Help! How to gently reinforce the rules with our rescue.

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Help! How to gently reinforce the rules with our rescue.

This is a discussion on Help! How to gently reinforce the rules with our rescue. within the Dog Training and Behavior forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; We have recently adopted Maya, a 4yo Boxer/Bloodhound cross. She was basically untrained (apart from potty training) when we got her ten days ago. Since ...

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Old 11-19-2017, 05:46 AM
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Help! How to gently reinforce the rules with our rescue.

We have recently adopted Maya, a 4yo Boxer/Bloodhound cross. She was basically untrained (apart from potty training) when we got her ten days ago. Since then she has learned to sit, lie down, go in her bed, wait and get down pretty well though not consistently. She is very sweet and loving and we feel that she is making good progress. She pulls and jumps less and less on the lead, she is not destructive and seems to be good with other dogs and people. We love her and believe in training by positive reinforcement of good behavior and not with punishment.

However, since yesterday a couple of issues have arisen and I REALLY want to make sure we react correctly so as to reassure her whilst helping her understand the rules.

Issue one: She has been excellent with the cat since we brought her home. really excellent. However, yesterday she saw him run in the garden and chased him. She was luckily on her extending leash so obviously didn't get far. In my panic I shouted her name and 'No' a lot then pulled her back on the lead. When she was calm we approached the cat and I spoke calmly to her telling her 'No' in a kind voice (she doesn't know leave-it yet- it's next on the list) but her first instinct was to chase him again. Since then, all was back to normal in the house between them, until this morning she was on the bed and he passed by and she jumped at him. Again, in my surprise I shouted 'No' and tapped her bum lightly with my hand- I know! I REALLY do not want to do this but she took me by surprise and I reacted without thinking She instantly flopped back and submitted. I told her to get in her bed, which she did, I told her good girl and patted her. Five minutes later I told her to come with me to get her food and she wouldn't. I obviously reassured her and cuddled her and everything was fine again but I see that any kind of negative reaction on our part scares her. The second day we had her it was the same situation with our chickens. They are in a secure enclosure but she learned how to open the gate and grabbed one. She is 'soft mouthed' and didn't harm it at all but I obviously had to get her to drop it, which scared her. Before and since she has shown little interest in the chickens. I don't believe that she was beaten aggressively or abused in the extreme before we got her but I get the feeling that she was inconsistently 'trained' by dominance and punishment and hit when she did something 'bad'. With my last dog, Betty, as soon as I saw that she had understood that her behavior was undesired, if she was 'naughty' all was forgotten and we went back to normal. But I get the impression that Maya has maybe been punished for long periods in the past, so she worries what's in store for her if we react negatively in the moment.
I need to know how I can intervene quickly in this kind of situation without scaring her until she learns 'leave it'. It's very difficult as 99% of the time she's great with the cat and pays no attention to the chickens so I can't predict when this could happen. I honestly believe that this is playful or curious behavior and not aggression but I can't risk the other animals getting hurt.

Issue 2: We have decided to keep the same rules for Maya as we had with our last dog, Betty. She is allowed on the furniture but has to get down when we ask. For example, she sleeps on her own bed but we invite her up on our bed for cuddles in the morning - which she loves and we do too. We would like to keep these rules if possible! However there are times when she refuses to get down. If we take her collar to gently guide her down she freezes and goes into a panic. I think that she must have been dragged about and punished in this way before Would making her get down with a treat reinforce the good behavior or make her wait for the treat before getting down?

Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated! We just want to do things properly with our Maya.

Rebecca
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Old 11-19-2017, 07:25 AM
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Congrats on your new addition!! Maya is going to need some time to acclimate to her new surroundings, it could take a few months...not sure how you introduced her to the cat, but I always found it easier to keep the dog on a leash in a controlled situation where the cat can safely come near her, but lets you still correct Maya by saying leave it if she does try to lunge or chase, when she obeys the command give her lots of praise and treat her with a high value treat...same goes for the chickens, walk her by the coop and praise her when she obeys the leave it command! My cats have always been indoors so if I was bringing a new kitten in I would set up a room and put the kitten in a crate with food, water, litter, and bed...the dog would go in and visit the kitten, then when it was time for the kitten to explore the house the dog was on a leash near me so I could control the situation, it takes some time and patience, but it's well worth it in the long run...

Now for the bed time cuddles, we had a similar situation, one of our rescues liked to sleep on our bed, it became a problem as he got bigger because he turned out to be a bed hog, I bought him an orthopedic bed and topped it with a bolster bed so it would be more comfy, he would come up on our bed and we would do night time cuddles then hubby would take him over to his doggy bed tell him to lie down then treat him, this took some time as well but now it's great we do cuddle time and when we tell him to go to bed he does!!
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Old 11-19-2017, 07:55 AM
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Congrats on your new addition!! Maya is going to need some time to acclimate to her new surroundings, it could take a few months...not sure how you introduced her to the cat, but I always found it easier to keep the dog on a leash in a controlled situation where the cat can safely come near her, but lets you still correct Maya by saying leave it if she does try to lunge or chase, when she obeys the command give her lots of praise and treat her with a high value treat...same goes for the chickens, walk her by the coop and praise her when she obeys the leave it command! My cats have always been indoors so if I was bringing a new kitten in I would set up a room and put the kitten in a crate with food, water, litter, and bed...the dog would go in and visit the kitten, then when it was time for the kitten to explore the house the dog was on a leash near me so I could control the situation, it takes some time and patience, but it's well worth it in the long run...

Now for the bed time cuddles, we had a similar situation, one of our rescues liked to sleep on our bed, it became a problem as he got bigger because he turned out to be a bed hog, I bought him an orthopedic bed and topped it with a bolster bed so it would be more comfy, he would come up on our bed and we would do night time cuddles then hubby would take him over to his doggy bed tell him to lie down then treat him, this took some time as well but now it's great we do cuddle time and when we tell him to go to bed he does!!
Thanks for the advice Olympia We did introduce Maya to the cat on the lead at first and they have been getting on great apart from these few chasing episodes that started just yesterday. Five minutes before the last one they were sitting calmly on the bed together. As for the bed, she mostly gets down when we ask. It's just sometimes she seems to freeze and we can ask her 20 times but she won't budge. I'm worried to tempt her off with treats as she may start refusing to move each time until we get a treat out.
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Old 11-19-2017, 08:29 AM
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My cat plays with one of my rescues they chase each other around the house, if the dog gets to rough the cat puts her in her place!

That's why I say high value treat, use a kong with a large cookie and some kong stuff n easy treat, you don't have to put much in it , just enough for her to have something good, and if the cookie is big enough it will take her awhile to get it out, I use the blue dog bakery cookies, eventually we worked it down to just giving a mini size dog cookie!!

https://www.kongcompany.com/products...se-easy-treat/

Blue Dog Bakery Large Treats Variety Pack | Our large treats variety pack offers two of our most popular products that we’ve nicely bundled to minimize your decision-making time! This case comes with 3 boxes of our 20 oz. Peanut Butter & Molasses t

Once they have learned to go to bed on their own I just give them one of these in the mini size...

https://www.oldmotherhubbard.com/pro...x?&cat=1&pid=3

You can buy all of these on https://www.chewy.com/?gclid=EAIaIQo...E&gclsrc=aw.ds
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Old 11-19-2017, 10:23 AM
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A few thoughts.

Can you swim?

Imagine that you're in a pool and you swim a length. The coach on the side says "No Rebecca, you've done it wrong, do it again". So you swim another length and the coach says "No Rebecca, you've done it wrong, do it again". So you swim another length and the coach says the same thing. What are you learning? Only that you've done something wrong. Coach's not telling you what to do that's right.

Unfortunately, your dog's in the same boat here. "No" means "Mum's not happy about something, but I don't know what". If your assumption about how she's been trained previously is correct, she'll most likely know that "No" means consequences, and these are not likely to be good ones, ditto, when you "...tapped her bum lightly with my hand...".

She's probably used to being "corrected" and understands it, doesn't know why, but "understands" nevertheless.

Having said that, don't beat yourself up about it. It's a rare person, even on this forum, that hasn't acted immediately, regretted it, and thought "Must try harder next time".

I have to declare an interest here, I use clickers extensively. There are numerous threads concerning use of clickers vs marker words, work with what suits YOU. It's your dog and your life.

As far as the cat and the chickens are concerned, have you thought about playing "Look at That". When they are far enough away so that they do not elicit a reaction, say "Look at That", wait for her to see/look at the "offending article", then click, pause, reward. Start to change her perception of the cat and chickens, from "something to go and get, chase after, harass" to "something that means I get a treat". If you get your distance right, Maya gets it "right", you get the reaction you want, no need for "No". Win. Win.

As far as the bed's concerned, before you get out, move closer and closer to her so that she moves. Keep "crowding" her until she gets off (don't push her, let her decide that there isn't enough room) and then, "Good girl Maya, let's go", you get out of bed, she comes with you.

OR

Get out of bed first and BRIBE her to get off, followed by "Good girl Maya, let's go"

OR

Stay in bed, let her see that you have a treat, toss it on the floor, and when she goes to get it, "Good girl Maya, let's go", you get out of bed, she comes with you.

When she gets used to the idea (either one or all), you can start to reward rather than lure/bribe. No "dragging", no "take her collar", no "freeze", no "panic". Maya gets it "right", you get the reaction you want, no need for "No". Win. Win.

Teach "Leave it" when she's ready.
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Old 11-19-2017, 11:04 AM
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A few thoughts.

Can you swim?

Imagine that you're in a pool and you swim a length. The coach on the side says "No Rebecca, you've done it wrong, do it again". So you swim another length and the coach says "No Rebecca, you've done it wrong, do it again". So you swim another length and the coach says the same thing. What are you learning? Only that you've done something wrong. Coach's not telling you what to do that's right.

Unfortunately, your dog's in the same boat here. "No" means "Mum's not happy about something, but I don't know what". If your assumption about how she's been trained previously is correct, she'll most likely know that "No" means consequences, and these are not likely to be good ones, ditto, when you "...tapped her bum lightly with my hand...".

She's probably used to being "corrected" and understands it, doesn't know why, but "understands" nevertheless.

Having said that, don't beat yourself up about it. It's a rare person, even on this forum, that hasn't acted immediately, regretted it, and thought "Must try harder next time".

I have to declare an interest here, I use clickers extensively. There are numerous threads concerning use of clickers vs marker words, work with what suits YOU. It's your dog and your life.

As far as the cat and the chickens are concerned, have you thought about playing "Look at That". When they are far enough away so that they do not elicit a reaction, say "Look at That", wait for her to see/look at the "offending article", then click, pause, reward. Start to change her perception of the cat and chickens, from "something to go and get, chase after, harass" to "something that means I get a treat". If you get your distance right, Maya gets it "right", you get the reaction you want, no need for "No". Win. Win.

As far as the bed's concerned, before you get out, move closer and closer to her so that she moves. Keep "crowding" her until she gets off (don't push her, let her decide that there isn't enough room) and then, "Good girl Maya, let's go", you get out of bed, she comes with you.

OR

Get out of bed first and BRIBE her to get off, followed by "Good girl Maya, let's go"

OR

Stay in bed, let her see that you have a treat, toss it on the floor, and when she goes to get it, "Good girl Maya, let's go", you get out of bed, she comes with you.

When she gets used to the idea (either one or all), you can start to reward rather than lure/bribe. No "dragging", no "take her collar", no "freeze", no "panic". Maya gets it "right", you get the reaction you want, no need for "No". Win. Win.

Teach "Leave it" when she's ready.
Yes. This sums up exactly what is going on! It's early days so I obviously can't expect to be able to train her for every eventuality. It's normal that she doesn't understand what we're asking yet and normal that she isn't ready to learn 'leave it'. What's been stressing me out here is the fact that I did react by tapping her bum without thinking and it's literally, in my mind, the WORST thing that I could do for her at this time. Even though, Im sure you understand, it really was a tap, like a reminder, but she associates that with what she may have experienced before coming to us. I'm sure everyone here knows that it get's a whole lot harder to take a deep breath and think rationally when there is a potential threat to one of their other animals.
I LOVE your two suggestions and am going to put them in place immediately. The bed thing really isn't a problem for us, we don't mind her being there, we just need her to understand to get down without thinking she's being punished. Which is why your distraction-type solutions will make her get down of her own accord and she will be able to eventually learn the command and what it means that way. I have got a clicker and have been using it for 'sit' and 'lie down' but have to admit that i'm not confident in using it all the time. Or even sure that I'm doing it properly. I think I need to read up on when exactly to click. I guess we're trying to teach her so many little things at the same time that i'm worried to overwhelm her. I will read up and make sure i'm doing it right!
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Old 11-19-2017, 11:22 AM
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Issue 1: The first thing to do is give the cat a safe location where she can get away from the dog. And give her a high place she can go in any room where the dog has access.

You have an exuberant, strong lummox of a puppy who thinks that chasing things is just the best game ever. As Ptolemy suggested, you're going to have to redirect that behavior. The leave it command is key to accomplishing this: Get her to stop going after the cat, then reward her with an acceptable alternative.

BTW, there's nothing wrong with giving the dog a light touch or tap on the side or hips to get their attention. Just be sure to use a sideways motion.

Issue 2: This is really common in rescued dogs. Instead of grabbing her collar, which is a very confrontational move, just use the leash. This sends the message that they are expected to obey and come along with you.
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Old 11-19-2017, 12:26 PM
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Sprocket sleeps with me on the bed all night now but when he was a little puppy I didn't want him to pee on the bed so he slept in his crate at night next to my bed
I would cuddle and play with him for a bit then grab a treat that takes a little time to eat and put it in his crate he would go in and I would close the door while he's eating it after a couple weeks of this he would run to his crate as soon as he saw me get his treat knowing the routine
Now he's my little foot warmer lol he sleeps on my feet almost all night
I'd walk to Maya's bed and lay a treat down when u want her to get down u might have to walk her a few times to her bed until she understands this is where you want her to sleep eventually she will understand the routine

I agree with the look at that game for the cat
treat her for looking at the cat and not running after it after a while maya will see the cat and look to you for her treat instead of chasing the cat
All it takes is for a cat to run for a dog to want to chase it so you need to reinforce a different behavior
Sprocket gets scared easily I have never hit him or even raised my voice at him ive never grab at his collar but I'm pretty sure he would shut down if I tried to force him to move that way (i believe in giving dogs choices and when they make the right one praise and reward like crazy) if I'm at my sisters and she tells her kids no sometimes they cry loudly (sometimes very loudly lol) and sprocket hides behind my leg he's very sensitive always has been it's part of who he is
maybe maya is sensitive too just give her time to get used to her new home my last rescue took over a year before I saw her true personality


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Old 11-20-2017, 06:27 AM
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I got Stella (4yr old rottie) about six months ago. May be similar. She'd cower if a hand went near the top of her head. If I snapped my fingers, she'd run to a cage, get in and lie down (didn't matter if another dog was in it, that's where she was going and she was lying down).

Since I've had her, I've changed her name, "sit" is "park it", "down" is "flat", "stay" is "don't move", "wait" is "hang about", etc. I want her to learn again, using different cues and different ways of handling her. I have a good idea as to how she was trained, she probably won't forget it, but I've done as much as I'm able to get her to realise that HERE is different.

I started at her bum 'cos no tail (I know, illegal docking) and slowly moved forward. I can check her ears, eyes, teeth, she's not afraid of MY hands - still cowers for hand on head from strangers (some people take no notice, no matter what you say), OK for family most of the time.

It all takes lots of time, patience, and close observation. Some things Stella finds easy, some not so. I look at it as "might be different later, tomorrow, in a different location". She LOVES when she sees I have the clicker!

In her book (that I think is great) "Training Levels - Steps for Success", Sue Ailsby, referring to commands/cues writes:

"While we're talking about cues, consider how you say them. Use a voice that says
"please pass the salt" to someone you like, who's sitting right beside you, and who will do
as you ask simply because you asked them to. One of the true glories of a trained dog is
that you can speak to her as a reasonable being in a reasonable voice."

Your point about the clicker, like a camera, you click when you see what you want. As soon as her bottom hits the floor for a sit is the time you click. You can click for "a very good try" and then repeat, just delay the click, so she tries a bit more next time.

Teach her one thing at a time, don't try to lump loads together. Teach her one thing and aim for five out of five correct before you move on. Think of it this way, if she can do 5/5, she's saying "That's easy, what's next". If she can't, she's saying "Too hard at the moment".

When you think about "Leave it", have a look at Training Level ONE | Mind to Mind and scroll down to "Zen" - teaches Maya to work out, for herself, what "Leave it" means. All very gentle.
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Old 11-20-2017, 03:29 PM
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I just wanted to add one thing here, coming from someone who has a couple of goats, and a couple dozen chickens, and high prey drive dogs.
It may be an issue of the dog not having developed good impulse control yet. The chasing can be a reflex, it happens almost before the dog realizes its doing it. The dog can know in its mind that chasing the cat is wrong, but have trouble controlling that impulse to chase. If that turns out to be the case, it may simply take time for the dog to develope the self control to stop itself from chasing.
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