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Thread: Teaching behavior?

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    Default Teaching behavior?

    We've had Maggie about 2+ months now, we fostered her for a few weeks and then adopted her. She's 9 months old. Came from a home with another bullie and one or two young kids. We have two kids, 7 y/o boy and a 5 y/o girl. Maggie has become very aggressive with my kids toys. Every time something hits the ground, she's on it. She doesn't take toys from them, just takes them when no one else is playing with them or they fall on the floor. We are working with a spray bottle (of water) and spraying her in the face when she's got a toy, telling her to drop it, and replacing with one of her toys. We've been doing it for 8+ weeks. It's not working. I used to be able to pry the toy out of her mouth but she's gotten wise to my tactics and now has a tighter grip. Any suggestions? I'm thinking part of it is that she's a puppy but we fostered a 6 y/o bullie before her and he was the same way, after about a week of being with us.

    We are also starting to have a problem with humping. She mostly humps my son but has started with my daughter. I know it's a dominance issue but how do we get past it? She was spayed just after coming to live with us.

    We had a bullie before we started fostering so we have experience with the breed. We had our Louie for 10 years and he was our baby before kids so we weren't used to a puppy and kids at the same time.

    Any ideas on how to deal with the toy eating and humping issues?

    Thanks,
    Heather

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    The Ultimate Sourmug Sherry's Avatar
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    Default Re: Teaching behavior?

    It almost sounds like she's looking for some sort of attention, whether it be good or bad, just attention. When the kids are getting humped she's getting some sort of attention for even her bad behavior. Keeping a low key and calmness may help to avert this behavior. Understandably, this is hard to do with children in the house, but by keeping her behind a gated area may pay off when she is doing undesirables good luck and please keep me posted
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    Default Re: Teaching behavior?

    I agree it sounds like she is wanting attention!

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    Default Re: Teaching behavior?

    Sometimes humping is just an indication that she wants to play, it is not always a dominance issue. She should definitely listen when you tell her to leave it, or drop it. Perhaps she does need a time-out to remind her to listen better.
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    Default Re: Teaching behavior?

    Have you rewarded her in anyway when you have removed toys from her mouth? Maybe try using a treat to get her to release the toy/item while saying drop it
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    Default Re: Teaching behavior?

    Quote Originally Posted by magsmama View Post
    We've had Maggie about 2+ months now, we fostered her for a few weeks and then adopted her. She's 9 months old. Came from a home with another bullie and one or two young kids. We have two kids, 7 y/o boy and a 5 y/o girl. Maggie has become very aggressive with my kids toys. Every time something hits the ground, she's on it. She doesn't take toys from them, just takes them when no one else is playing with them or they fall on the floor. We are working with a spray bottle (of water) and spraying her in the face when she's got a toy, telling her to drop it, and replacing with one of her toys. We've been doing it for 8+ weeks. It's not working. I used to be able to pry the toy out of her mouth but she's gotten wise to my tactics and now has a tighter grip. Any suggestions? I'm thinking part of it is that she's a puppy but we fostered a 6 y/o bullie before her and he was the same way, after about a week of being with us.

    We are also starting to have a problem with humping. She mostly humps my son but has started with my daughter. I know it's a dominance issue but how do we get past it? She was spayed just after coming to live with us.

    We had a bullie before we started fostering so we have experience with the breed. We had our Louie for 10 years and he was our baby before kids so we weren't used to a puppy and kids at the same time.

    Any ideas on how to deal with the toy eating and humping issues?

    Thanks,
    Heather
    just moving this into Training and Behaviour forum in the hope we might get you a few more suggestions.

    @bulldogs4me and @Vicaroo1000 usually have suggestions a training tips x

  7. #7
    "Slug Assassin" and PBS Gardening Dweeb Vicaroo1000's Avatar
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    Default Re: Teaching behavior?

    For some dogs (like my Bo) humping isn't about dominance; it's how his puppy brain reacts to over excitement. It's easy for someone he doesn't know to baby talk and coo him into a humping lather. Well, I should say, it used to be. As he has matured AND as this behavior has been corrected (by simply disagreeing with it), he has done it less and less. (The last time he did this was July I think.) He will be two in February. But he's still a puppy! I'm careful not to expect too much of him. Bo can oh so quickly go to a wild spot if that "omg omg omg look at the cute puppy" high pitched talking goes on for a sustained period of time. (I don't let people do that to him. It's not fair to Bo and as his pack leader, I must look out for his best interests)

    Small children tend to CREATE an environment of over-excitement with some dogs; the squealing, the running around...that "crazy" energy that @Sherry mentioned. With this new (to you) pup, I'd strongly suggest teaching "calm / assertive" to your kids. Make them pack leaders too and --- super helpful hint: these leadership skills can be used in your kid's interactions with people too. :-) (Cesar Millan books? YOU BET!! *Big Grin*)

    As for the grabbing things....Perhaps it's not clear to her what's hers and what's not? Since she is new to your household, keeping children's toys off the floor whenever possible (so it's easier to prevent and correct) and again practicing calm assertive leadership with your pup. I'm guessing that she doesn't understand what the rules are. Dogs are instinctual; she's not intelligently seeking out toys she "knows" she's not supposed to have. Dogs don't operate like that. When she grabs something, what happens? A lot of sound, right? "Hey puppy, drop that drop that drop that" and a lot of yelling yes? Dogs operate "nose, eyes, ears". Going forward, work not on WHAT she has but HOW and HOW QUICKLY she will relinquish it to you. A high value treat can be that "inspiration" to start with!

    If the humans in your home are genuinely the pack leaders to your pup, she will relinquish anything she puts in her mouth -- even her own toy --- when the humans use energy/body language to "take" the toy. That's a goal worth working for!

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    Default Re: Teaching behavior?

    I agree completely with Vicaroo ... make it a practice for both the adults and children in your home to use the calm assertive energy ... when you see her grab a toy just calmly give the correction word (I use ATAT) and again like Vicaroo said a treat to give up the toy is a great way to start also add the cue word "drop it" or "give" when you take the toy so that she associates the word with the action. With the humping I would suggest that if your kids are in a crouched position when it happens or laying down even that they stand up and give the correction word ... make sure everyone uses the same word or sound ... I prefer a sound just because NO is and over used word in the dog world and it becomes an empty word a lot of times. so when the pup begins to hump have your kids calmly stand up and give the correction sound then the adult can step as extra enforcement but make sure the kids have the tools to correct the pup the right way ... make sure the kids never hit or kick at the pup that will cause excitement and fear in your pup.

    Set Rules, Boundaries and Limitations and always be Consistent and things will work out as the pup learns what is expected. Good luck!
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    Default Re: Teaching behavior?

    I have no kids, so no help there, but you have gotten lots of good info already. I wanted to suggest dropping a high value treat in front of her when she has a toy at the same tie as saying "drop it". This may make her drop the toy so you can pick it up. You never want to tug on it especially with a bullie they will think it's a game.
    Last edited by mendomama; 12-31-2012 at 01:45 PM. Reason: oops
    In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn't merely try to train him to be semi human. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming partly a dog.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Teaching behavior?

    Thanks for all the advice. It's sort of all the stuff I already know but needed someone to point it out. We have noticed that my 5 y/o daughter can really get Maggie going b/c she speaks to her in a VERY high pitched voice. I think we'll need to do a little kid training along with the dog training. It's clear that Maggie does want to play but doesn't know how to, with the kids. We have found a toy that she has that blows a puff of air when squeezed, if we blow it near her face, she immediately drops the toy. We only realized this yesterday morning and now when I pull the toy out, she drops whatever is in her mouth. Perhaps this is our tool.

    It's all a learning process with us b/c the bullie we had prior simply wasn't interested in the kids, unless they had food.

    Thanks for the advice.............

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