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Thread: Problem Puppy

  1. #1

    Question Problem Puppy

    Hello, my cousin has a dog called Ruby. She was found as a puppy almost dead, someone just chucked her out obviously not wanting her, she was only 4 weeks old! Anyway so my cousin took her home, to the vet and now she is around a year old and the opposite of unhealthy. She does however have behavioral problems because she did not grow up with proper discipline from her mother, and my cousin felt sorry for her and never got her in trouble when the dog was naughty because she felt bad. Shes quite a well behaved dog, but she will be living with us for a few weeks while my cousin finds a dog friendly place to live. Here are some of her problems, would anyone have any idea how to fix them?

    • Using her mouth the play with hands, while she doesnt bite her teeth are very sharp!
    • Running away if she gets out the front, she doesn't run away completely she wanders and if you approach her she will run away in a very playful way.
    • Jumping on people if they run
    • Barking at the cat if the cat doesn't want to play with her
    • Not getting off furniture when she is told
    • Picking up toys around the house and chewing on them (Childrens toys, however I don't know if this is because she is still a puppy)


    Because she didn't grow up around other dogs, she never knew the rules and didn't quite understand pack hierarchy, however after spending a while with my dog she learnt that if a dog growls and shows it teeth it doesn't want to play and she would leave. Luckily my dog is very patient and gentle and only snaps if Ruby does not stop invading her space, however she never bites her. So could anyone give me any tips on how to teach her how to stop the problems she has above, methods or anything! We've started using a spray bottle every time she barks at the cat however I don't know if its the best idea. Any suggestions or criticism is welcome! Thankyou!

  2. #2
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    Using her mouth the play with hands, while she doesnt bite her teeth are very sharp!

    My dog does this but i don't care about it because she isnt rough and when i say gentle she licks me and be's gentle. Maybe someone could teach her that command?

    Running away if she gets out the front, she doesn't run away completely she wanders and if you approach her she will run away in a very playful way.

    Sounds like she is just keen for a walk and a play. If she stays in your sight i wouldnt worry to much, but the owner could teach her the stay command. My dog has never been taught this but she never runs away from me she always stays within my sight. If she can't see me she freaks out. She has learnt 'stay' over time i think. but i've never really tried to teach her. I find the stronger the bold the more they respect you and listen to you.

    Jumping on people if they run

    Not really sure how to fix this problem.. But if you search on youtube there are millions of training videos on how to stop dogs jumping.


    Barking at the cat if the cat doesn't want to play with her

    For this you could teach her the 'leave it' command. Once again if you search on youtube there are millions of training videos telling you how.

    Not getting off furniture when she is told

    Teach her the 'down' or 'off' command.

    Picking up toys around the house and chewing on them (Childrens toys, however I don't know if this is because she is still a puppy)

    This is a puppy trait.. Usually they grow out of it over a few years but some dont. It can be worked on with the leave it command also..

    i'm no dog trainer... but i hope this helps. and i'm sure more experienced people will comment on this and give you more advice or even tell you how to teach these things directly or have better ideas.

    Good luck!
    No one loves you like your dog does.

  3. #3
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    Hi emcne!

    For a pup thats had such a rough start and hasn't had much discipline, she doesn't sound too bad. But there's clearly room for improvement.

    Biting: do a search on 'bite inhibition' on the forum or the web for tips. The most common advice is to stop all interaction immediately if they use their teeth. You could also walk away and leave the room if needed

    Jumping on runners: do a search on LAT or Look At That. Worked really well for this with my dog.

    Running away from you: I think she needs more recall training. Call, reward, release. Lots and lots of times. Maybe a good idea to grab her collar each time before you reward her, so she doesn't try to dart away if you do need to put her on the lead. At that age I also rewarded my dog for coming inside and jumping in the car.

    For the barking at the cat you could use time out or teach her to go to her bed.

    And for off the couch just give her a treat every time she jumps off and then start using the word off or down and reinforced with treats.

    Good luck! Hope she settles in soon.

  4. #4
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    Sounds like a normal pup to me and she will improve with time, I have a 10 mth old GSD girl who does much the same but she doesn't chew things we don't want her to chew because we don't leave them laying around. We don't have a cat so that's not a problem either.
    With puppies you need the patience of a saint and some Valium too.
    Chloe & Zorro
    Rottweilers and German Shepherds are Family

  5. #5
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    Hi Emcne16, welcome to the forum . I think it is great that you want to help your cousin with her dog. And how great that she saved the puppy from certain death. Good on the both of you!

    Using her mouth the play with hands, while she doesnt bite her teeth are very sharp!
    Agree with Beloz. Bite inhibition training is great. Bite Inhibition Training | Karen Pryor Clicker Training << here's a good read from Karen Pryor. It may also help you with chewing on toys, though I suspect this could be a boredom thing and she needs to be redirected to what she CAN chew on.

    Running away if she gets out the front, she doesn't run away completely she wanders and if you approach her she will run away in a very playful way.
    You can use your next problem to help solve this...
    Jumping on people if they run
    Most dogs instictively chase fast moving objects running away from them. This means things like small furry animals, other dogs and people. If the dog gets out the front, I'd call her name to get her attention and then run in the other direction in a zigzag fashion (as this is how prey animals try to save themselves, darting side to side as they run). use this technique when trying to get her back. On the other side of it, prevention is better than a cure and you need to work on prevention. This includes training not to run out the front door when it is open. You can do this with the dog on lead. Practice opening the door with the dog in a sit position next to you. If you open the door and the dog gets up to run out the door (which it most likely will, the door needs to be closed and process repeated. If the dog doesn't move then you can close the door and reward the dog. The process is more detailed than this but that's the jist of it. You can teach it to have a place that is stands or sits when the front door is opened, it doesn't ahve to be next to you, but it's a good place to start.

    Barking at the cat if the cat doesn't want to play with her
    It depends why the dog is barking and what her behaiour is. If she is just standing there and barking at the cat, then I would distract the dog with soemthing more fun to do than the cat. If the dog chases or is over-excited about the cat, I'd work on teaching the dog to be calm around the cat. This can also be done on lead. The dog walks with you towards the cat, if if starts to gfet excited you walk away. Once it is calm again, you repeat.

    Not getting off furniture when she is told
    Well it seems quite obvious to me, but why not say "OFF" and then grab her collar and pull her down from the couch? Once she is down redirect her to where she is allowed to lie, perhaps on her bed? This way she knows that when she hears "OFF" she better get down before you help her down, and you teach her where she IS meant to lie. Also teach her something like "On your bed" or similar and walk her to her bed then release her from her bed and reward.

    Picking up toys around the house and chewing on them (Childrens toys, however I don't know if this is because she is still a puppy)
    I'd try to keep other toys to minimum access to the pup. It obviously wants to do something and the toys are closest thing to chew. Does she have her own toys? If so, are they taken off her and used as rewards and rotated so she has a new toy everyday (not really new, but it's put away and brought out every few days so they thinks it's as good as new)? This will help.

    How much exercise does the dog get? Ensuring your dog is well exercised and mentally stimulated helps limit destructive behaviours such as chewing, digging, etc. Perhaps more interactive toys may help relieve the possible boredom at home. There are many toys out there. I'm sure people on this forum can suggest toys they have used on their dogs that will help

    I'd also seriously look into obedience classes in your area. This will help with claiming the leadership position over the dog and will also help with the other training. If you give an idea of where you are located we can help direct you to a good obedience club local to you

    It sounds like this pup is pretty good given it's lack of socialisation with it's litter mates and what not. Your cousin is doing a great job.

  6. #6
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