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Okay, well, I'm going to warn you all that this is going to be a long post, so if you don't have the time to read it, then spare yourself the agony. :p I've been going through a hard time. I'm seriously asking for advice, but also ranting at the same time, in hopes that someone will correct me, and tell me what I'm doing right, and what I'm doing wrong.

About a month and a half ago, I adopted a two year old schipperke/terrier mix. Despite the stereotypes her breeds may follow, she was extremely calm, which was the reason why I chose her. But as the weeks go by, she seems more and more hyper, and disobedient. She used to sit almost every time I told her to before leashing her, now it's a struggle to get her to pay attention to me. She used to always come to me when I called her name, and now she only does it sometimes. I know dogs can get into funks where they kinda forget what they've been taught, but it's making me feel like I lost my "pack leader" status, or that I've lost her respect. I tried reteaching her her name, in hopes that she'll respond to it more now, but I don't know if it worked.

Lately, her tail has been straight up lately, which usually means dominance/confidence. I'm starting to fear that she's becoming overly confident, and that's why she won't listen to me anymore. Ever since the first day I got her, I haven't allowed her on the carpet while my family eats (the dinner table is on carpet), so she's not begging and bothering us while we eat. She picked it up right away, and was perfectly behaved, until recently. I admit, I am at fault here, because I would let her play with her toys on the carpet while we're not eating dinner, since the rest of the area I've allowed her in so far is hard floor, and she slips and slides a lot on it. I guess since I've allowed her to do that for a while, she's gotten confused, and now I spend more than half of my dinner time trying to get her to stay off the carpet. No matter how many times I praise her and treat her for coming off the carpet, she just won't stay off.

The only tricks/commands/cues/whatever-you-want-to-call-it she knows is sit...and that's it. I'm not entirely sure how to teach her anything else. I've watched countless videos, episodes of whatever dog show you can think of, read books, but it's very hard for me to learn anything without having an actual person show me. To be honest, no book or video tells you the reality of how long it takes for a dog to really learn a cue, so please, tell me, how long should I teach my dog something per day, and how long will it take for her to learn it? I feel awful because I feel like I'm not giving my dog enough mental stimulation. I've tried teaching her stay and come, but neither are effective, and I'm not sure if it's because I'm not spending enough time teaching it to her, if it's because I'm doing it wrong, or both.

So far, I've only allowed my dog access to the kitchen and the living room (they're right next to each other). I remember learning from a book or a video that as the weeks go on, you should introduce the dog to other sections of the house. I'd really like to trust my dog with the rest of the house, but I know I can't. She still has an accident in the house every once in a while. I've brought her into the basement with me a couple times, so she can be with me while I'm on the computer, but she goes off everywhere, and occasionally tries to pick something up to eat, etc, etc. She also paces a lot, sniffing around everywhere down here, and it makes me nervous, and I'm not sure if I should be. Is it because she's bored? Or is it because she's just curious? How can I let her know that she doesn't own this part of the house, and I do? How do I introduce my dog to a knew part of the home? I know this is going to take months and months, I just need to know that I'm doing things right.

Since her temperament is changing, is it because she's becoming more comfortable in the home? If it is, that makes me happy, but I don't want her becoming overly confident, and thinking she can do whatever she wants. I'm afraid that if she's going to become more and more hyper, and that I won't be able to control her, and that I might end up taking her back (God forbid). I know, I'm totally thinking the worse case scenario, but I'm a worry-wart, who's lost. She's also starting to pant more and more lately, as opposed to how she used to be extremely calm and laid back. Also, how can I introduce my dog to a new situation well? I've brought her to a lake by my house a couple times, and to my boyfriend's house a couple times, and she paces around and whimpers, and then is fine when we come home. I'm worried that I'm spoiling her somehow and not knowing it. Also, recently, she's actually starting to eat all of her meals, instead of eating most of it, and leaving some of it. (I feed her twice a day- once in the morning, and once at night). And not only that, but she's starting to actually beg. I know it sounds funny, but she didn't used to do that.

I'd also like to know if I'm spending enough time exercising my dog and playing with her. I walk my dog at around 9:30 in the morning for 45 minutes to an hour, and then feed her after wards. (I know I probably have to wake up earlier than that-- I'm really really trying to. It's hard to sleep when you're so worried). After that, we play together and hang out together for a couple of hours. It's about 1 pm at that time, so I put her in the crate (since she can't be trusted alone yet), and go do my own thing for four or five hours, then by then it's dinner time, and I feed her, and hang out with her more and play with her more for a couple more hours, and then I leave her, but at this time of the day, my family is usually around, so she's not alone. Please, I know it's okay to leave her in there for that long, because she needs to be prepared for when I get a job and/or start college. She also needs to learn to hold her bladder so she doesn't have accidents in the house. If anyone says the words "learned helplessness," I'll go nuts.

Overall, I just want my dog to be happy and fulfilled, and I'm not sure if I'm doing anything right, at all. I'm often afraid that she's bored, but a lot of the times when I try to play with her, she's not interested and just wants to lounge, and then other times, she has these spurts of uber hyperness, and then she acts nuts. Help me, please? :( feel totally lost.
 

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First and foremost piece of advice: RELAX! As far as I can tell, the problems you're facing are VERY minor and very typical of new dog ownership. ANY dog owner will face these issues with a new dog, even the most experienced ones. They are easy to fix. You're doing great so far. So stop stressing and chill out, because the more anxious and agitated you are, the more confusing dog training seems, when it's actually very simple once you look at it from afar.

Done? Fantastic. Moving on.

Yes, it does sound like she's becoming more comfortable and confident, but this is entirely a good thing. Forget about terms like control of dominance, alpha status... they aren't completely irrelevant to dog training, but you're not in a position where you have to worry about those things at all.

I'll try to address the issues one by one. First off, the carpet. You're right about her being confused as to whether she can step on the carpet or not, since you let her sometimes and not other times. Set down the rules - for example, "dog is not allowed on the carpet EVER." Or, "dog is not allowed in the dining room while we are eating." Or, "dog is allowed on the carpet, but only after being given permission." Then, enforce the rules. Not having seen you or your dog, I can't be absolutely sure about this, but your timing may be off in getting her off the carpet. She's learned to move away when you try to get her off the carpet, but she doesn't know she's not supposed to be on there in the first place. You need to supervise her carefully, watch where she's going and correct her with a verbal reprimand ("ah ah") before she even steps on the carpet. If she ignores the reprimand, body block her off -- no need to hit or even touch her, just physically move into her space, causing her to walk backwards. Once all four paws are on hardwood, or she's far enough from the carpet for you to be happy, praise.

Regarding cues, have you considered attending an obedience class? I really think you guys would enjoy it, and it would help you a lot. Cues like "stay" and "come" are very important and can save your dog's life. How are you going about teaching them? I can't really say how long it takes a dog to learn a cue -- obviously that's contingent on both the dog and the trainer. I will, however, advise you to keep training sessions short. 10-15 minutes at the maximum, quitting before your dog gets bored or loses interest. Dogs have short attention spans. Two short sessions a day should be sufficient.

If you're unsure about giving your dog free roam of the house, you can tether her to you with a leash while you're using the computer. Let her sniff around and pace, it's fine. Don't worry about whether she thinks she "owns" the living room or the basement or whatever. Even I can't really say with 100% certainty whether I "own" my room or my parents do. Keep up the housetraining to cut down on accidents -- don't forget to use an enzymatic cleaner to clean up. Does she chew up furniture in the kitchen and living room when left unsupervised?

Let her deal with new situations on her own... new settings, places, people, etc. Unless she is visibly defensive -- ears back, eyes wide, tail between legs, shivering -- or aggressive, she will build the confidence on her own. Do what you can to make new experiences positive. If she seems uncertain, reinforce with treats, praise, toys and games to make her realise that she's in a good place and nothing awful is going to happen to her.

Eating all her meals is a wonderful thing. Great.

What do you mean by "starting to beg"?

45 minutes to an hour of walking seems okay with playtime on top of that. It sounds like you're spending a wonderful amount of time with your dog, many than a lot of DF members can afford to spend with theirs, so don't worry about neglecting her or anything.

Lastly, I'd like you to read this: http://k9deb.com/nilif.htm It's a great program that's easy to practice, and it's non-confrontational and stress-free. Be sure that it's practiced by every member of the family. Give some thought to that obedience class, too. It'll be a great way for her to build confidence in a positive way, and for you to gain assurance that you're on the right track. All the best!
 

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Start practicing N.I.L.I.F, it's a sticky in the training section of the forum. It pretty much means, you make the dog work for anything it wants. Dog wants attention, dog must sit for attention. Dog wants dinner, dog must sit. Dog wants to go outside, dog must sit for leash and sit before going out of the door, etc...

How fast a dog learns depends on age, breed, etc..My 2 year old lab/cattle dog I just rescued learned sit/stay/down in a day, while my 9 week old mastiff/boxer has only mastered sit and a decent recall in the past week...haha You can train him every day for 5-15 minutes. You can use a favorite toy as a reward or food, just keep it fun! If you see the dog obviously looking bored, bring out a favorite toy and throw it around.

It does sound like he is a little bored and untrained and terriers are normally quite hyper and like to run around a lot. You can go to fenced in parks, or places like that and really let him burn off some of that terrier energy(their like giant feisty dogs in little bodies)

Terriers can be quite the little terrors(but I love um'!)

Most adult dogs can be left alone for that long. Just tire her out a ton before you leave and give her stuff to do in her kennel like a kong or some yummy bones. Get her used to being alone, don't just dump her in the kennel for 6 hours. Start with short periods of time so she knows you aren't leaving and not coming back.

You just sound worried, take it easy and enjoy the little terrier!

If she's having accidents, keep her tied to you, or don't let her out of your sight so you can correct her and immediately go outside.

Some people don't let their dogs explore the whole house, and some people do. I let my dogs check out the whole house at first, but don't let them out of my sight until they have bladder control/are house trained.
 

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I don't want you to be stressed out about how "fast" or "slow" your dog learns commands. A dog may pick up on "sit" the first day he reaches home, but that doesn't necessarily mean he'll "sit" in the park, in the store surrounded by a crowd, when cued to from a distance, when off leash... and you need to keep working on different locations and scenarios and distraction levels. Training isn't about how many cues you can familiarise your pet with in a week. It's an ongoing process.
 

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You must remain the boss. They know when they can take advantage of you,they see it in your face. If they don't come get a long leash while you are sitting around in your living room. Say come and if the dog doesn't come give them a slight tug and treat when they come. When you go in and out of the house,you go first,they sit and WAIT and then you say come.You are in control. Use treats they love like little slices of hot dogs. If you are trying to keep them off the carpet, you'll probably lose that battle. Unless you can get a baby gate and block them out. My dogs think the carpet is like grass. They love to run on the carpet,not as much on the hardwood floors. When they were younger they would occasionally poop on the grass in the house. You need to feed on a schedule,the same every day. After they eat in about 1 to 2 hours they need to go poop. Younger dogs have to go more often. Older dogs go lees often. My 2 poop about 3 times a day. Don't let them have the run of the whole house. When I leave they can go in the kitchen,living room,a bathroom and a hall at my house. All these rooms have tile or hardwood. The bedrooms have grass,I mean carpet. If they beg at the table or when I am eating they don't get anything. If they sit patiently and just watch, I usually give them a few bites of any meat or vegtables I am eating. It can take 2 or 3 weeks to teach a dog a trick. They are like people some are fast learners and some are not. I have 2 Mini Schnauzers which are sisters.It took me one day to teach one of them to speak and 2 weeks to teach the other one. They have different temperments. You are going about the feeding wrong. Feed them when they first get up, wait a short time and then take them on a walk>guaranteed poop and pee time. At night do the same thing. This will get the dog on a schedule>don't feed all day long>if they don't eat when you put the food down take it up. Put it in the ref and give it to them the next feeding>they'll eat it all this time. Pretty soon the dog will understand you are the boss,you go first in and out the door and they will still love you just as much as when they had the upper hand. Don't worry be strong about it! It's just a little dog. Mine mind pretty good, only problem I have is one doesn't come good outside>so until she learns> she stays on a leash. They get bored left in the house to much,a couple of good walks a day and they get some smells and some bathroom time>Keep the Schedule>they like a schedule. David
 

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Echo, I don't think JLWillow needs to worry about walking in and out the door in front of her dog or her dog seeing that her vulnerabilities in her face. I think JLW has a perfectly happy, stable little dog who is adjusting well into a new home, who is perfectly clear on who is in control of her resources, and who is merely unsure of some simple boundaries in the house.

I also don't think JLW needs any more pressure placed on her about staying in control and being the pack leader.
 

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I can also recommend The Complete Idiot's Guide to Positive Dog Training by Pamela Dennison. (No insult intended by the title, of course!) It is a good guide with some background info about dog behavior and the important basics about training. I find having a book helpful as it is a little easier to keep referring back to it than a website sometimes.

Hang in there. It sounds like you are doing a good job and I would have to agree about the dominance thing. I went to a great seminar with Jean Donaldson last year and she made clear that the whole idea of dominance is over rated.

Anyone who cares as much about the dog and who is taking the time you are will end up with a well-trained dog. Hang in there.
 

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Lots of good advice here. New dogs can take up to three months to totally settle in and feel safe in their new home...their "real" personalities start to show up..for good or for bad..but usually good!

Yes, the "Idiots Guide to Positive Dog Training" is a fantastic book. It can really help to get you started.

And yes, give up the alpha thing..you are reading WAY too much into that. Being a leader and in control IS important but a dog's TAIL being up says she's feeling confident and confidence is a GOOD thing, not a bad thing. Take a look at some info on body language (you can google it, and be sure to check out "calming signals" as well) but there are also good books and dvd's out there on dog body language "Canine Body Language: a Photographic Guide" by Brenda Aloff is good but not cheap..maybe check out your library to see if they have something you can look at.

Dogs are diurnal, their most active times are at dawn and dusk so a walk, a training session and some play time BOTH morning and evening helps them to burn some of that energy, both mental and physical.

As for the dining room..why don't you get her a mat to hang out on during dinner, teach her to go to the mat and stay there. Give her a kong filled with kibble or other goodies to work on while she's there so you can enjoy the dinner and she doesn't get in the habit of begging at the table.

And yes, Relax. Dogs do not sit there and plan how to take over the world while you are not looking. The trick to training is to figure out what you WANT the dog to do in certain situations..not what you DONT WANT. ONce you've figured out what you want, that is what you teach them.

Good luck and thanks for rescuing.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Thank you all for your supportive responses! It really helps to ease my mind a lot. I will start answering what you guys have addressed to me.

rosemaryninja: I do body block her off the carpet, and use a verbal reprimand, and I do pet her and praise her once she's off the carpet. I have considered attending an obedience class, it's just the most local thing for me is a Petsmart, and I've heard that they don't always guarantee a trainer who's experienced and knows what they're doing. And I'm assuming that getting training from a chain store will be expensive, and I don't have money right now, and I'm not going to make my parents pay for anything more than they have to. When she's in a new situation, like a park or a person's house, she just seems restless. She paces and sniffs everything. I remember trying to keep her in place to calm down at the park, and she started to whimper. I did give her treats when I brought her to my boyfriend's house, but she still seemed really uneasy. Her tail wasn't between her legs or anything, but she was panting and pacing a lot (even after feeding and bringing her outside to go to the bathroom). I don't mind letting her sniff and roam the basement, I'm just afraid that she's going to go in a corner where I can't see and pee. I guess I'll just have to keep a really close eye on her! The problem I really have with training sessions is that she's extremely easily distracted. Even if I have peanut butter, I still can't keep her attention for that long. Does that mean I should just keep the training sessions really short?

Oh, and what I meant by starting to beg is that she would not beg for food at first, and wouldn't eat food that fell on the floor. Basically, act the total opposite way about food that a normal dog would. She is starting to beg though, and that's why I think she's become so desperate to get on the carpet when we eat.

Pepper: I do make my dog sit for many things. I make her sit and give me eye contact before I feed her, I make her sit before I leash her, and she's either calm and laying down when I pet her, or I pat my leg for her to come up to me, and I pet her. She is very used to the crate now, and goes in there on her own when she's sleepy at around 10:00. I'm confident in that I've taught her well in that aspect, and that she likes her crate. I unfortunately do not have a Kong toy yet, but I am looking to get one, I just don't know which kind I should get her. She's only had accidents when I'm not in the room and my family is watching her instead of myself. And trust me, I have yelled at them for not keeping a close watch on her. :p

Echo: I do make sure that I go through the door first, but I don't make her sit there and wait for me to tell her to come through. She is learning that she's not allowed through the doorway without me, because if I stand there with the door open right in front of us, she'll wait for me to go first. Well, as long as she's on a leash, I don't know how she'd act off the leash, but that'll come in time. I wait to feed my dog after the walk because I feel that making her walk first, is like making her work for her meal, and I'm sure that it tires her out during the walk easier because she's hungry. (I hope that doesn't sound abusive or anything, because that is not the intention!) I'm pretty sure that I'm winning the battle of the carpet, because she's catching on, and she does usually lay down calmly after being corrected twenty times or so. :p

Lwood: Thank you, and I will look into that book. I'll try not to think so "dominantly," it's just so hard to know what to think about dog training when you watch Cesar Millan or Victoria Stillwell. I've also watched how well clicker training works. I just don't know what to believe and what's really the best way to train/treat my dog.

Cracker: I did give her a rug to lay on when my family and I eat dinner, and put toys on there for her, but she's strange, and most times prefers just laying on the floor. I feed her at the same time we eat, but it doesn't seem to calm her stomach, because she still gets excited when we eat. I guess she's just being a beggar.

I'd also like to address another issue that has come up. My dog has recently started to bark at the door bell, which I don't mind all that much, it's just I don't think it's a "someone's here!" bark. She growls and barks, and it doesn't seem like in a good excited manner. I've tried body blocking her, the poke, and saying in a firm tone "enough" with hand motions, and she doesn't stop growling and barking until she sees the person for a couple seconds. I really don't want people who come into my house to be barked at. People who don't own dogs don't really bother to understand them, and I don't want people being afraid of my dog because she barks. Should I try treating her when she hears the doorbell? What should I do to get her to stop? And how do I know it's not an aggressive bark?
 

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I would also observe that there are a lot of differences between Cesar Milan and Victoria Stilwell. I much prefer Victoria. She emphasizes the positive method and her results are likely to be longer lasting if research that I have seen holds out.

One more thing, it doesn't have to be super complicated. I know I have never been able to figure out how to hold a clicker, a treat, a leash, a poop bag, whatever, and manage to effectively time rewards, etc. I keep a pocket full of little treats. Try taking some cooked chicken or pork, cutting it into little pieces and then letting it dry out so it doesn't get gross in your pocket. Or Solid Gold or some other soft, small treat (they can be quite small, your dog will likely love the idea of the treat almost as much as the treat). When the dog does something you approve of (like sit on the floor and not the carpet during dinner), immediately give a reward marker word or sound that will be distinct, and then give a treat immediately. So I say a firm sharp (not angry) "yes" and immediately produce the treat. Eventually, you'll get good enough at the timing that the dog knows that your "yes" means good things and you won't have to treat every single time. But have the treats ready because you don't want to say "yes" and then provide the treat 3 minutes later after you've fished it out of your pocket. It should be in the dog's mouth within a second or two of the marker word.

Mark all those positive behaviors, ignore ones that you would like to extinguish (as long as they are not ones that will cause her or anyone else any harm) and before long you will find that she thinks you and everything you do, is just wonderful. It takes time but I had never owned dogs or lived with them until I got my first dog a few years ago and I picked it up and am now a dog addict. But, I do not want a dog that is not trained and does not know how to live civilly around people. No one likes that.
 

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I much prefer Victoria.
YAY!!!! :D

About the barking, the easiest way to teach a dog not to bark, is to teach them the command speak, and the command quiet. Barking at the doorbell is just alerting you to the fact that someone is there. In my opinion, a few barks is okay, but some dogs do go over board!

If you can, have a friend come over and ring the doorbell, ignore all the barking behavior, and only treat or praise when the dog is calm, or is showing the behavior you want. You can repeat the exercise as many times as you want.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
YAY!!!! :D

About the barking, the easiest way to teach a dog not to bark, is to teach them the command speak, and the command quiet. Barking at the doorbell is just alerting you to the fact that someone is there. In my opinion, a few barks is okay, but some dogs do go over board!

If you can, have a friend come over and ring the doorbell, ignore all the barking behavior, and only treat or praise when the dog is calm, or is showing the behavior you want. You can repeat the exercise as many times as you want.
Even if she's growling at the doorbell, it's just an alerting bark?

I appreciate both Cesar and Victoria. I like and dislike things about both of them.
 

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Unless she attacks the visitor(which would probably be a sign of territorial aggression), then yes, she's just wondering who's at her house and is telling you in case you didn't know!
 
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