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In need of help

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!

  
Aurora

1288930
 
 
Barked: Tue Mar 19, '13 8:12pm PST 
This is my first post so here is a little bit of background. My Wife and I adopted Aurora from a rescue July of last year when she was 6 months old. We were told she was a puggle, she is more of a puggle mixed with a shepherd weighing in at 39 pounds. We were told that she had 4 owners before us. One had a hardship and had to give her up, one got it for their kid who got extremely allergic and gave her up, one of them left her chained up outside 20 hours a day, one we were told physically abused her.

All that being said we have been having problems (again) with her howling, chewing, and aggressive attacking my feet, pant legs or shoes when I tell her to do something else.

In late November we were forced to purchase a house because our landlord gave us permission to get her but the association overruled her stating no renters are allowed to have pets. After we moved into our house her chewing and eating of blankets, comforters, and my wife's laundry (socks, shirts, pants, etc, she never eats my things though) stopped until recently. Also when she is doing something and I tell her to stop and go do something else she attacks my legs, feet, and shoes. This has gotten to the point where she will jump and start to bite my shirt as well.

She had a vomiting episode and got a cold a couple weeks ago. Since that day she has destroyed 3 blankets and opened my wife's dresser for socks.

Generally I walk her between 1-2 times a day atleast 45 minutes to 2 hours. There are days where walks may not be as long as I would look. We play games with her and she has plenty of toys and bones that are switched out.

We have tried to do self training in our house with her (we did take one 6 week session of obedience classes). I have tried to get her to run with me (she just tries to trip me most of the time.)

I have been looking into nosework or agility. I am leaning towards nosework as it would be easier to do at our house. If someone could give me any pointers to help that would be greatly appreciated!
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Smokey

Let's play tug!!
 
 
Barked: Tue Mar 19, '13 9:15pm PST 
If she's been abused and is responding badly to the word no, she may have a bad association with that word. I would try to avoid saying no or stop, and instead just tell her directly what you would rather she do (ie go to your bed) and be very conscious of threatening body language or unpleasant tone- don't lean over her, point at her, stare her in the eyes, etc. If you feel angry, try forcing yourself to say something silly, like "Puppydoodle Q. Snuggledog, go to your bed," It's almost impossible to say angrily. You could maybe train a "freeze" command for those situations where you don't have time to think because she's in imminent danger. If it doesn't seem to be particularly related to no or stop, she may just have a whole bunch of poisoned cues, which could be from one of the homes she bounced between, or just that she is super sensitive to anyone who sounds annoyed, and needs to start over with fresh cues and be trained only with a happy, pleasant demeanor.

In what situations does she chew? Does she have really appealing appropriate things to chew (rawhides, bully sticks, pig ears?) If it's mostly when you're not home, it's separation anxiety, and that underlying problem needs to be addressed with slow desensitization/counterconditioning in order to get her to stop.
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Shiver Me- Timbers- "Charlie"

My Little Dog, a- heartbeat at my- feet.<3
 
 
Barked: Tue Mar 19, '13 9:23pm PST 
Firstly... Your dog isn't 'trying' to trip you when you go running with her. She isn't accustomed to doing it and having to stay out from under feet. Teaching a good LLW, or Heel should help with that, but you should ultimately start at a slower pace and move your way up gradually with her, rather than just outright into a run - which could confuse her about where she should be in regards to placement with you.

Second... Do you have, or have you tried crate training? It's great for when you cannot supervise and need to keep her from getting into things. Chewing CAN be a dangerous habit depending on what she decides to chew on.

WHEN does she get the chance to get into all of this stuff to chew it? When you're not watching, when you're not home, etc? This will really give an indication of when she gets into this stuff and what might be causing it. I agree with Smokey however, that it sounds like she may have a bad association with discipline due to her past. Can you try other things, like "Aurora, come!" in a cheery voice, from another room and offer her a reward for giving up the item she was chewing to reinforce leaving items to go to you and do as she's told?

You'll definitely want to start fresh with reinforcing commands as POSITIVE things. You want to teach her to associate doing things for you as resulting in good, positive things that she enjoys. Rewards, a walk, play, food, etc. "Come!" and give a reward. "Sit" and go for a walk. "Stay" and then release to go to her food dish, etc, etc. Make everything in life a fun reward for her, and help her to learn to trust you and your wife. Being that she's under two, she's also likely hitting a teenager phase where she will test boundaries and push buttons and see what she can get away with. Make good behaviors positive and reinforce them as much as possible.

Nosework is great!
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Aurora

1288930
 
 
Barked: Wed Mar 20, '13 5:13am PST 
Thanks for responses guys. Over the past 6 months we have had her I have tried to teach her a LLW. She is extremely better then she was before but still tries to zigs, zags, and pulls when she catches a scent of pretty much anything.

I would say she is partially crate trained but much better then she was before. She does not sleep in her crate but she is in the crate when we are not home. She generally is able to move around while we are doing stuff around the house except for the rooms with the cat food and litter boxes. When she is in her crate she will grab the blanket and pull it through the crate to either suck on it or rip pieces of to eat. I say she is partially crate trained because I believe she still has some separation anxiety and she will howl for the first minute or so of being in there. We do not keep her in there at night because if she knows we are in the other room she will howl loudly for hours on end.

Generally speaking the destroying of comforters is after she falls asleep, we fall asleep and she wakes up between 2-3 am. starts by licking her butt and then constantly licking the blanket or comforter and then it almost seems like she nervously moves to a chewing, then sees the stuff and starts to go full boar chomping at it. Every time we see her start to lick her butt we give her something else to do. She is house trained and will go bark at the door if she needs to go out.

She has gotten to the point of be able to go walk up to the dresser and open my wife's sock drawer with her paws in a matter of a minute. We keep all the doors in our house closed for this reason right now.

She loves to chew on the mini raw-hides and she loves ice cubes.

That being said if she gets anything she knows she should have she hides under something that is very hard to get her out from under.

In most case when I try to correct her I generally saw "Aurora, come on let's go to the otto" (she loves to lay on our ottoman) and right when I finish that and start to walk towards our living room (whether I back up slowly and or slowly walk normally) she starts to growl and bite the feet at that time.

I have been researching how to start nosework by myself at home as there are no classes or anything that I can easily find in my area of Buffalo, NY if anyone has any pointers that would be greatly appreciated. That is most likely something to be posted in the sport section though I believe.
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Augusta,- CGC, RN

Such a Good Dog!
 
 
Barked: Wed Mar 20, '13 6:23am PST 
Bumping to get ahead of the ads.
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Opheila

It ain't over- till the fat- kitty sings
 
 
Barked: Wed Mar 20, '13 5:08pm PST 
Whew, you have alot on your plate do you not?smile Okay some suggestions to help a bit...our Callie is a handful/pawful as well and we had a Border collie who munched anything that didn't run away and that TOO.

If not crating, I don't know from crating but it's an option. Do you have a room or area you can baby gate off securely sometimes? Also with clothes and other good munchies, can you get lidded clothes bins or somewhere else out of reach? Sophie was obsessed with bras when we first got her. She'd pull them from the wash and leave a pile of brightly decorated underwire. Not the cheap ones either...VS was her favorite brand $50,$60 a pop grrrrrrr.

The jumping and nipping seems to come with bullies. trying to pin down when the dog gets particularly excited helps. Then having biteable distractions ready. Callie loves empty seltzer bottles. We have them by the front door for when I come in, in the hall, toss one down the stairs and he chases it all the way, in the bedroom-he gets mouthy from the pleasure of a good petting-put a seltzer bottle in front of him and he's fine.

I've also learned to keep turning to deflect him when I come in the door. Then make a big deal of WHO WANTS A TREAT????, both dogs run ahead of me to the kitchen and we get something good and crunchie, bully sticks, pig ears...by the time he finishes it he's calm enough for me to walk around easy. it's about adjusting your attitude too. When he first used to do it I was black and blue some days. And kind of afraid honestly. A deep firm voice can work wonders in some dogs. You need to convey you ARE bigger, you ARE stronger, you have the goodies...in a firm but not scary tone.

But I realized he thought he was playing...and I am the food-giver person. Now it's more like pushing aside a big misquito-hey cut it out moron that hurts! Don't fear it and you have more confidence to change it. I also praise him alot when I can see him holding his nip.

That's so sweet!!! He loves ice cubes too!!! PetSport makes a treat dispenser called the MOJO ball. Super sturdy, easier to clean than Kong-fill with little goodies and cover the opening with peanut butter or cream cheese and freeze. Keeps them happy for awhile, I give him BusyBones too.

Edited by author Wed Mar 20, '13 5:16pm PST

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Shiver Me- Timbers- "Charlie"

My Little Dog, a- heartbeat at my- feet.<3
 
 
Barked: Wed Mar 20, '13 8:27pm PST 
First recommendation - move to something other than rawhides for chewing. Rawhides are dyed with chemicals and soaked in chemicals too - leaving them potentially hazardous, not to mention that they swell when wet and if a dog breaks off a chunk and swallows it, it can cause a blockage. Try pig ears, bully sticks, raw meaty bones, etc. Much healthier and safer. A stuffed Kong can be great too! Especially frozen, cause then it takes longer to clean out. wink

Have you tried trading instead? Offer a chew, or a Kong, or something else similar to distract her, take the object away and that way she's distracted and not focused on jumping at you, or biting at you, or the object of her obsession?

It sounds like she's not being aggressive, so much as redirecting frustration or excitement onto you, and by doing so, could injure you, albeit unintentionally. I do think you could definitely try trading.

Management for right now, while working on making her basic obedience positive again will really help with reinforcing NOT acting out the undesired behaviors.
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Aurora

1288930
 
 
Barked: Thu Mar 21, '13 8:33am PST 
Thanks for the more response. Last night, like we do almost every Wednesday, I took her to a playgroup. Normally when we are there she ignores me, however for the first 15-30 minutes of the playgroup she started to chomp down on my pants and boots more than normal. Normally I would try to walk to the nearest toy and pick it up and give it to her to get her to stop but she now just drops stuff and goes back to the boots/pant legs. The people who run the playgroup started to just squirt her with their water bottles. This did get her to stop, however, I would rather not threaten her with water as she seems to get very scared of the squirt bottles if they go near her.

At the house I try to keep a toy nearby so if this happens, sometimes she will take it and go lay down and chew on it. Other times she will grab it, drop it, and chew on my feet/pants. When she is chewing a blanket almost nothing will stop her other than moving her out of the room. I have seen her chewing on a blanket and got her something else to chew on and she would take it when I told her to and then drop it and chew the blanket.

We give her a kong full of frozen water and some tiny treats hidden (because she loves ice) when we leave her in the crate most of the time. She loves it. These "issues" seem to come and go and I still am having a hard time pinpointing what is causing some of them. Thanks for all the input. I have and will continue to work on them with the suggestions.
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Shiver Me- Timbers- "Charlie"

My Little Dog, a- heartbeat at my- feet.<3
 
 
Barked: Thu Mar 21, '13 1:29pm PST 
What about possibly leaving a leash on her to drag around in the house? It'll be easy to grab the end of the leash and lead her to another room. But if she starts the chomping, chewing on you, etc, you can tie her up to a door and walk away until she calms down again. Just an idea. Time outs for behavior like this usually help because the object of their attention disappears.
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Opheila

It ain't over- till the fat- kitty sings
 
 
Barked: Thu Mar 21, '13 8:49pm PST 
I wouldn't recommend the leash only because if like my dogs she like to chew, you're going to end up with a pile of munched up leash. I'd keep the water spray in mind as last resort-if it's something REALLY obnoxious like breaking the skin when she nips. I used a water spray only for the first weeks with each dog to learn you don't chase down cats in the house. After the first week you only had to touch the bottle and the cats were safe. You learn as you go along, you'll figure it out little angel
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