GO!

Rough-housing all the time and over-the-top

This is a place to gain some understanding of dog behavior and to assist people in training their dogs and dealing with common behavior problems, regardless of the method(s) used. This can cover the spectrum from non-aversive to traditional methods of dog training. There are many ways to train a dog. Please avoid aggressive responses, and counter ideas and opinions with which you don't agree with friendly and helpful advice. Please refrain from submitting posts that promote off-topic discussions. Keep in mind that you may be receiving advice from other dog owners and lovers... not professionals. If you have a major problem, always seek the advice of a trainer or behaviorist!

  
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Connor

Face Taster
 
 
Barked: Thu Nov 29, '12 5:22pm PST 
Updates:

Telling them "sit" or "down" in mid-fight: They both listen well, though it takes Connor a little longer. But right after the "training session" they rush into the fight again. I tell them to "sit" or "down" again, for an extended time. They both listen. But again, after they receive their treats, they rush in to fight again.

Tossing them treats during resting period: The problem is that this is a very hard one to catch and reinforce, because they will fight continuously for up to an hour before resting for a couple minutes. Which they recover from in 2 minutes. They appreciated the treats, but the wrestling continues just as it was before.

Hiding a toy: I stuffed it with treats. They both didn't care for it at all. Wrestling seems a higher reward. It's really too bad.

Today, I tried a different tactic. Might be offensive. When the play became too rough, I physically seperated them. Grabbed Connor by the collar and said STOP. I scolded both. Avalon's sensitive to scolding so doesn't need the forced grabbing. Berated both of them pretty harshly for a minute. Av walked off and Connor rolled over and tried to kiss up to me. They stopped wrestling for about 20 minutes, which is the longest yet. I can't say if this is the best way to deal with the issue forever.

Part of my worry is that Connor needs a chance to learn household manners. If he's fighting with Avalon all the time, the ability to "stay calm indoors" is only when I separate Connor into a closed room for a training session. The dream is to have two calm dogs strolling freely around the house for at least 40% of indoor time. Right now, this does not happen at all.

Edited by author Thu Nov 29, '12 5:29pm PST

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Squ'mey

too old to eat- any more KD
 
 
Barked: Thu Nov 29, '12 5:56pm PST 
“Telling them "sit" or "down" in mid-fight: They both listen well, though it takes Connor a little longer. But right after the "training session" they rush into the fight again.”
Can I suggest you try looking at it as play, rather than *fight. This will go a long way to easing your anxiety, which in turn, your dogs will pick up on. Great that they are both breaking off the game when you ask. This isn’t going to change in one or two days..it is a process...so what you have done is take the first step. And got results!
Decide what your rules for indoor play are...break the game as soon as one of them breaks a rule. Use your strategy of sits, downs, etc.
“Tossing them treats during resting period: The problem is that this is a very hard one to catch and reinforce, because they will fight continuously for up to an hour before resting for a couple minutes. Which they recover from in 2 minutes. They appreciated the treats, but the wrestling continues just as it was before. “
OK..sounds like they are setting the rules. You decide when the game starts & when it ends. I (myself) set a 10 minute limit on indoor wrasslin. I do appreciate it can be tough to catch those quiet times, but you need to create them, also. If a dog gets up & looks like he is going to start something, immediately ask for a known behavior, like sit..then reward that. Again..it is a process..takes time.
“Today, I tried a different tactic. Might be offensive. When the play became too rough, I physically seperated them. Grabbed Connor by the collar and said STOP. I scolded both. Avalon's sensitive to scolding so doesn't need the forced grabbing. Berated both of them pretty harshly for a minute. Av walked off and Connor rolled over and tried to kiss up to me. They stopped wrestling for about 20 minutes, which is the longest yet.”
I strongly advise you to not physically separate them. An aggressive response like that *could result in an aggressive response.
Everything you describe sounds like play. If they go at it for an hour..with no injury..& go back for more..it is not a *real fight.
There is nothing wrong with separating them if that is what it takes for them to learn to be calm in the house. Don’t give up. The next year or so may drive you nuts..but provide the boundaries & rules, be consistent, and you can have 2 dogs freely roaming for as long as you want.
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Connor

Face Taster
 
 
Barked: Thu Nov 29, '12 6:38pm PST 
Sorry Squmey. I only refer to it as fight on the forum. For need of a shorter word. I completely understand it's only play. No worries on that. smile

My boundary is when Connor starts clamping down harder on the flesh. Ears and Neck.

Thanks for the tips Squmey. How do you suggest to make rules for starting and finishing the wrestle?
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Squ'mey

too old to eat- any more KD
 
 
Barked: Thu Nov 29, '12 10:02pm PST 
A typical indoor session here looks something like this:
Wiley (older) is sleeping, or resting on the couch. Squ'mey will bring me a ball. If I don't throw it he will drop it in front of Wiley. Then he waits. If I tell him "OK..get that ball" he will dart in to try to take it. Wiley will *defend, & it is game on. Squam will grab Wiley by the head & try to pull him off the couch. They can growl & bark,but not loudly. They need to have 4 feet on the floor..no humping. If one dog breaks into a zoomie..game over. To end it I say.. "game over" or "settle down". They will break off & go about what ever they want.
You're on the right track. Keep at it.. and when Connor is as reliable as Avalon at breaking off & coming to you..add your own cue-phrase. Remember to praise, reward, treat..& let them resume play. Coming to you is always a good thing..not a cue that fun is going to end for good. smile
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Squ'mey

too old to eat- any more KD
 
 
Barked: Thu Nov 29, '12 10:02pm PST 
dog walk noms double postsnoopysnoopy

Edited by author Thu Nov 29, '12 10:04pm PST

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Sanka- I'll Miss- You

The ground is my- newspaper.
 
 
Barked: Fri Nov 30, '12 9:09am PST 
Do you have any kongs?

Fill them with something that makes them lick to get it out. Licking is very calming and might just help calm them down for some moments.
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Kodiak CGC

WOOoooOOoo
 
 
Barked: Fri Nov 30, '12 9:59am PST 
Careful, if you turn playing into something they get scolded for, they might start associating each other with being scolded and they might start actually fighting instead.

I understand about the coyotes and that's a bummer. My pack goes out to the dog park ~3 days a week and plays HARD in our yard for several hours every day. I can't imagine wearing them out if we didn't have a safe fenced yard for them to run in, so you certainly have my sympathy!

Creating separate-but-together time might just be what you need to do for a bit, until Connor learns that indoor time doesn't have to be constant play time. Maybe tether them nearby but apart, give them each something calm to chew or lick or otherwise occupy themselves with, and start working on creating a habit of non-confrontational calm.

They do still need to burn off energy, though. You may need to find somewhere safe for them to romp off-lead or maybe just spend a little extra time with them in the yard. You might even want to start turning it into a training opportunity: They get too rough indoors, you 'good idea! let's go outside!'. They only have to be out there for a few minutes and when they break from playing, back inside, treats, calm places.
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Dr. Watson

Not a wiener- dawg!
 
 
Barked: Fri Nov 30, '12 10:22am PST 
Two ideas: Practice down stays separately. Reward profusely. Then bring them into the distracting environment for a shorter duration and build up. Reward profusely again. big grin

When your first dog tires of the play, tether the second dog to a doorknob or sturdy object, or place him behind an ex-pen for a while. thinking
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Tyler

Whippy- The- Whipador
 
 
Barked: Fri Nov 30, '12 10:33am PST 
You could perhaps give one of the dogs, Connor maybe?, a time-out for a short while when he gets really wound up and OTT. Just simply separating the dogs for 5-10 minutes and while doing this attach a command to it such as "enough now" or "calm". It might not be something they know at first, but over time they'll come to understand that the word means end of playtime. If you can get Connor to come to you without physically grabbing him then that's great. Alternatively you could just teach the "enough now" command without issuing a time-out. So for example calling Connor to you, he comes to you, reward him and tell him "that's enough now". If he goes back to play, call him back again and repeat the process. It takes a while but it does work. My own two rarely play together, but when they do they're both very vocal too and a simple "that's enough now" ends the game within seconds. I also use it when they're playing with toys and squeaking a favourite toy during a TV show or something, i just say "that's enough" and they stop.
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Dr. Watson

Not a wiener- dawg!
 
 
Barked: Fri Nov 30, '12 10:57am PST 
As they other posters said, and I forgot to comment, scolding and collar grabbing are not good ideas. You can, however, work separately with Connor on classically conditioning him to collar grabs; this is quite useful. To do this, reach toward his collar slowly, treat him, repeat til it does not bother him, then increase your touch on his collar, treat him, repeat profusely, then hold his collar, treat him profusely, repeat, etc. Useful for those times when you really need to get a hold of him.
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