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Old 03-21-2009, 09:50 PM   #1
PudelGrl
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Teaching a Large Breed to behave around small breeds

I'm sure I've posted about my boyfriend's brother's lab before, but I'll give a short background. He really isn't well trained, is allowed to get away with too much in his home, and doesn't get enough exercise. Anyway, there has been a habit lately of the family bringing him over to "play" with my poodles and when I'm not expecting him he ends up getting lose and literally bodyslamming my poor dogs. My dogs are usually quite fine with well behaved larged breeds but obviously in this case it scares the crap out of them.

Because the family doesn't listen, my boyfriend and I formulated a plan to work with Nova ourselves with his behavior around small breed dogs. What we essentially want him to learn is to:

a) He must wait for my dogs to approach him if he wants contact, not the other way around.
b) Interacting with my dogs should invovle slower movements and polite interactions, no wrestling.

The basic plan I have formulated is to excise Nova until he is worn out, and then to place him in a down stay (he's getting better at that, this will be after he's a bit more reliable), then bring one of my dogs in (Likely Bo, as he tends to be the calmer one) and allow them to approach Nova when they feel comfortable. Nova gets constant praise for being still and gentle interactions (once Bo has approached obviously). However, as soon as the crazyness starts, we remove my dog from the room, wait for Nova to calm down again, and then start the process again.

Does anyone have any better ideas on how to do this? We both want Nova to learn how to behave properly, but its also obviously even more important for us to be considerate for my dogs safety during this process.

Also, I'm wondering about leashes, we are planning on having Nova on leash for this exercise for extra control just in case, but would it be useful to have Bo on a leash as well? So he can approach Nova with me? One of my thoughts was to start with Bo walking towards Nova and as soon as Nova showed signs of getting riled up to immediately walk away and again, let him calm down again before re-approach in initial training.

Any help with this would be appriciated, apparently its not always possible to avoid this dog, so we really want to see if we can get him behaving.
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Old 03-21-2009, 10:22 PM   #2
Shara
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I have a 50 pound Border collie, and 3 small breed dogs, Tigger being a very well behaved dog, knowing handsignals, commands, ect...and I cannot keep him from slapping the tar outta my little dogs. It might be a border collie thing but I find it hard to stop a very well trained dog. It problably does not help things that he is still considered a puppy. When my little dogs go to play with Tigger, its really cute, he does not try to intentionally harm them but one swipe of his paw or a fun roll over, can result in one of them being squished, pounded, and yelping. It happens in a blink of an eye, even though he is subbordinate and such, he just means to play...

Considering your bfs bros dog is untrained, and the dog is not living with you perminently, its hard to say what your training will do for him. Even if you trained him well with this technique, I doubt if you just decide to leave him and your lil poodles alone that he will behave himself.

Dogs are dogs, and "play fighting" is part of their relationship among another.

If anything I would make Nova lay on his backside and let the poodles "dominate him" Make the poodles sniff his rear first (sign of dominance) These exercises will put Nova in the pack place of subordinate...Sounds odd or curel...but my professional trainer had Tigger sniff her champion obedience dog on the rear for weeks, putting food in his rear fur just so he could be "subordinate" to puppies. It worked. But again it takes a lot of time and the key is to do it repeativily over long periods of time...to get it set in. Consistancy is the key in any dog training.

I would always have Nova on a leash, considering he is the wild child of the story...and the other dog as well...because you have to be in 100% controll of this exercise...!

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Old 03-21-2009, 11:03 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shara View Post
Considering your bfs bros dog is untrained, and the dog is not living with you perminently, its hard to say what your training will do for him. Even if you trained him well with this technique, I doubt if you just decide to leave him and your lil poodles alone that he will behave himself.
Would never leave them alone together, that's for sure! More than anything I need him to behave himself supervised on his "surprise visits".
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Old 03-21-2009, 11:08 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PudelGrl View Post
Would never leave them alone together, that's for sure! More than anything I need him to behave himself supervised on his "surprise visits".

OOOoooo! Another thing is to make them walk past eachother, if Nova lunges for the poodles, correct him that way too But also praise him for being a good boy as well (often forget to praise! I find I am more overly corrective and not enough praise to be honest)

That sorta exercise done when first meet will set the "tone" for the day...key is to let Nova know hes not top dog! Yall are
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"He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion."
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Old 03-22-2009, 04:17 PM   #5
hcromley
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stoli does this at the dog park he loves the small bree ddogs and wants to play with them and he plays ruff well to the littles one its ruff and hes still a puppy and is scared of the large dogs dont ask me why hes bigger then them all, but i cant get him to leave little dogs alone its ridiculous and he knosws his commands but listens to nothing when around a smalldog
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Old 03-23-2009, 01:44 AM   #6
BetterDog4U
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Your plan is sound. But i would FIRST work with him ALONE. Make sure he know all of the basic obedance commands and you have full control of him before you try to work the other dogs into the mix.

When you do mix in the other dogs they should both be ON Leash.

Please keep us up to date on the progress!!!
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Old 03-23-2009, 02:54 PM   #7
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He simply hasn't learned good manners for play initiation and greetings. He needs more practise with a variety of dogs, not just the perhaps more delicate poodles or small dogs. As suggested, first work on his basic commands and then take him to a dog park. By exposing him to as many dogs as possible both big and small, old and young he will learn the manners for proper greeting and play initiation. The other dogs will snarl and snap if he greets improperly or is overly aggressive in his play. Just keep a watchful eye on him in case he is a little too dense to figure out that the dog is growling or posturing - "Get away from me you ignorant whippersnapper!" versus "Hey Labbie, ya wanna wrestle!"

Remember Labs are often overgrown puppies and their play drive continues well into adulthood, so don't expect him to just chill when a new playmate appears. Exercise will eliminate a lot of the inappropriate excitation, so exercise him very well before the meet and greet with the poodles.
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