Update on Rosco.

Discussion in 'Puppies' started by gravelhighway, Mar 11, 2008.

  1. gravelhighway New Member

    Next week is beginner training graduation. I'm 99% positive that Rosco won't graduate.

    On the 21st of March, he'll turn 4 months old. Right now, I'm not sure that I can keep up with the little guy. I don't want to give up because I know that (1) he's young and (2) my 11-year-old Labrador used to be the same. I guess I'm just feeling lost and frustrated. If only I could get his attention for more than 5 seconds, maybe I could teach him something. :msncry:

    So, here are the updates:
    • The little guy has gone from 17lbs to 36lbs since we brought him home on February 2nd
    • He finally understands "sit," but only if I have a treat in my hand
    • He also understands "down," but only if I put my hand to the ground (holding a treat)
    • He's mostly going to the bathroom outside. He is getting good at letting us know when he has to go (but we have little time to get him outside)
    • The crate is proving to be a success. Our dog trainer taught us to point inside the crate, and when he goes inside, then it "rain treats" into the cage. He seems to love that.

    However, we are still dealing with several problems:
    • BITING. He loves to bite. I now have 6 stitches in my arm and a few other scars. Our dog trainer said that a muzzle would make him more aggressive.
    • JUMPING. He keeps head-bunting my boyfriend in the groin. We can't seem to let him out of the crate without him barking, and we've been turning our back and ignoring him for over a month now.
    • BARKING. He barks when he needs to go outside to go potty. However, I think he's figured out that it gets him attention, and he's started barking for seemingly no reason other than to get attention. He's barking right now and no one is in the room with him. He barks when people ARE in the room with him. He just won't stop barking, and I know the neighbors will call the police soon (if they haven't already).

    All of the problems that we're dealing with are stressing my 11-year-old Labrador (diabetic for 3 years now). She'll play with him on rare occasion, and will walk nicely on the leash. However, she mostly growls and/or bites at his aggressive playing.

  2. gravelhighway New Member

    Rather quick update: Rosco has been barking for 3 hours. We've taken him outside to potty, left him alone in the room, gone for 3 walks, checked him for any wounds, given him favorite toys, taken away favorite toys, and ignored him for 15 minutes (that piercing bark may have caused hearing loss). He barks every time we put him back in his crate.

    I don't know what else to do, but the neighbors just came knocking on the door.

    He stops barking when we let him out of the crate. He immediately picks up a toy and wants to play. The moment he's back in the crate, he starts non-stop, piercing barking (even when we ignore him).
  3. Jean Cote Administrator

    I don’t mean to offend you but you have some major behavioral problems that need attention. A dog biting is extremely dangerous, especially if you say that you needed six stitches.

    He is still young, nearly four months old, so things can still change. But if what you have been doing so far isn’t working, you will need to change your approach. What has your trainer told you to do about the biting and the barking?

    Your dog will be a lot bigger in a few months, and if you think that jumping up is a problem, wait until then!

    I am not sure why you tolerate such bad behavior, why are you letting him bark while you are in the same room? How is he to know that barking is not wanted if you allow him to?

    There is a difference between one or two barks to go outside and a constant never-ending stream of barking. You are absolutely right that he is doing this for attention, but if he barks and he gets attention that he doesn’t like, then he’ll stop. Some people on this forum have used spray bottle successfully to stop unwanted barking, you can use the search as these topics have been discussed in greater details.

    Another useful thing is the loss of freedom. You mention that your dog barks constantly (and for three hours straight) when he is in his crate. Do you want to know why he does this?

    Read what you just wrote, he stops when you let him out. He thinks that is how you get out!!! When he was really young you probably let him out while he was barking and ever since he’s learned to do it.

    My border collie was horrible to crate train. She would bark for 2-3 hours straight into the night before she would stop. The only thing to do is to NEVER let him out while he is barking. Once and only once he stops on his own, should you let him out.

    Now, please don’t walk by the crate and imagine that he has stopped barking. No, he heard you coming so he thinks he’s getting out. You have to wait until he stops on his own, do your own thing, and wear earmuffs if you need, but do not let him out until he is quiet for at least 5 minutes.

    I know of another member who used the spray bottle technique on the barking the crate also. So you could try that too.

    If the barking is annoying your neighbors, the first thing would be to explain to them that you are crate training and the dog is still young. That way they don’t think you are abusing the dog or anything. Second is to place the crate in a room where there are no windows or maybe the basement if you have one.

    I hope this helps a little.
  4. gravelhighway New Member

    My apologies, but I guess I should have explained a bit more of the background of Rosco. Two days after we brought him home, our basement flooded. So we're all confined to the upstairs while the construction is going on downstairs. The crate will only fit in the living room, where we spend most of our time. I'm not sure if this explains some of his behavior, but I've been told by our trainer to have the crate in a separate room.

    Regarding barking, she has told us to use a water bottle while he's in his crate. It was working... for about 3 days. Regarding biting, we have used different deterrents; none that worked. She also said for us to turn around and ignore him, but he's a fast little guy and catches us before we know it. Also, he really enjoys a hand puppet, so we were told this will allow him to bite without hurting us (it's padded).

    Aye, the dog trainer did tell us about the water bottles. However, now he seems to enjoy the water. The little guy seems to be fearless. He enjoys being sprayed in the face (eyes, chest, etc) with water. Regarding the biting, he actually licks Bitter Apple (and 7 other deterrents we've wasted money on) off of our arm/hand/furniture.

    So here's what we've tried as a deterrent so far:
    Bitter Apple (amongst others)
    Water bottles
    Whistles (he gets very hyper when he hears one-silent or not)
    Ignoring him completely/turning our back

    I've started to consider a fire hose since the water bottle has stopped working. :dogbiggrin:

    The only thing we haven't done because of the lack of space is placing him in a dark closet. Also, the trainer said the worst case scenario (because of my ER visit) is to use diluted pepper spray as a biting deterrent.


    My boyfriend just left the living room to watch TV in the bedroom, and I can see Rosco in his crate from my desk. He's sitting quietly eating a bone. :msnmad: It seems that his bone had fallen through the back of the crate. That could have been part of the reason for his insane barking fit.


    I'm so glad that you said that! I always thought he was finally being quiet. When it's time to go outside, he'll typically bark a couple of times. I'll walk up to the crate, he'll hop outside, do his business, then go back into his crate.


    I really do like him, but it's getting to my last nerve. I keep repeating, "he's just a puppy." :dogdry: I've had puppies before.. but none were like him. He's unique. He's like a terrible 2-year-old who says, "No!" everytime you tell him to do something and then runs rampant around the house.

    I'm afraid that he may not be getting enough exercise... or enough playtime. I'm not sure what to do, or if I can even wear down his energy. He hasn't figured out how to retrieve (some Labrador) a ball yet, so that doesn't work. He loves to be chased around the backyard, but the yard isn't all that big (and in the nearby field he runs off). And the lack of attention span certainly doesn't help.

    I take him out to play with him and/or train for 15-20 minutes at least 2 times each day. That doesn't include the times we go for our walks (which are really fun and he's usually well behaved). He's usually quiet when I'm home during the day... until my boyfriend gets home in the evening. Then he thinks it's playtime and won't calm down.

    I am becoming aware of his increasing behavioral problems--I just don't know what to do about them since I can't seem to find anything to deter his behaviors (other than my screaming "OUCH!" when he bites me)! Most of what my trainer says (who sees him every Monday night) doesn't seem to work.
  5. Jean Cote Administrator

    So the basement is out of the question. But, don’t you have a kitchen or a spare bedroom? A closet might be dangerous if you are thinking of closing the door behind him.

    I’m not sure what a crate represents to you, but it should just be a place small little place kind of like a bedroom for your dog. He should like it. My dogs go in their crate on their own all the time when I am not with them.

    The point is this, if the crate is this big cage that the dog is thrown into whenever he does something wrong, he’s going to associate pain to being in it. What you want over time is to get him to like his crate. You can do that by playing a game where you throw treats in his crate and he goes in and gets them. Also by giving him his food (dinner) in his crate, and to let the door open so that he’s not always locked in there if he chooses to go in.

    I’m not sure if this is a metal crate, or a hard plastic crate. But you can always put a cloth on top and on the sides so that the dog does not see you directly. Keep the front towards the opposite end of the room where you are not sitting, standing or that he can see you. Again, a quiet and separate room would be better.

    Well if water isn’t working, stop using it. There is no point in having fun with him especially since you say he likes it. If it is not producing the result that you want, change your approach.

    I would be very worried about having fun with your dog with a hand puppet. This is literally going to teach your dog to bite your hand. He’s going to learn all your hand movements and he is going to know exactly what you are going to do if he decides to bite you. Think of how they train a police dog, they use big pads that the dog can grab.

    * One thing that you could try would be those ultrasonic trainers that we mentioned in another thread (in the talk forum). There should be a seller who sells one in my store.

    Exercise might be a big factor in all of your problems. If he isn’t getting enough exercise, then he will spend all of his energy barking, or doing other bad behaviors.

    Hmm. I hope that this isn’t you that is chasing the dog, because this is one of the worst thing you can do. When you chase a dog, he’s basically going to learn that he is in control of the games, that he can run away from you, that it’s FUN to run away from you, and to ignore all of your commands.

    I would work with him with the retrieving, because this is where you are going to be able to spend all of his energy. A 10 minute play fetch session is going to be a hundred times more effective than a “walk”.

    Get him to play with toys, chase toys, and chase balls.

    One last thing that I wanted to mention and it is the relationship between your two dogs. You haven’t mentioned anything about this, but I suspect that your dog might be relating to your older dog much more than you. When a dog spends all of his time socializing with another dog instead of with you (especially as a puppy), then he will form a bond with the other dog and not with you.

    I literally kept my two dogs apart for the first six months. Of course they could play a few minutes up to 30 minutes a day, but they weren't allowed to play together constantly all day.

    But my goal was to create a relationship with the puppy, so I trained her every couple of hours and gave them both plenty of exercise.
  6. storm22 Experienced Member

    if little bottles of water stop working (which they do) use a bucket of water, koda learnt fast when the buxcket of water came out, but being inside (buckets might cause a problem lolz, a watergun is good, you can shoot from afar and your dog will know that barkings causing the water not you coming up to him

    as for biting
    this might sound cruel but it very well works, when your puppy bites you pick him up by the scruff of the neck and shake like a alpha dog would to a pup in the pack then let him go, he'll probably try it again (because he'll fell he lost) but scruff him again and shake, ive watch storm scruff koda a couple of times and when she tried biting me real hard i did it and she stopped biting (but she still tries to bite everynow and again but she now knows not to) does he stop with your older dog, what is she doing to get him to stop?

    on the energy side of things i too have a pup whos 4months old, she too has energy to burn (she now has no more cover on her kennel to keep the rain out thanks to her puppy teeth) yesterday i took her for a big long walk with the other dogs (storm got injured i wrote about it in another forum) it was about 5km and she was tired afterwards but she managed it, so you could try taking him on longer walks, also walks that need brain work, she explored everywhere storm and luka went (and that is everywhere)

    also you said he loves being chased, (i learnt this too) alpha leaders get chased by those lower in the pack, try putting him on the lead and running round with him following you, changing direction often your dog will be thinking "where is she going? im gunna follow"

    i hope you dont get offended by what ive said, ive have learnt most of these things by myself and im just sharing my knowledge (i wish i had somewhere to ask when i first got my doggys, some of them came with behavioural problems but i also taught storm a few bad habits, which ive suffered and learnt from)

    good luck, sometimes its a hard road but at least you know your not the only one travelling it hehe
  7. Jean Cote Administrator

    I do this and have done this with my puppies. However be prepared that your dog is bigger and stronger and will most likely put up a fight. That is why I recommend a trainer do it the first time so that you can watch.

    When you bring your dog to class, doesn’t the trainer show you how to discipline him when he bites? This water bottle stuff isn’t enough for a dog bite.
  8. gravelhighway New Member

    We have an 1100 square foot home. All of the electronics from downstairs are now upstairs taking up all of the space. Once our basement is finished within the next 2 weeks, we can move the crate downstairs. Until then, we have no room for ourselves, much less a crate. When we brought him home, everything was setup before he arrived. We didn't expect for the basement to flood just a few days later.

    When I brought up the biting this week, our trainer seemed to ignore my cries for help (and showing her my bandaged arm). Even though I bring it up each week, I was rather irritated that she seemingly ignored me.

    The trainer acts as if we don't spend enough time training him (my boyfriend doesn't have the luxury of staying home all day), but everyone else in the class works 40-hour weeks. The truth is, I can only keep his attention for 10-20 seconds, so we're still working on down and sit (which was week 2 training skills). I don't see a point to move on until I can get him to do the basics! So the trainer gets irritated that he doesn't know how to shake, but he can't shake if he won't sit! But we start every training session with look at me. The longer he looks at me, the more I can keep his attention the rest of the training session.

    I thought Rosco is pretty fortunate to have someone home with him most every day. However, I'm starting to think that is making things worse.

    I came up with an idea for my boyfriend to take Rosco for a walk when he gets home from work. That gives them time to spend together without me or Carmella... the boys bonding time. Right now, he ignores my boyfriend's commands, so we'll see how some special bonding time works.

    Carmella, my older Lab, doesn't spend much time with him. She's actually still annoyed by him more than anything. She usually only comes out when he's in the crate. She turned 11 years old yesterday, and she just doesn't have the tolerance to deal with a very excitable puppy.

    Even though she doesn't spend much time with him, she's much more active. Her diabetes has been regulated for the past year (thankfully), but she was still very quiet and wouldn't play much. I would try to take her on walks or play with her favorite rope, and she just wouldn't go (she's typically very obedient). She's been with me over 10 years ... and she just wasn't herself. This is part of why I brought Rosco into the house... the veterinarian said it may help her depression. So the good part in all of this is that she's becoming her 'old' self... she's very playful and I see a twinkle in her eyes that I haven't seen in quite some time. Of course, we go to another room to play out of the sight of Rosco's eyes.

    Oh, and Rosco loves his crate. He hated it until the trainer taught us to rain treats into the cage. Now he happily goes into the crate when I point inside and say crate. Right now (I can see him through a crack in the door), he's sitting inside his crate and chewing on a teething toy. He hasn't made a sound since I put him back into his crate.
  9. Jean Cote Administrator

    When he's quiet, you can always walk up to him and drop a few treats in his crate and tell him good quiet. Keep him there for short periods of time with plenty of exercise in between.

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