Started puppy training but not sure i agree....

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kimbo825's picture
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15 week old Kimbo started puppy class two weeks ago. A few of our main reasons to do this was socialization and to learn a few puppy training tips. He knows all the dog tricks; sit, lay, up, paw, leave it, off, drop it, etc. I needed advice on his biting and knowing what his boundaries should be.

 

The lady at this class is very helpful, however, she introduced us to a new way of training him not to bite. White vinegar in a mist bottle. She told us that any time he shows negative behavior, jumping up, biting, to spray him in the face. It will smell yucky and taste bad for him and stop him in the act. 

 

I always thought you weren't supposed to give negative responses to negative behavior. We were at our wits end with him biting our youngest so we tried it. It flicked a switch in him and he almost immediately stopped his biting. We also spent time "dominating" him and I believe he respects that we are the leaders now. (stepping over him when he's laying, walking out the doors first and making him wait, etc.)

 

My concern is that the vinegar will harm him. Also, my husband has allowed him up on the furniture in the living room and I'm worried that will show him as equal to us. He doesn't have any access to bedrooms and he is crate trained at night.

 

Not sure if we're taking steps forward or backwards. Any suggestions? 

finding Jackson's picture
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Joined: 2011-11-29

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You sound like you're exploring various types of training, but you appeared to lean towards Cesar Millan methods. Cesar uses a lot of leadership and calming assertive methods, not squirting. With that said, what I respect the most about Cesar over other trainers is that he is opened minded. So maybe it could work.

I would suggest as an alternative to squirting, redirecting for biting with a toy during the puppy phase (not messy like squirting). I'm starting to wonder if the biting phase just has to be tolerated, while it will eventually vanish. The only time correction might be necessary is when a puppy carries bad habits into adulthood where a bite can be more severe (even if it's untintentional to cause harm).

As far as boundaries are concerned, Kimbo will eventually pick it up, but I suspect the progress will be faster if everyone in your household is on the same page. Your husband appears to be counterproductive. People say if they allow their dogs on furniture, there is a suggestion of equality amongst dogs and humans. I don't know if there is any merit to that statement. Only thing we can be clear is boundaries, not feelings of domination or submissiveness, etc. 

DobieWanKenobi's picture
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Yes, it will. The vinegar burns his eyes, just like it burns yours. Cold water will have the same "ick, I don't like it" effect, but it won't hurt him on a fine spray.

 

I don't believe that you can dominate a 15 week old puppy. It's a baby, and doesn't have a full view on where people and dogs stand in the pack, so to speak. What you've done is helped him learn to trust you. Stepping over him has nothing to do with diminance. It has to do with trust. You need to properly research dominance techniques if you're going to use them, because there's a very fine line between trust and dominance in the dog world. 

 

If you practice the proper dominance techniques, you need not to do trust exercises, as your dog might fade into the middle of that fine line between dominance and trust, not understanding what you mean by an alpha roll and whatnot. Example: If, one day, she steps out of the door first and gets bombed by a low flying bird, and the next time you go out the door you make her follow you, she might think that it's to keep her safe, not to make sure she's the "follower". Which could be very confusing for her. I'm not very good at explaining, so just make sure you know all about dominance training before you do it. Your dog could become very confused.

 

Vinegar and chemical substance WILL harm your dog. It stings his eyes. However, that's why it's such a successful technique. I don't use it; since having Kay, I've found that positive works just as well as negative.

 

If you don't like your trainers techniques and don't trust her, then you should find a new trainer.

DJ's Dad's picture
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I think I'd trade off the vinegar for water--as already stated, it will have the same effect without the risk of burning his eyes if it happens to get in his face.

As far as getting on furniture goes---to each his own.  I enjoy my dog beside me all the time, even when I am sitting on the couch and she is lying beside me, her head in my lap, content that she is close. I personally dont see that as a dominant thing---it's just that my dog loves being close, and I love her being there. There is no question in her mind as to who the 'Alpha' is, just because she is on the furniture.  I sometimes think people worry a little too much about whether a puppy is being dominant (I must agree, though, a 15 week old puppy is just being a puppy, not trying to be anyone's boss) and lose so much enjoyment out of them just being a puppy. 

But that's just me.

Happydance's picture
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Redirecting a puppy who's biting in play is fine.  (I have a little rescue pup who's about to drive me mad with the puppy biting.  But he's very young and FINALLY starting to understand "no bite!")  But, when everybody gets the zoomies around here and it gets out of hand, or somebody's not getting off the bed when I tell them etc. (the little dogs, Fancy will listen), all I have to do is pick up a squirt bottle (I have a few around the house) and the crap stops IMMEDIATELY.  I didn't use it on such a young pup tho, it's still training time, not defiance.  No vinegar tho please!  Water works just fine.  Try not to let them see you do it for as long as you can get away with it.  You'll get found out eventually. 

KevinK's picture
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A few things, I would stop with the intentional "dominating"...  Respect is earned through leadership, not scaring and dominating your dog.  If I put a knife to your throat, would you respect me?  You would probably think I was an a-hole, but you most certainly would not respect me.  You would probably do what I told you to, but out of fear, again, not respect.

Just be fair, and consistent, and make yourself fun, and you don't have to do any of these other types of things.

HarleyBear's picture
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I totally agree.  I am not a professional trainer or anything, but just going to training with Harley and being consistent does everything.  He certainly is not perfect... getting him to DROP the ball out of his mouth is useless, but he will drop every thing else.  Anyway, he is allowed on our bed and sofa to sit calmly or sleep.  We feed him, train him, walk him, and give him love.  He loves and respects us in return.

Lori's picture
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Do not use Vinegar!   Would your trainer let you squirt her in the face with that?  I'm guessing not since it burns....and that poor puppy has no idea what he did at 15 weeks, he's just playing all getting squirted in the face with something that hurts him.  I used to use a squirt bottle with water but NEVER in the face...I'd squirt rocky in the butt/hind leg area.  It has the same effect...

 

I'd also quit worrying so much about dominance....I could care less if Rocky walks through a door first. Just because he walks through a door first doesn't not mean nor make him think he's the Alpha.  You either are, or you're not, and something like furniture privilges or stepping over them doesn't change that fact.  Now, if he was older and testing you I'd say do a few of those things just to show him that doesn't fly but he's way to young to do that yet.

 

poogie's picture
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I too was at my wits end but found that shouting, squirting, banging and funny noises did nothing. The best thing that has sort of worded for us is Ice cubes and time out. The biggest punishment for him is to be away from us. I don't know what else you do when he goes to bite but Rolo jumps up and bites arms bum etc sounds hilarious but it hurts. I was pushing him down and saying No bite but our trainer realised that excited him more so now we say nothing and he goes in his cage or the kitchen away for 10 mins and he calms down. I had vinegar on a cloth to clean something Rolo pinched it and likes the taste. I also tried the water bottle filled with water but he opened his mouth screwed up his eyes and loved every minute! He has lost some of his teeth now and some days his gums are bright red so have put a little bongella on some days to try and help. Not sure if thats any good does anyone know?

DobieWanKenobi's picture
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Lost some of his teeth, as in, puppy teeth? Mostly (< Note), pups loose their teeth because the adult teeth push through. He should have new, permanent teeth in the place of his puppy ones immediately.

 

I don't know what you do with the ice cubes. If the time-outs work, then go for it! Kay's worst nightmare is me ignoring her. I let her know that what she did was wrong very quickly, then ignore her completely for a few minutes, and she's sulking for the rest of the day (A stroppy dog is a good dog).

 

I don't know, exactly, what Bongella does. Am I right in thinking is an ulcer-soothing and reducing cream?

kimbo825's picture
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My Kimbo loves ice cubes and has lost some teeth but there aren't any there yet and it's been 3 days. So if he should have teeth immediately then we're in trouble!!:) 

He had an awesome day at the dog park today!!! He did very well with the female beagle mix, then she left. Then a male Shepard mix came and he had a ball with him. Then a female husky came and she made him cry like a baby!! I let him go and he eventually got used to her, mainly because she calmed down, but I was surprised!!:) 

poogie's picture
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Bongella is a gum soothing used on babies. Ice cubes he plays with as they are cold and help numb his gums.

Kim
Kim's picture
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I agree totally with the squirt bottle, and no vinegar! Gabe jumped on everyone and the only way I could get him to stop was a squirt bottle. After a few times, all I had to do was pick it up.  LOL!

And for me, dominance training was simple and wonderful.

I took Gabe to a positive reinforcement puppy class, and I learned more than Gabe did!  Next pup, I will use the same exercises I learned there.

The first one is, straddle your pup facing the same way as he is, reach behind his front legs under his belly, and lift his front legs off the ground a few inches. Start for a couple seconds, and work your way up. It doesn't have to be a long time. The idea is to have your pup not wiggle, and just relax.

Second one is, sit in front of your pup, facing them, and do the same thing - holding them behind the front legs around them, and hold their front legs off the ground - as in stand them up a bit. (It helps if you start this when they are little - Gabe was 4 mos. old, and almost too big to do it!)

The third, and hardest requires that your dog knows how to lie down. When they do, gently roll them over on their sides, holding them on neck/shoulder and hip, and give them a cue word. Work your way up on time until they will lie there until you give them a release word. I'm telling you, this was the best thing I could ever have taught my dog. All I have to do, whether he's lying down, or standing up, is give him the cue word to hold still, and he just relaxes and stays there. Great for combing him, and trimming his toes if he needs it. Great at the vet, too.

When the pups learned the last one, then we had to pass our puppy to the person on the left, give them the cue word, and they would do it too, until all the puppies had been handled by all the owners. It was cool!

I just LOVED this trainer. Sit and down were taught with NO force. There was no forcing the pups to do anything. No hurting them. I would have continued training with her, had I not moved back to Michigan. (She is in Boise, ID.)