Attention Seeking Puppy - Golden Retrievers : Golden Retriever Dog Forums
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-24-2013, 07:39 AM Thread Starter
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Attention Seeking Puppy

Hey All

We've had our Retriever Murray 4 or so months now. But he still won't behave outside. It is so bad that this year mum has had to stop taking him out altogether! Because she has arthritis in one hand and while walking the dog he saw another dog and went nuts. He pulled the lead right out her hand and chased after the poor thing and its owner! They had to cross the road and run to get away from him she tells me!. Once she finally got him back to our street he saw the neighbours children getting out of a car and he absolutely lost it again! He ripped the lead out of her hands and ran after them barking! They had to flee into their house to escape him!.
Not that he is vicious. He just thinks everyone is playing with him all the time!!.

Needless to say mum has been so embarrassed ever since that she refuses to take the dog out altogether!.

Usually he is alright in our living room but sometimes he can be pretty bad! When we had family over around Christmas he was endlessly trying to jump up on them. I kept pulling him off and telling him no and to go and lie down. But he was having none of it. Even the treats and chews were not getting him to settle down!.
I don't think my aunt was actually able to sit down at all that day. She had hoped he would eventually tire himself out. But once she'd had enough she just had to walk out!.

The second time my relations were over we had to lock the dog upstairs!. But he would not stop barking!. Again he was not responding to the treats.

That day my relations suggested we get him a no-bark collar but it is not the barking that is the problem!. He just seems to get excited far too easily. Especially around people. His problems with getting excited can be so bad that when I come in after being out all day he will actually pee the floor? And he stalks me constantly as though I brought him a whole chicken for him to eat?

Anyway today I had him down the country park for the first time and he was absolutely unbearable. I try to persist and tell him off in hope he will see these strangers have no interest in him. But he was a nightmare. He was literally launching himself at people and when strangers were walking behind us I tied to change path and redirect his attention but instead he was just refusing to walk altogether and he would actually lie down on the pavement until he eventually accepted that they just were not interested in him whatsoever or he saw someone else to chase after.

Has anyone else had this problem? Or know what we should do about him?

The local dog club has started up again and I was going to take him but mum was refusing to go with me as she insisted if other dogs are going to be there he will just be an embarrassment... And personally I don't think it's a group thing he needs but preferably a one-on-one with someone. I have tried to work with him myself down the park where it is quiet or around or house. I even bought him a training lead and collar and head collar but he is not responding to the training.

Sometimes we joke that he is slow or blind but as mum says he isn't an idiot he is just self obsessed and persistent. He believes i
He is to be the center of attention all the time!.

I was discussing it with one of my friends and they think there's something psychologically wrong with him...

Also he is not neutered. We're looking into it though. But one of the collies we had in the past was a wonderful natured dog and didn't need to be neutered.

Last edited by ScottCroft; 01-24-2013 at 07:45 AM.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-24-2013, 08:33 AM
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What you're describing is actually a pretty common issue with medium to high energy Goldens, and for the sake of tough love, I need to tell you that it's probably the humans' fault, not the dog's.

What you seem to have a is a perfect storm of a lack of training, a lack of socialization, and a lack of exercise. Dogs, and especially Goldens, are very social animals, and you have to teach them how to get the attention and affection they want. They also need to get a minimum of attention, exercise, and stimulation a day, or they will behave inappropriately.

You have a dog who's desperate for attention, who is confused by loud voices, who has too much energy to burn, and who does not know how to get what he wants. So he jumps, barks, chases, widdles, and bothers you.

The peeing is a combination of excitement and frequently feelings of being intimidated or confused. It also signals that your issue has nothing to do with dominance but rather with socialization. Dogs pee like that when they feel intimidated and excited and want to please you but have no idea how to do it.

You need a trainer. It's not really feasible to be walked through the whole process from an forum thread.

However, here are some ideas to get started:

Punishing the dog for acting out may change the single behavior you're punishing, but it's just as likely to make him worse in all other areas, as punishment can be stressful. For example, if you put a collar on him that zaps him when he barks, he may bark less, but he's likely to be even more intimidated, stressed, and freaked out, so he'll probably jump, chase, and bother people even more. And he'll probably start barking again as soon as you take off the collar.

Learn how to remove your attention. That is typically the best "punishment" for dogs who are acting out urges to be social. If he jumps and everybody makes noise and pushes at him, you're essentially rewarding the jump, even if your intention is tell him to quit it. Many Goldens are rewarded and energized by having people's hands on them, even if it's meant as a push off.

In our house, dogs who are greeting inappropriately turn invisible. Because social interactions for dogs involve vocalization, eye contact, and physical touch, we shut, up, look away, stand up tall, and fold our arms. If the dog jumps up, we turn away and face the wall, essentially removing our faces from the situation, so he can't even have any part of the social interaction he wants.

If your dog doesn't have an ingrained jumping behavior, this usually works in the first few minutes. If your dog is a practiced jumper, it takes longer, but it still works. One way you know it's working is that the dog will often get a LOT WORSE right before he gets better. It's called an "extinction flare," to use the fancypants behavioral science language. When the animal recognizes that a previously successful behavior is no longer successful, he'll typically increase his intensity for a brief period before changing what he does. The key is to stick out the extinction flare.

Dogs who sit politely turn visible again, and as long as they keep their butts on the ground, they get attention. The second they rear up, boom, they're invisible and we look away, fold our arms, etc. Using this method, you can train a dog for social interactions. He learns that inappropriate behaviors end the interaction, but appropriate ones get him exactly what he wants.

That's probably enough for one post. As long as he's cooped up in the house and yard without exercise to tire him out and training to stimulate his mind, he's going to get worse rather than better, so definitely consider a class or a private trainer, and find a way to bleed off the extra energy.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-24-2013, 09:21 AM
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Tippy has given some good advice. This is normal puppy behavior and there is nothing psychologically wrong with him. Goldens do like to be the center of attention, that's just part of their personality. He probably needs more exercise, is there an enclosed place where he can run off-leash? Golden puppies are strong by that age, a non-pull harness worked wonders for me.

My Hank was 5 mos. his first Christmas, we had 3 dinner parties here that holiday season and needed to plan ahead. I filled and froze Kongs to keep him occupied while guests were dining. Hank was gated in the laundry room, near enough to see everyone and feel included but not able to visit everyone's lap. I remembered to take him out for potty breaks often.

If your local dog club has beginner obedience classes, I'd enroll. Your puppy won't be an embarrasement, everyone in that level class is there for the same reason.

Also, neutering won't change this, only maturity and training will.

**Fraulein "Maggie" Louise 8/2/95 - 7/20/09**
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-24-2013, 09:36 AM
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I've seen a few instances where neutering really does seem to take the edge off of a young male dog, so it may actually help a bit, but Willow's right that this is primarily a training, maturity, and socialization issue.

Still, I'd definitely neuter him as part of the process. I don't see his exact age, but as long as your vet says he's old enough, I'd neuter him.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-25-2013, 05:47 PM
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Originally Posted by ScottCroft View Post

The local dog club has started up again and I was going to take him but mum was refusing to go with me as she insisted if other dogs are going to be there he will just be an embarrassment...
To be honest, he probably will be an embarrassment. Ask me how I know. Maybe you can get her to attend a dog class before you sign up, and she can see that none of the dogs are perfect.

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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-25-2013, 06:38 PM
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Attention Seeking Puppy

Oooooooo oooooooo *raises hand and shakes it vigorously* May I introduce you to my puppy, Bear? He was the MOST reactive dog in puppy kindergarten. The world is his oyster and dog gone it he plans to meet everyone. He has what we call "excessive greeting disorder" and also "inappropriate greeting syndrome".

Over the coarse of 10 weeks, we had 8 group training sessions (90 mins long) and we did follow up training everywhere else for about 2-4 hours a day every day. All of this training was broken down into 10-15 minute sessions and also included every day activities, like going out the door, greeting mom, being fed, evening quiet time, fetch, etc.

The first thing we had to learn was "sit" and make it rock solid. Whenever Bear jumped, i would immediately ask for a sit. When he had been sitting for 10-15 secs i would treat.

The next thing we learned was "mat" which is meant to cue the pup to calm down and go to his mat. We reinforced that by treating him every time he laid quietly on his mat.

In between these we taught "leave it" and "wait".

For us, wait = good things are coming, cool your jets until I release you.

We exercised him a lot. Tons and tons and tons. Both physical and mental stimulation. He had many walks, and we ingrained from the beginning "if human stops, come sit at their side" and when he started pulling towards another person or animal, i stopped in my tracks and let him pull to his hearts content because i was reinforcing "pulling = no reward" and if the person approached us, i told them he was i training and maybe next time. Eventually the person passed us, and i would ask for him to sit at my side. I would reward his sit and we would move on. I started tossing "leave it" on walks a few weeks later. He'd see someone and stop in his tracks, i would say "Bear, leave it" and take a few steps. If he didn't follow, i'd add "lets go." And he'd get going. As soon as we were out of sight, i would kneel down and hug him and pet him and praise him to kingdom come.

Every day we worked on his impulse control. The better he could manage his impulses, the less he jumped and misbehaved.

Everyone who came to the house knew to leave the puppy alone. Don't let him jump on you but don't pay attention to him. Once he was quiet, we allowed people to say hi.

This all took a lot of time, energy ad persistence. Some days i would cry out of sheer frustration and even today he is still reactive to an extent, so its always a work in progress for us. If you'd like, you can PM me and I can try to help more.

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Hecate's Hellhound, Bearer of Mischief, CGC - "Bear"
Hecate's Hellhound, Gypsy Magic - "Gypsy"
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