Jump to content
BC Boards

Different behavior with different handler experience?


Recommended Posts

We have a 7 month old, we think could be into adolescence (probably), though in general its been easy stuff so far, more watching the wheels turn in her head whether she has to obey a command etc. Some testing of boundaries, but honestly not much different from puppyhood, we never had any 'honeymoon phase' where she listened to everything and worshiped the ground we walk on like I have read about it. Overall she's much better now than she was at 4 months, and she's crazy and fun, so I'll take the win.

One odd thing has been in the last few weeks, when my partner takes her out for a break or a walk, the pup either gets the zoomies coming home, or worse, is getting jumpy and bitey on my partner. This was something she did A LOT as like a baby puppy, and the normal, ignore, calm down, time for nap was all that was needed for about a month and it disappeared. We live in a cold area, my partner wore one of those long coats that drags low and is super tempting for a nippy puppy. Anyway, she'd do it to me occasionally, more my partner, it evaporated with time and consistency. Thing is, its back now, but only to her, and the sample size is large enough for it to be odd. She asked me to watch her handling the leash, and Indie basically is pulling on the harness in some way or another pretty much 100% of the time. She hands the leash to me, and its slack. When I walk her alone, several times a day, honestly most leash pulling has become more due to the harness than anything else. 

I did take on more of the training, and have been building my secret plan for Indie to win 'dog of the universe', but was I foolish in thinking the leash skills and behavior would be more transferable person to person? None of the above strikes me as 'bad', esp zoomies as I get it, but the biting is not appropriate at this age, esp when directed at one person. My partner is asking for tips.... but I don't know?

I had one theory, in that we agreed we never do leash greeting with dogs, and kids still over excite Indie, I got much more comfortable much faster turning down greetings or just passing by things like that. My partner grew up with dogs saying hi on leash, and still kinda instinctively 'pauses' or hesitates when offered, then maybe changes her mind and tries to change direction, maybe that's frustrating to Indie, who was ready for a good butt sniff? Seeing dogs are hardly a consistent part of the equation though, this has happened on simple bathroom trips, heading back inside.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know if this will be helpful or not, or even if it is applicable. It's just what I thought of right away when reading your post. So, take or leave as you think is best.

I one time went to help someone  with a behavior problem with her dog on leash. I let her walk the dog where I could watch so I could see what was happening, and noted the behavior.  Then I asked her to go inside, and I took the dog's leash, expecting to start from the beginning to train the dog. But instead, instantly the dog behaved. The owner couldn't believe it when she came out to watch.

In this case it boiled down to the fact that the woman was not assertive. Not with the dog, not anywhere else in her life either. Of course I don't mean any BS like dominance. I just mean, expecting to be obeyed. Expecting to be in charge. Assuming she was in charge. She was someone who did not expect to be listened to, or be in charge of anything in her life. 

It may not be that with your situation, or maybe it is just a little bit of that.....it might be worthwhile to examine that possibility. Or, not that your partner is timid in her life, but maybe she projects an air of not really being sure she is in charge. 

Whether my insight has anything to do with your situation or not it seems to me that the solution is for your partner to start doing more of the training, and for the two of you to make sure you are both doing the training consistently in the same way.

Watch each other, and find out if there is something you are doing differently. It sounds to me as if your partner may not really be consistent in her training with the dog, and is giving the dog mixed messages which confuses the dog and makes it a lot more likely that the dog will act out. Bringing that into line and both of you doing the same thing will help.

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have also found that BCs are very sensitive to the person on the end of the leash, even when that person is one and the same.  If I had my boys at dog club, and I was tense, or expecting things to go bad, then they did.  If I went out there head up, shoulders back, confident that it was all going to go well, it did.  Or at least, it did more often then not, and the dogs responded a lot better.

Confidence is transmitted through the leash, and in tone of voice and posture and other body language, which BCs are very sensitive to. Training the person is perhaps important here?  It is hard to tell without seeing the situation, and we may be being harsh on your partner. 

But as always in puppy/dog training, consistency is key.

Link to post
Share on other sites

My dog acts differently depending on who she is with. She knows exactly who will tolerate what. Sometimes it's a case of getting more excited with certain people because they represent fun fun fun (ball! endless cuddles!).
A friend used to walk her every Tuesday while I worked from home. It was really interesting to watch them walk off through the window: Molly pulling, walking on her left and then on her right, jumping up. Completely different dog. With me she never ever pulls, always walks on the right unless I ask her to walk left and she wouldn't dream of jumping up. Molly is a very sweet and attentive dog who really wants to please people, but somehow my friend's timing is off or her heart isn't in the correction. She will tell Molly no, but doesn't really notice that Molly is not complying fully - you really have to wait for her to relax a little for instance. She also says "good girl" at the wrong moment, yes Molly might be sitting down but she is still super hyper and whining - good girl will only teach her to react this over excited every time. 

These are all things that are very specific for my dog of course, it took me quite a while to figure out what worked best for her - and I am still learning. My dog is definitely very unforgiving in novice hands, I mean, she is still a super sweet dog but every mistake you make you will notice because she will take full advantage to be super over the top. Other dogs I know (of different breeds mostly) are way more forgiving and have a more stable disposition. I have to work quite hard to maintain a calm and attentive dog. My friend thinks I worry too much and I am too obsessed with having a well trained dog, but honestly, if I had a easy breezy couch potato golden retriever I wouldn't mind things so much: excitement when guests arrive, sure why not, because that golden retriever won't be at the level my dog is at and it probably won't escalate over time. 

Friends who have no interest in dogs are usually the people that have great control over my dog. There is something calm and assertive over them, because they do not want to cuddle and they don't worry about "offending" the dog. They don't feel bad at all. So when my dogs comes up to them they ignore her or send her away (when I'm not there to do it) and she listens immediately - because they mean it. Friends who love dogs only send her away because they know that is my rule, but they secretly really want my dog to come up to them and crawl onto them, because it makes them feel good and special and loved. Their heart isn't in it when they ignore her or send her away, and so she will persist. 

It sounds like you have a sensitive dog like mine who picks up on subtle differences in intention and acts on it. I think your partner has to figure out what works and training more with the dog will help to figure out what works. And it might not be something simple like leash handling skills, it could be insecurity that the dogs picks up, or feeling bad for the dog or not standing behind the method fully. 

Having a super sensitive dog like this is great though and I wouldn't trade her for the world. Once I found what worked for us a whole world of possibilities opened up and we have a lot of fun training. She picks up things so so fast, she usually knows what I want before I ask her. Plus I found out hand signals work way way better than words ,as she apparently never listened to the words I said anyway but always read my body language, clever dog. Huge difference in training now as I know where her confusion comes from. 

 

Edited to add:

I also noticed that some people read my dog wrong. They thinks she is happy when she is excited and anxious, or think she doesn't understand something when she just doesn't want to do it. Or they might think her reaction to another dog was her fault while that other dog was overbearing or staring at her "menacingly". Reading her wrong almost always means not reacting to her accordingly/not handling her correctly. 

An example: my dog knows to deliver the dummy/ball in my hand when we play fetch. My friend has huge trouble getting her to give it to her, Molly just spits in out at her feet. My friend thought it was too hard for Molly to do, but I know it isn't, Molly just knows my friend will throw the ball regardless of her giving the item or spitting it out. My friend thought I had the same trouble but was very suprised to see Molly deliver it perfectly to me every time. If Molly spits the ball out at my feet I end the game. My friend thinks she does the same, but she will start the game again after a couple of minutes. After a while Molly stops delivering the ball in hand, game stops, a couple of minutes later game starts. Molly knows my friend likes playing fetch too much and will eventually give up and throw. ( I have stopped using her as a dog walker because of this, she won't listen when I ask her not to play fetch as much and in this way).

Link to post
Share on other sites

 

To stop the biting . You can give the dog something to carry in its mouth or carry something in your pocket that can be given to the dog to hold/chew on to deflect any angst. 

Giving a treat to the dog when your partner gets back inside the house can also help motivate the dog to return inside more peacefully.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...