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Spin-off from the growler thread

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  • Spin-off from the growler thread

    I almost hate to post this, as I was warned by some of you in the past that there was a possibility of this happening. But as some of you know, I have two dogs at the moment: Toffee, and Snickers. Toff is a who knows what, no tail Black and tan square bodied dog, and I have no way to link to photos from this computer. Snick is a Border/Aussie cross. He is male, Toff is a female. Toffee is a no nonsense strraight up girl. Snick is a class clown. She dislikes him quite a bit, but since I have been crating him, she is better.
    At least I thought so. Now I do not allow dogs on my bed or furniture, and she has always had a problem with that, but I thought was compliant. I came home one day and found dog bones I had bought for Snickers, in my bed having been chewed a bit. Now I say bought for Snickers because Toffee has never shown any desire to chew any toys or chewy things. Since he was crated, I knew it was her.
    the bigger problem, [this is where you warned me,] when we go out, she has turned into a maniac in the car. We were going out the other day, and someone had the NERVE to walk down the street, and pass my driveway as we were leaving. she went berserk, barking savagely, with the little catch in her throat. I have seen her lunge at people minding their own business while she is safely in the car. It is embarrassing. What in the world can I do besides admit defeat and leave her at home? How can I 'correct' this behavior? Snickers is oblivious to it all. He is the world's friendliest dog. My original thought, and I am not convinced it is wrong, is that she thinks they might want to pet Snick, and she is saying OH NO YOU DON"T! and tries to protect the car. Any ideas? In case you haven't guessed, I am clueless about dog training. She has been thru obedience, and passed. Snick has not. Toffee has a recall of about 90% Snickers about 20%, so he is NEVER allowed off leash.
    Another killer of threads

  • #2
    well, let me suggest you read Karen Pryor's short book "don't shoot the dog". Don't worry, it's not long, and even if it gives you no insight into your personal dog problems, the info can be readily used when dealing with your horse, your kids, your mom, your boss, etc....

    Anyway, luckily enough, you don't need to have a clue as to why a dog does something to stop the dog from doing it (which is a good thing, since most of the time we guess totally wrong), we just have to change the consequences of the behavior. We want the dog to be quiet in the car, so we need to start by rewarding quiet. I bet you've missed endless opportunities to say "good dog" to your calm, quiet dog in the car. That's step one. You can do this as often as you like throughout the dog's life.
    I'm assuming you don't have a "stop barking" cue installed? if you haven't taught a recall, I'm guessing not, so we won't bother with what you could do with that or how to teach it.

    For stopping dogs from doing things you don't like, but the dog has been doing them for a period of time already, and they appear to be self-reinforcing (i.e. it's fun in some way for the dog to do them), and they don't really involve owner-dog interactions: such as barking at people passing by the car, or getting on the furniture when you aren't around, or surfing the counters for food while you are away, I like to turn to technology.

    Technology is a much better trainer than people- it's always consistent, it always has perfect timing, and even the busiest of people can usually manage to get it to work. It requires no skill or knowledge on the part of the person.
    Scat mats will keep your dog off the furniture and off the counter.
    In your case, I'd suggest buying or borrowing a simple no-bark collar and just putting it on the dog before you get in the car. You don't have to do anything. It will self-correct the dog.

    For future reference, it's much easier for all concerned to prevent bad habits from occurring, if you the dog owner have the skill and foresight to do so. It's sort of a "reactive" vs. "proactive" approach to dog training.

    You admit to not being skilled- that's a good first step.
    Instead of obedience classes, I recommend that the unskilled dog owners take "silly trick classes". A trick class will teach you the nuts and bolts of training in a way that a basic obedience class will not, and you and your dog will benefit far more. And probably have more fun.