Dog Trainers/ Breeders...Please Help

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by rodriguezpoultry, Oct 19, 2009.

  1. rodriguezpoultry

    rodriguezpoultry Langshan Lover

    Jan 4, 2009
    Claremore, OK
    I am having a major issue with the poodle. He is 10 years old, we got him when he was 4 from a rescue group. He was my mom's dog and before she passed she made me promise I'd take care of him. So get ready for every owner's worst nightmare:

    1. This dog marks...on everything. He is potty-trained but refuses to tell me he needs to go until it's too late.

    2. He bites. If you try to clip him, trim his toenails, turn him on his back...he will bite and it's not a tiny bite either. It makes you bleed.

    3. He will only be around you when he wants something. He is a mooch...plain and simple. If he wanted to be around you to be around you I'd love it, but he doesn't want anything to do with you unless you've got something he wants, is jealous of the other dog or are leaving. Which leads me to:

    4. He apparently has separation anxiety issues? He whines. AWFUL. When you're leaving or coming back. Inbetween he is in his crate and is happy. He and the Shih Tzu share the crate.

    5. He's a sneak...he'll sneak anything he can away from you.

    6. He will RUN out the door and not come back until HE is ready. We have tried training, shock collars, invisible fences, door blockers....I'm at a loss as to what to do on him with this.

    I have gotten rescues through every dog I've ever owned. Why is he like this? He still enjoys humping my poor Shih Tzu even though he is neutered, so I have a feeling he was used as a stud dog.

    Any ideas on how to curttail some of these things? I pretty much just leave him inside the crate when I see him on his "roving" expeditions to try and steal something.
  2. Judy

    Judy Crowing Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    He's like that because he has been allowed/trained to be like that for 10 years. The only poodles I've known, not many, were much the same. It would take a lot of time and some expert knowledge to change him, if it can be done.

    I'm afraid I'd put him in an outdoor dog house and run, and leave him there, and leash walk him each day, or provide a large fenced yard.
  3. Amyable

    Amyable Songster

    Dec 16, 2008
    Greenleaf, WI
    Call Cesar? [​IMG]

    Has he been acting like this his whole life or only since your mom passed away? We have a rescued dog and dealt with some of these issues too.

    1. Is it possible to put him outside, in a yard or on a line, at regular intervals for an hour or more? Even if he doesn't have to go at that moment at least he is not in the house. Maybe he'll get the point.

    2. Our dog was really volatile about his toenails being trimmed. We held him forcibly a few times, but by using treats he eventually became tolerant of it. It took several years before he stopped freaking out.

    4. Ours also had separation anxiety. If he is just whining, will putting him in his crate solve that? Apparently his crate is his happy place. He isn't destroying anything, is he?

    I hope you can get to the bottom of his behavior, or mitigate it enough to make him livable.
  4. rodriguezpoultry

    rodriguezpoultry Langshan Lover

    Jan 4, 2009
    Claremore, OK
    If I didn't put him in his crate while I was gone...he has torn up the carpet from being in a locked room (we live in an apartment complex during the week). He has torn up carpeting, scratched up doors.

    That's the awful thing. I've been trying to train him for the past 6 years on this stuff. At some points he seems to get it, then all of a sudden, the constant training seems to go right out of his head. That's probably the most frustrating part. It seems as though he just doesn't want to learn. Or, he's learning, but doesn't care?

    See, that's the other weird thing. If we put him outside...all he does is stand there and bark and whine? He doesn't run around. I take him to the shelter every other day to let him run off steam, and he wont' do anything except for bark and whine?
  5. greyhorsewoman

    greyhorsewoman Songster

    Mar 3, 2008
    Endless Mts, NE PA
    It will be difficult to retrain him at his age. You might try getting on handle on some things though:

    1) Get a 'belly band' ... they wrap around the belly and velcro or snap so that when he 'marks' he isn't actually reaching any targets.

    2) Muzzle him when you want to clip his coat or toenails.

    3) He is not bonded to you. Maybe a little one-on-one time with him. Since he is treat-motivated, you might teach him some tricks. Try rewarding positive behavior with a bright voice & a treat.

    4) When you leave, crate him with the ShihTzu, if they get along .. to reduce his anxiety. Or a special chewstick or treat to distract him from focusing on your leaving.

    5) You didn't say what he sneaks or if he destroys what he sneaks off with. Maybe you could create a game where he is allowed to sneak something?

    6) I'm assuming he is a toy or miniature poodle. So, PICK HIM UP before you open the door. You need to do what will keep him safe first.
  6. rodriguezpoultry

    rodriguezpoultry Langshan Lover

    Jan 4, 2009
    Claremore, OK
    That's what I've been doing...picking him up or locking him up before I open the door. I just can't understand why he isn't like the Shih Tzu? She wouldn't bolt out the door or be more than 3 feet away from me for any reason?

    She doesn't have separation anxiety either...just weird. He knows, sit, stay, down, speak. Thing is, when he sees that door open...he is GONE. Got the belly band already. It's a permanent fixture.

    I've tried muzzling. We are actually to the point of hog-tying him for his nail clipping. I have completely given up on trimming his hair, so every few months, I take him to the vet to have them give him a shot. He goes completely limp and is OUT of it. They give me the reversal, but heck...I never use it!

    The groomers will no longer take him without him being sedated. I think the "bonding" is the issue. He never bonded with my mom either. I'm the "closest" one to him as I'm able to get him to do the tricks. I have a feeling his past is way more screwed up than I thought it was.

    ETA: This is going to sound absolutely awful, but any ideas on how long miniatures live? I know our toy (sweetest thing) lived to be 16 years old.
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2009
  7. mandelyn

    mandelyn Crowing

    Aug 30, 2009
    Mt Repose, OH
    My Coop
    The easiest fix (though still time consuming) is to leash him to you when you're home. That'll stop the marking, the sneaking, and the bolting out the door stuff.

    Never let him walk ahead of you, you have to be the leader. On stubborn dogs, be careful of the neck, because there is such a thing as too much pulling. You want to "bump" the leash, not pull. When he tries to get in the lead, stop, bump him back, if by the 3rd time he isn't back behind you or at your side, pick him up and place him there. You have to stop and correct EVER TIME he tries to do it his way, or all training will just go right out of his head.

    With bull-headed dogs, consistancy is REALLY important. If you slack for a day or two or three, the training is just gone. (they know it, but it's like they refuse to remember)

    Muzzle him for grooming. With the muzzle on, never jump back if he snaps, control yourself to know he can't get you, so that when he attempts to snap through the muzzle, you can push his head away (two fingers to the neck behind the ear).

    You can't give space or freedom to dogs like this until they respect you or bond with you. He has neither bond nor respect. Poodles can live a pretty long while, so if he's still in good health and doesn't act like a feeble old man, he could go another 5 years or more.

    Poodles are also very smart. By leashing him to you the WHOLE time when he is not crated, he will very quickly learn he can't do ANYTHING without your permission. Expect to do this for 6 weeks or more. Maybe less if he decides his situation really isn't as bad as he thinks it is. Depends on the dog.

    Corrections need to be a bump on the leash, or two fingers to the neck behind the ear. When you're eating, he can watch... but there's to be no begging or whining or anything. Correct the whines! They will stop. Every little squeek! Think of the key words you want to tie to the corrections/commands, for when you "cut the embilical cord".

    For example, the little "worthless" dog I'm rehabilitating now, plays the gimp card. He has a bumb leg, and he exagerates it when he wants something or if he's in trouble. I ignore it. He whined nonstop for the first 4 days he was here, but every time he cried at me, I poked him in the neck and said "no whining".

    He screamed bloody murder in the crate, he thought he'd be sleeping in the bed. So I moved the crate closer to the bed, so I could tap the top of it when he cried. Night two went much better than night one.

    He wanted to drag me down the street on walks. People allow this from small dogs because they don't have much pull. But small dogs needs to be treated like big dogs. It took 3 weeks for him to walk nicely. Still not perfect, but he's not dragging on the leash. (it's why you have to bump the leash, since a pulling contest lasts forever)

    He wants to shove between the 90 pound Shepherds for attention, get snappy over food, and do all these little dog obnoxious things. The first week he was here was quite the trial. Initially I saved the food aggression for later, by feeding him seperate and working on his other issues. I leashed him to me, so I could address everything all at once, besides the eating. That I started working on 2 weeks ago, and he can now eat in the same room as the Shepherds.

    I cut the cord a couple days ago, because he learned so fast how this household works. Yours may take a lot longer, because he's not new to the house. I started this at day one, and you're going to be changing things up after 6 years. So both of you have habits to change.

    Look into getting some of Ceaser's DVDs, since you've been having the same issues for several years, there's a missing link somewhere between you and the dog.

    But it's totally do-able if you gain your confidence, and that's all it is. I learned it from having giant dogs and working horses. So small dogs are a cake walk. But for someone who's usually had small dogs or well behaved large dogs, the transition can be a hard one.

    For the time being though, here's some "rules"

    1- Don't tolerate anything you don't like. Don't let him screw up 3 times before you do anything about it, correct the very first time he does it, and each time after that. Whining? Don't listen to it until your eye starts twitching before you do anything, stop that first whine and hold your ground about it until he quits.

    2- Don't tolerate that snappy stuff. If he gets snappy over the change in training (like he might try to get snappy over putting a leash on, if he knows he'll be stuck to you) then use the muzzle to get through those tantrums. That's all the snapping is, a tantrum. Poke him in the neck and move on to something else. Every time.

    3- Be consistant. If you want to stop the whining, stop the whining. Not just half the time when you have a headache. Every single one. Don't look at him, talk to him, or tell him it's ok. Poke him in the neck and ignore him, maybe throw in a dirty look. That way he learns that the whining is a waste of time and you don't like it.

    Dogs understand our body language, and they also have their own. They learn what our facial expressions mean, and our tone of voice. So think about every move or muscle twitch you make, and what it's conveying to your dog. Also take into account how you treat the other dog. You need to treat them as equals to each other, but not equal to you. You can't spoil one and not the other. If you want one on the couch with you, the other needs to be on your other side. If they want to snap at each other over your lap, you need to correct BOTH of them, not the one you "think" started it. Usually people blame the wrong dog, because they miss the dog body language. It starts with a look, the first to snap isn't usually the instigater.

    And don't make a big deal about leaving/arriving. Just leave. Just come home. Don't make a giant fuss about how happy you are to see them, don't have a whole conversation about being good while you're gone. They're not children, you don't have to "tell" them anything about how long you'll be gone or anything. If you make it a big deal to leave or come home, they'll think it's a big deal. Which leads to seperation anxiety, over excitement, stress, ect. Put them in the crate, walk out the door. Come in the door, leash the poodle (without talking!), take them outside.

    Everything needs to be calm, confident, and deliberate.
  8. Wolf-Kim

    Wolf-Kim Songster

    Jan 25, 2008
    Quote:He's 10, so he is going to be harder to train, especially since these aren't "new" behaviors but rather engrained old habits.

    1) This is going to be the most time consuming habit to break. How large is his kennel? He also needs his own kennel. A kennel should be the "dog's" space, it should be his safe place and he shouldn't have to share it. This may also be why he feels he has to mark everything as "his". When he comes out of the kennel, he goes immediately(!) outside. Bring him back in and watch him extremely close, if that leg goes up, you immediatly(!!) yell "NO!" and take him outside. You have to be quick and do it everytime. When you are not there to keep that close of an eye, he goes into his own kennel.

    2)Get a muzzle. I cannot see how or why the dog is biting. Most of the time, biting when it comes to ears, grooming, and nails comes from insecurity. Muzzle him, and then go slow, making sure not to hurt or make him feel discomfort. Your safety comes first.

    3) This may not be one you can help. Some dogs get attached to a single person, and nobody else. Your mother may have been his one person, so he may never get "attached" to you. Things you can try are, playing(not with treats but toys) and taking him places. Next time you go to the park or to petsmart or the home improvement store, leash him and tie it to your waste. Being in strange new places will bring him closer to you.

    4) This is another tough and time consuming one. Seperation anxiety is a toughie. Sometimes you can get some very light sedatives from the vet, it won't knock him out, but it will relax him. I wouldn't do that unless he is truly distressed when left alone. I would try training first. Place him in his crate, if he cries there. Put him in and immediately let him back out, before(!!) he has a chance to whine. Slowly, VERY slowly work the time up, always trying to let him out before he cries. If he cries, wait until he is done before letting him out. You'll have to repeat this everywhere he suffers from this anxiety. Even if it means standing outside your apartment door with your ear against the door.

    5) Sneaking. Is he sneaking food off the counter? Need a little more information on what and when he is sneaking and then what he does with it.

    6) Buy a training lead. I got mine at walmart, it's just a 20-40 foot nylon leash. Leave it on him while he's in the house and you are home. Do NOT leave it on him unattended, he could get it hung up on something. You want to tie the leash to something near the door. Enough to where he can get out the door if he wanted to, but not enough to get away. Now the training starts. Draw a semi-circle around your door, that is "your" space. It may even help to put down colored tape, so there is a visible mark. Act like you are going to open the door, and stop if he acts like he's going to come into "your" space. Make him go back out, he cannot enter "your" space. Give him the command "Back." and move him out of the semi-circle. Eventually you will work up from "going to the door" to actually "opening and shutting the door". Training is all about steps and increments. The training lead is to keep him safe, so he doesn't actually get away during training. Don't hold the lead while working on this lesson, because he'll realize when he's wearing the leash and when he's not. Eventually, when he is no long attempting to enter "your" space, you can take the lead off and repeat the training. If he even puts one paw in your space, move him back. When you take him out, carry him out or have him on a walking leash. Going out the door ANYTIME you should make the dogs sit and wait until you release them to actually go through the door.

    Good luck. [​IMG]
  9. Nana2KJS

    Nana2KJS Chicks-n-Ahs

    Mar 21, 2009
    SE Kansas
    Once again I will recommend homeopathy. These issues are classic symptoms of chronic disease brought on by years of vaccinations, chemical exposures, breeding issues, etc. ClassicalHomeopathyPets is a yahoo group dedicated to teaching its members about the use and benefits of homeopathy for pets. The moderator is a trained homeopath who will work with you via email to treat your animal and help you reverse the damages and return them to a healthy state.
  10. rodriguezpoultry

    rodriguezpoultry Langshan Lover

    Jan 4, 2009
    Claremore, OK
    As far as I know..he has not had any vaccinations since we got him from the rescue. He had horrible allergic reactions so we simply stopped.

    The ONLY thing he is given is heartworm medicines and Comfortis.

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