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Hi all! I joined this message board because my husband and I adopted two 8(-ish) month old rescues, Finch and Fern, about 2 weeks ago. They are sisters, and we're thinking they're some kind of lab mix, maybe with whippet.

We got lucky, as they are both really good, sweet, fairly well-behaved dogs, but there are a few things here and there we need some guidance with. We want them to have fun happy lives with us, and want to give them everything they need to make that happen!

First, Finch. She's eager to please and great at learning commands, she's affectionate, loves to play with people and other dogs (mostly her sister), doesn't chew on furniture. Her only behavioral issues are really whining and pawing when we put her in her crate (though she goes in with no fuss), and pulling on her leash, very hard. She doesn't understand how to not pull, even if we do the stop-and-go walking with her, and praise her when she doesn't pull. She is so driven to follow smells, it's a bit difficult to walk her at a comfortable pace and pull her away when she's on the trail of a scent she likes.

Next, Fern. Fern is super calm most of the time. She doesn't whine when crated, doesn't really get anxious around new people. Our biggest issue has been housebreaking Fern. She has an accident about every other day, and we're not sure if she just needs time to learn, or if there's some better way to teach her than what we're doing. We take the girls out to go in the same place, and Finch goes or at least tries. Fern might go 75 percent of the time, and she will usually go at some point during the walk, but she also goes in the house. Any pointers on this?

Another issue Fern has is that if she picks something up that she shouldn't (garbage on the street, for example), she will run from you if she sees you're trying to take it from her, whereas Finch will drop it.

Finally, neither pup has much of an appetite, but we're thinking they have worms and got them tested at the vet, so hopefully that will be addressed soon!

Just some background: we got the pups at an adoption event. They were from Tennessee, and had been together with a third sister who had been adopted previously in the day. They had been fostered prior to come living with us.

Any pointers people could offer would be great! I look forward to becoming a frequent reader and poster on dog forum!
 

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I had a great dane who hated going out and was always pulling on the leash, trying to get home. Once I put her on a harness she was totally different, didn't try to pull at all and we could have a pleasant walk without hassle.

I have a dog now, which I think I've mentioned elsewhere, who will only walk backwards on a leash. You have no idea of the embarrassment when I have to take her into town to the vet. But she's happy with a harness as well.

As to the other problems I don't really have any suggestions

Good luck, I'm sure you'll find your way with them as you get to know each other.

Lynsey
 

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First off, how awesome of you to adopt two together! Congrats!

I just adopted an 8-12 month old shepherd mix and he is a major puller, too. I was making him stop and sit every time he pulled, which worked ok, but he learned that he could just pull, sit himself down, and then go again. I made some changes and purchased a Freedom No-Pull Harness and use the front clip. Front clipping his harness has made a WORLD of difference. Apparently leashes and back-clipping harnesses tend to just make a dog's pulling instincts worse. Something about front clipping really helps, and if they get overly excited and really pull for something, they just end up turning towards you.

I am using the front clip harness and also making him turn around and go the way we just came whenever he pulls. This seems to be helping. He's improved a LOT over the past few weeks.

Regarding housetraining, I'd just be super consistent with positive reinforcement. Give her a treat every time she goes outside - immediately after, not when you come inside.

Hope that helps some!
 

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Welcome and congrats on your new pups. I have a few resources for you.

For general info, check out Training and Behavior Stickies
I'd suggest starting with these:
4 quadrants of operant conditioning
Thoughts on training with food
Helpful Training Videos and Articles
Comprehensive Book List

For leash walking, "Loose Leash" walking

For running away with contraband, teach "leave it" and "drop it" Kikopup has excellent videos: https://www.youtube.com/user/kikopup/featured

This is another nice "drop it" technique,

House training is really about consistency and prevention, House Training How Tos:

Since you have two younger dogs and it sounds as though they've spent a significant amount of time together, you might want to do some reading about littermate syndrome. For a number of reasons, it would be ideal to train the dogs separates and allow time for each dog to bond with you and develop individually.
 
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