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3 dogs - What to Do

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by Hat, May 26, 2015.


  1. Hat

    Hat PetForums Junior

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    Hi

    I have three dogs and they are not brilliantly trained by any means. The main problem I have is after over 2 years one is still extremely nervous and timid and does not really respond to any commands, especially when outside on walks (she spends most of her time with her tail between her legs looking nervous).

    Her sister is fine and will obey the basic commands such as wait, come etc.

    The third dog only has one eye and one ear. After getting frustrated with her over the course of many months I have found a whistle/treat combo has improved her obedience to the "come" command. By no means brilliant but after only a month or so there is definite progress.

    What I am really after is suggestions about how to go about training them properly. I realise now they are 3-4 years old I have waited longer than ideal but before there was me and my partner who could walk and look after them, whereas following a split there is just me. I have taken to walking 2 of them, going home and getting the third (the nervous one) and leaving one of the original ones inside with a treat ball.

    It is hard to find the time to work on all three together so would you suggest a certain order. They are not badly behaved in general but obviously if they set each other off I don't have any real control over them in these instances and I am aware of this. The nervous one I keep on a lead unless we are in a familiar place with familiar people. There are only about 4 people she will let stroke her and when walking we have to follow the same predetermined route, wait for any cars to pass from behind, stop every 30 yards to survey the surroundings. I have had conflicting advice from trainers/vets etc on how to handle this. In the house she seems to dominate the other two but outside she is risky. The usual come/reward training didn't work at all with her as she never seems comfortable. She will only take treats in the home.

    Many thanks

    Matt
     
  2. PawsandFeathers

    PawsandFeathers PetForums Member

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    How have you trained them in the past?

    Reward works best with clicker training but you need to know what your looking for to encourage the right behaviours. I walk a nervous JRT he was very bad in the begining but in 6 months he knew what i wanted and even though he does react still his lets go command is pretty reliable now.

    I avoid other dogs and ask owners to walk around him as we walk on the streets his walk is only 30 minutes and have not upped his time due to his issues. keeping him under thresh hold is the key to keeping him happy I take everything at his pace at the time he is ready and while I don't think he will ever win social king of the year I have managed his problems and gievn him commands he walks to a wonderful heal.

    second dog is not as bad the first but has confidence issue she gets frightend because her owners are dominating and she thinks I will do the same things she reacts to certain things I do now I know what those things are and why she does what she does I am able to help her a lot better she has come on in leaps and bounds and this makes the walk a heck of a lot easier.

    I go at both dogs pace and wait for them to relax and offer me behaviours I like and reward them so that this becomes a game.
     
  3. Hat

    Hat PetForums Junior

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    If I'm honest my training was lax. I grew up with dogs which we always had from puppies and were easily trainable. This situation, they were all over a year old rescue dogs and had lived in (foreign) shelters before I had them. They had no real obedience whatsoever.

    Like I say the whistle is working with one of the dogs but she is very easily distracted but I reward her if she comes and it is paying dividends. As long as there is nothing better (in her eyes) to sniff or roll in her ear perks up and she knows she is getting rewarded if she comes.The trouble with the nervous one is she does not respond to her name, a whistle, a clicker and will not accept treats when out unless we are standing talking to one of the few people she can stand to be near her or we are alone. It makes it hard to motivate her towards obeying commands. She is literally scared of everything, wheelie bins being moved, car door shutting, people talking outside the house will set her off barking etc. She was doing a bit better (approaching people with her tail wagging) but every year firework season happens and it is back to square one. This year was particulaly bad, as from December to February she would look to the sky and bark at the vapour tails planes leave in the sky, and would run toward the moon on early morning walks barking at it. That does seem to have calmed down.

    It is hard work with her, especially as her sister who has had the same life is very friendly with adults and children and generally pretty good with wait, come, etc.
     
  4. Burrowzig

    Burrowzig PetForums VIP

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    I'd suggest training classes for the more confident 2, and just working on building confidence for the nervous one. That would include use of a Thundershirt with some sort of calming medication - Rescue Remedy, Zylkene, Dorwest Skullcap and Valerian, Calmex are some you could look at. Until she's less stressed, she won't be in a frame of mind where she can learn. Thundershirts usually make a real difference, and there's a money back guarantee so you can't lose.
     
    Muttly likes this.
  5. Hat

    Hat PetForums Junior

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    Hi

    I do have a thunder-shirt for her but it doesn't seem to have helped. I'll keep persevering with it though. I have talked to the vet about calming medication but have not tried any as of yet. Many thanks
     
  6. PawsandFeathers

    PawsandFeathers PetForums Member

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    Thundershirts need a certain amont of desensitization work I would worry that it would be jumping the gun a bit with a dog thats so nervous of everything all ready. I found Rescue Remedy Spray really helped the nervous boy which I mentioned above I would spray some on my shoes and trousers and that helped him learn he is very nervous individual.

    I honestly found going along at his pace was the best thing for him and rewarding him when he did the right thing he picked on very quickly but I was lucky that he is a bit of a gut ache.

    I would start training your nervous dog from home reward her their for doing good things she is more likely to catch what your asking in a place she feels comefortable. Start by just giving her something for nothing especially when she is behaving calmly I would also check out Kikopups videos on youtube their very helpful
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-qnqaajTk6bfs3UZuue6IQ

    I would also be inclined to look at puppy culture site of the same name I know your dog is not a puppy but I think it would really benefit your most nervous individual to treat her as though she was a puppy go straight back to basic training giving her short walks for practice little 15 minute ones till she is used to a paticular spot then every time you feel her confidence getting more improved you can gradually up the time spent with her outside.

    http://www.puppyculture.com/appropriate-exercise.html
     
  7. Hat

    Hat PetForums Junior

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    Thank you for that. I will check out the 2 links you suggested. What you says makes sense now I think of it. She may be approx 4 years old but in obedience/social skills she is a puppy.

    She is a mentally challenging dog :) She will walk through a small wooded section of parkland in one direction but point blank refuses to walk through it from the other direction. She gets excited and plays with me for a few minutes when I return home but then will suddenly just sit bolt upright and stop! I will follow your suggestions though and see if I can help her improve through the methods suggested here.

    Thank you again
     
  8. smokeybear

    smokeybear PetForums VIP

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    The first question I would ask is have you had the nervous one fully vet checked to rule out any underlying medical conditions? If your dog is nervous why are you allowing other people to stroke her at all? Remember your dogs look to you for protection and guidance, she may improve if you do not have unrealistic expectations of her. I am not sure why many people are obsessed with touching other people's dogs or why people WANT their dog being touched by every Tom, Dick and Harry.

    Reward based training does not have to include clicker training at all, I am not sure where that idea came from and there is no need to make things more complicated for yourself.

    Have you considered obtaining the services of a reputable, qualified dog trainer who might specialise in this sort of thing? (Be careful, the industry is unregulated and any Tom, Dick or Harry can call themselves one even if they have only owned a couple of dogs for a few years). It would not necessarily be a long term thing but a few sessions to demonstrate quick and easy techniques for maximising the confidence of both yourself and your dog?

    There are plenty of OTC formulas that may or may not work with your individual dog (including Rescue Remedy) however the all need to be paired with behavioural modification.

    Where do you live perhaps we can recommend someone?
     
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