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Old 04-03-2013, 10:44 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Cause of growl?

So yes i have written a previous post a while ago about how i messed up in attempting an alpha roll. i'm currently awaiting a new behaviorists response and we're taking him to the vets soon, but something is currently bothering me a bit more.

After being on a strict NILIF policy ever since the incident, i've noticed he has been pretty normal, if not more focused on me lately, which is good. I can still correct him as normal now, i can push his butt down if he ignores my command to sit, for instance, and it's like nothing ever happend.

Part of my new rules is that he cannot go on furniture. He has been trying ever so hard to get on the couch again, but I keep gently removing him and telling him "off". but tonight after several "offs" and him attempting to jump up over and over, i finally made him sit down on the floor and told him to lie down. he was ignoring the lie down so i went to put some pressure on him like i would normally do if he didn't listen, trying to get him to lie down by force, but he growled at me. His posture didn't change and he didn't really do anything other than growl a little. i stopped pressuring him, went "hey" and then i brought him to his kennel.

my question is, would this growl be because he was wanting to be on the couch and I was trying to force him to be on the ground? Could it be related to him feeling like i was attempting to alpha roll him again? and would this be dominance or just annoyance or even fear? again, he didn't really have any particular posture, he was just sitting there on the floor and his ears were normal, etc, he didn't move or stand up. just wondering if i should not have pressured him this soon since the alpha roll incident. or if i handled it badly by sending him away. i didn't want to get bit by trying to physically do anything after the growl and like i said he seemed fine in every other way/physical corrections. i am thinking it might be that he dislikes any pressure to lie down now after the alpha roll incident. but does that make him dominant now??? or just uneasy???

should i have gotten the lead and forced him down without touching him that way so he didn't think I was backing off???

Just want to handle this right so he doesn't think i'm afraid of him and get worse

Thanks for comments
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Old 04-04-2013, 12:59 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Please do not push your dog into any position it will cause distrust can't you no use a piece of chicken or a yummy treat. It is far better to teach with treats and praise if you were pushing on me I would growl at you too. You say you are using strict NILF what do you mean by strict ? I would put a long line on the dog to remove him from furniture, You need to make training fun & happy please remove the word dominance from your vocabulary your dog and yourself will get along much better.
NILF at my house I ask the dog to do a sit or a down before meals, the dog is told to wait when I step out to get the mail and that about it, if we go some where they have to wait they cannot jump out unless I tell them OK. Your dog has already forgotten about growling at you you need to forget too do not keep punishing him with the NILF do not ever do that stupid alpha roll you are not a wolf and your best friend is a dog not a wolf.Good Luck
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Old 04-04-2013, 05:17 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patches Mom View Post
Please do not push your dog into any position it will cause distrust can't you no use a piece of chicken or a yummy treat. It is far better to teach with treats and praise if you were pushing on me I would growl at you too. You say you are using strict NILF what do you mean by strict ? I would put a long line on the dog to remove him from furniture, You need to make training fun & happy please remove the word dominance from your vocabulary your dog and yourself will get along much better.
NILF at my house I ask the dog to do a sit or a down before meals, the dog is told to wait when I step out to get the mail and that about it, if we go some where they have to wait they cannot jump out unless I tell them OK. Your dog has already forgotten about growling at you you need to forget too do not keep punishing him with the NILF do not ever do that stupid alpha roll you are not a wolf and your best friend is a dog not a wolf.Good Luck
How do i correct a dog if he is clearly trying to ignore me though? i mean if he will usually do a lie down 99% of the time, and then he ignores me in an important situation like he gets too rough playing with someone, i don't want him to think he can ignore me when he knows the command like that. i would be afraid he'd keep getting worse at ignoring me and i'd lose all control??

i agree alpha rolls are bad now, i wish i could take back what i did but i have to deal with his change in attitude now.

my version of NILIF is waiting for anything he wants, food, toys, affection-he has to sit, sometimes give paw, and for meals i usually have him do a short training session first. i have been making him wait for me to enter doorways first and give the "okay" for him to come through. i stopped letting him on the funirutre and when we play he has togive up his toy to me if i ask for it, then we continue playing after i praise him for giving it up.

he really is a good dog, i just worry that he growls like that now. in my opinion you should be able to do almost anything to your dog as long as it isn't painful and they should accept it. i'm not saying i want to constantly pressure him to do things he doesn't want, i just want to make sure he's not getting a big head and going to get worse or start growling over little things.
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Old 04-04-2013, 05:52 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I think maybe you might be running the NILIF training into the ground. It just kind of sounds like its all work and no play for him. If he sits readily, I wouldn't then demand a paw, for instance. I also don't think offering a treat for compliance would be a bad thing. Food is a wonderful mood lifter.

He might have thought you were going to manhandle him again, I don't know. You probably should put the leash back on if he is being persistent about wanting on the couch. He shouldn't be pressuring you for couch privileges at this point. Have you let him back on even once or maybe he gets on when your not home. You were not wrong to kennel him. That's more what you should do when he refuses to obey a command.

Do not try to force him into any position. That puts your face too close to his.

I do think you definitely need a behaviourist more than ever at this point. I don't really feel comfortable trying to tell you any more things to do. Ask your vet for a reference for a behaviourist.

I'm afraid you're going to mess around, trying to handle this yourself, and cause your boy to have a bite history.
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Old 04-04-2013, 12:05 PM   #5 (permalink)
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NILIF won't fix things. it will just help manage the situation. I'd have called a trainer/behaviorist ASAP myself. If he doesn't listen, send him to his kennel or crate. I would not have given him that many chances to keep getting up on the couch.

In a perfect world, we can do anything to our dogs. That isn't always the case. If he's clearly giving you signals, listen and do something about it. Don't fight him on his terms. If push comes to shove, those 42 teeth will win if he bites.

Try not to focus on terms. What the real definition of dominant? There are so many. Take it for what it was. A growl, he didn't like it for whatever reason and then find a solution.
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Old 04-04-2013, 08:23 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I agree with throwing away the word dominant. Dominance is an outdated theory and while I'm sure there are some dogs that need that type of training, they are few and far between.

If my dogs don't do as they're told - such as lying down - I ignore them. I have a negative word that I use, it sounds like this: Uhhhh OH! A long, drawn out first syllable and a slightly louder last syllable.

Some dogs need a ton of NILIF, not all do. Bugs for instance LOVES to work and will gladly do anything I ask (except be nice to other dogs, ugh) so we do a LOT of stuff for meals. Sit, touch palm, touch chin, puppy pushups. For attention, she just has to sit and she knows that, she comes and sits and stares at me lol.

I am no expert so keep that in mind, but here's what I would do if i was you:

1. Call behaviorist ASAP, like tomorrow morning.
2. Contact experienced trainers
3. STOP putting your hands on your dog unless its a loving touch
4. Have a full blood panel done on your dog. Get a copy of the values - sometimes a borderline thyroid can act like a low thyroid
5. Have a full checkup done to rule out any physical pain
6. Increase exercise and fun - long line, fetch, whatever your dog loves

You need to be working with someone like yesterday. Based on what you're saying, your dog doesn't trust you. Respect, eh, what's that - every dog shows it differently. (For example, one of the dogs I work with will do anything I ask and is learning backyard agility, but won't walk at my side. Is a dog out front disrespectful? Some think so. I disagree in this case.) TRUST is the big one here.

Good luck to both of you.
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Old 04-04-2013, 10:26 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Thank you for the replies. i think lack of trust is a big thing here and yes, i wont pressure him to perform something anymore but rather ignore him or kennel him depending on the situation (like if he's acting up and wont settle down, or he;s on the furniture i'll use a leash). i will also try to be more generous with praise and rewards for good things. i think i have slipped on that part, too, gotten lazy with the proper times to praise. really good point about the all work and not enough play. i want to rebuild the relationship we had before if at all possible.

Tonight he saw something outside and started barking. i used to be able to say "it's nothing, leave it" and he would calm down, but he wasn't this time, so rather than grab his collar i just asked him to sit.....and for the first time, he turned around and barked at me, then nipped me in the stomach. now this keeps making me think he senses I am starting to get anxious around him since I never know when he will growl or not anymore. sometimes he doesn't growl when i correct, other times he does. Not knowing has made me feel uneasy. one minute he has a submissive posture and kisses and likes to be petted, the next i am afraid he is going to enter devil dog mode again.

What;'s the best way to regain confidence in dealing with him? I've never felt this way before. I know my feelings are probably rubbing off on him and he sense i am not as strong as I was before with confidence. is that something that will just build again over time if i do all of the right things? I mean i know a trainer will probably tell me what to do, but even with all of the right tools and direction, even if i never saw him growl at me ever again from this point on, will the fear that he may someday revert back to growling at me ever really go away??

I am sorry i keep going on and on about this. i am just scared and also depressed at the situation. My dog used to be the one thing in this world that made me happy, he got me through a lot of tough times, and i feel like i'm losing him.
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Old 04-05-2013, 12:19 AM   #8 (permalink)
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If you do not get a behaviorist you are in need of help call your vet,a groomer, Kennel Club to find some one to help you. It does take a very long time to re gain trust from your dog once you have lost it. How old is your dog need to know the age to figure out the response also we really cannot tell you what to do with your dog we cannot see what is going on. It was said before please also get a Thyroid panel done on your dog the one they (the vet) sends out to be read. Sometimes if the dogs thyroid is off they can get aggressive thyroid medications are usually very inexpensive to give. Good Luck
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Old 04-05-2013, 01:08 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Thyroid check and physical. With putting pressure on him he could have something going on with his hips also. I would never actually push a dog into a position you want him in. You can do this all with luring, even an older dog. Ah ah, has a major impact on a dog that just wants to please you and do what is right. You may want to consider a dog bed in the livingroom if you don't want him on the furniture. Teach him "place" or "bed". When he wants to get on the furniture, tell him to go to his place. This also works with answering the door, cooking dinner, etc.

I would work on a word such as "try again" to tell him that you are not doing what I want you to do, especially when you know he knows the command. Sometimes all it takes is a simple look. If he wants to be obstinate then play time is over and time to kennel up. It's not a punishment as much as a removal of play time. We'll chew on a bone a little bit and then we can try again.
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Old 04-05-2013, 03:07 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I agree with having a full panel thyroid test done. Your vet will have to send his blood out as the test can't be done inhouse.

If you can't get a behaviourist, try to place this dog into a rescue with full disclosure of your problems and why.

He was growling, now he's nipping. I am afraid it will be a full fledged bite next. I am beginning to think this dog may be a ticking time bomb.

Whatever you are doing isn't working, put him in better hands before you have to put him down.

I am sorry it has come to this, but that is the way I see what needs to be done to keep you safe since you won't or cant get a behaviourist, but keep coming here for advice instead.

You can always get another dog on down the road.
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Old 04-05-2013, 08:59 AM   #11 (permalink)
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The guy i was trying to contact has a long wait list apparently. there aren't many qualified behaviorists where I live and the vet told me to contact this specific guy. apparently he takes in dogs that are deemed unadoptable, mostly aggressive pit bulls, and he rehabilitates them to the point where they can be adopted. he makes in home visits and consultations and will either work with you at home or even take the dog in himself to work with. Can't get ahold by phone so i sent an email but it was 3 days ago and still no response.:/well i got an auto response saying that it can take a few days.

well the good thing is he was barking at the door again this morning over a squirrel and this time i made sure I was out of reach, but i told him it was alright and to sit, and he did, in fact he layed down after and then looked at me instead of the squirrel. i then told him to come here, away from the door and he followed me away like he used to do.

as for dogs age he is about a year old.

yes i am trying to contact people to help because i don't want to give him up. there is one more person,a trainer i know that is a few cities away i may go visit after the weekend 'cause she is not in that area on weekends.
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Old 04-05-2013, 10:38 AM   #12 (permalink)
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No, you don't need a "behaviorist" (anyone can call themselves that). You need a board certified veterinary behaviorist. These are veterinarians who have completed extensive training in behavioral medicine and then are board certified in the field, much like a veterinary dermatologist or radiologist.

Find a veterinary behaviorist here: Find a Board Certified Veterinary Behaviorist ACVB

You need to educate yourself about how to work with your dog and build a relationship. Step one, stop worrying about dominance nonsense. Step two, get in to see a veterinary behaviorist. You need to call immediately. It can take a long time to get an appointment, and you are long past the stage where you needed one. Step three, do some reading on humane training methods. I'd start with Patricia McConnell's, "The Other End of the Leash." Next, Pat Miller's, "The Power of Positive Dog Training." There are many more, but that's a start.

You dog isn't trying to be dominant. Your dog doesn't trust you. You haven't been fair in your training, you've tried to physically dominate him. In fact, you are STILL physically manipulating him. Pushing his butt down to make him sit doesn't teach him to sit.

Please contact the veterinary behaviorist and do NOT send your dog to a trainer before you have a consult. Lots of trainers are going to end up making this worse, and you don't have the knowledge base to evaluate trainers or their methods at this point.
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