HELP with Rage :(

Discussion in 'Dog Training Forum' started by PlottMom, Oct 22, 2012.

  1. PlottMom

    PlottMom The Littlest Hound

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2009
    Messages:
    2,835
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    4 dogs
    Location:
    SoCal
    Let me preface this by saying she is completely stable to be out in public/go to the vets/meet strangers, children, what have you. She is a typical Plott - if you're not me she has a passing interest in you but will not go out of her way to make human friends at the dog park - she basically ignores people.

    That said, she is very odd towards my boyfriend (who I've been with for years & she has lived with since April.) I'd say a large part of the time she's fine - he's really tightened up NILIF with her and she obeys commands REALLY well for him (I'd say she's FAR less likely to break a stay with him than with me) but like, at night when he walks by her crate she growls. About 50% of the time when he goes to put her IN her crate, she growls, and actually lunges at him (his finger slipped through the wire door the other day and she actually nailed him) - but she goes into it fine (she loves her crate... dives right in, whatever.). If she's sitting by the couch and he comes in from outside, she barks. If we come in from the dog park & he's sitting on the couch, she will occasionally bark.

    I don't get it, and it's starting to bug me, after she actually made contact with his finger the other day. I have NEVER been worried about her even looking at me threateningly - it's really just him/other strange men IN OUR HOUSE (NO issues in public!)

    I was thinking when she runs upstairs & dives in the crate, to have him call her back out, sit for a treat, down for a treat, and a controlled re-entry to the crate. I said "she is clearly uncomfortable with you near her crate so we need to associate you being near her crate with good things!" He said "but then I'll be rewarding her for being an a$$hole." Which is really not my idea at all, it would be rewarding when she's not growling but whatever.

    If you read all that, please help yourself to a cookie and either tell me I've got the right idea, or give me a better suggestion! lol
     
  2. milos_mommy

    milos_mommy Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2006
    Messages:
    15,346
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    IDK, but I'm curious as to what others have to say. Milo's the exact same way with my brother. He adores him, and even if Milo is growling and barking and my brother gets close it will turn into a tail-wagging licking playing fest, but when he approaches, Milo flips out barking and growling and posturing.
     
  3. Lyzelle

    Lyzelle New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2012
    Messages:
    2,826
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Colorado
    All the dogs were like that with my younger brother. Turns out, my younger brother tormented and teased the hell out of them with anything and everything. Trash bags, blowing in their face, flicking their nose or ears. General pest, and dogs got sick of it. They never liked his friends, either. But enjoyed younger kids and could totally be trusted.

    My moms' third husband was the same way. Would chase Zander all through the house in his ABU's because he knew Zander was scared of the boots and pattern. Zander - who has been attacked by other dogs and never so much as raised his hackles...started growling and posturing anytime he came near.

    And in both situations, the dogs were punished, yelled at, and hit for lashing out.

    Dogs don't suddenly get temperamental with someone, IME. Even if it's something small, cute, or funny that other dogs might like, maybe your BF is doing something Rage does NOT LIKE and she's getting ticked and pushing him off.

    I'm more suspicious of that because of his attitude when you mentioned association with good things and the crate and him.
     
  4. milos_mommy

    milos_mommy Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2006
    Messages:
    15,346
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    My brother DID tease the dogs a lot, especially Milo, when he was younger. Would try to scare them with whatever objects they didn't like, would run up to the car windows and bang on it while Milo was in it to make him flip out, etc.
     
  5. PlottMom

    PlottMom The Littlest Hound

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2009
    Messages:
    2,835
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    4 dogs
    Location:
    SoCal
    The absolute ONLY thing I can think of is that he walks with a pretty pronounced limp that wigs rage out when he hops down the stairs and sometimes she'll go after him when he's working out. He doesn't tease her or play rough with her at all (because he's not sure how she'll react.) She's batty around other strange men occasionally too, but only inside the house.
     
  6. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2004
    Messages:
    22,034
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Occupation:
    2 dogs
    Location:
    western Wa
    When your boyfriend is about to pass by the crate, hopefully before she gets growly, have him toss in some tiny tid bits of something really good, like chicken or cheese....tiny enough that they'll pass right through the wires. Wait until she finishes those, then have him walk past, then come back and toss in another small handful....back and forth. The positive association that comes from him walking near her crate will be what she learns. Dogs learn strongly by way of association. Don't worry about rewarding her growling behavior. Dogs aren't very aware of their own behavior...not at first, not with something like this. She's more aware of whatever it is that concerns her about his coming near the crate. And rewarding growling is okay anyhow. Growling is simply communicating. Don't have anyone stick their fingers through the crate at this time...not until she's begging someone to hand her high value food. That comes later. For now, just have him toss things through to her and use a cheery voice...nothing more.

    For the time being, if there's no one else around to put her in the crate and he must close the door, thus putting his fingers in there and upsetting her.....he needs to hold a long piece of very tasty food (strip of steak or something) to one side and through the door...and let her nibble on it while he latches the door. Then he walks away.

    Try all this for a couple weeks and see if there's any improvement. I wouldn't be too hung up on NILIF...I mean...yes, to a certain extent, she should earn most of the good things. But, sometimes that can be carried too far, I think and it can stress a dog out to have so much regiment.

    What kind of bark? Is this like when a stranger would come to the door, creeping around at night kind of bark? Or a "hi" kind of bark? If she's barking threateningly, same thing. Have him enter the room and start dropping or tossing super duper treats to her. Other than that, I wouldn't have him approach or try to do anything overt with her. She needs a little space and time to get to feel glad at his presence. Again, don't worry about rewarding her for the wrong thing. Concentrate on making it nothing but fantastic when he's around, coming, walking past her crate etc.

    At other times, when she's already use to him being in the room or out in the yard, does she like to play with him....fetch a ball or catch a Frisbee? Some obedience stuff is good and can build a bond. But just plain romping and playing with lots of treats and toys involved can hardly be beat. It sounds like she just needs to trust him more. No scolding, scary voices, abrupt movements etc. (not saying he does, but thought I'd mention it just in case)

    The limp, she ought to be able to get use to. How thoroughly was she socialized as a young puppy? If you limp, does she get wonky? Start doing some weird stuff like that yourself and help her see that unusual movements and things aren't anything to worry about and they come with treats. lol.

    Short of all that...if you see no improvement in about 2-3 weeks, I'd call in a behaviorist.
     
  7. PlottMom

    PlottMom The Littlest Hound

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2009
    Messages:
    2,835
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    4 dogs
    Location:
    SoCal
    Thank you sooo much dober! Ill have to get him on board because his being upset with her is stressing me out. And now, I can act like a dying octopus on land & she doesn't care. I can move however I want, "slap her around", doesn't matter. She has never ONCE growled at me. Just him :( Thank you so much for reinforcing that this IS the right way to go...
     
  8. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2004
    Messages:
    22,034
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Occupation:
    2 dogs
    Location:
    western Wa
    You're welcome, but actually.... don't thank me until you see some improvement. lol. That's the best I can do without actually seeing or working with your dog. Over the internet, sometimes some little factors might be unknown. But hopefully Rage will get more comfortable over time with your b.f coming near the crate and then finally his putting his hands in. But if at any time, you or he feel unsafe, stop and get a certified behaviorist or trainer who uses good science to train. Working with you personally is bound to be more helpful. I do hope things get better. There's nothing more worrying than a dog that might bite...it's not only scary for the person who gets bitten, but it just makes you sad that your dog is insecure about something...enough that it induces a bite. So, hopefully, depending on other kinds of factors, he'll improve. Let us know.

    Plus, maybe someone else will come along with some more ideas.
     
  9. PlottMom

    PlottMom The Littlest Hound

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2009
    Messages:
    2,835
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    4 dogs
    Location:
    SoCal
    See that's the thing - I can tell by her body language she's unsure, and I want to work from that angle... He seems to think she's "being an a$$hole" and needs to know she "can't get away with that". Apparently she's better behaved when I'm not home... I don't really know why/what the deal is with that. She tends to just be a generally anxious dog... I feel awful about that, but she is like ten times better than when I bought her. I don't think she was socialized well after she left her breeder :/
     
  10. Greenmagick

    Greenmagick New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2011
    Messages:
    3,199
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    9 not counting ducks, chickens, and fish
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    Just curious to what his variety of NILIF is? It is a great tool, no doubt but there are so many way to implement it and sometimes it can be pretty rough for the dog, causing anxiety
     
  11. PlottMom

    PlottMom The Littlest Hound

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2009
    Messages:
    2,835
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    4 dogs
    Location:
    SoCal
    She only reliably sits & will hold a down... so basically to stop her tearing down the stairs he lets her out of her crate, asks for a sit at the top of the stairs, one on the landing & before she goes out the door. Also one before she comes in. I think that's it.
     
  12. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2004
    Messages:
    22,034
    Likes Received:
    2
    Trophy Points:
    38
    Occupation:
    2 dogs
    Location:
    western Wa
    You might explain to him that by thinking the dog is being an "a$$hole," he is being anthropomorphic....that is...attributing human things to non-human beings. The reasons behind rebellion (or for being an a$$hole, lol) for humans are not the same as dogs' reasons for what we may perceive as rebellion. A dog's value system is completely different from ours. They are not moral creatures one way or the other....don't have the complexity to weigh and measure things in such a way as to create rebellion. (rebellion by OUR moral code) They just aren't capable of that. So, they don't understand why they are being scolded or why we are anxious or nervous at what they're doing. They aren't even very aware of their own behavior...not unless it's something that they've been trained very well and they've had enough practice to finally connect their behavior to a consequence.

    Since they don't share our value system and are amoral, then when they misbehave or act a certain, undesirable way, there's another reason....not that they're being a$$holes. A dog reason. We have to figure out where they're coming from and not base our figuring from our human perception, but from theirs. Dogs growl and snap because they're unsure, like you said. They are afraid or uncomfortable, untrusting. Very, very few dogs bite because they're being jerks. 9 times out of 10, there's something underlying that has built up to it. And we need to take steps to counter condition them.

    We can't always know what is the cause and it doesn't always matter much. And that's because we have bigger brains and can change their minds usually, about what it is that's bothering them....regardless of how they got that way.

    So, if your bf thinks Rage is being an a$$hole like a human would be an a$$hole, with human emotions and reasoning behind it.... and that is influencing his own behavior around the dog, that may exude some really bad vibes to Rage and he's picking up on this possibly antagonistic demeanor. And he remains distrustful of him.

    That was probably clear as mud. :eek:
     
  13. Taqroy

    Taqroy Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2009
    Messages:
    5,566
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Occupation:
    3
    Location:
    Colorado
    Great post Dober! Especially this part:

    My dad does this to Mu - at our house she's totally fine with him, at their house she barks and freaks out around him. And for awhile when she was a puppy he made things worse by acting like she hated him for no reason and he would purposely stomp around and raise his voice. When I pointed out that he was 1) being as large of a jerk as he claimed the dog was being and 2) pretty much ensuring that she would never like him because he was scaring her, he stopped. I'm not saying your bf is doing anything on purpose (and it sounds like he's trying) but that attitude doesn't help at all and if he can recognize that she's a DOG and let go of the idea that she thinks she's "getting away with something" I think it'll go better.

    I hate it when people say things like this. My mom does it with Mu - "She does SO much better when you're not around." Uh, great Mom, but she's my dog and I'm often around so come up with helpful solutions or shut up. It doesn't really matter how she acts when you're not there if the problems occur when you ARE.

    But, do you think you being there contributes to her anxiety? Can you try calming pills when you are there and see if that takes the edge off? Not long term of course, just so that it could take the edge off of her interactions with your bf.
     
  14. sassafras

    sassafras mushinois

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2011
    Messages:
    6,405
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Location:
    Minnesota
    I don't know why so many people want to make a problem with dogs about a "principle of the thing" that doesn't even exist. It's just behavior, and he can either do things to change it, or not.
     

Share This Page