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Behavioral Issues Why does he do that?

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Old 20th May 2004, 07:34 AM
Axel's Avatar
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Location: North Carolina
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Question Puppy running from me when In trouble

Axel will come when he is called most of the time but when he has done something wrong and he hears me telling him "no" in my mad voice and I start walking towards him to get him he will run away and will continue to take off everytime I get close to him until he gets tired of running. I feel like a fool in my yard chasing a 4 month old puppy and only get more frustrated the more he runs. I feel like I am not in control. I have in the past been a little rough with him after he has done something wrong in the yard. Have I already ruined all chances of getting him to come even when he knows he is in trouble? Also how do I punish him after he runs?
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Old 20th May 2004, 09:33 AM
Join Date: Apr 2004
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Hey, who's in charge here?! :)

It sounds as if your puppy has come up with his own version of a few fundamentals. He associates mad voice with something negative. He knows if he runs away you'll chase him (what a fun game). He knows if you chase him, he'll be able to get away most of the time.

I wouldn't punish him after he runs, especially if you are chasing him down to punish him. Boxers are smart lil things and they soon learn what behavior gets the results they want. I bet Axel feels that he is in control right now. And I agree with you that it is very frustrating and embarassing when you can't get the pup to listen. I don't think your chances of getting him to ever come to you when called are ruined. What you will probably have to do is go back to "Basic Training", reward him like crazy for any positive behavior, and reinforce/test the newly learned behaviors throughout the day. If he won't come to you 100% inside the house, he won't do it outside. Leash him if you know he will not come when called to avoid reinforcing that he runs the show.

A book that has helpful information on training and re-establishing yourself as the leader is The Dog Listener by Jan Fennell. Many BW members have recommended this book. The chapter that specifically addresses your problem of off-leash recall is Chapter 12. The example dog did not come when off-leash. Jan had the owner establish herself as the leader (through a series of behaviors) and began with the dog always on a lead. As the dog performed the behaviors requested, he gained more freedom.

There are many more behavior "problems" addressed in this book that Axel may also be beginning to exhibit. I would definitely get my hands on a copy (library, bookstore, or friend's). I hope things between you and Axel start improving. Best of luck!

Old 20th May 2004, 12:02 PM
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Location: Albuquerque, NM
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My katie does this to me as well, of course i would be worried like you are but my son (skin kid) does the same thing! of course katie runs faster than my son, so i can catch him! But i agree with previous post she is probably thinking it is a cool game. When i caught on to this, i stand still, snap my fingers, and tell her to drop what she took and sit! 50-50 results on this but still working! good luck!

Old 20th May 2004, 12:35 PM
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Let me tell you that every single one of us has been there feeling foolish when dealing with our dogs...you just need to remember that when you have a young boxer pup, much of your personal pride is going out the window. You can do everything right and you will still be frustrated because a puppy is a puppy and they are learning.

First of all, what kind of negative behavior is he doing? You said "in the yard" so I'm wondering what he's doing in the yard--the type of bahavior will determine what your reaction should be. Secondly, how ARE you punishing your puppy? If your spanking or hitting your dog, then he knows that when you scold in your loud voice, pain will follow and if I were him, I'd be running too. When I catch my foster Torrie chewing my shoe (for instance) I clap loudly (i'm usually across the room) and tell her NO(I don't yell it either), then walk over and take the shoe away. The clap has her stopping the chewing and she isn't scared of me now, although the first couple of times I told her "No" she was a bit. I then put my shoes AWAY (where they should have been in the first place) and give her a toy of her own to chew. The ONLY time I am physical with my dogs (other than smooches and hugs, etc.) is the very few times they've gotten into a scuffle. Then I grab them and separate them, sometimes leading by the collar. Never ever hit and if you have before, stop now. Boxers are especially in tune to people and are very eager to please, and we all know they can be difficult at times, but you will cause many more issues to arise in your pup if you punish that way.

I agree with the suggestion that you should do some reading! The books recommended are great and you'll feel much more in control and you will be happier because of it.

Good Luck,

Boxer Luv Rescue

Old 20th May 2004, 01:24 PM
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Thanks Christine for the advice. What he does is i have a small garden on the side of my yard ( I know, I should have it fenced off) and he will walk through it and dig in it. When I tell him no he will stay there until I start to walk over to him. He will wait until I get close and then he will take off and not let me get him. I haven't ever really spanked him before. The times that he didn't take off I would pick him up roughly and walk him back into the house, and I would fuss at him the whole way back until we got in the house. Lately when I finally did get ahold of him I would just tell him "NO NO" in my mad voice. Any other time that I call for him he usually comes to me and when he does I praise him and give him a treat if I have one one me. It is only when he knows he is in trouble that he will run. I suppose I would run too if I knew that I was going back inside if I got caught, but I don't know the proper way to punish him for things like that. I don't want him to be afraid of me but I do want him to respect me. I just have to learn the proper way to disipline him.

Old 20th May 2004, 03:05 PM
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What you need to do is reward the good behavior and ignore the bad. You will get much more positive results that way. When he gets into mischief, it's you who should be punished, afterall he doesn't know any better and it was you who let him get into mischief in the first place.

Whenever he is out in the yard you need to be out there with him so that you can redirect his behavior when he starts to do something that you don't want him to. If digging is the problem, you need to make him his own spot when he can dig to his hearts content. You can hide some of his toys in it for him to find. When he start to dig in the wrong spot you just direct him to the correct spot and reward him for digging in the right place.

Good luck!
Allie, Fawn 04/28/13
Dante, Brindle 3/18/10 - Adopted 5/13/13
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Old 21st May 2004, 12:00 PM
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Oscar does the exact same thing. It is so frustrating. And it's really hard to ignore when he has flowers in his mouth from the plant he just destroyed. He has gotten better but some days I think he wakes up and thinks, "I'm going to be bad today."

Old 21st May 2004, 01:34 PM
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Axel will do the same thing. When he is in the garden he will ignore me when I am telling him "NO" and wait unitl I walk up to him before he takes off. Then he will turn around and its almost as if he is laughing at me.

Old 21st May 2004, 02:33 PM
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What is it with boxers and flowers? Bo can't seem to stay out of my flower beds. He'll walk all through them and just give me this look like he's saying "Hey mom! Look at me!"

Old 21st May 2004, 03:03 PM
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Why not fence off the area????? Even temporary fencing would work for the time being! That would solve the problem...you cannot expect a puppy to understand that concept---it's a PUPPY! Also, some flowers and plants can be very harmful for your pups (and even kill them if eaten) so just another reason to keep them out.


Old 20th June 2004, 10:17 PM
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I had a similar problem. Whenever my 4 mo. old pup would do something I disapproved of (such as stealing the kids' shoes while they're in the pool, haha) I would get very frustrated and angry, yell at her, snatch her up, bring her in the house, and put her in her crate for 15 minutes or so. Soon after, she began running all over the yard (and even the house) whenever she had done something and I told her "NO!". This continued for about 2 days. The guilt was terrible, as I realized that she had begun to fear me... Realizing that she is really just a baby, and I was acting like one, I immediately adjusted MY behavior.
I realized that if I am frustrated and angry, and I yell at her and snatch her up when I don't like something she's done, she may or may not learn not to do that, but she will learn to fear me and think 'something terribly frightening is going to happen to me and I should run!'. On the other hand, I can reward her for her good behavior, and respond to negative behaviors by being even-toned but serious, telling her "NO" and redirecting her attention, in which case she learns that she will get treats and petting when I am pleased with her and that what she was doing did not please me. I also now have a sense of humor about it. After all, she doesn't know any better, and it IS funny how she can sneak up undetected and steal a sandle or two from poolside.... hehe.
Now she comes bounding toward me whenever I call her, inside or out. A simple "NO" is all it takes most times now, and we are both much happier.
I am sometimes amazed at how much she has taught me...