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Charley has started Guarding my Niece

PetFriendly
February 15th, 2007, 04:55 PM
I just wanted to check to see how concerned I should be about this new behaviour. Charley seems to have taken on a guardian role with my 3 year old niece, Chloe, who was staying over this week-end... On Saturday, my boyfriend tickled Chloe, who made that 'Happy Kid' shriek kind of noise and Charley started to growl. The BF continued, and out came Charley's teeth. At this point, the dog was removed from the couch for less than acceptable behaviour. Once on the floor, Charley placed himself between BF and the niece, giving the BF the evil eye... Once BF demonstrated he wasn't going to make the child shriek, Charley relaxed and got out of the way... For kicks, I tickled her and that didn't draw the same reaction from Charley...

So, is this something I should worry about? And what is this an indication of, Charley thinks he's higher in the pack than the BF, or my niece, or maybe even me (because he feels I can't protect the kid ?!)

Prin
February 16th, 2007, 12:52 AM
I'd say yes, your bf is below your dog (he's being told what to do by the dog and he listens).. I'd also say that maybe you might not be alpha enough to convince your dog that the people around him are safe and ok, but IMO, that varies from dog to dog. Some dogs are just more protective of vulnerable people than others..

PetFriendly
February 16th, 2007, 07:08 AM
Ohhh... That's what I thought. BF has been working with the dog, trying to establish leadership... It hasn't been very productive, the dog seems set. Next time I'll acknowledge the issue with Chloe and see if the dog lets up.

Charley is kind of paranoid and will bark an alarm if he doesn't think I've heard whatever and thinks he may have to deal with it instead of me. He's much calmer once I've said someting and looked in the direction he's been barking at. Maybe that will also apply here?

tenderfoot
February 16th, 2007, 01:19 PM
The more consistent and clear leaders you (and BF) become the calmer and less nervous/protective he will be. This is for the life of the dog - not just until you see improvement. Dogs & kids always need good parents.

If you are being clear about your leadership role you should see changes in you dog within days, even better in minutes. Sometimes it just takes the littlest change in us to create a big change in the dog.

Charley sounds fundamentally insecure and has a general lack of trust. Acting as his leader will help to boost his confidence and his trust. You might just be surprised how quickly and easily this can happen.

PetFriendly
February 16th, 2007, 05:23 PM
Thanks for the info TF. But I'm at a loss as to how to re-enforce my authority. I'm always consistent with the dog, he either ends up working for what ever I am about to give him, or he has to ask, and just because he's asked doesn't mean he gets what he's after.
We do spot training of obedience daily either during 5 minute sessions or sporatically when he's least expecting it.
We are currently enrolled in Agility (and have been since the summer), where he shines and listens quite carefully. We've also done three rounds of obedience classes (and I gave up because while he'll stay, he won't hold the position)
I just don't know what else to do!?

Prin
February 16th, 2007, 05:33 PM
To me, it's to get your man to do the same as you. That way he'd have two leaders to protect him and nobody beneath him to worry about.

PetFriendly
February 16th, 2007, 06:03 PM
The man doesn't technically live here, he lives in the top half of our duplexe... long story! He has follow up issues right now... He'll ask the dog for tricks, etc and praise when the dog complies, and he's started asking for two high 5's before playing with him... But its only been two months or so since he's started this and Charley is now 2 so I'm figuring it may take a while to reverse the roles?!
My room-mate is seen as a leader, though she wasn't home at the time. :D

Prin
February 16th, 2007, 06:07 PM
Doing the same trick over and over might not drill it in though. He should change it up. :)

PetFriendly
February 18th, 2007, 10:15 AM
We've made a list of all the commands (aka tricks) Charley knows and BF will cycle through them all, making sure to mix them up good and will try to get at least 5 minutes in every day...

tenderfoot
February 18th, 2007, 10:45 AM
Five minutes a day is not nearly enough.

Are you are great girlfriend for only 5 minutes? or a great aunt for only five minutes? It is who you are ALL of the time that shows your dog you are a great leader.

It sounds like a lot of work but once you get in to the rhythm it becomes who you are with your dog always. Its not just about sits, stays, and downs. Its about rules, structure and boundaries. Its how you feed him, love on him, groom him, play with him, do drills, take walks, etc. Its the big picture as much as it is about the details.

Spirit
February 18th, 2007, 12:15 PM
Instead of 5 minute sessions (which you can also do), try telling your dog to sit throughout the day. When you enter or exit a doorway, is a good time to practice this. Tell your dog "down" twice a day, for no reason whatsoever. "I'm putting on my left sock. Puppy, down... sock's on now. Good boy!" Like TD said though, it's a lot more than "sit, stays and downs", though these can be incoorperated into your daily routine.

Most of my training was all day long, because my dog comes to work with me. When he was a puppy, I couldn't allow him to have free run of the place, or jump up on customers, and to be honest, I just didn't have time for 5 minute sessions. So he got trained all day long.

Often now, if I'm on my computer (or just busy) and my dog comes up and looks at me for attention, I'll put him in a down and then release him for a few minutes of play when I'm done whatever it is I'm doing (providing I won't be more than a few minutes, of course... it wouldn't be fair to ask him to lay down for an hour because I'm posting on this forum!) :p

PetFriendly
February 18th, 2007, 12:53 PM
Five minutes a day is not nearly enough.

Are you are great girlfriend for only 5 minutes? or a great aunt for only five minutes? It is who you are ALL of the time that shows your dog you are a great leader.

It sounds like a lot of work but once you get in to the rhythm it becomes who you are with your dog always. Its not just about sits, stays, and downs. Its about rules, structure and boundaries. Its how you feed him, love on him, groom him, play with him, do drills, take walks, etc. Its the big picture as much as it is about the details.

Oops, I think I may not have explained this properly... Charley and I are a good team. We 'work' the entire time I'm around. We have an extensive list of commands that we go through, in random order, and much in the way you are suggesting Spirit. Its BF who's having issues, but he doens't live here, and doesn't really 'get' the whole leadership issue. The 5 minutes was going to be in addition to the regular 'leadership' showing of BF asking for something and making sure he gets it.

At this point, I think the man needs more work than the dog :shrug:

tenderfoot
February 18th, 2007, 06:38 PM
At this point, I think the man needs more work than the dog :shrug:

isn't it always the way? ;)

PetFriendly
February 18th, 2007, 09:07 PM
My man is actually quite good, he cooks and does laundry, he even puts to toilet seat back down... His only problem is he thinks he's smater than the dog... Which isn't always the case! :D