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Who's the boss

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by Dy1an, Apr 10, 2011.


  1. Dy1an

    Dy1an PetForums Newbie

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    I wonder if anyone give me some pointers for my 9 week old little boy?

    For the first couple of days we had him, whenever he saw me he'd rush over and lie on his back, and usually if I have to tell him off (it's usually for play biting too hard) he obliges.

    My partner however is having more problems. If she tells him off he barks at her, and he has been known to start coming to her when called then deliberately scarpa just out of reach. He's also gone out with her for his morning toilet, not gone and then deliberately come back into the house for his business. (He's fine with me, follows me into the garden, wees, poos then comes back for his breakfast).

    I'm quite assured and naturally fairly assertive person, so it almost seems like he's accepted me as boss but feels he can jostle for number 2 position with my partner (oh yes, I'm learning lots about our relationship aswell :D ).

    Since we noticed it we've been very clear that when I get in from work I greet my partner before the dog, even when it means stepping over him to get to her, and if she's telling Dylan off I leave her to it as he needs to learn to do as she says as well as me.

    Is there anything else we can do to demonstrate that my parnter and I are equal No1 and he's bottom of the pack?
     
  2. lemmsy

    lemmsy PetForums VIP

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    He's a dog and a 9 week old puppy at that! He really isn't concerned with who's higher up in the ranks than him. I doubt he even has a real understanding of rank and such like, seeing as dogs don't do "perception of self".
    Dominance theory is a load of rubbish IMO.

    It really sounds as though your puppy is just being a normal pup.

    What do you mean when you say your OH "tells him off"? I would be really careful how you do this. I would be really hesitant to use aversives and such like with him. Dogs learn by consequences yes, but IMO there is no need to use aversives to punish a dog (and decrease the likelihood of the behaviour being repeated), because apart from it being plain unpleasant, the dog is far more likely to associate the aversive punishment with the owner rather than the undesirable behaviour. He learns only that his humans can be unpredictable and cannot be trusted 100%.
    The one thing that a 9 week old puppy desires the most, is our attention. If he barks at either you or your OH, all you need to do is immediately withdraw attention from him. By that I mean, stand up and turn on your heels and walk away from him. This sends him a clear message that, barking means the game and attention ends. It's just about teaching manners, in a kind, consistent, clear way.

    You say that he "deliberately" comes back into the house to do his business. :ihih: Dogs don't do spite, they don't seek to deliberately annoy us! That's the great thing about them! :D If he's peeing and pooing indoors with your OH but not with you, the two of you aren't being consistent in your approach to encouraging him to go outside AND the dog is also not 100% clear on where he should be going. You need to make going to the toilet outside super reinforcing. You also need to teach him that coming to your OH when she calls him is super reinforcing. It may be that if he is ducking out of reach when your OH calls him to her, that he is slightly nervous of her (although hard to say without seeing the behaviour) but if this was the case, your OH and the dog would benefit from doing some really positive sessions to teach the pup that your OH is associated with all things wonderful (stuff like getting your OH to feed him, doing some fun recall sessions with tons of high value treats or a portion of his dinner, fun and short positive training sessions etc).

    On a serious note, I would really forget about all of the pack leader, dominance rubbish. Yes you need to be a "leader" to your pup to a certain extent, but only to the extent of setting out kind, fair rules that make his life in a human, urban environment easier for him.
    Dogs don't sit around all day thinking about who's the boss and how they can rule the family. They're dogs! Forget the dominance and focus on building a relationship with your pup, as well as socializing, training and most importantly having fun with him.

    Good luck :)
     
  3. tripod

    tripod PetForums VIP

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    Hi there and welcome to the forum, congrats on your new addition :)

    Very bluntly, learn a little about dog behaviour and abandon notions of pack and having your household taken over by a baby :D But more seriously your puppy is a baby - he is interested in making sure that he has a nice time.

    Dogs are about people with whom they have a reinforcement history. You may have a more solid reinforcement history with your puppy but the why doesn't matter.

    Your puppy needs consistent training and tons and tons of socialisation. Get enrolled in a suitable puppy socialisation class asap and attend as soon as your puppy is able to.

    Get a puppy training and socialisation plan underway NOW so as to take advantage of his little sponge brain.
    Here are some tips and advice for doing this; check out Dr Dunbar's Before and After You Get Your Puppy for free download: Free Downloads | Dog Star Daily

    Here is a daily month long puppy training and socialisation plan: SYP Month | Pet Central's Pawsitive Dawgs Blog!

    Keep puppy's arousal lower so that he doesn't escalate to hard biting and barking in frustration so quickly. This means to play for shorter periods and make sure that puppy gets lots of naptimes.

    On toilet training, when puppy toilets appropriately reward with three or four high value rewards and then have some fun so that toileting doesn't end the fun.

    You can greet the members of your household in any order that you like, its unlikely to have a massive impact on anything much ;) but teach puppy how to greet politely and do so only when he is calm. Reward behaviour you like :)
     
  4. Dy1an

    Dy1an PetForums Newbie

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    thanks.

    Neither of us would ever punish or be negative with him, but we are saying 'no' firmly and removing him from our laps or getting up and walking away if he playbites too hard. I do believe he needs to learn that as soon as possible.

    Do you really think the whole dominance top of the pack theory is no good? Is anyone able to direct me to any reading or links about this? I guess it's just something I was brought up with (my family have always had working collies) so haven't really thought about disclaiming it.

    thanks

    Nikki
     
  5. Sled dog hotel

    Sled dog hotel PetForums VIP

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    Pups bite, bark, chase, mount each other and play like this in the litter, its got nothing to do with world domination. He probably spends more time with her and the running to her and scapering is just a way to instigate play and seek attention. When you said he run to you in the first couple of days and rolled on his back, Im guessing that he exposed his belly and lifted one leg.
    Thats a sign of appeasement if he did, its a sign of being unsure about you and trying to appease tactics.

    Pups do need boundaries and consistency, but they need to be taught it with positive associations not negative. Teaching them whats required and whats not.

    Your partner an you can teach this, by rewarding the behaviour that you want and ignoring him for what you dont want. At this age he will be receptive to training and want to please you, so you do this now positively.
    You can both start to teach him the basics now, by doing 2 or 3 training sessions a day mixed with a bit of play. use treats and teach him the basics of sit, down,wait,stay etc. That will get him to listen and comply and be reinforced with praise and treats when he does. You can teach him recall in this way, by coming to you, getting him to sit and treating him. Same with the toilet training, take him out and stay with him, when he starts give it a name (Later this can be used as a toilet cue, he will gradually make the association with the name) when he finishes then praise and treat him for doing it.

    If he tries to bite and nip which is what all pups do, Try giving a high pitched yelp. (This doesnt work on all dogs though it depends how well he has learned bite inhibition with mum and litter mates, some dogs it can excite too)
    If after you have tried it a time or two and it doesnt work then dont use it.
    Instead fold your arms turn you back and as you do it say off, and either walk away and ignore him until he has calmed down and stopped. Then if he stays calm then praise and reward him. If he persists, remove him to another room, give him 5 minutes to calm down, let him out and ignore him, if he stays calm then praise and treat him for the behaviour. If he starts again then repeat the whole thing. He will learn that behaviour you dont want doesnt get anything, calm behaviour does.

    Make sure with any games you instigate them, and you also finish them.
    When you come in initially ignore him (Both of you) until he is calm, then call him and praise and reward him.

    He will need naps in between play, so give him periods of rest, this will gradually teach him, that there are times when he has to be on his own, and that leaving him always means you will return. Doing this can prevent things like separation anxiety when the time comes to be left when you go out.

    By doing things in this way, rather than just telling him off for behaviour you dont want, it builds a positive association with you, he will do things because he wants to please and respects you. At the same time though it also teaches what behaviour is good and what isnt, so you are still teaching and giving him boundaries.

    Hope this might give you some ideas.
     
  6. lemmsy

    lemmsy PetForums VIP

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    Hi,

    Tripod's post is excellent and will be a fantastic guide to you.

    In answer to your question about dominance- put simply YES I do think that dominance theory is invalid and incorrect and should not be applied in trying to explain dog behaviour.

    With regards to articles and posts that explain why dominance should not be applied or used in dog training and diagnosis of dog behaviour. The following blog post (a commentary on the techniques of a certain television "trainer" who uses dominance techniques and ideology) also debunks dominance:

    CM and dominance. Really?!

    Also here an article by Sally Jones (APBC member):
    Dominant dog theory will soon be but a whisper | Association of Pet Behaviour Counsellors

    If you get the chance, I'd also recommend reading "Dominance: Fact or Fiction" by Barry Eaton.
     
  7. RobD-BCactive

    RobD-BCactive PetForums VIP

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    No puppy's play, and discover how to have fun. When you get them, they're used to mucking about with litter mates under Mum's supervision. If a puppy's litter mate find something to rough they yelp, and that teaches bite inhibition (which you want) so get the mouthing very gentle before you begin discouraging it.

    What both of you are best to do, is simply become providers of rewards, play, food, fun & praise, teaching the puppy things that you like it to do and it will want to do them and be happy to.

    I recommend the Dunbar's stuff at Dogstardaily.com for puppy rearing Free Downloads and Puppy's First Week at Home (8-9 weeks), so you understand what you're trying to achieve at this stage.

    If you think about it, you want the puppy & young dog to have a better reason to do appropriate things than because you "make it", or otherwise when you're not there supervising then bad behaviour will occur, or later in teenage stage you'll be battling again.

    Teaching alternatives you like and rewarding those, are generally the best way of cutting out problem behaviours, stopping them is almost futile, far more trouble.

    Real leadership, is about positively teaching the dog things it can do to be well behaved. Noticing and giving attention for the good things, not just the bad.
     
  8. RobD-BCactive

    RobD-BCactive PetForums VIP

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    Dog Training Basics Corrections - see "No! is not a command"

    Personally the Dominance theory tends to cause you to draw the wrong conclusions and act inappropriately.

    I grew up with Collies to, and "knew" traditional dog stuff, then I found Freddie just did not respond like the pups I remembered, so tried the new-fangled modern stuff, and guess what! It does work better.

    Just got back from 1st Agility class, the rewards trained dogs were (mostly) so well behaved, and all of them really sociable and friendly with us & their class mates :)

    Very little wild dog behaviour, or trying to take over the world to be seen!
     
  9. Rottiefan

    Rottiefan PetForums VIP

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    Here's yet more links to support what others have said on the forum:

    Dog Training and the “D” Word » TheOtherEndoftheLeash
    Dogs & “Dominance” –What’s a Person to Do? » TheOtherEndoftheLeash

    For teaching bite inhibition, here's a good link:
    Teaching Bite Inhibition | Dog Star Daily

    And I'm sure you have enough readings to keep you going for a century, so I'll stop there!

    The bottom line with the dominance theory debate is that: YES, dominance does have its place in animal behaviour and social relationships but it is used to describe very particular scenarios, usually lasting a very short time, and only describes relationships- not personality traits. But what has this to do with canine behaviour and pet dog training? Quite frankly, nothing much. Canines may have particular scenarios where we could call one dog the 'dominant' and another the 'subordinate' in that interaction but this is usually only seen in situations where 1) both canines are competing for something with equal value 2) the resource is only available at this moment in time and is a very valuable resource. And the fact is, no-one can truly decide on these two points as we are not dogs and not mind readers.

    It really is abused in common applications to dog-dog social relationships and as for applying it to dog-human social relationships, it's laughable and makes me want to stick pencils in my eyes just thinking about it.

    Good luck with the training- it is a lot of fun!!:)
     
  10. Twiggy

    Twiggy PetForums VIP

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    Exactly Rob. I've just got back from a show held on an agricultural showground. The obedience was in the middle of a breed show, a GSD breed show, a huge auto jumble show and an arms exhibition / show.
    Mayhem with cars and people everywhere but the obedience dogs didn't turn a hair because they are trained to concentrate on their handlers.
     
  11. Dy1an

    Dy1an PetForums Newbie

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    thanks for all your help guys. 2 weeks on and Dylan is doing great, comes when called and skids across the lino on his bottom coz he knows he'll get a treat, and will even be called off things he shouldn't have. He's still better with me than my partner, but I think that's coz I'm more relaxed and confident with him, and probably more experienced at reading him and his needs and what he's about to do next (she's not had dogs before).
     
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