Training Question

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Postby a-bull » January 13th, 2006, 11:46 am

I have one dog that is a tad neutotic. He is a pretty submissive, kind of fearful little guy and he has developed a new behavior I need suggestions with:

When the people in my family put their shoes on to leave the house, he barks wildly at them. I'm the only one he does not do it to.

I'm guessing, from what I've observed, that it is some form of seperation anxiety, but we're at a loss as to what to do. I do wear shoes around the house to try and show him that shoes are o.k., lol, but no one else in the family does. I do give him treats whenever I leave, but I'm reluctant to suggest the other family members give him a treat when they leave, as he barks at them the whole time their putting their shoes on and I don't want to reinforce the behavior. He does get treats from them intermittently, though, if he didn't bark like crazy when they were putting their shoes on.

Suggestions??? Thanks.
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Postby mnp13 » January 13th, 2006, 12:22 pm

How is his obedience?
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Postby a-bull » January 13th, 2006, 1:40 pm

Quite solid, actually--and he is ordinarily very eager to please.

If we tell him "quiet" or "leave it" during the shoe-frenzy, he will stop and he will walk away . . . but that appears to be just a band-aide for whatever the unlying itch is.
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Postby mnp13 » January 13th, 2006, 3:57 pm

I would start with the obedience portion. teach him that it is absolutely unacceptable to act like that. Long downs tend to get the message across. "If you act like an idiot you will park your butt for 5 minutes"

Are you his primary caregiver? It may be a respect thing. He leaves you alone because he knows you're in charge. He may be annoying everyone else just to be annoying - or to beg for the treats that you give him and no one else does.
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Postby a-bull » January 13th, 2006, 5:42 pm

I am definitely the one who is with him the most.

I don't think it's treat begging, because although he loves treats, he's not a treat junkie like my other dog.

We've done the "down/stay," but he'll keep barking in the down/stay, lol.

I'm pretty sure it's a seperation anxiety issue, because he's not a pushy or dominant dog, and he's ordinarily pretty well behaved. I just can't figure out quite how to break the pattern. I did tell the rest of the family today to leave their shoes on around the house, or atleast to start putting them on way before they plan on leaving the house. Seems to have helped a bit, because the issue is the actual putting on of the shoes.

Weird one . . . I know . . . :?
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Postby a-bull » January 13th, 2006, 5:44 pm

Oh, and that's him in my avatar. He was a very sick little runt that was cast out of his pack and left to die. He's almost 2 1/2.
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Postby mnp13 » January 13th, 2006, 5:47 pm

how about teaching him 'quiet' or 'enough'?

enough is a great command actually... no matter what Ruby and Connor are doing, they will stop.
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Postby a-bull » January 13th, 2006, 6:12 pm

Well, he knows both "quiet" and "stop"---and he will do both, but those shoes . . . as soon as he sees them being tied, etc., he starts again. If you give him either command, he will stop, but eventually he starts again.

See why I'm stumped. :?
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Postby mnp13 » January 13th, 2006, 6:14 pm

what a pain... they sure do keep you on your toes... little @#&$ brats. :wink:

Well, in my house, a command is to be obeyed until another command is given. That includes 'quiet'. If you use compulsion training, him starting up again is when you would give a correction.

I can't really think of anything else.
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Postby Romanwild » January 13th, 2006, 6:50 pm

I know Michelle isn't into the squirt bottle but it might work.

Use it as a negative marker and never threaten with it. Say no or whatever words you want, wait 2 seconds then squirt them (not mist lol).

In your case put the shoes on and when he starts to bark say "no barking" then squirt. Do it as often as it takes.
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Postby a-bull » January 14th, 2006, 12:36 am

Used the squirt bottle way back when---he loves water, so he digs it, lol. Even my other dog, who is more dominant and pushy, thinks the squirt bottle is a blast.

Maybe a brick?? :D
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Postby Romanwild » January 14th, 2006, 12:51 am

He might like the brick too! LOL

I'm just curious. Do you hit him in the ear or face with the water?
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Postby satanscheerleader » January 14th, 2006, 1:00 am

Is he barking because he doesn't want them to go or because he wants to go with them. I'm not clear on why he is barking. :shrug:
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Postby mnp13 » January 14th, 2006, 1:07 am

satanscheerleader wrote:Is he barking because he doesn't want them to go or because he wants to go with them. I'm not clear on why he is barking. :shrug:


I don't think a-bull knows either... that's the problem
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Postby Big_Ant » January 19th, 2006, 3:39 pm

Just a suggestion

Start with him in a kennel/crate

Try having them put their shoes on and get ready to go out. If he starts barking, just keep putting the shoes on. Once you have them on, take him out on leash and go for a walk. Come home after about 15 minutes, and put him right back into the kennel.

Take the shoes off in front of him. Wait 5 minutes, put them back on, if he starts barking again give him the Quiet/Enough command, and walk out.

It might be that he's anticipating some fun times outside of the house and he needs to learn that yes, SOMETIMES, the shoes are for him to go have fun, but if it's not for him he doesn't need to act like that.

Weda does this on occasion. It's mainly because she knows when I'm putting my shoes on, it means that we are going for a bike ride, which she loves beyond anything.

The above instructions are far from complete. I just don't have the time to be detailed, and it might look a little incomplete, but you get the idea. Give him something that he wants, but he needs to respect when you aren't doing it either.

I'll try and write it out a little better this evening. It actually looks pretty weak re-reading it, but it should give you an idea.

- Anthony
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