Pets.ca - Pet forum for dogs cats and humans 

-->

rebellious behaviour in 1 year old

dakar
August 16th, 2006, 12:44 PM
Our lab/border collie/poodleX just turned one and seems to be really acting out. I say seems because I suppose I could be misreading the situation and there's something else going on. I have taken her to puppy classes and to obedience classes and she did well in both. Through the summer I've been gone a lot because of medical problems with my Mom and I'm wondering if that's the problem or if my pup is just going through a stage. Lately she has been blatently disregarding my commands. For example: when she is let out of her crate or dog run I have her sit and wait until I tell her she can go. I open the door and vary the time before telling her it's OK. Lately she has just refused to sit. I can't make her sit unless I open the door so that's what I've been doing. I open the door, grab her and sit her. Then I close the door with her in and me out and really praise her. After that she will wait and we continue on. Today I needed her to come in from the back yard and called her to me. She ran into her dog run so I called again. She ran past me and out into the yard. Finally I was able to grab her when she ran by. I brought her in and told her what a good dog she was for coming in. I'm afraid I'm rewarding her misbehaviour but I really don't know how to fix it. Please help.

jessi76
August 16th, 2006, 12:59 PM
Through the summer I've been gone a lot because of medical problems with my Mom and I'm wondering if that's the problem or if my pup is just going through a stage.

consistancy is really key - however, if you need to be there for your mom because of medical things, then do that. you can re-train, or re-work, your dog when your family obligations have lightened up.

When you have the time, once again, to dedicate to training, start going over the things you learned in your OB classes. sort of a "refresher". or take an actual refresher course, retake classes, etc... I frequently go over commands my dog should really KNOW, just to keep them part of his active vocabulary. if you can't accomplish a command, back up & break it down into baby steps, and always end on a positive note.

dogmelissa
August 16th, 2006, 04:09 PM
I agree that consistency is the key.
However, repetition doesn't always end up getting the results you want, because the dog may get bored and stop caring what you're saying.

If the situation you describe is the only 2 things that she's doing to "rebel", I think you're going to be fine. And here's my suggestions on how to "fix" the problem.

I'm trying to picture your dog run/crate situation, and how you have to open the door to make her sit. I don't know the exact details, but what I'm guessing is that the dog run is made of chain link or other "see & speak-through" substance. If this is the case, it makes it easy. The crate obviously has at least a wire front on it. Is it tall enough for her to sit in? It must be or you wouldn't make her sit and wait. So, all you need to do is fill your hand with treats (teeny tiny treats), or get a favorite toy or whatever motivates your dog. (If she's not clicker-trained, you may want to look into this, it can help a lot because you can reward at exactly the right time.) When you approach her kennel or run, do not go right up to the door all at once. Let her see you, then stop. Tell her to sit (in a nice voice!). If she does, tell her "Good Girl!!" and take a step forward. If she stands, stop, repeat. If she stays sitting, keep walking toward her and praise at every step. When you get within reach, slowly start reaching for the latch. If she stays sitting, give her a treat, praise and as your hand gets to the latch, tell her to wait. Continue to praise etc as the door opens all the way, and then release her with a happy "OK!!" and praise and treats.
Of course, this is the ideal situation. Chances are she won't sit right away when you stop, and that's where you have to have patience and time on your side. You *must* wait for her to sit. Give her the command every few seconds, and avoid eye contact (which is attention to a dog). Stay calm--don't raise your voice (which is attention, too), and don't beg. Turn your head away from her (make sure you can still see her out of your peripheral or hold a mirror), if that doesn't make any difference, turn your whole body so your side is facing her. Do not correct her, say no, give her any other commands, just wait. Eventually she'll figure out that she's not getting what she wants by doing all the things she's doing, and she'll start to behave.

I know this sounds harsh, and it will be tough for the first few days, but you *must* do this. Any contact (touch, correction, eye contact) you give her when she's not doing what you ask is a reward to her. It's a reinforcement of her current (bad) behaviour. You want to only reward the behaviour you want to see, and ignore everything else. The more obviously you ignore the bad behaviour (turn your back!), the quicker it'll fade.

As for the not coming when she's called, you need to make being beside you (or coming to you) the best thing in the world. It has to be more exciting than the smells in the yard, the dog she's barking at, the squirrel running down the street, etc. Instead of calling her to you, and when she gets there, you praise for a few seconds and then get on with "life", make it a game. When she gets to you, she gets praise, a really yummy treat, and a few minutes of play (5 is good enough). What fun is it to sniff around in the yard when she could be having the 3 things she loves the most all at once??
To start with go outside with her. Have treats and a toy with you. Ignore her, let her wander around. Call her to come, and wait. If she comes right away, make a *big* deal out of it, give her treats, get your "baby-puppy" voice going and play like it's going to be the last time you play with her. Then ignore her again for a few minutes. Repeat. If she doesn't come, try to entice her to come.... turn around and run away (or pretend to)-dogs can't resist a game of chase, go up to her, offer her the treats and make her chase you back to where you started before you give them to her, rattle her food bowl (if that normally makes her come running) or pull out a toy you rarely play with.... get creative and have fun. Pretty soon she'll associate coming to you with treats, praise and most importantly, FUN! You don't want her to associate coming to you as meaning "fun-time is over".

Are you the only person in your home? If there are other people, get them to do these same things, be consistent. One fun game with a dog is to play "doggie in the middle" except you have the dog go back and forth to 2 (or more) people on the "come" command, playing at both ends....

You should also have your dog sit & wait at all doors (and indoor doorways) and allow you to go first, and try to do even one short "training" session every day. Just 5-15 minutes, no longer. Doesn't have to be anything new, just a few minutes to re-connect, reinforce that you're "the boss" and make her brain work a little. If possible, can you take her with you when you're helping your mom? The less time she's alone is less time she can think up ways to entertain herself and "forget" who's the boss. If not, maybe you can get a neighbour or friend or doggy-walker to go and play with her a little bit each day. Also sounds like she might need more walks and general exercise, so try to find a way to get her out for a 20-30 minute walk each day.

You have a very smart dog, you just need to teach her who's boss and that when she does as you ask, she gets well-rewarded for it.

I hope that helps. If you have any questions about clicker training, I can talk to my trainer to get some resources for you (PM me).

Good luck,
Melissa

dakar
August 16th, 2006, 06:23 PM
Thank you ladies. You pointed out some things that I am doing and now I feel like I'm on the right track. Jessi - I know I need to focus more on my mom right now than on the dog but I was feeling quite guilty. You're right Mom needs to come first. Thankfully, I think we're out of the woods now and I have time for normal things again. As for the things I'm doing right - I do make her sit before going through doorways so that I go first. I never ast angry or even just disinterrested when she comes to me - it's always happy time. And we walk for an hour a day and play for half an hour or so normally. So now that things are more normal we'll get back to that. Hubby has been walking her for me but he's not as puppy oriented as I am. I really appreciate the specifics on the whole kennel thing. Yes it's chain link and I can be verry patient if I know I'm on the right track. We'll definitely be doing it your way, Melissa. I've tried clicker training with her but my trainer suggested that I try other methods (and she was right - clicker just wasn't working). I think it was more me than her - I just am not that coordinated. But she does well without the clicker and I'm less stressed. Oh, and she can sit in her crate. In order to get one long enough it had to be quite tall. Thanks again guys. I'll let you know how it works.

dakar
August 17th, 2006, 09:49 AM
Melissa,
The process you described for the sit/wait in the kennel is working like a dream. I didn't expect perfection overnight, and I didn't get it, but ,using your idea, I've halved the time it takes to get her to sit. Yay! Thanks again.
Dana

dogmelissa
August 17th, 2006, 12:18 PM
Melissa,
The process you described for the sit/wait in the kennel is working like a dream. I didn't expect perfection overnight, and I didn't get it, but ,using your idea, I've halved the time it takes to get her to sit. Yay! Thanks again.
Dana

*Very* happy to hear that, Dana!!!! Usually it's a very simple solution, but one that we (as complex humans) just can't think of. :thumbs up Keep up the good work!!

Melissa