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Old 07-08-2020, 02:01 PM
 
Location: Idaho
5,348 posts, read 5,330,401 times
Reputation: 10984

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Background: Have had my two rescues for about six months now. Both are now well-adjusted and seem happy enough. They were a bonded pair found wandering the streets together. The male is now two and a half years old and the female is now a year and a half old. Both were fixed/neutered before I took possession of them. The male is timid and cautious in uncertain situations, the female does not have an enemy in the whole world. Both close to 15 pounds each and was told that they are "Maltese mix", but I wonder about the male. He could be a maltipoo. The female looks very much like a Maltese.

1.) A few weeks ago, the male has become a very picky eater. I even "hand feed" him. I would hold the bowl for him while he picks at his food. I've tried different food, and some of his old favorites, (which I've been told isn't all that healthy).

He still loves treats, but I have to break them up into bite-sized pieces, (could it be an indication of teeth/gum problem?). He still devours any cheese I give him, (I know, not all that good for dogs, I only give them a little).

Should I take him to a vet to be checked out? His weight seems fine and he does eat the evening meal, (when I presume that he is hungry enough to eat - the old, "if he is hungry enough, he will eat").

2.) Second issue of which I seek input: one behavior of the female. How do I stop her marking inside people's houses? Outside, on walks, who cares. That's what dogs do. But inside someone's house? Totally embarrassing! She doesn't mark inside our own house, (new construction, so no prior dogs). Going into houses of family or friends, if I don't watch her like a hawk and/or keep her in my arms, and if my attention is diverted, she will mark the carpet somewhere in the house, some 'common' area, like under the dinning room table or the front room. It's to the point that I don't want to take her anywhere with me. (The male doesn't mark inside houses, our own or other's.)

Before this, I would not have believed that females "mark their territory". I thought that's what male dogs do. How can I stop this embarrassing behavior?

Thanks.
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Old 07-08-2020, 05:44 PM
 
Location: on the wind
11,756 posts, read 5,390,761 times
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Some females definitely mark, at least to prove they visited someone else's territory. One of my spayed female dogs did this all the time. She'd mark over another dog's mark of either gender. She even marked people or their possessions while in public (of course once I knew she would I kept an eye on her). She liked everyone. She'd cheerfully greet someone, but the next moment she might try to mark their shoe, a shopping bag, suitcase, even a coat lying next to them on the ground. I used to think she was just incorporating the person or their object into "her" world territory.

When you take your dog places you don't want her to squat, keep her leashed. If she tries, you can interrupt, distract, or correct her. Outdoors, cool. Indoors, not cool.

If your male dog wasn't eating at all, I'd be more concerned about tooth problems, but if he hasn't had his teeth examined or cleaned since you adopted them, maybe a good idea. Who knows what if any dental care he's had. Sounds as if he's training you to pay more attention to him; offering him food by hand, little treats, coaxing him, etc. When he doesn't eat, he gets something nice from you...attention, he does it again. You are rewarding him.

Last edited by Parnassia; 07-08-2020 at 06:36 PM..
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Old 07-08-2020, 10:45 PM
 
Location: Idaho
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Good thoughts. Thank you. Hadn't even considered he is "training" me. I'll have to put a stop to that. He frequently, (when I'm on the laptop or cell phone), puts his paw on my arm or leg. Wants me to give him attention instead of the electronic device. I understand that the 'paw on an arm' is a sign of dominance. If true, shouldn't allow that to happen either.
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Old 07-09-2020, 03:04 PM
 
Location: on the wind
11,756 posts, read 5,390,761 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by volosong View Post
Good thoughts. Thank you. Hadn't even considered he is "training" me. I'll have to put a stop to that. He frequently, (when I'm on the laptop or cell phone), puts his paw on my arm or leg. Wants me to give him attention instead of the electronic device. I understand that the 'paw on an arm' is a sign of dominance. If true, shouldn't allow that to happen either.
The problem is, how to discourage it without giving him what he wanted all along...attention. Attention can be positive or negative, but it is still attention. IME, ignoring unwanted behavior and praising wanted behavior is the key. If he puts paw on your arm completely ignore it or turn away, get up and ignore him. When he stops, goes away to amuse himself in some OK manner (nap, play with a toy, etc), praise him for that.

I assume you feed both dogs at the same time? Put his dish down with a food you know he's eaten before and leave it there for a reasonable amount of time. If he eats it great. Praise him. If he doesn't eat it, remove the bowl. Unless he has some health concern that dictates that he must eat something, don't feed him until the next meal time comes around. Bet a day or so of that will teach him to eat when an acceptable food is offered. The only problem that might come up is your other dog eating everything. You might end up with one fatter dog until he gets the message!

Last edited by Parnassia; 07-09-2020 at 03:32 PM..
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Old 07-09-2020, 03:26 PM
 
Location: Canada
6,364 posts, read 4,911,610 times
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Rule out your male having teeth or gum problems at the vet's or coul'd possibly be an ulcer? If all is good, he's just toying with you (spoiled).

The female: I have a friend with a Bichon. She is about 14, but has always marked things. My friend keeps her on her lap when she visits, or leaves her dog at home. Either works for me. She's a responsible owner.
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Old 07-09-2020, 03:26 PM
 
18,331 posts, read 15,389,964 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by volosong View Post
Good thoughts. Thank you. Hadn't even considered he is "training" me. I'll have to put a stop to that. He frequently, (when I'm on the laptop or cell phone), puts his paw on my arm or leg. Wants me to give him attention instead of the electronic device. I understand that the 'paw on an arm' is a sign of dominance. If true, shouldn't allow that to happen either.

Coming from a maltese/small dog?
No, he is just asking for your attention, but whether he just wants to be petted or it's something else that he is trying to communicate to you, is a big question.
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Old 07-13-2020, 05:43 AM
 
1,919 posts, read 1,115,249 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Parnassia View Post
Some females definitely mark, . . .
When you take your dog places you don't want her to squat, keep her leashed. If she tries, you can interrupt, distract, or correct her. Outdoors, cool. Indoors, not cool.

If your male dog wasn't eating at all, I'd be more concerned about tooth problems, but if he hasn't had his teeth examined or cleaned since you adopted them, maybe a good idea. Who knows what if any dental care he's had. Sounds as if he's training you to pay more attention to him; offering him food by hand, little treats, coaxing him, etc. When he doesn't eat, he gets something nice from you...attention, he does it again. You are rewarding him.
Quote:
Originally Posted by volosong View Post
Good thoughts. Thank you. Hadn't even considered he is "training" me. I'll have to put a stop to that. He frequently, (when I'm on the laptop or cell phone), puts his paw on my arm or leg. Wants me to give him attention instead of the electronic device. I understand that the 'paw on an arm' is a sign of dominance. If true, shouldn't allow that to happen either.
Quote:
Originally Posted by gouligann View Post
Rule out your male having teeth or gum problems at the vet's or coul'd possibly be an ulcer? If all is good, he's just toying with you (spoiled).

The female: I have a friend with a Bichon. She is about 14, but has always marked things. My friend keeps her on her lap when she visits, or leaves her dog at home. . . .
Don't sweat the "dominance" thing - he's communicating. Whether communicating at that moment, for that purpose, is appropriate or not? Up to you - but be consistent - and make sure there are cues he can understand. However, as for his training you - that is certainly the first thought I had! That isn't necessarily a bad thing. For instance, you probably would appreciate being warned when a stranger is at your door - or something is wrong when you get home. For that, the dog should bark. However, after that, the dog needs to be taught how much barking is appropriate, and when it is better to stop. Same thing with the paw. When is getting your attention useful and appropriate? Or even acceptable? I give my dogs some leeway to exercise their own judgement.

As for the vet, don't pass Go - go straight to the vet. Discuss all your concerns with the vet, even if that means repeating yourself because the vet tech sees you first. If you don't have a regular vet that you are comfortable chatting with, then now is a good time to start looking for one. I know of one vet where the vet tech should have gotten his DVM, he's that good - but mostly I prefer to share my concerns with the vet.

As for the marking. This girl was found wandering the streets - which probably means she had some time to learn feral behavior. You can't ever "unlearn" something once it's there. The best you can do is to redirect, but for this, I don't think you'll have much luck with that. And the only way you could even hope to redirect would be to follow Parnassia's and gouligann's advice to keep her on leash, and pick her up when appropriate. There is a good chance you will learn to anticipate when she is just about to squat and mark - but some dogs can get sneaky - and give little warning.

Back to the paw on the arm, and communicating. If you haven't already, you would be very well served to take a basic obedience class with the dogs. You'll want to do that with ONE dog at a time. Teaching two dogs at a time is WAY more complicated than one plus one. They distract each other - and these two will be especially bad about that, because they've grown up together for some of their youthful learning periods. However, training about the paw, and barking, is more advanced than basic. Personally, I just manage that type of lesson on a day to day basis, as things happen in regular living. This means that some issues may take, altogether, years to refine. You can do it much faster by setting up situations, and putting some effort into it. I'm too lazy, when I've already got a full schedule, to devote more time to such refinement. At least, not when the "problem" isn't a real problem for me - it's minor stuff. Anyway, I suppose my point there should be that training will be a lifelong experience for you and the dog. There's always something!

So, best to start out on the right foot, and get the basics down. Once you've done that, THEN, when you need the dog to refocus, or to redirect, you'll have tools to do that.
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Old 07-14-2020, 11:39 AM
 
Location: Idaho
5,348 posts, read 5,330,401 times
Reputation: 10984
Update:

Thank you all for your tips, help, and suggestions. Things are going better. Due to the current madness, I don't visit much right now and Julia hasn't had an opportunity to mark inside anyone's home. When the time comes when I do visit, I'll keep her in my arms/lap, (or in the back yard).

Gaius has settled down. I think he has just become a picky eater. I no longer hold his dish while he eats. I'll put the dish down, and he either eats or doesn't. If he is hungry enough, he will eat. For about two days, I didn't give them breakfast, so by dinnertime, they were more than willing to eat what was put down for them. I need to cut back on the amount I feed them anyway. At the initial vet wellness check after adopting them, the vet told me to get them up to 15 pounds each and keep them there. Both are several pounds above that now, so I really do need to cut back on their portions.

If Gaius doesn't eat, I can't keep his dish on the floor until he is ready because Julia will eat it quickly. She'll eat anything, and everything. Need to watch her. Both are adorable and lovable. Gaius is still a bit timid, especially around larger dogs. He's understanding that I won't let anything bad happen to him.

Thanks again, everyone.

p.s. On training. Going to wait awhile due to the current virus situation. They are doing well and I have been doing little "training" things as situations arise. For example, when out for a walk, if I put the leash on the ground, they both stay put until I get back, (to dump their poop bag in the trash or go to the toilet myself, (which they hate entering). I drop their retractable leash, and they just know to not move until I get back. Even with lots of people around, they stay put, even when I am out of their sight.
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Old 07-15-2020, 12:59 AM
 
Location: West Virginia
12,974 posts, read 33,887,468 times
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Feed her 1st then put her outside or in another room. Then feed him Leave the Room .. but dont go where she is. Then ignore them both till he is done. Once he done put them together & play with them or take them for a walk.
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