My Out of Control Brittany

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Scarlett
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My Out of Control Brittany

Post by Scarlett »

This may not be the place for this, but I thought I would try. I have a 1 year old Brittany Spaniel (1- year on January , that we have had since she was 8 weeks old.) She is an outside dog with at least a 1/2 acre back yard.

I am at my wits end. I have pretty much decided that we will have to build her a pen with a concrete floor and keep her there when we are gone or when she starts misbehaving....she has destroyed our back yard. She had dug big holes all over the yard, up next to the house, under the laundry room porch (wooden porch), to the extent the porch is in danger of collapsing. She has dug out of the yard in two places and into the neighbors yard in about 10 places. All along our fence line next to the neighbor with a dog there is just one hole after another that we have to fill up with bricks and big rocks. She digs up next to the house, all over the yard...it is just terrible. She just turned a year old, so I keep hoping she will grow out of this behavior, but I can't take much more! She has destroyed two small trees we planted in the back yard as well.

I think her behavior has been worse now that it is cold and ds is not out there with her as much.

Oh, and the other thing is she humps my ds! It is so disgusting, but I think it is related to a dominance issue...??? Does anyone know? She has had one cycle already but I don't know if it is related to that or not. She is fairly aggressive with him, to the point he doesn't like to stay out there and play with her. She isn't mean at all....just so playful but she knocks him down, tugs on clothes, his hat, his hood, his gloves, whatever she can get her teeth into. She will run past him 100 miles per hour and sort of brush into him, but the force is so much it knocks him down. And he is a big almost 5 year old.

Anyway, I am frustrated. I always thought it was cruel to put a dog in a pen....but I don't know what else to do. Dh is fed up too and I don't want to have to get rid of her.

If anyone has any helpful hints please email me at scarlettmom@cox-internet.com

Thank you.
Scarlett

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Post by Jen »

Scarlett,

It sounds to me like you have a bored brittany. Brittanies are people dogs and even with a large back yard to play in, without their people around they have to entertain themselves.

I would sugggest getting her some mental stimulation and some physical exercise. You may be able to do both with a LONG walk or run. If you can't get out to wlak her every day, try a game of fetch or frisbee. But definately give her daily exercise and some "fun" toys to play with while she's outside. I sure other will chim in with thier ideas and what has worked for them, but one that has worked for many of us is a kong filled with peanut butter, or a bone filled with peanut butter.

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Post by Karen_P »

Scarlett, I'm going to say the first thing that came to mind reading your post:

Make your girl a house dog so she gets to spend more time with her people, teach her to play fetch so you have a fun way to burn off her energy, crate her when you can't watch her and get her to a really good obedience class. You must exercise her mind as well as her body and obedience and possibly agility would be wonderful for this. Digging is a really fun activity for a bored Brittany, and even when caught in the act, it's a very hard behavior to change. You can try putting a pile of her poo in the holes when you fill them in...I've heard it can be a deterrent. Do obedience drills with her 3-4 times a day for 15 minutes at a time. Work on sit-stays...they take a tremendous amount of concentration on the dog's part and tires them out. Teach her tricks like shake and balancing a biscuit on her nose.

She's a little young to be exhibiting dominant behavior, so my guess is the humping is a result of excitment. If she gets to spend more time around people, the humping may let up a bit, and gentle corrections will let her know you don't appreciate the behavior.

Do this, and you'll have the most wonderful and loyal family companion you could imagine.
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Post by Myra »

A big ditto to everything Jen and Karen said!

Also, you said she's had one cycle already --- I'm assuming that means she hasn't been spayed yet? I'd get that done yesterday. :wink: It's not a cure-all for the humping, but it is possible that spaying will help, plus she'll be a much healthier dog in the long run.

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Post by Karen_P »

Another note on the spaying...it wouldn't be the first time a bitch in heat was bred through a chain link fence. I think I'd spay her to be safe.
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Post by Scarlett »

Thanks for all the replies. First of all, what is a kong?

Myra, I planned to let her have litter of pups...I suppose that is a big no-no on a Brittany Rescue site....and the man I got her from said it is best to wait til she is 2 to have a litter.

As far as the boredom....I have to say I am beginning to think we are not the right family for this dog! :( I have an energetic boy, who will be 5 in March and he spends several hours a day with her---at least 4 days a week on average.

I am off to re-read my dog training book and have to admit that I have not spent the time with her that I should have. She is very bright....Sunday when my dh was out covering up the holes she had dug, she would look at a hole (or freshly packed dirt) and then look at the window where she knew I was. She would walk to the fence (where she often digs under to get to a neighbors dog) look at the fence and then look back at me. So I know she is smart.

What do you guys think about the shocker collar?

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Post by Dave »

The gals have covered this well :D I would suggest having her spayed . I don't want to start the debate about spay/neuter but generally they have less problems with male dogs hanging around when she's in season and on and on ...JMHO .Also going to an obedience class with others will bond you closer as well as socialize your dog with other dogs and people . 8) Dave

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Post by Scarlett »

One more thing....she is excellent in a crate. That is the only way my dh will allow her in the house. Letting her loose in the house part of the time is out of the question. I just wanted to let you guys know that she she does have some great points. If I open the door to house she goes straight for her crate and doesn't make a sound until I open it up to let her out again. She goes all night easily with no problems and occassionally I have left her there during the day (if it is storming or some bad weather) for 5 hours or so.

I have almost totally trained her to not jump up on me....so I know she is trainable.

I am frustrated with the yard situation and her escapes...but I do love her.

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Post by Lisa »

I'm gonna have to echo what Karen said about making this girl a house dog if at all possible. Brits are people dogs...they misbehave when left alone either out of boredom or a desire to try and get to their people. If you're worried about her destroying things in the house, or pottying in the house, then crate train her and supervise when ever she's out. This girl just sounds really bored...which means she'll make her own fun.

Edit: I started typing before you're last post! :D It's great that she's crate trained...maybe she can start working on a little freedom in the house now. Also, gotta agree with the others about spaying her. Responsible breeding is a lot of work and can get very expensive (especially if there are complications). If anything goes wrong, you always run the risk of death for your girl. And I'll just leave it at those few sentences.

On the issue of humping....I think too often, too many things are chalked up to dominance. My personal take would be that she's either very excited or very stressed. To be honest, I have only seen one dog actually hump others as a dominance act, and she only does it to other dogs, never humans. Typically, the behavior is done simply because it's pleasurable to the dog and the dog does not know that the human considers it inappropriate, or because the dog gets attention for doing it. Perhaps the next time she does this, you can work on teaching her a new behavior. Teach her an incompatible behavior such as a sit or a down for attention, and don't reward her until she's in that sit or down. Right now, she finds humping the most rewarding behavior, because she's getting attention for it (even negative attention such as scolding is still attention). Instead, have her sit before you pet her...any other behavior gets ignored.
Last edited by Lisa on Mon Jan 31, 2005 7:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Dave »

I type too slow :? I wouldn't use a shock collar unless you have a professional dog trainer train you on it's use . They are an effective tool used properly , but you can make a paranoid dog if it isn't . We have several Breeders that post here all the time and I'm sure it isn't taboo to post about breeding your dog here , but I'd think long and hard about why you want to breed her if you are having trouble with her adolescent behavior . We do have a lot of Brittanys in rescue because of Breeding for the sake of :?: That's another subject though . 8) Dave

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Post by Karen_P »

Think about installing invisble fence along with your regular fence. You can set it so she can't get within 3-4 feet of the fence, therefore no more digging out. Innotek makes a contain and train version (invisible fence and e-collar built into one), but I would urge you to seek the help of a pro trainer if you intend to use an e-collar. If used incorrectly, it will create behavior problems rather than solve them.

I'm sure your little girl has many wonderful points! Why won't your DH allow her house privileges outside her crate?
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Post by Scarlett »

Dh is dead set against animals in the house....she is pretty dirty too from all that digging... :wink:

You guys have given me so much useful info! I am on the phone right now checking on obedience classes......sounds like you all t hink that would be the better choice over a shocker collar. And honestly, if I see her digging so that I could zap her, I can just as easily get her to stop with a rap on the window pane. Altthough I guess that is not so painful to her as a zap would be. Anyway, the classes would help socialize her which I am gathering she needs.

As far as gradual house priviledges outside the crate........how do I house train her so that she doesn't potty in the house while out of the crate? That would send dh over the edge.

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Post by Lisa »

how do I house train her so that she doesn't potty in the house while out of the crate?
Here is an excellent article regarding how to house train your dog. While it was written with puppies in mind, the same priciples can be applied to an adolescent dog as well. http://www.clickersolutions.com/article ... etrain.htm

The article is rather long, but an excellent read.

The basic idea, though, is to supervise your dog...leash her to you when you can watch her, crate her when you can't. Take her out on a regular schedule, and praise like crazy when she goes outside. If she goes inside and you catch her in the act, get her attention (call her name, clap your hands), then hustle her outside. If she finishes outside, praise like crazy. If she goes in the house and you don't catch her, clean it up and scold yourself for not watching her better. Don't scold the dog after the fact...she'll just learn to potty when you're not looking and to be afraid of you.
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Post by Karen_P »

If it were me (keeping in mind that I'm divorced and answer to no one but myself and my check book :) ), I'd sneak her in while DH is at work and work on house manners and housebreaking. You'll find that she's up and moving when you are, and she'll take a nap when you're not moving around.

She should already be 80% house broken...she keeps her crate clean and goes outside now. It should be a small step to teach her the house is not for potty.

Pick up a bottle of Nature's Miracle (carried at most pet stores) just in case she has an accident. If you're concerned, bring her in while your doing dishes and cooking at first. Keep her on a leash with you and take her out every 45 minutes to an hour. Privileges should be earned. If she takes a cat-nap, she needs to go outside immediately after she wakes up.

And remember, dogs thrive on structure and limits. Mine are not allowed on the furniture (except my son's bed) and are not allowed in the living room, dining room or bedrooms when we're not home (I shut doors and babygate part of the house off with the help of indoor invisible fence).
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Post by Scarlett »

Well, I did give him the highlights of all your responses......which carries the theme of 'she is a social dog and wants to be near humans!' He will be home tomorrow and I will be gone (a rare circumstance), so I told him to bring her in and crate her while he works at his desk and she will be happy to be near him. This is contrary to what we were raised on, which is dogs want to be free outside to run and play, but honestly I know for a fact she LOVES her crate and she loves to be near me.

Thanks for all your help people. This is a great site.

And I am rethinking the breeding....I wanted my ds to experience it....my onw mutt having a litter of pups is one of my fav childhood memories...but he doesn't have to share my good memories to have a happy childhood.

She has NEVER gone potty in her crate. So house training fully should not be that difficult.

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