Scruffing
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Thread: Scruffing

  1. #1
    love_our_pup's Avatar
    love_our_pup is offline Junior Member
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    DefaultScruffing

    We take Peyton's collar off at night, and it doesn't always get put back on first thing in the morning. There have been a few times, when he didn't have his collar on, that I have needed him to stop doing something (getting too wild, biting at the kids), or I have needed to move him when he doesn't want to (when we are cooking and he's underfoot in the kitchen). I grab the scruff on the back of his neck and guide him that way, not hard enough to hurt him at all. He will spin around, yelp, and try biting my hand. I have had dogs my entire life, I have done this more times than I can count, and I have never had a dog react this way. I know I am not hurting him - if we do this when we are playing, or when nothing is going on, he doesn't react at all. I've tried doing it over and over again when he's calm and praising when he doesn't react. Any other advice?

    Does this have nothing to do with me grabbing his scruff? Maybe he just doesn't want us to stop him from continuing the bad behavior? We have no other aggression issues with him, this one surprises me. It just happened when he got up on the couch soaking wet from the rain - I told him off, he didn't listen, so I was trying to get him down. He spun around and bit my hand, then immediately let go and knew he had done something wrong. He ran into his kennel and is sulking right now.
    Kim
    Mom to 4 not-so-furry kids and
    furbaby Peyton - 6/9/2013


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  3. #2
    Beerfish's Avatar
    Beerfish is offline Senior Member
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    Just my opinion but if your dog is getting under foot at inappropriate times then it should be in the crate. It should be a VERY RARE occasion that one has to grab a scruff of the neck and if the dog is yelping and biting you are other hurting it or scaring it. If you keep it up don't be surprised if that particular dog starts shying away whenever anyone reaches down towards it. All dogs are not the same and especially young pups.

    Keep the collar on or put the dog in it's crate. Don't make it pay for being a pup.

  4. #3
    Diesel_Dawg is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beerfish View Post
    Just my opinion but if your dog is getting under foot at inappropriate times then it should be in the crate. It should be a VERY RARE occasion that one has to grab a scruff of the neck and if the dog is yelping and biting you are other hurting it or scaring it. If you keep it up don't be surprised if that particular dog starts shying away whenever anyone reaches down towards it. All dogs are not the same and especially young pups.

    Keep the collar on or put the dog in it's crate. Don't make it pay for being a pup.
    Well said. Just wanted to emphasize to never leave the collar on when your pup is crated or left alone in the house.

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  6. #4
    love_our_pup's Avatar
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    I choose not to crate my dog at every moment I don't want him underfoot - he has to learn to stay out of the kitchen when we don't want him in there. We do the same thing when any of us are eating at the kitchen table. He has learned out and stay, he's just not dependable with the commands yet. I know it's personal choice on how and how often to use the crate, we only use it when we are not home. He does not shy away from us and won't shy away from us, because we don't do this every time we reach for him. It's only on occasion. I want him to be able to deal with this, as everyone has a (rare) occasion that they have to grab their dog without a collar on. I might be scaring him, but he can't react with aggression every time he is scared, either.

    And I'm most definitely not making him pay for being a pup. There isn't a pup out there that wouldn't want to have this pup's life - love, good food, good treats, lots of exercise, and 4 kids that adore him. Please don't make it seem as though we are abusing him because I scruff him when I have to.

    We don't leave collars on all the time, that's not an option for us. I had a friend whose two dogs had their collars on all the time - one time, when the dogs were playing, one dog got his bottom jaw caught under the other dog's collar. The owner didn't realize there was a problem until it was too late, and the dog was choked to death because the other dog kept pulling, trying to get his jaw unstuck. A 3-year-old chocolate lab. With accidents like that in mind, his collar is off when he is in his kennel and at night when he sleeps in our bed.

    I was asking for help on curbing his reaction to something that could be done by someone else, heaven forbid he ever got out of the yard (or slipped through an open door) without a collar on. That's not my plan, but I'll admit that we don't have 6 perfect people in this house.
    Kim
    Mom to 4 not-so-furry kids and
    furbaby Peyton - 6/9/2013


  7. #5
    Diesel_Dawg is offline Senior Member
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    Do what works for your dog, but being a new member get used to people having opinions of what you post. Not everyone will raise a dog the way you would and vice versa. Unless someone outright says what you are doing is abusing your dog, don't take it there by assumption. Everyone who takes the time to post advice here does so because they care, not because they're trying to be a jerk.

    Any physical correction should be a last resort. Not just for how it could actually create more behavioural problems. There will be times when you are not within reach of your dog, your command with the right tone and eye contact should get the job done. Physical correction has the same downfall as over treating while training. What happens when you run out of treats? Your dog will have selective hearing and will completely disobey.

    I agree that he has to get used to the busy household, but you also have to get used to a puppy being a baby and pushing boundaries. Grabbing the scruff or even the collar is not a correction, it's your reaction to an undesired behaviour. If you use it every time he does anything you dislike or to control him your punishment has no meaning or reinforcement.

    Has he been to obedience class yet? What commands have you taught him? The word "no" is a very broad command, so definitely don't use that for everything. Grabbing the scruff is much the same. Grab for jumping on the couch, grab for nipping ankles - those are two completely different offenses and the same correction should not be used.

    Diesel was a handful to raise and never as he was a growing pup did a scruff grab or shake become necessary. He's 3yrs old now, the only time I had to scruff him was this year when he started acting up towards other dogs on our walks. I put him in a sit, pinched his scruff when I saw his body language start towards barking his face off and it stopped it immediately. Now I don't even have to pinch, I just pet his neck along with the "leave it" command and he doesn't start. Though the scruff was a last resort after many different types of correction involving various commands or avoiding the situation altogether which isn't always possible. An e-collar was suggested to another member whose dog was doing this very thing, so I'd like to think a little scruff grab in conjunction with a command for this specific behaviour in lieu of a $300 shock collar was the best route to go for us.

    Again, ultimately you will do what works for your dog, but clearly grabbing his scruff whether it hurts him or not is not working so I suggest obedience classes and working on commands. Repeatedly. Spend a good 15min at a time teaching him.
    Last edited by Diesel_Dawg; 09-16-2013 at 03:28 PM.

  8. #6
    BigBrownDog is offline Senior Member
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    I would highly doubt that grabbing a scruff actually hurts much if it hurts at all. Who here has not know a dog that was a drama queen?

    I suspect that he is possible overwrought/overexcited and the 'turn and bite' when the OP grabbed him by the scruff was borne of that state. My reaction to that behavior would have made a major impression on the puppy (would have been dramatic, loud and very clear in my unhappiness) and he would have been removed from the group.

    I would doubt that this would reoccur, but if controlling the dog when the collar is off is a problem, maybe put a harness on him for that purpose when in the house. I have one on my toy dog 24/7 (soft mesh with a shoulder closure) and it is an amazingly convenient handle.
    Sharon, Blaise and Diesel.

  9. #7
    love_our_pup's Avatar
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    He knows sit, stay, down, off, shake, speak, leave it, drop it, come, kennel, no biting, no barking... At 14 weeks, he doesn't do these without fail, but I think he's coming along very nicely. As was said previously, no two dogs are the same and we can only compare him to what he was doing a few weeks ago. He's gotten a lot better about nipping, but he's a puppy and has moments of temporary insanity. I don't grab him unless he's just won't listen and there is no other way, especially if he's nipping one of the kids (very rarely happens anymore). I didn't mean to make it sound like we do this all the time.

    I understand tone is lost in a post online. What some may consider blunt and to the point, others may consider rude and condescending. I have spent plenty of time looking over this forum, and I would give the same answer many of you give to a lot of the questions. Dog runs away when off leash, don't let it off the leash. Dog isn't acting right or not eating, take it to the vet. But there are tactful ways to respond to questions, without making the person asking feel stupid. If someone is truly looking for help, it doesn't help to make them mad or feel bad. Just my opinion.
    Kim
    Mom to 4 not-so-furry kids and
    furbaby Peyton - 6/9/2013


  10. #8
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    Sharon - A harness would be a good compromise for him to wear around the house, great idea! I have hesitated to buy one for walks, as it's been my experience that a dog that is prone to pulling will pull harder with one on (we had an Akita, she considered a harness a challenge to pull harder). I'll stop by the store and get one this afternoon. My response was very loud and he was not happy about it - he was still in his kennel sulking when it was time to take my daughter to school, so I just shut him in.

    I'll have to look for the soft mesh harness you mentioned. Thanks again!

    Edit to fix typo...
    Kim
    Mom to 4 not-so-furry kids and
    furbaby Peyton - 6/9/2013


  11. #9
    LuvBrown is offline Senior Member
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    I vote for Drama Queen. You aren't hurting the dog and there is nothing wrong with grabbing the scruff when necessary. The pup is being a brat, and when you grab him and stop it, he cries out with frustration. If my dogs don't have a collar on and I need to grab them for whatever reason, I grab whatever I can reach. It may be an ear or a leg.

    If you are training a pup you might be better off leaving the collar on since it sounds like you have corrections to make. If you are taking it off at night due to a crate, put the collar ON the crate and just remind yourself to do it each morning.

  12. #10
    J.R.&JNE's Avatar
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    Although, you might not be physically hurting the dog, perhaps the dog is fearful, shocked, feelings hurt, pride hurt, etc. One of my dogs is a people pleaser and the other one is as stubborn as a mule, so I try to learn different ways of interacting with each of them.


    J.R. and June


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