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Sorry to hear you are having such problems. How old was Baylee when you bought him and is his breeder private or commercial? Have you asked her if she has experienced this type of behaviour in her stock before? Irish have a lot of medical problems and it maybe that Baylee has inherited something - rather like an unridable horse which is deemed to be "mean" but in actual fact it has a back injury, muscle spasms, or something else which once recognised and treated is perfectly amenable to being ridden. It was never "mean" it was in pain and couldn't physically undertake the task being asked of it. Likewise Baylee maybe the same. If he were mine I certainly would not take him to a dog trainer. The only dog I knew who was passed to such was nearly broken for life, when she went she was a gun shy flatcoated retriever when my friend had her returned she was inconsolable, shivered, dribbled, frightened of men etc. It took me 2 years to recondition her and to get her to trust people again, she came to live with me in Cheshire and after this period of time she went on to become a show champion and a great dog but whenever she heard a gun, she was pitiful. Please don't do that to Baylee.
You will have to go right back to the beginning. Something has happened to him earlier on that has to be undone. When he bites, nips, jumps up or does anything unacceptable you must turn away from him and avoid eye contact. Do not speak to him and when he persists keep turning away from him. Don't raise your arms just stand very still. When he stops give him a treat. If he goes up a level use a clicker or a tin with a stone in it, anything that makes an unusual noise, not a whistle, make the noise with it by shaking or dropping it. The minute he stops the unwanted behaviour, tell him he is good and treat him. Walk away from him and when he starts again repeat the action. It's called distraction therapy, he will stop very quickly and you have to be spot on with your reward to ensure he learns that he is being rewarded for conforming, delay it and he will think he is being rewarded for misbehaving. It would be a good idea to let him run off some steam before you undertake reconditioning him. Setters hate being ignored and when he realises that nipping etc make you avoid him he will learn to moderate it. He his only a baby. When you have visitors and he behaves badly tell them to drop their hands and turn away. Don't tell him to "leave", "go away", "down" etc etc, body language says it all. When was the last time you saw dogs having a discussion about what to do next? And so it is when we train them - "the least said, the soonest mended". Turning away, putting him back in his crate, shutting the door and thus excluding him from the pack is what would happen to him in the wild - if he misbehaves the pack leader (YOU) would shun them and to be out of the pack is dangerous. He will want to ingratiate himself he isn't looking for exclusion he is looking for leadership and YOU are his leader. Things like feeding time. You can let him join in with the "kill" by putting down his bowl and when he goes to it, say (bark) "leave" and pick it up. Go out of the room, go back in and put the food down and let him eat. As you progress, put it down, let him eat, then "bark" (say leave) and remove it. By doing this you are endorsing that you as pack leader have first pickings of the kill. Sounds mental but dogs are simple and we have to uncomplicate whatever poor Baylee has experienced. Same with the car, when you open the boot to let him out "bark" stay, put down the lid, when he is sitting again open it and let him out on your "bark" come. When leaving the house change whichever exit you go from, if the front dooor usually and he charges to it in readiness, you go to the back door and call him, same with gates this endorses in his mind that you are leading the "hunt" walk and that you go first, he follows. You can try all sorts of ways to do this and it will burn up his energy wondering what you are going to do next instead of getting upset. Anything you do with him has to be calm, no talking, shouting flapping of arms etc, just stay calm and authoratative, you don't have to bully him just begin to understand him and he will begin to understand you.
I do hope you don't think I am totally nuts but the suggestions are to ensure that your life with Baylee and his with you become happy and contented. There are so many dogs across the world that are misunderstood because people don't make the time for them and these poor dogs end up in pounds, or worse, through no fault other than their people have let them down.
Dogs who raise puppies, raise their offspring into perfect dogs. Wolves who raise wolf puppies, raise them into perfect wolves who are prepared for a life as ´survivors´. When humans raise puppies into dogs, they run into trouble. Why?
First of all, we don´t allow the puppies to get the natural upbringing that they would and ought to receive had they been brought up by other dogs. Secondly, we expect the dog to respect our human rules, which are often meaningless to the dog, and we fail to take into consideration the dog´s age, developmental stages and its capacity. The result is that the dog fails to meet our too high demands.
Puppies who grow up surrounded by their own kind, gradually learn to obtain the self-control they will need as adults. And they learn so well! As adults they have obtained all the self-control necessary to survive. We need to learn to raise puppies in a similar way that they would be if they were raised naturally by other dogs from birth to adulthood.
The first and major mistake we do as puppy owners, is to set our expectations and demands to the puppy so high that there is no way the puppy will be able to meet them. In nature and where the dogs are allowed to grow up naturally in a pack, they learn self-control very gradually. Until they are about 16-20 weeks old, they have a so-called ´puppy license´. They get to flutter their license about and say ´Na-na-na, you can´t get to me - ´d4cos I have a puppy license!´ We often see how the puppies are taking advantage of this license. They bully the adult dogs around, and we can almost see that mischievous sparkle in their eyes.The adult dogs let the puppies carry on with unbelievable patience during this period of time.
By 16-20 weeks of age, the puppy license is about to expire. Now, the puppies gradually need to learn to control themselves better and behave more politely. They will still be forgiven for their many mistakes and errors - after all, they are not yet adults. Adulthood will come naturally with time and experience.
It may seem confusing that a puppy move from one developmental stage to another within only a few days, but we need to keep in mind that they go from puppyhood to adulthood in less than two years. In comparison, humans use 20 years before we can call ourselves adults - many need even more time than that.
The young dog
Once the puppy period passes at around 4 to 4.5 months of age, the adolescence begins. It consists of several stages and lasts up to around two years of age. Sometimes it takes more time, other time less. Young dogs are like young humans:
We must keep in mind that dogs are social beings who need to learn about communication, polite behavior and self-control. Otherwise a life as a member of a pack will become completely unbearable. And they learn, little by little, just like human beings during childhood and adolescence. Who have ever seen a 4 or 6 year old child with self-control? When the four year old gets hysterical, there´s no point in even trying to reason with him or her. The same goes for the six year old child. To try and teach them something during a hysterical fit, is hopeless. We actually need to let them calm down first - before trying to teach them something.
When dog owners come to class with a young dog, a ´six year old´, this dog will easily become too excited - due new dogs, a new place, a new situation, and so on. At the same time, the class require that the dog and owner follow a strict program of exercises, and in a addition the program lasts way too long for a young dog. No wonder that the ´six year old´ will become agitated and even hysterical. Many, many dog owners drop out of these classes and courses because their dogs are impulsive, excited and almost hysterical. They are not ´crazy´ like the owners may be told, but their stress level is at a maximum and self-control level at a minimum. Naturally! Because, they haven´t learned how to deal with these types of situations before. It´s doomed to fail.
Use of violence or force to get the dog to pay attention in such a situation is unlikely to make the dog any better. On the contrary, if the dog wasn´t already in a state of hysteria, he would be if we use force and unpleasantness. It´s not our place to make our demands to the young dog too difficult. If the dog isn´t able to cope with a situation, then it simply isn´t able to cope with it. We can prevent the dog from becoming hysterical by learning to observe him and his emotional state, to learn to see that the temperature is rising and stop what we are doing before the dog has reached the level of stress and excitement where he is unable to communicate and learn.
Early interference is the key word. The interference may be to:
When the dog is "slamming the doors"
The young dog is in a phase of transition, and there´s a lot that needs to be explored and tested. Allow the dog to explore. Allow him to get a taste of life and allow him to check things out. It´s completely harmless. We need to have boundaries, but make sure that they are set in such a way that the dog isn´t a prisoner without freedom to be active and figure things out on his own. Should he become difficult, so-called stubborn or testy, it is not because he has planned to take over the leadership or become top-dog, but rather to explore and find out how things work. A young dog will not become leader, he doesn´t even think about it. But he needs to check things out in order to see the types of reactions he will get if he ever thinks about it later. Don´t overreact! Turning your back to the dog and ignoring him is sufficient - and will say more than a thousand words. Turning the back and ignoring the adolescence is exactly what the adult dog would do.
Under no circumstances should you get physical with the dog - avoid physical unpleasantness such as shaking him by the scruff of his neck, grabbing him by the cheeks while looking into his eyes, or any other cruel and frightening methods of punishment. Notice how the confident, adult dogs do it, and copy what they are doing. Adult dogs let the adolescent dog know without seeming brutal - they turn their backs and walk away. They may ´yell´, but no more than that.
Is your dog growling? Wonderful! That means that he hasn´t been scared into passivity and has kept a natural part of his way of communication. Growling isn´t dangerous, it´s simply a way to let others know that he is uncomfortable.
1. Was it something you did that provoked the dog? If so, stop provoking. Provocations can be, to mention a few; to jerk the leash, yelling and scolding, grabbing the dog by the scruff of his neck, shoving the dog, pinching the dog, taking the food from the dog, disturbing the dog in his sleep or when he´s resting, giving commands with an angry voice, demanding too much of the dog, holding the dog tightly, pulling on the leash, teasing the dog, bending over him and walking straight at a dog who´s on a leash.
2. Was the dog frightened by something? Then avoid that he gets frightened again, otherwise his defense reaction will only become stronger and stronger.
3. Is he only doing it to check out your reaction? Turn your back to him! He will give up immediately. In a situation like this, at least one of you need to stay cool. Besides, it´s a given that most conflicts between dogs and owners is a result of trying to dominate the dog, not the other way around. Using ´sit´ is psychologically correct when conflict situations occur. It´s a neutral position - it´s asking for cooperation rather than submission. And to sit will come more naturally than anything else, even for an agitated dog.
In order for a young dog to learn self-control, he needs to go through a learning process. We can help him by making a few demands to ourselves:
1. The dog doesn´t know which options he has. We need to teach the dog that he can choose to sit calmly instead of jumping, running around and pulling on the leash. Due to the situation, the adrenaline level in the body is high, and it makes the dog uncomfortable at the same time as he doesn´t know what to do about it. We can show the dog and help him learn to control the situation.
2. Move slowly. Use calm and slow body motions. Speak calmly and quietly. Your body language and behavior will convince the dog.
3. Don´t get self-control and physical force mixed up. Self-control is voluntary, while physical force isn´´. Avoid shoving, forcing, pulling and pushing the dog. Keep the leash loose. The reaction to physical punishment will only be an increased stress level. 4. Practice self-control in all situations. At first, practice in areas free of distractions, in short sessions and loose leash. Don´t have the dog sit too long in the beginning - the muscles will get tired and sore from sitting too long.
We have other means of aid as well, such as the calming signals and rewarding the dog for the right behavior, only to mention a few. One day, you will have an adult dog who knows how to behave, who has self-control and who wishes to cooperate. That day will come if you raise your dog with gradually increased demands that he is able to deal with. Be considerate - your dog needs time to grow up just as we do.
Fantastic advice and is basically the way I have dealt with my dogs over many years and found it successful. People just need to understand that dogs are dogs, we are humans and to be happy together we need to give to them at their level not expect them to give to us at our level. Brilliant, brilliant advice and I do hope Kay and Baylee take your advice on board because it will join them as one for many years together.....
Great post. Something interesting, with the 2 bros I have now, it is the first time in 34 yrs of IS ownership where I did not have an older dog around when the new pup arrived. The cycle got interrupted with the premature death of the guy who should be the role model. Anyway, what a huge difference in how long it is taking the fellas to get civilized without the older dog to 'put his foot down.
Also, my vet and partner ( 2 different people) want me to neuter and I refuse. The vet claims not neutering can lead to prostate problems. Has anyone ever seen this?
I have no intention to neuter. I'm just receiving outside pressure.
Sue has given you good advice, none of my entire dogs had this problem. Vets will pressurize because of their cash register mentality. You had already come to the right conclusion. Enjoy him, as you clearly have all of your dogs, and have a good christmas.
"Outside pressure" obviously these folk weren't raised with Bob Barker admonishing them every day to "Remember, please have your pet spayed or neutered " like we were! Haha...Is the U.S. the only country with such an over population of shelter animals? :(