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Adorable Dog, But I Can't Seem to Train Him Right


maritalbliss86
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Hello ENA people, I feel the need to ask this here because I'm sure some of you can help me figure out this minor problem.

Our dog is a small breed, some kind of terrier mix, he is adorable and very very sweet - good with all our kids, thinks our baby is his baby.  I thought a smaller dog would have more anxiety with kids, but it doesn't seem to be that bad.

Sometimes he does shake when around our daughter, but I think it's because they've had bad experiences as per below:

  • I seem to suck at training him not to jump on the couch too fast.  I want him to be able to sit there with all of us, but I don't allow him to anymore because he can't seem to slow down and doesn't look where he's jumping.
  • He's jumped on her FACE before!!!!  Of course this made her terrified of him now for about a year, and it could have scratched her eyes or something, so we've stopped allowing him on the couch.  BUT anytime he sees he has that chance to go over there, he takes it... and runs like hell and JUMPS on the couch with abandon, and has almost hurt the kids many times now.
  • To correct it, I drag him back where he's supposed to be, but he yelps really loudly the whole way.  The baby loves him so much that the baby started crying this morning and following me!  I really believe our baby thought I was hurting his beloved dog!!!!

Ok... so we've had him 3 years and it's never gotten better with the couch situation.  He's good with literally everything else... playing with the kids he tries to jump a little, but they know how to use their arm to block him and say down.  He's potty trained perfectly...

It really is just this couch issue I can't seem to figure out.

Also... why does he have to yelp like he's dying when I drag him back by the collar to where he's supposed to be?!?  

I felt so bad for our youngest this morning, because it's the first time where it seemed he really believed I was abusing his best friend or something.

Thank you in advance!

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17 minutes ago, maritalbliss86 said:

has almost hurt the kids many times now.

Have you attended some dog training courses with him? Do so because your priority is protecting children who do not understand animals.

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A small dog cannot jump slowly onto a couch. They need to get some speed up  to make it up there and yes, he probably doesn't see what he is jumping on top of that's already on the couch.

One way to retrain that is get a step ladder or a ramp so he can walk up slowly and see where he is going. Show him a couple of times how to use that, BUT do not use any kind of excitement. Be very very calm and quiet. He shouldn't associate going on the couch with excitement, but rather with relaxation.

Second thing is never drag the dog away from something and into "his place". His place or doggy bed should be a place of reward and pleasure and never associated with punishment for being bad about something. So if he jumps on the couch uninvited, a firm no, place him on the ground and then ask him to do something for you like a sit or a down, give him a reward for it - treat or praise. Associate being off the couch as a positive.

Finally, terriers are super high energy dogs that need a ton of exercise. So be sure that you give him a chance every single day to expend that energy outside by actively playing with him and exercising him properly. A happy dog is a tired dog. An unhappy dog with too much energy to burn will run, tear things, and ultimately hurt himself as well as others around him. Terriers are also working dogs - meaning training is critical to his mental health - so sit, heel, down, do tricks, go fetch things, anything to stimulate his mind is just as important as physical exercise itself. Working with a local trainer might be a good idea rather diy off the internet.

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2 minutes ago, DancingFool said:

A small dog cannot jump slowly onto a couch. They need to get some speed up  to make it up there and yes, he probably doesn't see what he is jumping on top of that's already on the couch.

One way to retrain that is get a step ladder or a ramp so he can walk up slowly and see where he is going. Show him a couple of times how to use that, BUT do not use any kind of excitement. Be very very calm and quiet. He shouldn't associate going on the couch with excitement, but rather with relaxation.

Second thing is never drag the dog away from something and into "his place". His place or doggy bed should be a place of reward and pleasure and never associated with punishment for being bad about something. So if he jumps on the couch uninvited, a firm no, place him on the ground and then ask him to do something for you like a sit or a down, give him a reward for it - treat or praise. Associate being off the couch as a positive.

Finally, terriers are super high energy dogs that need a ton of exercise. So be sure that you give him a chance every single day to expend that energy outside by actively playing with him and exercising him properly. A happy dog is a tired dog. An unhappy dog with too much energy to burn will run, tear things, and ultimately hurt himself as well as others around him. Terriers are also working dogs - meaning training is critical to his mental health - so sit, heel, down, do tricks, go fetch things, anything to stimulate his mind is just as important as physical exercise itself. Working with a local trainer might be a good idea rather diy off the internet.

Exactly , terriers were bred to be working animals. They need to “ work” like herding dogs need to work. Except terriers were meant to root out rats and foxes and the like . So you need to recreate “ work” so they are busy and tired out . 

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34 minutes ago, Seraphim said:

Don’t allow him on the couch , period. It is obviously too much for him to figure out just sit on the couch and be nice. No couch at all is better. 

So I just tried that earlier, and it was crazy, he kept trying to get up even after trying to get him not to.  It's like he knows he shouldn't, but he really wants up there.

And it's hard because whenever the kids are doing school work or playing or other things, I LOVE seeing him relax on the couch.  He just looks so comfortable and cute. 

And yes he has a doggy bed area that is where he usually stays.  He kind of rules the kitchen area (it's a big big house) and is calm in there.  There aren't any doors as it's an open floor plan house so he can go back and forth.

**Update as of now** he is calmly just hanging out in the kitchen.  But when the kids move to the couch for something he wants up again with them (they're like his pack or something).

Also it's complicated because we have an outside deck that is kind of like our outdoor living room, and he's up on that bench/couch, too if he can.

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30 minutes ago, DancingFool said:

A small dog cannot jump slowly onto a couch. They need to get some speed up  to make it up there and yes, he probably doesn't see what he is jumping on top of that's already on the couch.

 

Right, this seems to be the problem.  THANK YOU for suggesting a little ramp!!!  That would be so awesome and if I can train him (Lord have mercy I hope so) then he can know only to use that part... so no jumping on little ones that love to cuddle with him.

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33 minutes ago, DancingFool said:

Finally, terriers are super high energy dogs that need a ton of exercise. So be sure that you give him a chance every single day to expend that energy outside by actively playing with him and exercising him properly. A happy dog is a tired dog. An unhappy dog with too much energy to burn will run, tear things, and ultimately hurt himself as well as others around him. Terriers are also working dogs - meaning training is critical to his mental health - so sit, heel, down, do tricks, go fetch things, anything to stimulate his mind is just as important as physical exercise itself. Working with a local trainer might be a good idea rather diy off the internet.

Yes, there have been many times where I've thought, "You seem just like a sheep dog, just super tiny compared to them!"  He has the explosive energy of a sheep dog and kind of looks like a miniature version of a border-collie or something 🙂 the kids have pointed that out when reading story books of sheep dogs.

So we do exercise him a lot outdoors in the back, he loves it and eventually it's like it gets too much for him so he finds a shady area and lays in the grass really contented.  

We never have any problems with him destroying stuff!  So it looks or sounds like he's happy with that.  

Also we've trained him to lay down, sit, fetch, etc.  He's good on all those things, it raeally is just the one couch issue I can't figure out.  But hopefully some kind of little ramp that can be all his would work

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1 minute ago, maritalbliss86 said:

Yes, there have been many times where I've thought, "You seem just like a sheep dog, just super tiny compared to them!"  He has the explosive energy of a sheep dog and kind of looks like a miniature version of a border-collie or something 🙂 the kids have pointed that out when reading story books of sheep dogs.

So we do exercise him a lot outdoors in the back, he loves it and eventually it's like it gets too much for him so he finds a shady area and lays in the grass really contented.  

We never have any problems with him destroying stuff!  So it looks or sounds like he's happy with that.  

Also we've trained him to lay down, sit, fetch, etc.  He's good on all those things, it raeally is just the one couch issue I can't figure out.  But hopefully some kind of little ramp that can be all his would work

That's good to hear. 🙂

Just be patient and realize that it can take some time to get rid of the habit of jumping and mistakes will happen. Just stay steady, persistent and no excitement (frustrations is excitement, btw). So deep breath, you calm first, then address the pup. If he goes flying onto the couch, put him back on the ground calmly and ask him to use the little ramp and reward him for doing it. Calm pat or treat, whatever works for your dog. For a dog to be quiet, you have to be calm and quiet first and last. 🙂 

If you stay consistent, he'll have the new habit in no time. They are super smart dogs.

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Awwdorable :D 

Is good with all you've done to work/train him!  I know a few around here who could benefit on 'learning'..lol.

Yeah I have a shorkie mix & he's not as bad now for jumping up on the couch, most often does it when others come by & they sit there... He gets all excited & wants to join them, but I say 'get down', he hears me..lol.

Does your dog have a good collar?  Mine has a collar and also a chain when we go out to walk around the block or the parks.

He also has 'his bed', he goes to every night.  That is his.  he goes there for 'his rest time'.  We did not have one for his first cpl months, then I said, he needs his own bed space.. and it won;t be on my bed.. lol

My son is great with him.. he loves to show his love towards anyone who will accept 😉 ... He is smaller for dogs - so my issue's been trying to stop him from jumping up to them when they arrive.. although he only reaches their knees, lol... But, still.

I am sure you've trained him with treats?  I wonder if it's possible to train him somehow to not go up there, with treats again?  Have it ready, for when they approach the couch, you have him a treat somewhere else? Kinda thing..

In order to divert him.. just keep trying diff things, as other's have mentioned.

Good luck!

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9 minutes ago, SooSad33 said:

I am sure you've trained him with treats?  I wonder if it's possible to train him somehow to not go up there, with treats again?  Have it ready, for when they approach the couch, you have him a treat somewhere else? Kinda thing..

 

Yes, I have used treats before, but our kids kept getting into them to help train him, and 1) over-feeding him treats which I corrected and they stopped, and then 2) when our daughter was younger, she actually would eat the dog treats 😱 LOL.  Now the baby tries to eat the dog food all the time... which we've corrected by keeping the baby away and feeding him at only certain times (not having it out randomly all the time).  Gratefully, our dog has learned to eat when it's down until he's full, then we put his food up high again.

But when I put the treats up high last year, I completely forgot about them.  It's insane trying to keep on top of it with a baby, and after this last baby was born, we kind of pushed a lot of his training to the back of our minds and just thought he'd eventually calm down with time.

Now we've been realizing a whole year has passed - it's crazy how fast time has flown by.  But he's doing great now even with just a little telling him no.  He's calm and lays down near our feet which is working 👍

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42 minutes ago, DancingFool said:

That's good to hear. 🙂

Just be patient and realize that it can take some time to get rid of the habit of jumping and mistakes will happen. Just stay steady, persistent and no excitement (frustrations is excitement, btw). So deep breath, you calm first, then address the pup. If he goes flying onto the couch, put him back on the ground calmly and ask him to use the little ramp and reward him for doing it. Calm pat or treat, whatever works for your dog. For a dog to be quiet, you have to be calm and quiet first and last. 🙂 

If you stay consistent, he'll have the new habit in no time. They are super smart dogs.

Ok... yes, I understand he'll forget because we've been so inconsistent.

Thank you for the advice... it seems to already be helping a lot!

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Just adding for more clarity... I always have thought of him as our, "lap-dog," so it makes sense, right, that he'd always want up on the couches almost in our laps or cuddling with the kids?

But I'll try the ramp thing.  We have a tiny step ladder so I'll start using it this afternoon.

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8 minutes ago, maritalbliss86 said:

Just adding for more clarity... I always have thought of him as our, "lap-dog," so it makes sense, right, that he'd always want up on the couches almost in our laps or cuddling with the kids?

But I'll try the ramp thing.  We have a tiny step ladder so I'll start using it this afternoon.

Nothing wrong with doing as you wish. My dogs have free range of the house and furniture. Some people are good with that, others are not. Your personal choice really.

That said, small pups can jump up but they can also hurt themselves doing it. So that's why a ramp or mini stairs are a good idea to use for them so they can come and go as they please, be with you and part of the fam on the couch, but also be safe. It will be even more important that they know how to use that as they get older and become not so athletic.

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I would bet that dog could easily jump from a stand still up onto a couch so it isn't the running start he needs, he doesn't want to be last.  Yes the whole family is your dogs pack and he knows you and your husband are higher up in the pack than he is but with the kids he is trying to make sure he is above at least one or two of them.

  The dog should be allowed to lay at the foot of the couch just below the kids and that is all. If you want him to be able to be on the couch you need to control it completely.  This means a lot of training on how and when he is allowed up there.   You need to control when and how he gets up there and be consistent.  That way it is safe for everyone.  

As far as punishing him for jumping on the couch or getting on the one on the deck goes it is simple.  Take away what he wants most.  He wants to be close to the family so if he misbehaves then put him in his crate away from the family for 20 minutes. If he does something you don't want or like then tell him "BAD DOG" in a firm voice and off to the crate. Then bring him out and have him lay down in front of the couch.  Don't make it a big deal just let him out and walk him to where you want him to lay.  If he jumps back up he goes back in the crate for 30 minutes. Keep this up until he no longer jumps on the couch. If you don't have a crate then move him to another room or put him outside. If you don't have a check collar get one and while you are dealing with this have it on him.  Then when you need to lead him away clip his leash on the check collar and have him follow you to the destination you want.  Once there remove the leash but not the check collar.  I prefer the combo check collars that are 1/3 chain and 2/3 cloth.  Adjust it so it so when you pull on the leash it pulls tight  around his neck but not so tight it chokes him.  The check collar should be on him for all his walks too and then removed when done. The yelping is just him trying to express his displeasure with being pulled from the pack.  Don't worry about it or be swayed by it.  

 Also don't use the word down when the dog jumps on the children or anyone else.  The word OFF! is the most effective.  Down should be reserved for telling your dog to lay down.  Just the word "Down", not lay down as single word instructions are easily understood by dogs.

  The child that is afraid of the dog because she has been scratched needs to be the one to hold the dogs leash when you are out for a walk.  This will give her confidence around the dog and the dog will see that she has been given control from you over him.  You are the pack leader so remember he is looking to you all the time for clues to who is in charge all the time.

 I have trained a great many dogs and they are at their happiest when they know exactly where they stand in the pack, even if they are at the bottom.

   It doesn't matter how old or how many bad habits a dog  has they can all be trained.  My last and current dog gets commands by hand signals so I don't even have to say a word to have him sit or lay down. Keep working with him and you will have a wonderful family member for years to come.

  Lost 

 

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46 minutes ago, lostandhurt said:

Yes the whole family is your dogs pack and he knows you and your husband are higher up in the pack than he is but with the kids he is trying to make sure he is above at least one or two of them

Yes, Lost, we've noticed this a lot!  I think he thinks he's above our younger 2 in his station or something.

46 minutes ago, lostandhurt said:

The dog should be allowed to lay at the foot of the couch just below the kids and that is all.

That is just SO hard because he loves being up there with us!  I feel like I'm the one that needs the training LOL  Like separation anxiety or something... he's therapeutic to have up there for me when I'm with them.  But I get it, I can control it with a lot of training, thank you so much!

48 minutes ago, lostandhurt said:

As far as punishing him for jumping on the couch or getting on the one on the deck goes it is simple.  Take away what he wants most.  He wants to be close to the family so if he misbehaves then put him in his crate away from the family for 20 minutes. If he does something you don't want or like then tell him "BAD DOG" in a firm voice and off to the crate. Then bring him out and have him lay down in front of the couch.  Don't make it a big deal just let him out and walk him to where you want him to lay.  If he jumps back up he goes back in the crate for 30 minutes.

Ok this is good to know^^  We've been doing that, it's like a doggie time out or something, but we've only been doing it semi-recently.  And he pees when he knows he's going to be put up, or does the yelping like he's dying.

 

51 minutes ago, lostandhurt said:

If you don't have a check collar get one and while you are dealing with this have it on him.  Then when you need to lead him away clip his leash on the check collar and have him follow you to the destination you want.  Once there remove the leash but not the check collar.  I prefer the combo check collars that are 1/3 chain and 2/3 cloth.  Adjust it so it so when you pull on the leash it pulls tight  around his neck but not so tight it chokes him.  The check collar should be on him for all his walks too and then removed when done.

Ok... we don't have a check collar, but I'll look into that.

51 minutes ago, lostandhurt said:

The yelping is just him trying to express his displeasure with being pulled from the pack.  Don't worry about it or be swayed by it.  

It REALLY bothered the baby... I mean it sounds like he's being abused!  Is there anything we can do about how he'll pee also?  We let him out fairly often to go potty outside, but he still pees if he knows he's being corrected at times.

53 minutes ago, lostandhurt said:

 Also don't use the word down when the dog jumps on the children or anyone else.  The word OFF! is the most effective.  Down should be reserved for telling your dog to lay down.  Just the word "Down", not lay down as single word instructions are easily understood by dogs.

 

Ok, I had no idea about this.  You're right that we use, "Lay down," a lot and he complies very easily... so I can see how it'd be confusing to hear, "down," when he's outside and playing.  We'll try, "Off!"

54 minutes ago, lostandhurt said:

The child that is afraid of the dog because she has been scratched needs to be the one to hold the dogs leash when you are out for a walk.  This will give her confidence around the dog and the dog will see that she has been given control from you over him.  You are the pack leader so remember he is looking to you all the time for clues to who is in charge all the time.

Ok, we'll have to do this, then.  I've heard that's what you're supposed to do, but we really don't walk him officially on a leash anymore.  He plays outside in the back and has lots of room to run, but it's never like a controlled thing with a leash. 

I tried a few times to take him for a walk during the day (taking all the kids and a stroller).  We had just moved a year ago and I was heavily pregnant, and it was so awful with all the kids etc. trying to keep control of the leash, or my older son having trouble with it, and pushing a stroller and then being 8 to 9 months pregnant... I just gave up. 

BUT I mean my husband and I could take turns and walk him with our daughter in the evenings for that training.  He barks incessantly though at other people/dogs/anything it seems... so we'd have to train him for that, too.  Ugh we've been way too lax.  

 

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58 minutes ago, lostandhurt said:

I have trained a great many dogs and they are at their happiest when they know exactly where they stand in the pack, even if they are at the bottom.

   It doesn't matter how old or how many bad habits a dog  has they can all be trained.  My last and current dog gets commands by hand signals so I don't even have to say a word to have him sit or lay down. Keep working with him and you will have a wonderful family member for years to come.

  Lost 

You sound amazing at dog training!  Thank you again so much for your advice and ideas, it's very appreciated!

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Your dog is little so has to pick up some speed to jump on the couch. He is not being bad. its an accident that he collides.

Buy or make a ramp so he can walk up there and train him to use it. Reward him for it, or do not allow him on the couch at all.  Or only when a child is not on it (baby gate him out of the room).

You can't allow a dog to do something and then scold them when they do it, but only in a certain way. Because that isn't consistent. You are only confusing him.

DO NOT pull your dog back down off the couch and scold him! Do not "pull a dog" in anyway. Just say a firm "SIT" or other command he knows when it appears that he is heading for the couch and reward him. Give him another positive activity. Pretty soon you will train him to lay down near the couch.  BUT also have him out of the room when you are not there to supervise.  

 

 

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I would also go to a training class -- not the ones at the pet store. There are places that have ongoing classes that include fun tricks and agility classes where when you finish with some obedience classes where he really can gain confidence.

Terriers can be tenacious and stubborn and bold.  and fiercely loving and loyal and a best friend, too

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You've been giving him mixed signals. You also need to be the alpha. 

Dog trainers are expensive! You can do the training yourself but it means being extra committed and might having to grow a mean bone. 

The "oh he's not bugging anyone now sitting on the couch so I'll let him be" NOPE! If you want the jumping on the couch to stop because of safety reasons, you gotta go over to him and tell him get off and be FIRM every time he's on the couch. When he oblige, show him your approval with jubilation and love. Animals don't speak our language but they know tone and they know energy. When you keep doing this, eventually he will start to realize that "I can't get on the couch without mom's ok." 

What works for me is a louder voice too. Sometimes my dog wants to pull and chase a squirrel and all I do is say loudly "No!" and he's back to walking with me. It's called re-directing their attention.

If your dog is barking at other dogs when walking, you need to train your dog that it's not okay. You can do redirecting with a quick snap of the leash and collar. Some will turn their dog around with a tight grasp of the collar and short leash. I just use the martingale collar for this and it redirects my dog by getting his attention by telling him "can't make mom mad." 

I have a neighbor who was using a muzzle and I told her about my martingale collar and she didn't think it would work but it did. Another advice too for dogs who bark a lot at other dogs, they are crying for stimulation or/and seeing other dogs as threats. Socialize him. Does he go to the dog park?

My dog doesn't play with any dogs at the dog park but he loves to graze and sniff dogs butts. Dogs are social animals and the more they see that it's easy to be around their kind, you can see how positive it affects their behavior. I'm sure it's good for their mental state too.

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6 hours ago, maritalbliss86 said:

You sound amazing at dog training!  Thank you again so much for your advice and ideas, it's very appreciated!

A great resource for you would be Sit Stay Fetch.  You can download it for 40 bucks I think.  http://www.kingdomofpets.com/dogobediencetraining/

Don't make excuses for his behavior, it will not help.  Training will make him so enjoyable and happy.

Check collar I was talking about.  https://www.amazon.com/Coastal-Pet-Products-DCP6410RED-8-Inch/dp/B0006L0URG/ref=sr_1_8?dchild=1&keywords=Dog+Check+Collar&qid=1627349312&sr=8-8

The leash similar to the one I use.  https://www.amazon.com/Tminnov-Handles-Double-Control-Training/dp/B08HYW3J3P/ref=sr_1_47?dchild=1&keywords=Dog+leash&qid=1627349494&sr=8-47

Lost

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