Thanks to all of you who gave me good advice on how to handle a hyperactive dog. There were a lot of good suggestions that I’ll be following in training her in the next few weeks. I went to PetSmart today and bought a bunch of gear to help with that. I got a decent leash and one of those clicker things and a whistle and a bunch more stuff.
Then I took Happy out today and ran her around until she was exhausted. LOL, she’s sleeping it off now and probably won’t make a peep all night. Let me tell you, that dog can RUN.
She has a thing about gloves and leashes, though. After we ran around a bit and played Fetch with one of her new toys, she came and attacked my hand. I was wearing leather gloves, and she went at them pretty hard. She got one in her teeth and would NOT let go. I finally let her have it and she ran off shaking it like a rat. Later on, she came back and sank her teeth in the leash (which I’d taken off her so she could run all around our yard). I’m wondering if maybe her former owner did mean things to her with gloves and leashes.
In any event, I think part of our long-term solution is going to be completing the fence around our yard. We’ve got more than 2 acres of land, and the two long sides of our lot are fenced with dog-proof chain-link fence, 4 feet high. The far end of the lot is bordered by a rail fence, which is NOT dog-proof, but it shouldn’t cost too much money to attach chain-link fencing to it. The near end of the lot is nearly spanned by our house, so it wouldn’t be too hard to complete the enclosure, giving Happy a big area to run around in without a leash. Then she can wear herself out without me needing to be there to supervise.
So thank you, all who contributed ideas. I’m a lot more hopeful today than yesterday, when I was about at the end of my … leash.
Cori Fedyna says
I have a year old large Goldendoodle — my husband’s idea, not mine…need I say more?
A Goldendoodle is half golden retriever and half white standard poodle. He is very cute and lovable, except he was a handful. He pulled on his leash, which made walking him totally a chore. At nearly 100 pounds, he could literally dragged whoever was at the other end of his leash. He has devoured shoes, gloves, plants, window sills.
Frustrated at his behavior…and really it was mine, we took him to doggie classes. Nothing really changed until I caught a show on Animal Planet as I was flipping through channels. “Make sure that you let the dog know that you are the LEAD dog.”
From that day forward, I became lead dog and Ozzie, cute as he is, became even cuter. I bought a car seat harness for him, so the leash attaches mid back. This prevented him from choking on our walks. Whenever he would start to drag us, we stopped and said “heel.” Eventually, he got the idea. He leads and we stop. I lead and we keep walking.
In fact, we have now trained him to sit and wait at the curb until the cars have passed before crossing.
Hope Marston says
Good for you and for the newest member of your family. One more suggestion: a Gentle Leader collar. It takes some gettting used to, but it’s worth the effort when your dog calmly walks beside you and you never again need fear having your arm yanked out of its socket.
Hey Randy. I read through your first blog about the dog and saw some good advice in the comments. However, when I read this blog I saw something you did that you should never do. Don’t let her bite your hand, ever, gloved or not. I have delt with many German Shepards and two Setters, they aren’t much different. The thing you have to establish is your role as the Alpha dog. When she does something you don’t like, like running while on a leash, or biting your hand, or jumping on over zealously; you need to make firm eye contact, use a firm low tone of voice and tell her NO. Just one word is all you need. You can accompany this with a squirt bottle of water with a teaspoon of lemon juice in it. Not toxic, they just hate lemon. Try not to squirt it in her eyes since it will sting, but in the mouth when she bites or is trying to lick you when you don’t want it.
Never keep treats in your hand while training, always keep them in a pocket (like a jacket or shirt pocket) taking only one out at a time. If you are using a specific treat for training, only give that treat while training, use something else if you want to at other times.
As for the leash, Choke chains can collasp a dogs trechea over time, they are bad to use. I suggest a harness with a zip cord leash that has a stop button on it. With the harnesses, rather than trying to stop her with just her neck like a normal collar, it uses her whole torso which actually is easier to stop a dog from running. IT gives more physical space on the dog as leverage rather then a small portion of her body, and it gives the dog a feeling of a firm grip rather than being choked.
While walking her, if you don’t want to run, don’t. IF you want to run her, the easiest thing on you would be to use a bicycle, but that would have to come later after you have trained her to walk with you without the leash.
Only train a new behavior a week. It is aways best to start with sit, once she has mastered that without treats being given, usually about a weeks time of a few hours a day training, move on to stay. Stay might take two weeks depending on her stubborness.
When she is on the leash and you are walking her, if she begins to pull and run, you stop moving, say to her in a firm voice “Halt”(never stop). WIth that pull the leash firm and stop her from moving. Walk up to her (keeping the leash tight) and put a hand on her harness. Use the word Halt again, then say Walk, when she has calmed down. IF you get one of those leashes where it unwinds from the handle and has a locking mechinism on it lock it with only two feet of cord and begin to walk. IF you have a regular leash, hold it down about two feet away from her and start to walk. Then every minute or so release the leash another foot away. Once she feels less tension she might try to pull away again, if she does repete the Halt and try again. Do not use treats for this. Doing this shows her your dominance and that she must obey you.
When she goes to bite your hand, take your free hand and grip her mussle, and say in a calm low tone, “No.” When she stops release her face and pet her head. Same goes for licking too much “No.” Making firm eye contact with her shows her that you do not fear her, and that you are in charge. She may see this as a challege and growl at you, if she does simply say no again.
It might take a month or two to fully train her to your liking, but it is worth the time. Once you have established your role as the dominate over her, she will show you endless amounts of love. You will have to show your family these things so that they will establish that they are also boss, just like you. Otherwise she might try to walk all over them.
You have this dog for a reason. You did not pick her, she picked you, as most pets do. She already wants to love you, she just has to be shown how to behave. It isn’t hard, just time consuming and requires vast amounts of consistancy, just like kids.
Good luck Randy.
Colleen Shine says
I feel for you, Randy, taking in a stray creature. But there’s something endearing about them…One arrived on my front porch right about the same time you got your little bundle of joy. My husband told me not to feed him and he would go away. He didn’t. (The dog, not my husband. Well, my husband didn’t go away, either.) I purchased a huge bag of Dog Chow. After about a month, he came down with a horrible cough and runny nose (once again, the dog, Rusty, not my husband.) I became frantic, as I had not asked for this kind of responsibility. My husband whipped out his Bible and quoted from Proverbs, “A righteous man cares for the needs of his animal.” What can you respond to that? Anyway, the canine has sinusitis. Can you believe it? I had to hospitalize him. Now he’s feeling better, although I have to clean his nose regularly. To what ends will one go to be righteous?
Don’t let her get away with attacking the gloves and leash and never let her ‘win’ by letting her have them. This triggers more aggressive behavior. Always tell her no and take them away from her. Praise whenever she is calm around them.
Oh, I also forgot about the fencing issue. If it seems to costly to dog proof all of your fencing around your property there is an alternative. A dog run. It is cheaper than the fencing would be, and totaly safe to leave her unattended. You can get them in all different sizes from a 5×5 foot square to a 30’x5’long track. This is only one site that I came across that has them, you can also usually purchase them from local vet clinics without the shipping fees. http://www.seefido.com/shop/c/sa-kennels/Stand-Alone-Kennels.html For smaller ones they run around $500, for the larger ones up to $2000, but still it is cheaper than dog proof fencing.
My inlaws have one for their Shepards and the dogs love it. I think their’s is a 10’x30′ straight run. It keeps their dogs out of the garden area, and they didn’t have to fence in the whole property.
Gail Brookhart says
Dogs don’t self-exercise very well. But the good news is that kids need as much exercise as dogs do. Once Happy has accepted a few more rules, the kids and the dog can wear each other out.
Ditto on not letting her have the glove unless you are trying to heighten her prey and defense drives. Since she is a family pet, you aren’t.
Paulette Harris says
Good job Randy, sounds like everyone is….Happy.
I agree with you, there was probably a problem with the gloves and leash at some point in her babyhood.
Keep working with her and let her know by treats and love that these things won’t hurt her at her new home.
I don’t like muzzles but if she continues to nip and you sense there might be danger for awhile, it is okay to put a very light muzzle on her until she learns that you and your family are to be trusted.
I am familar with several different types of dog training and some of them are rather cruel and the dog obeys out of fear rather than wanting to get along with the pack. The main thing is: You are the boss and the leader of your pack so remind her if you need to. Sounds like you did and that is not a bad thing. I remember Doctor James Dobson sharing a funny story about his litte Dog and how he needed a “spankin”
Anyway,I love dogs and wish you the best with this beautiful creature. I know Happy is going to be Happy with you all.
Karen D'Amato says
Fellow writer Emily Cotton reminded me of this:
While you’re both in training, there are two things you can do that cost nothing and will tell the dog a thing or two.
1) DON’T pet or stroke the pup under the chin. This in animal language means that YOU are inferior and the pup is the alpha dog. Pups lick their parents under the chin, as do beta animals to alpha animals.
2) When pup does the bite thing, or anything else you find weird, gently, but firmly, grasp the pup around the muzzle and say, “No” or “Stop” or “Fuji” whatever.
This is the way alpha animals let the beta animals know who’s boss. It’s best to have your palm on top of the muzzle grasping underneath, simulating a dog parent.
Here’s a freebee, but they might take you away on this one. YOU go around and mark the backyard (preferably at night). You could do the frontyard too to keep away other strays, but then you’ll really be in jeapardy. Marking will show your new little girl that YOU are boss and she better listen or you’ll be writing more blogs.
I spent time working with animal control and lived on a farm working with all kinds of animals. Just glad I can finally use the information. If you need any more dog-psyche stuff, email Emily at firstname.lastname@example.org.
She’ll be glad to help.
Congrats again, Randy! I’m glad to see you’re having a lot more fun with this whole being a dog person thing. And I bet Happy will end up being “your” dog, since you were with her alone in the beginning, and she’s learning her first lessons with you. Just remember who’s Alpha!
And not everyone will be alpha to her. Depending on how the rest of your family is around her, she’ll quickly come to her own decisions about who stands where in the pack heirarchy. If you continue with the dominance (always out of love, never fear) and working with her –which would be good for her, since it maintains continuity in her world and won’t confuse her, which will result in “behavior issues” for a while– you’ll quickly become her Alpha. Depending on how your wife is around her, Happy might consider your wife to be your Beta, or Happy just might decide that *she’s* Beta!
My former roomate had a dog, a Shepherd mix, who considered ME the Alpha, and thought of herself as my Beta! We had Status Seeker issues for half a year until I finally opted to move out. I learned a lot about pack mentality in her puppyhood, though. Good thing Setters really don’t have that problem too much…
And I agree with Karen D’Amato on the marking issue. I know it sounds extreme, but it works! Another friend of mine had problems with their dog digging in his wife’s garden. At his wit’s end, he went out one night and marked the garden and voila! No more digging! But that’s only if you really need to. Most dogs with good, solid owners won’t take it so far. Just learn her language. There are some great books out there on pack mentality and the family dog.
Good luck, and have fun with the newest member of your family!
ML Eqatin says
Just looked in on your blog. You seem to have competent trainer tips, but there are a few factoids which might help. As you know, I train people and llamas (and a few horses and one donkey) but we always have dogs, so they get trained too.
When my daughter moved to a remote property we were leasing, she took on a rescue great dane — 130 pounds, fourteen months, and not just un-trained, but seriously mis-trained. As Happy seems to be.
We hired a professional, who first ‘interviewed’ the dog to see if it was teachable. Murph was.
Given the level of mis-training and the size and strength of the animal, we started with a ‘pinch’ collar. I know lots of people think these are cruel, but at one level, they are kind. Without this useful tool, Murph would have had to be put down. As it was, we were able to forgo the collar’s use in less than three months. I promptly got a smaller one and did corrective training on our home mutt, a very rambunctious dalmation/labrador cross whom the kids, when younger, had taught to pull them on their skates down the street. (Without my knowledge!) So he was very firmly entrenched with the ‘yank your shoulder out’ walking method, and I had put in weary years insisting he heel when with me. This 8-year-old dog learned not to pull anymore in three walks with the pinch collar — three walks! The result of this ‘cruelty’ for which I endured many sharp looks, was the dog now got to come on my llama training walks instead of staying in the yard.
After that, the gentle leader is a very good tool. We use it on our current dog, although now and then we use the pinch collar if she needs refreshing.
Proverbs 12:10 A righteous man cares for the needs of his animal, but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel. (look it up in the Hebrew, I believe it was once translated to me as “understands his animal’s soul”
Some other tips: you can establish dominance with a ‘nose hug’ — cupping your hand over the top of the muzzle like an older dog does to a less dominant one.
never stroke or scratch the dog under the chin. This is the move of a puppy seeking to get an adult to regurgitate food.
Do not issue a command as a correction, like saying ‘HEEL!’ in a stern tone when she is not heeling. Instead, save that tone for a specific noise that she will always associate with your displeasure, like ‘no-no!’ Then, in a calm voice, repeat the command.
Animals and plants are God’s university. Welcome to class! 😉
(prefer to use my pen name for internet posts.)
Don’t know if anyone has suggested this, but you can get lots of help learning how to be the the Apha/pack leader for your dog by viewing “The Dog Whisperer” on The National Geographic Channel. He teaches the entire family how to be the family dog’s pack leaders, right down to the smallest member. Fascinating program! Your pup should be docile and well behaved in no time.
Deb Ratcliffe says
I had two dogs until one died of cancer late last year. One. Keira, was a Maltese/Silky terrier cross and the other, Sherie a Miniature poodle. I had my poodle from a puppy and had very little trouble with her apart from a cranky attitude toward other pets. Then when she was four years old, my mother died and I inherited her terrier, Keira Both dogs prior to their coming together, had been spoilt rotten but particularly Keira. She wanted attention constantly and Sherie would react by attacking her if she became too close to me so I had a battle on my hands for years over these dogs but I loved both of them. To add to the problem, Keira used to bark constantly when I left home and I had numerous complaints, threats to wring my dog’s neck and notes from the ranger. I think they were all relieved when she died. I was devastated. Sherie is now an only dog but strangely she won’t eat a lot of the time, has become very finicky and more clingy. When Keira was around she would race to be the first to the food even if it wasn’t hers and would attempt to eat things she hated just so Keira wouldn’t get it. She is also barking at nothing. Well, nothing that I can see. Sherie is now ten years old. I thought perhaps it is her age. She goes to work with me once a week as a pet therapy dog and is fine there until another dog comes on the scene then she becomes territorial. She will also perform watchdog duty and check out any visitors; which I have tried to get her out of since she is only a visitor there herself. Fortunately the residents there love her and so do the staff so they tolerate her peculiarities. I suppose at her age, I will just have to tolerate her behaviour as well. It could be worse.
Karla Akins says
I have always had rescue dogs, and I have two right now (and a pug).
One of them is a very spastic, cuh-razy rottweiler. I agree with everything people have told you about not letting your dog grab your hands or the leash. You have to let her know you are the alpha dog.
Planned ignoring is good, but I know for my doxie it doesn’t work. He has enough tenacity to never give up, so I have to use aversives — a loud, firm NO, shaking a can of pennies very loudly, squirting him with water when he does something wrong, etc. (Squirtting my rottie with water is a joke — she thinks that is great fun!)
When you come home, ignore your dog. Don’t talk to her for the first ten minutes. That will tell her you are the boss. When you are ready to feed her, you eat a snack first in front of her, and make all kinds of yummy sounds about how good the food is. “Mmmmm, this is sooooo good.” Smack your lips really loud and let her watch you eat. THEN feed her. That will also help you claim your alpha status.
AND, read the book, “Marley and Me” by John Grogan. You will love it.
Angie Farnworth says
You’ve gotten some great pro advice. I’ll weigh in on the personal front. Last year we adopted a rescue dalmation mix who was approx. six months old. Talk about energy! And she was one timid, unpredictable dog–very aggressive toward most men, shy and jumpy about other things. Over the next several months, we finished fencing in our yard (the former owners left one side undone–go figure) and took her on LOTS of walks. Also, my hubby and I watched The Dog Whisperer constantly. (I think I actually got the first season on DVD from the library.) A year later, she’s happy, well-adjusted (um, considering her owners, that is) loves chasing the critters in our large backyard at top speed and IF we keep up with her walks, she behaves herself around the family quite well. Hope you are encouraged that with enough consistency and work, it can be done.
I have a part lab/border collie 9 years old (Shilo); we got her as a puppy and 1 week later a black and tan blood hound(Daisy). They were inseparable until this spring the Bloodhound got cancer and had to be put down. We waited a few months and my husband had to have another Blood hound. Our Blood Hound named Tess is much more energetic then Diasy was; she is now 6 months old we have had to keep them apart as Shilo wants nothing to do with her growls and bears fangs when she comes near; Tess gets so excited the lunges and jumps at her. The vet suggested waiting to put them together until Tess was 6 months old. Now I am afraid to for fear of a viscious dog fight. We can’t keep them in the same house and same backyard forever does anybody have any suggestions. Should I just put them in the backyard alone and let nature take its course? I am afraid to and that seems to be what everybody tells me to do.
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