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Dog discipline Question.

Discussion in 'Furred - Finned - Feathered' started by TJDIV, Feb 6, 2004.

  1. TJDIV

    TJDIV Back in The U.P.

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    O.K. So I will admit to today starting off Great, but ending in a not-so-great manner.

    Anyway, I caught my dog (15 month old boxer/boston terrier mix about 35 lbs) tearing my head-band apart for basketball. I grabbed it from him, gave him the typical holler and pointed at him with the headband. Well, lately, he's been getting this confrontational attitude, growling, snapping at anything you point at him (probably my fault from his younger days)...

    Thing is, I honestly think (if he were a little bigger especially) that he'd tie right into me when he's in this mode. I've never "beat" my dog. I popped him when he was younger for pissing and pooping, usually with something (paper)...and then I put him in his kennell, or outside. Yes, a few times in his life I have gotten really pissed off and regretted being "too harsh"...but never violent.

    The other day, he flipped out over a puddle of piss on the floor (just got him neutered a week ago), and I had to pretty much choke him down to keep him from biting me. I know this sounds terrible, but I'm not new to dogs at all. This one is just a f*cking maniac. I'm not the type to bring him to the pound, or shelter. If I can't get him to stop, then I don't anticipate anyone else being able to, or enjoying his company anyway. I'll put him down.

    I don't want to "not have" this dog around, and am wondering if this is just the age/neuter reaction? He's a fun dog 90% of the time, but it only takes one bite to get a dog owner in trouble.

    Any advice? Thanks for reading. ???
     
  2. IDave

    IDave

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    Not that I am any expert, but it sounds to me like he is responding to you the same way you are responding to him. I may be all wet, but that's what I am hearing.

    We've been training Vlkey all along with the "offer an alternative behavior" approach. It is somewhat arduous, but it worked well for us. Express disappointment, not anger, at unwanted behaviours. Man, they understand that. And give them the cold shoulder when they do something you don't like. Then, overwhelmingly praise them and give increased attention when they do the right thing. If he chews your headband, offer him an alternative toy to chew, and praise him for it right away.

    Most dogs naturally want to please. They are also prone to frustration.

    And always remember this mantra: "Hot dogs are our friends".


    Works with kids as well.


    :D
     
  3. IdahoDoug

    IdahoDoug

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    Something's amiss. Agree with a couple of Dave's comments, but I think you've got bigger problems afoot here. Dogs are genetically pack animals, and they are wired such that their owner(s) are the alpha male of their pack. If you've been his "alpha male" for 15 months, and now suddenly he's basically challenging you for dominance then you've got a serious problem on your hands. I'll stop short of telling you to really lay into him with something that will hurt but not damage, but frankly that's what I would do the next time he growled or snapped at me. Instant full on can of whoop-ass. If that did not permanently solve the problem then I would not hesitate to bring him to the pound, and donate money to pay for his food, ads to find a home, etc - being sure to tell them about this behavioral quirk and asking them to assess him as well. They're experienced with "problem" dogs.

    Even if this snapped him back into line, I would worry about any pet with the destructive power of a 35lb dog with that boxer jaw that showed aggression, frankly.

    Hope I don't sound like a 'dog beater'. This would purely be a last chance desperation ploy for me, as I would never hit an animal needlessly. You'd have to know me to understand the depth of that statement, but would I try this to save my own dog? Absolutely.

    I've heard of large behavioural swings from the neutering, and this is why they recommend it be done when they're younger as I recall. Definitely ask the vet about it as well, though it may be in the literature they gave you for post care.

    DougM
     
  4. PHAT MAX

    PHAT MAX

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    i agree with doug totally. example, my dog was appx 2-3 years old when he pulled a cushion off the couch, opened the zipper, and shredded the foam to thousands of tiny bits. my dad picked him up by the scruff (60-70lbs at the time) and yelled at him face to face. what a sight! he got the foot on the way down and let me tell you, we never had a problem like that again! seriously, you need to show him who wears the pants in the house.

    hth
     
  5. dd113

    dd113

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    There has never been a time in my life that I did not have dogs. Currently, I have 4. Not that I am an expert but you must be in charge; especialy with boy dogs.
     
  6. Poser

    Poser Oh...Durka Durka Durka. s-Moderator Supporting Vendor

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    I love animals, but they are animals, not humans, hell, there are animals that act better than a lot of our race, but that is a whole different topic..

    I was bitten/attacked by dogs when I was younger. Was not doing anything to provoke confrentation, other than being a paperboy, which has its own known risks. I could have every and any reason in the world to not like them, but I still like them.

    However,

    I will not tolerate any form of defiant aggression on the animals part, period.


    Good luck!

    -Steve
     
  7. hammerhead

    hammerhead

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    As previously stated you MUST be the Alpha. If it can be achieved, the best scenario is to earn that respect without aggression or violence, but FEAR is the tool used by the Alpha in a pack.
     
  8. Poser

    Poser Oh...Durka Durka Durka. s-Moderator Supporting Vendor

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  9. hammerhead

    hammerhead

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    Dogs are alot like people...

    ...some of them you just can't reason with so the only alternative is to kick their asses. ;)
     
  10. IDave

    IDave

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    Absolutely it is important to develop and maintain alpha status with your dog. That is a relationship that has to be established and periodically reinforced, and is not at all hardwired. Early on when Vlkey moved in with us, I would pick times during play to roll him over on his side and lay my arm across his neck and pin him down, and give him a firm look in the eye. Just for a moment or two, enough to give him the idea. Arm across the neck is a well understood posture in the wolf world, frequently used in play, and a big part of establishing pecking order in wolf packs. I'll periodically do it just to reinforce the idea, and I promise you there's no question about who's alpha.

    I am also a firm believer in shock collars. We use an "invisible fence" to great effect.
    Some dogs are more likely to challenge them than others, and our fence is off for more than a few days, even after many months of reinforcement, he'll be down the road. (A trespassing snowmobiler broke the wire a couple of weeks ago, and we had to go on a dog hunt). We have friends who trained their dog for 6 months with it, and she hasn't challenged the fence for over a year. In fact they've disconnected it. But every dog is a little different.

    Anyway, I've never seen my pup bare his teeth (except once when I disturbed him sleeping and he was recovering from anesthesia and was having post-op pain) in 2 1/2 years, so I think we are doing something right.
     
  11. Gumby

    Gumby Supamod Staff Member s-Moderator

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    We had a great St. Bernard for about 6 mos. we rescued. It responded well enough when challenged by me, but he would still challenge the kids, especially visiting kids. He would growl and bare his teeth. The last straw was snapping at a couple of them.

    I put him down. It sucked, a lot, but they make more dogs. The next one we got was one I have been happy to live with for the past 8 years. He's had problems, but not aggresive ones. Those are not tolerated in my pack.
     
  12. srafj40

    srafj40

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    Not an expert but have trained my share of dogs over the years. Total agreement about the whole Alpha aspect.

    When any of my dogs challenge my role, I will not strike them. Rather, I grab their snout and twist their head down. This forces them into a submissive position onto their backs. I use a firm voice to get my point across to them.

    Stacey
     
  13. Safado

    Safado

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    Dude, you need to take him out for a nice ride in a Subaru! He just wants to be like all the other dogs out there. :D

    Seriously though, 2 words:

    WELDING GLOVES--They're the best protection you can get just about anywhere for the fight you're about to have.

    I had my in-laws move in with me about two years ago and they brought a 10 year old BIG mutt they had living in their 2 bedroom apt. that knew he was in charge. First thing I did was take him in the back and lock him in the kennel. Electric Shock collars didn't work, neither did all the yelling and pointing you could think of. I was changing his water once and he came at me, luckily I was fast enough to grab onto the chain link for support and kick the s*** out of him. He lunged several times, each one met with a solid boot. He managed to rip my pants, but eventually stopped. I was scared out of my mind, and instinct was to fix it with a shotgun and a shovel. A pleading wife calmed me down and I went back in with the gloves. I grabbed his snout as hard as I could, pinned him to the ground by the neck, and held him there until he quit struggling. You have to let him give up, all the time making eye contact. I even took it one step further, and deprived him of food and drink for the next 24 hours. It was during the winter and he had plenty of extra fat from the years of living it up, so there wasn't any worry of physical harm. After that, he was much easier to deal with, even a delight at times. He obeyed me more than my in-laws and came to me when I called, not them. He still challenged me for sticks and balls on occasions when I wish I had the gloves with me, and regret not being able to reestablish dominance. You have to establish dominance, at any challenge. If his challenges continue, you need to decide at what point you see no improvement and put him down. The pound or dog shelter will do it for you, if you want, for a fraction of the price of a vet. If this can't fix him, you don't want to send him on to someone else. My neighbors "adopted" a dog that should have never left the pound, and had to put it down after it attacked and permanently scared a little girl down the street.

    Good Luck.
     
  14. Jman

    Jman

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    I've had dogs, and I have kids, there's actually a lot in common with raising them. As a kid, I had to have a couple of my dogs put down because they got a taste for the neighbor's chickens--again, and again. (Can't do that with the kids.)

    Before I get to the alpha male thing, first off, make sure that it's not partly the environment, make sure that your dog is getting everything he needs to be happy--food, exercise, plenty of play. All the boxers and boston terriers I knew needed a lot of frantic play, otherwise they go crazy with pent-up energy and boredom. At 15 months, he's still got a lot of puppy in him, so he probably needs it even more.

    Find some acceptable toy that he likes to chew to pieces, and keep getting replacements so he doesn't switch. And get a "Kong" toy, put it on a rope, and let him sink his teeth into that and yank away. Let him know that there are totally acceptable ways to snap, sink his teeth in, and go to town. Let him know that you are not his enemy. Go wild with him, play rough.

    And, during these times, do the "don't forget I'm king of the pack" maneuver, bringing him down, putting his arm over his neck (not choking him, just holding him down), and looking him in the eye silently. Do it when things are going well, so it will surprise him a little. If you do it when he's snapping at you, well, he might just try and take you. If he gives in during these tests, you probably have nothing to worry about.

    Also, tone down the yelling and finger pointing--it really doesn't work with dogs or kids, it just makes them angry. Sure, voice your displeasure, but don't jab things in his face, it just gives him a target.

    Also, it might not be a "challenge the alpha dog" dynamic at all--you might just have a bad tempered dog. My sister in law has had a female Alsatian that was a big fear-biter (my ass was one recipient, but within a minute or two she was crawling up on her belly to apologize and laying all over my lap for the rest of the evening) AND a female Dalmation that nipped my wife in the face because my wife touched her wrong while I was petting her (battle of the bitches!)--both these dogs were overanxious dogs from birth, bad behaved even after professional handlers were involved. It was just bad luck--their previous and current dogs are fine.

    I'm not an expert, those are just my thoughts. Best of luck, try what you can. It really sucks to have to put a dog down.
     
  15. TJDIV

    TJDIV Back in The U.P.

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    Wow...good response to this. Thanks.

    I think, by the sounds of it, I shouldn't pop him (usually with whatever he's tearing up)...it just seems to piss him off. Not that he thinks he could kick my ass....I know better than that, he just wants me to chill out. I've been on his ass all day. All DAY...came home earlier and he had pulled one of my plants out of the pot and instead of grabbing the plant leaves and shaking them at him, I just asked him his typical question of "what is this"....that's his discipline phrase and he reacts very very quickly to it; usually out the doggie door before I can get another word out....

    I pull the Alpha male trick, I think my lacking is in the patience department. He has only snapped (by snapped I mean growl/bark/bitch) at me 3 or 4 times in 6 months (and these are growing up months); so I think it could turn out all right. Last time he snapped at me (not last night, but before that) I pinned his ass on the couch with a firm grip around his neck (not choking him) and told him fair and square that if he ever ****ed with me again I would choke the life out of him. I meant it. Last night, however, he caught me off-guard and I didn't feel like rolling around on the floor over a head-band. (he didn't act like he was victorious though...he kissed my ass all night).

    Anyway. I'm going to work him over for a couple weeks. I went through basic training. Now it's his turn I guess.

    Thanks guys. You may have helped to save a dogs life; and I mean that. :-\

    Tom IV
     
  16. IdahoDoug

    IdahoDoug

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    The comments about holding him down on his back mirror what my best buddy learned in order to 'fix' his dog correctly as well. He does it once in a while when things are fine and the dog is a real gem.

    As I was reading this, my cat hopped up for a little 'scritching' behind the ears. Suddenly I got a visual of trying this alpha hold-down on a cat and burst out laughing. For those of you who don't have cats, you may not understand. But it is a testament to how different cats and dogs are. I think if I tried this with my sweet and friendly cats, I would later recount that it felt like shoving my hand/arm in a garbage disposal full of razor blades. From the hospital bed. heh

    DougM
     
  17. IDave

    IDave

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    It is important not to give them a chance to be bad, whenever you can avoid it. Early on, Vlkey chewed up a pair of boots I left outside. It was all my fault, and I couldn't blame him. If I catch him doing something he shouldn't (usually it involves chasing a cat), I quickly redirect him and praise him as soon as he is doing the right thing. It is such a pleasure to have a happy, secure pup who knows his place.
     
  18. Gumby

    Gumby Supamod Staff Member s-Moderator

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    Hehe. I TAUGHT my dog to chase the cat. "Git the Kitty" was my favorite game. Course my bird/rescue dog would catch the cat and bring a wet, pissed off cat back to me when he finally caught it. I suppose a Lab/Newf is easier on a cat than a Wolf with herpes. :D

    Stupid cat never did run away. The first time I tried to give it away, the damn thing came back. It was missing 6 mos and travelled about 10 miles to find it's way home.
     
  19. dylan

    dylan

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    2 words- KA BOOM!! :eek:
     
  20. PHAT MAX

    PHAT MAX

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    our dog is excellent with staying around. we have woods behind our house (11acres) and i havent picked up dog s*** in 8 years! :D he will literally lay in the front yard all day, calm as can be. sometimes someone will walk by with a stroller, or a little kid, and you can see the look on their face "oh s***!". he just goes up to them and tries to get his head under their hand so they have to pet him! he really is a neighborhood dog. btw, my dad has established himself as the alpha by the methods above, and he has never snapped or anything...ever! he will growl when you play tug of war with him tho :D