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Thread: how do i exert dominence and become pack leader?

  1. #1

    Default how do i exert dominence and become pack leader?

    Hi Guys I need HELP!!!!

    I have 2 dogs harley is the youngest he is male and 1 and a half years old and he is fantastic, the problem i am having is with sandy she is 3 and so destructive and anxious.

    I am wondering if people have training ideas for me to help, these are the issues i am having

    She digs all the time (we go for walks every day, she is inside when we are home she gets bones and toys and attention) yet she will dig at any chance she gets.

    She will NOT do recall she runs off i call her and then she looks and runs away again. she totally ignores me.

    she goes toilet in the house (even though she is fully toilet trained)

    she chews and destroy plants and retic

    she attacks other dogs that are smaller then her (like little white fluffy things) and when on or off lead she is aggresive towards other dogs not straight away she lets them sniff her then attacks them.

    I am seriously at the end of my teather as i am doing everything people have suggested, i exercise her every day i give her toys treats and attention she has another dog to play with, i have paid for 1 on 1 training which was a waste of time, i try to do dog dominence but she is always anxious and destroys everything.

    does anyone have any training techniques or have problems like this with there dog?? I have no idea what to do my partner has said if she keeps destroying the yard he will get rid of her and it is causing constant fights in the home.

    PLEASE HELP ME

  2. #2

    Default HI guys i need help

    Hi Guys I need HELP!!!!

    I have 2 dogs harley is the youngest he is male and 1 and a half years old and he is fantastic, the problem i am having is with sandy she is 3 and so destructive and anxious.

    I am wondering if people have training ideas for me to help, these are the issues i am having

    She digs all the time (we go for walks every day, she is inside when we are home she gets bones and toys and attention) yet she will dig at any chance she gets.

    She will NOT do recall she runs off i call her and then she looks and runs away again. she totally ignores me.

    she goes toilet in the house (even though she is fully toilet trained)

    she chews and destroy plants and retic

    she attacks other dogs that are smaller then her (like little white fluffy things) and when on or off lead she is aggresive towards other dogs not straight away she lets them sniff her then attacks them.

    I am seriously at the end of my teather as i am doing everything people have suggested, i exercise her every day i give her toys treats and attention she has another dog to play with, i have paid for 1 on 1 training which was a waste of time, i try to do dog dominence but she is always anxious and destroys everything.

    does anyone have any training techniques or have problems like this with there dog?? I have no idea what to do my partner has said if she keeps destroying the yard he will get rid of her and it is causing constant fights in the home.

    PLEASE HELP ME

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
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    Southern NSW
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    I feel for you........Having these problems, but i must admit i am not into dominating my dogs, I like getting their respect, which is totally different.
    Now if your dog was good and this has suddenly happened, the dog may require a vet visit, sometimes UTI can be the cause or a myriad of other problems (thyroid and such).

    We do a lot of basic Obedience training with our dogs all the time, every day we do something with them and everyday they get rewarded for all the good things they do.
    When we get in a problem dog we do the "nothing in life is for free'' system. It means the dog has to work for every little bit of food that will pass their lips. This alone makes for exellent re-call training, because if you only get fed when you are called and come, you come. Also we Never ever tell our dogs off, when they have come to us, even if it has taken ages. if they come it is "clever good dog". If we want to let them know we are not happy, I go and get them. And even then it is only a collar grab and walking to where I want them, not saying anything. Just letting them know I am not pleased.
    The only time I will intervene is when a dog is aggressive, I will use desensitisation and counter conditioning for that and it is not a short write-up via a Forum, it needs to be done with timing and you have to be precise and constant. So I would get someone who does dog behaviour for that........
    Digging becomes very self satisfying, so they act of digging becomes like an adrenaline rush. the same as people who have to always go to the gym.......So the act of digging has to become unpleasant, by booby trapping the areas the dogs dig, say with mesh just under the soil, dog poop, mouse traps in holes or even balloons that will pop. It is very involved and time consuming, but will work if you give it time. Also keep in areas wher they cannot dig. And it may sound stupid, but giving a dog a place where it is allowed to dig ( large sand-pit) and putting treats and surprises there for it to find. And some dogs just dig to find somewhere cool. If that is the reason, let them have that one spot to dig
    If they make mistakes in the house, I would treat her like new dog and start potty training from day one. Forget what you think she knows, start again. With my new rescues, I use the umbilical system.Tied to me or hubby. The dog is always with us never alone and we let them out frequently, every hour or so initially and on to two etc. After all meals, when we get up every time and such.Again very tedious. When they do something out side it is "good dog" and a reward, all happy exited. When they have a mishap it is "bad owner" you messed up and I just ignore it and clean it up. Patience and restarts. The most important part is for you to become totally reliable in how you will react.Calm and happy when the right thing is done. This will work for the nevous, anxious and timid dog. Saying that there are always exceptions. And ignore the bad.

    Recall's are taught by us on-line work and also by calling their name when you know they are headed your way and by highly rewarding them and by letting the dog go again, for play or sniff. too many people re-call and then do unpleasant things to the dog, like on lead again or go home or tell off..We make recall a totally unrelaible game to make them reliable LOL. Get recalled, come, get rewarded. Sometimes they get to go again, sometimes they have to stay, but always a reward, even if just a happy pet and "good girl". Most bad dogs are made by unreliable owners, who do not do the same thing all the time. Anger is also a good way to make a dog anxious. People always tell me I speak very softly to my dogs, that is because dogs have incredible hearing. yelling makes them anxious and often aggressive. Some people do not even relaise they yell untill I point it out to them
    In your other thread you mentioned aggression to other dogs.......You need to find out as to wether it is fear aggression or real aggression. It could also be lead agression caused by the person on the other end of the lead. I know you said one on one training was no good for you, but sometimes it is who the trainer is and as to wether they are also into behaviour, not just training.
    I still think you need to look for some help from someone who is able to see what the dogs behaviour is like. And give you some advise.
    Good luck........
    Pets are forever

  4. #4

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    the sandpit works great, i got one for my dog and hid food in it and she hasnt dug anywhere else since.
    when you walk you dog do you actually notice that she is tired?

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    sandyharley

    I'd give up the idea of dominance and pack leadership, it clearly isn't working for your relationship with Sandy dog.

    Try something different. I like Newfsie's suggestions.

    Reward for what you do want. Ignore what you don't want - where it's safe to do so - if it isn't or it's destructive, just walk up to your dog, put her on lead and stop her from doing what she's doing.

    Stopping the digging and destruction is important because it is its own reward and fun for the dog to do. Ie if you don't stop it, the dog will do it more and more.

    But scolding (and worse) won't work either. Works for some dogs but for a lot of dogs it doesn't - they completely fail to connect your scolding with what you *want* them to do. Mostly they will just work out to dig when you're not looking - that's called "fall out".

    Dogs (and other family members) are good at "do" and crap at "don't" or "no".

    House training - same deal, what Newfsie said, start again from scratch. You may need to keep the dog on lead inside the house for a while (umbilical system).

    As soon as the dog sniffs at the floor - take it outside for pee and give mighty praise and treats if possible for going outside. Don't let it back in until it has peed. If you have to leave the dog out (dinnner is burning), check underneath is wet before you let her back in.

    Sometimes you will need to keep the dog on lead and be boring until the action is done. Dog soon learns what is required to get back inside. If it's raining - make sure you take the dog out and get its paws wet - cos some dogs would rather pee inside or on the verandah than get their precious paws wet.

    If you ever scolded a dog for peeing inside or acted grumpy while you cleaned up - the dog will learn to hide when it needs to pee. If you clean up with bleach - the dog will pee over it because it's a marker smell. Use vinegar, water, bicab and lavendar oil - couple of drops instead.

    Recall - say the dog's name, give a treat. Repeat five times. Use dog's dinner if necessary. Say your recall word, then the dog's name - repeat five times - at random times of the day. Use really really specail treats. Dog should be attached to you so recall should be easy at this point. If dog can get this right three times a day for a month - you're ready to try off lead where there are not too many distractions (exciting things the dog would rather be doing). If you let the dog off lead before it has learned, only use your recall word or the dog's name if it is already coming to you and you have something yummy it likes when it arrives. Otherwise if you call when the dog is not likely to return - you break your recall word. Try some other word like "puppuppup".

    Never ever scold a dog that comes to you. Avoid putting it on lead immediately too, or put it on lead and then release many many times.

  6. #6
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    Merged the threads because they're the same.

  7. #7
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    my dog wasn't very reliable with recalls, either....

    If you can buy or make a long lead (10m or 15m), start practising in your backyard. Have her at a short distance, call and reward. Gradually increase the distance from you as she is getting it. Once it seems reliable, then progress to a park. The smells, noises and activities will be highly distracting, so you will have to go back to the short distance and work towards increasing the distance again. The reward must be so amazingly enticing and not something often received so it's worth her while coming to you, like cooked chicken or cheese + skip the meal that day to ensure she is hungry enough.

    Now with our little dude, we go to an enclosed off leash area and if there are no other dogs in there, then my partner and I both have chicken handy, let him know we have it, and let him go. When we call him and he comes, then he gets chicken. He learnt very fast coming to us = chicken, and now all he does it run between the two of us until he's exhausted!

    With the 1-1 training, was it someone that was recommended to you? If you are in Sydney, I can recommend 2 highly experienced, dedicated trainers that may be able to do 1-1 training with you if you want to revisit that option?

  8. #8
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    Im gonna agree with everyone else...flag the "dominance/pack leader" thing. It clearly isnt working and could in fact be making the dog worse.

    We dont do pack leader stuff...our dogs dont do stuff because they think they have to, they do it because they want to do it for us. Same as we do stuff for them because we want to.

    Some really good advice above so try them out.

  9. #9
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    Agree with the others. And I do feel for you also. I think you - and your partner - need to take a step back, list the issues you want to fix, the behaviours you want to replace them with and then decide on a strategy and follow it one step at a time. It is impossible to know from what you wrote, but there is the possibility that the dog has become anxious because she just doesn't really realise what is expected of her. I think I made that mistake with my old dog because of the training methods I used. I still got a very obedient dog in the end, but I have done things very differently with my new dog and it has been so much easier and I think my old dog would have been much more confident if I had done things the same way with her.

    I agree with the recall training strategy others suggested. Start in the backyard and the house. Call her at random intervals and always have an extra yummy treat for when she comes (I used microwaved liver cut in cubes) and let her go back to what she was doing most of the time. If she makes a habit of buggering off, I would also touch her collar when she comes before you reward, so she doesn't get a chance to dodge you when you want to put her on the lead.

    I do pretty much the same as newfsie when the dog doesn't come when called too. Verbal praise if they come after a while or calmly walking over to them and wait for an opportunity to grab them by the collar. Try not to show your anger or they will try to avoid you even more.

    I did lots and lots of recalls on our walks for a few months. I was able to this off leash because my dog never ran far away from me. If yours does I second the idea of using a long lead until she gets good at it.

    My old dog had the bad habit of weeing inside at night too. In hindsight, I should have restarted the toilet training indeed. It's not a difficult routine and your dog will probably enjoy being treated for doing something so simple as a wee outside.

    And abandoning the whole exerting dominance idea and really focusing on the good behaviours you want to teach the dog and how you will reward them is a much more pleasant method for all involved. And I have found them very effective. The key is to set your dog up for success often by creating situations in which you can reward her. You will need LOTS of treats.

    I am a fairly recent convert to positive reinforcement training and I've been amazed at how effective it is. Some people think that dogs working for treats will not have a lasting effect. But it is conditioning in its purest form. And after a while the dog doesn't seem to separate the treat from the motivation to get praised anymore, if that makes sense. They work for that treat because they know it means they have done something right, not merely because it's a yummy treat. When the dog gets to that stage, their confidence levels will usually increase accordingly. Because they trust they will get cues about what to do and they don't feel uncertain anymore about what is expected from them.

    I'll try to find some threads on dog aggression and desensitisation for you too later. I think asking the help of a dog behaviourist would be helpful, but it is good to try to get your head around useful training methods at the same time too.

    It sounds like the digging is what causes most friction between you and your partner though. I hope the advice some of the others gave can help with that. There are also some threads on that somewhere here. May come up if you do a search, or I'll have a look for that later for you too.

  10. #10
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    There are some fab books on training and positive behaviour - I quite like Patricia McConnell, and she has stacks of little guides on individual issues.

    I don't know what you're doing to "exert your dominance" but what is more important is what Beloz was saying - determine what conduct is acceptable in your house and then stick to that. It's hard at first, esp if you have an unruly dog or one that has been allowed to do whatever she wants, but you have to force yourself and everyone in the house to stick to the rules.

    For example, if you decide that the dogs are not permitted to practically break their necks in their excited attempt to rush out of the house for a walk (which should go without saying), then have them sit. If they don't sit, wait until they calm down or put them in a sit. When you go to open the door, the moment that butt even starts to come off the ground, the door shuts. You wait and repeat it until you can have that door open and they are sitting and waiting for further instruction. The dogs will learn what they have to do (sit) in order to get the thing they want (going out). Thing is, you can't let yourself get frustrated or angry with them b/c they are learning something new. It's an exercise in patience and persistence. It's so worth it for that first time that you get to the door and they just sit without being asked and look up at you.

    Anyway, that may not be an issue for you but it's an example of enforcing a particular rule for a common misbehaviour.

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