AdministratorDecember 19, 2016 at 6:07 pm121211100
You are on the right track by trying to identify what the causes of your problems are. For sure the leadership exercises will be critical here. It sounds like a pack of dogs that are mainly fending for themselves and worried about their resources and their safety.
When you say the squirrel do you mean an actual squirrel or a squirrel toy?
Either way, you want to put yourself in a position of “providing” for them. It sounds like the dogs are mostly what we would call “entitled” and “not provided” for with some of their needs. If they are calling the shots and worried about protecting or not getting their things, there is going to be a lot of related issues.
What you need before anything else is to start getting a baseline of all their bad behaviors and their needs. Download and print a habitation chart here or make one yourself. Write down EVERYTHING that goes on with them. When they eat, when they go outside, when they play, when they do BAD behavior…EVERYTHING to get a base. Even if they solicit affection write it down. You need to get an idea of much your dogs naturally seek out their needs and when and what the bad behaviors are so we can work on a plan to replace the bad behaviors with good ones that fulfill the same need.
We will also need to put those needs on your schedule and not theirs. Charts work great to see progress. You can also snap a photo of the chart or upload digitally filled out ones if you want to share and troubleshoot.
For sure, get them all on a feeding schedule as a priority. Feed them at the same two times that work for YOU, give a set amount of time for them to eat in separate areas, and then pick it up. Don’t feed again until next feeding time. Trust me dogs will not let themselves starve to death even if they pick for a week.
This will also get them ready to appreciate food more in training and if the food is not the most motivational their is always affection if we control it properly. Love, play, and food are the big three for training motivators.
If we can establish a routine of “leading by making decisions for the group” and controlling the limited resources (dominance). You will be in a natural and easy position to motivate them to change behaviors based on your guidance. The fact that a dog may have more sensitive environmental nerves will work in your favor anyway since they will appreciate the guidance when you show you want to lead in a fashion the dogs understand.
Please let me know if you can get to the chart and get a base for a couple of days as to what is going on.