Over-excited, out of control around other dogs - Golden Retrievers : Golden Retriever Dog Forums
 
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-21-2019, 06:03 PM Thread Starter
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Over-excited, out of control around other dogs

5 month Gemma is a great puppy in so many ways - she's solidly house-trained, sleeps all night, licks instead of mouthing or biting, has all the basic puppy commands (sit, drop, watch, stand etc), waits for her meals and before going through doors, and is well on the way to loose-leash walking (progressed to short strolls up and down our street). She gets plenty of exercise - we have beach run every morning, and play fetch in the yard with a ball.


Her problem/weakness/issue is other dogs. At puppy class she spends the whole lesson struggling to get away from me to get to the other dogs - the trainer says she's just a puppy and it's normal to be distracted. But nothing gets her attention when she's in this state - she won't listen to me and she has zero interest in treats or toys. When I try to get her to sit and watch she doesn't even notice I'm there. I spend the whole time restraining her by her collar - no fun for either of us.


When she is allowed to interact with the other puppies in the socialisation time at the end of the lesson, she jumps all over the other dogs - which is ok for Nina the Mastiff and Max the German Shepherd, but not ok for little Molly the Jack Russell, Oscar the mini Goldendoodle and Ollie the younger Golden who all wet themselves when she starts her jumping.


I need some strategies to get her to calm down and listen when other dogs are about.


Thanks.

Last edited by Bellbird; 05-21-2019 at 06:39 PM. Reason: forgot something
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-21-2019, 07:43 PM
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Gemma is probably just in need of more work on impulse control and time to grow up a bit. Keep working daily on leash and start working on exercises that build her self control. Do a search on youtube for Kikopup training videos and begin working on attention exercises. Start putting her in a down-stay while you fix her meal. Build up to a point where you can trust her to stay when you set the food on the floor, gradually closer and closer to her and she doesn't eat until you release her. Start building up her ability to "stay" on leash in 15 minute increments at your feet while you watch t.v. and teach her "leave it" where you place a toy or treat next to her paw and she doesn't eat it until you release her. Teach her "place" where she goes to a mat or small rug or dog bed on command and stays on it until you release her. Teach her to make eye contact and to "touch" your palm with her nose.

All these things can start at home with low distraction. As she gets older and better at it, move the exercise to the driveway, to the neighborhood park, to the sidewalk in front a of a coffee shop, to the parking lot of the dog training building. All these things teach her self restraint and will help her when you need to get her attention and keep it at obedience class.

I very much hope that you will plan on remaining enrolled in obedience class with her for the next year or two. It will keep you honest about training every day and be very good for her. Some dogs have more focus than others and it sounds like you two may need help developing her focus. That being said, you may want to consider finding a different training facility. I can't believe what you described is being allowed to occur. No puppy should be peeing itself and overwhelmed by another puppy. Shame on that instructor. Do not allow your puppy to do that anymore. Personally I would not participate in it anymore, it sounds like it is getting her very wound up. You can try to arrange private play dates with other nice young dogs who are close to her size and energy level and meet up one on one. It needs to be a puppy who can stand up for himself.

Keep giving her daily aerobic exercise but don't forget to add in mental games that will challenge her. Teach her tricks and keep her busy. Good luck


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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-21-2019, 08:42 PM Thread Starter
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This is excellent advice. I recognise that her behaviour is unacceptable, and in fact I've already made the move to another trainer, starting this week.


So. Lots of work for both of us.


Thanks.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-21-2019, 09:02 PM
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Dear Gemma, you are my girl!!! You are right sweetheart. Training is boring)))))))
Your mum is going to kill me but it's true. Partying is much more fun.
However, the harder you work the harder you play.Never forget. This is what I did all my life. Work hard, party hard. Kisss kisss kisss
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-22-2019, 02:10 PM
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We had a similar issue with Denver. We switched to a much more serious trainer and took a public manners/CGC class. I would highly recommend finding a serious obedience trainer/class. Now when we see another dog approaching I put him into a sit/stay until the other dog has passed.

The key for us is having really good treats. We use hot dogs sliced up into little pieces and microwaved for 5 minutes to cook them/evaporate the water. These are exclusively training treats for Denver and he works very hard for them. The other thing I do now is talk to him while he is in a 'stay'. Once he is staying I'll talk to him and in a high, happy tone say "yes! thats's nice! good stay! Very nice! etc." until the dog has passed. "OK!" is the release word when he can move and get a treat. This exercise has helped TREMENDOUSLY for us. It is really nice not to get my shoulder ripped out every time a dog passes us on a walk

Hope this helps! Good luck!
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-23-2019, 10:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bellbird View Post
5 month Gemma is a great puppy in so many ways - she's solidly house-trained, sleeps all night, licks instead of mouthing or biting, has all the basic puppy commands (sit, drop, watch, stand etc), waits for her meals and before going through doors, and is well on the way to loose-leash walking (progressed to short strolls up and down our street). She gets plenty of exercise - we have beach run every morning, and play fetch in the yard with a ball.


Her problem/weakness/issue is other dogs. At puppy class she spends the whole lesson struggling to get away from me to get to the other dogs - the trainer says she's just a puppy and it's normal to be distracted. But nothing gets her attention when she's in this state - she won't listen to me and she has zero interest in treats or toys. When I try to get her to sit and watch she doesn't even notice I'm there. I spend the whole time restraining her by her collar - no fun for either of us.


When she is allowed to interact with the other puppies in the socialisation time at the end of the lesson, she jumps all over the other dogs - which is ok for Nina the Mastiff and Max the German Shepherd, but not ok for little Molly the Jack Russell, Oscar the mini Goldendoodle and Ollie the younger Golden who all wet themselves when she starts her jumping.


I need some strategies to get her to calm down and listen when other dogs are about.


Thanks.
This was/is something that we had to work on with Cyrus too. He got so excited in our first class that we took him too that he wouldn't settle. Two things REALLY helped us (and they've already been mentioned above ):

1. Use EXTREMELY high value treats -- you can't get away with your "home" treats in class. They're just not going to cut it because they may be high value for home, but not for the exciting class setting. My current trainer told us to reserve certain treats ONLY for class so that the puppy only gets them in class (keeps them interesting). She also recommended using pure meat rewards - we really like Sojos Real Venison, Beef, or Turkey. They're freeze-dried 100% meat and they're VERY high value. As soon as we started using them in class, Cyrus was 100% focused on us. Nothing else mattered because he wanted what was in our hand. They still work in class to this day.

2. Get a SERIOUS trainer/class -- our first class was Puppy Kindergarten. The instructors were nice, but not "tough"...that may not be the right word, but they were not very serious or tough (may partly be because it was a PK class...). Our current class (almost done actually) is Basic Manners at a different center than the one we originally went to...and our trainer is TOUGH! She holds us accountable when we mess up and she's not afraid to let us know what we're doing wrong. She has 2 Goldens of her own that have won multiple titles and competitions so we know we're in good hands. Because she's tough on us and has such high expectations, we find ourselves working really hard with Cyrus to meet those expectations.

Hope this helps!
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-23-2019, 12:58 PM
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I'm going to vote for setting your puppy up to succeed. I know from experience that when a dog is really ramped up about something, whether it be other dogs or chasing squirrels, they almost literally CAN'T hear you or even recognize that you have great treats - the stimulus trumps everything. If you were outside, I'd recommend putting enough distance between you and the stimulating thing such that although she is aware of it, she can be distracted back to you with something else that is high value. That can be tough to do in the small space that a training class often uses. In these cases, many great trainers I know have the handler and dog stay behind an Ex-pen draped with a cloth (e.g., a sheet) so that the dog/puppy is still in the training environment, but you greatly reduce the visual stimulation. This is a technique used by many who train "reactive" dogs. In fact, you may want to Google training a reactive dog for other ideas and suggestions. There's a book called "Control Unleashed" that you may find helpful. Just be aware that some people/trainers think that "reactive" and "aggressive" are the same thing - and they definitely are NOT. Many people have dogs like yours who are reactive but friendly-but-inappropriate in most situations, so keep that filter/distinction in mind when you are researching training ideas and use the techniques that work for you and your dog.

One other warning is to try not to fall into the trap of using harsh corrections when training a reactive dog... that sort of thing CAN turn a reactive dog into an aggressive dog (e.g., "other dogs make my mom go nuts on me so I'd better chase them away before they can get too close").

Hopefully your new trainer will have the knowledge and skills to help you work through this challenge...

Lisa Cadieux
Rochester, NH
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-23-2019, 05:58 PM Thread Starter
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UPDATE:


We went to our new school last night (a 30km drive into the country, complete with wallabies, possums and bandicoots making it a slow drive) . What a difference. Our new trainer is old school tough - on us as well as our dogs. There was no suggestion of "pups will be pups" or "she'll grow out of it". A rowdy Rottweiler/Staffy cross was promptly picked up and turned around to face the wall and the owner of a chubby little cavoodle was told that she was doing her dog no favours by over-feeding him. Gemma was used for a couple of demonstrations and was waggy/smiley obedient.


We'll keep working on our impulse control strategies.


Thanks everyone for your help
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