Skip to comments.Any ideas/advice for teaching respect to a difficult dog?
Posted on 11/27/2012 5:52:50 AM PST by needmorePaine
My wife and I have a 3.5-year-old female English Springer Spaniel. We got her as a puppy from a breeder, and for the first two years of her life, we were happy with her. She's a beautiful dog bred for the field, not the show line of the breed.
The difficulties we are having started following the onset of her seizures. As I said, we focused more on controlling the condition and less on showing leadership, but the situation was much better the first two years of her life. I'm not using the epilepsy as an excuse, but it was a turning point in how we dealt with her.
Eh, yes and no. I’ve had dogs that were perfect companions, that didn’t destroy stuff the moment you turned your back. My current pup knows when we’re no longer looking and does whatever mischief he’s into until we’re about to turn around or come back around the corner. That makes squirt-gun-training impossible.
Anything or anyone who demanded more of my attention than my young children would have to go. No if, ands or buts. Who's more important to you?
I agree totally. I love animals and have/had all variety of pets (dog, cat, bird, fish and a rodent) but when one becomes a serious nuisance, a serious financial drain and is detrimental to the harmony of the home....sorry to say...a change is in order..
Rolled up newspaper; or a 2x4 if that doesn’t work.
1. My wife and I and the rest of the family members that come by regularly are consistent in dealing with the dog. That's the frustrating part; the consistency hasn't helped.
2. She walks well on leash. She no longer pulls and looks up at me rather than constantly sniffing the ground. That's the only real area of improvement. The problems are inside the house.
3. We have moved the trash can out of the room.
4. She is crated during meals, but the moment I go to grab a cracker for me or for one of the kids as a snack, she is right in our faces looking to snatch it. We use a verbal command in a deep voice as correction, but it sometimes barely registers. If it does, she walks off only to return a few seconds later.
5. Squirting does nothing.
6. I would not use a shock collar on a dog with an existing neurological problem. It's been tempting, but I wouldn't do it.
7. We are aware that phenobarbital can cause some issues with behavior. Our vet stated that it usually makes dogs more sedate, but there are some cases where it can worsen hyperactivity. I think that is the case with our dog.
8. Our trainer is a professional and offers a lifetime guarantee, but as I said, his techniques are having little to no effect, except in walking on leash.
"....so,wats dis job pay?"
The wife and kids, which is why, as I stated in the first post, we’re looking to give her to a rescue.
>Even with all of the exercise she receives—tricks, obedience training, time off leash to run and use her nose—she still has to be a nuisance in the house. She counter surfs, paces, begs for and steals food, chews up the kid’s toys and other random items, eats out of the trash, and jumps on guests.<
Does this dog have a crate? When she gets obnoxious, she needs a time-out, given in a matter-of-fact, unemotional way.
Frankly, I see a couple of things going on here. The epilepsy and the dog’s genetics. Field dogs are by nature workers and need that work to burn off their higher energy levels. In addition, the dog may be experiencing hyperactivity as a result of the meds or simply from the condition itself.
You have my sympathy.
Having two dogs tends to solve a lot of the problems of having one dog.
When we had a single dog, discipline with a rolled up sheet of newspaper seemed to be effective. It causes no harm, makes a lot of noise and gets the point across. Also a firm voice, rolling them on their back and grabbing a handfull of scruff, seems to communicate dominance in a way that is natural for the dog.
Once you get a couple of dogs properly socialized, they teach it to a new dog, the last two dogs we have had learned submission from the old dogs and never required intervention to keep them from being dominant in the house.
The genetics are probably a problem in that, while we give her plenty of exercise in the yard with games and tricks, she may just need to be an all-day hunting dog because those are her instincts. I am not a hunter.
Take it back.
No matter how smart the dog, I have found that the most effective way to correct behavior issues is to keep it as simple and consistent as possible. A very firm "NO" while making eye contact with the dog is amazing--as long as you say it while catching Dog "in the act," and maintain that eye contact until the dog looks away. That's dogese for "you win." I know this sounds like ridiculous advice, but over the years I've owned and fostered a variety of rescues, all with some behavioral problems, and the simplest and most consistent route has always proven effective.
Incidentally, my parents had an ESS with severe epilepsy. I wonder if that's a commn ailment in the breed. Crash had to be put down fairly young, just past seven, due to liver failure (drug related). Best of luck with yours!
1. Never give the dog human food. This has to be enforced throughout the house.
2. When eating in the dining room, she must be put in another room.
3. Whenever the dog seems to be trying to be the boss in the house, roll the dog on their back and put pressure on thier neck. It is amazing how well this works. It is dog language that is very clear: You are the leader, not the dog.
4. You may wish to keep the dog out of doors for the major part of the day. Dogs and horses do well outside, they are designed for it.
5. Next time the dog jumps up on you or someone else, gently roll them on their back and press their neck and say no.
I have had extremely good luck with training my animals to respond to my commands that are given in a strictly conversational tone. No is absolutely no, but it is said softly. This turns what could be a screaming battle for dominance into an informational conversational conversation.
It works on 1200 pound horses too.
I’ve pinged AnAmericanMother to this post. She has worked with field Labradors for years and might be able to give you some idea of what might take the place of field work in this Springer’s life.
One thing that may possibly work with the food issues is to make her down before she gets any food. She’ll learn that pushing and getting up in your face gets her nothing. She can’t be in your face from the down position. Toss the food directly between her legs so she dips her head to get the food. This encourages staying down.
If you yell its name when it does something like jump on a guest, it'll think it's doing something that it will get rewarded for.
Both Springers and Cockers have problems with epilepsy. I did not know this before getting the Springer. I knew that they can have problems with hips and eyes (as many breeds do), but I never saw anything about epilepsy when reading about Springers before we got her. Show-bred Springers also have problems with a Springer Rage Syndrome that seems to stem from one male, but it doesn't show up in the Field-bred ESSs.
She always has to do some command before eating. On the advice of the trainer, we have tried feeding her a portion of her meals by "scatter feeding," which is just tossing her kibble into the grass outside and letting her sniff it out, making her work for her food.
I highly recommend “The Dog Whisperer”!!
His phrase: “I rehabilitate dogs and train people”.
He will show you how to tell your dog no (timing is everything as I have discovered), and how to be a good “pack leader’ which is what you seem to be asking for.
PLEASE go to his website for more info. And if you have National Geographic channel, you will find hs programs there.
Learning his stuff gave my out of control dog and I, GREAT pleasure and the most awesome relationship. It’s more than obedience training when it comes to dogs. Cesar is a dog psychologist. He knows how they tick and communicate.
Correct. A dog will telegraph his intention a moment before he engages to see if you approve. Silence is consent to dogs.
We're big Dog Whisperer fans. We're always loaning out our DVDs to family and friends who have problems with their dogs.