Pets.ca - Pet forum for dogs cats and humans 

-->

How fast/effective is training in a 1 yr old dog?

Beau'sMom
June 8th, 2006, 11:09 PM
I am sorry if this sounds like a dumb question :( My love of dogs far exceeds my knowledge and I don't know what to do.

We did a Humane Society rescue of a Hound-X neutered Male dog. He is 63 lbs and we are told most probably full grown as he is approx. 1-1/2 years old. My whole family loves him. He is a big, goofy slobbery affectionate mutt.

They think he was a hunting dog seperated from a hunting party. No one claimed him so the local humane society in Bancroft, sent him to Mississauga to a foster home to adopt out. He was in a kennel for about 6 mos. then a foster home for a month.

We have had him for just under two weeks. His "adoption" becomes final Monday. My problem? My family is split on keeping him. (If we keep him too long it may be harder for him to adjust to another home.) My husand and son feel it is not a good idea. My daughter and myself do.

He was amazing the first 3 days. As he gets more comfortable more negative traits are showing. This is what he is doing:

* He gets very "mouthy", and "nippy". It is always around 6pm-10pm. He wants to play, and to invite you will nip at your clothes, and hands. If you play with him he gets worse. He is wired during this time. He has NOT broken skin, but we fear from the severity of the scratches that this is a real posibility.

* He can open cupboards, garbage cans, sliding doors, and has almost mastered turning doornobs with his mouth. This had made it very difficult to "dog proof" the home.

* If it's small and not nailed down in the house, he eats it. Period. NOTHING can be left below 5-1/2 feet in the house.

* Each level in our 5 level house is 4 to 7 steps apart. He jumps them. He won't walk up and down.

* Our backyard is surrounded by a 5 ft fence. He can jump it from a dead stop. He doesn't have to run for it.

Beaus gets 5 walks a day (One in the evening for about 1 - 1-1/2 hrs with me). My husband works from home, so he is rarely alone. During the night he sleeps well and behaves. During the day he relaxes and my husband has no problems. He walks on a leash (with a prong collar) and never pulls too much. He loves other dogs, adores children and people in general. He has a very happy personality.

My biggest worry is the nipping and jumping the fence.

If this could be corrected with training, is Beau at 1-1/2 going to take a long time to learn? Or are some habits too ingrained? In some ways he is so perfect ... except for the "puppy panic hours" of 6-10pm ... but my son is nervous and getting close to being scared of the dog.

Again, sorry if this seems silly, but both my husband and myself want to hear different opinions to help us decide. :sad:

LM1313
June 8th, 2006, 11:43 PM
He is definitely still trainable, he has only "quit" being a puppy for half a year. :) Some dogs even take more than a year to mature. Even much older dogs can be trained . . . I know OntarioGreys has some retired racing greyhounds and I believe they aren't retired from the track until they are four years old or older--and they come completely unfamiliar with many aspects of "normal" life and not housetrained either. So please don't give up on your boy! :)

* He gets very "mouthy", and "nippy". It is always around 6pm-10pm. He wants to play, and to invite you will nip at your clothes, and hands. If you play with him he gets worse. He is wired during this time. He has NOT broken skin, but we fear from the severity of the scratches that this is a real posibility.

If he was a hunting dog, maybe he didn't learn how to play with humans, only with other dogs. This can definitely be corrected. He has to learn that when he gets mouthy or nippy, the fun stops. I believe the correct thing to do is to turn away and ignore him until he calms down.

* He can open cupboards, garbage cans, sliding doors, and has almost mastered turning doornobs with his mouth. This had made it very difficult to "dog proof" the home.

Wow, he sounds like one smart dog! For cupboards, how about those babyproof "locks"?

* If it's small and not nailed down in the house, he eats it. Period. NOTHING can be left below 5-1/2 feet in the house.

Could you "bait" a coffee table with some stuff covered in Bitter Apple? It's a bitter tasting, non-poisonous solution sold at most pet supply stores. And keep everything else out of reach until he's trustworthy (which may take some time, be prepared!)

Also, how about putting him on a leash inside and walking him past objects, saying "No!" when he goes for something and praising him like crazy when he leaves it. In fact "Leave it" is a useful command and so is "Drop it!" Again, this will take some time . . .

* Each level in our 5 level house is 4 to 7 steps apart. He jumps them. He won't walk up and down.

Is this really a problem? It sounds more like an idiocincracy. :p Also, keep in mind if he was a hunting dog, he may not have been allowed inside and may be unfamiliar with steps.

* Our backyard is surrounded by a 5 ft fence. He can jump it from a dead stop. He doesn't have to run for it.

Hmmm . . . frankly, I think you'll need a higher fence. Until then, definitely don't let him outside without a leash on!

Really, I don't think your dog's problems are too severe compared to a lot of shelter dogs. He's still very young and I believe that with training he will learn to be a "gentleman". :D It won't happen overnight, though, and patience and persistance will be required from the whole family.

Beau'sMom
June 8th, 2006, 11:52 PM
Thank you so much LM1313 you helped put things into perspective.

The jumping stairs, and grabbing things are expected and just minor really. Its the nipping at hands (that has left 6 sharp long scratches on both my kids arms) if you bend over to tie your shoes he jumps you, begging you to play ... and the ability to clear the fence that are major.

We can raise the fence with privacy screening, but, the nipping I worry. I have read so many opinions on it, and I am sure many work if used with consistancy ... but because it is so aggressive, I am worried he will bite. :(

LM1313
June 9th, 2006, 12:05 AM
Does he seem threatening when he nips or is he being playful? If he's only played with members of his former hunting pack, well . . . they probably didn't mind being nipped in play. He has to learn that people DO mind.

With my kittens, I trained them not to pounce and attack my temptingly wiggly fingers by shouting "OW!" dramatically whenever it happened, then not playing with them for a minute. I'm not sure if this is the right technique for dogs, but it worked great with the kittens.

Is he obedience trained at all? If so, perhaps you can tell him to sit whenever he starts getting nippy and get him to calm down? If he isn't obedience trained, a beginner's class is a great way to help him learn "doggy manners".

Also, you can try redirecting his nipping to something appropriate, like a squeaky toy.

I'm sure people more versed in dog training will be able to help you more, I've only ever trained one dog so I'm no expert. :)

erykah1310
June 9th, 2006, 12:06 AM
First of all, I ditto everything that LM1313 said, To me your new dog just seems happy to be loved so much. Dont give up on him, he is still very young.

mafiaprincess
June 9th, 2006, 12:17 AM
Cider learns faster at a year and a half than ever.
I think that with some effort he can be taught, if everyone is willing.

Beau'sMom
June 9th, 2006, 08:49 AM
Does he seem threatening when he nips or is he being playful? If he's only played with members of his former hunting pack, well . . . they probably didn't mind being nipped in play. He has to learn that people DO mind.

I don't think it is threatening because he never growls, or appears aggressive in his stance ... he seems more hyperactive.


Is he obedience trained at all? If so, perhaps you can tell him to sit whenever he starts getting nippy and get him to calm down? If he isn't obedience trained, a beginner's class is a great way to help him learn "doggy manners".

No training that I am aware of anyway. We are researching trainers in the GTA on the West side of the city. I like Tenderfoot's website and philosophy with animals and am hoping to find someone similar near home. We don't want a show dog that does tricks. We want a well mannered dog.


I'm sure people more versed in dog training will be able to help you more, I've only ever trained one dog so I'm no expert. :)
You may not be an "expert" but you have been very helpful. Thankyou!! :love:

BMDLuver
June 9th, 2006, 08:56 AM
Check out Woofstock this weekend at St. Lawrence Market. Perhaps you will find someone there to guide you through the transition period with your new addition.

Beau'sMom
June 9th, 2006, 09:06 AM
Oh I never thought of that. :cool: I just checked out the website and it looks interesting, and the whole family may enjoy it. If we can't make it, we do have a terrific Vet. I will dump all of this on her and see what/who she suggests too.

PetFriendly
June 9th, 2006, 09:49 PM
I find that if I get lazy with my little guy and don't walk him enough, its takes a good two weeks of hard and long walks to get all the restless energy back out of him. So keeping in mind your dog wasn't the centre of someone's world for so long he might just still have lots of energy.

The nipping doesn't sound too bad, don't get me wrong, its not great either, but it can be fixed. I personally like the stand and ignore method. We had originally picked up a toy for my pup and this only taught him to nip at you if he wanted to play. With the stand and be still method we've re-taught him to bring us a toy if he wants to play.

muckypup
June 9th, 2006, 10:05 PM
He sounds like a great dog.
A dog is only as good as you make him. Spend time with him and bond with him and train him and what you get out of him will be worth every second of your time. He reminds me of my GSD Bobbie. He was in a pound for 5 months and in a foster home for 6 weeks, he was/is a great dog with a lot of potential. We recently got involved in a dog sport called Schutzhund. His abilities, his obedience, our bond is incredible. The rewards of the countless hours spent with him are just indescribable.
Have faith in your dog! :thumbs up

Beau'sMom
June 9th, 2006, 11:28 PM
Thank you everyone for all the great advice. :grouphug:

SnowDancer
June 10th, 2006, 10:19 AM
Many dogs get antsy at night when the family is all at home - after all, many sleep during the day so are in top form come evening. I have an Eskimo - had hounds before him - and all of them fall into this category. My Eskie turned 2 in April - he also likes to use his mouth - doesn't really nip now, but he has extra big teeth for a 24 lb. dog - he laughs at the vet and we have a free dental exam. I keep trying to get him to focus on "pretty kiss" - he knows what he means, but he does get carried away. Has never broken skin though with his teeth. What I have to watch out for are the claws of death as they frantically give me Eskie hugs - eyes and lips are at risk. The fact that he sleeps at night and is well behaved during day are both fabulous traits. All of our dogs have always slept through the night - wish I could - and if they do get up it is in response to an outside noise. Really Beau is still a puppy. Would suggest some private lessons if you can arrange it. My guy is about to get "specific issues" training. He did have private lessons at the Toronto "big pet store" when we got him at nearly 14 weeks - had had no training - was too big and fluffy - and emotionally about 6 weeks old - to join small puppy class - and of course not qualified for intermediate classes. Was a waste of money though since classes were held in middle of store with way too many customers stopping to ask questions about the little devil who was a star pupil - in store I might add - not at home. So we found a private trainer through our groomer - has trained many of the dogs he plays with at weekly "socialization". She came to evaluate him - he failed letting her in the door and constantly barking - but passed learned to obey her really quick. She does use the Barbara Wodehouse training method. Since I am in my mid 50s I only too well remember the TV shows - and we are talking choke chain training I am sorry to say - but with limitations. She gears training to your needs and lifestyle. She is coming Tues. and we are going to do meet and greet on street with one of her dogs. I hope that my use of choke chain over past week will enable our Eskie to move up to Martingale. I also have his harness on him to "trick" him. Must say though that I have not had to pull much on choke - this is a dog who is very sensitive to his own discomfort - heck with anybody else's! But with the double ruff of fur around his neck, the choke chain is a pain. The Martingale would work better. He is taking it well though. Not a popular approach but it has worked for his "friends". I hope you are able to keep Beau.

tenderfoot
June 10th, 2006, 11:12 AM
He has been in recess his whole life and never had to connect to anyone for leadership and never had any one ask him to grow up or to teach him things. His brain is on permanent play time.

Now that he is living in a family environment its time to step up to the plate. With good leadership and guidance from you he can do just fine. He needs to learn the rules of the house, learn impulse control, patience and manners.

The fence may not be able to get higher (covenants), but you could put an 'L' shaped angle at the top or even 6" down from the top. Attach a mesh type (chicken wire) to it to create a 'shelf'. It should angle in about 18" at a 90 degree angle. This stops him dead in his tracks. This will help give you peace of mind while you are training him not to jump out.

Not to push the DVD, but it has been a great resource for people who can't come to see us personally in Colorado. And you can always call if you have questions - no charge.

Beau'sMom
June 10th, 2006, 04:57 PM
:sad: Thank you Tenderfoot very much, and everyone who has taken the time to post.

:sorry: You are all going to be very disappointed in us. Beau broke skin when he bit my daughter Thursday night. When we took her for medical treatment and were gone just maybe 30 min he did over $1000.00 damage to the house ripping a hole (2ft square) in the center of wall to wall carpeting, tore a sliding door down, and recked drywall :sad: The only way I could describe it is he flipped. When we came home and were looking at the damage he was taking running jumps at us, knocked me over, and went for my son. Truly I think only to play ... but it was scary.

The damage we would pay for and invest in crate training, but our Vet who we spoke to Friday morning, said although he is an incrediable dog, all four of us are covered in bruises from nipping, and he has started nipping at my son's neck. He is 4'8" tall. She felt that was an accident waiting to happen.

We feel lied to from the foster parents. When we called them as we were to return the dog to them, they were screaming at us telling us they don't care what we do with the dog. After a night of phone calls, we finally got a hold of someone high up in the organization who told us where to take him. The second Vet we saw when we dropped him off was very kind. She took a while talking to us, and when she saw my arms and legs and heard we had kids she too said it was not a good idea. We listed his many many positive qualities and she may take him and train him before rehousing him in a home where if there are kids, they outweigh him.

:sorry: :sorry: :sorry:

I think I need to change my name to Annie'sMom as we still have a little Tabby who we saved from a Barn. :) We are not done with our hopes to have a dog complete our family ... but I am scared now of rescues as we were lied to by this one.

Thank you everyone. I am sorry we failed. :grouphug: