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Discussion Starter #1
Yesterday, we took all three of our dogs to see an animal behaviorist because our newest member of the pack has shown some (what seems to us) unpredictable behavior - and of course, adding a new dog to the pack has changed the pack dynamic. What we learned? All of our dogs have issues.. lol!

We got a lot of great information... so much in fact, that today I'm remembering things that were said and wishing that I would have asked more questions... but our time was limited and she was trying to give us the basics.

Here's one of my main questions... she said that our newest dog is showing "Guard Dog Behaviors". Our newest dog is an 8 year old rescue who spent her whole life on a farm running with a pack of 10 other dogs. She is a mutt and honestly, we have no idea what breeds she might be a mix of. Perhaps boxer? Maybe APBT? Probably some hound or terrier.

At any rate, she is very "attached" to me. If I am laying down on the couch, she is either next to me or on the floor lying in front of me. If I am in a room moving around, she lays in the door way. A few weeks ago, my son, the dog and I were laying on my bed watching tv. My son got up and left the room for a minute, but when he came back - she snapped at him and bit his nose. At the time, I thought that she was guarding the bed - but now believe that she may have been guarding me. She is very intent - if she is guarding something - she WILL NOT LEAVE - food doesn't entice her, going outside doesn't entice her... Yesterday the whole time that we were at the behaviorists, she guarded the door.

We got so caught up in talking about our spastic Weimaraner and how to control her that we didn't get much of a chance to talk about our other dog's guarding. My question is this... how do I temper that guarding behavior? How do I let her know that she doesn't NEED to guard me? I just want her to relax and be able to "be a dog" or to find another job so she doesn't hurt someone.
 

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You show her it's not her job and you will handle it by stepping between her and, for example, your son . Make her back up slightly...just a step or two is fine. No yelling or threats (that includes no hard staring or disgusted looks)....just calmly take your job back.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for your replies. I do have another question though... what do I do when she won't move back? I kid you not, when she is standing in a position guarding the door, I can step right in front of her (toe to toe) and move forward and she will not move. She sticks her nose up and looks directly at me - but she will not move. I have yet to find a food treat that will get her to move when she thinks she's "on duty". I almost wonder if her previous owner had a "release" command that died with him...
 

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Just curious, how long have you had this dog and have you done work with any of your other dogs. Get a recorder and get behaviorist back and record all advice given (I am assuming she is carrying some certification etc)
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
wvasko,

Charley - the one that's been with us the longest is a Golden Retriever/Beagle mix that we got as a puppy 2 1/2 years ago. He knows SIT, down, stay (most of the time - until something REALLY interesting comes along) and can walk on a loose leash. He is getting more and more reliable with "check in" when we are in our backyard and at the dog park.

Molly - Molly is an 18 month old Weimaraner. We adopted her 10 months ago when her owner threatened to take her to the Humane Society if she didn't find a new home "today". Molly was completely ignored for the first 8 months of her life - no training, no love, no potty training... nothing. It took us 6 months to get her reliably potty trained. We had her spayed in the first 2 weeks that we had her and the day we brought her home she jumped off the bed and broke her paw. That set us back 8 weeks because training her while she was supposed to stay off her paw was impossible. She will sit, down, sometimes stay and check in for food. Walking her is still a misery - but we haven't given up.

Beanie - In November I was called by one of the vet assistants at our vet who runs a rescue asking if I would foster Beanie. I failed. I fell in love and adopted her at the beginning of January. Beanie was one of 10 dogs that lived on a farm and came into the rescue when their owner died unexpectedly. All of the dogs were outside dogs. We're told that he hunted with the dogs and have since learned that he was fighting chickens on the premises. While I have always owned dogs - this is the first adult dog that I've ever adopted. Since she came into our home she has always come right up to me, planted herself at my feet, sat and looked up at me adoringly. I thought she was such a "good" dog... the behaviorist informed me that she was being "pushy".... and I've been reinforcing that behavior. Oops. We took her to the behaviorist because she has shown aggression to two other dogs in the past month... a White Shepherd who had gotten away from her owner and Chihuahua whom I had brought home to foster. In addition, she snapped at my son when we were laying on the bed. I felt that I needed some help from a professional because I lost confidence in myself and in her... I'm afraid to take her to the ballpark to my sons games, to the dogpark and honestly, even for a walk around the neighborhood. She's great around the house and with our dogs - but I'm nervous about how she'll be if we encounter another dog.

The toughest thing with Beanie is that I find her hard to read. I've owned a pekingnese, a beagle, a siberian/collie mix, a dalmation and of course my current "pack". All of the dogs that I've owned (or have owned me) have been eas to read... when they were happy they were REALLY HAPPY. When they were scared or upset - it was obvious. Beanie is very "staid" in her presentation. She is very intent and very reserved... it's hard for me to tell what she's feeling. She's not mean, not aggressive - but I just knew that I needed some help to know how to handle her.

The woman I'm working with is an Applied Animal Behaviorist certified by the Animal Behavior Society. We go back this weekend to meet with her again, but I've found that now that I'm not WITH her - and I'm replaying our meeting - I'm finding that I have a lot more questions!

Thanks for your help!

EDIT: Sorry - to be clear, out appointment is not this Saturday but next Saturday... I looked at the calendar wrong and was rushing the month.
 

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I am sure not going to get on anybody's case who goes around rescuing dogs(thank you) I just don't think, if you haven't done this, dive into some obedience instruction. It will benefit you down the road. Anybody who rescues a Weimie will definitely need it. I got my 1st Weimie in 1960. Again thank you for rescue jobs and don't forget a recorder or at the very least a very fast pen or pencil when with behaviorist.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
I am sure not going to get on anybody's case who goes around rescuing dogs(thank you) I just don't think, if you haven't done this, dive into some obedience instruction. It will benefit you down the road. Anybody who rescues a Weimie will definitely need it. I got my 1st Weimie in 1960. Again thank you for rescue jobs and don't forget a recorder or at the very least a very fast pen or pencil when with behaviorist.
LOL! Thanks, and sorry if I sounded defensive. The truth is, in all my years of owning dogs, I've never felt so inept in my life! I love dogs and wish that I could do more to help. I'm the fool that wants all the dogs that no one else will take!

I love my Weimie - but couldn't have made it through the first few months without Acepromazine... which made me feel terrible! We are diving into obedience and have implemented NILIF which has already helped a lot, with all 3 of them. I'm surprised at how quickly Charley and Molly have picked up on things! But, I'm concerned with how Beanie looks at me almost defiantly when I ask her to do something.

I'm anxious for our next meeting with the behaviorist - a week and a half from now. I guess I'm just questioning if I'm doing the right things with Beanie and how to get her to cooperate.

I'll make sure to have a recorder with me and she has an assistant who takes notes for us and gives us a copy which is really nice.
 

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I sure didn't find anything defensive in reply, I found more worrying attitude and that just shows you are responsible with your dog stuff. I don't know your age, my theory is the more you can dive into formal dog work, the more you learn and it is like a snowball rolling downhill more knowledge is good.
 

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I'm 34. Thanks for your responses. I thought perhaps when you said, "I am sure not going to get on anyone's case" it was kinda like, "OK, lady - settled down, I'm not gonna yell at you...". LOL!

I am worried and I'm concerned about whether I'm doing it "right". Ya know? In the past, I had a dog or two at a time - fairly low energy dogs (compared to the Weim) and if they weren't perfectly trained, it was not a big deal. With three dogs over 50 lbs and kids in and out of my house - it's imperative that their behavior be spot-on and I don't know how to get it there. Reading all the books only gets you so far... it's when you start DOING it that you run into scenarios that were never covered in the books.

AND - unfortunately, I cannot afford (at this time) to sign my dogs up for other formal obedience training. With the cost of the behaviorist, that's about all we can handle right now. So - I'm on my own at home.
 

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Well at age 34 you got plenty of time to learn new stuff and as you said at this time can't afford trainer etc. Next year could get better etc. Now one very important thing is no more dogs. I don't care how cute/lovable etc. No more dogs. Fix the dogs you have, does that make sense. How do you feed your dogs different rooms, free feed etc. What kind of weight is Beanie carrying? Does she eat fast? Would you say she's the type of dog that lives to eat or just eats to live.
She would not be eating were she my dog until she backed up for her food. If she sat directly in front of me I would have her daily ration of food in pan over her head, let her know/smell food and then food would be at end of my arm after passing from nose over head so it's a foot or 2 in (depends on arm length) back of head. Crowd her, as the closer you are the further in back of head is food. Use whatever command you like(back/whatever word) if she moves back she can be fed. If not no food till next day etc. You must feed other dogs separately in closed rooms so there are no fist fights. 3 days to a week she may decide to back a tad and eat. That means she blinked. Now do I know if this will work? I don't have a clue. It might work for me because I would not be feeling sorry for the dog. This advice is not to take the place of directions from a behaviorist who can actually see your dog. Consider this some useless trivia from the internet from somebody who cannot see your dog.
 

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Books are just a means to the end. Think of it as a roadmap. Understanding why certain methods work is more important than getting specific training methods from a book. Once you understand why it works you can apply it to situations not specifically covered in a book. A large part of positive training involves controlling resources. In your specific case, what Wvasko has suggested has a good shot at working. Given the choice to comply and eat or starve and die, what do you think your dog will choose?
 

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LOL! Thanks! I'm actually the "badass" in the family when it comes to training the dogs. I don't feel sorry for them too much - except when they come in as fosters and have been abused, malnourished, etc. On that note, I did let the rescue I work with know that I can't take in any more for a bit. After the chihuahua incident, I needed a break and really needed to focus on my guys. It was a hard discussion.

Thanks for reinforcing that.

As for Beanie's weight? She weighs 62lbs... which, according to the vet is perfect for her build. At mealtimes I can get her to sit, down and "wait" until I have fed the Weim. She gets fed twice a day (along with the other two) and no, she does not eat fast (for which I'm thankful - when she did her gas was horrendous!). BUT... you make a good point, I can use that time and her food to take her into a different room and work with her... make her earn her food a little more.

I DID finally find something that she'll work for last night... chicken. I cooked an extra chicken breast and cut it up in tiny pieces. Inside, this morning I've been able to get her to do pretty much whatever I want her to - wow - what a feeling of power! LOL! Outside I can get her to come and sit. Inside, she'll sit, come, down and roll over. I guess for the time-being I'll need to keep chicken on hand to see if I can distract her when she goes into "guard mode". There does seem to be some light at the end of the tunnel.

Westhighlander - I'm beginning to understand a little more about why things work. And yes, I agree self preservation is a wonderful motivator!

Can I get an opinion on something with the Weim? Wvasko - you mentioned that you've had Weims... so, I'm assuming you've experienced the separation anxiety issue with them. I crate all my dogs every night and when we leave the house. Would they be ok out of the crate? Probably... but I'd rather not take any chances when I'm not home. And while we used to sleep with the dogs, I've learned that I really like being able to reach out in the middle of the night and touch my husband without having to reach over a furball!

I converted my living room into a "kennel". All 3 of them have cages and at night we put them in their beds, say goodnight and walk away. Molly cries for the first hour, then goes to sleep - but she wakes up every hour or two and barks and cries. The trainer had said that if she got more exercise, that would probably stop... despite 2 hours at the dogpark for the past several days, we've still been in the same pattern. Understand - I've been living on sporadic sleep for about 8 months now (we didn't crate her at night when she had her cast on - she drooled so much in her crate that she had to have the cast replaced several times).

Last night I put her cage in my room - thinking maybe if she could see me then it would help. When she began to cry and get excited, I squirted her with water. It helped, she stopped and though it was still sporadic sleep - she never got into a full-on anxiety attack. But I'm wondering, am I doing the right thing? Is the water going to make her even more cage leary? Are there any other strategies you can recommend? By the way - Kongs and treats in the cage go ignored because she almost immediately goes into panic mode. I can't tell you how many beds have been ruined when she's been in one of her anxiety attacks. Currently she has several old towels as her bedding.

I'm really sorry for having so many questions... and please know, I'm really not an idiot... I just want to make sure that I'm doing the best for the dogs.
 

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I would continue water and see where it goes, you're not beating the dog with a stick or anything and if you are getting some positive results play it out. That's what dog training's all about. If it works you're a genius, if it doesn't you're a klutz. That's where that more knowledge thing comes in handy, it just give you more options to be a genius/klutz person. Nothing and I'm going to repeat, nothing is written in stone. What works for one dog may not work for the next hundred dogs.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks wvasko - your last post really made me think... I've been so freaked out about "doing it right" - that I forget... at least I'm doing SOMETHING. If I don't do it right, I can adjust...

Thanks so much for taking your time to talk to me about it... it's really helped.

I read your profile and see that you are a kennel owner and a dog trainer... what kind of dogs do you train mainly? Any specific breeds or types of dogs? Also - I know that you have owned Weimies... what other breeds have you/do you own?
 

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Thanks wvasko - your last post really made me think... I've been so freaked out about "doing it right" - that I forget... at least I'm doing SOMETHING. If I don't do it right, I can adjust...

Thanks so much for taking your time to talk to me about it... it's really helped.

I read your profile and see that you are a kennel owner and a dog trainer... what kind of dogs do you train mainly? Any specific breeds or types of dogs? Also - I know that you have owned Weimies... what other breeds have you/do you own?
Our personal dog is a GWP (German Wirehaired Pointer) I have to date trained 90 breeds. Through the years we have personally owned assorted German Breed dogs. GSPs, GSDs Rotties, Dobes etc.

Yes the worrying about doing it right is a problem because there is a tendency to think you are forever ruining your dog. Positive training and rank amateurs were made for each other because it's pretty foolproof as far as ruining your dog. Just start reading the stickies as there is plenty of great stuff to use/try etc. Negative work, when force is used much knowledge and experience because some dogs can be abused etc.
 
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