My sister, who lives with me full time since last year, has a dog named Roger. Roger is a 6 year old Dachshund / terrier mix. Roger is 21 lbs and about 18" at the whithers. My sister has a black spot on her left frontal lobe and it causes some issues my family has dealt with since her childhood. She is very functional but has some emotion / anxiety / concentration issues and cannot budget or drive a vehicle. She is a great cook. After her husband died (2008) she went back to living with my Mom and they got puppies (littermates) to help Kelli work through the grieving process. Unfortunately two things happened: 1. they picked the wrong breed / puppies to be a calming therapy dog for Kelli. 2. Kelli was diagnosed with Cancer a month or so after getting the puppies (2008). (no worries - she is cancer free now!) However, the only real puppy training the puppies got was house breaking. They are overall good dogs but each have idiosyncrasies. OK, here's how the above is relative to Roger. When Kelli isn't able to process something she gets tense and Roger has taken this up in the form of insecurity. Once he went from puppy to adult he began resource guarding, fear aggression, non trusting of strangers - especially work men. We sent him back to the rescue for evaluation and it was found that he resource guards when alone but when in a pack he settles into beta and no problems. Kelli took him back (she is very attached to him) and we paid for a couple different trainers to work with Mom & Kelli and Roger. Roger got better but Mom & Kelli weren't consistant and he had backslid by the time he got down here (Kelli living with me full time). Kelli and I are working together and Roger now heels pretty well. We went back to ground work about eating and then instituted that he gets dessert if he goes and lies down in the living room instead of guarding his dish - he LOVES this! Kelli walks him at least twice a day and plays with him in the backyard. (a tired dog is a happy dog). She has been giving him mental chores - hides treats around the backyard and then he "searches". We take him to a dog park nearby. He likes sniffing around but hasn't quite got the hang of running around with the other dogs. This is weird because he used to run around the yard with Rottweilers up near Moms. I can tell he gets overwhelmed at the dog park (he drools). He is excited to go to the park, seems to have a good time and is happy /proud when leaving (he heels well and listens to and from the car to park). He doesn't show aggression but more like confusion or overwhelm at the dog park. He still guards a bully stick or toy, can't have that in the house. DEFINATELY need to work on that - we are making baby steps of progress. He used to be crate trained but won't get fully in a crate now. We are leaving the door open and not pushing him but I want him to be able to go in his crate before AI Puppy comes, hence working on it now. He won't fully follow a treat in. He will go in a get it at the back of the cage but backs out of the cage and eats it outside the cage. He doesn't like being separated from Kelli, so if he won't sleep in the crate at the end of her bed (his pillow is now in the crate), he now sleeps on the doggie bed in the living room. I figure he may learn some independence that way - it's his choice. Oh, he's really afraid of hard rain, fireworks, thunderstorms, water (pools, etc) - and as we found out today - the smoke detector - broiler caused a bit of smoke .... I don't want his bad habits / insecurity rubbing off on AI puppy whenever I get it, and my AI puppy will need to be alpha to be a good balanced energy for Roger. Anyone have training advice for us, Roger, or how to make sure the puppy (growing) is a good influence on Roger? I'd really like to get Roger used to a crate again and be able to close the cage door too! before any puppy arrives! (among other things) Thanks!!!!! Denise
Adult Dog With Insecurity - Any Advice?
Posted 06 April 2014 - 07:58 PM
sorry for the post setup. The preview had new paragraphs but the post runs on and on.
Sorry it's so hard to read. I really could use some advice on some training.
Hope someone can read through it all.
Posted 07 April 2014 - 04:31 AM
Hmm- my $.02
One thing that may help, because he seems to be a proud dog along with his other traits.. find him a few more 'jobs' to do. Teach him to let you know when the phone rings, or help find your car keys, or to put his toys away into a toybox before bedtime, whatever. Easy jobs, but "important" ones. Will help give him a sense of purpose.
Also, I've learned - don't scold for resource guarding behaviors, such as warning growls, because the dog will avoid the growl to avoid punishment, and go straight to *snap*... It is MUCH better to reward calm behaviors and lack of guarding behaviors. And be Lavish with praise for 'good-dog' behaviors. Use that pride and let him have a great sense of accomplishment when he gets it right. It will do him wonders.
Dogs that learn insecurity from humans need help from their humans to un-learn it.
Work with Kelli to "Help" Roger by being strong for him when he is around. It will likely also be good for Kelli- help her learn calm behavior- for Roger's sake.
These thoughts come from someone who has worked with 2 AIDogs to teach them to be something akin to PTSD Service dogs. To work with someone with a brain disorder that causes anxiety- particularly in public settings.
(yes that is a moving escalator )
"Where I go, Dog follows. Where I stop, Dog settles. When I am lost, Dog finds me. When I am joyful, Dog joins me. Who I am, Dog knows. What I need, Dog becomes. Dog is great. Dog is good. Dog is everything. I am Dog codependent."
Posted 07 April 2014 - 09:04 AM
If I may add my .02 also?
When beginning training with new puppy, hopefully it will also "rub off on Roger," but you may try these things with Roger first:
See if he will allow you/Kelli to 1) put your hands in and around his bowl when feeding and 2) Give him treats, or rather make him take the treats (gently!) directly from your hand for jobs well done, as Starghoti mentioned. These will allow: 1) Roger to understand that it's not necessary to guard food, it comes from mom, mom is the boss, and me doing the things mom wants is the way to get the treats, and 2) It will hopefully give Kelli a little more confidence, and will also strengthen the bond she and Roger already have.
Leaving the crate door open I think is good, giving him the choice of where to be when you can, but if you do want him to stay in it at times, you might have to do as you said, putt the treat in the back, closing him in, (not letting him back up/out of the crate) and the treating him again once he door is closed, leaving him in for a few minutes at a time so he understands he's doing a good thing. At first only leave him in a few minutes, so he doesn't get panicked, but over time, you should be able to extend the time slowly without him getting upset. Again as Starghoti said, be quick and lavish with the praise so he associates it correctly with what he's just done. Positive feedback can work wonders.
Hope this helps!
“The better I get to know men, the more I find myself loving dogs.” ― Charles de Gaulle
“Heaven goes by favor. If it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in.” ― Mark Twain
Posted 07 April 2014 - 12:04 PM
Another 2 cents worth from me....
.....when it is feeding time, put the food in his bowl, mix with your hands, put the full food bowl on the counter, take a small hand full, ask him to sit, and feed him from your hand (like a treat). Do this until the bowl is empty. This will teach him that you are where food comes from. You might have to do this at every meal for a couple of days. When you feel he is ready, gradually leave some food in his bowl to be fed to him after he has eaten out of your hand. Ask him to sit, and wait while you are placing the bowl on the floor. Give him the o.k. to eat. Gradually increase the food in bowl as you decrease food in your hand. He will get used to smell of your hand and trust it around the food bowl, and keep mixing his food with your hand.
Any retraining starts with going back to the beginning of the basics of training and correcting the behavior with tiny little baby steps with BIG rewards EVERY time he is successful.
Posted 07 April 2014 - 01:05 PM
Posted 07 April 2014 - 02:03 PM
Roger is a cutie pie.
Hopefully you mentioned to Kim the pack situation in your discussion of the temperament of the dog you want. Sounds like you need a rock solid, level headed dog that is easy going but more of a leader than little Roger.
Every life you add to your family is like a new singing bowl. We all resonate with our own beautiful tune and as we come together with others we resonate. Sound a bowl next to an unsounded bowl and both will sing. The trick is to make the music more beautiful together.
Dogs do learn from each other. The right pup can help Roger but you will also need to apply basic training to both dogs and keep up the consistency.
Also be aware that you will need to lead the pack. By that I mean the puppy will not know Roger's boundaries and triggers you will need to guide the situation. Since food guarding is an issue it may well be with Roger vs the pup. You may want to feed the dogs separately.
Waki went through a phase at about 14 months where he started guarding things. It started between Waki and Tara - I think Waki was challenging her for pack order - and escalated before we got it under control. Now he's fine. He knows the rules. Here's the thread on it. Redux: learn dog body language. Use it for enforcing your rules. Have rules and be consistent with them. Expect that your pup will go through changes until he/she is an adult at about 2-3 years of age. With those changes you might find less harmonious periods between your pup and Roger. Time will tell. Hopefully you will get a Cake experience - she's so easy going. Waki still has daily "grumpaflump" cycles and she could care less. We don't react much to them either. Plus we all know his triggers - 1) it's morning and he's holding in his poop for some reason (too much rain, it's dark and windy...). In which case we ask him if he has to poop. 1.5) It's nice out and he thinks NOTHING fun will EVER happen today. (we tell him what he will get and when - ie "barnschool" or a walk after coffee, etc. or we put him in the fenced area) 2) Cake's NOT paying attention to him (usually he slithers within eye sight of her and complains - if I toss over a toy or just poke at him with my foot it usually gets the play started), 3) he wants to sleep and she won't let him (this growl actually has a rising intonation at the end like a question - it's really funny) and 4) he has something he really prizes and he just doesn't want to share (no problem - one of the rules is you have the right to correct someone that tries to take something in your possession - just no going nuclear - the correction needs to be appropriate). Waki's cycles are entirely predictable. You have to find out what Roger's triggers are and just know there might always be a little something there.
Good luck with the adventure.
Oh, and if you get a boy dog - snip snip by 6 months.
Edited by Sherab, 07 April 2014 - 02:04 PM.
Posted 09 April 2014 - 07:25 PM
I was writing yesterday and I accidently left the page and *****BOOM****** my reply was gone. (I sound like I'm on Hee Haw).
I will write a longer posts & updates in Word first and copy over but it's time for a bit of going in the crate training in a few minutes. Roger has no problem once he's in the crate but it's getting him in and staying in before shutting the door. Kelli and I are tag teaming, one with treat and one gently closing door while treat is being eaten. Then another treat when he turns around toward the door and sits.
We are keeping him in longer than 10 minutes right now. He stays quiet and we treat him for being good before letting him out (he has to wait for a command before leaving the crate after the door is open).
We had a REALLY good day at the dog park after work. There were a lot of dogs (small dog area) and people and Roger actually ran some with a couple of the dogs. He also happily greeted the owners, didn't matter male or female. This is a big deal!
We were there almost half an hour and then his energy changed for a minute but it relaxed again. Turns out the was a scuffle with two other dogs and it didn't escalate but that was when I felt his energy change for a few minutes. We stayed about 5 minutes longer (always try to end on a good note) and then left.
Sherab, yes, Kim is aware of Roger's 'issues', I've emailed about it, we discussed it in the interview and I added it in needs on back of application. (LOL- I coordinate our IT consultants at work and I guess redundancy has rubbed off on me ).
Kim suggested that I might get tips through this site. He told me what a generous and helpful group you all are . Sharing experiences and tips ....
Miz Molly, we had already gone back to groundwork/basics as you suggested RE: feeding and since we had graduated Kindergarten and got to Roger getting desert for leaving the kitchen as soon as he is finished eating,
mommom, we are using your suggestion and taking turns hand feeding right where Roger's dish normally is, we sit down on the floor there and feed him, getting our hands in the dish and then the last 1/4 he is asked to move away and wait and we put the food bowl down and then tell him to go eat and he finishes, and goes to Living Room for his "dessert" treat.
Starghoti, we correct and redirect as part of training, but when guarding we ignore him and bully stick - it disappeared from his living room bed when he needed to go out to potty. So no drama.
I understand everyone needs their personal space but he never chewed on it or relaxed with it, he just keep looking at us nervously with the stick between his paws. We don't have dog toys or bully sticks in the house right now until he gets comfortable (with training) to not go after a person or animal just walking by him. This is considered a 'trigger' for now. We'll get to unlearn this when we graduate "elementary" school.
Roger plays with toys in the backyard and Kelli is working on his releasing toys and Roger can have a bone outside only for now at least. We give it to him (not often- just starting) when he will have plenty of time to himself - like when Kelli is working in the garden or watering plants.
Oh, this is getting long but I stopped to do the crate thing and was able to feed treat on one end and gently push butt in to cage with other - one good thing about smaller dogs. Closed crate door, left room and while typing this heard moans coming from a distance every few minutes. No growling, just "Uhhhhhhhmmmmm". He does that sometimes when he's winding down for the night and sometimes when he's adjusting. He was in for about 9 minutes and he got a treat for being so good. He was lying upright when I went in the room but at least he was lying down!
I understand I need to be the pack leader and I talk with Kelli when we are going to implement an additional piece of retraining for her and Roger.
It's funny, Cesar Milan always recommends calm/assertiveness but I have never heard him explain HOW to be that way.
I am working on helping Kelli learn to ground herself before & when she is working with Roger. We have seen Roger's energy change immediately when she does this successfully.
Ah, I have to remember to stay grounded too.
So we have been working with Roger for some months because I know this needs to be done before "puppy" not after puppy arrives.
I have first hand experience of how bad it can be - not training from puppyhood and lack of consistency. I will not make the same mistakes. Oh and all this working with Roger is just extra practice I have for puppy! (I'm sure puppy will bring new things for me to learn....
I'm reading books, magazines and watching videos to learn and I realize the same method will not work on all dogs. I have a theory that being consistent and raising a balanced dog is hard work but MUCH easier than this unlearning and retraining.
I'm preparing and thanks to Kim and all of you for this site!
PS I am hoping to go from puppy school through good citizen certificate and then to certified therapy dog so I can volunteer with my AI Dog. That is my goal. I really would like to volunteer with my AI partner, oh yes, my alpha dog AI partner. Life will unfold as it does, sometimes as planned and sometimes Creator's plans are different. I have goals and am also flexible.
Posted 10 April 2014 - 03:39 AM
Denise calm assertiveness is about your state of mind when you work with the dog. Not just under ordinary circumstances but under pressure. Are you unflappable? If you are all EEEeeeeeeeeeeeeEEEEeeeeee! Roger might growl over this bone he will pick up on that and then when he does growl your reaction is even more emotion packed. You need to be meh, he might growl so what of it. We'll just do this over again tomorrow.
When you go hang out with the therapy dogs and trainers just see how mellow you become because they are that way. Go listen to the singing bowls and the music Gib posted under Shavasana - see how relaxed you feel - try to take that with you (wow, yes that can be a lot of inner work for YOU and that is why Cesar Milan is such a rare dog handler!).
When your pup comes, every day put hour hand in it's mouth and say "let mommy see". Feel around in there. Also the first week you have it, give it something really desirable. With calm assertiveness take it away with the same command or "give". Hold it for a few minutes and give it back. Don't play with the object. Be very matter of fact about it. You aren't the least interested in the object but you are determined to have it. Then give it back. Do this often. Then when you have to go after and fish out that dead, mummified chipmunk you WILL succeed and you will be able to take anything from your dog at any time for any period of time w/o arguement. You build trust. Mommy wants xyx. She's not going to play with it herself or tease me that she has it now but I trust that she has a good reason and will probably give it back. (I also add ick noises if I am taking something gross away permanently so there is a signal and now all I have to do is make those ick noises and say "drop it" - which worked just yesterday when Waki found a chicken bone on the side of the walking trail- or just make the ick noises before he goes for something and I don't have to go fishing in his mouth).
Posted 10 April 2014 - 10:28 AM
Denise- Here is a topic about alpha/calm assertive (same thing in my book) and some training stuff.
"Where I go, Dog follows. Where I stop, Dog settles. When I am lost, Dog finds me. When I am joyful, Dog joins me. Who I am, Dog knows. What I need, Dog becomes. Dog is great. Dog is good. Dog is everything. I am Dog codependent."
Posted 13 April 2014 - 08:24 PM
Thanks for the tips, I will do that with the puppy. Great Advice!
It was way easier working with cows and horses and even the dogs people left on the road near the farm. We took some in after driving by them for a few days. Cats will melt into the woods after being dumped (or wonder up to the barn) but dogs will stay in one area - waiting, waiting even though hungry, even if was abused, will wait for days for its owner to return. We waited a few days before bringing them in to make sure that it wasn't a lost dog or a stray on the hunt that we saw near the road. Also, we couldn't take in every dog that got dropped off. I still don't understand how people can throw animals out of a car door.
I'm sure I was inherently more grounded growing up on the farm than working in an office nowadays. I do have smudging and ways to ground. Kelli is starting to work on that again, she was sick as a kid and didn't spend the daily time I did on the farm and with the land. It is difficult getting her to work on that type of stuff on her own sometimes. Computer, TV etc. big distractions .... we ARE working on it though.
Roger is coming along after months of doing a lot of the work on the link that Starghoti just provided.
Thanks for the link Starghoti, It's nice to get confirmation that we are on the right track!
Roger has to be sedated to get his nails trimmed. When he was young a vet tech(s) made him bleed a couple different times and he has been afraid ever since. I can rub an emery board on his nails and touch his feet but I don't know if I'll ever get to the point I can trim his nails. He slips muzzles at the vets office and tries to bite. They call it "fear aggression". We are at my vet now and we deal with it. They know Roger is a good dog at heart.
Today it poured almost all day, so we didn't get to take him to the dog park and yesterday was Inipi (purification ceremony) so he was in the house most of the day. He only got his walk once yesterday and once today . Tomorrow, he will get 3 walks and playtime in the backyard and dog park either tomorrow night or Tuesday. He gets a good workout during the week, weekends are a little more difficult. We had exercise plans for today but the weather - LOL - I know - I'm not dealing with mounds of snow!
I was really happy about his progress to playing with some dogs at the dog park last Wednesday, He didn't drool very much either! Today, he did good being home alone while it was raining and we were out running errands this afternoon. He was pretty calm when we came home.
We are keeping our hands in his bowl (on the ground) when he is eating and hand feeding him from the bowl first. He is accepting that. Need to keep working with him on it for a while.
The vets have also recommended a medicated shampoo, he may have yeast on his skin? He used to get dermatitis/dandruff when he had an anxiety attack and then stink, but he has been giving off an odor every time he goes for a walk or gets happy excited for a few months. The strong odor lasts about an hour then fades but it is nasty B/O. It's not his teeth and not anal glands either.
Roger is healthy otherwise so we are trying the medicated shampoo first, then will change food as / when needed. When puppy comes here and when it's time for adult food - both dogs will be on a good quality food. Roger is on Beneful now and I'm not sure I would feed that to an AI Dog, so both will be on the same food as adults. Kelli has a specific budget being on disability and I'm not rich. Also, even though she has the spot on the frontal lobe, she still needs to have some independence.
We are slowly introducing toys again outside and bones outside. Kelli is working with "release" out in the backyard. She is using two tug toys, and throwing one and he is starting to come back and then she'll wave the other one to get him to drop the one he has if/when he doesn't let go and throw that so he runs to get it - and she picks up the one on the ground.
She thought of that and I think it's a pretty good idea!!!!
I want to make sure he gains confidence at all basic levels and in general. Then work with his other huge triggers (bones and toys in the house). We have been working on the resource guarding at the food bowl because he needed immediate attention on that. Oh, boy did he.
Posted 15 April 2014 - 02:06 PM
Another Update: Last night I got up to be part of the Lunar Eclipse and Roger was sleeping in his crate (door open), a couple hours later when I came back in - I looked in Kelli's bedroom and he was still there sound asleep. He ended up sleeping there ALL night!
We had gone to the dog park after I got out of work yesterday. Roger heel's on the leash as we get to the gates and then once in the park we tell him to "Go Play", he does a lot of sniffing but we watch him from a distance and he even goes up to strange men and is happy they pet him! (OK - sounds a little weird but that is a hurdle he has overcome!!!!! YEAH!) I watch his body language and also notice that he is starting to adjust himself and surroundings when he gets a little overwhelmed or overstimulated. He just moves away and does some sniffing of the grounds on his own.
Some day, I'm sure Roger will have the confidence to learn some of the obstacle course.
(Right now, letting him be a dog and socialize around other dogs off leash is plenty CONFIDENCE builder).
and then, maybe he'll like to go swimming, too! ..... well, I can have lofty goals and slowly work towards them - LOL!
Roger is not a perfect dog yet, but patience and consistency are paying off! Kelli working on grounding is DEFINATELY helping a lot too.
THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR ADVICE, LISTENING AND SUPPORT!!!!!
I will continue to post updates and milestones (and some pics, if I remember my camera).
PLEASE, always feel free to throw in your two cents!
Posted 16 April 2014 - 04:15 PM
Didn't expect to update so soon - but had to share about grounding ..... went to Dog Park again tonight.
Everything was going great, was watching Roger's actions, another dog was humping him - Roger wasn't aggressive but it took him a bit to communicate he had personal space.
Well, all of a sudden I had this urge to look down and there was a half-blind old shitzu with his leg lifted peeing away!
Luckily the stream went over my sneaker and on to the ground (mostly, laces got a wee bit damp) - I guess I was so grounded he thought I was a tree?
Posted 16 April 2014 - 05:03 PM
I did one round of sweat lodge once, I'm just not made for heat.
Sounds like you are doing fine. Remember life (and dog training) is a marathon. We had a cat that came with the house. He was initially afraid of everyone and everything. Couldn't get near him. He went up trees away from the dogs and ran off from us. So I worked on just slowly approaching him and then just poking him in the side with my finger one time and then acting all happy and satisfied. That first winter he was so suspicious he wouldn't go into any sort of warm shelter but slept on top of a "hobo" house we made for him. He wanted touch but was so afraid the best we'd get is I'd rub the window from my side and he'd rub it from his. We put a heater out and he'd warm half his body then the other half. Eventually he held still for pets, then slowly with the dogs in down stay several yards away and after a year and a half we caught him and got him fixed. He ran off for a month but he came back. Slowly we regained his trust. He started walking everywhere with the dogs. Took to a new enclosed house. Became a regular love sponge. Best buds with everyone. Even coming in the house. It took 3 years but he became a totally different cat.
Posted 17 April 2014 - 02:01 PM
He looks like he is REALLY enjoying life now! Happy Ending!
I giggled about him running off after neutering. I'm sure it was a surprise for him - LOL!
Cat looks SOOOO content in last pic with (GSD?)
I'm glad for your perseverance.
That was a lot of work .... and heating the out of doors, too!
Posted 18 April 2014 - 05:44 AM
Three years must be the magic number...I had an Australian Blue Healer that loved to chase butterflies. ) He started to trust us in about 1 year, but took another two years to really melt into my family. Apparently he had been ignored for the first year of his life. I don't know how anyone could ignore this little guy as he was a BIG love sponge and full of personality. I had him for about 5 years and then one day he decided to run with the big boys (Coyotes) and that was the end of that. Now I'm fenced and gated to protect my AIdogs all because of his wild romp.
Posted 18 April 2014 - 08:43 AM
oh that is sad but I am convinced that if we can show an animal that it is truly loved and that animal really learns it and feels it we've done immeasurable good for that spirit, what ever else may come.
Posted 18 April 2014 - 08:53 AM
...and learn a valuable lesson in the process...
Posted 18 April 2014 - 11:29 AM
Yep, I totally agree with both of you. And thankful for the time I had with this wonderful little guy "Shoppe."
Posted 18 April 2014 - 12:13 PM
Sorry to hear about that Miz Molly.
Really glad you got to know each other and he knew he was loved!
Beautiful dogs. I've heard these dogs are brave and adventurous (maybe that from the extreme intelligence and work drive?)
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