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shelagham@yahoo.ca
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PostSubject: Intact male behaviour   Tue Aug 02, 2011 5:21 pm

I just joined this forum and hope to get some input on an issue I'm having with my Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, Quinn. Quinn is 2 1/2, unneutered, well-behaved and very driven to retrieve. He's very calm in the house and not a hyper dog, but is very active and pretty confident. He just got his CD in obedience earlier this year and has 3 basic retriever field titles (WC, JH and SHR). I've shown him a fair bit but not since the spring. I just got back from a big dog show in Calgary - his first time flying. At the show, he was very grumbly around all the boys and even started grumbling at girls. I've never seen him like that before, although out on walks he will often grumble at dogs his size or bigger. At the show I was giving him leash corrections to discourage the behaviour - I am generally a positive trainer, but thought I needed to get a firm hand with this behaviour. He was a lot better on the last day and didn't grumble at all. I'm questioning whether my corrections are the right approach.

Quinn has had lots of socialization, especially during his 1st year and generally plays nicely with other dogs, is not bossy, never rushes up to other dogs or displays any rude behaviour and is a very gentle dog. But, as I mentioned, in the past several months, has often been grumbly with dogs bigger than him. I tend to expect intact boys not to get along very well with other intact boys and I think part of the issue at the Calgary show was that he isn't around other intact boys much.

I'd love to get any suggestions on how to handle this. I just read the section on dominance and leadership and agree with all of it. I think I have pretty good leadership with Quinn, but probably need to do better and perhaps establish more house rules.

Thanks for any input

Shelagh
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Betterdog4u
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PostSubject: Re: Intact male behaviour   Tue Aug 02, 2011 9:07 pm

I ve noticed that intact dogs moving from adolesence to adulthood go thru a period of time when thier behavior changes. Getting them fixed will sometimes helps. We have a few intact labs in our neighborhood and at that age they acted much the same as your Quinn. At this age they can be a handful at times.

It has been my experence that working with them is the only way to control it. They need to know what you expect them to do and they need to perform correctly. When they do, you need to reward them. I a positive training advocate and like to give praise for correct behaivor. But Im also not against leash corrections, as long as you arent "jerking" or pulling them around. Dogs (like kids) still need to learn the word NO.

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PostSubject: Re: Intact male behaviour   Sat Aug 06, 2011 7:08 pm

In this case distraction is better than correction.

Remember this...when you are correcting/jerking your dog...where is his attention? He is focusing on the other dogs. So when you jerk the leash and he is focusing on the other dogs what is he attributing the negative feeling to? The other dogs! So basically he starts thinking that other dogs = jerk on the leash.

It is very unlikely that he is attributing the correction to the grumbling at all.

So in this case its best to use a word to grab his attention (a short and sharp word works best). And then ask for an alternative behavior. Reward that behavior if he does it without grumbling.

If in any instance he meets another dog and does so without grumbing, give him lots of treats. Once again he may not connect the no grumbling with the reward but he might connect the treats with the presence of other dogs.

Hope that makes sense! Neutering also will help but since he is a show dog I can see where that might not be an option.

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Betterdog4u
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PostSubject: Re: Intact male behaviour   Sat Aug 06, 2011 8:03 pm

I got distracted on my last post and forget to add this in the second Par:

Working with the dog should include using treats or toys to change the dog's focus from a dog to the toy. When the dog is focused on that toy or treat, praise him for it. And when he remains calm, praise that too.

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shelagham@yahoo.ca
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PostSubject: Re: Intact male behaviour   Sat Aug 06, 2011 10:06 pm

Steven_L wrote:
In this case distraction is better than correction.

Remember this...when you are correcting/jerking your dog...where is his attention? He is focusing on the other dogs. So when you jerk the leash and he is focusing on the other dogs what is he attributing the negative feeling to? The other dogs! So basically he starts thinking that other dogs = jerk on the leash.

It is very unlikely that he is attributing the correction to the grumbling at all.

So in this case its best to use a word to grab his attention (a short and sharp word works best). And then ask for an alternative behavior. Reward that behavior if he does it without grumbling.

If in any instance he meets another dog and does so without grumbing, give him lots of treats. Once again he may not connect the no grumbling with the reward but he might connect the treats with the presence of other dogs.

Hope that makes sense! Neutering also will help but since he is a show dog I can see where that might not be an option.

Yes that makes total sense and I should know better as I've had a reactive dog before and I know that technique works. I appreciate the reminder.

Shelagh
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PostSubject: Re: Intact male behaviour   Sat Aug 06, 2011 10:12 pm

Betterdog4u wrote:
I ve noticed that intact dogs moving from adolesence to adulthood go thru a period of time when thier behavior changes. Getting them fixed will sometimes helps. We have a few intact labs in our neighborhood and at that age they acted much the same as your Quinn. At this age they can be a handful at times.

It has been my experence that working with them is the only way to control it. They need to know what you expect them to do and they need to perform correctly. When they do, you need to reward them. I a positive training advocate and like to give praise for correct behaivor. But Im also not against leash corrections, as long as you arent "jerking" or pulling them around. Dogs (like kids) still need to learn the word NO.

Thanks Michael. I know that at this age a lot of intact boys are pretty full of themselves so I'm hoping that's part of the explanation. But, I totally agree with your advice and Stephen's advice, so I'll be working hard on that. If I can't get Quinn's attention back on me with a verbal cue, I will give a little leash correction followed by rewards and praise for looking back at me. Hopefully I'll be able to get away from using the leash and establish a new pattern of looking at me and ignoring the other dog.

Thanks again,

Shelagh
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PostSubject: Re: Intact male behaviour   Sun Aug 07, 2011 10:28 am

I was just out in the yard and had another thought that may be of some value to you. But first a question!

Does he know the "Leave It" command?

By used this command to can not only make a dog drop something or not touch something, you can also use it as an "ignore it" command. I use it sometimes to break Patchs' concentration on a rabbit or squirrl in order to get her not to chase it.

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shelagham@yahoo.ca
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PostSubject: Re: Intact male behaviour   Sun Aug 07, 2011 6:04 pm

Betterdog4u wrote:
I was just out in the yard and had another thought that may be of some value to you. But first a question!

Does he know the "Leave It" command?

By used this command to can not only make a dog drop something or not touch something, you can also use it as an "ignore it" command. I use it sometimes to break Patchs' concentration on a rabbit or squirrl in order to get her not to chase it.

Yes he does know a Leave it command. I agree that would be a good one to use and then reward for turning back to me.

Thanks

Shelagh
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