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Thread: Double heelers puppies - help!!

  1. #1

    Default Double heelers puppies - help!!

    Hi guys,

    I need help with 2 heelers (both female), they are red and blue heelers and got them about over a week now.
    We've rescued them from being put down and wasn't really prepare for a puppy but very eager to learn and they are my first puppies.
    I've got the puppies when they are already around 6-8 months old and they were already inseparable.
    I have been taking them out for a minimum half an hour walk every day since I’ve got them.
    Problem is the red one was abused and doesn’t like human touch and she thinks that the blue one is her mum instead of me.
    Question:
    1. How can I train the red one so she knows that I am the boss around here.
    2. How can I train both of them to play with normal dog toys as they were never expose to these and not responding well with normal dog toys.
    3. Will the red eventually lets me pet her once she gain enough trust? I am just worried that she will never trust me while she is very attach to the blue one as she is not very responsive with me.
    Thanking you in advance.

  2. #2
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    You need to give them time to settle in for a start. They are in a new scary place with this new scary person in an alien environment.
    Give it a couple more weeks and see then how things settle. You can also do things separately with them, play, teach to walk on a lead etc to foster the bond with you as well. You don't have to rush things.

    Any posts made under the name of Di_dee1 one can be used by anyone as I do not give a rats.

  3. #3
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    Mine don't like or play with toys either, don't want to fetch, play tug etc. They play with each other. One thing they do love are kongs and we have these inside at times in the evenings. I find some dogs are toy liking and others aren't. A shame then if we have spent money on toys. I gave up and nearly 5 years later they are still happy and well adjusted despite not using them.

    Any posts made under the name of Di_dee1 one can be used by anyone as I do not give a rats.

  4. #4
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    You need to separate them majority of the time or you wont get anywhere. Dogs bonded too closely to another dog will never get too far in training and if you have to separate them down the track, it's hell.

    Leerburg Dog Training | 17,500 pages of dog training information, 750 free dog training streaming videos, free eBooks, podcasts, by Ed Frawley and Michael Ellis read the puppy pages. I would start crate training the both of them and making them work for all their food, not feed from bowls. So just look when name called *feed* start simple etc.
    http://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c11/Mali_nut/K9LOGO.jpg

  5. #5
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    It is not a given that the bond will be stronger between them. In over 30 years of having multiple dogs at the same time, I have never had dogs bonded more to each other rather than me. I think it also depends on the dogs and people involved.
    Last edited by Di_dee1; 05-07-2014 at 06:31 PM. Reason: Changed gibberish to English

    Any posts made under the name of Di_dee1 one can be used by anyone as I do not give a rats.

  6. #6
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    Well as suggested let them settle in.
    just got to take it slow with red, and just take your time and wait for her to come to you for attention.
    if red focused on blue, well blue can help.
    ive seen dogs teach other dogs to play different games. have seen a female sheltie , teach her younger brother to play chase with her, he never new how, till she showed him, watched as she offered toy, and when he went to get pulled away, then gradually got the idea into him to chase her and try and get. they had a ball, and i had a great time watching how she taught him.
    good idea is to teach blue to play with toys, and red will follow and blue will teach her hopefully.
    if red see's how good you are with blue, im sure she will warm up in no time.

    good luck.

  7. #7
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    I think that given the history of these 2, that if they were mine and I have had quite a few cattle dogs, I would be following Nekhbets suggestions here.

    I would probably be acting fairly quickly before habits become more entrenched. I fostered an abused kelpie that was more obsessed with other dogs to the point of being a pain and scared of human interations, so I made a point of really working individually with her and separating her up for periods of time and I started to make headway with her. It is not always easy but I too got her to work for her resources. I was patient but firm and these types of dogs will often respond well. Heelers are by nature very owner focussed type dogs so are quite responsive.

    You need to work with both of them separately. I also agree with the crate training, this is very useful.

    As to dog toys well one of my rescue working dogs who was also 7 months and beaten as a pup when I rescued him is still afraid of them especially if they squeak. I just trained him with food and praise and he is my Master agility and jumping dog. My other rescue kelpie eventaully got to enjoy toys but it is not something I get too hung up on.
    Last edited by Kalacreek; 05-07-2014 at 08:07 PM.

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    Your questions suggest you need a face to face helper ie a dog behavourist that can help you with specific guidelines - someone like Nekhbet. A lot of what you do next will depend on what the dogs find rewarding (besides each other).

    If the dogs get all their joy and fun from each other they're never going to listen to you or trust you or need anything (other than dinner) from you.

    So first thing I'd try is NILIF - with both of them. Nothing in Life is Free - work for every mouthful of dinner until they look to you for at least dinner and maybe some joy and fun.

    I would avoid any kind of screaming, yelling, scolding, stern telling offs, alpha rolls, taps on the nose (or anywhere else). All of these things will make your dogs want to avoid you - they might stop them from doing what ever it is you don't want but given they currently get all their joy from each other - if you give them any reason to fear or distrust you - you make it harder to get the bond and respect you want from them.

    At the same time - don't let them be naughty. Interuppt and redirect and prevent behaviours you don't want. Train behaviours that can't be done at the same time as the naughty behaviours. Eg train a sit or drop - before greeting or dinner - to prevent jumping up or stealing food.

    I've got the puppies when they are already around 6-8 months old and they were already inseparable.
    that's just about the age that puppies go into adolescence and develop irrational fears and selective hearing (can hear when you get dinner ready but not when you call them for anything else).

    It's a difficult age for everything. How long have you had them now and how old are they now? And are they desexed?

    I have been taking them out for a minimum half an hour walk every day since I’ve got them.
    Good but I think training may be more important. If they pull on lead you can start by working on this - one dog at a time. Reward the one that is waiting their turn - for polite waiting as much (or more) as the one who is getting the loose lead walking training.

    Problem is the red one was abused and doesn’t like human touch and she thinks that the blue one is her mum instead of me.
    How do you know this? Did the previous owner get seen or admit hitting the dog or abusing it? My dog is hand shy - she will duck away from a raised fist or waving hand - less so now but a lot when she was a puppy and I got her when she was 10 weeks old. Not much time for abusing. She might have been swooped by magpies or crows - she still hates them. Or it might be a puppy instinct.

    1. How can I train the red one so she knows that I am the boss around here.
    NILIF program and maybe if you train the blue one first - the red one will copy what the blue one does. Dogs do copy other dogs if it helps them get stuff they want (eg dinner). My dog can spot a treat handout across the park and will line up with the dog being trained to get some - and it works a lot

    She spends a lot more time on lead than she needs to because I let this happen when she was little and cute. It just feels mean to tell people they can't give my dog a treat - but I do sometimes.

    2. How can I train both of them to play with normal dog toys as they were never expose to these and not responding well with normal dog toys.
    There is a cool dog toy called a "bob a lot" and another one called a Squirrel dude and kongs (you will need the super heavy duty black ones for cattle dogs). You can load these up with food and the dogs can work to get food out.

    The bob alot has a weight in the bottom - so it pops back upright after it has been rolled over (to drop the kibble out). The kongs you have to freeze the food inside otherwise theyr'e just too easy to empty but they are fun for chewing on.

    I also train my dog to fetch (she was crap at this from little) in exchange for permisson to eat her dinner. Most of the stuff I've had trouble training her to do - I have ended up making her dinner the reward.

    You break down each task into easy tricks for the dog. eg the first thing might be to look at the whatever you throw, then to follow it, then to touch it, then to pick it up... each one of these might take a few days to a week to get working before you step it up a level of difficulty.

    All dogs like to eat - eventually - so if you want them to play with toys you pair that with food and eventually they get that toys can be as much fun as food and some dogs even go over the top the other way where they prefer the toys to food.

    3. Will the red eventually lets me pet her once she gain enough trust? I am just worried that she will never trust me while she is very attach to the blue one as she is not very responsive with me.
    What Nekhbet said - you may have to separate them for (dinner) training so the red one sees you as a source of joy / food / good things. Otherwise all you can hope for is she copies and follows the blue one's lead with you which is less than ideal. It's also why I would recommend someone who has one out of control dog, not get a second dog as companion for the first because all they end up with is double trouble.

  9. #9
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    I dont think I would be relying on the red one to copy the blue. I would be investing time in training both of them. They may each need a different approach. I have found that dogs with issues often need a lot more time invested and work tailored specifically to deal with their issues. Having dealt with a dog actually a red heeler with specific fear issues I really had to think outside the square. My other heelers at the time were normal social dogs with no issues, this had no influence on this particular dog and I had employ specific training techniques and a whole lot of time to sort her out. It was hard work but we made a lot of head way. I did however have an initial assessment by a very good trainer who set me on the right track with her.

    Act now or depending on the issue you could find yourself with a rapidly escalating situation and a world of stress.

    I really hate people who let their dogs breed and then have no responsibility for the pups expecting some other kind soul to rescue them when things go pear shaped. Grrr

  10. #10
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    I agree with Nehkbet and Hyacinth.

    You said you go the pups when they were 6-8months old. They are heading into a second fear period during their development so it will be important to work on them ASAP to prevent permanent behavioural problems. You will also need to look into late litter removal. These dogs are (most likely) from the same litter, both female and both relied on each other from day 1. There is clearly a "big sister" in the pair, which is typical in late litter removal and sibling rehoming. Even though they seem inseparable it is actually more kind to the red heeler to rehome them separately to allow it to develop its own identity rather than hiding behind the blue.

    Now I'm certainly not saying you should rehome either. They are with you now and that is fine, you just need to be aware of potential problems that can arise from your situation. You will need to ensure they spend time away from eachother. Crating them separately (the crates can be next to eachother), walking and playing with them separately, as mentioned in the other comments. You don't need to push interaction with you from the red heeler, but when you are playing/training with the blue, do so in front of the red heeler so she can observe the interaction and see what she is missing out on. When she is with you (without the blue) somewhat ignore her. Allow her to come to you for interaction so she doesn't feel pressured. Don't train her/play with her in the same room as the blue as she will likely spend the free time out of the crate trying to access the blue, which you don't want.

    Definitely working for their food with training and hand feeding to help gain trust, as mentioned above. These dogs will need you to be extra vigilant with this to ensure they grow to be happy, healthy, well behaved dogs.

    Good Luck with it. Keep us updated.

    Here's an article to help explain sibling rehoming a little better for you. The more you know about potential issues, the better choices you will make.

    Buying Siblings two puppies or rearing two young pups from different litters. Nightmare Don't do it!

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