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Dog behaving badly! HELP!

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by sparks154, Oct 30, 2012.


  1. sparks154

    sparks154 PetForums Newbie

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    Hi all, so basically we've had our puppy for around 8 months now. We got her at the pound when she was 10 weeks old. She's a mixed breed, looks like collie/husky/lurcher. As a very young puppy she was quite well behaved but as time progressed her behaviour just got more and more out of control. One of the first problems we encountered with her was her biting. Even after she'd past the teething stage she would bite quite hard at our feet and ankles. At the start it seemed playful but then it became more aggressive, she would be particularly rough with my sister, biting her and pouncing at her. Trying to distract her or showing her an alternative toy to play with did nothing to tackle this problem and at times it became impossible to even pull her away. Fortunately, she grew out of this with time but even now, whenever she's excited (which is pretty much all the time) she starts to "play fight" but she'll bite and even shows her teeth sometimes. We can't get her to just sit quietly with us for any length of time before she starts doing this.
    When she doesn't get attention or is getting frustrated while waiting for us to get ready to take her for a walk, she'll jump and bark at us. Her jumping up is also a big problem, though I believe its our fault for encouraging her to jump up when we're greeting her. She jumps up and down constantly and also runs and jumps at us.. and she's not a light dog so this is becoming a big problem.
    She also pulls on her lead constantly and is terrible in the car, crying and barking and biting whoever is in the passenger seat the whole way...

    At first I thought it was my fault and that I wasn't putting enough effort into training her, but I'm telling you, despite my best efforts she is impossible to train. She has a ridiculously short attention span, even for a puppy, and she's extremely excitable and impossible to engage with. She just doesn't listen, she doesn't seem to respond to treats or any kind of positive reinforcement, she just does her own thing. And it's not through lack of trying because we actually also took her to puppy class and even the teacher who was a nationally renowned professional dog trainer couldn't do anything with her!
    I'm considering sending her to Dog's Trust for rehoming because I just think she'd perhaps be better off in a more experienced home. We can't keep her in the house because she just runs about and chews things up and just generally wrecks the place so she's just kept outside most of the day and I don't think it's fair on her.
    I know this will all sound like normal puppy behaviour, and it is, except it's to the absolute extreme. I just can't keep up with her. Please help?! :confused1:
     
  2. hutch6

    hutch6 PetForums VIP

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    Hi,

    She's not impossible to train, you just haven't found what makes her tick yet that's all.

    Sounds liek she isn't fussed about treats of the food kind and will be more responsive to rewards that fit her natural drive which seems to be chasing. Have you thrown a ball for her got her in the garden with a football and rolled it around?

    Where abouts are you?
     
  3. Wiz201

    Wiz201 PetForums VIP

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    Have you tried any other trainers or training classes?
    As suggested above, you can train just as easily with a toy as well as treats.
    I do clicker training with my dogs and it certainly helps with teaching new tricks and behaviours.
     
  4. Bagrat

    Bagrat PetForums VIP

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    There will be lots of posts giving training advice I'm sure so I won't do that especially as it's a breed mix I haven't dealt with. our rescue had been kept in isolation in the garden for at least twelve months when we got him aged two. I can totally understand how frustration and fear for your home furnishings ( and your personal space) may lead you to isolate the dog more and more outside. I suspect this is the worst option really and will make a lot of behaviours worse.
    Have you thought of crate training? there is lots of advice on here if you search.
    What do you want your dog to be like, because if you don't know what you would like, it's difficult to work towards it.? You probably should prioritise which issues cause you the most angst and work on those first. Our boy has the concentration span of a gnat too, but even a couple of minutes training frequently reaps rewards ( clicker is great). Consistency is the key.
    Good luck.
     
  5. Sled dog hotel

    Sled dog hotel PetForums VIP

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    If she is a Collie/Husky/Lurcher type, then you have a mix of high energy, prey drive and intelligence. If you got her at 10 weeks from a pound then her breeding and early socialisation and handling is probably doubful as well.

    Im guessing she must be approaching a year now, which is adolescence when they begin to push at boundaries, and start exercising independance, so its often a difficult time but usually more so if they havent been given a structured routine and early training foundation.

    The problem is the more she is kept outside in isolation and bored likely she will attention seek and get over excited and hyped when she thinks she will get attention or she thinks it may be in the offing, so it could well be making her worse.

    How much exercise does she get a day? A dog whos not given adequate exercise and cant get rid of excess energy will be more hyper and badly behaved through boredom and lack of physical and mental stimulation, at a year nearly and the breed mix you think she is she will start to need a considerable amount, so first thing I would do is look at her current exercise levels.

    Collies given training usually excel at obdience plus it gives them mental stimulation, but if she has got husky in her and lurcher she is going to have a high prey drive and also likely wont do long repetitive boring training. Usually several short sessions of 10 minutes or so mixed with play are better. If she has got Husky in her too, they do play very rough, and things like rough housing games make them even more hyped up and worse. So things like pulling heer away, and twisting and turning about trying to push her down when shes hyped up will likely be seen as part of the game and hype her up more. Encouraging her to jump up in greeting even in the earlier days would have made her worse.

    What are you using as training rewards? Have you tried in the way of food rewards human food? Cheese, chicken, sausages, hotdogs anything liver based is worth a go if you havent tried it cut into small pieces? Or a lot of dogs find the cheese spread in tubes irresestible and once you have sqeezed out a little become engrossed trying to get more out. Have you also tried toys and playing as a reward getting her to work for those, Clicker training can also work well with dogs as others have suggested. Some dogs tennis balls are a motivator, Some dogs its squeaky toys, with lurcher and terrier types these worked well in training Skinneeez Stuffing Free Crazy Critters Dog Toys

    You said that you cant get her to sit quietly? Have you tried interactive toys that she has to use her brain and energy on to get rewards. Kongs are good
    you can use wet food from her allowance if she is on wet, or Dry if shes on kibble in a kong wobbler or Busy Buddy twist and treat. Chews and bones can give them something to do with their mouths too and chewing is a destresser and wind down activity. Giving her inter active toys should help with the boredom and give her something to chew and use her mouth on instead of the house.

    Recipes - Kong
    Wobbler Dog Toy | Dog food fillable toy for paced eating | Kong Co.
    There is lots of other Kong toys and game suggestions on the above Kong website too.

    Busy Buddy Twist-n-Treat - YouTube

    https://www.antlerdogchews.co.uk/easy-antler-dog-chew-medium

    Also what food are you feeding her? Certain foods can contribute to hyper activity as well, so may be worth looking at her diet.

    With looking at her exercise levels, short training sessions and finding a motivator and giving her things to mentally and physically stimulate her more you may find it begins to solve some of the problems making the others easier to start working on too.

    If you see her start to get hyped up and over excited, pop her in another room to calm down with a calming acitivity, leave her to calm, let her out and ignore her to make sure shes calmed down before giving any attention. If she starts again then out and reapeat it and keep doing it.
    She only gets praise and treats and attention for calm behaviour. Timings important as leave it too long before shes really into the hyper over excited behaviour before you do it, then you are going to have hell of a time to get her to calm down again.
     
  6. sparks154

    sparks154 PetForums Newbie

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    Thanks so much for your replies everyone!
    Yeah, I really don't like how she's always kept outside but she's just so difficult to handle! When she comes into the house she just runs and jumps everywhere and it's so difficult to keep her enclosed in the one room. She'll come bounding into the livingroom, straight onto the sofa and doesn't move when I try and call her and if I reach for her collar she bites, even food won't entice her so it's really hard to get her out for a time-out and even when we do get her out she just cries and scratches at the door and just doesn't stop. I've tried ignoring her until she stops crying but she literally never stops. We did try crate training her but she just cries to no end inside the crate. I tried clicker training with her as well and she does like treats but if I don't give her the treat immediately she gets frustrated and jumps and bites at me and she doesn't really respond to toys at all.
    To be honest she could probably do with getting more exercise, she's really difficult to walk because she pulls so hard and has started going for other dogs when we pass them. We got her a harness and that really helped with the pulling and controlling her on her walks but getting the harness on is the biggest challenge with her. She gets properly vicious and bites and growls and shows her teeth so we've basically given up on that since it seemed to be making her behaviour worse. she does get walked everyday but because of this her walks are quite short and I don't trust her off the lead because she has a tendency to just sprint off at times, though she does come when called at other times.
    We feed her Brandy dried food mixed with canned food. I'd rather just feed her the dried food but she doesn't seem to like any brand on its own so she just doesn't eat it at all unless it's mixed.
     
  7. Wiz201

    Wiz201 PetForums VIP

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    It sounds like she's taking proper advantage of you knowing that she gets her own way if she shows her teeth etc. I would feed her what you want, and if she doesn't eat it there and then after 20 mins take up the food and put it down later (I presume you're feeding her twice a day?)
    I would try a headcollar with her, but since you're having trouble putting a harness on, a headcollar would be even worse. You could try a slip lead coupled up with a normal flat collar and lead. When she goes for other dogs, give one pull to the side and immediately relax. You could even try just turning around in the opposite direction and click n treat when she responds to you and stops looking at the other dog. Slip leads are much easier to put on.
    If she can't be trusted off lead, try a long line.
     
  8. hutch6

    hutch6 PetForums VIP

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    The three types of dog you have listed - Husky, collie and lurcher (running dog x thinking dog) - are all runners. I am not saying they need to be run all day or anything but they need a really blast about to bring their energy levels down or they will do the wall of death around your livingroom and be snappy, think of it being the opposite of us when we're tired, they are just frustrated and bit on edge if they don't get a good leg stretch.

    The good thing about the dog you have the exrcise requirements it needs is that they go hand in hand:

    Husky - high prey drive.
    Collie - wants to work and chase.
    Lurcher - bred for prey drive qualitites.

    What all of this means is very bad news for a tennis ball because this dog will destroy it over and over and over day after day after day. I would strongly recommend playing games with toys with this dog as the running, chasing and grabbing of toys is going to be more rewardring to this dog than any piece of food due to it's ingredients.

    As far as it's food goes the brand you mentioned - Brandy - lists cereals as the first ingredient. Dogs strugle with cereals as far as digesting and getting the most out of them nutritionally as they are hard to break down so you may see a lot go in one end and pretty much the same come out the other. As far as protein and energy goes it is pretty much at an average so it won't be contributing to the energy of the dog all that much. The tinned stuff might be though as they are soemtiems full of all kinds of yumy tasty sweet and sugary stuff so you could try changing the tinnned food things such as sardines or half a pack of chicken mince (you can even get these from pets at home now).

    The reason I asked where you were is because I've had a gsd x husky, run two collies and alos have a long dog (running dog x running dog = zero interest in anything other than blasting after stuff) and I would be more than willing to help you get the dog up and running, so to speak, with things so it's not as "wild" at home for you and a bit more fun to be around than having a whirlwind of fur in your home :) Plus you can let it have a run with mine as they have helped dogs before and can handle dogs that get over excited and don't quite know how to play which it sounds like your's is being around other dogs. Don't worry, it's not going to cost you anything as I find it fun and rewarding.
     
  9. goodvic2

    goodvic2 PetForums VIP

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    Can you get support from the rescue you got her from?
     
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