Need Help with Hav Psyco-ology - Havanese Forum : Havanese Forums
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-24-2012, 12:51 PM Thread Starter
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Need Help with Hav Psyco-ology

I've posted about our 3 year old female Hav not wanting to get her walking harness put on (runs to her crate) before, and it seems others on this forum have Havs with similar behavior. Now she has another odd behavior that I would like some insight on. It's similar to the first behavior, but this time it involves her retractable leash and collar.

We decided that as a daily routine, we would clip the leash on her collar and take her outside several times a day in the front yard to walk around, do her business, and generally smell the grass. The idea was to get her more used to being around others, traffic on our cul de sac, and people in the neighborhood. Again, it seems she doesn't want the leash clipped on. She will hide behind furniture, go in the other room, and generally avoid me whenever she sees the leash. This from a dog that can't get enough attention first thing in the morning. Once the leash is on, it's another story, can't wait to go.

Can anyone give me some insight into what is going on with her? What she's thinking, etc? She was the runt of the litter, and now weights about 11 lbs.

Thanks for any insight into this behavior that other forum members may have.
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-24-2012, 01:16 PM
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Brody does or did this. He always made me feel bad when he went and hid under the chair because he made me feel like I beat him or something! Anyhow, what I started doing was just grabbing the leash and then walking to the door. He didn't want to be left behind so he'd always come running right out from under the chair to the door and let me put the leash on him and off we'd go. Now it isn't really an issue. He will either just sit there when I grab the leash or he might go in a circle or two. Very occasionally he'll go under the chair, but he comes right out again.

I'm not sure WHY he did/does this. He's never had a bad experience with the leash and he's perfectly happy once its on.

He does other silly things too. At work he'll ask to go in his x-pen setup and then when I go to get him he goes under the chair next to it where I can't reach him. I can't tell if he's actually hiding from me or if he just doesn't get that I can't get him there or what because he DOES want in the x-pen. He's weird sometimes.

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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-24-2012, 01:55 PM
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I think it's really hard to figure out what's going on with behaviors like this over the internet. I think the best "advice" we could give you would continue gentle encouragement, lots of treats, etc.

If you really want to get to the bottom of it, and get some good advice on how to handle it better, it might be best to find a local positive-based trainer who can come to your house and actually WATCH what's going on before, during and after you leash her. An experienced trainer may pick up on subtle messages that you aren't seeing, and help you figure out the best way to improve the situation. Sometimes, all it takes is one or two consultations to sort out a single problem like this in an otherwise happy, well-behaved dog.

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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-24-2012, 02:05 PM
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yeah what Karen said is true. Sometimes it's something we don't realize that is making the process a little uncomfortable with your dog. Collars harnesses and even leashes can be aversive to dogs . Generally they become less avesive because of the positive association they create ,ie. walkies. Somewhere in the chain of proceedures something is spooky. Sometimes it's just that they are not comfortable. Here's a video that might help.

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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-24-2012, 05:43 PM
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my boys both do this with a leash... Cash, I understand... he prefers the yard to leash walks. But Jasper loves his walks!!!! and yet sometimes he does do the hide behind a chair thing. In our case, I suspect it is a control issue (Jasper thinks he is leader of the pack) he wants to go out, but on his terms. We do what Tracy does and bring the leashes to the door and then they both come running.

Missy, Jasper & Cash
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-24-2012, 10:26 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Missy View Post
my boys both do this with a leash... We do what Tracy does and bring the leashes to the door and then they both come running.
Knowing our dog, I suspect that she will not come running (at first) when we bring the leash to the door. Missy, did your boys ever stay back when you first did this? And how did you handle that? With treats? Our Button can be stubborn.....don't want to wait at door for ever before she decides to come to door. And, yes, she will avoid treats if she doesn't want to do something.

Thanks in advance for your reply.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-25-2012, 07:46 AM
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As of the past couple of weeks, Quincy has been giving me fits about putting on his collar and leash. He tries to bite it and wiggles around making it super hard to get it put on. I finally resorted to just going to the door like I was going without him and once he figured out I would leave without him, he sat and let me put them on. Funny thing is that we never had this problem before, it's very recent. He is now about 4-1/2 months old.
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-25-2012, 08:10 AM
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We as gently as possible just got them and put the leash on, made it all business and did not play the game. Jasper is a stubborn independent dog too... He is not treat driven. Cash on the other hand is. So for Jasper the reward was the walk itself, for Cash it was treats during the walk. Can you make the walk more exciting.... Can you take button down the street? No new smells in the front yard. also as you walk make it fun. praising button as she(he?) trots along with you. Jasper was a puller, so we tried to use other methods...Jasper absolutely hated a harness, and he hated the gentle leader. So for us, a leash was the answer. We hated that he was hating the one thing he truly loved! Can you add a phrase to signal to button what a good time she is gonna have? Ours is "wanna go for a walk?". All we now have to say now is "wh" and Jasper gets excited.

It is a lot harder with an independent non treat motivated dog. You have to work harder. I also found through the years (the boys are 5 & 6) that a non food motivated dog may be being fed to much... A tiny bit less at meal times makes treats that much more of a treat. And also, making treats fun. We do tricks with the boys. They know the treat tin means fun and the tricks they do with us, are just as important as the treats they get. But when they hear the treat tin.. They know something good is coming.

Is button new to you? Or have you had her for 3 years? If adopted you need to be patient, and build a trust. If this is new, is something new to your routine? If this has happened for a while, it could just be a learned behavior, that needs to be unlearned.

Hope this helps.

We need pictures of Button.

Missy, Jasper & Cash
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-26-2012, 09:53 AM
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Maddie's other parent bought a retractable leash and she was totally afraid of it for some reason. She was about a year and a half old and has no problem with the regular leash. I think it snapped once or something. I don't really like those kind anyway. They can be dangerous.

Maddie at 5mo old
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 08-27-2012, 02:16 PM Thread Starter
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Missy--sure we can take her down the street and do almost every day. The first half of the walk she wants to turnaround and go home, but after halfway, she is a puller and is out front heading for homebase. Our front yard is large (1 acre) so there should be plenty of different smells there. Since there is no fence in the front, we keep her on the retractable leash--it keeps her independent but also keeps her with a connection to us. She likes to keep us in sight (very slight separation issues).

I don't think feeding her too much is an issue either, she is not a food lover. We provide feed every day (two times a day), but she is typically on a 2 or 3 day cycle of eating. I've seen her turn her nose up at freshly boiled chicken pieces...and at other times gobble down two of them.

No, Button is not new to us. We've had her since a puppy, so maybe whatever the behavior is it is learned. I think it might be a power-control thing, since once hooked up she is ready to go.

Thanks for everyones' help on this.

BTW, here is a picture!
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