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Dogs/Staffy pup 5 mths old-behaviour question

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QUESTION: hi
I have the most incredible 5 mth old blue English staffy. he is incredibly smart, loves dogs, adults, kids, water, treats, car rides and yes I've spoiled him by allowing him to sleep on my bed even tho he has a doggy futon inside and a trampoline bed outside.  He learned to sit in 2 days at age 11 weeks when brought home. He's been to puppy classes, and has done three weeks of dog obedience so far....
he knows to come, talk, sit, drop, wait, stay,up, down, NO, yes & good boy (for praise) look, leave etc... however.... just over the past month he's begun ignoring me when I call him at home, he will make the move as if he's going to come but look at me then either ignore me and stay where he is, or take off.  Today at the beach he came every time I called him to return, but when we got home I called him to come out of the car and he just sat there ignoring me! There's nothing wrong with his hearing that's for sure, is he testing me, trying to be alpha?  Pushing me to be the pack leader and not me?  Besides physically making him come by putting him on lead and saying come and leading him where I want him, or making my tone really happy, happy, happy, and slap my leg so he gets excited and comes, giving him a treat and lots of praise when he does it etc.... why? how? what? when? is he doing this for at this point in time?  What is the best way to deal with it pls?  I'm having him de-sexed in 2 weeks as he's become a little "toey" of late so I'm thinking perhaps its a testosterone ova load as he's going into "doggy puberty"? and pushing the limits???
I never go mad when he finally comes, just praise etc, so there is no fear or mixed signals.... its like a stubbornness in him!!
I also have a behavioral issue the vet wants to put him on OCD meds for, but I wont go into that right now... if u can help me to get thru this Id be very grateful!!

ANSWER: Of course it is hard to tell without seeing the situation, but I am going to guess.  I think, he is being a tiny bit over trained.  Let me know if when he comes (when you are training him), you then praise him and say to yourself, "He did that so well, let's see if he will do it again"  It is a common mistake people make.   When a dog does as you ask, you praise him and then end of lesson.  AND  he may be getting bored with listening.  So now is when you have to become the boss (more than you are already).  You already train like a pro.
 
I want you to put about a half hour aside to do a training lesson.  Bring with you a bunch of keys or shake can or anything that will make a noise when you drop it.  Also bring a clock with you.  Take him to a room where he cannot get under anything, and where there are few distractions.  Get in a comfortable position either in a chair or on the floor.  Make sure you can see the clock, because this always seems like it is taking longer than it really is.

Then I want you to say his name and "come", in a monotone voice.  If he doesn't come right away, repeat this over and over and over in the same monotone voice.  It usually takes about 20 minutes the first time, and sometimes a half hour.  Now he will get bored and try to lay down and go to sleep, that is when you drop the keys or the shake can.  When he is paying attention again, start the monotone "rover come" again.  When he finally comes, praise him like he saved your life, play a little with him and end the lesson.  You will have to repeat this the next day and maybe a few more times.  Each time will get shorter and shorter.  If the situation changes, like you go outside, start the same monotone "rover come".  Until you see he listens all the time, make sure you don't use the "come" word unless you have time to follow through with a whole lesson.  If you need him and you don't have time, use a different word like "here boy"  etc.  Never say come unless you can spend the time if he doesn't respond.

 Now what you have done here is taken command of his will.  Your will against his.  You must win every time on this.  Once you have mastered this, he will always come.
Let me know how you make out and remember don't let him win (EVER) once you start this lesson.
That's why the clock.
nan

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you for that tip.
I will just say tho he is certainly not over trained and the only repetitive type training (ie re calling him once and doing it again) is his 10 mins couple times a day of sit drop, sit stay, heel sit etc which is the usual puppy training regime.
U wld know Staffys are a people dog foremost and they love to please and also very smart & learn quickly & need lots of enrichment & stimulation. . Having said that they are also strong willed to match their strong bodies so the last thing that I want is a strong muscled,  minded and uncontrollable dog that is not good when out or home. They need training to manage this and pups like kids absorb loads in first few mths.
As a rule he comes straight away when called but like scenario last night for instance...he was laying in the lounge and I called him to come out for toilet visit b4 bedding down for the night. .same routine as each night. But....he wouldnt move an inch just looked out of cnr of his eyes and lay there. I tried twice more & then I growled at him, then picked him up & carried him out (tho far too heavy now so shouldve gone on lead) & he did his pee I called him in and he trotted in happily & went back to bed.
Today he was barking & harassing our cats.  I told him no! He stopped I praised then called him to come.& he did instantly ..praised him he was wagging smiling etc...no worries good as gold.  Its just the "odd" occasion which has me scratching my head & frustrated. Its kind of like a teenager"yes mum in a MINUTE" type thing!!
So....I tried yr suggestion. ...he happily trotted across the room & licked me..... in 4 seconds flat!
???? Ummm...so what do u think?
Cheers again. ...

Answer
Thank you for explaining.  I now know I was right in what I told you.  The word "come" should not be over used.  It should be used when you absolutely need him to come to you.  You are using it instead of saying (for example) "Lets go out", or "Time for potty".  You are using come to make him GO out, come to you,  out of the car, come back in the house.  He is starting to try and let you know that he may not have to go to the bathroom, or he would like a longer ride, or he needs more time outside to pee again etc etc etc.  Use different terminology for different things.  When you are telling him "come", he is wondering which come you want now.  Is this the come where he has to go out into the cold/heat.  Is this the come that means I jump down (off the car seat)?  Is this the come that means I need to be back in the house.
Try using different terms and see how that works.  If you get into a situation where he is not moving then resort to what I told you. Come is the most important command as it could save his life some day, as I am sure you know, otherwise you wouldn't be worried.  You're training so far has been perfect.  I am aware of Staffies, believe it or not they are easier to train than smooth fox terriers (my breed).  My daughter has pit bulls, they are soooooo sweet.  I love them and I helped her train them.
I think you will do fine with this, you are a natural.  The next training step is to get into his head a little.  When dogs are intellegent, you sometimes have to go to the next level with them; he seems VERY intelligent.
nancy

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Nancy Perry

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You can ask me anything on dog training, dog breeding, dog grooming. What type of dog you should get. Pertinent facts about different breeds. I am also specifically knowledgeable about terriers and the diets that help maintain coat excellence. I have trained and helped owners train their dogs.

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I have worked in dog training for 35 years. I have been a dog groomer for 25 years..

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