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Thread: Advice Needed on a Strange Dog Behavior *Long Story & Couple IMGS*

  1. AKA: Jerseyatheart86
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    Advice Needed on a Strange Dog Behavior *Long Story & Couple IMGS*

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    Gretel, our black German Shepard/Cattle Dog mix will be one years old in July. She has come a long way since the day we adpoted her back in October 2013. She is still scared of new people & loud noises but she is much better than say even two months ago. She has even let a couple of strangers pet her at the dog park & let this one woman who we see all the time at the dog park, hold her leash & walk her to my car when I started having horrible pain and muscle spasms. My husband and I are both very proud of her and the progress she has made.

    However, Gretel recently developed this odd behavior that is driving my husband & I crazy. Gretel is completely house broken. She hasn't had an accident in the house since Thanksgiving. When she has to go to the bathroom, she will go to the front door, sit down and scratch at the door. DH or I will get up and open the front door & screen door to let Gretel go outside. When she is ready to come in, she'll come to the screen door, sit down & scratch at the screen door. One of us lets her in then. This is exactly what we want. She's been doing this since November and she figured out scratching at the door on her own. We didn't show her.

    Well, the past 6 or 8 weeks have been different. Gretel will go over to front door and scratch like she has to go outside. One of us will get up & as soon as we open the door, Gretel runs away. She usually runs to her crate or onto the couch or by her water bowl. I'll close the door since we have the AC on 24/7 and we have to pay for any electricity overages. DH or I will usually go and sit down. Then Gretel will start the process all over again. She does the same thing when she is outside and wants to come in. It has become very smiliar to the "Boy who Cried Wolf" story. I brought it up to the trainer & she sguessed that maybe we aren't paying enough attention to Gretel. So we started paying a lot more attention to Gretel and figured it may take a couple of days. Nope. She still does it multiple times a day and now we have no idea when she really has to go outside to go to the bathroom or she is doing it just to do it. She even did it when my dad was here for 11 days and he was surprised. He said he has never seen a dog do this and he grew up with dogs as did my mom and they continued to have cats & dogs after they got married in 1976, so they have experience with raising both cats & dogs.

    Does anyone have any idea why she could be doing this and what DH & I could do to stop this behavior?

    Here are a couple of pictures of Gretel as a thank you for reading this. Sorry for the huge size. I'm having trouble resizing them.







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    #2
    Have you tried going outside with her? Maybe she just wants company and not just be put out there alone.
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    For the door scratching - when she scratches, grab the leash, ask for a sit/stay and then approach - leash her and take her outside and give the potty command. The trip is ALL business. There is no issue of the running away (and NO playing a game of chase if she does).

    Are you addressing the counter surfing?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reagan View Post
    Have you tried going outside with her? Maybe she just wants company and not just be put out there alone.
    I used too when we first got her. She wouldn't go to the bathroom without DH or myself outside in our front yard with her. Our front yard is are only yard and it's fenced it. It's tiny a yard, maybe 8 feet by 8 feet. I had to stop going out with her because when we got back from Jersey in January, she wouldn't go if DH or I were outside. I was happy because I could stay in my pajamas longer The thought never occured to me that she would want company outside again. I'll try it though next time she has to go outside. Thank you!

    Quote Originally Posted by Ol' Grey Mare View Post
    For the door scratching - when she scratches, grab the leash, ask for a sit/stay and then approach - leash her and take her outside and give the potty command. The trip is ALL business. There is no issue of the running away (and NO playing a game of chase if she does).

    Are you addressing the counter surfing?
    I will try that. In the past, once her leash is on her, has laid down completely on the floor and wouldn't move at all. If I continued to walk, I would be dragging her across the floor, and then the concrete. I don't know if I should do that or not, if she is pulling?

    Yes, we are working on the counter surfing. Not visible in the picture, is a small stack of empty soda cans filled with coins. When she goes for one, she knocks the whole stack down and it makes a loud bang. That was just one of the ideas from the trainer we were working with for 6 months. She has gotten much better with the counter surfer. The day the picture was taken, I had to pull everything out of the cabinets under the sink so that maintenance could get to the pipes and disposal to fix. So everything was on that island. Gretel was good most of the day ignoring the stuff, however my husband went upstairs to bed and I went to take the garbage out and I came in and caught her counter surfer. We still have work to do with it. If you have any ideas, I would love to hear them.


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    #5
    I tried the sit & stay and hook her up to a leash to go outside. We did it twice tonight and it worked. She wasn't happy about it at all, especially having to do her business while attached to the leash. We will see how bedtime goes tonight and waking up tomorrow morning. I have an early morning appointment so I will be waking her up earlier than normal. Wish me luck!


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    Quote Originally Posted by Katiebeth86 View Post
    I tried the sit & stay and hook her up to a leash to go outside. We did it twice tonight and it worked. She wasn't happy about it at all, especially having to do her business while attached to the leash. We will see how bedtime goes tonight and waking up tomorrow morning. I have an early morning appointment so I will be waking her up earlier than normal. Wish me luck!
    After a while, you can try unhooking the leash once she gets outside, but only if she will return to the house with you as soon as she's done with her business, without being on the leash. If that works, then you can try having her sit and stay to wait for you, but skipping the leash. Hopefully, a couple weeks of using the leash will teach her that she goes outside, does her thing, and goes back in, so the leash will no longer be necessary.
    Science always wins over bullshit. ~Dick Rutkowski
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    #7
    Quote Originally Posted by villanelle View Post
    After a while, you can try unhooking the leash once she gets outside, but only if she will return to the house with you as soon as she's done with her business, without being on the leash. If that works, then you can try having her sit and stay to wait for you, but skipping the leash. Hopefully, a couple weeks of using the leash will teach her that she goes outside, does her thing, and goes back in, so the leash will no longer be necessary.
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    #8
    Quote Originally Posted by villanelle View Post
    After a while, you can try unhooking the leash once she gets outside, but only if she will return to the house with you as soon as she's done with her business, without being on the leash. If that works, then you can try having her sit and stay to wait for you, but skipping the leash. Hopefully, a couple weeks of using the leash will teach her that she goes outside, does her thing, and goes back in, so the leash will no longer be necessary.
    I've learned that you should make your dog sit and stay until you tell them to go any time they want to go out of the door. In addition to keep them from just running out the door, it also helps establish dominance, which is pretty important. In a pack, the alpha eats first and the rest have to wait until he is finished. It helps establish pecking order in the same way. In fact, I make my dog sit and wait until I tell him it's okay to feed him. Between those techniques and positive reinforcement, it's worked out pretty well.

    I'm interested to know exactly what does the trick though, since I dogsit so many dogs that do that. Keep us updated.
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    #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Ol' Grey Mare View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by jamielh92 View Post
    I've learned that you should make your dog sit and stay until you tell them to go any time they want to go out of the door. In addition to keep them from just running out the door, it also helps establish dominance, which is pretty important. In a pack, the alpha eats first and the rest have to wait until he is finished. It helps establish pecking order in the same way. In fact, I make my dog sit and wait until I tell him it's okay to feed him. Between those techniques and positive reinforcement, it's worked out pretty well.

    I'm interested to know exactly what does the trick though, since I dogsit so many dogs that do that. Keep us updated.
    Quote Originally Posted by villanelle View Post
    After a while, you can try unhooking the leash once she gets outside, but only if she will return to the house with you as soon as she's done with her business, without being on the leash. If that works, then you can try having her sit and stay to wait for you, but skipping the leash. Hopefully, a couple weeks of using the leash will teach her that she goes outside, does her thing, and goes back in, so the leash will no longer be necessary.
    I will definitely try that once we get this new routine down. I had an issue tonight. After I told Gretel to stay, after I got her to sit, I went to grab the leash from the table & she took off running around my downstairs. It's small and basically one big room downstairs, so she was running in circle around my kitchen island. I think she thought it was play time. Any tips for teaching a dog the difference between playtime and not playtime?


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    #10
    Honestly, to me it sounds like she might need some more stimulation. She is part cattle dog, which means she needs a lot of physical and mental stimulation. She could just be messing with you because she's bored. Kind of like how kids act up when they're bored.

    Is there a dog park near you? It sounds like she could benefit from a good off-leash romp. You can also try one of the Kong balls, which you can put treats in or even her dinner. There's one that's a square and it's like a puzzle for the dog apparently.
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