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Thread: My Many Problems

  1. #1

    Default My Many Problems

    So I have an 8 month Rhodesian Ridgeback x bitch that I love very much, but she causes quite a few headaches. Lets go through them one by one, some not so much problems as queries.

    1. Ridiculous energy levels - I know RRs have very high endurance but this dog just doesn't get tired! In the morning I take her for a 30-40 minute walk/jog depending on what I have to do that day. It doesn't get her tired at all but she generally sleeps all day after it. If she doesn't get it she will destroy the yard though. In the evening I walk her 10 minutes to the park where there's a big community of dogs. We all walk around the park together and the dogs all wrestle and chase each other around (her with 10x the intensity of the others). This will be at least 45 minutes so by the time I get home she's had an hour of exercise/fun. She then gets fed and goes to sleep. Problem is, at around 11pm or when I'm ready for bed, she's wide awake and ready to play again! I know no one can help me on this on, I'm just venting.

    2. Destroying the backyard - I couldn't care less about the backyard, but I live with my mother and her partner who care about the yard very much. We've now had to resort to tying my dog up at night because she does so much damage to the gardens and lawns. She digs holes anywhere they can be dug and she eats plants, one time she literally tore a 2 metre tree out of the ground. I've been using vix on the plants which seems to work, as does filling holes up with her own poo. But she'll still have a go at anything she can get to. The tying up at night is going OK, she is crazy active when I get up but that's fine. But I'd rather her not be tied up at all. I have a good rotation of toys for her but she doesn't seem interested in them unless someone is playing with them with her. Any one else had similar problems?

    3. Recall - She's had training and she was excellent in everything we did. But as soon as we leave the house she is pretty terrible. She is friendly to a fault and will try and get at any one or thing that passes us when we walk, or anyone at the park. But the main problem is the recall. At training she would come back to me all the time. At the park she'll come back, but it could take 3 hours. If there's someone more interesting to attend to, she'll ignore me until she's done playing. I have treats that she loves but if she can't smell them she doesn't care. It's quite annoying.

    4. Random timidness - This is the major problem at the moment. At around 6 months old she began acting really weird to some people. There is no pattern to it. One day we'll walk past an old man and she'll be normal, wanting to jump all over the man, but nothing out of the ordinary. The next day we'll pass another old man doing nothing differently and she'll freak out. Sometimes it's kids, one time it was a lady wheeling her bin in. One time she even freaked out at a garage roller door opening, and we have a garage roller door at home! She doesn't really get aggression, but she lets out a deep bark and looks extremely concerned. If she's off lead she'll run at the person, stopping just short then running back, and so forth. It's quite odd. I've been told it's a phase some dogs go through during the 6-10 month period so I hope that's all it is.

    5. Chasing everything - As I said, we go to an off-leash park and she runs around freely. But lately I've had to have her on leash around children because she goes up to to them and if they freak out she'll freak out as well and if they run she'll chase. She knocked over a little boy the other week and since then I haven't let her off leash with small kids around. She does the same with small dogs. If dogs don't want to play with her she will leave them alone, but a lot of smaller dogs will start to run and she can't help herself. Even if the small dogs do want to play, she's too big (close to 30kg) and doesn't realise it, so she hurts them.

    I think that's about it

    Any help/advice/comments would be appreciated.

  2. #2
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    Some of these issues go hand in hand.
    Energy levels and backyard destroying.
    Recall and chasing everything.

    I think taking her to dog school will help a lot. Not only on the recall, but socialisation with people and dogs.
    She seems to be getting a sufficient amount of exercise, does she have toys to keep her occupied?
    And remember, she is still a puppy, she will calm down. Is she desexed?
    Education not Legislation

  3. #3
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    Buddhy

    8 months is right in the middle of doggy adolescence - so think rampaging teenager. So many dogs end up back at the pound at this age.

    Have a read of this and the other articles - starting with the "behaviour" ones on this website.
    Dog Training Article - Puppy Development Schedule - K9 Pro

    around 11pm or when I'm ready for bed, she's wide awake and ready to play again
    My dog does this too - as best I can tell it means she needs to go to the toilet. A little bit of fetch the tennis ball and then standing around being boring seems to get things moving in the right direction and then it's all good. But mine is an inside dog - she sleeps next to my bed. What use is a protective dog - locked out the back - if the burglars break in the front?

    Night digging - you may need to invest in a crate for your dog, so she has her spot to sleep and cannot get to the plants. Or you may need to fence off the plants. I don't like tying dogs up - because they can do themselves serious damage that way. Note - don't just shove the dog in the crate - train her to love it (food helps).

    Recall and any other training needs to be "generalised" with all the people and places that you might go to. After about 20 or so different places the dog starts to get the idea that "come" means "come" wherever you are. You might want to start the training from scratch, set up for success at home (ie where the dog doesn't make mistakes) and then take it out to places where there are not many distractions and retrain...

    Build up slowly with loads of high value treats. Learn how to get a "conditioned response". Ie dog doesn't think about better things to do, dog just comes.

    And get Lesley Nelson's DVD "really reliable recall".

    Random timidness - goes with the age. It is important to supervise your dog and prevent any aggressiveness (block/distract/reward attention on you), and encourage friendliness. Its important not to encourage any behaviour you don't want. EG - no yelling at her if she behaves inappropriately because she will see that as you joining in and encouraging her, just prevent her from doing any damage, and ignore the old man. And refer back to the generalisation - one old man does not smell or sound the same as the next, same with roller doors etc.

    As for her wanting to jump on people - really bad. Teach her something else to do. I made my dog sit every time a jogger, bike or car went past (she's a heeler - wanted to bite all these). Its very important to show her how you want her to behave at this age rather than let her develop her own bad habits. It won't go away harmlessly without your guidance. Never scold for warning growls - you need these. Again, block/distract/reward attention on you. If you punish warning growls all that happens is the dog will attack with no warning.

    As for the chasing - yup, stays on lead until she can recall reliably. And remember to practice your recall in every new place you go.

  4. #4

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    Cheers Hyacinth. I'm doing a lot of what you suggest- blocking/distracting/rewarding attention with the freak outs; starting recall from scratch (though her drive to go play with other dogs is extremely high and is likely going to be a problem for a while); and I've started to get her to sit when someone approaches. It's actually much better when they have a dog with them (unless it's not a friendly dog), because she'll just say hello to them and not annoy the owner.

    I was thinking about getting a crate. Do you think I would be better off getting a larger exercise pen type crate instead of just a containment one? Because she doesn't sleep all through the night and if she's awake I'd rather she have some room to move around.

    Quote Originally Posted by aussiemyf7 View Post
    I think taking her to dog school will help a lot. Not only on the recall, but socialisation with people and dogs.
    She seems to be getting a sufficient amount of exercise, does she have toys to keep her occupied?
    And remember, she is still a puppy, she will calm down. Is she desexed?
    The problem is, at dog school it was mostly smaller dogs and she wouldn't chase them at all. I swear the trainer didn't believe me when I told her all the problems I was having, she was the perfect dog at training every week. I've finished that training but I am thinking of getting some more for her, seeing as she obviously needs it.

    And she does have a lot of toys but as I said, she rarely plays with them when she's left alone with them. I have a big rotation of them so when I give her one she hasn't had for a while she's very interested but it will be left untouched overnight. And she is desexed, yes.

  5. #5
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    Hi Buddhy

    If you want room for the dog to move at night, you're going to need a dog run ie something like a giant crate. A pen she will probably just leap out of. But the studies on confined dogs show that unless they have a huge space ie more than 10m in each direction, they tend to sleep while they're confined anyway. That's what my dog does when I'm out and I leave her in the house. You want to encourage her to sleep at night time - yes?

    Consider getting Susan Garrett's Crate games - for training your dog to be happy inside a crate, and to get your dog more focussed on having fun with you. You may also want to visit some other dog clubs that have more variety of dog shapes and sizes.

    It's not ok for your dog to jump all over other dogs, or rush up to them to greet either, because some other dogs take great offence to this and fights can start. My dog crawls and rolls over to greet new dogs and people. But a drop and stay is a good start.

    It's not the dog that needs training - it's you. Ie you need to know how to deal with the problems you're having and you need to know how to get the dog to pay attention to you no matter where you are or what the distractions are. Have a bit of a google for "distraction proofing" - ie you work out what all the things are that grab your dog's attention and then sort them from extreme to hardly at all and then do your training drills with the lowest distractions and gradually build up over many short sessions (5 minutes tops), to the big distractions. The crate training dvd covers this fairly well. You may also want to consider getting Susan Garrett's book "Ruff love" though K9pro's "nothing in life is free" program is similar. (google NILIF as well).

  6. #6
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    Hi, Buddhy

    Others have given some good advise. More training? Yes! Better understanding of your dog? Yes! Just because you have an idea an expectation of the sort of dog you'd like her to be, she's not aware of this It's up to you to put the work in to help her grow into the "dream dog" you've been imagining

    Also, all the problems you are experiencing are pretty normal for someone with med/large breed 8-month old puppy. Not only do you need to get a hold on the problems your experiencing, but you should expect for at least some of those problems to continue until your dog is 2-years old, give or take a few months. That doesn't mean you can't enjoy her in the meantime, it just means that she's a puppy, and needs guidance, training, and patience at this stage in her life. And, yes, this will go wrong

    My immediate thoughts are that it sounds like the dogs is walking you, and that come night time, she's bored and unsure what she's supposed to be doing. If you are walking, especially, on a lead, your dog should not be greeting other dogs, people, anything, without you indicating that she's allowed to. Sound harsh? Too bad. When on lead (and, hopefully, off lead, too!), you are in charge, no exceptions. When walking my two, they aren't allowed to sniff stuff, either We walk, with me leading, and going where I say to go, and with purpose. They have free time on walks, as well, where they can sniff, run around, and do their own thing within reason, but, I'm the boss If your dog is jumping on, pulling, walking ahead of your, or greeting people, you are not in charge on your walk, and possibly in other areas of her training. Something to look into, perhaps. Hyacinth gave some good sources of information.

    Secondly, destruction = boredom. It sounds like your dog is awake at night, and doesn't know what to do with herself, so, she destroys stuff. I agree with the others, either invest in a bed or a crate that you can train her to sleep in, or, give her more things to do at night if you can't. Bones, food toys, resistance toys, whatever works. But, realistically, she eventually needs to learn that nighttime is for sleeping.

  7. #7
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    Turbo Chook - Products - Aussie Dog Products

    You might want to get one or two of these things and find a place to hang them up for your dog. It's not the whole answer but as long as she's getting something different on a regular basis, plus all the other stuff going in, ie trick training tires a dog out as much as a long walk because it works their brain...

    The aussie dog products are not quite indestructable but they are the most heavy duty dog toys I've ever seen.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hyacinth View Post
    It's not ok for your dog to jump all over other dogs, or rush up to them to greet either, because some other dogs take great offence to this and fights can start. My dog crawls and rolls over to greet new dogs and people. But a drop and stay is a good start.

    It's not the dog that needs training - it's you. Ie you need to know how to deal with the problems you're having and you need to know how to get the dog to pay attention to you no matter where you are or what the distractions are. Have a bit of a google for "distraction proofing" - ie you work out what all the things are that grab your dog's attention and then sort them from extreme to hardly at all and then do your training drills with the lowest distractions and gradually build up over many short sessions (5 minutes tops), to the big distractions. The crate training dvd covers this fairly well. You may also want to consider getting Susan Garrett's book "Ruff love" though K9pro's "nothing in life is free" program is similar. (google NILIF as well).
    I don't let her run up to dogs unless she knows them. As I said, there's a big community at the park and they all know each other. If she doesn't know them she will run near them but stop short and check them out. If they don't look friendly she won't go any further. On the lead I generally don't let her do anything except walk unless I do already know the other dog/person. And I'll look into the distraction stuff, because getting her mind off of something she's interested in is a huge hassle at the moment.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kristy_07 View Post
    My immediate thoughts are that it sounds like the dogs is walking you, and that come night time, she's bored and unsure what she's supposed to be doing. If you are walking, especially, on a lead, your dog should not be greeting other dogs, people, anything, without you indicating that she's allowed to. Sound harsh? Too bad. When on lead (and, hopefully, off lead, too!), you are in charge, no exceptions. When walking my two, they aren't allowed to sniff stuff, either We walk, with me leading, and going where I say to go, and with purpose. They have free time on walks, as well, where they can sniff, run around, and do their own thing within reason, but, I'm the boss If your dog is jumping on, pulling, walking ahead of your, or greeting people, you are not in charge on your walk, and possibly in other areas of her training. Something to look into, perhaps. Hyacinth gave some good sources of information.
    Yeah as I said, walking on the lead I don't let her do anything but walk, unless it's unavoidable. Sometimes I'll let her greet a new dog if she isn't too excited and she's quite good with that. But as I said to Hyacinth, walking can be hard because everything is far more interesting to her then walking or I am.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kristy_07 View Post
    Secondly, destruction = boredom. It sounds like your dog is awake at night, and doesn't know what to do with herself, so, she destroys stuff. I agree with the others, either invest in a bed or a crate that you can train her to sleep in, or, give her more things to do at night if you can't. Bones, food toys, resistance toys, whatever works. But, realistically, she eventually needs to learn that nighttime is for sleeping.
    This is the ideal solution haha. I never realised dogs had to be trained to sleep at night. All my other dogs have just slept whenever the family has slept. I figured it was a puppy thing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hyacinth View Post
    Looks good. I have tried similar things, hanging toys or tying them to trees. She loses interest quick but that looks much better.

    Thanks for the help guys.

  9. #9

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    Ok here's a new one for you guys, kind of similar to #4 of the original post. At least 2 months ago, possibly 3, we were at the beach and she was playing with two huge dogs, a Great Dane and an Irish Wolfhound. As they were running, the GD ran right over her and crushed her. It is the one and only time I've heard her yelp. Straight away she became very scared of them, specifically the IW which she thought was the one that crushed her. She began barking and pretty much doing what she does with random humans in the street.

    Since that day she does exactly the same thing to these two dogs every time we see them. Generally I'll go to the beach between 8-9 and the guy is there with his dogs every day at 10 or 11, but sometimes I'll go later and see them. She'll be playing great with every single dog at the beach but as soon as she sees them she just goes nuts. Never attacking, but running right up to them and barking very nervously. They're the nicest dogs you'll ever meet and they just carry on with what they're doing but she'll continue to watch them and bark even when they're 100 metres away. I'll try and distract her and I have to resort to literally grabbing her head and facing it towards me or the other way, but her eyes are always looking at the two dogs. It's very strange.

    She's never shown any aggression to any other dogs, not even ones that have attacked her. I was just reading newfsie's thread about calming techniques and I'll definitely be trying that out but will that actually fix the problem? Because I don't just want to have to calm her down every time she sees these dogs, I want her not to do it.

  10. #10
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    Hi Buddhy

    I had a problem where my dog got attacked by a crazy whippett so she became terrified of all whippetts. And I managed with some carefully supervised greetings to get her to understand that not all whippets are crazy and aggressive.

    In your case, if I spotted a major distraction like those two dogs, I would put her on lead so she can't run up to them and bark. I would try working with her at a distance where she will take a treat or play tug or do some heel work and then gradually close the distance, giving heaps of praise for paying attention to me. And if I could get close enough that a proper doggy greeting could happen, I'd do that. And I'd put either my dog, or the other dogs in a drop. Usually my dog's not the scaredy cat but I do the same anyway - I put my dog in the drop and let the fear aggressive dog choose to approach - as long as the owner (you) can keep the lead loose. If the dog gets to the end of the lead and pulls either towards or away, I'd back off until she was calm again, and try again. Ie approach, retreat, praise calm, approach (praising calm behaviour) and retreat when the first sign of excitement shows. Ie fixed stare, ears up, hackles (a bit late but definitely time to retreat and try over).

    I'm not sure if it will ever be ok for your dog to play with these big dogs. My dog has learned to flatten herself on the ground and is extremely good at dodging but every now and again she's had a big prang with the likes of a wolf hound. Ideally they kiss and make up at the time, but no more running around. Mine played with two Great Danes the other day and she was faster, with a tighter turning circle than either so managed to stay well out of trouble. I think she has more respect for the big dogs now and doesn't expect them to get out of the way.

    Some of the ridgebacks and ridgeback crosses I've met have had some stunning prangs. They don't look where they're going. If you can call your dog to change direction before it prangs that helps but don't expect it to notice the other dog, person, car, fence, tree.

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