Calling All St Bernard owners- HELP!

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by joedie, Dec 18, 2009.

  1. joedie

    joedie Songster

    Mar 17, 2009
    SW Indiana
    I posted last week that I my daughter gave me her St Bernard puppy. She's 6 months old, 100 lbs and a really great dog but STUBBORN! I have 2 other dogs, both labradoodles and live on a farm. I didn't have trouble training the doodles to come when I call them. I let them out to go to relieve themselves and call them back in without any trouble. But, the Saint thinks she doesn't need to listen and wanders off into the barnyards and basically checks everything out. I only have the dogs out when I'm outside because we live pretty close to the road and I don't want them to get hit.
    I've been taking her out on the leash with a choke chain and telling her to come. If she ignores me, I give a sharp pull on the choker but a young dog of this size is hard to even move! I figured when she became better on the leash and walks with me without trying to go off in her own direction, I'd let her off the leash. I don't want to chase her to get her back in.
    She has also broken off a beautiful jade plant I had in the house...repeatedly so I obviously had to move it where she can't access it. Just doesn't seem to get it. She is housebroken, gets along great with my "doodles" and is a pleasure to have around. I want to be able to let her out on the farm without chasing her to come back in. Are these dogs usually stubborn? She isn't going to go anywhere, when I get a dog it's for life. I just have no experience with this breed. Any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
  2. Wifezilla

    Wifezilla Positively Ducky

    Oct 2, 2008
    I have a feeling the dog is used to ignoring commands. It doesn't sound like your daughter had any follow through. Sounds like you are doing the right thing so far. Hopefully a StB expert will pop in.
  3. OccamsTazer

    OccamsTazer Songster

    Mar 2, 2009
    Tuscaloosa, AL
    I've never owned a StB, but I've got quite a bit of dog experience...I like prong collars for real blockheads. I've got a Rottie mix that I swear is made out of concrete. I would not use a prong collar on a soft dog, and they take a careful hand, you don't want to injure the animal, but I love them for large, unruly dogs. I don't personally like choke chains. I don't have the data sheet on hand, but I've seen some alarming statistics about how often the use of choke collars can lead to collapsed/damaged tracheas, and I used to see it occasionally when I worked at a vet clinic. Especially for a large wild thing, a choke chain can do serious damage. Of course, so can any training tool, but it's easy to do it without meaning to with the chains.
    Most dogs that age are hyper nutjobs anyway, I can't imagine dealing with one that is nearly my own size :p The first thing that comes to mind is to make sure the dog is *tired* before you start working with her. Especially at that age, she's going to find it impossible to focus when she's exploding with energy.

    Where's Redeyre Rotties when we need her?
  4. rodriguezpoultry

    rodriguezpoultry Langshan Lover

    Jan 4, 2009
    Claremore, OK
    Sounds like my poodle...miniature poodle.

    He will NOT come back when he escapes a leash or the house. I am sick of chasing him so he'll either get hit and killed or he'll come back home, me chasing him only makes a game out of it and makes him stay away from me even more.

    You all may think this is harsh, but that's why we never let him off the leash and try to block him from leaving the house.
  5. suburbanminifarm

    suburbanminifarm Songster

    Jul 29, 2009
    N.San Diego County
    Sorry I'm not a St. owner...
    but I'd tie a "long line" on the pup before going outside. It's just a really long clothesline or tough twine. Let him drag it around. When you want to practice "COME", you can pull the line even if the dog is not close to you. The dog will think you have magic powers. [​IMG]
    The give him a treat or a "good boy!!" and repeat it later.
    ETA: I know you just got the dog, and your daughter raised him, but want to mention that this is why when folks get a new puppy, the very first thing you teach him starting from minute one: is how to FOLLOW you. Pups have a "follow" the big leader instinct that should be exploited. Spend alot of time walking AWAY from a new puppy and encouraging him to follow. Try even running away like it's a fun game. I hate it when I see new pup owners chasing their pups. That will make a runaway adult.
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2009
  6. Tala

    Tala Flock Mistress

    I'm with OccamsTazer -- get a prong collar they are MUCH better. A chain choke collar puts all the pressure on one point (where the chain pulls through the ring) ---- put one on your thigh and pop it, you'll get a bruise from it. Now put a prong collar on your leg and pop it - the pressure is better evenly distributed and you should not get a bruise from it. You can even put them on backwards, with the prongs pointing outwards, and still get the same even distribution of pressure.

    I use one on my dog every time we leave the house, ever since she was 4 months old. Some people call them cruel or say that they take a dog out of drive. Guess they never met Dusti. All you have to do is rattle it and she starts jumping up and down. I know it's because she equates the collar with a walk or car ride, but it's still pretty obvious that she isn't hurt/bothered by the prongs. I agree with the person who described prong collars as "power steering for dogs" or maybe it's similar to a horse's bit. Think of it as a means of communication, because it intensifies your signals.

    Sounds like you have the right idea. I recommend basic dog obedience DVD might help you out.
  7. animalgirl2010

    animalgirl2010 Songster

    May 9, 2008
    bootheel of missouri
    Im not a saint expert but I do own one and yes she is stubborn too. She will listen when she wants to and if she gets out of our fence she will run but she doesnt dig or jump the fence or anything so as long as no one opens the gate without watching is the only way she gets out. I have found with walking her she used to pull me around even with anti pull harness. I finally decided to try the halter type thing it is a collar and has a loop for the nose to go through it works by controlling her head I hope that she will learn to walk on a leash without it though b/c it does look uncomfortable but she doesnt seem to mind. There was a new thing I saw a few days ago that I have been thinking about trying here is the
    As far as to keep her from running off I dont know maybe you could train her with a whistle to come when she hears it and then give her treat might work I saw a dog trainer do it once or maybe the invisible dog fence. good luck
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2009
  8. SOchick

    SOchick Songster

    May 29, 2009
    not alot of saint experience, but tons of dog experience. A prong collar is much better. I'm not sure how long you've had her, but she is getting used to you and your rules. Until she learns to listen, don't let her off the leash. Keep her with you on the leash at all times when she is outside. You can get a long training leash (NOT a retractable one with a dog that size) and yes, lots of treats will help too. Call her once, don't keep repeating her name, this teaches her not to listen. A simple obedience class (if you can afford it) would be a good idea too.
  9. fargosmom

    fargosmom Songster

    Dec 27, 2008
    Pasadena, CA
    My dog trainer once suggested that to really instill a good recall, she would take her dog someplace where she'd earlier been able to stash a whole roasted grocery store chicken (meat only, I guess). When the dog came back to her it got the whole chicken . . . if you associated coming back to you with the most mind-blowing treat ever, it's a powerful lesson.
  10. joedie

    joedie Songster

    Mar 17, 2009
    SW Indiana
    Thanks everyone for all the input. I've had her for about 10 days now and she does not pull near as much on the leash as she did. I do have a very long leash (really a horse lead line). I did stop using the choke chain. I'm going to get a prong collar today and see how that does. I've never had a dog that did not come when I called them so I find it very frustrating.[​IMG]

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