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Thread: Stop Some Bad Habits

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    Inner West Sydney
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    Default Stop Some Bad Habits

    Hi all!

    My dad and I have constantly been arguing over Milo's bad habits and he is completely fed up with him. I find this quite lazy of him as he only knows how to complain but not try fix anything.

    So Milo has quite a few bad habits which we can't seem to get rid of.

    1. He likes shoes. No matter how high we place them on appropriate furniture and places, he still goes looking for them then starts chewing on them. I think he's gained this habit as he manages to get our attention (not so much a good attention) whenever he does this so he just continues it. Whenever we try to get the shoe off Milo, he thinks it's a game and starts running away. From this, we weren't able to do the 'usual' methods of 'punishment':
    - time out > he just runs too fast we can't catch him to even put him on time out.
    - ignoring him (so he knows this doesn't grab our attention so he can stop doing it) > he ends up mauling the shoe instead.
    - any form of light smacking > again, he runs away thinking it's a game.
    This normally happens when no one has been playing with him for 10 minutes. Sometimes it's immediately after we stop playing with him because we need to study/cook/watch TV (he doesn't watch TV with us... always demands attention and some action).

    2. He deliberately goes to places in the house he knows he isn't allowed to go to. For example, upstairs or the formal couch (which he has not yet destroyed). We made it clear that he isn't allowed up/on there from the very beginning as we used the 'time out punishment' and blocking his access. But for the past fortnight, he seems to do whatever he pleases despite still receiving 'punishment' and big loud "no"s.


    So yeah... I'd like to be able to train this behaviour out of him since I'm just getting sick of arguments. Need to keep in mind though - my dad will not cooperate. He will always roll his eyes, complain, and go on saying how much money he's losing from Milo just being a dog.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Inner West Sydney
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    Default

    Oops. Forgot to add...

    3. He cannot stand being outside when we're inside. He's an inside/outside dog so I think it may be he prefers the inside or he wants to be with us all the time. But sometimes we just can't keep an eye on him and he needs to be outside where he can't knock over vases or something dangerous like that. But anyway, when he's outside, he barks non-stop. Milo only barks when he needs to poo/hungry/wants to come inside. How do I let him know that being outside is not a bad thing? He has all his meals outside and we spend quite a bit of time with him outside and he hasn't had any bad experiences outside that I'm aware of.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    S.E. Subs Melbourne
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    Default

    Sounds like your dog lacks basic obedience training and is desperate for some environmental enrichment.

    A quick search through these forums will help you with a HUGE amount of ideas / methods.

    K9pro dog threads have a heap of relevant things for you as well.

    P.S. I don't condone hitting your dog nor do I think you will ever achieve any type of positive response.

    Good luck

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Brisbane
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    2,388

    Default

    I sometimes use a short sharp smack on the bottom with my dogs when they are babies. Particularly if they are chewing something dangerous like electrical cable. Gives them a fright but doesnt hurt. Then the object is removed and they are given something else to chew instead.

    Note, I dont always use this method...but I personally don't really see anything wrong with a bit of a smack on the botty when needed.

    OP, how old is pup? If he is a teenager then he is maybe just trying to push the boundaries of what is allowed and what is not....like all teenagers. You just need patience and perseverance

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
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    Adelaide
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    My dog likes shoes too.

    There are some shoes that are her shoes. She knows which ones. She does prefer my shoes but I keep the door to that room shut as best I can.

    But when she gets one of my shoes, I never ever scold her. She quite frequently brings it to me. Often after she's chewed it a bit, but usually that's when I've left her to entertain herself instead of giving her something else to do. Ie to stop a dog (or toddler) from doing something you must give it something else to do that you want it to do.

    There is no point punishing the dog. You need to give it something else to do.

    Frosty will trade most anything for a yummy treat, so I have a stash of these on hand for trading moments. So she's very good at trading for baseballs, strapping tape, shoes... Ie I've effectively trained her to find and fetch these things in order to get the yummy treat - which is usually a tiny piece of roast meat. When we first started learning to trade, I would chuck five or so highly visible treats around her (little cubes of bread with promite on them are good for this), and she'd let go her contraband and I'd praise her and she'd eat the treats.

    My dog loves a game of nyah nyah can't catch me but also hates being shut outside on her own. Will sulk instead of chewing at this point.

    I've taught her what "shutting the door" means and what "in or out" means. She will usually come inside at this point and give up the game because when she doesn't, I shut the door and leave her out there until she's quiet and at least five minutes have gone by (I use a timer).

    Useful things to have taught your dog that will help with trading for contraband.
    1. A really good recall with really yummy treats.
    2. A remote drop ie practice getting your dog to drop here, there and anywhere. This is a fun thing to do while watching tv.
    3. A good understanding of "its yer choice" - also fun in front of the TV.
    4. A love of his crate. Sometimes you need a time out from a demanding dog. If he will stay in his crate and maybe chew on a kong with frozen food in it (good thing to trade for shoe), or squirrel dude with kibble, you can all be happy. To make the kong more attractive, you and your dad can play a very hammed up excited game of catch with it, like it's the best toy ever and evil hound may not have it...
    5. A love of his mat. start small, give him treat for being on his mat for one second, then two seconds... make it a rule to play treat games only when he's on his mat. Make him wait a few minutes (build up from seconds) on his mat, while you get his dinner sorted, or with his dinner on the floor in front of him. Periodically (eg when the ads come on the telly) give the dog some more treats for being on the mat.
    6. Did I mention a nice long walk instead of the first hour of TV?

    Oh and he barks outside because that gets him inside again. You might have to go make a pact with your neighbours... that you're going to re-train this, and you will not open the door for the dog outside, until he shuts up for a second. You will not talk to him through the door. If he shuts up, you let him in and give a treat. Gradually build up the time he must stay quiet before he gets let in. I will not open the door for my dog if she's barking. One woof to let me know I've forgotton someone is ok but continous barking is not. This kind of thing is best practiced when nobody is interested in sleeping much eg going to work time and getting home from school time.

    And you definitely want to google some dog trainers like
    k9pro.com.au
    susan garrett
    and Lesley Nelson ...
    and do some reading on "learning theory" or science ie classical conditioning, and operant conditioning and dog training. And maybe some more stuff about clicker training (you don't need to use a clicker, the word "yes" works just fine.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Inner West Sydney
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    Default

    Thanks for the advice guys. Milo's 6 months old in 6 days. He's getting desexed today so I'll try start the training tomorrow.

    We do let Milo in when he stops barking, but I think like 5 seconds after he's stopped. Any longer than that he starts barking again, so we let him in after the first round and he's silent.

    I've been working on remote sit for a while now but he still prefers to sit directly infront of me hahaha. Even if he's 3m away, I tell him to sit, he runs up to me and then sits. About 1/10 times he will remote sit when I want him to.

    The reason why I thought I should punish instead of giving him a toy to chew on was because I thought it was rewarding the behaviour. But I'll try giving him a toy to chew on after the shoe. Sometimes he drops the toys and runs for the shoes lol.

    He doesn't have any designated mat though... Maybe I should make one or is it really necessary?

    Milo goes on 30 min walks 30 mins after he has and we all have finished dinner. Only we watch TV after dinner, but he is still so active lol.

    Milo's currently clicker trained and knows all the basic commands like stay, sit, down, come, fetch, etc. and some party tricks. He knows what inside and outside means but chooses not to obey the outside command lol. Even if we're going outside with him so he can potty, he hesitates about going outside.

    I have lots of patience haha. Actually, I'm the only patient member of the family. The rest get annoyed easily...

    I have skimmed through some of the training guides and will give those a go.

  7. #7
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    Adelaide
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    What you would be rewarding with the toy for shoe trade - is dropping the shoe. When this is working reliably you can add a cue like "thank you" (for dropping the contraband).

    A mat would be very handy, ie it's something for your dog to do and be, instead of getting into mischief everywhere else. I have a designated place for my dog in every room of the house that she's allowed in. ie one mat in the kitchen, a crate in the lounge room, and a hammock bed in the office and her bed in my bedroom.

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