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Old 01-22-2007, 02:35 PM
Noel
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Default Rottie Problems!

Hi everyone, we have a 5-6 month old Rottweiler Puppy who we have had since she was about 8 weeks old. I started training her very early and she quickly picked up the basics, sit, stay, down etc!! She house trained very quickly using a crate also.

The problem we now have is two fold. Firstly, she has taken to eating our other dogs Poop!! We find this very odd and have told her off for it, only ever verbally though! Why does she do this!!??

That leads on to my second point, she has suddenly started to behave as if she has been beaten or mistreated! This is very confusing to us as we have never smacked her and only ever used our voices to display our affection or dissaproval of her naughty behaviour! Now, if she is naughty and expecting to be told off she cowers or refuses to come in the house which is quite upsetting! I've read that Puppies go through 2 stages of fearful behaviour, once around 8-10 weeks old and once when about 7 months old. Does anyone think this is all she is displaying?

Thanks in anticipation for any help and advice.
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Old 01-22-2007, 02:45 PM
RedyreRottweilers
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1) stop correcting your puppy in this manner. She is telling you it is overwhelming to her. She is trying desperately to show you she acknowledges you are her superior.

2) Try a more positive and proactive approach to behavior issues. Reward the dog for doing what you wish. Manage her life so as to make doing what you wish the easiest road for her to take. PREVENT her making mistakes, and reward her handsomely when she does as you wish.

Stool eating, as repugnant as it is to us humans, is actually a natural behavior for dogs. Sometimes stool eating in an older dog can be due to a lack of enzymes in the diet. She may do much better if you can find her some green tripe once a week or so, or get her some digestive enzymes.

Meantime, observe elimination time, and remove all refuse before the 4 legged clean up crew has access to them.



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Old 01-22-2007, 02:46 PM
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About the poo eating, sometimes there are undigested bits of food left in a dog's poo and to another dog, that's yummy! What food do you feed? Some foods that are good in quality can help with the poo eating.

I don't have experience with the fear stages, hopefully somebody will chime in about that soon.

Edit: Redyre beat me to it!
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Old 01-22-2007, 02:48 PM
RedyreRottweilers
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She is cowering from the verbal corrections. Of course she does not want to come inside when she can see your displeasure, and she knows she is going to be scolded! Would YOU want to come in?



PREVENT incorrect behaviors. REWARD desireable behaviors.

Dogs do not know right from wrong. Dogs are innocently selfish. They have no morality. Dogs do what works for them. Stop trying to saddle your dog with an idea of right and wrong, and instead, manage her life so that it's easiest and most BENEFICIAL TO HER to do the things you wish.

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Old 01-22-2007, 03:46 PM
Noel
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Thank you, I'll try to re-appraise the positive reinforcement.

I'm going to look into her diet too, although we are feeding her a Midway meal from Puppy into Adult dog food. Maybe its too soon for her though!
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Old 01-22-2007, 04:20 PM
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Stool eating is very common, normal and natural for dogs. It is seen more common in females. Many believe that in the wild, this is how many dogs would survive through the winter months, so stool eating seems to happen more often in the winter. I have a serial stool eater here at my house. I know her diet is very balanced and nutritious. She has tried to eat stool for as long as I can remember. Because of this, I stand outside with the poop scoop and always get to the poop before she does and therefor prevent her from doing this.
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Old 01-22-2007, 08:19 PM
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My Chi mix boy, Jose eats my girl Chi's poops sometimes. He doesn't eat his own and rarely the bigger dogs. He eats deer poop or any poop. It is disgusting to me but I know that it is not to dogs. I try to clean it up the best I can but I have a lot of land and don't always know where they've gone. I don't like it because sometimes he throws up and that is truly the grossest of all. However, it is not abnormal. I think I'll try some extra digestive enzymes.

I agree with everything Redyre said. You are frightening your pup with your demeanor and verbal punishment. I hope you read up. There are some great books out there to learn from about how dogs learn best.
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Old 01-23-2007, 04:48 AM
Noel
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doberluv View Post
I agree with everything Redyre said. You are frightening your pup with your demeanor and verbal punishment. I hope you read up. There are some great books out there to learn from about how dogs learn best.
Actually, I think I've been misunderstood on this one and it bothered me a great deal last night.

I don't raise my voice to my puppy, I just change the tone of my voice and in this, she now knows when she has done something wrong.

I used this technique as instructed in a Rottie training book, and going from memory here, it instructed a handler to use high tones for rewarding dogs and a short sharp ''No'' or likewise for telling a dog when it has done something that you dissaprove of.

I find it difficult to believe that a dog would learn what is right and wrong just from Positive reinforcement and I have had numerous dogs in the past who have all been brought up the same way and have turned out to be well balanced and well behaved friends.

Thank you for the advice all the same.
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Old 01-23-2007, 08:21 AM
RedyreRottweilers
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Noel View Post

That leads on to my second point, she has suddenly started to behave as if she has been beaten or mistreated! This is very confusing to us as we have never smacked her and only ever used our voices to display our affection or dissaproval of her naughty behaviour! Now, if she is naughty and expecting to be told off she cowers or refuses to come in the house which is quite upsetting! I've read that Puppies go through 2 stages of fearful behaviour, once around 8-10 weeks old and once when about 7 months old. Does anyone think this is all she is displaying?

Thanks in anticipation for any help and advice.
Dogs do not know wrong. Dogs do not know naughty.

Dogs know what works for them, and what does not.

If the puppy is cowering, you need to revise your techniques. Being "told off" implies verbal scolding. This puppy is telling you with her body language, which YOU DESCRIBED as COWERING, and behaving as tho she has BEEN BEATEN.

Please listen to your PUPPY even if you refuse to listen to us.
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Old 01-23-2007, 09:52 AM
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Quote:
I find it difficult to believe that a dog would learn what is right and wrong just from Positive reinforcement and I have had numerous dogs in the past who have all been brought up the same way and have turned out to be well balanced and well behaved friends.
Some dogs are more sensative than others. My Doberman is a prime example....not only very sensative, but very watchful of me and my moods and extremely affected by my moods. Some dogs are more affected than others by sterness. I've had tougher dogs in the past too. They all vary. So, you need to adjust to suit your individual dog. When you use positive methods, you don't run the risk of shutting a dog down, as you describe your dog. Sometimes it's not only our tone of voice or volume, but certain body language that can cause anxiety in a dog. Leaning and bending toward and over a dog can be very intimidating, staring at a dog....until he is conditioned to some of those things can be perceived as a threat. Some dogs adapt better than others or sooner than others to our primate ways. It's something you need to get a feel for.

Dogs, as Redyre said do not think (so far as what science has told us) in terms of right and wrong, the way we realize morals. They're amoral. They do not have the same value system as we do so they do not have the ability to know that they've done "wrong." That is why they're confused and afraid if their owner "attacks" them. (not saying you're abusing your dog, just the resmeblance to the dog's view)

Some human signals, dogs do understand and experiements have been done on this...studies. It is interesting that domestic dogs right away, as pups understand humans pointing at something and know we are connected to food, that humans=food for them. LOL. They'll look at a human, then at the kitchen counter where the food is, back to the human again. Wolf pups, even if raised in a home from a very early age do not make the connections there. However, dogs don't recognize everything we do. They do not understand a great deal of what we do and how we, as primates act. They don't come knowing how to act in a human household. They need to be shown.

Dogs are animals so their values stem from wild things, like survival instincts. Since they're opportunisits, hunters, predators and scavengers, they are hard wired to do what works to survive. These survival instincts are transferred to their behavior. All mammals, including humans do what works too. It's in them through and through.

It is a myth that dogs do things to please their owner. They do if it behooves them and they're very bonded with humans but it is because they found a niche with humans about 15,000 years ago, and that niche helped them survive as they evolved into a domestic animal. So, they're wired to work with humans but still need to be taught. (taught/educated is the key word here) But something still needs to be in it for them to get a well trained dog. Force and intimidation, punishment only causes your dog to comply because he wants to avoid the "bad thing." This is not the way to have a dog trust his owner and trust is essential to get the best bond and the best trained animal. There are many very detrimental side effects to aversives. And there are many great benefits to using "positive" training methods, which you can find out about if you read some books by some of the best applied behaviorists in the world.

It is behavioral LAW, like gravity is a law of physics that behavior is vastly more likely to be repeated when there is a pay off and vastly less likely to be repeated when there is no pay off. If you want a behavior to be repeated, reward that behavior with something the dog loves. If you do not want a behavior, intercept it when you can, distract, give an alternative behavior for which the dog can be rewareded for. He will choose the behaviors which give him the payoff or reinforcement.

All living organisms want the good things to happen and want to avoid the bad things. They go toward the good thing. In dog training you do not have to make bad things happen in order for the dog to go toward the good thing. He will choose what behavior works to give him the good thing. If undesireable behavior works, he'll engage in it. So it is up to you to make that undesireable behavior not work. It doesn't have to be an aversive punishment. It only has to not work to give good things. An alternative behavior (one you want) needs to be shown so he will choose that instead. Make sure it brings good things.

You may have a hard time believing that positive reinforcement works, but that may be because you haven't taken the time to educate yourself on the matter. It most certainly does work and is used throughout the world in many, many venues of animal training.

To sum it up: All mammals, including dogs learn from reinforcement. They repeat behaviors which are reinforcing, which pay off. And behaviors which are not rewarding to a dog will extinguish. It's up to us to prevent and find out what the motivator is which is making a dog give unwanted responses and remove that.

Most PhDs in behavior, most professional dog trainers with any education in the science of behavior and where it applies to dogs train using "positive method" methods based on operant and classical conditioning. I train this way and my dogs are wonderful. I don't have to intimidate them in any way for good behavior.

Do you read anything? I recommend you read the book, (for starters) Culture Clash by Jean Donaldson. You need to learn how dogs learn.

That was a long post, but I wanted to share a little bit of a feeling for dogs as dogs. I think we are so incredibly bonded with domestic dog that we sort of forget that they're not really like us, that they don't understand what is important to us, so therefore, how can they know "right" from "wrong" the way we do. How can they be stubborn (a common excuse for under training)? Stubborn is a human trait with quite a complex thought process going on...more complex than what is thought of dog brains according to what scientists have come up with from intense studies, experiements, observations.

So, when you say the things you do in your post, you know now that you run the risk of a long winded post from me. LOL!
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"When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty."

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Last edited by Doberluv; 01-23-2007 at 10:24 AM.
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