My Dog ate a Bird... and another couple of question

Discussion in 'Dog Training Forum' started by TryingToTrain, Jul 11, 2010.

  1. TryingToTrain

    TryingToTrain New Member

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    Ok, so I am not a good dog trainer. I love my dogs, but have been screwing up their training for years now (I got both dogs as puppies and they are now 7 & 8). As a result, my husband hates the dogs. I have listened to a lot of bad advice over the years and even hired the help of a dog trainer whose methods were very physical and unproductive. But,I want to do things the right way and someone recommended this forum. I am willing to spend whatever time I need to in order to get the dogs properly trained. Of course, the hard part is getting the family properly trained (three kids under 6, a husband and a nanny who all know nothing about dogs) too. Neither dog has every bit anyone. Neither bites or scratches furniture, shoes etc. And, lastly, I will do whatever will work to make them a part of our family. Right now, we can't trust them througout the house because...

    Here is the situation:
    They are actually very good dogs. Perry is a very smart Yorkie-Poo. Cody is an incredibly dumb Cocker-Poo. Perry loves chasing balls, Cody has never chased a ball in his life. Perry should have been an "only dog" but Cody just loves everyone and everything. Before we started training them, over the last few days, Perry would mount Cody, then for a while Cody was mounting Perry, now that behavior seems to have stopped.

    1 - The dogs are still not house broken. They don't pee in front of me, but they will sneak off to a bedroom whenever they have to go. I am currently trying to retrain, but they keep sneaking off (Obviously my fault, but I can't seem to keep them off the leash in the house and keep an eye on them - I also have three kids under 6.)
    Q1 - To potty train, can I keep them leashed in the house, or does that cause confusion?
    Q2 - They seem to need to pee every 45 minutes or so (that is how often they sneak off). This isn't a realistic walking schedule. Why are they going this frequently? Is it just "marking"?
    Q3 - Since these are my dogs in my house that they have already marked, is this going to be possible? Or will the marked areas always be a problem?

    2 - One of my dogs ate a baby bird yesterday. He is a yorkie-poo and has never bit. He is a real alpha personality and will snap if he is threatened (by that I mean one of the kids accidentally hurts him).
    Q4 - Is eating a bird a big problem or just a dog thing?

    3 - The last problem is another one that may just be a dog thing. The kids leave food at the table, so when the walk away the dogs keep climbing on the furniture to get at the food. They do listen (usually) if I scold them, but obviously if they can grab the food before I can scoot them down, they certainly do.
    Q5 - How do I train this behavior away? They get food when the disobey, so it is reinforcing the problem I am guessing.

    4 - Cody, our cocker-poo barks. All the time. At anything he doesn't know. Continually. It drives my husband crazy. But, I think the dog is genuinely scared. I can get him to stop generally by making him sit (commands). If that doesn't work, I make him lie down (usually with commands but sometimes I have to put him physically into a down)
    Q6 - What is the right way to break this habit?

    Of course, if you guys have links that would be great. I have been reading a lot on this forum and have been trying to implement. But I am worried I am using the wrong training for the wrong problem since I haven't been having much luck yet.

    edit: just added a bit more background
     
  2. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    http://www.chazhound.com/forums/t4679/ (pay special attention to Mordy's post)

    If you've used punishment of any kind to "correct" your dogs for peeing in the house, the result is common that they'll sneak off to pee somewhere else in the house...not in front of you. Peeing in front of you is "dangerous." Tethering your dog to you in the house is a fine way to keep an eye on them. I can't imagine though, having three dogs tethered to me. LOL. But anyhow...read that thread and see what you can glean from it.

    Here are some good training articles. There's one on bark training too. ClickerSolutions Training Articles Contents

    Catching and eating a bird is a dog thing....(they're predators/scavangers)

    Keep food off the table when you're not there to supervise. Teach the dogs to stay away from the table. Teach them that by staying away from the food, they WILL get food. Reinforcement is what drives behavior. The dogs are getting reinforced every time they get something off the table. If there is nothing there to eat, the behavior of getting on the table will extinguish. Having an alternate way to get food....a way that works for the dogs, a way that works for you....is what they need. Dogs do what works. (for them. lol)


    One of my favorites!
    26. Zen
     
  3. TryingToTrain

    TryingToTrain New Member

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    Thanks - I'll start reading those...
     
  4. Maura

    Maura New Member

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    In addition:

    Your little dog should not be snapping at the children. Teach the children the proper way to interact with the dog. Toy sized dogs are the most likely dogs to bite children- in self defense.

    You teach the dog to have good table manners by first putting the dogs outside or in another area while the family eats until you have enough time to train the dogs. To train, bring the dog(s) to a specific place, for instance in the living room, but where they can see you. Each dog should have his own spot, say a foot from each other (farther apart if this is too close for comfort). Point to the carpet and give a specific cue, such as "place". Praise and treat. Keep bringing the dog back to the place, praising and treating for lying down in the spot. The treats should be little slivers of cheese or other tiny piece of something the dog considers food. When you are having good compliance (may take 30 seconds, may take five minutes or more) sit at the table, give the cue, then toss a treat to the dog, right to his mouth if possible, so he doesn't have to get up. Use three or four treats to keep the dog there, then take a break. Repeat several times throughout the day. When the kids are eating at the table, give the cue and toss a treat only as often as necessary to keep them parked. Over the course of a few days you should be able to toss a treat once people have all started eating, then another half way through, then another when everyone is done. If you have children leaving the table then coming back, have the dogs maintain position. If the child is going to be gone for a long period of time, take his plate and put it in the refrigerator (or make a rule about finishing before leaving the table, whatever is age appropriate).

    As for frequent urination (marking), if you find it too difficult to keep the dogs tethered to you try belly bands. You'll also have to keep the area really clean. If they are using one room I would close the door to the room or use a baby gate to block it off. After a few weeks I would replace the carpet and padding in that room, giving the bare floor a good cleaning.
     
  5. TryingToTrain

    TryingToTrain New Member

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    So, it sounds like the consensus is that if the kids leave food around, the dogs will just eat it. They don't jump up during meals, only when we aren't around. During meals they are actually pretty good.
     
  6. TryingToTrain

    TryingToTrain New Member

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    I guess the other question I have is why is my dog going to the bathroom every forty five minutes. If I kennel him, he is fine, if I don't, he keeps sneeking off. Does that ever stop or has it just been too long?
     
  7. lizzybeth727

    lizzybeth727 New Member

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    At this point, it's probably just a habit. Follow the potty training tips that were given in this thread already, and he should stop going quite so often.

    Unless, of course, it's a health problem. Is this a new problem, or has it been going on for a while?
     
  8. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    Absolutely. Dogs are scavangers...opportunistic animals and that's what they do to "survive" and how they evolved to the point of domestication...by feeding near humans. So, you can't take thousands of years of instinct out of them. They don't do it in front of you because they've learned that it won't work. They'll be stopped. But it does work and is safe when you're not present. They don't have the same values and morals as we do. They're acutally amoral. Some dogs won't do this. I can leave a plate of food on my coffee table and go out of the room...but I don't trust them. LOL. There's always a pretty good chance that it will get the better of them. There are also motion sensors with alarms, bursts of air and other aversives that might help. But it's just easier to keep the food put away when the dogs are not supervised.
     
  9. Saeleofu

    Saeleofu Active Member

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    Last edited: Jul 11, 2010
  10. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    You can train them. My dogs know "leave it" quite well. I can do that what was shown in the video. But I would still not leave my house for the day or leave the room for a long time and leave a really expensive Porterhouse steak unattended. (but that's just me) LOL.
     
  11. TryingToTrain

    TryingToTrain New Member

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    No, not a new problem, and he doesn't exhibit and discomfort in the kennel. He also sees the vet regularly, so I don't think it is medical.
     
  12. TryingToTrain

    TryingToTrain New Member

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    Wow great video. So nice to see something work and how it works. That is one of my problems. I know that I am the one that has to learn what to do. So, I have no idea how long it should take when done right or what done right really. Makes it hard to know if I should just keep going or what. Great link.
     
  13. Saeleofu

    Saeleofu Active Member

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    Yes, Kikopup's videos are awesome ^.^ There's all sorts of things in there - when I need help with a particular behavior, that's the first place I go.
     
  14. TryingToTrain

    TryingToTrain New Member

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    One more question... I like the clicker thing, but that would drive my husband absolutely crazy. He can't deal with lots of little sounds. (this post makes him sound absolutely nuts, but he isn't any more crazy than I am - not that I am coming off any better!). Anyway, what would you recommend in place of a clicker. Are there any alternatives?
     
  15. TryingToTrain

    TryingToTrain New Member

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    Now that I have a bit more time...

    Thanks so much for all of the replies. My mom was so great with dogs, and I keep wishing she were still around to help me. Having each of you give such great, detailed advice is just wonderful. Thanks.

    So, it seems as though everything thinks that this isn't just wishful thinking on my part. The dogs do seem trainable from all that you have said. If I am doing it right, do you have any info on what timetable I am looking at - or more precisely how do I know if it is getting better. Is this like a year long process or should I expect faster results (or change methods). In the past, I think I have been poorly executing training methods for a while expecting it would take a long time. From the video, it looks like I should expect the dogs to learn a bit faster if I am training them properly (key phrase).

    Once again, I can't thank you all enough for your patience and kindness. I am so embarrassed to have been unable to train them to date and am just so happy to have found this group. I feel better already.
     
  16. milos_mommy

    milos_mommy Active Member

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    You can use a word cue instead of a click. It would have to be a word you don't normally use in front of the dogs, but a lot of people use "yes" or "good." You say that word at the moment when you would click, then treat after you say it.
     
  17. Saeleofu

    Saeleofu Active Member

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    "yes" "good" a tongue click, a short whistle - any marker will work
     
  18. Doberluv

    Doberluv Active Member

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    Depending on how the training is done, most behaviors can be modified or new ones learned in about 2 weeks or so.

    Remember, the clicker isn't going to be used indefinitely. (your husband can rest assured) It's only used in the beginning stages of teaching a new behavior. Once the dog is doing the behavior regularly, has been reinforced enough times that he's onto it, you won't need the clicker anymore for that particular behavior. Some people use a ball point pen...the little clicky thing on the end. Or a word, but since we use words all the time with our dogs and they're use to hearing words and because some words take longer to get out, it has been shown in studies that a sound, such as a clicker makes, registers in a different part of the brain than words do and seems to go more directly to where it needs to go to get processed. In other words, a clicker or some very distinctive sound is more effective than words. But they still work pretty well.
     
  19. TryingToTrain

    TryingToTrain New Member

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    Today went better. They were tethered to me all day, but now they have started barking at absolutely everything. Any ideas why?
     
  20. Maura

    Maura New Member

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    Change is stressful. They may be reacting to the new situation of being attached to you. They may feel more vulnerable because they don't have freedom. Just have them sit at the first bark, say thank you and give a little pet. Then go about your business. The sit (or better is a down) will act as a distraction if they aren't really worked up.
     

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