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Newborn human baby, Husband on military deployment, boxer acting out

Discussion in 'Boxers & Children' started by JethrosMom, Feb 25, 2014.

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  1. JethrosMom

    JethrosMom Boxer Pal

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    Hello my fellow boxer lovers. I feel like I am at my wits end here. My husband is currently deployed and I have a 3 month old baby (human baby that is). My boxer is just over a year old and all of a sudden is having behavioral issues. I've been getting him out on two long walks a day. Recently I've replaced one of those walks with time at the dog park because I am getting so worn out and tired. He all of a sudden started trying to play tug a war with the leash and jumps up on me at the same time. It gets a little scary too. I never was afraid of him before this. I've had to actually have help from one of the guys in the neighborhood to take jethro home because I couldn't get him to calm down or listen to me. We had a dog trainer come and I was unimpressed. He basically used the choke chain (without prongs) as an answer for everything. This does not help me with jethro. I'm ending up in tears with scratches all over me from jethro jumping. My main concern with this is that my daughter is going to be crawling soon and I don't want to have any accidents with them. I'm all for teaching my daughter limits with the dog but I'm so unsure how he will respond to her. He doesn't understand his strength or how to be gentle. Any help? I'm going crazy here. I'm sure sleep on my end would help but that's not happening any time soon. Thanks.
     
  2. Gunther

    Gunther Super Boxer

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    So sorry your having "issues " but..one year and all of a sudden...

    Leash issues after a year? That should not happen. Try again to find a qualified certified behaviorist, Petco won't cut it not saying that's what you did but your going to need better than that.

    Choke collar is not inherently evil if used correctly! Although I did not use one myself. Flat collar and a regular leash worked for me.

    Dog parks are an uncontrolled environment, if you did a lot of this and your dog never had a bad encounter, then you have been lucky so far! Other downside "if' your dog was just allowed to run wild in the dog park..then that is how you taught him to behave!

    Can this dog Sit Down and Stay? Does he have reliable recall? Not sometimes or when he feels like it 100% recall?

    You need to slow down and take a step back and start again.

    Leash training correctly would be a step in the right direction, you could try this approach:
    Dog Pulling Leash... How To Stop - YouTube


    Here is some other useful information
    Training Positive - YouTube

    If I have a problem with my dogs I don't say "what's wrong with this dog??" I say "what am I doing wrong??"
     
  3. JethrosMom

    JethrosMom Boxer Pal

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    We have never used petsmart or Petco for training because they offer a treat based approach. This was a local guy who came highly recommended and came to our house.

    The dog park is in our neighborhood, on a military base, and there is rarely anyone there. There are two big areas and when anyone is there that we don't know, we use the opposite side. That being said we have only met someone we didn't know two times there, the rest of the people we have known. We play fetch in the dog park, not just run wild.

    Yes after one year these issues are starting. I am looking for help, please do not be rude. If you feel like being rude please do not respond. As I said earlier I have a 3 month old baby and my husband has just left a month ago on a military deployment. So I am wondering if this has anything to do with such a big environment change for Jethro? Although I am the one who always walks, feeds, etc., jethro has always been more attached to my husband. We used to have very very little problem with recall with jethro but now it is getting harder.
     
  4. Roge

    Roge Boxer Insane

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    Ok im my no means an expert on training but here is my take on your issue.
    Your baby arrived three months ago when Jethro was at his bratty teenage phase and just like teenagers he is pushing to see how far he can go, so you have a new baby and a teenager and your DH is away (( Wow )) ..
    Your new born takes a lot of your time and maybe Jethro is acting up to get all the attention he used to get before the baby came along.
    Im afraid it is a case of back to basics with training and I really do not see a problem with a treat based approach ..reward for good behaviour encourages more good behaviour..
    Set aside a time in the day when the baby is sleeping to retrain and have some one to one time with him ..
    I am all to aware that in your situation with household duties new baby and a naughty dog are a lot to deal with but there is no quick fix...
    Hang in there.. If you put in the time you will reap the rewards sooner rather than later..
     
  5. Jan

    Jan Reasonable Moderator Staff Member

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    A treat based approach is the best way to train your boxer. Choke chains are definitely not recommended . Most people do not have the experience to use them correctly. A certified behaviorist is the way to go.

    Jethro is at the bratty teenager stage and he is going to try push his boundaries. A strong down stay around the baby will be very useful. Boxer as a rule of very good with babies, but he needs to be taught appropriate behavior. A couple of baby gates, would be very useful, so that you can separate Jethro from the baby when necessary.

    Try and get enough rest and everything won't feel quite so overwhelming.

    Good luck! It will get better.
     
  6. TwoDogs

    TwoDogs Boxer Insane

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    JethrosMom, you will get responses on this list from people who don't offer a whole lot of help. They are the minority. I like to think that they mean well, but just that they don't really know how to give meaningful advice. It is one thing to tell someone that they need to work on something and another thing to actually suggest how to work on it.

    Here are my suggestions. I hope they are helpful.

    Carve out some time to exercise your dog. It sounds like you have a pretty good start on the physical exercise but that you might not be doing a whole lot of mental exercise. One easy way to tire his brain is by reserving half of his food portion and use it to reward basic obedience behaviors around the house. Put him on leash and ask that he follow you around the house while you do your regular house work, sitting and waiting while you do your tasks. Reward him with bits of kibble that you carry with you. You have to feed him his food anyway--you might as well get some mileage out of it by making him earn it in exchange for proper behavior.

    Not only does this give his brain something to think about and tire him out, it also promotes calm behavior while on leash. Right now, every time you put on the leash it is to go somewhere and be active. By only associating it with exciting things you are conditioning him to get excited by the leash. By leashing him in the house, you are counteracting that effect and teaching him that being on leash is about being calm and listening to you. You don't have to do it all day long, maybe just during the times when the baby is down for naps.

    The other half of his food portion can be fed in a stuffable puzzle toy like a Kong, Buster Cube or the like. This turns eating--normally a 20 second activity -into a 20 minute activity. He gets 20 minutes of mental activity and you don't have to lift a finger to make it happen.

    If you are comfortable with the idea, see if a neighborhood friend could walk him for you to tire him out and give you a bit of a break. If you don't want someone to walk him or are worried that he will misbehave for them, have the friend push the baby while you walk Jethro.

    Consider using two leashes--one hooked to the back of a harness and the other hooked to his collar. The one hooked to the collar will be the primary leash. Tether the one hooked to the harness to your waist. That way if he gets mouthy and starts pulling on the leash (probably a really fun activity in his mind) you can just drop that leash and end his fun. Once he realizes that the tugging behavior never results in a game of tug you should see it happening less and less.

    If he really likes tug, teach him to play tug with rules and only ever play it with a special toy that you reserve just for that purpose. He should only get the toy if he sits and waits for you to offer it and he needs to let go of it when you cue him to. If he isn't at this stage yet, train a "drop it" and a "take it" to good reliability before beginning tug games. Tug can be a great way to tire a dog out and you don't have to go outside or travel anywhere to do it. Tug games give him an acceptable outlet for the behavior and give you a great game to use as a reward for other behaviors.

    Don't let the one bad experience with a trainer prevent you from pursuing more basic training with Jethro. You can ask trainers for references, go observe classes that they hold, ask them about methods, etc.--all the same things you would ask of any service provider before you contract their services. If you don't like what you see, look elsewhere.

    Good luck.
     
  7. JethrosMom

    JethrosMom Boxer Pal

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    Thank you Roge, Jan, and TwoDogs. Jethro will do almost anything for treats, which is why it don't like doing treat training because I think he should do things without treats. We do have a kong wobbler that I put half of his food into. Would it be okay to do it for all of his food, morning and night?

    I just got him a kong yesterday and stuffed it with a kong great because I knew today would be stormy and no walk would happen. He loves it and is not interested in anything else! He went to bed so tired last night from it. The problem is it gets stuck under couches so I spend so much time moving couches to get it haha.

    I think you're all right, we need to go back to the basics with him. The problem is that I feel defeated because clearly my first training approach didn't stick and that makes me think i did something wrong. Anyone have good suggestions for training approaches? Especially drop it, leave it, and come?

    I sure wish this babe would sleep, the human babe that is... That would give me more one on one time with jethro. But unfortunately she only sleeps when I hold her or when we are on walks or Iin the car. Everyone says that will get better in a month or two, so here's hoping.

    I do like the two leashes idea, but won't he just get excited and tug on the one I'm holding and let go of the one I drop? I fear that could turn into more of a game.

    I guess I was quite unaware of this teenage phase. I'll have to search the boards for more info about that. Thank you for making me aware.

    I really appreciate everyone's help. And I do not mind constructive criticism at all, but please let it be helpful not just hurtful!
     
  8. Sansal

    Sansal Boxer Insane

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    It's GREAT that he is so food motivated!!! That will help you a lot with training him. Definitely reconsider using treats for training. I always have some on me. If you are entirely uncomfortable with using treats you could also use toys, or a mixture of both. Honestly, dogs work for rewards.....
     
  9. TwoDogs

    TwoDogs Boxer Insane

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    Why? I get not wanting to have to use treats to bribe a dog to do something but why not reward them with food? Think of your dog as a five year old. They are going to ask "why should I". If all you have is "because I said so" you are going to get a noncompliant dog. Behaviors need to have relevance for a dog. How much more relevant can you get than "to earn your food"?

    Usually when people don't want to use food it's because they don't know how to get past the food as a bribe phase of fading the lure. Once you do that and the behavior is reliable you need to put the behavior on a variable reinforcement schedule so you don't reward as often or always with the same reward. When the dog doesn't know when the reward is coming but is working for the chance that it is coming this time, that's when you cut back to only occassional rewards required for maintenance of the behavior.
     
  10. JethrosMom

    JethrosMom Boxer Pal

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    Any good links/resources on treat training then? I'll try it... But when he smells treats in my pocket or hand he won't do anything like hold his toy, so while I can do sit, down, stay, I can't do leave it or drop it.
     
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