Dog Behaviour Advice - Dog Advice Articles
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Behavioural updates in Romania, walking a dog aggressive to other dogs distance sendaways II
Following my latest comments about the many potholes in Bucharest seems to have generated from the Mayor Traian Basescu some good news and some bad news. The good news is that the numbers of potholes have decreased in the last year. The bad news is that this is because all the small holes have grown larger making one big hole. I know as I saw an old Lada car disappear into one.
I also see in the CBN a warning issued about dogs eating these highly toxic in line caterpillars together with a letter warning about the use of poisoned bait again. Do watch out for these and if you are worried about your dog eating poised bait in your area you can teach your dog to leave such bait alone.
One of the things that people do not like to accept is that their dog is training them, not the other way round. It may not be for everything but there are odd problems that do occur where the owners feel they cannot resolve. They say they have tried everything and have and been told the same thing so they search for someone to say something different. I agree it is embarrassing to accept but non-the less often true. I know I have been there as well and so it is with the next two cases.
One was an owner of a small dog that would not walk once it when out onto the street on or off the lead. Once outside the gate the dog sat down like glued to the floor. No amount of coaxing would shift it and so the owner had to carry the dog. (Dog 1 owner Nil)
I do have some sympathy for the dog with its little legs in comparison with ours but the owner was not exactly sprightly so not likely to tire out the dog. I am certain that small dogs do need occasional carrying for their protection like in busy areas in case someone treads on it by accident. However, if a dog can get a lift it must be all for the better but not necessarily for the owner.
The owner had received lots of excellent corrective advice and the majority was to just walk as if nothing was wrong and make the dog walk. It can walk round the house and garden so what is wrong with outside the gate. They even quoted well know instructors who have seen this problem before and shown how to just walk with meaning and not to look at the dog at all. This is my advice exactly so I persevered and explained until the owner was prepared to accept that maybe the dog was getting its way it will not stop. The owner said the previous day the lady from next dog was looking with concern at the goings on but I asked was she concerned because she though the dog was being hurt or the owner being used,
Fortunately, the owner lived in Leeds so we agreed to meet at their house and I would have a look. The dog was fine and met the owner and her husband. Unfortunately, the husband also thought the dog was the one training his wife so to prove this was allowing him to say, "I told you so".
I asked to see what normally happens when she went for a walk and I watched from the other side of the street. Sure enough, as the dog reached the gate it sat down just at the same time as the owner looked down at the dog. There are messages transferred here by both dog and owner and the dog just sees a walk coming up so says I want picking up and the owner expecting this request obliges. The owner was so concerned that if she continued to walk, the dog would remain sitting and all its paws would bleed because of her dragging the dog on the path.
Making the dog walk for me has little point because once I have gone the dog with return to his old ways. Therefore, how do you use the normally accepted method to cure this and teach the owner at the same time?
I suggested it was time for a walk and to walk her dog on the right. This just helps to create some confusion in the mind of the dog. I held the owners hand with the last of the loops of the lead crossing my hand so I would take the strain. All three of us set off up the path and through the gates the dog tried to sit but I acted as if nothing was happing. I had told the owner not to look at her dog at all and I would tell her what was happening.
The best way I can describe what happened is it looks like a passenger plane coming into land where the wheels are not rotating until it touches the runway for the first time and there is a screech making the wheels rotate. The next time it becomes a nice smooth landing. It was just like this with the dog. I could feel the tension about 3 times but we kept walking and I told the owner everything was fine. When we had covered about 100 yards, she could have a peek at her walking dog and sure enough, he tried to sit. Looking at the face of the owner I could see the penny had dropped and she was now annoyed. Before I left, she had three walks with her dog and it walks. There is the occasional attempt but that is all it is and it knows the game is up.
The next one was when the lady took her dog out for a walk on the lead it tries to go to the toilet. I did suggest she check with her vet that there was not a blockage or a growth that maybe making her dog need to open it bowels. Maybe it was attention seeking but for what. I know going to the loo is a nice experience but not one to get addicted. I also suggested she tried a different type of lead just to see if this did anything. The reply that came back was it had been doing this for many years on any type of lead and only with her. It did the same only very occasionally with her husband.
So we can think it is not medical because it does not happen all the time and only really with the wife. It therefore begs the question what is the wife saying to the dog to make it want to go to the loo. To be off the lead does not seem the aim as it walks all right with the husband.
I said I would have to go and see them so I can determine what is going on and if there some "tell" that sets this action in motion. To date the owner has not decided yet if I should help. I will keep in touch, as it is interesting but preferably, sometime to talk about after you have eaten.
Puppies and young dogs being too excited whilst walking.
It is an obvious delight of having a puppy and to watch it investigating its new world with its owners. Trying to walk a dog like this or do any training seems almost impossible with a dog so excited with the world. It seems a shame for owners to try to curtail such enthusiasm just to train in the usual regimented classes and the training at home routine. Is this not what we see in classes with the methods currently used to achieve this. Certainly, the jerk of the choke chain does have a calming affect, shouting get down, and "heel" with more "get downs". We knock out all of this enthusiasm in the name of training so we can walk calmly and in a regimentally correct fashion. How many of you have asked the question why do we have to do this. I am like you I want a dog be pleased to see me and be excited but I need to know I can control how much excitement I need to see.
When you come home or let your dog out of the car or kennel the dog is excited to see you so you need to teach your dogs what you will accept some hugs but no licking of the face other wise you get up and ignore them. During the puppy training, as soon as it comes into your house teach the meaning to your pup what sit, stand down and come mean by simply translating the command. If your dog is excited get down to your dog and encourage calmness by ignoring the boisterous signs. Practice teaching your pup to be calm and reward it when it is.
When your dog is excited it is only natural, they like jumping up etc but this is not the time to train. Never just, come home and start training. Have the happy hour and when the pup is calm then only in these times do a little training. When it goes down say "down" good boy and a titbit so it associates the word with the action. If it is still excited it will jump up because you said something, so the training fails. How many times have you see such a sight.
If you go to a dog-training club go early, give your dog a play and a walk so that when the classes start you dog is much calmer, and will be much quieter. Only during these times is the time to train when your dog is not trying to tell you something but attentive to you. Try going out of the gate, meeting with someone else and their dog, and then trying attempting heelwork before your dog has had a chance to meet with the other dog and calm down. Your instructor should allow you all some time to calm all the dogs by allowing all the dogs to meet and say hello to those it wants to see. This is the normal way dogs greet other members of the pack.
There is no need to knock enthusiasm out of your dog simply to train just train when your dog has calmed down and teach your dog the command quiet or steady so if your dog is excited at an in-opportune time you can calm them and then finish this with praise and a reward for waiting.
Dogs that eat their own or other dog's faeces.
To humans coprophagia is a disgusting problem but to dogs is not as bad as you think. To dogs, they maybe looking for mineral deficiency and in fact, there is some nourishment in such a meal. Many dogs do this for a while as part of the old memory training of living in a pack when cleaning up after puppies. One of the reactions to the castration treatment hormone makes dogs lick things. This is probably simply because the dog needs something and hopes the licking will solve it. One of my dogs loved cowpats or dead frogs and loved to roll in them with his shoulder.
There are many reasons why dogs do this but how to stop it is the question and whilst they are off the lead. The normal one is to walk away with encouragement to your dog to "Come" with a reward. Some find a clicker useful to indicate that the dog if it obeys will receive a reward. Often the problem is the dog is oblivious to your calls as if it is under the influence of a drug and nothing is going to stop them having a taste.
If this continues for a long time check with your vet that your dog does not have some mineral deficiency. Discuss with your Vet your dogs diet as changing this may help. Try feeding your dog more frequent and smaller meals during the day as this may help. If all the methods still fail then do try the Master Plus remote, so as your dog tries for that tasty morsel you can give a happy command of "Come" and if it disobeys release a squirt of gas. This way you can get your own back on your dog and improve your recall at the same time.
You will have noticed by now that my favourite reinforcement command is the come. Most problems occur at a distance where your dog does know you cannot get to them and your calls of come become more like NO after each successive call.
This is the most important command of them all in order for you to get your dog back and the one that has the most problems. The well-known training methods are not at fault so why do they not always seem to work. I can only remind yet again it is using word commands tone and allowing anger to enter into your voice that makes this the most difficult command to master. Dogs do this perfect in the dog classes or when there is nothing to distract them but when something has your dog's interest no way can you seem to attract them to you.
It is for this reason I like hand signals and for me this was wide-open arms and claps of the hands. I could see the proof of this because when I was angry and my dogs got so far towards me and could see my angry face then they applied their brakes. You must look happy no matter how you feel inside and start to teach your recall to really happy times every time you call your dog into you from the day your get your dog home.