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Dog Training

diane

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I have a very problematic 50 lb springer and was wondering if anyone had a training program or training tips. We have aggression issues, hyper active issues, chewing issues, and jealousy issues. He is my husbands dog, but I am the one who cares for all of the animals. I am a small dog person so he just infuriates me with his actions.

A few major problems are:

How do you stop a dog from constantly barking?

Can you train a dog to enter a room at a walk instead of like a charging bull?

How do you stop a dog from being jealous? He is even jealous when I talk or touch my son.

I have just signed up on a springer rescue forum hoping they could help also. I just know that most of this forums members have all kinds of animals and I have a greater respect for the info I gather here.
 

princesspenelop

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Hi Diane,
How old is the dog? How and how long and how often is he exercised? Springers are active dogs, so they need lots of aerobic exercise everyday to prevent destructive behaviors (which can include incessant barking, chewing inappropriately, "charging like a bull" indoors). As for "jealousy", I think you meant the dog is being "possessive" and "resource guarding" of you? Most dog trainers don't use the word jealousy because that's more like a human emotion. As for aggression, is he growling? Or has it escalated to biting/nipping?
If you go on the Springer rescue forum, the people on there are going to suggest positive reinforcement methods and trainers, this means no quick fixes using choke chain or shock collar like you see on a popular show on TV. The recommendations are going to be long term management/training, lots of practice, and lifelong learning, for the owners and for the dog. By the way, is the dog neutered? Does he know any basic obedience (sit, down, stay)?
For the "jealousy" issue, I would recommend a book called "Mine!" by Jean Donaldson. Hope to see you on the Springer forum soon.
 

fourbwabbys

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Do you happen to know what age he was taken from his mother? There's new evidence that if they're taken away before 8 weeks, they lose the vital lesson of how to play and what to bite and what not to bite.
 

diane

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He is 3 1/2 years old. He was neutered by the time he was 6 months old. And we got him when he was about 9 weeks old. His aggression his growling and lunging he will try to nip once in a while. He knows sit and down. If he is really bad we say house and he goes to the "dog room". What do you condsider exercising. We have a nice fenced in area for him to run, is this sufficient? I think part of the problem is I didn't research the breed throughly when my husband got him. He had one as a teenager that he had adopted when she was like 6.
 

wolfie

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I don't know much about Springers, although I have heard that they are highly energetic. He really needs structured activity, not just being put in the back yard. Does he know how to fetch? If so, he needs to play fetch until he is worn out. If not, he needs a really good long walk at least once a day. You might find the book "Surviving Your Dog's Adolescence" by Carol Lea Benjamin helpful. Her training methods are firm but kind and she has a great sense of humor.

Has he had any obedience training? At the least, he really needs to be trained in sit, down and stay. I suspect the Springer forum will have a good suggestion for obedience training in your area.

Dogs need to have a clear understanding of their "place" in the pack. They need to understand that all humans in the family are above them in the order. He sounds like he's a little confused about this. Obedience training will help correct this. Until then, there are a few things you can do.

Do not allow him to sleep on your bed. Before you let him out, pet him or feed him- make him work for it by doing a sit-stay (or just a sit if he doesn't know stay). This helps reinforce training and gently reminds him of his proper place.

We did obedience training with our dog through an obedience club and it was fabulous! Whatever you do, please don't send you dog to school without you. I can't tell you how many people I know who sent their dogs off to school for a week and couldn't figure out why they still had problems when the dogs came home. An experienced trainer can handle just about any dog. But a really good trainer will train YOU to handle your dog, which is what you really need.

Good obedience training will take a while and require work- but it is definitely worth it. In the right hands, it can be fun, the dogs love it,
and you will develop a much better relationship with your dog. Good luck and Happy Training!
 

princesspenelop

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Like wolfie suggested, just turning the dog into the backyard and expecting him to run by himself is probably not enough. Especially not for a breed like Springer, who are very people-oriented. If you observe him when he's by himself in the backyard, he's probably not doing much. Yes please take him on long walks/runs, but since he's not used to it, you might want to start off like one mile a day, and then build it up to three or even five miles a day (if the vet thinks he can take it). Fetch is a wonderful way to get the dog going like wolfie said. I would imagine that half of the problem would be lessened if he's exercised more.
However, I find Carol Lea Benjamin's methods to be old fashioned and harsh. For aggression problems, I don't think fighting violence with violence is the answer. I highly recommend training with positive reinforcement methods (Ian Dunbar, Patricia McConnell, Pat Miller, Jean Donaldson, etc.). Since there is a toddler involved, I think it's good that you are working toward finding a solution NOW when the dog's only in the growling stage.
 

princesspenelop

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And I agree with wolfie that making him sit-stay before going out of the door, before dinner, etc. is a good idea. It's called "Nothing In Life Is Free" program (NILIF). If you do a search on the internet, there are many positive trainers who have written about it.
 

diane

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Thanks for all of the replies and the suggestions. I have just decided to let him have more free run of the house for longer periods of time. Even though I have only been doing this for a couple of days he actually has started to calm down a bit. My thought process before was when he is calm he can come in the main part of the house. Well this thought was very wrong for him.
 

cookie_gal

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One thing I can offer up right now (short on time) is that springers need a lot of exercise and stimulation. They are not usually aggressive.

I would suggest joining a springer online forum for assistance, yahoo groups often have good forums.
 

kittnkarr

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Thanks for all of the replies and the suggestions. I have just decided to let him have more free run of the house for longer periods of time. Even though I have only been doing this for a couple of days he actually has started to calm down a bit. My thought process before was when he is calm he can come in the main part of the house. Well this thought was very wrong for him.


Please don't just consider that as your only solution to your problem because he needs just more than that to be a happy dog. Like it was stated before in other posts you need to exercise him more and not just letting him loose in the back yard is enough. You need to take him for about 30 to and hour long walks or jogs (continous movement) to get that energy out and this is at least (minimum 2 times a day). Fetch in the back yard doesnt' always cut it either. Do you have a dog park that you can take him to? That helps burn off a lot of energy in any dog.

Secondly I would highly recommend in finding a good place for obiedence training. This is the second most important thing that I recommend to people who are looking for advice for their dog's problems. It is amazing what exercise and obiedence training can accomplish. Just because he knows basic commands doesnt' mean that he can't brush up on his skills or learn new ones. No dog is ever to old to go to obiedence school. Also have the whole family involved with all training exercises.

It is important that he learns that he is at the bottom end of the totem pole and not the pack leader. You and your husband are alpha in the pack followed by your son and your dog should come last. With proper supervision during training exercises your son should work with the dog so that he (the dog) understands his rank in the family. This also works with feeding time as well.

Some other things to try is looking for agility classes, flyball, lure coursing, and other activities that he can work at and burn of energy at the same time.

I do hope this helps some and if you would like some other ideas please feel free to PM me.

Good Luck
 

diane

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I reread my last post and it comes across wrong. I didn't mean that was the only method I was going to take, even though how I posted made it seem that way. It is just the first step in many steps to solving our issues.
 
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