July 12th, 2005, 01:56 PM
My wife and I adopted two brothers (littermates, lab/ shepard cross) almost a year ago. They are now a year old and we are having problems with training and getting them to listen to commands. One is motivated somewhat by food, they other is not, has no favorite toy, not even praise seems to work. They distract each other so much that they listen only when they want to. We have tried seperating them but they would spend all of their training looking for the other. When together they just want to play. I was hoping as they got older they would listen more but the opposite is happening. Now they are bigger my wife can not physically handle them for walks alone. When I am there they listen some and I can manage them on their leashes. When I am not home and my tries to take them for a walk and they see another animal they bolt after it and my wife has wait for me to come home or they decide to come back. Whenever outside they won't even respond to their names. What can we do so that they will listen and motivate to be trained? We currently live in country and planning to move to the city and don't want to get them into trouble.
July 12th, 2005, 03:41 PM
I really wish we had talked a year ago. I would have discouraged you from getting littermates because of this very reason. They are bonded to each other and not to you. I am not saying they don't love you but they look to each other for the answers first and not to you. Right now they are like twin 12 year old boys who never learned to respect their parents or have rules in the house so they do as they please and feed off of each others energy. They even bully other kids on the street. This can and should stop now.
You have got to get these guys apart from each other more and more. Real world is that some day they will have to be apart (ie one is at the vets) and better they start now than when its an emergency.
You need to start gaining their respect. They need to earn the love, the toys, the food, the time together and attention. The best way to get started on this is to have them on leashes in the house - each one attached to one of you. You become a leader and they are followers. You need to teach them to have impulse control. You have to be willing to step up to the plate and be very clear about right and wrong behavior. They should only go a walks one on one with you or your wife. No more walks together until they have earned it.They have got to start learning some patience - right now they are too used to doing what they want when they want. They have learned for too long that they can just blow you off.
So work on your obedience skills and have them doing lots of commands throughout the day. Make sure you have the leash on to start so that you can empower your words and make sure they do it. The more you ask of them the better they will be over all.
Are these two crate trained? It would be good to crate them seperately when you are gone instead of leaving them together to bond even more. Pretend one is contagious and can't be with the other one for a while and you are going to behave like you can't have them together.
July 13th, 2005, 12:41 AM
We now realized that littermates was not the best idea, but the humane society had the pair and we wanted two that could keep each other occupied when we were not around. All of the other dogs were grown and wanted to start with pups. But that is now the past and we want to work with situation we're in. As for crate trained, they are, and they do not use the same crate together but do not always use the same one. Any suggestions on how to motivate the unmotivable?
July 13th, 2005, 10:46 PM
The more difficult dog to inspire will need a reason to look to you for the answers. Right now he sees no value in looking to you because he thinks he is in charge and already has the answers.
Having him earn the things in his life will start him on the right track.The other items I mentioned are part of this change.
1. Time in separate crates
2. Time on the leash with a person in the house.
3. Separate walks.
4. Doing drills with the dog while you are connected to him- throughout the day. We have specific relationship drills that we teach to get the dog to start looking to you for everything. Use your tone of voice, body language and energy to convey your pleasure or displeasure with his behavior. Do not yell at him, but use pressures like startles, distance towards him, low tone of voice & irritations (i.e. leash 'dinks') to get your point across and the micro-second he gives you want you want release the pressure and praise him with a soft whispery tone.
5. Do not release the dog through a door or to his food until he gives you eye contact.
6.Try to be fun but not giddy in your energy - this will keep things light hearted but still structured.
Giving these dogs more structure and jobs to do will get their minds off of each other and on to you. They need to get busy with the people in their lives, they need to be grateful to you for the life you provide them and they need to start respecting your word. Just like wayward teenagers.
July 13th, 2005, 11:08 PM
I have nothing to add but to say I LOVE tenderfoots advise it's wonderful :D
July 13th, 2005, 11:44 PM
I agree 100% Luba - Great advice tenderfoot! :thumbs up
So proud to have you as an expert!
July 14th, 2005, 09:17 AM
Great ideas. I just keep thinking of two Tuckers, oh my god no, I would have lost it.LOL
July 14th, 2005, 09:18 AM
Thanks guys - I am starting to blush. :o