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Hi everyone, thanks for taking the time to read this post... it might be a little long, but we are really in need of some serious advice, so please offer anything constructive. Lucky is just coming up 6 months old now and he is starting to become increasingly difficult to manage. He seems to be constantly seeking ways to challenge me to #1 position. When he is calm he will obey basic commands of sit, lay down, paw, etc. but there are times when he starts to get a "hyper" (charging around). If he takes a shoe and we retrieve it from him, he starts to come up to us and try to nip the legs. He is not listening to "no bite". We've tried calming him, disciplining him, isolating him, distracting him with toys, nothing works. We've followed a lot of advice over these last 4 months or so (not letting through the door first, making him eat last, telling him firmly about no bite, not letting him on the furniture, making sure we answer the door and not him) 90% of the time he is wonderful, but for 10% of the time he goes crazy. We are simply not making any progress at all on "no bite" or "no jump". We've tried numerous approaches to teach him "no bite"... he doesn't bite hard yet, but he's getting bolder. In fact if I take something from him he doesn't growl or snap, nothing like that, but he will demonstrate by biting something such as the table or sofa, as if he's trying to intimidate me with what he could do. Sometimes he fights with me until I wrestle him onto his back and almost have to pin him down by the throat till he yields... which he will usually do, but then it's 50/50 whether he will get up and start again.

Another aspect of his behavior is when we go for a walk he will walk calmly to heel but then out of the blue he will unexpectedly lunge or leap off to one side to take a piece of paper or whatever has his attention. Sometimes he will go into a tizzy fighting the leash out in the street, rolling on his back, biting at it like a crazed animal, almost to the point of hanging himself from it :doh:. When this happens there's no stopping him till he finally realizes it's a pointless fight, then he resumes calmly walking at heel again. :confused:

90% of the time he is a wonderful dog, but I need to find a way to get these biting and behavioral characteristics stopped and keep him from these "hyper" moments, which means no nipping at our legs, no charging around. It's getting to the point of an almost daily physical fight where i have to pin him to the ground.
 

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Try using a can of pennies to throw in his direction. It seems to be an "earth to puppy" attention getter and worked well with Mr. Darcy when he would get his puppy storms. He would go *vertical* with us, leaping, slashing with teeth and claws and was uncontrollable. During one frenzy while walking, I threw my keys to the side walk. That was enough to get him back to paying attention.

I put a few coins in a soda can and taped over the hole.
 

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Hi
I have similar issues. Tarcin is 5.5 months old.
For the walks, I take a plush toy that my puppy loves. When she is distracted, I calmly direct her to the toy.
My puppy also starts jumping and running around during walks. I thought that is when she does not like walking anymore or when she needs something such as water and a rest (sometime when she is scared of big trucks crossing). When she does that, I kneel down and pat her for a while. Then using the toy again, direct her to walk. Sometimes I had to throw the toy to make the walk more joyful.
I will also appreciate any help about your other concerns. I could not find a solution to them.
 

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First, he is in the teenager phase where they seem to forget everything and seem to have tons of energy. You just have to keep at it and find your patience. It'll pass. Second, he might need more exercise but he may just be getting excited and not know what to do with himself. It sounds like what I call zoomies. My dog just gets so excited that she start zooming around the house or spinning in circles. More exercise can help with that.

I've been working with my girl because she is 1 1/2 and still gets extremely excited when people come in the house. I am working on "calm." If she is excited I try to get her to sit and then say calm. I remain calm myself while doing this. If she is sitting, I will pet her and calmly say calm. If she gets excited I put her back in a sit as soon as possible and continue to say calm until she is calm. At any point, if she is calm, I say "good girl calm." If she is too rowdy, I try to walk away until she will respond to me again. The trick is to make sure she knows that calm is good and rowdy will not get her the attention she wants. This is a slow process for her, especially because her little min pin brother is way worse than her so I'm actually trying to train two dogs that compete for attention.

As far as walking, I clicker trained on the leash. Actually, I used the clicker from about 2-6 months. It seemed to work well.

Honestly, the only time I have ever physically corrected my dog is when she aggressively lunges at other people or dogs. She's not an aggressive dog but she does have a couple triggers and for some reason does not like one neighbor dog in particular.

Sometimes too, when dogs are over-tired, they can act up. So, I would make sure that they have both enough exercise and enough quiet time.

Other than that, welcome to the teenage phase. Be consistent and very patient.
 

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I am no expert but I think what you're describing is the beginning of the teenage phase. The fact that he is good 90% of the time is something to be proud of and focus on in order to stay positive.

My girl is coming up on 6 months soon, too, and I can see just the beginning of some unruly behavior. What I have learned from previous puppies and from instructors, is that they really just want your attention. When you physically engage with them as a form of correction or punishment (such as wrestling them down and pinning them), it's actually rewarding them. Even if it's negative attention, it's still attention in their eyes. I have found that removing yourself from them completely works the best. We have a very open floor plan, which makes it difficult, but if Hazel starts nipping, then I go into the half bathroom and shut the door. I sometimes calmly put her into her crate without making eye contact or even talking to her, for a little time out until she's calm. Then she comes out and I have treats and we work on some obedience skills for a few minutes right away, as a positive way to end the interaction.

My obedience instructor also just hammered a point home in our last class that I thought was interesting. Remember that when you are out on a walk, that asking them to heel the entire time is boring and extremely frustrating at this age. She said it's like taking a kid to Disney Land and not allowing them to ride any rides. What they want is to sniff and explore. She likes the idea of using life rewards (like sniffing) while out on a walk to help train good behavior. I use the cue, "check it out", for Hazel when I will allow her to sniff something. But to earn that she has to walk on loose leash. Rather than getting a treat, she gets to sniff. I've noticed now that when she all of the sudden is extremely attentive at my side, there's likely something she wants to check out - so I let her. I also think this kind of mental stimulation is more tiring than a walk at heel around the neighborhood. If I need to walk for exercise, I go without her for now because we don't get very far while training on a walk. I hope that makes sense.

Sorry so long-winded. Hang in there! Putting the hard work in for the 1st 2 years pays off immensely.
 

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Like Jenagro mentioned any attention - even negative attention is rewarding. The easiest way to eliminate behaviors is to completely ignore them. Dogs remember positive and negative reinforcement, but if you do neither the behavior fizzles out because it gets no reaction. What is recommended in many behavior books when a dog acts up is to leave the room. For instance, if they get overexcited and nippy just get up and leave and go into another room. I also recommend more exercise (running exercise, not just walks) and mental stimulation. What about buying a trick book or finding some online to work on with your pup. Mental stimulation really tires them out, and then you'll have some neat new behaviors to show for it too :). I find for young dogs, walking nicely on leash can be frustrating if they have a lot of energy to get out. They want to run around but are trying to contain all that and walk nicely by yourside. So as they reach the end of their self-control threshold they start acting out. Dogs can only display self-control for so long until their stores are depleted. I'm sure with a younger dog it probably doesn't take much. Its definitely a phase that will pass, but to get through it while staying sane running exercise and mental stimulation might help!
 

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Sounds just like Murphy at that age! I'd come home with blood on my arms from nipping, ripped clothing and yes the tug of war with the leash ending with him on his back on the road. We carried a bottle of either bitter apple or white vineger (never near the eyes but he's had a good taste of both) and used a chain leash to stop the tug of war.
Many people here believe in different methods but this worked for us. Murpny is now 2 1/2 and prances like a show dog thru the neighborhood...a pleasure to walk! Murphy lives like a king!!
 

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Don't despair. This too shall pass. I'm going through the same thing with my 1 year old -- but things improve as time goes on. Hang in there!
 
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There is a lot of controversy over whether dogs really have a desire to be "alpha". Many experts disagree with this idea of thinking. Wrestling him onto the floor and pinning him by the neck is a NO. Instead, give him a timeout. He's coming upon the teenage stage and probably has a TON of energy. When you take something from him and he bites the couch, he's redirecting his excitement onto something else. When he growls, he's probably playing/asking to play. Get that puppy running! When he gets crazy bursts of energy like that, he won't listen. Wait it out or put him in timeout.

I use a prong collar when I walk Zelda. She used to pull and jump, but when we introduced the prong, she quickly realized that wasn't pleasant and stopped the behavior.
 

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You've had a lot of good advice here, so just wanted to wish you well as you go through the teenage stuff. My dog is 7 months old (almost 8), and we have enjoyed a beautiful week free of teenager behavior -- which hasn't happened since he was 6 months! It was so glorious, and while I'm sure the teenage behavior will be back, it helped a lot to have the reminder of what a chill dog he can be.

Also, one thing that helped us tremendously was to up Bailey's exercise a lot. In addition to our long walks, where he is permitted to run, I will literally chase him in the back yard until he crawls under the table to get away from me. It has helped calm down his puppy fizzies quite a bit. He will still jump on people he's very excited about, but he can be redirected into a sit or a "pet my belly" flop after the first jump.

Hang in there. If he's a good dog 90% of the time, you're still way ahead of most people!
 

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I have had the exact same problems for the past 4-6 weeks with Murphy (who is 7 months). Our house is very open on the first floor where Murphy is allowed to be unsupervised which makes it difficult to separate myself, so he goes in the crate. I also increased his exercise and started working more on training at home which has helped a ton! We play a lot of find it with different smelly treats, under containers and from different positions (next to me, across the room, etc) and are working on learning the names of his toys. This stage is very frustrating to get through, hang in there!
 

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If you'll continue to do what's highlighted in red, you'll get into much bigger trouble soon.
We've tried calming him, disciplining him, isolating him ... Sometimes he fights with me until I wrestle him onto his back and almost have to pin him down by the throat till he yields... which he will usually do, but then it's 50/50 whether he will get up and start again.
...
It's getting to the point of an almost daily physical fight where i have to pin him to the ground.
Your dog needs to trust you completely, but instead you breaking his trust every day with pining and physical force ...
Next time he jumps on you or try to nip you - get on your knees, slightly hold his head without any force and talk to him in a very soft voice.
You'll be amazed with result, I promise!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Many thanks

Many thanks to everyone who has taken the time to read and reply to this posting. Actually I got some sense of peace just from knowing (from what you all say) that he is just being a "normal" teenager and that in time it will pass. That means I can focus on calming him and not constantly having to check him. The "zoomies" as someone put it is also something we're working on.

One of the respondents mentioned running with him, which we would like to do, but unfortunately this seems to be one of the main triggers for him to act out. If I start to jog then he starts jumping and nipping and then ends up insanely fighting with the leash.

I see longer walks in his future... the trouble is it gets to around 36'C here with 90%+ humidity, so walks tend to either be either early morning or late at night. Also sadly, there's nowhere he can be off leash.

Thanks again everyone
 

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Great advice so far. The word that keeps coming to the fore is "CALM", and for good reason. Any excitement or aggression (physical, verbal or body language) will meet with either an aggressive response or an intimidated response, depending on the dogs nature.
Neither is a good thing. Same applies to children but that's another subject entirely!

Might be an idea to rethink how you engage with your dog, especially while he's in this apparent teenage phase, which is as confusing for him as it is to you.

I've never really had a problem with a teenage phase or landshark stage with Brody (now 15 months) as I've always believed in treating him, literally, as one of the family, albeit a naughty toddler at times. The more you hype them up by tone of voice, hyper excitable play or loud, domineering response to bad behaviour, the more they will respond in like manner.
Is he crated for long periods? I feel that that can also contribute to an explosion of energy when out of the crate, in some dogs.
Although Brody is a very hyper type, from field trial champ lines, with lots of drive, I got him to be a companion dog. My tactic with him is to stay calm, kind and just "normal" with him. So, if he does something bad, for instance when I caught him counter surfing, I use a quiet, low, disappointed tone eg "Ohhhh Brody, what have you done"? Followed by love and hugs when he stops.
He's mortified and apologetic when I use this tone. He's never counter surfed since.
So general rule, the more hyper they are, the calmer you need to be, not just when they're doing something wrong, but all the time. I firmly believe that lowering your voice is far more effective than shouting, unless it's a dangerous situation and you need to get their attention quickly.

Apart from changing your demeanor with him, reinforce by giving him time out when he's nipping you. Just walk away, don't let yourself get angry. Leave him till he calms down, then quietly fuss and praise him.
Follow up with basic training exercises, lots of love and praise, but calmly. Free exercise alternated with training, heelwork etc.
Play games that build up his need to be with you...hide and seek is great for that.
Every day, when Brody disappears to the bottom of the garden, I hide somewhere in the house and blow his dog whistle. He loves searching for me, and is sooo happy and loving when he finds me!
Teach him tricks like wait, down, roll over, high five, retrieving, (no wrestling the object off him, if he doesn't drop or give, say nothing and walk away).
Just do it all calmly and happily, and praise praise praise when he's good. Ignore and if necessary time out when he's bad.
These are just my own methods which have worked on a hyper pup. Others will have different methods which also work. There are two factors to every problem-the owner and the dog.

It takes time and patience, and a lot of self control, but you will be rewarded, I promise.
 

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My golden pup Caleb is 6.5 months old. He does every bad behavior you all have mentioned in this thread. The walks at the park have gotten better. But he shows aggression when he gets an item he shouldn't have when I approach him to drop it. He pulled a paper towel out of the garbage can last night. I blocked him off in the kitchen. So he had only one way to go. He went into a full attack mode. Growling and biting. He drew blood on my hand for the first time. I sprayed that bitter spray into his mouth and he slowly gave up the paper towel. Two minutes later he acted like nothing happened and was my best bud. He's done this about four times so far. Why is he being so possessive over a paper towel? He acts fine at the dog park. He always submits to other dogs. He doesn't show any aggression at doggie day care. How would you approach a dog that has an item that he shouldn't have and has shown signs of going into attack mode?
 

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From my perspective, dogs are not interested in being number 1, but more interested in doing the most rewarding thing possible from their viewpoint. You actually have control of most of the dog's desired resources , so you are in a great position to train him to be the dog you want.

Implement a rule of "to get what you want, first do what I want"
Want me to open the door( reward), then first DOWN.
Want your breakfast? First sit, twirl, down.

Make obeying you superfun, and mark the correct behavior with the word YES or a clicker. Celebrate learning moments and give LRS( least reinforcing scenario- aka shut yourself off like a light switch for a count of three heartbeats) if the dog offers the wrong behavior.

Dont have a million toys on the floor, but a few special ones that you play with too.

The dog should have a solid hour or more of off leash hiking/running/lollygagging/sniffing- aka dog time for mental and physical peace.
 
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This is what I got from some excellent, Zac Goerge, videos on YouTube. Work on "look" so you can redirect his attention to you on walks. Also have him sit is another option. Tire out your dog prior to a walk by playing fetch or tug of war so he isn't trying to get rid of all that pent up energy on a walk.
 

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Brody's Mum
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My golden pup Caleb is 6.5 months old. He does every bad behavior you all have mentioned in this thread. The walks at the park have gotten better. But he shows aggression when he gets an item he shouldn't have when I approach him to drop it. He pulled a paper towel out of the garbage can last night. I blocked him off in the kitchen. So he had only one way to go. He went into a full attack mode. Growling and biting. He drew blood on my hand for the first time. I sprayed that bitter spray into his mouth and he slowly gave up the paper towel. Two minutes later he acted like nothing happened and was my best bud. He's done this about four times so far. Why is he being so possessive over a paper towel? He acts fine at the dog park. He always submits to other dogs. He doesn't show any aggression at doggie day care. How would you approach a dog that has an item that he shouldn't have and has shown signs of going into attack mode?
I wouldn't have cornered him, he was left with no choice. By chasing him and cornering him you made the item even more valuable, and increased his aggression, as he thinks you want it too.
I personally would have very nonchalantly diverted him, grab something of higher value-food or a special toy-and play with it or pretend to eat it. Make it look the best thing. Encourage him to come to you for it, don't chase him, then tell him to drop it and trade.
Pick your battles. I'd only wade in and try and force a drop if it was something dangerous and trading didn't work. Apart from being bitten, the danger of going straight in is that a resource guarder will often try to gulp down the object even faster if you approach him, so do whatever it takes to encourage him to come to you and drop or trade.
 

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KCGold
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As you can see their are a number of different ways to approach this problem. Most agree that the pup is in a 'teenage' phase and that this will pass if you just keep working at it (like you have a choice).? I also would suggest you consider if you pup is getting enough exercise? Our young girl has to get out and run, run, run a couple times a day before she can focus on what we tell her to do.


I train my dogs with a trainer that starts all dogs out using a prong style collar. That being said, our trainers have always recommended pinch collars vs. choke chains or harnesses. All can be misused and harm the dog.

My field trainer recently put me on to a lady that makes a new style pinch collar, that eliminates the difficulty of putting them on and it has no latch...you can look at them at
www.lolalimited.net. They call them "Secret Power" collars...but they are a well-engineered covered pinch style collar.

Be advised that some people do not advocate using a pinch style collar on the dog, and to their credit, if not properly used, they can injure the dog’s skin and also cause behavioral problems. But, if used properly by a trained user, they are magic in helping you train the dog


But do not use these without a trainer teaching you how to properly train with these collars....good luck
 
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