Puppy training/dominance - please help

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Lynda:
Hi all,We got a Border Collie at 7 weeks - he is now 11 weeks. I am at home all day with him and having had 2 dogs before, am making sure he's looked after, much loved but not spoiled. He's crate trained, sits, gives paw and in general is doing well. I have taken him out in my arms (pre vaccinations) to get him used to sights and sounds and he's done great and loves people.

Most of the time, with me, he is fine. Happy to amuse himself, OK to be left for a few hours alone if I go out. Amost perfect. I just have one problem - he is showing major signs of dominance when I want him to do something or not as the case may be. In other words when I show him who's boss - he clearly thinks it's him.
This has become more obvious since I a) endeavoured to stop him play biting when it got too hard and b) started lead training him.

I have a friend with vast and successful experience in training and she earned his respect within a few hours. He is like a different pup with her. With me, no amount of "no biting", will stop him but worse, in the past few days he has flown back at me almost with teeth bared if I have chastised him and bit harder. Similarly on the lead today he was clearly trying to show me he was top dog and did this again by biting but it is not play biting, he's moved it up a gear. He also hates being brushed. I've brushed him from day 1 but it's a battle.

I know he's young and trying to dominate me and it's not going to happen - but - I am lacking in experience of exactly how to show him who's boss. Raising my voice has no effect at all.

It's a long time since I trained a puppy and in fact my last dog was the exact opposite - he was very nervous and submissive from day 1 so this is not only new to me but qute upsetting as I just can't see what I am doing wrong.
Whilst I keep perservering, any help would be appreciated. Or is this normal puppy behaviour?
Lynda
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Tricia9999:
[nq:1]in the past few days he has flown back at me almost with teeth bared if I have chastised him and bit harder.[/nq]
I'm afraid I would bite harder too if you chastised me. Try to reduce the confrontation in your relationship and make it a cooperative, communicative effort.
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Emily Carroll:
[nq:1]Hi all, This has become more obvious since I a) endeavoured to stop him play biting when it got too hard[/nq]
What worked wonderfully with Rusty was flicking him on the tip of his nose. If that doesn't help, or in tandem, set up a puppy room (baby gate a room that he can't destroy) or crate, whichever you have. Whenever he puts his teeth on you, pick him up, and put him in the room for just one minute or two. Walk away, out of his sight, and don't return unless he's being quiet. He will quickly figure out that biting means no more fun.

and b) started lead training him.
Honestly, I don't think he's being dominant at this age with playing with the leash. It's a neat thing to them and a fun toy. You can spray it with bitter apple (available at fine pet supply shops throughout the universe), lemon juice, tabasco, etc., and he should quickly stop.

Emily Carroll
Fluttervale Labradors: www.fluttervale.com
CPG: www.geocities.com/cyberpetgame/
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Anonymous:
[nq:1]Hi all, We got a Border Collie at 7 weeks - he is now 11 weeks. I am at home[/nq]
[nq:1]I know he's young and trying to dominate me and it's not going to happen - but - I am lacking in experience of exactly how to show him who's boss. Raising my voice has no effect at all.[/nq]
He is not trying to dominate you. That may come later. For now he simply doesn't understand what you want, and to the extent that he does understand you haven't given him a reason to comply.
[nq:1]It's a long time since I trained a puppy and in fact my last dog was the exact opposite - ... this is not only new to me but qute upsetting as I just can't see what I am doing wrong.[/nq]
Stop
raising your voice. If he puts teeth on you use a firm calm voice. Say no bite, then walk out of the room and shut the door behind you. Give him no more than 5-10 minutes alone then walk in, call him to you and ask him to do something you can praise him for. Then ignore him again for several minutes, and ask him for a different behavior you can reward.

Work on leash walking in the house where you can do the same thing.

For grooming, make it rewarding. Stop battling. Take it a little more slowly so you can reward the successful bits. Standing still for a while is something you can teach, but its a difficult skil for this breed. So build on success. Help the dog be successful by breaking it down into smaller bits that it is ready for, then gradually push that envelope. When you take a peek in the ears use a light voice, take a peek, then say good dog and rewared by (a) giving a tidbit or (b) rolling a ball or (c) anything else the dog will like but isn't really exciting. You don't want the dog to associate it with excitement, but you do want the association to be pleasure. Making the association cnoflict is going to make it always a conflict.Pay attention to how you use rewards and punishments. A reward is somethign that comes after the desired behavior. It should not be used to induce the desired behavior. So holding a treat and asking for a behavior is using it to induce the behavior. The ability to mix praise, treats, toys and play as rewards will help you avoid bribing and pay more attention to rewarding. With new behaviors your reward every time. As the dog undetsands them you make those rewards random, sometimes they come, sometimes not.

Rewards will always trump something disagreeable. And when the dog can control the rewards the dog will engage in that behavior. SO if the dog desires interaction with you, and if what it does gets that interaction, then the dog has self rewarded. Some with something like cahsing. If you can control the dog's ability to self reward, like removing yourself, or using a leash to stop chasing, then you can control whether the dog continues to engage in that behavior.
[nq:1]Whilst I keep perservering, any help would be appreciated. Or is this normal puppy behaviour?[/nq]
Check to see if puppy classes are available in your area. Before signing up visit and see if you like what you see.
Get the video "Siruis Puppy Training" By Ian Dunbar. It will show you how to teach the dog to behave more appropriately with those teeth.

Yes, for the most part the behavior you are seeing is normal. BC puppies are often referred to as "little sharks". But as you already know that doesn't mean you have to accept it. Its another reason this breed isn't the ideal family pet. But it CAN be.
The most common reasons for disrespect by a puppy include (1) inconsistency (2) unclear messages - usually waiting more than a second before responding to unwanted behavior (3) failure to teach what you DO want. It is far more successful to redirect behavior to something you want than to just stop a behavior.
Mostly the dog is interesting in interacting with you. If you stop interacting when it is a style you don't like, then do interact the way you want it the dog will liarn its choices.

Diane Blackman
http://dog-play.com /
http://dog-play.com/shop2.html
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Leah:
[nq:1]I know he's young and trying to dominate me and it's not going to happen - but - I am lacking in experience of exactly how to show him who's boss. Raising my voice has no effect at all.[/nq]
Well, it has an effect... but not the one you want.

You're giving him all the wrong messages. I know it's not your intention, but it's what he's perceiving. You two are basically having a communication problem.
Go here and do just what it says to do:
http://k9deb.com/nilif.htm
Stop yelling at him. Strong leadership does not involve strong-arm methods.

All you are teaching him by yelling at him (hopefully not striking him or physically restraining him?) is to fight back.
A common way to stop puppy biting is to yell OW as sharply as you can every time you feel teeth, and then immediately stop all attention to the puppy. When puppy isn't biting, he gets attention. When he is biting, he doesn't. Make the behavior unrewarding for him.
However, the OW thing doesn't work for all puppies. Some don't buy it, and come at you with renewed vigor thinking you're playing back. If that happens, don't do it.
I added turning away and pretending to cry for my border collie. She's very sensitive - gets upset if anybody sneezes or coughs - so it worked like a charm. She had stopped the nipping completely in days. (That's a short time for a very young pup with the attention span of a toothpick to inhibit himself from doing something so instinctive.)
Take out the brush, leave it in his view, and praise him and give him treats. Put it away. Take it out again, touch him lightly with it, praise him and give him treats. Next time, lightly brush him one time. Then twice. If he fights it, the treats go away and so do you.
Brush = treats and attention. No Brush = no fun.
Go at his pace. If you're not seeing progress, back it up.

Did your friend with experience see the dog in action with you? If so, did she give any feedback? What method does she use to train?

Without seeing it, I can guess that maybe you're right and the pup is getting angry with you, or he may be playing very roughly and you perceive it as aggression. If you're yelling at him and pushing him away, he may think you're barking and playing. Border collies are hell on wheels if they're overstimulated (and also if they're understimulated - you do NOT have an easy dog). Hard to tell from here. But in any case, you're right about what the problem is - he doesn't know who's boss.
He wants it to be you, believe it or not. You've got to prove to him he can trust you, and feel safe with you.
Check out that website. It will make a world of difference.

PetsMart Pet Trainer
My Kids, My Students, My Life:
http://hometown.aol.com/dfrntdrums/myhomepage/index.html Last updated June 27 at 10:00 a.m.
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Amy Dahl:
snipped other good advice
The most common reasons for disrespect by a puppy include (1)
[nq:1]inconsistency (2) unclear messages - usually waiting more than a second before responding to unwanted behavior (3) failure to teach ... is a style you don't like, then do interact the way you want it the dog will liarn its choices.[/nq]
I didn't want to quote all of it, but I suggest you reread, print, and save Diane's post. Get away from the idea your puppy is trying to "dominate" you that unfortunate myth leads to a lot of adversarial relations and poor communication. Dogs do what works. If you pay attention to making "good behavior" pay off (short gentle grooming sessions including treats) and "bad behavior" not pay (say "ow!" and shun the puppy briefly when she bites), your puppy will modify her behavior in ways you will like.
By all means get into a good puppy class where an instructor can help you develop skills at directing your puppy's behavior.

Amy Dahl
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Lynn K.:
[nq:1]I know he's young and trying to dominate me and it's not going to happen - but - I am lacking in experience of exactly how to show him who's boss. Raising my voice has no effect at all.[/nq]
He's simply trying to interact with you, not dominate you. When he was with his littermates, his whole world was eating, sleeping, pooping, peeing, and biting the other puppies in the litter. He knows nothing else. When you raise your voice you are simply escalating the level of play and he'll just bite harder. You have to now teach him other ways of interacting.
Lynn K.
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Lynda:
Just a quick note to say thanks SO much for all of the constructive advice I received - I'm putting it into practice and as you all know, it works!
Thanks again
Lynda
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