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Thread: Too Submissive

  1. #1

    Default Too Submissive

    Hello Dog Lovers,

    I have a new 3 1/2 month old red cattle dog cross kelpie that I adopted from the pound. She is very cuties (I'm not biased I swear) and has a very shy personality. We have only been together for 2 weeks now so there are still some kinks to work out but she is settling in nicely.

    Training in some aspects has been going well and in others very poorly.

    Training that has gone well:
    - She is excellent on the leash now and doesn't pull or constantly swap sides and get caught in between your legs.
    - Off leash she never strays far and will keep coming back to ensure that everything is OK
    - Toilet training went very well for the first week although there has been 2 accidents in the last 2 days
    - She doesn't chew everything only her bones and toys.
    - She doesn't bark.
    - She doesn't cry when you leave.
    - She sits on command

    Now to the problem I am having. When trying to train her she has a tendency to flop down or roll over on her back to avoid the training. Then when you try and get her on her feet she takes a step then flops back down again. She will also do this if she doesn't want to go outside.

    I am not sure how to deal with this and it is making additional training very difficult and frustrating.

    She is great with other humans but seems scared of other dogs and tends to drop and roll onto her back in a submissive position when confronted. It seems to be her go to move.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks

    David

    PS Here is a photo .... can only get them when she is asleep as she is camera shy.

    IMAG0054.jpg

    See I told you she was cute
    Last edited by Archilies; 11-17-2014 at 12:32 PM.

  2. #2
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    Hi Archillies

    welcome to the world of cattle dog mixes...

    "constantly swap sides" - hmm, my dog still does that. I feel like I have my own personal orbiting moon... I can get her to stay on one side but it takes a lot of work from me.

    When trying to train her she has a tendency to flop down or roll over on her back to avoid the training.
    my dog also does this...

    seems scared of other dogs and tends to drop and roll onto her back in a submissive position when confronted
    You probably want to encourage this - especially in a cattle dog - you may find at around 18 months to 2 years old she is quite happy to take up the role of park bully - and expects all other smaller or younger dogs to roll over for her.

    You may find she gets more comfortable with distance off leash as she gets older too.. My dog learned to forage at a very young age and will happily nick off across the park to "forage" or "bush range" treats off other park users.

    This might be cute now but can be quite annoying later especially when other park users reward her for pushing in front of their dog and jumping on them. Which can lead to dog fights and bleeding humans.

    It can also stuff up your recall when you spot the bag of discarded takeaaway chicken bones and want to call her back to you.

    At least that's what happened to me so now I let her off leash much less.

    As for the rolling over thing... I get this in two situations (apart from greetings which I don't mind), when she doesn't understand what I want - or worse - someone yelled at her and she doesn't know what they want... and when she wants me to let her go (do her own thing).

    At least as far as letting her go - it usually means she's calmed down a lot tho she may still leap up and chase the bird or cat or whatever it was I grabbed her for in the first place.

    If you're training something and she rolls over, perhaps one way is to just wait - be very boring, don't say anything, don't make direct eye contact - puppy attention spans are usually very short, and praise her with attention as soon as she gets up.

    It may be she thinks she's getting attention for rolling over. My dog will pick people out from a distance to give her belly rubs and run up to them then roll over... and it works. She's a most excellent people trainer.

    The other thing could be - 3.5 months old - rule of thumb is about 5 mins of exercise or training per month of age - so if you've been going longer than 20 minutes - she might be exhausted (mentally or physically or both) and you need to give her a break. At least equal time. But puppies need to sleep a lot.

    Most of my training sessions - including set up are around 5 minutes and then we do something else. If I go much longer than that - with someething new - I tend to get punished where all the good work she was doing - just goes to hell... and we need a break.

    My dog is about 7 years now. She still gets mistaken for a puppy tho she's a lot less playful with other dogs than she used to be.

    Oh and be patient - it can take more than a month for a new puppy to settle in.

  3. #3
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    I have a newfoundland that does the flop thing and it is due to whatever the previous owners did to him. I have found that leaving a leash on him and just picking it up and sayin happily "off we go" has helped him enormously. When he gets up we make is a happy moment. they are less and less now.the leash seemed less worrying compared to trying to grab the collar. he still does it if you ask him to go inside sometimes so for that i walk outside with another dog and recall the other dog in and he follows...We don't make a fuss over it. He is better than he was .......I prefer dogs to be submissive in greeting, especially the smaller dogs. If my dog was fearful of other dogs, i would give the dog space and not push them toward other dogs and reward them when they were still comfortable...give them time and really try to only let them meet dogs you know are well mannered. the last thing you want is for a fearful dog to meet horrible dogs or just rude dogs or even too playful and pushy with no manners (the my dog is friendly dog) as this can set off into fear aggression if pushed too much....give them space and time
    Last edited by newfsie; 11-17-2014 at 03:35 PM.
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  4. #4
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    Our Border Collie X did the flop thingy too. She flopped onto her back as soon as she got nervous which was pretty much all the time. Some people suggested she was only avoiding training as well but I think she was just really nervous about us.

    Maybe it's your body language intimidating her. Since I learned to pay more attention to what I'm actually doing the problem has almost completely disappeared. When she used to ignore a command I'd repeat it a bit louder and leaning a bit forward... and she'd flop onto her back. She felt threatened by me. So now when I give her a command and she ignores me or gives me calming signals (tongue flicking, averting eyes, looking the other way,...) I take a little step backwards to get out of her space and say it again in exactly the same tone of voice and making sure I'm not leaning forward... works almost always. Problem gone
    Last edited by margoo; 11-17-2014 at 09:31 PM.

  5. #5
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    Maggie did that until she was 2 now she is trying to be the beach bully. Showed her teeth to a pack of 3 huskies who were crowding, foolish at times. Stroppy.
    I like Newsies comment, sounds on the money.
    Last edited by farrview; 11-17-2014 at 11:03 PM.

  6. #6

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    Wow... thank you all for the feedback. It is very helpful to get first hand knowledge from people who have had dog go through the same issue. Hyacinth, it sounds like we have twins. I think that it might be a combination of me not being clear enough and what Margoo said about repeating the command in a stronger tone. It looks like we both need training. So for my part I will not repeat in a harsher tone, ignore/avoid eye contact, be more patient and try and be clearer. For her part she will have to try and put up with me .

    Thank you all for getting back to me so quickly. I will try and post updates once I have had a chance to see what works.

  7. #7
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    Archillies

    If she likes food - you can test her anxiety level by offering a bit of food. If she won't take her favourite food (eg a bit of roast chicken or cooked sausage), then you know she's completely freaked out, and any kind of harshness will make her more freaked out like giving her a good reason to be freaked out instead of giving her the time to figure out that nothing bad is going to happen.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hyacinth View Post
    Archillies

    If she likes food - you can test her anxiety level by offering a bit of food. If she won't take her favourite food (eg a bit of roast chicken or cooked sausage), then you know she's completely freaked out, and any kind of harshness will make her more freaked out like giving her a good reason to be freaked out instead of giving her the time to figure out that nothing bad is going to happen.
    Then there is definitely nothing to worry about because this one will not pass up food under any conditions. I have her booked in to a puppy kindy for saturday . I tried some training this morning being more patient and watching my tone and it went fairly well until I think she was a little confused and just rolled over laid there ad wagged her tail util I ignored her and turned away then she got up ad came running around to sit in front of me.

    So I think all is going to go well.

    Thanks again for the advice. She is definitely a keeper and I would hate to do something to make her fear me as we have maybe 15 more years together.

  9. #9
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    If she will not pass up food - use food as a reward for "sit" and then if she rolls over - you can say "sit" and see if that works.

    Beware of using food to lure a position - it needs to be revealed after the desired action is performed.

    If you can get the sit without the cue - and then reward - so much the better because if the cue is rewarded often enough - it becomes the reward and ...

    the dog will do something like roll over to get the sit cue (reward)...

    My dog will nick off so I call her back and she thinks she's getting a treat for that - I have to be careful not to reward her chaining naughty to get a cue and a reward...

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