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Hi,

I have in my household a mixed Retriever / Pyr that I have picked up off the street when he was 4 months old. That was about 2 years ago.

He has spent 3 weeks at a dog trainer and returned to us.
Last few months his behavior has become quite difficult with several regards.

He sometimes pees in the house, especially when we are entertaining guests.
He has become extremely aggressive towards other male dogs.
He is also sometimes agressive towards random people walking on the street, barking at them angrily.
Lately he tries to find any way to get out of the house and into the porch, opening windows and even breaking window blinds just last night.
When he's on the porch he likes walking on the railing like a cat, which is why we dont let him on the porch unsupervised, as we live on the 6th floor, and he's not too concerned with the aspect of falling off.
When going on a walk, he likes to pee multiple times, but that is nothing new.

He gets to go outside 3 times a day, in the evening for a long 45 min walk on a Halti leash.

I have brought another trainer to take a look give us some suggestions. Basically he suggested having him spayed, although that would have only a small effect according to him. He also wants to take the dog for another session of 3 weeks training in his pound, possibly using an electric collar.

Frankly, I'm not really sure what to do.
I have tried asserting much more discipline. The dog is no longer allowed to sleep in our bed and we stopped scratching his back. We are exerting more dominance over him, making sure he never walks first out of a door or elevator, and never leading the way. We are also trying to stop him from marking his territory in every corner by allowing him to pee only once at the beginning of the walk, but in that case he just pees on the ground while walking.

When he sees a stranger he doesnt like or a male dog, he doesnt care about anything anymore, not the commands, pulling or even an offered treat. He just becomes agressive until he can no longer see whatever he is angry with.

I am concerned about training with electric collar, since most resources I have read mention that this type of dog doesnt respond well to training with punishment, only to positive reinforcement, however it does not seem to work for me.

I am quite confused and would appreciate any help possible.

Thanks,

 

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Get the dog fixed(this can stop several of the issues you are specifically having), enroll in obedience class where you are present and doing the training/socialization, and more exercise(mentally and physical-not just a walk, we are talking playing catch, hiking, etc) This dog is bored and showing signs of possible fear aggression and several behavior issues...I would not advise the collar on this dog. The dog needs one on one time with its owner!! Good Luck:)
 

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He sometimes pees in the house, especially when we are entertaining guests.
This is most likely from nervousness/anxiousness, especially if you're allowing him to roam the house with large -or even small- groups of people there. If he has a crate, or you have a designated room, it could help to give him somewhere quiet to go when people are over, and supplying him with things to occupy his time, like toys, chews, etc.

He has become extremely aggressive towards other male dogs.
Neutering could help this by leaps and bounds.

He is also sometimes aggressive towards random people walking on the street, barking at them angrily.
There's a possibility that neutering would also help this.

Lately he tries to find any way to get out of the house and into the porch, opening windows and even breaking window blinds just last night.
When he's on the porch he likes walking on the railing like a cat, which is why we don't let him on the porch unsupervised, as we live on the 6th floor, and he's not too concerned with the aspect of falling off.
Sounds like boredom to me. I'd go back to the toys and more exercise.

When going on a walk, he likes to pee multiple times, but that is nothing new.
I believe most every dog does this.

He gets to go outside 3 times a day, in the evening for a long 45 min walk on a Halti leash.
What's he doing the other 2 times? 45 minutes may not be enough for him.

Basically he suggested having him spayed, although that would have only a small effect according to him. He also wants to take the dog for another session of 3 weeks training in his pound, possibly using an electric collar.
Actually, neutering could help calm him quite a bit. Personally, I wouldn't hand my dog over to a stranger for 3 weeks, because in my opinion it's not helping solve the problem you're having. You'd just be paying to have your dog trained at that facility, then possibly get home and have the same problems all over again. Please, don't use an electric collar on him. It's more likely to make your dog more fearful.


I have tried asserting much more discipline. The dog is no longer allowed to sleep in our bed and we stopped scratching his back. We are exerting more dominance over him, making sure he never walks first out of a door or elevator, and never leading the way. We are also trying to stop him from marking his territory in every corner by allowing him to pee only once at the beginning of the walk, but in that case he just pees on the ground while walking.
I'm going to give my honest opinion on this. I may or may not be wrong, others may say differently.
It doesn't sound like your dog's behavior is anything to do with a dominance problem. He spent 3 weeks away from you, and that probably has quite a bit to do with this.
By allowing your dog to only use the restroom once a walk is probably contributing to his urinating inside as well. How often does he go out to use the restroom? Is he on a schedule?

When he sees a stranger he doesnt like or a male dog, he doesnt care about anything anymore, not the commands, pulling or even an offered treat. He just becomes agressive until he can no longer see whatever he is angry with.
This is something you can work on with focus training, and the neutering. I'm teaching my own dog-aggressive dog to 'leave it', which means that if he gets tense, I give the command, and if he manages to lighten up and ignore whatever he's focused on, he gets praise. It's a lot of work though.
 

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Hi and thanks for your reply.

He spent 3 weeks getting trained 2 years ago, this behaviour is rather recent.
He doesnt have his own crate or room, and basically really doesnt like to be confined. When I took him in, I bought a crate for him, and trained him to use it. However he never used it happily, only when I instructed him to go inside. On cold winter nights I tried covering up the sofa and any warm place he could sleep with furniture, and left the crate as the only nice warm place for him. However he preferred sleeping on the freezing floor huddled instead of going to his crate by his own will.
He is also not interested in toys. He only wants to play games such as tug of war which involves another person.

He goes on a walk and is allowed to pee 3 times a day (morning, after-noonish and in the evening). He has his long 45 minute walk in the evening. The rest of the time it's just a hort 5-10 minutes walk, followed by climbing the stairs to the 6th floor instead of the lift.

He started occasionaly urinating in the house long before I tried stopping him from urinating every 10 feet.

He knows the leave it command, and he follows it (not very willingly).
However when he's gone berserk barking and wishing to attack another dog even dangling a juicy piece of sausage in front of him has no effect.
 

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Hi and thanks for your reply.

He spent 3 weeks getting trained 2 years ago, this behaviour is rather recent.
He doesnt have his own crate or room, and basically really doesnt like to be confined. When I took him in, I bought a crate for him, and trained him to use it. However he never used it happily, only when I instructed him to go inside. On cold winter nights I tried covering up the sofa and any warm place he could sleep with furniture, and left the crate as the only nice warm place for him. However he preferred sleeping on the freezing floor huddled instead of going to his crate by his own will.
He is also not interested in toys. He only wants to play games such as tug of war which involves another person.

He goes on a walk and is allowed to pee 3 times a day (morning, after-noonish and in the evening). He has his long 45 minute walk in the evening. The rest of the time it's just a hort 5-10 minutes walk, followed by climbing the stairs to the 6th floor instead of the lift.

He started occasionaly urinating in the house long before I tried stopping him from urinating every 10 feet.

He knows the leave it command, and he follows it (not very willingly).
However when he's gone berserk barking and wishing to attack another dog even dangling a juicy piece of sausage in front of him has no effect.
You need to do the training..get him in class with you as the handler. This dog needs more exercise other then just walking...play ball, tug o war, hiking(on a long lead). Neuter him asap so that all of the issues he has do not become behavioral.
 

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Get a vet check. May have bladder stones/UTI. Have a bloodworkup done including thyroid T-4 test. Low thyroid can cause increased aggression. Get him neutered. (neutering is the correct term...spaying is what is done to female dogs).

Buy a blacklight, and find old pee spots in your home. Clean with an enzyme cleaner like Nature's Miracle or Pets N Kids.

Many dogs are leash aggressive. There are ways to help stop it, but they involve desensitization...not electric collars. Electric collars will make aggression much worse.

He sounds underexercised. Try walking him briskly for 45 min twice a day, and do some training with him daily for about 15-20 min. If you see another person/dog, cross the street, turn around, etc to keep him out of his "danger/excitement" zone. Teach him "Look at me" command. Use that to get his attention on you. Desensitizing to other dogs involves keeping them just out of range, and treating, and then leaving before they can react. Gradually, you will be able to go closer. But the dog needs to be exercised appropriately (at least twice a day for 45 min...brisk walking/jogging), to avoid having them have excess energy that feeds anxiety/reactiveness.

Give up the "dominance" ideas. They are outdated, and proven not to work. Scratch his back as often as you'd like. You can try NILIF to help teach him what to expect.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Hi,

Thanks for all the advice. I've already submitted a urine sample since he sometimes leaves tiny drops of urine around the house. The results arent back yet.
I will neuter him as soon as possible.

It's very difficult to control the environment. Many of the smaller dogs here roam free unleashed, and it's a relatively dense urban area. By the time he sees another dog even from 150 feet away already he goes berserk.
Same goes for people. It's quite hard for me to determine which of the people he sees on the street he will react to. The vast majority of people he doesnt mind at all, only a few elicit this reaction from him.

I'll try walking him twice a day, hope it helps somewhat.
It's also impossible to unleash him and play fetch. He will just run away and start wandering the streets until I manage to corner him and catch him.
 

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Definitely keep him on a leash. If there is a fenced area, like a tennis court that isn't occupied where you can take him off leash, that would be fine, but lock the gate behind you to give you time to get him so people just can't walk in.

Manybe scour CL for a used treadmill and train him to that, to help get his energy out. Or can you drive somewhere less populated, and go hiking with him?
 

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Please try doing obedience classes WITH your dog. A dog isn't truly trained if somebody teaches it what to do and you don't do any maintenance on it (maybe you have, but I don't see any mention, so if I'm making a wrong assumption I apologize). The dog also needs to learn YOUR body language and expectations. Having a relationship with your dog is important too, just shipping him off and expecting to get "the perfect dog" sent back to you, that will remain the perfect dog forever with no effort is an unreasonable expectation (if that is indeed what you expected). Also, obedience class, from what I've seen is just as much about teaching the owners how to teach and interact with their dogs as it is about training the dogs. With an obedience class you both go to you might actually learn some good strategies on how to deal with some of the other issues you are experiencing (assuming the urinating issue isn't health related). Getting your dog fixed will hopefully help a little bit too, though I highly expect that interaction will help!

NILIF was suggested and I completely agree with that, its a great help, but as for being dominant "exerting discipline" or whatever....I wouldn't worry about that aside from the NILIF criteria. There needs to be rules, and consistency, but no need to stop petting and scratching, or banishing from the bed.

As for the barking at others....are you sure its "angry" barking? It could be anxiety, fear, or stress. I know your complaint about not being able to control the environment, I have that problem and we're not in an urban area (try controlling when deer show up! lol). All I can suggest is try to see the potential problems before your dog does, try to give positive experiences associated with the oncoming stimuli, treats etc. even before he sees it, but don't treat for the barking. How do you respond when the barking and pulling is happening? Are you getting mad or worked up, even a little? It can escalate things a bit, especially if you yell....just adds to the chaos. If you just stand there quietly and "be a tree" (provided your dog can't get hurt or get at anything that could cause problems) he might just calm down....once calm TREATS! Don't know if any of that will help, but it might be worth a shot! Good luck!
 

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No need to apologize, I havent mentioned it, but I have been doing obedience exercises with my dog sometimes. He is quite obedient unless riled up, or unless unleashed. If he is unleashed and free to escape - he will just escape and wander until cornered. Once cornered, he is obedient again. I'll try looking if there is any option for group obedience class in my area.
I'm not familiar with the NILIF method, do you have any reading material I could start with?

One of the reasons he was banished from the bed, is he hates when someone puts his legs on him. When on the bed asleep and someone puts legs on him, he would growl and then take off the bed angrily.
It's hard to tell why exactly is he barking, but he has chased male dogs in a couple of occasions when he surprised my girlfriend and managed to get loose. He got into a fight with another dog once near my old house, where one of the neighboring dogs that was allowed to roam free jumped at him and attacked. In that case he managed to tear off his leash and get into it with the other dog until I could separate the two.

In regards with barking at people, I can see his back hair is raised, but it's tough to tell why. It's obvious he's very anxious for some reason. I don't yell at him when he barks at people or dogs, I just stand there and attempt to relax him, get him to sit down and just relax. I dont get worked up, but it takes a toll trying to hold him, as he is quite big and powerful at 45kg.
 

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No need to apologize, I havent mentioned it, but I have been doing obedience exercises with my dog sometimes. He is quite obedient unless riled up, or unless unleashed. If he is unleashed and free to escape - he will just escape and wander until cornered. Once cornered, he is obedient again. I'll try looking if there is any option for group obedience class in my area.
I'm not familiar with the NILIF method, do you have any reading material I could start with?

One of the reasons he was banished from the bed, is he hates when someone puts his legs on him. When on the bed asleep and someone puts legs on him, he would growl and then take off the bed angrily.
It's hard to tell why exactly is he barking, but he has chased male dogs in a couple of occasions when he surprised my girlfriend and managed to get loose. He got into a fight with another dog once near my old house, where one of the neighboring dogs that was allowed to roam free jumped at him and attacked. In that case he managed to tear off his leash and get into it with the other dog until I could separate the two.

In regards with barking at people, I can see his back hair is raised, but it's tough to tell why. It's obvious he's very anxious for some reason. I don't yell at him when he barks at people or dogs, I just stand there and attempt to relax him, get him to sit down and just relax. I dont get worked up, but it takes a toll trying to hold him, as he is quite big and powerful at 45kg.
Try this-
http://www.dogforums.com/dog-training-forum/6856-nilif-nothing-life-free.html

If the link doesn't work, it's a sticky at the top of the training forum, about the 4th thread from the bottom of the stickies...up from new threads).
 
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