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Discussion Starter #1
Does anyone ever just feel emotionally exhausted with training their dog? Stella isn’t even a…bad dog with a lot of issues but she’s still a teenager. Plus I have high hopes for her. I want her to get a CGC and be a therapy dog, because I think it’s something we’d both enjoy since she loves people (especially kids) and I love helping people. I wanted to do agility too but now I’m also dealing with that disappointment because she was recently diagnosed with luxating patellas.

I’m exhausted that she doesn’t listen as well in public, and doesn’t always come when called. I’ll admit she has definitely improved with recall, and improved with demand barking, and even jumping a tiny bit. She just doesn't pay attention to me as well as I want her to, even though I work on it every day. But it just...it doesn’t feel good enough or fast enough, because I try so hard all the time. I feel like a failure as a dog trainer, even moreso since I got the trainer certification this past spring.

I’m also upset that Stella doesn’t seem as social anymore. I kept her because she had such a sweet nature. She was always so tolerant. Is that going away just because she’s a teenager? Will it come back as she matures? Will she maybe just remain this way or even get grouchier? I don’t know. I don’t know if maybe she just gets too focused on fetch at the park and plays more in daycare or…maybe they’re lying to me? They seem like good people there… I also want her to be able to socialize and be good with other dogs if I want to get more or have others with dogs come over. Does anyone think this might be part of her teen phase? She’s barely 16 months old now, and she’s got a good deal of ACD and possibly Catahoula, which I believe are slow to mature. She IS still really good and tolerant of Tyrion, so maybe she’s just bitchy in the park or with dogs that she’s not close to.

Plus I’m really concerned about her behavior with cats. She really does see them as prey and I’m just worried if I move in with my girlfriend in the next year or two it will just make our lives hell. Or God forbid, Stella will hurt her cat. I try so hard but she just doesn’t improve, and I have some resources to have her with cats that aren’t confined but I’m scared she might hurt them. She really might not…but I don’t know.

I really feel like I’m not training her right. I’m tired and just feel bad about myself. I’m embarrassed and just… I dunno. Do you think I’m just being too hard on myself? And Stella is doing ok? Maybe my standards are just too high? I guess I was just hoping for support.
 

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They are just jerks at this age.

My dog has decided she doesn't want to go for regular neighborhood walks any more.

I stopped walking her for a few days as she got sick, and now she will quite happily jump in the card and go for a hike or play fetch/flirt pole in the back yard, but if I try to walk her down the street she lays down and refuses to move, its not fear, its not anything but her not wanting to, she knows more fun will be had in the back yard or going somewhere in the car.

Jerk teenage dogs!
 

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I didn't expect all that much from my dog as an adolescent, it was really when I first got started training him. There is a school of thought that came from the originator of the GSD and Schutzhund, Max von Stephanitz, that dogs should begin their training around 9/10 months old which is when wild wolves first start participating in the hunt. Something called neural pruning happens at adolescence when the adult dog forms from the puppy and much of what they learned as a puppy is erased from their minds. So many things should wait to be taught until the puppy is fully developed both emotionally and physically. I basically, housetrained and taught "sit" and not a lot else as a young puppy. My dog didn't attend puppy obedience classes until he was 10 months old, it wasn't hugely successful because of the trainer's attitude to his size, but's that another story.

So, I would take a deep breath, put your frustration and embarrassment aside and start again, as if she was a fresh, untrained dog.

As for training methods, I would suggest Natural Dog Training's five core exercises* as an alternative to operant conditioning, but it doesn't seem to go down well, even though this system works. Pushing on a regular basis (and I still do it several times a day) was all it took to stop my dog's leash pulling and over-reactivity where everything else had failed.

*Pushing, collecting, speaking on command, tug-of-war/fetch (aka bite-and-carry) and suppling (massage on the dog's shoulders).

I will add I never experienced an adolescent fear phase or sudden disobedience with my teenage dog.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I will add I never experienced an adolescent fear phase or sudden disobedience with my teenage dog.
Just to clarify are you saying your dogs never had this happen because of your use of this German-style training or you don't think those things are normal?
 

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I get exhausted too. Patience isn't something that always comes easily to me, which probably stems from my anxiety. It gets worse when I'm feeling particularly anxious for whatever reason.

Compound that with the fact that I have a challenging (though bright!) dog to work with means that I am emotionally exhausted due to training semi frequently.

I find it comes in waves for me -- I get eager, excited, and then a couple of weeks later I'm feeling lazy and like nothing I do is successful, and then another couple of weeks later I'm excited to get back to work again. I'm all over the place, haha.

I find what works best is to jump on training when I'm feeling motivated and let myself be a little lazy when I'm not.
 

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yes im, it is like having a baby, or toddler. i have a toddler, i adopted at 11 month old, with not much info on his history.
i have reached out twice to local dog training, but they arnt being very helpfull, with communication for a start. so i have decided to do it myself. i found a local dog walking group, and i will start going out with them when Ben is ready. he is fine with other dogs, but not good of the leash.
i agree its allot, besides working, and responsibilitys at home....
but when we adopted Ben, we made a commitment for life, and we are going to co exist! :)
 

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Just to clarify are you saying your dogs never had this happen because of your use of this German-style training or you don't think those things are normal?
I didn't use this German style of Schutzhund training from von Stephanitz, I just quoted what he did. I didn't find NDT until my dog was four years old and I had exhausted other modalities*. I didn't do a great deal of training with my dog because it didn't feel right to me, he just didn't seem "ready", in the same way, you don't try and teach first graders calculus.

I think there are several reasons why the "terrible teens" didn't happen with my dog.

* My issue with him was not basic manners (he had those), aggression, RG etc, just leash pulling and over-interest in other dogs and some over-reactivity with cyclists, joggers, skateboarders, and strollers. He really needed tweaking and nothing had really helped until I started pushing with him and tug to increase his attraction to me.
 

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I totally understand your feeling. My wonderful puppy has started going through the adolescent phase. He knows the command but he just pretends to be deaf (selective hearing) and he also showed signs of resource guarding with high value food. So I've gone back to the basics by training him inside the backyard rather than outside where there are more distractions and treat him more for the tricks he is doing correctly. I also do more "trading" game with higher value food to swap for the toys and food he has. Progress is pretty good but he still tries to test the boundaries. Fingers crossed that this will go away soon because it feels quite miserable
 

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Yep, I relate completely. When he was around 8-9 months old, I started doing google searches and research about whether there was any option out there to give up my dog for two weeks, lol. I was looking at resident training programs and the like, but decided against it because of the money and because I wanted him to develop the training bond with me - not a trainer. Occasionally I'd just hire a dog sitter on Rover so I could have a break for 24 hours.

He was progressively getting better at around the 10 month mark. There was one point where he was just a perfect dog for three days - listened to me 100%, didn't pull on walks, wasn't chewing on stuff in the house, etc.

On NYE, I woke up to a completely hyperactive, crazy dog - even more so than usual. I decided to drop him off at daycare for the day to run off his energy - 12 hours of playing should have done it. However, during naptime, he didn't want to nap like the other dogs. He tried to jump a metal barrier, and wasn't able to clear it - busted up his two back knees, and requires an emergency room visit and stitches. He just got the stitches removed today, and the cone comes off Monday.


But the weird thing is, he's been basically a different dog since the accident. Super chill, obedient, affectionate. And his separation anxiety has practically disappeared. I had started a thread about how bad it was a few months ago. Now suddenly he's totally cool with me leaving. The details are in that last post on my thread:

http://www.dogforum.com/dog-training-behavior/my-dogs-separation-anxiety-getting-worse-254170/

He's really easy to be around at home now, which is awesome. But for some reason he's a little worse in public - pulling on the leash again, going crazy after other dogs (of course, now that he's been restricted from daycare and the dog park for more than two weeks he's probably craving some playtime with other dogs). He's generally sort of embarrassing me now on walks - not greeting people and other dogs appropriately, jumping.

*sigh*

I'm not sure what role the accident played in this whole thing, or if it's unrelated. But there have definitely been days I regretted adopting him, and just want to relax my brain and not think about him. One of the worst part of having a dog, to me, is not being able to travel. I love big dogs, but some days I really really wish I had gotten a small dog so I could just put it in a carrier and hop on a plane. I feel like he's tying me down sometimes.

Of course, January in Chicago, where I live, always sucks. It would be nice to get away, but having a dog makes living here more tolerable. :)
 

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Sometimes its best to walk away and come back when you're feeling a bit better, and reward yourself, end on a high note, etc. Don't forget to reward yourself with something! They can be difficult sometimes and this step is almost more important than rewarding them....keeps you going in the future.
 

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A break in all training might help you both. Not saying that you should relax all rules, just don't ask her to do anything whilst not giving her the opportunity to do the things you don' like. Simply like a time off from work or school.
 

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Hank became a total nightmare at about 18 months. Now he's just turned 2 and starting to settle into himself. Talking to ACD people... it's totally normal. they are jerks as teens. He is so frustrating at times... My next dog is going to be a more biddable breed. lol

Or maybe we'll get thru all this and I'll forget when he's older.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I don't get it, I seriously don't get it. Stella is the most socialized dog you could meet. She's met loads of other dogs on leash, off leash, at home, in parks, in stores, in classes. She has previously been bombproof when other dogs bark at her or even lunge/rush her. But she's weirdly becoming reactive to some dogs out of absolutely nowhere. I don't get it. The other day she started barking all nasty at another dog in Petco. Ok, that I can sort of understand because that dog barked at the cat kiosk and that set her off. But today? Today we were in Petsmart and passed, of all things a seeing eye dog! He was just chilling there with his handler and Stella passed him and lost it, barking and lunging. We moved away and then walked around the store more, and got to the Banfield section and there were about 5 dogs from The Seeing Eye just sitting waiting there for a check up. AGAIN, she lost it, barking and lunging. She doesn't do this to all other dogs, but it's becoming more common.

Why on earth is this happening? I mean, did she find their handle harnesses weird and scary? that's such a minor thing and I don't even know if she saw their harnesses. Has anyone else ever had this problem?
@Laurelin When you say Hank was a "nightmare" what do you mean? Was it anything like this?
 

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Recently I have been getting really frustrated with Aayla for normal things, and she isn't really doing anything. She is just being a puppy and for some reason it has been really really bothering me. I've had to stop most of my training sessions a few minutes in because for some reason I'm getting frustrated over nothing...like she is chewing on grass.

So I've mostly just been playing with her and working on a few tricks indoors in a no distraction environment. It is helping a lot. I feel a lot more patient and level headed already.
 

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Honestly, and this is just speaking from my personal experience with the breed, it's not uncommon for heelers/mixes to become reactive or even aggressive with other dogs. They are a very tenacious breed that is bred to be tough and in your face. A lot of dogs are prone to reactivity or da and all the training in the world couldn't stop them from getting progressively less tolerant of other dogs as they mature.

Of course this shouldn't deter you from working with her further, just don't blame yourself if she becomes dog reactive. Popular to contrary belief, it really isn't just about how you raise and train them.
 

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The dog trainer I consulted with to fix my dogs dog aggression said that positive reinforcement is amazing for some things but sometimes you can't use it to fix aggression. When he became aggressive towards dogs out of nowhere, I would give him treats if he sat down and looked at me but if he really wanted to go after the dog he would completely ignore me. She told me when he starts barking at other dogs to tell him to sit and if he doesn't I give a snap of my wrist and walk away. The snap is supposed to get his attention by tugging on his collar and then walking away shows him if he does something it's not good.i tried that but it didnt work and it looked pretty weird me dragging away a screaming lunging dog. I know I'm not going to be well liked for this but... A few weeks ago he slipped out of his collar when we were on a walk and ran straight towards a chained up male dog (he only likes female dogs dk why) he lunged at the dog, I grabbed his scruff and turned him away from the dog, slapped his backend and scolded him. Not just "no no" more like "NO BAD DOG NO" and since then he hasn't lunged at any other dog and he actually looks at me when another dog walks by and doesn't do a thing, he'll even let them sniff him and he'll sniff back. (I don't recommend slapping your dog, they could turn and bite you or become frightened of you but I wasn't thinking, just very scared he might bite a defensless dog. If a physical correction prevents a dog from seriously injuring someone, then I'm all for it tbh)
My point is if you feel she's not listening to one method of training, try something different! Like I'd she's not coming to you when you call her, call her and then walk away, chances are, she'll run after you and then give her a treat
I get frustrated all the time with my dogs! Mainly because one is not a smart dog and the other loves to demand treats but not do any of the tricks so what happens when I get frustrated, I walk away and come back 5-10 minutes later. It doesn't do you or the dog any good to be frustrated. Believe me, walking away helps!! I'd get to the point where I would CRY and now I don't anymore, thank god lol.
 

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Why on earth is this happening? I mean, did she find their handle harnesses weird and scary? that's such a minor thing and I don't even know if she saw their harnesses. Has anyone else ever had this problem?
@Laurelin When you say Hank was a "nightmare" what do you mean? Was it anything like this?
Yeah basically all of it sounds familiar. Hank is terrier x ACD so double the *******? lol

He was GREAT at 8-10 months when I got him. Mr Social and Mr Submissive. Great focus. Loved the dog park. Yeah no. Now he can't go at all. He's become very dog selective/borderline DA. He usually doesn't start something but his energy level is super overwhelming to a lot of dogs and then things just go out of hand from there. If another dog starts something... it's game on for Hank.

He is controlling too. With both my other dogs and park dogs. He wants to prevent dogs from going one direction or jumping on things. He's even voiced his displeasure towards me a couple times (not a bite but being growly and upfront).

But yeah reactivity, selective hearing, getting overstimulated by things- all very familiar. You have to remember heelers are generally a lot less biddable than other herders. They are pushy and in my experience they WILL test boundaries.

Oh and random fears popped up. Yep definitely around that time.

Hank will be a jerk because he can be a jerk. Sometimes I have to intervene pretty strongly. We use a 'LIE DOWN' a lot. There's also a ton of household rules to keep him from biting a papillon.

But yeah, I've never had a dog I had to manage quite so much. He's getting sorta better as he ages but still has his moments.
 

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I mean just realize that DA or dog selectiveness is really common in ACDs. They're really not a love everyone and everything type of dog. Even thinking on my friends' heelers (purebreds) I don't know a single one that is what I'd call dog friendly. Good with certain dogs? Yep. Hank is good with 98% of dogs really. But 1 on 1 and with careful introductions. Every single purebred ACD I know has a big space bubble. They're also real quick to voice their displeasure at something.

EDIT: AS Hank gets older he's less into doggy play. He still loves it but he will snark and snap at another dog if that dog gets up in a game he and I are playing. He's really getting to where he'd rather work with me vs play with other dogs.
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
*sigh* Just...I hate the idea of my once sweet, loves everyone puppy becoming the kind of dog that can't even go to a park or store where other dogs might be. I don't want to have a dog you can't take anywhere or have to warn people to stay back. We had dogs like that and I absolutely did NOT want that. I wanted a dog that could go to dog parks, shelter events, be totally cool if we brought a new dog home, etc. For God's sake Stella's tolerant, loving nature is more or less the sole reason I kept her. I'm really having trouble coping with the idea that she is growing into a dog that just does not fit in with what I want at all. And of course, maybe it's something that could be helped, trained out of her or just fairly well controlled. She's really good with Tyrion still, and she's never really tried to hurt him, despite the fact he gives her reason to on a daily basis.

And ok, it's fine if she doesn't like the dog park or even daycare (although that will make my life harder). But if I can't even take her to the store or regular walking park or events where there are dogs or bring another dog home to live with us or foster...I'm going to be devastated. Things just aren't going well for me in my life right now and Stella has been the only solely good thing in my life for the past year. I'm just hoping with everything in me that we can get past this. She is a mutt. Yea, definitely some ACD, but in terms of her mix/siblings, she is the only one out of the 6 I saw that you could look at and say "definitely ACD mix."

So I'm going to work on this...and have her evaluated or get more help if need be. I get really overwhelmed sometime if I let my emotions get the best of me I'm just useless as a trainer.
@Laurelin And I do like that you said Hank gets along with the majority of dogs. Can you describe that? Or just basically one on one like you said?
 
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