What to do with dumb dog?!

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by tinamarie1, Jul 5, 2008.

  1. tinamarie1

    tinamarie1 Member

    I absolutely love my difficult child dog. She has major anxiety issues. She barks when someone sets a glass down, thats how bad it is. But what really gets on my reserve nerve is that we cannot have company over because she will not leave them alone. She is fine when they are sitting or laying down, but if they get up, she runs up to them like she might bite them. She barks at them too. She will let them pet her and she wags her tail, but I can see that look in her eye like she might snap at any moment.
    I could never ever bare to put her to sleep for this behavior and I know no one would adopt her and tolerate this. We can't afford a trainer, they want hundreds of dollars.
    I wonder if the vet would put her on anxiety medications and if that would even help.
    My kids both have friends over this weekend and I keep her away from them, either in my bedroom or in the kitchen behind a baby gate.
    I don't know what to do at this point.
    and her latest weird behavior is that if she pees on the carpet or the tile (which she does when she gets in trouble), she will furiously rub her own nose back and forth in it! why is she doing that???
    leave it to me to pick the one major difficult child out of the litter. by the way, she is 3 yrs old and a japanese spitz.
  2. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    We got a rescue dog from the SPCA for my mom(she asked me to), and he had (has) a habit of wanting to nip at people who are not sitting down. He doesn't do that with my Mom- she is the hand that feeds him. Anyway, he has gotten out of a lot of it by one of the neighbors basicly giving in to it. This neighbor sits down (outside or inside) anytime the dog is around and pets him and talks to him. Iinstead of it making the dog worse, it actually seems to be helping to get the dog over it. His habit developed out of previous abuse/neglect, we believe, and my Mom babies him to no end. Of course, my Mom still fusses at him and redirects him if he does it (with another visitor) and he isn't completely broken of the habit, but he is much better.

    The other- it really does sound like a lot of anxiety. I probably would consult with the vet. Did you have this dog from the time that it was a puppy or was it a rescue dog? Some are naturally more anxious (yorkshire terriers can be that way) but others become that way out of abuse or neglect.
  3. Sara PA

    Sara PA New Member

    Animal Planet has a show called "It's Me or the Dog" where a dog trainer goes to the people's homes and helps them change bad behavior. What you are describing has been covered on at least two of the shows I've seen, possibly more. Apparently it's fairly common and caused by exactly what you say -- anxiety. They are overwhelmed with fear and/or the idea they need to protect their house/people. If you get Animal Planet, you might want to watch a few of those shows. When the trainer does it, correcting the problem looks easy. But then I'm just sitting here watching so I don't know if it's as easy as it looks.
  4. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    We have an Aussie celebrity vet called Dr Harry Cooper, usually just referred to as Dr Harry. I know he's dealt with this problem either in his magazine articles or the TV show. If you lived in Australia, I'd suggest calling Dr Harry, or writing to him. In fact, it might still be worth a try, you would stand a good chance of either getting your letter answered and/or published. But he's unlikely to make a TV house call outside Australia.

    Or you could Google for articles etc by him, see what you can find.

    He also believes in the inexpensive approach, thinks trainers are an overpriced unnecessary expense.

    I just did my own Google and found the following, very quickly:

    "My dog is aggressive to visitors but fine with the family. How do we deal with this?

    Under a strict program, gradually increase socialisation with different people.
    Train your dog to drop and stay in that position when people arrive.
    The dog must be kept on a lead for all training and never let off lead around strangers and when possible.
    Put the dog into a sit position and allow visitors to offer a small reward for acceptable behaviour.
    Correct with a firm "NO" on lead when behaviour is undesirable.
    Seek a referral to an animal behaviourist/trainer.

    My dog has been okay for a few years but has now started nipping at family members. What should we do?

    Desex the dog.
    Have your vet check the dog for any physical discomfort, injury or disease.
    If the health check is clear from your vet, one member of the family needs to take the dog to obedience classes.
    Do not allow the dog near any family members unless in a sit / stay or drop / stay position.
    Once this is established, other family members need to learn how to train and control the dog in the same routine.
    Seek a referral to an animal behaviourist/trainer."

    On the website, the info was shown as options in bullet points. You don't have to do all of these things.

    If you read through a lot of his stuff, it might give you some general ideas on how to get the dog to each stage of behaviour, doing the training yourselves.
    On the TV shows we see Dr Harry doing this sort of training very fast, showing the family how to do it and then leaving them to it.

    Supernanny comes in to a family for a few days at least. Dr Harry is generally only there a few hours at most. And I believe you can get videos, but because he is linked to a vet products company, they cover a lot of the costs (for advertising).

    I hope you can find some useful information from Dr Harry, to help your dog.

  5. Abbey

    Abbey Spork Queen

    Former trainer advice:

    #1 - you have to get over 'hurting' the dog. They will not be hurt.

    #2 - Get a choke collar. One swift yank of it and he'll know you mean business. It might take a few times before he really gets the point. You ARE NOT choking the dog. You're getting his attention.

    #3 - Do NOT give him any attention after that. If he redirects and looks at you, then give him a good hug and say, "Good boy." He needs to know who is in charge, and it shouldn't be him.

    Now. That being said, could I put a choke collar on my husband and have the same results? Hmmm...

  6. Sara PA

    Sara PA New Member

  7. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    This sounds like good advice- I'm going to pass it on to my Mom. Whether or not she'll take it is a different story.

    Now, what can I do about my little one that likes to attack the frogs under the deck? The deck is within the fenced back yard, so I can't really keep her away from it.
  8. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    It does sound like anxiety. It won't solve the problem long term, but has your dog been crate trained? If you can't trust them around visitors, they should be crated till the visitors leave. I honestly don't know now how I ever got by before I got crates for my dogs! Mine don't threaten or act like they will bite visitors, they're just annoying as all get out - jumping on people, demanding attention, getting right in their faces and slurping them unmercifully. And if they get too over-the-top, it's in to the crate they go!

    They come to see their crates as their own little sanctuary, their private protected little safe place, a place to stash their favorite "stuff". Mine are so respectful of the crates that neither one would even dream of going in the others' crate - it's their private territory, a place of their own. Your dog is probably feeling very anxious and nervous when visitors come. He would feel much more protected and safe in the confines of a crate than running loose in the midst of people he doesn't know.
  9. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I second the crate. I had never used a crate before we got this newest pup but he loves his crate. The only problem we have with it is that Keyana wants to crawl inside with him...lol.
  10. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    I'll never have a dog without a crate.

    Molly at 8 yrs hasn't had "need" of her crate in years, but when feeling stressed or uneasy will still go to the safety of an available crate........Just ask Betsy who at 2 still uses her crate often. lol

    Molly was super protective of her family when she was young. She still is, but now can tell when that protection is necessary. As a young dog she tended to see anyone new as a potential threat. As a pup we got her in the fall, and with the cold weather she didn't get to socialize much.

    So we gradually eased her back into socialization. We walked her twice a day with a choke collar. If she lunged at someone walking near or past...a swift abrupt yank on the leash got her attention, a firm (Mommy voice) No got the point across. When she did well with a passer by she got praise. If we had house guests Molly started off in her crate. Then would be moved to a gated off room where she could see the guests, then would be introduced to the guests on leash using the same method I did as walking.

    Molly learned to take direction from us. There are still 3 things that will send her into attack mode....

    1. an overly nervous houseguest (Molly seems to think if they're nervous they're up to no good)

    2. the trash man. -- I've tried everything and she'll still go after him. He's taking our trash from Her house.

    3. the mail man/woman. We've had several that adored her but Molly wouldn't let them near her, or if she was outside....near the mail box. Why? Putting something into the mail box is touching the house and appears to be taking something away. (big mail bag)

    We're working with Betsy as at 2 she's not sure who she is and isn't supposed to protect us from, and isn't smart enough to take direction from Molly. But she's learning, slowly. (she's not as smart as Molly either)

    That said................

    The mail lady knocked on the door the other day cuz she had a certified letter for Nichole. Stupid me was half asleep and not thinking. With both dogs barking crazily behind me I opened the front door.

    Next thing I know I'm down on all floors, Betsy is on my back barking and growling, and Molly is taking a lunge at the mail lady.

    Good thing Mail lady had her witz about her as I was in a state of utter shock (Molly and Betsy don't disobey me). She firmly in a Mommy voice told Molly No loudly and turned her back. Just exactly as I'd have done.

    Molly stopped dead in her tracks. I told her and Betsy to go into the house with the House command. They obeyed.

    I apologized profusely to mail lady and prasied her for a job well done. Becasue if she'd attempted to help me up, Molly would've seen it as a threat and attacked. Molly is smart, but no genius. She didn't see that it was Betsy who had knocked me down in her eagerness to "help" Molly.

    While telling her I'd do my utter best to see to it that it didn't happen again, that she is to always do that if it should. Because that tone of voice and command will stop Molly, especailly coming from a woman. And if nothing else, give me enough time to regain control of the situation.

    But Molly is in no way vicious. She is as sweet and loving a dog as I've ever had in my home. She helps "sit" for babies (animal and human alike) in our house and will let them do to her as they wish.

    She is however, very protective of her family, which is exactly the way I want her to be.:D
  11. Sara PA

    Sara PA New Member

    Mail delivery people are dogs' biggest success stories. They come every day and every day the dog protects the house and scares them away. By scaring away the mail person six days out of seven, our dogs have earned their keep.....or so they think.
  12. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Sara very true. I really believe that's how they see it. Molly scares away the mail person and the trash man. :rofl:

    But Molly has also attacked and scared the life out of 4 would be burglars too. So she really has earned her keep. :D
  13. Abbey

    Abbey Spork Queen

    Kudos to the mail lady. She must have encountered this more than once.

    You're doggies sound lovely and protective. That's good.

  14. Sara PA

    Sara PA New Member

    They aren't as successful with the trashman as with the mailman. That bad trashman takes our stuff before he runs away each week.

    Dog-before-Jake, Coco, chased away burglers one day. Or at least the size of his dog dishes did. But I suspect it was the dog himself because one day when I came home I let him out and he ran to the gate as though he was checking to make sure there was no one there. I didn't notice that someone had tried to pry the window open until a few days later.
  15. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    I think you have gotten some good advice -

    Spitz are a high energy dog. They need a lot of exercise. At least an hour a day 1/2 hr. increments. A lot of walking. And socialization.

    A lot of people believe that once they are "older" you can't change their ways or rather teach an old dog new tricks. This is a myth....and moreso a thought for husbands not dogs.

    Have you ever put a leash on her?
    If she's not familiar and I mean - WALKING all the time familiar with a leash do NOT run out and buy a choke collar and start by jerking a knot in her neck. Let her instead get used to dragging a light lead inside your home and outside - making sure she doesn't get caught on anything. If she does, simply undo her leash from "whatever' and let her go.

    Next you need to know how to put a choke collar on. There is a right way - that will release and a wrong way that will choke and remain choking - learn how to put it together and which side the loops should be on. The dog ALWAYS is on your left side.

    I wouldn't start off with visitors - I would start with some simple commands. Walk (or HEAL) and SIT. This should be able to be accomplished in 1/2 hour lessons 5 days a week and one 1 hour session a week so she does not get bored with learning. She's probably going to really enjoy working with you as Spitz were bred to be working dogs.

    You said before you need to loose weight - this is a really good way to do that. Walk every day!!!

    When she's used to you being the boss - because right now she is NOT! - She sees everyone as part of the pack. She's not sure who is in charge - because when you get company my bet would be that there is mass excitement and your vibes are stressy, upset, angry to some point because she's not listening....and anxious. She feels all of that - so before you start to train HER how to behave around company you need to make sure you train YOURSELF to remain CALM when she starts barking and getting excited your mindset should be - like that of IGNORING an over zealous child. If it gets no feeling and attention eventually it will settle down. And as far as putting her AWAY from company? Nope.......

    She could remain around you, with her collar/choke and leash on.....and made to either sit (which you've worked on) and then STEP on the leash and ignore her. If she growls or acts dominant? Snap your fingers, make a shhhhhsh noise and say in a firm tone. NO. If it continues......walk her around, using your 1 word commands heel, sit......and then replace her at your feet - NOT ON THE COUCH.....and step on her leash. Then YOU remain calm and ignore her.

    I could show you the difference in my dogs who go absolutely bonkers if DF's buddy comes to visit when Im not here and when I'm here. When I am not here? DF thinks its good for his buddys' ego to hear the dogs, whine, cry, bark, carryon, talk and jump all over the place. Like WE MISSED YOU WELCOME WELCOME. WHen I'm here - if they start the "show" they get a look - a snap, a shsh and show's over. I won't tolerate unruly children in my home furry or otherwise. And encouraging them to do so is dangerous.

    I would REALLY REALLY REALLY recommend you find at a vets office or AKC club locally a training class. If you fear she will bite? Take a knee high stocking tie it over her nose under her chin and tie in a knot on top or get a small nylon muzzle at a pet shop. BUT DOOOOOOOO get her socialized. A trainer there can show you HOW to set a choke collar, give you tips on HOW YOU should emit emotions around your dogs......and really save her life and further embarrassment. Lessons are usually worth their weight in gold.

    Hope this helps - but seriously look into a group locally as she REALLY needs socialization and some structure. Once you get her in the obedience lessons the flight or fight reaction you are witnessing at home with the noises - may disappear.
    Speak to your trainer about it -

  16. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful


    Good advice there on the basic commands coming first. A must.

    I didn't think of it because mine are taught the basic commands from the get go. Like you would manners to a child. As I see my dogs as my furry children, and they will be well behaved, like my children. lol

    And good advice on the choke collar too. I learned how to put it on properly from the vet. The goal is not to choke the dog really, but to get their attention.

    Oh, and if you can't find a trainer in your area........You can look online or in the video store for instruction videos on training. Way more helpful than books because you can actually see what they're doing, stop the video and replay it as necessary.

  17. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I also suggest a crate, but you have to read up on how to properly train your dog to live in one. I do know several people here have gotten crates from freecycle. That may take a while though.

    I also think anxiety medication may help. Maybe jsut benadryl? There was a link put up on a different dog ?? that had dosages. I know we give our cats 1/2 of a benadryl caplet, but have never had a dog with-allergies.

    I hope you can work through this successfully.
  18. Abbey

    Abbey Spork Queen

    I constantly battled people about the choke collar. But, here's what happens. If someone put one on you, you'd learn REAL quick. It's not a lifetime thing. It's a few weeks thing if you're consistant.

    You need to talk to them during that time. You give a yank, then a command. If he complies, he gets some sort of treat...a hug, a doggie treat, whatever. If he doesn't, you redirect and ignore. Just go the opposite direction.

    Good luck with this.

  19. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Bubba is like that, as well. We gave up on trying to have him around company. We put him in a kennel in the garage when people come, and he stays quiet until they leave. Then he runs around the house barking and sniffing for their scent for a few minutes, and he's done. We tried getting him to be more comfortable around people, but there often seemed to be an idiot who thought it was fun to antagonize him, so we just gave up.
  20. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    If you try a crate - ???? (groan)

    A lot of people will IMMEDIATLEY put the dog in a crate for punishment - HUGE HUGE HUGE NO NO.

    A crate should be made as a safe place. Like a block home for kids. Cover it with blankets to make it a den - and NO KIDS EVER get to go into the crate - it's DOG DOMAIN.

    Give snacks in there, or a favorite toy,and if you like a shirt that smells like you.

    Until you are trained to use a crate for the dog? Leave the door open or if you have kids who INSIST on locking the door as if they have done something good - TAKE THE DOOR off.

    When you do make a dog start with basic commands - ONE A WEEK. Start with the lead dragging and then HEEL. Next week HEEL, SIT.

    People often use two words - like COME HERE, instead of COME. or SIT DOWN, instead of SIT. If you want them to get used to that crate? A special treat or toy ONLY used when the dog goes to his PLACE (again one word command) and ONLY when he goes in the crate do you say GOOD DOG, GOOD BOY, GOOD.

    If you are against treats - a scratch to the chest area with NO EXCITABLE GOO GOO BABY TALK is recommended.

    Again - train yourself and train the dog. AND NO KIDS with the leash or "training" sessions. The dog needs to know WHO is in CHARGE - if thats going to be the kid? then let the kid do the training. If it's going to be YOU - then YOU do the training and tell children DOG IS OFF LIMITS. AND Consequences for "mini me - dog training" - because once a child figures out that you can make a dog listen and say SIT - the only word you will swear your child knows when it sees your dog is SIT. (very annoying)

    Above all - YOU have to think calm and breathe when you attempt to start this at all. Hugs