I have an untrained dog.
This untrained dog is temporary, thankfully.
We are her way-station for six days as she makes her way southward to her permanent home. She knows nothing except her name. I mean nothing.
This is foreign territory for me. And because of this experience, I know that I will always train my dogs. And encourage others to do the same to avoid suffering this fate.
Here are some of the problems I’m having with her, along with the things I could teach her (if she were staying longer and if she were mine) to solve those problems.
Problem + Solution
Problem: jumps on people
Problem: bowls over the other dogs
Problem: non-stop pestering me (paws on me, nosing me, etc.)
Solution: settle on a mat
Problem: stealing from my plate
Solution: settle on a mat
Problem: hogging in when I’m talking to another dog
Problem: barking from the yard at noises, neighbors
Solution: come when called
Those are fairly common behavior issues, none of them is immediately dangerous, but man, are they annoying! She doesn’t know what I want and I have no way of communicating to her what I need.
Manners are a necessity, not an option.
She’s really super sweet. Waggy tail, happy face, pleasant personality, fun-loving, ball chasing, love-bug. But that’s just not enough to live together with people and other dogs. Manners are what bring order and predictability and consistency to a household, to a dog’s life. Without clear expectations, chaos reigns.
The good news is that it would be so easy to fix if I had more time with her. With only one week, I can only set up a minimal amount of structure before she’s off to her permanent home.
If you have an untrained dog, this is my message to you: You don’t have to live like that! Some super easy quick fixes can make a world of difference in your life with your dog.
Smart Dog University resources
YouTube dog training channel
Free monthly newsletter
PLEASE HELP! We got a dog, and she is having a really hard time adjusting. We paid $400 nonrefundable to keep her in our apartment rental. Not thinking that was such a great investment after getting to know this dog for more than the 3 days I visited at the shelter.
Our 2 year old 14 lb female manchester terrier (got her 2 weeks ago from the shelter) will whine at the door incessantly, and most of the time it is just to sniff around outside at every blade of grass/the cows next door instead of going potty. Therefore, we have tried to ignore the relentless whining, but it is really hard to tell when she DOES need to go. Sometimes she’s peed on the floor during the whining at the door even if we just took her out. Before she did that. she scratched at the door, so I guess that’s a different signal. She whines at the door about 20+ times a day when we are home. She is crated for about 4 hours a day. I always use firm commands for everything, and follow up with praise when the dog does the right thing, like coming when she’s called. She still does not sit on command, even when we press on her hindquarters and give her a treat in the sitting position. The funny thing is, she will stop whining and SIT QUIETLY AT THE DOOR AND STARE AT US. Then when we get up, she will go crazy, jumping, spinning in circles, darting back and forth. That is the ONLY TIME she will sit, and there’s no way to catch her in the act and give a treat without getting up. There is no way to get any work done with her whining and cleaning up accident messes. Not to mention, any time we open the door she will run to it full force, and slip through the crack. We have to knock before coming home from work so the person who is home can grab the dog. We try to show her that when she goes out to pee, human goes first, then dog, trying to teach patience. The dog jumps on the furniture even when we tell her not to, and has broken things off the coffee table. (all breakables have since been hidden away) BTW, the dog will sit or stand quietly ON people but not on the floor. She mostly wants to lay on our laps or whine at the door when we are home and gets very upset if we don’t constantly lavish attention on her. If my husband and I are being affectionate to each other and not paying attention to her, she growls and whines until we do.
Also, I have made it clear that the dog is not allowed in the bedroom because she dug a hole in my featherbed and she eats the carpet. Yes, she rips up the yarn and eats it, and makes me pull it out of her throat. yuck. When we redirect her from destructive habits by saying NO or trying to distract her with a toy, she will automatically start licking and biting her paws for about an hour, which has resulted in hot spots. Bitter spray doesn’t work. She still licks it off. Tastes awful to me. I try to say NO! and put my hand under her chin to keep her from licking, but then she licks and bites my hand.
Also, there’s the problem about any time my husband and I are in the bedroom, either together or solo. If anyone is in the bedroom or bathroom and closes the door, she will freak out. Folding laundry, napping, trying to sleep, whatever. She will whine at the door, bite and scratch it until we come out. Even a kong filled with pb and treats will not sate her.
At night, she was allowed to sleep on the couch after going out to pee until we realized she whined all night regardless of where she was. My husband broke down and let her sleep on a cushion in our bedroom a couple times, and she tried to jump on the bed. When we wouldn’t let her, she whined all night again. I ended up sleeping with the dog on the couch.
At bedtime, we put her in her crate, which is big enough to fit a great dane. It has all the fancy accommodations a dog could need. Water bowl, soft blanket, dog bed, toys, etc. We have always lured her in with treats and don’t use the crate as time out or punishment. Yet, when the dog is placed there for the night, she whines ALL NIGHT. We get NO SLEEP! I usually have to get up at 5AM and have an hour to commute, so I can’t function during clinical hours when she does this. The whining is killing our sleep, not to mention our intimacy. And NO, I am NOT allowing her in our bedroom. It is our place, not the dog’s. The dog has her own bed. She is literally a foot away from our bedroom in the crate. I don’t want to sleep with a dog in our bed. I feel that the dog believes she is dominant over us and that humans exist solely to serve her highness, waiting on her hand and foot. Any advice for handling this anxious diva dog? Is there any hope? Any huge things that we are doing wrong?
Laurie Luck says
Re-posting here to be sure you see it on this thread, too.
Hi Gene, thanks for the comment, sounds like there’s a lot going on with your new dog. I’ve picked out several things in my quick readthrough: house training, learning to understand your dog’s signs, keeping her off the furniture, dashing out the door, basic good manners (sit, wait, etc.), and probably (most importantly) anxiety. This is a big ball of wax and can’t be addressed over the internet. A trainer who can work in-person with you will give you the most bang for your buck, as she can see the dynamics, break each issue down into it’s basic component, and develop a training plan that addresses each of your concerns. I would encourage you to do two things: (1) look at http://www.findagreatdogtrainer.com to find a qualified dog trainer and (2) find a good veterinarian who is comfortable working with behavior and anxiety. It sounds as if there’s a good deal of anxiety bubbling around and training can make only so much progress without addressing that anxiety first.
It’s a tough — but do-able — road. Having a good veterinarian and trainer on your team will give you the best chance of success for both you and your dog.
Something else has been happening with my dog. She bites through every leash. If she is being walked and I stop or even turn my back for a minute, she starts biting the leash. If she is in the car and the leash is on her harness, she will bite through it. I had to leave her in the kitchen off leash, out of crate for a few minutes to go get the mail, and she scratched the trimboard on the doors. She is very destructive. I can’t leave her alone with anything I don’t want destroyed.
Laurie Luck says
I LOVE the chain leashes for dogs that like to bite through their own leashes. The chain leashes aren’t nearly as much fun to chew on and they’re a lot stronger and harder to bite through than the nylon, cotton, or leather leashes.
If your dog is destructive when you’re not there, definitely use that crate — even if it’s only while you go to get the mail. Those few minutes are like years when you have a destructive dog! Good luck!
My friend has a pit that is a yr old, he is not trained and she doesn’t want anything to do with him. He’s chewed up shoes, furniture etc.. I keep telling her to start training, but she says he’s untrainable. I’ve never had a pit, he not like what I’ve always heard about. He’s playful, friendly, Not aggressive in anyway.
I have a Doberman, whose trained, could I use the same training on this pit and get same results. My dobbie is well behaved, but I am now seeing some of the same behavior as the pit.
Help please!!! Brat
Laurie Luck says
I’ve not run into any dog yet that isn’t able to learn. I hear people say that some dogs need harsher training, but I’ve found that to be untrue as well. Training is science. Clicker training is simply the application of the science. Saying that a dog can’t be trained is like saying “Gravity doesn’t work on me.” Use the videos on the Smart Dog University YouTube channel and give it a whirl! Let me know how it goes.
We have gone through puppy school 1.5 times so far wtih no luck. The teacher can’t get my 3 pound chihuahua to do anything. She just stands there or tries to get to me and in my lap or arms. She is very shy and none of her socialization has helped. Not sure what to do with her to get her to behave (come, sit, go potty, etc)
I know it is my fault for how I have trained (or lack there of) but I want her to behave.
Laurie Luck says
Hi Alex, sounds like the classroom setting is simply too overwhelming for your dog. Find a positive reinforcement trainer who can work with you one-on-one with private training in your home, where your dog is most comfortable. Check out http://www.findagreatdogtrainer.com for qualified trainers near you.