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Brodie is 4 1/2 mths. Sweetheart in all ways except last two weeks at puppy kindergarten after about a 1/2 of learning/playing when it is time to take a break and we are massaging them to calm down...he starts to bark and then if I try to calm him down, he starts barking at me excessively and getting angry. I'm not showing any fear to him and I grab him and tell him no. The trainer is feels it is really not an aggression he is showing but almost like tantrum. Something upsets him and he can't calm down. Then once we put him back in a play situation he gets alittle nasty with the other puppies. He is only doing this at puppy kindergarten after so much time and never noticed this at home.

I think he see's it as playtime whether he is learning or playing so when it is time for a break he doesn't want to and that is when it begins. Does anyone have this happening with theirs? I just want to make sure it is not something more.
Thanks!
 

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Magica Goldens
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It does sound like a tantrum. I think your instructor needs to manage play better in puppy class - too much play to the point that all the puppies are overstimulated is counter-productive - perhaps you need to decide what your goals are and if you are going to class to teach your dog to work with and pay attention to you - or if you are teaching him that he gets to play with a bunch of other dogs instead of working with you....anyway, off my soapbox. As you've guessed I'm not a big fan of puppy classes that consist mostly of play. A five minute session is fine - several 5 minute (or longer) sessions in an hour is not good. Play with you - absolutely. Huge mass of puppies playing - not always a good thing....and when it's a good thing it's only because puppies are well suited to each other and it's supervised by instructors who are good at reading behavior...lots of dogs learn ugly things in puppy class because of how playgroups are run.

Teach a settle...outside of class step on his leash (close enough to his collar that he can't leap around, but enough that he can sit comfortably) and wait for him to relax and lay down, then reward him for the settle (food and praise). he'll get up, that's fine - but wait for him to settle again. Puppies don't come knowing when they're tired, overstimulated, etc.

In class when he gets that way, step on his leash - ignore him - ignore the barking, etc - wait for a settle and praise and pay for a settle. Also consider removing him from the play (and the room if necessary) before he gets into that tantrum mode. If you can see it before it happens you can prevent any reinforcement he's getting for doing it...

Erica
 

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Tracer, Rumor & Cady
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normal for some puppies....the little labbie I have now gets overly excited with two specific dogs in puppy class. She is learning about time-out.
We have a German Shepherd that loves to bark/scream who is going through time outs too. Last week was hard for the owners-as he put on quite a show....was really interesting to see the other puppies reactions...they would look at him and trot off....as if to say, "stop your crying and you can come play with us". They had no sympathy!

I believe it is frustration....I want what I want - and I want it now!

I wouldn't necessarily massage him - for some pups it is just too stimulating....but instead...separate him a bit from the group...crouch with your knees on the floor...hold him between your knees facing away from you (less satisfying for him to bark if he cant see your face also easier to control a wiggling pup if he is between your knees) and wait for him to physically relax-no chatting or soothing him-just let him come to the conclusion that 'relaxing' is the key to getting back to playing with his buddies...when he relaxes (you can feel their muscles give way-sometimes they will give a deep cleansing breath) give him another verbal cue to tell him he is 'free'...then let him go back to playing...if he gets wound up again ..a firm verbal marker like.....eh! or No! or TooBad! and right back to his timeout.

By giving him the verbal 'eh' before he goes to time out...in time you will be able to give him the verbal and he will knock it off.

You are wise to work on this now...then to wait until he weighs 70 pounds!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for your ideas and thoughts...I just was hoping he was not acting in aggression and it was something for me to be worried about. We are in class for about 1 and they usually get 2 5 min plays and then when we first get there we can let them play. We are good the first time but after that it goes down hill and I agree I think he just wants to keep playing..fortunately he is learning really well and can focus on me when he is.
 
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