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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all. I have just recently adopted a 1 year old Lab Husky mix from a family of craigslist. I feel they did not take care of the dog with regards to proper training and adequate attention. I have came here in need of some advice and analysis of his behavior. He whines constantly whenever we go inside the house (not outside), it is hard to get his attention (even with treats and toys), he piddles in the house (obviously not house trained :/ ), you have almost zero control when walking him on a leash, and he will NEVER leave your side (can't close a door leaving him in a room, he always throws his massive head through first). Its sad that he, obviously, was neglected while being raised by a puppy, but it feels quite difficult for a inexperienced individual such as myself to set him straight and maximize the potential his genetics should provide him. He's a super loving knuckle head and I don't want to give up on him :( Any and all feedback is greatly appreciated! I am thinking about taking him to a proper trainer soon.
 

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There is quite a lot going on there, so to break it into manageable chunks, I'm going to split it into the three things I see as being most relevant.

Let's start with not wanting to be alone in the house. You don't say how long you have had him, this may settle; or possibly he has never learned to be independent. I'd start by using the flitting game. It is described about ⅔ of the way down this link.


Next, the toilet training. He does sound like he hasn't been trained so you will have to put some work into this too.

Toilet training happens when two things come together - the ABILITY to hold the toilet, along with the DESIRE to hold it in order to earn the reward for doing so.
Ideally you want him to not be in a position where he needs to toilet before you have him outdoors, so that every toilet is outside - as far as possible, there will be accidents!

So set him up to succeed by taking him out even more than he needs; for example every hour and always after sleeping, eating, playing. Your aim is to have him outside at those times when he needs to toilet, keeping his bowel and bladder empty as much as possibleso there is no need to do it indoors.

When he toilets outdoors make a huge fuss (never mind the neighbours, act like outdoor toileting is the best thing you have ever seen) and reward him with a high value treat. Do that immediately, don't make him come to you for the treat so he is clear that it's for toileting and not for coming to you. The idea is that he eventually wants to earn the treat enough to hold the toilet until he is outside. As he is actually performing the toilet you can introduce words he can associate with it (like 'do weewee' and 'busy busy') that later when he is reliably trained you can use these to tell him when you want him to toilet.

If you take him out and he doesn't toilet after five minutes, bring him in but don't take your eyes off him. Any hint of a toilet inside, scoop him up and get him out fast. If he doesn't try to toilet indoors (great!) take him out a second time and repeat until you do get outside toilets. You need the outside toilet to happen SO that you can reward SO that he learns.

If he has an accident inside don't react at all. If you get annoyed he may learn to fear your reaction and avoid you if he needs to toilet (by going off and toileting out of sight) - the opposite of what you want. Dogs cant make the distinction between you being annoyed at him TOILETING, as opposed to toileting INDOORS. Take a rolled up newspaper and hit yourself over the head for not having taken him outside in time. Not when he is there though in case you scare him. Then clean the area with an enzymatic cleaner to remove any trace of smell that might attract him back to the spot.

Indoors if you see him circling or scratching the floor, that can sometimes precede toileting so get him out fast.

Overnight he may not to be able to control his toilet as his bladder and bowel have never developed enough to hold all night so set your alarm to take him out at least once if not twice during the night.

The third thing you said was pulling. Well, he is part husky, they have been bred over millennia to pull things so you are going to be working against a deeply rooted breed trait. So not impossible but a lot harder than some dogs. Also dogs have a natural instinct to pull against anything that restrains them. It's called oppositional reflex and humans (and other mammals) have it too - if someone restrained you, your reaction would be to pull away. So, your aim is to teach him that when he feels pressure on the leash, he uses an alternative behaviour of being closer to you so it feels slack. The following video gives some pointers and the Mekuti harness gets good reports of being helpful too.


If I may, can I also suggest that when you look for a trainer, you find one who uses force free, reward based methods. If your trainers talk about being alpha, pack leadership or dominance, walk away. These theories are very outdated and in fact harmful but they are the flat earth theories of dog training, some people cling onto them.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you for your help!
I've looked into these methods of support for him (his name is Butch :D ), and I am hiring a trainer to help me accomplish something with him. Just a few minutes ago he bit both of my friends while they were petting him. Weird thing is they were petting him in similar places which I've pet him before. I'm starting to wonder if he has a form of PSTD or something similar for dogs. Perhaps Butch came from an abusive family? It hadn't seemed that way to me before, but nobody will know the truth other than them :/ Another big question is why he is attacking people other than me for doing things that I have been doing. (Side note, he also keeps performing a tiny little hobble off his right leg.... maybe this is all aggression due to some pain he is having in his right frontward leg? Also wondering why it hurts him so much to the point where he can't pull his full weight on it.) If this continues I will most definitely get him out of my possession. We have a small chihuahua and I very simply CANNOT have this type of behavior come anywhere near my primary dog :((( Wish it didn't have to be like this......
 

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How bad were the bites - did he break the skin? And how long exactly have you had him?

Meantime, do not let strangers pet him under any circumstances. It might have been because they touched, or got close to a sore spot .
 

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Discussion Starter #5
The bite was pretty deep. I've decided to give him away to a shelter. I just can't seem to find any shelters that will pick up the phone!!!!!
 

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Do tell them about the bites. It would be unfair on any future owners to take him without knowing this.
 
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