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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello Everyone,
I have been a member of the forum for a while now and have turned to it many times for answers to many questions and all of your experience and advice has been great for learning how to handle all kinds of puppy issues. This is my first post asking for direct advice. I live in NE China. I have an almost 10 month old golden retriever named Chula. Unlike many dogs sold here in China, Chula did not come from a puppy mill. She was bred by a woman that works with service dogs since her sister is blind. Her dog, Lucky, was one of the dogs bred for the program but put up for adoption. Chula is from Lucky's first and only litter. When the puppies were born they were very well taken care of but only had contact with the breeder for the first 8 weeks. So many puppies die here in China so the breeder was overly cautious. I did not get to touch or play with Chula until the day I picked her up. On her first visit to the vet (only English speaking vet in this area), he informed me that she had a weak immune system and that she should be kept indoors until she had all of her shots because parvo is very common in this area. I did as instructed and spent the next 2 months at home enjoying my new puppy. I live in a gated community for foreigners that is attached the American International School campus where I work and since it was the middle of a very cold winter she did not have the opportunity to meet many people on her walks. Friends would come over occasionally but basically she socialized with me, my neighbor and her dog, my dog walker and my cat. Despite this she is very friendly and outgoing. She LOVES people and will do anything and everything to be near them and get their attention. As a puppy this was cute especially when the spring came and she was able to experience kids on bikes and joggers and people playing Frisbee on the football field within the gated community. Everyone loved seeing a fluffy 4-6 month old puppy coming towards them with so much love and happiness. Although this was cute I knew it was unacceptable behavior and sent her to a wonderful training school for 2 months over the summer while I traveled home to the states. There she learned many commands and some impulse control. She has been better since coming back especially at home but she still struggles with impulse control, she will not come back when called, she chases people, kids, bikes, other dogs. She jumps on people and is relentless in her attempts to get their attention. She gets so over excited that she ends up knocking people down and pissing off other dogs with her enthusiasm. Most people are scared of her and most dogs approach her with caution since she is so out of control. The kids can not come near her as her first instinct is to jump on them and lay on top of them when they are down. She is a beautiful dog and people are drawn to her but she is crazy and ends up scaring them. She has used a gentle leader in the past and now she uses a gentle harness to keep her from pulling on the leash when she sees other people and dogs. I take her out at 5am every single day, rain or shine, to play and run around because that is the only time I know there are no other people around. This is the most exercise she gets and we stay out for about 45 minutes. She is then taken out again at 8 for a short 15 minute walk and then a long walk at 1pm. At 5 pm I come home and I walk her to the tennis court and play fetch with her in there where she cant chase after anyone. We are out there for about 45 minutes as well. She then goes out again for a walk at 8:30. She is never off leash if there are other people around and the walks are usually a nightmare with her trying to get to other people. I am in constant fear that she will catch me off guard and run off and knock down any of the pre-k aged children that live in our community or that one of the older kids on their bike will accidentally hurt her as she chases after them or comes up behind one of the runners and knocks them down. This is a miserable experience for me and for her.

This morning we had very heavy fog at 5am. I took her off leash and went on the football field to play fetch with her. Unbeknownst to me because of the fog there was an older gentleman out at that same time running on the track that surrounds the field. When he suddenly came into view she forgot all about me and proceeded to chase him with he ball. He did not see her and she ended up jumping on him and knocking him down. He scraped his knees pretty badly and was startled and very upset. This is my worst nightmare and I have lived in dread that this was going to happen sooner or later. All the other dogs that live here are off leash and friendly and do not bother anyone. She is the only one that is crazy. She is also the youngest. I dont know what to do and now we are in big trouble. Anyone have any advice on how to stop this behavior? The vet told me she would grow out of it but I cant really wait for her to grow out of it considering that she is already 70lbs (more than half my weight) and really hard to hold back. I hate keeping restraining her so much especially because I can see in her face that she just longs to be free running playing with other people.

Sorry for the long post but I would appreciate any advice or suggestions as I have to go meet with the housing board over this issue.
 

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Hi, are you asking for advice on what to tell the housing board? or are you asking for advice on how to remedy your puppy's behavior?

If its for the housing board, their main concern is they would want some type of assurance from you that this type of incident won't happen again. You probably need to give an example of steps you are taking such taking the puppy to obedience training or some type of basic puppy training to correct the troubled behavior.

As far as the puppy behavior..these Goldens love to play, and they need ALOT of exercise. What you will need to do is correct their aggressive behavior towards strangers. Does any of the pet stores sell "freeze dried liver treats?" . These are the most effective training treats i know. Also try to train them to come to you and sit on command on empty stomach is more effective. Also, you need to be patient and consistent in your training techniques.. try to use positive reinforcement and you will see result.

Also, the food you feed them can affect behavior, higher quality foods with less carbs/sugar will also calm them down. Do you like to jog? take the puppy jogging each morning to burn some of her energy off, this should calm her down as well.

the good news is, as they get older and mature, they will calm down naturally. But i know at this point you are looking for a quick fix, unfortunately it will involve some training and reinforcement of training to see results.

I hope this helps..
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi, Thank you for the response and advice. She has freeze dried liver treats and I used them as well as Plato brand salmon, duck and organic chicken treats for training. I import all her food, toys, bedding, and treats from the states just because I want to know every ingredient that is going into her system. She has been eating her current food since she was 5 months old and it is for puppies and contains no grains, gmo, gluten, or by products.

She is a super happy dog and at this point loves people more than anything else. I can lay out her favorite treats and she will forgo them in order to chase down people (strangers, friends). If we are out and it is the two of us she is super focused and all her attention is on me but the minute someone else enters her line of vision she loses it and is gone. She wont come back, she wont listen to any commands- she just wants to chase that person, circles them a couple of times (wagging her tail) and then jumps on them repeatedly.

I run in the afternoons and I sometimes take her with me (2x a week maybe). Again if there is no one around, she is fine and it is an enjoyable time. If there are other people around she pulls and veers off and wont stop- then it is a miserable experience for all and I end up having to turn around and walk her back home.

This behavior happens everywhere-at home within the campus, at the vet, on the street, at the groomers!

I love her dearly but am worried about her not being able to control herself and get into real trouble, especially when we fly back home to NJ.
 

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Hi, I'm hoping that someone who has a lot of training experience might be able to offer you some suggestions.

I always feel that one of my favorite traits of Goldens is their love for people. Yet, that very same trait seems to sometimes..with some dogs..make it hard to train in some areas.

Our most recent golden had a really hard time with that so I completely feel for you. We have a large family and people constantly in and out of our house, yet you would think that everytime someone walked in, she hadn't seen anyone in years. She adored people and never seemed to understand that not everyone is a dog lover..or fond of a 75 pound dog all over them. Ha! We worked on this from the time she was in puppy training, all the way until we lost her at the age of 8. She just could not settle when people were around. Towards the end, I began asking people to totally ignore her when they came and that seemed to help a bit. But what ended up happening is that she would need to go into a bedroom when we had guests because she just did not have an off switch around people. I hated doing that because Goldens don't like to be separated but we just didn't have much choice. So I understand what you are going through. So much so that when we get our new puppy next month, that particular thing will be at the top of my list of training. I need a very good trainer to help me with that!

A few things that come to mind..as far as off leash goes, it might be better not to allow that until you're able to train her absolute recall and not to jump on people. Our Daisy was not off leash in public areas for that same reason. She would dutifully walk or run right by our side, but if she saw another person..all deals were off!

Does the training school that she was at for 2 months have any training suggestions on how you might handle this? If not, maybe you can find someone when you come back home.

One of the most valuable training tips that I received with our first golden over 20 years ago. Absolute recall. We trained our dogs to drop whatever they were doing or on their way to do..and come running to us. How we did this, we chose a sound or word(s) that would only be used when we needed them to come to us urgently. We used hand clapping..very fast and loud hand clapping. Again, only when it was important that she stop in her tracks and come running. We wouldn't use this to call her in from the yard or from one room of the house to the next, etc. We would use this if she got out the front door and was running for the road. Or say, she was running to greet a neighbor across the street, etc. We would do the chosen sound and 10 out of 10 times, our dogs will stop dead in their tracks and come running to us. They are always...no matter what they did..praised with much excitement and immediately given a special treat. Nothing but positive energy on that particular recall. It doesn't matter that you are calling them back because they ran out a door they shouldn't have or pulled the leash out of your hand, etc. They have to associate that sound or phrase with positive reinforcement. It truly is the best thing we have taught our puppies over the years and in our case has been 100% effective. You need 2 people to train the dog for this. Use lots of treats. The two people have the dog go back and forth between them while using the chosen sound. Reward each time with treat. Each time the 2 people distance themselves a little further. Towards the end, start making it a game of hide and seek. One person holds the dog while the other hides. The one hiding makes the sound and when dog finds you..tons of praise and excitement with a treat. As much as Goldens love people, they will usually sell out for a treat. Lol! We never used this in place of a leash, etc..just in unplanned situations of possible danger. And we would do a practice session monthly. And yes, they would come back to us with that even when running to greet a beloved stranger.

Also, since she is able to pull the leash out of your hands while you run, have you thought about trying a different collar or leash that she isn't able to do that? I had to use a pincher type collar with one of ours because she pulled and pulled hard..in spite of lots of leash training. I'm not a fan of those collars but it at least made it possible to go for walks/runs. I have trad about the easy walk harness/leash. Maybe give that a try?

Let us know how you make out! Oh, and I'm from NJ and we travel to China often. One of my favorite places :)

All the best to you!!!
 

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You need to see if you can get a trainer to come to your home and work with you in your environment. You need direct intervention, and LOTS more foundation work on recall and down, sit, stays. If you can show the housing board you are getting professional training hopefully that will satisfy them.

To start off with NEVER let her off leash again. At least not until you know you have a solid recall and you know for sure she will come to you when you call. You know beyond any question that you can't trust her now. That takes months of practice in every environment you can take her to. Teach her to sit when she sees other people, and teach her to focus on you.

This is all training and will take time. I also suggest you start using a Gentle Leader head halter instead of or in addition to the body harness.
 

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Sounds like she just needs some solid obedience training. You shouldn't have to put up with that behavior from her and both of you will be so much happier when she behaves politely. Dogs like having their world in black and white, and it sounds like she has no idea there's some things she cannot do... e.g. knock down elderly people. (!)

Find a good obedience class with an instructor that is proven to get results (e.g. their dogs and their clients' dogs are what you want!) and commit to it. Sounds like you are trying hard with her based on your schedule, you just need better guidance.

The equipment you use matters less than how it is used...I like flat collars and choke chains for obedience work, obviously your harness isn't working...other people prefer different equipment. Find something that makes sense to you (simple and not easy to get out of are the key things here; a collar fits that definition) and use it.
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you for the advice and support. It is good to read that others have had similar experiences and know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Im doing Susan's Garrett's brilliant recall training with her with some success but so far I still cant trust her. Her program is similar to what you suggested. You start off with low level distractions and work your way up to the major distractions but it is really difficult to find a place to practice where there are no big distractions. I had been working with her in a fenced in field that was full of overgrown grass and weeds with one worn out foot path but then she discovered that there were wild rabbits in the grass and it was a nightmare getting her back. Growing up we had a dog that would freeze and lay down on command no matter how far away you were from him or what he was chasing. I hope that in time Chula will be like this too. A good recall is my number one priority.

The trainers that have worked with her before have come out several times and have worked with me, my dog walker and some of my students that live on campus (all before 6 months). Everyone knows her here and knows that there is a 50/50 chance she will be good or just go completely crazy. The older kids know that when they see her they need to ignore her and she will sit and wait for them to come over and pet her. The little kids just scream and run away from her (which makes things worse) because she cant control herself around them.

The trainers used a choke collar on her but I switched her to the easy walk harness which attaches in the front and to her collar. She used the easy walk gentle leader which went around her mouth as a puppy.

Im starting to wonder if she is having issues with being trained to follow commands in mandarin and then in English?

For now she will never be off leash in public again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
head halter

You need to see if you can get a trainer to come to your home and work with you in your environment. You need direct intervention, and LOTS more foundation work on recall and down, sit, stays. If you can show the housing board you are getting professional training hopefully that will satisfy them.

To start off with NEVER let her off leash again. At least not until you know you have a solid recall and you know for sure she will come to you when you call. You know beyond any question that you can't trust her now. That takes months of practice in every environment you can take her to. Teach her to sit when she sees other people, and teach her to focus on you.

This is all training and will take time. I also suggest you start using a Gentle Leader head halter instead of or in addition to the body harness.
Thank you for the suggestions and advice. She uses the gentle harness now and I attach it in the front to her neck collar. She has a gentle leader head halter too that she used until she was 6 months old. It still fits her and so I think I will use both simultaneously for now. The head halter is great but it is not very common here in china and so people freak out when they saw her thinking she had a muzzle on or was somehow dangerous.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Sounds like she just needs some solid obedience training. You shouldn't have to put up with that behavior from her and both of you will be so much happier when she behaves politely. Dogs like having their world in black and white, and it sounds like she has no idea there's some things she cannot do... e.g. knock down elderly people. (!)

Find a good obedience class with an instructor that is proven to get results (e.g. their dogs and their clients' dogs are what you want!) and commit to it. Sounds like you are trying hard with her based on your schedule, you just need better guidance.

The equipment you use matters less than how it is used...I like flat collars and choke chains for obedience work, obviously your harness isn't working...other people prefer different equipment. Find something that makes sense to you (simple and not easy to get out of are the key things here; a collar fits that definition) and use it.
Thank you for the advice and suggestions. There are several big dogs on campus and we have all used the same trainer. All of his dogs are well trained and happy. One of my neighbors has a 3 year old lab that spent the summer along with my dog at the training center. His issues then were Chula's issues now. Since coming back he is a dream dog- sits when people approach, no longer jumps or claws at you and is focused only on his owner. I spoke to the trainer about why he could do it and my dog couldn't and he said that Chula needed more training and that because of her age she was more distracted. The training center is in a pretty isolated area and so she did not have the distractions of a gated community within a school campus and all the activity that goes around here.
 

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...Im starting to wonder if she is having issues with being trained to follow commands in mandarin and then in English?

For now she will never be off leash in public again.
You most definitely need to be consistent with what language/words you are using for her commands. She very well could know a command in one language and simply does not know it in the other.
 

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i have read your post with a smile on my face..i am going through a very similar situation at this time...i have adopted a year old pup from Isatnbul, Turkey..great little puppy, however she wants to maul all other dogs and people..in an over friendly way...will be going to training class ASAP...good luck
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Mauled by love

i have read your post with a smile on my face..i am going through a very similar situation at this time...i have adopted a year old pup from Isatnbul, Turkey..great little puppy, however she wants to maul all other dogs and people..in an over friendly way...will be going to training class ASAP...good luck
I wish you much success. I'll take being mauled by love any day. :grin2:
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Bi-lingual

You most definitely need to be consistent with what language/words you are using for her commands. She very well could know a command in one language and simply does not know it in the other.
I dont speak Mandarin and even though I learned the command words, I cant seem to nail the pronunciation and the tone. The same was true for the trainer, I taught him the English words I wanted her to associate for each behavior but he was unable to get the pronunciation. My dog walker speaks to her in mandarin too. She must be so confused. Luckily I have a 10 day holiday coming up and I can spend it on working on her recall and word association in English.
 

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It does sound like she is getting confused with the commands. That was one thing our trainer stressed with us - my husband would use different words and we would confuse the poor dogs!

And she is so young still so her energy level will be high for a while yet. Goldens tend to be puppies for a long time.
 
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