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Our Boxer Baboune died this fall, we adopted a new friend, an 18 months Boxer named Fifille.

We are a family of five with three children aged 1, 3 and 5 years.

I adopted my first Boxer baby, and had then taken care of all his education. She remained still an energetic boxer, though very well trained. With children, the Quebec winter, we decided this time to adopt an adult dog, to avoid the joys of potty training.

Fefille comes from a family of four including twins of 2 years. She is used to children. They left her in a cage when they left. She poops outside, sits, lies down, that's fine, but that's it!

The adoption of Fifille is still fresh. Not even two weeks

She has some disturbing behavior. The question of her climbing up in the bed at night and on the couchs, something that was probably allowed by his former owners, is almost already resolved. But, she steals food from my children, she eats food on the kitchen counter, she only comes when she feels like it when I call her name.

I am perfectly comfortable with the Pavlovian principles , I'm more the type to reward than punish. But the problem is that Fifille really does not respond to the command "NO". I reward when she comes when I summon her, when she sits down, etc., but when she steals my children's lunch, she climbs onto the kitchen table to eat leftovers, etc., I'm saying NO ! she really does not react.

So all the characteristics of a more dominant dog of what I'm used to, it doesn't scare me to put more energy to train this dog. The walk goes perfectly. I took her for a walk almost everyday (damn wheater!)

I was on vacation last week, but this week she is alone at home. Early in the week, we have attached to the banister as we did with our previous dog before trust is built, but total failure. Incredible damage. We bought a cage the day before yesterday. Fefille was happy. We thought that she was used to it before, that then all the better for it. She slept in the cage by reflex. This is my wife who puts her in the cage in the morning. Yesterday, no problem, but this morning she refused to enter, and my wife was even afraid of being bit at a time. The ride lasted 20 minutes.

Certainly I am not very cheerful for this situation. If something happened to my family, I'd never forgive myself. It is a playful dog, not aggressive, but...stubborn!

My questions are as follows: What do you think? It is recoverable? Where do I start?
 

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Well last June a Boxer was dropped off for board and that's the last we saw of owner. Pierce just turned 2 on 12/7/11. 1st thing I did was a month of straight obedience work during which I crate broke him. He still not liking the crate but life is tough then you die. His 1st full day in home was 10/16/11. This dog was a wild child when I started him but slowly he is changing his outlook on being civilized in home and elsewhere. 50 yrs of training and this dog has also taught me a few things. So it's an even trade, we have both learned from each other. I surely would advise more patience.
 

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Very recoverable, just needs to learn Your rules.... It sounds like she is a very good dog that has learned the rules of the old house. Now she needs ot be taught the rules of her new home. FeFille does not know the 'command' NO! .... However, I recommend that you look on Youtube etc. and teach her the cue for "Leave It!" and use that when she steals food. I imagine that when she steals food from the kids that she is nonaggressive, simply decides to share ... and may back off if the kids pushed the dog away (My dog is a food thief... harmless but persistent.)

You'll also have to teach her "Off!" for when you catch her on the furniture, but you'll have to block the furniture with pillows, etc. while you're "re-training" her manners.

I suggest not tying her, because she hasn't learned to be comfortable. You might want to get some child gates to enclose her in an area.

For the crate, go through basic crate training with her. For example, giver her a treat, then throw a treat in the crate, letting her go in and come out. then throw another one in. Then, get a good, stuffed Kong, put it in the crate, then close the door so FeFille can't get to it. Let her claw and try to get in. Shortly she will get frustrated and look at you - then you have her! Let her into the crate to get the Kong, and close the gate, letting her chew the Kong... then hopefully fall asleep in the crate.

BTW, Don't let wvasko mislead you. Pierce is a great dog. It did not take wvasko 50 years to train him ! :)
 

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BTW, Don't let wvasko mislead you. Pierce is a great dog. It did not take wvasko 50 years to train him ! :)
Well that was previous training, of many dogs, but does not include the 49.5 yrs left that I will need to get Pierce finished.

Oh that pillow stuff did not work with Pierce as he has whupped me bad 3 times in pillow fights that he has grabbed off of different pieces of furniture.
 

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This is always tough, just when you think you've figured out these little creatures, they throw you a curveball! Have you tried training the dog with a clicker? I know it's lame, but perhaps changing the "sound" of the command (instead of "NO" it turns to "click") the dog will respond differently. Plus it removes your sound from the equation which could help as well. I have found this article to be a bit basic, but i like basics because they are the foundation of anything. I think you might be able to use the strategy it outlines and adjust it to your need? Just a thought.

To answer your other question, I certainly think it is recoverable! I once had a lab who developed some nasty eating habits (very protective over food), but over time we worked with her and she eventually learned to relax during feeding time. I know that isn't a direct "1 for 1" example, but i suppose it shows the point.

Most off, stay in there and don't get discouraged! You'll get through it!
 

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It is recoverable?
Sure it is. You just need to take the time to train her.

she steals food from my children, she eats food on the kitchen counter
For the food issues, you should teach her the self-control to "leave it." Search for "food zen." Check out the sticky in this forum called "Doggy Zen" to get started. You'll have to watch her closely when she has access to the kitchen counter or your kids when they have food... and don't allow her to steal it anymore, because the act is self-rewarding. If possible, don't leave any food within her reach on tables or counters. If someone is not around to supervise her behavior, she needs to be in her crate or gated off in a room where she can't get into trouble.

she only comes when she feels like it when I call her name.
Retrain her recall. One way to start is to play a game... you and your wife could stand on opposite ends of a room, or at opposite ends of the house, and take turns calling the dog. One person calls while the other person completely ignores the dog. When the dog responds and comes to the person calling, that person rewards her with a treat. Then the other person calls her. You repeat the game over and over, until you have her running back and forth between both of you for rewards.

Here's the important part of the game: DON'T use your recall cue in the beginning. If you want her permanent recall to be "Fifille, come" then don't say that at first. You must wait until she clearly understands the game and you KNOW she is going to come before you introduce the cue. At the start of the game, use other means like clapping, hand gestures, saying other things like "I'm over here I'm over here!"... anything that is not your real "come" cue is fine. The idea is that during training, you never want to say the real cue "Fifille, come" when there is a chance that she might change her mind and wander off... if you let her ignore it, she will learn that the recall is optional.

So when you have her running back and forth quickly, then you can introduce your real cue. You say it when she is already on her way coming back to you. Repeat it this way many times, so the word is only said when she is sure to be coming. Eventually she will associate the word with coming.

You should play the game in short sessions many times to practice. It doesn't have to be time-consuming. Just play for 5 minutes a day, and add the cue when you feel it is appropriate. At some point, when you think she's had enough repetitions, try using her cue word when you are not playing the game, and see if she responds. Be ready to give her a big reward if she does! The more you build up the cue with rewards, the more likely she will listen to it when you really need it.

But the problem is that Fifille really does not respond to the command "NO".
Of course she doesn't. She doesn't know English... the word "no" means nothing to her until you train what you WANT her to do instead. This is where teaching "leave it" makes sense.

Early in the week, we have attached to the banister as we did with our previous dog before trust is built, but total failure. Incredible damage. We bought a cage the day before yesterday.
Buying a crate for her sounds like a much better plan than tying her to a banister. She may have been used to a crate at her old home, but this is a new one in a new place and she needs to become accustomed to it. It should be easy if she was already crate trained, though. Spend a bit of time making it a place where good things happen, like hanksimon said, and only leave her in it for short periods of time at first. However, if she starts fussing and whining, do not let her out during this behavior. Only let her out of the crate while she is calm and quiet.

this morning she refused to enter, and my wife was even afraid of being bit at a time.
How are you (or your wife) putting the dog into the crate? You said she is not aggressive, so what was she doing to cause your wife's fear of being bit?
 

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Have you tried training the dog with a clicker? I know it's lame, but perhaps changing the "sound" of the command (instead of "NO" it turns to "click") the dog will respond differently. Plus it removes your sound from the equation which could help as well.
The link you provided has some good tips. However, I do not understand what you are suggesting here. I'm a newbie to clicker training myself, but the click sound is supposed to mark the moment when a desired behavior happens. Why would you ever want to replace the word "no" with a click?

ETA: nuwave59, if you would like to try clicker training, please do read an explanation of how it works and how to do it properly before you start clicking at your dog. ;)
 

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I completely agree with everything everyone has suggested.
One thing that comes to mind for me is the counter surfing, I would try Kikopup's Counter surfing video
She's not big on using no or anything, but you could use her technique and any time your dog tries to get at stuff, say no, and when they sit, or back up, say yes, or click. Just a thought. There is also the positive distractor (I can't find the video right now, but its on her youtube channel). You can use a noise that will make them pay attention to you instead of doing what they are doing. Pretty useful.
 

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Kikopup has a series of videos on 'leave it'. Here's video #1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pEeS2dPpPtA

Here's another video from her on crate training: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dUzF0g0PwY4

You need to manage her food snatching for now. Stealing food like that is a very rewarding behavior. You can start by setting up a baby gate while your children are eating. What I would do, buy a mat or bed that will be her "place". While the kids eat, you focus on the dog. Have her lay down on the bed and keep rewarding as she continues to lay down. Similar to teaching a stay, don't expect her to lay there for five minutes without a reward for the first trials. Reward frequently. Then YOU stand up, walk around, flip through a magazine. Keep rewarding for staying on the bed. If she gets up to approach the children while they still have food, give her a no reward marker such as "too bad" or "nope" and lead her into an empty room such as the bathroom for a 15-20 SECOND time out. Open the door, tell her to sit, and lead her back to the bed to start over. It may be a good idea to let her drag a leash while you practice so that you can head off any attempts to snatch food. Eventually, this will become a default behavior as long as you make it rewarding enough.

Start feeding her meals in the crate. When you leave the house, give her a kong filled with peanut butter. If you give her bones, give them to her in the crate. You want the crate to become a rewarding place.
 
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