How to train a difficult dog?

We just adopted Tamel over a month ago. She's an 8 month old Australian cattle dog and Doberman mix. When we started training her I used a "hands on" approach where I would push her butt down to teach her to sit. I've successfully trained several dogs this way. With Tamel, barely 5 minutes into a session she starts cowering and scooting to my feet and starts peeing on herself. I know to be careful with the tone of my voice and I don't get frustrated until she starts scooting an I can't get her to stop. She has now started completely shutting down and won't look at me or even take treats. She'll even spit them out. I started clicker training her and everything was going well until I started introducing verbal commands and it's all her behavior problems all over again. How can I train this dog?! If we can't train her she will have to go back to the shelter. :(

Asked by Member 1115699 on Jul 3rd 2012 Tagged peeing, stubborn, training, treats, clicker, cattledog, doberman in Methods of Training
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It's possible to just train with hand signals to begin with and slowly add verbal commands. If she isn't even looking at you and isn't taking treats I would try using little pieces of hot dog or warmed up pieces of chicken and every time she looks at you give her a piece before you even start a training session. As for teaching sit, if you take the piece of treat in your hand, hold it in front of her nose and slowly bring it above her head. When your hand goes over her head, her butt should go to the ground. Go slow though because if she is frightened she may become a little scared with your hand over her head. But the biggest thing is to gain her trust and I've found the best way is to have the dog look at you as a human treat dispenser to begin with. This is what I have done with the "trouble dogs" at the shelter I work at. Good luck!!!

Spot answered on 7/3/12. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


You've got a sensitive dog on your hands. Definitely avoid any kind of physical training. Use positive reinforcement only, and I agree to work strictly in hand signals until you earn her trust.

Treat her with love and respect, and she will pick up on that energy and be more receptive to you. Be patient and calm at all times.

If you find yourself becoming frustrated, remove yourself from the situation. Come back when you are centered. For such a sensitive dog, your energy is the MOST important tool you have for training.

Pet her only when you are in a positive mindset. Stroke under her chin and her chest as opposed to the top of her head and her back. Let your calmness transfer to her before and after each training session.

When you eventually introduce verbal commands, make your voice high and excited and ALWAYS reward good behavior. Be careful not to be over-excited though or you risk scaring her. Use calm, happy energy and subtle excitement. Remember, she just wants to please you

Member 1115909 answered on 7/11/12. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer