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Thread: How do I discipline a very sensitive dog?

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    #1

    How do I discipline a very sensitive dog?

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    Twice in the past couple weeks I've "yelled" (not even yelling, just saying 'no' in a stern voice I guess) at him and he's peed, I guess out of fear? Before I get a bunch of judgy mcjudgersons on my back, my dog is treated like an absolute prince. He is very rarely disciplined because he never does anything that calls for it. The first time it happened, it was because I came home and found he chewed up a wooden spoon. The second time was last night because I came home and found he tore up my shower puff thing all over the upstairs of my house.

    I know he's just too bored and he's getting destructive, but this is really new behavior for him and we're working on it. In the meantime, what am I supposed to do so he knows not to do this, without terrifying him? I don't even get mean, and I have a tiny valley girl voice so it's not like I ever sound scary in any way. He's usually an angel and he's very loved so I feel absolutely horrible. The first time he did it I thought he just needed to go out but I don't think that was the case last night because I had let him out before I found the mess.

    I guess I just don't understand how you're supposed to discipline dogs. I've never ever hit him, he was crate trained but he was never locked in it for punishment, we've always just given him a stern "no." He did the submissive peeing thing when he was a little puppy and my husband yelled at him but he has a much meaner voice than I do and I don't think he had the bladder control that young.

    Before now whenever I disciplined him he would just kinda put his head down and have guilty eyes but he never seemed afraid of me until now. As far as I'm aware nothing has happened to traumatize him, I mean other than these two events he never does anything bad ever so he's very very rarely disciplined at all.


    More notes:
    *He doesn't have a crate right now, we left it in Florida because we thought he didn't need it and it didn't fit in my car. We're going back in a few weeks and it will be coming home with us to just prevent him from getting into things. Yesterday I'm pretty sure he got destructive because he was alone during a thunderstorm and he panicked.
    *He's never home by himself for more than a few hours at a time. I work full time currently but on an almost opposite schedule from my husband, so one of us is home with him for most of every day.
    *I was a little concerned that maybe this was a bladder control issue, but he just seems so terrified of me at the same time so I'm not sure. Plus he doesn't seem to have any issues with it otherwise.
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    #2
    I have no advice, I have the exact opposite problem with my dog. Whenever I reprimand him he looks perfectly happy with his cute little panty face and his tail wagging. Unless he's really in trouble, then he'll sit on my lab and lick me until I can't be mad anymore. I'm not very good at discipline.

    I Eelizah
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    Start him over with having a smaller space with just his toys? Maybe limit him to one room while you're gone for a bit? The relatively new house and being alone in a big space might be too much for him.

    Scout is super anxious and shakes if she gets in trouble, she peed on my bed while we were in Colorado and she was at home with a pet sitter and from what I've read/thinking through all of it, it was probably some separation anxiety. Maybe Finn has a bit of separation anxiety too? The shower puff would almost make me thing that because it would smell like you.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jazmine View Post
    Start him over with having a smaller space with just his toys? Maybe limit him to one room while you're gone for a bit? The relatively new house and being alone in a big space might be too much for him.

    Scout is super anxious and shakes if she gets in trouble, she peed on my bed while we were in Colorado and she was at home with a pet sitter and from what I've read/thinking through all of it, it was probably some separation anxiety. Maybe Finn has a bit of separation anxiety too? The shower puff would almost make me thing that because it would smell like you.
    I think that's what it is too, poor baby. He did the shower puff thing before one other time during a storm too and he's been getting our shoes out lately. We never punished him for that cause he's not really doing anything wrong, he just takes my shoes out of the closet and moves them around the house and hangs out with them I guess lol. Idk how to put him away without making him super sad though, we had to put him in the laundry room for a couple days when he was sick and ruining our carpet and it really depressed him.
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    #5
    Have you looked into getting him a thunder shirt? I've heard great things about them for dogs that have problems with storm anxiety and separation anxiety.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lynn View Post
    Have you looked into getting him a thunder shirt? I've heard great things about them for dogs that have problems with storm anxiety and separation anxiety.
    He has one, but it doesn't really do much for him. Like I can't tell if it works for him or not. I always put it on him anyway just to make myself feel like I'm doing everything possible to comfort him, but I'm pretty sure it doesn't work. And yesterday the thunderstorm was a huge surprise, it was partly cloudy and then around like 2pm it just started out of nowhere.
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    Unless you catch him in the act, never discipline a dog.... They really have no idea what you are talking about or why they are getting punished. For very sensitive dogs I prefer positive reinforcement. What you do is redirect their attention, ignore the bad behavior, and praise them for the new action. For example, if they are chewing on a shoe, I take the shoe away.. don't even acknowledge that they were chewing on the shoe...replace with a toy (just give it to them, no response from you). When they start playing with the toy then you start playing with them... praising them... etc.

    Ignore bad behaviors... praise good behaviors.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heisenberg View Post
    I think that's what it is too, poor baby. He did the shower puff thing before one other time during a storm too and he's been getting our shoes out lately. We never punished him for that cause he's not really doing anything wrong, he just takes my shoes out of the closet and moves them around the house and hangs out with them I guess lol. Idk how to put him away without making him super sad though, we had to put him in the laundry room for a couple days when he was sick and ruining our carpet and it really depressed him.
    Can you leave a sheet or blanket that you've slept on with his bed? Poor guy, he just misses you

    Puzzles or something to keep his attention for a while might help too. I put those Marrobone treats into their clear rolly ball and whoever has it is occupied for a good bit.
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    #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Amanduh View Post
    Unless you catch him in the act, never discipline a dog.... They really have no idea what you are talking about or why they are getting punished. For very sensitive dogs I prefer positive reinforcement. What you do is redirect their attention, ignore the bad behavior, and praise them for the new action. For example, if they are chewing on a shoe, I take the shoe away.. don't even acknowledge that they were chewing on the shoe...replace with a toy (just give it to them, no response from you). When they start playing with the toy then you start playing with them... praising them... etc.

    Ignore bad behaviors... praise good behaviors.
    Wellll how do I do that when he only does the bad stuff when nobody is home? We can't really catch him in the act if we aren't here, but he still needs to know chewing on stuff isn't acceptable.
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    #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Jazmine View Post
    Can you leave a sheet or blanket that you've slept on with his bed? Poor guy, he just misses you
    His bed is our bed lol. I've thought about just closing the door and leaving him up there since I'm pretty sure he just goes upstairs and sleeps when he's alone anyway but then he won't have access to his food and water.
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