this weekend!

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Tans, I honestly feel so badly that you're having such a hard time getting through to Gauge.  Surely SOMETHING will break through his barrier and he will start to understand right from wrong soon.  Kevin does make a good point as far as telling him to do something and not giving him the opportunity to NOT do it.  If you tell him to sit for a time out, then be prepared to hold him by the collar or like Kevin suggested, step on his leash and hold him to that position until he calms down and knows that you are not toing to give in or give up.  He has a very strong will right now, and he's pushing your buttons, for sure.  It's a game to him.  If you can break through to him on even one of these rebellious antics he's showing you, then the next one should be a little easier to tackle.  Maybe you should just pick out ONE bad behavior and zero in on correcting it, then move on to another one when he has figured out that you really mean what you say.  If I tell Ziva to stay, and she gets up as soon as I walk away, I dont say a word to her, I just immediately grab her by the collar, firmly take her right back to the exact spot where I originally told her to stay, make her sit, or lie down (whichever the original command was) without saying a word.  I physically will push her butt down and make her sit, then hold her collar so she cant get up.  Start to walk away, and if I need to repeat the actions, I'll do it over and over until she gets it.  Once she has stayed in place while I walk away (just for a few seconds at first---then slowly increase the duration each time after that) she gets a great big "YESSSSS!" and released from her position.  Try working on a good 'stay' at first, and that will be a good foundation for other things you want him to learn.  It's hard to not give up when they test your patience---I know...I've been there.  Good luck.

Oh, and btw, you're not 'complaining', you're just sharing what you're going through.  Please dont stop.  It helps others to know what you're dealing with.

Lady Kate's picture
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Good luck Tonya..  I hope the suggestions posted will help you and Gauge. Sounds almost like starting at square one and hoping that a new regimine will take effect. Not more work, just different work.

Please let us know how things go in the next few days.. It's liable to be a bit confusing, frustrating and exhausting, but we're here for you in every way possible.