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Ginza, born April 2020
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all, I’m a first time poster but I have been lurking and reading many helpful and insightful posts for months now. I am grateful for this forum. My husband and I own a female golden retriever who will be 11 months in one week, and she is our first golden and our first dog. We got her at 8 weeks old. We knew going into getting a golden retriever that they were high energy dogs with big play drives and big exercise needs. Most of our time with her has been a joy but as she goes further into adolescence we are really struggling with her hyper excitability. I was hoping someone with more experience with golden retrievers might be able to offer some tips or perspective on whether we are simply dealing with normal adolescent golden behavior or whether we need to nip something else in the bud.

Ginza has always been a bit “wired” and high energy, something the trainer we have been working with noted, along with an observation that she was “whip smart.” Ginza gets bored easily and learns fast. But recently she has been exceptionally defiant on commands she knows.

The behaviors we’re concerned about include:

1) Over excited greetings involving nipping. Ginza is extremely excited to meet anyone, dog or human, and most of the time this is fine and understandable for a golden. She jumps on people far less than she ever used to, thanks to friends being understanding and ignoring her per our requests when she jumps, but recently she has begun play nipping while excitedly greeting people, something she had stopped doing as a much younger puppy. I do not want her nipping people at all. When this happens we do a sharp “uh uh,” which we have reinforced with the help of our trainer, and if she persists, we tug her leash and remove her from the situation. I’m worried she’s not getting the message.

2) Darting and pulling on the leash especially in response to stimuli she finds exciting. We have worked for months on a beautiful heel she has mastered in the house and the backyard but on walks she definitely chooses if she wants to do it or not.

3) Tantrums when told “uh uh” or directed away from doing something like digging. During these tantrums she is often ignoring known commands altogether, including recall but even simple commands like sit and down that she knows well. This seems like such teenage behavior to me, but this situation can get especially frustrating and I worry potentially dangerous when she uses her teeth to vent her frustration. By this I mean sometimes she will mouth our arms or jump up to nip our elbows after we have asked her to stop doing something. She never clamps down, it is always mouthing, but we want none of it. When this happens we try to shut off our energy and remove ourselves from the situation, but sometimes she will keep following us for a bit, jumping and nipping at our legs. After we stay away for five minutes and come back she will usually be calmer and sometimes contrite. When the behavior is particularly bad we will bring her in for a short time out (five minutes at least) on a tether, after which she is always calmer.

4) Going over an excitement threshold in play can also result in one of the above described tantrums that turns into mouthing. We are very conscious of the fact that it is on us not to rile her up and so we try and keep play sessions short, but on rare occasion, even sometimes with only five minutes of tug play in the morning, she can go wild eyed and incorporate jumping and nipping into her zoomies. She had not done this for many months but suddenly it has reappeared. Play can be hard with her sometimes because she does not easily drop or let go of toys. We try to build in a lot of impulse control moments into play, like having her sit and wait before we release her to fetch a toy.

We do several short training sessions a day involving recall and basic obedience commands, at least four play times a day involving tug and sort-of-fetch (because remember she doesn’t easily drop it) in our backyard, two 30-40 minute walks a day and other free roaming time in the backyard. She goes to daycare one day a week and plays with a lot with other dogs there, and also in backyard play sessions we have with known dogs. We take her to private training sessions as needed. She has not yet had her first heat and I can’t help but wonder if the nipping, frustrated tantrums, and defiance is just part of teenage hood? Or do we need to ramp up the obedience training stat? We’re especially worried about the mouthing.

Ginza this past Christmas
IMG_7664.jpg
 

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Mouthing seems to be a golden adolescence thing. Mine did it too. In that moment everything you give them, will be redirected to you. If you correct them their energy will blow up and the mouthing gets worse. What helped with my dog is react extremely calm, not feeding her outburst. Turning my back to her. Closing a door between us. Putting her on a leash so she can’t “attack” me. What made it worse was talking, getting frustrated myself, a lot of body movements, eye contact. So I avoided those things. I am sure it gets better in time for your dog, so you don’t have to be too concerned about it.
My dog was horrible with guests too. What helped is a physical boundary. I leashed her next to her pillow everytime guests would come in. This way she didn’t even had the choice to display annoying behavior, she was stuck. I told visitors to ignore her. After my dog calmed down I could unleash her. She would calmly greet the visitors. If she would get hyped up again I told her to go back to her place and leash her again. If you do it like this it will get really obvious for your dog what the desired behavior is. Bad behavior won’t get reinforced. It’s a clear boundary. And your guests can come in without being attacked lol.

By the way, another advice. If your dog is having a tantrum don’t give her commands like “sit” and “lay down” on top of that. It makes it worse, her brain is already flooding you know. If it’s a situation where commands are necessary, try to do it with body language or redirect her with a leash. It’s easier for your dog to follow. Verbal commands are easy to ignore.
 

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Kristy
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Just curious if you have been doing the exercise and training all along or if it's been a recent addition? How long has she been going to doggy day care? How long have you been working with her this way: "We do several short training sessions a day involving recall and basic obedience commands, at least four play times a day involving tug and sort-of-fetch (because remember she doesn’t easily drop it) in our backyard, two 30-40 minute walks a day and other free roaming time in the backyard. She goes to daycare one day a week and plays with a lot with other dogs there, and also in backyard play sessions we have with known dogs. We take her to private training sessions as needed. " If you have been doing this since she was a puppy, I am really surprised she is still behaving like this. If it has only been in the past month or two that you've gotten serious, it would make more sense. I would put her on a long line for retrieving in the back yard so that she can't ignore your commands. If she really enjoys retrieving it would be worth the time and effort to get her to understand that if she will return with the toy and sit at your side, you will throw the toy again. Start with short distances. Jackie Mertens dvd Sound Beginnings is great for teaching this.

Do you work from home? How long is she alone and crated while you're gone? Add up the hours in addition to what she is getting overnight to see if it's more than you realize.

I would keep working on self control exercises in the house (put her on a down/stay while you fix her food and then put it on the floor next to her, she doesn't get to eat until you give permission. Teach her 'leave it" and work on 'attention' and 'go to place'. Look up the protocol "Nothing In Life is Free" and see if you could incorporate some of that into your lifestyle with her. I honestly would not be playing tug games with her in the house, you can't tire her out that way. Playing frisbee, chase the soccer ball, retrieving, swimming, doggy day care and play dates are probably a better use of your time with her then extra leash walking. Try taking her different places when you do walk so she is getting to see new places. Keep working on the obedience and working her in places outside the house. It's going to take time and practice, she sounds a lot like my parents' dog and they did rally obedience classes and agility classes with her trying to keep her busy. She may need stern (not loud but use a deep voice) reprimands when she's naughty and it can help to stand on her leash when she starts jumping, run it under your foot so she has no room to jump.

If you've been working for several months with this trainer, it may be time to try a new trainer with a different approach. If you've given the dog a foundation so she knows what is expected of her and she is not respecting you, it may be time to consider using a herm springer prong collar to get her attention. They only put pressure on her if she doesn't obey commands. She is old enough that if you're exercising properly, you've been training for months and she is still blowing you off she needs to have consequences for jumping on people and putting her mouth on them. One day she will knock someone over and really hurt them. A new trainer may be in order to try some things. You also may need to be firmer with your management. She isn't respecting you all and it's not ok.
 

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I also have an 11 month old that gets mouthy when he’s too excited. He also mouths when I tell him to stop doing something it’s like he’s talking back to me.. hahaha. I can’t train him to fetch because it always results in him attacking me. sigh the best thing that’s worked for me is I make him do a sit, down, stay for a minute to calm down... or send him to the crate and he falls asleep ha ha. It’s really tiring some days. My parents visited and he nipped them quite a bit, more than me and my husband. But he loves them and was excited to see them so I’m guessing that’s why? I think I read somewhere that mouthing a form of affection. Sorry I don’t have better advice but I empathize deeply. He gets about the same amount of exercise as your girl - 2X 30-45 minute walks, a packplay 1x a week, and neighborhood dog play sessions.

maybe we have pups from the same litter!😬 although my sister got his littermate and she’s an angel with little training...
 

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Ginza, born April 2020
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Mouthing seems to be a golden adolescence thing. Mine did it too. In that moment everything you give them, will be redirected to you. If you correct them their energy will blow up and the mouthing gets worse. What helped with my dog is react extremely calm, not feeding her outburst. Turning my back to her. Closing a door between us. Putting her on a leash so she can’t “attack” me. What made it worse was talking, getting frustrated myself, a lot of body movements, eye contact. So I avoided those things. I am sure it gets better in time for your dog, so you don’t have to be too concerned about it.
My dog was horrible with guests too. What helped is a physical boundary. I leashed her next to her pillow everytime guests would come in. This way she didn’t even had the choice to display annoying behavior, she was stuck. I told visitors to ignore her. After my dog calmed down I could unleash her. She would calmly greet the visitors. If she would get hyped up again I told her to go back to her place and leash her again. If you do it like this it will get really obvious for your dog what the desired behavior is. Bad behavior won’t get reinforced. It’s a clear boundary. And your guests can come in without being attacked lol.

By the way, another advice. If your dog is having a tantrum don’t give her commands like “sit” and “lay down” on top of that. It makes it worse, her brain is already flooding you know. If it’s a situation where commands are necessary, try to do it with body language or redirect her with a leash. It’s easier for your dog to follow. Verbal commands are easy to ignore.
Thank you for your response! We definitely know exactly what you mean about their energy blowing up if you correct them. She doesn't always go over the top but when she does it is very frustrating.

We like your idea of a physical boundary when there are guests over. Not allowing her to even do the bad behavior will definitely help it not get reinforced. It has been extra hard with COVID-19 because we almost never have people inside our house, so when we do, Ginza is over the top excited. We're going to work on being more calm around her.

I have one question if you don't mind a follow up... What kind of body language do you use to communicate when she is doing a bad behavior? I am worried I am reinforcing her with my body language when I am trying to get her to stop something.
 

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Ginza, born April 2020
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Just curious if you have been doing the exercise and training all along or if it's been a recent addition? How long has she been going to doggy day care? How long have you been working with her this way: "We do several short training sessions a day involving recall and basic obedience commands, at least four play times a day involving tug and sort-of-fetch (because remember she doesn’t easily drop it) in our backyard, two 30-40 minute walks a day and other free roaming time in the backyard. She goes to daycare one day a week and plays with a lot with other dogs there, and also in backyard play sessions we have with known dogs. We take her to private training sessions as needed. " If you have been doing this since she was a puppy, I am really surprised she is still behaving like this. If it has only been in the past month or two that you've gotten serious, it would make more sense. I would put her on a long line for retrieving in the back yard so that she can't ignore your commands. If she really enjoys retrieving it would be worth the time and effort to get her to understand that if she will return with the toy and sit at your side, you will throw the toy again. Start with short distances. Jackie Mertens dvd Sound Beginnings is great for teaching this.

Do you work from home? How long is she alone and crated while you're gone? Add up the hours in addition to what she is getting overnight to see if it's more than you realize.

I would keep working on self control exercises in the house (put her on a down/stay while you fix her food and then put it on the floor next to her, she doesn't get to eat until you give permission. Teach her 'leave it" and work on 'attention' and 'go to place'. Look up the protocol "Nothing In Life is Free" and see if you could incorporate some of that into your lifestyle with her. I honestly would not be playing tug games with her in the house, you can't tire her out that way. Playing frisbee, chase the soccer ball, retrieving, swimming, doggy day care and play dates are probably a better use of your time with her then extra leash walking. Try taking her different places when you do walk so she is getting to see new places. Keep working on the obedience and working her in places outside the house. It's going to take time and practice, she sounds a lot like my parents' dog and they did rally obedience classes and agility classes with her trying to keep her busy. She may need stern (not loud but use a deep voice) reprimands when she's naughty and it can help to stand on her leash when she starts jumping, run it under your foot so she has no room to jump.

If you've been working for several months with this trainer, it may be time to try a new trainer with a different approach. If you've given the dog a foundation so she knows what is expected of her and she is not respecting you, it may be time to consider using a herm springer prong collar to get her attention. They only put pressure on her if she doesn't obey commands. She is old enough that if you're exercising properly, you've been training for months and she is still blowing you off she needs to have consequences for jumping on people and putting her mouth on them. One day she will knock someone over and really hurt them. A new trainer may be in order to try some things. You also may need to be firmer with your management. She isn't respecting you all and it's not ok.
Thank you for this very helpful response. You point out some things that are the very reason we were concerned enough to draft this post. We're worried she isn't respecting us after months of training and work together from a very young age.

To your question, yes we have more or less been doing this routine for many months. 90% of the time she responds beautifully to commands. 10% of the time she ignores or worse, has a minor tantrum. The tantrums only happen if she is already amped for a different reason (fresh off a play session with us or other dogs usually). We use a martingale collar and it is part of the loose leash training. If she goes too far or pulls at the leash until it is taut, we u-turn and go the other direction, then u-turn again to reset her.

We are definitely open to trying a prong collar. We just purchased online a head halter, as our trainer had warned we might need to try one with her if we weren't seeing the pulling reduce on walks. She usually pulls like 10-20% of the time on walks, sometimes more sometimes less, so we still feel we have a ways to go.

We'll try your suggestions on obedience and retrieving. She has an excellent 'wait' and a good 'leave it' but maybe we need to really be exercising these commands in other, harder settings with more distractions.

We are also open to working with a different trainer if we don't see a different result soon following our next session next week.

Also, yes, we do work from home. Ginza usually sleeps from 9:30 PM to 7 AM in her crate in our bedroom, then we play, eat breakfast via training and games, and chew and hang out until 8:30 AM. She naps in the crate from 8:30 to 11:30. Then we play, walk, eat lunch via training and games, and chew and hang out until about 1 or 1:30. Another nap in the crate until 4:30. From 4:30 to 9:30 we play, train, take a longer walk, dinner, play, hang out. She usually rests at our feet for about half an hour of that time. We used to tether her for a rest or a nap in the living room, in full sight of us, during this time post walk and dinner but as she began to show us that she could self settle more easily on her own, we stopped the tether naps. All told that is about 16 hours in the crate, so most of her sleeping hours. We want to get to the point soon where she is free roaming in our bedroom at night, with her crate open to her if she wants and a bed adjacent. Do you think this schedule is part of our problem?

Also, on what you mention about new places, we have struggled taking her to lots of new places because I didn't want to overwhelm her, reinforce bad behavior when she was darting all over the place (hiking was very overwhelming with her because of all the sights and sounds I presume), or worry about contracting COVID-19! She has been with us to a few patio bars and has had hit or miss performance, sometimes a beautiful down stay, sometimes way too excited about other dogs nearby to listen. Now that things are easing in terms of the pandemic, we really want to get out there with her in more places but we know we need our obedience in check with her!
 

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Years ago we were told by a trainer not to play tag with the dog as it promotes aggression, not sure if it is true or not, but the level of excitement created by that play isn't really wanted here, so never played it again :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I also have an 11 month old that gets mouthy when he’s too excited. He also mouths when I tell him to stop doing something it’s like he’s talking back to me.. hahaha. I can’t train him to fetch because it always results in him attacking me. sigh the best thing that’s worked for me is I make him do a sit, down, stay for a minute to calm down... or send him to the crate and he falls asleep ha ha. It’s really tiring some days. My parents visited and he nipped them quite a bit, more than me and my husband. But he loves them and was excited to see them so I’m guessing that’s why? I think I read somewhere that mouthing a form of affection. Sorry I don’t have better advice but I empathize deeply. He gets about the same amount of exercise as your girl - 2X 30-45 minute walks, a packplay 1x a week, and neighborhood dog play sessions.

maybe we have pups from the same litter!😬 although my sister got his littermate and she’s an angel with little training...
Yes this sounds a lot like our girl, except with the fetching, she doesn't attack us. She just refuses to drop the toy, clearly indicating that we haven't taught her or reinforced it well enough. But regarding the greetings, this is exactly how she is with my parents and I am tired of it! Once she has settled into the reality that they are visiting for longer than ten minutes, she usually settles down but the initial greeting is over the top and can get jumpy and mouthy and I'm over it. I appreciate the empathy, same to you!!
 

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Kristy
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... We're worried she isn't respecting us after months of training and work together from a very young age... we have more or less been doing this routine for many months. 90% of the time she responds beautifully to commands. 10% of the time she ignores or worse, has a minor tantrum. The tantrums only happen if she is already amped for a different reason (fresh off a play session with us or other dogs usually). ..She usually pulls like 10-20% of the time on walks, sometimes more sometimes less, so we still feel we have a ways to go.

We'll try your suggestions on obedience and retrieving. She has an excellent 'wait' and a good 'leave it' but maybe we need to really be exercising these commands in other, harder settings with more distractions...Ginza usually sleeps from 9:30 PM to 7 AM in her crate in our bedroom, then we play, eat breakfast via training and games, and chew and hang out until 8:30 AM. She naps in the crate from 8:30 to 11:30. Then we play, walk, eat lunch via training and games, and chew and hang out until about 1 or 1:30. Another nap in the crate until 4:30. From 4:30 to 9:30 we play, train, take a longer walk, dinner, play, hang out. She usually rests at our feet for about half an hour of that time. We used to tether her for a rest or a nap in the living room, in full sight of us, during this time post walk and dinner but as she began to show us that she could self settle more easily on her own, we stopped the tether naps. All told that is about 16 hours in the crate, so most of her sleeping hours. We want to get to the point soon where she is free roaming in our bedroom at night, with her crate open to her if she wants and a bed adjacent. Do you think this schedule is part of our problem?
I'm thinking that if 90% of the time she's behaving, it's only when she's wound up that the naughtiness shows up, it means that you're on the right track and need to just keep hanging on - she is still immature and maybe is going to be on of those dogs who really needs till age 3 to stop being such a puppy.

Yes, 16 hours is a lot of crate time, but you have to work and do chores, and you're spending all your free time working with her. Have you all tried to see how she would do just hanging out with you in your office while you work? If she has a chew bone will she just hang out? Give it a try every few weeks to see if she's ready or see if she could be tethered or have an expen to limit her freedom. Being in the crate isn't bad, I still crate my adult dogs in my bedroom at night so that I have uninterrupted sleep and I know if one of them is sick or needs out in the middle of the night. They are 8 & 10 and it's what I've always done. I work from home and they hang out with me and I have a permanent gate on my stair landing to keep my Golden from going upstairs to get into trouble when she's bored.

My biggest take away from the schedule you gave is that she's not getting daily aerobic exercise - she needs a minimum of 30 minutes every day. Leash walking isn't going to do it. Unless you are doing off leash hikes or your yard is huge for playing fetch, I suspect she needs a little more physical activity. You're doing a wonderful job of training and playing games and those are a huge part of the puzzle but she also needs real hard exercise and leash walks can't do that for her.

My guess is she's going to hate that head halter with the blazing intensity of a thousand suns. ;) It will end up being a battle - make sure you give high value treats for learning to wear it. I hope you'll give us an update and let us know how it goes. A halter causes pressure on sensitive parts of her face to gain compliance. I hope it works for you all. ( If for any reason you ever decided to try a prong collar, it's important that you have an experienced person show you how to fit it properly and use it. Don't just purchase one and try it. It is not as invasive as the head halter, it only pinches her if she isn't walking nicely, whereas the halter is more constant).

It sounds like you all are pretty much doing everything you possibly can to be successful with your dog and for the most part, you are there - if she is 90% well behaved you're doing better than the majority of people at this point. If you just stick with it, try to be sure she gets aerobic exercise that leaves her tired and panting and maybe add in some extra classes like agility or try field training (there are clubs you can join to help you train yourself and it's a lot of fun) you will get through this, it just needs more time for her to mature. Keep having standards of behavior and be stern with her when she's jumping on people and mouthing. Zero tolerance for that. You all sound like a fantastic home and she is going to be a fantastic dog, just stick with it and let her grow up a little more.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I'm thinking that if 90% of the time she's behaving, it's only when she's wound up that the naughtiness shows up, it means that you're on the right track and need to just keep hanging on - she is still immature and maybe is going to be on of those dogs who really needs till age 3 to stop being such a puppy.

Yes, 16 hours is a lot of crate time, but you have to work and do chores, and you're spending all your free time working with her. Have you all tried to see how she would do just hanging out with you in your office while you work? If she has a chew bone will she just hang out? Give it a try every few weeks to see if she's ready or see if she could be tethered or have an expen to limit her freedom. Being in the crate isn't bad, I still crate my adult dogs in my bedroom at night so that I have uninterrupted sleep and I know if one of them is sick or needs out in the middle of the night. They are 8 & 10 and it's what I've always done. I work from home and they hang out with me and I have a permanent gate on my stair landing to keep my Golden from going upstairs to get into trouble when she's bored.

My biggest take away from the schedule you gave is that she's not getting daily aerobic exercise - she needs a minimum of 30 minutes every day. Leash walking isn't going to do it. Unless you are doing off leash hikes or your yard is huge for playing fetch, I suspect she needs a little more physical activity. You're doing a wonderful job of training and playing games and those are a huge part of the puzzle but she also needs real hard exercise and leash walks can't do that for her.

My guess is she's going to hate that head halter with the blazing intensity of a thousand suns. ;) It will end up being a battle - make sure you give high value treats for learning to wear it. I hope you'll give us an update and let us know how it goes. A halter causes pressure on sensitive parts of her face to gain compliance. I hope it works for you all. ( If for any reason you ever decided to try a prong collar, it's important that you have an experienced person show you how to fit it properly and use it. Don't just purchase one and try it. It is not as invasive as the head halter, it only pinches her if she isn't walking nicely, whereas the halter is more constant).

It sounds like you all are pretty much doing everything you possibly can to be successful with your dog and for the most part, you are there - if she is 90% well behaved you're doing better than the majority of people at this point. If you just stick with it, try to be sure she gets aerobic exercise that leaves her tired and panting and maybe add in some extra classes like agility or try field training (there are clubs you can join to help you train yourself and it's a lot of fun) you will get through this, it just needs more time for her to mature. Keep having standards of behavior and be stern with her when she's jumping on people and mouthing. Zero tolerance for that. You all sound like a fantastic home and she is going to be a fantastic dog, just stick with it and let her grow up a little more.
I wanted to thank you for this informative response. We have noted all of your advice and will be implementing it.

We started using a soccer ball in the backyard as one way to get more exercise and have already had some success and seen a slight behavior improvement! We also went on a short weekend hike at a new place this weekend and Ginza had an absolute blast. I loosened up a bit about every single walk needing to have perfectly loose leash because I realized it was preventing me from letting her excitedly explore everything like she wants. (We don't want to let her off leash until we're sure she has great recall, and we're getting there but it's bit by bit!)

I also booked her for some group obedience classes, in addition to the private sessions we do occasionally. I had previously been spooked to try again after Ginza so over excitedly lost focus the last time we tried group classes at this place but she is several months older now so time to try again!

I will for sure provide updates on our girl. Thanks again to you and others for the helpful responses.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I wanted to provide an update on our puppy's progress on these behaviors. I plan to provide regular updates both for accountability for myself but also in case this thread is of future use to someone struggling with similar issues with their pup.

In the several weeks since I last updated, Ginza's mouthiness has improved substantially. With the help of our trainer (who is also a licensed behaviorist), we have learned where my husband and I were inadvertently riling Ginza up further during play. Play was typically where she would eventually have an outburst or tantrum. We provided a lot of video to our trainer and she broke them down for us, helping point out body language and signals that Ginza was no longer listening to us, or where her brain was likely getting over threshold. It's been so helpful. We disengage much sooner, which helps Ginza calm down. We play much more defined, discrete games, rather than using a bunch of toys at once in a mix of chase/tug/fetch altogether. We think it's helping Ginza not become overwhelmed.

Nipping at people has decreased substantially. One thing that has helped is more frequent time outs when she nips, but we are working very hard at being calm and non plussed when we take her to those time outs. We never yell or drag her to the timeout, it's just a calm redirection. We have been keeping her on a house lead since the mouthing began again during adolescence and it helps. We realized that our own negative emotions when she would nip and mouth were impacting her quite a lot. If we are very chill and relaxed when we are taking her to a five minute calm down time out, she settles quickly and comes out of the time out relaxed and happy. When she could sense that we were upset, she tended to stay riled up. It sounds so cliched but adjusting OUR attitude has helped a lot.

We also did reach out to a couple other trainers. It's been helpful to get other trainers' opinions and perspective on her. They pretty much all agree that she does struggle with hyper arousal and loses focus quickly, but is a sweet and very smart/quick dog who responds well to training. We also started doing shorter training sessions. We think we were dragging them on too long before, contributing to frustration.

We also did go back to group obedience classes, which were not a success. Ginza lost focus super quickly and pulled at the leash much of the time, straining to get to the other dogs to play. I don't think "reactive" is necessarily the right word, although it could be. She rarely barks at other dogs, she just wants to engage with them SO badly that she lunges out of curiosity and loses focus on us, and her energy would be amped to the point where she would listlessly accept a treat but was hardly interested. We knew we didn't have her focus. We are working with our trainers on finding her threshold so we can get closer to the stimuli of other dogs in a group obedience class setting.

It is worth mentioning that she does really well off leash in play groups. The daycare staff where she goes once a week (run by one of our trainers) have no complaints about her, they call her a goof and a spitfire, and she reportedly plays well with the other dogs.

We're optimistic and encouraged as we work through Ginza's adolescence. We love her so much and look forward to training each day.
 
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