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Hi there,

I posted about our new dog and our baby and appreciated the help! There are a few other issues we're having and there is so much information online that sometimes seems contradictory. I'd love to hear from real pet owners what is the best way to handle it, especially with a dog that is still getting adjusted to our home (we've had him for 1.5 weeks).

1) Barking when we have food
Probably because he previously lived outside and had to fend for himself, he gets very excited over food. I don't know what to do when we're eating meals at our dining room table. He becomes destructive when we confine him in our den and so that is not an option. I have tried ignoring him when we're at the table and that's when the barking starts. Should we just keep ignoring? I hate to put him in his crate because we normally put him in the crate for ~20 minutes about an hour after dinner when we're getting all our kids in bed because all the commotion gets him extremely hyper.

2) Leash pulling
Although I don't think he'd ever been on a leash much, he's actually not terrible. He is fine with me putting the leash on but does attempt to walk out in front of me. Some things I've read say use a harness--some say don't. Some say turn in the opposite direction. Some say stand still. I'm confused!

3) Getting on furniture
We allow him to get on the couch in our den and have assigned him a chair in the living room that he's allowed to be one, but we don't want him on our living room couches. He seems to understand this, evidenced by the fact that he will get on the "no" couches to get our attention. What is the appropriate way to correct this? We have tried putting treats on the ground to get him off, also tried pulling/picking him up to get him off... I'm fine with consistency and know it is a journey but just don't know the best thing to do.

4) Confining him
I feel kind of like he has power over us as we do have baby gates but he is quite able to jump over them or go under them. If we put up two in a doorway it does confine him but then we can't move around our house.

5) Outside
We don't have a completely fenced in yard, but we have a nice long lead in the back yard. I'd love to be able to put him out there for short periods of time, for example, when I'm feeding the baby. However, he often barks when we do this. Is that OK? Should I just keep trying it until he's used to it, or is it a bad idea? We do go for plenty of long walks and let him explore the backyard with us, so it's not like that's his only outside time.

I realize this is a lot... any help is so appreciated!
 

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1. He's barking because he wants the food/attention. So yes, ignore him. We ignored my dog for 2 weeks straight when he would bark at us while we were eating. It was miserable, but he learned that barking got him absolutely nothing, so he stopped and left us in peace. Crate him if you have to. Either way, he will probably complain about it until he learns that complaining doesn't get him anywhere.

2. There are many methods to teach this. Use the one that works best for you. Typically, they're pulling because they want to get somewhere fast. I used the "stop and be a tree" method. When my dog pulled, I stopped and waited for him to release pressure, then continued. I do allow my dog to walk out in front of me and do whatever as long as he's not pulling, but if you want your dog to walk beside you, I would use treats to lure him into position, and reward him for being there. Only move forward if he is in the correct position.

3. Wherever he can't be on the furniture, make sure there is a bed for him in that room. Teach him that is a really awesome place to be. Whenever he tries to get on the furniture in the living room, tell him "off" and lure him back to his bed. Periodically reward him for staying on the bed.

4. Management and confinement is part of having a dog that is new to living in a house. You can also try tethering him to you, so that he can't go far beyond your reach, but if that is not something you want to do baby gates or the crate is the best option. It's inconvenient, but its most likely not forever. Just until he learns proper house manners.

5. It's generally not recommended to tether a dog outside without supervision. Neighbors may tire of the barking, people are mean and tease or steal dogs, and the dog could hurt itself or get tangled. Instead, just put him in the crate when you are otherwise occupied. If you are outside with him and tie him, yeah, that's fine.
 

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You've got quite a bit going on....

Barking when you have food: Work on giving him something else to do like resting on a mat. Teach the mat skill when you're not eating and gradually add eating as a distraction. You might eat a few snacks at your table while regularly rewarding him for staying on his mat. You can also work on impulse control exercises like doggy zen and it's yer choice. You don't want him to practice the barking while you're working on a more desirable behavior, so putting him in a crate with a chew or his own dinner is fine. It won't be forever. Ignoring him might work, but it's hard to do. And you don't know what he might do instead. Giving him a "job" (e.g., stay on your mat) allows you to teach him an acceptable behavior and gives him a way to earn reinforcement.

Leash pulling: Is he actually pulling or just walking in front of you? My favorite way to teach loose lead walking is by reinforcing the dog for being in the desired location; you can do it on or off (in a safe location) leash. Ideally you'd work on it in low distraction areas first (like your living room). There are some good videos showing the choose to heel method that can show you what I mean. I prefer harnesses for safety, but the choice is yours. No-pull harnesses are an option, but you'd still need to train to walk politely. Stopping, changing direction, etc. tells him what not to do, but doesn't offer any information about what you do want.

If he's just walking in front of you with no pressure or pulling, I'd rejoice that he's not pulling and let him. I prefer my dogs to be in front of me so I can see what they're up to.

Furniture: Work on making his bed and allowed furniture highly desirable (with treats, chews, etc.) while simultaneously preventing him from accessing unallowed furniture. If you give attention or teach an "off" cue you run the risk of creating a behavior chain: dog jumps on sofa, gets rewarded with attention and/or for jumping off, rinse, lather, repeat. Prevention is important.

Some dogs, though, might do better with a never on any furniture approach.

Confining him: I'm not sure what you mean by his having power over you. In this and the next question it sounds quite a bit like you have a dog who wants to be near you. That's not a bad thing. Why are you confining him? If it's to prevent undesirable behaviors, again, it's temporary until you teach the behaviors you'd like to see.

Outside: My dogs don't go outside unsupervised for a variety of reasons. Some dogs do fine, others are unhappy being separated from their people. You might try the long line and harness again in a few months after he's settled in more. Some of his barking might be cause by stress of being in a new place and having a new routine.
 

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Furniture: Work on making his bed and allowed furniture highly desirable (with treats, chews, etc.) while simultaneously preventing him from accessing unallowed furniture. If you give attention or teach an "off" cue you run the risk of creating a behavior chain: dog jumps on sofa, gets rewarded with attention and/or for jumping off, rinse, lather, repeat. Prevention is important.
Lol, that's true. I did that once with people walking by. Dog barked at people, ran back across the yard to me for treat. Thought it was a neat trick. I guess the same thing can happen for furniture!
 

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Lol, that's true. I did that once with people walking by. Dog barked at people, ran back across the yard to me for treat. Thought it was a neat trick. I guess the same thing can happen for furniture!
Yep, I've done it, too - almost the same situation. Call dog away from barking at neighbor, give a treat. Dog runs back to bark at neighbor, runs to me for a treat, runs to bark, returns for treat. lol It is kind of cute and probably why I don't discourage it too much.
 

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you need to design a schedule that works for you and keep to it so your new pup will learn it. (learn how it works) not the end of the world ... things have a start and end to them "dogs are able to learn that putting them in a routine"

I am not against tethering when you are home to check out the window or door on them, and can tether them in an area that doesn't present tangle/strangle dangers like falling off a deck and hanging themselves. Main thing is a dog can slip their collar and sometimes their harness, also chew through a cloth or leather long line or harness and without a fence may be gone very easily.. You may look into investing in a smaller fence area or portable kennel. Either way start with short training sessions introducing the kennel or tether... but keep the full containment time in your routine that you need your dog out of your way. And when your done with what you need to do for your dog to be out of your way.. End it with taking your pup for a walk, some one on one time for ob training or toy playing.. doesn't have to be a long session but it is the reward worth learning ,waiting their turn for....

1.5 weeks is a short time.. you just set your daily schedule what you need, what your dog needs and find the balance that everyone can be satisfied... then practice it every day... I consider the dogs to have daily jobs on how to help me and then I reward them with us time for them...
 

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1. I trained the dog to lay down away from the table. One of us gave up a hot dinner and sat with the leashed dog putting her back into a down when she got up and treating her for staying down every so often. Inside a week we were eating at the table together with one of us getting up every couple minutes to either treat or put her back on her spot and inside another week she got it. I couldn't stand listening to a barking dog as I ate! Don't know how old your other two are but my 11 year old helped with this training.

2. Combine 'be a tree' with rewarding good behavior. If leash is taut then your brakes go on, if leash is loose then walk on but reward often for the loose leash. I had to add another layer to this as with just 'be a tree' I got taut, dog at side as soon as I stopped then he immediately lunged to the end of the leash again. So I did single step and reward, double step and reward and so on. Really annoying but he needed to learn to keep me in sight. Any time I see Bucky so much as glance at me I praise and treat as well. He is so focused on seeing everything he forgets I'm there. With a scent hound you will very likely have the same issue.

3. I gave up, all upholstery is slipcovered. For other reasons I train the dogs to get on and off on cue. With a small handful of cookies ask him to get up and give a treat then do the same to get him off. At first treat in gesturing hand as a lure but only do that a couple times, feed him from the other hand. Give him a comfy bed close to the action and train him to go to it. Bucky knows the dog bed is a safe place and he's doing a good thing being in there so he is great at this one. When things are a bit chaotic or he's been a stinker he'll go there and get praised. Lead him to the bed which needs to be out of traffic patterns but in sight of the gathered family. Mine is in the fireplace! Cookie for laying down in in, release him with 'okay', rinse and repeat. As soon as he seems to be getting it increase duration a few seconds at a time and also start sending him to it by stepping back a half step and sending him. Also have special treats that he only gets on his bed like a kong smeared with a teaspoon of peanut butter. If he gets off the bed with the treat put him back.

4. I don't understand how a good sized dog can ever be confined with baby gates either. I'm lucky and have a door in just the right spot. My dogs want to wander into the bedrooms where they can see and bark out the front facing window and always have so that door closed nearly always. I want my dogs underfoot so I know they aren't busy remodeling the house so I'd have a dragging line on him in the house so you can keep him close by without grabbing his collar.

5. I have yappy dogs rather than hounds with magnificent voices and that's bad enough. It gets better, they bark maybe 25% of what they did when they arrived. They are not allowed to bark outside and are brought in if I hear them. Dogs like company and are noisy when alone. Can you put a chair out and feed baby outside? My two adore it when we just hang out. I'm sitting on the patio with them right no in fact.
 

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lol on the good size dogs and baby gates... it's not the baby gates fault it's not designed to stop them.... it's only a visual barrier... need to train the dog to respect and enjoy confinement and barriers even if it is only a verbal invisible line. Stay, wait, are what they need.. I use wait because they are able to move around behind the barrier and do what ever they want but not cross past the barrier..

you would train just like a down stay... with instant releases, and adding time, then time variables, at the gate.. then go back to instant release adding walking a way and right back,, then working on time , and visual distances,, and eventually going back to scratch introducing out of sight quick releases and so on...

takes time... when ever they jump over or knock down the gate... (they never win) you put them right back behind the gate.. they never win what they want... they end back up in the same place every time.. The one time that they do get to be free and stay free is ONLY when you release them.

Majority of the time I work with the training with the baby gate and stick to the training time and distance they can handle and not use the baby gate any other time while they in training .. I have brought in new adult dogs that needed to immediately stay put in a baby gate area and needed to use the put back in turn around which could last an hour of putting them back in and back in again... No need to punish or scold them since they not understand or understand you... for just getting there... just put them back in over and over and over and over again.. They get tired of never winning and settle in... They never win whats the purpose of doing it.... dogs are not stupid...:) :) :) you just have to be willing to stick with it, that it doesn't work...
 

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For the leash pulling, the only thing that worked for my dogs was to lure them into position with treats, and keep them there with treats (and a clicker of course). If you're not using a clicker I strongly suggest you do (look up how to properly "load" it and use it). My dogs learn so much faster with a clicker. In the beginning on our walks I was clicking/treating like every couple of seconds, but eventually I was able to slowly increase the time between clicks/treats. Make sure to use good treats so he's motivated. Also if you're treating lots, be sure to cut down his meal quantity. Like Kathyy said too, I always reward for the dog looking at me. It helps them to remember you're there and that checking in with you and making eye contact is rewarding.

For the furniture, getting him off is only half the process. Once he's off, you need to let him know where he SHOULD be instead of on the couch. Have a designated spot for him and take him there and reward him for being there. Teach him stay and wait if you haven't already done so - it will make things a lot easier. Blocking the couch in some way so he can't go up there at all will also help.

For the baby gates Patricia got it exactly right.
it's not the baby gates fault it's not designed to stop them.... it's only a visual barrier... need to train the dog to respect and enjoy confinement and barriers even if it is only a verbal invisible line. Stay, wait, are what they need..
You might try teaching him to stay behind the gate without the gate there at all at first. What I mean is he should be FIRST learning not to cross that boundary when you don't want him to. Then once he's learned that, use the baby gate as a visual reminder. Both my dogs are completely capable of pushing through the gate I have (it's a free-standing one), but they respect the gate and know that it means they're not supposed to cross it. For example there are times we don't want them in the kitchen. Out kitchen is small so if two of use are in there working it gets awfully crowded if you add two big dogs looking for a handout. First we taught them to get out. We would point and tell them "out", then chase or herd them out. So they know what "out" means. Then the trick was getting them to STAY out. They already knew "wait" so we used that to KEEP them out. We would periodically treat them for not coming back into the kitchen. They learned to wait at the invisible barrier of the kitchen. After all this if you add a gate, the dog should already know what it means. Teaching Pepper was fairly easy, she was afraid the gate was going to fall on her so she didn't go near it (she's weird). Kane was a different story. When we got him he would plow right through any barrier we used as if thinking "I wonder why these obstructions keep showing up to try to prevent me from getting to my people? I'm not going to let them stop me!" Using the above method he learned to respect the gate. I use the same gate at work to keep Kane in my work space. Sometimes a co-worker will bring in her little 10lb dog and her dog is constantly pushing the gate to get through (and succeeding). He has no respect. He's never been taught.

As for putting him outside, I don't think it's horrible for SHORT periods, if you're checking on him every few minutes (be sure to use a secure harness instead of his collar). However, I would only start that after he's been with you several months and has really settled in and feels comfortable. I think it's too soon right now and the barking will likely irritate your neighbours. When you do put him outside, make sure he has a bone or a frozen Kong or something to keep him occupied. Some dogs just aren't good with being left alone though so he might be better off in the house in a crate or confined area.

Some general advice:
- You might get a lot of benefit from taking a basic obedience class (one that used positive reinforcement). It will help your dog learn basic manners and will build a good relationship between the two of you.
- You have a high energy breed so walks might not be enough exercise for him. If he's under-exercised he'll get bored and you'll see more bad behaviours. If you can't run with him or do more than walks, you might consider taking him to doggy daycare once or twice a week. A tired dog is a good dog :)

Good luck. We'd love to see pictures!
 
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