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Ways to calm down the devil incarnate....

(10 Posts)
Gallopingthundercunt Wed 03-Aug-16 21:34:56

Or DDog3 as she is more commonly known confused

In short, she's about 2.5, staffieXwhippet (most likely) rescued at 16 weeks where we were her fourth home. Little socialisation, no bite inhibition but a generally sunny disposition who fitted in immediately with DDogs1&2, DCat and DS(12)
I'm very experienced with rescue dogs, and felt confident that she would soon be the epitome of those placid staffies and whippets that I see everywhere hmm

Anyway, she's not.....
When we enter the house she's jumping up to head height, hugs are out of the question as she turns into a delighted, squirming heap then starts to jump again, she licks all the fecking time

On the plus side, she has amazing recall, is quick to learn when the mood takes her and is clean and calm in the house when she's not being interacted with, so I'm reasonably happy that it's not a food issue. We've recently started agility which she loves, though we have to temper any excitement or lavish praise, otherwise it sends her skyward.

The main problem is she's so affectionate and really seems to crave human interaction, but is totally unable to deal with it calmly so a vicious circle continues.

FWIW, out the house she is always on high alert and seems to panic if she loses one or other of us. We've recently had glimmers of hope for the future but I think it would be really beneficial for her (and us!) if she could just calm down a little in the meantime grin

Missgraeme Thu 04-Aug-16 12:23:17

When u enter the house and she starts jumping up turn your back to her and ignore her. Only stroke her when she is sitting still. Same when u put he lead on. She will realise good thing come to those that stay calm! If she is anxious when u are out u need to ignore her behaviour. If u stroke /pat her when she is nervous u are actually rewarding that behaviour. Give her a stroke if she walks nicely tho!

clearingaspaceforthecat Thu 04-Aug-16 13:13:35

When she is being calm and quiet in the house could you give her calm and quiet but special praise and attention to show her that this behaviour gets the best reward? Not when she is sleeping of course, but when she is just sitting about quietly watching the goings on.

When you praise her use a word to tell her what behaviour you are rewarding - so 'good settle, what a good girl you are to settle'. It might slowly enable you to use 'settle' to give direction to her.

Sometimes it can be really easy to get into a negative cycle of inadvertently rewarding the very behaviour you don't want and ignoring (for a few minutes peace and quiet!) the calm behaviour you are trying to encourage.

chough Thu 04-Aug-16 13:19:15

Galloping, the poor girl's had no security in her life before; she obviously loves you and her new family now. She sounds like a lovely dog.
Some rescue organisations (mine was from Dogs Trust) offer ongoing support with training and behavioural advice after adoption.
If that's not an option, you might consider consulting a dog trainer/ behaviourist.
It's good to hear that you're giving her a chance.

Gallopingthundercunt Thu 04-Aug-16 14:19:19

We've been trying to ignore the bad/ praise the good from the very start but when she's "in the zone" there's nothing to deflect her, though as I said we are starting to see slow improvements after two years <sob>

One thing I've had some success with is teaching a wait with a release, so I (for example) hold a piece of food and count to three then give the OK for her to take it. I've managed to build the time up quite a lot and if I see a trigger coming I can employ this tactic, but I'm a bit worried I'm not actually addressing the issue. So while she's not hyper about another dog, she's not learnt to actually ignore and tolerate them. If I stop her jumping up, I've not broken the behaviour but simply delayed it for a couple minutes IYSWIM?

We came by her privately rather than through a rescue (her original owner was trying to sell her for drugs and a lovely local foster lady gave him cash to get her away) so no professional support there unfortunately. It's actually taken us ages to realise that her behaviour is more down to anxiety than anything else as her apparent nature is total "bull in a china shop happy".

DH and I have discussed a behaviourist, but either DDog1 or 2 needs the chop in September and I'm aware that the dynamic could change quite significantly after that, so would like things to settle down in that sense first before we committed to spending the cash.

This is her in a rare moment of semi-serenity 😆

chough Thu 04-Aug-16 15:20:34

Galloping, she looks gorgeous.
Can't imagine how she would have ended up if that lady, then yourselves had not taken her in.
Always admire Staffies and Whippets when out on walks, as both lovely breeds: you have the best of both worlds there!

ClementineWardrobe Thu 04-Aug-16 15:27:45

Try a YouTube dog trainer called Kikopups. Tons of videos and tons of advice. Her dogs are beautifully behaved, all trained using positive reward. She looks gorgeous, good luck.

Rubberduckies Fri 05-Aug-16 07:45:35

I think Zac George on YouTube has a video of teaching a staffy calm and relaxed behaviour. We had more luck with actually teaching our girl what we wanted her to do, because if we ignored her she came up with more and more inventive ways to get us to touch her.....!

Gallopingthundercunt Fri 05-Aug-16 08:59:51

I think that's our problem rubber, as she will try anything for attention (often to the detriment of my older and far more staid boys)

We're just back from an early morning trip to the beach, both boys are absolutely shattered while she is happily pottering about the house looking for breakfast with little sign of collapsing anytime soon hmm

MsMims Fri 05-Aug-16 14:31:25

If I hadn't seen the photo I'd say she was the littermate of my rescue dog - also nicknamed 'devil dog'. Have always owned dogs but never known one like her. Can totally empathise with the way you say yours is still pottering around when the other dogs have crashed! My OTT dog has more energy than our springer spaniels and border collie!

Agree with the first PPs reply to ignore her when overly excited. It feels mean but I tend to ignore mine as soon as I get home, then greet them when the initial excitement has died down.

Have you tried mental stimulation? My dog would never tire from physical exercise but it did help, however this week she has been diagnosed with hip dysplasia and advised to restrict her exercise to 15 min bursts - God help us. So will be relying on mental games a lot more now. I have a kong wobbler and one of those green dog feeders with the sticky up bits to make meal times a bit more challenging. Also freeze yoghurt in Kongs and use a Nina ottoson activity toy.

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