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Staffie/Collie cross training tips?

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by ems1910, Jul 13, 2009.


  1. ems1910

    ems1910 PetForums Newbie

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    Hi :)

    I have a staffie/collie cross who is 16 months old, we have had him for nearly a year and due to me being very lazy (sorry!) all we have mastered is 'sit' really. He is very good when out, comes back when we call but pulls very hard on the lead which with a toddler in tow sometimes can be a nightmare to handle.

    Any advice on a few things would be really appreciated-

    1. the pulling on the lead
    2. Following us around the house (never been an issue really but it is starting to get tiresome!)
    3. Not sure what to make of this one- growling at my toddler. My toddler can be very physical which is fine except when Milo doesnt want to play. Im working on the toddler but fear its the collie breed in Milo coming through and he doents like my child :(

    These are the main three at the moment to be honest, nothing too taxing but any advice would be good.

    TIA x
     
    #1 ems1910, Jul 13, 2009
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2009
  2. hazel pritchard

    hazel pritchard PetForums VIP

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    Can you enroll in a local dog training class?
    i would not let your dog near your child if it is growling,just to be on the safe side.
     
  3. PoisonGirl

    PoisonGirl Banned

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    I agree with hazel, keep the dog away from the child. Especially if the child is physical with the dog! It is NEVER a good idea to let kids all over your dog.

    You aren't going to be able to train him overnight. He has learned that the behaviour he displays- pulling and following- are alowed, and he has been alowed to do them for so long it might be quite difficult to stop.

    In regards to the pulling I find the quickest way to get a dog to walk nice is to stop dead as soon as there is tension on the lead. Reward for walking where you want them to be.

    And the following thing, get a stair gate and put him in another room with his bed and a chew. Gradually build up the time.

    Hope this helps. I would try and find a dog class near you to take him to. And teach your child some boundaries. My son has never been alowed to play on the floor with the dogs, nor is he allowed anywhere near their bed. make sure your dog has a safe place he can go if he wants to get away.
     
  4. ems1910

    ems1910 PetForums Newbie

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    Thankyou :)

    I am teaching my toddler to leave the dog alone and he is learning, when he goes to the dog now he knows to just smooth Milo and maybe give him a kiss, I have to tell him first though. I dont leave them alone at all, even to just go to the toilet etc. Im worried itll get worse though and I dont want to cause danger to my child :( He doesnt go near his bed.

    Am moving soon and have looked into local dog training classes, definately want to attend them, as well as the benefit for Milo it means I get out of the house for an evening too!

    Great tips for the pulling, will try stopping dead and carrying treats with me when we go for walks, its not so bad when we walk without my child but maybe I just dont notice it as much?

    He has a dog gate on the kitchen so that he can have the kitchen and garden to himself without my son annoying him, will keep that closed when we go into another room next time and gradually increase the time as you said.

    The growling at my son? How do I know when its a realt threat? He doesnt bear his teeth but can be quite a jealous dog and has barked at next doors girl for smoothing her dog as thats his friend. Im just so worried and a bit clueless about how to deal with it.

    Ems x
     
  5. PoisonGirl

    PoisonGirl Banned

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    Well seeing as he is growling already, that is a threat. He is doing it because he is scared or uncomfortable or nervous. You need to work out WHY he is growling.
    A good idea would be to teach the dog whenever he growls, remove him to his bed. You need to be ontop of this though, and do it if he even hints at growling. Then he will learn to go away to his own space away from your son.

    I have a 4yr old son and 2 dogs. It is a nightmare to walk together as my son walks so slowly the dogs get frustrated! We have now found a field to let the dogs off in but getting them both to heel all the way there is still needng fixed! Lol

    x
     
  6. ems1910

    ems1910 PetForums Newbie

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    PoisonGirl-yes, that is the problem when I take them out and as Hubby is in the Navy, its sometimes a few months that I have to do it for, luckily we are moving from Scotland to Plymouth in 2 weeks and my Mum is on hand to help me, she can have my son while I walk Milo :) We have a big field and some woods next to us at the moment so he can go off the lead and is very good at heeling but having to keep an eye on both of them then isnt so easy.

    I am working on my son not being rough, he doesnt treat my brothers dog (sharpei bitch) this way. I think the reason is my Husband plays physically with our dog and he sees him do it whereas nobody plays like that with my brothers dog, does that make sense? I need to train my husband too I think not to show my son that way of playing with him! lol
     
  7. PoisonGirl

    PoisonGirl Banned

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    If he is growling at your son I would stop the rough play all together.
    Better ways to play with a rope toy or something, being part staffy too, it is not something I encourage my dog to do.

    I am constantly putting my son on the 'naughty step' because he is going through a phase of saying 'ok' when I tell him not to do something, then just doing it anyway! It's infuriating! Lol

    We are dog sitting this week and one of the dogs is a pomeranian. My son adores her but she is not used to kids all over her (she has lost her novelty at home) and I will say to my son ''leave the dog ok?' and he say 'ok' but as soon as my back is turned there he is in the dogs face! :mad:

    x
     
  8. hazel pritchard

    hazel pritchard PetForums VIP

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    I think any dog growling at anyone is cause to worry, i am not saying your dog will bite but compared to the speed a toddler can move ,a dog can move alot quicker,
    One of our dogs although 2 yrs old is very bouncy when my g/children come to visit,so i put his lead on,and that way i have control and he can welcome them in a controlled way,after about 30 mins hes calm enough to take the lead off,
    I can understand how you have to juggle children/dogs and hubby away ,my hubby was in the army,
     
  9. goodvic2

    goodvic2 PetForums VIP

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    I am sorry, but I have to say it.

    You have a toddler, a dog who is part staffi (very important this type of dog is well managed and trained) and part collie (they are known to herd small children) and you have been "lazy" with the training!

    Unacceptable!

    You would have been better coming on here blagging it and saying it was an untrained rescue dog!

    In my opnion, you have put your child at risk and the dog as well. As if something happens it will either be re-homed or put to sleep.

    I will leave it to the others to offer constructive advice!
     
    kenla210 likes this.
  10. goodvic2

    goodvic2 PetForums VIP

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    Just one thing, The growling is a warning and the next thing that follows it is a bite, if the thing it is growling at does not stop (usually)

    The following you around is either seperation anxiety or territorial dominace/possessiveness. If it is the last one, then the dog could see your child as a threat!

    Consider whether you have the "motivation" to un-do what you have allowed to begin
     
  11. Colliepoodle

    Colliepoodle PetForums VIP

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    Keep your child away from your dog. NEVER allow a child to climb over, be rough with or otherwise pester ANY dog. They aren't toys. If you haven't the authority over your child to keep it away from the dog then separate them.

    A growl is a warning and you should be grateful the poor dog IS warning - ignore the warning or allow your child to and the next stage is a bite and it won't be the dog's fault.

    Start some training classes, maybe get a behaviourist in but do SOMETHING.
     
    kenla210 likes this.
  12. kenla210

    kenla210 PetForums Senior

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    I agree - you need to do something about this immediately in terms of professional help or consider rehoming.

    I am sorry if that sounds harsh, and I know how difficult it is with young children, but as someone who just 6 months ago had the situation where my 7 month old dog bit my 6 year old daughter in the face resulting in 15 stitches to her lips, this is not something you can mess around with or delay on.

    Luckily my daughter only has a very small scar which hardly notices - thank god for a specialist facial surgeon at our local hospital but it could have been much worse. The growls are the last stage before snapping and biting, and collies are known for trying to herd children.

    Incidentally, the reason we kept Daisy is because following the advice of vet, behaviourists (plural) and lots of soul searching, we understood that this was a provoked incident, not a temperament or dominance issue and there had been lots of warning signs (tho not growling)which we had not picked up on. It happened in the space of about a minute. This was on a dog who we had been doing training classes with from 12 weeks old.
     
    #12 kenla210, Jul 14, 2009
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2009
  13. kenla210

    kenla210 PetForums Senior

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    re: the rehoming... I say this not because I think the dog is "unsaveable" but because this will require effort and lots of work on your part, which is necessary in order to best safeguard your child, even then it would not be wise to allow your child to be alone with, smother or pester the dog. Even toddler kisses may not be the best thing...

    he is giving you warning signs - please listen to them!
     
  14. ems1910

    ems1910 PetForums Newbie

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    Thanks for all the replies.

    I am aware it is our fault we have let it get here, I know that and thoroughly expected more replies similar to the ones I have had today. That is why Im here asking for advice aswell as enrolling in classes (rang today and a course starts near our new house in August which was full, have another to phone tomorrow, word of mouth suggests its a fantastic course).

    My son is actually fantastic at listening and learning and I DO have the authority over him to sort this. He doesnt do this to other dogs, as I mentioned before, my brothers dog for example, he goes over, strokes her and then leaves her alone. Today I sat with them for ages and showed him that that is how to treat our dog too, he listened and I saw him a couple times today doing just this then leaving Milo alone. Come evening-time Milo was resting and my son went over to him and I heard the 'growl' (its like a snore, under his breath) and told him to leave Milo alone as 'it makes him grumpy'. My son walked away and I took Milo to his bed away from my son and petted him. Not sure if this was right but was told here to take him away?

    Did some 'training' in the garden this evening with Milo once B was in bed, just little things like sit which he could do already, lay down, and am on here now looking for more things. I know these are purely tricks but I need him to be used to me commanding as he is more used to my husband. We have always had this hour or so in the garden in the evenings but mainly playing fetch or petting him.

    As soon as Hubby is home at the end of the week, he is away at the moment, I can take Milo out alone and start with the pulling and getting him used to me more. Hes bloody fantastic with my Husband but I cant seem to get the same effects Im too soft and I know that. Then we are moving nearer to my mum and when Hubby is working she can have my son while I walk the dog, it really will make such a difference being able to do that.

    Just edited to add- I know we have a hell of a way to go yet but I feel today has been better than it has been and I feel better for it.
     
    #14 ems1910, Jul 14, 2009
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2009
  15. hazel pritchard

    hazel pritchard PetForums VIP

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    Ems good luck,from your post you are really trying to sort things out i really wish you good luck,many in your situation would not be trying so hard.
     
  16. kenla210

    kenla210 PetForums Senior

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    It is good that you have come looking for advice, and it is good that you feel that your son is listening to you. But as someone who has two children, who also listen to me (99% of the time) and who I also have authority over I cannot stress enough that children are children and dogs are dogs - both are unpredictable, and both your son and your dog are really just babies.

    This is why I am saying it would at least be worth speaking to a behaviourist because trust me - you will not forgive yourself if anything bad happens.

    Everyone can focus on what has been done in the past but it cannot be changed. What you need to do is focus on what you need to do now to resolve it.

    The training is a good start, but it may have gone past the realms of regular dog training classes, which is why I say behaviourist. The apdt website Welcome to APDT - Association of Pet Dog Trainers UK would be a good place to start in finding one, or ask your vet to refer. It may even be covered on your pet insurance.

    Clicker training is something I would strongly recommend (it has worked wonders for our dog) as it works and is positive. It is also something which once you are further down the line in their relationship that your son can help get involved in too e,g, you click, he treats, which will help them bond better (not yet though - get the growling thing fixed first!!).
     
  17. ems1910

    ems1910 PetForums Newbie

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    Hazel Pritchard- Thankyou, nice to read that actually :)

    Kenla- Thankyou, I will check out that on my pet insurance, wouldnt have thought to see if its covered there.

    I was sat with them in the garden today and my son was throwing a ball for Milo, Milo was going to it and then turning around waiting for Bobby to come and pick it up. He wouldnt pick it up himself (it was Bobs ball). Then I asked Bob to get Milo a treat and walked with them to the cupboard where Bobby got Milo a treat out and gave it to him, we have been doing this for a while, Milo is so gentle with him most of the time. It is a very recent thing, this growling, which I think is what had given me a big kick up the arse so to speak! When I sit and think about it, there is a lot we have taught him but not the important things, we have been soft with him.
     
  18. Clare Gilder

    Clare Gilder PetForums Newbie

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    I have a Staffie Collie cross who's only 17 weeks old, I have two children aged 3 1/2 & 14 1/2 & he's great with them both but has a special connection with my youngest.
    The issue with the lead, I'm afraid you will have to start to train him not to pull which with his age could be harder than it was for me but I have found that when he pulled I stopped walking & told him with me. The walks to the field took a lot longer than they do now as I was having to stop every few steps. I have also got him to stay at my heal while on the lead when my youngest starts to run ahead.
    Following around the house, I enjoyed but we used to tell him we wasn't going anywhere & in the end he was happy to stay put - but he's not allowed up stairs & we still every now & then have to tell him to sit & stay at the bottom of the stairs when we nip up but he's funny as he starts talkin to himself & slumps on the floor with his head on the stairs watching out for us
    My son is always with the dog & yes we have to tell him to leave the dog alone at times but Neo (the pup) is great as he has a bed in the lounge & a cage in the kitchen for the night time & he goes in the cage to sleep which my son has took as "he's tired so leave him alone" but I agree I wouldn't leave my son alone with the dog at all if he's growled at him, best to be safe than sorry X
     
  19. popapei

    popapei PetForums Junior

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    Might be seven years too late in afraid @Clare Gilder :)

    Helpful for other people non the less.

    Though before I noticed the date, I was going to say I didn't see anyone ask if it was a play growl...
     
    bogdog likes this.
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