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Timeouts not working, and a defiant pup

2866 Views 11 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  Jinhee14
So my dog has been having a lot of behavioral issues since I got her, the most recent being tearing at the carpet. (At this point my poet deposit wont even cover it she's cost me a fortune already)/ Despite getting plenty of exercise, having dozens of fun toys, she still digs at and tears up the carpet. Other issues like digging at my bed sheets, or barking have been a problem as well. And I always put her on timeout when I catch her doing anything wrong. It's an empty room for her to be alone for a minute or two before coming back. At first, timeouts were becoming very effective at stopping behaviors such as unwanted barking late at night, or chewing up things she wasnt supposed to. And now all of a sudden they have completely stopped working. Is there any other training strategy that i can use to show her what works and what doesnt? After 2 months of having her it has proven rather difficult to find out the best training tactics for her. Despite all the methods I have tried and all the work I've put into correcting her previous owners shortcomings. She's a smart dog, she's just obnoxiously defiant and it's almost like she gets a kick out of intentionally ignoring redirection and correction of her behaviors. I have switched training treats several times to get her motivation for training up, and to give her a better reason to do what I want but it still doesnt work. I have tried getting anti chew sprays for my carpet, they dont work. I have tried getting her more toys, I have tried wearing her out more. And I just resorted to blocking off the spots she chews and digs at, but that is a temporary solution. What are some other effective ways to show my dog what works and what doesnt, since timeouts are proving so ineffective. I should add that she is about 7 months old give or take a few weeks, could all this defiance be just a thing relative to her age and her "teenage phase" and is it something that will go away, or is it something about her individually?
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Yes, 7 months old can be a difficult age. They're like teenagers. You're not as interesting anymore, and they're wanting to explore the world and push limits. She will likely grow out of some of it, but you will have to be consistent with enforcing boundaries.

The easiest way to stop bad behaviors is prevent them entirely. First, she should be supervised at all times since she clearly can't be trusted yet. If you see her doing something naughty, redirect to an appropriate toy. Praise her for using that toy. When you can't supervise, she should be crated or locked in a dog proof room.

For especially stubborn dogs that really enjoy chewing on everything, this may take a long time, but it's important to be consistent and stick with one method.
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The problem with the supervision bit is I just can’t watch her very second of every day.
Nobody expects you to watch her every minute of every day. That's impossible! But, when she is allowed to free roam, you need to keep an eye on her and actively be making sure she is exhibiting correct behaviors. This isn't forever, just until she can be trusted to make the right decisions by herself. You'd do need to find some way to manage her, though, whether that's using a crate, a tether, an ex-pen, or baby gates to keep her from destroying your apartment even more thoroughly.

I suggest looking up "Crate Games", which is a positive way to teach dogs about the crate. And yes, the crate can mean that you're leaving, but so does picking up your keys, putting on your coat, and, you know...walking out the door. Unless your dog is struggling with separation anxiety, leaving in itself should not be an issue. Millions of dogs all over the world have learned to accept that their owners do have to leave sometimes, but their crate is a positive place, so they don't mind going in! It doesn't hurt to at least try and see what happens, and if you don't like it then you can choose something else. It's really saves one's sanity when you're dealing with a pup!

I’ve contemplated an e-collar as a means to get her attention, focus on the command Im giving her and then reward her for listening.
Oh, I absolutely would not recommend that. Not with a puppy. Not with a puppy you suspected has been abused. In order for an e-collar to be effective, they first have to know exactly what is expected of them. A puppy that you have been training for two months DOES NOT fit that bill. And yes, some collars can emit a beep or a vibration, but please remember this: You do not decide what the dog considers aversive....the dog does. A beep or a vibration, although harmless from our perspective, can be absolutely terrifying to a dog.

If you do decide you want to move forward with an e-collar against our advice, please at least make sure to consult with a professional. And not a "zap the dog for everything" professional, but someone who can objectively evaluate your dog and teach you how to and how not to use the tool.

Please note, what you're experiencing is pretty normal for a 7 month old dog. It may seem that the dog is being purposefully spiteful and wants to make your life hell, but that's not true. It has a lot to do with their mental capacity for not being crazy. Impulse control is poor, their brains appear to fall out, and they can't seem to pay attention for more than 2 seconds, nor remember anything for 2 seconds. They really are like teenagers. It's not called the teenage phase for nothing!
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