Some advice oh wise ones, please!

Discussion in 'Dogs - General Dog Chat' started by Pandemonium, Apr 2, 2008.

  1. Pandemonium

    Pandemonium Member

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    Today's been the straw that broke this girls back. Nothing in particularly different about today, just had it is all. As many of you know, we adopted Bernie (beagle/husky cross) at 8 weeks old. He's now just about 16 weeks, and I am pleased with much of his progress, but others leave me in tears at the end of the day.
    Some points of issue:
    1. Sleeps maximum 10 hrs/day

    2. Absolutely nothing is done at my request unless there is a reward: FOOD (He'll do what's asked once, or twice but if there is no reward, you can't get him to do it again.. for hours)

    3. Can't really say much about housebreaking other than he's had few accidents, but he NEVER lets me know he wants out, I am taking him out hourly when he's not sleeping.

    4. Seems to have no attachment to either myself or hubby, unless food is involved.

    5. Is showing some food aggression this week: growling when I reach my hand into his bowl (done this since day one, and this week is the first he's started to protest), tried to take a bone away from him for no reason other than I wanted to (nearly lost a hand, no bite but as close as I want to come to it), and tonight after a bad bout of absolute insanity, I went to move him from under the chair here, with his rawhide, and he growled again

    6. Has absolutely no recall capability off leash outside

    I have had a several dogs, most of my life from puppies to adult adoptions. I am aware that I may be expecting too much from a 16 week old puppy, and you are more than welcome to tell me so!

    He does sit upon command (he knows both the hand signal and the verbal command), inside or outside of the house (with the expectation of a kibble etc). He does respond to his name and normally comes running when he's called. He will "down" only if there is a kibble placed on the floor for him to "wait" for.

    He has 2 1.5 mile walks miniumum/day, as well as being well socialized/dog parked for at least 1 hr/day with the 3 local dogs/owners. He always belly's up (submissive) for strangers, but never has around me.

    I guess my concern is my/his lack of bonding on any basis other than food. You CAN'T pet him EVER for his wanting to bite, chew, chomp etc, at any time. He's always been a grumbly bear when he's tired and asleep and you want to move him.. sounds familiarly like me LOL.. but...

    I had wanted a dog that loved me, wanted to be with me, followed me in or out, and was some what less dominating??? Don't even know what the word is, but I am exhausted after 14-16 hrs a day of being on dog duty. Any more than 2 seconds unheeded, and he's destroying something. He's either on leash with me, crated in his bed, or sectioned off in the kitchen. Any toys he has he loves, but won't play with them alone. His only focus is food.

    I do realize he's a puppy, and both of his mixed breeds are independant/strong willed. I adopted him knowing this. I don't ask for a dog with separation anxiety, but a tail wag when he sees me would be nice! Have I overNILIFed?

    Thanks for reading. Any advice or ideas would be welcome. Oh, and yes he was vet checked 2 weeks ago for his shots, and all seemed well in her eyes, but the tearybleary eyes of me should have told her different.
    Take care and love your dogs/cats/iguana's whatevers lol.. Kym
     
  2. noludoru

    noludoru Bored Now.

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    Honestly your situation with him sounds a bit disturbing to me in such a young puppy. Maybe some more knowledgable trainers will have a solution for you or have dealt with this before, but it seems to me he should have bonded to you by this age and should have more interests..
     
  3. Pandemonium

    Pandemonium Member

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    Thanks for the feedback Noludoru. He does get miles of walks, lots of ball chasing, lots of running riot in the park, plays ball in the house, tug of war by the hour, etc etc. Of course we are hampered to a degree by the snowbanks still, but I do make sure we're out on the road out of the house at least 3 hrs per day.

    I suppose I wasn't very clear with my blearyteary comments... lol.. but he does/is expected to sit/shake whatever for every single treat/kibble bit that he gets. He does/must sit and wait for every meal before being given the "ok". He knows his hand signals and commands for all of that.. He does sit/wait before going out to potty. There are some things that I know are beyond his self control, such as the hissinggrowlingannoying cats lol, but for the most part I don't expect him to have everything mastered or even trained on at all..

    I agree with the non-bonding comment you made Noludoru.. I too am worried about the lack of "loving" from a puppy. Mind you he was a rescue, and was in a home with 17 other puppies that were saved from sure death, and none of the puppies had parents. I doubt that the rescue people had time to bond much with that many puppies.. so maybe that is the issue.

    Maybe I just have over done it with the discipline/NILIF. Dunno.. and my heart is exhausted. Just before 2 am, Bernie is in bed.. and will be ready for the day no later than 7 am. Argghhh.. lol
     
  4. ihartgonzo

    ihartgonzo and Fozzie B!

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    To be honest...

    I don't know if most of these behaviors seem THAT unusual. I have heard absolute horror stories about Husky puppies, who turned out to be amazing adults, so don't feel hopeless just based on the stage your pup is in.

    I recommend as much bonding time as possible, and as many fun activities as possible. He will start to learn that you provide all of his resources, and all of his fun. It can take a while to bond to your puppy... me and Fozzie didn't completely bond until he was nearly a year old. He was very cuddly and lovable, but it took a while to really earn his devotion and respect. Not all dogs love to be cuddled and pet, some dogs just don't care for it. For now, you can begin to teach him to associate petting/cuddling/loving with good things; treats, praise, etc. Take advantage of his food drive!

    1) 10 hours isn't much, but it isn't unheard of for a 16 week old puppy to start sleeping less. Like Nolu said, how much exercise is he getting? He should be getting ongoing, healthy, natural exercise through out the day. Short walks, training sessions, stuffed Kongs, and just romping around the yard with him can do a lot to tire a puppy out.

    2) Fozzie was exactly like that, at your pup's age. He is still in love with food, but now he will work for praise and toys, too. It's all about weaning him off of the treats, and teaching him that praise and playing can be TONS of fun for him, too.

    3) Just keep doing what you're doing. Like Nolu said, you can teach him a certain behavior for when he needs to go out. Some dogs are very obvious about needing to potty, but some are very subtle. Pay attention to what he does when it's about time for a potty break... he will probably give some kind of cue.

    4) See 2. : )

    5) Start hand-feeding. Praise him while he's eating from your hands and being gentle. Feed him his kibble by making him do a trick, then giving him a few pieces. You should start playing the trade-off game, with chewies and such. Get a reallyyy yummy treat, and offer it to him in exchange for his chewy. Tell him he's a good boy for trading nicely, and give him his chewy back. He needs to learn to allow you to take anything away from him, because you provide him with everything.

    6) Use his food drive! Randomly, through out the day, call him to you. Start by calling him for 2 feet away, and give him a JACKPOT reward and/or lots of praise. Also, pay attention to your posture when you're calling him, as well as your tone. Are you bending over, leaning forward, or using a stern tone? "Come" should be a command that is always cheerful, exciting, and rewarding. It also helps to take a few quick steps in the other direction or flat-out run the other way while calling... he is MUCH more likely to race over, wondering what you're up to.

    Bernie sounds like a very head-strong, independent puppy... but not a bad puppy. And you aren't a bad owner! Don't be so hard on yourself. You have plenty of time to bond, and often the strongest bonds take the longest to make. Just keep up with the training, enjoy your time with him, and don't expect a Lab personality any time soon.
     
  5. ihartgonzo

    ihartgonzo and Fozzie B!

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    Wow... that is a lot.

    I wouldn't walk a puppy for miles on-leash. The constant, repetitive motion (especially if it's on concrete) just isn't good for their growing bodies.

    It sounds like he gets tons of exercise. Does he have any chill-out time, during the day? Maybe he's getting a little too much action. Pups should get plenty of exercise, but they should be taught when it's time to relax and laze around, too.
     
  6. Sch3Dana

    Sch3Dana Workin' Dog

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    I would be worried about the aggression around food and bones. Either you are doing something wrong that is making him guardy, or, he is naturally developing into a guarder. This isn't an ususual behavior, but you really need to nip it in the bud. Until you have a plan to work on, avoid any instances that could be confrontational. Do you have a local trainer who can help you with this?
     
  7. Pandemonium

    Pandemonium Member

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    LOL ihartgonzo.. yes it does sound like I'm over doing the miles on the leash bit.. but very little of it is on the road.. this is parks, snow, trails, fields, and yes some "road training" to desensitize him a bit to noises (he was leary for a while, as he came from the far north with little noise other than gunshots and snowmobiles :( and we also live in a fairly rural area). The reason he's leashed is he has no recall ability, and he's a scent hound.. that can find our house from where ever in the world that he is... believe me.. we drove him to an area of the park (1 mile away) where he'd never been, put the long leash on, and he tracked his way home.. no clues from us as to which way to go!

    His food drive is what works the very best for/with us.. no matter what he's doing (except harassing the cats).. if he's called (in the house) he comes running... he knows there's good things waiting.

    I know I am making this sound better than it is..I am exhausted from entertaining/training/walking and correcting... oh.. and housebreaking lol...

    I am glad that there could be hope in a year or so... lol.. for some bonding time.. I am here by myself most of the time as hubby works midnights, and is a long sleeper during the day. I do love the little dickens, but like I've said before.. he's the child my mother wished I'd have.. ;).. lol

    As far as the "food guarding" goes.. I started him out as hand fed, now every meal is "Sit.. wait.. look(at me).. wait.. good boy".. dish down, he eats (gulps lol) while my hands are petting him, in his dish... and he's always been fine. The bone thing.. I have no idea.. "good stuff, not gonna let you have it"?? I did try to get him to "leave it", "sit (normally whatever he has in his mouth, is dropped with a sit because he knows something good is coming for a sit), nothing would detract him from the bone, so I reached for it.. and nearly lost a hand. Took the bone anyways, he sat like an angel, gave him back the bone, tried again.. slight growl, took the bone.. he sat, I gave it back.. and the third time.. he let me have it.. and hold it while he chewed on it.

    We sit every night on the couch to try and get some dog/me time.. while he chews (with me holding it) a rawhide.. or greenie or whatever, so I can pet him without the teeth chewing me in puppy fashion.. and tonight he just took his greenie off to the kitchen on the mat, by himself.

    He does have his crate for downtime, but one hour of nap time is all I get before he's up and ready to go again. Maybe I should move the crate to another room, where there are less things to wake him up? Right now he's in the diningroom/kitchen.. amidst us all, but still separate in his crate.

    Ok.. I am really tired now.. off to bed I go.. thank you each and everyone of you for your time and thoughts!
     
  8. mrose_s

    mrose_s BusterLove

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    I think others will cover all the behaviour stuff, but you have a beagle/husky, both those breeds are stubborn, independent and hard headed, not particularily eager to please breeds. They arn't my thing because of this.
     
  9. ihartgonzo

    ihartgonzo and Fozzie B!

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    It sounds like you are doing everything right... so the only advice I really have is to have some faith. : ) Yanno, I was a little bit hurt and irritated when I first got Fozzie, because I was so not used to or into having a hard-headed dog. But I have discovered a lot of benefits to his personality, the biggest one being that he is comfortable in most any situation, and very laid back and confident. We have grown on each other, and now I find his sassy moments endearing. Sometimes! I'm sure you and Bernie will grow on each other, too.

    I have actually speculated whether or not Fozzie's dad was a Beagle x Husky. He has personality traits and physical traits from both breeds! I know for sure he is half Corgi, but I always wonder. I can't wait to see Bernie all grown up.
     
  10. MericoX

    MericoX Roos, Poos, & a Wog!

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    When I got my 2nd dog (Stryder) all he ever wanted to do was play with my other dog. Wouldnt give me the time of day. He was quite naughty... maybe not as much as yours... but he used to do all the things your pup is doing. I dunno if others will agree with me... but for awhile (maybe less than a week?) I ignored him. When he started coming over to me (which he was doing before) and he wasnt getting any attention he went crazy. Long story short... he's a mama boy now and half the time I cant keep him off me.

    Mine will sometimes guard bones and "special treats" from each other... but its not allowed with me. They will get quickly scruffed and threatened in a growly voice to drop it. I had to use the mean growly voice.. and scruff alot of times with Stryder to get him to do anything for me... nothing worked for this boy as a pup... and even then he still defied me. LOL.
     
  11. Sweet72947

    Sweet72947 Squishy face

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    LOL you haven't met the beagles I've met. They've all been really sweet and wanted lots of pets all the time! Most of the huskies/husky mixes I've met have been really sweet too. I think the OP's pup probably did miss out on some crucial socialization at the rescuer's house. I would also suggest contacting a trainer to help with the socialization and food guarding issues.

    But remember, just because the pup doesn't SHOW that he is bonded doesn't mean he isn't. It could mean he just isn't the mushy, affectionate type.
     
  12. Pandemonium

    Pandemonium Member

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    Wow.. me and my dog are normal.. well.. as normal as we'll ever be! Thanks everyone, you have no idea how "lost on a desert island" I have been feeling. Contacted a local trainer over the phone this morning, and had a long conversation with her. You are all right!! He's not had a lot of people (family) bonding, he's been shuffled around a lot in the beginning of life, and he's just not the mushy kind of dog.

    She also suggested that I am not NILFing myself.. I give him far too much attention, and not enough downtime to entertain himself, or to miss me. We will be fencing some of the yard off for him to have an outside sniff/romp zone (yes he will be watched, but at this point in time, almost all of his life is leashed, as he has no outside recall ability yet).

    As was suggested by the trainer, and I think I alluded to it, he needs to have his crate either covered, or moved out of the centre of attention in order to have enough sleep time. Apparently like Sweet said, he's more bonded than I think, and when he hears me doing things, he wants to participate toooooooooo!

    Well.. spring is in the air today and you have all made me feel much better. I think you are all a great resource, a friendly group, and you should take this bundle of cyber daffodils, and pat yourselves on the back. Thank you, :hail:Kym, and a relaxed, mellow Bernie. Who stole my real dog? LOL
     
  13. corgipower

    corgipower Tweleve Enthusiest

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    As for the bonding issue, some dogs just aren't the lovey cuddly type. Nyx, after a year old is just now beginning to show interest in being with me. Ares, at 8 years old - and I got him when he was 3 months old - is very much bonded to me, but he isn't going to come looking for petting, he isn't interested in sitting next to me, he just doesn't cuddle. He's very independant and willful and a bit stubborn.

    I would definitely address the guarding issue. Not just the food, but the grumbling and biting as well. This is something that needs to be addressed immediately, before it gets worse.
    As for the recall issue, at 16 weeks old, I don't do off lead recalls. I do off lead recalls at 8 weeks old, in a controlled environment. At 16 weeks, they are on a leash This is an age where they begin to develop more independance and they simply don't feel a need to be with me all the time. They stay on a leash until they've had sufficient training that I believe they'll come when called, and then we progress to leash dragging, and then to off leash.

    If he is off leash, don't call him. Set him up to want to come to you by using food and treats or go and get him. If he is coming to you, then you can use a recall command to develop word association, but you don't want to give the command unless you're sure he'll come.

    As for the food, at that age, I do still use a lot of food in their training. Make sure you are rewarding him and not bribing him though.

    This sounds like you're on the right track ~
    Well, sometimes I like to just be left alone, and sometimes I like to receive affection. I wouldn't worry unless it's an issue of "I'm taking my treat over here where I can guard it."
    Yea, moving the crate is worth a try. I did have one dog that I don't believe slept more than a couple hours a day for the first two years.
     
  14. Maxy24

    Maxy24 Active Member

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    I wouldn't recommend doing this, do you think the dog feels less worried you'll take his stuff after you shake him by the scruff? Dogs take a certain amount of pushing to growl and a certain amount after that to bite. If you punish him for growling he will probably stop growling but once you push to that biting amount he's still gonna bite, you just won't know it's coming and you'd have thought he was fine with you near his stuff, it would be one of those "he attacked without warning" things because the dog has learned, by being scruffed and yelled at, that warning you through a growl is bad. I'm not trying to criticize you, just keeping you and anyone else who reads this safe from a bite. Punishment does not get rid of the underlying "she's gonna steal my food so I want her to go away" feeling, just makes them hide what ever warning they were punished for exhibiting. Be happy your dog warns you when he's upset, then you know you have to work with him on making him comfortable with you around his food.

    Check out some of these threads:

    http://www.chazhound.com/forums/showthread.php?t=61440

    http://www.chazhound.com/forums/showthread.php?t=42722&page=2 <<(try and pay attention to Dr2Little's advice on Pg. 2, she knows what she's talking about).
     
  15. Pandemonium

    Pandemonium Member

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    Thank you everyone.. I appreciate it :)

    I did ask the "rescue society" (not SPCA, but the people who round up these puppies to save them) about how they were fed as a group, and she said that they just put down a large washtub of kibble when they had the 17 puppies. Now, Bernie hasn't been showing signs of food aggression until this past week, and we're back to the hand feeding, and no bones for now. He's let me take away anything food related today, without a glint of the "gonna remove your arm at the elbow if you take this....". But I do not think the situation is resolved either, but will continue to monitor, and hope for progress.

    I am wondering if some of the games he likes to play like tug, and chase the volleyball, have led up to this. I've not really been letting him win these games. Today we played, and I let him win every time, and turned my back when the "keep away" got too much. He was soon leaving the tug toy to come see what I was doing.

    Thanks everyone, I truly appreciate the help. Kym
     
  16. SharkBait

    SharkBait Hi, I'm Melissa!

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    my pup had the same problems...
    Matisse didn't really show me if he wanted out to pee, but after a few months he would hold it in for a few hours then i would let him out. he now goes to the back door. (though he is 8 months now lol)

    if he growled if i tried to take food from him he was hit on the nose (Obvs not too hard, just a warning) and i said 'NO!' i took the food, then gave it back to him agter a minute. he soon learned that sort of behaviour is not allowed.

    My pup seemed to love stressing me out by not coming back to me off-leash, but i got some excellent advice here in the training forum. Even if you go to my profile, click on 'find all threads started by sharkbait' then on the 1st or 2nd page is a thread called 'recall=crap' about my problems and some solutions from members here. Also, what i found worked the best is letting him off in a safe area, if he doesn't come back within 3 calls, walk off and ignore him, don't even let him see you looking back... What happened was Matisse got so freaked out that i didnt care that he would come back and follow me! try walking different directions. it may not work the 1st couple of time just to warn you.


    Oh and my pup was like that too with the food, wouldn't do anything if he wasn't getting rewarded for it. i'd suggest only giving him a treat every other time, then every couple of times, then build it up to only now and again. That way he'll do the trick cause he doesn't know if he's gonna get the treat or not.

    Crates are mega handy as i left Matisse in it when i wasn't there, otherwise the house would be wrecked. Same about the toys... But he loves kongs and those soft bone things (only the safe ones, although don't leave him alone with those bone shoes, the laces made Matisse choke all the time)

    Really, I think they wise up as time goes by.
    And my pup used to bite me all the time (it would really hurt too!!) but they soon grow out of that stage.

    Try not to worry, he's still so young. Good Luck!
     
  17. oc_spirit

    oc_spirit Snow Girl

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    Truthfully, to me it just sounds like you are describing a typical Husky puppy (minus the food posession) LOL But you have already been given some great advice, I just wanted to let you know that these behaviours really arent all that surprising especially conisdering his history!

    With resource guarding when it came to OC, if he growled I simply would calmly remove what it was that he was guarding and ignored him. After a bit I would return it and touch him again. If he didnt growl I would softly praise (didnt make it huge so as not to over-stimulate him) and then reward with something I knew he liked even better! It didnt take long before I could easily take anything from him without so much as a boo out of him.

    Oh ya and something to watch for, OC (and many other huskies I know) almost never wags his tail. He gives other body signals to let me know his mood (ear position, tail position, body posture...etc). Your pup could be showing excitement and happiness of your presence, but you may just be looking for the wring signals...

    I second moving his crate somewhere quiet. Some pups have to be told to go take a nap because they just cant bear to miss any of the excitement. For a long time OC's crate was in the laundry room, away from people moving around or loud voices.
     

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