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  #11  
Old 05-18-2008, 08:10 PM
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lizzybeth727 lizzybeth727 is offline
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How Cute!

Thank you for sharing your story. I know that a lot of people reading this forum have similar problems with their dog and do feel like their dog is a monster or has some kind of disorder. As you have so eloquently described, these are certainly treatable behaviors, as long as you are willing to put in the effort and find an expert to help.

Good luck and do let us know how it goes!
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  #12  
Old 05-18-2008, 08:11 PM
mjb mjb is offline
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Thanks.

So far, so good.

No more incidents so far, but we didn't expect any. We're not putting him in a position to have any assuming our observations and the behaviorist are right on what the catalyst is. And we're going to go along with the instructions to not 'put him to the test' again.

Maybe he'll lose some weight along the way. He needs to, and his treats are greatly being cut since I'm not to drop him food while cooking, give him bites while snacking, etc.

Who knows. I just started Weight Watchers, and maybe it'll even make that easier for me. It's easier not to snack in front of the TV than kennel him every time I want something.

It just might be a healthier lifestyle all the way around for everyone. And, with time, I hope this incident is a distant memory that no longer comes to the surface.
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  #13  
Old 05-18-2008, 08:47 PM
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WHAT A CUTIE!!!! It must be tough not giving in.

It sounds like you're doing the right things, though. Some dogs are "tougher" than others, but it's totally worth the little bit of training you need to practice all their lives to remind them how to behave.
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  #14  
Old 05-19-2008, 10:10 PM
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Hi, it sounds like you are on the right track and the behaviourist is earning his money.

Don't feel bad, these things can happen and kind of creep up on us, even those of us that know better.
I am a trainer.....and our oldest terrier was getting very bad about leaping up and grabbing food right out of hands. My husband (its his dog) and our son thought it was very funny. I however was not amused but I didn't do anything to fix it. She didn't even attempt these behaviours with me.
Then one day, I noticed that she had stolen a bag of dog treats and was in a crate gulping them down as fast as possible.
I reached into the crate and grabbed the bag from her, now she didn't respond in aggression but she did figure that it was hers and she wanted it back. She grabbed the bag and my thumb, now she was tugging like crazy, I yelled at the pain, she had shredded my thumb.
I was so pissed!!!!!!!! Not at the dog, not at my family but at myself. I knew better than to let those behaviours esculate and I had done nothing for months. And it was poetic justice that it was me with the shredded and very bloody thumb.
I read the riot act to my husband and son and she was put on NILIF, problem solved.
She is the sweetest and kindest dog that we have ever had the pleasure of having in our home, great little dog.
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  #15  
Old 05-19-2008, 11:36 PM
mjb mjb is offline
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Yes, the behaviorist did try to convince me not to beat myself up about this. He said that while he can point out our indulgent behavior, he will have to say he sits down most evenings with one of his small dogs in the chair with him, and they share a bowl of popcorn.

I really knew it wasn't a good idea to do what all we were doing, but he's so sweet, and that face looking up while we've got food!! But, even before this, we knew things were getting a little out of hand, both with him getting a little overweight, and with him staring and even sometimes making noises when we would eat.

I don't know why we let it get to this point, and I really wish we hadn't, but it happened, and we're moving forward.

I'm just feeling so much better about the way things are going now and the future. I'm glad we went ahead and got the behaviorist involved before it escalated further.....if it was going to escalate further.
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  #16  
Old 05-20-2008, 11:39 AM
Sch3Dana Sch3Dana is offline
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Congrats to you for hunting for the right trainer when he was young. Every dog is different and not all trainers are flexible enough to find the right method for your dog. Kudos to you for seeing this and searching around for the right person.

I wish you luck on your new training program. A few things you may want to think about:

  1. Place training- teach him to go to his bed on command and teach him that when you have treats that is the only place he can get them. He will learn to wait patiently on his bed as long as no one feeds him elsewhere. Then you'll be able to get away from crating him- he'll choose to stay away from people and everyone will avoid the pushing him away scenario that provokes his snapping.
  2. Many dogs naturally react to pushing with resistance that can turn into aggression. You can teach a dog to move with a push just like horse people train horses to do it. Talk to your behaviorist about a specific method, teach it like a trick (with lots of treats and praise) and then once he's really good, start surprising him by pushing gently when he doesn't know you have treats. As soon as he gives a little, tell him how great he is and pull out a surprise treat or run with him to the treat can to get him one. This can make a huge difference and totally change his mindset about pushing.
  3. Check his thyroid- many dogs with low thyroid gain weight and get grumpy. Especially since the grumpiness is out of character, I would do a complete physical with a blood panel and make sure he is feeling well.
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  #17  
Old 05-20-2008, 03:06 PM
mjb mjb is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sch3Dana View Post
Congrats to you for hunting for the right trainer when he was young. Every dog is different and not all trainers are flexible enough to find the right method for your dog. Kudos to you for seeing this and searching around for the right person.

I wish you luck on your new training program. A few things you may want to think about:

  1. Place training- teach him to go to his bed on command and teach him that when you have treats that is the only place he can get them. He will learn to wait patiently on his bed as long as no one feeds him elsewhere. Then you'll be able to get away from crating him- he'll choose to stay away from people and everyone will avoid the pushing him away scenario that provokes his snapping.
  2. Many dogs naturally react to pushing with resistance that can turn into aggression. You can teach a dog to move with a push just like horse people train horses to do it. Talk to your behaviorist about a specific method, teach it like a trick (with lots of treats and praise) and then once he's really good, start surprising him by pushing gently when he doesn't know you have treats. As soon as he gives a little, tell him how great he is and pull out a surprise treat or run with him to the treat can to get him one. This can make a huge difference and totally change his mindset about pushing.
  3. Check his thyroid- many dogs with low thyroid gain weight and get grumpy. Especially since the grumpiness is out of character, I would do a complete physical with a blood panel and make sure he is feeling well.

It had occurred to me that we might should work with him on the pushing....
although he's extremely pliable to any handling....with the exception of twice now!! I just have forgotten to ask the behaviorist about it. Thanks for the reminder.

And he trains dogs and horses, interestingly enough.
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  #18  
Old 05-20-2008, 08:57 PM
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ihartgonzo ihartgonzo is offline
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Spanky is RIDONCULOUSLY cute, yeesh! I can see why you and your family are so in love. : )

You shouldn't be ashamed or depressed about this, at all. Every one of us has made mistakes, no one's perfect. It sounds like you found a great behaviorist, and you're obviously really dedicated to resolving these issues. Please keep updating us on Spanky's progress... and posting more pictures wouldn't hurt.
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  #19  
Old 05-20-2008, 09:43 PM
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Angelique Angelique is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjb View Post
Yes, the behaviorist did try to convince me not to beat myself up about this. He said that while he can point out our indulgent behavior, he will have to say he sits down most evenings with one of his small dogs in the chair with him, and they share a bowl of popcorn.
Kudos to your behaviorist for his honesty. I can't tell you how true this is!

I use a variety of philosophies. But, it's always easier with someone else's dog. It's always easier with an adult dog.

Dogs (and especially puppies!) both evolved and were bred for by man to tug at our heartstrings!

IMO
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  #20  
Old 05-21-2008, 12:55 AM
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Pandemonium Pandemonium is offline
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Others that have already posted to your dilemma here, will remember that I had issues with Bernie our beaglecross puppy trying to remove one of my hands when I tried to get a bone back from him. I posted here, and received some of the same great advice you have. We've not had another incident with bones, mainly because he's not allowed them anymore, and we've worked VERY hard on the NILIF motto. Having said that he did have an episode tonight when I went to move his butt down the couch a bit, and he growled, in a way that wasn't his usual "but mooooooooooom.. I don't wannna...". He was abruptly removed to the floor, with my voice deep, and stern saying something along the lines of "Don't you even THINK about growling at me.. " Instantly, he bellyrolled, and went and lay on his bed with sad beagle eyes. I didn't lay a hand on him, nor really even raise my voice. I realized that I too have been guilty of allowing him things like couches, and handouts that were not strictly NILIF lol.. we're both in for a retraining in the morning.

Yes, he's been fine since, we've kissed and made up, and worked our butts off in the park on a few commands that he's.. grasping, but not respecting! He did everything absolutely perfectly.. "So sorry Mooooom.. will work for love toooooo!"

Good luck, and remember that everyone here has probably had to go through one aspect or another of all of our problems. There are great shoulders to lean on, and great advice givers too! Kym and Bernie
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