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Training Ideas and Tips
Question: What can I do to help with my dog who is overly stimulated when someone comes home or friends come to visit. She jumps and even sometimes will pee a little and we can't get her to stop and be quiet.
Response: Okay, basically what you have is a dog like her mother, Tsula <g> Tsula was very submissive with no idea how to be aggressive and altho she would sometimes try to be but she didn't have a clue how to be effective. Or a better way to put it was that it was based on the fact that she didn't understand that she didn't have to be 'alpha' in that situation, that I would handle it. People handle greetings of friends and strangers in a different manner (obviously) than dogs or pack animals do. We do not greet people by smelling them, approaching cautiously, walking around them with a stiff legged gait, or testing out who's the boss. Our way of doing the same things are so subtle and different to a dog, they do not see it as happening. So they think they have to do it for us.
If you look at pack behavior, the meeter and greeter of
the pack is the alpha dog when it's a stranger or an outsider. When it's
the pack coming home from a hunt it's the omega ( this behavior is what
Suyeta is displaying to your family when you come home from somewhere
- the wiggling and sometimes peeing behavior) Then she is trying to be
the alpha - because she
So what you should do is to make her understand that being
'alpha' in these situations is not her place and it's okay for her to
back off and let you handle it plus that her behavior when you come home,
albeit a combo of alpha/omega behavior, is also not acceptable. She is
not viewing you all as the alpha pack leader when she reacts like this.
This, once you get her to
Now this is what you want to teach Suyeta and that means
that everyone that comes into your house has to follow the same rule,
all of your family and anyone that comes in to visit. They ignore Suyeta
for a few minutes - say 5 or so. No acknowledgement at all - if she gets
too pushy, you don't say a thing, not even bad dog or no - you just quietly
remove her from the room and crate her or put her outside or whatever
works to remove her from your presence. This must be done every single
time from now on. You bring her back in after 10-15 minutes and see if
her behavior is better - still ignoring her for the basic 5 minutes and
removing if she still is insistent and so on. I never had to do it more
than twice for Tsula and she got the
It sure worked for Tsula. I used to fuss over her when I came in from work, feeling sorry for her for being cooped up in the house all alone while I was gone.....she'd end up going more and more ballistic each time I came home. Finally I couldn't even get thru the door without her demanding my attention, couldn't even put down my purse or groceries or anything. And once we established who was actually the alpha in ALL things, life just plain got easier around the house too. No more mixed messages.
Hmm, I used a whole lot of words to say something very
simple didn't I? <g> That's just one of the tricks I learned from
a book called the Dog Listener by Jan Fennell - good book -
General training issues and solutions:
Lets find out a few things.
Whenever you see her what is the first thing that you do? My reckoning is that you give her lots of fuss, and say hello. Right so far? .Whenever anyone else sees her, what is the first thing that they do? Make a fuss? .If you sit down to chill out, what does she do? Run around like crazy? Jump all over you? Try her hardest to get your attention?
Can you see where I'm going with this? Now, if I've been totally wrong in guessing what she gets up to, or what you do, then I apologise. You can't always get these things right. But I'll carry on anyway, in the hope that I'm on the right track.
Sit down on your sofa. This first one will be a lot easier if it is just you on your own. Ignore her. If she jumps up at you, push her off gently, yet firmly, giving her no eye contact. She probably come right back at you, craving for that attention. Before now you've always given it to her on demand. This is new for her, not getting what she wants as soon as SHE want's it. It is unusual for her not to be the boss - for that is what she is. Give her a couple of chances to settle and not jump up. On the fourth or fifth occasion, tell her that you have had enough, and take her to her crate. Leave her in here for a couple of minutes. Then try the whole process again. Now these are bright dogs and it shouldn't take more than a couple of trips to the crate for her to realise that jumping up at you is not on. You may get lucky with this exercise and never actually have to take her to the crate. Hopefully, once she has realised that jumping up is a no, no, then she'll settle down. She'll join you, as it were, in your activity. Relaxing. When she does is when you can lavish the attention on her. Until then, keep ignoring, and taking her to the crate if necessary.
Lesson Two or Lesson One Pt II
Now that you've got her settling straight away - which I'm sure won't take long - it is time to introduce another person into the scenario. Lets make it your new Amish helper, complete with hat! Take her outside and let her burn off some energy - especially if you are going to do this straight after you've got her settling with just you. Then bring her back indoors. Get her to settle. Then get your Amish helper to come in. Have them ignore any barking completely, and her completely. Another thing that is very important is that you ignore the barking, and her, completely also. Otherwise you are just encouraging her to do it all the more.
Go through the same routine as you did with just you in the room. Give her a couple of go's at not jumping up and then YOU put her into the crate. Now this shouldn't be looked upon as a cruel thing - putting her into the crate. You are just removing her from your space as she is not respecting it, or your visitor - and putting her into her own space. It is important that you put her into the crate as this shows her who is the boss in the relationship. Leave her there for a couple of minutes, as before, and let her out to try again. Now if her brain is working, she should get this right away, but it may take a few tries. If she doesn't stop barking initially, just ignore her until she stops. This may be enough for her to settle. Stick with it and it shouldn't take long.
Success? You're on the path to being in control.
When she toilets in the house, do you get upset? A little? Lets look at this from her point of view. She's confused. She's not sure what you want from her. Every time she toilets in the house you frighten her, and remind her where to go to the toilet. What do you want form her, she thinks. Would you punish a child for having an accident, during potty training?
Now fair is fair. For generations people have been telling you that this is the best way to house train a puppy. Unfortunately they've been wrong for generations. You don't see adult wolves pushing puppies noses into there mess - would you push a young child's nose into its mess to teach it right from wrong? Someone would be a little upset, don't you think. What you do see them do is cleaning it up quietly, with little fuss.
Does she toilet in her crate? I'm guessing not. This is good as it means that she is house broken. Unfortunately she is unsure upon the boundaries of her den. This may be due to her having too much freedom around the house. So for now, lets restrict her movements a little. Now you did say that she asks to go outside. Yehaa, she does know the boundaries of her den, she's just a little confused.
When she next asks to go out, stay with her. Encourage her to go pee, and praise her like crazy when she does. Use treats as well. If she gets treats for peeing outside, and is ignored for peeing inside - which do you think she'll prefer. Also give her a command when she goes. Sounds crazy? Well it works. Horse trainers around the world use this technique to make horses toilet before a race. They tend to use an undulating whistle to get there horse to pee. Just pick something that you won't be embarrassed to use in company! It is amazing just how interesting the outside world can be to a little puppy. Even if they have just come from playing out there. Give her the time to remember what she came outside for. When you feel she has had enough time, give her five minutes more and then take her inside. Obviously at this point if she has toileted (both poo and pee) she can be allowed to wander with you around the house. If not then read on.
As soon as you bring her inside put her into her crate. You've already said that she won't pee in there, so in she goes. Get on with some chores for about half an hour, safe in the knowledge that she is not going to poo on your carpet. Then it is time to go back outside again. Go through the same routine again. Give her plenty of time to go once more. Then go through the same routine of back into the crate if she doesn't go. It may be a good point to mention that she should be ignored until you get her outside. Puppies pee when excited. As you have mentioned when she waters your shoes. So take her straight outside and fuss her there - watch your shoes!
The crate can be used to contain her when you can't keep an eye on her. For example if you are cooking, have the crate in the same room, with her in it, that way she won't get under your feet. Puppies are just like kids. They get up to all sorts when nobody is looking. So if you put her in her crate you know exactly where she is and what she is doing. Give her plenty to do in there. Stuffed Kong's are a great treat. - simply rub a little honey around the inside, then a little peanut butter and watch her go. She'll love it I can guarantee you.
This toilet training may go on for a while, but stick with it. Do this every time she asks to go out, and also at bed time. Very soon you'll have a very clean pup, and one that isn't frightened of you.
Young dogs sometimes pee out of pure excitement. This is a throw back to the days that they lived in dog packs. It is a subordinate dog's way of letting the other pack members know that they are not a threat. The urine gives off a chemical marker which the other dogs can read, so to speak. When she approaches you, or someone she's not seen for a while, don't over excite her. Say hello calmly and you shouldn't have too much trouble. Towering over her in the typical way that humans do will also cause her to pee, but more out of fright. If you get her very excited then she's likely to pee. Use similar methods to when you are trying to get her to calm down. One good trick is to walk away if she sprinkles. That way she'll get the message that there is no need for that behaviour. Whatever you do, don't react to it. This only tells her that what she is doing is the right thing.
One thing that she has got to remember is that calm means attention. When she has chilled out, smother her in attention. A really good way of getting over the excited peeing thing is to only introduce people outside. That way even if she does pee she'll be doing it outside and not on the carpet. People can still be introduced inside, but she'll be a little calmer after initial intro.'s outside.
With regards to jumping up - its easy. Follow previous ignoring instructions. If she jumps up, ignore her. Don't push her down or tell her off - that will only encourage her. Simply turn away from her and ignore her until she stops. Then shower her with affection. Get everyone else she meets to do the same and you will soon have a dog that does not jump up. Tell people that are visiting to do the same - before they arrive. That way everyone can be involved. This is always best helped along with also teaching her to sit. Give people treats to offer her. But only let her have them when she sits. Don't tell her to sit - let her sit of her own accord. That way she thinks that she has offered you something for the treat. If you want her to always to sit whenever she greets new people, always only give her the treat when she sits. Don't give it to her for barking, don't give it to her for lying down, don't give it to her for rolling over. These are all neat tricks - but they are not sitting. And sitting is what you want her to do. I've often seen dogs go through their whole repitoir of tricks before sitting - just to see who was in control!
At the moment she may have lost a little confidence in you. Especially when you chase her around trying to catch her to tell her off. This is a great game for puppies - being that they are invariably quicker than you are. Don't chase her. Don't put her into the situation that you have to chase her. Perfect her recall without distractions around, that way you can increase the distractions slowly at your pace so that she'll come back even if she doing something else.
The barking is a way of getting your attention. As she is the boss, she sees it as her job to alert the other pack members to the dangers. These are guard dogs after all. And she sees your protestations as your ways of joining in. Young dogs bark if they are unsure about something. Reassure her that there is not a problem calmly - then remove her from the area that her perceived threat is in. If it is someone coming to the house - thank her. One day it may be a burglar. Then put her into her crate and answer the door. Once you've let people into the house, explain the basics of lesson one and let her out of the crate. Get you Amish friend to come around more often with their hat on. That way she'll get used to it. Wear a hat you self and get others to wear them - that way she won't find them unusual at all. When she starts barking at the animals, get her to sit. Use treats if you have to, but get her attention onto you.
Keep her on leash when around the livestock, that way she doesn't get the opportunity to chase. The more that she chases the more of a problem she will be. Don't let her off the leash until you know that she will ignore the livestock and stick with you. Get her around the livestock as much as you can. This way she will get bored seeing them. Teach her to round the horses. There are lots of good books - mainly based on Border Collies but they would do for AID's non the less. I'm sure that Kim would have lots of useful advice on this issue also.
The most important thing is not to expect too much too soon. She is only a puppy after all. You wouldn't be expecting miracles if it was a child - for remember that is what she is. Always remember to let her know what it is you want her to do. Its much easier than trying to get her to stop doing something that she wants to do. Take barking again. If you spend time to teach her to bark - which is quite simple if you know how - it is so much easier to teach her how to stop barking.
Barking Master Class
Pups take a while to learn everything. They also go through a teenager stage just like human children. Life is such a great game for them. Through my experience you can teach a Border Collie pup to sit, stay, down, come, etc, all in about five minutes. But it takes a couple of years to get that dog reliable in the field. Don't expect too much too soon is about the most important thing that I can say. Also, patience is a virtue - which we all have and sometimes lose - count to 10 as the old saying goes. If she's going, or is likely, to get up to mischief, restrict her movements, by putting her in her crate or keeping her on leash. There is nothing wrong with closing the barn doors before the horse has bolted.
One last thing. Cheap dog food is full of additives just like cheap mass produced human food. This is why you sometimes find that children are hyperactive. A change in diet to a brand such as Hills or Eukanuba may help calm her down a little. One of my Collies used to go loopy on certain foods, but was a picture of angelic quality on other foods. It may be worth looking into, remember to give any new food at least a week to show any marked effect. Also expect a little diahorrea following the change over. Her tum needs a little time to get used to the new food. Gradually introduce the new food, mixed with her food in increasing quantities, over a couple of days. This will reduce the likelyhood of diahorrea.
Response: I think it's just
a personality thing, like us, some of us just aren't as social as others.
Some people like to come right up in your face & shake your hand &
want to know you or want you to know them, need that attention,......
or are just friendly. Then there are those of us that don't like people
getting into our space as much, I know I like to set back & watch,
before I put my hand out to shake with someone I don't know. I sure don't
like to shake someone's hand (or be required or forced to), that I don't
like or someone trying to get in my face or loud & obnoxious or that
I have a bad feeling about....... I think out of all the dogs there are
those that are just happy & bouncy & aren't serious about figuring
people or other dogs out. Then there's those thinkers that would rather
meet people or other dogs on there own time, just like the two personalities
that you have. You can help them to adjust or train them to one extent
or the other, but it's also important to understand there needs &
individual personalities too. I know just what you mean by some not liking
a hand coming towards their head, but those are the ones to help get over
that, but understand that personality type too, to respect that, but help
to cure it too. Just like you said, do it even more with them when younger,
with respect of their space & understanding that as a quality, but
help them adjust too, if that
Founder/trustee of the A.I.Dog breed for over 40 years
& Pres., of the A.I.Dog registry & IIDOBA - www.indiandogs.com
& www.iidoba.org & www.americanindiandogs.com
Regarding reasons behind neutering your dog:
Response: For anyone that really cares about the
health of your dogs & can trust my judgments. Here's just a little
of what I've learned through my 56 years of genetics & breeding........
I have usually fixed 'even a breeding male & or female' after we get
the perfect male & or female pup from them, that will pass those qualities
on or intermixed with the lines
The only ones (there have just been 2) that were foundation
sires or dams & I kept breeding to an older age, as they were &
are special & needed to spread their seed to all the bloodlines &
even line bred to create even more of their special genes, have died at
an earlier age of prostrate cancer. All canines if not fixed, will get
prostrate cancer & die much sooner if not
With Rogue, I couldn't get enough of him within his lifetime,
as there were 2 females he has not bred. He can not breed any longer as
we tried, & I took him in for a check-up to find out why & YES
he has Prostrate cancer, now we must say good-bye to him soon, & a
vasectomy would not have stopped the cancer. He (or I) have taken away
years off of his life just to have more of
That was my call & I will have to live with it, but I'm a BREEDER & I breed for the good of the breed & to get those very special dogs out for people to enjoy. Thanks Rogue, for giving 5 years of your life for all of us, PLEASE let Rogue & my pain, be a lesson to anyone that thinks they shouldn't fix their dog for the better of the breed (that's if you trust my breeding knowledge & leave the breeding & heart ache to me?) There is NO reason to leave a male canine intact, unless you have to have more of those lines, if Rogue were another breed, he wouldn't have bred or lived this long. Rogue could have been with us for another 5 years at least, if I had fixed him years ago - Please fix your dogs, if for no other reason, that they will live longer healthier lives. Let your ego's go just because you want to raise pups or think they look more masculine or they will live a more fulfilled life???? or want more like him or her??? There are more like your dogs, but wouldn't be if everyone bred them. (The new article I'm writing will include a lot of these breeding myths & untruths about canines & the A.I.Dogs) Gelding has been done to male dogs for thousands of years, (even people) for a reason, think of your dogs & the breed...please....no mistakes, help the A.I.Dog breed, the entire canine population & you & your dog to avoid the pain ........please! - thanks for listening - I would have loved to have had Rogue around me for another 5 years, he has been my faithful shadow & partner - Kim
Founder/trustee of the A.I.Dog breed for over 40 years
& Pres., of the A.I.Dog registry & IIDOBA - www.indiandogs.com
& www.iidoba.org & www.americanindiandogs.com