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Is this just a phase? Grumpy puppy

PetFriendly
August 14th, 2005, 10:22 AM
Hi Everyone

I'd like your opinions of something but let me first introduce my puppy. His name is Charley and he's a pom/shih tzu cross. He's going to be 7 months old next week and I've had him since he was 7 weeks old. He's more dominant than submissive but I keep it in check with all the usual tactics, i.e. I go through doors and hallways first, I eat first, I get the 'best seat' on the furniture, we play the take away and give back the bone game, etc. That got us over his biting on my pant legs when he wanted attention or didnít want to walk, food aggression and resource guarding (anyone or anything can approach him when he's eating and same usually goes for when he's eating a bone). It also stopped him for barking out the window every time someone went by the house or rang the doorbell.

I also went to puppy kindergarten with him and we are now in the process of completing basic obedience. He's doing rather well, he does a mean sit/stay, usually walks well on a leash, heals nicely. The school we go to does not use treats for training and uses 'domination' (pin to the ground on his back, not hurting him or anything, just demonstrating I'm in control) which is also what the vet suggested

My problem is this. While my boyfriend and I 'dominate' him by not letting him get away with growling and snapping at us to make us go away, my roommate doesn't. That is, if he's laying on the floor and she pets him, after two or three pets he's had enough and growls/snaps at her, she says 'fine then I won't pet you' to him and leaves... Exactly what he wanted her to do.

He treats me like the queen of the castle, what I say goes (most of the time anyway, he is still only a puppy), his teeth don't touch my skin, I can put my hands anywhere on him that I want, I can take his food and bones, etc. But, and here's the problem, he seems to have applied his behaviour towards my roommate to the rest of humanity, instead of treating everyone the way he treats me. Yesterday for example was a long day for us with two bbq's to attend. The first one went fine, he was quite sociable and ready to play with anyone who looked at him. Towards the end of the second bbq however he was tired and would snap at anyone, including my boyfriend, that would touch him. He also snapped at a friend when she tried to take a 'kabob skewer' away from him that he had found on the floor.

I feel that all the work I've been doing for the last few months has been for naught and that itís my roommateís fault. Does anyone know if this is maybe just a phase, that he'll outgrow it if I keep persevering? My trainer seems to think it will pass, that getting rid of my room-mate might help, but isn't necessary (can't afford to get rid of her anyway). Its been a long times since I've had a puppy and I can't remember which behaviours where only phases.

Thanks in advance for your input!

LavenderRott
August 14th, 2005, 10:51 AM
First off, I would find a new trainer. In 2005, there have been great strides made in training techniques and most people have found that dogs work much better for praise, with treats thrown in for good measure, then dominance.

As for yesterday's behaviour, I would be tired and crabby too! Separating him from the crowd when you see that he has had enough of all the activity will set him up to succeed.

As for your roommate, explain to her the problem and insist that she follow your guidelines or not interact with the dog. Period.

PetFriendly
August 14th, 2005, 11:30 AM
First off, I would find a new trainer. In 2005, there have been great strides made in training techniques and most people have found that dogs work much better for praise, with treats thrown in for good measure, then dominance.

There is lots of praise, sorry I should have specified that in my first post. The technic he teaches is as follows, Tell the dog what you want (i.e. sit) wait for his to do it himself, if he doesn't gently show him what you want and praise once he's there. The dominance came in during kidergarden when Charley would mouth my hand when I pushed his bum down for a sit, or pulled on my pant leg when we were practising heal. As far as treats go, Charley looses all focus when there's food involved. I mean I do give him treats, like when he goes into his crate, or has come when I called him, left the dirty pair of socks on the floor when asked to 'leave it', etc. That said, do you still think the trainer needs to be dumped?

As for yesterday's behaviour, I would be tired and crabby too! Separating him from the crowd when you see that he has had enough of all the activity will set him up to succeed.

Ok, that's what I was thinking too! But he will outgrow the growling to make people go away though right, I mean I can't be leaving all the bbq's I go to because my dog is tired...

As for your roommate, explain to her the problem and insist that she follow your guidelines or not interact with the dog. Period.

Been there, had that conversation, in fact we have it almost weekly... I'll keep wroking on her though.

StaceyB
August 14th, 2005, 11:32 AM
I agree with LavenderRott.
This is a phase but any bad habits learned through this period of time that are not dealt with wil become formed behaviours. There is a way of being top dog in the household w/o trying to roll or pin him. There is only so much that a dog will take before they begin to fight back. Your puppy is also going through adolescence(behavioural / sexual maturity) at this time, he is becoming an adult dog. Everyone in the home needs to do the same thing when it comes to setting rules. I would explain to the room mate what you need him/her to do in certain situations. If they are not willing to follow the rules, crate the dog when only the room mate is home so you don't have to worry about how he/she interacts with the dog. You need to change the relationship between the room mate and dog. How much interaction does he get with strange people/ kids? Even though he is taking classes he may not be getting the socializing he requires. There are two major times to socialize, one is as a young puppy and the other is adolescence. Your puppy should never be showing signs of aggression at any time, especially as a puppy. As long as he continues to win his battles the behaviour will not go away but actually get worse as you have seen. At the same time your pupy should have a place to relax away from everyone when they are tired. You know your puppy so when you see him getting tired find a quiet place for him. A carrier would be easy to transport with you to these functions.
You need to at this point correct him for his bad social behaviours. You also need to find a resource that he loves, to use for the interactions with strangers(treats, toys). You want him to think that strangers give him nothing but good things and good behaviours make you very happy, lots of praise. The is a lot of confusion when labelling simple bad manners as dominance issues. There is usually a more easily understood reason for most behaviours that have nothing to do with dominance.

Remember that dogs don't speak english or any other language. Unless they first know what the behaiour is, telling them doesn't help at all. Also having you do the work for the dog Ex pushing down for sit makes it take much longer to learn. If you are using a verbal cue for a behaviour they don't know and they are doing it incorrectly you are teaching them that incorrect behaviours are part of this verbal cue. Teach the behaviour before you label it.

LavenderRott
August 14th, 2005, 11:47 AM
It might have been a phase, but once she learns she can get away with it, then it becomes a learned behaviour. That is why everyone must agree to and follow the rules.

Next time your roommate drops to the floor to watch t.v., remove the dog from her location. Put it up on the couch with you or in her crate. That way, you don't have to worry about setting the dog up to fail.

As for leaving the bbq early, no. Don't. Poms are little. I don't know where you live but we have great garage sales around here and have bought 3 dog crates this summer for great prices. Find yourself a small crate, or even a small travel crate - the airline kind, and keep it in the trunk of your car. That way, when she starts getting stressed and tired, you can get it out and put her in it. She is crate trained already, so she will see it as a safe place to be and you can either put it someplace out of the way (but in your line of sight) or under your seat. That way you know that no one is messing with her while she is in there.

As for the trainer, well, I have big dogs and would never train with someone who suggested Alpha Rolls (the pinning of the dog to show dominance). I rarely have to get that physical with my dogs. If you like your trainer and that is not a regular part of your training, well then that is up to you. (If your pup is biting to play, you may find that if you hold her still with her collar - not choking or anything like that - and let her calm down, you will have great results.)

PetFriendly
August 14th, 2005, 05:23 PM
He is rather well socialized and friendly for a small dog. When I first got him and school was still in, I timed our afternoon walk to match school bus drop off times... We also stopped when anyone wanted to pet him. I walked different routes to make sure he got to see and smell new things and once a week we drive to a dog friendly trail (I'd walk but his legs are too short and by the time we get there he's done for the day). We also go to Home Depot or Rona once a week for exposure to strange noises and smells.

Also in re-reading my original post, I'm realising I didn't explain the 'bbq incendent well'... He wasn't going around snapping at anyone who looked at him. He was sleeping by my side and would snap at anyone who touched him while sleeping. And yes, i have to admit by that time I was quite tired too.

So if 'pinning' him down (which by the way is not an alpha role, I just turn him over and hold him such that he can't do anything about it) isn't a good technique, I'd like to hear what your suggestions are, besides a stern 'No' (which alone doens't work at all). I'd also like to hear what you do about dominant behaviour, i.e. the biting he does while were working on obedience is not playing, its him letting me know he doesn't want to be pushed around as it only occurs when I want him to do something and he doesn't want to do it.

Maybe the word 'push' was too strong... There's no actual force involved. I don't understand how they are supposed to figure out what you want when you say 'sit' if you've never showed them?! And I can't use a treat to trick him into sitting because, as I said, he gets obsessed with it... Also, when we're learning something new and he doesn't know what I want, he just stands there, so I don't think I'm teaching him the wrong cues (we also use hand signals for everything)

StaceyB
August 14th, 2005, 06:19 PM
You mentioned that you used to do these social exercises with him, do you still do it? Also, how often does he get carried when he is out in public. No puppy of any size should be snapping for any reason. I don't want to be rude at all and I apologize before hand if it comes out that way. From the tone of your post I feel as if any ideas I gave you would be argued because it would be different from what you have been told. If I am wrong let me know and I will gladly help.

StaceyB
August 14th, 2005, 06:37 PM
Please read this. www.ks.essortment.com/dogsbehavior_rmjw.htm

PetFriendly
August 15th, 2005, 08:19 AM
First off, I'm open to suggestions, why else would I come here and chance being ridiculed for not knowing what I'm doing and being told I'm doing it all wrong... I already know the pup shouldn't be snapping, but I don't know how to fix it, that's why I'm here....

I have asked about how you and Lavender go about teaching your dogs things, like labelling behaviour only once its learned or how to effectively communicate to the dog that that particular behaviour is not acceptable.

That article had some good points about dog training in general, but Charley isnít Ďout of controlí and doesnít Ďengage in undesirable behavioursí, I mean heís a puppy, heís exploring, testing his limits, heís trying to figure out how to get attention. When he picks up one of my bras and runs from the room with it, heís playing, not being dominant, when he doesnít come to the gate when I call him, again, heís playing. I can read him fairly well and there are only a few instances where his biting is saying ďget your hands off me and donít touch, tell or show me what to doĒ.

We still go walking twice a day, its just that since school is out, there aren't as many kids at a particular time (like school bus drop off time) so instead we walk by parks where I know soccer games are being played or places where I know someone is running a day care. He is never carried when we're out (unless Iím taking him in somewhere where dogs arenít really allowed like through the lobby and up the elevator where I work), he walks everywhere himself on a fairly loose leash. He also prefers children to adults, he'll walk straight to a child, tail wagging, if he has the choice between the two.

I'm starting to think that all we need to do is work more on the bite inhibition and make sure he has a safe spot to sleep in when were out and about (maybe he was startled and in his immature mind, snapping was self preservation in both the case of being disturbed?!). As far as snapping at my friend when she tried to take the bbq skewer, that might also be self-preservation, it had a food smell on it and he knew that since I wasnít taking it he likely wouldnít get something in return (I almost always trade him for a piece of rawhide or something) I'm thinking that maybe he'll be less impulsive as he matures?

How did you guys teach bite inhibition? What about teaching him not to be worried about someone hurting him, that Iíll watch him and keep him safe, would that help if I can figure out how?

StaceyB
August 15th, 2005, 09:14 AM
It sounds as if you have been doing a lot of the right things with him. Growling or snapping when someone tries to take something away from him is usually referred to as resource guarding. How the person reacts when he does this may teach him that this behaviour works to keep what he wants. What did your room mate do when he did this to her and is she willing to work with him. Even though you have had a couple of incidents the prevention comes from work you do with him besides the correction he receives at the time. For the guarding of objects he will need to practice give with many people/ children. If he has only done this exercise with you, you may be the only one who can take objects from him. Increase the value of the objects you use. You may also want everyone to take items he has in his possession such as his rawhide, hold it for a few seconds and give it back. Praise him for his good behaviour. You don't want him to think that everything taken will not be returned. Does anyone besides yourself ever touch him while he is sleeping. Not that you want the neighbourhood to touch him while he is sleeping but he should be able to tolerate it. I would begin at home having everyone in the home occasionally touch him while he is sleeping. If there is an other incident of this kind I would verbally correct and then set him up for what you want. Set him up into a greeting position, usually a sit and then allow a quick greet. Praise him for good behaviour. A firm verbal correction should work fine as long as it is followed with setting him up with what you want from him. At the same time, until he can be trusted to tolerate such handling bring the carrier.

tenderfoot
August 15th, 2005, 12:08 PM
First off, I'm open to suggestions, why else would I come here and chance being ridiculed for not knowing what I'm doing and being told I'm doing it all wrong... I already know the pup shouldn't be snapping, but I don't know how to fix it, that's why I'm here....
We are not here to ridicule you - we love to help. Try to read the help as if it were coming ffrom a teacher or friend.

That article had some good points about dog training in general, but Charley isnít Ďout of controlí and doesnít Ďengage in undesirable behavioursí, I mean heís a puppy, heís exploring, testing his limits, heís trying to figure out how to get attention. When he picks up one of my bras and runs from the room with it, heís playing, not being dominant, when he doesnít come to the gate when I call him, again, heís playing. I can read him fairly well and there are only a few instances where his biting is saying ďget your hands off me and donít touch, tell or show me what to doĒ.

I agree he is testing his limits - but diminishing it by calling it playing could be the problem. We don't use the term 'dominance' very often - we prefer to paint the picture as whose in control or whose making the decisions. When he challenges you in the ways you describe he is tryng to taking control albeit in a playful manner.

I'm starting to think that all we need to do is work more on the bite inhibition and make sure he has a safe spot to sleep in when were out and about (maybe he was startled and in his immature mind, snapping was self preservation in both the case of being disturbed?!). As far as snapping at my friend when she tried to take the bbq skewer, that might also be self-preservation, it had a food smell on it and he knew that since I wasnít taking it he likely wouldnít get something in return (I almost always trade him for a piece of rawhide or something) I'm thinking that maybe he'll be less impulsive as he matures?
Don't over think it. His attitude is snotty and it needs to stop. I don't mean that in a harsh way but it is truly the best way to describe it. He should drop anything to anyone regardless - rawhide or not. I do not want to bribe my dog to get him to drop something to me - he should do it ot of respect for my leadership. Some dogs will learn to grab stuff just because they know they can get a cookie in exchange. Just as much as you need to work on bite inhibition you need to work on manners. No growling or snapping is permitted - period.
*Note - raw hides are bad news. Try to find natural bones or compressed rawhide instead.

How did you guys teach bite inhibition? What about teaching him not to be worried about someone hurting him, that Iíll watch him and keep him safe, would that help if I can figure out how?
It's like being a great parent. You show him how he needs to behave, while you show him that he is safe in your world. Think "Andy Griffin" show. Andy had clear boundaries on Opies manners, while being loving and strong. Opie always knew he was loved and safe but also knew he had very clear expectations of his manners.

StaceyB
August 15th, 2005, 12:29 PM
Rawhide is for chewing, not eating. The size should be large enough that he can't put his mouth over the end. Chewing on rawhide or other like objects should be supervised at all times. I suggest buying multi packs and only letting the dog chew on each for no more than 20 minutes. Once you take it away repair the bone by trimming off any loose pieces and putting it away to harden. You may then offer another bone. Rawhide does not break down in a dogs system and can easily get caught, needing surgery to remove. It only takes one time so if you have decided to use it supervise the use, make sure it is the right size and don't let it be eaten.

Trinitie
August 15th, 2005, 12:47 PM
So if 'pinning' him down (which by the way is not an alpha role, I just turn him over and hold him such that he can't do anything about it) isn't a good technique, I'd like to hear what your suggestions are, besides a stern 'No' (which alone doens't work at all). I'd also like to hear what you do about dominant behaviour, i.e. the biting he does while were working on obedience is not playing, its him letting me know he doesn't want to be pushed around as it only occurs when I want him to do something and he doesn't want to do it.Anytime a dog is pinned to the ground, and is unable to get up, it's considered an alpha roll. The dog can either be on it's back or it's side. Alpha roll, as well as a "scruff shake", can lead to a dog becoming hand shy. A hand shy dog is one that will bite out of fear.

A stern NO should work in ALL circumstances. Keep your dog on a leash at all times when others are around. If the dog starts to grumble, put the dog in a 'down-stay'. If the dog won't listen, put the dog in a 'time-out'. Put your foot on the leash, and tell the dog down. Slowly pull the leash so the dog lowers slowly to the ground. Now, ignore the dog for 2-5 minutes. Don't look at him, don't let anyone pat him. Once his 'punishment' is over, release him and pretend that nothing happened. Fuss him up with lots of praise.

He's biting you because he's trying to intimidate you. HE'S working on becoming Alpha dog - your role. He has to be ignored when he's doing bad things, like nipping. At this point, using a leash is a must. If he's nipping at you when you tell him to do something, put him in his 'down-stay'. Stand in front of him, but don't look at him. Keep an eye on him, out of the corner of your eye, and if you see him try to get up, give him a verbal reprimand, and tell him NO - DOWN. As soon as he's got the idea, and stays in a 'down-stay' for the alloted time (no more than 15-30 seconds in training mode - building up to 1-2 minutes), release him, give him "some" praise, but if you fuss him up too much, it'll become distracting and will make training a bit more difficult.

By the way, do you free feed (leave his food down) or do you set specific feeding times?

PetFriendly
August 15th, 2005, 05:30 PM
I agree he is testing his limits - but diminishing it by calling it playing could be the problem. We don't use the term 'dominance' very often - we prefer to paint the picture as whose in control or whose making the decisions. When he challenges you in the ways you describe he is tryng to taking control albeit in a playful manner. .

I'm glad I wasn't toally off the ball.


Some dogs will learn to grab stuff just because they know they can get a cookie in exchange.

His orignal reason for the 'snatch and grab' of stuff that isn't his was because we'd run after him to get it back. Darn, so you're saying I might have taught him that if we don't play we'll at least give him a treat.. gotta hate it when you do that! I have to admit though that if he is on leash, something else the trainer suggested, or if he has something that's his, he'll give up the object if you (a variety of people can do this, even the room-mate)put your hand on it and say 'let me see'.

*Note - raw hides are bad news. Try to find natural bones or compressed rawhide instead.

Even if he doesn't actually eat them yet, just chews till they get all soggy and gros? He can eat the compressed rawhide really fast so it doesn't keep him busy long. By natural bones do you mean soup bones that have been cleaned? He doesn't really like those when they are clean and the ones with meat on them (which everyone in my household and my parent's household can take awy from him weithout protest) make him sick. What's your take on nyla-bones he likes those, the bigger the better?


Think "Andy Griffin" show. Andy had clear boundaries on Opies manners, while being loving and strong. Opie always knew he was loved and safe but also knew he had very clear expectations of his manners.

I'm only 26... Not quite old enough to really know that show ;)

PetFriendly
August 15th, 2005, 05:45 PM
He's biting you because he's trying to intimidate you. HE'S working on becoming Alpha dog - your role. He has to be ignored when he's doing bad things, like nipping. At this point, using a leash is a must. If he's nipping at you when you tell him to do something, put him in his 'down-stay'. Stand in front of him, but don't look at him. Keep an eye on him, out of the corner of your eye, and if you see him try to get up, give him a verbal reprimand, and tell him NO - DOWN. As soon as he's got the idea, and stays in a 'down-stay' for the alloted time (no more than 15-30 seconds in training mode - building up to 1-2 minutes), release him, give him "some" praise, but if you fuss him up too much, it'll become distracting and will make training a bit more difficult.

Ok, I like the sounds of the down-stay. Question about it though, he doesn't do 'down' yet, but we're getting there, and he does know stay and will do so for over a minute so should I still start with the 15 seconds or with the 1 minute I know he can do? Its going to make trianing sessions longer but I can live with that if the long run outcome is better for both of us.

By the way, do you free feed (leave his food down) or do you set specific feeding times?

He has never, since the day he came home, eaten for more than a few minutes. I had started with regular feeding times, morning noon and night. I would make a big production of getting the food, putting it in his dish (which he never emptied), pretending to eat it, then putting it down on the floor for him. I'd leave it there for 15 minutes, give him fair warning it was almost over, then take it away. The thing was, after two weeks of this he'd lost some weight and the vet was not pleased. So instead, what I did was pretty much the same except I didn't take it away and would put it in his pen with him during the day. Now we're down to two meals, breakfast and dinner and the food isn't moved to his pen/crate during the day... I have to say though that the food dish is not a problem, literally everyone and their dog can approach him while he eats, stick their hand in the dish and he won't even say boo. We also randomly stick our hands in the dish while he's eating. Why do you ask?

tenderfoot
August 15th, 2005, 08:14 PM
Your never too young for Andy Griffin :p - catch it on TV land - it's a gem.

Rawhides are only dangerous when swallowed in chunks - some dogs are just fine with them but enough surgeries are done to remove these chunks that we just say stay away. The natural bones (not cleaned) are full of rich nutirition - he gets sick because his sytem can't handle the richness. So you have to take it slowly and then he will be fine. Take a bone, defrost it, scrape out the marrow (keep it in the fridge for later), give him the scraped out bone and he will work on it getting tiny bits of leftover marrow and wonderful honeycombed calcium - very healthy for him. Take a teaspoon of marrow and put it in his food every day to help his body acclimate to the richness, until you see that he dosen't get the runs from it. Then you can start giving him more and more until you can give him a whole bone, marrow and all.
*Note - if he gets diahrea, give him a tablespoon of canned pumpkin every couple of hours - it's pure fiber and will firm things up quickly.

PetFriendly
August 15th, 2005, 08:29 PM
*Note - if he gets diahrea, give him a tablespoon of canned pumpkin every couple of hours - it's pure fiber and will firm things up quickly.

I'll have to try that!