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Problems with a new dog

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by mireiabelle, Jul 3, 2018.

  1. mireiabelle

    mireiabelle PetForums Newbie

    Jul 3, 2018
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    After our beloved dog Xesca passed away, we decided we were ready to welcome another dog into our home. When we first met Sam he was malnourished and very scared, so we went to the shelter for three days and walked him and gave him treats so he would get to know us a little bit before bringing him home. Once at home, he wasn't scared anymore and he turned out to be a very sweet dog.

    We've had him for almost six months now and his temperament has changed a lot since we got him. He only responds to my father and has stopped responding to me or my brother. He's very sweet until you try to make him do something that he does not want to do. If we ask or tell him to leave the room for whatever reason, he completely ignores us. If we approach him he throws himself on the ground so we can't pick him up (he's a very heavy dog) and if we try to pick him up or grab his collar he tries to bite (he already bit me last week). If we get him to leave he instantly goes back into that room again.

    The same thing happens in other situations. When I bring him to the barn, he stands or sits under different horses and I try to make him leave as it's very dangerous and he can get kicked. He won't listen to me and gets aggressive and dominant if I try to move him. If I manage to make him leave, he instantly goes back under that horse again.

    He has tried to bite my brother too and has started to growl and throw himself at strangers during walks. He's only dominant with my brother and me, he's very submissive with my dad and only responds to him.

    Our vet has checked him and no physical issues were found.

    I would appreciate any advice as I'm not sure what to do to better the situation.

    He's and 8-year-old castrated male.

    Thank you!!
  2. leashedForLife

    Nov 1, 2009
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    Please toss the "dominant" stuff in the rubbish-bin. :) It's been long, long disproved.
    Dogs react to events in the moment, & their response is filtered for each dog thru their own history of experiences - they don't want to take over the world, or even run the house. They just want an understandable life, with reliable patterns, & some exciting or interesting novelty mixed in. They want some friends they can trust - not much different from humans, is it?

    Precisely why he "listens to Pop" & not to U or yer brother, I can't say - but who feeds the dog?
    Who walks the dog? -- does anyone groom, or bathe him?

    What sort of collar or harness & leash do U use on him?
    Has anyone done any training with him? - if so, what sort? -- Yank n' yell? Tidbits for co-operation? Some of each?

    If U want his co-operation, 1st U need control - which does NOT mean "grab his collar". That's only going to provoke a defensive bite.
    U need a leash, such as a 6-ft webbing leash with a spring-clip, & a non-aversive collar or harness, such as a w-i-d-e sighthound-style martingale, or a sturdy simple Y-harness with the leash clipped to his chest [not over his spine].
    The Sure-Fit is a good option, it's sold on Amazon.co.uk, & adjusts in 5 places, so it fits [so far] every dog I've ever put it on, & all my clients say it fits, too.

    then... U start to teach him what U want. Luring him is simplest, for changes in position, to start - teach Sit, Down, Stand, Come, Up, & Off, all with luring. Get him off the tidbit loaded hand by the 5th or 6th repetition of each exercise, & make the same luring motion WITH THE EMPTY HAND - then reward him from the other hand.
    Then U start to teach more complex stuff, like walk on a loose-leash, recall under mild distraction, etc.

    Things to remember:
    - Dogs don't generalize well, or easily.
    They need to be taught EACH ONE OF EVERY EXERCISE in a minimum of 5 different contexts, before they even begin to grasp the idea that 'Sit' means 'put my butt on the substrate' in all of those varied settings.
    They are not being difficult; they don't understand human language, & for them, SIT on the lino in the kitchen, SIT on wet grass after rain, SIT on the carpet in the lounge, & SIT in a busy, crowded vet's waiting room, are all totally different things.

    - Short lessons, & many sessions per day, are much-more effective.
    10 5-minute or less sessions in one day will teach a dog 5X as much as ONE 1-hour long session; they can't concentrate that long when they're just beginning. A solid hour of cue & response is for fluent dogs who know what U want, & how to do it.

    - 'Sleep on it' isn't a joke.
    Memory & sleep are interconnected; if the dog isn't getting something, let it go for a day, or even two.
    A day or so later, cue it - either they do it & never are confused again, or they never learned it at all - in which case, start over, from step 1. // They will learn it much, much faster the 2nd time.
    Passive learning is Ur friend - use it. :) We rehearse what we learned & felt every day, in our sleep - that's how new learning is stored in a retrievable fashion, thru dreams.

    - when things go pear-shaped, QUIT.
    There's always tomorrow. Getting angry or frustrated isn't good for either of U.

    For written step-by-step HOW TO TRAIN, see

    Proofing for every exercise is also written into the Levels Training handout. :) Everything U need is there.

    For demonstrations of good training, subscribe -

    Let us know how he gets on, please - we love success stories, & if U get stuck, many here can help.

    - terry

    Terry Pride, CVA / member Truly Dog-Friendly

  3. Jamesgoeswalkies

    Jamesgoeswalkies PetForums VIP

    May 8, 2014
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    You dog sounds a little frightened to be honest. Don't try to make your dog do something, train him instead so he understands what you want him to do.

    Saying your dog is 'submissive' with your dad would suggest to me that your dog is frightened of him. Submission is your dog trying to appease ...say sorry ...calm him down. I would hate to have any of my dogs go into submission for me to get them to do anything. As the above poster has said, stop thinking dominant/submission it really doesn't apply and does more harm than good. By grabbing collars or looking to 'make' a dog do something we are the ones who are becoming threatening. The dog then responds ........

    So think training. Teach him that when you call him he will be rewarded. Practice this in the garden. Pop him on a line so he can't go under the horse. No more grabbing collars.

    The fact that his temperament has changed in the six months you have had him is a little worrying. Can you maybe get a trainer in to help you with this?

  4. Jackie Lee

    Jackie Lee Banned

    Apr 16, 2018
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    I think it's good to hire someone or a trainer so that he will not do something like what you have just said.
  5. CuddleMonster

    CuddleMonster PetForums VIP

    Mar 9, 2016
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    Training takes a LOT of time and patience and if you have a very nervous dog (who has maybe had bad experiences in the past) it takes way, way more! A dog that is terrified of getting it wrong and being punished is just going to shut down and not learn anything.

    Your dog sounds very like my girl when I first had her. She had been very badly treated in her previous home and her 'training' there had involved a lot of beating. Because of this, I found it impossible to give her 'formal' training sessions for well over a year, as the moment she realised she was being 'asked' to do something, she would panic and freeze. I think she was so scared of 'getting it wrong' and being punished.

    Instead of teaching her to 'sit' as I had done with my previous dogs (which I did using a lure as described by @leashedForLife), I would wait until she decided she felt like sitting down herself and the moment her bottom hit the floor, I'd say 'good sit!'. Same thing with recall. Every time she wandered up to me, as soon as she got to me, I'd say 'good come!'. Every time she did a wee in the garden, it was 'good clean!' So I never put pressure on her to do anything, but gave her lots of praise and treats for every tiny little thing she did right. And eventually, we got to the stage where she would sit/come/be clean when I asked her to. Even when I was able to start more formal training, for a long time, I only had one or two chances for her to 'get' what I was asking her to do before she would start to get anxious - even though I never told her off for getting it wrong, just the fact that she wasn't getting praised meant she knew she hadn't got it right and that would make her worry.

    The fact that your dog throws himself to the ground if you try to make him move and that he likes being underneath the horses (he obviously feels safe there) suggests he is really scared. If I were you, I'd stop trying to 'make' him do things - either wait till he does them naturally and then praise him, or if you have to move him from one room to another, use treats or something else that he likes. Look out for things you can praise him for to boost his confidence. Above all, give him plenty of space and time so he doesn't feel pressured. E.g. if you need him to move from one room to another because you need to go out/are having visitors and want him shut in one room, start encouraging him to move a while before you need him to so you are not getting stressed. If he doesn't want to go out on walks or to the stables, don't make him. He will make progress much faster if he is not pushed into situations where his anxiety increases.

    Don't be discouraged. My girl is still timid but she is a totally different dog to the scared little runt who turned up on my doorstep. Now if I'm training her and she can't work it out, she just gives me this look that says 'what are you wanting me to do now?'. It's taken a long time, but I've had so much joy from seeing her grow in confidence and we now have a closer bond than with any of my previous dogs because we've been through so much together.
  6. Jackie Lee

    Jackie Lee Banned

    Apr 16, 2018
    Likes Received:
    I think it only depends. Not all your advices will apply to others. We may have same problems but needs different solutions.
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