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Thread: Challenging behavior

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  1. #1
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    Default Challenging behavior

    Hello,
    Well Riley has been with us for 2 weeks now. He definitely has a stubborn streak. I have to admit, i am surprised. All the Cavaliers i had met were so sweet and Riley has shown that he is quite sure of himself and challenges me and my husband. We love him to bits, but his antics are starting to drive us crazy!
    For example, if it is time for him to go out to potty, he will sit at the open door after one of us goes out and "decide" if he feels like coming out. We always end up either going and getting him or luring him out with a food treat. That's just one example, there are others! We try to make sure that we are the people "in charge" and don't let him get away with things, but he is really stubborn and it is harder than i thought. I guess i thought a Cavalier would be more willing to please, not so headstrong!
    Riley is now 12 weeks old and I want to get this behavior thing on the right track now before bad habits develop too much.
    Does anyone have this same experience? Is it his age? Maybe we just arent' getting the rules clear to him? Maybe he is dominant?
    Help!
    Laura (Momma to Riley, 3 yr. old male)

  2. #2
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    is it raining by any chance? Harry refuses to go out when it's raining and has to be forced outside (we go outside with him too)

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    Yes, it's been raining quite a bit here in California. But that doesn't actually seem to bother him. When he is out in the yard, he chooses to grab rocks, grass, twigs, whatever in his mouth and then run away from us to go eat it. He doesn't come when called and tries to eat the object before we can get to him. Very frustrating!! Who knows what he'll eat next, could be something harmful.
    Anyway, there are more examples like jumping up at us or trying to jump on things and excessive mouthing/biting. We really want to get this under control.
    Laura (Momma to Riley, 3 yr. old male)

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    Harry has all of these behaviours, and he's 10 months old
    him eating stuff out of the garden had us at the vet this week!! so i'm now watching his every move and distract him as soon as he's spotted something that might tempt him.

    he also jumps up at people, but we ignore him until he's settled down, he'll soon catch on with this one.

    sounds like normal puppy behaviour to me

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    Have to looked into any training classes? Jake was my fist dog in over 20 years so I enrolled "us" in puppy kindergarten and beginners class so "I" would know what to do. I also follow a lot of what Cesar Millan, the Dog Whisperer says. I watch his show faithfully every Friday night on the National Geographic Channel. You might want to try taking him out to go potty on lead so that he knows it's not play around time.
    Cathy
    Loving mom to Jake, Shelby and Micah

  6. #6
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    He's still very very young and only a baby. He isn't challenging you, he is just trying out various games he thinks are fun. He is right now training you very well to give him a treat by giving his own'command' which is, 'I will sit here til you go get the treat!'.

    Remember the best way to train a dog is to reward the behaviour you want and ignore the behaviour you don't want. Right now you are rewarding the behaviour you don't want -- giving him a treat for not coming outside until you go get the treat for him. He now knows if he waits long enough, you go get the treat.

    Also, he is simply way too small and young to be expected to have learned to go out all by himself -- this is like expecting a toddler to understand the whole potty-training thing just because he sometimes can do it by himself. He can't make all those connections yet at 3 months old.

    What you want to do is make this a routine right now of putting him on his lead, taking him to where you want him to go and always going out WITH him, not letting him out to go on his own (which sets up all sorts of potential problems as he gets older, including him going out but not 'going' then coming back in and soiling the house), and teach him a command each for peeing and doing his poop. Say the command as soon as he starts doing what you want him to do and give lots of praise. Then reward him with a tiny treat AFTER he goes. This routine allows you to do three things:

    1) control when he goes out
    2) teaches hi m a useful pair of commands
    3) housetrains efficiently

    And it also is lead practice for him too! I strongly recommend Shirlee Kalstones' book on housetraining a dog as it gives really good structured advice.
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Jaspar Lily Tansy Libby Mindy
    In memory: Lucy Leo
    Cavalier SM Information site:www.smcavaliers.com

  7. #7
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    Thank you for the input. Karlin, i just wanted to make clear that we do not ever let him out on his own. Always, we go to the door first (when it seems he might have to go potty, which is about every hour while he is awake) and say "outside" leading the way to his potty spot. When he does follow us we do say "go potty" which he usually does, and then he gets a treat as soon as he is done going along with enthusiastic cheers of "good potty", "good boy". (i guess i need to use 2 different commands for each elimination). When this scenario works, it works great.
    Sometimes though, he doesn't follow us out the door and instead just sits in the doorway. We have been trying to do it while on lead, but right now he chooses to bite the lead and try to twist and jump away from the lead if it is attached to his collar. He doesn't like to follow us if we have the lead attached to his collar. If his harness is on, it's not a problem. But there's not enough time to put on his harness every time he needs to go potty. So, we are having a bit of a time trying to find the best way to deal with this. I just don't want to start him off with bad habits.
    I do appreciate all your information and we are really trying to be patient and consistent, as he is "just a baby". It can be frustrating though when dealing with all these challenges and making sure we don't set up bad habits.
    Laura (Momma to Riley, 3 yr. old male)

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    Cedar used to act that way when the lead was on her collar. Like you, we didnt take the time to put the harness on her each and every time she needed to go out. We still dont. But we were insistant on using the lead. It meant we had to use the lead more, not less. And if she chewed and started messing with her lead, we had to use commands like "drop it" and "watch me" to get her to stop her behavior and give her attention to me.

    If the lead problem is really bad, you can put something like bitter apple on the lead, so it tastes bad. If you're currently using a leather leash, change to a nylon one; they apparently have less chew-appeal than the leather. (Not that the nylon isnt chewable....)

    I know there are a lot of opinions about using leads on collars with Cavs. Most of the time, we use a harness. But the quick outings to the backyard without a harness are still leash on collar. Just be careful not to jerk or pull on the lead too much. Commands that get the dogs attention so the dog drops the leash on its own worked the best for us.

    Dont you just love puppies?
    Cindy
    Cedar (tri), Willow (blen), & Holly (ruby)

  9. #9
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    I agree with the above; puppies in particular will bite and play with the lead but that's all the more reason to be using it regularly to get them used to it as well. Given you are only taking a few short steps outside for houstraining, I wouldn't be concerned about using a lead on the collar and it is good for any dog to be comfortable with both harness and collar.

    That's great you are doing all the steps you noted; however I would stop any use of food to tempt him out as this is indeed reinforcing his desire to stay in until you offer the food; and instead, get into the lead routine at this very young age. With rain in particular you are going to get a balking puppy and you want the trip outside to be a requirement, not an optional choice when it comes to elimination! I would not really be trying to get himn out on his own volition and off lead til he is at least 4-5 months or so as a puppy attention span is so short.

    It is surprisingly easy to reinforce unwanted behaviour -- sometimes you have to rethink what is being done from a dog logic perspective not a human perspective. For example we tend to think of only the action right before the reward -- eg puppy won;t come out, I call puppy with food, puppy comes out, goal achieved. But back it up fiurther and you can see puppy perspective is -- people go outside, people call me, I wait, people call me some more and go get food, now I go to them and am rewarded for waiting then coming, with food. Therefore I should always wait, then come , as that is the right order of actions.

    It is one of the reasons trainers say never ever scold a dog for coming to you later than you commanded. EG dog is running around a field, you call dog, dog ignores you, dog chases another dog, you call dog, dog ignores you; finally dog responds to your call and comes, you, very annoyed, scold dog for coming. Dog learns: don't return when called or you get punished; or alternatively -- sometimes I get praised and sometimes punished when I return and I don;t understand why so maybe I'll come and maybe I won't as my owner obviously wants me to do something else when saying 'come' and I don't know what it is.

    I'd definitely be working already on recall at this age, too -- you simply cannot start too early and it is the single most important command a dog will learn as it is likely to save its life -- but don't associate the 'come' command with the housetraining as they are two different commands and contexts.
    Karlin
    Cavaliers: Jaspar Lily Tansy Libby Mindy
    In memory: Lucy Leo
    Cavalier SM Information site:www.smcavaliers.com

  10. #10
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    Oh dear, I thought for a moment I was reading about my Prince! He was exactly the same way! It takes time and patience! Prince will still challange me once in a while.

    When your pup sits at the door and waits for the treat to go outside, try placing your hand underneath him like you are about to pick him up under the belly but instead coaxing him out the door. Do this gently and he probably stand up and walk out the door on his own. Sometimes they decide that they are going to stay sitting and you have to lift the little guy to a stand and gently convice him to cross that threshold. I get Prince off the bed this way when he decides he would much rather take a nice nap than come when called.

    I had a lot of touble with the recall too. Samson and Molly have been cooperative and sweet but again, Prince must be my little devil dog. Everytime I call him from puppy hood on, I have made it a fun and happy time. I have used everything from toys, treats, cheers with jumps and handclapping. My neighbors must think I am crazy because I have been out in the backyard on my hands and knees with my butt in the air calling a six pound puppy to make it fun and ALWAYS happy and rewarding.

    I always carried treats in my pocket to offer him when he got something he shouldn't be chewing and a chase was inevitable. Now he will voluntarily give it up in the hopes of something to eat. I still give him the treats now and then because I think he could become unconditioned as easily as he became conditioned.

    Good luck with your pup! He is one of those that is loaded with personality and will keep you smiling and laughing for years to come.
    Besides, when you get through all this puppy stuff, (and it goes fast) you will look back and think it wasn't so bad after all!

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