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NancyH
NancyH, Dog Expert:Rescue, Train,Breed,Care
Category: Dog
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Experience:  30+ yrs dog home vet care & nursing, rescue, behavior&training, responsible show breeding, genetics
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Dog urinating on owner

Customer Question

I have a 9 month old German Shepard / Border Collie Mix. He is in general a very smart dog, learns easy, but is very stubborn. At first he was very destructive, but had been staying with his chewy bones of late. The last two weeks he seems to be reverting backwards. This week alone he has chewed up my phone, an alarm clock, my shed, etc. Then this morning while correcting him on his everlasting jumping up on me, he actually lifted his leg and peed right on my leg and foot. That has never happened to me with any dog I have owned. He also peed right on the door two feet in front of me while I was letting him out on the patio to do his business. Help. I don't know what to do. Love him to much to take him back to Humane sociaty, but can't handle this behavior for very long. [email protected]
Submitted: 11 years ago.
Category: Dog
Expert:  NancyH replied 11 years ago.
Adolescence is fun in dogs isn't it? Defiance goes with the age and the mix you has is of two very smart and determined breeds. Sounds to me like two things are going on here. At this age the adult teeth are settling in the jaw and making chewing feel extra good to control that ache. Plus he is getting old enough to want to see if he can run the 'pack' which most pups are willing to try to do.
If you have a crate for him I suggest you keep him in it when you cannot supervise him. Or you can put him in a dog safe room where the only chewable items are the approved toys you have for him. I like the big smoked bones that are as long as your arm for a heavy chewer to chew but others prefer such things as a stuffed Kong toy for chewing fun.
Chewing is also excellent aerobic exercise and bored dogs with lots of teen age energy are apt to chew. Giving him more directed exercise can help with the problem you are seeing. A tired dog is apt to be a good dog!
For the urinating on you he definitely believes you must be lower in rank in the pack than he is.
You can try locating a trainer to help you at www.apdt.com or you can try the Nothing In Life is Free program at home which changes the dog's perception of who is in charge without using any violence to do so. You can read about how to do this program here www.ddfl.org/behavior/nilif.htm and it works very well to change the pack structure to human is leader not dog. Which in turn resolves things like the urination problem and the jumping.
The jumping up on you is all a part of this behavior. He is not just seeking attention he is demanding that you provide it right then. He thinks he can boss you about a bit and thus he does it. What I do for a jumper is to fold my arms turn my back and give NO attention. Then when the dog is off my body (and they often sit trying to figure out what went wrong) I turn and pet and praise the dog for not being on me. The dogs usually figure out pretty quickly that jumping does not any longer get the same nice attention that sitting does.
If you can find a local basic obedience class that works using positive reinforcement that also can help you a lot with this dog. Border collies are very smart as are Shepherds and both do better if they have some sort of 'work' to do to keep their minds occupied. Obedience or agility or something similar might work great.
www.dog-play.com has ideas on playing with your dog to help keep him occupied in a safe and acceptable way plus lots of other info too.
When your dog chews something inappropriate then tell him no PLUS put an approved chew item in his mouth and tell him yes he's a good boy for having that. You need to say yes that is right in addition to no that is wrong.
Plus there is a product called Bitter Apple and others like Sour Grapes, Bitter Orange etc that taste very bad. If you have to leave him loose you can spray items you do not want him chewing with this bad tasting stuff and then if he tries to chew it he will be 'corrected' by the taste.
If he chews while you are right there you can choose to put a leash on him and tether him to you so he cannot do anything you don't know about. This is another good technique for teaching him you are the leader as he will have to go where you go if the leash is on.
Hope this helps!

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