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Old 11-14-2005, 06:25 AM
femke femke is offline
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Default biting out of frustration?? Need help!!

My sheltie is 8 months old now and she's a really good dog. She knows sit and stay and down etc. when she feels like it (like most dogs at this age) Her chewing on our walls has gotten a lot less, and when she is mouthing when we play when I tell her no she'll usually stop and start licking me instead.

The thing I have a problem with is that she seems to nip/bite out of frustration. For example if we have been at the dogpark and we leave too early for her liking, as soon as she understands that we're leaving she'll go for someone's legs! Most of the time my stepsons but she will grab me or my husband too if we happen to be within reach. Even if I lift her up she'll try to bite my hands etc. It really doesn't seem like playbiting at all, not like she wants to draw blood or anything but you can clearly tell that she is NOT happy with you at that moment.

We have tried the ignoring thing but she just continues to do it anyway. She still goes after my stepson ALL the time. He cannot run or go anywhere without her grabbing him by the ankles. He is only seven, it hurts him and so it's hard for him to ignore her when it happens. I'm afraid of her behaviour and also of my stepsons, he get's really upset when she does this to him, to the point where he has hit her. This only happened once and he came telling me crying coz he felt so bad about it and knew it was wrong right away. I tried to explain to him that Penny right now is just really stubborn and is testing us all because of her age, he knows that but I see his side too, it hurts him...

Now when I see her do it I usually grab her and push her down to the ground (not violently at all mind you) just to tell her it's time out and what she is doing is not okay. It does seem to help a bit coz afterward she won't do it as much, but I dont really feel like that is positive reinforcement and like to get some advice from people... I'm really at my wits end...
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Old 11-14-2005, 09:48 AM
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rottnpagan rottnpagan is offline
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Do you find that she's pretty wound up when you decide it's time to leave? I know from experience that being with other dogs at the park can send your dog into a tizzy.

Perhaps call her to you, and just have her sit quietly for a minute, before you leave? Then quietly leash her, and walk out?

Just a thought.
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Old 11-14-2005, 03:44 PM
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Chithedobe Chithedobe is offline
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I think at least part of the "problem" may stem from the fact that she's a sheltie. It sounds like when your stepson runs, she's just doing what she's been bred to do. I know my family had a Sheltie - Jake - when I was a kid. He was a great little dog but if there was anyone running around him, he'd go right after them. If a group of us kids were running in the back yard, he would do everything he could to get us standing in a tight little circle. :-)

Good news is, she's a sheltie and as such must be very smart :-) If it's her instinct to "herd" your stepson then you just have to work on replacing the desire to "herd" with something more socially acceptable, like sit or run and grab her favorite toy. Does she know her basic obedience commands? If so, you're off to a great start :-) If not, get to work LOL.

I think you're best bet is to manage the problem while you work on it. Don't give her the opportunity to chase after and bite at your stepson. That means no running in the house for him, at least until you can work through this. When you see her start this behavior, immediately call her to you and reward her, then engage her in some sort of play or excercise that is okay. Eventually you can work up to doing this while he or someone else is running around (which would be too big of a distraction to begin with).

It would also be beneficial to both you and her if you could provide her with an outlet to actually herd. Short of buying a flock of ducks or sheep, you could look around your local area for training and herding clubs.

I agree with Rottnpagan's suggestion on what to do at the dog park. You could also work on a lottery type excercise while you are there. Periodically throughout her play session, call her to you, give her a treat, take her collar, give her a treat, attach her leash, give her a treat and then release her back to play. This will help with recall work and will send her the message that if she's good, just because the leash is going on doesn't mean that the fun must end. She's going to figure out that when you call her, if she comes she's going to get something good no matter what AND that sometimes, most of the time in fact, she gets to resume play. Hence the term lottery, I might win if I buy a ticket but I can't win if I don't :-) She might get to stay if she comes to you and is well behaved, she won't get to stay and play if she doesn't. I would actually work on this excercise in my living room for a bit and then in your yard with smaller distractions before the dog park.

Make sure your consistent with the anti-herding training, no chasing of bi-peds at all. If you allow her to chase and herd people sometimes (cause it is awful cute :-) you may be sending her mixed messages and confusing her...

I could be completely wrong here, this is just what I would try if I had a sheltie doing the same things... I hope it helps... Keep us updated :-)
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Old 11-14-2005, 07:36 PM
femke femke is offline
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thank you soooo much for that information. I'm gonna talk it over with hubby once he comes home from work and start right away. well... tomorrow that is lol.

she does know her basic commands like sit, stay and come. The only problem at the dogpark is that she really couldn't care less what I have or how sweetly I call her... it doesn't matter what I do she just completely ignores us when we are there. There is other dogs, she loves them, and we could disappear off the earth and it wouldn't matter to her. So I agree probably keep practising in the house and hope that maybe eventually she will come over there too. She used to haha but right now nope. It did say in a book that I read that it's common at this age to test you and be very stubborn and not listen, is that true?

I will try from now on to take her aside before we go home and get her to calm down a bit before we go, it's true I never thought about it but that might actually help quite a bit.

I will try what you guys told me and keep you updated. stepson won't be here for another two weeks for now so I'll have some time to reinforce some commands.

right now she just seems so innocent... sleeping on the floor with her tongue sticking out a little bit hehe. She has been amazing today, actually quite calm and letting me pet her without her going nuts. gave me hope that just maybe she will calm down one day lol.

I do think it's because she is a sheltie most of the time, also because she thinks it's playing, she bites my stepson, he tries to catch her to tell her off and so she has a blast getting away from him. That's why I wasn't overly concerned about it coz it was just the herding thing and she wasn't being aggressive or anything. But the biting when we leave the dogpark for example is different, you can tell she is pissed off and is letting you know that. So I will deffinately work with leashing her and showing her it's a good thing ( I usually treat her anyway when I put her leash on but yeah we do always leave after that)

thanks again so much! I'll let you know how it goes!
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Old 11-14-2005, 09:12 PM
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Femke - its time to start introducing distractions into your OB drills. IE- have her sit then another family member walks in the room picks something up or lays something down and she must remain sitting the whole time, release her using "here".

And that is just LIGHT distractions. Gradually increase distractions such as your stepson running around, toys, teasing, and finally introducing other dogs (that you know and trust of course). Only test her when you know she can pass but make her concentrate. Then start doing OB out of the blue around the house, when she walks into a room immediately command "sit", also have her "sit" before she's allowed to eat. Also you might want to introduce the "down" command. This is useful if you want pup to relax at the house and not run around, this is also useful for getting pup to calm down. I would probably command her to "down" upon entering the dog park (after she has learned it and has been conditioned), then will give her a moment to chill out and serve as a reminder that she still has to listen to you- no matter what. Also do the same before you leave, this has the same purpose, gives her a moment to chill out.

Also for the here command this is best done on a 6 ft leash. let her walk out a bit then command "HERE" and pull her towards you. Once she is coming to you on here, have her sit, back away to the end of the leash, then command "HERE". Once this is done, introduce whistle command here, this is useful if she's out of voice range. simply use tweet-tweet;tweet-tweet for this command.

Also when she starts nipping and biting at the ankles spat her on the nose and command "NO!" If she's been corrected on it several times before, one of the best ways to correct a dog is to use their own language. Simply "pounce" on her, roll her onto her back, and let out a mean growl. This is the dog way of saying "I am boss you listen to me". WARNING: This is only used if the dog has committed a felony such as biting, as this dog has presented. After that look for warning signs that shes attempting it, if she does, stop her in her tracks and command "NO!".

She is 8mos old, she is testing you, and you have to decide who's going to be the boss. It's up to you to decide.

-Dix
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Old 11-14-2005, 10:34 PM
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Chithedobe Chithedobe is offline
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Femke,

I would seriously reconsider anymore off lead play at the dog park until you get a 100% recall. What happens if a dog fight starts and for the sake of safety you have to leave quickly?

How do you go about getting her on lead while your at the dog park? You said that she completely ignores you while you are there, the other dogs are far to great of a distraction and infinately more fun :-) I realize the importance of play and socialization but how about getting a good long leash, like a tracking leash that you can keep on her while at the dog park? Imagine how much fun it would be if she decided to herd and nip strangers passing through the park...

Chi is just a couple months younger than your girl and we've been working on recall since the day after I brought her home. Chi-Chi is her cue to stop whatever she is doing and come a'runnin! We are now working off-lead in a fenced tennis court with moderate distractions and so far, so good :-)
I started working with her in the house, actually in the bathroom. It's a small and boring room with little if any distraction. I took her and a bowl full of treats in the bathroom. I said "Chi-Chi" (since there was really little else for her to do, she looked at me" I clicked and gave her a treat! Now a clicker is not absolutely needed for this excercise but I think it makes things a lot easier. After several sessions in the bathroom (now that I think of this, I guess I know why she follows me every time I go to the bathroom :-) I moved to my bedroom. Same thing, the second she looked at me after I said "Chi-Chi" she got a click and treat. Now as soon as she got the c/t she was glued to me and I would have to get up and walk around a bit but I'm sure you get the idea. Then I started waiting to click until she was in forward motion toward me. Over a couple weeks times I did this in different rooms and gradually introduced distractions like our other dog and the cat, my husband. Since Chi LOVES, LOVES, LOVES food, I started using it as a distraction. I put her on lead in the kitchen, she watched as I put a couple not so yummy treats (cheerios in the bowl compared to dried liver in my hand). I then took her to the furthest spot in the kitchen where she could still see the bowl, I let her stand and stare at the coveted bowl and walked behind her to the end of the leash, said the magic words and she spun around to me, I c/t'd and then let her have the cheerios. We gradually worked toward doing this at dinner time. I can now recall her while she is eating, she will actually leave her food bowl and come to me! Very big deal
After she was pretty much proofed in the house we took the show on the road. Started in the back yard on-lead and worked toward the front yard, then we started incorporating it in our daily walks. I would put her in a sit stay and walk to the end of the leash.
We will be moving to a long line in an open field next week probably and I have no doubt that she'll do swell. There are two keys to this excercise, repetition and the dog associating whatever word you choose to use to recall her with nothing but everything that is good :-)
Here is a link to the steps that I follow. I found this site a month or so ago and it has proven invaluable to me. I knew several basics but was clueless beyond that, this site has filled in a lot of those blanks :-)http://www.shirleychong.com/keepers/Lesson6.html

I think I've also read that around 6-10 months they can become quite independent, kind of like doggy terrible two's.

Good luck and sorry for the long, long, long post ;-)
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Old 11-15-2005, 04:50 PM
femke femke is offline
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lol dont be sorry for the long post! I really appreciate all the information!

The thing why we take her to the dogpark is simply to get rid of some of her energy... I live in a big city, there is not a lot of places or fields where I can let her off leash and she can run around for a while to get her exersize... She loves to run and it makes her behave a lot better in the house if she's not all hyped up with energy

I do bike with her on leash when I have the chance but that will be over soon too because of the snow... We usually get her while she is playing close by with the other dogs and not paying attention. We do try to call her and sometimes she'll listen especially if my stepson calls her. or one of the other dog owners gets their dog to sit and Penny is around the other dog all happy but standing still so we can grab her.

I do agree it's time for me to step up to the plate. I have read so many books and had so many good intentions but it's just so hard to follow through sometimes. I really wanted a well-trained dog and i'm gonna have to do my part to get her well-trained. I agree I should give her more distractions. Inside the house with a treat she will do sit, down, come, stay and even shake your hand with her paw lol. Outside at the park (not dogpark) if I call her she'll come back and sit right away as long as she knows I have treats, if she knows I dont have treats she won't. I know it's not her but me and I will add more distractions and get her to listen. I did start today with leashing her giving her a treat, taking the leash off again, etc. when we went for a walk.

also major breakthrough last night, when I went to bed she seemed so calm and quiet that I decided to once again try to let her sleep on the bed with me. She normally goes in her crate every night because she won't settle down at all. She actually laid down with me and stayed with me on the bed, and was sleeping just like I was when hubby came home from work at midnight I am really happy we finally succeeded with that!!!!
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Old 11-15-2005, 05:49 PM
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Chithedobe Chithedobe is offline
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Great job on the sleeping progress :-)
It's a lot of work getting them where we want them, eh? I know I really did not anticipate the time that I would have to put into Chi. But, bright side is when we work with them, we see progress, right? Just keep up the good work, make sure to really reinforce all of her good responses and stay consistent... You'll have your dream dog in no time :-)
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