Welcome to PetForums

Join thousands of other pet owners and pet lovers on the UK's most popular and friendly pet community and discussion forum.

Sign Up

Can anyone help solve this training?

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by padifoot, Apr 9, 2011.


  1. padifoot

    padifoot PetForums Junior

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2010
    Messages:
    72
    Likes Received:
    2
    Hello,

    I am currently about to give training to a client. But I'm not hundred percent certain as to how I should train these dogs as the whole thing is quite complex.

    Basically there are 3 dogs- A, B and C

    C is not the problem as she is old and well trained.

    A is a puppy they got 9 months ago

    B is the biological mother of A they got in January

    A bites the B and C ears, which is obviously her acting as top dog (Happens at top of stairs to stop them going into owners bedrooms)

    B is very nervous and timid, always hiding behind the piano, and when she hears a noise she gets very frightened and always bark- indoors and outdoors

    This then sets off A and C and they all bark.

    Owners do not want their dogs to bark at all (They can stop the barking, but they don't want them to bark at all), and they do not want A to bite the other ones ears.

    I know that when dogs live in packs, there is always a hierarchy and you can't just knock A out of being the leader of the pack as one of the 3 has to be. And it is also natural for dogs to bark, so you can't completely get a dog to stop barking.

    So how to I help B gain confidence and get A to stop biting ears?

    Thanks for any help.
     
  2. mel@fish

    mel@fish PetForums Senior

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2010
    Messages:
    678
    Likes Received:
    7
    It would be interesting to know what breed they are. Perhaps A could have some one on one time spent with the owner to knacker her out and improve the pecking order/relationship between the owner and A ?

    B needs a lot of love and attention and rewarding with each confidence step, clicker training? Motivate with food/treats?

    As far as the barking is concerned, I managed to stop my BC barking and winding the others up all the time at the slightest thing by spraying her with water in the face, just one jet is enough! Its a kind way of teaching them to understand when barking is and isnt appropriate. I dont mind her barking when someone comes to the door but when she was barking every time I opened the oven door or the back door or was on the phone etc it was suggested to me by someone and worked a treat and very quickly!

    Of course the main thing is to make sure that they have lots of exercise too but thats why I wondered what breed they were as this may have to be limited??

    I've probably just told you all that you know anyway but its good to waffle in the sunshine !!! Apologies if boring!:)
     
  3. Rottiefan

    Rottiefan PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2010
    Messages:
    1,502
    Likes Received:
    48
    No offense, but this not a very difficult scenario, are you a professional?

    The first thing to realise is that there doesn't need to be a 'pack leader' or a pecking order. Naturally, the older dogs take this role in large groups of feral/semi-feral dogs, but it is a very complex issue and not something we need to be interested in to solve behaviour problems. A puppy can not take the 'top dog' role anyway- that's like saying a human toddler can become the leader of a family.

    A is being a puppy, obviously, and has not learnt acceptable manners when interacting with other dogs. Keep A on a lead in the house and whenever he begins to get OTT, simply remove him and ignore for 20 seconds. When he's calm, praise and allow him to greet the other dogs again. You can advise clicker training so the owners can capture and reward all good interactions between the dogs, but if they have no experience (and even more so if you don't), I wouldn't advise this. They can still use treats and praise to capture and reward good behaviour anyway.

    With the barking, the need for aversives- like spraying water in the face- is not the desirable option. We are able to teach 'SPEAK' and 'QUIET' commands, and if you do not know how to work with this, I think you should ask yourself whether you're the right person to be advising these clients. With these commands, the dogs can be told when to bark and when to be quiet, which they get rewarded for. They should always get a better reward for going quiet as this is a unconditioned behaviour that we want them to perform immediately- barking or 'speaking' is self-rewarding and is serving a purpose but going quiet needs to be followed immediately with a good reward for the dogs to want to do it reliably.

    With B's confidence issues, you need to set up a solid counter-conditioning, desensitisation programme to help her gain in confidence around loud noises and other stimuli she is wary of. Doing obedience training with her, using treats and toys as motivators, will also help build confidence and the owners can engage in these training activities when around these stimuli (when B is not too worked up that she is unable to concentrate) so as to build a positive association between the stimuli that previously made her scared, with something that she really likes.

    Dogs may have hierarchies, especially in large groups, but with three dogs it is going to be complex and something to take an interest in rather than a salient factor in working with behaviour problems. Throw the Cesar Millan, pack leader theories out the window and get up to date if you really want to help these clients.
     
  4. Colette

    Colette PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2010
    Messages:
    4,191
    Likes Received:
    1,195
    Great advice from Rottiefan so nothing really to add....

    I was just wondering though - you say the ear biting happens to stop the other dogs getting into the owners bedroom. Is this during the night, ie while the owner are in the bedroom asleep?

    If so, it might be worth preventing the situation simply by putting the pup in a crate or a different room at night, so she can't lie in wait at the top of the stairs.
    Doing some basic management like this might also be worthwhile whilst remedial work is being undertaken, if only to break the cycle.
     
  5. padifoot

    padifoot PetForums Junior

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2010
    Messages:
    72
    Likes Received:
    2
    I really appreciate your help- I know you don't think I am a professional which I can see why. But I am, its just I am very nervous as it is my very first client. I would go to my tutor for advise, but he wouldn't reply in time before I can help this client. As for what you said about 'Speak' and 'Quiet', I was going to do that if no-one answered this thread. So I'm glad I am thinking along the right lines for this.

    To be honest with you, I was hoping I wouldn't get any dog training until I was more confident. I don't even know how this client got my number, but the client already knows I'm inexperienced and she is willing to help me gain confidence at my first shot of training. Everyone has to start somewhere and I'd rather ask for advise than give the complete wrong training.

    Thank you again x
     
  6. padifoot

    padifoot PetForums Junior

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2010
    Messages:
    72
    Likes Received:
    2
    Thank you for the advise. I think the water spray with freak B out. She is so timid and she is the reason for barking. I am also going to advise the owners that if they walked their dogs twice a day, I think it will help hugely. As I believe barking is a source of excess energy when they haven't been exercised enough. What do you think?

    Thank you x
     
  7. newfiesmum

    newfiesmum Banned

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2010
    Messages:
    19,251
    Likes Received:
    1,729
    Certainly the right exercise and stimulation is needed here. Dogs bark for all sorts of reasons, one of them because they are bored stiff! Can they not put a gate across the bottom of the stairs and not allow any of the dogs up? That would be my first management choice. I would also want to observe how the other dogs react to having their ears bitten; I mean, does the pup leave off before they get hurt, is he only playing? Mine bite each other's ears constantly but on the rare occasions when one of them yelps, it stops immediately.

    I am really surprised that this is your first training customer, Padifoot, as you have had your ad up in Pets Locally certainly for ages. That may be where she got your number, or from one of your dog walking clients?

    It sounds to me like the pup is just being a pup, and the mother dog seems to have joined the family quite late, so could have issues.

    You won't know till you see them, will you? The owners should also realise that dogs bark! Nobody wants a dog barking continually, but it can't be stopped altogether - not in this country at least, thank goodness.

    I wish you luck with it. Please let us know how you get on.
     
  8. Rottiefan

    Rottiefan PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2010
    Messages:
    1,502
    Likes Received:
    48
    It's good that you were thinking along those lines, but I was fairly surprised that you were asking the questions in the first place. Dog training is common sense a lot of the time. If you have a behaviour problem, ask yourself "What do we want the dog to do instead?" and teach this more desirable behaviour.

    I would firstly check that all the bases are being covered, i.e. dogs being fed well, are receiving regular exercise and socialisation etc., and then offer a training programme that sets out 1) why they are barking/the pup is playing rough (it's being a pup!) and 2) what needs to be done. Teaching SPEAK and QUIET teaches the dogs when and when not to bark. You should also suggest to allow your dogs to bark at some point so the stress from not being allowed to bark does not manifest itself in other behavioural problems- say on a walk, just let them burn off steam, praise them verbally like hell and then say QUIET and give them three high-value food treats each. You can even make it fun and teach them to bark at specific moments- such as when someone steps onto the property etc.

    There are a lot of theories and ways of training out there, but stick to the positive reinforcement methods and keep out of the pack theory, dominance/Alpha etc., etc., pit fall as you will be a lot more respectable as a behaviourist in the long run- these myths are coming to the end of their life I think, especially in the UK. The science is much more interesting! :)
     
  9. tripod

    tripod PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2010
    Messages:
    1,618
    Likes Received:
    79
    Hi there :)

    Unfortunately your understanding of dog-dog dynamics is a little skewed and as such I don't think that this case is the best starter for you. This is not to pick on you or cause offence but to encourage you to avoid issues later on.

    Dog-dog relationships are soooo much more complex than this. Multi dog household issues are complex too.

    The issues present in these dogs sound involving and the owners sound as if they do not have realistic goals. It is up to the professional to deal with both of these things and as such as a first case this is a tough one.

    I understand that everyone has to start somewhere, and believe me I have been there but starting with such a complex case (on many levels) is risky. Just because this person contacted you doesn't mean that you automatically take the case. Perhaps working with a local and more experienced/qualified professional for such cases would be more appropriate, even having this so as to have local support from time to time would be great.

    I am sorry to bring a downer here but more experience and understanding of dog behaviour will likely be required for this case, even taking a history on a three dog household can be a minefield :D
    If there is anything I can do to help please feel free to contact me.
     
  10. Rottiefan

    Rottiefan PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2010
    Messages:
    1,502
    Likes Received:
    48
    I would just like to add that I am not a professional either and don't even study animal behaviour formally. I do have practical experience of working with dogs but I have learnt what I have from reading books, articles, this forum etc., etc- all easily accessible resources.

    It makes me wonder what an Animal Behaviour BSc actually teaches!:D

    I am looking to change my current study to animal behaviour with a Masters programme perhaps, so hopefully my lack of formal qualification won't halt me!
     
  11. tripod

    tripod PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2010
    Messages:
    1,618
    Likes Received:
    79
    A good solid qualification is only the start. Taking histories, developing programs and so on is the really difficult part that takes years to develop any level of skill at.

    Thats why I think that internship schemes and student level memberships to various professional groups are a god-send for those just finishing up with teh first round of study.
    Being self employed in this industry (in various capacities) can be very isolating and there has been a history & tradition of high competitiveness among professionals. I am glad to say that that is changing and there are so many more resources and support available to professionals of all experience levels.

    Joining professional groups has been the best way that i have found to network and learn more and more from people all over the world.
     
  12. padifoot

    padifoot PetForums Junior

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2010
    Messages:
    72
    Likes Received:
    2
    Thank you for the advise :). BSc Animal Behaviour isn't as great as it is made out to be. I would certainly recommend anything else that has practical training in it. I find it hard to learn out of a book, practical is definitely the way forward to learn. So I am looking to do another course that teaches in a practical form to give me confidence. So if you know of any good ones, pm me please. Lou x
     
    #12 padifoot, Apr 11, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2011
  13. padifoot

    padifoot PetForums Junior

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2010
    Messages:
    72
    Likes Received:
    2
    I love to learn as much more as I can. Where do you join professional groups to help network and learn more? :001_smile:
     
  14. tripod

    tripod PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2010
    Messages:
    1,618
    Likes Received:
    79
    There are various professional groups all over the world. It very much depends on your particular ethics, goals and methodologies.

    Most that are worth anything will require that you comply with a code of ethics. But i have been a member of groups that are about education too.

    You could look at joining APDT UK and also look into their courses and seminars taht they run.
    APDT US are an excellent educational group but be careful that there is a mix of trainers from all sorts of extremes (from R+ to shock and so on). But I loved the Chronicle magazine and the online discussions.
     
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice