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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Apologies to begin with,this could be a long post:001_smile: We adopted Bramble in may of this year, he was 3 in July. I knew his previous owner who had bought him as a pup for her 13 year old daughter. Long story so to keep it brief, daughter becomes teenager bored of dog, children at school all day,owner at work 8 hours a day. As we or rather I felt ready for the commitment to having another dog and knowing he wouldnt be left alone all day as hubby is retired and I work part time. I knew Bramble (formerly pele) had issues,but phew he is hard going. So Im looking for help and advice as I can honestly say he has brought me almost to my knees :cryin:. Good points: he is loving and affectionate and very gentle with the grandchildren. He is fully house trained, can sit well, does a great down, give paw.Great with other dogs too.

Negative points: Phew where do I start, steals things and runs and hides with stolen article. I now dont go after him as he then thinks its a game. So when he gives in he gets time out in the hallway. He will pull his bedding around the lounge, steal something and I know its his way of saying give me attention your ignoring me. But its a nightmare, in the last 2 weeks he has started destroying some things he has stolen. One being a gift for my birthday I had only recieved that day. He pulls on the lead, he has no recall although we were kind of getting there, but the biggest problem is when we go to the local park which is right on my doorstep it is nose down and total deafness. The only command off lead he will follow is when I say "this way".
I have now stopped letting him off since last week when he was so disobediant, he just gets into the undergrowth and into mischief,chasing birds,squirrels even annoying someones chicken ( houses back onto park).
I am aware a lot of his problems are not his fault at all, in his former home he wasnt exercised regularly, wasnt trained properly,left alone for hours at a time, apparently used to escape! has done that to us twice hence he is now microchipped and insured. When I release the lead he just goes,no waiting or calm walking beside me. I think your getting my drift I really am beginning to tear my hair out. He now has a home where he is exercised every day,gets lots of affection etc etc. Tried dog classes for 2 months but he was so stressed and going in the car-well lets just say he chewed through his doggy seat belt. Am I right in thinking he doesnt respect me as I have been told by a few people and is trying to get the upperhand all the time. Apologies again for such a long post,but getting to the end of my tether with this little man. :cryin:
 

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Oh dear I am not one to advise you really as I have similar problems with our new addition outside the house anyway. But just to say it might seem like a nightmare but you are not alone and I assure with all the help you will get on here you will be able to sort him out. First off can you take him to training classes. They really help keep you on track and stop you losing faith. Well they do me even if I manage to burst into tears half the time :).
I met a couple recently who took on a westie from some 'friends'. They weren't excersising it so it got destructive and took itself for walks. They reckon it took at least 6 months of intensive work before it realised it was finally getting its needs met and stopped legging it as soon as the door opened. They have had it 10 years now and it an absolute diamond of a dog. So there's hope for us all.
 

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I don't think he doesn't respect you, he just isn't used to rules from the sounds of it. So he is going to have to be taught as though he is a pup.

With the stealing things, I have this problem with my dog. I have started showing him a treat and saying leave it. If he drops it he gets given the treat and it is now starting to become habit. Of course sometimes he just runs from me as he, like your dog thinks it is a game, but he never gets to keep hold of said thing. The fact that he gets it for a while means he is getting a reward for stealing. I have had a lot of trouble with my dog with this, so I really understand how frustrating it can be. Since I have started using the leave it command though, and using treats to get him to drop it, it works a lot better. I can now say leave it, before he has seen a treat. Sometimes now he doesn't get a treat, but sometimes he does. We have been working on it for months though.

Sorry that's the only thing I have any idea about. I hope it helps though.
 

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I don't have a springer, I have BCs but also teach a good citizens class so hopefully some of this will help :)

Firstly, I'd suggest a crate for the car, and specifically a hamster basket if its in budget as it will allow you to put the lead on before opening the crate so you don't need to leave a lead on him (sounds like he would chew it!?) and he can't barge out and leg it - the seatbelts are never a particularly safe option, especially for chewers. If he isn't happy being in a crate (or just in the car) then I'd suggest putting him in it while parked with something yummy (raw bone if he's not possessive, or a kong) for a few minutes until settled, then building it up bit by bit. Once he's happy being stationary, you then go for a short drive, get him out for a walk (the reward) and again build it up. I would also be tempted with a crate for the house if you don't use it, similar to above to build him up to it but instead of driving you shut the door and increase the time. The bonus with a house crate is you can chuck a handful of sweeties in it, or a kong, or a bone from time to time as a surprise and it gives him a safe area to calm down in. All of mine are happy to be crated but for 99% of the time the doors are open and they take themselves off as and when they want some peace (I also personally never get them out of a crate if they chose to go in unless I have to, so they feel its a place they can go to be left alone)

For his stealing.. With my guys, I have always operated a trade system. I have a pot on top of the freezer of various high value yummy treats, and if they steal something, I go straight to the pot and call "trade". They only get a sweetie when they drop it. As long as whatever you offer is a higher value then what they have, they soon learn - "tuna/sardine fudge" (see end!) is especially high value and works well. The bonus with this is its a portable system (just chuck a handful in your pocket for a walk) and touch wood none of them has ever seen the need to pick up dead things etc on a walk

For recall..
Go back to puppy recall. In the garden, have on a house line (long thin lead). stand straight, hands out and call him Bramble COME in a happy but firm voice, bringing your hands in to your belly to guide him (if you don't know what I mean, say and I'll find a diagram or something :) )- if he doesn't start to move instantly, then use the lead to reel him in as you take a couple of steps back. As soon as he is at your feet, hand on his collar and give a treat and lots of praise, then release him with a release command - I use OK. IMO the release command is just as important as anything else, as it lets him know when he has to stop doing something, not when he feels like it. The treats you use here also have to be REALLY high value as you need to work to be more interesting then whatever smells or bushes he has to tempt him - if he's interested in games of tug or something, varying it with that works too. I suggest holding his collar before the treat/release as it means on a walk he will be used to having it done and won't do what a lot of smart cookies do and come with a lovely recall, then bomb it off before you get the lead on!! Its also important when you do have a lovely recall to practice it where he's recalled, the lead goes on, you walk for a bit then you let him off again so he never refuses to come back as he thinks its game over/home time.

When he is doing the recall on lead every time without you having to reel him in, start to do it "offlead" - drop the lead and continue the hands as above but if he ignores you, pick it up and reel him back in.

When he is coming back in the garden with the lead dropped every time, I would then and only then start to work on it outside and always on lead - initially in front of your house or some other boring place, and when he's doing it every time, then slowly building up to more exciting places, you probably want to look at at least 3 places before the park. You ALWAYS want to set him up to do well, so there is no point zooming up the steps or letting him off lead until he's competent on lead as it will only put you back to square one.

For his pulling.. Again, I would start this in the garden at home. Start with teaching him a watch me to focus his attention on you, then have him walking next to you. I start on lead and have the lead in two hands - left hand on my left leg with lead running through it, and then the remainder of the lead in my right hand, usually in a fist at the gap in my bra. I use the hand on the leg to keep them close - you can lift it away from your leg to give him some slack, but put it back to bring the lead tighter if he starts to pull. I start by putting them in a sit next to me, give the watch me then walk on lead command (I use with me for by my side not pulling, and close for obedience style) and then have my hand on my lead and leg with a stinky, yummy treat in it.. the dog should hopefully sniff it, then I walk forward, giving the command I want to use - I aim for a couple of steps to start with, then they get the treat. (This is really hard to explain rather then show!! please let me know if it makes no sense!!). Because you have the lead on your leg, it should mean he isn't able to surge forward pulling, and as long as the treat you have is yummy enough, he shouldn't want to. Once again you want to set him up to do well, so it really is a case of baby steps!! If he does start to surge forward, do an about turn with your hand flat to your leg and go off in the opposite direction. Once again, release him each time with your release command so he knows when you are done. To start with there is no way you can successfully walk him on lead without having to give him a lot more slack, so imo the release word becomes essential so he knows its not acceptable to do until you say OK. In an ideal world, every walk would be on lead with no pulling but until you have a recall you can't let him off lead, and forcing him to not pull for an entire walk long enough to tire him out is just not going to be easily achievable for you or him. I don't normally like flexi leads, but it may be a compromise you can look at while you work on his manners at home -please get the tape style if you do! (A flexi will also mean you can start to work on his recall as its possible to lock it into a long line and reel him back if necessary)

I think doing a lot more brain work like the above is going to settle him down much quicker then walking for miles, so hopefully with the above you will start to see some changes pretty quickly. I wouldn't be doing more then 5 minutes per exercise, and no more then one exercise each time to start with, and then even in total probably no more then 15mins :)

Hope that helps, please let me know if none of that makes sense :)
Carla

Tuna/Sardine Fudge
Tuna Fudge Training Dog Treats Recipe - Food.com - 120199
to make it sardine, I use 2 tins of sardine in tomato sauce.. either is stupidly effective and as the link says, you can freeze it :D It does STINK though so be warned!!!!!!
 

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Also, just in case that epic post wasn't enough!! I would suggest teaching him an instant down. Then if he does think about bombing off or decides to ignore your recall, you have the down to fall back on :)

The easiest way for an instant down is to get him a little bit excited in front of you (ideally bouncing!) , then use the initial down hand signal you taught and a fairly stern "down" - to start with you might have to go down to the floor with him, once he's down, wait, give the treat then his release word.
Once you have him slamming into a really fast down, do it when he's a bit further away, and then when he's pottering round the garden etc. Always make sure he doesn't get up without the release word, and try to avoid his name - names are usually to call them over, and for an instant down you want him to drop on the spot, not turn or start to come to you. You can turn it into a game really easily if he'll play with a ball as you can drop him, go over, release then throw his ball, and when he's really good, throw the ball, drop him, release him and let him get it :)
You want to keep this fun, but also try to keep your down strong enough to show you really mean it - if you do ever end up needing to use it, chances are it will be a booming DOWN in a voice that just dares him to disobey so he needs to get used to each down having that slightly stern element.. very different from sit, come or even close which should all have a much happier, fun tone to them :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Many thanks for the replies, Jersey girl I do have a crate but it is so big and cumbersome and he rarely used it I gave up. And as I drive a small Citreon all the cages I have looked at are to big for my small car.Tried a rear dog guard for the boot,but never got around to using it as I kind of guessed he'd be twice as mental in the boot than the car. Although previous owners had a car they never took him out I dont think. Hired the Jan Fennell DVD from the library and a lot of what she says makes sense to me. I did trade this morning when he went on a freak out with his bedding,but do feel Im then rewarding bad behaviour. There are a lot of issues to work through with him, some I know I made worse because I babyied him as I wanted this dog to have a happy life rather than the previous one shut in all day.So we are going to have to start from scratch I think. Letting off lead worked great for about the first 4/5 times then he became more and more disobediant, perhaps I jumped the gun and put too much faith in him. Anyway today he went on his long lead, we have two as they get so darned muddy. Everytime he pulled I stopped, I think he will get the message pulling gets him nowhere. Took some cheese and practised lots of recall,only when I knew he would listen as he loves his nose to the ground. Would say we had an 80% successful training session. I kept him to the centre of the park away from the areas he loves -undergrowth :glare: I have been using Jan Fennells method for about a week and he does seem calmer (watched her on you tube) even hubby has noticed. So tomorrow is another day as they say. I totally ignore him when he jumps up at me when I get in from work as twice he has really hurt me.I make him calm down by totally ignoring him until he is calmer. Its only me he is like this with, hubby says he has gotten to attached to me :rolleyes: if thats possible. So some of the issues are mine I guess. Onward and upward. Oh yes and me learning to stay calm
 
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