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wildrags

New Dog Training Problems

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I have a new dog and I've had him about a week. Friends found him and could not find his owner, so I brought him home. When they found him, he appeared to have not been taught any commands you might teach any dog. Down, sit, stay, etc. They had worked with him on 'sit' when I brought him home.

 

This boy (Waddie) has very few god manners. He did come house broke, but he was putting his feet on the kitchen counters. In the past week, he has come a long way. He sits, goes in the crate without a battle, doesn't jump on us nearly as much, and is learning 'stay'. And rarely puts his feet on the table or counters.

 

I am trying to get him to stop trying to climb in the chair demanding attention from me or the kids. If I push him down, he just comes back up. The only cure is to put him out or in the crate. I do not want him to learn being obnoxious is how you get to go outside. Our older dog trained my husband to let her out when she wanted out by annoying him.

 

He does not know down, stop, or no. He is the first dog I have had to train that wasn't a puppy when I started. He is about a year old according to the vet.

 

What can I do to get this behavior to stop?

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First off, he's already come a long way in just a week. ;)

 

Teach him an alternative behavior that's not compatible with climbing all over people. Sit, lie down or go to your bed/mat/place are all good choices, followed by the "stay" (or wait or relax, so you don't actually have to give him a release). You'll have to teach him these things first when he's not pestering you and make sure he knows them before using them as an alternative to the climbing, but it should work.

 

Thanks for taking him in and giving him a good home.

 

And pictures are always encouraged. :)

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First off, he's already come a long way in just a week. ;)

That is an understatement. ☺ It was an ordeal living with him the first few days. A big kid all nervous in a new environment and not understanding what I wanted him to do. It seemed to give him a boost when we visited the vet and I brought him back home.

 

One of the positive things is he has been great for our other bordercollie. She has had a lot of bad experiences with other dogs. A while back a neighbors Pyrenees dogs tried to come up our driveway at her. I ran them off, but she was a nervous wreck for days. I'd just decided to keep eyes and ears open for puppies when my friends found Waddie. This is the smoothest introduction of two adult (he isn't really an adult, of course) dogs I have ever experienced.

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You're on the right track, but expect it to take some time for him to figure it out. I also got an adult rescue who came house trained and "polite" (from day one she would leave food alone if you asked her to) but I don't think she had ever learned sit/stay/come etc. It took a long time to get "sit" consistently--maybe 3 or 4 weeks. Looking back, this was partially my own incompetence, but I also think it was the first time in her life she was asked to do something in response to a command. Once she got that it was off to the races, now she does all the basic stuff plus a bunch of tricks.

 

There is so much stuff a new dog has to figure out that we take for granted--what all the different sounds mean, the layout of a new space, daily routines, how to interact with all the new people, which spots I should/should not sit or lie down in (like deciding that under the desk is a good place to nap but behind the rolling chair is not so good!). If your new dog's getting anything you say to him in the first week he's a rockstar.

 

Right now, management is going to be your friend. Have him drag a leash in the house and figure out spots you can tether him so he's out of harm's way, go ahead and use the crate when he needs to settle down, and maybe get baby gates or one of those x-pens for when you want to give him a little more freedom but still keep him off of furniture. These practices will help him learn the boundaries and help avoid developing bad habits you'll need to fix later. Start training with "sit" and "down", keeping sessions really short and sweet, then build up "stay" and "place". Don't try to use these for actual behavioral stuff until he's really solid on them as fun games.

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sounds as though you are doing pretty well with him so far.

 

The thing about trying to climb on the chair is that it is attention-seeking, so my approach to that is to respond by giving the dog exactly what he doesn't want : no attention. If the dog gets pushed down....that's just encouraging him because it is attention.

 

So instead, if the dog jumps on the chair, i take the dog...calmly and quietly, not saying anything to him at all... and put him in the other room, behind a closed door, out of sight, and leave him there for perhaps three minutes, not longer.

 

then, I let him come back into the room, and bring him to the chair and ask for a sit next to the chair. when he is sitting, he gets lots of petting and praise. If he jumps up, back he goes into the other room for another 3 minutes. Repeat. I have never had a border collie take more than a few minutes to learn to stop jumping on the chair or couch or a person when this approach is used. And, having had a lot of ill-mannered foster dogs, I have used it a lot. :-)

 

It is very important for this approach to be used without any attitude of punishment involved. Just simple cause and effect. Dog jumps up: effect is isolation. Dog sits: effect is petting and attention. You have to be immaculately consistent with this, but it is pretty simple. They get it right away.

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sounds as though you are doing pretty well with him so far.

 

The thing about trying to climb on the chair is that it is attention-seeking, so my approach to that is to respond by giving the dog exactly what he doesn't want : no attention. If the dog gets pushed down....that's just encouraging him because it is attention.

 

So instead, if the dog jumps on the chair, i take the dog...calmly and quietly, not saying anything to him at all... and put him in the other room, behind a closed door, out of sight, and leave him there for perhaps three minutes, not longer.

 

then, I let him come back into the room, and bring him to the chair and ask for a sit next to the chair. when he is sitting, he gets lots of petting and praise. If he jumps up, back he goes into the other room for another 3 minutes. Repeat. I have never had a border collie take more than a few minutes to learn to stop jumping on the chair or couch or a person when this approach is used. And, having had a lot of ill-mannered foster dogs, I have used it a lot. :-)

 

It is very important for this approach to be used without any attitude of punishment involved. Just simple cause and effect. Dog jumps up: effect is isolation. Dog sits: effect is petting and attention. You have to be immaculately consistent with this, but it is pretty simple. They get it right away.

Thanks for this suggestion. I have been telling him 'off' and ignoring him, but I am going to try this. Sometimes telling him 'off'just leads to a sort of musical chairs game where he goes to the kid on the couch, then the kid in another chair, etc. He is understanding that we don't want him on us. He is just so needy right now.

 

He has calmed down so much over past 2 weeks since we got him and is learning a lot behavior-wise. He definitely seems to cope better on days when I don't have to be gone a lot.

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There's a very good chance that the combination of not rewarding him for pestering people (of course, everyone in the house needs to be consistent with this), rewarding him by paying attention to him when he's not acting so needy and giving him time to adjust without pressure as he figures out the ropes should work together help him gain confidence. As that happens, you should see a gradual decrease of the attention seeking behavior.

 

Remember it can take around three months before a dog acclimates to his new home. Not all dogs take that long, but be patient with him and help him figure it out in a supportive way for as long as it takes and I feel pretty confident by the end of the year things will be looking a whole lot better.

 

A word of caution though. A lot of times during this stage people find that just as they think they're getting somewhere the dog will start getting into trouble here and there. It can be discouraging, but it's actually a good thing. It means they're comfortable and brave enough to start exploring and trying things out that they haven't yet learned are unacceptable to you. It's a lot like a puppy exploring the world. Again, just be patient if this happens and teach him what's OK and what's not. It'll go a lot faster with most adult dogs than it does with puppies, so it shouldn't last too long.

 

Keep up the great work. The neediness should subside as he gains more confidence and understanding of what's expected of him.

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Definitely good that Gentle Lake mentioned above that the dog can get into trouble as he or she gets more comfortable. Good thing to watch for.

 

By the way --Even telling the dog "off" is still giving attention.

 

And I will second also what was said about consistency. Most especially with kids of any age, it is imperative that you impress upon the kids how important and serious it is for the signals the dog gets to be the same from everyone. If one person rewards the dog one time for jumping on the couch (or anything else you are trying to train away), it will probably undo days or weeks of work.

 

And more importantly it will confuse the dog. A confused dog is not a happily settled dog and is much more likely to have behavior problems.

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