slight change in behaviour

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slight change in behaviour

Post by smudge95 on Thu May 04 2017, 10:51

HI - I have had Buddy since he was 10 weeks old he is now 2years old .. he has not been neutered ..the last week he has shown a slightly different behavior towards my husband than before and wondered the best way to handle it . Buddy is a chewer always has been we have tried everything to curb it and the best result we have so far is that he now only chews his blanket - he sleeps in his crate at night and when we are out but the rest of the time has the run of the house- he has a habit of bringing his blanket out to carry round with him - and to chew! - we normally just go up to him and say NO and take it away  and lock it in  the crate for a couple of minutes and he forgets it in there - twice now when my husband has done this he has lunged at him - no growls or snarling but his body movement would suggest for a split second he thought about it , its happened once with one of his toys he was chewing up too. He still allows me to take the blanket or anything from his mouth - last night I took a duck wing out of his mouth as he wasn't chewing just gulping and held it whilst he ate no problem.

the next change I have seen is for the last two days he will not leave my husband alone jumping on him when he is sitting down climbing excitedly over him almost as if he wants to hump but doesn't if he stands up he starts to lick his legs and jump on his feet trying to nip his toes with a real excited look about him  - again I call him away and he will sit quietly with me on the sofa - it is only my hubby - he has always had a thing for his feet when he is tired he always tries to take his slippers or nuzzle his feet but he had stopped this for the last few months again this has only ever been towards my hubby

Hubby has always played with him more than me I tend to "play " using training games rather than tug or ball throwing do you think hormones are coming into play and he is trying male dominance? if so best way to deal with it  I think he looks at my hubby as a play mate .

My hubby doesn't have a lot of patience with him ,  and is starting to push him away quite forcefully and I am afraid Buddy will snap at him and bite - he has caught him before in rough play but  the reaction to the blanket is definitely not play

Any ideas guys ? for Buddy or my hubby - I feel the need to train them both on this one....
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Re: slight change in behaviour

Post by LizP on Thu May 04 2017, 15:23

So much going on!

It may in part by hormones. I don't like the word 'dominance' and I personally don't think that dogs try to dominate for the sake of it. However, it may be that Buddy's hormones make him less accepting of being shoved around. Even without hormones, though, you'd probably be getting that reaction.

It sound to me like you're relying too much on punishment, including 'no'. You're much better teaching a happy 'leave it' instead of shoving him away. In fact, this shoving is probably teaching Buddy the behaviour - it's almost a natural reaction with some dogs that if you push them away they will come back for more, often with their teeth, because to them it's a fun game. However, add an angry attitude from the person in there and you've set your dog up to bite you.

This, by the sounds of it, is why your husband's getting the reaction and not you. That energy and confrontation is being created that Buddy's responding to.

I'd strongly recommend a good, hefty dollop of positive reinforcement training to teach Buddy to respond to happy requests in a happy way. Either find a trainer who can give you both a different way of understanding and working, or delve into books and videos by positive method trainers. If you want to do the latter, I can give you some names of people whose work is fab and with easy methods to follow.



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Re: slight change in behaviour

Post by smudge95 on Thu May 04 2017, 15:46

thanks Liz I am doing loads of training with him at the minute to keep his brain occupied as he gets bored real quick - when I say we say NO we don't shout it, we normally hold the blanket and say no and then the give command , sometimes with a treat to help him release and sometimes his treat is loads of cuddles after he gives it . 9 out of 10 times he knows as soon as he takes it out of the crate its going to be taken away I think he likes the thrill of the game LOL and the attention - I agree with the shoving and the reaction, its getting my hubby to see what he is doing makes it worse that's the problem- I am much better at reading his body language than my OH I can distract unwanted behavior so much quicker than him - Buddy is such a clever dog I wish my hubby would do some mind games with him instead of hyping him up to a frenzy with tug and rough play and then not liking the result - I think maybe hormones are there a bit , as he is very sniffy when we are out almost trail following in some areas we walk maybe there is a female in season locally - was going to wait till he was 2.5 to have him neutered if I needed to - so I think I will look into it now.
I have been doing boundary training and "middle " with him and also some drop the lead training a trainer I know showed me, to help him realize that when there is no lead its not run off and don't come back time its go and have a play but stay near me time - so far he has been off lead twice and its been great - long way to go as he is still wary of other dogs so the long line is still a must in certain areas we walk ..but getting there - I have a couple of good books and I have been watching Victoria Stilwell but if there are any others that you think would help always willing to try - by the way I bought the harness you recommended to me a while back -perfect doesn't rub and he walks great on it -his baldy bits from before are now growing back slowly but they are getting better now this harness doesn't touch them so thanks for that appreciated .
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Re: slight change in behaviour

Post by -Ian- on Thu May 04 2017, 16:39

It could be hormones that are playing a part, after all we all know what grumpy teenagers can be like. I'm also wondering if he's getting possessive over the blanket hence the reaction to that. If that is what's happening I would use the techniques that Liz has offered above.


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Re: slight change in behaviour

Post by LizP on Thu May 04 2017, 18:10

It could be possessiveness, it could also be plain old confusion. On the one hand, he's being told 'here, tug this, wow', and then he's being told 'no' and shoved away. He may be seeing his blanket as a source of the confusion, especially when combined with your husband.

I love tuggy games but it is essential that you have a good 'leave it' in place. I teach it by holding a treat right up by the nose when asking 'leave it', ALWAYS giving the treat when teaching, and also giving the toy back again for another game a couple of times so 'leave it' doesn't get the toy taken away each time.

If you've got that in place, then you shouldn't need 'no'. It's much, much easier for a dog to understand what to do instead of something else, rather than just a generic 'no' that we tend to use for all sorts of things. Just by using 'no', we also keep the negative in our brains instead of seeing a positive. While you hold on to 'no', you are also holding on to the idea that the dog is doing something wrong - a better way of looking at it is that we'd rather he does something else. 'Leave it' in exchange for something that's better than his blanket is much more effective in teaching and is much less likely to get this negative reaction. It also gives you the opportunity to praise him instead of resorting to 'no'.

As well as Victoria Stilwell, I love Patricia McConnell (my favourite). All her books are fantastic. Zac George is another one to have a look at, he's a bit more high energy and yee ha American for my taste but a lot of people like him and sometimes it's a question of finding someone who's on your wavelength.




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Re: slight change in behaviour

Post by smudge95 on Fri May 05 2017, 08:29

thanks Liz I will have a look at the other trainers and see what they are like - I have just got a flirty stick and I am using this to enforce the leave and the control the chase instinct - he loves it - he is good with the leave command if he hasn't actually got the item but once he has it the leave is a little hard at coming even with a high value treat on the end of his nose. but I am going to persevere with it till he gets it . his favorite game is who can get the washing first me in the washing machine or him in his bed!! - I try hard not to say No but its my hubby's favorite word - last night Buddy was perfect played with his ball then dropped it at hubby's feet and got on his lap and slept peacefully all night ... will see how things go and let you know -thanks for all your help
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Re: slight change in behaviour

Post by LizP on Fri May 05 2017, 09:54

You need to work on 'leave it' with things he has that are much, much less high value to start off with. Wait for a quiet moment, give him something he'll take but not value too much, a lesser toy of some sort, then present the high value treat to swap. Also, do it when he is simply holding the toy, not playing with it, so that his excitement level is low. Make it as easy as possible for him to undertand what 'leave it' means, repeat at that level till it's solid, and only then build up, going through gradually increasing levels of toy ratings, making sure each level is cracked before moving on to the next. Asking him to 'leave it' with something as exciting as a flirt pole is setting him up to fail, it's just too hard.

It's like asking a hungry child to leave a chocolate cake instead of asking them to leave a tray of salad.


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Re: slight change in behaviour

Post by smudge95 on Fri May 05 2017, 13:40

I see what you mean - although strangely he gets it with the flirty stick and I can do leave with his toys and he will drop them or give them to me, its when he has something he shouldn't have he wont give it back or leave - for instance a sock from the washing - if he goes to grab it from the wash and I say leave he will walk away - but if he gets it and I offer a treat or say leave or give he sits offers it and when I go to take it moves his head away or runs - he obviously thinks its a game - I have tried ignoring him and sometimes he will drop the item dependent on what it is - place mat or ornament no issue but if its a sock a lot of the time he will chew .. we have a lot of odd socks in our house! - perseverance is the key I think I will give your suggestions a go and see how we go ...time to train Hubby as well as buddy I think Smile
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Re: slight change in behaviour

Post by Haizum74 on Sat May 06 2017, 14:35

smudge95 wrote:thanks Liz I am doing loads of training with him at the minute to keep his brain occupied as he gets bored real quick  - when I say we say NO we don't shout it,  we normally hold the blanket and say no and  then the give  command , sometimes with a treat to help him release  and sometimes his treat is loads of cuddles after he gives it . 9 out of 10 times he knows as soon as he takes it out of the crate its going to be taken away I think he likes the thrill of the game LOL and the attention  - I agree with the shoving and the reaction,  its getting my hubby to see what he is doing  makes it worse  that's the problem- I am much better at reading his body language than my OH I can distract unwanted behavior so much quicker than him - Buddy is such a clever dog I wish my hubby would do some mind games with him instead of hyping him up to a frenzy with tug and rough play  and then not liking the result - I think maybe hormones are there a bit ,  as he is very sniffy when we are out almost trail following in some areas we walk maybe there is a female in season locally - was going to wait till he was 2.5 to have him neutered if I needed to -  so I think I will look into it now.
I have been doing boundary training and "middle " with him and also some drop the lead training a trainer I know showed me,  to help him realize that when there is no lead its not run off and don't come back time its go and have a play but stay near me time - so far he has been off lead twice and its been great - long way to go as he is still wary of other dogs so the long line is still a must in certain areas we walk ..but getting there - I have a couple of good books and I have been watching Victoria Stilwell but if there are any others that you think would help always willing to try - by the way I bought the harness you recommended to me a while back -perfect doesn't rub  and he walks great on it -his baldy bits from before are now growing back slowly but they are getting better  now this harness doesn't touch them so thanks for that appreciated .


I think the word NO should just be used in circumstances that require it and certainly do not reward with a treat after you have used it as this can potentially lead to bad behaviour in so far as doing something wrong gets a no but also a treat too.

As Liz suggested, using another command such as leave is much better in this instance.

With the pushing away, from my own experience with Nita, this meant play to her and the more I did it the more she came back with teeth (only in a playful way, thankfully) however she has caught me on the arm a few times with her teeth. I stopped it and just play with her without pushing her away. If it she gets too excited a quick, 'calm' command and she stops straight away. An excitable staffy is not good in this instance and can lead to the wrong signals sent to them and a potential bite (accidental or not).

When Nita licked her paws a lot, I used to stick my foot under her mouth to get her to stop but one day i misjudged and she got a foot in her ribs (she was on the floor, I was on the sofa, a rare event lol), she turned on me and snarled and then realised it was me and stopped. Now I just tell her to 'leave'. Lesson learnt.



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