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Thread: Behaviours

  1. #1

    Default Behaviours

    Hi Guys,

    Have not logged in for a while. But have a few questions regarding my dogs behaviour, hopefully someone has some knowledge

    The first one is pulling clothes off the clothesline. I am not sure if my staffy or my Labrador is the culprit ( I think the lab) but one of them likes to pull the washing of the line, they will then play tug-o-war with brand spankin new bed sheets, towels clothes ANYTHING! I believe this is to do with boredom, however the dogs have toys in the yard to play with, (they usually end up playing tug-o-war with the toys and rip them to shreds) they get walked twice daily for an hour, I am not sure if it could be an attention-seeking thing?

    The second one is my 1 year and 4month old lab loves going on walks, however, when we go into the shed to get the harness's she has the saddest look on her face and will run away, once the harness is on, all is good however she will run when you get it from the shed.

    The third is JUMPING! our lab pepper has jumped all her life, now she is older it is much more annoying and I would hate for her to do it to someone new entering the home, as I know most people would absolutely hate it! my rescue dog Charlie had great manners and behaviour (apart from digging) but now he has been with pep for almost 6 months he has starting copying behaviours as well. He is now jumping when you walk outside. does anyone know any good tips to cut this naughty behaviour out?

    The last one is my labby CRAVES attention, if you pat Charlie, she will jump all over you and try to push her head near your hand so she gets the attention. if she is not getting the attention she wants she will sometimes bark, but if you ever try to give attention to Charlie she is in the middle of it!

    I know these problems are my own fault, I was very soft when pepper was a puppy, pepper is almost a year and a half old and has GROWN UP a lot but she still has many annoying,naughty behaviours. My friend has the exact same coloured lab who is 4 months younger then pepper but behaves so well, she mentioned she is not hard enough on her at all, maybe they all have different temperaments.

    any advice would be greatly appreciated

    Thanks in Advance!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010


    If i was in your situation regarding the clothes line, i would either to my best to catch them in the act whenever i can and discepline them. For my dog Koda discepline would be as simple as a stern and loud 'NO' or 'GET OUT OF IT' When he hears that, he knows not to do whatever he was doing again. Koda was also a dog that pulled clothes off the line but because i didn't want my clothes to get wrecked in the process of training, i just blocked the clothes line off from him - not easy to do for a lot of people, but with my setup at home i was able to do that.

    The harness thing is weird, has she had a negative experience regarding the harness or the shed you get it from? You need to figure out if her reservation is because of the harness itself or the shed you're going into. Either way, you need to use treats or toys or whatever it is that she REALLY loves and you need to associate you getting the harness from the shed as a really good thing Obviously you don't want her to get too excited, but if you give her treats or play as you go into the shed to help her realise that going into the shed and getting the harness is a really good thing.

    Jumping can be a tough one, some things work for some dogs but not others. For my dogs, when they jumped i gave them a quick stern 'NO' then i left them, i simply walked away (no touch, no talk, no eye contact) and went in the house leaving them outside. I didn't come back to them for 5 minutes or so and if they jumped again i would leave again. They soon learnt to associate me leaving (eg. No attention) with jumping up on me.

    In terms of the attention seeking from your Lab, Koda does the same thing, not as badly though. If i pat Dodge when Koda is in the yard too, Koda will push himself between us and try to get all the attention, he doesn't bark unless i'm patting Dodge and he is in his yard which is separate from the backyard. I'm not really sure what advice to give you on this because I've never really bothered to fix this problem to be honest, it doesn't really bother me, and because i live on a farm the barking doesn't really matter for me.

    Hope some of that info was helpful to you

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2009



    Time for you to harden up and be super consistent about behaviours you don't want from your dogs.

    Personally - I'm not much into scolding and yelling at my dog - she never thinks I'm yelling at her and never makes the connection between what she's doing that I want her to stop and what I want her to do instead.

    So I just work with preventing or interrupting the naughty stuff, asking for some good stuff instead and rewarding that. I have to be careful what I reward the replacement behaviour with - if I use food (she is crazy about food), she will do the naughty behaviour then the good behaviour together to get the treat, instead of just the good behaviour.

    With the clothes line when she was a puppy - she showed a bit of interest and I stopped her each time and gave her something else to do. Sometimes I stopped her with the hose or a water pistol. I didn't have to get a direct hit. All I had to do was distract and interrupt her thinking "sheets look fun" so that she never managed to find out and now I can hang stuff and she leaves it all alone.

    For you. Too late I think. You might need to find away to fence off the clothes line. Or you could try hanging one old towel that is dipped in something like coloured chalk powder so you can see who grabs it - tho your second dog who copies your first dog - it's not going to make any difference.

    I would hang the towel up and see who shows interest, I'd calmly walk up to them and quietly grab their collar (no scolding or talking) and put them on their mat or somewhere away from the towel and let go to see what their choice is, and I'd repeat as often as necessary for them to get the idea that towels are not for playing with. If the naughty dog starts to anticipate you coming and chooses to back off from the towel - praise and reward (with attention or game of chase the ball but not food or super high value crazy making reward).

    Jumping - again - collar grab and hold the dog so it can't jump. If it puts teeth on you for grabbing collar - then dog goes in crate until it's calm. Crate should be a good safe place for the dog to be - not a punishment place but it also restricts the dogs choices to behave badly. The next time the dog is likely to jump I would have the lead on it and stand on the lead (a knot in the lead helps with this) so the dog cannot lift front paws off the ground to jump. reward any calm behaviour and sitting - with attention praise and pats.

    Do not let your dog greet anyone new unless she can approach on a loose lead and hold a nice sit in front of them. If the lead gets tight - drag her away from the new person until she's paying attention to you.

    All this requires you to be very persistent and consistent. If you think it doesn't matter this time or I can't be stuffed stopping/interrupting the behaviour this time - you will set your training back.

    For me and my dog it usually doesn't take very long for her to figure out what's required. It does seem tedious but it's usually only for a couple of sessions or days.

    As for the harness - I think there might be something about the harness that your dog finds unpleasant - maybe it cuts under the arm pits or something. You could try padding the harness with something soft like a bit of old sheepskin, or pairing the harness and putting it on with treats for putting it on.

    I had a lot of problems with my dog running away before going on walks. It was a combination of she didn't like the collar chain I was using, and she liked playing chase the dog. So I changed the collar - to a harness, and I quit playing chase the dog. I wouldn't get the walking gear out until she was trapped in the house and then there would be no running away. She's much better about it now.

    I'd like to get a second dog - but there's no way I would do that until I have the control I want from the one I've got. We're not perfect - she likes to go foraging at the park - and I have trouble stopping her - so she forages and when all the food is gone - then she comes back - so she spends a lot more time than she really needs to on lead. I probably need to practice "Its yer choice" at the park with her more.

    Foundation games for you to google on youtube...
    "collar grab"
    "crate games"
    "its yer choice" or "leave it".
    "its yer choice" is better than "leave it" - because the choice is made by the dog and rewarded - rather than commanding the dog to leave it. You get the dog choosing of their own accord to leave the whatever. I also reward "indicating" ie sitting next to the whatever and barking to say "I found it, I want it, can I have it?" rather than just stealing the whatever without asking.
    Last edited by Hyacinth; 02-18-2014 at 11:28 AM.

  4. #4


    wow! thanks so much. all the ideas are so helpful. I think your right in saying the clothesline should be barricaded off somehow. the only thing is I know pepper is a VERY good jumper, so may have to section it off with something high.

    in regards to the water pistol idea, one of my dogs is a rescue staffy and may of had a bad experience with water as he is terrified of the hose, hates to get wet, and when I have a water bottle runs away. our lab thinks water is fun and I think she associates it with GOOD TIMES, when it was hot I used to spray her with a spray bottle and she loved it!

    I have been much harder with the dogs, but I think I need to be even more harder and trying different things, as you said Hyacinth, being persistent and not giving up when one method fails.

    It's like pepper (the lab) has ADD, she just never stops. she will go on an hour long walk be puffed and bothered but still is cheeky and naughty. she would never hurt or bite anyone, but just has those little naughty behaviours. and it not only frustrates me but I don't like taking her places because she is like the naughty child. but I cant blame her its not her fault.

    when she goes to the vets she is the loud barking pulling dog. all the others are shy and quiet. if we take her to the dog beach and let her off the lead (like all the other dogs) she will run and jump on and lick people sitting on the sand.

    I have two other quick questions, this behaviour does not bother me at all, but just curious as to why he may do it, my rescue staffy, when excited and playful likes to put his mouth around your arm and gently press down, its not a bite or a nip and does not hurt at all, but just wondering why he may do it he also gets excited when we put our shoes on at the door as he knows its walk time and chatters his mouth and talks
    the second is my lab from a baby to about 8 months loved other dogs, and would pull and cry to be near them (if walking on a lead), now when she sees dogs walking she barks, as if to say she is boss. I don't think she would ever actually bite them or hurt them, I think if she got to them she would more want to play. but just always wondering why it has changed from a sooky little cry to a big loud dominant bark?

    My 2 dogs have the biggest and funniest personalities, I have never met any dogs like them. Our Peppy pie is a big loud, in your face, attention-seeking but yet cuddly at times, smart funniest pooch! my cousin has recently come to live with myself and my partner and she mentioned she has never met a dog with a funnier personality.

    & then our Charlie, who had a really hard life from when he was born to 6 months is so happy go lucky, VERY CUDDLY, also very stubborn, he will turn his back to you if he is not happy, but cheeky and funny also

    I would like to find some pics of the pooches and share with you guys.

    Because I love them so much, I need to make the effort to bring them up to be well behaved dogs. they will respect me more as well if I take leadership

    sorry for the love rant about my dogs hahaha, at least you guys will listen, my partner hates me rambling on about them, although he loves them too!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2009


    When I say "harden up" I mean no being slack about what your good behaviour criteria is and stopping / interrupting / preventing the bad behaviour. Being super consistent. You don't need to be perfect but you need to have it right reliably at least 4 out of 5 times (80%). It doesn't mean screaming, yelling or hitting.

    With the water pistol

    The idea is to interrupt your dog and get their attention, distract them, not to squirt them in the face. So whether they like it or hate it - shouldn't matter too much. With your rescue - you probably don't need to do any more than shake the bottle. But you could use anything that distracts him. And with the lab - you can use it as a reward for being away from the clothes line but firstly as a distraction.

    My dog likes the water pistol, hose too. I used to use her chasing it as exercise in summer.

    she will go on an hour long walk be puffed and bothered but still is cheeky and naughty.
    This is where trick training - including IYC (its yer choice) and crate games come in handy. Even the collar grab game. Any game or trick training. Trick training (google dog shaping) wears a dog out mentally while they try to figure out what they need to do to get the treat. You can do trick training while you're watching TV. If all you ever do is take your dog for long walks - sometimes all you get is a super fit destructo dog looking for a way to engage their mind which is not tired at all.

    Labradors are smart and most like food - hugely like food - and that makes them easy to train if you know what you're doing.

    First job with this one is to train some self control around food - eg the basics of IYC. Then you can make it more difficult by inviting her to make good choices around food that's on the floor. Or cute trick - food on the dog's paws and head... build up from where you have total control over whether she gets the food if she makes a wrong choice to allowing a little risk where you might not be able to stop her.

    Long stays in front of dinner are good. And we use dinner to build our fetch (because my dog isn't very good at fetch) and recall. So now she has to sit over there, then I throw the fetch-toy (which varies), and then I say "fetch" then she must fetch the toy to me. If she does a really nice direct job first up, then she can have permission to eat her dinner. Increase difficulty - she starts over there, and has to run by her dinner to get her fetch. And she can't leave to get the fetch until I say (or she doesn't get her dinner). Increase difficulty further - different toys. Eg a glove is easy. A scrubbing brush is harder and a metal spoon (even one with food on it) is really hard to fetch.

    As for rescue dog and putting his mouth on you - most dogs use their mouth like we use hands. And it's good that your rescue dog doesn't clamp down but it would probably be safer for him if you teach him gently that it's not a good idea at all - in this case - I'd encourage him to spit me out by very slowly and gently pushing whatever bit of me he'd grabbed, towards the back of his mouth. Once he starts trying to spit out, hold for one second of his discomfort - allow spit out and praise.

    The bizarre thing about making dogs work harder for their rewards and fun - is that for some reason everything becomes more fun... doing what you want becomes more fun for them. Being able to get everything they want when they want it - leads to bordom and naughtiness.

    So two more things you might like to look up
    NILIF (nothing in life is free)
    TOT (triangle of temptation).
    Knowledge Base | Steve Courtney Dog Training

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2011


    We don't have the clothesline problem so we never tried it. But I heard that this aussie home alone toy is supposedly a better alternative to most dogs.

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