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Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 19382
Experience:  Behaviorist /Trainer and Dog breeder 18+ years
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I have 2 dogs that are mother and daughter. Daughter is 1.5

Customer Question

I have 2 dogs that are mother and daughter. Daughter is 1.5 years old. Mother is a Queensland shephard/cattle dog, and puppy is a Cattahula mix (and yes this is acurate, not just the default dog merled coats get categorized to) We have had them since the puppy was 4 weeks.
I have so many questions about having a mother/daughter social group. It is not common.
Walking them seperately is fine, (1.5 year old is hard no matter what :-) ) But together the mother dog is so on edge. I'm guessing she is super protective. I have been successful at becoming the "Alpha" to the mom, and my walks with her are fine, but when the children walk her, its a mess. We rescued the two together, and mom went through A LOT keeping her litter safe and fed. I am wondering SO many things about this social dynamic.
Generally the mom is hard to calm, and very over protective of our home and children. She's a cattle dog.
I'm trying to figure out the problem behaviour sources.....is it having her puppy around? Is it due to her trauma? Is it her breed? My children now resent the mother dog and do not connect to her. She is extremely obedient to me, and really seeks tons of love and affection from everyone, but I have been told as a cattle dog, this body space breech behavior is rude, and should not be tolerated in order to maintain dominance.
Basically, the mother dog is not being accepted into our family like I had hoped. As a rescue dog she has many behavioral issues that I want to help her work through, but I am wondering if having her puppy around is hard on her. Am I asking too much of her by keeping her with her puppy and expecting her to settle down and heal from her trauma?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 1 year ago.

Hi JaCustomer,

My name is ***** ***** I’ve been involved professionally with dogs in the health and behavioral fields for over 18 years. It will be my pleasure to work with you today.

In order to supply you with an informed answer, it is necessary for me to collect some additional information from you. When I receive your response or reply, it will likely take me between 30-45 minutes to type up my reply if I am still online when I receive notice that you replied. I hope you can be patient.

what obedience training has been done with her?

How old are the children?

How involved are the children in her training?

By hard to handle for the kids, what exactly is she doing?

I do have several customers I'm working with so it may take me a short while to get back to you and to determine the best solution to your dog's issue.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
We have used obiedience training books. We watch TONS of dog wisperer. I have a degree in psychology (of course this is human psychology so yes I understand the difference, but not the specifics for dogs) but we have a good grasp on behavioral methods/reward theory.
My children are 16, 14, and 12. The children are very involved in the training....it is a group effort, but I don't see Ayla (the mom dog) responding to all family members the same way.
On walks, with me, she stays submissive, and stays just behind my step when we walk. With the kids, they work like crazy to get her to stay a step behind, but she always leaps ahead. She wiggles out of her collar and chases birds usually while with them, which they know is evidence she is not respecting them. But last night she wiggled out and went after another dog on a walk. The other owners and my 16 year old son were quick and prevented any harm, but it left my son "throwing up his arms" and all the kids went on and on about how she is TOO MUCH. We have gone on walks together to step into walks apart, but without me, it seems to be an entirely different dynamic.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Important to know that she is most disobedient and aggitated when her daughter is with her on the walks. Its not rocket science to figure this out. Last night was an attempt to walk both together. The attack on the other dog is not common, but the aggession/agitation is common when she is with the kids alone, and with her puppy and the kids
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 1 year ago.

Thanks for the additional information. It is helpful. It isn't so much that her daughter is with her as it is the Pack mentality. Often dogs are great on their own but put another of their pack with them and behavior breaks down as they start misbehaving together or more like they are distracted by the behavior of the other dog and that dog may be getting away with something and then feel they can.

Now you seem to know she should be a step behind or next to you. Being the boss help her listen and follow this directive. However, if you can get her wanting to be in that place, it makes it a lot simpler. Just like keeping a dog on the floor helps keep them suubmissive where dogs that are let on furniture seem to become dominant dogs. They feel elevated mentally as well as physically. So if you can get her to want to be next to you, she also will develop that submissive attitude toward the walker.

Here is the technique that I use to help owner train their dogs to walk where they should . It is a preprinted writeup and generally uses the pronoun he but applies to all dogs and I hope you don't mind that as it does speed up my response.

LEASH TRAINING

If your dog is pulling while walking then a little retraining is in order. It's a matter of getting your dog to want to come with you regardless of the leash being attached. You will get multiple answers depending on whom you talk to as opinions differ on the best method to solve this problem. Some experts will suggest a Halti (head collar) which you can try. I personally believe in establishing control over the dog with training. I use a chain collar for training purposes. For strong stubborn dogs, some trainers recommend a prong collar.

Number one, put your dog on a leash before leaving the house. Make your dog sit or lie down before leaving. You walk out first and the dog should follow you out. With a proper walk, the dog should be right at your side or slightly behind. You dog should be paying attention to you, frequently glancing at you to be sure you haven't changed your mind about where you are going. I will be using the word correction. A correction will indicate a short quick tug and release of the leash. It is meant to remind the dog that he is supposed to be paying attention to you. Initially, keep training sessions short and where there will be minimal distractions even if it is just in your yard. A walk should be fast paced and not a stop and start exercise. The dog should not be investigating, sniffing or socializing on the walk. Walk to a destination and allow the dog some time at the destination to do those things.

I use a food and praise reward system. I use almost paper think pieces of hot dog as the oil from them coats your hand and keeps the smell on your hand. Let the dog smell the treat in your closed hand. This gives your dog motivation to be by your side. He should be happy to follow your hand around the yard. Keep your leash short, but without pressure on it. If the dog starts moving away, a correction toward you should be made. Give him a treat every once in a while initially so he understands walking by your side get him treats. Try to time it so it is before he gets distracted. If he starts to glance elsewhere, give a correction and tempt him with sight of the treat. When he is back to paying attention, reward him with the treat in a low calm "good boy". No excitement to your voice as you want him calm. Repeat when you think his attention is shifting. As he gets better at paying attention to you and your "smelly hand", make corrections giving more praise and less treats. Before you know it, your dog will be walking right next to you all the time, with or without treats. When you stop, praise your dog with your voice or a few pats to let your dog know how good he has done. You can train him to sit or lay down when you stop if you want as well. This helps prevent his trying to run off if you stop to talk to someone.

Once your dog is pretty much always walking at your side, you will want to make a correction any time he stops paying attention to you. For instance, they are looking at a cat in a yard, give a correction so they look at you. if he is busy looking ahead and hasn't glanced at you for awhile, give a correction and reverse your direction. Do not stop and wait for the dog, just a quick correction and reverse and walk. They learn to keep an eye on you as well as on what else is going on. Try an be confident during these training sessions. Try not to look down at your dog but more out of the corner of your eye. Act like you are paying attention to the scenery. It sounds strange, but it does work.

Once your dog is doing well in the yard, try adding a few distractions such as family in the yard, then progress to another dog around continuing to correct if he even looks like he is going to glance at the other dog. If you wait till he is already distracted, it is too late. You have to catch him before he focuses on the other animal or person. It is a lot of work and takes lots of practice but it does work.

END WRITE UP

Now I want you to start walking her with the hot dog slivers in your hand first so she understands that walking next to you gets her the treats and starts associating the smell in your hand, then start having your oldest child use the same technique to get her walking next to him in the same manner and then train each child in turn before letting them work with her with distractions.

Train the pup the same way. Please do not use the heel kick on your dogs. Cesar is actually kicking the dog in the liver which isn't a very pleasant thing to do to a dog can be considered abuse. Also holding a dog down does not make them submissive. If you can verbally get them to lay down and roll over or on their side in a submissive manner, that is good, but forcing it just makes a dog mad.

Let the kids work on the obedience training in a structured manner. Put aside 15 minutes twice a day and let the kids train mom while you work with the younger dog. The following site is helpful in helping owners train their dog. Be sure and click on the link to the page on obedience at the bottom. and links on subsequent pages leading to detailed instructions.

http://www.schutzhund-training.com/training_theory.html

Training works best if you train at least 30 minutes a day (two 15 minute sessions). I would start making your dog work via the Nothing in life is free program (NILF). It is outlined below.

http://www.pets.ca/articles/article-dog_nilf.htm

http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/dogs/tips/training_nothing_in_life_is_free.html

Additionally you might switch to a harness with a front chest leash clip. When the dog pulls, she automatically will be pulled back around to face the walker. They usually stop pulling as a result.

I hope this information is helpful to you. If you would like any additional information or have more questions please don’t hesitate to press the reply to expert or continue conversation button so I can address any issues you still have . If you do find this helpful, please take this opportunity to rate my answer.

Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 1 year ago.
Hi,
I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?
Jane Lefler

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