Monday, April 20, 2009

My dog Dr.Jekyl and Mr. Hyde?

I adopted a Norwich Terrier mix from the humane society in June 2006. He was 6 months old at the time. I spent the entire summer training him and working with him. Six months later everything is going pretty well except he just gets NASTY sometimes, bears his teeth and snaps at me. When we come in from walks and I go to wipe his feet off he gets like this and if I go to move him over on the bed (he inches over in the night till I have no more room) he%26#039;ll growl and get mean then too. He has also, in the morning before I leave for work crawled in my laundry basket and sits there and growls and shows his teeth when I try to pick him up out of the basket. It%26#039;s just like something in him snaps because 90% of the time he%26#039;s a great dog. Another thing he does that%26#039;s weird...he%26#039;ll cross over a bridge on our walks but won%26#039;t walk back over it when we are returning home. I have to pick him up and carry him over it. Can anyone give me insight??

My dog Dr.Jekyl and Mr. Hyde?
The dog thinks he%26#039;s boss. First, make him earn his privileges. Don%26#039;t let him sleep on the bed. (I%26#039;m someone who%26#039;s dogs do sleep on the bed, but this dog is challenging you so you need to withdraw some privileges and this is one.) When he bares his teeth at you or growls, tell him %26quot;no!!%26quot; very firmly and finish what you%26#039;re doing. You can%26#039;t let him get away with growling at you even one time - it%26#039;s going to be harder now because he%26#039;s been doing it for so long. You might also want to work with him in obedience. It should instill some confidence in him, help him accept you as his leader, which should curtail his growling.

If he won%26#039;t walk back over the bridge, don%26#039;t pick him up. You%26#039;ve taught him that he can get you to carry him. It may take you some time, but keep him walking, encourage him, praise him for walking, give him a treat, whatever it takes, he%26#039;ll catch on if you don%26#039;t give in to him.
Reply:i think it%26#039;s best to consult a professional for this. It seems like he%26#039;s %26quot;snapping%26quot; too often.
Reply:my daughter had a dog like that. the vet said it could be from inbreeding. just let the dog know you love him.when he %26quot;acts up%26quot; just put him by himself until this action passes. don%26#039;t hit the dog, just tell him he is acting bad and put him in %26quot;time out%26quot;.
Reply:all terriers are a bit moody. if i were you i would talk to the Vet and see if they can suggest something for you to try.
Reply:Nothing In Life Is Free

Does your dog:

Get on the furniture and refuse to get off?

Nudge your hand, insisting on being petted or played with?

Refuse to come when called?

Defend its food bowl or toys from you?

%26quot;Nothing in life is free%26quot; can help. %26quot;Nothing in life is free%26quot; is not a magic pill that will solve a specific behavior problem; rather it’s a way of living with your dog that will help it behave better because it trusts and accepts you as its leader and is confident knowing its place in your family.

How To Practice %26quot;Nothing In Life Is Free:%26quot;

Using positive reinforcement methods, teach your dog a few commands and/or tricks. %26quot;Sit,%26quot; %26quot;Down%26quot; and %26quot;Stay%26quot; are useful commands and %26quot;Shake,%26quot; %26quot;Speak%26quot; and %26quot;Rollover%26quot; are fun tricks to teach your dog.Once your dog knows a few commands, you can begin to practice %26quot;nothing in life is free.%26quot; Before you give your dog anything (food, a treat, a walk, a pat on the head) it must first perform one of the commands it has learned. For example:



Put your dog’s leash on to go for a walk

Must sit until you’ve put the leash on

Feed your dog

Must lie down and stay until you’ve put the bowl down

Play a game of fetch after work

Must sit and shake hands each time you throw the toy

Rub your dog’s belly while watching TV

Must lie down and rollover before being petted

Once you’ve given the command, don’t give your dog what it wants until it does what you want. If it refuses to perform the command, walk away, come back a few minutes later and start again. If your dog refuses to obey the command, be patient and remember that eventually it will have to obey your command in order to get what it wants.

Make sure your dog knows the command well and understands what you want before you begin practicing %26quot;nothing in life is free.%26quot;

The Benefits Of This Technique

Most dogs assume a neutral or submissive role toward people, but some dogs will challenge their owners for dominance. Requiring a dominant dog to work for everything it wants is a safe and non-confrontational way to establish control.

Dogs who may never display aggressive behavior such as growling, snarling, or snapping, may still manage to manipulate you. These dogs may display affectionate, though %26quot;pushy%26quot; behavior, such as nudging your hand to be petted or %26quot;worming%26quot; its way on to the furniture in order to be close to you. This technique gently reminds the %26quot;pushy%26quot; dog that it must abide by your rules.

Obeying commands helps build a fearful dog’s confidence; having a strong leader and knowing its place in the hierarchy helps to make the submissive dog feel more secure.

Why This Technique Works

Animals that live in groups, like dogs, establish a social structure within the group called a dominance hierarchy. This dominance hierarchy serves to maintain order, reduce conflict and promote cooperation among pack members. In order for your home to be a safe and happy place for pets and people, it’s best that the humans in the household assume the highest positions in the dominance hierarchy.

Practicing %26quot;nothing in life is free%26quot; effectively and gently communicates to your dog that its position in the hierarchy is subordinate to yours. From your dog’s point of view, children also have a place in this hierarchy. Because children are small and can get down on the dog’s level to play, dogs often consider them to be playmates, rather than superiors. With the supervision of an adult, it’s a good idea to encourage children in the household (aged eight and over) to also practice %26quot;nothing in life is free%26quot; with your dog.
Reply:Sounds like your dog is in charge and not you. Are you continuing his training? Just as with anything you use it or loose it. Also if your trainer did not teach you this, you need to make the “nothing in life is free” rule. This means he must perform a desired behavior before getting anything. For example in the morning and at night my dog must go to his rug, sit, lay down and stay until released to eat. If he gets up while I am getting his food or water, I redirect him to he place and make him do it over again until I release him. If he wants to be petted, he must sit. If he wants a treat he must do a trick. If he needs to go out he must go to the door and sit until someone lets him out. Everything he wants he has to do something for it but when he does a desired behavior it is reinforced by praise and or treats. This is great for making sure there is no mistake you are the boss. Also, you need to make him sleep on the floor. This is going to be hard for both of you I am sure but take him and get him a nice bed of his own to sleep in your room. If he tries to get up on the bed make him get down and back on to his bed (we call ours his ‘night-night’) eventually you can train him to go there for bed each night. As for the bridge thing, take him for a walk when you have some extra time to get this practice in motion, but simple bring some treats along with you and once you get to the bridge and he will no longer walk go as far in-front of him as you can and call his name with one of his favorite treats in your hand next to your side where he will have to come and get it. Repeat this until he crosses the bridge moving in front of him father each time. Once he can cross the bridge completely with out being coached give him a treat and praise for his good deed. Do this a few more times until it becomes habit and then do it occasionally for reinforcement of the desired behavior. Also sometime a good old stare down works to determine who is boss, I hold my dogs head firmly but not tight and look him straight in the eye nose to nose when he is being stubborn and not doing as he should. Eventually he will sigh and loosen his tension, this means I won. It might sound a bit barbaric but I have a 95 lbs American Bulldog and can never give him the upper hand or let him feel he is the boss so he is regularly trained because if he “snipped” at me he could do some serious damage. He is a great dog and all the training and work I have done is really paid off, it just takes time and a firm, but fair hand. Just don’t expect to see any results over night and keep working with him and in a few months things should straighten themselves out. Best of luck!

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