Top products from r/Dogtraining
We found 347 product mentions on r/Dogtraining. We ranked the 1,031 resulting products by number of redditors who mentioned them. Here are the top 20.
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1. Mine! A Practical Guide to Resource Guarding in Dogs
Sentiment score: 19
Number of reviews: 20
Mine A Practical Guide to Resource Guarding in Dogs
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2. Omega Paw Tricky Treat Ball, Large
Sentiment score: 20
Number of reviews: 17
Large vinyl treat-dispensing toy entertains your dog for hoursSoft, pliable textured vinyl surface made for easy grippingInsert treats, which fall out during playtimeEasy to fill5 inches in diameter
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3. Starmark Bob-A-Lot Interactive Pet Toy, Large
Sentiment score: 11
Number of reviews: 15
Exercises and feeds your dog at the same timeThe Large bottom Chamber fits up to 3 cups of Food - enough for a full mealAdjustable openings at the top and bottom accommodate most types of dog Food and allow you to regulate the difficulty levelWeighted anti-slip bottom makes the toy wobble erraticall...
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4. Outward Hound Tail Teaser Dog Flirt Pole Toy, Play Wand
Sentiment score: 17
Number of reviews: 15
Nylon cord for interactive exercise and funChase and tug action keeps dogs entertainedTwo faux-fur tails squeak and rattleNylon pole prevents you from touching a slobbery squeaker
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5. Our Pets Smarter Toys IQ Treat Ball - Colors Mary Vary - 4" (2130010792)
Sentiment score: 16
Number of reviews: 14
MENTALLY STIMULATE YOUR DOG: This food-dispensing dog toy keeps dogs mentally and physically active while they play. Available in two sizes – 3 inches for smaller dogs and 4 inches for larger dogs.CUSTOMIZABLE IQ TREAT BALL: Your furry friend gets smarter as they play with this interactive dog toy...
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6. Feisty Fido: Help for the Leash-Reactive Dog
Sentiment score: 8
Number of reviews: 13
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7. The Other End of the Leash: Why We Do What We Do Around Dogs
Sentiment score: 9
Number of reviews: 13
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8. Perfect Puppy in 7 Days: How to Start Your Puppy Off Right
Sentiment score: 19
Number of reviews: 13
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9. I'll be Home Soon: How to Prevent and Treat Separation Anxiety.
Sentiment score: 9
Number of reviews: 12
Used Book in Good Condition
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10. PetSafe Gentle Leader Head Collar with Training DVD, LARGE 60-130 LBS., BLACK
Sentiment score: 9
Number of reviews: 12
Vet recommended and trainer designed: This headcollar instinctively redirects your dog’s tendency to pull by placing gentle pressure on pain-free points and eliminating pressure on his throatTeaches better leash manners: Gently and safely helps you control unwanted leash behaviors like pulling, lu...
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11. PetSafe Busy Buddy Tug-A-Jug Meal-Dispensing Dog Toy Use with Kibble or Treats
Sentiment score: 8
Number of reviews: 11
SUSTAINED PLAY: Interactive dog toy provides multi-sensory stimulation to keep your pet engaged for longerLONG-LASTING: Durable non-toxic materials withstand prolonged usePROMOTES DENTAL HEALTH: Textured natural rubber wrap cleans teeth and gumsEXTEND MEALTIME: Perfect for overly eager eaters; use a...
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12. On Talking Terms With Dogs Calming Signals
Sentiment score: 12
Number of reviews: 11
training field calm aggressive behavior
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13. PetSafe Easy Walk Dog Harness, No Pull Dog Harness, Black/Silver, Large (EWH-HC-L-BLK)
Sentiment score: 6
Number of reviews: 11
Vet and trainer recommended: Created by a veterinary behaviorist over 15 years ago, the easy walk harness stops light to moderate pullingSafe solution for pulling: Allows you to control light to moderate pulling and rests across your dog’s chest, instead of their throat, so there’s no choking or...
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14. Squishy Face Studio Flirt Pole V2 with Blue/Aqua Squeaker Fleece Lure - 36 inch Pole, 52 inch Cord - Durable Dog Toy for Fun Obedience Training & Exercise
Sentiment score: 15
Number of reviews: 11
New and improved V2 developed using customer feedback from extremely popular original Flirt PoleComes with durable braided Fleece Lure pre-attachedRegular size flirt pole has a 36” pole section and 52” cordCan be used with dogs of any sizeAlso works great as a training tool and provides the ment...
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15. How to Behave So Your Dog Behaves
Sentiment score: 8
Number of reviews: 10
Used Book in Good Condition
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17. Culture Clash: A New Way Of Understanding The Relationship Between Humans And Domestic Dogs
Sentiment score: 8
Number of reviews: 10
Used Book in Good Condition
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18. PetSafe Busy Buddy Kibble Nibble - Dog Toy - Treat and Food Dispenser - Slow Feeder
Sentiment score: 7
Number of reviews: 9
SLOW FEEDER: Great for dogs who eat too fast or need a little help managing their weight; toys hold up 3.5 cups of foodREDUCES STRESS: Treat dispensing toy gives your dog hours of playtimeMADE FOR HEAVY CHEWERS: Created for dogs who live and love to chewCUSTOMIZE TREAT DISPENSING: Patented Treat...
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19. Fired Up, Frantic, and Freaked Out: Training the Crazy Dog from Over the Top to Under Control
Sentiment score: 10
Number of reviews: 9
How much training has your wife done with him? If you are the one who primarily trains him (even basic stuff like you taught him how to sit and lay down as a puppy to you are the primary reinforcer of good behavior now) he may not know that those 'rules' apply to your wife as well as he may not get reinforced for his choices on her watch. Get her more involved with his training. An easy way to do it is just to have a bag of tiny treats in your pocket - catch the puppy being good? Give him a treat and attention. Is he doing something he shouldn't? Teach her how to redirect and reinforce once he IS doing something he should be doing.
AKA: he is in the cat room, have her call him to her (recall - she can issue a treat once he gets to her feet) and have her redirect him to his bed/mat ("Go to bed") and give him a frozen kong or favorite chew to work on instead.
> but I'm looking for ways to "scold" bad behavior without being rough with him
Scolding is not very effective. As I said before, your pup will learn that the 'correction' only comes when you are around and often times will try to do those behaviors they get scolded for when your back is turned. It is much more effective to redirect - especially with such intelligent breeds - and reinforce what you WANT and ignore the stuff you dont.
A dog is MUCH more likely to repeat a behavior that MAY result in a treat than avoid a behavior that MAY result in a telling off. If I had $100 on the coffee table and you knew that if I caught you taking it would result in me yelling at you - PROBABLY wouldn't inhibit you that much. If you knew that you could get $500 for giving me a compliment, you would probably be more apt to take advantage of that. Works the same way with dogs - they can mildly entertain themselves with self reinforcing behavior (stealing things, getting on furniture, etc) or they can get really big rewards (food, attention, plays, etc) for repeating certain behaviors that often result in those big desirables.
> He's at that point where he's essentially forgotten all of his puppy training, and just "goes through the motions" of sit/down/rollover for the treat. Wife tends to treat him anyway and reinforce the incorrect behaviors.
Revisit the Training basics - particularly the rate of reinforcement. Once a behavior is proofed you should not be giving a treat every time they do X. Training is a fine line. When proofing new behaviors, frequent rewards are a great thing, but once the behavior is learned and reliable, you want to randomize when a reward will happen.
Think about it this way - why are slot machines so entertaining to people? It is not so much 'winning' but the chance to win that keeps people playing. If you won ever single time you played a slot machine you would be really excited about it at first then start to loose all interest - it becomes more of a vending machine then a slot machine. It is that balance of win/loose that keeps humans engaged. You can use that same mentality when rewarding your dog. My theme with this has been 'dogs will repeat what is rewarding' and really encouraging the use of practical rewards in tandem with things like treats - but you need to find that balance.
Especially if your wife is not holding a consistent level of criteria, treats should NOT be involved. Get back to basics - back slides with training are often human problems not dog problems.
> but the Corgi will turn his attention to the GSD and bark/bite/growl at her. Maybe a protective thing?
Depends. Maybe, maybe not. If the GSD is the one with all the energy and excitement he may just be trying to play/herd/interact with that excited dog. It probably isn't very protective unless he is putting himself between your wife and the GSD, growling and air snapping defensively, it is probably more play. Corgis can be very excitable. Read up on Canine Body Language. A happy/playful dog will have a curvy posture and be bouncy - a defensive dog will be ridged and focused.
> The crate we are using is the wire kind like you said, and it used to have a plastic tray on the inside.
If there is nothing between her and the grates on the bottom of the crate use a piece of wood or buy a new tray (if you havent already)- that is really uncomfortable to lay on for any length of time. A large piece of dense wood (not ply wood, the can easily chew off flakes) on the floor would work well or a heavier piece of plastic. You may want to find a way to fasten the tray into the bottom of the crate with zip ties to help prevent her from moving it around.
> as she'll be stuck in there for 8-9 hours without release.
How much exercise does she get in the morning before you leave? Do more. Spend an hour at the dog park in the morning or play training games in the yard. Someone letting them out in the afternoon will help, but unless they spend 1 hour+ with them playing pretty hard, your dog is still going to have a lot of energy stored up.
> Been going to dog parks more. Corgi seems more interested in being slow and peeing on everything (he's not fixed.) GSD enjoys the ball/frisbee and runs a ton.
Corgis seem to be really sniffy dogs - GSDs do have a lot of drive for balls (depending on their breeding lines, but in general this holds fairly true). Try to get them both out and running. Maybe go to the park with your wife and each of you take a dog - find some dogs they like to play with or other activities they enjoy. Flirt poles are great for corgis - they aren't typically good fetchers unless you spend a lot of time teaching them (this will vary, but I know a LOT of corgis and I only know 1 who will fetch reliably). They DO enjoy herding games and running around. Sniffing is kind of like the internet for dogs (lame comparison but not untrue) - it is good mental stimulation but your pup still needs plenty of physical exercise. Training games at home can also help -set up a small homemade agility course, work on tricks or teach him to herd a large ball around the yard.
The dog's ability to cope with stresses, deal with new/unexpected things, and interact with new strangers/dogs as an adult depends on two primary things: genetics and socialization. There are some dogs that naturally tend toward the anxious, reactive, suspicious end of the spectrum. There are others that naturally tend toward the stable, friendly, unshakable end of the spectrum. Every dog should be socialized to make the best of the genetic foundation you start with.
Socialization is more than just exposure. Your puppy class may have even done more harm than good, if he spent the whole class afraid and overwhelmed every week. Socialization should be about exposing the dog/puppy to new things at controlled, manageable levels (so maybe starting at a distance or at a low volume, or starting with a single very calm decoy dog or single very calm dog-savvy adult that totally ignores your pup) and making the experience positive and fun, so he enjoys it. Work at the level the dog is okay with. It's also about setting up and helping him overcome little challenges, letting him "win" the situation to build confidence. It's okay for him to be a little nervous at first sometimes, but the situation should feel safe enough and be positive and rewarding enough that he recovers and wiggles within a few minutes. If he spends the entire time he's exposed to the new person/dog/whatever feeling afraid, that can simply teach him that that sort of person/dog/whatever is something to fear.
A starting high level plan at this point would be:
edits: clarity/wording, fixing scatterbrained thoughts.
I'm not entirely sure why the cooing at toys would work. I feel like this is just anthropomorphizing the toy and your dog's "understanding" of the situation. If it is actually working for you, it's probably the fact that you are taking away the toy from her, letting her settle, and then returning it when her energy level/fixation are more in check. The "gentle" cue is definitely nice to teach, but it is probably working due to your addition/subtraction of reinforcer. That being said, "gentle" is a tough thing to teach some high energy dogs so props to you.
Also, the exercise thing is a great point. If you exhaust your pup with a good run or hour at the park they will be far less destructive in the house. Physical stimulation and mental stimulation need to go hand in hand, and one should not replace the other.
Just a point to bring up: if your (OP's) dog is chewing things like wires, socks, etc. he probably has a lot of opportunity to do so. How are you managing his environment - supervision levels, puppy-proofing, movement throughout the house, restriction when unsupervised (crating), etc? You need to minimize or eliminate as many possibilities for your dog to "mess up" as possible and set them up for success. For example, make sure he is in "puppy proofed" rooms with all foreign objects picked up off the floor and is provided with appropriate outlets for his energy (Kongs, stuffed bones, etc). A six month old puppy probably should not have free run of the house just yet, especially since he is most likely still teething and is still learning appropriate outlets for chewing. Slowly increase his freedom once he has learned these things. Start by keeping him in one or two rooms, gated off, and slowly increase his freedom once he learns more appropriate behaviors and has matured a bit more. Am I suggesting condemning your dog to a room for life? Absolutely not. You just have to manage his environment as much as possible and eliminate possibilities for him to fail.
It would also be worth investing in some brain toys to drain more energy, such as Wobble Kongs, Busy Buddy feeders, Buster Food Cubes, etc. In fact, feeding his meals exclusively out of these toys rather than a bowl would be a great opportunity to mentally stimulate him and drain more energy. Just make sure you supervise him as some of these toys could definitely be torn up if left unattended.
Just some food for thought. Hope you found this helpful! :)
Edit: Some products I've found helpful.
Brain toys for feeding:
Oh Lordy I have a ton...I'll try to categorize them...
Best for Puppies
These are all easy toys that dispense a lot of kibble with very little movement. Perfect for baby puppies or really low-confidence dogs. These can also be upgraded in difficulty later by stuffing them with wet food and freezing, or stuffing with a large, hard to extract treat (like a slice of lunchmeat).
These basically just dispense kibble by rolling. Not particularly complex, but good for the dog that prefers to solve puzzles by brute force.
These require a more finessed rolling motion to empty, so they're the next step up from just batting a toy around.
Complex Action Toys
These need movement in more than one direction (or very specific movement) to get kibble out of, which makes them pretty challenging.
Soothing, Low Energy Toys
Along with the stuff n' freeze toys, these are good for dogs on crate rest or who need some extra help relaxing before bed.
My dogs (and cats!) eat all their food out of puzzles so I am constantly on the lookout for new challenges! I'd be happy to provide more details on any of the toys I have, or buy and review any toys people have been wondering about :)
EDIT: btw this Jackson Galaxy Asteroid is my favorite cat puzzle toy. They really need to make one for dogs because it is kinda quirky with its bounciness and super quiet.
Your dog sounds so much like mine when he was the same age. It drove me nuts because we have a huge yard for him to run around, but when I'd let him out there he'd run for like 3 seconds and then lie down and chew on sticks. Then, when he got back in the house, he was still crazy.
Rodney was never super into toys, especially right at first. He didn't really understand how to play tug properly, and he didn't fetch (and he's a golden retriever! That's supposed to come pre-installed!). All he wanted to do was wrestle and roughhouse. Eventually, though, with enough persistence, we got him interested in fetching balls down the hall, and he LOVES tug now. It just took time for him to figure out what he liked and what the toys were for.
I bought a lot of toys for him at the beginning of his life. Spent a lot of money on them. Now I don't buy them anymore because the ones we have are holding up fine, and he likes them. His favorites are hol-ee roller, the dna toy, the IQ treat ball, big Chuck-it, and the orka ball.
The hol-ee roller and dna toy are awesome for fetch-and-tug. The only way we could get him to start fetching was to play tug with him when he brought the item back. He loves those two toys. The treat ball has been a lifesaver. We feed him his meals out of it, and it gives us some peace while we're eating as well as entertaining him. We recently got another similar toy called a snoop. This one is super awesome because it holds more food, and it's super quiet because it's made of squishy rubber, not hard plastic like the IQ ball. The orka ball is fun because it's so squishy and bouncy. He loves lacrosse balls because they're really bouncy, too. The orka is also cool because it's hollow, so you can stick treats in there. And the big Chuck-it ball has been great because he can grab onto really easy with the ridges, and I can kick a ball WAY further than I can throw it. The ball never gets lost because it's so big!
A tip to renew interest in the deer antler: boil it in chicken broth and let it dry out completely. This just gives it a new taste, and it worked when I did it for our dog.
A really good treat if you can find them is raw bones. Not the cooked ones they sell at pet stores, but uncooked bones you buy from a butcher. Ask at your local grocery store or butcher if they have bones for dogs, and if they don't know what you're talking about, ask if they have bones for making soup stock. Freeze the bones when you bring them home, and then give one to your pup! They're totally safe for dogs because unlike cooked ones, they won't splinter or break up dangerously. My dog used to spend forever licking out ever bit of marrow from the bones. They'll also clean your pup's teeth. :)
I'm just going to start listing off puzzle toys that I like since I don't know which ones you'd used before.
Kong toys are excellent ways to stimulate using food. You can also try food puzzles, such as the IQ Ball or Trixie Pet products. Snuff mats can also be helpful, if your dog likes to "forage" for food.
Licking and chewing can also relieve stress. There's a lick mat that I recently found that my pups really love. You can put something like peanut butter or yogurt on it, freeze it, and my dogs go at it for 30 minutes. For chewing, you can look at variety of different things, such a bully sticks, chew toys, Himalayan dog chews, etc. My dogs like all of the above, but the longest lasting chews for them are Benebones.
Search high and low for these types of toys and puzzles. You can often find discounted pet toys at Marshalls or Ross, if you have these types of stores near you. I know they can be kind of expensive, but a good brand will last forever, and for my dogs, they've been great investments!
You can also make your own games, if you'd rather not purchase toys. Hide treats under plastic cups and tell Micah to "go find!" You can play hide-and-go-seek around the home. For a DIY toy, put treats in a muffin tin and cover each tin with a tennis ball for him to remove. If he is comfortable with these in the house, you can take these types of games outside, too.
Beyond just toys and physical things you can buy to help stimulate and relieve stress, working with your dog can only help. This means basic obedience training. I highly recommend using a clicker-- dogs learn very well when they know exactly what behaviors you want of them.
The benefits of working with your dog? Mental exercise can be as satisfying and grueling at physical exercise -- I'm not saying that it's a substitute for the physical stuff, but it can certainly play part of your dog's overall health. Working with your dog, teaching him basic obedience, and perhaps moving onto some fun tricks will not only turn the gears in Micah's head and give you more of a foundation to work with him in the presence of other dogs, but obedience builds confidence. You're teaching Micah that he has other behaviors he can present in XYZ situation aside from reactivity. It's always important that dogs understand they have a choice, and the choices they make have consequences. In Micah's case, he can get upset at other dogs and bark his head off or he can choose to sit with you and get tasty treats for "watch me" or "shake" or "lie down" or whatever it is you ask of him. One is far more pleasant for both you and him than the other.
You have to work up to these ideal behaviors, of course, but you have to start somewhere! You can google and search on Youtube for basic cues and tricks to teach him. There are some very comprehensive Youtube videos out there that will teach you step by step and make it fun for both you and Micah. Here are some common ones: sit, lie down, watch me, touch, shake, take a bow, rollover, play dead, spin around.
As for physical exercise, you're going to have to find something that works for you, I'm afraid. If you don't have a backyard and are limited on space in the home, you might have to get creative. This might mean taking a jog after dark when no one else walks their dog, assuming you live in a safe neighborhood -- although, with a dog as big as Micah, someone would have to be an idiot to do you harm. You might resort to a flirt pole, fetch, or frisbee in a trusted friend or neighbor's yard. Although kind of pricey, Micah might take to agility training or some other dog sport/activity. You could also engage him in an intense game of fetch/tug if you can find some room in your home.
I can almost guarantee that if Micah gets the energy outlet that his husky/shepherd heart and brain need, he'll be easier to manage and train with regards to reactivity.
I know this is a lot of information.
I have more if you want it.There is always hope, and Micah really is lucky to have found you. He will get better in time!
Alright. Here's my 2 cents. Except it's probably gonna turn out to be 50 cents because I like to type, so bear with me.
Other tips, even though this is getting ridiculously long - Read! Educate yourself! Explore as many possible resources as you can to find what is right for you and your dog! Here are some good ones:
Damn. Sorry that is so long. If you somehow have any other questions after all that, I'd be glad to answer them. I have had many, many family dogs, currently share a beloved whiny baby German shepherd with my boyfriend, am pursuing a BS in animal behavior, and work at a positive reinforcement dog training facility. So I am a fountain of fun facts just waiting to be asked questions!
> if I'm not particularly doing this 'exercise' but going for regular walks, how should I react to the triggers?
Any walk can turn into a training exercise for us if triggers appear. Not ideal, but that's the dog I have. Runners are trickier because they're moving faster and by the time you see them, the dog's likely over threshold already. Ideally, you'd avoid runners while you work on controlled training exercises, but a dog's gotta walk, and a few people can devote all their time to training. Do the best you can, and understand setbacks happen. When in doubt, I think creating distance is best. Sometimes for me that means doing a 180 and literally running in the other direction with my dog to move as fast as I can away from the trigger.
Learn to be clear with kids about not approaching your dog. I've found they often listen better than most adults :/
> she started barking I tried to divert her attention to a treat and moving a bit away from the trigger, but to no avail
Thresholds are an important concepts for reactivity. I think one of the biggest issues with people first starting out in training is that they often attempt to work when their dog is already over threshold. Working under threshold is key to progress. This is some good reading.
> I know I should avoid giving the treat AFTER she barks at all costs, because then I'm basically telling her I love it when she barks at the triggers
Not necessarily, I don't think. You could also be rewarding for stopping barking and focusing back on you. For example, if my dog starts barking at another dog, I might first create distance between us and the other dog, then when I get her attention back on me, reward. Take a few steps closer to other dog with her attention still on me, reward, and continue to work with her under threshold.
Keep in mind that you'd also (and preferably) want to be rewarding when there's a trigger when your dog is calm and before she actually reacts. Ideally, you'd never put your dog in a position where she'd react and never need to reward for attention back on you, but that's impossible to achieve with a reactive dog in the real world.
> I'm very interested in dog psychology to be honest.
I highly recommend Patricia McConnell's books and blog for people just getting into it. She has a book for reactivity training, but The Other End of the Leash is great for a more general read.
Also check out r/reactivedogs and the resources on their wiki as well as those on the reactive dog support group here.
We used a method called "Make Like A Tree" when training my GSD to walk nicely on a leash. Your dog is definitely not too old for it.
Start at your door like you're about to go for a walk. Hold the leash low enough so that it gets taut as soon as her shoulder passes your thigh. She should not have very much room to go in front of you at all before she is pulling. As soon as you open the door, she's probably going to try to walk out in front of you, right? So stand your ground, hold her leash in that position and don't move. Let her pull and tug and lunge out the door and completely ignore her. Have a treat on hand so that as soon as she realizes her efforts are futile and turns her attention back to you, you can reward her. Lure her back to your side with a treat (this may need to be a really high-value treat if she's a serious puller). As soon as she's sitting by your side in a heel position take one step out the door. If she immediately lunges ahead of you, just freeze and wait until she turns her attention towards you again. If it's taking her a long time to focus on you, you can try making funny noises, whistling, and saying her name to try and shorten the time that she isn't listening. Repeat the same thing as before, luring her back to your side and take another step. Keep doing this, just in your front yard. I've found that it helps to set a timer on my phone and keep it in my back pocket. I tend to get frustrated with my pup when he doesn't listen (don't we all?) so I set a timer for 15 minutes. After that, we go inside for a little while and try again later. You being frustrated is going to cause you to expect more of the dog and be rougher on the leash, both of which will just cause her training to go slower. This is a pretty lengthy process that requires a lot of patience, but it's so worth it in the end.
Once she understands the concept of staying by your side in front of your house, start going around the neighborhood or down the street. When she's by your side continually praise her in a happy, cheery voice. I've found it helpful to teach my boy "Watch me!" so that whenever I give him the command, he will look up at me. This is great for when I see another person or dog approaching him and know he is going to want to pull. I say watch me ahead of time and continually feed him treats until we are past the distraction. If your dog does pull, just do the same thing as the beginning- freeze and hold your ground until she's back in the heel position.
I would recommend getting a martingale collar for your pup, or a front-latching harness. The martingale collar will tighten a little when the dog pulls, which I have found to help them understand why you are stopping. It's also better for their neck, as it distributes the weight of their pulling across the entire circumference of the neck, instead of right on their trachea. The added bonus is that it self-tightens, so she can't slip out of it if she starts throwing her head around in frustration. Don't confuse this with a choke chain or prong collar or anything. The martingale can only tighten a little bit, and it's usually made out of heavier fabric, so it will loosen as soon as your pup stops pulling. The front-latching harness is really helpful because it will turn your dog to face you whenever he pulls, but cinching across his shoulders and not letting him walk any further. This is great, because you'll want to lure him into a heel position every time he gets ahead of you on the leash and what better way to do that then have him already face you! It's also useful if your pup is an especially strong puller. The harness will stop her motion as soon as the leash is taut, so it's much easier for you to control her if she's really strong. I had a ton of success with the front-latching harness and my pup. Hope this helps!
Just a light cotton sheet or tablecloth will do for covering. If you can find it in a dark color, that would be great, but just not being able to see around her will help.
Sitting before you open the door is totally fine. Creating a routine is a great way to get her to love the crate, the more treats involved the better!
This is the treat ball I use which works great as long as your dog isn't much of a destroyer. Holds a fair amount of food. If you're not sure about the food bowl just putting in a large object or smaller upside down bowl inside the food dish can help in the meanwhile.
Outside as a family is great, I was just thinking of those time when you're worried about her peeing but would like to give her some time outside her crate unsupervised. I'm not too familiar with heat+breathing issues so you might consult your vet just to see what they recommend based on your climate and your pup.
I'm glad I could help! I just totally know how it is to feel frustrated with your dog. I'm glad she's peeing indoors less! May also just be her getting used to her new home :)
Best of luck!
Edit! Oh I forgot about the ear cleaning. Cheese whiz! Or similar consistency stuff, peanut butter works too but isn't as convenient. Smear a long thin line of it on the floor (or other easily wipeable surface). Like, a foot of it. You can even space it out a bit. While she's busy licking, you can mess with her ears. Picked this trick up from my vet and it works awesomely.
I suggest the main thing you need to do is to train your dog to sit as a way to say please. You want to reach the stage where she will automatically sit when she wants something you've got.
To train her, start by using tasty treats: microwaved chicken breast cut up into tiny pieces is cheap and easy, you can also keep something like cat kibble in your pocket. Learn how to use a treat as a lure: hold the treat tightly under your thumb, against the tips of your fingers, then put the treat at the dog's nose and move the treat very slightly away from her encouraging her to follow a couple of steps, and then release the treat. Next, train her to sit using a treat as a lure: the hand motion becomes the SIT hand signal (I use a signal that looks like doing up a zipper) and add the verbal cue 'sit'. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ksBLKi6lj1s
Practice in lots of short sessions throughout the day, and reward her well if she ever decides to sit spontaneously. This should only take a day or two for your dog to be able to sit without a lure, with just the hand gesture and the word SIT. From this point on, keep the treats hidden until she is sitting, and then reward her well - she should soon get the idea that sitting is a great idea, and will probably start to do it happily when there is nothing else exciting going on. Over time you can transition from treats to 'life rewards': ask her to sit before you give her anything she wants: a toy, throw of the ball, attention and pats, a walk, food, water, etc.
I recommend you get a couple of baby gates for the house: put one at the door to the kitchen, or wherever you prepare her food. This will protect you and will be a really useful training tool. Once the baby gate is installed, before you get out her food, use a treat to lure her to the other side of the gate. Shut the gate. Ask for a sit. Whenever she starts to bark, stop what you are doing, and ask for a sit. The first few times, you can reward the sit with a treat. After a few session she should get the idea that barking stops you from preparing her food! Ask for a sit, when she does say say GOOD and keep preparing the food. When the food is ready, put it down on the floor, ask for a sit (if she has trouble focusing on anything but the food bowl in front of her, you might need to be patient.... or even use a piece of chicken as a lure, just for the first time in this extra difficult situation), and then open the baby gate, at the same time as you release her with a word such as OK or FREE. After a few weeks of doing this you should find that she will automatically sit when she sees food being put down for her.
Another good time to practice this is when you come home and she's keen to say hi. If she is not crated while you are out, set up a baby gate so she can see you come in the door but can't reach you. When you are inside and have shut the door, ask her for a sit before you go and say hi.
If you keep practicing this in a range of different places (not just where there are baby gates!) you will probably be able to do away with the baby gates after a few months. You will also find that if you consistently ask her to sit before she gets something she wants you won't need to use the treats to reward the sit for very long!
Good luck to you and the family!
Sorry I didn't get to this right away, OP. I knew it would get lengthy, so I wanted to wait until I had a chance to get to my computer.
First, just to clear up any (very common) misconceptions you might have, Dominance theory has been discounted and should not be used as a basis for making decisions about dog behaviour or training, so forget about being alpha in your pack (from the wiki.
The dog does not see you as competition. You're simply dealing with an untrained, high energy dog.
Now, before I give you any more advice, recognize that this is not your dog, so clear any training methods with your girlfriend first. Be supportive and NOT accusatory, and suggest taking a good positive reinforcement class with her. Hell, gift her a training class as a Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/whatever present, and go together.
>He exhibits a lot of bad behaviors that she does not correct, or will even defend
"Bad behaviors" is a relative term. What you may view as "bad," your girlfriend may view as no big deal. For example, my dog is horrible on leash. I've been training diligently for years, and he just cannot grasp the concept of walking on a leash without pulling. So, I gave up. If that's his worst behavior, then I'll let it go and just learn to manage it. For me, pulling on leash is not a "bad" behavior.
She's also likely getting defensive with everyone getting mad at her.
How much exercise and mental stimulation is the dog getting every day? My guess is, not nearly enough. Start there. Take the dog running/biking/hiking, get a flirt pole, take up a dog sport like nosework or agility (agility will require a basic obedience class first, but nosework you can start almost immediately in your own living room), feed out of puzzle toys or freeze meals into Kongs (ditch the dog bowl), and pick up clicker training and start working on obedience.
>He mostly only listens to her, but when his mind is set he listens to absolutely no one
This isn't uncommon, even with trained dogs. Training is a lifelong skill, and you can't just teach a command and be done with it. You have to train with different people, in different environments/situations, and make sure to reinforce good behaviors occasionally.
>He will dig in the trash, jump on the counters, eat any and all food he can find even if it makes him absolutely sick
This is more of a management issue than a training issue. The dog is being set up to fail. Digging in the trash and counter surfing are WAY more rewarding than any training you can do with the dog. It's fun and results in food. Garbage cans need to be put behind a closed door, and food cannot be left on the counters. Bonus points if you can block off the kitchen with a baby gate. Shoes and things need to be put away, as well as anything you don't want the dog to potentially view as a toy. You need to essentially puppy proof your home(s).
>he can't stand to be separated from her and exhibits severe separation anxiety
This isn't uncommon in gun dogs. Most are naturally very handler focused (to an extent), so it's hard for them to know what to do without their owner/handler. Here is our page on separation anxiety.
>he will listen for a few minutes and then just do whatever he wants after that
You're expecting a lot out of an untrained, underexercised dog. In fact, "a few minutes" is a fantastic stay duration, and you should actually view that as impressive. The dog has to learn how to work up to a stay of greater durations, and a dog should never be put in a position to break the stay. The stays you expect of this dog should never be a "permanent" stay (meaning, the dog should never be expected to stay until you get around to giving him attention again).
He's breaking the stay simply because he doesn't understand when he's allowed to move again. If you want him out of your way, you need to be giving him something else to do (this is where frozen kongs will be your best friend). Don't leave it up to him to maintain a long stay. Manage his environment so he has something better to do.
Also recognize that he's starved of attention and exercise. This is an underexercised dog, so he's going to be annoying and demanding as fuck until you can get him to the point where he is content to just go to sleep instead of waiting for you guys to entertain him.
>There have been multiple occasions where he has knocked her over or down stairs because he just excitedly shoves his way past her/us the split second she opens the house or car door, even if she tells him to sit and stay (he freaks out whenever he thinks she is going anywhere without him
He's bored as fuck, and is hoping like hell something exciting is about to happen. Again, daily exercise and mental stimulation will help here.
>and always ensures he is ahead of her wherever she goes
Forgive me if I'm just reading too far into this, but I didn't want to potentially pass over it. It's a very common misconception that a dog is trying to "dominate" us by "leading the way." This is entirely untrue. Dogs simply move way faster than we do, and the dog doesn't know where he should go, or what he should be doing instead. Again, its nothing more than a bored, excited dog.
>When she brings him to my (or anyone else's) house, he becomes an absolute terror where, even if he gets to sit right next to her, he eventually becomes restless and starts walking back and forth from her to the nearest exit
Dogs don't handle change well, and you're dealing with an overaroused, anxious, underexercised dog. He's WAY over threshold, and is literally unable to settle down.
>If I give him a command it's pretty obvious he knows what I want and then will do the opposite
He doesn't know what you want. He may have an idea, but dogs don't generalize well. That means a dog will not easily understand that "sit" applies wherever he is, from no matter who says it. You need to take the initiative to help train the dog in your house, and create a positive bond with this dog. Give him a reason to want to listen to you, and help him to understand what you expect of him.
The best dog training occurs when a dog is taught what to do, instead of what not to do. Set him up for success instead of just assuming he knows what he should be doing.
>Locking him in the car is her solution to this, every time. Apparently being locked in a tiny car is better than being inside a comfortable house
This is a very poor solution to a problem, but it likely allows the dog to calm down in a quiet, familiar space. Do not leave a dog unattended in a car, and do not allow this to become a bandaid. Again, and I'll repeat it as often as necessary, this dog needs more exercise every single day. High energy working breeds become neurotic if they're not exercised and given a job to do.
>it has grown to a point where he is challenging me, even in my own home
Obviously, by now you should understand this, but the dog is not challenging you. He's just untrained and underexercised.
>I've tried to come come up with solutions
What have your solutions been? You both need to crack down on the house training and train properly. Here is our housetraining page. In short, make sure the dog is 100% supervised, take him out frequently so he doesn't have a chance to decide to go indoors, reward heavily when he goes in the correct spot, and just calmly and quietly clean up messes.
>I'm stuck always being the "bad guy" who gets annoyed by the dog and ends up punishing him for his aweful behavior
Do. Not. Punish. Dogs don't understand punishment the same way we do. It's an entirely ineffective way to get your point across. In 99% of cases, if the dog has messed up, it's your fault, I promise you. If he pees in the house, why was he unsupervised? If he knocks over the garbage, why wasn't it behind a door? If he pulls on the leash, why haven't you trained him? If he's sprinting around the house, why hasn't he been exercised?
A dog can only behave as a dog. We're the ones with these arbitrary human rules, so we need to be the ones to help the dog succeed.
Needless to say, there's also a relationship issue here. If the dog is to be allowed in your house, your girlfriend needs to be responsible for him. But, as I said in the beginning, avoid accusing your girlfriend and make this a team effort. It's incredibly easy for someone to fall into this trap of "my dog is hopeless" which becomes "there's nothing wrong with my dog, STFU," believe me. If this is a long term, serious relationship, you need to be equally as involved. Here is our page on how to choose a trainer, and I would also be happy to send you a list of some trainers if you PM me your zip code. ALWAYS look for a positive reinforcement, force free trainer. And, for Dog's sake, thoroughly read through our wiki and sidebar. This dog is not hopeless by any means, and almost all of your training solutions can be found in the wiki.
Come on over and join us at r/reactivedogs.
First off, it’s important to set some realistic expectations. You almost certainly can get this dog to a point where you can walk her around the neighborhood without her reacting to everyone and everything, but she’s probably never going to be the type of dog that is friendly and outgoing to other people or dogs she doesn’t know, or one that you can take to the dog park, crowded public places, etc. Many dogs are just not like that, and that’s okay. That would be like expecting your introverted shy anxious friend to morph into being a social butterfly and life of the party after getting her anxiety under control.
Medication can really help a lot of anxious dogs, but it is important to realize that it is not a cure- just a tool to help bring your dog to a level where training can be productive. It sounds like you are pretty committed to working with this dog, so I would certainly encourage you to talk to your vet about trying something like Prozac (which is a great one to start out with because many dogs respond well to it, and it’s very inexpensive.)
Here’s a list of resources that I’ve been compiling (pardon the copy and paste) that I’ve found very helpful with my own dog (a GSD/pit/husky mix). We’ve also been working with trainers well versed in reactivity, so I’ve included some of the skills we’ve been working on.
About Leash Reactivity and how to deal with it:
Dealing with Leash Reactivity: Best Friends Animal Society
The Reactive Dog: Your Dogs Friend Workshop (Video) It’s long, but seriously, watch it. Lots of good info.
Feisty Fido: Help for the Leash Reactive Dog - A short booklet by well-renowned behaviorist Patricia McConnell who has lots of experience dealing with reactivity.
From Crazy to Calm: A Training Plan for Leash Reactivity
The Goal: Changing Perceptions with Counterconditioning and Desensitization
Introduction to Desensitization and Counterconditioning
Helping Your Shy Dog Gain Confidence
When dealing with reactivity, being able to get your dog’s attention or employ a distraction at the right moment is really critical. These are foundation skills for dealing with reactivity.
Name game (a clicker is not essential- you can use your praise word instead.) Goal: focus.
Look at Me. Goal: Focus
It’s Your Choice. Goal: Impulse control
Leave It (Make sure you are giving a different treat, not the one they’re supposed to leave.) Goal: Impulse control
Emergency U-turn. Goal: Management- being able to get out of a situation that will cause the dog to go over threshold.
Find It Goal: Distraction/diffusion
Engage/Disengage. Goal: counterconditioning and desensitization.
Start by working on these skills in a quiet area indoors, gradually increasing distractions. Then start practicing outdoors in an area with few distractions, again gradually increasing distractions. This is the key to getting a distracted dog to pay attention to you outside. If your dog can’t focus, you need to take a step back (quite literally, in some cases). Set your dog up to succeed- try not to put them in situations where they will fail.
From what you've said here my best guess would be is that he is barking out of boredom. He's figured out that when he barks you come out and play a fun game of (unintentional) chase.
I know you've said that he gets plenty of exercise, which is fantastic, but dogs need more than just physical exercise. They also need mental stimulation and fun so I would work on making the yard more exciting.
First step is if you haven't already, getting rid of the food bowl. Food bowls are boring, there's no challenge and 30 seconds later the food is gone. Get food puzzle toys, I recommend getting at least 2 different ones so you can alternate and they don't get boring. Something like the Kong Wobbler and a Treat Ball there are so many types out there. Another really simple method is simply scattering their food around the yard so they have to go searching around and forage for it. Give him meaty bones and chew toys/treats that he has to really focus on and spend time with, not just Snap and its gone.
Does he have any toys out in the yard to play with? If so, does he actually play with them? I could surround my dog in tennis balls and soft toys and she's just sleep on them, but give her a cheap plastic flowerpot and she's running around like a lunatic. Make sure they're actually toys he wants to play with and again its a good idea to alternate them so they don't get old. There are some great ideas for enrichment here, some really good homemade (and cheap) enrichment ideas. If your dog likes to dig then maybe set up a sandpit, just get a plastic wading pool and put sand in it, hide treats and toys in there, lots of fun. If he likes tug of war then the Bungees are great (I'm sure there's a US version).
You should do daily training sessions with him. These don't require giant chunks of time, in fact its better if you only do 5-10 minutes at a time. Do these a few times a day, you can do 1-2 in the morning and then a couple more in the evening. It doesn't matter what you're teaching him, just get him using his brain. Tricks are fun for both of you and dogs love showing them off for attention.
Addressing the barking though, I think you need to stop going out when he barks. He gets your attention and a game for this behaviour, why would he stop? He only gets rewarded for appropriate behaviour. Hold out for quiet and calm behaviour, I'll warn you now that he'll most likely get worse before he gets better. This is known as an Extinction Burst do NOT give in. He is just trying harder and longer to get the reaction he wants if you give in he will simply have learned to bark more. If you feel its necessary drop a note to your neighbours letting them know that you are working on his barking and he might be worse for a little bit but it should pass quickly.
This teaches him what wont get a good reaction, so you should teach him what to do instead. When he's calm and just doing his own thing, reward it. Give him a treat or a game, or let him inside. Make being quiet the behaviour that gets him what he wants.
So I have a high energy dog as well. A little younger than yours (1.5 years) but very much of the same.
The key with dogs you just literally cannot tire out is to (A) mentally tire them out and to (B) teach them how to relax.
For mentally tiring out my dog, here are some things I've found that are fantastic:
Teaching your dog to relax - this I think is super key. We're trying this with our pup right now. I'm going through the method outlined in Fired Up, Frantic and Freaked Out. We've just started and I haven't been working on it terribly diligently, but I'm hoping this will work.
There are some other things that are good for this such as Karen Overall's Protocol for Relaxation that you may want to check out (this one is free here)
I'm sorry you're dealing with such a tough situation. It's possible to turn this dog's behavior around, but it's not easy and will need a lot of patience and consistency. Cesar Millan is the exact opposite of what any dog needs; Millan is the living embodiment of the joke, "Beatings will continue until morale improves." His methods of flooding overstimulated dogs, forcing them into a frightened, shutdown mode, and often just kicking them in the stomach are just inhumane. Kikopup is a step in a better direction, and she's actually on my list.
Here's my go-to list of training resources; many of them get recommended around here a lot. I like these folks because their methods are humane and ethical as well as effective. Pretty much every issue that can pop up is covered by them in some way, easy to find with Google.
For you, check out Jean Donaldson's Fight! Jane Killion's When Pigs Fly is always the book I recommend most for training in general, even if your dog isn't a typically stubborn breed, as it's all about how to find what motivates your dog and use it to get the behavior you want.
I highly suggest Behavior Adjustment Training 2.0 (BAT) as well.
First of all congratulations on having a dog! Obviously you are a concerned owner and eager to learn and this is a great thing!
Everything you written about her being confused, refusing food, even not going up the stairs is probably due to the fact that she was taken out of her everyday environment. Allow a couple of days for her to get used to you and for you to get used to her. Read about training through positive reinforcement (use the clicker for best results). I strongly recommend reading Pat Miller's The Power of Positive Dog Training as it leads you through the process of teaching your new dog new commands from week to week. Before actually using the clicker, read about it or watch a must see playlist by kikopup.
The easiest way to train your dog is to use food as a reward and lure. Combined with a clicker to mark the exact moment when your dog did the right thing leads to great (and very fast) results!
And now to your specific questions and some other stuff I think is related and important:
Crate training should be done gradually and in a very positive way (refer to kikopup or the book I've mentioned). You will basically teach her to want to go there on her own as a safe place where she can take a time out and relax. If she hasn't been crated in her previous home, she might not take it to well. Be sure to leave the gate open and start working on closing the gate and leaving the room gradually. This means that in the beginning you reward her for going near the crate. Then throw a treat inside the crate. Then reward her for staying in the crate and so on. As with everything else in dog training it is better to put lower expectations on your dog so you "set your dog up for success".
Stairs: she maybe never encountered stairs. If the vet said she's healthy I'd say she just needs to get used to them. In case the stairs are "see through" (like these for example) many dogs won't go up them because they probably think they'll fall through them. As generally dogs don't like to be carried around, she won't get used to you carrying her up and down the stairs in the beginning. After a few days try luring her with treats (holding a treat in hand in front of her nose and slowly moving it forward) the instant she follows your hand - give her the treat. And then repeat for every step. You can also put treats on stairs to motivate her to come up. You'll have to see what works best.
Food/treats: you should see what is the recommended daily amount of food for your dog. Take one half of that and use it as treats and the other two quarters use as morning and evening meal. You should remember that treats shouldn't be an extra on top of dogs food for the day. In that way the dog will be food motivated and eager to please you in order to get the treat.
Establishing dominance. I'm not in favour of people downvoting a post whenever someone says "dominance". It is an old concept, but all of dog training up until recently was based on it so it is very normal that people who are not into dog training still think that this is the way to go. I'm sure you can read about the theory (sidebar) and why is it wrong. As long as you don't use any painful or intimidating methods and respect your dog's boundaries and body signals you can call it whatever you like (but preferably don't call it dominance so as not to confuse people :P ). If you don't want your dog sleeping in the bed with you - teach him where should she sleep. But if you're ok with the dog sleeping on the bed but you're afraid she will turn out into a dominant werewolf if you allow her - you have nothing to worry about.
WALL OF TEXT INCOMING.
My GSD pupper is just about 7 months old. A few pieces of advice/warnings:
Never be harsh with your GSD. It is super true that you catch more flies with honey, and I believe that is especially true for this breed. We have always found with our pup that she responds much, much better to a soft correction than any sort of yelling or harsh voice.
Have fun! Puppies are delightful but also incredibly taxing!
And here are some pictures of the little devil, Malta.
The most common way, at least in my experience (please chime in with other ways/paths that you've taken) is exposure and mentoring.
Exposure is just work with as many dogs as you possible can. For me, I worked at a dog daycare/boarding/training/grooming place as a dog handler (officially Animal Care Technician but whatever.) I thought I knew a lot about dogs before going in. My close family had had several growing up, I'd helped raise for service puppy organizations, etc. I did not. I did not know nearly enough about dogs in general. There's nothing like being in a playroom with 30 dogs every day to rapidly teach you about dog body language, communication, habits, warning signs, the works. I worked there for a couple years and I was constantly learning. The biggest hurdle in getting to be a dog trainer is just exposure to lots and lots of different dogs, different breeds, different temperaments, different learning styles, different stimulus, different everything.
Next usually comes mentoring with an experienced trainer. I lucked out in that the trainer who started working at the daycare facility about year after I did was awesome. Totally positive and we clicked. We became really good friends fast. I officially mentored with her for just over a year. I happened to be in the right place at the right time, and I can't really speak on more arduous methods of finding a mentor.
Read. Find groups like this one and find their recommended literature. Training is important both in theory and practice. My first books were Fired Up, Frantic, and Freaked Out, Ahimsa, and When Pigs Fly and they were the beginning of my positive-only approach as well as my drive to become a trainer. But there are tons and tons of books to really dive into.
Check out the sidebar for info on APDT, and look into getting your CPDT-KA. The training industry isn't really regulated, but this is kind of The Certification.
As far as career, both myself and my training mentor left that facility. We started our own training business together. She works that full time, though her SO has a nice cushy job to fall back on in times of famine, so the two of them do alright. While I might do alright working it fulltime, I am crazy stupid anxious about being totally on commission. I have another full time job (night shift manufacturing. Cog-in-a-machine type work, but it isn't mentally taxing leaving me mostly focused mentally on training. Also benefits are awesome.)
While starting your own business isn't common or uncommon, there's other routes too. You can work in a big box store (think petsmart, petco, etc) as a trainer. Though you'll see on this sub we kind of have a hesitant view on them. It's either hit or miss. You end up with an awesome trainer who is working there on the path to bigger and better things, or.... you don't. You could work at a facility like the dog daycare place I worked. From my experience pay is meh but not terrible. The biggest problem was ideology differences and goal differences (what's best for the dog vs what's best for the business.) Though I tend to have a negative bias about it so take that with a grain of salt. You could work at a training facility that brings together a bunch of trainers. You could work at a humane society. There's a lot of options, some commission, some hourly, some a mix. It all kind of depends on your experience, your connections, and honestly, your luck.
This... kind of rambles on a bit, but feel free to ask away! A lot of my career came just from being in the right place at the right time so I realize that's not much help, but I can try.
Basically, never feed your dog out of a bowl again. Every meal is an opportunity for mental stimulation!
Frozen Kongs - these are super easy to prep in advance. I usually have 3-5 in the freezer at any given time.
Puzzle toys like these are good for treats: 1, 2, 3
These are good for kibble: 1, 2, 3
For training, an easy way to get started is to go through the 101 Dog Tricks book. It's 101 tricks/skills to teach them with step by step instructions. Super approachable, and the tricks range from simple stuff like sit and down to more advanced skills like leg weaves. Any of the Do More With Your Dog series is good. I think they have a puppy specific book as well.
If your dog likes learning new tricks or skills you might consider getting into a dog sport like agility or nosework or even obedience. They're fun and challenging for both you and your dog - plus it's a great way to strengthen your relationship in general.
>the nicest person I've been in touch with
Thanks :) You've been pretty reasonable and interesting to talk to also (sometimes thats really hard when you're passionate about something).
So, if anything I've said so far seemed to make sense to you, I'd recommend you get and read a few books that talk about how dogs (and animals in general) "work". They're all fairly cheap, interesting / easy to read, and are written by really qualified animal behaviorists / trainers:
Patricia B. McConnell
(They're in /r/dogtraining's book list, but I think these 3 are a really good place to start)
They aren't going to turn you into a behaviorist just from reading those 3 books, but they'll give you a good background / base of knowledge to build on. Your girlfriend will probably think they're interesting too, and think you're pretty cool for researching / being interested in what she thinks is the best way to train / change behavior.
I have a very high energy dog as well. He has separation anxiety and can be destructive when bored as well.
Crate training was hard and took more than 6 months but gives him a safe place while we are gone. He’s even gone into the kennel on his own one time when he saw me getting ready to leave!
Establishing a morning/daily routine also has helped a ton with that. That would also help with the house training!
As far as the energy goes, both mental stimulation and physical exercise are important. We take Benji to the dog park almost every day. If we don’t make it there, he gets a long (2-4mi) walk in the morning and evening. The exercise is good for me too! We got a martingale collar and that has helped a ton for the pulling! Highly recommend. We also got this toy which may help you as well- he loves it! https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0042I5G2I/ref=cm_sw_r_sms_c_api_9ldRBbTG31S4F Mental stimulation can be new smells or behavior/clicker/treat training.
I have a very similar story with my American Bulldog. I got her at 9 months and she was very friendly with other dogs until I took her to another friends house with an aggressive boxer that kept trying to jump on her back and bite her neck. She hasn't really been the same since. She isn't aggressive towards other dogs, but rather fearful of other dogs which leads to nervousness when other dogs approach... which will eventually lead to lashing out at them if they get too close. I took her to a trainer who specialized in aggressive dogs... he didn't really tell me much except for the obvious(and charged me $150!).
So, I took it upon myself and read up a lot on the subject. I have been slowly getting her more comfortable being around other dogs. I would recommend reading Calming Signals first so you will at least know a little more about what your dog and other dogs' body language is saying.
I started by walking her a few times a week with another very calm and very polite dog (I think the right walking partner dog is very important). After a while she became very comfortable around the other dog and even became excited (the happy kind) when she would see him walking up. Eventually, they were able to be off leash in a backyard (I wouldn't recommend your own back yard initially as different territorial issues might arise). I also bring along her favorite treats on all our walks to 1) Reward her for good behavior and 2) to determine her level of nervousness (i.e. she refuses the treat = very nervous, she takes the treat but spits it out = somewhat nervous, takes the treat and eats it = calm).
You sound like you have a smaller version of my dog (70lbs).
STRANGERS: Does he have a crate? If not, get him one. If so, teach him to go to the crate when people come over, and go there anytime he's feeling stressed or overwhelmed. No one bothers him there, and no one approaches him there. Give him his space. You can close him in there for safety, or if he's OK (and/or my next suggestion here) leave it open for him to go in and out as he feels the need.
Have you tried muzzle training. Teaching him to wear a basket muzzle while people are over will give him the opportunity to move around them, take treats and get acclimated all while keeping your guests safe. The muzzle may also be useful for walks. KikoPup has an excellent video on teaching your dog to wear a muzzle. If done right your dog will enjoy putting on and wearing his muzzle. I know mine does, he has trouble staying still while a fasten it on because he's wagging his tail so hard.
WALKING: Do your best to take him for walks during the quieter parts of the day. After dark, early morning and early afternoons are usually good. If having a job seems to help him, put him to work. Teach him how to focus and pay attention to you at home, then start asking for it on walks, then pausing to ask for different "tricks" along the way. Keep him guessing as to what you're doing next. Don't be afraid to pull out the "big guns" when it comes to treats for high distraction and problem areas like walks. Is there any food he goes nuts for? And not just the commercial treats; lunch-meat, cheeses, green tripe, bacon. Try a bunch of things and see what really lights him up, reserve that item for walks. If he's big on toys you can also use a toy to reward for good behavior or distract him.
FOOD AGGRESSION: I can't recommend MINE! by Jean Donaldson enough. It's a wonderful resource, with easy to follow step by infinitesimal step to help your dog be more comfortable with you around his food. Also, if you have a crate (or go get one), you can feed him and give him his extended chewing items in the crate.
IN GENERAL: It sounds like you've been doing everything right. If you get really frustrated don't be afraid to ask for more help. Sometimes training and time aren't enough to help our dogs. Do not be afraid to work with a Veterinary Behaviorist (not a person who calls themselves a behaviorist, or your general practitioner vet). Medication can HELP. If you have a continuously anxious dog, even at a low level, can cause chronic health issues for them (and since you're stressed because he is, you too). If after speaking with a veterinary behaviorist, they think medication can help, don't wait, go for it. The help of a veterinary behaviorist and medication has helped my dog become a happy dog, who can actually go out in public as long as no one tries to grab him, and can snooze in his crate while we have guests over.
I'm not sure what you mean by negative reinforcement - in learning theory terms, that means stoping a bad thing (negative - taking away) to encourage them to do something again. I believe what you meant was positive punishment - doing a bad thing (positive - adding something) to discourage that behaviour in the future. You are right to stay away from physical reprimands (positive punishment) but I would still keep verbal corrections. NO is a very common word in our everyday lives though and they get desensitized to that fairly quickly, so I use NAH AH, or a gutteral EEEEIIIHHHH (rhymes with hay).
For training specific commands like sit, I'd recommend not adding a verbal cue until you have an 80% reliable response to a hand signal, otherwise, they may learn to associate the word with other things instead of the behaviour you want. The Power of Positive Dog Training is a very good book for describing detailed methods of positive training, it has a great 6 week program outlined for basic obedience training plus some fun tricks.
You can definitely train him to respond to his name better, either that one or a new one. Simply say the name, and give a treat when he looks at you in response. A clicker helps greatly in capturing the correct respone. And if he doesn't look at you right away, make yourself more interesting, baby talk, flap your arms, jump and squeal and scoot away, whatever gets his attention. You should also never say his name in anger, he needs to learn that his name means pay attention and good things will happen, not his name means punishment.
I would recommend picking up a copy of the book, Fired up, Frantic, and Freaked Out. It teaches a technique for dealing with reactive dogs, but is a technique that I think any dog owner should have up their sleeve.
The basic idea is that you have a 'security' blanket or item that the dog learns to relax on. Once you have the basic relaxation down you start to present sounds/items/actions that would otherwise put the dog on alert while the dog is relaxed on the mat. The idea is to teach the dog that they can make a choice not to freak out, and to stay relaxed.
I've been using this technique with my extremely reactive Basenji/Pit mix for the past two months. With my dog it is very slow progress, but with a dog that is otherwise well behaved and non-reactive I could imagine this taking only a few weeks to work. Eventually with this technique the dog should start responding to stimulus by relaxing rather than going on alert. In turn, by being relaxed he/she should be able to respond to command much more readily.
My advice? Crate train from the very start. It'll give your dog his own space and give you relief from those tiny teeth when you need it. :)
Puppies bite. A lot. Don't be disheartened by it.
Dogs like rewards. Check out positive rewards training like the kikopup channel listed in the sidebar. It'll save you a lot of frustration. I personally find this list of kikopup videos easier to navigate.
Dogs don't know how to walk on a leash until you give them direction. Don't expect him to walk next to you and not sniff everything in front of him. They don't know not to pull and sniff constantly. Teaching heel indoors before you ever need it outside is a lifesaver.
No pushing your dog's nose into an accidental pee. That teaches nothing and makes your dog think you're an unpredictable whacko.
Exercise, exercise, exercise! No forced leash running until he's fully grown, but until then, keep him from getting bored by getting him lots of play time. Training exercises require a lot of focus on his part, so that'll tucker him out too. Treat balls for feeding are super fun and herders seem to love them.
Be his best friend. The quality of his life depends entirely on you. No tying him to a tree out back and going on with life as if he doesn't exist.
Good luck with him. Add a pic to this thread once you get him so I can aww over him. :)
Not exactly a toy, but sometimes for meals I hide little piles of kibble around and let her sniff them out. Behind table legs, inside an old shoe she plays with, inside a box. She loves it.
She also likes her kong.
She loved the omega paw tricky treat ball when she had it ( http://www.amazon.com/Omega-Paw-Tricky-Treat-Large/dp/B0002DK26M ) but recently we left it outside and a lizard moved into it, so we need a new one. It's not hard, but it was definitely a favorite.
We made a toy (I'll try to post a picture later) that's a Gatorade bottle with a rod through it. We set it up so the rod is horizontal and she paws at the bottle, makes it spin on the rod, and gets fed.
Also, a toilet paper/paper towel roll with the ends taped up is super fun to shred.
She just got what's basically a generic pickle pocket and she hasn't quite figured it out yet, but if I put something nice and smelly in there it keeps her distracted for a while.
> was the treat something substantial that keeps her busy for the whole time you're gone, or just something regular like a dog treat ?
My pup has a slow feed bowl that looks something like this, so I used to put in some of the things that she would go crazy over, and would normally take her at least 5+ minutes to consume, like smearing a thin layer of peanut butter across all of the bowl surfaces. Be warned though, some dogs tend to have sensitive snouts and can rub their noses raw on the bowl, but my pup hasn't had that problem. You just need to find something that is truly a "high value" treat for your dog, and using it exclusively for that. My pup would go nuts over cheese, so I took a piece of old cheddar and smeared it like a crayon inside her bowl. She really liked that. Another option is a puzzle toy like this filled with something tasty (she could occupy herself for half an hour on that), or even a classic Kong with some liver flavoured spread.
> And when you say she wasn't allowed to eat the treat till you were gone - did she see you put it somewhere , how exactly does that work
That's correct! I would let her see me preparing a treat for her, and then I'd place it in her bowl so that she'd focus on waiting for the "go" command instead of building her anxiety at watching me get ready to leave (brushing my teeth, fixing my hair, tying my shoes, etc).
A quick bit of background - The first thing that I had trained her to do was to never snatch, pick up ,or take anything that I haven't specifically told her she can have - this meant toys, meals and treats. I would place treats in front of her, and she learned that she can't have it until I say so, even if I turn away or walk away. I was able to use this trait to keep her focused completely on waiting for the treats, so instead of pacing and whining that I was leaving, she would instead sit by her food bowl and wait for me while I got ready to leave. When I'd open the door and walk out, I'd give the release command "okay!" and she's make herself busy with her treat while I locked up and walked away.
I also reviewed the footage afterwards (from my home surveillance system) and after she finished her treats, she would sniff the door, whine once or twice, grumble a bit (because I'm gone), and then she'd go sleep on the couch all day.
> I wouldn't hire a dog walker due to the aggression with other animals and humans.
Not all dog walkers are equal! For example, I walk dogs and have ended up specializing in 'tough cases'. I walk one family of dogs at a time if they're well behaved together, but mostly I walk single dogs. I take my time getting to know them, do multiple visits with the owner present until the dog trusts me enough that I can leash them up, and then spend time building positive associations with the dog. When walking we actively work on reducing leash aggression and improving leash manners.
You might find someone like that near you who's willing to help out. It might cost more up front, but in the long run it could do a LOT for her problems. Even having someone come walk her mid day twice a week could mean a big improvement, especially if you take her out daily as well.
It does sound like you're dealing with separation anxiety - the not eating food when alone is a big clue - so having some sessions with a force free trainer could help there as well. I also really like this book for treating SA.
Oh no, you got your puppy too early! In most places it's illegal to sell a puppy younger than 8 weeks old. Puppies learn a lot of valuable social lessons from their littermates and mother during that time, so you need to make up the difference yourself.
You need to start socializing him ASAP. Get him around fully vaccinated (and friendly) adult dogs so he can start to learn how to be a dog. Puppy playdates are worth their weight in gold, and it's perfectly safe as long as all attending puppies are up to date (not done, but on schedule) with vaccinations. Ask your vet and call around to local trainers to see what classes are available to you. I cannot stress this enough: if you do not properly and thoroughly socialize your puppy, he will grow up to have potentially severe behaviour and fear issues. This is doubly important for a GSD, as shepherds can be prone to anxiety or neurotic behaviour if poorly bred or poorly raised. You already know your dog is poorly bred, so make sure to stack the odds in your favour the next few months. Here is a checklist you can use to make sure he's being exposed to everything necessary.
Besides that very important point, your puppy will be capable of learning basic obedience (sit, down, stay, touch, drop it, leave it, things like that) as soon as you want. It'll take time and repetition for the lessons to sink in, and right now his attention span is very short. Keep training sessions to 5-10 minutes at most, and definitely use treats. What a lot of people do is forgo meals entirely and use the puppy's food as training treats throughout the day. It's a good thing for a puppy to earn his food. Look up the "nothing in life is free" training method and see if you like that approach.
If you want further reading, this book is excellent. Since your puppy is so young, you should keep expectations low. Be patient and consistent, and remember that puppies literally know nothing. They have to be taught everything, including how not to be a butthead.
For more resources and support, /r/puppy101 is a great community.
It's a bummer shelters are that way, but I understand why. Some no kill shelters will send a reactive dog to another shelter to do the dirty work.
I live with a very reactive dog. A friend without kids could manage it safely. Honestly it's not that hard, you just can never forget that it's lurking in there. My boy feels safe at home and is the sweetest dog. The only time it's an issue is when company comes over. There is always the one friend who wants to see him react or the one who thinks they're the dog whisper. I let friends know that they can never meet him or see him.
A behaviorist can be life changing. For your dog and you. They will also help you figure out what type of home he needs. Too many people with a reactive dog try to use a trainer because they're cheaper. A good trainer will tell you that they train, they don't evaluate behavior. Each dog has different reasons and need different solutions. What works for my dog, might be wrong for yours. A good behaviorist will figure it out.
Edit: You might want to look at this book. It's not a training book, but it helps teach you how to read your dog's body language. Always helpful for a reactive dog.
First of all, I sympathize with you on the housebreaking issue. My cairn terrier is 14 years old and lived in a puppy mill all his life until he was about 7. As a result, I never had much success potty training him as he would just go in his crate (a result of living in a cage all his life). What did give me the best success was to tether him to me while I was in the house. If he went to lift his leg (he's a terrible marker), I'd make the no-no noise, then rush him outside to have him do his business. In this way, I was catching him in the act and reinforcing the correct place to relieve himself. I have successfully potty trained my lab and a few foster dogs this way as well. Secondly, you may want to look into belly bands. It won't stop the dog from peeing, but it will stop him from peeing ON things (i.e., your carpet). For my 16 lb cairn, I cut size 3 diapers in half, fold the wings back, and place in his belly band to absorb the pee.
It sounds like the poor guy has a good deal of separation anxiety along with general anxiety. For the separation, you may want to look into systematic desensitization. Jean Donaldson has a great book with a section on this. The whole book would be beneficial for any dog owner, actually! If you can hook up with a good trainer, I think you'll be able to provide more structure for your dog and in turn, help him feel more comfortable and less anxious.
Best of luck!!
Everyone so far has already recommended exercise, which I also recommend. Some people said mental exercise as well, which can wear her out and keep her busy. So, I'm throwing in food toys that make her work for her food (which I'm assuming you probably just pour kibble in a bowl) which can add some more exercise, both physical and mental. Kongs (which are actually not a personal favorite of mine) for when you leave are great. Freeze them and they are harder to get food from. I personally love IQ balls which are perfect spheres and make dogs more or less run around the house after the toy (my guys normally are panting after working to get all the food out). Here are some others since it is a good thing to switch it up and keep her thinking, not just use the same toy over and over (because that would be boring):
PetSafe Egg thing
PetSafe Mushroom thing
And in the event you are like "I'M POOR, I CANNOT AFFORD ALL OF THOSE." You can also get a 2 liter bottle and cut holes in it big enough for her to get food out of but not too easily. Also, the mushroom toy has pretty small holes so it isn't easy for bigger kibble (or dog treats), so you might forgo that one. Those are just the ones I own.
ALSO ALSO. PSA FOR EVERYONE. If you shop Amazon Smile (which is where those links take you) you can donate %.05 of all purchases to a charity of your choice. So you should definitely sign up, choose a charity and donate while you shop instead of just shopping. Nothing changes except you shop from Amazon Smile instead of Amazon.
I agree that your dog needs more exercise. One game that can help during the winter months is tug. If done appropriately it can even help stop bites.
Read Tug O' War is a Fun Game to Play With Your Dog for more info.
I've also heard good things about the flirt pole.
Remember, anytime she bites, play ends.
When guests arrive, I would keep her away from the door and the humans altogether. Set up a room or an exercise pen for her to stay in and give her a special treat, like a marrow bone or bully stick, for her to chew on. People entering is a lot of excitement; set her up to succeed by giving her something to do when people are entering and then let her greet people when she is calm. My dog bites for real and this has worked wonders.
Finally, learning to respond to her name as a positive interrupter, a solid recall, sit, and settle on a mat are all helpful tools to get her away from others or you and her feet and butt on the floor so drill those as much as you can, working towards increasing distractions. Desensitizing and counter-conditioning her to the sound of the door opening, knocking on the door and people entering can also help.
Since you only brought her home today, I wouldn't judge her ability to understand where to potty quite yet. I definitely don't think she has a psychological problem. She's in a brand new home with brand new people and has absolutely no clue what's happening to her. Even dogs that were previously perfectly house trained for years tend to have accidents in the house after being in a shelter or rehomed. With a little decompression time, you'll be surprised at how much more of her personality you discover.
Since she's new to your home, you're going to want to introduce her to your home by slowly increasing her access to your space. Dogs won't potty in what they think is their home/hangout spot. You can start with a crate and work outwards. Whenever she isn't crated, having her tethered to you or closely monitored while tethered to furniture is a great start, too.
I'll link a couple of Zak George videos, too. It's way easier to explain techniques through video links. He's got great positive training tips, especially for dogs that are essentially blank slates. If you want to delve deeper, I'd read How to Behave So Your Dog Behaves or The Perfect Puppy in 7 Days, both by Sophia Yin.
Zak George on House Training
Zak George on Crate Training
Good luck! Congratulations on your new addition!
Like most training, you need to set up practice scenarios in order to succeed. If you dive straight into real world scenarios with highly valued items, of course you'll fail. It's a bit like trying to teach recall at the dog park without practicing hundreds of times in scenarios that are easier for your dog (and then claiming treats just don't work). You're setting the dog up for failure. You always need to set up situations where it's easy for the dog to give you the response you want. In this case, you need to give the dog low value items you can trade for in a calm, safe environment. Practice with items the dog is all too willing to trade for and gradually work your way up to higher value items and extremely high value items for trade. These practice scenarios will often involve items you can give back to the dog after you've taken them away. That teaches the dog that giving an item to you doesn't necessarily mean it will be taken away, and that really helps to build trust for emergency situations in the real world.
Mine! by Jean Donaldson is a good overview of guarding behavior in dogs and some of the steps you can take to work on it while making sure that you and others remain safe.
Oh, that sounds super frustrating!!
Here is a video showing how to make an unflippable bowl for less than $10
I think you can also buy some in pet stores or on Amazon but I'm sure you've tried looking at those already!
Have you tried feeding him out of a puzzle toy like a Kong Wobbler? That way, he's literally pushing the 'feeder' from side to side and bonking it around to get food. Here are some options:
Maze Treat Dispenser
IQ Treat Ball
Buster Food Cube
Sorry, no ideas on water bowls, but I'm sure someone on here will have a suggestion.
My heeler doesn't flip the water bowl but he does love to stick his paw(s) in, which makes my other dog very happy, I'm sure. /s
Here's what Dr. Sophia Yin says:
> At any point when Fido’s predictably lying down with the hand signal, add the cue word “Down” right before you give the hand signal. Make sure you say the cue distinctly but in a happy voice. Also, make sure you say the cue word before you give the hand signal that he already knows. If you present the two at the same time, a phenomenon called blocking may occur, in which he fails to learn the verbal cue because the visual cue (which he already knows) is more salient. That is, he will have no reason to learn the verbal cue because he already knows the hand signal.
> On the other hand, if you present the verbal cue first, then it will predict that the visual cue is coming. Once you present the verbal cue prior to the visual cue enough times and follow with a reward, he’ll respond to “Down” by lying down. You can test whether he’s lying down due to the verbal cue or whether he’s going on a visual cue by standing perfectly still with no body gestures and uttering the cue “Down.” If he lies down on a vocal cue while you’re otherwise perfectly still, then he knows that “Down” means lie down.
> If you taught down by just waiting for Rover to lie down and then rewarding the good behavior, then you can teach the verbal or visual cue by giving it right before you know he’s going to lie down. After many pairings, he will understand that these cues mean that he should lie down.
Your dogs are adorable! Thank you for sharing photos of them.
I’m thinking that there are three possible explanations for Tycho’s worrying change in behavior: resource guarding, heightened anxiety due to a change in the household, or an underlying medical issue.
First things first you need to go to the vet and get him checked out to make sure this is behavioral and not medically based. Once that has been ruled out try to figure out the behavioral cause.
If this is resource guarding then you need to start nipping this in the bud now. You do not want your dog to be resource guarding around or towards the baby. The book “Mine! A Practical Guide to Resource Guarding in Dogs” would be a helpful read.
If this is anxiety you need to work out ways to make your dog feel calm, comfortable, and confident in more situations. You may want to talk to your vet about an anti-anxiety medication.
Whatever the cause there are things you can do to help prevent this behavior. You need to be in complete control of every situation involving Tycho and guests/strangers to prevent aggression as every time he bites the behavior gets that much harder to train against. Take this deathly serious because his behavior is escalating towards breaking the skin. Dog bites should never be taken lightly and if this situation goes unaddressed properly Tycho could very well be put down.
I would also seriously, seriously recommend that you find room in your budget for a dog trainer. Tycho has a serious anxiety issue, has fear aggression, and you have a baby on the way. Babies and toddlers can be loud, noisy, grabby, and unpredictable- all things that stress out and scare an already anxious dog. To give Tycho the best shot at adjusting to the new addition to the family I really think you need to consult with a professional dog trainer who uses positive reinforcement methods (NOT the outdated and disproven dominance based methods, those will make Tycho’s anxiety and fear aggression worse). You should also work on desensitizing Tycho to baby noises and smells before the baby gets here (you can do that on your own but that should not replace consultations with a professional trainer).
Do not EVER leave Tycho or Rizzo and the baby unsupervised (especially as your baby grows into toddler- and young childhood)- 77% of dog bites occur from the family dog or a friend’s dog. A dog does not have to be super aggressive or “vicious” to bite. It often happens when the signals of “please stop, I’m very uncomfortable/scared” from the dog are missed until the dog gets overwhelmed and reacts with a bite. Check out the Stop the 77 campaign for info on how to teach your children dog safety.
Be patient, be in control, and don’t push Tycho too far out of his comfort zone all at once. Small gradual changes is the name of the game. This process will likely take a long time and progress will be in small increments, but it is possible to get this behavior under control if you are consistent and work hard with Tycho.
You said 'gentle lead,' but did you use a name brand 'gentle leader'? http://www.amazon.com/PetSafe-Gentle-Leader-Headcollar-Large/dp/B00074L4W2/ref=sr_1_3
Must study the dvd or youtube video instructions and apply exactly as directed. It seems odd applying the loop around the head (behind the ears) so tight--but follow the directions precisely.
I have a 115 lb dog bred to pull carts & she does love to pull ;-) This makes a 100% difference as when she pulls..... her head is turned around to face whoever's walking her--and that's no fun. Even my 5 year old grandson has no problem walking her with the gentle leader. She has little or no interest in pulling with the gentle leader on-I use a slim puppy leash with it. But she still will pull some with a normal lead. There's lots of useful reading on the amazon page: both the product description and some of the over 3800 user reviews. It does work for lots of dogs.
While I agree with the others here that you should treat around children, I disagree regarding criteria: I don't think you should expect any particular reaction from her in order to treat.
Treating based on a behavioural criteria is operant conditioning. The purpose of operant conditioning is to teach your dog to undertake a certain behaviour based on a certain cue or context. For example, teaching your dog to sit nicely whenever she sees a kid would be great if she tended to be overly excitable and happy around kids and had a tendency to knock them over accidentally.
Treating in the context of a trigger, without expecting any particular behaviour from your dog, is counterconditioning. The purpose of counterconditioning is to change your dog's automatic emotional reaction to the trigger. You treat every time your dog sees a child, regardless of whether your dog is growling or ignoring, because you want your dog to associate "child=something good!". Over time, your dog should start to feel good about children because they predict good things.
Depending on what your goals with your dog are, you may be happy to stop at counterconditioning -- say, you don't particularly care whether your dog sits next to you, sniffs the floor, politely says hello to the child, as long as the dog isn't being aggressive to the child. Just improving the dog's emotional reaction to children would be sufficient for that. On the other hand, if you want to see a specific behaviour from your dog around children, then after you have successfully counterconditioned your dog, you can work on operant conditioning.
You will not have much success with operant conditioning your dog when she is experiencing fear around children. Fear inhibits learning, and your dog is unlikely to even bother listening to you if it feels threatened. "Pleasing mum" takes a backseat to "defending my life!" any day for a dog, so it will ignore cues from you until it feels like the trigger has retreated.
Another tool for working with fearful reactive dogs is Behavioural Adjustment Training (BAT). It is similar to operant conditioning in that you reward your dog for appropriate "de-escalation" behaviour (e.g., turning away from the trigger, sniffing the ground, etc.) but instead of giving a treat or a toy, you reward the dog by allowing it to put more space between it and the trigger. Grisha Stewart developed the technique, and has written a couple books on how to do it, the most recent being [Behavior Adjustment Training 2.0] (https://www.amazon.ca/Behavior-Adjustment-Training-2-0-Frustration/dp/1617811742/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1474135094&amp;sr=8-1&amp;keywords=grisha+stewart). It requires that you have willing children to volunteer to stand around in a field or something while you do the training set-ups -- maybe find a helpful parent and offer to buy the kid an ice cream cone?
If it's important to you, you can work on building her play drive. I used this method to get my dog from complete disinterest in toys to a reliable tug in the house. We're still working on interest in other environments.
Remember to always stop before she gets bored, always leave her wanting more. Even if that means putting the toy away after she sniffs it if you think she's not in the mood. Our agility instructor recommended that if you initiate play do whatever you have to do to get them interested, don't ever let them walk away from you first offering the toy, then you can stop once you get even the slightest bit of interest.
Have you tried chaseable toys like a flirt pole? If you're not morally opposed you could also try a toy with real fur. Clean Run has an entire category of motivational toys.
Last thing, it's probably impossible to over exercise a 2 year old pointer mix, but if she's getting all her energy out in other ways she might be perfectly content to just relax at home. My 2 year old is much more interested in play if I cut our 2 hours of daily exercise down to 1 hour for a day or two so she starts going just a little crazy.
Guarding is a normal dog behavior, but is definitely unwanted. I don't believe that any dog should ever allow another dog to take their chew or toy, so mainly I focus on making sure dogs can enjoy their chew in peace. Other pets are not allowed to approach one who has a chew. Anyway, guarding becoming scarily common in Goldens. Check out the book Mine! by Jean Donaldson, you'll find a wealth of great tips and advice.
Management is going to be extremely important. Don't let your dog have an opportunity to guard.
Also, WHO THE FUCK BRINGS A BONE TO A DOG PARK?!??!?!!
I would like to recommend a couple of books.
The Other End of the Leash by Patricia McConnell. She has a PhD in behaviorism and has worked with a lot of aggressive dogs but she only uses positive reinforcement. Her book talks a lot about the difference between primates and canids (aka dogs) and how those differences create misunderstandings.
Bones Would Rain from the Sky by Suzanne Clothier. Suzanne has tons of experience with all kinds of animals. Her book focuses a lot on what it means to have a trusting, healthy relationship with dogs and I guarantee it will change the way you see your dog.
I also have a reactive border collie. You are on the right track with the hamburger treats while walking, but you need to not get your dog over threshold to the point where she can't focus on you or the treats any more. And more exercise is never a bad thing for a border collie, mental and physical.
Temperament is about 40% inherited and 60% experience. What's really interesting, though, is that that "60% experience" part is primarily shaped by experiences dogs have before they're 16 weeks old.
Weeks 6-16 are a "critical period" of socialization. Strategic socialization when you first being him home will help him grow up into a well-adjusted adult.
Here's a socialization checklist for things you'll want to cover.
The first page of the checklist has a scale to help you grade how he responds to each thing, so you can determine what you might need to work on more.
Don't forget things like the vacuum cleaner, umbrellas, shopping carts, strollers, different walking surfaces (hardwood, carpet, linoleum, concrete, grass, pavement, gravel), people of all ethnicities/ages, and people using canes/wheelchairs.
Also be sure to take him lots of new places to have positive experiences in a variety of environments. I love garden supply stores and home improvement stores for socialization - I go in with the puppy and treats and practice walking nicely on a leash. If I see people smiling at my puppy, I say that I'm there socializing him and ask if they'll give him a treat for sitting nicely.
I also highly recommend this book by Dr. Sophia Yin for helping map out your training plan.
It's a lot of work, but two months of daily work is SO WORTH IT for a well rounded dog for the ~10+ years. :)
The thing that causes this behavior is that he is a working breed dog who is extremely energetic. You basically described almost every lab I have ever trained. His owners need to give him a lot more mental and physical stimulation.
Since he is a lab, a chuck it ball thrower would be a great way to play fetch. A flirt pole is another really great toy for tiring dogs out.
For mental stimulation, mealtimes are a perfect opportunity. Have them get either a Bob-A-Lot or a Kong Wobbler for daily feeding and get rid of his food bowl. I recommend the Bob-A-Lot because you can make it easier or harder. This gives him ~10 extra minutes of brain work every day and you don't have to do anything extra.
Then basic obedience and chew/puzzle toys (kong marathon ball, nobbly nubbly, squirrel dude) will also help.
Congrats, I'd say make sure to set boundaries, and closely watch them to make sure they aren't getting into anything you would consider deviant behavior. It's important to calmly work on correcting it while they go, so it doesn't become a habit you have to try and untrain. I just picked up Dr. Sophia Yin's Perfect Puppy in 7 days, and have a post here about being at my wit's end with the 4 month ACD/Terrior mix I have been trialing. I can't say it's solved all my problems, since I'm either going to give up, or start all over with training, but I really wish I had read her book first. It's not that long, so you should hopefully have time to get through at least the first few chapters which after reading, helped me realize why things have been so frustrating for me.
I was used to cats, and when I brought home the puppy, she was adorable, happy, and mild mannered, so I just let her roam while keeping a constant eye on her. She pretty much developed one bad habit after another, and while trying to push her to get better with DIY training, I was getting nowhere because I was trying to solve several issues without looking at the underlying cause.
You can feed him exclusively through food dispensing toys which will help occupy him and drain some energy. I'd pick up a couple different ones like this and rotate their use. See the recommendations below that, most of those toys are pretty good. The Bob A Lot is nice because you can put a decent amount of Kibble in before you have to refill. For hard puzzles, there's one called the Tug-A-Jug which lasts a long time. Freeze creamy stuff or wet food in Kongs to make them last a bit longer. If you can find a type of bone he really likes, keep a bunch in stock; chewing can be great for tiring him out.
And like other posters have suggested, practicing a little training every day will make a difference. Teach new tricks or mix in some basic obedience cues with a game of fetch or tug, using the toy as the reward.
I have a 6 month old ACD mix, so we're in the same boat! They LOVE to learn new things and are very easy to train for the most part. The problem with ours is carrying those skills over to distracting environments, as he wants to pay attention to everything besides me.
Doing all you can to give him as much exercise and mental stimulation as possible will go a loooong way. If you don't, he'll probably become a terror.
If you're not making him work for his food, you're doing it wrong! Get a Buster Cube or a Tug-A-Jug or any similar food toys. It will make him think, and it might help you separate his food from the other dog's.
You need to always make him sit or down or some other command before he gets his food. I usually make mine sit, then I put the food down, and he won't go eat it until I release him. Once he can do that, it should be pretty easy to keep him from eating your other dog's food.
Do as much training with him as possible. Working his mind will wear him out pretty fast. Games like 101 Things to do with a Box really make him think. Teach a bunch of commands and give him pop quizzes by doing a bunch of them in random order for 5-10 minutes.
One cool thing I did was buy one of those big inflatable balls for kids you always see at Target or Wal-Mart in those big tall bins. He LOVES it! He herds it around the yard and wears himself out and I don't have to do anything except kick it around every once in a while. It's also really cool to see his herding instincts kick in without ever being taught how to do it.
You also need to embrace his velcro dog qualities. ACDs are great off-leash dogs because they always want to be by you. Find an empty softball field, an empty dog park, any large area with a fence, and get to work on it!
Here's a fantastic introductory book on positive dog training techniques:
The power of positive dog training
Get the book. Even if you're not a "reader", the middle section is essentially workshops on training certain tricks.
I have to admit, when I first got my dog last year, I just assumed that dominance was the way to train a dog. Mainly because of our good friend Cesar Milan. However, as soon as I picked this book up I realised the error of my ways.
How can you convince your boyfriend that positive is the way forward? Try and get him involved. Pick up that book, get him to pick a trick from the book to teach your dog. It will be a real eye opener.
Another important point that has been mentioned by others - you both need to be consistent. Him hitting the dog for misbehaving while you're using positive techniques will be counter productive. It is very easy to miscommunicate with negative training techniques. He can be essentially poisoning your training, especially as he has no clue what he's doing.
I switched from normal bowl-feeding to [this food dispenser toy] (https://www.amazon.com/StarMark-Treat-Kibble-Dispensing-Puppy/dp/B01CP7B9L4/ref=sr_1_sc_1?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1468270533&amp;sr=8-1-spell&amp;keywords=bobalot+feeder) and my dog LOVES it. It's hilarious to watch him knock it around and he just about does cartwheels at meal times.
Is it possible to start taking your pups for walks to tire them out? Or teaching fetch to tire them out quicker in the backyard, or tug of war?
I've also been thinking about getting a [flirt pole] (https://www.amazon.com/Outward-Hound-41001-Exercise-Replacement/dp/B0042I5G2I/ref=sr_1_1?s=pet-supplies&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1468270723&amp;sr=1-1&amp;keywords=flirt+pole) as my dog got to play with one at our training class this weekend and about crapped his pants (he really liked it). I think the trick is to figure out what activity your dogs likes best – chewing? squeaky stuff? chasing? digging? nosework? and then finding more focused activites related to that. Good luck!
Yeah, don't worry, you can do it! If you enjoy books, the best intro to science-based training methods that I've read so far is The Power of Positive Dog Training by Pat Miller. It's simple but pretty comprehensive for the things most dog owners run into.
If you can give us more detail about the behaviors you want to discourage and the ones you want to encourage, we can help you come up with an action plan that you both can enjoy doing.
When you buy Kongs make sure you get the large or x-large size. Don't fall into the marketing scheme where you buy as they grow. Large Kongs are great because you can stuff all sorts of things in it to keep them busy.
If you have an Amazon Prime account I'd order a lot from them. Free shipping saves you a lot. If you don't have Amazon Prime then you should look at ordering from a bulk pet supply place like Pet Edge. You have to order $60 worth of stuff to avoid the surcharge but you can get some good deals depending on how expensive shipping is. I try to split an order with a friend to keep costs down.
> she won't take treats outside or when she is scared so I don't know how to make it work?
If she won't take treats, it means she's already too afraid for counter conditioning. If you open the door so she can just see outside, but remain inside, does she react this way? Maybe you could start there first.
Also, if you're struggling with exercise you might have better luck with a flirt pole. If you can take her somewhere secluded and just keep her on a harness and longline, you could play that for ~15-30 minutes. Even high energy dogs tend to get worn down pretty fast because of the fast paced chasing and turning.
Also, you say she's pretty smart. How often is she getting training sessions every day? Do you give her puzzle toys? Mental stimulation can really reduce a dog's energy.
I have used a no-pull harness for dogs that have needed leash training.
Something like this.
Anything that attaches in front of their chest will work better than a regular choke collar because it redirects the dog rather than increasing their nervous energy. Also, waiting for the dog to be calm before moving forward is a good idea. You may start giving the dog a treat once they are sitting calmly so they realize that calm behavior is good. I usually wait until my dog is sitting and giving me his attention before giving a treat and starting to walk again.
Nope. That harness attaches at the dog’s chest, which, while not chocking the dog, actually enables the dog to pull harder. Dogs naturally pull. If you give steady resistance, they pull harder. Let me get you a link to the gentle leader.
And here’s amazon:
Definitely check this out. It may be your saving grace with your pup. I suggest reading the amazon reviews — there are a lot of good ones of stories how the leader helped their dog with pulling issues almost immediately, although adjusting the dog to having a halter on its nose can take even weeks. I’ve experienced a dog that was forced to wear the halter without a gentle, positive learning route, and it was not good. She learned to hate the halter. I recommend taking your time with lots of treats as the DVD included with the gentle leader (I think that them giving DVDs for training is really so cool) will instruct.
Save for the one dog who was forced to wear the gentle leader, Ive never had a bad experience. I hope you can have better peace of mind walking your dog soon.
Well I'm glad to hear it, and even more glad you weren't offended!
I'd go with these as good places to start:
Don't Shoot the Dog
Other End of the Leash
Kikopup on youtube has a TON of amazing videos on puppy raising too. Well worth checking out. :)
This isn't going to solve your problem immediately and maybe not at all but isn't going to hurt and is worth a try since it's pretty low effort. It sounds like since she's a nervous dog even with you there in some situations that she doesn't know how to calm herself down when she is feeling stressed. My dog has really high anxiety and my behaviorist recommended this and I started to see a difference in about 2 weeks (though he strangely didn't have separation anxiety). Anytime you are home, have a treat bag and clicker handy. Every time she sits or lays down, click and treat. Don't cue her, just every time she does it naturally. You're rewarding her for taking herself to a lower energy state from a higher one and she'll start to do it more naturally. You can do this for any calming behavior (this book is really short and goes over calming signals).
Is she getting enough mental and physical exercise? It sounds like she’s bored and is getting into things. Even if you have appropriate chews for her, make sure she’s getting enough physical exercise and that you’re engaging her brain with puzzle toys and training. Both of my dogs eat their meals from Starmark Bob-a-Lot toys because it engages their brains. Nina Ottosson makes tons of great puzzle toys of varying difficulties that are relatively inexpensive. Working on trick training and obedience commands also helps tucker them out - do “commercial break” sessions, as short as 90 seconds and no longer than 5 minutes, a couple times a day.
When it comes to physical exercise, make sure she’s getting walks or that you’re playing fetch with her. Plenty of dog owners just toss their dogs out in their backyards and call it “exercise” even though most dogs aren’t going to actually expend much energy in a yard by themselves. Walks around the neighborhood are also a great opportunity for sniffing new smells, which is great mental exercise. If you don’t have the time or energy to walk her, consider hiring a dog walker, or sending her to doggy daycare one or two days a week. We also play with a flirt pole some evenings when my dogs seem restless despite multiple walks... best $15 I’ve ever spent! You can use it indoors in an open space or out in your yard (if you have one).
If your dog is getting plenty of physical and mental stimulation and still chewing things up, management is your best friend. Crate her when you can’t watch her closely or confine her to a puppy-proofed room. Or use the “umbilical” method - put her on a leash and tie it around your waist so she goes everywhere with you and isn’t out of your sight. You really can’t train a dog out of behaviors you don’t witness, but you’re setting her up for failure (and a dangerous intestinal blockage) if you leave her unsupervised in a room with tons of things she can (but shouldn’t) chew. A 15 month old lab is still effectively a big puppy and labs have an affinity for chewing things up. It might be that the best you can do is manage it now and hope she grows out of it in the coming years.
I would suggest a Gentle Leader. It works the same way people control horses in that it controls the nose. We have been using it to teach our dog to stop pulling/jumping and it is really great.
From the description on Amazon "Designed so that owners can communicate with their pet in a way they instinctively understand, the Gentle Leader painlessly and effectively removes the dog’s natural tendency to pull by placing gentle pressure on calming points and eliminating uncomfortable pressure on the throat. In addition to reducing a dog’s desire to pull away, the Gentle Leader is also a very effective tool in combating lunging, jumping, excessive barking and helping to calm an aggressive and/or anxious animal."
My pup was just like yours-loves sticks and anything made of wood! Unfortunately, I don't have too many suggestions for the wood replacement. I gave my pup a few of these when he was little, but after reading the Amazon reviews I would possibly reconsider that decision. He enjoyed them, however, and you can do some research and make your own decision!
As far as a puzzle game I highly suggest the Omega Paw Ball. My almost 1-year-old pup recently figured it out and has been loving it. The Kong Wubba is also good, but with my pup I noticed that the Omega Ball requires a bit more finesse and concentration, rather than the Wubba which mostly sent him into frenzied batting episodes.
Hope some of this was helpful!
You have to reward him for looking at you, once he understands he gets fed for it, he will change his attitude and shouldn't be so crazy.
You can google basics of clicker training. You don't need a clicker though, you can use a word like 'yes' or a pen click, or click with your tongue instead as your 'marker'. A marker being--a noise that tells the dog they are doing the right thing. He looks at you, and you click and feed him. Once he understands what the marker noise means, and understands he gets rewarded for looking at you, he should start looking at you in order TO get fed, even if you don't ask him to. This is the same principle behind how pretty much everything can be taught.
You might need to teach him to relax first if he's too excited to focus. Kikopup on youtube has a video on this, or this book. And you can absolutely teach him to walk on a leash--use a harness so he doesn't pull on his neck to start. Again, lots of videos on youtube and books on how to teach a dog to walk on a leash.
The book 'click to calm' is also very good.
The best start is going to be laying the foundations of communication and a positive relationship. Dog training books are like scripture: highly open to interpretation. The most comprehensive guide I've found that has the most cohesive and wholesome explanation of working with dogs is written by a close mentor and dear friend, Pat Miller, it's called The power of positive dog training
It has a pretty great explanation of separation anxiety, and a list of activities to strengthen your dogs trust in your actions and confidence in itself, as well as a very dry and truthful anecdote about understanding the significance of specific breed characteristics
Fair warning: I don't agree with everything in the book, but 90% of it is spot on. Check out 'Relatioship-Based Approach to Dog Training' — just take whatever info you find with a grain of salt, your gut is typically right
I got a 6 year old dog about 4 years ago. He spent the first 2+ years of his life in a cage alone, then a few years living with a family. He also didn't care for toys or playing with other dogs. He's started playing well with my puppy over the last few months, but before that he didn't play with anyone for more than maybe a 10 second game of chase in the yard.
For toys, I taught him "take it" to get him to pick up a toy. He'll humor me and take what I offer him, but very rarely does he actually play with a toy. He sometimes squeaks a toy a bit if he doesn't think I'm paying attention, but as soon as I notice he drops it and expects pets. He really only cares about bones and kongs.
His life isn't any less fun for him because he's not keen on toys. He's smart enough to know what toys are for, just not interested in spending his time squeaking something when he could be sleeping on the couch!
For yours, if he likes food and sometimes chases the ball, I'd probably try a puzzle toy that involves pushing the ball around to dispense treats. This particular one is big enough not to roll under my couch. He may get the idea to chase it if the treats are coming from the ball and not you. You can also throw out some kibbles into the yard and let him hunt them out.
Also, keep in mind that it could take weeks or even months for a new rescue to adjust to you and your home, especially if he's used to living on the streets or in a kennel at the shelter. I'm not sure how new he is to you, but you may find he comes out of his shell as time goes on and he sees you playing fetch with your other dogs.
> Ignore bad behaviour.
(Just clarifying for the OP, because I imagine that /u/livmaj already knows what follows:) "Ignoring the bad" isn't referring to allowing the bad behaviour to happen and then just not doing anything to stop it when it happens. Actually, I much prefer how Kathy Sdao talks about this in her book Plenty In Life is Free: Reward the behaviours you want, prevent access to reinforcement for the behaviours you don't. A lot of "bad dog" behaviours are in themselves rewarding to the dog (think of all the yummy things that are in the trash!), so it's important to set up the environment in a way that prevents the dog from doing it in the first place. Put trash cans in cupboards or behind closed doors where he can't reach them, keep your shoes in a closed closet, etc.
And if the dog is in the middle of destroying your shoe, you don't just let him keep destroying it - but don't scold or punish for it either. Identify how he got the shoe, and work to rectify that gap in your management. I also found it helpful to play trading games and teach my puppy a "Can I see it cue?" so that rather than me taking things away from her, she happily carries them over them and gives them to me in exchange for a treat. Sometimes she has something that's totally fine for her to have, so I give it back to her and this is really important so that the dog learns that it won't always be taken away when they "share" with you. I also prefer this method because, once the trade behaviour is solid, it prevents the dog from either turning it into a game of keep-away or from dropping it at a distance and picking it up again unlike teaching a straight "drop it" (which was more difficult for me to train and proof than a trade anyway).
Ye ask and ye shall receive. Here are some good resources to learn more about leash/barrier reactivity:
Videos (These are mostly to techniques to help with reactivity)
Edit for formatting
It sounds crazy but that honestly might not be enough exercise, especially if he's still "run[ning] around bonkers a bit on his own too". I am so glad I ended up with a smaller, semi-lazy dog, because even with four walks a day - adding up to probably around 6 miles total - he sometimes has extra energy to burn and we have to play fetch with him or tire him out with a flirt pole (which he LOVES). I'd be totally screwed if I had a larger, more active dog!
Mine dealt with separation anxiety, too, and it took months to train him to trust that we were coming back. High-value treats and food-dispensing toys helped a lot. It took a little while to figure out what he liked best. He goes nuts for peanut butter and bully sticks, though he chews through the latter in about five minutes so I started blending peanut butter with yogurt and water, piping that into a Kong plugged with a dried liver treat, and shoving the bully stick in the middle and then freezing that all so it takes him longer to get through. He also loves deer antlers, which are long lasting.
We decided to partition off one puppy-proofed room of the house instead of limiting him to just the crate. Now that he's finally used to us being gone he voluntarily goes into the crate to sleep until we get back.
Train them to use a mat as a relaxation spot and train them the MOMENT they see eachother to hit the map for super high value MEAT.
If they learn that laying down in eachothers view is more rewarding then you can slowly begin to move the mats closer. Eventually you will have them layind next to each other for rewards and they learn to self calm around each other.
We alternate between the Kong Wobbler, the Buster Cube, and the IQ Ball every morning for breakfast. The wobbler is definitely the easiest, the cube is definitely the hardest, and the IQ ball is Sequoia's favorite (but she loves balls of any kind, so no real surprise there).
The total surprise winner was the Pickle! I was convinced it would be torn to shreds in minutes, but it has held up well! It doesn't last super long, but it is easy enough to just stick a little more peanut butter and some more kibble in when she is done.
I Agree but things to also take into consideration. Environments with high and/or dry temperatures will cause most dogs to attempt to cool off through panting and laying on cool surfaces. (Some people see this as being tired, but is a different form of fatigue)
For the peeing, make a note of any changes that have happened in the past 3-4 months (The new kitten?), even something like change in outdoor lighting can cause a dog to stress. This in turn could cause a fear of peeing at night, or added stress could cause a UTI. Make a note of anything you can for the vet trip. I would restrict your dogs access to the house when you sleep (Crate training, or in your room, or something like that.) Allowing him to continue the behavior is VERY counter productive. Every time he gets away with it, he is 'rewarded' which makes the behavior harder to break.
Something to note JRTs are very high energy dogs that chase small vermin, anything that might run around or roll around (Nothing living please :-) will help burn energy. things like this toy will help with both the terrier predatory drive and his high energy.
One of my favorite things to buy myself some time is what we affectionally call Bob (or the bob-a-lot by StarMark). I had my eye on one of these when I first brought my puppy home and didn't buy it for awhile but when I did it revolutionized my life. This keeps my pup busy and entertained forever. We will give her some food in the bowl for meal times but we put aside a lot of the daily food to be fed out through this. Our pup is incredibly food motivated but sometimes is super selective about what she'll chew.
I have a papillon mix and they are so much fun to train! I do agility with my pup, and you are going to love it. :)
You could do nosework at home, or teach different "practical" tricks (put your toys away into a basket, fetch a newspaper, close the door etc.).
We also play the "101 things to do with a box" game with clicker training. This one is particularly fun because the dog gets to offer random behaviors, and you never know what your pup might be capable of. With this game, we've inadvertently taught our dog "paw at that" and "get in the box".
Edit: I wanted to mention that one of the few drawbacks with having a smart, "gotta have a job to do" dog means that you need to be mindful of keeping them from getting bored. We feed our dog all of his meals using various food toys/puzzles and that will usually keep him occupied for a while.
I also dealt with a dog with pretty bad separation anxiety. Here are the steps I took.
Between the crate training, kongs and the routine, we now have a very nicely behaved pup when we are out of the house. He remains very calm as we leave (he used to freak out and whine every day) and is far more relaxed when we get home.
The key thing here is time and consistency. Best of luck!
This sounds a lot like boredom to me. Is it possible to get the dog out exercising more? Other things that may help are training classes to get him to think, or doggy daycare (nothing tires my guys out more than running with other dogs all day). Something that you can use indoors to help tire him out is a flirt pole. It will cost about $10 in supplies, and if you follow the "rules" that site lists then Pikachu is getting mental and physical stimulation, and you barely have to do anything.
Other than that, you might need to babygate off a section of the house - kitchen or bathroom, and get him used to being left in there. It's easier to keep one room spotless than it is to keep an entire house. Make sure to get a few puzzle toys this is a favourite of my dogs or a kong to freeze his lunch in to keep him occupied.
We bought a puzzle feeding bowl and never looked back, they are cheap on amazon, under $10. If your dog is high energy (mine is) then it’s perfectly fine to feed all meals in devices that make your dog work for the food (this advice came from our trainer). It helps tire them out and they eat slower. It’s very common for us to feed our dog from this: https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B001F0RRUA/ref=mp_s_a_1_27?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1524460063&amp;sr=8-27&amp;keywords=dog+treat+ball . I know the reviews are not amazing but the small one works great for our dog. I do not recommend the large, it comes unscrewed to easy. A lot of people like the kong wobbler but our dog doesn’t get it. Frozen Kong’s only work for us if it’s a mix of wet food and dry. We have this one too which works well but is a bit of a pain to fill an entire meal in. https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B003YHB8EI/ref=mp_s_a_1_15?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1524460313&amp;sr=8-15&amp;keywords=dog+treat+dispenser
Buy a harness, a harness is less likely to rub any areas raw as long as it fits properly. Front clip one will help "turn" the dog so they won't pull as much. A Gentle Leader can also work wonders by turning the head, however if the dog lunges at birds/cars/dogs/cats/etc. I wouldn't recommend.
Get a plain leash, retractable leashes actually encourage the dog to pull (since the dog has gotten used to pulling to get farther out).
You can exercise the dog indoors and only go out for potty breaks if you don't want to buy stuff just for the weekend. Play games like fetch or mental games like scavenger hunts (find hidden treats), or put treats in old water bottles, DIY toys work wonders. If the dog doesn't know any tricks/fetch you can start teaching games like sit, down, shake, roll over, etc. All good mental games.
Edited to put Shearaha1's harness suggestion.
If you really don't want him to eat his poop, then teach him to go potty on command while on a leash. Both of my dogs were trained this way since a yard wasn't always an option. 'go potty', treat, and pickup poop.
I initially got the impression your dog ate poop while you were away. I still think a tired dog is a happy dog, and exercise and mental stimulation minimizes these types of unusual behaviors. I have a working breed (weimaraner) like you and they truly need a 'job' and to be tired both physically and mentally to be happy.
Also, completely disagree that puzzle toys do nothing to help a dog through separation anxiety. Perhaps it only helps in less severe cases? But, it absolutely helped both of my weims over the years.
If you're still dealing with separation anxiety I would highly suggest reading I'll be Home Soon: How to Prevent and Treat Separation Anxiety. Another tip that I don't think that was in the book is teaching your dog 'I'll be back'. I started with 1 second, 5 secs, 30 secs, etc. Now he knows to relax and typically just goes to his bed. Works great in public when I need to leave him for a moment.
Our favourite is Bob-a-lot. We used to use a Kong Wobbler, but it was too easy. The bob-a-lot lets you adjust the hole openings so it's more difficult. He has learned how to open the first hole though so it doesn't keep him as occupied as before.
He really likes PetSafe Busy Buddy, Petzone IQ Treat Ball, and Nina Ottoson Treat Maze, but I didn't find them very durable. My 10lb pup isn't much of a chewer, but he definitely cracked the plastic on most of those puzzle toys.
I've got a high energy lab mix too, and as many people have said here, walking just doesn't cut it. Several people have recommended fetch, which has been a huge help. Additionally, this thing has been a lifesaver. Basically, anything that gets him running hard and will help you drain his excess energy quickly.
What about a flirt pole?
What type of toys does your son use to play with your puppy? Is there ample room between where the puppy grabs the toy and where your son holds onto it?
You can make the "bite = leave" concept more clear to puppy if you work with a baby gate. Have your son play with puppy on one side of the baby gate and puppy on another. Maybe take a long toy and drag it so puppy can get it. When puppy's teeth hit your son's skin, he needs to immediately leave the baby gate, whether he drops the toy for puppy or drags it with him is up to him. You may need to do a few practice sessions to show him exactly what you mean. But the baby gate creates a clear barrier and separation that you can immediately employ when needed. After 15-20 seconds, go back to playing.
Alternatively, you can have the puppy on a longer leash, like 6-8 feet at least. Have your son play with puppy while you hold onto the leash. When puppy bites, hold onto the leash firmly (don't pull) and have your son move away from the puppy immediately so puppy doesn't follow him.
I don't have much experience with resource guarding personally, but I've seen Mine! by Jean Donaldson recommenced a bunch of times. It's like 100 pages and is supposed to give a great overview of the issue and how to handle it. You can get the kindle version for like $9.
To second this, we use the same approach with an otherwise healthy foster dog who refuses to eat what is offered. We get donated food for foster dogs, I am not about to go out and buy expensive dog food unless there is a medical reason to do so. I'm not reimbursed unless it's vet recommended.
I put the food down, dog gets five minutes to show interest. Only longer if eating in a crate. Walk away from the food and I pick it up. That simple. You see this a lot in fat dogs that have trained people to give them table scraps, etc. Eventually, they'll figure it out.
All things good and all reinforcement comes from me. There's a book out there called "Mine!" that I've heard good things from others who have had to deal with resource guarding. http://www.amazon.ca/Mine-Practical-Guide-Resource-Guarding/dp/0970562942
I've read Culture Clash and Don't Shoot the Dog and both are quite excellent. The Amazon reviews are better than anything I could say:
Don't Shoot the Dog
Also, my wife is reading the latest Karen Pryor book and liked it quite a lot, too (we're into clicker training):
Reaching the Animal Mind
For a simple solution try http://www.amazon.com/pet-supplies/dp/B0009ZBKG4. The collar really prevents them from pulling. We've had our dog on it for a few weeks and really noticed an improvement. We first heard about it from a dog trainer. Good luck!
Have you only had him for 2 months? He could be just getting comfortable enough to be showing separation anxiety. Even if it is not the cause, going through exercises to help with SA could be beneficial for him.
The book "I'll be home soon" by Patricia McConnell is a great resource.
I think you have already gotten some excellent advice, I just wanted to add that this issue may have progressed too far already for any Petco trainer to effectively handle it. Try looking into a better trainer in your area just for help on this and give this book a read: https://www.amazon.com/Mine-Practical-Guide-Resource-Guarding/dp/0970562942
My dog has good luck with this treat ball:
However, when she used this one, she got similarly frustrated, and would even angrily pounce at it.
The second ball had these little rubber pegs that stopped the treats from easily falling out, so I cut one of the pegs off, and now her kibble falls out more easily. She likes it more and doesn't get mad at it. =)
I showed my dog how they fell out, pointing to the hole and then holding it upside down. I did that enough that now I see Luna trying to hold hers different angles with her head so the hole points down. She's a smart pup!
I have this treat ball as well as a similar one that is weighted at the bottom. They're good because my dog has to interact with them to get the treats, and it's completely random, so she can't figure out the puzzle and do it the same way every time. I have a Kong and similar toys that can be filled with food as well. I like to freeze peanut butter or pumpkin in them so they take a little more work. I'll usually rotate out the toys through the week so they don't get bored.
You are 100% correct that this is a horrible approach for your dog's particular issues. At absolute best, the behavior will be suppressed but your dog's fear/anxiety will worsen and is essentially a ticking time bomb that could explode and bite someone at any time. Put your foot down and refuse to see this trainer again - it's your dog, not your in-laws. I can assure them that no certified behaviorist would condone this type of training. The best approach is gradual counter-conditioning - teaching him that the things that make him react fearfully/aggressively are actually safe and good things to be around. Check out the book Feisty Fido - it's a fantastic (and relatively short) read geared toward this issue.
My dog doesn't love his harness (but isn't as scared as your guy) and our trainer suggested we teach him the "Get dressed" command. I see you are essentially doing this, but maybe upgrade what kind of treats you are using? Also try to work on this when you don't have to leave the house, like in the middle of the day. This will mean you can practice when you're less rushed. I just searched for it and this looks like an OK video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aOsv5xE0KUM
Have you thought about using a Gentle Leader instead? You'll have to be very careful about how you expose your dog to it, but maybe the lack of pressure on his sides will help. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00074L4W2
Meanwhile, I recommend starting w/ the WIKI pages links in the sidebar. Kikopup is great; her training videos are well-explained and to the point. I'm not as familiar w/ the list of training books, but Patricia McConnell's The Other End of the Leash was helpful in explaining behaviors.
Here are some additional training links that might help locate a trainer closer to you: CCPDT, APDT, KPA-CTP.
I'd also check through my vet, dog parks, daycares, for possible training clubs, group classes, or other recommendations.
Sounds like your dog is a resource guarder. The good news is that this is fixable. Get the book "Mine! A Practical Guide to Resource Guarding in Dogs" by Jean Donaldson. Short, easy to follow steps. Highly recommend.
What kind do you have? I have the one the slips over the snout and around the neck and clips in the front. It actually prevents her from pulling or her head gets pulled back so it teachers her to keep slack. We had a trainer when she was little and she couldn't do anything so wasted money. We got a puppy and went to puppy class and the trainer asked us to being out older dog in that pulls she recommended this. anytime she starts pulling and stops we gave her high value treat (dehydrated liver). After one mile it was night and day, but every dog is different and I wish you luck.
Found it: https://www.amazon.com/PetSafe-Gentle-Leader-Headcollar-Large/dp/B00074L4W2
I would break it down and from a plan, maybe by priority or ease of training:
b. strangers (walking, biking, etc?)
I would check the books part in the wiki but I'll specifically mention this for the aggression/reactivity:
Check out these videos, they should give you some hope. He uses BAT:
For storms that sounds classical conditioning can help with where you want to change your dogs emotional response. Here is an example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X2vx2q5RDRI
Separation anxiety is an over-used term. Patricia McConnell wrote a book on how to diagnose and work on it.
The Manners Minder is a way of reinforcing the dog when you're out of eyesight. It's a little expensive, but it'll help a lot (provided you use it correctly).
At home agility training and/or scent training is a good addition to long walks because it provides mental stimulation as well.
Check out Patricia McConnell's "I'll Be Home Soon" booklet. http://www.patriciamcconnell.com/store/I-ll-Be-Home-Soon.html
It's $8. As a trainer, I love Patricia McConnell because she is so clear and easy to understand. Give the book a try, you won't regret it and your pup will be so much happier.
I also found it for $3 used on Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/Ill-Home-Soon-Separation-Anxiety/dp/1891767054/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1371008865&amp;sr=8-1&amp;keywords=patricia+mcconnell+ill+be+home+soon
In addition to the other comments about giving the dog more excercise, I'd recommend buying a head leader collar. This should almost instantly stop the pulling issue since you're now controlling the dog from the snout instead of the neck where they still have a lot of core power to work with. After 4-6 months of this, you can switch back to a normal leash; they ought to be very used to staying by your side at this point.
As far as regular leashes go, I'd recommend something similar to this one. Don't use a leash longer than ~6ft for your sized dog. Any more than that is unecessary and will only encourage pulling.
It sounds like you may need some training of your own ;)
I'd recommend reading Perfect Puppy in 7 Days.
It's less than 200 pages and will give you valuable information for most scenarios you will experience with your puppy.
It has PICTURES & STEP BY STEP instructions. You have a lot of catching up to do!
My dog's favorites are the Kong wobbler, Buster Cube, Omega treat ball, and a frozen Kong stuffed with a gross mixture of wet kibble and peanut butter. Personally, I like the Omega treat ball because it's soft and doesn't make a lot of noise on our hardwood floors.
We tried a few of those Ottosson dog puzzles, but my dog quickly figured out that she can flip the entire thing over and all her food falls out instead of figuring it out the "correct" way.
Don't overlook homemade toys too. I roll up kibble in newspaper, stuff the newspaper into small box, then put that box into larger box, tape it up, and let her shred it up. She loves it.
Failures were the Tug a Jug and the IQ treat ball.
Wouldn't call them skills. It's a matter of the details I observe which are different then most minds. Somewhere on the Asperger spectrum I process things much the way the dogs do. I also prioritize dog communation above humans (like selective hearing, what your mind is focused on is all you hear). So my experience is that any dog any time around me and I'm paying attention to them all and their conversation. I've learned it.
It seems very hard for some people to understand a very simple language. Immersed in Thailand and we learn to pick up on Thai, because we devote a lot of meaning to audible language, and because our brains are "mostly" wired to process language mainly through sound and the context those sounds are in. But the time we devote to paying attention to Dog is clouded with bias and projection from our own oxytocin drug enduced loving state of mind. It discounts the dog as a whole conscious being when we pet a dog without ever knowing how to ask if HE would feel good by it, or if we are imposing. But we always feel good so all the body signals are misinterpreted as "he" must also be loving it. Even if he's trying to say he doesn't but doesn't know why you don't understand him.
Jane Goodall I suppose was entirely ostracized from "scientists" because she spoke of "language" and "emotion" in animals. We know she was right. And with the guidance of her pioneering work and steadfast effort in front of rejection, we know now how right she was.
A good book to get started with dogs. As one resource. *edited link to book not search result.
It takes open minded-ness but it is not sci fi or dog whispering. It is observation and experience.
As far as any certifications in dog training or evolutionary biology/psychology, I do have backgrounds there but that is not what this project is about. This is interpreting and speaking for the dog, not training.
Somebody asked the same thing a few days ago.
I can't stress how awesome The Power of Positive Dog Training is by Pat Miller. $14- Get it.
I read Sophia Yin's Perfect Puppy in 7 Days, and it wasn't good.
I also am currently reading The Official Ahimsa Dog Training Manual, and it has some unique stuff, but it's mostly a shortened version of The Power of Positive Dog Training.
I just read The Other End of the Leash by Patricia B. McConnell. She spends a whole chapter debunking dominance theory. It's not an organization, but hopefully that helps!
Honestly, I would not risk it and switch to a flirt pole. Mine looks like a little squirrel and I imagine your dog would very much like that.