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Joey growling still

Joey.E.CockersMommy
October 29th, 2005, 08:18 PM
Do you remember a while back I posted a thread about Joey growling at my kids I am having a hard time bringing this up again as I am kind of ashamed that I havent been able to correct the problem but he's still doing it.

The thing is I am not sure if I am reading him right as he growls quite often. ie he will growl when he is playing with his toys, he will growl after he goes poo, and pee, he will growl in his sleep, and he will growl when he is eating.
Sometimes when my kids pet him he will let out a low short growl then stop.
Other times its more obvious like if he has a toy, but he will growl without a toy too, sometimes he will growl at my kids other times he will not, so its unpredictable.
I have tried the firm no, getting him to startle, making him lay on his back and telling him no, putting him outside, breifly (hubbies idea), not allowing him on the couch, he still growls at them on the floor.
He will growl at me if he has something like a toy or something he shouldnt have and I try to take it away from him. I end up holding his mouth shut and taking away the item. Otherwise he never growls at me or my husband.
He did actually get quite agitated with our trainer in training class, as she wanted him to heel and he flat out refused, he didnt bite her but he definatley got mad as if to say I have had enough. Anyways she did scold him at worked through it eventually getting him to heel as well as getting him to submit and be gentle to her.

Problem is when I correct him or tell him no. It doesnt seem to be getting through. I have thought about using a squirt gun for this problem. Is that horrible I just wish I could get him to stop.

Nothing has happened but I dont want it to get to that point.
Also I havent been letting other younger kids pet him because of this and will just allow them to say hi. Often parents will just let there kids run right up to him without asking which makes me nervous, what if something happened would I be sued. Some parents arent too understanding in these situations.

Joey is a great dog and we love him and have lots of fun with him I just wish really wish I could help him overcome this issue. His trainer did say he is a very dominant dog and is one of the most challenging she has had in her classes so far.

jesse's mommy
October 29th, 2005, 08:40 PM
The stubborness sounds a little like Jesse. She's not a growler, but she is a nipper and this has been very difficult to break. Though some people think it's inhumane sometimes you need to take a tougher stance which is what we have done. Squirt bottles don't work with Jesse because she thinks you are playing with her and she trys to catch the water. We actually have a shock collar. We don't abuse her or anything like that, but there have been a few times where she needs a good shock because she is very dominant and very stubborn. I was totally against it in the beginning because I thought it was terrible. I told my fiance that I was going to put it on him to see how he likes it (I still think that is a good idea). But I hate to admit it, he was right. In this particular case it was the best thing we could have done with Jesse. We still have it on her, but now all we have to do is the "warning beep" and say no, then she stops whatever it is she is doing. It's also been a good trainer with her not leaving the yard (Another story, yes we bought an electric fence, but guess who hooked it up, was too lazy to dig the "trench" to bury the wire and ended up running it over with the lawnmower -- if you read my other post about opposite sexes you will surely understand this!). Before we got the collar, we really thought Jesse thought her name was no because that's what she was answering to. She had no idea her name was Jesse because every other word out of our mouths was no. I hope this helps a bit because your baby sounds as dominate and stubborn as our dog. She's a lot better now. She's pretty much always listened to me because when between Jim and I, I'm the alpha and well, he's the pushover. It's really been a great training tool for us because our "punishments" aren't consistant -- mine are and he usually ends up laughing at her. So if everyone in your family isn't "alpha" to the dog, maybe you should try a different training method like the collar or something that makes a sound that the dog responds to. Like I said Jesse responds very well to the beep.

Lucky Rescue
October 29th, 2005, 08:45 PM
He sounds like a typical dominant adult male, who was neutered late in life which didn't help the situation.

Doing things like rolling him on his back or grabbing his muzzle could be very dangerous and I don't advise it. If he decides to fight back, you could be hurt. You need another way to control him without using physical corrections since meeting aggression with aggression of your own won't work on this type dog. I suggest the boot camp method.

http://www.sonic.net/~cdlcruz/GPCC/library/alpha.htm

Joey.E.CockersMommy
October 29th, 2005, 08:50 PM
Doing things like rolling him on his back or grabbing his muzzle could be very dangerous and I don't advise it. If he decides to fight back, you could be hurt. You need another way to control him without using physical corrections since meeting aggression with aggression of your own won't work on this type dog. I suggest the boot camp method.

I guess I just thought seeing as he is a smaller dog, I dont really find him a threat so I am not afraid to over power him physically. That being said its obviousley not working so I need to try another method. I will definatley look into the bootcamp method. I do hope it can help us.

Lucky Rescue
October 29th, 2005, 09:39 PM
I guess I just thought seeing as he is a smaller dog, I dont really find him a threat so I am not afraid to over power him physically

He's big enough that he could seriously injure you. Rolling on the back is particularly dangerous with a dominant dog, since it puts your face close to his mouth, not to mention that you see it's not working.

Being the boss in your home is more about attitude than anything else. You don't need to wrestle a dog to teach him to respect you.

My last dog was also a very dominant male, but he was 80lbs so obviously overpowering him was NOT an option and alternatives had to be found.

2lbs or 100lbs, the boot camp method is really great if everyone in the house follows it.:)

Joey.E.CockersMommy
October 29th, 2005, 09:50 PM
I spent sometime on the website. We are definatley going to try it. He hasnt gotten to the point of biting yet I really do hope it works for us. Joey definatley sounds like one of these dogs. Thankyou DLR.

So is Joey the same as an un-neutured dog because he was neutured at 4 instead of a puppy.

Lucky Rescue
October 30th, 2005, 09:01 AM
So is Joey the same as an un-neutured dog because he was neutured at 4 instead of a puppy.

Not really. Behaviors fueled by testosterone should diminish or go away completely - like the urge to roam and search out intact females, or to fight other males. BUT, he had 4 years of acting a certain way and he wont' forget overnight, if ever. Also his temperment and personality are pretty set. Even dogs neutered very early can be dominant. Mine sure was.

Yes Joey sounds like the dogs used as examples on the Boot camp site. I feel the advice might help you a lot if everyone in the house is consistant with it.

doggirl
October 30th, 2005, 11:45 AM
I guess I just thought seeing as he is a smaller dog, I dont really find him a threat so I am not afraid to over power him physically.

If your trainer is condoning what you're doing, get a new trainer.

"Dominant" - most dogs labelled "dominant" are just dogs that have not been properly trained. People think a pushy, unruly, or cocky dog is "dominant". Dominant is a word IMO that people who only have a superficial understanding of dog behavior use to describe a pile of different behaviors and traits.

You are trying to teach this dog not to use physical force with you or threaten you, no? How do you think that you can teach him this by threatening him and using physical force with him?

These are dogs. There are ways to deal with these behaviors. The things you've been doing generally make these problems worse. I'm not trying to be hard on you, just forthright. You need to stop dominating him like this.

A book that will be worth it's weight in gold to you is "The Dog Who Loved Too Much" by Nicholas Dodman. Whatever time you spend obtaining that book, reading it and trying to understand it, will completely pay off. You will want to do something now while this is still reasonably managable. It will only get worse in time and the longer he feels the need to resort to threatening you, the harder it will be to break the behavior pattern.

PS - neutering dogs does not cure or usually even affect aggressive behavior. This is his personality and it's what he was born with. Plus some bad coping mechanisms mixed in that he's learned along the way. Neutering prior to 24 months of age may decrease the severity of aggressive behaviors you have later on and will never prevent it. A small part of his inherent personality is affected by the influence of testosterone that he had til 4 years old. The only significant factor that has determined his personality is genetics.

Prin
October 30th, 2005, 12:10 PM
PS - neutering dogs does not cure or usually even affect aggressive behavior. This is his personality and it's what he was born with. Plus some bad coping mechanisms mixed in that he's learned along the way. Neutering prior to 24 months of age may decrease the severity of aggressive behaviors you have later on and will never prevent it. A small part of his inherent personality is affected by the influence of testosterone that he had til 4 years old. The only significant factor that has determined his personality is genetics.
I agree with this, but I'd say only under 8 months are you guaranteed prevention of aggressive behaviors. 24 months is definitely too late for a lot of doggies and I've seen some where a year was too late already. You have to do it before they get territorial and start marking.

Joey's mom, I know it will work out in the end just because you know your method is not working. So many people keep on doing the same thing and never change. I hope Lucky's suggestions work. :)

Joey.E.CockersMommy
October 30th, 2005, 07:38 PM
Well you know the old saying..if at first you don't succeed try another way.
Actually I just made that up. :D
I am making Joey sit before doing anything, sitting before he gets petted, sitting before eating, sitting before going for a walk, sitting before coming in from a walk, sitting before being petted and I am getting my kids to do the same.

StaceyB
October 31st, 2005, 11:26 PM
You have received a lot of good advice and I agree with most of it so I won't repeat it. I deal with dogs like this all the time with great success. The age doesn't matter all that much but the behaviours have been formed and need to be changed. He needs to learn how to make acceptable choices and he needs to change his relationships with the family. I would purchase a muzzle and start resocializing him with handling. Even though you have mainly noticed this with the family I would do the handling with everyone, including strangers. You want him to learn to enjoy this. I would also do some serious give exercises with him. Get something that he loves such as a piece of rawhide and some yummy treats. Hand him the bone, let him put his mouth on it but don't let go. With the other hand place the treat right at his nose and say give. Don't pull the bone out, you want him to spit it out and give him the treat right away. If he doesn't let go use better treats. This is just the beginning of showing him that giving things to you give him something better.
These ideas are just to get you started. Using force will not help, especially with the kids and if you were to use a correction you need to follow through for atleast 3 wks before you will know if this method will work. If you keep changing, nothing will work.

Joey.E.CockersMommy
November 1st, 2005, 12:37 AM
So I have been applying the methods from Lucky's post. What should I do when Joey growls though is there something thats effective without being to aggressive. Saying No doesn't seem to working, nor does anything else I have tried.

doggirl
November 1st, 2005, 03:54 PM
I agree with this, but I'd say only under 8 months are you guaranteed prevention of aggressive behaviors. 24 months is definitely too late for a lot of doggies and I've seen some where a year was too late already.

Neutering will not prevent aggressive behaviors nor cure them. I've seen plenty of dogs that have various behavioral issues including inappropriate aggression who were neutered at 6 months and some even neutered pediatrically.

They get a testosterone surge at about 8 months and while a testosterone shower on the brain may cause them to display or develop certain behaviors, it will not cause them to become an aggressive dog if they weren't already, and if they did not become an aggressive dog then they were not going to be an aggressive dog had they been intact either. The factors here are genetics and environment and you can only determine to a very small point, how your dog will become, "who he is" so to speak.

A common misunderstanding about neutering WRT dog-aggression is that neutering a male dog decreases fights b/c it makes the dog start less fights. In fact what is going on is that the dog becomes a "neutral" dog to all the other dogs, who get their back up and are on guard whenever an intact male is around. The now neutered dog finds the world is a much nicer place when he's neutered. Other dogs no longer find him so threatening and are ready to go with him. There may be an effect on the actual neutered dog's behavior but it is not the main factor behind why neutering an adult male will cause them to fight less with other dogs.

doggirl
November 1st, 2005, 04:13 PM
So I have been applying the methods from Lucky's post. What should I do when Joey growls though is there something thats effective without being to aggressive. Saying No doesn't seem to working, nor does anything else I have tried.

Try to make your focus not what to do when he does growl, snap, etc. Try to switch gears and focus on doing whatever it takes to prevent him from growling etc. If you know what situations usually elicit these behaviors, avoid them. Keep a 6 foot leash on him so that if you have to "help" him off the couch, you can lead him off instead of grabbing his collar. Most people who are bitten by their own dogs are bitten grabbing for the collar.

You are on the right track with the working for everything. Google NILIF and implement it. It is a non-confrontational deference program. You want non-confrontational because you are trying to communicate to him that we DON'T use physical violence or threats in this house. You want a deference program to reinforce to him that his life is much better when you're happy. ie, it behooves him to make you happy. He gets more/better/quicker.

Use a crate if possible, you want to put him in a figurative "boot camp" environment temporarily - get him to start wanting to earn your respect, and more freedom and priveledges. It's very important with NILIF for it to work, that you follow it to the letter. No more furniture, no shortcuts, no "oh he's being good, I'll ease off to reward him". It must be a consistent message to the dog that "guess what. You're no longer running the show! I'm the human, and I am! And you WILL be appropriate and respectful because if you are, your life is great, but if you're not, you lose out. Choose wisely!".

The hardest part of this kind of program is wrapping your mind around really what you're doing and why. Find a few sites that describe a NILIF program, and read them through, a couple of times maybe.

Choose your actions based on the principle that in order to earn your dog's respect, do it by way of elevating yourself to the point that you are worthy of that respect, instead of pushing the dog down further and further. The former is good dog training, the latter is bullying, fear-based training, and it's ineffective, risky, and unpleasant for all involved unless the person has a control issue or a sadistic streak.

Also while you don't want to excuse bad behavior based on your dog's breed, be realistic insofaras what are the NORMAL breed traits for this breed. With Cockers, you are seeing some of them. Not all individuals of a particular breed will display a particular trait, but on the flip side if they are behaving a certain way because this is "who they are", understand that you are not going to be able to change the dog into another dog and be realistic in your expectations.

If you use a trainer, research research research. Personally I'd recommend a trainer who has a lot of experience, who utilizes positive methods, and who comes with a lot of referrals, preferably from within the dog community - breeders, rescuers, shelters, other trainers. I just got off the phone with a guy who has been paying to use a trainer that is using "prong training" with his dog withwhom he is having similar problems with as you - the dog is running the show. The trainer has him giving corrections for aggressive behavior with a prong collar. The problem with this is that prong collars can mess up a dog if they're not used correctly - properly fitted, properly sized, and you never correct using a prong - it is a self-correcting training aid. Like any other training aid, if improperly used it can cause problems and in this case a prong can actually really cause a problem to get much worse. When you are using pain-based or fear-based training to correct aggressive behaviors or other behaviors that are occurring because of negative associations, you are addressing the symptom and not the cause - and the actual cause (the trigger and the negative association with it) often gets worse, because not only do they now have their original anxiety, fear, or whatever emotional reaction caused the behavior, but they now have had that anxiety, fear etc reinforced because you hurt them everytime they experience it now too. Any success you have using methods like this will be in spite of them, not because of them.

Joey.E.CockersMommy
November 1st, 2005, 05:04 PM
I am somewhat familar with NILIF I should probably be incorporating it more than I am.
I have taught my 5 year old to make Joey sit before he gets petted, if he does not my son walks away. He will listen to him when he gives him the sit command without me interfering of course I am right beside him, but he is giving the command. Also Joey has to go to my son to be petted, not the other way around. So far there has been no growling when we do this :fingerscr . I notice it is when Joey is approached, or perhaps he is being approarched to abruptly and he feels threatened.
I am familar with prong collars and have used one,(not on Joey) but the new trainer taught me they werent necessary so I don't intend to use one on Joey.

doggirl
November 1st, 2005, 06:50 PM
Also Joey has to go to my son to be petted, not the other way around.

It's great that you are trying to get control back, and involving your son too. One thing, I'm not totally clear on what you mean by above. As far as petting, make sure that it's the humans that decide when and how that will happen. ie, he nudges you or "demands" a pet in any other way, ignore. Give him pets on YOUR timeline. I'm not sure if you mean that your son is calling Joey over to be petted, but just make sure that the dog is not going to your son and letting him know when he will get attention.

Good luck.

Joey.E.CockersMommy
November 1st, 2005, 06:56 PM
What I mean is Joey has to come to us and we have to tell him to come to us." Joey come"....."Joey sit"...."good dog" then a pat. I have told my kids not to go to Joey as thats when he growls, Joey has to come to us, if he comes and wants a pat then he has to sit first.

gottahavepets
November 3rd, 2005, 12:51 AM
We have noticed a few things with Niki similar to Joey's growling. First off Niki is a fairly submissive dog, she has determined her place in the 'pack' is between my middle and third children, she was here before the baby, but after everyone else. She will take commands from all of us above her in the pack, but she takes 'messages' (and food any time it is 'offered') from the one below her. As soon as the youngest was old enough to give directions to her I started having him do this and reward her for obedience. We are still working on this. She will 'voice' her opinion when she feels someone equal or below her is being too pushy, she doesn't like to be laid on (a head or a leg) by anybody except me and my hubby. She will sometimes accept hugs from the older children but rarely from the younger one. I let her know her place in the pack by feeding her last, going through doors first, not rewarding bids for attention etc. It's a lot of work but I would not want a dog who thinks they are alpha to me, I have seen it, no-one should be afraid of their pet. What I'm thinking is that Joey is testing to find where he is in the pack in relation to your son. It sounds like you are on the right track. Growling (if threatening) is not something to be toloerated. Niki doesn't really growl, she makes a noise with no bite to it, more like a moan, it means "watch it, I don't think I have to put up with that form you". She only seems to use it with the kids, never with adults. I'm sorry that was so long.

Joey.E.CockersMommy
November 3rd, 2005, 08:41 AM
You are so right about Joey, he puts himself third in our family pack, dust above my youngest son. He growls at my oldest son on occasion but not nearly so much as the younger one.

He has never bitten its more of a low throat warning growl. He is now taking commands from both my sons,as long as they do it right. You know the tone "Joey sit" not Joeeeeyyyyy siiiiittttt in a high questioning voice. When we come in from our walks I make Joey stay for a moment I come in first then I ask him to come in.

I guess there is also issues adopting an older dog. We originally got Joey as he was reccommended especially for us because he is supposed to be excellent with kids. Its hard to know why hes not, he had 4 other kids at his old home.
I think the rescue agency meant to say Joey is a great dog he's not good with kids yet, but once he works through his issues he will be a great dog. :D