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Ask Jane Lefler Your Own Question
Jane Lefler
Jane Lefler, Animal Behaviorist
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 19590
Experience:  Behaviorist /Trainer and Dog breeder 18+ years
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We have a 9 year old collie, we have had her years. He

Customer Question

We have a 9 year old collie, we have had her for 3 years. He does not like my husband. He cowers, shakes and sometimes barks at him. He sits and watches him if he's in the same room. He is technically my daughter's dog, but she is going off to college. My husband really wants a dog, I do not, I am not an animal person. I really need for the dog and my husband to get along. Because, it's my husband that is going to have to take care of the dog while my daughter is at college. What do I do?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 2 years 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 repy, it will likely take me between 30-45 minutes to type up my reply. I hope you can be patient.
Are you saying that she has lived in the house for three years with your daughter or did your daughter give her to you three years ago?
Who feeds her now?
Has she had any obedience training?
Has the dog lived with a male before?
In some places you state it is a He and others a She. What sex is the dog?
Is the dog fixed?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
She has lived in the house with us and my daughter for three years.
Mostly my daughter.
No, training by us, I am not sure before.
Yes, she has,
She is a she, I am sorry, we do that when we talk about her as well.
No, she is not fixed. The previous owners said she was a purebred and had planned to breed, but didn't. We got her at 6 years old and thought it was too late.
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 2 years ago.
Thanks for the additional information. It is helpful. The first thing you need to do is have her spayed if the vet feels she is healthy enough to survive the operation. As female unspayed dogs age, the chance of them developing a uterine infections rise. A uterine infection can mimic a heat cycle or just show as abdominal swelling, vomiting, diarrhea. In either case, it can be deadly if not treated quickly. Treatment is spaying to dog but if it isn't caught quickly, the dog still stands a chance of not surviving surgery, so getting the uterus out will be a plus.
The dog belonged to your daughter first and thus saw her as her boss. She also likely felt a little protective of your daughter when altercations occurred in the house. With your daughter gone, the dog has to adjust to his owner/boss leaving and is a little lost.
She would naturally gravitate toward you as you are a female, but she would still see him as the boss and be unsure how she should be acting around him and still be a bit fearful of his possible reprimands.
The quickest way of acclimating her to him would be to have him take over her care entirely. He would need to feed her and walk her and train her. While she may have had some training previously, she needs training with him being the handler. He doesn't have to take her to a formal class but does need to have some formal session at a regular time. The following site is helpful in teaching owners how to 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.
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.
This reinforces the commands the dog already knows but also allows the dog to learn that when your husband says a specific command she knows what he expect of her thus reducing her fearful behavior and building trust between the two. He should use a tasty treat like hot dog slivers as the reward while training. Dogs really respond to food treats and that also helps the bond form. It is normal for dogs to watch their owner but there is a difference in watching to see what they are doing and watching because they are anxious.
Now a dap collar might also be good for her as it helps with anxiety and might help her calm down during this time when her life has changed drastically. They are available at pet stores, vets and online.
I hope you found my reply helpful. If you need further clarification or more information, please reply and I'll get back to you as soon as I can.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your response. I see where you are coming from. I think taking him to training with my husband will help. However, my question is if the dog is quivering and won't go budge if my husband is involved, do I make her? I read over the NILF program, it doesn't really apply. Our dog doesn't ask for much attention. Although, I am going to try to work it, with my husband doing the work. He doesn't bark, except sometimes at my husband. So, it seems to come down to the one basic question, at this time do I make her do these things? Sincerely, Cheryl
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 2 years ago.
The NILF covers everything including going outside, being fed, everything. You don't want to force the dog to do anything. If the dog is not food motivated, then start working with her before she is fed, or have your husband hand feed her the food she normally gets. It won't take her long to realize that he controls her being fed and walked, etc. I know you will need to do somethings and that can't be avoided, but try and have him do as much as possible.
If she is food motivated (like she likes hot dogs), then have him hold a few pieces in his hand letting the oil coat his hand. If he is working her on obedience, then she will learn that he gives those good treats. Once the "stink" of the hot dogs is on his hands, he can hold the leash and call her to him and give a treat even if she just takes one step. Reward any desired behavior even if it is just a small one and as she acts more appropriately, he can have her take more than one step to earn the treat.
When you try and force a dog to move forward with a leash, they just plant themselves even more and resist. So stopping and letting her smell the odor of the hot dog should get her moving.
It might help as well if you make sure he doesn't lean over her but crouches down in front of her. Raising the tone of his voice so it isn't so low might also help since low tones are associated with reprimands. Have him sit on the floor if he will with the hot dog slivers. Let him put some a couple of feet away and gradually put them closer and closer until they are right next to him and eventually in his open palm on the floor. Let her take them in her own time. He can watch tv or do another activity that doesn't require him to move or use that hand. Once she is comfortable with then, he can then start talking quietly to her.
These will help as well.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thank you, ***** ***** try that.
Expert:  Jane Lefler replied 2 years ago.
You are welcome.

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