Gundog Behaviour Probs

Discussion in 'Shooting, Hunting and Fishing' started by fatfekker, Jan 22, 2010.

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  1. Long story long:

    Asking this here, as it seems there is a body of knowledge about similar dogs:

    Kids and myself have been after dog for ages but a combination of SSSA and then being away abroad meant that it was not going to happen, kids were too young.

    Came back, decided to get a dog, and went down the pedigree route so we would know what cute ball of fluff would turn into. Me & DCOS have had dogs before, usually rescue dogs, never had a problem. Chose a child friendly breed, checked out parents/breeder/health probs yadda, yadda and got a Flat Coated Retriever.

    This is a stubborn breed and does require a fair bit of attention and a pile of exercise, but an excuse for going out for a run is always handy & big family means he will never be alone.

    Idea was, to take the mutt into work where he could stink up the office, annoy lads, etc, etc for a few years and would not be banged up in house all day. APC had other ideas and sent me on year long cse where taking a pet in is not appropriate then onto the Fatherland where office/dog interface is unknown.

    Dog is now the most well behaved and loyal pet you could want…with me. He is absolutely convinced that even looking sideways at younger kids (4 & 7) is a no-no, as he knows the divine retribution will be delivered if he even thinks about it. They are taught to keep out of his bed space, they control when he is fed and control his access & he know they outrank him in the pack. They have been taught on the dog SOIs. He is muzzled around them anyway, as a friendly chew would mean drama and kids could torment him when I ain't about.

    So no probs so far. He will chew absolutely anything in quarter despite owning most of the local pets shop’s selection of doggy toys, this is down to his breed, he is exercised as much as his age allows and he knows the rules re youngest kids. He lives in a crate/cage when left alone.

    The issue is with the elder teenage kids, he absolutely will not accept they out-rank him. He is assertive, dominant, will not do what they say, and tries all the standard doggy tricks of asserting himself as their superior. When I turn up, he then reverts to family sprog and will do what they say. When I disappear he tries to bite, not in a savage-rip-your-face off way but as in I’m-the-gaffer here way. The eldest kids are much bigger than him and will do all the usual assertive behaviour that the youngest do.

    I’ve checked and his siblings are doing just fine. He chases and catches pheasant and brings them back in one piece so there is a good dog in there.

    He is due to have his nads chopped off soon, but I am waiting to see if his behaviour is sorted before this happens. He is a rare colour/breed and is more likely to be re-homed ‘complete’ if he has to go.

    I know that it is rare to have a bad dog, just owners i.e. me, but any idea what is going wrong here?
  2. ugly

    ugly LE Moderator

    I'll e mail this to my Hausfrau and she can dispense advice
  3. I think you have answered it yourself, unless I have mis-read your post. [if so, apa-lo-gees].

    'he is muzzled around the younger sprogs', is he muzzled in front of the teenagers? if not, he sees them as fair game.
  4. Tardak, chemical castration, could be worth trying on your dog. It should be indicactive of his likely behaviour after plum removal. Tardek discussion on Weimie Forum.

    What age is your dog, often when they hit puberty, the can become a bit of 'Kevin'.

    To anyone named Kevin, sorry, blame 'arry.
  5. The castration of dogs in no way affects their behaviour, other than their sexual behaviour. As I explain repeatedly to people who are ticking the check-list ("moved to country, check, bought twee house, check, buy expensive attractive gun-dog breed, check). Their castrated £600 potential stud dog will always behave like an untrained dog, unless you train it. Which means always training it because dogs need reinforcement.

    The age at which nads are removed is critical. Puberty in dogs is a complicated phase and if a dog is castrated before he has reached full adulthood, then you may well be left with a permanent puppy. He iwll frankly not develop beyond that stage and any functional training may be impaired, e.g. retrieving, pointing etc.

    The interaction of your older kids with the dog sounds similar to that with the rugrats but there is probably sufficient difference to get flatty, the FCR, confised and uppity. With some dogs, for example, it can be pheromonal. My son briefly had a strange effect on my older dog. He was presumably pumping out teenage quantities of testosterone or whatever. However that normalised quite quickly.

    Is he socialized with other dogs? The chewing might be of significance - it indicates he is still very "active" or "overactive" on one level, despite his satisfactory walking/exercise routine. Incidentally there is some evidence that a run with a dog is not as satisfying for the dog as a walk. Dog's usually run from A to B, or away from A in any case. They tend to do their sniffing and wuffling whilst meandering. It is this feature of exercise which appears to give them more "satisfaction" - much as we like a riffle through the Arrse or the papers.

    It is always frustrating. A dog-trainer recently described re-training a 12 month old rescue dog as "reloading the OS on a PC". Ignoring all previous commands etc., you retrain the dog - so "down" for example may become "flat", "sit" may become "hunker" and similarly for hand signals and whistle tones. It is obviously a pretty tough task; a bit like reloing as a matelot for us!
  6. I get the point ref muzzle but he still tries to chew them with the muzzle on but can't as he is muzzled...

    The castration is not a behaviour control method, it is just that we don't want to breed from him and they will be chopped off at maturity. If he was to be rehomed, the new owners may want to use him as a stud dog ( colouring & rare-ish breed), so keeping them on him will increase his rehoming chances.

    We have managed to get a dog expert involved and they are looking at the issue of my delegation of feeding duties to the elder kids. Turns out that this isn't me re-enforcing authority through proxy, ie if they feed him, then he sees them as boss. Turns out that this is not correct and can cause drama.

    He is the right age for the Kevin attitude and the fact he is not socialised with other dogs isn't helping.

    The simple option, is of course to get rid of the kids, boot the dog's arrse when he is wrong and the pecking order is re-established.

    Cuddles: Have you been stalking me: moved to country, check, issued twee quarter, check, buy gundog, check!
  7. When you cut a dogs nuts off at maturity he has already had the benefit of testerone driven development and behaviour since he was a puppy. He will probably see young kids as puppies and want to protect them, especialy since he is not allowed to use his teeth as a defence or discipline tool with them. Older kids he will see as rivals to be dominated, especially as he doesnt have to wear a muzzle with them around. You have had no real problems with him so far but you are very perceptive about the problems that could occur and have taken precautions. At this stage you need your older kids to participate in training with the dog under the supervision of a good dog trainer. Or, make sure that the older kids dominate the dog in a kindly, no nonsense way with games where the kids always win and any escalation of dominance by the dog is not allowed. Be firm, very firm but dont be unkind or violent. In the pack, a senior dog will kill or severely injure a junior dog that doesnt show respect and compliance. Humans dont have to be so brutal. But the dog MUST know where it stands in the family.
  8. udipur

    udipur LE Book Reviewer

    Sounds like the old man's mauler. We love him to bits but boy, has he been an utter handful.

    Cuddles will have you believe that there is no substitute for training and you always need to train the little darlings, however, having had dogs for the past umpteen decades, we do know a thing or two about this and we just managed to pick a dominant dog.

    He scares the living bejasus out of the village (not always a bad thing), the council have sent round their nerd to warn us and he has had the odd scrap here and there. He wears a muzzle (which he doesn't like) but will eventually come round to reasonable behaviour if you are there to dominate him.

    I would never in a million years maim a dog by snipping his nads off. Spaying bitches is a powerful way of keeping her from being mounted ceaselessly and saddled with mongrels. Castration does nothing to assuage a dog's temperament, just makes his wet dreams drier.

    I have seen it elsewhere with a chum's Lakeland Terriers which went after the owner's son who was 26 at the time. It's all about showing the blighter who's boss and reminding him constantly. They tried to maul him and he was highly unimpressed and didn't really know what to do.

    Ours has mellowed (he's 5) and continues to calm down so the only practical advice I can give you is to keep on loving the tyke, show him who's boss and save a thought for us that every single Persian rug my grandfather picked up during his travels in 35 years in the army are about half the floor covering they used to be.

    Bon chance and be glad you haven't a cat.
  9. ugly

    ugly LE Moderator

    Cuddles is right, dont ever skimp on training!
  10. I can see Schmidt and Bendler is great...

    :p :p :p :p :p :p
  11. "Dominant" is a relative status everybody. If you cannot achieve dominance over a dog that you have had from a puppy then that is all down to training/your behaviour. If you cannot achieve dominance over a "LE" dog, then you need to consider the risks of making that dog part of your family/community. If you have gone through the training course and the dog just doesn't play ball then it is worth remembering that every dog is a t heart a wolf. do you want to share with a wolf?! Especially one who has graded you B+.

    The point about feeding is actually interesting. You should be as master the primary provider of food. This means being seen to go to the cupboard or dog-food bin. It can then mean passing the food to a child to give to the the dog's plain view. Food should always be scattered or placed but the dog not allowed to eat it until you issue a command word. The brown fella and I have agreed on "Breakfast". From time to time in mid-meal tell him to 2leave" just to re-iterate that you are the master and he is the dog (Alpha and Beta dogs essentially in his little brain).

    As for a dog getting killed or severely injured in packs - that is essentially rare. Because dogs in packs get continuously disciplined. When Windsor was a pup and getting a bit edgy (edgy ha! Him!) I would nip him on the ear. He is now five, a mature dog and only ever gets a bit boistrous during rough play. A nip on the ear though and he knows play time is over.
  12. this is the first thing i picked out!!!!

    They are taught to keep out of his bed space, they control when he is fed and control his access & he know they outrank him in the pack.

    how can they out rank him in the pack if they are not able to go in his bed space! this is one of the first things you do!! get the kids to stand / sit in his bed space as you make him sit / lay down watching them!! they should out rank him every where his bed is there bed they just let him use it!!! time to look at basics does he wait for them to go through the door first!!! how do you get him to stop barking at the kids! do you give him a pet/stroke or a treat to shut him up!

    (my ex in law is a dog pyycologyst and i have had this stuff drilled into me over the years, have a look at his site its full of tips ect for free or give him a call)
  13. I see your point ref the dog's bedspace. The older kids do exactly that, go in there and shift him out of it to prove a point. He lives in a cage so he is clear what they are doing. With the younger kids, I deliberately did not do it as I am worried that they would climb in there when I was not about, fido returns and finds them and they are trapped. Kids are harder to control than dogs sometimes!

    There is no way he gets through any door, internal or external before any human and he is told to do so.

    He won't normally bark at elder kids, it is just his body language, invasion of personal space, assertive positioning and nipping at them. They push him away, ignore him after any seperation, they call him over for an interaction rather than him demanding attention and make sure that they sit/stand in a higher position.

    With the food, he now has to watch it being prepared and the preparer snacks whilst they prep it, (so he thinks he is getting left-overs from an alpha's meal) then puts it on floor and dog is not allowed to eat it until he is told.

    As I mentioned above, I am doing all the things that I am supposed to do (less the toddlers in the cage) and it has worked with previous troublesome dogs, it is just his reaction to the older kids.
  14. A lot of excellent points made well... I have a male GSP rescued form a life behind bars when he was almost 2 and had been gelded by the rescue centre the minute his paws touched the concrete at about 9 months....

    He was a proper handful when I first got him really bloshy... but hyper sensitive... so any loss of cool on my part was a no no....

    The key to this dog was excersise and mental training.... giving his lentil like brain and nose something to do every day really worked even if its just hiding some bean bags in the house for him to find really improved his state of mind and he would flop down and relax....