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My dog has been getting more and more difficult. While she's improved in places (she doesn't hate men now, she knows the kitchen and bedroom are off limits, she sits at the door and waits until given permission to walk out of the house, no more shoe chewing, much better at not pulling on walks), others seem to just get worse and worse. I don't know what else I can do... She's a terrier mix, 1.5 yrs old. She gets at least an hour walk everyday (with interval running sometimes), 4 15 minute potty breaks, and she goes to the dog park on weekends (after at least an hour walk to tire her out a bit) with hiking sometimes. We do small training sessions throughout the day, and the only toys she's interested in are soft toys that she can destroy. No ropes, no plastic, just plush toys with squeakers. She's food motivated at home, not in public.

Problem #1: Crate crying
She has a bedtime at 9:30, she knows she has to go in her crate at this time. We had her trained to be really good about it, and would rest and go right to sleep. This was her until about a month ago. Even for weeks after our trip and we came home, she did great with her crating. But now when she goes into her crate for bed, we have a good 20 mins of barking, crying, growling, grunting, etc. She has a couple blankets, a toy, and water inside her crate and when we have her go to bed, we set treats in there and praise her heavily for going in.
I know I've gotten a lot of suggestions to "just ignore it" but we can't, we live in apartments and if she doesn't stop there will be big consequences.
This also happens when I'm taking a shower, when me and my boyfriend are looking for time alone, when we go to bed, when we leave the house, and immediately after she eats her dinner and breakfast (which she always eats in her crate because she won't eat if its not in there.) It's not like shes in the crate all day. She's in there for bed, she eats in there (which she ends up staying in there for 30 mins because I can't reward with letting her out if she's throwing a tantrum), she's there for the 3-4 hours when me and my boyfriend are both at work. Its not potty related because we have taken her out for 5 minute potty breaks just to try to teach her that she can only cry for potty, which always ended with her just sitting down in the grass. Plus she gets potty breaks 4 times a day, including first thing in the morning and right before her bedtime. But the rest of the time she's allowed to be out and hang out with us.

Problem #2: Selective listening
She only listens when she feels like it. ESPECIALLY at the dog park or anywhere public. I've tried taking everything away from her, only letting her have toys and chews when she listens to me as recommended. It changed nothing. In public she still actively ignores me. I give her a command and she looks at me and refuses to do it. Even with her favorite treats in hand when we're at the dog park. When we're at home she usually does her commands well, can focus on me, she often doesn't need treats or a toy to do them either. The only time she's bad at it is when I first come home, when my boyfriend comes home, and she still actively ignores the "leave it" command when it comes to the cat (but not when its food on the floor or something she's not supposed to have).

At one point she was super good at the command "settle" when there was a knock on the door or a neighbor coming home. Now she doesn't listen and instead of being quiet and settling, she looks directly at me and keeps barking. And let me tell you. She has a BIG BARK. She'll still occasionally do as told in this situation but only partly because she only stops big barks and keeps doing little barks, growls, grunting, and she starts kicking (??? idk). This is something that happens often when we're in public and I need her to settle down from being excited by something. I know I'm not supposed to do this, but I got a little worried because she was getting all the dogs at the dog park to pick on the new kid and so I rolled her onto her side and gently pinned her until she calmed down enough to let everyone else calm down. Is there a better way to do this without pinning her down? I don't want to scoop her up because she will flail and I don't want to drop her. I don't want to grab her collar and accidentally choke her or hurt her. I can't grab her harness because she's very good at knowing how to slip out of it when she wants to.

Problem #3: Toy and treat aggression
So I heard the best way to treat this is to take away her toys and other stuff so she'll understand that they're my belongings and not hers, and she needs to respect us. She usually doesn't get aggressive towards me but if another dog or our cat gets near her toys, her chews, or even her bed she'll snap and growl and snarl. Sometimes if I have her toy in my hand asking her to do something for it or I'm on it without noticing she'll stand there and growl and snarl at me for it. I never give it to her in that situation. I just don't know what to do here, its unacceptable and she's stressing out the cat that's just trying to walk around the house.

Problem #4: Being aggressive and overprotective
This only happens in small spaces it seems. She starts getting mighty aggressive with other dogs regardless of size if they're in the same room as me. It's happened with our pets sitters and their big dogs when we took her to meet them, it happened on new years with a gentle and curious pitbull, it happened with my friends pack of small dogs in his home. I don't know how to tell her that it's ok, that its not right for her to act that way to other dogs, especially on their turf. Also, if she's on a leash and she meets another dog, she starts snarling and growling. But not at the dog park off leash. She does have a problem using growling to initiate play but most dogs figure it out and play with her.

I think that's all the big ones, the small ones are improving. I'd like to note that she is a bit fearful, I'm not sure of her past but I'd like to help her be less fearful. In public areas, she's very confident and loves to greet people (even men now!) and she knows which stores have treats for her. Meeting dogs usually goes bad but sometimes she does well and I'm sure to praise her lots for good dog interactions, which is honestly still an improvement compared to how she used to be. She's never actually bitten, or tried to bite but does snap at me and other dogs and people.

Sorry for the lengthiness. I wanted to be thorough in hopes it helps give me better instruction or tell me why she's doing this. It baffles me because I've had large dogs, I work with dogs, I get dogs to do things for me because I work in dog rehab. But it seems with this dog, if its not one thing, its another. If I had a house I could excuse things like crying or barking but in an apartment, this can cause a lot of trouble for all of us. And I don't want to give her up, nor do I want to get kicked out of my home, ya know? So I really hope y'all can help us, and help her keep her home with us.
 

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Oh, theres a lot going on, isn't there! I'll try to pick up your points in order. But what I'd say first is - she is a terrier. They are independent, focussed, busy dogs that like to have a job to do.

So first, the crate.
I've gotten a lot of suggestions to "just ignore it”
That's quite old fashioned advice to be honest. It is impossible to resolve distress while the dog is in a state of distress. The dogs that stop crying in their crate don't stop because they realise everything is ok, they do it because they give up, shut down. It's an extreme example but if you think of trauma victims, the silent ones are the most damaged. And on that same basis, I wouldn't do this either -
I can't reward with letting her out if she's throwing a tantrum
. You aren't ”rewarding” her, you are taking away a cause of extreme stress. That will make her much less anxious. Current thinking on crate training is the dog mustn't feel trapped against her will. Can you just leave the crate door open when she is eating? That would solve the problem at least at meal times. Once she feels she isn't trapped she might become more relaxed in general about it, and what would happen if the door was open at night too?

Selective listening - I believe there are three main reasons for a dog not doing what we ask. One, they don't understand the cue. Unlikely here, because she complies in a low distraction environment. Two, the benefit, or reward, or motivation for complying is lower than the benefit, reward or motivation for continuing to do what she is already doing. There is a well known trainer, I can't remember which, that advises BMFI - be more *** interesting. Coming to you for whatever the cue is, has to be awesome, outstripping everything else. More on engagement is further on in my reply. If you cannot compete with the distractions of a highly stimulating environment, don't set her up to fail by asking for things she will struggle to do. Look at what you are asking in the dog park. If it's an important thing like recall, which is non-negotiable, have her on a long line. And practice, practice, practice in lower distraction environments. Like near the dog park where she is aware of the other dogs but not actually playing with them. You could also increase the value of the reward, maybe a squeaky toy that is only ever given for complying with ”difficult ” cues. This is your toy, your best ever favourite super special toy. You play with it, you get really excited, you talk to the toy, you LOVE the toy (all in front of her) so when she gets to play with it, she knows it's something amazing. The third reason dogs may not comply is when we are fighting against a deep rooted breed trait. Like you seldom see Huskies off lead because their instinct is to run. That's why she finds the cat so hard to resist. Millennia of breeding terriers to chase and kill small furry creatures isn't going to be overcome easily. So this one is about management. Baby gates and escape routes for the cat will be essential.

Toy and treat aggression - sorry, I think you may have contributed to this problem.
heard the best way to treat this is to take away her toys and other stuff so she'll understand that they're my belongings and not hers,
Suppose you were in a favourite restaurant eating a lovely meal and someone came and tried to take it away. You would do all you could to stop them. If it happened repeatedly, you would get quite possessive and guard your food to make sure nobody else got it. I think that's what is happening here. In her mind, someone taking what she sees as hers is a threat (this is different from the one special toy that is used for a specific purpose as in point #2). So she is warning them off. Let the poor girl just have her toys, and enjoy her chews and bed in peace. This is turning into resource guarding, where she sees the need to protect her things (or even a sunny spot on the floor, it doesn't have to be an object). Forcing it makes it worse - the harder someone tries to take something, the harder she will fight to keep it. So this has the potential to become much worse. Be very careful, research resource guarding and if you do need her to give something up, always have something of higher value to exchange.

Point 4 - snarling at other dogs. She is trying to tell them to keep out of her space. Which actually isn't unreasonable, if a random stranger started to engage with you, you would be telling them too. Especially on lead, when she has no escape, he has to put on more of a display of ”I'm tough and scary, don't mess with mess with me”. And that's all it is - a display. She is likely anxious, you said that yourself, and she is taking the line of ”attack is the best form of defence”. If she scares them off, she won't have to engage. So watch her body language and if she has no escape route, it's very simple - you just keep her away from other dogs. If it's a dog you really want her to get to know, manage the introductions carefully by doing things like walking together but a few metres apart (I need to go out soon so come back on that if you need to).

Finally, pinning her down isn't going to do anything for building your bond, which is something you need for her to be engaged with you, and listen to you, and comply with cues.

Have a look online at things like competitive obedience, heelwork, agility and the best dog/handler teams are totally engaged with each other. Engagement is the foundation of the relationship. There have been a few things in your thread that remind me of the old fashioned alpha leadership, dominance theory. True leadership (think of business, school, politics) is based on respect, not force or dominance and our dogs need to look to us for that, rather than the old forceful style that has now been shown to be less effective than more modern methods. The old theory has actually been thoroughly disproven and widely discredited, even by the person who developed it. It was based on flawed conclusions drawn from poorly observed evidence. The wolf pack (and dogs are not wolves anyway, any more than we are chimpanzees) was not a real pack, and the situation (captivity rather than wild) skewed the data as their behaviour was not natural. In a true pack, the leadership is fluid depending on the circumstances. This article explains it quite well. Debunking the "Alpha Dog" Theory - Whole Dog Journal
 

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Since JoanneF already have made several great points I won’t cover everything. But +1 to the points made above.

#1 Crate:
Why does she have to be in a crate? In my opinion the use of crates and crate training have escalated and reached a really bad point. Especially in the usa, You really abuse the use of crates. Coming from a country where it’s illegal only to have a crate in your house (It’s okay if the crate doesn’t have a door) it’s completely insane to hear how common and normalized it is to keep your dog in a crate for hours and hours. It’s great to teach your dog to like being in a crate but what is the reason to put them in a crate during the night or when you leave it at home? It’s really sad to hear about all these dog spending hours every day in a crate.

How have you trained her on being alone? It sounds like you need to go back to square one. Start by separate her from you in the apartment with a gate of some sort so she can see you but can’t go to you. Maybe give her a bone she can entertain herself with. Get her used to being by herself. When she is used to that, start closing doors. Leave her for a few minutes and build up from there. Then you can start leaving the apartment a few minutes at a time. If she can’t handle it step back and start from the beginning.

#2 Selective listening:
If you ask yourself the question “why should she listen to me?” What is your answer? A dog will do whatever is beneficial to them. Find out how to make it benefit her to listen to you. To require from her to be able to listen you at the dog park just because she does it at home is a too big step. Start to establish the commands in a low distraction setting, and build up from that.

#3 JoanneF explains this very well. Exchange the toys with something else to teach her to give up her toys. If she is okay with you holding on to the toy while she has it (don’t do it if she get stressed out) hold it until she just slightly let it go, then throw it away for her to chase. Make it fun when you take the toy away, make it into a game where she wants you to take the toy.

Skip the outdated way of thinking, stop pinning her down etc. The alpha theory is wrong and you should not base your training methods on this.
 

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I'm curious - Is it necessary to crate your dog? My dog sleeps soundly through the night in his dog bed on the floor in my bedroom. During the daytime when I leave home, he just hangs in the living room. Unless your dog is having accidents or destroying things, she probably doesn't need a crate.
 

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Unless your dog is having accidents or destroying things, she probably doesn't need a crate.
If the dog is destroying things or having accidents it is even more outrageous to shut it in a crate. That dog has probably not being taught to be alone, might have separation anxiety or is being extremely under stimulated. Shutting a dog in a crate in that condition, is straight up cruel.
 

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Not arguing about this. I never use a crate, but I can imagine that these would be reasons for someone to want to use one.
 

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Oh, theres a lot going on, isn't there! I'll try to pick up your points in order. But what I'd say first is - she is a terrier. They are independent, focussed, busy dogs that like to have a job to do.

So first, the crate.

That's quite old fashioned advice to be honest. It is impossible to resolve distress while the dog is in a state of distress. The dogs that stop crying in their crate don't stop because they realise everything is ok, they do it because they give up, shut down. It's an extreme example but if you think of trauma victims, the silent ones are the most damaged. And on that same basis, I wouldn't do this either - . You aren't ”rewarding” her, you are taking away a cause of extreme stress. That will make her much less anxious. Current thinking on crate training is the dog mustn't feel trapped against her will. Can you just leave the crate door open when she is eating? That would solve the problem at least at meal times. Once she feels she isn't trapped she might become more relaxed in general about it, and what would happen if the door was open at night too?

Selective listening - I believe there are three main reasons for a dog not doing what we ask. One, they don't understand the cue. Unlikely here, because she complies in a low distraction environment. Two, the benefit, or reward, or motivation for complying is lower than the benefit, reward or motivation for continuing to do what she is already doing. There is a well known trainer, I can't remember which, that advises BMFI - be more *** interesting. Coming to you for whatever the cue is, has to be awesome, outstripping everything else. More on engagement is further on in my reply. If you cannot compete with the distractions of a highly stimulating environment, don't set her up to fail by asking for things she will struggle to do. Look at what you are asking in the dog park. If it's an important thing like recall, which is non-negotiable, have her on a long line. And practice, practice, practice in lower distraction environments. Like near the dog park where she is aware of the other dogs but not actually playing with them. You could also increase the value of the reward, maybe a squeaky toy that is only ever given for complying with ”difficult ” cues. This is your toy, your best ever favourite super special toy. You play with it, you get really excited, you talk to the toy, you LOVE the toy (all in front of her) so when she gets to play with it, she knows it's something amazing. The third reason dogs may not comply is when we are fighting against a deep rooted breed trait. Like you seldom see Huskies off lead because their instinct is to run. That's why she finds the cat so hard to resist. Millennia of breeding terriers to chase and kill small furry creatures isn't going to be overcome easily. So this one is about management. Baby gates and escape routes for the cat will be essential.

Toy and treat aggression - sorry, I think you may have contributed to this problem. Suppose you were in a favourite restaurant eating a lovely meal and someone came and tried to take it away. You would do all you could to stop them. If it happened repeatedly, you would get quite possessive and guard your food to make sure nobody else got it. I think that's what is happening here. In her mind, someone taking what she sees as hers is a threat (this is different from the one special toy that is used for a specific purpose as in point #2). So she is warning them off. Let the poor girl just have her toys, and enjoy her chews and bed in peace. This is turning into resource guarding, where she sees the need to protect her things (or even a sunny spot on the floor, it doesn't have to be an object). Forcing it makes it worse - the harder someone tries to take something, the harder she will fight to keep it. So this has the potential to become much worse. Be very careful, research resource guarding and if you do need her to give something up, always have something of higher value to exchange.

Point 4 - snarling at other dogs. She is trying to tell them to keep out of her space. Which actually isn't unreasonable, if a random stranger started to engage with you, you would be telling them too. Especially on lead, when she has no escape, he has to put on more of a display of ”I'm tough and scary, don't mess with mess with me”. And that's all it is - a display. She is likely anxious, you said that yourself, and she is taking the line of ”attack is the best form of defence”. If she scares them off, she won't have to engage. So watch her body language and if she has no escape route, it's very simple - you just keep her away from other dogs. If it's a dog you really want her to get to know, manage the introductions carefully by doing things like walking together but a few metres apart (I need to go out soon so come back on that if you need to).

Finally, pinning her down isn't going to do anything for building your bond, which is something you need for her to be engaged with you, and listen to you, and comply with cues.

Have a look online at things like competitive obedience, heelwork, agility and the best dog/handler teams are totally engaged with each other. Engagement is the foundation of the relationship. There have been a few things in your thread that remind me of the old fashioned alpha leadership, dominance theory. True leadership (think of business, school, politics) is based on respect, not force or dominance and our dogs need to look to us for that, rather than the old forceful style that has now been shown to be less effective than more modern methods. The old theory has actually been thoroughly disproven and widely discredited, even by the person who developed it. It was based on flawed conclusions drawn from poorly observed evidence. The wolf pack (and dogs are not wolves anyway, any more than we are chimpanzees) was not a real pack, and the situation (captivity rather than wild) skewed the data as their behaviour was not natural. In a true pack, the leadership is fluid depending on the circumstances. This article explains it quite well. Debunking the "Alpha Dog" Theory - Whole Dog Journal
Thanks so much. I was going off what a local trainer had said about all this and I believed it was exacerbating the problem myself but she said 'its all about rewarding good behavior and ignoring bad'. It doesn't work for us at all.
I'll try giving her food with an open gate. I was suggested to do crate games too to make her more excited about the crate
We have the special toy already, it one we both love because I love possums but it's also obnoxious. I'll try to bring that "special friend" energy to the park too.
So with the resource guarding, I'll start giving her the stuff back but how do I stop her from like... Lunging at the cat that's just walking by her bed? Or if she's eating a snack and the cat happens to walk by? She doesn't really chase the cat anymore, but she stares and won't look away and if she sees the cat by anything that's hers she will lunge and snarl.
Also regarding the snarling, I could understand that but at the same time she pulls to greet other dogs and seems excited to meet more friends then after she gets a sniff and greet she'll start snarling and growling. So now we avoid dogs on walks.
But yeah, it didn't feel great pinning her and I pet her and talked softly while doing it to know it's not punishment she just needs to take a breath and chill out. But now I know that my trainer was using dominance theory, I can stray away and use hopefully more effective methods. Thanks for you advice and reply and we're actually looking into nosework for her because she's a big sniffer. It's actually something we struggled with when teaching her to run with us haha.
 

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Since JoanneF already have made several great points I won’t cover everything. But +1 to the points made above.

#1 Crate:
Why does she have to be in a crate? In my opinion the use of crates and crate training have escalated and reached a really bad point. Especially in the usa, You really abuse the use of crates. Coming from a country where it’s illegal only to have a crate in your house (It’s okay if the crate doesn’t have a door) it’s completely insane to hear how common and normalized it is to keep your dog in a crate for hours and hours. It’s great to teach your dog to like being in a crate but what is the reason to put them in a crate during the night or when you leave it at home? It’s really sad to hear about all these dog spending hours every day in a crate.

How have you trained her on being alone? It sounds like you need to go back to square one. Start by separate her from you in the apartment with a gate of some sort so she can see you but can’t go to you. Maybe give her a bone she can entertain herself with. Get her used to being by herself. When she is used to that, start closing doors. Leave her for a few minutes and build up from there. Then you can start leaving the apartment a few minutes at a time. If she can’t handle it step back and start from the beginning.

#2 Selective listening:
If you ask yourself the question “why should she listen to me?” What is your answer? A dog will do whatever is beneficial to them. Find out how to make it benefit her to listen to you. To require from her to be able to listen you at the dog park just because she does it at home is a too big step. Start to establish the commands in a low distraction setting, and build up from that.

#3 JoanneF explains this very well. Exchange the toys with something else to teach her to give up her toys. If she is okay with you holding on to the toy while she has it (don’t do it if she get stressed out) hold it until she just slightly let it go, then throw it away for her to chase. Make it fun when you take the toy away, make it into a game where she wants you to take the toy.

Skip the outdated way of thinking, stop pinning her down etc. The alpha theory is wrong and you should not base your training methods on this.
Well until we have her trained enough to not lash out at the cat, she has to be crated when there's no one around to stop her from going too far. As I said. She's in there for bed, it's made up cozy and warm. She's got food, water, and a toy and she's out and about the rest of the time. I did her breakfast with the crate door open and she hasn't eaten yet ( probably confused) but we'll keep that up. Plus, getting her comfortable with a crate would help in the event that she has to be hospitalized or if she goes to work with me and needs to be crated while there's a treatment happening in the same room. We have lots of dogs that come to our ICU and icw units that cry and cry and cry inconsolably because they've never been kenneled in their life. Same when they go home and need crate rest until they're ready to come out. I'm thinking of the future, especially when she's highly active. And I do passive and active range of motion on her before exercise but things happen and she might need a tplo or back surgery someday.
She was really good at being alone and then one day she just stopped. I do leave the apartment often to check mail, switch laundry, and I'll go into the room to play games or tidy up and she's usually fine. She doesn't need a baby gate because she knows that's the kitty's room and she's not allowed to be in there. Sometimes she'll cry if I'm in there and stand at the door but that's usually if we're about to leave to go on errands or to the park. IDK if something happened while we were gone or what. I'm just going to try to reteach her that it's a good place to be.
She mostly does good with listening at walks and around the park and trails by the dog park but once we go in she thinks she doesn't have to listen but I have a plan, using the possum mentioned in my other reply and treats I'm going to have her in a dog park routine to sit at the gate and wait before we go in and build from there.
We'll do more fetch in the house with her toys, she's never been one to not let go of toys, she knows give. But it's if I have it and she wants it she gets upset (now I know it's best to just give it). And if the cat comes near it. Like just walking by.
I've only pinned her that one time because it was getting out of hand. I don't plan on doing it again. I was going off a recommended local trainer, but now I know it was more dominance training than anything. I've never had trouble training a dog, but I've also usually had big non-independent breeds of dogs that were more food motivated and eager to please. And it doesn't help that her previous home nor her foster mom did any training with her so she came to me with a lot of work to do. And this forum has a lot better recommendations than Reddit ?
 

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how do I stop her from like... Lunging at the cat that's just walking by her bed?
Honestly, I think terriers are hard wired to chase, and although she is restraining herself, it is a big ask. This is down to management. Try to keep the cat away from her.

Rewarding good behaviour and ignoring bad is actually sound advice, and in itself not dominance theory.

The snarling at other dogs and pulling towards them could indicate she is conflicted and unsure. The recommendation is still the same, give her space.
 
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