Pushy, disrespectful mastiff

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Pushy, disrespectful mastiff

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Old 06-03-2016, 07:54 PM
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Pushy, disrespectful mastiff

Hey! I'm new here. I'm looking for suggestions on what to do to adjust the relationship I have with my 18 month old mastiff. He is a Boerboel, about 120-130 lbs. I've had him since he was 8 weeks old. From the outset, he was a very pushy dog, not respecting our space, mouthing at hands, guarding food and toys. But he was a pup, so we took it one issue at a time. He no longer guards food or toys. He sits before he gets his food or goes out the door. However, he is constantly pushing into my space. He tries to push past me in the house, noses between me and my DH when we hug, pushes his big head onto my lap when I'm reading, invades my space when I'm eating, and about 100 other times a day. He paws at me for attention. If I rest a hand or foot on him, he'll immediately try to get on top, either moving his paw or head on top of my hand.

He has been to obedience training and knows the commands, and has about an 60% response rate. However, the other 40% of the time, he stares me down as if to see if I'm going to make him. If I move toward him, he'll bolt off. If I stare him down, he'll eventually back off. But sometimes it'll take a solid minute + before he complies. He barks at nothing every time he goes outside. He barks at our cat at night as though she's an intruder and not a housemate he's known for his entire life. I crate him at night and off and on during the day, depending on his level of intrusiveness. He often whines when crated. If not crated at night or if I'm not home, he'll get into trash or destroy furniture or pillows. He drags trash all over the yard. He'll work for food, but I'm tired of bribing him to behave. I've had other big/working dogs before (GSD, doberman, boxers), but I've never had any dog challenge me constantly. I find that I have to be harsh to get him to obey me, but it only lasts about a minute, and it's not worth the grump it gets me into! I get no respect!

What do you think?
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Old 06-03-2016, 09:51 PM
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Dogs demanding attention ( especially physically as you described) are IMO "assertive" dogs, shall I say, ones that have a fairly high self image of themselves. 18 months is the prime age for many a dog to test its previous boundaries especially if the dog is wired that way. Up the obedience and you should always be the one who dictates when attention is given, not the dog. When the dog is pushing you for attention/"affection", at the very least, make the dog earn it via obeying some basic obedience commands or other trained behavior.

Working for food is a common mistake so many make as it undermines the true goal of a working relationship. Create a relationship where the dog engages you because of what you offer other than food.

Being "harsh" at times only works if you back it up from square one and at exactly the proper moment. You sound like you have a willful dog going through a phase BUT this one sounds a bit more determined than your previous dogs. Up the ante and make the dog work for everything and I mean everything. You might ignore the dog for a while as well. If your dog knows the behavior then make him do it for your praise and expectations as well as what gets him next and I'm not talking about a scrap of food.

Do you currently do any focus drills where the dog must make and maintain eye contact before being released to a resource you control?

Investigate NILIF training and as you employ it, take your dog to a new level where he works for you, not a scrap of food.
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Old 06-04-2016, 10:42 AM
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Dogs are being 'disrespectful', they are being dogs.

"however, he is constantly pushing into my space. He tries to push past me in the house, noses between me and my DH when we hug, pushes his big head onto my lap when I'm reading, invades my space when I'm eating, and about 100 other times a day. He paws at me for attention. If I rest a hand or foot on him, he'll immediately try to get on top, either moving his paw or head on top of my hand."

He wants attention and that is the way he knows to get it. Freyja does many of these things, but they don't bother me. She is a very touchy, velcro dog and I like it. If she is in the way I tell her to back up. If it bothers you that much ignore it, over time the behavior will change. The destructiveness sounds like boredom to me. How often do you take him out for walks? Play, tug, fetch? Mental stimulation? Also keep temptations out of reach, like trash. I still put the trash up when I go out otherwise my basset will get into it.
He's not challenging you, he's still a young dog and finding the limits.
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Old 06-04-2016, 11:09 AM
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Originally Posted by DriveDog View Post
When the dog is pushing you for attention/"affection", at the very least, make the dog earn it
We are all different. If my dogs want affection I give it to them. If I'm doing something at the moment where I can't, I get to them when I can. I do redirect and change their behavior if they try to jump up on me unbidden (the poodle is allowed to jump on my lap when I am on my chair and I call her to do so).
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Old 06-04-2016, 11:37 AM
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When the dog is pushing you for attention/"affection", at the very least, make the dog earn it
Quote:
We are all different. If my dogs want affection I give it to them. If I'm doing something at the moment where I can't, I get to them when I can. I do redirect and change their behavior if they try to jump up on me unbidden (the poodle is allowed to jump on my lap when I am on my chair and I call her to do so).
IMO the dog is not trying to get your attention or affection, because that calls for cognitive ability of separate self, and dogs don't have the brain anatomy for that kind of understanding. The dog is trying to make contact. This is a good thing, but you can do things that encourage this in ways that are preferable. The best way, IMO, is by pushing. I have a Mastiff (English) and just by pushing I been able to change behaviors I didn't want, including pulling on leash, and reactivity.

Pushing videos
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Old 06-04-2016, 11:53 AM
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We are all different. If my dogs want affection I give it to them. If I'm doing something at the moment where I can't, I get to them when I can. I do redirect and change their behavior if they try to jump up on me unbidden (the poodle is allowed to jump on my lap when I am on my chair and I call her to do so).
If I am busy I don't drop everything to give them attention either. They learn to wait for it. Sometimes it take a lot of time and repetition. If I'm busy I say, not now or wait. I don't allow jumping, unless invited up which isn't often.
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Old 06-04-2016, 11:53 AM
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dogs don't have the brain anatomy for that kind of understanding.
Can you please cite your sources?
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Old 06-04-2016, 01:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Lucillle View Post
We are all different. If my dogs want affection I give it to them. If I'm doing something at the moment where I can't, I get to them when I can. I do redirect and change their behavior if they try to jump up on me unbidden (the poodle is allowed to jump on my lap when I am on my chair and I call her to do so).
I wonder if your situation with your dog is the same as rcinga's ? I freely give my dog attention regardless whether the dog solicits it or not. I do this because the dog learned a while back not to "push" me. Our relationship is solid as is the bond but it took some "understanding" on both our parts. All of the GSDs I have had were/are very willful dogs, just as I desired. full of drive and spirit. Each and every one of them at about the same age, 15-20 months displayed the same departure from previous behavior in certain sectors. Basically, all of them retested previous limits, boundaries as well as adherence to commanded discipline. Along with these changes, they all exhibited a more headstrong attitude. I suspect this might have to do with the dog nearing adulthood and starting to experience their full capacities as an adult (almost).

"If you let him sleep in your bed even after he's growled or snapped at you or give him attention on his terms you are telling him that you're happiest when he's in charge."

The excerpt above deals with a dog which might become confused as it passes through this stage in its life and changes in behavior may manifest itself in a perceived aggressive fashion or numerous other undesirable characteristics. IMO, the dog is simply confused due to this stage of life coupled with a high drive dog and willful to boot. The dog is under a lot of pressure due to this new stage of life and the dog will generally tend to be more assertive in dog terms, some are obvious and others are completely missed by humans because we tend to think like humans. The solution is the dog needs direction and guidance. It becomes so clearly evident once all has been reestablished and order is in balance again that the dog is comfortable again and a load of pressure has been taken off the dog. The dog is no longer "confused".

Yes, we are all different just as our dogs are. I prefer a willful dog, most do not. I want a dog that has a powerful attitude and spirit. With my "wants" comes the responsibility of proper training and maintenance of my expectations and boundaries, most likely more than most might prefer.
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Old 06-04-2016, 02:55 PM
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I wonder if your situation with your dog is the same as rcinga's ?
If you read the situations, they are not alike, and I am happy in my situation whereas rcinga is asking advice.
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Old 06-04-2016, 04:02 PM
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If you read the situations, they are not alike, and I am happy in my situation whereas rcinga is asking advice.
Glad to hear it. Thanks for the clarification.

Did you ever go through a period with your dog around that age where you needed to reinforce previous behaviors due to new undesirable behaviors arising? If so, what did you do?
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