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This is going to be long. Please read and help me out, though

Okay, so this is a thread about all the issues I have with my dogs. I know the issues are mostly created by me, and it's my fault. I know that I haven't been the best trainer/owner in the world. However, I seriously want to right my wrongs and help my dogs to have a better life.

First off, I am not abusive. I do not hit my dogs. A lot of the problems they have most likely come from the fact I am so afraid they will end up hating me (or I would do something wrong) if I do anything. So more often than not, I did/have done nothing. I know this is just as bad as doing something, really.

I get stressed easily and I am sure I most likely suffer from a lot of anxiety issues. So often times when my dogs start doing something they shouldn't I panic and have no clue what to actually do. Logically I know what I should be doing, but I panic and don't get it into practice.

I have two dogs: Killian, 2 years and a couple months and Perkins, 1 year and a couple months. Both are unneutered males. I do not breed, I simply am undecided about the risks that come with fixing them.

I will start with Killian. He is a "pitbull". I know that's a very loose term but as I did not know his parents or anything, it's all I have to work with. He was sold out of a car at 4 weeks (way too early), I got him from the college student who bought him, at 6 weeks, off of craigslist. It was all a huge risk, but he doesn't have many of the issues that most dogs do when they're separated too young.

I worked with him a lot when he was young but due to some bad circumstances in the family we ended up in a hotel for a couple months when he was about 7 months old and I had to stay with a friend during this time so he lost all his training. He had been very well socialized, up to this point though.

He never had a huge urge to learn, or "please", really. Anyway, let me get to the present circumstances. If you need more past information, let me know.

So these are his issues:

He barks when he wants his way. Rather it be to go walking, for attention, for food, or whatever. I never taught the "speak" command so I am not sure how to teach the "quiet" command. I have tried "being a tree" and just turning away from him, and walking away, but he doesn't care. He just keeps going.

He will bolt out the door. This is no longer as bad as it once was, but I do need to know how to fix it permanently.

He has no clue how to greet guests. He jumps, barks, and "attacks" their shoes. He doesn't bite their shoes, but paws all over them.

He pulls on the leash and the "being a tree" doesn't work. The turning around and walking backwards, doesn't work.

He still doesn't care a lick about training. He does what he wants. If he feels like having the treat he will do what you ask. However, without food you have NO chance of getting him to do anything.

This are the main things I'd currently like to really start working on.

Now, onto Perkins. Perkins is a mutt, a true Heinz 57. He was an oops litter and at the time I didn't truly understand the importance of being completely raised in a house. He was in the house at times, and had people interaction still, but he was outside a lot, too.

He was never socialized well because where we live not many people aren't fond of dogs. Most people are scared of dogs, even puppies. I myself can't drive, so I couldn't take him anywhere to even really see people. I know this is a very horrible thing and I need to know does he have any chance of being fixed in this area, and if so, what do I need to do?

He barks and whines, all the time. This is absolutely horrible because he has the most high-pitched whining and barking noises. He does it when someone is outside; he does it when he wants something.

He has food aggression with my other dog. This isn't a huge issue, as I do not feed them together, but I do at times train them together and he has now snapped at Killian twice over treats. It has made Killian have a setback in training, too.

He is an attention hog. You can't do anything with the other dog without him getting in the way.

Pulls on the leash, and cannot ignore anything if it's an animal.

Can't greet guests and is fearful (I know this is a socialization issue).

These are the major issues I'd like to fix with him.

All in all, I love my dogs dearly and I never plan to get rid of them. I will keep them always, so long as I am completely able. I would like to give them a better life though and I know that means getting them better trained.

They get regular exercise. A 45 minute walk everyday (unless I absolutely can't due to weather), lots of toy time, and training, and of course pottying multiple times a day.

I have been working on sit, down, and down/stays a lot lately. They have both been doing okay at this, but not the best.

Basically, I need to know a detailed "routine", so to speak, on ways to fix their issues.

I thank you all so much for your time and any help and advice you can offer. I know I haven't been the best owner, and I am really trying to fix that.
 

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Honestly, you have a lot of issues with both of them. I would suggest a trainer, because that's a lot to handle on your own. I would also suggest Nothing In Life Is Free training.. You can google it. The basic structure of the training is that the dogs have to work for everything..for example, my huskies have to sit or do a stand stay before they even eat dinner. It's a pretty effective tool.
 

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I get stressed easily and I am sure I most likely suffer from a lot of anxiety issues. So often times when my dogs start doing something they shouldn't I panic and have no clue what to actually do. Logically I know what I should be doing, but I panic and don't get it into practice.
Step 1 is fixing this. Not only because you don't think clearly, but also because you're just feeding energy into the system (the interaction between you and the dog(s)).


He barks when he wants his way. Rather it be to go walking, for attention, for food, or whatever. I never taught the "speak" command so I am not sure how to teach the "quiet" command. I have tried "being a tree" and just turning away from him, and walking away, but he doesn't care. He just keeps going.
Have you tried teaching a stay type cue? Or a "this way"/"let's go"/"follow me" that can be more overt and clear as to what you want? As far as the barking, I tend to ignore that. Give him an instruction you want him to follow. He's expressing what he wants, try expressing what you want, something of a "negotiation from a position of power" in the sense that you, at the end of the day, controls what he gets and doesn't. He can WANT it all he...wants. In fact, I think that's good. Desire and eagerness is something that needs harnessing and directing. You can do that without removing the eagerness.

He will bolt out the door. This is no longer as bad as it once was, but I do need to know how to fix it permanently.
Give him a stationary behavior, like sitting, in order for him to get his leash on and the door to open (do the leash first in case he tries to bolt so that you have a containment still on him once you open the door and if he breaks for the leash, you don't even put it on. Putting the leash on will be a step in the chain that leads to a fun walk, so it becomes a reward in itself over time). If he moves/breaks, door closes, outing denied. Reset him and try again. Ignore any barking or whatnot as that's not the behavior you want, but don't give it "negative attention" either. Just focus on what you want, getting it, and what do if he breaks prematurely.

He has no clue how to greet guests. He jumps, barks, and "attacks" their shoes. He doesn't bite their shoes, but paws all over them.
Actually he does - he's greeting like the dog he is, trying into instigate some interaction/physical play/being curious/wanting to sniff faces (our faces are high up, so they have to jump up to want to get closer). If you haven't taught him "the human world way for dogs to greet", then he's not going to just know it unless it's in his personality to be wary or just wait, and it doesn't sound like it is.

He pulls on the leash and the "being a tree" doesn't work. The turning around and walking backwards, doesn't work.
Give a direction, like "stay", then move where you want to go with a "follow me" or "this way" type cue. Praise and reward when he follows. Be consistent so he can learn the meaning of "this way" or whatever you use.

He still doesn't care a lick about training. He does what he wants. If he feels like having the treat he will do what you ask. However, without food you have NO chance of getting him to do anything.
Use food as his reinforcer. Don't fight his motivation. Use it. Manipulate it. Know it. Own it. Exploit it. It's not bribery if it's given in response to a behavior you want. It's not "being weak" or "giving in", it's working smart.

He was never socialized well because where we live not many people aren't fond of dogs. Most people are scared of dogs, even puppies. I myself can't drive, so I couldn't take him anywhere to even really see people. I know this is a very horrible thing and I need to know does he have any chance of being fixed in this area, and if so, what do I need to do?
Take him on walks where he can see people? Even if it's just neighbors other people walking dogs (stay a distance way, like walk on the other side of the street, but let him see them). Consider playing the Look-At-That game where you praise and reward the instant he looks at a new object/person/dog/cat/whatever his triggers are. Having dealt with a lack of socialization in Wally (granted, he's small white fluffy dog, basically the epitome of "pet me" to most people), just getting out and about where he can see/hear/eventually sniff and be touched by people helped him.

He barks and whines, all the time. This is absolutely horrible because he has the most high-pitched whining and barking noises. He does it when someone is outside; he does it when he wants something.
Sounds like he's alert barking and trying to communicate. Just need to teach him when to control it and how to use other behaviors to 'ask' for things. There's no clear cut answer because I have no idea what you want him to do - other than not bark, and I rather teach what I want over eliminate what I don't want so that's where I tend to lean/think.

He has food aggression with my other dog. This isn't a huge issue, as I do not feed them together, but I do at times train them together and he has now snapped at Killian twice over treats. It has made Killian have a setback in training, too.
Work on feeding Killian treats while Perkins has to do a down-stay some distance away. Perhaps feed Killian a treat, then if Perkins doesn't make a move at him, praise and reward Perkins for staying put. Start with a sizable distance for safety's sake, of course, but the idea is to show that he doesn't need to aggress on Killian to get a treat, in fact, the exact opposite it what will get a treat. This is also makes Killian getting a treat less of a OMGWTFBBQ Snap at Killian event, and more a "hey, if I stay here, maybe I'll get one too." thing. Just a thought.

He is an attention hog. You can't do anything with the other dog without him getting in the way.
Almost do the same thing. When working with Killian, Perkins has to do a down-stay on a mat. When he stays on the mat, he gets rewarded. The down on the mat is how he can 'ask' for attention instead of getting all up in your way.



I have been working on sit, down, and down/stays a lot lately. They have both been doing okay at this, but not the best.
Keep working on it. Nothing says they'll improve as fast as we like. All we can do is keep ramping up the practice, adding challenge and make what you teach a part of their everyday life. I call it taking it from the "classroom" to the "real world" with Wally. Or taking "theory" and giving it a "practical application" to his life.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I had considered a trainer before. However, in my area there are none. The closest thing is 45 minutes away and that's petco. I have watched their trainer; he is flat out mean.

Honestly, you have a lot of issues with both of them. I would suggest a trainer, because that's a lot to handle on your own. I would also suggest Nothing In Life Is Free training.. You can google it. The basic structure of the training is that the dogs have to work for everything..for example, my huskies have to sit or do a stand stay before they even eat dinner. It's a pretty effective tool.
 

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This was very helpful, thank you. I know a lot of what has to happen, has to happen with me first. I will definitely start working on all of these things. I truly appreciate the response (from both of you guys).

Step 1 is fixing this. Not only because you don't think clearly, but also because you're just feeding energy into the system (the interaction between you and the dog(s)).




Have you tried teaching a stay type cue? Or a "this way"/"let's go"/"follow me" that can be more overt and clear as to what you want? As far as the barking, I tend to ignore that. Give him an instruction you want him to follow. He's expressing what he wants, try expressing what you want, something of a "negotiation from a position of power" in the sense that you, at the end of the day, controls what he gets and doesn't. He can WANT it all he...wants. In fact, I think that's good. Desire and eagerness is something that needs harnessing and directing. You can do that without removing the eagerness.



Give him a stationary behavior, like sitting, in order for him to get his leash on and the door to open (do the leash first in case he tries to bolt so that you have a containment still on him once you open the door and if he breaks for the leash, you don't even put it on. Putting the leash on will be a step in the chain that leads to a fun walk, so it becomes a reward in itself over time). If he moves/breaks, door closes, outing denied. Reset him and try again. Ignore any barking or whatnot as that's not the behavior you want, but don't give it "negative attention" either. Just focus on what you want, getting it, and what do if he breaks prematurely.



Actually he does - he's greeting like the dog he is, trying into instigate some interaction/physical play/being curious/wanting to sniff faces (our faces are high up, so they have to jump up to want to get closer). If you haven't taught him "the human world way for dogs to greet", then he's not going to just know it unless it's in his personality to be wary or just wait, and it doesn't sound like it is.



Give a direction, like "stay", then move where you want to go with a "follow me" or "this way" type cue. Praise and reward when he follows. Be consistent so he can learn the meaning of "this way" or whatever you use.



Use food as his reinforcer. Don't fight his motivation. Use it. Manipulate it. Know it. Own it. Exploit it. It's not bribery if it's given in response to a behavior you want. It's not "being weak" or "giving in", it's working smart.



Take him on walks where he can see people? Even if it's just neighbors other people walking dogs (stay a distance way, like walk on the other side of the street, but let him see them). Consider playing the Look-At-That game where you praise and reward the instant he looks at a new object/person/dog/cat/whatever his triggers are. Having dealt with a lack of socialization in Wally (granted, he's small white fluffy dog, basically the epitome of "pet me" to most people), just getting out and about where he can see/hear/eventually sniff and be touched by people helped him.



Sounds like he's alert barking and trying to communicate. Just need to teach him when to control it and how to use other behaviors to 'ask' for things. There's no clear cut answer because I have no idea what you want him to do - other than not bark, and I rather teach what I want over eliminate what I don't want so that's where I tend to lean/think.



Work on feeding Killian treats while Perkins has to do a down-stay some distance away. Perhaps feed Killian a treat, then if Perkins doesn't make a move at him, praise and reward Perkins for staying put. Start with a sizable distance for safety's sake, of course, but the idea is to show that he doesn't need to aggress on Killian to get a treat, in fact, the exact opposite it what will get a treat. This is also makes Killian getting a treat less of a OMGWTFBBQ Snap at Killian event, and more a "hey, if I stay here, maybe I'll get one too." thing. Just a thought.



Almost do the same thing. When working with Killian, Perkins has to do a down-stay on a mat. When he stays on the mat, he gets rewarded. The down on the mat is how he can 'ask' for attention instead of getting all up in your way.





Keep working on it. Nothing says they'll improve as fast as we like. All we can do is keep ramping up the practice, adding challenge and make what you teach a part of their everyday life. I call it taking it from the "classroom" to the "real world" with Wally. Or taking "theory" and giving it a "practical application" to his life.
 
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