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Old 08-26-2006, 06:02 PM
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WeimGirl WeimGirl is offline
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Default Headstrong Weim

My dog has it out for me, I am convinced. We have just recently gotten our Weimeraner about a month or so ago. When we first got her she listened well and didn't stray from our side.

Now, this dog could careless about me. She'd rather be eating half-dead crickets or eating the cat's poop. <--No, seriously.

I am under immense stress as of late due to some personal issues in my life. First, we moved to a new area that I'm very unfamiliar with, my only brother passed away this year, and my husband is serving his 3rd deployment in Iraq.

As you can see, my emotional plate is quite full. I knew that Weims were high activity/anxiety, but I know that a well trained Weim is one of the best dogs you can have.

Here's a few of my problems:

1. She totally knocks over my youngest son and bites him repeatedly, sometimes even digging into his back with her paws.

2. She'd rather eat the cat's food or feces over her dog food. (Which is high quality btw)

3. She completely ignores my voice.

As I said, these are just a few. Today I was at my wit's end and almost called the breeder to take her back. We invested a lot of money into this pup (money we probably shouldn't of spent in the first place) and we have love invested already.

I have a puppy book and I've been trying that all day today, but when I talk to my dog she won't even respond to my voice. She licks herself or eats rocks. I got her attentioned for a good 10 minutes today, but I was using tiny treats. We were doing a sit, stay, come learning session. She was doing great, but she knew I had treats in my hand. During this session, I used both voice applauds (good girl! and so forth) and treats as rewards. She only seemed to respond to the treats.

Why does she hate me? Someone please help. As you can see, I am very, very desperate.
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  #2  
Old 08-26-2006, 07:01 PM
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Doberluv Doberluv is offline
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I'm so sorry about your brother. I know how you must feel. I lost mine last year. It sucks. You sure do have your plate full. If you think it's worth it to invest the incredible time, work and education you'll need...into this pup, you're right, she'll be a wonderful adult dog. If you feel like it's too much, seeing if the breeder would take her back would be best if done quickly while she's still young and more appealing to adopt.

That said, it is very common for people to anthropomorphize dogs....that is, interjecting our values and morals, our thought processes onto dogs. They do not share our value system or our morals. They are not as complex to be able to plot and scheme to trip us up. LOL. In order to train your dog, it is important that you understand a little about how dogs learn, the science of learning behavior...the more you understand, the better and the less frustration you'll have.

Puppies need exercise every day...some running outside, fetching...just some good romping. Don't over do it as far as repititious exercise, not too long a walk on a leash but lots of romping. Tired pups will tend to be easier to work with.

She needs some basic obedience training. I recommend getting her into a puppy class with a trainer who uses positive reinforcment training methods. I don't believe in using aversives on dogs who are simply being dogs and haven't learned anything. The group class socialization aspect alone is wonderful for pups. You'll get some tips to practice at home.

Has she had any exposure to a leash? She needs to be prevented from jumping on your son. That is reinforcing to her because it's fun. All behavior is contingent on reinforcement. If the dog is getting a payoff from some behavior, it will continue. One of the uses for basic obedience skills is that when a dog is engaged in an unwanted behavior, such as jumping, you can ask the dog before she is about to jump to sit. You are asking for an incompatible and alternate behavior. She can't jump if she's sitting. She also should get NO attention (payoff) for jumping....none. She needs to learn that the ONLY way she will get what she likes (treats, attention) is to sit nicely. So, no more attention at all when she is jumping. Turn the other way and ignore her completely. Your son will have to do the same if he's old enough to understand. You will also have to supervise heavily when around your son and prevent her from jumping on him. You can put a leash on her to help but don't leave it on unsupervised, as there's always a strangulation danger.

So, when the pup is engaged in an unwanted behavior, you need to distract, give an alternative (prefereably an incompatible one) and reward lavishly for engaging in that alternative behavior. Behaviors which are reinforced by attention from humans can be ignored. Ie: the jumping up greeting behavior. Teach a new way of greeting. Sit nicely, then she'll get what she wants. Some behaviors can be reinforced, not by humans, but by the environment, as in self rewarding behaviors. Ie: engaging in some activity is in and of itself fun, comfortable or otherwise rewarding. Those need to be interupted and the sooner the better. If you learn to observe your dog and catch her before she's about to jump up or bite and interrupt that by distracting, giving an alternative behavior and giving a payoff for that, you'll prevent her from reinforcing herself for the unwanted behavior. For biting, a toy can be replaced for your hand or arm. Ignoring, ending all playtime the second she bites will teach her that human skin hurts and you won't play or interact with her in any way. It takes time, but that is the ultimate bad thing for a pup....no social interaction for a couple of minutes. That's all it takes, then you can try again. Repeat. It's hard with a small child in the house, I know. You have to be right there all the time.

Just remember, dogs aren't being "bad" or "stubborn" or "scheming to retaliate." They're just doing what they know best and that is to be a dog. It's up to us to teach them how to live in a human's world.

I highly, highly recommend the book, Culture Clash by Jean Donaldson. You will learn everything you need to know in that book about the science of how dogs learn. It will cover "how to" and you'll get a good understanding of how dogs think so as not to confuse them, punish them for not thinking like people do and a whole lot more. That and Don't Shoot the Dog, by Karen Pryor is another great book. But start with the first. It really lets you understand dogs. Your pup is well worth the investment and you will be so glad.

First, know that she does not have it out for you. Dogs don't think like that. Everything you describe is normal puppy behavior. They don't come knowing how to live our way. We have to teach them and we have to teach them right in order for them to become happy, well mannered, well adjusted and trained dogs.

Here's a site to help you get started too. http://www.dogpatch.org/obed/obpage4.cfm

You don't have to use a clicker. You can use a marker word. The concept is the important thing. I like a clicker because of it's unique sound. I use both though...that and "yesssssss!"

You can start out with attention training. That's what I'd do. Then go onto other basics.

I hope things get better for you. Don't forget the exercise.

I hope this post can help you get started. If you have other questions along the way, let us know.
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Old 08-26-2006, 07:12 PM
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Your pup is just acting like the 3 month old babe that she is. I know that doesn't make you feel any better right now but it does get better. With your dedication, training, consistency and love she will continually improve and become a well mannered member of your family.

At this age their attention span is very short, especially when it comes to training sessions. I'd say 10 min. sessions are pretty average with lots of praise and some treats as you have already discovered. I would also suggest that if you find yourself getting frustrated during a training session take a break from it.

Doberluv has given you some great advice. If you have any questions don't hesitate to ask. There is a very knowledgeable membership here who are always very happy to share what has worked for them.

PS Cat food & litterbox treats are definite gourmet items for most dogs. The best advice I can give (which I have always had to practice myself) is to have both in areas that are accessible to the cat but not the dog.

I am so sorry about your brother as well as your hubby being overseas. Hugs to you!
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Old 08-26-2006, 07:34 PM
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Doberluv Doberluv is offline
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Two (or more) heads are better than one. Poodles mom covered things I missed, like the short attention spans and frustration.

I thought of something else. That's why I came back to this thread. This is important:

Dogs do whatever works. Behavior is under the control of it's consequences: law of effect.

There are four possibilities of consequences:

good thing starts (positive reinforcement)

good thing ends (negative punishment)

bad thing starts (positive punishment)

bad thing ends (negative reinforcement)

Al these consequences must be immediate.

The good and bad consequences will end up being associated with other things present at the moment of the consequence as well as affecting the probability of the behavior: these are the classical side effects of operant conditioning.

Dogs are experts at reading the environment to know which consequences are likely for which behaviors in any given situation.

Life is a never ending series of "if you do this, this happens, if you do that, another thing happens. There are two kinds of things that happen in life, good things and bad things, so there are four kinds of consequences. Good stuff can 1)start and 2) end; bad stuff can start and end. Your dog is constantly trying to start the good stuff, end the bad stuff, avoid ending the good stuff, and avoid starting the bad stuff. He's playing his entire environment, including you, this way. If you can recognize this and exploit it, voila! Control of the dog.

As it happens, you have tremendous control of the starting and stopping of all the good and bad stuff in your dog's life. You simply may not have been making much use of it.

You might even feel that your dog is controlling you. This is because your behavior is governed by the same principles. You want to start good stuff, end bad stuff, avoid ending good stuff and avoid starting bad stuff. Every living organism with a brain stem is doing this. And, because the dog provides consequences too, you may come under doggie control. This brings new meaning to the term, "dog trainer." Luckily you have the bigger brain and can get one step ahead of this game by boning up on operant conditioning. Your dog can't.

We have to make a conscious effort to recognize what things our dogs like or need. We have control over their resources. We mustn't waste opportunities to exploit these as reinforcers. For instance, your dog wants to go outside. Opening the door is his way out. You control whether or not the door opens for him. So, make him earn that privilege. Sit first. Teach him to sit/wait until you give a release word. You don't need punishment or force or intimidation as so many people think. The door opening is what he wants. If he breaks the sit/wait when you open the door, the door will quickly close and he will lose that reinforcer. Try again, and again calmly. Soon, he will see that by waiting for you to give him the "OK," he gets what he wants...to go outside. That's just one example. Make a list of all the things your dog likes, wants or needs and don't waste those things by giving them all for free. Does she (oh yeah...this is a she) like attention, patting? Of course. Ask her to work for it. (You do not need to carry this to an extreme) but utilize these things to your advantage.

If I think of anything else, LOL....I'll come back. I bet someone else will give you some good tips too. The more, the better.
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  #5  
Old 08-27-2006, 07:44 AM
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WeimGirl WeimGirl is offline
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Thanks. Sometimes it just takes a little reminder that it is normal.
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  #6  
Old 08-27-2006, 11:15 AM
Brattina88 Brattina88 is online now
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puppies are a lot of work... they're lucky they're cute
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Old 08-27-2006, 06:25 PM
Herschel Herschel is offline
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Puppies are a ton of work--hang in there! Our little guy has a new fascination with biting chunks of drywall off of the corner of our walls. I was about to sell him Ebay a few days ago...

For some reason, I feel like your dog is the dominant one in the household. That would explain why she doesn't listen to you and knocks your son over.

1) NILIF. Nothing in life is free. Make your dog work for her food by doing sits, downs, etc. for handfuls of food. That may potentially make the food more rewarding to her and take her mind off of the cats' business.

2) Have you son participate in the NILIF by also making your dog work for anything. If your dog comes near him, make sure he never cowers or sits down.
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Old 08-27-2006, 07:20 PM
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Doberluv Doberluv is offline
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I wouldn't worry too much about dominance. Isn't this just a baby? Let your puppy be a puppy and enjoy him. Here's something that might help you know what to expect at different stages.

http://www.chazhound.com/forums/showthread.php?t=7205
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