A Dog question

Sal - posted on 01/14/2012 ( 32 moms have responded )

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I know some one on here was a dog trainer, I have a poodle puppy About 8 months old, he is pretty good at basic stuff we havent done formal training but he sits fetches goes away from the table when he's told and walks ok on a lead the problem is he keeps attacking our pet duck, he had really hurt on today he isn't desexed yet as our budget just can't stretch that far at the moment will desexinv help with this or can you give me any advice he is such a lovely thing but he just cant kill the ducks

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Kate CP - posted on 01/14/2012

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"Personally speaking I've owned and raised/trained dogs my hole life both inside and outside living conditions.



Having a dog live outside can make the dog more aggressive and guard dog type but there is nothing wrong with them living outside. As long as they have available water and shelter prepared for weather conditions they will be fine. It does require more work on the owners part for attention because yes they will get bored, but it sounds like to me that he's taking in the training your doing. so you must be giving him enough attention.



As for the duck problem..... getting him fixed mite change some of his personality and aggression problems but that's not how it always goes for all dogs. I would try keeping him away from the ducks when your no supervising them (if that being an option) maybe tying him up or gating him apart from them. Then when supervised letting him be around the ducks and punishing him when he goes after them or you notice that he's planning on it(if you do)."



Obviously you are of the old school of "dog training" where dogs should be punished for wrong behavior instead of taught the appropriate behavior. Raising dogs and children are incredibly similar.



Yes, a dog can SURVIVE outside. They will be "fine". But a dog is meant to be a member of the family. Most family members, at least in MY family, don't live outside. Dogs crave the attention of their family, their "pack" as many call it. They look to please humans and crave affection and praise. They can actually read human facial features and understand tone of voice. Some dogs can understand hundreds of words or phrases. They are incredible creatures with an amazing capacity to love and empathize with their human counter parts.



DO NOT tie the dog up outside with the ducks!!! I CANNOT STRESS THAT ENOUGH. It will drive the dog INSANE to be able to see prey and NOT attack it. It will make the dog more aggressive and more likely to lash out at any small animal.



This dog that we're talking about making an aggressive guard dog is a frickin' miniature poodle. Now, unless you plan on being burglarized by garden gnomes that's probably not going to be too helpful. It IS more likely to cause serious issues with kids and, as we have discovered, SMALL ANIMALS. This dog DOES NOT need to be outside. It's an inside animal. IT'S A PUPPY.

Kate CP - posted on 01/14/2012

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If you aren't allowed to have a dog in the house then why did you get a dog?



I'm sorry, I really don't agree with this situation AT ALL. You have a dog that you can't have in the house with you, AND you can't afford to have it neutered. This puppy is also being left outside all day and night to deal with himself and entertain himself. And you wonder why he goes after the ducks? He's BORED. He's a PUPPY. It doesn't matter if he was born outside, that doesn't mean that's where he belongs or wants to be. You get a dog to be with you, NOT to entertain another dog.



My professional advice at this point would be to find a suitable home for the puppy. He probably won't stop this behavior and he's probably going to end up killing one of the ducks.



But, people rarely listen to me on the net when it comes to dog behavior. They do what they want to do. So, my guess is that you'll probably end up buying a shock collar for the puppy in an attempt to train him not to go after the ducks. This will, in turn, create a severe anxiety and make him even more aggressive towards the ducks and possibly any other animals nearby when he's shocked (lashing out because of the pain). Then you'll probably "get rid of the dog" and get a new puppy to keep your current dog entertained. Which may or may not backfire on you; depends on the match.



Either way, I hope things work out (some way) for you AND this puppy. I really do...I like happy endings. I hope he grows out of this phase and you can get him neutered and find a way to bring him inside to be a part of your family.

Kate CP - posted on 01/14/2012

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I would be the one you're looking for, Sal. :)



Poodles were bred to be water foul hunting dogs. You CAN train them to not go after the ducks but it's a LOT of work and it would never be safe to leave the ducks alone with the dog. Instincts will usually override training and behavior modification at some point. Poodles are supposed to have what's called a "soft mouth" so they can scare up game and retrieve it without damaging it. If a hunting dog were to chew up the prey it was going after it would make a bad hunting dog. :P I would suggest you find a poodle club involved in sporting events and see if they have any suggestions for trainers or behaviorists who might be able to help you. This IS going to be hard, though. I'll warn you now.



Having the dog neutered or spayed won't change it's prey-drive, which is what's going on here. It's better for their health and to help decrease the pet over-population, though!



Until all this is sorted out I would do the following: NEVER let him off leash when there are ducks around. When you go out with him take some irresistible treats with you (hot dogs or cheese work well) and every time he looks at a duck but doesn't make for one shove it in his mouth. After doing this for a time (don't do it all at once, you'll over-load his puppy brain) start waiting to give him the treat until he looks at you after looking at the duck. The end goal you want here is for him to look at the duck then look at you and wait nicely for his treat. After he does that you IMMEDIATELY turn around and walk away from the ducks. If you sit and linger it's just teasing the little dude.



Get in touch with a professional trainer who works in positive reinforcement techniques. If he or she says you need to "correct" the dog for this behavior...RUN, don't walk, away.

Kate CP - posted on 01/17/2012

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Dogs are not lactose intolerant. They do not handle cow's milk in large quantities very well. Cheese is a cultured dairy product and usually doesn't upset their stomach as much as plain cow's milk. Hot dogs are made out of lips and assholes...just the sort of livings that dogs would eat in the wild.



I never suggested she feed hot dogs and cheese to her dog as a dietary supplement. I never suggested she used them as regular treats for every day. I suggested she use them for special occasion training when she needed a really high value treat.



I've been in a pet store recently, thank you. I used to work in one for 6 years. The treats they have there are either REALLY frickin' expensive for what you get or contain the sort of fillers I mentioned earlier. So...would I rather pay $8 (US) for a 4 ounce bag of treats that won't even last a full training session and may contain fillers like wheat, corn, soy, and sugar...OR would I rather cut up a couple of all-beef hot dogs that cost me $3 (US) for the whole package of 8 and don't contain any fillers?



Tough call.

Sal - posted on 01/15/2012

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Firstly the dog will be desexed, it just didn't happen earlier due to tight budget, secondly the dog was an unexpected gifted puppy not a planned purchase as the owner couldn't find buyers for all the pups her dog had as she had a large litter, thirdly the Chsnce of being taken by a coyote is zero as we are aus and there are none....we also live in an area where having our doors open all day is normal not locked in where we never go out, we eat probally 2 meals a day out doors my kids play on the verandah all day he wanders through. The house he just can't sleep here or stay in when we are out,

We have devided to give the ducks to a friend who has room for them and already has chooks and my girls visit all the time... If it is his nature then we feel that it is cruel to keep them together.

I have always had out door dogs and for me I feel the same way about them sleeping in the house as you do aabout them sleeping outside just doesn't work for me, I personally feel having dogs locked up all day is cruel so I feel it is Just our personal opinions and experience that changes not our love of the pet...

Our yard is secure and safe I let my Kids out there why would I worry about the dog, I did get him partly to be company for the other dog as his life long companion had died and he was fretting he and the puppy get on great and my old dog is even more energetic and playful than he was in years so I am not sorry for that.... He is loved cared for thankyou for your advice it (even though a bit harsh) helped me decide how to handle this and for the record my old dog was a small dog he lived outside all his life he was very healthy and happy and lived for 16 years so while I take your concerns on board I feel this is really the best way for me, he is afterall A dog not one of the kids

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Mary - posted on 01/18/2012

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Ah, Kate, if it makes you feel better, no snow in MD either =(

Molly AND the dogs are dying for some!

Sherri - posted on 01/18/2012

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Sorry if I came across harsh. I am from the US and if a dog is left outside here where I live it would be removed by animal control for neglect. However, it is also freezing with lots of snow for 4-6mo's out of the year. Like this weekend it got into negative digits for temps and we had 3" snow.

Mary - posted on 01/17/2012

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It's a lost cause with mine...he was 4 when we got him, no clue about his prior life, other than the obvious - he was clearly abused, and had never lived in a home/family environment. He has always done this, and no dietary adjustments or additives have helped (although both dogs immensely enjoyed the pineapple method!). The dog, if left unsupervised, it a true garbage can, and will eat just about anything. Hell, if we let him, he would eat the other dog's shit straight from the source (which, btw, highly annoys that other dog, he's just too laid back to do anything serious about it).



The only successful "remedy" is for us to not leave him outside unattended. The second he starts to feast, we just shake that can of rocks. Over time, it diminished the frequency, but has by no means eradicated the behavior entirely.

Kate CP - posted on 01/17/2012

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Coprophagia (pretty sounding term for eating turds) has no known cause. A lot of people have pretty good guesses, but it really varies from dog to dog. There are three generally accepted causes of coprophagia:



1) Nutritional deficiency (usually protein)

2) Behavioral

3) They just like the taste



If it's a nutrient deficiency you can try giving them a higher protein diet to see if it helps at all. I've found that about 70-80% of the time, it's something lacking in their diet.



If it's behavioral, then you have a tough road ahead. This is usually from a dog being reprimanded too harshly for soiling in the house or being confined to close quarters for too long (puppy mill dogs). Sometimes you'll see a dog do this in their yard if it's another animal's waste because they are trying to get rid of the pheromones left behind. The best way to curb this problem is to just keep the yard or area the dog stays in as clean as possible and to not yell at them or rub their nose in their mess when they have an accident.



If they like the taste of it (usually this is dogs who go fishing for "treats" in the litter box) you can try putting crushed pineapple in the dog's food (if he's eating his own poop) or salt-free meat tenderizer in the cat's food (if he's eating kitty-poo). This breaks down the proteins in the food differently and makes the poop taste bad. I know, strange concept of poop tasting GOOD...but go with me on this. ;)



Those are the best ways to deal with coprophagia.

Mary - posted on 01/17/2012

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Well, one of my dogs, if left unsupervised, will eat his or any other animal's feces he can get to. In fact, that same dog will also eat grass, a rotting, discarded apple core, or any other multitude of nasty, bug/maggot covered food item he may discover on the ground if given the opportunity.



So, no - a hot dog doesn't sound bad to me at all...

Andrea - posted on 01/16/2012

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My issues with 'human food' is the fact that you suggested a) hotdog - which 'maybe in the USA' is a pure meat product, but here it's a highly processed product that barely qualifies as meat and would contain a number of ingredients that are not considered appropriate for a dog; and b) cheese - a large number of dogs are lactose intolerant dependant on their diet after weaning.

I don't know when you last visited a pet store but you might want to as there are actually a number of great 'treat' options out there, not just kibble.

Kate CP - posted on 01/16/2012

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Andrea: If you saw my second post, you would notice that I said that in the US, where I am from, dogs who are "outside" dogs are usually just left there and ignored. I have several friends who are from NZ or Aus and I understand the cultural differences between us. It's more common for Aussies and NZ'ers to spend more time outside and thus pay more attention to the dog(s). In the US...that typically doesn't happen. I apologized for coming across so harsh to Sal. I've known her for a while and I don't think she bears any ill will toward me for it? If she does, I'd hope she'd tell me about it.



Now...dog food, not human food. Hm. What do you suppose wild dogs eat? Does kibble grow on trees or fall from the sky like manna from God? No, they eat whatever they can find: scraps, carcasses, plants. It will not hurt a dog to eat a few small slices of hot dog during a friggin' training session. The higher value the treat, they more apt the dog is to work for it. Hot dogs tend to be really high value for most dogs. So, sure...you offer a dog a dry, crumbly dog biscuit or a hot dog slice and see which one he goes for first. "Highly reputable dog food companies" frequently carry out really cruel experiments on animals (IAMS and Eukanuba), use euthanized pets as part of their meat sources (Ol' Roy, Kibbles N Bitz, or anything that contains the ingredient "meat by-product"), uses carcinogens in their food as preservatives like BHA, BHT and Ethoxyquin (pretty much any grocery store brand you look at), or contains other toxins due to their questionable source of protein (Science Diet, Nature's Recipe). I am actually a big fan of raw feeding for most dogs. It's a much healthier diet AND it's a hell of a lot cheaper than a $50 (US) bag of dog food that may last only a month. The notion that kibble is ABSOLUTELY better than "human food" is silly. There is no one size fits all diet for any living creature.



If you're anti-"human food" for dogs because of the issue of begging...well...don't teach the dog how to beg for food! If you're eating something and then give a chunk of it to the dog he WILL stare at you waiting for another piece...and he'll keep doing it. They are incredibly patient. But if you are using a high value treat reserved ONLY for training sessions then the dog is probably not going to begging for food.



I've been training dogs professionally for over 12 years. I've run the gambit from "old school" (choke chains and collar corrections, alpha rolls, yelling and punishing) to "new age" methods like clicker training, TTouch, and calming signals. I have found the methods that work best for most dogs are the one that don't involve stress, force, or "dominance" and those are the methods I teach with and encourage others to use.

Andrea - posted on 01/16/2012

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Kate - I'm actually surprised how 'harsh' your comments actually came across. Having an outside dog is also completely normal here in NZ, and the fact that Sal was on here seeking advice about her situation clearly shows how responsible she is (rather than just letting the dog kill the duck and that be that). My dog has been both an inside and outside dog - outside after the birth of our child, which I felt was safer and more hygienic. She has 3 outside beds, shelter, food and water, gets exercise off the property daily and lots of love and attention. I'm also a little surprised that you suggested hot dogs or cheese as treats for the dog. I am a firm believer in dogs eating 'dog food' not human food, and there are a number of 'irresistible' treats available from highly reputable dog food companies.



Sal - glad to hear you found homes for the ducks

Sal - posted on 01/15/2012

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Thanks Kate., you are so right with change of latitude change of attitude, while people do have indoor dogs here out door is in my circle the norm, even those who let the dogs In have them outside when they are out, one friend said she does this incase of a fire and the dog couldn't escape. So we all have our own perceived best Intendtions, the only people I k ow who have dogs inside all the time are weird (and kinda smelly) old people or foreigners, especially the English people I know love indoor dogs.... I guess in bigger cities it is more common but not in the rural areas it is also more common than not to have no indoor Pets as part of a lease, the house we own and rent out has that but the tenants ignored it and we had to replace the carpets skirting boards the house stank like no ones bussiness...

Kate CP - posted on 01/15/2012

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Miniature poodles, as a breed "standard", are typically about 20 pounds. The "toys" or "teacups" are usually under 10 pounds. Standard poodles are over 50 pounds.



Sal, I apologize for coming across so harshly. I live in the US, and here when a dog lives outside it's usually just forgotten about. Most Americans (sadly) don't spend a lot of time outside so if the dog is outside the family rarely pays any attention to it. :/



Now, being that you're an Aussie (didn't know that at first, sorry) and culturally your lifestyle is a lot different from mine, I can understand your choices towards this puppy. I also understand tight budgets and I ESPECIALLY understand the unexpected puppy, believe it or not. I do rescue work and it always seems that there's a dog in need of a foster home right when the budget is tightest! It was a kindness that you took this puppy in instead of letting it go to the pound or someplace worse.



I think, in this case, your choice to re-home the ducks was the best choice possible. It sounds like they will have a good home with other birdie friends and be safe there. The pup will probably get a little less excitable after he's neutered. Maybe less "aggressive", if you want to call it that. A lot of people want to rely on desexing a dog to fix all it's behavioral problems and it rarely works. The desexing will just remove his testosterone, but it won't change who he is. But, I don't think that will be an issue for you guys. If you want tips on training him let me know. Again, I'm sorry I came off so cross. As Jimmy Buffet would say "Changes in latitudes, changes in attitudes".



Best wishes, Sal!

Sal - posted on 01/15/2012

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Ohhh I saw some tiny little toy or miniture poodles today and my dog is giant compared to them, his vet papers say toy miniature cross which is why i put it there but he is pretty big, so must have some standard in him I guess and granted one of those tiny things outside does seem mean even to me...

Karla - posted on 01/14/2012

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Is it really safe to keep a miniature toy poodle cross outside in a rural area? I know where I live the coyotes would love that dog in the same way the dog is loving the duck.

Anna - posted on 01/14/2012

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Punishment doesn't always mean physically hurting the dog i agree a strong firm voice general works best and Kate I completely agree with everything you you said in the second paragraph. My two dogs are my babies and i love them to death, but during the summer as long as its not to hot both of them(one being a papillon and other being a husky) live outside and do awesome. I just have to devote more of my time to being out there with them.



As for the training:

When i was training my husky not to chase my cat, i had to separate them when i wasn't around and watch him carefully when they were out together correcting the behavior or punishing him when i saw him go after her.

Now i can leave them out together and not have to worry.



Sal: this was an on going process and took several weeks along with a lot of supervised time so just for warning its a lot of work on your part but if it worth it to you, it will be worth it in the end.

P.S. make sure he has other things/lots of toys to play with will help

Anna - posted on 01/14/2012

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Personally speaking I've owned and raised/trained dogs my hole life both inside and outside living conditions.



Having a dog live outside can make the dog more aggressive and guard dog type but there is nothing wrong with them living outside. As long as they have available water and shelter prepared for weather conditions they will be fine. It does require more work on the owners part for attention because yes they will get bored, but it sounds like to me that he's taking in the training your doing. so you must be giving him enough attention.



As for the duck problem..... getting him fixed mite change some of his personality and aggression problems but that's not how it always goes for all dogs. I would try keeping him away from the ducks when your no supervising them (if that being an option) maybe tying him up or gating him apart from them. Then when supervised letting him be around the ducks and punishing him when he goes after them or you notice that he's planning on it(if you do).

Sherri - posted on 01/14/2012

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Yikes sorry this is mind boggling to me, that anyone would own a poor puppy that wouldn't be allowed in the home with a family. I find this so incredibly sad. :(

Sal - posted on 01/14/2012

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We really aren't fans of dogs inside and one reason we got this o e was that he was always outside where he was born We also have another dog and we got him as company for it when our old dog died

But above all else We Arent allowed an Inside dog with our lease.....

Sal - posted on 01/14/2012

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Yes out door dog, it is summer he sleeps on the verandah We are rural lots of space the People we got Jim from had already got him used to out doors so there he is, we are also renting so indoors isn't much of sn option...,. Might have to rehouse the ducks...

Sal - posted on 01/14/2012

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He had always had the ducks here but as he is a miniture toy cross he was too small to do damage and usually came off the loser in duck V poodle. But he is a bit bigger now and pulled all the feathers out and made her bleed....

Sal - posted on 01/14/2012

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Thanks Kate I seems I either have a poodle or ducks then at the moment they both roam around the yard together but what you say makes sence he is lovely natured dog just can't help himself when it comes to the poor ducks

Elfrieda - posted on 01/14/2012

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But Kate, it's their PET duck. That doesn't sound promising. :(



My own two cents (not an animal expert):

I've heard that the best way to ensure that a dog will not chase chickens is to get him while he's a puppy and let him out in the yard with a protective mama hen who has little chicks. The end result will be a puppy with great respect for chickens!



Since he's eight months old already, I'm not sure this would work (I don't know if he's a big poodle or one of those little ones) but maybe take him to the park and look the other way while he tries to chase a swan or Canada goose. Maybe be ready to rescue him, because those things are strong! It might work, and it would be pretty funny to watch. :) It might translate into avoidance of the duck because of association.

Tam - posted on 01/14/2012

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I am not as familiar with poodles as some other breeds, but I do know that they were bred as small game hunting dogs. I have Scotties and their breed is similar - I'm sure it's an instinctual thing to chase after small game (like ducks, quail, chicken, etc).



I don't know if that behavior can be trained out of them or not, to be honest.

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