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Hi There!

Gipper has thrown an absolute fit at training class the last few weeks. He's fine until he gets into the class and then all he wants to do is jump at and chew his leash. To the point that I'm afraid he's going to nip my face with one of his jumps/bites he's so hyper. I've tried taking him on a long walk beforehand and it didn't help. Someone suggested to me that maybe it is mental exercise and not physical that he really needs before class (I work during the day so he's in a kennel by himself so that could be true). However, I'm not quite sure what this means. Can someone help? Examples? Ideas?

Thanks a bunch!
Kristin
 

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Jumping and chewing at the leash can be stress related/releasing behaviors - he is having a hard time coping with all that is going on. Ways to help him cope, teach 'Touch' his nose to the palm of your hand -reward him for doing it - giving him 'something to think about and do, instead of what you don't want to do, teach him the 'settle' on cue, practice and reward for focus and eye contact with you, self control exercises such as wait, leave it, go to a bed (and stay there until released), acknowledge and reward for 'calm'/relaxed behavior at home and when you are out. .

Mental stimulation: if you feed him before you go to class, throw a handful of kibble out on the grass, let him use his nose and his brain to seek it out.
Teach him the 'Find it' cue, hide some a few treats or pieces of kibble in 'easy' to find places to start with, let him watch you 'hide' them, then release him to 'Find it'. Once he catches onto the 'game', hide the treats a little better, let him search them out, or you can switch to his favorite toy.
Teaching tricks, - shake a paw, wave, 'high five', weave (between your legs) are a good mental work out.

Consider practicing 'shaping' behaviors, 101 Things to Do with a Box | Karen Pryor Clicker Training, is a fun place to start, fun for both you and your dog.
 
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Kona's Mum
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I would agree with Charliethree - going into an environment surrounded by different smells and other dogs can be overwhelming. What you pup's body language in these situations and try to interpret what they are trying to tell you.

I have two GR boys and if I don't give the boys some sort of puzzles for when I'm work, I can guarantee that they will make their own 'fun'. I use:

1. kongs, stuffed with anything from peanut butter to coconut oil to mince meat.
2. for hot days - ice blocks made in ice cream containers with a little bit of stock and freeze toys + treats + veggies
3. antlers or goat horns
4. a box within a box within a box within a box - hide toys and treats between each layer, like pass the parcel
5. soft drink bottles with the lid and plastic ring cut off and the paper wrapper ripped off. filled with biscuits/treats but them to knock around (Kona goes mental when he sees a bottle come out!)
6. outward hound toys - the boys have the squirrel one and is more of a supervised toy because left to their own devices, it won't last last

And the very best mental stimulation is training. Training at home, and out and about, teaching cool tricks to really make your pup think will not only stimulate their mind, but will create a strong bond between you and Gipper, resulting in Gipper paying more attention to you when you are in a highly distracting environment.

Hope this helps :)
 
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