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At the end of my tether with our dog and don't know what the hell to do please help

(27 Posts)
owlsintheflowerpatch Sat 12-Mar-16 18:40:15

We have a one year old whippet. Perfect in the house. Lovely natured.
In the house and garden she knows all her commands. She goes to dog day care and no problems, has done from being tiny and so socialised. Recall there and home and garden fine. Have had dogs all my life but none like this sad Other dog hasn't been on the lead in ages no problems.

Out of the house the last few months she has turned into a flaming nightmare.

She has started jumping up again and will now chase bikes and joggers and anything that runs therefore we do not let her off anymore despite my father telling me continually I should, I make her sit before she is stroked but I have had people pat their stomachs for her to jump despite insisting to them not to every time I get this sorted someone ruins it. She's lost all recall. I don't let her off so she whines and lurches with her legs in the air to play if we see a dog over on the park (doesn't do this at day care or in the street). Twice she has broken off her lead. When this happens her brain switches off, no amount of treats or toy or running in the other direction works, she runs up towards me and either tries to snatch the treats or barks at me backing off.

Today she got off on a country park and would not come back AT ALL. She ran full pelt in circles around the field completely ignoring me.
She ran twice near another dog and barked. I apologised to owner and explained that she had snapped off the lead and I was trying to catch her but the only way to catch her is for her to let off steam as you cannot get anywhere near her she is so fast. While I was trying to catch her the woman had a go at my elderly disabled Dad for not running after her catching her quick enough and told him he should hurry up and move.
In the meantime she had knocked over another puppy who had got in the way her running then dove on her. I was mortified. I apologised to the owner and I was in a complete state by this point.

I live in a stupid place and don't drive and there are only puppy classes here which she has done.

I am at breaking point with her and don't want to leave the house with her anymore. and to be quite honest I don't know what the hell to do sad

PacificDogwod Sat 12-Mar-16 18:48:54

owl. I don't have the answer I'm afraid, but sending sympathy.

Could you get a dog behaviourist have a look at her and her behaviour?

At one year old she is still a teenager and may well simply be testing her boundaries, but it is so hard when they are SO fast and SO out of control.

We have a 2 1/2 year old rescue greyhound and I recognise some of the issues you're describing.
It has helped him (to have fun) and me (to be less stressed) to have lead-off time in a big field with no other dogs around and also to have playtime with other sighthounds so they can to fast hoolies together. And also do that running into each other's shoulder at high speed like bumper cars thing that other dogs find intimidating and don't recognise as playing.

Moving15 Sat 12-Mar-16 18:51:58

One year old dogs do tend to go through a rough patch. Put her back on the lead and persevere. Pretend she is a pup again and give her lots of reward based and consistent training.

She will emerge from the other side of the teen phase as a lovely adult.

Owllady Sat 12-Mar-16 18:52:16

It's adolescence isn't it? Go back to basics? smile don't fret!

I don't know if you were really chasing the dog, but the best thing to do is not to. Shout, stamp your feet, run the other way. 9 times out of 10 they will chase you and you can 're lead

owlsintheflowerpatch Sat 12-Mar-16 18:53:08

She is definitely testing boundaries, she has tried to hump a few times in the past couple of weeks (she is neutered) I am able to let her off on the field near us which is fenced off. I don't know anyone else with sight hounds, there is a club but it is at a time and day I cannot attend sad

owlsintheflowerpatch Sat 12-Mar-16 18:57:31

Sorry x posting with lots of you. She is on the lead all the time apart from an enclosed field near us we are allowed to use. Today she had snapped the lead.
My thoughts were that it was partly adolescence too but I am fed up of being the dog Mum to the lunatic and every time I go out even when she is on the lead I feel like someone comments negatively about her/me 'oh isn't she giddy' kind of way so I don't even want to go out anymore.

villainousbroodmare Sat 12-Mar-16 19:02:59

both v good.
She must never get to ignore you.
If she gets away and you aren't 100% confident she'll recall, then don't even call her, just go get her, however long it takes.

Owllady Sat 12-Mar-16 19:04:34

I know how you feel. I have a young collie grin
Just take no notice of other people. Some people are just miserable. She snapped the lead, it was an accident, you apologised. Really don't sweat it flowers

bimandbam Sat 12-Mar-16 19:05:11

I have a 4 year old whippet. I don't think not letting her off is helpful to be honest. Could you research long lines? They trail behind and make it easier to catch her. Just make sure you use it safely.

With regards to recall is she food motivated? If so.make sure she is hungry before you go out, have something absolutely irresistible like sausages in your pocket and recall her every few minutes to make sure she is practising constantly.

Also what do you feed her on? Mine lost the plot at Christmas because dp picked up bakers instead of james welbeloved which is what she usually has.

How many times a day is she walked? Mine goes out twice a day. As long as it isn't raining as she doesn't 'do' rain. One wallk about 20 minutes with 10 minutes off lead and a longer walk at teatime with about 30 minutes off lead.

I also avoid busy places like the lake on a weekend as it can be too busy with too many dogs.

Whippet s are generally lovely dogs and not really aggressive. Mine is actually pretty timid with strangers and doesn't jump up at all so can't help you with that.

Owllady Sat 12-Mar-16 19:27:14

Did you just see the whippet on the fly ball? She was fantastic smile

owlsintheflowerpatch Sat 12-Mar-16 19:43:24

Thank you so much, will have a look at the links thank you.
She has two decent walks a day , one at 7.30 and one at 3.30 plus a run in a fenced paddock if she is home with me (most of the time as I work from home). If she is in day care she has scent training, agility and a paddock there too.
She is on wellbeloved.
She is not aggressive at all just nuts
Food used to work but doesn't seem to do at all now.
During the week it is not a problem. Weekends we are at my parents and I think she just gets too excited.

I tried one of the long lead ropes and she ran off with it so quickly I couldn't catch it!

I felt bloody awful when she knocked the puppy over twice, it was only a few months old, thankfully a chunky breed but I was mortified, the owner was a upset understandably.

Moving15 Sat 12-Mar-16 19:44:52

People probably think they they are sympathising with you. Don't feel embarrassed, most other dog walkers will have been through the same experience. Just say 'she is going through her crazy adolescent stage and it really helps her to mix with sensible dogs like yours'. Have faith she will grow out of it and all your hard work will pay off. My sight hound is now six and life is sooo much easier and we look back at her crazy days and laugh at her. You will be doing the same soon! X

villainousbroodmare Sat 12-Mar-16 20:18:15

You sound like a fantastic owner. Lucky dog. I agree with all the people who are saying that she'll grow out of this silliness - I remember when my dog was about the same age I nearly booked him into boarding school out of sheer annoyance at him, despite masses of training. (I didn't send him btw, don't really like the idea.)By the time he was two he was rock steady.

You have to do two things. You have to make recall 1) not optional and 2) extremely rewarding.

If I were you, I'd pick a new word for "come". I would then make it damn sure she never ever heard that word in vain. I would initially only summon her when she was coming anyway. I would give her fabulous treats - hot roast chicken, smoked salmon, frankfurter chunks - and better still, immediately release her again. That is often the best reward for a running dog.

The efficacy of the food rewards can be improved by not leaving food down for her, in case that is something you do. I'd give her her ration with no additions and leave it down for 20 minutes only.

I would wait a long time before calling her for anything she doesn't like (like going back on the lead, leaving the running field, a B.A.T.H. grin or anything like that, or before calling her when she's running loose. I'd sit down on the grass and wait for her to come to me if possible and then ply her with luscious snacks and send her off again.

I also think clicker training is brilliant for getting your dog and yourself to think, it's entertaining and it will settle her.

When I walk with my dog, who's always off lead except in town, I tell him to do stuff constantly. I put him in sits and stays and downs, I drop things and send him back for them, I do hide and seek with him, I make him do all his tricks; if I see something interesting like feathers or bones I call him to show him; I do everything to make myself interesting to him. I also do hand signals for all his commands as well as verbal which I think tends to keep the dog looking to you. And when he was young I used to click and treat him every time he glanced at me when he was off lead. All that sort of stuff helps to keep them thinking you're a god instead of a millstone round their necks wink

PacificDogwod Sat 12-Mar-16 21:00:16

villain, wow, I would love to do all the stuff to do, but I just find it so hard to remember blush - even click and treat seems to take more hands than I have. And what with DHound not being v food driven it's quite hard to come up with something portable to reward him with. I really must up my game.

owl, I too feel really stressed when DHound misbehaves (or is just over exuberant), just like I used to feel when any of the DCs used to have a temper tantrum or otherwise did not behave in public. I think in truth when I think about how I feel when I see somebody else's dog/child go off the rails in public and their owner/parent struggles to control them, I feel nothing but sympathy (or relief: that could so easily be me).
Don't sweat it too much - some people will always hate dogs, no matter how beautifully behaved, and the rest will likely sympathise with you.

I am so taking notes from this thread grin

villainousbroodmare Sat 12-Mar-16 21:06:33

Watch Fenton for a giggle. You are not alone.

cbigs Sat 12-Mar-16 21:16:48

Op I hear you. We were just saying today we have one of those dogs like the parents of a very naughty child where we will spend our lives explaining him and apologising. confused and just like yours he's great at home usually but just a knob when we're out . Sigh. We're persevering and I'm also encouraged to hear others say it might be boundary readying ours is 6 months . winethanks

AnUtterIdiot Sun 13-Mar-16 01:22:00

My dog also is not particularly treat driven, but he loves a tennis ball and his squeaky Kong Wubba so I use those instead.

He's also a sighthound and I do not let him off the lead unless it is absolutely safe to do so. Loads of greyhound owners never let their pointies off the lead because they are so distracted outside. Many shelters advise owners not to. So feel free to keep her on the lead unless and until it is safe for her to be let off.

owlsintheflowerpatch Sun 13-Mar-16 06:23:37

Thank you! Helpful posts.
I did have a giggle at Fenton because that was ME yesterday although obviously not after deer. I was being told to run and catch her by the person bollocking my Dad. The whippet at this point was doing Usain Bolt speed circles around the field, the only way to blooming get her when she refuses to come back is either grab her when she is near someone else or let her run off steam until her brain switches back and she comes back sad

Yes I feel like the mother of THAT child in the school playground who is not a bully but large for their age and over exuberant and ploughs everyone else's children in their path over. blush

I am happy to not let her off the lead except for the paddock which is private land and secure but I also need to know that if she does get off accidently that she will come back!

Will try some new treats and a new squeaky to see if that helps.

owlsintheflowerpatch Sun 13-Mar-16 06:24:57

Villain thank you, brilliant advice.

KoalaDownUnder Sun 13-Mar-16 06:37:18

You just described my life!

My dog is a sighthound crossed with...who knows what. Her recall is rubbish. She runs off and crosses roads, she flies over fences, she runs at other dogs at top speed and tumbles over the top of them. She jumps up on people - I'm talking six feet in the air.

She just isn't allowed off-lead at this point. it makes me a bit sad, but she's just uncontrollable! I am terrified that she will either catch someone's cat, or get herself killed running across a road.

As for recall training on a long lead - impossible. She zooms off at top speed and yanks herself silly, ties the lead in knots, and nearly broke my little finger last time.

Additionally, she is not food-motivated at all. I have tried every kind of delicious treat possible - if another dog/bird/cat (God forbid) hoves into sight, she's off like a rocket. And even if they're not in sight - she knows where they all live for miles around. She will leave the park and bolt through the streets to the nearest house where she's seen a cat. shock She is prey-motivated, end of.

Yes, I totally feel like 'THAT dog owner'. blush

I love her to bits, she is actually gorgeous and wouldn't hurt a fly, but it's hard work! Just wanted to sympathise. flowers

KoalaDownUnder Sun 13-Mar-16 06:45:09

Ps if it helps any - she has calmed down a bit! Was 2 when I got her from a rescue, is now 3 (have had her just over a year)...still nuts, but marginally less so!

chelle792 Sun 13-Mar-16 07:27:03

Ah I can empathise with you. A hard age.

I second the book total recall.

Also James wellbeloved isn't as good since the two sons took over the company.

A behaviourist might help you see the wood through the trees but it sounds like you have a fully fledged teenager on your hands!

villainousbroodmare Sun 13-Mar-16 07:44:28

I suppose that you are really up against it with the sighthounds. They are bred to run as fast as they can and that nature is hard to argue with. I have a very bossy friend who is a vet and has a number of sighthounds, and she can never let them run off lead. And she'd be very into training and discipline.
Greyhound racing people only work the dogs in an enclosed field too.
I think you're very lucky to have that field!
I wonder whether a squeaky toy would be a good "come back" lure, something to mimic the wail of the stricken rabbit? blush since that is the ultimate goal of the pointy?
If you chose a word, pick an odd one that nobody else will misuse so that it stays special. When I have my next dog I will speak to him only in Irish for this reason.

KoalaDownUnder Sun 13-Mar-16 09:32:41

The thing about never letting them off is that, well, you feel so mean! My girl is in her element off-lead. It makes her so happy, but I just can't risk it.

There is one patch of bushes that I take her to a couple of times a week, if we can, but places with other

PacificDogwod Sun 13-Mar-16 09:41:17

It's a vicious circle, isn't it? The less they are allowed off lead, the more of a head of steam they build up and go absolutely bonkers the odd time that they are allowed off lead confused

I have also tried to have some hard playing at home before going out for a walk, so some vigorous tug of war or chasing a tennis ball in our (small) garden until DHound is panting properly. Then on lead for a civilised walk grin, off lead on the field if that is were we are going.

We are extremely fortunate to have a riverside woodlands walk AND a big fenced field within 2 minutes walk from our backdoor. I don't know how I would manage his behaviour otherwise tbh.

So, at 2 1/2 yo he might still grow up and calm down a bit? I live in hope grin

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