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Starting to get very frustrated :(

September 26th, 2010, 11:33 PM
I 'adopted' a dog back in June. The people I got him from banished him to the backyard. He was not allowed in the house at all, other then to be tied to the back door when it was cold outside because the woman had 2 smaller dogs who didn't get along with the big dog, and the woman didn't like big dogs to begin with (it was her sons dog)

When I went to pick him up, I spent a bit of time with them. Both mother and son joked about walking the big dog, saying he walks you, you have no choice to be dragged, and they were laughing about this:wall::wall::wall: I remember thinking to myself, yeah, I don't 'effin think so, that will be dealt with pronto!!

They had the dog in the house when I went to meet him (He's an Elkie cross, he was 9 months or so when I got him, he is now 13 months). Zeus, being a typical pup, was rambunctious, barking, trying to get the smaller dogs to play with him, which of course they wouldn't, they'd snap at him, in turn cause him to bark. For every bad behavior Zeus did, these people would laugh and act like it was the funniest thing ever, basically, in my mind, they were just reinforcing this behavior.

I decided to take him. I lost my husky a few months prior and my little chihuahua/terrier seemed lonely and I figured he needed another buddy.

I brought this dog home and put him in a crate the first night. He kept us up alllllllllll night, barking, howling, crying, trying to chew his way out of the crate, etc. I left him in there as he was not really housebroken. He was totally wild when we got him, jumping on people, continuous barking, it was insane. To be honest, within a week I was ready to find him a new home, he was just too out of control, but in his short life, we were already his 4th owners and those eyes just get me every time, so I decided to try working with him

He's turned into a pretty decent pup, we love the doofus to death, he's settled quite a bit, listens far better then he used to, but I'm still having a lot of issues with him

My major one is getting him to come when called. It's like he suddenly goes deaf when he's off leash and I can call him till I'm blue in the face, it does not matter, rarely does he come, and no way is he going to come if something catches his eye, like people, other dogs, shadows, you name it, that dog is TOTALLY ADD. Walking him is still an issue. I have a choker on him and he pulls so hard he sounds like he's strangling himself. I bought a halti, and while that helps, he hates it, he keeps trying to paw it off, but he's slowly getting better on the leash, its the coming when called.

Sometimes, one on one, in the house/yard, he'll come, and we'll practice it often, but there are times he absolutely refuses to listen. I'll call him, he'll start to come in my direction, then it's like a switch goes off and he says screw it, and heads off in another direction, he just refuses to listen and it's totally frustrating me and I"m losing patience very fast with him.

I realize he's still a pup, and he's extremely stubborn, but I just don't know what to do with him. I've never had a dog this stubborn. I had him neutered on Friday in hopes that'll help settle him down some (along with the usual, unwanted pups, testicular cancer, etc...) I realize fixing him is not going to cure all the problems, I know it has to be done with training, but if I can't get him to listen to me, what do I do?

When he is in the house, I keep him in one area, usually the living room where we are. I don't allow him to wander around because his tail wipes things out, he sees the cats and wants to play, just not a good idea to let him wander around at this point. The vet gave me painkillers and sedatives to help him recover from his surgery and OMG, the sedatives are AWESOME. I had him in the house last night, no baby gates up at all, he wandered thru the house with me, stopped every once in awhile to check the cats out, sniff them and carry on (usually he wants to play. Cats arent scared of dogs, but they are scared of him when he starts spazzing out, so they run, and he's right behind them) He was the absolute dream dog on these sedatives.

Ok, I realize I can't keep him drugged, but the thought crossed my mind!!:lightbulb::wall:

Sorry this is so long, I just don't know what to do with him. Walked him today, and he was pulling on the leash like no tomorrow (no halti as he's wearing a cone right now), took him to the open area, let him off leash, totally ignored me, would not come back when I called him unless it suited him, or I tricked him by running the other way so he'd follow me and I'd catch him that way. I'm just losing patience here fast and guess I just need a bit of a pep talk or suggestions on how to deal with him before I totally lose all patience :(

Oh, just to add, I was thinking of obedience classes, but I don't think they'd work as he's just too ADD, he just can't focus, and no way will he be focusing with other people/dogs around.

September 26th, 2010, 11:35 PM
Sorry, just also wanted to add, though I know he's in those dreaded, rebellious teen years, could the fact that he was able to go so long doing what he wanted, nobody cared enough to try and train him have anything to do with him not listening and totally ignoring everything? There are times, like I said, one on one where usually he's great, but if he gets it in his head he does not want to do something, no way are you going to make him!!

September 27th, 2010, 08:54 AM
JOJO, Thank you for taking on this boy. Please try to remember he was able to do whatever he wanted, with no training in his early formative year. I'll give you my advise for each problem seperately.

First, establish yourself as the pack leader. NILIF (nothing in life is free). For every single action, he has to work for it, to do something you want first. Eg. before he gets his food, he has to sit, for example. Before he gets a toy, he has to sit, or remain calm. His world must need you and you provide every single need, be it food, water, a toy, anything and everything in his world is provided by you, only you, and when you're ready to supply it to him.

Regarding the come when called. Keep a leash on him, so you'll always have control over him. You can let it drag on the floor or tie it around your waist. Keep treats in your pockets. Every little while, call his name, then the word come, show him the treat, eg. Zeus come! If he doesn't immediately come for the treat, give a slight tug on the leash. Start with short distances first. Eg, when he's only 2 or 3 feet away. Give the treat as soon as he's in front of you, then praise. As he gets more reliable and comes every time, add the distance away from you. Repeat this until he comes from across the room, then from another room, and only then take this exercise outside, and begin again, with a leash, and at 2 or 3 feet. Walk around the yard, repeat Zeus come, and reward and praise. Of course you have to adjust the length of the leash, or use a rope when you get to about 10 feet. But you always have control, and can remind him, with a gentle tug, you're at the other end and in control. Only do the come command off leash when you can call him from a far enough distance with 100% recall success.

As for the pulling on leash. This will also take patience. Again, using treats, start with very short distances. Like stay in your driveway. Show him the treat, and keep it just above his head, but so he keeps his eyes on it. Say Zeus Heel, and take a couple/few steps. As he stays beside you, reward and praise. You may only get to the end of your driveway for the first week or two, but that's okay. If he begins to pull ahead, say Zeus Come, show treat and immediately turn the other way while keeping his attention on the treat. Turn often, so he never knows which way that darn treat is headed next. He'll soon learn the only way these fun, treat filled walks work in his favor, is if he stays by you in a Heel position.

These 2 methods for these problems have always worked wonderfully with all my dogs, hope they help you as well. Good luck to you, and Good Luck Zeus! BTW, forgot to add: PLEASE, never use a choke collar on a dog that pulls. It can cause internal damage to the esophogas or vocal cords etc. and as you've found, they really don't help.

September 27th, 2010, 09:03 AM
Great advice shannon!

September 27th, 2010, 11:47 AM
Firstly, hugs to you for taking in Zeus:grouphug:. And hugs to Zeus for putting up with us humans:grouphug: . It’s too bad his previous owners treated him so poorly:frustrated:. Laughing at his bad behaviour encouraged it. It’s not going to be like this forever as long as you remain consistent, confident and compassionate (My three C approach to raising rescue dogs:crazy:).

I would advise separating out a portion of his daily rations for training treats. Sometimes I use all their food for training. It’ll also get him to learn that you are the direct gatekeeper to his food and that doing what you say is rewarding and fun.

I agree with keeping him on a drag leash or even leashed to you at all times right now. He doesn’t have ADD. He’s confused and poorly trained by his past owners. He has been trained that the word “ZEUS” doesn’t always mean good things. In his previous households ‘Zeus’ was often said in anger, frustration or stress. To him, “Zeus” is not his name. It’s a sound that the human animals make that is often followed by a reprimand. When he hears it realizes that he’d better get as much freedom and playtime in before he is caught and chained up for who knows how long. If your name meant only bad things, you wouldn’t come to anyone that was calling it.

My advice, change his name. He’s not all that fond of it. Either way train him to answer to a word that means “Look at me” which is basically what a name means to a dog. So only say his name in happy tones. Never use his name in anger. When you say his name and he looks at you, give him a treat, pat on the head, praise him to the hilt.
He is reading the stress and frustration in your voice and body manner and that may be why he’d coming part way and then deciding to turn away. He wants to please you but he’s afraid of getting punished.
“Come” to him probably is being registered as ‘run away’ :wall:since that’s probably what he’s doing most of the time when the human animals said that word in the past.
At this point, don’t let him off leash unless in a contained area like a fenced yard. Work on his “Come” on a long training leash (30-50 feet). Let him wander a bit, call his name , he looks at you, bend down and show him you have some treats. He will run to you. As he is coming, say ‘Come’. Get him to sit for his treat, pat his head, praise him to the hilt. Until he responds consistently to his name and comes when called, keep him on leash. It’s too dangerous until then.

Throw away the choke chain. This breed needs to be properly trained on leash. Try desensitizing him to having a halter or harness on. Make having the harness on a happy and rewarding experience (ie: praise and treats)
You are rewarding him for pulling. He pulls and eventually gets his way, therefore it works. So don’t budge until his stops pulling and the leash relaxes. Give him praise and continue forward. He will lunge again, probably for the next week until he figures it out. It once took me an hour to walk one block with one of my rescue dogs:headslap:. Or you can try going the opposite direction every time he pulls. I like working on this in a open field. Again, praise and treat. Or simply drop treats by your feet every couple of steps and he learns that staying close to you is a good thing :thumbs up.

Good luck and remember that what are doing isn’t training a dog but building a relationship with another being. Be kind and patient and know that he loves you.

September 27th, 2010, 02:11 PM
Good advice. Another thing about "come". If answering always means his fun ends, he won't want to obey. Practise (in a safe area and once he is starting to obey) having him come get fussed over,treated, and then turned loose to continue playing. If "come" always means "game over-inside" he will stop wanting to come. It might even be easier to start over with a new command like "to me" that he won't have attached to any negative associations.

September 27th, 2010, 02:42 PM
Wow, you guys are awesome. I was expecting to get my butt chewed out for being cranky last night. I'm sick right now,have been all weekend and that walk yesterday just frustrated me beyond belief.:cry:

I'll try to respond to everything here, if I miss anything, I'm sorry, I'm currently at work.

I free feed all my animals, I've had pets my whole life and have always free fed them. I know some may not agree with it, but it works well with our lifestyle, pets can eat as they please. I have never had an overweight pet, they also get treats, but like mentioned, they have to earn it by listening to commands, same with toys/play time. If they don't listen, we don't play. Of course there's some wiggle room here sometimes, but the norm is there are rules, even for play.

The come thing. He does fairly well in the house and yard for the most part, unless of course he gets distracted. When we're out in a public place, forget it. He only comes when called like .05% of the time lol The leash thing is a good idea. I have a 16 foot lead at home (not those retractable leashes) that I'll start carrying around with me so we can work on that. I will look around for a longer lead, and will get rid of the choker as well. He came with a harness, have never tried it on him, but I will. My husky had a harness that I'd hook to a toboggan that she just LOVED (kids loved being pulled around too :) )

The heel advice is good too, I will definitely try that. I only have the choker on him because that's what was on him when I got him. I've been using a halti on him, that does seem to help, but I can't use it right now as he's wearing a cone for the week. It's a bit difficult because I have another dog too who gets right upset if I leave the yard with Zeus and leave him behind, I suspect Zeus would be the same way, so I take them out together, usually my son comes along, he handles the little dog, I take Zeus.

As for the name, I did want to change it. To me, he looks like an Iggy, but my son wanted no part of that, he wanted to keep the name Zeus, so that's what we stuck with. He does recognize his name, and like I said, in the house/yard he responds fairly well, most times. I find he responds better to "Zeusie" so I tend to call him that most times. I've heard dogs respond better to their names having an "ie" sound in them? He's just a happy go lucky pup with a very strong will. I love the guy to death and I need to work on my own patience. I also have to remember and understand where he came from, that he's probably not used to having what he has at my house (walks, allowed inside, a playmate, toys, attention, etc) and that he's still really just a puppy. It's not his fault he's like this, I took on the responsibility of him so I need to keep remembering that, make it my mantra or something!!

September 28th, 2010, 08:01 AM
Jojo, THANK YOU for being so open minded, and such a responsible owner. Your willingness to look at your problems with Zeusie with understanding, and self reflection is wonderful. That whole " there is no bad dog, just bad owners" thing :)

I have also free fed all my dogs all my life, EXCEPT when training a specific thing. During that time, until I have 100% success in achieving what I'm trying to train my dogs I want eg "heeling", it's you're in training, you have to learn this, and my dogs have always been food driven, so I use it as my tool. Once they've learned the "lesson", I return to free feeding. The except to my rule is if I find there's something extra yummy, then I save that item to be pulled out just for training sessions. Eg Rollover. I only buy it, if I'm planning on working on a specific command, and use it just for training. So, just until you can get 100% recall in a public place, I'd stick with what I suggested, esp if he's food motivated, if not, make it a special toy. It's for Zeusie's benefit after all, as recall is so important, it may even save his life one day.
I've seen a situation when in a public area, and a dog playing with another, a third watching with aggressive body language, ready to go to those 2 playing and attack/start a fight. The fact the come on call worked saved a BIG hassle and prevented a fight from happening. Or think of Zeusie getting loose somehow and heading for a street with a car coming.
Thanks for getting rid of the choker :thumbs up As for leaving the house with one and not the other, that's not a problem, just head opposite ways so you have Zeusie's complete attention. Then after your training session is over, join up again. Speaking of that, I forgot to mention, please keep your sessions short so he doesn't get bored. Better to train come on command and heel, 8 times a day for 10 or 15 minutes each, than a straight hour of trying to teach come on command. If it's not successful, you both get frustrated and it becomes an unpleasant experience. You ALWAYS want to make learning something new fun and exciting, with no negative connections. If you find yourself becoming frustrated at the heeling lesson, stop, and do something else, as Zeusie will easily pick up on your feelings and underlying tone :) HUG HUG HUGS to Zeusie and TKS again for your love and patience, he's lucky to have such a great mom!

September 28th, 2010, 09:06 AM
He's definitely food driven!! I've tried using his real food as rewards, but he prefers treats. I found this freeze dried chicken or beef liver that he just loves, so I use that (along with other treats), I find he responds better to those then his regular food. My little dogs loves them too, it's our nightly ritual now that when they come in for the night, they sit down right away and wait for their bedtime treat, they don't even tear thru the house anymore. I have a rolling gate that I have to keep them them in the back entrance so they don't go thru the house when it's wet out, I can leave that open now and they just come in and wait for their treat :)

In one of the pics above, you'll see him laying with a de-stuffed teddy bear (my little one tore all the stuffing out of it before we got Zeus), that is his absolute favorite toy!! I forgot we had it, he found it at the bottom of the doggie toy box when we brought him home, and it's been his toy ever since. That picture above, I had him in the house after I gave him his medicine, and he went to the back door, grabbed the de-stuffed teddy, and brought it to where his bed is in the living rooom is and just laid with it, all I thought of when I watched him do that was awwwwww.... it's like his security blanket or something, he's such a sweetie when he behaves lol:flirt:

He also has another teddy that he really seems to like, a little stuffed rottie. I played with him for a good hour in the yard yesterday with it. He's not a dumb dog at all. I threw it for him, told him to come, he'd come and I'd try to take the bear from him. Of course he'd pull and tug, but I'd just stand there and look away. Eventually he'd let go. I'd tell him to sit before I threw it for him again.

In no time at all, he was bringing the teddy back, giving it to me with minimal tugging and would sit for me to throw it again, without me saying a word to him so there is potential there (I know all dogs have potential, I hope you know what I mean when I say that)

I guess it's little things like that that show me he's a good and smart pup when I get frustrated with him, and it's little things like that that help me remember he's like a little kid that needs to learn, after all, they're really not much different then little kids right?

I do love my dogs, and I do want the best for them, including being obedient to keep them safe, it's just something I'm going to have to work on. I'll be the first person to admit I'm not the most patient of people at the best of times, but Zeus is teaching me a lot of patience, so we're both learning here. I guess you could say we're both works in progress :)

I guess I should post a pic of my little guy too, he's the boss around here. If Zeus gets too rowdy with Scooby, he definitely lets him know, and Zeus immediately backs down. I think they're a bit of an odd couple, but I think it's cool how Scooby can tell Zeus to back off when he needs to. This pic was taken with them laying on my hot tub. A couple of days later I woke up to find Zeus had chewed a hole right in the middle of my brand new hot tub cover!!!:wall::wall::wall:

Needless to say, after that, I got my butt in gear, moved my fence back, put up the dog run (which is a really nice size for both dogs) and put a gazebo over the hot tub. Just like kids, need to 'childproof' everything!! lol

Thanks for all the advice, I'm not feeling so frustrated with him anymore with the tips I got here and I'm definitely going to implement a lot of them :)

**oops, there are no pictures above, sorry, I forgot I posted them on the other board, looking for people to guess what kind of dog he was, I believe the other pictures are on the breed characteristic board, sorry, that was my mistake, still learning to navigate this board :)

September 28th, 2010, 10:31 AM
I do love my dogs, and I do want the best for them, including being obedient to keep them safe, it's just something I'm going to have to work on. I'll be the first person to admit I'm not the most patient of people at the best of times, but Zeus is teaching me a lot of patience, so we're both learning here. I guess you could say we're both works in progress :)

You so absolutely rock my world:thumbs up:highfive:

September 28th, 2010, 11:19 AM
lol thanks.
This doofus has definitely opened my eyes! I always knew I was not a patient person, he's proven that to me, but he's also shown me that people CAN change and people CAN learn just as much from animals as animals can learn from people. He's such a happy go lucky dog, all he has to do is look at me with those expressive eyes, and everything just melts away. I'm not giving up on him, no way!!!