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Thread: Help with my 10.5 month Chocolate Female (whining, dominance?)

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    Junior Member kjrockohld's Avatar
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    Default Help with my 10.5 month Chocolate Female (whining, dominance?)

    I have a couple of issues I'm trying to work through and could use some advice. I have a 10.5 month old Chocolate Lab Female, "Riley". All in all, her training has been very good. She is my first dog, and she constantly surprises me on how quickly she learns. She has been FF'ed (following Smart Fetch), her OB is solid, and I consistently (daily) do some OB with her to keep it in check. I'm following Smartworks books / Duck Dog Basics videos (I know I know, don't mix and match, but it's working for me, and I'm just stating this to give a baseline as to where she's at b/c I know I'll be asked). We have started 3 handed casting, and she's picking it up quite well. The main problem I have with her is whining. In the house, she is great, doing casting work, OB, taking her on walks, taking her in the truck everywhere I go, except work, she does great, but as soon as I throw a mark for her, she tenses up, and whines. I've researched and researched on here, and read thread after thread about whining / barking, and have been using some of the methods to work on this (picking up the marks myself, only single marks, water in a spray bottle, water/vinegar in a spray bottle, holding her muzzle and telling her "hush", praising her like crazy when she is quiet for a mark and let her retrieve, etc.). It IS getting better, but slowly. I've found that when I throw a mark, if I take a few steps away from her, she does not get as tense and the whining is definitely not as bad, but if I stand right next to her with her at heel and throw the bumper, she is visibly more tense (hind legs quivering while sitting), and the whining is much worse. I don't know if it has to do with the fact that the bumper is being thrown right by her head or what, but training alone without a helper or launcher limits my options. I did join the Ohio River HRC at their hunt test a couple weekends ago, and will attend the training days and hopefully train with some of the folks I've met, but that leads to my other issue(s).

    This pup goes INSANE if she sees another dog retrieving and I don't allow her to, she goes from whining to this crazy banshee yelp (she will stay mostly sat though, minor creeping, but mostly just whining), the methods used to quiet her when throwing a mark helps a little, but it's almost embarrassing how loud she gets. I guess my concern with training with other folks is her being a distraction.

    The other issue I'm having is very discouraging to me, and ultimately what led me to post asking for advice. As a young pup, I thought I socialized her very well, around other dogs, people, etc. I still take her with me just about everywhere I go. She does great with dogs that she knows, but a few times she has encountered a dog/pup she doesn't know, she gets dominant, or mildly aggressive, or something. The first time I noticed this was when we introduced her to my buddies 8-10 week old Chocolate female pup, her "Mohawk" went up and she stiffened up, and snapped at her. I corrected her, and did so a couple of times (no e-collar correction, just choker chain and a firm "No"). I took her to the dog park yesterday to try and work on her whining while watching other dogs play and she did this similar behavior there as well. I never let it go long enough to see if it was more than a "get out of my space", or "I'm the boss" type of behavior, but I am completely perplexed as to what to do regarding it. I don't know if it's just a dominance thing or if she would actually flip out and attack another dog. Hence my concern for working with other folks in the club. Once she sees a bumper or a ball, though, she could care less about ANYTHING else around her, be it a dog, a treat, or anything, all she wants is to retrieve whatever I throw.

    I don’t know if taking her through an obedience class with other dogs would help, although she’d probably sail through it pretty well and maybe get bored. Or if trying a “doggy daycare” a couple of times a week to get her around other dogs would be a good idea, I don’t know, I’m really grasping at straws here, and it’s got me anxious and discouraged.

    Any advice from any of you who may have encountered some of this before?

    Thanks in advance.

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    Member DucksDogsDownriggers's Avatar
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    I have next to no experience dealing with either the whining or the dominance issues. That said, one of my dogs litter mates had major dominance issues. Her owner started taking her to a "doggy daycare" type environment a couple of times a week-took care of 90% of the problem in a few weeks-don't know that I'd go so far as to recommend that, but it worked for him.

    I'm very interested to hear what comments some of the veteran posters have to say on this topic.

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    Senior Member PennyRetrievers's Avatar
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    I have a dog who had a very similar problem but without the agression.

    Over time, I found that any of the methods of correcting this that dealt with force (bark collar, whack on the snout, good thump with a heel stick) made only a minor difference. The only way we made any real progress was by reinforcing the Sit command, and making damn sure that she knew that she'd only get a retrieve if she would shut up.
    When you let that dog hunt, after it's made even a peep, you're defeating yourself.

    Here's a link of a friend working a similar probelm on one of is dogs:
    http://youtu.be/3veeOtQpgdE

    This is basically an obedience session. It's basically a reinforcement of Sit.

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    Junior Member kjrockohld's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PennyRetrievers View Post
    When you let that dog hunt, after it's made even a peep, you're defeating yourself.
    Yeah, I don't plan on hunting her, or running any tests with her until I can get this under control. I don't want to put her in a situation where I can't correct or allow an entry fee or ribbon allow her to get away with unwanted behavior

    Quote Originally Posted by PennyRetrievers View Post
    Here's a link of a friend working a similar probelm on one of is dogs:
    http://youtu.be/3veeOtQpgdE
    the link isn't working....

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    3-minutes before she gets the retreive and only after she is quite and calm.

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    Junior Member kjrockohld's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies, still interested in what some the seasoned RTF folks might have to say as well.

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    Senior Member HNTFSH's Avatar
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    IMO - given what you've written this has to be addressed directly and indirectly. 11 months is young to be displaying the behavior. Hopefully the pup left the litter at 7/8 weeks or older?

    Dominance and Possessive often go hand-in-hand. Add Fear potential if taken young from litter.

    Penny suggested correctly on the whining issue and not introducing additional stress which may exacerbate the issue. As far as aggression and possessive - seems to me that gets worked out through day-in and day-out obedience and zero-tolerance policy on all things dog. From the simplest behaviors all the way up around the house and in the field.

    The dog is young enough that more socialization might help but do so without creating your own anxiety or over-reaction when doing so.

    Tread carefully - all you can do is train this out slowly and consistently with behavior modification that nets the pup better personal results and make absolutely certain you are always forefront in the dogs head, even within the simplest or mundane interactions.

    If you have a person at home that is a spoiler...this won't help and may reinforce the bad behavior.
    We shoot dogs with a Canon

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    Junior Member kjrockohld's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HNTFSH View Post
    IMO - given what you've written this has to be addressed directly and indirectly. 11 months is young to be displaying the behavior. Hopefully the pup left the litter at 7/8 weeks or older?

    Dominance and Possessive often go hand-in-hand. Add Fear potential if taken young from litter.
    She was right at 8 weeks when we brought her home. She hasn’t shown any, what I would consider, “possessiveness”, or at least my interpretation of it. And it’s only with other dogs, particularly smaller/younger dogs.

    Quote Originally Posted by HNTFSH View Post
    Penny suggested correctly on the whining issue and not introducing additional stress which may exacerbate the issue. As far as aggression and possessive - seems to me that gets worked out through day-in and day-out obedience and zero-tolerance policy on all things dog. From the simplest behaviors all the way up around the house and in the field.
    Yeah, that’s how I’ve started to see some headway. She doesn’t go through a door, come out of her kennel, or eat without being released. And there's no way she get's a retrieve unless she's steady and quiet.


    Quote Originally Posted by HNTFSH View Post
    The dog is young enough that more socialization might help but do so without creating your own anxiety or over-reaction when doing so.
    Do you think a formal OB class, or “doggy daycare” would be a good way to socialize more, or just trips to the dog park?

    Quote Originally Posted by HNTFSH View Post
    Tread carefully - all you can do is train this out slowly and consistently with behavior modification that nets the pup better personal results and make absolutely certain you are always forefront in the dogs head, even within the simplest or mundane interactions.

    If you have a person at home that is a spoiler...this won't help and may reinforce the bad behavior.
    I’m training my wife as well with her. To do the same things that I do with her (i.e. – releasing her to go outside, eat, come out of kennel, etc.)

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    Senior Member HNTFSH's Avatar
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    kjrockohld - sounds like you're trying to do all the right things. I wouldn't do the dog park unless all the yuppies there won't lynch you if you make an appropriate correction, as needed. That, and you have no control in that situation.

    Behavior that young probably means your dog is wired that way (unless there's stuff you haven't thought to mention) and the modification is 'never 'quick. Then again - sometimes maturity can go a long way.

    You didn't mention how long the pup has exhibited these issues?

    Also - keep in mind there's a difference between you being the 'dominant one' and you being the 'leader'. If the pup is always more focused on you and what you'd think about the oncoming behavior, or next action, the less that behavior is likely to occur. All the things you mentioned are fine but you can take it deeper with the dog.

    Think training with the Ohio River folks will help immensely. They won't be shy in communicating what they see and this is an issue best seen to offer advice on.
    We shoot dogs with a Canon

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    Junior Member kjrockohld's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HNTFSH View Post
    kjrockohld - sounds like you're trying to do all the right things. I wouldn't do the dog park unless all the yuppies there won't lynch you if you make an appropriate correction, as needed. That, and you have no control in that situation.

    Behavior that young probably means your dog is wired that way (unless there's stuff you haven't thought to mention) and the modification is 'never 'quick. Then again - sometimes maturity can go a long way.

    You didn't mention how long the pup has exhibited these issues?

    Also - keep in mind there's a difference between you being the 'dominant one' and you being the 'leader'. If the pup is always more focused on you and what you'd think about the oncoming behavior, or next action, the less that behavior is likely to occur. All the things you mentioned are fine but you can take it deeper with the dog.

    Think training with the Ohio River folks will help immensely. They won't be shy in communicating what they see and this is an issue best seen to offer advice on.
    Both the whining and the “dominance” issues never really started until she was maybe 8-9 months old, probably closer to 9 I think. So it’s only been going on (and trying to be corrected) for close to 2 months now. That being said, even when she was younger, and I'd have her at my parents with my brother's lab and boxer, if we'd let them out and not her, she'd do her banshee cry.

    What ways can I get her to focus on me more, and see me as the leader? Last night I worked with her in the yard by putting her in a sit, and trying to keep her keep eye contact with me, first with no bumper, just me walking around, then me holding a bumper, to tossing it closer to her, then tossing it farther and farther, and not letting her move from the sit, each time I’d wait, wait, wait, make her make eye contact, “look”, and if she did it without whining or moving, she’d get the retrieve. I picked up A LOT of them myself, but I did notice towards the end, she started to focus on me after she watched the mark fall….

    I’m definitely looking forward to the June training day, I talked with one of the guys last night, and he got to watch my pup a little bit, and he said that there’s folks at the training days that could definitely help.

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