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  1. #1
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    Cool ..neurotic dog owner... (long) update post #12. Too cool.

    neurotic dog... not owner... uh, I think...

    Thank you so much for those who had kind words and suggestions for my two boys who have had such a change in their life the past couple months (lost my special dog, and the boy's mother, since Oct.)

    They are getting along very well. Dynamics changing... I have begun to spend a few minutes a day (more when I can, of course) doing some basic obedience. Which, I have admittedly been seriously lax in since they were adolescents. Horrifyingly lax, it turns out. They are really good at 'farm dog' skills... ("let's go in." "leave it." "hush." "enough." "kennel up." HAY MOM THE HORSES ARE ON THE WRONG SIDE OF THE FENCE bark-bark. Good boys.

    They have impeccable manners in the house, are just very easy to LIVE with. But, to my chagrin, have little real 'obedience.' My first goal is to get them just as nice on leash as they are to live with. Calm, respectful, comfortable. I'd *like* to be able to bring both to the vet's together, walk them on a coupler, and a few other long term goals.

    But suddenly, I've discovered, Malarkey is neurotic. Within the first 3 minutes Eamon remembered/figured out "sit." And Malarkey tries every other answer in the book. Into the crate. Under the table? How 'bout the bedroom. He tends to try to 'escape'. (from the livingroom? ) What's funny/weird is even with a treat in my hand, he won't focus on the treat if I try to encourage that back end down--he gets completely distracted and looks away. He also is reluctant to keep focus on a treat or on me. He wants to look down/away etc.

    This is submissive, no?

    My dog training days were almost 20 years ago now. I worked with a top-top K9 trainer, but I'm afraid I did NOT pay as much attention as I could have. Well, I DID back then, but only about the one type of dog I had, who was all-consuming challenging, and bold, engaging and well adjusted.

    Malarkey almost died 3 years ago when I went on my first vacation in 8 years. Long story, but, he and Eamon got their runouts tangled at the dog sitters, and fought. The runout cable sliced up under his armpit and he almost bled out. Much emergency $urgery later, he is almost as good as new, but with permanant swimmer's tail (which I will be looking into--there definitely could be a physical cause for his reluctance to sit, and I'm not fussing about it until I can get him in with the holistic vet.) Both had ear staples etc. It was really a mess and hugely stressful.

    Malarkey has since been more nervous/reactive. He's basically a big sloth who would be more than happy to spend his whole life on the bed. (please, I DO know about beds and dogs--but a single girl in Maine in the winter NEEDS a good big dog to keep her feet warm! ) If you *reach* for him when he is in the crate or on the bed or such--he'll yelp and cower like you've skinned him alive, when all you've done is reach for his collar. More manipulative than I think I give him credit for maybe... He's a very, very sweet dog. BIG. 7 years old now. I've had him since birth--he actually didn't want to be born and I recussitated him--so I KNOW he has NEVER had a hand lifted to him EVER. I have, on the rare occasions they have fought, SCREAMED at them like a certifiable banshee, and impressed upon them in NO uncertain terms that *I* am far scarier than either of them, and they do NOT want to FIGHT or *I* will get them--but have never hit. Never. But if I did not know that, he acts/reacts like he's been abused.

    So I know the basics... what I was taught by my employer (drug, bomb, patrol K9 trainer/certifyer etc.) was start with food & verbal & praise reward and transfer to verbal & praise... basic obedience first--sit, heel, down, stay, recall. In that order. I know how to use the leash correctly...

    And that is all going to go swimmingly perfectly with Eamon.... but Malarkey is another story entirely. He is pretty much the neurotic dog we used to get in to board. And I am suddenly the neurotic dog owner.

    I'd love any ideas, suggestions, books... (I don't have high speed internet, so no you tube please ) Commiseration welcome too.
    Last edited by pintopiaffe; Mar. 6, 2009 at 08:21 PM.
    InnisFailte Pinto Sporthorses & Coloured Cobs
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    Bits are like cats, what's one more? (Petstorejunkie)



  2. #2
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    Our last dog was a very, very messed-up rescue case. Rudy spent the first five years of his life as a stud in a puppy mill ... he basically lived in a crate, coming out only to make puppies. As a result, there were just some "real dog" skills he mentally couldn't master. "Sit" and "down" were two. Despite a LOT of effort and many, many different approaches, he just couldn't get it ... much like your Malarkey, he'd look away, shake, drool, try to leave, even submissive urination.

    End of the day, we just decided to let it be. Rudy knew "ho." "Ho" means your feet stop moving and your eyes look at the human. That worked for our purposes; we could live without the sit and the down. He walked perfectly on the leash, though he was always very, very nervous in new places and with many people around. We accepted his best efforts as his best efforts. Like your guys, he was very easy to live with. (Excepting, of course, his insistence on rolling in manure in such a away that it was ground DEEP into that thick coat ... I've never had to bathe another dog as much as Rudy!)

    Maybe that's the approach to take with Malarkey?
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  3. #3
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    You have far more experience than I do, but I had a simple thought - if you suspect sitting may present a physical issue for him, have you tried working through your refresher training but skipping the items that involve his rear end? Forget 'sit' entirely. Spend next week working on 'heel'. Anyplace where you'd ask him for 'sit' or 'down', just ask for 'stand still'. If he's willing to focus on you, then that reinforces your suspicion that it's a physical thing. If you're still getting nowhere, it's mental.
    Incredible Invisible



  4. #4
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    he may just not be food oriented. my female isn't. I would have to starve her for 24 hours to get her interested in her treats for obedience class (which is what the instructor wanted - I was appalled). I ended up clicker training her (right action = click and lots of praise).

    Some dogs are sharp tempered. They are quick to bark, shy, nervous. There is only so much that you can overcome.

    I use a halti in my female to get her walking well. The way her conformation is a regular collar just doesn't work for her neck. We go for walks all the time and people say to me "why do you have a muzzle on your dog?" You can't educate everyone unfortunatly, but I digress. She doesn't do treats, squeeker toys (or really any toys other than a tennis ball and frisbee).

    My point is you do what works. If its a clicker, choke collar for walking (which is safer by far by the way, PM me for details of why I think this), whatever food you use, it has to work for you.
    Riding the winds of change

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  5. #5
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    This may be a dumb question, but does he sit on his own (when no one is asking that is)? If so, then it might not be a physical issue?

    Some of the puppy training books I have read in the past say to watch the dog and when it looks like they are going to sit on their own, say the word "sit". Eventually they put two and two together and associate the word with the action. I think it does take impeccable timing though.



  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by MunchkinsMom View Post
    This may be a dumb question, but does he sit on his own (when no one is asking that is)? If so, then it might not be a physical issue?

    Some of the puppy training books I have read in the past say to watch the dog and when it looks like they are going to sit on their own, say the word "sit". Eventually they put two and two together and associate the word with the action. I think it does take impeccable timing though.
    On that note, my female physically can not sit square. She leans on one hip or the other. It may be that a sit is not a good command for your dog. If its too much of an issue, move on.

    If I had a well behaved dog that was easy to live with, but they just didn't sit on command... screw the world, I'd be happy with my dog.
    Riding the winds of change

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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rhyadawn View Post
    If I had a well behaved dog that was easy to live with, but they just didn't sit on command... screw the world, I'd be happy with my dog.
    I wholeheartedly endorse this sentiment!
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  8. #8
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    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Rhyadawn http://chronicleforums.com/Forum/ima...s/viewpost.gif
    If I had a well behaved dog that was easy to live with, but they just didn't sit on command... screw the world, I'd be happy with my dog.

    I wholeheartedly endorse this sentiment!


    He is fabulous to live with, don't get me wrong. I know you're not supposed to have favorites, but if I ever had to choose one--it would be him. Mostly because Eamon is so smart and versatile he'd get on fine without me, but Lark is kind and calm and a very gentle soul and not nearly so adaptable.

    He does sit on his own, just fine. And for good lengths of time (he loves to sit on the porch like a gargoyle and just "survey his kingdom." ) so I don't believe it hurts. Still will have him checked out.

    To be perfectly honest, it plain never OCCURRED to me to skip "sit." That's always been ingrained to me as the basic platform of the dog-training-scale so to speak! So already I'm getting some great ideas here.

    I have both a halti and a gentle leader to try with them. I felt like since the bad fight happened when tied out, that it might make sense to have the obedience/leash training be completely separated from their collars. My old boss used them occasionally, used a nylon training collar most.

    He's not food oriented at all. That is part of the problem. I guess I don't know enough about clicker training to understand how you do it *without* food reward. I thought it was action-click-treat. Eventually the click is the reward?

    In a way, it's not broke, so I don't *have* to fix it. But there's a dramatic difference between four and two, and if I can bring them with me and DO more with them, it seems like it's worth the effort.

    I'd sign up for a class in a heartbeat... but I work rotating shifts, so can't do the usual 6 weeks or such. Top it off that right at this moment just getting him into the vehicle and in to class would be pretty traumatic. I'd really LIKE to get to the point where it's not.

    Completley tangential... but Malarkey stayed with me and Gus when Gus died. Stayed the whole time on the bed, while I held Gus while he passed. When Shenanigan died last month, he went in to check her body out... And after I moved her, he was fascinated with where she had been laying, and himself laid on that spot for about two days. Eamon seemed completely oblivious to both situations. I've no idea if that means anything at all... it just strikes me.
    InnisFailte Pinto Sporthorses & Coloured Cobs
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Bits are like cats, what's one more? (Petstorejunkie)



  9. #9
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    I agree on letting Malarkey be Malarkey. Like coloredhorse, we adopted a rescue from a puppy mill(breeding female) and there are things in this life that she may never get over. We've owned her at least 4 years and she is still nervous/afraid of my husband and younger daughter-there's no reason that I can tell-it's just how she is. I get simple pleasure just watching her when she's bounding around outside playing with my other two-she's even getting braver around people. She also loves to roll in stinky things-maybe it's a rescue thing? To be honest, when Kismet is happy, I'm happy. I believe she's entitled to live out her days just learning to be a dog and know that all humans are not evil-those are the only expectations I have for her.
    It's funny-I'm all for my horses being well mannered because it's a safety thing-my dogs-their job is different-they are my companions to curl up on the couch with me and to make me smile with their silly antics.
    I think if your dogs are well behaved and easy to live with and they keep you happy, that's all that matters.



  10. #10
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    I think if your dogs are well behaved and easy to live with and they keep you happy, that's all that matters.


    I'm having a bit of a sweet little weep here... I DO have GREAT dogs. And always have. I'm not quite a dog person the way I'm a horse person... but I cannot, not, NOT imagine living without one. And with my life at the moment and my shifts, I can't imagine not having two. Unless I had one and they had their own kitty, the way Shenanigan had Clue before she had her own puppies.

    You're right. Might be just fine to do obedience work with Eamon, who craves it (he already 'shakes' and sits up/begs--always has--and I NEVER taught him to do either. I always ask him, "WHO taught you that?") and just let Malarkey be Malarkey.

    Eamon spent 4 days in doggie ICU as a pup with Parvo (long story, Mum was a rescue and a carrier--so shots didn't work while pups were nursing) and I nursed Malarkey through it at home. I never, ever planned on keeping both. But Malarkey didn't want to be born... and as a wee tiny pup, Eamon used to come gallumphing up to me, SIT at my feet, and gaze adoringly up at me with those slightly crossed labbie pup eyes. He just WORSHIPPED me. He still does. How do you CHOOSE between those???

    I don't think Malarkey would care less if I walk Eamon, or bring him with me for a ride... as long as I leave the bedroom door open for Lark so he can have the bed...
    InnisFailte Pinto Sporthorses & Coloured Cobs
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Bits are like cats, what's one more? (Petstorejunkie)



  11. #11
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    I didn't follow traditional clicker training (behavior modification idea), I basically used a click as the "treat" Ceidleigh likes to be praised, nothing makes her happier. So as soon as I click I praise, whether its having her chest rubbed or be talking to her, its all good so long as its praise.
    Riding the winds of change

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  12. #12
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    HOLY CRAP! You're not going to believe this...

    SERIOUSLY.

    So the boys have been out the last hour or so while I'm browsing this... starts to pour, I bring them in. Cut up a hot dog... ask them to sit...

    And Malarkey sits on cue like he's been doing it all his life. Repeatedly. On command.

    Now, of course, we still have issues to overcome... but I take it back.

    I AM the neurotic owner apparently. The DOG seems to have figured it out just fine.

    How cool is that?

    They're both lounging around the house in their respective halti/gentle leaders... we'll practice more in a little bit then call it a night.

    HOLY CRAP!!!!!!!!
    InnisFailte Pinto Sporthorses & Coloured Cobs
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Bits are like cats, what's one more? (Petstorejunkie)



  13. #13
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    It's the hot dogs (doggie junk food)! Your post made me laugh.

    On a serious note, it might be because you had changed your "energy" level on the whole sitting issue, and were not tense about it, or rather "less intense" about it that he decided that sitting was okay to do today.



  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by MunchkinsMom View Post
    It's the hot dogs (doggie junk food)! Your post made me laugh.

    On a serious note, it might be because you had changed your "energy" level on the whole sitting issue, and were not tense about it, or rather "less intense" about it that he decided that sitting was okay to do today.
    Munckin might have hit it on the head. I too have a sensitive dog. Raised from a pup so we too know he's never been abused, but you wouldn't know it. When stressed he sure acts like a dog that has been beat. He get's really stupid if he's under pressure and can't perform at all, just gets more worried. But, if you are relaxed, he's the smartest dog I ever saw.... So your dog could be the same way and today, when you were totally relaxed, he was to, so he became a shining star..... Just have to keep that same relaxation going and he'll learn... What breed? Did I miss that part? Mine is a Border Collie (a breed known for their sensitivity....)
    Turn off the computer and go ride!



  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by pintopiaffe View Post
    HOLY CRAP! You're not going to believe this...

    SERIOUSLY.

    So the boys have been out the last hour or so while I'm browsing this... starts to pour, I bring them in. Cut up a hot dog... ask them to sit...

    And Malarkey sits on cue like he's been doing it all his life. Repeatedly. On command.
    I totally believe you!
    I decided to teach my big dog, Joe, "shake" one day - but it just. was. not. happening. My otherwise very smart, totally biddable boy just sat there, looking at me like I was asking him to do my taxes. He could not figure out why I kept saying "Paw" and grabbing his foot. I finally decided that shake was a dumb trick anyway, so why bother?

    About a month later, on a very rainy day, as we came back into my apartment, I pulled out a towel to dry Joe's feet. Not even thinking about it I said "Dude, give me your foot" and voila, he very politely lifts a paw and gives it to me, so I ask for the other one (because it's wet, too) and whoops, there's the other one, politely presented!
    I think that Joe just needed some time to sort it out on his own - and I needed to quit pressuring him to do something that he just wasn't getting, and didn't see any reason for.

    Since then, I've seen it happen a few more times - I think some dogs just need to mull things over a little bit.

    (Though I would still get that swimmer's tail checked/ruled out - when she had it, Lira *really* wanted to sit when I asked, but she just couldn't do it comfortably.)

    Aren't dogs cool?



  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by MunchkinsMom View Post
    On a serious note, it might be because you had changed your "energy" level on the whole sitting issue, and were not tense about it, or rather "less intense" about it that he decided that sitting was okay to do today.

    This is so interesting reading about how everyone's working with different personalities. I had the same thought as MunchkinsMom when I read the last update. Maybe sometimes we just have to stop worrying? I have a worrier horse and the more worried I am about him worrying, the more he worries!! Reminds me of the story I read somewhere about the horseowner who couldn't get her horse to load and her non-horsy dad nonchalantly points out she's thinking too hard and promptly takes the horse up into the trailer.
    Fear is the rocket sauce.
    Jack Black



  17. #17
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    Definitely ME that changed, though perhaps he had a chance to stew on it too.

    I basically had "let go" of the expectation that he HAD to sit as the basis of the training. And *boom* there it was.

    All of these replies are really so helpful. Obviously it's a change and an emotional time for me too. It's been a helluva winter.

    I'm really hoping one or both of them can inspire me to walk more... I'd love it if they were able to accompany me places the way my first Good Big Black Dog did.

    Though, if I'm honest, I don't think THEY find too much lacking in their days. Get up, go out. Hang out in the backyard watching horses and barn kitties and keeping the crows away... or at least far *enough* away. Come in. Eat. Sleep. Get up and go out again at night, play and raise the roof while I do chores. Come in. Eat. Sleep On Bed. Get Belly Rubbed. Lather, rinse, repeat.

    On days off, Eamon can stay out as long as he likes, often 7 or 8 hours. Malarkey usually likes to come in in the afternoon and nap. j

    I seriously have always said in my next life I want to come back as one of MY animals. Not just any animal, but one of my spoilt, pampered, very, very much LOVED animals.
    InnisFailte Pinto Sporthorses & Coloured Cobs
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Bits are like cats, what's one more? (Petstorejunkie)



  18. #18
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    "hink some dogs just need to mull things over a little bit."

    it's called latent learning. Some animals (not just dogs, horses and people do it too), need down time to process what they have been taught. Often they can't process immediately when there is a high stress level so if "put away" or "left alone" it will process at a later time.

    I would use a marker word, and food with Malarkey, for the simple reason that food lowers adrenalin levels. It will help him to learn to relax during training sessions.

    see this article for a how and why:

    http://dragonflyllama.com/%20DOGS/Wr...ulOfTeeth.html



  19. #19
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    What a FABULOUS website. And blog. And directives.

    I've just spent the better part of 3 hours there, and if I didn't have the Irish Catholic guilt about wasting ALL of a day off when it's not raining/snowing/sneeting/frizzling... I'd be still parked there! More tonight! I am learning as much (and inspired) from the blog as from the straight out training info.

    More sitting today. The thing that's lovely about Malarkey is he's pretty mellow and low key. Once he gets it, he pretty much does what you just asked until you ask for something else. Eamon sits, then gives a paw, then sits up (who TAUGHT you that?) and is quite the teacher's pet.

    I am very, very glad I asked. It *completely* makes me smile.
    InnisFailte Pinto Sporthorses & Coloured Cobs
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Bits are like cats, what's one more? (Petstorejunkie)



  20. #20
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    Yeah!!



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