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I feel your pain, JDK. We have had a really rough patch with Tayla. She is now 7.5 months and she was some better for about a month and then wham, back to jumping and biting on walks. We went on vacation and I think being away from home really threw her off. She has started drooling excessively in her crate and on walks would randomly attack me jumping, biting and grabbing. No clothes torn, but lots of vibrant bruises and some broken skin. I’m keeping a list of things that may trigger her behavior and we will again meet with our trainer/behaviorist and I have a vet appointment in two weeks. Further training and possible medication additions are all that will keep her around as my husband would like her gone, but where? If she leaves us it’s a death sentence for her. She is so bad that I’m now a little afraid to walk her on my own. Now that we are home I’ll see how she does. Like with your girlfriend, Tayla has always been much worse with my husband in the house, but I get the worst on walks. If it’s fixable we will do what it takes. Just never thought I’d have a biting Golden. A wild rambunctious one, yes, but not one that I was at times afraid of.
 

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I was reading some more of Control Unleashed, the Puppy Program, last night. I was reading chapters about Default Behaviors and Off-Switch Games. Excellent stuff! In one chapter, she was describing a dog that has a low-excitability threshold together with a low-frustration threshold. In the Off-Switch chapter, she talks about a retriever that is jumpy and bitey, calling her "the mouth without a brain," and how she and the owner worked out a solution. (Too long to recap.) The Off-Switch chapter talks about how to bring your dog to the edge of losing it, then getting him to settle. With practice, the dog learns to self-calm. There is also a chapter on "reading your dog" to help you identify his mood. We're going to add these to our training today.

I was re-reading the default behavior chapters. When Casper sees people and dogs on our walk, he sits and watches them go by. Which is better than chasing them down! I've been trying to get him to walk quietly by. Now I realize that he is using is default behavior, Sit, to calm himself as they go by. Here I thought he was doing it just because I told him to. :) I'm not going to push him to keep moving for a bit. I'm going to let him keep this behavior for now.
 

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I'll have to get that book. Tayla also sits to watch people go bye.
 

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Discussion Starter · #44 ·
JDK, sorry, I think you misunderstood what
I meant. Positive punishment is a term that refers to adding something
(positive) to the dog's environment that he/she dislikes so as to
deter the behavior (Punishment and Your Dog). Typically, what is
recommended is to use positive reinforcement and negative punishment
(take away the reward from the dog, eg: turning our backs, time outs,
etc.). You have obviously been trying a lot of those techniques
without much luck, so I was suggesting a mild positive punishment
approach such as a squirt gun, etc, that might perhaps work. If the
squirt gun doesn't work for him, maybe something else will...like a
can filled with pennies?

It's very obvious that you care a lot for your dog because a lot of
people would not put up with having that many ripped clothes and that
kind of behavior for so long while still exhibiting the patience that
you and your gf/mom are showing. I wish you all the best and I do hope
you are able to find a way to train your dog out of this
behavior.
I get what you're saying now. Maybe I'll give the can full of pennies a try.

The only deterrent I've found so far is a shock collar. Let me first start off by saying that I would never recommend a shock collar to somebody. Why? Cause majority of the people who buy them only do so cause they don't want to put in the time and effort that it takes to properly train a dog and will jump right to the shock collar as a first resort rather than a last resort.

After talking with several people and heavily debating it for weeks, and reminding myself that I wasn't just jumping to the collar and had put in a lot of effort to improve his behavior otherwise, I went out and purchased a shock collar about a month ago. JJ's worn it maybe 8 times total. The first 2-3 times we just put it on him without shocking him, just so he would get use to it around his neck and wouldn't associate the "new collar" as a "bad collar" that was doing harm to him. Within the following days, the moment he acted out, I shocked him, which instantly caused him to stop and look around on the ground as if saying, "where the hell did that come from". I used it for a couple more days and shocked him maybe a dozen times total. It appeared that his behavior got better when the collar was on him. Even though I saw a small improvement with the shock collar, I still found it hard to use cause the taught of shocking my dog didn't sit well with me. So I took it off and put it in the drawer and didn't use it again. Long story short, he was acting real bad with my girlfriend a couple days ago when I wasn't home and was failing to listen to anything she said. Fed up with the behavior, she pulled the shock
collar out of the drawer and put it on him. The moment she put it on
him, he ran down the hall and just laid there and wouldn't go in the living room near my girlfriend. She didn't shock him or anything like that either from him to run away and go lay by himself. Now I'm asking myself, is he scared of the collar, and did he figure out that we're shocking him (I always tried to hide the collar so he didn't see I was doing it) and the bad behavior itself isn't doing it. After about an hour, she took the collar off, and shortly later I was home and things returned to normal later that night with him jumping and biting. Although the collar stopped the behavior and changed his attitude completely when she put it on him, I don't want him to be scared of us.

And, yes, you're right, I care about JJ a great deal and wouldn't trade him for the world, regardless of his behavior. I know there's a lot of people out there who would be at wits end with a dog like him right about now and would have no problem giving him up to a shelter, or worse, abusing him when he acts out, making matters much worse. I'm willing to do whatever I can to help him and his behavior issues, no matter how many clothes he rips or bruises he leaves. He's my life. Dogs always have been.
 

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Discussion Starter · #45 ·
Just never thought I’d have a biting Golden. A wild rambunctious one, yes, but not one that I was at times afraid of.
I hear ya on that. I figured JJ would be wild and crazy and mouthy as a puppy like most Goldens, but I never expected it to carry on this long and happen this often :doh:
 

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Discussion Starter · #46 ·
I was reading some more of Control Unleashed, the Puppy Program, last night. I was reading chapters about Default Behaviors and Off-Switch Games. Excellent stuff! In one chapter, she was describing a dog that has a low-excitability threshold together with a low-frustration threshold. In the Off-Switch chapter, she talks about a retriever that is jumpy and bitey, calling her "the mouth without a brain," and how she and the owner worked out a solution. (Too long to recap.) The Off-Switch chapter talks about how to bring your dog to the edge of losing it, then getting him to settle. With practice, the dog learns to self-calm. There is also a chapter on "reading your dog" to help you identify his mood. We're going to add these to our training today.

I was re-reading the default behavior chapters. When Casper sees people and dogs on our walk, he sits and watches them go by. Which is better than chasing them down! I've been trying to get him to walk quietly by. Now I realize that he is using is default behavior, Sit, to calm himself as they go by. Here I thought he was doing it just because I told him to. :) I'm not going to push him to keep moving for a bit. I'm going to let him keep this behavior for now.
It's funny you mention the Off-Switch and bringing your dog to the edge of losing it. For the past week or so, I've been dancing with JJ after work. I'm the first one home in the house. When I get home, I turn the radio up real loud and I dance around in the living room. I try and get JJ to the point where he's about to leap on me, which doesn't take much, then I quickly tell him "Ah Ah...Sit". We do this for about a half hour. My success rate is like 98% percent. It hasn't shown to help yet when he gets into these moods, but here's to hoping.
 

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Geez, it sounds like you have tried just about everything. The one thing I did not see mentioned is a tie down. Many moons ago, I had a high-spirited pup. Simba, all muscle at 85 lbs. We used a tie-down with a leash inside the house. While we were watching TV, or cooking or eating dinner or expecting someone to come home or visit, Simba was on his tie down. We had tie-down hooks all over the house. He was always with us, just not free...As Simba matured, we did not need to do this anymore.

Good luck
 

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Discussion Starter · #48 ·
Now, when attaching him to my hip by a leash, should I use his martingale collar so that it gets tighter the more he tries to pull away and he learns its better to stay by me, or should I use his regular snap collar?

Is there anything special I should be doing when I have him attached to me, other then praising him when he lays down? When he tries to pull away, should I just ignore him and let him pull, or should I stop him and make him lay near me and praise him when he does so? Obviously, I assume i'm gonna have to pull him around cause he's not always gonna wanna go where I want to go. Should I just go about my business like hes not there and just pull the dead weight behind me, or should I look at him and tell him "lets go" and make him willingly want to go? What's the best route to go about this?

I was going to give him a chance, but he jumped my mom when she got home, after sitting nicely in front of her for tickles. Obviously they weren't enough by his standards so he decided to leap on her and bite her hands when she stopped.
 

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Discussion Starter · #49 ·
Geez, it sounds like you have tried just about everything. The one thing I did not see mentioned is a tie down. Many moons ago, I had a high-spirited pup. Simba, all muscle at 85 lbs. We used a tie-down with a leash inside the house. While we were watching TV, or cooking or eating dinner or expecting someone to come home or visit, Simba was on his tie down. We had tie-down hooks all over the house. He was always with us, just not free...As Simba matured, we did not need to do this anymore.

Good luck
As of today, I'm the tie down :D

He goes where I go and doesn't go near anybody unless I go with him.

I don't know if this is the right approach or not, since not being able to get near my girlfriend and mother when he wants to (even if he wants to behave or get an ice cube like my mom likes to give him) might end up just making him more wild when he gets off the leash and is able to approach them himself without me holding him back. I guess the hope is that being attached to me will build his patience and give me more control of his actions without having to grab his collar.
 

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Now, when attaching him to my hip by a leash, should I use his martingale collar so that it gets tighter the more he tries to pull away and he learns its better to stay by me, or should I use his regular snap collar?

Is there anything special I should be doing when I have him attached to me, other then praising him when he lays down? When he tries to pull away, should I just ignore him and let him pull, or should I stop him and make him lay near me and praise him when he does so? Obviously, I assume i'm gonna have to pull him around cause he's not always gonna wanna go where I want to go. Should I just go about my business like hes not there and just pull the dead weight behind me, or should I look at him and tell him "lets go" and make him willingly want to go? What's the best route to go about this?

I was going to give him a chance, but he jumped my mom when she got home, after sitting nicely in front of her for tickles. Obviously they weren't enough by his standards so he decided to leap on her and bite her hands when she stopped.
It is human nature to ignore the dog when they are behaving, as your earlier post described, he was fine staying calm and out of the way, while everyone was getting ready for work, everyone ignored him. When he got up and went after your mom - he got all kinds of attention.Make a habit of saying 'Thank you!' when he is being a good boy!! Praise and reward the behavior you do want, consistently, encourage him to stay with you when he is tethered to you. If he sits, P&R, if he lies down P&R, if someone can pet him without him trying to jump up, P&R. - let him know he is being a good boy! Work on greetings, when he is sitting, stand on the leash about halfway to prevent him from jumping, have someone approach and reward, as long as he sits, if he gets up - they move away. Practice people entering the room, he sits, stand on the leash, someone opens the door, if he gets up, they leave and close the door, repeat.
Pay close attention to his body language and try to predict when he is going to try to jump up, and interrupt with your 'AhAh sit' and reward when he does!! When playing, frequently interrupt the play, put him onleash if need be and stand on it,and ignore him until he calms down and lays down, then resume the play.
There are a lot of things to work with/on, pick a starting point and work through each one, don't try to do too much at once. But be vigilant about preventing him from jumping up, keeping him tethered to you and keeping enough distance that should he try, he will not make contact with the person. Understand that he has a history of being rewarded for jumping up, he got your attention, and it is self rewarding, and he will likely go through an 'extinction burst' (he will be more persistent, and try harder to get to jump up out of frustration - it worked before why not now?) just when you think he has got it under control.
 

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As of today, I'm the tie down :D

He goes where I go and doesn't go near anybody unless I go with him.

I don't know if this is the right approach or not, since not being able to get near my girlfriend and mother when he wants to (even if he wants to behave or get an ice cube like my mom likes to give him) might end up just making him more wild when he gets off the leash and is able to approach them himself without me holding him back. I guess the hope is that being attached to me will build his patience and give me more control of his actions without having to grab his collar.
I like that. He has to learn impulse control... You will be his anchor.
 

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Discussion Starter · #52 ·
Should I keep him tied to me at all times, even if he appears to be behaving or relaxed, or if nobody else is home or around besides me? Or should I use being tied to me as a time out and tie him to me whenever he gets out of control until he calms down?

Like right now, my mom is in her room which he can't get at, my girlfriend is laying down with a headache, and I'm sitting here with him by myself. Should I have him tied to me now? He doesn't normally act out when it's just him and I and usually just lays on the couch in front of the ac. He wants so badly to go over there now, but I have him tied to me so he's laying at my feet under the dining room table, trying every couple of minutes to go to the living room. Should I keep him leashed at all times to get or only put it on him when other people are around?
 

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The purpose of tethering is to prevent him jumping up (a management tool) while you train the behavior you do want. I would keep him tethered to you most of the time, for a few days at least, even when you are alone, it will help to him understand that he needs to pay attention to you. If you let him loose, have him work for it, a few obedience commands, or just remaining calm for a few minutes.
 
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I have seen tethering used in training a young pup. In that case, you tether as you go about doing whatever around the house. It helps the pup learn how to behave around the house. As time passes, you don't have to tether and the pup just knows to lay by your side as you do x, y or z.

I would think it would take several weeks for JJ to learn the new rules...
 

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Hi, JDK - I just wanted to pipe in that I've written quite a few posts about our dog, Tucker, and some very similar behaviour problems we've been having since he was around six months old. He is now 14 months, and the jumping/biting at us while outside is finally starting to subside somewhat, but not all the way. We are having a cooler, rainier day today as opposed to the upper 90s we've had for a long time. He definitely notices the cooler weather and is RAMPED UP. Even biting at us inside the house today, which he rarely does. I just wanted to let you know - I think there are more of us out there than most realize who have this behaviour issue. We've tried two trainers at home, two out-of-home sessions, and a TON of work on our own. We've come to realize that he will always be a ramped up dog - for us the key has been trying to figure out the triggers and either avoid those situations or use them as serious training sessions to work on the problems as they arise. It's exhausting. I have three young kids. My hubby and I didn't think we'd still be struggling with Tucker at his age of almost 15 months. We're hoping he grows up at some point.

I feel your pain. I need to get "Control Unleashed". I had to take a bread from training books for awhile. But I think it's time to jump in again!

Our Tucker's issues are much more of an outside problem when he's running in our yard. We have a long line on him at all times to help maintain his control - it is now my life line. I depend on it. I know he's improving, because as soon as I take control of the line, he seems to realize he's gone too far and almost seems to sense a training session is coming! But it's exhausting!!! All I wanted was a dog I could run and play fetch with in the yard without worrying about causing us harm. I don't know if we'll ever be able to let our guard down all the way with him! Please keep us posted on your progress!

I need to add- we went through a period of trouble when walking him, too, where he would attack my arms while on-leash. He seems to have outgrown that. The problem is much more of an outside-running-free problem. He just gets so super excited when we're out - especially when my husband is in the cul de sac with the kids playing with balls, and Tucker is stuck on the other side within our invisible fence.

Good luck, and please, keep sharing what works for you!
 

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hmmm...well, if it's any consolation, Casey is the same way. It's very sporadic...seems to happen most when i bring him in at night. he'll just literally go bonkers! jumping cavorting, snapping at the leash, (inadvertently getting me), it's such a nuisance! what has worked for me is having a word that means quit it. I use "enough". like when we're training, say practicing his heel, and i give him a break by saying "Free Casey!" Yaaay! we play for a few seconds and then i just stand up, totally change my attitude and say "enough" he gets the picture, we quit playing and we go back to work. I have been able to transfer it over to when he acts up. I stand tall, and say in a firm voice "enough!" and that seems to stop him. however if it's really bad, i will put him on his side/back and not let him get up until he has settled down and is respecting me.
As a last-ditch effort, you could also try a spray bottle? it didn't really work for Casey...only when it was a mild case of the crazies. I would just show him the spray bottle, spray him if he didn't stop snapping at the leash and anything/everything in general.
Good luck! let me know if you have any great ideas on how to handle this! :p:
 

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Has he now grown out of the biting and jumping - would love to know!

Hi JDK
Just wanting to know if you Golden has grown out of this jump and bite thing as we are still experiencing it! Would love to hear the progress of your dog and how he is today...please let me know :)
 

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Our 17 week old dog, Griffin, bites as he plays. I read your entire thread and all the comments and suggestions . I also would like to know if he has grown out of this behavior !! I love Griffin to pieces! He may just be acting like a puppy. He is consistent, not sporadic but likes to pull at our pant legs and bite our arms and hands. He is always smiling and having fun but it doesn't make it any easier for us!!! Dog Mammal Vertebrate Dog breed Canidae


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