Dog training advice
Well we've had Ninja for about a month now and although we've made some progress I feel quite dispirited when he has one of his bad days (like today!)
Taking him on as a stray at 6 months it was obvious he'd had no training whatsoever. No toilet training, no manners around other dogs or people, no understanding of basic commands.
We have made some progress. He had the basics of toilet training within a day, and only has the occassional accident now. He understands a few basic commands too.
But I have never come across such a headstrong and stubborn dog! I don't know if it's the staffie/collie mix, but I feel like it's a constant war of wills with him. Am I expecting too much of a 7 month old perhaps?
Issues so far not resolved ....
Recall - absolutely terrible. He understands 'come', but is absolutley obssessed with any dog or human in sight, however faraway, so cannot be let off the lead. Don't seem to be making any progress here at all.
Biting - from the moment he wakes till the moment he goes to bed he will pester our older bitch with constant nibbling/biting. I know it's playfulness, but she doesn't want to play and he just won't take no for an answer. So it escalates and becomes quite nasty.
Chewing - anything at hand. I've bought no end of bones and toys but he's chewed phone chargers, cushions, socks, clothes, and now the handle of the OH's v expensive walking pole he needed for the Pyrenees in a week's time!
Aggressiveness - This has improved. At first he would bark like mad and lunge at any dog he could either see or hear. Now he's much better in the open, on the beach, where he'll strain to get to other dogs but not bark. Still not too good on a shorter lead walked on the street.
Pulling - again, terrible especially if another dog/cat/person is in sight. We tried a halti type muzzle and although it worked wonders in terms of calming him down, he gets very distressed and has scratched at his nose until it bleeds trying to get it off. I do think we'll have to persevere with this though.
Behaviour with other animals - He is very giddy with the cats. Bouncing, barking, playfulness I hope. They're used to putting dogs in their place and there haven't been any problems. With the chickens he has taken little notice, even when they have been inches away from him. That changed today when he cornered one that had got out of the run. I'm still distressed about it now. The hen is fine but missing a lot of feathers, but that staffy bite was very scary. Impossible to prise his jaws open. Its made me worried about the safety of the cats too now.
Obviously we don't know his past, but he seems to have missed out on a lot of socialisation. All my experience is with older dogs so I don't know if this is just normal puppy behaviour, although I suspect it's more than that.
The OH is fond of saying that if he doesn't improve he's going back to the shelter. That will NOT hapen under any circumstances. He will leave before any of my animals do. But I really want to sort him out now while he's still learning.
And yes, he gets lots of exercise. Walks on the beach or in the woods morning and evening and in the fields here every couple of hours during the day.
I feel like I'm making him out to be a devil dog and he's not. He's adorable. I just don't feel I'm making the progress I should be at this point.
Any suggestions appreciated. I've read and read training guides, but experience of any of his issues would be really helpful.
The recall is something that can be hard to get 100%. Again, using positive reinforcement & tasty treats is great. Call him to you & when he arrives at your feet, plenty of praise & a treat. A clicker can be used too, so you would click when he arrives at your feet. Start off with short distances, then slowly build up the distance. Some dogs with high prey drives are stubborn, but a high pitched squeak or 'pip-pip' noise can get their attention & make them come looking for the sound.
The pulling isn't too bad to stop. Maybe an anti-pulling harness such as the Lupi or Mikki Walkrite would be better than the Halti. Using one of these in conjunction with teaching him the 'heel' command will help lots.
Sounds like you have your hands full! How old is he now? Hopefully he will settle down when he's a bit older.
sorry have just realised is he seven months old then?
When people who have never clicker trained a dog give out book learned advice on how to clicker train a dog, the recipient of the advice will often try it out, it won’t work because the advice is inaccurate. The owner will then think that positive training doesn’t work and go to the dark side.
If you want to clicker train your dog, go to a dog trainer who has used the techniques successfully. Certainly wouldn’t take advice from someone on an internet forum who may not have any experience of actually doing it.
For example if you were to use a clicker, you have to do a fair bit of ground work before you start. You can use any reward your dog likes - food, or toys/play will work. The time to click a dog on the recall is when he is running back to you and not when he arrives at your feet. You click the dog when it is doing what you want - not when its finished the action.
A 7 month old colliexstaffy is going to be high drive and challenging to train - he needs a job to do to channel his energy. You also need to ask youself what your expectations are of him at this age and get some professional help to acheive your goals. Still chewing at this age is quite normal - keep your good stuff out of his way.
His constant need to play - if he needs to play and get rid of some energy.... well he needs to play so you have to give him an outlet for that. You can't expect him to sit quietly when he's bursting at the seams to play. As well as physical exercise he needs mental stimulation. Remember that collies are bred to be work all day long, they can work all day stalking sheep and never get bored with doing it.
I would highly recomend any books by Sarah Fisher
100 Ways to Train the Perfect Dog: Amazon.co.uk: Sarah Fisher, Marie Miller: Books
Also TTouch may help.
I agree with what Evie has already said. And highly recomend you join training classes, especially for the socalisation.
I just wanted to say your doing a wonderful job, to have achieved what you have in 4 weeks is amazing but calm down, it has only been 4 weeks and the vital age at which socialisation and training kicks in has been missed (not your fault he was in a shelter).
It will take him longer and given that hes part collie hes a VERY smart dog!!
You will need to be very quick with your responces towards him in order to praise or reprimand.
What you have described, almost exactly, other than excessive play with our other dogs never escalated, and she would almost obsessively jump up at people, is Connie, the pup we bred and took back at six months old.
In her case, it wasn't that she wasn't trained, more that the previous owners had inadvertantly trained her to do all the ridiculous things she did (like jumpiing up) and to ignore all of their commands. She will be two in October, and although she is a completely different dog to when we got her, she still has her 'moments'. She will occasionally still try to pull on the lead when she gets excited, and will sometimes decide she isn't going to come in from the garden unless what you offer her is really worth it. (so, she won't recall from the gardenfor a bit of kibble, but probably will for a bit of cheese. (she's got me better trained that I think.... however, I suspect she'd actually live in the garden given the chance, and I was also trying to train her not to dig out there, so couldn't leave her out unsupervised... :lol2:)
I would suggest maybe looking for a trainer/behaviourist on www.apdt.co.uk . Quite a few on there also offer socialisaton classes and I have known of several that offer 'dog walking meets' whee everyone from class meets up socially for walks.
I'd also suggest buying a copy of 'The Culture Clash' by Jean Donaldson. it's not a training book, an dit's not really a dog psychology book, but it does help owners to understand why their dogs behave the way they do, and what motivates them. I personally think it should be an absolute must for new dog owners.
[QUOTE=Evie;4615899]When people who have never clicker trained a dog give out book learned advice on how to clicker train a dog, the recipient of the advice will often try it out, it won’t work because the advice is inaccurate. The owner will then think that positive training doesn’t work and go to the dark side.
If you want to clicker train your dog, go to a dog trainer who has used the techniques successfully. Certainly wouldn’t take advice from someone on an internet forum who may not have any experience of actually doing it./QUOTE]
Lolly, my Chihuahua, is clicker trained very well. And Daisy, my Boston Terrier, is picking things up well, although anyone who knows Bostons will understand why things aren'y going as fast :lol2:
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