Having lots of problems with training our dog! PLEASE READ AND HELP!!
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Thread: Having lots of problems with training our dog! PLEASE READ AND HELP!!

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    Having lots of problems with training our dog! PLEASE READ AND HELP!!

    Hi there! I'm new to the site, and I joined for the specific reason on gaining some insight about our current situation. I live with my mother and this past August we got a puppy. Her name is Zoe and she is a Boston Terrier/Beagle Mix. We don't really know anything about her life prior to the people that we got her from and they didn't know much. All they knew was that she was about 6 or 7 months old (which makes her about a year now), that she had all of her shots, and that she was housebroken. When we first got her home she seemed to be wonderful. We had plenty of surprises when we found out that she knew how to sit and fetch and bring the ball back. She wasn't as housebroken as we were told, but we were able to work with her and she is getting much better. We are currently working on her to ring bells to ask to go outside and we are making fairly good progress

    Now we get to the issues which far outweigh the good. She is very aggressive. She bites all the time. Sometimes it seems like she is chewing and playful but as she gets stronger she doesn't know her own strength. She also jumps up and will grab your fingers with her teeth, and that just flat out hurts. Sometimes she'll even attack your face when you are sitting or laying down. My poor mother is 4'11" and Zoe can almost jump to her face She also takes this aggression out on my cat he can easily ignore her but she can't ignore him. He can't move an inch without being chased down. I've even witnessed her grabbing him by the neck and pulling him off of tables and chairs. Not a very pleasant site for his Momma She is in a crate for a good portion of the day, but our vet said this shouldn't be a problem since a lot of dogs are subject to this, and we just need to make sure she gets time to be outside to get her energy out. She is in normal business hours, like from 8-5 and there are some days that I am home where she is out all day. We also know that this won't be forever because my mother is retiring in May. I take her outside and play fetch for a half hour in the afternoon, and my Mom plans on taking her for walks in the morning when the weather gets nicer (we live in Ohio). We live in the country so you think she would get enough exercise to get some of her energy out. But she never slows down!

    Discipline is a joke to her. Whenever we say a stern "no" she just barks at us. We say "get down" she runs around the house once or twice and then gets back up on whatever it is. We use the old newspaper trick and she thinks we're playing with her and tries to take it like a toy. We also end up teaming up and chasing her around the house trying to catch her with things that she has taken and that has just become a game to her. Whenever we continue to discipline her she starts getting angry and comes at us biting.

    Like I said we don't know her full history so it worries me that she might have been abused or not shown discipline in another home. But, my mother has said that she is on her last straw and seriously thinking of getting rid of her. I don't want this to happen because I know that she has the potential to be a very good girl! So if anyone has any insight, please help!!

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    Senior Member WonderBreadDots's Avatar
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    Re: Having lots of problems with training our dog! PLEASE READ AND HELP!!

    Your dog is bored. She needs more exercise and mental stimulation. Join a training class. She is crated all day and then when she gets out all she hears is no and her people are disciplining her. She is part beagle, she needs something to do. Training class will give you something to do with her and she be the dog you know she can be.

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    Senior Member elrohwen's Avatar
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    Re: Having lots of problems with training our dog! PLEASE READ AND HELP!!

    She doesn't sound aggressive at all - she's trying to play with you and hasn't learned bite inhibition.

    Read "the bite stops here" sticky. She needs to learn that biting you isn't an appropriate way to play, and hitting her isn't going to help anything. You need to make a yelp or "ouch" noise (as a cue that you're teaching it, it will not stop her from biting immediately) and then walk out of the room somewhere that she can't follow.

    She also needs a lot more exercise. Playing fetch for half an hour and planning to take her for walks eventually isn't nearly enough for the two high energy breeds she's made up of. Start taking her out for an hour of walking a day so she can get some of her energy out. I'd also recommend you sign up for an obedience class so you learn how to train her to do what you want, since yelling at her and hitting her with a newspaper isn't going to accomplish anything.

    Watson: Ch. Truepenny Olympic Triumph | DOB 8.2.12 | Welsh Springer Spaniel

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    Senior Member Amaryllis's Avatar
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    Re: Having lots of problems with training our dog! PLEASE READ AND HELP!!

    Discipline is a joke to her. Whenever we say a stern "no" she just barks at us. We say "get down" she runs around the house once or twice and then gets back up on whatever it is. We use the old newspaper trick and she thinks we're playing with her and tries to take it like a toy. We also end up teaming up and chasing her around the house trying to catch her with things that she has taken and that has just become a game to her. Whenever we continue to discipline her she starts getting angry and comes at us biting
    Violence begets violence. You hit her, she bites you. It's hardly surprising. (Although most of that biting sounds like invitations to play.) She doesn't know what "no" means because she doesn't speak English. All she knows is that she's bored, burning up with unused energy and "chase me" is a fun game- that should never, ever end, because when it does, she gets hurt.

    You need to walk her today. And Tomorrow. And every day, for at least an hour. She needs real training, not yelling and hitting. Look up kikopup on YouTube, she has videos for all of these issues.

    Beagles and Bostons are not lazy dogs. Beagles have stamina for days and Bostons are balls of fire. Once you've got the basics of clicker training down from kikopup, look up Tab287. He has great, fun tricks that will provide your dog with mental exercise and both of you the chance to bond to learn respect for one another.
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    Senior Member Crantastic's Avatar
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    Re: Having lots of problems with training our dog! PLEASE READ AND HELP!!

    Few things:

    Your dog doesn't know what "no" means. You're just barking a meaningless word at her. Stop that -- instead, teach her what you DO want her to do rather than punishing her for doing things you don't want her to do.

    Chase games are super fun for dogs. When she steals something and you chase her in an attempt to get it back, she thinks you're playing.

    "The old newspaper trick" was an idiotic piece of advice when it was first spoken. Stop hitting your dog with a newspaper or anything else. What do you think that's teaching her besides "this human is unpredictable and scary"?

    Your dog does not sound aggressive. She sounds energetic and playful, like most young dogs. She has not been taught proper bite inhibition and that's why she is nipping at you -- she doesn't know she's biting too hard.

    Read this training textbook; it is completely free and it covers all of these issues: http://www.dogstardaily.com/training

    Also read this: http://avsabonline.org/uploads/posit...Statements.pdf

    Crystal the Papillon and Casper the Alaskan Klee Kai

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    Senior Member CptJack's Avatar
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    Re: Having lots of problems with training our dog! PLEASE READ AND HELP!!

    You have a mix of two very, very high energy breeds - and one of those mixes is a rough, in your face, physical player and both have high pain tolerance. I can almost promise you that short of doing your dog serious damage, you are not deterring her from anything, but rather ramping her up. My Boston's favorite game is being lightly thumped and shoved around. She vibrates with happy, gets wound up, tears off having zoomies, and comes back for more.

    Get that dog some exercise and get into a training class. Don't worry about teaching her not to do - teach her what TO do, once she's not vibrating out of her skin with energy, and the undesirable behavior will fall away.

  8. #7
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    Re: Having lots of problems with training our dog! PLEASE READ AND HELP!!

    It sounds like you have a high energy dog that isn't getting enough exercise or mental stimulation, and hasn't been taught manners.

    Living in the country doesn't really have anything to do with getting exercise. Playing in a yard, well, for many dogs, they don't play unless someone or another dog is playing with them. Even if they do play, it's not constant exercise, not brisk exercise, for enough time to count. We live on about 118 acres. We have tons of room. Our dogs explore, sniff, dig, and maybe play a couple quick games of chase, but, they don't get out and run and run and run constantly.

    Exercise is a brisk walk, 2-3 times a day, for at least 30 minutes each time. Play time is a great addition to that, but, you have to do the walks. Bundle up, as much as you need to, and get the dog a coat. Exercise helps a lot of behavior problems.

    Training is mental exercise, mental stimulation. Dogs are smart, they need to exercise their brains, too. And, mental exercise is tiring to them as well, so it will burn some of that excess energy.

    As for manners, check the sticky "The Bite Stops Here." This teaches bite inhibition. It does NOT sound like this dog is aggressive at all. It sounds like this dog has never been taught bite inhibition. The previous owner probably didn't and it seems like you've had this problem awhile. Basically, you need to be calm about teaching bite inhibition. When she bites or nips, make a noise, like a loud OUCH or a yelp to let the dog know you don't like that. Then, if she keeps it up, leave the room so that she can't follow you. Dogs like being with their owner. If you take that contact away, they will learn not to do whatever it is that made them lose contact (biting, nipping).

    Teach some commands, the things you WANT her to do that will help make her better behaved. Teach her things like:
    - recall (coming when called), you can use "here" or "come". If you've already tried and it's not completely working, I would start with a new word and start over. In other words, if you've tried teaching "come" and it doesn't really work, then, start over by teaching "here". Changing the word really can help starting from scratch.
    - "off" for when you need her to get off the couch/bed/etc.
    - "stay" so that you can reduce the 'chasing'.
    - "look" so that you can get her attention when you need her to stop and listen.
    - "leave it" for when you don't want her to have something.
    - "drop" for when you want her to drop something.

    That's a lot to teach. Don't, PLEASE don't, do it all at once. You have a dog that doesn't have manners. If you try too much at once you AND the dog will end up frustrated and you won't get anywhere. Do a search on the forum for how to teach these things, or, refer to the stickies at the top of the forum pages, including "Doggy Zen" and "NILIF".

    If you teach her these commands, you eliminate the need to do things you call "discipline" like chase her (probably when she doesn't come to you or when she has something she shouldn't). You would use "stay" or "here" or "drop" instead of chasing her.
    By the way, when you chase her, she things you're trying to play.

    You say you tell her "get down". Does she know what that means? Does she REALLY? I suspect that she hasn't been 100% trained what you want each and every time you say that, because if she was 100% trained, she'd do it. For a dog to learn a behavior, they have to practice it properly, literally hundreds of times. That's no joke. They have to do it HUNDREDS of times.
    And, if she does get off, but then goes right back to doing it, here's the solution: instead of just saying "get down" tell her "get down" and then ask her to do several other things, like "sit" and "lie down" or "stay". Then maybe play a quick game of tug with her. If you just say "get down" and then don't keep her busy, she probably WILL go right back to it. BUT, if you say "get down" and then KEEP her busy for a few minutes, 5-10 minutes, then you are keeping her mind off getting right back to it, she's moved on, and she probably won't go back to doing what you didn't want her doing.

    "No" is so ambiguous. It really doesn't do much for training a dog, except MAYBE interrupt them from what they're doing, but just for a minute. Rather than say "no" be specific. If she has something she shouldn't, don't say "no", say "leave it" or "drop". (Remember you have to teach this first, you can't just expect her to understand.)

    I hope you take the advice that people have given you, because it really doesn't sound like you have a bad dog, just an untrained dog.

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    Re: Having lots of problems with training our dog! PLEASE READ AND HELP!!

    It's great that you're seeking help for your pup! Sorry things haven't gone as well as you've hoped, but there are many good posts in this thread already giving good advice. The first bit of advice I have to give is to never chase your dog unless you're playing a game. One of a dog's most favorite games is to chase or be chased, so the more you guys do that, the worse it will get. You need to "set her up to succeed" by puppy-proofing her area. As an example, I have big, slobbery dogs, so I keep things off of coffee tables that are at just the right height for their tails to knock off, and I keep things that don't handle slobber well out of their reach. Don't leave things out or where she can get to them unless they're her toys.

    I can't agree strongly enough with the posts about exercising her. If your dog is bursting with energy, help her work it off. You said you try to "make sure she gets time to be outside to get her energy out". If it were that easy, few people would have dogs with problem behaviors. Dogs need your company and will go a little berserk if you don't spend enough time and play with them enough. If you're already walking her and playing fetch every day, you might need to ramp it up. If it's more accurate to say you're walking her and playing with her when you can find the energy (and for many of us that can mean rarely), then you should start doing both regularly. Most dogs will get at least moderately worn out with 30 minutes of vigorous fetch play. Throw in a walk and some toys to chew on, and most dogs will be very happy. Fail to provide an outlet for her energy and she'll make your lives miserable.

    "Get Down" really never worked for me even once. The problem is that your dog is desperately seeking your attention, and even pushing at her and telling her not to jump up is giving her attention. It will never stop. Ignoring her is the best approach, but you might have to actually leave the room if she's overly persistent. I've had to do that will a couple dogs. You only leave the room for a short time, maybe a few minutes or less, and try again. If your dog only gets attention when they're not jumping on you, they won't jump. It's that simple (extreme cases may differ). If even one person occasionally pushes her down or tells her to get off, you're back at square one. It has to be consistent, and it has to be every time.

    Don't mistake over-excitement for aggression. The way a dog interacts with the world is primarily with their mouth. Tugging at you is an invitation to play. It's gotten to the point where it seems almost like an attack, but if your dog was actually attacking, you'd know it. Don't use "No" and physical strikes as punishments. If your dog's excitement level is already too high, this will only increase it and make the problem worse. And it could get you bitten for real. I'd highly suggest taking in a positive reinforcement class near you if you can find one. Most large pet stores offer them. And stock up on patience. This won't fix itself overnight, and getting upset and stressed will spill right over into your dog.

    Please let us know how things go.
    Last edited by Indurate; 02-27-2013 at 06:12 PM.

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    Re: Having lots of problems with training our dog! PLEASE READ AND HELP!!

    Yes, being in a crate 8-5 seems like waaaaay too long for a young, very high energy dog! And you live in the country! Could you build her a doggie pen (they have the premade ones a TSC, or for a little dog like her you could make some fence posts/ agwire do in one afternoon, I am not handy but built a little back yard in a few hours at our new house...) or little yard to let her have some room while you guys are at work... SHe will settle soon enough but she is only a young dog yet, time will tell, until then outlets, and working it out, classes etc... will help..

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