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My four month old puppy is a mix breed and very sweet, playful, affectionate and friendly - until you try and get her to stop doing something she wants to be doing.
For example, after a long walk she plunked down in the grass and it was next to impossible to get her up. Calling her, pulling on her harness, anything... well, besides using treats. I know that would work but is it bad for a dog to depend on treats to get what they want? Will she always expect them when I want her to listen? Anyway... I tried to move her and she growled and snapped her head back at me (doesn't bite, always just a warning)
Same thing with digging in the garden; I tried to get her to stop and she does a deep growl at me.
I don't want to encourage this behaviour by luring her with treats but I also don't want to do dominance training in case it makes the matter worse.
Please help!
 

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Use the treats...or toys- whatever works best. Get the pup to want to listen to you. You can phase the treats or toys out later. Build a good working bond with the pup for now. Whatever it takes to motivate your dog to listen. If it were me I'd be trying to avoid conflict as much as possible if he's already growling and snapping and such ( do you really want to start a fight with the dog that youre then obligated to win or lose face?). Instead of trying to force him you want to persuade him so to speak. Let him learn that doing what you tell him has a payoff. Theres nothing wrong with rewarding him for doing what you tell him. Alot of dogs do better this way, especially if he's stubborn or possessive. Like, if he growls when you want to take something from him, trade him something for it rather than just taking what he has. He'll see it as you being fair with him, not as weakness. It'll build his trust in you. When you want him to come with you, instead of just yanking on the leash ( which is probably going to make him want to dig in and not move ) by all means use the treat and praise him once he starts moving.
I'm not a fan of the whole dominance training thing- and some dogs push back....I have a great relationship with my current dog, he does what he's told not because I push my dominance on him, but because he respects me ( not fear ) and it pays off for him to listen to me. He is also a dog that will push back if he feels he's being treated unfairly. I prefer to motivate him rather than force him. If I tried to just force him he'd see it as unfair and would resist doing what I want him to. A dog thats not a total pushover isn't going to just let you force things. Not unless theres some fear there, and who wants their dog to have fear of them?
Basically teach him its fun and good things happen when he listens to you.
 

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I also think using treats is fine. The idea is that you reward them for doing what you want them to do. So if she gets up to come to you (even if it's because she knows you have a treat) she's still doing what you want her to do and eventually should learn to listen without a treat. Don't let her think she's dominant though. Give her a command to listen to before giving her what she wants. Even when you feed her or give her water, make her sit for you or something else. Have her wait for her food for a short time, just so she knows that you're the pack leader, not her.
 

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Both treats and toys are excellent tools to use in working with a dog! Think of it as your dogs paycheck - many dogs aren’t going to do something just because a human says so, just as you likely wouldn’t work a job for free. They’re sentient creatures with their own emotions needs and desires. In order to work together as a team you have to build a foundation of trust and respect. Puppies tend to have a very short fuse for frustration, so I’d just work on building a positive association with your hands on her collar and body when she’s in a comfortable positive to ensure later on in life she feels she can trust you enough to allow you to move her by her collar if you need (however no matter the age of my dogs I always try calling them or luring them away first unless it’s a dangerous or unsafe situation)

You can get her comfortable with being touched by feeding her something tasty like peanut butter while you touch her feet, collar, body, tail, etc. over time she will associate your touch with good things. I’d avoid forcing her to move as much as possible since she’s alreay having a reaction to it, and instead try making all touch positive and using toys and treats to call her to you. Recall is really important, and using treats is pretty much necessary for almost all dogs.
 

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I disagree with treats period. You are setting a pattern that anything you do I will give you a treat.

Walking on lead issue. Next time she refuses to walk home. Tie her to the closest fence, mail box...etc safe out of way and say fine you stay here and start walking away. Repeat until she comes willingly.

As for the garden I would teach her "leave it" and see if that helps. You can read it in my notes section on facebook or download in word doc file on my articles page on my website.
 

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For a dog with separation anxiety like mine has who's very anxious in general and is also a talented escape artist, he'd just chew through his leash In a mannerofaecobdswhile whining, crying and yelping and frantically take off in a frenzied panic. He chewed through eight and a half leashes the first year. And he could be quite defiant and stubborn about listening.
Treats and praise worked wonders, anything harsher made him shut down and cower.
It really depends on the individual disposition of this puppy. But in general puppies chew everything so tying it might create a whole new problem behavior like it did with my escape artist. Now he listens and does what he's told without needing treats all the time and is happy with praise. Occasional treats work better in terms of behavior theory as a reinforcement. If they get treats 100 percent of the time, they hit their saturation point faster and then don't care about the treats anymore.
The growling sounds more like frustration which you can train out by stopping all interactions so it learns all fun and attention stops the second it growls at you. Like others have posted you can use treats and praise to get it desensitized to you touching everywhere and to stop an undesirable behavior you can try trading a treat or toy, or distract with trying to start a game of fetch or tug. I'd want the pup to learn that doing what I say is fun and gets rewards. Getting into a battle of wills is never good and just leads to resentment, not great for your bond. Although I agree with above advice that the pup should listen and do something you say without growling or snapping.
 

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Yeah my amateur opinion would be to try a couple different things and gauge the dogs reaction. Tying to a tree or something could possibly help. I guess its like walking away and hiding from a puppy when they're not paying attention so they learn to keep an eye on their human. Lol but it could be one of those dogs who wont care about being left behind. Our last bullmastiff from 8 weeks old didnt give a crap about following her humans.
I personally will use treats or toys to train, but I phase them out once I get good habits instilled. The german shepherd we have now doesnt care about food, so he gets a game of tug or a ball tossed to him as reward. Yeah at first they come to expect the reward but after so much practise doing what theyre told gets to be mostly habitual and the rewards get slowly phased out from there. Thats just me though and theres no one right way for every dog. I'll say this though- a few of the dogs I've had would 100% bite the hand that feeds them if they didnt like the way they were being handled. Without rewards I'd be having to use way more compulsion ( which is how I used to do things ) and these days I prefer to not get bit trying to make my dog obey.
 

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Ooops I failed to answer your question aggression or frustration. Since aggression is fear/defensive behavior I feel it is frustration this puppy is reflecting in its behavior. Depending on the mix she is may give you an answer to what she is frustrated about. Are you working her brain? Walking or even running a dog only works their body so they find other ways to work their minds. Humans stop dogs from working their brains when on walks or runs making them stay close by and not chase things. Playing with a flirt pole works both the mind and the body.

I play with a flirt pole with all dogs that have defensive or frustrated behavior. I also have two toys hanging off tree limbs, tied on paracord that the dog can play with on their own time (instead of digging up the yard/garden) out of boredom or frustration.

You could also give her her own spot where she is allowed to get her frustrations out by digging.
 

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" I play with a flirt pole with all dogs that have defensive or frustrated behavior. I also have two toys hanging off tree limbs, tied on paracord that the dog can play with on their own time (instead of digging up the yard/garden) out of boredom or frustration.
You could also give her her own spot where she is allowed to get her frustrations out by digging"

This is awesome advice IMO. A springpole could be something to look into too!
 

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A springpole could be something to look into too!
A spring pole will work if it has an angle. Dogs love the ones hanging and with a pole they might run into it not paying attention. :) My Bailey (avatar) goes crazy with it and I could guarantee she would knock her self out with a pole..LOL
 

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Lol I bought my gsd one last christmas and he went nuts over it- but it was completely destroyed in 4 days flat. Lesson learned about buying the pre made ones for my dog. We also have a big jolleyball hanging from a branch and he loves that too. Put that one up after he ripped my punching bag down. Those jolleyballs hold up surprisingly well.
 

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Depending on the breed mix, a very intelligent working type dog might need a job too. Both my last dog and my current dog found their own different jobs for their mental workouts. My current dog is less high energy than my last dog so needs less physical exercise but my last dog needed hours of running and playing as well as a mental workouts.
Both destroyed toys pretty quickly, as in hours for guaranteed indestructible toys.
If some dogs don't have a job, they find one pretty quickly. And not always a desirable one for people.
 

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Hi Laylapup,

This sounds a lot like my new rescue puppy Puma that we got about 1 1/2 months ago. She is 5 months old and came to us with some resource guarding issues and a few other issues. She is doing so much better but of course she is young and we still have more work to do....

She too has just discovered digging in our yard this week after I had her "help" me pull weeds! I tossed her the weeds as I pulled them out of the ground and she so happily went after them in true puppy fascination, tossing them about! But now she is digging in the ground to find roots to pull up on her own. Who would have figured?

Anyway, so she is a bit growley when I ask her to stop doing her new job. And she too is sometimes unhappy about being picked up. So for the digging, I have been gently telling her no, and then trading her for some treats or I bring her one of her bones to chew on, or I throw her a ball etc. In other words I get her to do something else that is positive.

As for picking her up, we have been teaching her the phrase "pick up" and we say it in a light, fun, happy manner and then pick her up and feed her yummy food while carrying her. Or we do a quick pick up with the cue and then pay as soon as we put her down. Teaching her that it is always a good thing when we pick her up.

And as far as the plopping down on a walk and refusing to get up. Yup, she is doing that now sometimes. But for us she is doing it in the middle of my store's parking lot, right in the path of cars. Yikes! (I did tons of working with her on "relax" outside in our parking lot so this is why she feels comfortable to plop and chill anywhere)

But she doesn't understand that the parking lot roadway is dangerous. So you betcha I use food to make her want to follow me anywhere and at any time. If it works, it works. I don't work for zero paycheck, so I am more than happy to teach with food (and praise) if she learns so much faster what is safe and desirable. You can't tie a dog up and wait like some folks have suggested here if you happen to find yourself in the middle of a road:)

Just my take. I personally am a huge proponent of using food (and praise) as positive reinforcement. Having studied nonstop about dog behavior and learning methodology.... and having worked for the last three years intensely with my other dog Gracie who is a shy/fearful/cautious dog I learned that sometimes high value food is a super important way to change the mindset of a dog like my Gracie. Praise alone does not generally do it for these types of dogs. My personal motto regarding dogs: Change the mindset and the great behavior will follow.
 

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Love what Sthelena wrote here that starts with.... "Use the treats...or toys- whatever works best. Get the pup to want to listen to you."

Great post, great advice. Totally agree. Thank you.
 
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