Jax is being obnoxious! Suggestions?


Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!
14 Years
Nov 9, 2007
SW Arkansas
Our older GSD has gotten very spoiled with DH being home on sick leave these past few months. DH is Jax's master, Jax's "being" and there's a reason they call GSDs velcro dogs.
DH is now more mobile with the cast/boot off his leg and he's soon to return to work.
The problem is, Jax has a fit every time DH leaves the house without him. For instance, right now DH is gone to town for a few minutes. Jax had a fit when he left, whining and barking. Jax is now pacing back and forth to the living room window and back to me.
We've tried putting him in his crate before DH leaves. He still whines, but as least he can't pace. If I tell him to sit (by me) and wait he will, for a few minutes, before he gets up and starts his pacing again.
Any other ideas?
Tell hubby to take his dog with him.

Or, make Jax do as you say and sit and wait. Don't let him get up and resume pacing, be a leader to him so that he can relax with you. Or do something with him so he is also bonded to you, like a walk or a game.
Ok, this is time consuming, and I've never done it, but Victoria (dog trainer), on her show, "It's Me or The Dog," worked with a dog with that problem something like this:
1. DH tells dog to stay, goes out, shuts door, comes right back in, says, "Good dog!" I think they give the dog a treat, too (not sure)
2. DH tells dog to stay, goes out, shuts door, WAITS 2 minutes, comes back in, says, "Good dog!" gives dog treat.

The scenerio is that they slowly increased the time before opening the door, making it longer and longer that they were away, until the dog understood that they would always come back.

She did this with a dog that would destroy furniture and actually open and raid the refridgerator when his owners left. It took tons of patience, but it worked!
I wish I had written this down, but there is a cable show on (or satellite, actually I guess) that is on here every morning early, called The Balancing Act. Yesterday morn. was about a collar that has been developed that Petsmart and the other retailers are going to carry that is a soothing collar for wont of a better explanation. It's for dogs and cats that have separation anxiety and I only caught the last 2 min. so not sure how it works, but its suppose to be affordable and really helps the animal cope. Shows dogs ripping things up when they are alone (you can watch America's Funniest Video's and see that!!!) and then how this collar soothes them. They showed the package and said Petsmart will be carrying it, so if you are close to one maybe you could find out exactly what this is. You might be able to go online and type in "the balancing act tv show" and see what comes up.

I think Victoria is amazing with what she does with those animals. I like the fact she comes back and sees if they continued with her therapy and kept the animal(s) under control.

I love reading your stories Grit about your GSDs. There is one here in our little bitty burg that is just a lovely animal, and is allowed to roam a teeny bit once in awhile. I want to be his friend, but think that i better not, as when the chicks DO come (and they are going to be here I swear!!!!!!!) I don't need anymore animals roaming through our acreage than we already have.
You can free shape him to lie quietly on a mat when your husband leaves.

Pick out a mat for him to lie on. Have ready a good amount of soft tasty treats (hot dogs, string cheese, left over table meats, boiled chicken etc) cut into very small pieces. Pieces should be about half the size of a nickel. If I were going to train this to your dog, I would keep bags of bait cut up in my fridge for several days in the beginning. If the dog is well motivated by it, you can also use his kibble to train. Either way, if your dog has a weight issue, you need to deduct the approximate amount of the bait from his regular meals.

You will also need something to mark his behavior with. If you have a clicker, great. If not, you can use the word "Yep!" said in a pleasant but clipped tone of voice. If your dog has not learned what a marker means, take 50 treats, and feed them to him in a row one right after the other. Use your marker, and each time immediately feed the dog. So, if you are using the word YEP it is Yep/treat/yep/treat/yep/treat continuous until the treats are gone. Then you are ready to start training.

So, you have your treats and your mat. Start with your husband at home and the dog relaxed. Call him over near the mat, and each time he puts a foot on the mat, mark and treat. Don't say anything. Don't coax him to the mat. Just mark and treat him every time he touches it. If he is having a really tough time with getting started touching the mat, throw a treat onto the mat a couple of times, and each time he touches it to get the treat, mark and treat again. It is important to mark as quickly as possible in the beginning when his foot touches the mat.

NOTE: DO NOT hold the food in your hand. Put it on a table or countertop, and get a treat each time you reward the dog.

Once the dog goes to the mat 3 straight times in a row the first time you put it down on the floor and start to train, move to the next step. Random reinforcement.

Now you are going to begin to SHAPE this behavior that your dog has learned. Now you will click for longer stays on the mat. For all 4 feet on the mat. For any dipping of his head while on the mat. Any sitting, click. You can shape your dog into downing on the mat within a few days if you just stick with it. Remember, no talking during this type of training. Just mark, and treat when you see behaviors that may be an approximation of what you want later.

Keep raising your criteria. Keep your rewards random. Jackpot the dog and give him several treats every once in a while, or when he makes a breakthrough. The more rewards your dog gets while he is on the mat, the more he will WANT to be on the mat. Once he is putting all 4 feet on the mat consistently, start giving him a release command every single time, starting with very short durations. Mark and treat for the release just as you did the other things. Now you are building into him to STAY on the mat until you release him. Again, the more you do this, and reward the dog, and build a reward history with him with this behavior, the stronger the behavior will be. Once he stays on the mat for 10+ seconds 3 straight times the first time you put it down, you can start naming the behavior. Be sure to be using your release command. THIS is what teaches your dog to stay until you release him.

These methods work for any behavior you want to teach your dog. Once you start training this way, it is seriously addictive, and AMAZING the things you can teach your dog. Dogs trained like this really REALLY want to work with you.

Once you have this behavior built, THEN your husband should begin leaving for short periods, with you building reinforcement into his calm behavior on the mat over time.

Good luck.
Thanks for all the helpful suggestions.

ETA: BTW, this is the same dog that (when he was a pup) DH whined because Jax was very attached to me. Now he's grown and he's attached to DH at the hip.
Kane is MY dog and does basically the same thing, although not as intense, when I leave.
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this is why all dogs need to be given a spot of their own and have down time in it..they need to learn it is ok to be by themselves at times,,or you get a bigger problem you have to deal with later on..he can be trained,but it will take time and be harder at his age..good suggestions have been given.
Look at him like he's lost his ever-loving mind.

Kane is a very quiet, sedate dog. When Jax is raising cain (pardon the pun) about anything, Kane just sits back and watches him. DH has been trying to teach Kane to "speak" for a few months now. Kane refuses to bark about anything.

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