Help with triggers and over excitement/aggression

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Postby MegN » January 9th, 2010, 5:06 pm

OK, so my new dog is protective over me toward my husband, at time. There seem to be triggers, ex: food, towels, paper towels. On a scale of 1 - 5, 1 being a low level of excitement and 5 being highest, he been to nothing more than a 3. It is very controllable, within 1 minute he will stop but is still at an excited state? How can we work with him to not become triggered. We have a 3 pit clan, the other 2 dogs have been to easy and we have not had to work on anything like this. We have patience with him and are coming to the point that we know we have no idea how to help him so we need some help.
He is not dog aggressive at all, gets a little over excited with kids at times as well.
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Postby amazincc » January 9th, 2010, 5:14 pm

MegN wrote:OK, so my new dog is protective over me toward my husband, at time.


Can you describe exactly what happens?
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Postby MegN » January 9th, 2010, 5:23 pm

examples of this behavior:

I'm in bed with Woody(my dog) :D My husband is moving around getting dog beds in the room and this movement and my husbands presence puts Woody on edge.

I am in bed with Woody (sounds funny) and my other male dog Wilson comes in the room to get on the bed and Woody will be on edge and won't let Wilson on the bed. Are female pit has no problem with getting on the bed though, nor does Woody give her a problem.

If I am on the computer (which is at the island in our kitchen) and Eric is moving around the kitchen making something/cleaning something, this MAY put Woody at an excited/aggressive state. This doesn't always happen. It DOES NOT happen when I am NOT there.

The most frequent occurrence is in the kitchen, when I am on the computer or sitting at the island and Eric is moving around. Also, if I want to show something on the computer and Eric comes to look over my shoulder, Woody does not like this. What I do now when I want to show something to Eric is move to the other side of the island and then Eric can look at the computer.

Like I said in the first post, this is not a highly aggressive behavior toward Eric, but it is toward Eric and only in my presence. There has never been barking or growling toward him, just crack eyes, tense body and nipping at his hands and legs.
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Postby amazincc » January 9th, 2010, 5:35 pm

MegN wrote:
Like I said in the first post, this is not a highly aggressive behavior toward Eric, but it is toward Eric and only in my presence. There has never been barking or growling toward him, just crack eyes, tense body and nipping at his hands and legs.


Hmmm... I would consider nipping somewhat aggressive. At the very least it's a "warning".
How do you guys handle that behavior? Is Woody corrected? And if so - how?
Does he only act this way toward Eric, or does he try to "protect" you from other people as well? How is he at the vet?

I was owned by a dog like Woody, and we used to think his possessive behavior was "cute" - but it made life very hard and unpredictable in the long-run, especially when it came to anyone else trying to handle my boy while I was present.
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Postby MegN » January 9th, 2010, 5:43 pm

Yes, I do see how it can become something difficult. That is why we are seeking help now, I do NOT think that it is cute, (I can see how people would, but he is much to powerful of a dog to let this go) nor do we treat it in any manner.
Eric will say firmly "NO" and then just a touch/pet on his head in a clam manner will at least make Woody somewhat calm, but he is for sure still tense. I will try and say no, and correct/calm him down, but I just think that 2 people working on him is very confusing and too much for him.
Eric is now trying to just ignore until he feels he needs to correct him, I don't know what is right, that's why I am posting these concerns now.
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » January 9th, 2010, 5:47 pm

Sounds like Woody may need to lose some privileges. I would start doing NILIF if you're not already doing so, and not permit him on your bed or in your lap for a while. And honestly, if you do permit him up there and he acts at all like he's resource guarding you, his butt should get dumped on the floor, by you, not by Eric.
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Postby MegN » January 9th, 2010, 5:55 pm

explain NILIF?
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Postby amazincc » January 9th, 2010, 5:57 pm

MegN wrote:Eric will say firmly "NO" and then just a touch/pet on his head in a calm manner


So, basically, Eric is rewarding the behavior by petting Woody... at least in Woodys mind.
I definitely agree w/NILIF, and you should both start practicing that ASAP. Sir Woody needs to start earning everything... from food to play to going for a walk to having furniture/bed privileges. :wink:
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » January 9th, 2010, 6:00 pm

Here's a link to NILIF: http://k9deb.com/nilif.htm

But pretty much like Christine said, Woody earns everything - meals, walks, attention, privileges, etc. He's not getting denied anything, you just make him do a sit or down or eye contact or something like that first.
"Remember - every time your dog gets somewhere on a tight leash *a fairy dies and it's all your fault.* Think of the fairies." http://www.positivepetzine.com"

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Postby MegN » January 9th, 2010, 6:15 pm

OK. This is all great. Some of the things we do and we will work on starting all the new things. I will kick him off the bed when he is triggered. Eric is also going to try and do more things with him as well. Eric is also just starting to build a relationship with him now as well. Woody was a foster, but I feel in love hard for him, so in the first 3 - 4 weeks, Eric was doing a very good job with not getting attached and I was doing a piss poor job at it :(
This is all great info, we also got some books today on dog behavior, so hopefully making this 110% commitment on helping the behavior of US and him will help out :clap:
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Postby amazincc » January 9th, 2010, 6:25 pm

MegN wrote:I will kick him off the bed when he is triggered.


Try not even letting him get to that point in the first place. Have Eric invite him on the bed for a while, so Woody learns that being there is a privilege - not a right. :)

I wish more people were as committed to their dogs as you guys are. :D :clap:
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Postby MegN » January 9th, 2010, 6:51 pm

See, the one real confusing part of this whole problem is, Woody is friendly with Eric most of the time and he is aggressive toward him while I am around only about 10 - 15% of the time. Eric and Woody were just snuggling in bed for about 30 minutes just a little while ago. Again, I do think that some of this behavior is coming from the fact that Eric didn't really get to form a bond with him in the beginning, and now that Eric is trying to get close, Woody is confused and acting out at him. You can clearly see the confusion in Woody's face when he has his little outbreaks, and he calms down in less than a minute.

We are going to try all these new things for sure. Woody is just so good at "playing" us, cause he gets so cute and cuddly with the both of us and then has these little fits and it catches us off guard.

One, more question, what is the best thing to do when I am in the kitchen as well as Eric and Woody and he starts getting nippy with Eric? Who corrects him? How? Should I remove myself once this happens?
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Postby amazincc » January 9th, 2010, 7:02 pm

MegN wrote:One, more question, what is the best thing to do when I am in the kitchen as well as Eric and Woody and he starts getting nippy with Eric? Who corrects him? How? Should I remove myself once this happens?


Maybe the kitchen needs to be off-limits for Woody for a while? You could crate him w/a toy or treat.
And , noooo... you don't remove yourself - it's YOUR kitchen. lol
You simply remove the dog... give him a time-out, at the very least.
I personally would just issue a stern NO when he nips, and then bring him into another room. Do you guys keep a drag lead on him?
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Postby MegN » January 9th, 2010, 7:07 pm

drag lead?

he is crated when we are at work, he has free range of the yard when he goes out.
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Postby amazincc » January 9th, 2010, 7:13 pm

MegN wrote:drag lead?

he is crated when we are at work, he has free range of the yard when he goes out.


A drag lead is a long leash w/out a handle... it can make it easier to get control of a dog when they display unwanted behavior.
When Woody gets nippy you can say NO, grab him and remove him from the kitchen... or you can invest in a baby gate to keep him out altogether for a while. He's going to learn very quickly that nipping results in not being able to spend time w/you and Eric.

Do you guys do any clicker training at all?
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Postby maberi » January 9th, 2010, 7:17 pm

MegN wrote:drag lead?

he is crated when we are at work, he has free range of the yard when he goes out.


All good info and get started with NILF first and foremost

Also make sure that anytime Woody does show this behavior he gets a time out.

-- Growls on the bed, you give him an "Oh Well", "No", etc.. and immediately get him off the bed. Make him stay down there for a while until you invite him back up. Make sure he doesn't get in bed unless you or better yet, Eric invites him up

-- Growls in the kitchen, again, "Oh Well" and give him a time out whether that is in his crate, or in another room where he is removed from you.

I would also have Eric treat Woody when he approaches in those situations and Woody doesn't react. Woody needs to understand that when Eric arrives GOOD things happen when he acts appropriately. Have Eric carry some cheese or whatever around with him for a week or so and treat Woody in situations you have seen problems as long as Woody doesn't elicit a poor response.

PS - I have a ton of books at home. I'll send in a few with Heidi when she goes into work on Monday for you
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Postby maberi » January 9th, 2010, 7:24 pm

Double PS - I'll send a clicker with the books as well. I have a really good clicker book that is a quick read and if it will help Heidi and I can shoot over and give you a quick intro to clicker training with Woody. Once he catches on it will be a really good thing for Eric to do with him
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Postby MegN » January 9th, 2010, 7:28 pm

OK, sounds good. We will start by putting him in Hady's crate then, since it is just in the sun room. If he doesn't get the picture then, we will put him in his crate which is in our bedroom.
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Postby MegN » January 9th, 2010, 7:29 pm

Awesome, I wanted some info on clicker training too. I will check it out;-) thanks
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Postby amazincc » January 9th, 2010, 7:39 pm

MegN wrote:We will start by putting him in Hady's crate then, since it is just in the sun room. If he doesn't get the picture then, we will put him in his crate which is in our bedroom.


Make sure that the crate itself doesn't become the "punishment"... it's the removal from the situation that should teach him the consequences of his actions. :wink:

Here's some very basic info on clicker training - http://dogs.about.com/od/dogtraining/qt ... aining.htm
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