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Old 12-31-2013, 11:25 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Unresponsive to Praise or Punishment

I have 2 dogs and I need some kind advice on how to help them. One of them is the problem child, that is I believe she requires far more focus than the "good girl." I understand both will need work to address the issues, but one will be significantly easier to work with. I will describe them both for those who think it may provide insight.

SHORT VERSION: Banshee does not respond to praise or punishment. It seems human contact is so awesome, there is no need to obey commands because the human is already in the same room. She is not motivated by anything, food, toys, praise...She doesn't listen to my crippled, elderly, but young at heart, GSD when she tells her to leave her alone or stop jumping on her. Lupa has been driven to biting, shaking, and pinning Banshee to the ground with no results. While this is, strictly speaking, aggressive behavior, Lupa is not being mean or trying to cause serious harm, but trying to make a point and get some respect for her personal space. Banshee has developed possessive aggression when she is in her crate. Banshee will growl as she eats her food in her crate and, if in her crate, will growl as Lupa chews a toy. Lupa is not crated for health reasons. Outside the crate, there are no aggression issues. Banshee is careless and barrels through everything in her way, including Lupa, even after very long walks. How does one teach a dog personal space?

DETAILS:

The "good girl"
Lupa is a 10 year old working line GSD with only 3 legs, which has caused arthritis in her spine and hips. She has high rank drive toward other animals. This is normally not an issue since most dogs are OK with giving in to her and she thinks cats are puppies. Her personality is fairly stereotypical of her breed....high energy, aloof to strangers, protective, high prey drive, low fear drive, etc. I'm not saying she's going to win an obedience competition, but she is obedient and knows come, sit, down, heel, stay, and play dead. She also knew "over" when she had 4 legs and I was teaching her "shake" and to weave between my legs. We've had our issues and she used to be a very hard dog and stubborn, but I was always able to get through to her with some innovation and listening to her (ex- would NOT work for food, even meat, as a puppy, but loved a tennis ball so I used a ball to teach her everything and now-a-days this has reversed)

The Problem Child
Banshee is a year old terrier/boxer mix (per vet). I'll be looking into these breeds for some insight, too. While half Lupa's size, she is the same weight as Lupa and obviously much stronger. She's highly energetic and adores people and dogs. She is a VERY hard dog with a high pain tolerance. I wonder if she even has nerve endings in her skin. (More on this later).

Banshee cannot be rewarded.
My husband and I are having a hard time training Banshee, as she does not respond at all to anything. She has stopped responding to food. Her prey drive is low so she doesn't work for toys either. It seems as though our presence in the room is enough of a reward and she has that already, so why work for something she already has? She is ALL pack drive. The only things we've been able to teach her are word associations to her natural behavior. For example, she paws EVERYTHING so we taught her to shake by saying "shake" when she pawed us. She jumps on people so we taught her to jump and not to jump. I taught her "sit" "stay" and "come" when she was still influenced by food, but for the life of me I could not figure out to teach her "down." Nothing worked. I thought maybe it would become easier as her attention span matured, but it has not. I think she may be slow to fully mature. I feel like part of the problem is not only me, but my history with Lupa, who was so easy to figure out. Banshee and I just aren't connecting the way Lupa and I did.

Banshee cannot be punished.
Lupa has very strong maternal instincts and I thought Banshee, who we got at 6 weeks, would surely learn canine rules and boundaries and language from her. Lupa doesn't like to be jumped on, so she has tried to punish Banshee for this. Despite Lupa's best efforts, Banshee ignores her and Lupa has gradually resorted to stronger and stronger punishment. A few months ago, Lupa got so fed up with it, she grabbed Banshee by the neck and pinned her to the ground. When Lupa let Banshee up, Banshee ran around behind Lupa and tugged on her tail and ran away like a little school boy pulling a girl's ponytail. It's obvious Banshee isn't getting the message and Lupa isn't really going hurt her. I am thrilled Lupa is still strong enough to throw a dog her weight on the ground, but this clearly isn't working. My husband accidentally shot Banshee with an air soft gun and it did not phase her one little bit. Personally, I think they hurt.

New Problems
This week, Banshee started displaying food and toy guarding toward Lupa. It makes no sense to me, because this only happens when Banshee is in her crate. Because she chews, we crate her at night and we feed her in the crate because Lupa has shown food aggression toward other dogs in the past. The arrangement has worked and Lupa has not instigated anything. But now, Banshee lowers her head over her food and growls at Lupa, who is paying her no mind. Tonight, though both dogs had a toy, Banshee started growling when Lupa was chewing her toy. Lupa does not, nor will she ever, sleep in a crate. I wonder if this arrangement is a problem...like a leashed dog being aggressive toward an unleashed one.

The other issue is Banshee will push Lupa out of the way if a person is petting Lupa. I am not sure if this is a dominance thing or a result of her high pack drive. Banshee is, in general, a very careless dog and doesn't watch where she's going and just sort of barrels through obstacles, including Lupa. It's ridiculous. I don't know how to address this, but it needs to stop. How does one teach personal space to a dog?

I hope someone will provide some kind help. We are doing what we can to alleviate the situation such as separating them for a few hours and one on one play time. Outside of Banshee's not listening to Lupa and the new possessiveness in the crate, they get along. I don't want this to escalate. Lupa has a high rank drive and I fear she will never stop trying to be the top dog, even though she is outmatched, physically. I'm hoping it's just a phase where Banshee is testing limits or something. I am OK with keeping the separated for a short time if that will help, but they really do like each other and I would hate to do that as a permanent solution. They will look for each other if the other is missing.
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Old 01-01-2014, 12:02 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Our little pittbull would do that, the barreling thru thing. He knocked over Clipper twice. The first time I thought it was an accident as they were running in the yard, the second time Clipper was just standing at the fence and he came running down the fence line and knocked him over, then I thought, no he's doing that on purpose! They are like a little tank, he weighs 75 pounds though he isn't very tall at all. Both my gsds have passed, they were 9 or ten when Hooch came to live with us. I keep the "pack order" thing going, Cody was the leader, when he passed I kept Clipper as leader, gave his treat first, etc, Hooch did respect this. The barreling I give a firm "hooch, no" every time he gets in that mode, he's pretty obedient, knows sit, watch me, down, etc. He enjoys walks over playing fetch, the toys get stuck on his teeth! Walks and car rides are his thing! I kept them Seperated when all 3 were here when I wasn't home. He loves people and is an attention hog too. I think we didn't have more problems with this because my gsds were older, he was around 4 years when he came here, and I keep the "order of the pack". Now that my gsds have passed, he has the run of the house when I'm gone. He's very well house broken, very reliable dog, but those also are things that make me hesitate to get a new puppy, him being so "needy" like for all attention.
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Old 01-01-2014, 12:18 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I recommend starting a leadership program like NILIF. Also, work on solid obedience. If the dog is hungry it will have motivation for the food. Withhold a meal and then try training. If that isn't enough, withhold 2. This will work. Make sure the dog is getting lots of exercise.

You may have to manage things for while until you get things calmed down. It's important that you don't allow these behaviors to continue. I would put a drag line on the dog so you can control her better in the house. Keep her with you and monitor her interactions with the other dog.

Females sometimes just don't get along. I hope this isn't the case.

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Old 01-01-2014, 09:54 AM   #4 (permalink)
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When people say oh you need a trainer that knows GSDs I always kind of giggle, because to me, GSDs are such great dogs that I don't think of them as needing particulars in training (a "normal" GSD). However, in this case, I would definitely rather look for a trainer that can train terriers - dogs I do not think are intended to have pain tolerance, biddability, etc. And I have not met a Boxer I would want to spend more than an hour with - I say this fully expecting that my pack and preferences would not match everyone else (a BC mix who likes to boing on to tables, Chow mixes, etc).

So in this case, I would be looking for someone who has experience getting results from difficult dogs like your mix. I always like to train in a positive manner, but so help me, if I had a young dog harassing one of my seniors like that, I don't know what would go down. However, again, it does not sound like compulsion will even register with your dog so I'd be looking for a trainer or behaviorist who can train you to shape the behaviors you want in your dog. I definitely think this calls for eyes on the dog.

Like David Winners said, do NILIF. I would also do the 2 week shutdown with the dog to re-set her. I also would tether her once she was off, and do something similar what you would see with Dr. Yin's website - a sit for everything and nothing without. Forever.

This is a dog who needs to be taught some self-control, and it sounds like she needs to be kept below her arousal level at all times. Google Crate Games, Control Unleashed, Across a Threshold - Whole Dog Journal Article , http://www.dogdaysnw.com/doc/Overall...onProtocol.pdf Basically this is a dog who would get no privileges, no resources, and no freedom (leashed or crated) until she earned it.

And please keep her away from your senior at all times - I am not going to go back and read - but if you are not home, or not in the room, she needs to be crated. She is not even at peak bossiness age yet - she is going to hit that at 2 or 3 and you need to get this in hand, or crate and rotate. Your old dog is going to continue to get older and creakier and this is not fair to her.

PS - I have a dog who considers tethering a reward - as long as she is doing what she's supposed to, I guess it's okay - I have never thought it all out, but I do be sure to give the dog she is in conflict with her time of individual attention to balance it out (2 Chowy girls mixed with herding breed = bossy pants!).
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Old 01-01-2014, 10:21 AM   #5 (permalink)
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find a trainer. how's your dog's hearing?
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Old 01-01-2014, 10:48 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doggiedad View Post
find a trainer. how's your dog's hearing?
Her hearing is fine. When she is outside, she can hear the doorknob from across the yard and comes running.

Thanks for the recommendations, everyone!

Readaboutdogs, we think she think her terrier side is stadforshire as she was picked up in an area notorious for fighting them. Your case sounds a lot like mine. Thanks for sharing.

David Winners, these two get along and dislike being separated. I am worried this is changing and I will certainly be working to stabilize their relationship. I hate the idea of withholding food and I was hoping to avoid that. However, what must be done must be done.

JeanK, my senior is my baby and Banshee is lucky as **** I have some self control. I totally agree with you on GSDs and trainers. Lupa was SO easy. Even when she was challenging me and being a hard headed pup, I could reach her. It wasn't until Banshee I understood why someone would ever go to a trainer instead training the dog himself. Thanks for the links! I'll be looking into the 2 week shut down; I've never heard of it.
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Old 01-03-2014, 10:52 AM   #7 (permalink)
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We have enrolled Banshee in training classes. The trainer agreed she's going to be a tough one, but she's a great dog and we will figure out what is going to reach her. We're doing clicker training, which I hope will provide the low-key stimulation that will praise her without sending her over the moon with excitement. Banshee figured out the click-treat process very quickly, so we have hope we will be able to communicate with her.

Another dog in the class is a boxer and they played after class. It was great seeing Banshee play with another dog that is as "paws-on" and rough as she is. It's odd to say, but 2 dogs knawing on and punching each other is a beautiful thing!

The boxer and Banshee are going to go to class early next week for some pre-class play time.

Day 1 after class and there was no growling at breakfast. I'm not sure if it was the class already working (kind of hard to believe) but I will take one day less of troubling behavior with no complaints!
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Old 01-04-2014, 10:05 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Very glad to hear that! Let us know!
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