naughty naughty dog!

Discussion in 'General Dog Training' started by lagomorphmonster, Feb 3, 2008.

  1. lagomorphmonster New Member

    As much as I like to brag about how smart my dog is, she does have a few shortcomings. I think some of it can be attributed to puppy playfulness (she is 8 months old), though I'd like her to be more obedient sometimes. I know this doesn't constitute training of tricks, but here it goes: (edited to add: oops, should have posted this on the "behavioral problems" board)

    I try to play games with her everyday that would reinforce important learned commands. For example, playing tug of war and intermittently tell her to "drop it." I also make her "go away" and then toss it to her. Or, I toss some toys and/or treats on the floor and tell her to "leave it" and then later "take it."

    She is very good about leaving stuff on top of the coffee table, and has never grabbed my shoes. Although, occasionally she has tried to steal little things that just happen to be around. And I say steal, because she would only take those things when I'm looking away, and I don't ever leave her unsupervised around the house. When I find out, I would take those things, and put them where they belong, and tell her to "leave it." At first, if she doesn't respect the "leave it" command for more than a few times, then she gets a timeout. Then she has learned that if I start to look angry, then she would run around me in circles as fast as she could. The best I could figure is that she didn't want to be put in timeout, though she doesn't struggle once she is caught.

    Lately she has been very good about "drop it" and "leave it" around the house. However, the latest problem is digging and chewing the newly laid sod. The first time I saw her digging, I stood on top the area and told her "leave it." She started to run in circles at top speed, and would occasionally come into the area and take a mouthful of dirt and run around again. This made me really mad, but I couldn't really catch her outside. Unfortunately, I am leaving in 2 days to go on an extended vacation, and leaving her to stay with grandma (hers, not mine). Grandma just had landscaping done last week, and the newly laid sod is still not attached to the yard. And now she's chewing and lifting up edges of those little squares. When I told her to "leave it" while standing at the area where she was chewing, she did the same thing: ran around, and intermittently came by my feet to sneak a mouthful of grass while running off again.

    Aside from attaching a 10 foot drag line to facilitate catching her, does anyone have a better idea about how to not have her run around in circles at top speed? Or how to stop her from getting sneaky and taking little bites while on the run? Grandma is much more lenient than I am, and I'm afraid that whatever I suggest to control Totoro's behavior will have 0% compliance. But, I'd really like not having to resod the lawn. When I come back from my trip, we are definitely going to fix this problem.

    BTW, did anyone watch Animal Planet's Puppy Bowl IV? My dog's personality is exactly like that of Abigail the Jack Russell, who was voted MVP.:dogtongue2:

  2. storm22 Experienced Member

    you could try some animal repellent stuff we can get this from a pet store or vets here it think its called dog off or there is one called animal repellent (we can get this from supermarket, but im not sure if you might where you live but it works i think it has citronella in it but im not sure i threw the empty bottle out but ill have a look at the store next time i go to town but if you ring a pet store near you they could tell you what you could use, or you do with this stuff is spray it on the area (worked really good for our outside table storm (when he was a pup) and koda have tried using it as a teething toy for some reason its better than all the bones and toys they already have (the grass is always greener on the other side right)
  3. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    I'm really not a fan of "timeout." Correct me if my impression of your timeout is not what you actually do.

    In my opinion, timeout is useless. Dogs are not children: timeout does not get the same result. Wherever the dog is placed in timeout, she will either get a negative association of that place, or she will not understand at all. It will simply be a place where she's put when she does something. In my opinion, dogs should not have a negative association of any place in their home. Home should be a positive, fun, and safe place to be at all times. If you are putting her in "timeout" in her kennel, then this completely defeats the purpose of crate training. The crate is supposed to be a retreat for the pup, somewhere to go to when the stress of puppyhood is too much. (For instance, a new home, boredom, anxiety from leaving littermates, and a variety of other things.) If the dog is scolded and placed in the kennel when she does something wrong, she will never understand that the crate is a positive place to be, and will think she is being punished when you put her in there for other reasons. Let's say you scold her and place her in her timeout place: a bedroom, maybe. Well, the more she has to go in this place, the more she understands, "Hmm, I did something wrong, and now I'm here, bored to death, alone, and still have the same amount of energy I did when I was digging. Where do I use it?" You come in to release her from timeout, only to find the carpet pulled up and nothing in the room left unchewed or unscratched. She was merely releasing her energy, the same thing she was doing when she was digging.

    So, a possible solution: Exercise, exercise, exercise. She is a pup, and she is testing her limits and exerting her puppy energy. Exercise her more, and play with her more. When you catch her in the act of digging(or something else), give your "Leave it" command, but have a chew toy with you. Offer her something else to do, and praise her when she does it so she knows what kind of energy-releaser is acceptable. Simply telling her not to doesn't get rid of her energy. She's bored, so give her something to do. Carefully explain your techniques to Grandma, and ask her to participate. If she lets her get away with these things, it will set her progress back by the time you get back, and her occasional issue will be well on its way to becoming a terrible habit.

    Forgive me if I've offended you, but I just don't believe in timeout with dogs. Anywho...good luck with your dog, and enjoy your trip. :doghappy:
  4. dat123 Experienced Member

    I strongly agree with Tx_cowgirl, on the 'time out' theory. This may work with children (some), but children can speak back and communicate with us. Although I have tried timeout before, I cannot see any evidence or results, from anyone anywhere, from doing this, to show the dog actually understands why they are having timeout.
    Sometimes a dog must be crated or tethered, for it's own safety or be controlled in certain environments, thats unavoidable.
    Why people use human psychology, and apply it to a dog, and say "this is how you fix it...." , is being very niave.
    The possible negative results, are far worse to fix, than any positive, they think may happen.
    Training is about knowing your dog, learning why it does bad things, why it does good things,knowing what he/she wants and don't want, and adapting your methodes and choices of training, to suit THAT particular dog.
    Listen to all advice, take it on board, see if it works on your dog, if it dosen't try something different or vary the method. What works for one dosen't always work for another.
    Just my opinion :dogsmile:
  5. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Well said. :dogsmile:
  6. l_l_a New Member

    hi lagomorphmonster - the way I see it, there are several options:

    complete management - never letting her into the yard for the length of her stay with her grandma, but this is probably not possible right?

    Only allow her in the yard if she is on a leash. This way you can stop her running off and will help towards training her to not do those things if you can catch her right before she starts doing it and re-direct her to something else like a game of tug (since it sounds like she is doing the unwanted behavior because it's play to her). Anothing thing you can redirect her to is her own "digging pit" - e.g. get a kid's wading pool or box and fill it with sod and when she starts to show interest in digging or grabbing a mouthful of sod, immediately redirect her to this pit so she can do her digging/sod-playing there. This allows her to do the same activity she wanted to do, but in an authorized area.

    You can also spray the dog-repellant sprays on the sod. I've used these. if there is a large area to cover it might not be practical but if she tends to want to dig in a specific area you can spray that area so it smells disgusting to her and she will lose interest in being there (but beware if you only do this and nothing else, she may just turn her focus to a different part of the yard)

    Another thing you can try is to only allow her in the yard after she's already spent some of her playful energy elsewhere (like after a long walk or play session) so she's less likely to get hog-wild in the yard. The running-around-in-circles and taking little bites on the run, is a sign of exuberant play and that she's having great fun doing that, and because she has been able to get away with doing it, she keeps on doing it. So make it more fun to do something else or have her tired out before she's exposed to the temptation so she's less likely to get into that exuberant state in the yard.

    You can also practice "leave it" specifically on the grass or sod while she's on leash, and practice to where she immediately will release the mouthful or grass everytime you say so, before letting her be off leash in the yard....
  7. bipa New Member

    My idea of a timeout is to simply put the dog in a sit or lie down, and then do a longer stay. Depending on the age and training, that stay might be just a minute or two – enough for the dog to calm down and refocus on me. I do not leave the dog, but watch and make sure that the dog is actually staying. I might also do a few touch and look at me exercises. I don’t do timeouts if the dog has not responded to my last command, but instead first make sure that command was carried out. So if I ask for a recall and don’t get it, how is doing a timeout going to improve the recall? The same goes for leave it. In my view, the timeout that I do is simply to let an overexcited dog refocus on me. And right afterwards, we have a really energetic session of play, since the usual cause of overexcitement in a young dog or puppy is simply too much energy that needs to get blown off. (like tx_cowgirl and l_l_a have already said)

    Dogs are masters at body language and facial expressions. It seems that perhaps your dog has learned a great new fun trick that involves running around in circles. And the “hand signal†in this case could be your angry look. Why don’t you stop the angry look and the timeouts for a while, and substitute something else like sit or stay.

    When she doesn’t listen to the “leave it†a few times, do you mean you are repeating the command without response, or on separate occasions? Either way, you are teaching the dog to ignore you, and that you don’t really mean it when you ask the dog to do something. Instead of doing a “time out†you should be reinforcing the command that wasn’t done.

    I am also struggling at the moment with my yard being dug up by two very energetic terriers. I realize that digging is in their nature, and I doubt that it is totally stoppable. So this spring I shall be creating a digging pit, sort of like what l_l_a has mentioned. But instead of using a child’s pool or sandbox, I shall just be sectioning off an area of the garden because my guys like to dig really deep. Obviously it won’t be right next to the fence. :dogtongue2: To encourage them to go to that area and stay there, I will be hiding treats and treasures for them to find.

    One of the best ways to “catch†an excited pup running around in circles is to issue a recall and then walk or even run AWAY from the pup. If you walk towards the pup then it could be viewed as a “catch me†game. But when walking away, the pup will often not want to be left alone, and will stop running around and scamper off after the owner.

    So try dropping the angry look, substitute something else for the timeout, create a digging pit, and practice more leave it using treats and trades.

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