Training a fearful, but not aggressive chow mix

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kprice
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Training a fearful, but not aggressive chow mix

Postby kprice » Sun Apr 14, 2013 7:04 pm

Lily is two and a half. She was born in the desert to a stray chow mix. We suspect she may be part coyote. She is and always has been very skittish. She is afraid of strange , but hahas gotten better as she's gotten older. We still have to muzzle her at the vet, because she nips in fear. She has warmed up to my husband, my mom, and even some of my teenage kids's friends. She's never been aggressive or dominant. She gets along great with my make boxer. But she's scared of a lot of things, and will even cower if I lecture the kids in a certain tone of voice.

We adopted her from friends who rescued her litter from the desert. She was never abused. Her littermate is reportedly pretty skittish as well, though not as much as she is. Behaviorally speaking, my issues are that she jumps on me and people she's not scared of. I want to teach her basic obedience and manners (stay off couch, etc), but because she's so fearful, I'm not sure where to begin. She is very loving and affectionate, but I also want to teach her not to give kisses unless given the okay.

I thought I should check out something breed specific, but other than potty training very easily, she doesn't show a lot of typical chow traits. She's not very big, maybe 35 pounds, and I can control her fine on walks and stuff. But I can't get her to stay off of me or the couches. She knows she's not supposed to get up there, because when I catch her, she exposes her belly to me and waits for me to pull her off by the collar. For what it's worth, I know I'm to blame for not training her earlier. But does anyone have any suggestions as to a particular method of training?

Rory's Dad
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Re: Training a fearful, but not aggressive chow mix

Postby Rory's Dad » Tue Apr 16, 2013 5:15 pm

I would immediately start with a reward type training program. More to deal with the trust/skittish issues than the couch.

Find a small, bite sized treat that she is fond of. I use Train-Me treats, which are pea sized and come in a couple different flavors for everyday, in the house type training. Outside the comfort zone, something a bit more special may be needed (string cheese is popular at my place).

Work with the very basics. Teach her that actions have reward. Sit, down, stay, etc. Give the command one time and give her a treat when she responds appropriately. She may respond to hand signals quicker than vocals, but use both at the same time. Use the same stern (but not yelling) voice you would use with children for these commands.

For other actions, like come, you will want a more coaxing tone.

Once she works for the reward with you, have other people do it. She needs to learn that there are trusted people outside the immediate family.

As for the couch, and jumping up on you. Since she has already learned these behaviors, you need to unteach her, which is a longer process. The good news is she already knows its not favored. Start by not scolding. If you dont want her jumping up on you, simply back away until her paws are on the floor again. Do not reward or scold. Redirect her to doing something positive that does result in a treat. Same with the couch. Command her 'off'. No treat or affection. Then have her do something else and reward her for the positive.

Rory's Dad
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Re: Training a fearful, but not aggressive chow mix

Postby Rory's Dad » Tue Apr 16, 2013 5:17 pm

Oh, and just a thought. Be consistent. Do not use "down" and "off" interchangeably. They are different things. Off should mean all four feet on the floor. Down is lie down.

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Cam Atis
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Re: Training a fearful, but not aggressive chow mix

Postby Cam Atis » Thu Apr 25, 2013 3:49 am

You can take your cue from her cowering when you are lecturing your kids. Stay away from that tone. A little lower pitch than that. Work on it (voice pitch). You teach by ignoring her when you dont want that specific behavior. I know you are bound to melt and stoop and give her a belly rub or give in. But if you want some structure, you must ignore and reprimand in a steady tone that doesnt freak her out.

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Cam Atis
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Re: Training a fearful, but not aggressive chow mix

Postby Cam Atis » Thu Apr 25, 2013 3:54 am

I dont think she has coyote blood. Different but related species dont interbreed unless forced by the circumstances such as in captivity


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