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Old 02-06-2013, 01:46 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Thank you for such a helpful reply! A few things in response:

We have tried to cover his crate but he has managed to pull all of them inside and rip them to shreds. We purchased the dogs the wire crates because they can be collapsed for travel, and we like to bring the dogs with us on our trips.

We have seen slip covers for crates on Amazon.com but were concerned with him still being able to pull it inside with him. Any experience with those?

With the clicker training, he did well as a puppy but soon learned to ignore it. Couldn't hurt to retry that. When they are roughhousing, would it be a good idea to use the clicker to get their attention and tell them 'NO' or would that hinder the process of using the clicker for regular training?

Someone above mentioned NILIF. We did that before and it worked with his food and water intake. They no longer have toys because they lost all interest in them and only focus on bones or kongs now.
Build interest in the toy...make it seem like its the greatest thing ever. Either a tug toy or a ball on a rope...anything. It's pretty easy to make a dog think that whatever you have is the greatest thing since sliced bread.

Don't "get attention withe clicker training when they're fighting" remember...clicker training is based on the fact that a click means good...you start clicking when they're fighting, it will escalate because they will believe you want them to keep going.

Please please please put down the books and find a trainer. Someone that can explain these concepts to you in a class atmosphere and show you how they work.
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Old 02-06-2013, 01:50 PM   #12 (permalink)
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With the clicker training, he did well as a puppy but soon learned to ignore it. Couldn't hurt to retry that. When they are roughhousing, would it be a good idea to use the clicker to get their attention and tell them 'NO' or would that hinder the process of using the clicker for regular training?
The clicker is a marker. It means that I like what you are doing "right now" and a reward (food) is coming. It should not be used to get the dog's attention and they should never ignore it if conditioned and used properly. It is very important that you ALWAYS reward when you click even if you mess up.

It's a great way to speed up results and really perfect behavior or timing.

They do have fitted crate covers that are more difficult to pull in.
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Old 02-06-2013, 02:05 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Keep your wire crates.. maybe get him a hard shell kennel and move it against the wall. That's what I did!
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Old 02-06-2013, 02:07 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Someone above mentioned NILIF. We did that before and it worked with his food and water intake. They no longer have toys because they lost all interest in them and only focus on bones or kongs now.
Bones and such are HIGH value items, easily causing fights. Take them away and only allow them to chew separately in crates or different rooms.
He could also be very bored, get on a daily exercise regimen with him and back to basics with training.
I'd also recommend removing the collar unless they are leather that can break, you don't need him getting caught up in the other dogs collar.
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Old 02-06-2013, 02:18 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I don't have much to offer you, but the phrase "They no longer have toys because they lost all interest in them" stood out to me. Toys are not items the dog plays with on their own, really. (I mean, there might be a few, but not in general). They represent play time with YOU.

My dog has a toybox with little stuffed animals that he sometimes will show interest in himself. BUT....I keep a big blue ball and a smaller orange one, in his sight but out of his reach. You bet your bottom dollar, when I reach for that blue ball, he goes ape. His obedience becomes lightening fast, and the spark in his eyes could start a wildfire. Not just because he loves that ball, but because he loves what it represents--special time with me that is focused only on him. We do 75% of his training with that ball. I mix short training maneuvers in this play.

It make take some time to discover what kind of toy floats his boat, but playing tug with you, with clear rules and FUN for the dog, goes a long way to helping release any frustrations and buildup he might have.
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Old 02-06-2013, 02:38 PM   #16 (permalink)
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I agree with the other posts, hormonal imbalances can cause big changes in behavior and, it sounds like his moods are all over the place. Also, if he is scared of things he could act out aggressively due to lack of confidence. There is also the fact that not all dogs are happy in homes with other dogs. There's a lot you could be dealing with.
Either way it seems like you've added more chaos to the situation before nipping these behavioral issues in the bud. Also if you don't have time to stimulate him, he could also act out. My German shepherds get to be real pains if we don't keep them stimulated with play, practicing commands and, tons of exercise. Just saying, it could be a lot, hook up with your vet on this then go for a trainer.
At wits end with Apollo

This kind of thing was suggested back in 10/11, was anything done then, other than adding two more dogs?

It's not the dog's fault, it sounds like a clear and distinct lack of leadership in the home. Plenty of owners seem to believe dogs should just be good dogs, without having to invest time in the situation to improve it.

However, those kind of dogs are the exception, not the rule. With a dog like yours, he's going to take a lot of work to engage him and keep him engaged.

Another thing that seems to repeat itself in your threads, and that's "He KNOWS when he's bad/done wrong, etc.".

That's really not true. Dogs only know we're upset, they really do not know or understand why.
If you're reacting in anger towards this dog because of what he's doing, he just knows your freaking out, or angry or whatever, but they don't have the reasoning capability to understand why you are.
They will slink around and people are satisfied, based on that, that the dog "knows" it's done something bad.

I'd recommend reading some books such as "The Other End of the Leash" and even Temple Grandin's books such as "Animals in Translation", to get an understanding of how dog's "think".

And get a trainer on board, have this trainer come observe the household, the dogs interacting and how you interact with the dogs.
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Old 02-08-2013, 12:39 PM   #17 (permalink)
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I don't think anyone mentioned this but on top of training and making sure everyone knows who is the top dog in your house... your male need a JOB. He's BORED. Boredom in a strong working dog equals destruction, mayhem, etc. This is what you're seeing. Don't put this dog down. The mistakes are yours, not his, and you need to own up to them. Getting two more dogs was a mistake. You didn't have a handle on the first one.. why add more?? You need to get toys that you can interact with the dog with. Balls, tugs, etc. Bones and Kongs equal no interaction with the handler.
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