Thursday, January 17, 2013

Leader of the pack

If you've read my blog for more than 2 seconds, you'd know that Jon and I are crazy about our first born fur-child, Ernie, the French bulldog. If you've met him before than you'd know that a great phrase to describe him is "Ernie, party of 1". He is so much fun yet so darn stubborn. He is a great listener and very obedient when he wants to be, but then knows exactly how to push our buttons. I take full responsibility for being the mushy, forgiving one out of me and Jon because you can tell he definitely respects Jon more, and tends to obey him way more than he does me. 

Lately, we've been having issues with Mr. Ernie when people come into our home. He will absolutely flip out and bark and the second they walk in, he is bouncing off the walls, jumping up on their legs and occasionally giving them the slightest nip, usually on the leg. It is incredibly embarrassing for me because it is a new change in his behavior. We finally put our foot down last weekend when he nipped our friend's leg when she came over. I hate blaming it on anything but him but Jon thinks it's because he is traveling so much that Ernie feels the need to be the dominant one in his absence. It's weird because it takes Ernie a few minutes to calm down and then he is good with our guests...it's just the very beginning that makes him go wild. Bulldogs also have the inborn desire for dominance that Jon and I felt like we did a good job of nipping in the bud early on.


I mean, you can't get any cuter than this...but I am so annoyed by his behavior. 




In the past few weeks I have tried locking him away in his crate (that we only use for time out) when I know people are coming over and giving him time to cool off but I don't want to have to do this forever. Jon's mother has always owned her own dog training and grooming business so Jon grew up around all sorts of dogs and situations. He has been doing lots of research and we are taking lots of recommendations from Cesar Milan on how to be the 'leader of the pack'. Ernie absolutely loves walks but he pulls and pulls, again- a sign of dominance. Since we've been doing some dominance exercises at home, I took him on a walk yesterday and already noticed a huge difference! He stayed by my side and only pulled 1-2 times. BIG improvement. He is starting to learn who's boss :-).

So anyone have advice for me? Ernie is such a delight and I love almost everything about him, I just know this needs to change ASAP. 



20 comments:

Jocelyn said...

I think it's good to continue the dominance training, and I would reprimand Ernie (quickly and strictly) as soon as he goes crazy with people coming in your house.

Barking and running around is one thing, but the biting is a really bad habit. Can you imagine if he would nip at your niece (especially if his teeth would draw blood through her delicate skin)?? I would do everything I could to break him of that habbit ASAP.

Amanda aka Manda said...

I have a similar problem with my dog, minus the nipping part. When people come over, especially a male, he flips out. Since I'm single, I figured it was because he thought of himself as the "Man of the House" and didn't think to much of it. Mine was solved by holding him whenever someone comes over, but he's only 10 lbs. I'm not sure what Ernie weighs. I hope the training works!

Gina said...

We have a boxer that is always 100 miles an hour the first 5-10 minutes someone comes in the door. He doesn't nip at them but he's all over them (wiggling, jumping, licking). We always try to tell the person walking in the door to ignore him until he sits down before they pet him. I would keep up with what you are doing.

KRISTIN said...

Oh Ernie! Sounds just like Bailey & I am totally the pushover too.

Liz said...

ohhh Ernie! How can you be mad at that little gorilla face?! :)

Carolyn said...

Cooper is a MANIAC when people come over. It's so annoying. :( But just like Ernie, he calms down after a couple minutes. Give me tips! HAHAHAHA

Janie Fox said...

I know all about having a husband who grew up with a professional dog trainer/handler in the family - my first was like that! However, sometimes its good to get outside training and/or advice. I am taking Lil'Guy (my puppy) to Petsmart out at the Bee Caves Galleria. The trainer out there is phenomenal!!! So just saying... What Gina said is a good point too - ignore the behavior (if you can) until he sits! i'm no expert, but she is!! Good luck, Ernie is adorable!!!

Mo (New on U) said...

It's funny that he acts differently when Jon is gone - my dogs do that as well when my fiance is out of town! I don't think it's a dominance issue with mine - they just seem more on edge and bark at every little noise when he is gone. It's crazy how much a disruption in the "pack" really affects them!

{[Jessica]} said...

oh Erine!!Sounds like he is very much trying to be the man in charge & wanting to protect you. I would not be handling any of that, jumping, licking and def. not biting.
But being honest, we got a doberman pinscher/rot mix (named trigger - not to mention we have 4 other dogs in the house) and without knowing the behavior of these dogs we quickly learned how they are extremely protective and will do just that..get all excited and nip. We finally got sick of it and couldn't trust him when people would go come over so we ordered a shock collar. The collar will let you determine the strength of it, and it has an awesome vibrate mode. We very rarely shock him but now he is trained that he goes to his bed in the house when shocked and knows not to get up until we say so..it might be something to look into just to retrain him to learn who is boss.

Hope this helps & hope you figure it out soon!! Don't want a problem if he bites someone and it draws blood and they need stitches.

Stephanie {Life, Actually} said...

I need to look into the dominance trainging with Walt. He ALWAYS jumps on people when they come in the door. I have to put him in his crate when there are a lot of guests because he's so hyper and will jump on everyone. :/

It's Sooo Fluffy! said...

I'm so glad you've seen improvement! He's sucha lil cutie, I can't imagine him being all crazy! I'm so glad my Brody knows I'm boss. ha. He gets SUPER excited when people come over or he sees anyone new for any reason at all, he kinda jumps up to get attention but is never aggressive. He usually calms down when I tell him not to jump on people. He's kinda a weenie :)

Jenna DeSantis said...

Ruthie,

I love your blog so much!! It is so entertaining. This post is hilarious, when in doubt, always quote Cesar Milan :-) He's so cute, it must be hard to train him seriously, I mean look at that face!!

Hope you don't mind, adding you to my Blogs I Adore page. Can't wait for the next post!!

xxo Jenna @ Demure in Diamonds {dot} com

Krista said...

Oh goodness! I need to read these tips on how to be the leader of the pack because Seamus does NOT listen. He will for a while but them after a week or so he will return to his old ways. I have got to find a solution. Same thing, he jumps up on people and constantly tries to chew on me and the boys. Ugh!

Good luck! I hope you find some answers (and please share if you do)!

Brittany said...

i had a long comment typed up and it didn't post :(

basically all it said was that we had that problem with our boxer. we took him to training at petsmart (highly recommend it). we taught him that if he wants attention or to be petted, he has to be sitting. even if a stranger comes up and asks to pet him, we make him sit before we tell them they can. at training, the employees would let us practice with them...they shook our hand, asked if they could pet him and we had him sit first; then if he stood up while they were petting him, they stopped until he sat back down. :) we gave lots and lots of treats (small chewy ones) while we were training him. (if you go to a petsmart and ask any of their employees if you can practice sit for greeting with them, they will do that...at least it's like that over here in florida.)

the trick is consistency...and lots of treats. :) hope that helps.

Carla Krause said...

Have you tried any dog training classes? It's great for socializing and training. We thought Bo was a pretty well behaved puppy till we took him to class and saw how he should behave. Just a suggestion. :)Hope Ernie can get past this.

lo @ crazy ever after said...

Hi Ruthie--I am terrible at commenting on blogs, but I follow you on Insta, as well read your blog when I can. I really wanted to chime in here. I have zero advice, but I do have a lot of experience with a nippy puppy boy. We have two dogs. One is an angel (like her momma) and the other is a hot mess (also...errr...like his momma). The hot mess one is a rescue so we baby him like crazy. He also recently got in an accident and the babying has reached an all time high. Ugh. If how we are with this dog is any indication on how we will be with kids...well Lord help us. Haha. Again, no advice from me. Just my sympathies. I will continue to follow along and hopefully you will blog about how you've cured Ernie of his nipping. Best of luck!!

Elise said...

One of my dogs, Ace, is a beast when he meets new people. He's cooled down on the jumping since he's gotten older, and I'm been really firm with him. He's also a Lab and they just want to please, so honestly I think that has been a factor.

As far as the walking and pulling, I tried all the dominance training for Ace, but nothing worked. Even my vets recommended training for him because he was so wild. I got him a Gentle Leader collar to walk with and it CHANGED HIS LIFE. Ace is super calm now when he walks and never, ever, ever pulls. He is very obedient and very submissive. I think the dogs can wear them for most of the day and it's not a muzzle. Ace only wears his on walks.

Hope you find something that works!

marla said...

Hi Ruthie - my sweet (English) bulldog boy acted very similar. We got a small squirt bottle (like you would use with laundry or your hair) filled it with water and squirted it at him whenever he acted up. It didn't take long before we just had to get the bottle out of the cabinet to settle him down as soon as he saw it. Good luck to you. Ernie is adorable.

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Dana said...

We have a harness for our Ruby for walks (choke collars did NOTHING for her) and that has really cut down on her pulling during walks. We also bought her a Thundershirt because she is SO anxious...scratching all the time and getting into things. That seems to have helped her overall naughtiness. Maybe Ernie is anxious when you have guests? Dogs are so hard to figure out sometimes...it's like having an infant only they get into trouble! Good luck with your fur baby!!

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