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Training Nightmares

April 18th, 2005, 11:44 PM
Hi All! Great forum, i'm reading some great posts. Here is my unique situation.

Kobe is an 8-month old, 12lbs, ****zu, Schnauzer, Westy mix. A nasty combination. At two months, we brought her to start Puppy Playschool... following that, she did a one month (two day/week) intensive training, following THAT, we had a private training come visit... Here are the problems, and as of now, not much is resolved from the day we got her.

1) Biting. Kobe always has her mouth open. During play, or any time, her mouth is open. She HAS a crate, so every time she lays her teeth on us we yell "OW" and put her in the crate for a couple minutes. This seemed to be working, but she is regressing although we continue the same technique.

2) Barking. Kobe barks at absolutely every noise, every moving leaf outside the window.

3) Housetraining. Right now, although very cautious, she seems to be able to last up to 3 hours without having an "Accident" inside. However, this is under pretty strict supervision, which realistically cannot be maintained with work schedules. We also feel rather guilty putting her in the crate every time we leave the house, but such is life... At eight months, you would expect a dog to be houstrained. We walk every three hours, always in the same places. Still, she's had two accidents as recently as three weeks ago.

That's it for now.. enough... Any suggestions are welcome. Our next "paying" effort would be an intensive "boarding" training program. Giving her up is NOT an option, we love her so much, however these problems are becoming quite cumbersome.

Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

Marc in Montreal

April 19th, 2005, 03:54 AM
Sounds like you are working hard - kudos.
At 8 months she should be over the mouthing, housetraining could be iffy and barking needs to be nipped in the bud.
1) Biting is a lack of respect for her people. If you act like a litter mate then the puppy will treat you like a litter mate - if you act like a parent the puppy will treat you with respect like a parent. You teach her like the mother would - NOT like the other puppies would.
You should not shake or Alpha role a puppy and do not punish her with the crate. But that doesn't mean you can't be clear about your boundaries of right and wrong behavior. Momma would correct the biting and then give her another chance to choose better. If after a few attempts to correct her don't deter her then she would correct her intensely one last time and then walk away.
We allow a puppy to put her mouth on our hands (because puppies relate to the world through their mouths) and teach her not to use pressure on us. We position our hand intentionally with a thumb in her mouth. If she presses down at all - we firmly say "quit" in a low tone and QUICKLY press down on the tongue with the thumb. Don't hold your finger down, just press and release. She will want to spit your thumb out of her mouth because it is no fun. Sometimes it takes 3-5 corrections before she knows you mean business. But then continue to play with her and keep correcting the bad choices and praising the good ones. It is fast and intense but not harmful. Continue to play with her in a gentle manner - she will learn that gentle playing is more fun and lasts longer.
2) Right now barking is her way of showing she owns the house and thinks it's her job to alert the pack -you need to teach her it is your house and you don't need her barking. Having her on the leash in the house can help here. This allows you to become a leader and she is the follower (everywhere you go she follows). It also gives you the chance to correct bad behavior choices on her part. Correct the barking, give her a job and then praise for the good choices. This should nip it.
3) Don't feel guilty for crating her for such short times - it keeps her safe, teaches her to hold it and saves you from the frustrations that challenge your love/patience for the little monster. Smaller dogs can be tougher to housetrain - so just keep being consistent and patient. 8 months can still be too early for her to be perfect yet.
Please do not waste your money on board/train. Board/train is like sending your child to boarding school to avoid raising her yourself - it does nothing to improve your relationship or improve your parenting skills. You just need to keep on your path and be willing to learn more - as you are successful it will feel so good and you will have learned skills that stick with you forever. You are doing a good job. Know that 8 mos is just the beginning of her teenage stage and all of this will seen like a bad dream when she hits 2yrs, and you will practically forget she ever had a bad moment.

Lucky Rescue
April 19th, 2005, 04:46 PM
Our next "paying" effort would be an intensive "boarding" training program.

Please don't do that. Some boarding/training facilities promise results, but the methods can be very cruel and can ruin a dog.

Barking - Schnauzers (at least every one I've known or seen) are big barkers.

Please try calling Julie Sansregret. She is a wonderful trainer/behaviorist in St.Lazare.

April 19th, 2005, 10:31 PM
Can you clarify for me, is she having accidents in the crate wjen she is in it for more than 3 hours, or accidents just roaming loose in the home, not crated while you are out?

April 19th, 2005, 10:39 PM
Thanks for your replies so far, let me clarify some points.

Kobe is in the crate overnight, and whenever left alone. For her own safety and that of our home. She is walked every three hours, when out of the crate, and has accidents fairly frequently. As such, we keep a very close eye on her when she is out of the crate but given schedules and such, it is not always that easy to constantly be watching a pet.

She craves a LOT of attention. She is extremely energetic, doing laps around my apartment.... Giving her up is NOT an option whatsoever; and the more i read the more i'm realizing that a boarding/training program is not the best idea...

We have spent a lot of money already in training... at this point she knows how to sit on command and that's pretty much it... she constantly nags for attention; and the biting (although it was gettinb better) seems to be returning.... We have done the "yell OW" and crate her for 2 minutes" to reduce the biting, and it DID work for a while, so we are reverting back to that as the biting is recurring.

The problems today are:

Constant need for attention.
Barking at everything and anything.
Accidents in the house.

I know that two years from now, i'll look back and not remember who this misbehaving dog is, but its hard to see at this point in time. I'd love to be able to trust her to roam free, and would feel less guilty putting her in the crate when out for hours at a time, but we're just not there yet.

April 19th, 2005, 10:49 PM
See some of the suggestions in the (very long) thread called "Really need help". They didn't work for me, but my dog is much older and had a very bad life to start with. Yours sounds like mostly a good dog, just young.

As for the training--ie needing attention & not knowing any commands, you should be trying to make training fun, make a game out of "down" & "roll-over" and you can do this WHILE you are walking. My dog is required to sit at every street crossing we come to. Lately I haven't been walking him down the street as the parks are snow-free at last, but when we do, he still will sit. I now get him to do "down" and "roll-over" and "shake a paw" in the park--he does this when strangers ask him now! It makes walking more fun, makes training more fun, and teaches him lots of things. The most important thing to remember about training is repetition. If you don't ask a dog (and reinforce) a command every day (even just ONCE), then you (and the dog) will forget how to do it. A puppy is a mental sponge, but like a sponge, what they learn will evaporate if it's not replenished every day.

That's my only advice. I haven't had a dog long enough to be able to offer more specific advice.

I do understand about re-homing NOT being an option for you. I feel the same way about my dog, though some days I really wish he'd never come into my life. But I still wouldn't give him up.

Good luck,

April 20th, 2005, 01:06 PM
By your last post, she sounds bored.

Wearing her out with play, training, and exercise would leave her without enough energy to run around and bark. She sounds like she's really just trying to entertain herself, without enough understanding of what is appropriate.

And traing bad behaviours out is always much easier when the dog isn't so full of energy. They're more likrly to listen and watch you.

a tired puppy is a good puppy.

April 20th, 2005, 02:54 PM
AT 8 mo this girl needs to start acting more grown up.
Her behavior sounds as though she has learned that this behavior will get her the attention she craves. She is acting rather like an 8 year old princess who has been led to believe she is the center of the universe - it's all about her.
Exercise and play (with good manners) will help, but she needs to respect the people around her and start asking for permission to have nice things in her life (toys, food, love) instead of demanding it. You need to start setting boundaries on her behavior and activities. It is just fine to say "no bite" in a firm tone and get a bit mad - heck she just bit you! Yelping and tossing her in the crate does nothing to establish you as the leader in her life - and she desperately needs a leader.
One great thing for you to do is to have her on the leash in the house as much as you can stand it. This reminds you that you have a kid in the house to watch over and to engage her mind as much as you can.
It also helps you monitor her need to potty more closely and you will be able to be more consistent. It is fine that you are taking her out so frequently, but are you rescuing her or teaching her? Rescuing means you are timing the potty times and anticipating her needs (you are doing all of the work). Teaching means that you are teaching her not to potty in the house and to ask to go out when she needs to (she is taking responsibility).
Her neediness needs to be balanced out. I would have her on the leash - where ever I go she follows - not out of insecurity (need), but because I said so. I would also have her respect my personal boundaries. She can sit on the couch with me but not touching me. She can stand next to me but not have to be velcroed to my leg. She can follow me to the bathroom , but then I am going to make her stand/stay outside the door and give me privacy.
Give her lots of jobs to do. The busier her mind is the better. She should have a 40 word vocabulary by now and everything/action in her life has a word. Use that vocabulary to keep her busy and to establish your leadership.