View Full Version : terrible two's ?????

13th April 2009, 08:38 PM
my girl was two in feb. sometimes she just chooses to ignore me. today was just too much. this is indoors only as she is never off the leash outside.
she won't come to me when called if she doesn't want to, she just looks at me. this morning it felt defiant. 3 times within 5 minutes she just refused to come to me. I had to really ask before she would bother. the last time you could see her thinking.......she sat there while I called her to come...to her right, the couch and her cozy spot to hang out. to the left, me, in the chair. I called and called, she just looked back and forth without a care to what I was asking her to do, only looking to please herself.
I put this together just this morning with something she does every great once in awhile at the threshold of our bedroom door. at night when we go to bed we shut the door. she normally just trots on in and settles down. every now and again she sits just at the threshold and won't come in, we call and call then she will come. I have shut the door on her if she won't come in after a few times calling so I made her wait hoping that would break the habit. it works for awhile and she hasn't done it for ages in the bedroom...but this morning she would not come out of the garage/art room when I called. finally I shut the door and left her there for a few minutes before I went back to let her out. which happened a just a few moments before the couch or mom incident! it has got me thinking I need to get this fixed! it must be my dog's evil twin. I never yell at her and I don't want to consstantly give her treats. she has never had any bad experience coming to anyone so she is far from worried or afraid, it is just plain I don't wanna!! thanks for any help or ideas in advanced.

14th April 2009, 12:23 AM
i'm so glad its not just me. madam has the occasional stubborn moment. any tips on how to fix it would be good.

14th April 2009, 02:18 AM
i'm so glad its not just me. madam has the occasional stubborn moment. any tips on how to fix it would be good.

ohhhh thanks goodness I am not alone. for a second I thought I had stumped everyone.

Mom of Jato
14th April 2009, 03:38 AM
My two do the same thing from time to time. Now if I have treats in hand...oh boy, they come running when called for sure. :rolleyes:

14th April 2009, 05:20 AM
the only advice that i would give is that if they do not listen, minus if they are in grave danger, get up and leave. give them the cold shoulder for a bit if they don't come after the first or second attempt at the recall.

Cathy Moon
14th April 2009, 12:31 PM
Here's a few things to think about:

I'd have the vet check her over to make sure she is ok; if she has any kind of discomfort she'll be less responsive
How is her hearing? I have 2 cavaliers with hearing loss, and that will make a difference in how responsive they are
Many people who have owned male dogs will tell you that males are often more responsive, attached, and obedient than females - I've found it to be true with my dogs
Two of the best trainers I've worked with will tell you this can be a sign of slightly higher intelligence, in that the smarter dogs will weigh their options much like you're describing
The best way to overcome this problem is to think about what you're doing before you call your dog to you. Make sure that you call your dog only when there is going to be a positive outcome, such as a treat, a tummy rub, play time, affection, etc. Don't call your dog if the outcome is going to be a brushing, bath, nail trim, eye drops, face wiping, (or even nothing at all) - unless your dog likes any of these things. If I want to trim nails, I call the dog, give a small treat (kibble) pick the dog up for a snuggle and attention, then after the dog has forgotten he/she was called, I'll start trimming the nails. Call your dog only when you're happy, and if you aren't feeling happy at least try to fake it! ;) If you only call your dog for really positive outcomes, when a situation arises where your dog gets loose, he/she will be much more likely to come straight back to you when called.

14th April 2009, 01:21 PM
I agree with Cathy.

First: it is really important to understand how dogs think and not ascribe motives where dogs simply do not have them. Dogs are not being 'defiant' in not returning or ignoring a command. :thmbsup: They are simply showing that either 1) they are having actual hearing difficulties 2) we the owners have not adequately trained them, nor reinforced this training regularly and in a positive way, so that the dog actually knows what is being requested and happily and consistently complies. Either of these is NOT the dog's fault.

*** I'd think about what your body language or tone of voice is saying to her if she is uncertain as to whether to come -- that could be just as negative as shouting and it may be that you are actually giving out the equivalent of what the dog sees as punishment without realising it. Closing the door on her is ALSO definitely negative training and punishment! (you are teaching her tht when she is called you then lock her out for a while -- this must be very confusing to sometimes be made welcome and sometimes have the door shut when your name is called -- eg you have to look at it from a dog-logic point of view to see she isn;t getting any consistent message :thmbsup:).So you are actually probably doing a few things here that are not pleasant for her and contributing to her lack of response. This is an easy mistake to make...! Also do you have a specific recall command or are you just using her name? You want to have a specific word that is unique for this one idea. :)

A positive-methods based approach to training always ensures a responsive dog that WANTS to do what is asked because it knows good things ALWAYS have happened when it responds. If the dog has been scolded or even worse, physically punished for 'not coming' -- a concept a child might comprehend but the dog will NOT understand (it will only see this as being punished for *coming*, even if it takes a little while) -- this will only guarantee the dog is less and less inclined to ever come at all. It's a very common training problem that actually negates what the owner is trying to do! Many people get short tempered and shout or punish their dog not thinking that they are making it less likely the dog will ever return when called and may only avoid the owner more because it has been now trained to think "when I am called and go to my owner this has to be the wrong response because I get yelled at so I'd better not go to them when they say my name". Most training problems and behaviour problems are the result of people unknowingly reinforcing the behaviour they don't want and sending the dog the wrong signals when trying to train a command. We forget that unlike a child they do not understand explanations of why they need to do something and only can operate on a direct cause/effect basis. So if you are accidentally teaching the wrong thing -the dog is indeed learning but learning the response or behaviour you don't want! That's why owners need to be very aware of what their body language or voice is saying -- eg do we think we are doing one thing and encouraging one behaviour when actually the dog is understanding just the opposite? This is very often the case with recall (see below).

I'd go to the vet first to have your dog's hearing tested (deafness is quite common in cavaliers and if you have a deaf or hard of hearing dog it is very important to know this -- you will then need to always keep her on a lead as she won't hear traffic, or you calling, or other potential warning sounds!). I'd also look over the way you have tried teaching recall and consider whether anything was done in that process to make the dog less likely to want to come sometimes (eg has the dog been scolded or punished for not doing what you say?). And I'd get involved in a fun, rewards-based class with your dog either way, as reinforcing training is a lifetime activity and all dogs -- deaf or hearing -- benefit from refresher classes, socialising with other dogs and people, and learning to focus on you despite the distractions of a crowd of dogs, people, and lots of background activity and noise. Teaching a dog in isolation, at home, tends to produce a dog that only responds in quiet situations at home. This is not the environment in which we expect most dogs to respond though! If we haven;t specifically taught our dogs to respond when in a distracting environment, then of course they wil be very unlikely to pay attention to the owner when lots of interesting stuff is going on round the dog! That is another top reason dogs 'lose' their recall they have at home indoors, when taken to a park. The owner simply hasn't trained the dog to focus when there are distractions. This is again why refresher classes are great for owners, and great for dogs. :)

Let us know what your vet says! :)

For some great training advice and videos and help on recall and just about anything else, I recommend checking out www.dogstardaily.com

14th April 2009, 07:25 PM
thanks everyone for the replies. her hearing is excellent she can hear a candy wrapper being opened from the living room all the way down the hall and around the corner in the other room. she is an extreme watch dog and will bark or get up from a nap when she hears anything going on in the back yard she doesn't like. so I am pretty sure she can hear very well. but I will keep an eye on that as she gets older. I will also ask the vet next visit just to be sure too.
I don't think she is scared or worried about coming to me/us in any way as she has never been yelled at nor never had anything negative happen to her when she does come to us. I will keep an eye on my body language to make sure I am not sending the wrong signal. I will also stop shutting the door on her.
she is highly food motivated so maybe I will try that, thank goodness she doesn't not come too often. but enough that I don't want it getting worse because of something I am doing or not doing. I never take her off the leash because of all that I have read here, just not something I want to do with her. I take her for longs walks and we do play and I practice recall and things with her outside. I think she seems more well behaved outside then in.
I wondered if she was a bit smart. she was only about 14 weeks or so when I tossed the ball for her and she fetched and returned it. she did this four or five times, figured it really wasn't fun and just won't do it anymore :) she has always felt to me to be a bit independent as well.
I will work harder at recall and make sure I watch my body language. I have noticed when I use words that I don't use too often she seems to listen a bit more. I rarely call her missy but she turns her head for that...most of the time. I have also just started to use the word focus and she will respond to that.
thanks again I will let you know in a few weeks if we have got it figured out.

14th April 2009, 08:48 PM
Hi Vikki,
Cathy and Karlin have given you great advice. YOu might try to make sure you have a treat in your pocket before you call her for the next few months. Randomly call her to you and then give her the treat when she comes to you so she associates the treat with coming when called. I'd treat her EVERY time until you have perfected recall. Good luck!

15th April 2009, 12:19 AM
Great advice all around. The only thing I'll add is that when Lady does this to me (with a look on her face that says, "eh, I'll think about it...."), I turn it into a game. She loves to know where I am at all times, so I'll go somewhere she can clearly see me, wave at her, and then quickly duck down behind something. Within seconds, I can hear her jump off the couch to come running to find me. I give her lots of praise and snuggles when she gets to me. It hasn't made her any more inclined to come only when I call her, but this makes it a little more fun for both of us.

15th April 2009, 01:17 AM
One thing to consider is -- if she will come running for the sound of a candy wrapper it is because she has a positive motivation to come. That suggests she can easily be trained to respond to a positive reward (simply giving commands and hoping for the best isn't clearly associating an actual, positive reward).

Most dogs actually have great recall -- for words that generally get associated with a nice result. For example if you say 'treats' before giving treats almost any dog will come running when that word is said. And that is excellent recall. As matter of fact I use the word 'treats' to call my dogs all the time, any time I want them all to come at once! They don't get a treat every time -- but because they always get praise and often a treat, they know this word is worth coming for.

That's how you train good recall as well for a word like 'come' -- you have to make it such a positive association and have to connect the action you want with the reward initially and then from time to time forever after. And practice every day.

I really recommend reading up on training recall and on basic training methods on Dog Star Daily. But keep in mind only ever doing this practice in the house will only get a dog that listens in the house with no distractions. A positive--methods training class is a much better option. A dog only ever trained inside a house, that gets outside and runs off, may never bother to listen given the high level of distraction. I'd at least get a 25 ft training line and work with that on out at parks etc to expand this important command beyond the house.

15th April 2009, 05:38 PM
thanks again everyone, I will start again with the recall. I think too I will use another word besides come. mostly her come, sit, stay, give it, plus her tricks are excellent, just seems sometimes she has her own mind and really just doesn't want to come. I will bring out the treats and start the training again. I will use the long clothes line rope that I used with her as a puppy and give it a go. you guys are great thanks again