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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-27-2005, 12:46 AM Thread Starter
 
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my dog is rebelling

hey
i have a 9 year old cocker spaniel. her name is annie. as annie has gotten older she's stopped listening to our commands. she can hear great; say treat anywhere in the house and she'll come running, but as far as obeying us it's only on her terms. that usually involves food. also, she pees in the house. and poos, but not as often. we get her out at least every 4 hours, most of the time every 2 hours. it's like she doesn't care. we've had her checked for urinary tract infections too. anything we can do?

ps: she's gotten a little better about obeying commands ever since we got her these treats called Liver Biscotti. they're amazing.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-28-2005, 06:53 AM
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If nothing is wrong medically with her, I have to ask this:

Throughout Annie's life, has she gotten her way? Has anything in her life changed recently? A new baby? New place to live? Or it could even be something small like your attitude towards her. Is she getting as much attention as she used to? Did you once take her on walks and no longer do that? Et cetera.

When she was younger, did you ALWAYS reward her with a treat? That could be a problem, too. If you did, right now she probably thinks, "Why should I do this if I won't get a treat? I've always recieved a treat for doing something, so now shouldn't be any different." That's a problem with rewarding dogs with a treat all the time--after a while, they come to expect it and won't do the command if they believe they won't be getting a reward. If you thought you had to work without getting paid, would you do it? My suggestion is that you start weaning her off the treats. You can pretend like you have a treat in your hand, give her the command, and if she does it, lavish her in praise and petting. Never let her see that you don't have a food reward. Keep her guessing. Sometimes, give her a food reward and other times give her verbal praise and petting. And I would suggest never giving her treats "just because." Even if giving her a bone, make her do something for it.

When she has an accident in the house, what are the circumstances leading up to it? Are you always gone or in another part of the room? Or does she just go in front of you like she doesn't care? If she's going in front of you like she doesn't care, it could be because her bladder/bowels are weakening and she can no longer hold it like she used to. If she does it out of your presence, it could be a method for getting attention. If that's the case, DO NOT make a big deal out of it. Calmly take her to another part of the house (or outside), lock her there, and clean the mess without her seeing you do it. Don't make a big deal out of it--if she's doing this for attention, that's what she WANTS you to do.

However, if she's pottying in front of you, you might want to take her to the vet to see if her bladder or bowels have weakened any. Many times this can be a symptom of a much more serious issue. For another member here, this was a symptom her dog had for hip dysplasia.

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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-28-2005, 09:27 AM Thread Starter
 
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wow, thanks for such a great reply! she pees in other rooms of the house, then goes and hides in her kennel. she is pretty used to getting treats - we spoil her. we give her lots of attention and nothing has changed. she doesn't go for walks, usually cuz she will go for a bit then just lay down. maybe we should just let her run around outside? she's a good girl, gets lots of attention, just is spoiled. and she thinks she can get treats for anything. i have some treats in my room and now i can't get her to leave me alone unless i give her one. i literally have to throw the treat into the hall and close the door real quick, otherwise she sits there pawing at me. adorable, but annoying. so i guess i'm just gonna stop giving her treats all the time and just start praising her. thanks!
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-28-2005, 09:34 AM
 
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Great advice!!!
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-28-2005, 10:26 AM
 
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Great advice Pihlaja.

I just want to add that as dogs get older they get incontenent just like people do. My German Shepard has recently started having such issues as well. While its hard to deal with at times, its just something I deal with as best as I can.

Unless you're sure she is doing it out of outright defiance I wouldn't punish her for the going in the house. Just take her immediately outside. For a lot of dogs, punishment only makes it worse.

I opt for positive reinforcement in all aspects of my dogs' lives. Praise the good.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-31-2005, 07:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by echogibraltar
wow, thanks for such a great reply! she pees in other rooms of the house, then goes and hides in her kennel. she is pretty used to getting treats - we spoil her. we give her lots of attention and nothing has changed. she doesn't go for walks, usually cuz she will go for a bit then just lay down. maybe we should just let her run around outside? she's a good girl, gets lots of attention, just is spoiled. and she thinks she can get treats for anything. i have some treats in my room and now i can't get her to leave me alone unless i give her one. i literally have to throw the treat into the hall and close the door real quick, otherwise she sits there pawing at me. adorable, but annoying. so i guess i'm just gonna stop giving her treats all the time and just start praising her. thanks!
Here's a good example of a cocker who knows how to work her humans.

My aunt's old boss had a cocker spaniel named Katie. All of her life they gave her a treat each time she went out to pee. Well, one day while my aunt was over at their house, she noticed Katie would want to go out ALL the time to pee! She would squat and then want in for a treat. Finally, my aunt went out with to her notice that ... Katie wasn't peeing! She was squating, pretending to pee and then wanted a treat!

How's that for clever?


Praise is a great form of rewarding because it gives the dog the attention they want, doesn't make them fat in the long run, and usually helps to get them to obey commands more often.

My husband's samoyed gets a mixture of praise and treats. If he KNOWS you have a treat (or even thinks you have one), he is 300% more quick to do the command and is much more responsive. However, even if he doesn't think you have a treat, he does the command (albeit a little more slowly) because he still isn't 100% sure you don't have a treat.

My shetland sheepdog, on the other hand, is a completely different story. We usually don't reward him at all with treats because if he thinks you have a treat in your hand, he forgets everything! He's so excited about the food he forgets to do his command!


As for weaning her off the treats, I really think you should do it. Spoiling our fur babies is great, but there is a point where it becomes too much and once that point is reached, the pet's behaviour can become a bit obnoxious--just like a human child's! Katie is doing the equivalent of the in-store tantrum where the child is screaming, "BUT I WANT IT! I WANT IT NOW!"

When she starts pawing at you for a treat, ignore her. You don't want to praise negative behaviour. Only praise the positive behaviour--even small things like lying on her bed and not begging should be praised. And give her treats for things like obeying commands, etc. But the goal is to get her to a point where she doesn't expect a treat for everything.

I also find giving them a bone to chew is better than a dog biscuit. They last longer and begging is usually cut down a bit because they have the bone to chew when they want a treat. It's a thought.


Hope everything goes well with her. Keep us posted on her progress!

― Rowan

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Last edited by pihlaja; 01-31-2005 at 07:38 AM.
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cocker spaniel, fur babies, german shepard, hip dysplasia, urinary tract infection


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