Do you feel a properly applied e-collar program would be the best plan on curbing some of our Brittany’s behavior? Does this sound like a dog vs. wife dominance issue?
We have a 6 month old spayed female Brittany that we selected (at 10 weeks) from a litter of proven hunters. Bea is a house dog first and will get ample opportunity to bird hunt. Bea has done well in our basic training but is very stubborn at times, occasionally sitting and looking at you when you say ?come? (most of the time she runs to you at full speed) and an insistent desire to nibble or gnaw our hands despite our ?NO BITE? response. Our biggest concern is her apparent fight for dominance over my wife who is with the dog all day. My wife takes Bea outside in our fenced yard several times a day and plays fetch and works with her on her basic commands (sit, down, stay, go get it etc.) and attempts leash work. Most of the time Bea is very responsive and obedient. However, at times every day Bea will suddenly jump up on my wife and grab her arm or leg and tear her clothes or pinch or bruise her arm or leg. My wife?s response is a very loud ?NO - OFF? but the ?attack? is repeated several times before my wife can remove herself from the pup. The dog has been crate trained and most often after an ?attack? my wife will put Bea in the crate resulting in 30 minute dog-nap for both parties. This pattern happens about 3 ? 4 times a day.
I witness it often when my wife is doing the dishes and for no apparent reason Bea will jump up on my wife and take a playful nip. I?ve witnessed a similar attack when my wife is in her chair watching TV and the dog may be playing fetch with one or both of us and suddenly jump up and nip her arm. My wife is recovering from cancer chemotherapy and doesn?t need additional bruising. In our opinion, these ?attacks? are really heavy duty play by the pup. The dog will usually stop and get down from my wife when I shout ?NO ? OFF!!!? but is slow to respond when my wife shouts the same command.
Another issue is my wife loves to walk our dog on the leash. Ever since Bea has discovered birds, rabbits and squirrels, she is a terror to walk, even with a prong collar. She tries to pull our arms out of socket on every walk. I?ve adjusted the prong collar like your video and have it snug behind her ears. I see an improvement with the prong but if the pup sees ?game,? she pulls like there is no prong collar.
I feel the nipping is a dominance issue. Bea looks for all opportunities to nibble my hand but is much more obedient with me and rarely is rough with me. I do notice that sometimes when we play fetch, Bea gets excited and will nip my chair or footstool (occasionally my leg or pants) waiting for me to toss her toy, sort of an uncontrollable urge to bite something. I feel she has accepted me as the Alpha but is still trying to find her role with my wife.
Bea is our 3rd house-bird dog (previous male Brittany & female Vizsla) so we have some experience in training and co-existing peacefully with active dogs. We keep thinking that Bea will outgrow this phase but it still persists. We are considering a training collar and have recently purchased your DVD on Collar Training. I feel the E-collar could be useful in curbing the jumping up, ?attacking? and tugging on the leash. I am in favor but even after watching the video my wife feels that the collar may be cruel. She is very close to letting me get an E-collar and I agreed that we both had to agree using the e collar training.
The behavior we wish to curb with the E-Collar are:
* Stop jumping up on people * Stop jumping up on the table or counter to explore food opportunities * Stop ?attacking? my wife * Stop the constant nibbling or biting of hands when you try to pet the dog * Stop tugging on the leash * Come consistently when called
Do you feel a properly applied e-collar program would be the best plan on curbing some of our Brittany?s behavior? Does this sound like a dog vs. wife dominance issue?
Incidentally, Bea is showing signs of being a great bird hunter. I took her out this past weekend for her second hunt for pen raised quail. She found all 10 planted birds and pointed each one. She held her point on the birds when I approached the bird to flush it (see attached). She hasn?t figured out the retrieval part yet but she is doing great in the field for a 6 month old pup.
Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.
I think you are right on with your assessment of Bea. She’s a young dog that is trying to establish herself in the family pack, and she perceives weakness in your wife’s leadership so she is pushing the envelope.
I do feel that the ecollar is a great tool for managing high energy physical dogs, because it takes all the physical contact out of the correction. Many times dogs like Bea enjoy the whole process of being corrected even though we think it’s a negative thing we are doing. E-collars take all the physical movement and emotion out of managing a dog like this.
I’d start with our Groundwork program first though. I do believe that Bea has too much freedom, and by putting her through the groundwork training first, it will help your wife tremendously. Pack Structure for the Family Pet is the DVD that picks up where the article leaves off.
Obedience training is good and necessary, but the handling of the dog in day to day life is more important with issues like you are having with Bea.
She sounds like a very promising pup, and I am always glad to hear that people are working with their dogs in the venue that the dog was bred for. Adolescent dogs can be very challenging, but the good ones always seem to be a bit more difficult to handle at first :-) Once you get the leadership issues ironed out and Bea is working with the ecollar I think you will be very pleased.
I hope this helps.
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