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Old 07-19-2011, 03:50 PM
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Ypsilanti,MI
bad habits

My male rottie is 6 months old. He is in obedience school,and is learning a lot of new things. Two habits I would like to break are pulling off couch/seat cushions and chewing them and counter surfing. Not sure how to break him of these 2 things. I have been putting bitter apple on couch cushions, and trying to have him leave it for the counters and cushions. Not working yet. Do other puppies have these habitsWhat did others do?
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Old 07-19-2011, 04:10 PM
jakesfostermom's Avatar
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Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: San Antonio, TX USA
Images: 26
Re: bad habits

Put him on a leash.....that is attached to can easily redirect and redirect and redirect your pup, if he's only got a 6' circle he can make around you....

On the counter surfing - the easiest fix is to remove anything of value from the counters - the desire to get up there will eventually go away on its own, if there is nothing there to snake......I have some other tricks that I use on adult dogs who surf, but wouldn't use on an impressionable pup, just yet.....they involve a bit of duct tape, some empty soda cans, and a 'set-up' - but again - not something I would do on a young pup - and 6 months is still a young pup.

You can also work on perfecting your 'off' command with him - and anytime he comes up on the counter, you can remove him, use a negative reward marker word like "wrong" - and tell him "off" as you remove him.....rinse and repeat......rinse and repeat - much like 'redirect and redirect and redirect' from above....

At his age - I would just surf-proof the counters and ignore the behavior....and offer a new 'interest' - like work on his recall to another room - where you offer a tasty treat, or a good scritch, or tug, or something else for him to think about....I wouldn't view these as 'bad habits you need to break' at this age - more like him exploring every aspect of his world, and his ability to 'reach/see' more of it now that he's consistently redirecting him, in a positive manner, will teach him that removing cushions, counter surfing, etc., isn't proper behavior.....and make sure you aren't giving him too much free/unsupervised access for his age....
Vicki & The Gang

Last edited by jakesfostermom; 07-19-2011 at 04:25 PM.
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Old 07-19-2011, 04:55 PM
BostonRott's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 1970
Location: Holliston, MA
Images: 7
Re: bad habits

I would suggest using a dog bed that you can easily drag from room to room. Train him, via clicker/treats to think the bed is an awesome place to be. When he's in the kitchen and you're prepping food, send him to his bed. Occasionally toss a treat that way, and keep the value for "being on the bed" high.

If you're gone, dog is crated. If you're not in kitchen, neither should the dog be. Crate, or use gaits. If the dog is not left out unattended, I don't see how the opportunity to steal couch cushions exists. If he's loose in the house, he should be in the same room as you. If not possible, or you're busy and can't keep an eye on him, into the crate with a stuffed kong or bone to chew on.
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Old 07-19-2011, 05:36 PM
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Hampton Roads, VA
Images: 2
Re: bad habits

The only way to fix these things, as others have already said, is just to watch watch watch! If you cannot directly monitor him, have him in a crate or a designated safe area that he can't get into trouble. Don't leave tempting things on the counter. At his age he is still trying to figure out the house rules, and if he gets "rewarded" with something yummy every time he counter surfs, he will continue the behavior. Always have a toy on you to redirect him. When my pup was younger, my living area was COVERED in toys - it looked like an at home daycare! But I wanted to make it VERY easy for him to do the "right" thing (grab a toy), as opposed to entertaining himself in other, less desirable ways.
It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. - Aristotle
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Old 07-19-2011, 07:00 PM
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Ypsilanti,MI
Re: bad habits

Thanks everyone. you all gave great advice.
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Old 07-19-2011, 08:21 PM
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: California
Images: 34
Re: bad habits

Is it sometimes an age thing that they grow out of? For example my girl likes to chew and mess with stuff. but the moment I say NO...she stops. I hate when she trys to tug at my pants but when she starts to do it I say No and she stops but after a while she will try it again?
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