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Troubleshooting Airedale Behavioral Problems


 

House-Breaking

This really begins when the pups start to wean from the mother. Breeders often supply beds in the puppies’ area along with newspaper on the floor. As the puppies begin to use the beds for sleeping, they move the newspaper over and create a space between the sleeping area and the newspaper. Whether the breeders use newspaper or some other way to train, the idea is to keep the pen as clean as possible, picking up any messes as they are noticed and cleaning the floor many times a day. Within a few short weeks of age, puppies will go to the outsides of their area to use the bathroom and will also start to use the newspaper rthat is away from their beds. As the dogs differentiate between newspaper and bedding, we make the size of newspaper area smaller and encourage the dogs to play on the floor between their bedding and newspaper.

When you the owners bring home a new puppy, you will want to establish a routine that involves many opportunities to go to the bathroom breaks needed to avoid accidents. There are also some very predictable times when your puppy will want to go to the bathroom. So think of housebreaking as being divided into two sections: Intervals and Obvious Times.

Obvious Times = First thing when puppy wakes up in the morning; right after the pup wakes from a nap; right after a bout of play time; and shortly (approximately fifteen to thirty minutes) after they have eaten.

Intervals = every two hours along with the Obvious Times. Think of puppies as being like human babies, both eliminate often. In a baby’s case, you can change the diaper. With a puppy, you need to run him outside and praise him when he uses the yard.

Expectations of housebreaking: Not high for the first six months of age. Expect accidents and keep working on positive training where you praise him for going when and where desired.

Nighttime: you can use a crate (this can encourage the pup to hold on until morning to use the bathroom. Again, with a younger pup, have little expectation of this since their systems can’t hold much for long. And if you have pulled the food by no later than 6 pm and the water by 7 pm, and have allowed many bathroom breaks between that time and when you retire, you sill encourage the pup’s system to empty and encourage nighttime success. You may want to rise earlier in the morning when your puppy is very young and take him out RIGHT AWAY. Wait until he uses the bathroom in the yard, and use high voice with happy praise when he goes. He will be able to stretch his bathroom breaks into longer and longer periods as he matures.

Remember that this is really a very short time to endure and your pup will be housebroken before you know it. Patience and perspective will help you through this time.

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“A Room With A View”
The Glories Of Crate Training

Did you know that wolves, a close relative of the dog, use dens as places to rest and stay when they are not out playing and hunting? Their dens can be things like holes that they have dug in the ground, hollow logs, or actual caves.

Crates are perceived by a dog as a place of his very own. He can have all his favorite things, like toys and a blanket, in his own space. It is a place of security or can be, if used properly.

To be used effectively, the crate should be big enough that the dog can stand up and turn around with ease as well as stretch out space for sleeping. It should have adequate ventilation and have clip-on water and food bowls. For puppies, the crate should have a sleeping area and room to potty outside the sleeping area. Dogs and puppies alike need exercise and human attention as well, so long, isolated periods in the crate are also a bad idea.

With the above guidelines in mind, here are some excellent reasons to use a crate:

1.Rest and sleep time for your dog. For puppies, you will often have to put the puppy in the crate every two to three hours for nap time. With adults, you can leave the crate door open during the day and with your presence in the house. The dog will often choose to go into the crate to rest without any assistance from you.

2.As a safe haven for when you cannot watch the dog. Securing your dog in a crate when you are away from the house will prevent accidents from happening to your house as well as your dog.

3.As a house breaking aid with young puppies.

4.For nighttime sleep when the humans are resting, the dog will also rest without disturbing anyone during the night should he decide to get up and investigate the house.

5.For times when you will have company and don’t want the dog in the midst of the activities.

6.If your dog is anxious for some reason – like during a thunderstorm – spending time in a crate can provide comfort and reassurance that all is well.

7.For traveling by car. A dog resting in his crate in the car is a safe way to travel and also contains any potty accidents a puppy might have while traveling.

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Biting And Mouthing People

Airedales can be a bit more mouthy than other breeds. While sometimes seen as an affectionate gesture on the part of your dog, discouragement from using your hands and body parts as play toys is generally desirable. Some tips to try with a puppy or dog that likes to mouth your hands, try “Curl A Lip:

When the pup (or adult dog) takes your fingers in his mouth, quickly curl her lip under her tooth and press quickly and with firm pressure. The puppy will dislike this because they have sore teeth and the quick pressure on the gum will be a negative reinforcement for the pup. Then in a high, happy voice, say something like, “What happened?” This will put the negative on the finger and not on you.
Another tactic is to spray Apple Bitter (a product sold at pet supply stores) on your hands before you play with your dog. After several sessions of doing this, the dog may stop going for your hands.
Lastly, with Household Items and Cherished Belongings that you don't want the dog to accidentally destroy: Move your treaured items out of reach of the dog - much like you would childproof your house when a toddler is present.

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Digging

Some reasons dogs dig:

1.Boredom/Escape

2.A Place To Rest

3.Hunting Vermin

Solutions:

1.Find a respite for your dog’s boredom – toys, more play time with his people, bring him inside, and/or monitor backyard time.

2.Dogs like cool, cave-like places to rest. You can offset this desire for digging by providing a crate or dog house for your dog or bring your dog inside where it is cooler in the summer. You can provide a crate/place to rest in the house. A dog door on the side of the house is also away for your dog to come inside at his discretion.

3.Many dogs, especially Airedales, will often go after moles and burrowing rodents. Supervised times outside may be a solution.

4.Another solution is to section off a part of your yard that can be a digging playground for your dog and not worry about the creative landscaping.

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Eating Feces

Some dogs eat feces out of boredom and frustration. Make sure you have not upset your dog’s feeding times and if you have, make sure he in not going too long between meals. Supervise your dog’s bathroom breaks and pick up the feces in a timely manner and remove them from the yard.

Another suggestion is to sprinkle your dog’s food with Adolph’s Meat Tenderizer. Dogs seem to find their feces less palatable after eating food with this tenderizer.

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Chasing/Aggression Toward Cats

This behavior falls under the category of prey behavior. Cats are fun to goad and dogs like to make them run so they can chase them. When chasing begins, the dog’s prey drive takes over and the cat can get hurt or killed.

Ways to avoid this situation:

1.Set up a situation where you can correct the dog for inappropriate behavior toward the cat. This will communicate the rules to the dog. For example: Put a long lead and choke collar on your dog. When the dog tries to goad the cat (or shows undue attention to the cat), correct the dog and use a firm “No!” with the correction. Let the Airedale know that the cat is simply “off-limits’ and discourage any attention the dog wants to give to the cats. After communicating this rul to the dog, the cat is then able to move around the house or sleep undisturbed by the dog.

2.Don’t ever encourage the dog to chase the cat, even if the dog is a six-week-old puppy.

3.For chasing, set up a similar situation as with #1. Put the dog on a long lead and choke collar. When he starts to run after the cat/car/child, wait until he is almost at the end of the line and then call “Come!” Use a happy, high voice. This command is recommended no more than once a day. You may have to do this several days in a row before the lesson sinks in.

4.“Leave It!” Command (*see below for instructions)

A note of caution: Always leash/supervise your dog in an unfenced yard. Keep in mind that Airedales can run after something at the drop of a hat, so an unleashed Airedale in your front yard can be an accident waiting to happen.

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Unwanted Barking

Consider the reasons behind barking – if barking from boredom, try to relieve your dog’s plight. Play with him more, move him into the house and among his family, make him part of the routine, install a doggie door to the inside of the house so that he can come in when he gets bored.

Another solution is to invest in a bark collar. These can be very effective. Be warned that many Airedales know when they have this collar on versus a regular collar and will only bark when they have on the “safe’ collar.

If your dog is barking when company arrives, expect him to announce the guests’ arrival and then ask your dog to be quiet. Crate time may be necessary if the dog cannot control barking.

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Airedales And Children

Always supervise play between the two. Never leave a dog alone with a child who is under the age of ten, especially when the child is a stranger to the dog.

Always remember that dogs view children as being lower in the pecking order to themselves so in a time of stress (child is pulling dog’s tail or have cornered it, or is too close to the dog’s food), the dog may react aggressively.

Train your children to have good “dog manners’. For literature about teaching good dog manners, see “Good Owners, Great Dogs” by Brian Kilcommons and Sarah Wilson.

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How To Be Leader Of The Pack

Dogs live in packs where each animal has a rank. The top dog, or alpha dog, is considered to be the most important of the group. This dog leads the pack and has privileges and rights that the other dogs do not. Leadership behavior is firm, consistent, and structured, not mean or aggressive. For owners with dogs, it is important to provide leadership to your dog if you want your dog to behave around you, your family, and any company that might visit. Below are some behavior traits that dogs view as being something the leader of the household would do. Keep in mind that some dogs are more easily led than others. For the more dominant dogs, the owner will want to be more consistent about showing leadership. And establishing leadership with puppies is easier than with older dogs. If you have adopted an older dog, consult a trainer if you are having dominance problems with your dog.

Leadership Qualities:

1.Feed your dog scheduled mealtimes (versus leaving the food bowl constantly available with food) and feed him after you eat, not before.

2.Go through a doorway before your dog does.

3.If you look your dog in the eye, make sure he looks away first.

4.Do not allow your dog to bite or mouth you, even in play.

5.Do not allow your dog to sleep on your bed or with any other family member.

6.Pet your dog only when you want to, not when your dog nudges or paws at your hand. You might ask you dog to perform an obedience command before petting him.

7.If your dog demands to be picked up or put down, do this only when they have quieted down in your arms/lap.

8.Initiate and end all games and play.

9.Don't put yourself in an equal or lesser height position with your dog. Don't lay on the floor to play.

10.Don't allow your dog on the furniture.

11.Put your dog in his crate for a time-out periodically with no reason (not as punishment or when you are out of the house.)

12.Ask your dog to perform an obedience command first before engaging in another activity such as play or feeding.

13.Do not allow your dog to pull you when on leash.

14.Do not leave your dog with anyone who is not seen as the leader of the household, especially children.

15.Make your dog move out of your way rather than vice versa when he is in the path of travel.

16.When walking your dog, don't let him sniff the ground or go to the bathroom anywhere he wants.

17.Everything in your dog's life belongs to you. You have first call on all of the things that your dog has access to.

18.Teach your dog to release objects he carries in his mouth.

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“Leave It” Command

Put a toy or treat on the floor. Walk the dog on a lead by the treat. When he tries to sniff it, say, “Leave It!” You may have to use quick correction with the lead to get his attention away from the treat. Then pick up the treat, ask your dog to sit and when he does, then give him the treat and praise him. Release him from the sit command and repeat the whole process. After some time of practicing this, skip the step of giving him the treat after he sits. You do want to praise him after he ignores the treat or whatever is in place of the treat (the cat for instance) so that he associates a good time with “leaving it alone”.

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Accustoming Your Dog To Having His Feet Handled

Start working with your dog's feet when he is a puppy. Handle the feet often and gently. If your puppy tries to pull away, continue to hold the foot until he relaxes and quiets, then release that foot and hold another. You can move the toes apart and touch the areas inside the pads. Also hold the nails for a couple of seconds and generally touch all areas of the foot. You can trim your puppy's nails every couple of weeks with human toenail clippers. As the dog's tail grows, you will want to have guillotine trimmers (can be obtained at a pet supply store) or a Dremel that will grind the nails. The Dremel can be used as often as once a week with care taken to avoid grinding in to the quick of the nail. Also, keep a supply of cornstarch or styptic powder (also known as Kwik-Stop) in case you do cut the quick. Dab some of the powder on the area and the bleeding will quickly stop.

If your dog resists having his nails trimmed, be firm and insistent. Have someone else hold the dog if necessary and grooming tables with an arm can be of great help here also. Your dog can be held in place with a leash connected to the grooming table arm and you can reach his nails with less hassle on your part.

For dogs that are ultra-sensitive about having their feet handled, start this exercise when he is asleep. Massage your dog's feet while he is asleep. If he wakes up, pretend that nothing is unusual.

Do not coddle or baby your dog if he misbehaves, this behavior from you will only reinforce the undesired behavior from your dog. This is one of the biggest misconceptions owners can make. Babying your dog during bad behavior=an increase in that behavior.