Struggling with dog... Still

(47 Posts)
lainiekazan Tue 18-Jun-13 06:51:20

I posted about dog previously - but that was more about me than the dog so I've started a new thread.

golde retriever, 3 months old, is quite challenging. On sunday a dog trainer came to the house to observe him and said he is very dominant and gave us some training help. I also consulted local doggy woman who said he is strong-willed and independent.

Yesterday was a Bad Day. Lots of snarling and he flew at me when I said "Off!" when he was on the sofa. That was quite scary. He also bit through ds's top - not play biting - ds was practising the "leave" command and the dog snapped at ds's arm - not at the egg box he had.

He also doesn't seem to care for playing/human interaction. If I try to have a game he'll just wander off.

Any ideas?

lougle Tue 18-Jun-13 06:54:56

I wouldn't be letting your ds practice any command with him if he is not responding to you yet! It will confuse him and your DS could get hurt.

He's not dominating, he's a puppy.

Are you clicker training?

littlewhitebag Tue 18-Jun-13 07:24:32

I was part of the last thread you started. I can only offer what i did before - that your puppy sounds perfectly normal for 12 weeks. Our golden lab was exactly the same. Keep being firm and consistent with training and commands. Treat for all positive behaviour. My DD's advice is be as patient as you can you will be surprised at how well your dog will turn out. We thought we had the dog from hell and now we think we have the perfect dog if only her recall was better

Aetae Tue 18-Jun-13 07:36:34

Our dog was a pain in the backside for most of his teenage months- he's very intelligent and very strong-willed. I guess it lasted until he was about 18 months or so, but he's a small breed.

We just stayed as consistent as we could: rewarded good behaviour (with a variety of things to keep him guessing, treats/games/cuddles), always used a time out if he crossed the line (growling at us for example), regular short training sessions again with variety, puppy and obedience classes...

Stick with it - this phase seemed endless at the time and I really didn't like him much but now he's lovely and a great dog. He still steals tissues but no one's perfect smile.

Lonecatwithkitten Tue 18-Jun-13 07:52:09

I read the previous thread. As previously said he is 3 months a toddler he is tantruming. I would be very wary of any one who told me a dog was dominant and particular a puppy this theory he been disproven.
As others would suggest at this stage training needs to be really consistent and would be best only carried out by adults to ensure this.
At this age my beautiful mobile mop made holes in several DD's clothes. I found the best thing was to get her to make a sharp noise when he did it and then stand completely still with hands by side and if necessary turning back to him till he calmed down.
Do you go to puppy classes? As this weekly consistent support is really helpful at this stage.
Is this your first dog or first puppy? Your first as an adult?

idirdog Tue 18-Jun-13 07:56:47

I am not sure where you are but you need to change your trainer. Any training talking any dominance or strong willed is wrong. They will give you incorrect advice that can make matters worse.

Your dogs behaviour is normal puppy behaviour. However that does not mean that you have to put up with it.

As much as you can prevent the behaviour, so if he does not like getting off the sofa don't let him on the sofa. However the easy way to get him off the sofa is to put a yummy treat on the floor say "off" and praise him like mad when he gets to eat the treat.

To teach leave it I hold low value food in my hand and have my fingers closed around it, when the dog back away which he will do eventually I click and treat. The dog is learning that impulse control will allow him to get the food. or you could do it like this video teaching leave it

If you want to pm me where you are I can find you a trainer that can help you get back on track and enjoy your puppy.

Whoknowswhocares Tue 18-Jun-13 09:52:10

I would be very wary of advice from someone who calls your tiny puppy 'dominant'!
It sounds a bit like a battle of wills is going on. You are 'telling' him to get off the sofa and he is therefore deciding to argue rather than comply.
You need to change it so that getting off the sofa is the nicer option for him. Think about it from his perspective...... He is sitting in a nice comfy spot and you come along and demand he vacates it (possibly with confrontational eye and body contact?) with no incentive. How would you feel in his position? Petulant and stroppy, I've no doubt!
What has worked with our golden retriever pup, now 5 months is to give one calm OFF command and then COMPLETELY ignore her until she complies. no eye contact, no second demand, nothing.
If she does get down (and she will eventually, cos she will get bored of being ignored), we IMMEDIATELY produce a treat, get down on the floor with her and play/make a fuss of her. So you end up conditioning her that the floor is the better option if that makes sense?

mistlethrush Tue 18-Jun-13 09:58:21

You've also got to be the most interesting thing for him to interact with - and if that means lots of silly encouraging voices, plenty of being down on his level etc, so be it... You need to be fun and enthusiastic when he's doing something you want. You need to be the person that gets his training going well and children need to then be trained to get the right response by you, with puppy, when he knows exactly what he's meant to be doing and you can help your child do the correct command very clearly.

He is not dominant. He is a 3 mo retriever puppy - a breed fairly well known for being somewhat loopy (I'm sure that someone will come along and tell me that theirs was doing heel work to music at 4 mo, but I still think that statement stands).

You need to change your trainer.

Whoknowswhocares Tue 18-Jun-13 10:05:14

Loopy? Yep
Heelwork to music? Does being dragged into a bush with rhythm count? grin
But loving, adorable, very intelligent (that one has good and bad points wink and easy to train once you know what makes them tick.
And fluffy. Fluffy is very important grin

OP.... Where abouts are you? Perhaps someone can recommend a proper better trainer?

I have to agree with all the posters that say change your trainer.

He is not trying to dominate you, he is a puppy.
He doesn't know anything.

LittleDog was an absolute nightmare when we first bought him home. He literally had me in tears.
I've always had older rescue and foster dogs so it took me by surprise just how much hard work he actually was.

Dogs are normally fairly simplistic. They do what works.
I really would recommend puppy classes.
I loved puppy classes because I was not the only one with a nightmare dog worrying what to do with him.

Clicker training and reward based training works. And it works because dogs really don't have complex emotions.

They sit/leave/wait= good stuff.

Use high value treats and just do short bursts of training.
We did 5 minutes, 1 command at a time.

lainiekazan Tue 18-Jun-13 12:55:45

I suppose I'm being a wimp.

Puppy training starts tonight! I shall post again if we get thrown out...

mistlethrush Tue 18-Jun-13 13:07:05

We didn't get thrown out of dog training classes with our terrier/collie cross who managed to cross the entire hall (between sleeping hounds) during a 'long down', whingeing all the way. Or the other collie cross that would wait for all the other dogs to drop off then woof loudly and set them all off (her timing was absolutely perfect - and of course, SHE stayed in her down whilst they all jumped up wink. Mind you, she was the oldest 'puppy' (nearly a year) in the puppy class we took her to and spent most of the time trying to crawl onto a lap or get out of the door - she had not been socialised and it was a long journey with her.

Have fun this evening - and see if you can get any suggestions from the puppy trainer (I hope its someone different from the person that says he's dominant???)

idirdog Tue 18-Jun-13 13:09:49

Don't worry about puppy classes and also don't be worried about asking for advice. It is the numpties that don't work on behaviour and give up that are the idiots.

There is no reason you should know about dog training unless you have done it before so the sensible thing is to get the correct trainer and to ask ask ask. Keep asking until it becomes clear to you and then you will see such a difference in your relationship with your dog.

WhereMyMilk Tue 18-Jun-13 13:22:55

Sounds like our devil dog-she is a lab and also reduced me to tears on numerous occasions and nearly sent her back!

Ours was one of a big litter so hand had mum keeping her in line so much. Our trainer said she was rumbunctious! Lovely word! We started small-making her wait before we opened her crate was an easy one as if she didn't wait the door got shut again! Once that was learned (which was very quick) we went on to her waiting and letting us go through doors first, waiting before eating (she still does this and doesn't eat till given permission-which has proved useful as she doesn't steal food)
The other big thing that helped was a bit of time back with her mum and brother as the breeders so wanted to help us succeed & taught her bite inhibition. Maybe your breeder would help too?
We also always had a long lead on her and if she jumped/bit we held her so she couldn't carry on with a firm NO
Time out is also good as she didn't like that is a nosy cow
Good luck-remember that as with babies-this too will pass!
Devil dog is a delight now and so soft with the DC. Just need to teach her to not get the rabbit out to play with next!!!

Whoknowswhocares Tue 18-Jun-13 15:01:27

One thing I don't think we have mentioned yet........ The Zoomies!

The snarling, lunging silliness phases could well be this. All puppies get them. Usually when overtired/overstimulated they seem to lose control of their senses and turn into a biting monster (often also charge round and round the house/garden at breakneck speed to the point where you are absolutely certain they will crash) incapable of rational thought or action.
If this sounds familiar, then the only solution os a time out in the crate or similar quiet space so they can rest and recompose themselves. There is no reasoning with a Zoomie puppy!
Try it next time and see if it works

lainiekazan Tue 18-Jun-13 15:04:42

Yep, that's it. Seems to come out of nowhere, usually in the evening.

Whoknowswhocares Tue 18-Jun-13 15:19:11

Fantastic news, now we know what it is!
He is not being naughty. He is not being dominant. He is not even capable of NOT doing it at that point
He is overtired and overraught. Just like an overtired toddler, he is having a meltdown because it has all got too much for him.
He needs to be put to bed as soon as you see this behaviour building up, preferably before he gets too 'over the edge' so he can rest and regroup
I'm sure this will solve a huge percentage of the issue

Oh Lord. The puppy zoomies <lays down in a dark room>

LadyTurmoil Tue 18-Jun-13 15:52:17

<makes gin and tonics for all those with puppy zoomies>

Abra1d Tue 18-Jun-13 15:54:58

When our puppy was about the same age she was also snappy and over-hyped in the evenings. Treat as you would a toddler--calm, early bedtime.

mrsjay Tue 18-Jun-13 16:37:54

your dog will be a pain in the wotsit for months to come he is just a baby and then he will be adolescent sigh puppies are not dominant they do need boundries though give him a time out and play little games and often they have attention spans of gnats, he will be skittery and a bit jumpy and snappy sometimes, and when he is over hyped put him for a sleep honestly naptime as PP have said and dont let your son try and train him alone , good luck

mrsjay Tue 18-Jun-13 16:39:04

* he's very intelligent and very strong-willed. I guess it lasted until he was about 18 months or so, but he's a small breed.*
my dog is 16ish months and still in his teen years

cazinge Tue 18-Jun-13 23:31:51

Our 2-2.5 yr old wild guestimate terrier X still does the zoomies occasionally & grazed my leg with her teeth the other week on her way past. This is after 15mo of putting a v nervous & poorly socialised dog in situations she'd never experienced and never seeing any aggressive/bitey behaviour before so I agree if you have zoomies then timeout is the only option.

The right puppy class is invaluable. We have been going to ours (adolescents/'moving on' class) for a yr & have become a community/support network for each other so if one of us is having a bad dog day we know no one will judge & owners and trainers will all offer advice and/or a shoulder to cry on.

Even as an experienced dog owner the first 3-4months were hard & over a yr down the line I am only now just starting to feeling like it's easy going. Stick at it and don't be too hard on yourself - you want to do the right thing & are asking for help, this makes you a responsible owner.

tabulahrasa Wed 19-Jun-13 01:47:13

I've had 3 dogs of my own, family pets as a child, I've taken in other people's dogs for varying lengths of time, in amongst them I've had to deal with 5 year olds with not even basic training, adolescents with severe seperation anxiety, terrible aggression problems with other dogs, a sheep worrier while living in a rural area and a fair bit of chewing, mouthing and housetraining.

None of it was as hard as the first six months with my puppy, it's normal to find it hard work - because it is hard work.

willow Wed 19-Jun-13 07:59:27

Just wanted to say that, as the new owner of a "rumbunctious" ten-week-old Ridgeback, it is really reassuring to read all this advice! I've had dogs before, while growing up, but this is our first pup and our first ridgeback, so it's good to know that this sort of behaviour is normal - and that I'm on the right track with her training. Thanks all.

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