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I'm really hoping someone can give me advice, I need it! Last Saturday my husband and I adopted a 7-month old Golden boy named Macho. The original owner couldn't keep him because he didn't have the time/energy/will to work with him. He had a young daughter and honestly, I think Macho became too much for them as he's already 81 lbs and full of energy. But before I get into the problem, let me just say that 1) I know we've only had him for a few days--I never expected him to come into a new environment and adjust perfectly, 2) we plan on neutering him as soon as possible, and 3) we do plan on enrolling him in obedience training as soon as he is neutered. I'm here seeking advice for the interim.

It's worth noting that my husband and I both work full-time. Before work we take him out to go to the bathroom and then I walk him for 30 minutes right before I leave. During the day we confine him to the back hallway with a see-through baby gate. He has his crate in there (which he doesn't love), toys, and water. I leave the radio on for him, too. I've been coming home at noon everyday to let him out and check on him to see how he's doing. He's yet to do anything bad--no accidents, no chewing, no nothing! I spend about 30 minutes walking him before I head back to work. At nights we try to take him for at least a 3 mile walk.

So, here's my issue: Two nights ago I came home, let him out, and fed him before my husband arrived from work. He was calm and sweet with me before this. As soon as my husband walked in he got super excited, which I find normal. But then he "turned on me" and started jumping all over me and nipping. There is no growling or aggressive biting, but it still hurts. As I mentioned, he's 81 lbs! Since then, he's been getting this way every day, mostly later at night. I've tried walking into him, I've tried crossing my arms and ignoring him, I've tried pushing him off and saying "No!" or "Off!", but none of it seems to work. Sometimes he'll just jump up on me from behind and jump on my back when I'm least expecting it. He leaves scratches all over me and it's really starting to become an issue. After my failed attempts of getting him to stop, my husband usually has to step in and physically pull him off of me. He does it to my husband a little while he's trying to calm him down, but not to the extent that he does to me. I don't like pushing him off because I feel he will interpret that as play and encourage his behavior.

Tonight I took him for a 5 mile walk/jog/sprint and thought I would definitely wear him out and prevent this from happening, but it didn't have any effect on his behavior.

Is this a dominance issue? Is he just playing? How do I get it to stop (until we can start classes)? Any advice would be much appreciated.
 

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Missing Selka So Much
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It sounds like he's playing.. normal golden puppy behavior. usually called zoomies if they are in an open area where they can run around but he is so excited he is jumping on you. Turn your back till he calms down. Work on sit, down, stay. Yes, he really needs the obedience classes.. you can do this before he is neutered. My dogs weren't neutered till after age one.And went to obedience at 4months.
You can try keeping him on a leash in the house so you have more control. Others will have more advice. It's been a long time since we had a puppy.
Good luck. He sounds wonderful and like a sweet boy.
 

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Kate
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It's play. Keep in mind he probably has a lot of pent of energy because he's been sitting around sleeping all day. And he's feeling good and he is happy to see you guys and is getting carried away with the playing.

He will settle down... but he will need a lot of training. Right now he might not see you as boss just yet. You are wonderful people who gave him a home and come home and play with him, run with him, walk with him, and are giving him a great life.

I do suggest you or your husband putting a leash and collar on him when you anticipate him going into happy fit, and just gently hold his collar, speak calmly (not a high voice), and keep him calm until you and the hubby get settled in. Use the leash and collar checks to keep his feet on the floor.

There are things you can do to stop the mouthing, but I'd rather a good trainer show you exactly how to do them. It doesn't involve lemon juice -which never worked for me anyway.

Did you adopt from a golden rescue? They might have new dog training programs (some rescues make them mandatory) that could help you sort this out. But it will take time.

Even my sweet little Jacky munchkin left bruises on my legs from his nipping (learned from the collie) while we would be doing our training. Drove me nuts.
 

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Knife Swallower
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Oooh, he's reaching the adolescent stage. Usually at this point, puppies stop the fast growth of their new bodies so they have all this extra energy. Unfortunately, their "outlet" of this excess energy usually involves behaviour humans find inappropriate, ie nipping and jumping. The good news is that this is only a bad stage and it's entirely manageable with some effort and hard work.

First off, bump up all his physical exercise. How does he walk on a leash? I prefer walking my dog rather than running with him since I found running just gets him pumped up and more energetic. Try waking up earlier in the mornings and take him out for an hour walk (rather than half an hour) in the mornings. I find the morning walks the most important walks of the day. Usually dogs sleep 8-12 hours during the night, get a quick walk in the morning and then are left in the house with no mental stimulation for the next 8 hours until their people get home, and THEN they get a big walk. Making the evening walks the longest are more for the human's benefit than the dogs (since people have more time in the evening). Really, really try to increase the length of the walk in the morning. When you're walking, make sure he's walking next to you with a slack leash. Change direction often, change pace frequently...make sure your normal pace is that of walking as if you're late for an appointment. No stopping to smell the roses!

Secondly, now that you've increased his physical stimulation, it's time to bump up his mental stimulation. I am a HUGE fan of mental stimulation. The problem with only increasing a dog's physical exercise is that they'll eventually become conditioned and they'll need even more exercise. For example, if you run with your dog for 3 miles a day, eventually 3 miles will be easy and now you need to run 5 miles to tire him out. Then 7 miles, then 10 miles. It's much easier to tire a dog out with mental exercise than physical. There are a few ways to do this:

- Kibble dispensing treats: feed all his meals in one of these life-savers. A-maze-ball, tug n jug, squirrel dude, or my favourite, the kong wobbler. Instead of scarfing down a meal in 2 minutes flat, your dog will have to think and work for his food - he'll be using his brain which is what will tire him out.

- It's great you're signing up for obedience classes soon! Obedience training is beneficial in two ways: the training and "homework" you do during the week, will tire him (more thinking = tired dog) and you'll have a super well behaved dog in the bargain, too! In the meantime, work on basic obedience (search the forum here for good advice) like sits, downs, stands, stays, leave it. Play mental games like "find me" or the "trade up" game. Teach him the names of his toys and how to bring them to you. Check some of the trick training threads and maybe invest in a clicker for fun training. Teach roll over, "bang you're dead", spin, crawl, bow, wave, shake a paw, anything you can. Try to spend an hour a day in ten minute increments doing obedience or trick training.

- You can give him a job! Buy him a backpack for his walks (keep it empty since he's still young). My dog is WAY more tired after a 30 min walk with his backpack than a 30 min walk without it. Teach him to bring in the mail, put away his toys, give him paper to throw away...etc.

- Along the lines of the kibble dispensing toys, I'd also buy two XL kongs (if you don't have them already) and stuff them with kibble, cookies, mashed banana and a smear of peanut butter then freeze them. Give him one in the morning when you leave so he has to work it to empty it, then give him the second one when you leave again at noon if he still seems a little hyper. Inthe evening, re-stuff and freeze over night. You might have to cut back on his meals when you supplement with the kong. If you're using 1/2 cup of kibble in the kongs, delete 1/2 cups from his daily meals.

Increasing his mental and physical stimulation should help the excess energy and prevent the jumping up/nipping. You can also keep a leash on him on times when you think he'll jump up (if evenings seem to be the worse) and step on it as it happens. OR you can reinforce working on your obedience - when he starts to jump up, tell him "sit" and reward. Dogs learn better from rewarding wanted behaviour than punishing unwanted behaviour.

Hope some of this helps! You can also check out my blog entry of "High Energy Dogs". Also, your dog is so cute!
 

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Koda did that when he was younger, nothing agressive, just pure playfulness, and unruly puppy behavior. My DH is still wearing those t-shirts with tiny ripped holes in them (near his shoulder blades)! Imagine how high he jumped and nipped!

Now that Koda is older (2 yrs old), he still gets really excited when people come over and visit, instead of jumping up and nipping us (or the visitors), he directs his excitement towards my older dog Zooey. Poor thing, she knows when it is coming, she will rush to a corner and sits quietly hoping that he doesn't see her. We still have to physically hold him back and give him some basic commands (sit, down, stay) to calm him down, redirect his focus.
 

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Tracer, Rumor & Cady
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Been there with our Lexi......gosh she played soooo rough...she was also brought into our home during adolescence and had not had any obedience under her belt.
You've gotten good advice above...

Things to avoid....
Yelling - it just adds to his stimulation.
Collar grabbing to get him off you... - it just makes him better at avoiding your hands...a leash is a much safer.

HONESTLY - - with some consistent work and time, when he has learned alternate behaviors, the foolishness will disappear.
 

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I just worked with a golden who did this to his owner. In the winter, he ripped the stuffing out of her puffy ski parka by jumping up and nipping her chest, back and shoulders.

One short term helper is to let Macho drag a leash while you're home. If he starts his nipping and jumping, calmly step on the leash and then ignore him until he settles.


At other times, work on your "down" command with a ton of nice treats and praise. Try to get him so that he will drop to the floor in a down for a hand signal as well as a voice command. It is really helpful for this stage if his default can be down instead of sit. Likewise, you can work on the "Off" and "Up" commands when all is peaceful.
 

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Chester & Murphy's Mom
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Yes to what everyone else said...and I just wanted to say welcome to the forum from Janine, Chester and Murphy. Your new boy is very cute...I love the black spot "sweet spot" on his tongue.
 

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I have nothing to add to the great advice already given, just wanted to say hi and welcome to the forum!
 

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You get bonus points for sounding SO prepared and for realizing that pushing him off probably would be seen as play. You're doing a brilliant job!

Make a list of the times/triggers the sillyness tends to start. Try to prevent these opportunities. For example... if he's silly after you put him back in his area after a walk. Before entering the house... ask for a sit. Feed a treat. Go three steps into the house. Feed a treat. Go three more steps. Feed a treat. Ask him to go in his area. Feed a treat. Ask for a sit. Feed a treat. Close the gate. Toss a few treats on the floor. And then walk off to do your things. This is preventing him from being silly. He is learning appropriate ways to get your attention. The food is helping to keep him calm and thinking.

And if you mess up your prevention and he does start getting silly... if you can go behind a closed door and pry him off as you get in there... that's a good option. Another would be to toss a handful of treats on the floor. YES, that could reinforce his jumping behavior. But this behavior should be seen once a week or less...if you're seeing it more often, we need to improve prevention strategies. The treat toss may get him off of you so you don't fall over or get scratched or hurt.

Prevention!
 

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Lot's of great advice. I would like to add something that helped me too.

I have 2 young dogs that love to get to go from a small fenced yard into the big fenced yard. They knew when I was coming to open the gate to let them out and they would both go crazy jumping all over me yipping, nipping (playfully) and one is very talkative and sounds like she is actually growling but she does this when she's excited. It was ridiculous and getting out of hand, to an onlooker I'm sure it looked like I was getting attacked and mauled. As you said turning my back did no good because they would just jump all over my back and it hurt, so what I did.....

As soon as they did that I walked back inside and waited a few seconds, went back out and they did it again, so back in I went. I repeated this probably 6 or 7 times until they realized they were just pushing me back in the door. Once they finally "got it" I walked across the yard toward the gate and and they'd forget and excitement would once again overcome them, so back inside I went. Within a half an hours time it got to where I was able to walk to the gate and have them both sit down and wait for a release to go through.

It sounds like he knows that is close to his big walk time so he is getting very excited. All my dog needed was to see me with his leash and he'd go crazy so I started pulling his leash out and hooking him up several times a day so he didn't think having it put on meant he was going somewhere.

Obedience classes will make such a difference in him.
 

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Sounds like Macho has a case of Excessive Greeting Disorder (thanks to whomever posted that here). I don't really have anything to add other than reading that lots of goldens here like to grab a stuffy when they get supper excited so you may want to re-direct him and give him one when he goes bonkers. Also wanted to say thank you to you and your husband for adopting. Your Macho is a very handsome boy.
 

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Kate
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Sounds like Macho has a case of Excessive Greeting Disorder (thanks to whomever posted that here). I don't really have anything to add other than reading that lots of goldens here like to grab a stuffy when they get supper excited so you may want to re-direct him and give him one when he goes bonkers.
I second this! And I do the same thing when I come home from work. Young goldens like to have something in their mouth while they are having happy-joy-fits. If they have a stuffed animal in their mouth, it at least keeps them from chomping on limbs.
 

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Lost Her Mind
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I do want to add something... no jogging or sprinting (I'm assuming it was on the road or sidewalk) until he's like 18-24 months old. It's very bad for their joints!
 

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Great advice. I just wanted to add that finding him a puppy friend with similar energy and play style will let him work out a great deal of energy and nippiness.
 

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I do want to add something... no jogging or sprinting (I'm assuming it was on the road or sidewalk) until he's like 18-24 months old. It's very bad for their joints!
Ditto!

I am so happy that Macho has found a forever home with you and your husband. :) Thank you for taking him in!

I have no other advice because it seems as though you have been given some really, really great tips and pointers. Man, I love this forum!
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thank you!

Thank you to everyone for your tips and advice. We will definitely try some of these things...and hopeful that it's just a stage. I know where I'll be coming for more Macho questions!

:bowl:
 

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In the Moment
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As an 8 month old pup, he should not be your running partner. Road work or running together should not be done until 18-24 months. Otherwise, it could be damaging to their joints. Walking on soft surfaces and certainly off leash running/playing (in an enclosed area) at their own pace is great.
 

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Griff's a Muffin Thief!
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Sounds like he's being a 7 month old doodlehead - like a lot of Goldens including my Griff.

Exercise and training and the maturity will come. Hang in there - I'm doubtful you have a "bad dog" just one that's super excited about his new home and immature. Why wait for neutering before training? Go for it - unless you find him acting aggresively towards other males - he will probably be fine in training class but it will be work.

I worked with Griff since he was a wee pup and he still had those 7 month old doofy moments - and yeah, they hurt. Keep it low key because excited voices rev them up more.

Watch zoomie time - it's usually the same time of day or night and be prepared to get him out and let him run out some of that pent up energy.

Best wishes!
 

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Knife Swallower
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Oh, and to add, if you're desperate (and can afford it) look into dog walkers in your area. There's quite a few around here, including a group that takes dogs out into the mountains for day hikes. The dogs are gone for 4-6 hours and from what I hear, come back so exhausted they're tired for the next two days. (I have a few friends who use this service). I myself have a dog walker for Ranger: it was originally to help his socialization skills as he came to me no understanding of doggie manners at the age of 9 months (he was a rescue from a bad situation). Now, he goes out twice a week on 1-3 hour walks, on leash and off leash, and LOVES them. He's so happy and content and TIRED when he gets back, that I can't seem to stop the walks! It's been a year since he started with this dog walker!
 
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