Help, please - how do you teach a dog manners?

seekingadviceOctober 9, 2006

Today my dog snatched a bagel out of my 3-year-old's hand while she was sitting on the floor. How do I teach the dog that it isn't ok to take food from the kids (or anyone else)? This is the first time this has happened.

And the other problem: how do I teach her not to jump up on people when she's excited? I trained her not to do it to us, and she's very good about staying down with the family, but if we have company she sometimes forgets her manners and goes up on her hind legs with her front paws up on the visitor, a thing I really want to stop. Nothing I've tried has worked, though. I hate it when dogs do this to me so I don't want my own dog to be guilty of something I dislike in other people's pets. We don't get many visitors and the "down" lessons seem to go out the window when someone does come over. Cricket is now 10 months old.

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CHeck out the Golden Retriever thread for a lot of ideas. It's complicated, but you really need to start obedience classes, and take those for more than one series of lessons to have real success.

Gotta run right now, more later.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2006 at 4:20PM
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Hi Seeking, I'm still working with my four year old dog on this. Sometimes if I know someone is coming over, I'll put her in the crate or the bedroom just so I don't have to deal with it. (She's better, but still gets very excited and forgets herself.) When I'm feeling more, uh, proactive, I'll warn people at the door not to touch her until all four feet are on the floor, so petting becomes the reward for her good behavior. It helps to practise this (a lot) with other friends of yours who have dogs, because they've probably had to deal with the same issue and really do understand.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2006 at 6:00PM
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I agree with fairegold, you need obedience classes for your dog. It's not too late. We went thru three sessions with our dog, and it was worth every penny and every minute. She doesn't even eat her own food until we tell her, she doesn't beg, and we can put treats on her paws and she won't touch them until we tell her to. The treats on the paws trick was taught at obedience school; the other "not yours" things we taught her ourselves. Your dog just needs to learn which items (including food) are hers and which are not. You should also get her used to you putting your hands into her food dish while she's eating, whether to add food or take something out, so she doesn't get possessive about food.

Claire's suggestion about jumping is a good one. Our dog trainer completely ignores any dog that jumps up--she literally turns her back on the dog. That seems to be pretty effective. But you do have to be consistent (and also "train" every person that the dog comes into contact with). For example, our dog is not allowed anywhere near the dining table when we're eating, but she tries to get away with it when we have company. So we have to train our dinner guests to ignore her and at the same time give her a command to "go."

Another thing that seems to be coming into play in your situation is your dog's place in "the pack." Taking food from a person is a dominating move, so evidently the dog thinks she's above the child. The dog needs to be at the bottom of the pack, below all people, for her to listen to you reliably. But because your little girl can't train the dog, you're going to have to be there to reprimand the dog at all times, at least until the dog is trained.

Hope this helps! I'm sure others will have good ideas too.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2006 at 7:49PM
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I'm sure we'll get reported to Doggy DHS for this, but it worked.

When we needed to break a behavior (we have rescue dogs) I would load up an apron (pockets) full of the kids' socks rolled into balls and fire one at the dog each time she jumped up/tried to beg at the table, etc. This was accompanied by a stern "NO!" and I would shake my head at the dog.

This worked very fast and I thought it was humane. They weren't hurt (maybe bruised feelings) but it got their attention and let them know I didn't like what they were doing. Rescue dogs want to please SO much! After a couple of lobs, all I had to do was say "NO!" and they would stop- sometimes so quickly that they would lose their balance and go sprawling.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2006 at 8:35PM
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I keep my pups on a short lead and then when they need correction I can grab the lead and give it a short tug and say "NO". If my pup is jumping up on company I say "NO", short collar correction and if the dog obeys "Good boy/girl! Then "Heal" and put the pup in a heal position which is on my right side and then say "Sit" and make the pup sit and then "Stay". Make sure that when your dog is in the correct position you always praise with Good girl/boy. I rarely ever treat my dogs when training as my dog respond best to praise.

"NO" is the most important command you can teach your dog. "NO" means the dog should stop whatever it is doing whether it is jumping up, running away, chewing the furniture and so on. If possible the comman "NO" should be followed with a quick collar tug or collar correction. If the dog does not respond, say "NO" again and with a slightly harder collar correction. And again when the dog responds favorably to a correction you should always praise.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2006 at 12:46AM
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Here's what REALLY worked for us !! and it was the last lesson in obedience school !!! I think if it had been the first lesson, we wouldn't have had to do the other lessons !! Our pup was a "resistant" learner . . . had to have "private" lessons !!!!! . . . really gave the dog trainer a run for his money. Anyway . . . what worked like magic was filling a tin can with pennies and shaking it at her when she was doing something she wasn't supposed to do. For some reason, dogs just hate the noise, and stop what they're doing !! We'd shake the can, say NO rather firmly, and results each and every time !!! It got to where she just had to SEE the can, and she'd stop what she was doing !! Then, all we had to do was say, "do you want the can?", and she'd immediately stop !!!! Maybe it won't work with all dogs, but with ours, it was nothing short of a miracle !!!!!!!! Another part to the can thing is to help bad behavior when you're away, and the pet is "home alone" . . chewing on furniture or whatever . . .
If you do observe this behavior, just throw the can into the room, don't let the pet see you . . . they don't put two and two together . . . at least ours didn't!!!! And they associate chewing, or whatever, with a can flying into the room . . . and think that anytime they do this, that the can will come. No association with you on this particular "trick" !!! I might add . . . don't aim the can AT the dog !! You don't want to HIT the dog with the can !!!!!

The can has to be a tin can . . not aluminum . . .
we used the small pineapple juice cans . . .had one in every room in the house !!!!

Now, our 115 lb."puppy" is six, an absolute sweetheart, and so well-behaved !!! Her goal in life is to totally please us, as opposed to our cat !!!!! NO amount of training would EVER work for him . . . he totally does as he pleases every single minute of every single day !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He owns us all, but is a real sweetheart, too !!!

Good Luck with it all !!!!

    Bookmark   October 10, 2006 at 10:59AM
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I forgot what my corgi did to deserve this but when he was a pup he did something bad - maybe chewed something or tried to munch on the cat. I took a spray bottle with water in it and when he did the offending thing, I sprayed him in the face and said "spray" very sternly. He learned real fast because I never had to spritz him again. All I had to do was *say* the word "spray" and he would stop the bad behavior (still works to this day and he is 12 yo).

    Bookmark   October 10, 2006 at 12:30PM
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Definitely obedience training, it will be the best thing that you can do for your dog.

Amber was 2 years old when we adopted her from the rottie rescue & had nothing but bad manners, she was a prime example of one reason why rotties end up in shelters...things that are "cute" when they're 10 lbs of scrumptious teddy bear puppy become scary once the dog grows up. She leaped, she mouthed, she was a nuisance barker...ugh...

Anyway, I tend to keep her on a short leash to greet people at the door & make sure that no one pets her until all 4 paws are on the ground. She's gotten MUCH better about not jumping up on people but will still lapse so I make it a point to stay on top of her.

"drop" and "leave it" will become your two best friends, especially with a toddler in the house. I made sure that Amber knew those commands cold before the baby was born and they've made life much easier. If Amber stole one of William's toys she was told to "drop" and if I caught her eyeing anything of his she was told to "leave it"

One thing that I wanted to mention- if cricket steals food from your child again you MUST get the food back from her (pry those jaws open & remove it if need be) and dispose of it, otherwise she's getting rewarded for behaving badly. Yes, the first time I did this with our 75lb rescue rottie I was nervous but it HAD to be done. Cricket needs to know that she won't get away with behaviour like that & their being forced to surrender their "prize" tends to get the point across.

Good luck! It's been 4 years of training with our Amber & she's turned into a really, really nice dog but we first had to un-do everything that was never adressed. You should have a much easier time of things with Cricket.

Good luck, again!


    Bookmark   October 10, 2006 at 2:43PM
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As usual, you guys are the best!! Thanks for all the great advice!!

fairegold, uxorial, and sigh, I really think obedience training would be great but I just don't know if I can do it. The idea of squeezing in another activity/class/expenditure kind of scares me. Does it last very long?

claire, thanks for the reminder about praising only the good behavior and avoiding the appearance of rewarding bad behavior. Thanks so much for telling me about your dog!

uxorial, I liked all of your suggestions and had already implemented a couple of them on a limited basis, thanks to direction from a training book I got when I first brought her home from the pound. Cricket will not take her treats until I tell her she may and I got her used to me putting my hands in her food dish. However, she hovers over her dish when the cat walks by (the cat likes to nibble the kibble), which has always made me laugh, but I see now that's probably not a good idea. To be honest I've encouraged her lately because she wasn't crazy about the latest bag of food I bought but will eat it right up if the cat heads for it. I discovered that if I stand next to her dish and call the cat, Cricket will run over and push her nose down into the dish and start gobbling. Yikes - I guess that's a big no-no on my part. Also, thanks for the info on the pack mentality and how Cricket is viewing her position as above the kids. I will try to reinforce the fact that that's not her place.

pecan, you're right about rescue dogs! They are so intent on pleasing. How did you come up with the sock strategy? Did your dogs ever turn it into a game? I think Cricket would chew up the socks :)

msafirstein, thank you for directions on using the short collar correction. Could you please tell me what exactly it means? Is that a short "choke" collar, or just a short leash? A neighbor told me she used a choke collar but I wasn't sure that was considered ok.

Kitchenkrazychris, I like the sound of the penny can! I mean, I like the sound of using, I like the idea!! It sounds like a great tool. How can you tell whether a can is tin or aluminum?

jerzeegirl, I have used the spray bottle with success on cats, but it seems not to deter Cricket. She doesn't seem to associate the spraying with the behavior or something. Am I missing a step, maybe? Too long between the behavior and the spraying (I have to go over to the counter and retrieve the bottle; meanwhile, Cricket has taken off)?

sigh, I think I will try the short leash, too, but am confused about how to use it. Do you run and put it on when someone knocks at the door? If you know someone is coming, do you already have the leash on the dog? We've tried to teach her the word "off," as per training book instructions :) She is good at following the command but the missing component here is "leave it." I've just been saying "No" or saying her name in the Mom way like when you see a kid headed for something forbidden :) Leave it seems like a much better method, as it is a specific command. Cricket is a lot better now - we can actually leave the door to the back bedrooms open without fear of the stuffed animals etc getting demolished - but there are still definite lapses in that. I'll occasionally see her walking by with a kid's flip-flop or puzzle piece. She still likes to grab the kids' tennies (while on their feet) to try to get them to play. The kids, not the tennies. I did take the bagel away yesterday but I didn't consciously think about forcing her to surrender her prize, I was just mad as hell :) She always has to go outside after she's been naughty, and in fact will sometimes just head for the door when she thinks she's done something naughty that I'm about to discover. Is this a good idea or not? And since you brought up nuisance barking, how do you dissuade them from that? Cricket doesn't do it often but she gets in barking matches with the neighbor's dogs, which is quite annoying. How did you teach your dogs not to nuisance bark?

Thanks again, everyone!


    Bookmark   October 10, 2006 at 4:51PM
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I can't remember exactly how long our training sessions were, maybe 6 weeks, once a week, for about 1 hour each time? It was inconvenient for us (took about a half hour to get there), but we knew it had to be done. If you can't get to a class, you can probably get video tapes from the library that will show you some commands. They do tend to be focused on the usual "sit, stay, down, come" sort of commands though.

I wouldn't encourage the "cat's going to get your food" behavior. That's not fair to the cat, the dog, or you, as you have to hover around while your dog eats. Instead, try putting something tasty on Cricket's food so she'll eat it. Our dog gets tired of plain kibble, so we usually put a spoonful of wet food, beef broth, hamburger grease, or bits of cheese on her food.

I know others may disagree, but I don't think any dog requires a choke or pinch collar. Our trainer forbid them; she recommended Gentle Leader collars instead. We used that for a while. If you're using a retractable leash, try switching to a leather leash. Dogs react differently to leather leashes and tend to obey better than when on a retractable.

BTW, a tin/steel can is what canned veggies come in; an aluminum can is what soft drinks come in.

I can't really help with the barking problem. Our dog is more "barky" than we'd like, altho that's because of her breed. She barks at every possible "threat." She knows what the command "quiet!" means, but will ignore us if she hears something (and we also get quite a disgusted look from her, and the usual "harumph" when she lies down). I have heard that squirting lime juice (from one of those little green plastic bottles) into a barking dog's mouth will often startle the dog enough so that it stops barking. The lime juice also tastes bad, so after a few times your dog may stop barking when you reach for the bottle. We can't do this with our dog because she's outside most of the time, so she's not close enough for us to reprimand in that way.

I don't think it's a good idea to put Cricket outside when she's naughty. Many dogs love to be outside, so she may associate being naughty with getting to go out. Plus, how will she know if she "has" to be naughty to be let out to go potty? That may be what you're seeing when you think "she's done something naughty that I'm about to discover." She may be acting up when she has to pee, just so you'll let her out.

One last thing, which I've just recently heard somewhere, is that you should never use your dog's name in an angry tone or as a command. Kids can understand what the "mom" tone of voice means, but your dog's name should be used just to get her attention, then followed up with a specific command.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2006 at 12:40PM
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Thanks for all the advice, ux! I guess in my case, training a dog involves training the owner even more, LOL. All of your points make sense. I do tend to treat the dog to my "mom" tactics, with less than stellar results. Maybe I should try shaking a penny can at my kids and see how that works :)

    Bookmark   October 11, 2006 at 12:55PM
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All the behavior problems you've been talking about with Cricket, we experienced with our dog. Basically young dog, puppy stuff. They're just as rambunctious as heck, and it's all such a learning process for them !!!

The can !! worked for EVERYTHING !!! The small pineapple juice cans are what our trainer recommended using . .
smaller size, plus has the pop-top which you can put the pennies in, then just tape up the small area on top.
It could be just our dog who responded so well to this . .
but I swear, it was like total magic !!!!!!!!!!! Turned her around, behavior-wise !!!!!!!!!!! If I can find it, I'll send the title of a book that our trainer wrote. (The key word here is IF !!!! Unorganization is alive and well here, hard as I try !!!! )


    Bookmark   October 12, 2006 at 8:25AM
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Seeking, have you read Cesar Millan's book? He's the Dog Whisperer. It is an easy read and talks about pack behvior and how all humans need to be seen by the dog as the pack leaders. It's called Cesar's Way.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2006 at 10:50AM
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It may seem harsh, but the only way I could get my former dog (if you remember, the one that nearly removed my thumb) - a cockapoo - to stop jumping on people was when she jumped up, to knee her in the chest. Only had to do it once. The dog was psychotic and it worked, so it must have been

(BTW I got the idea from Marley and Me)

With the dog I have now we just tell her no and she doesn't do it. She gets so excited that she just vibrates (literally) and parks herself at your feet so you still can't move though.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2006 at 11:54AM
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Sorry I am just getting back to you. This remodel and gut is taking so much of my time, that I just don't seem to have a free hour any more.

A short collar correction is just a tug on the collar. You can tug on any style of collar and if the command "NO" is used along with the correction the dog will quickly learn what "NO" means. Like I previously said the command "NO" is the most important command your dog will ever learn.

I really don't like the choke collar as it does pinch the dog's neck when we do a correction. And I think the choke collar is more tricky for a new trainer to use properly. I use a Prong Collar when training my dogs. It looks like some kind of torture device but it is actually much more efficient when correcting your dog and it is more humane then the choke collar. And you can add links to the Prong collar as you dog grows so it is cheaper in the long run then buying multiple choke collars. I would suggest using a size small or medium prong collar for your dog.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2006 at 11:27AM
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Sorry for the delay in responding but things have been crazy at my house. How are things going with little Cricket?

>I really think obedience training would be great but I >just don't know if I can do it. The idea of squeezing in >another activity/class/expenditure kind of scares me. Does >it last very long?

Basic obedience was 1 hour a week for 6 weeks. We took basic with a behaviourist (very expensive) since Amber was an adult Rottweiler & we wanted to see if he noticed any issues that we would have to deal with. Very expensive but also worth it. He was an excellent trainer, the exposure to other dogs was good for her and also helped to hone her focus. Subsequent obedience classes were taken at our "local" dog training club for significantly less money. I would think that Cricket would be fine with obedience classes at a training club. She just sounds like a normal, rambunctious puppy.

I hear you about the extra time & expense...I simply don't know where I managed to find the time (and somehow still manage to do so now) but it has been worth every second & ever cent with how much easier life is having a (reasonably) well trained dog. Plus the time that Amber & I spend in training class together is great for the two of us & our bond.

>sigh, I think I will try the short leash, too, but am >confused about how to use it.
I keep Amber's leash on a hook by the door. Our house is such that you can see someone pulling into the driveway so I'll leash Amber before they get to the door & have her sit by my side until they enter. She is praised for being a good girl when she sits nicely as they greet her. When she breaks the sit all petting stops & she is returned to her sitting position.

I use a 4' leather leash on her for walking & training. Retractable leashes are pretty much useless if you want to have any control over your dog. Amber also wears a flat collar around the house & a halti out on walks. The halti was suggested by our trainer and has virtually eliminated Amber's tendency to pull. However, this is where obedience classes are essential because your trainer can not only help you to find the right collar for your dog but also show you the proper way to use it. I fully expected to have to use a prong collar on Amber (and I tried one on myself before even considering should have seen the looks that I got in the pet store! A prong collar may look barbaric but it really just pinches) but the trainer felt that it would be too strong a correction for her.

regardless of collar, proper use is the key otherwise the collar can & will do harm & not be effective.

>Leave it seems like a much better method, as it is a >specific command.
Here's how we learned it in class...using the flat collar & 4' leash. The trainer placed a paper plate with kibble on it nearby. Tell the dog "leave it" in a firm voice, jerking the leash firmly back when the dog starts to approach the plate. Repeat. When/if you get to the point where you tell the dog "leave it" and she does not move toward the plate praise her and reward her with the goodies on the plate. repeat. Eventually she will learn that if she obeys when told to "leave it" she will get the goodies & not the correction. Granted once she learns the command she won't usually be rewarded by being given whatever she was told to "leave" but I always carry bits of treats in my pockets so that I can always reward Amber for "leave it".

> She always has to go outside after she's been naughty, >and in fact will sometimes just head for the door when she >thinks she's done something naughty that I'm about to >discover.
Cricket's running towards the door is an avoidance thing. By running to the door she can avoid getting scolded or corrected. My last rottie Smidgen used to do this too, actually she'd go & hide under the sideboard. If I knew then what I knew now she would have gotten dragged out & scolded.
>And since you brought up nuisance barking, how do you >dissuade them from that? Cricket doesn't do it often but >she gets in barking matches with the neighbor's dogs, >which is quite annoying. How did you teach your dogs not >to nuisance bark?
Ugh, this is still an ongoing thing with us. When she starts I tell her "quiet!" (again, using the firm, I'm not kidding around voice) and when she stops barking I tell her "good quiet!" in the happy, such a good doggy voice. Initially I would reward her with a treat...and by treat I mean a small, pea sized bit of something. But food rewards only work if your dog is food motivated (which Amber is). Cricket might be happy with scritches or a game of tug.

One last thing that may help. "drop" or "give". Amber is tennis ball obsessed so we taught her this using a tennis ball & pieces of chicken. High value treats, the kind that she seldom gets, work well for training. The very first day we met her she was corked with a tennis ball. I held out my hand and told her "give" and got a blank stare in return. Showed her the chicken & said "give" again then got the tennis ball spat into my hand. Praised her, gave her the chicken then gave her back the tennis ball & started all over again. We taught "drop" the same way, I just use "give" at times when I want her to place something in my hand (like when we play fetch or when she's stolen a sock) and "drop" when I know that she's got contraband.

We've had her for 4 years and we've been training her for 4 years! It's constant, but it's rewarding & it makes life with dog & toddler a lot easier. Amber is a complete gem with out 2 1/2 year old.

Good luck with Cricket. Let me know if you need help finding a training club in your area!


    Bookmark   October 16, 2006 at 12:08PM
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GREAT tips and advice!!! Thanks again!! I'm printing this out for reference. I'm also going to heed your advice and go with the obedience classes. I'm embarrassed to admit that I spend ~$700/month (and countless hours) for the kids' activities and classes so was balking at the thought of another addition. I guess I could manage an hour a week for 6 weeks :) It does mean one of my precious "me" hours will be gone, but the ultimate reward will be mine, I believe!

    Bookmark   October 18, 2006 at 5:00PM
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Think of it as quality one-on-one time with your dog. Dogs *love* obedience classes - it'll be fun. :)

    Bookmark   October 19, 2006 at 5:49AM
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You'll be amazed at how those training classes seem to turn into "me" time. After the first class with Amber since our son was born I was practically floating on air over how proud I was of her & how happy she was to be back in school. Or maybe she was just happy to get away from the toddler for awhile :-). But it'll be great for both of you, trust me ;-).


    Bookmark   October 20, 2006 at 12:03PM
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Obedience class! I use the word 'leave it' when one of mine is about to take something or is into something. Jumping....have you ever seen a dog jump on a wall? They are not positively reinforced for that! Have your friends fold their hands across their chest and turn so their back is to the dog. Only after the dog is sitting can the person turn around and praise! praise! Praise!

In class one day my girl was off leash and she decided that the instructors were more interesting than what we were doing! When she approached both instructors they quietly folded their arms and turned away from her. I called her back and she came to me. It only took one time.

If you have someone visit who is allowing your dog to jump on them, put that person in a seperate area or in a crate until they behave! :)

    Bookmark   October 20, 2006 at 10:28PM
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LOL, kyliegirl! I was just thinking that it almost seems we spend more effort training our dogs than our children. How come there aren't any child obedience classes? :) Seriously, I wish there were more opportunities to learn and practice good parenting skills. I am sometimes dismayed at the focus I see on immersing kids in activities that promote the idea that it's all about them. It's good to have sports and dance etc, but too often an important component (IMO) is missing, and that is training your children that they are part of a community and sometimes need to think about doing for others rather than for themselves. I guess that was a bit OT!!

Anyway, thanks for all of the recommendations for obedience classes. I am sorry to say I have not done anything about it yet, but we just got back from a 5-day jaunt to S CA/Disneyland. As soon as I stop hearing "Yo ho yo ho" and "It's a small world after all" in my head, I'll look into classes. That should give me a month or two :)

    Bookmark   October 21, 2006 at 12:31AM
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seeking: Glad to hear you're going to go to obedience class. I thought it was a lot of fun, and we were so "proud" of our puppy when she did well.

As far as parenting, I think the reason there are so many ill-behaved children is that society "frowns on" using pinch collars on kids. :)

One note about signing up for classes: To get the days and times we wanted, we had to sign up many weeks in advance (The trainer is very popular, so the classes fill up quickly. Plus she takes a limited number for each class.) You may find a similar situation where you live. It might be a good idea to start looking into classes now.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2006 at 12:00PM
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I think I promised my husband I would try not to use this phrase anymore, but...

"I used to work at an animal welfare organization."

And I learned A LOT from the trainers there.

Here's my thoughts on this issue:
1. Management. Try to eliminate the situations in which bad behavior can occur until you can address the behavior with training. For example, in my house the kids only eat at the table, whether it's meals or snacks. It minimizes the possibility of stolen food. As someone else suggested, crating when guests arrive. As someone noted above, these bad behaviors are self-reinforcing (yum, food! It's fun to jump!) so each time they do it and succeed, it encourages them to do it again. Prevention is key until you can address the issue with training!

2. Obedience training. Fit it in. I know it's hard, but it will be time well spent and you will reap dividends in an improved bond with your dog and better behavior. Find a trainer that uses POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT. Rewarding good behaviors through treats, praise, pets, etc and extinguishing the bad by preventing them from occurring and a combination of ignoring/not rewarding them when they occur. We often reward bad behaviors without realizing it. Putting your hands on a jumping dog to hold him down may seem like petting to the jumper, and he likes petting! Becoming aware of how you may be unconsciously rewarding bad behavior is a huge help.

3. Exercise. A tired dog is a good dog.

4. I (and the wonderful, gifted trainers I've worked with) do not like leash pops/choke collars/prong collars. I've used them. My dear old dog wore a prong collar for years until I started at the humane org and learned about positive reinforcement training and gentle leader head halters. Sure, you can keep your dog from doing things using pain and fear, but is that really the best method? Would you do it with kids? Think about the amazing things they can get a killer whale to do at Sea World. All positive reinforcement. They don't make choke collars that big!

5. Karen Pryor's "Don't Shoot the Dog." Great book.

6. This may be hard to fit in as well, but practice. Schedule brief visits from a friend or two, where they know the objective is to work on jumping. Plan in advance what to -- turn your back, feed treats/pet and praise when all four paws hit the floor. 10 minutes twice a week. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Works well if you have dog-owner friends who need volunteer helpers as well. :-)

I don't want to sound preachy. I am certainly not a perfect dog owner. I do not have as much time for training as I should. I do not have as much patience as I should. I do resort to punishment (though not physical).

The association of pet dog trainers website linked below is a good place to find a trainer.

Sorry this is so long... hope something in it is of help!

Here is a link that might be useful: Assoc of Pet Dog Trainers website

    Bookmark   October 21, 2006 at 11:34PM
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One of our OB1 lessons involved teaching our dog to ignore the White Castle Hamburger in the middle of the floor. However, one lucky dog managed to snatch it when his owner wasn't paying attention. WE still laugh about it.

Anyway, the "Leave It" lesson goes like this and doesn't take long.

Put the yummy hamburger (or something) on the floor just out of reach. Your dog will obviously look at it. Hold the leash firm and don't let him get it. Eventually, he'll get tired and look at you instead.

Heck, here's the information on a web site. The class instructor is in the Dog Scouts.

That should answer one of your questions, at least.

Here is a link that might be useful: Leave it

    Bookmark   November 15, 2006 at 2:51PM
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Thanks so much! Today I got the number for a good dog obedience class in my area and left a message for them to call me to schedule something. We had a delay because...well, I am just the worst dog owner in the world. I went up to get the mail a couple of weeks ago (quite a hike up a gravel drive) and inadvertently left the small door to the garage closed but unlatched. Cricket managed to open the door and follow me up to the mailbox, where she caught sight of a car coming and ran right in front of it. I was just sick--I watched the whole thing, completely helpless because it all happened in a blink. Luckily, she only got a graze and some road rash. The poor driver pulled over and felt awful but of course it wasn't his fault in the least. Another trip to the vet for Cricket, another bill ($300) for us, but she's fine. I know I was at fault and I think if she had had obedience training she probably wouldn't have left the yard, which she knows is a no-no unless I take her.

Chris, I tried the penny can and Cricket was so intrigued with it she kept jumping up in the air to try and see what was making that fascinating sound and following me around to see if I'd "play" some more with her and the can. I guess that particular deterrent won't work at our house!

    Bookmark   November 15, 2006 at 3:54PM
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Oh no! So sorry to hear about your pup's accident! How horrifying it must have been for you to see. Thank goodness she is OK.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2006 at 6:07PM
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I am very sorry your dog had an accident, but relieved to hear she will be OK.

Obedience training will help enormously, although it does take a fair amount of time. You have to go to the classes and then practice every day to get the most out of it. But if you keep at it, you will eventually have a command that would have stopped her in her tracks as you saw her approaching the road.

When I was training my Rhodesian Ridgeback (a notoriously independant, and resistant,-minded breed) I took her places to practice the "training homework" so she was trained not only in the familiar space of home and yard, but in unfamiliar places like parking lots, deserted school grounds in the evening, parades, etc. That way she learned that there was only one set of situations, and I was always was "in command", even in the face of strangers. I am not naturally a pack leader type of person, but I realized since I loved her to pieces that it was what was required of me to keep her safe, and welcome everywhere. I was doing this at a time of my life when most of the other women I knew had young children and I often heard them say to their kids "Mommy needs you to (fill in the blank), now". I had to learn to tell my dog-child something entirely different: "Sit! Off! No!", even if it meant "Mommy" needed to summon her psychic drill-sargeant in order to get the words out. It worked, though.

Dogs really love to have a top-dog human in charge. It sets them free to be truly, wonderfully, doggy. It is their special gift to humans. My pooch has been gone more than a decade now, and I still miss her so much.


    Bookmark   November 16, 2006 at 3:58AM
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