Help! What to do now!(14 Posts)
Have a very excitable 9 month old working cocker, who I say firstly I love to bits but is driving me crazy!! Yesterday he dug up a plant again and when I try to bring him inside with food he refused, so I went to get hold of his coller, to put his lead on a he nipped me, didn't bite hard or broke the skin, but it did hurt! Today just at the beginning of our walk he started to mess around with the lead, putting it in his mouth and pulling on it trying to play tug a war! I just ignored him and waiting until he stop and then gave him a treat when he was calm like the trainer said to do. A couple minutes later I realised his harness was on wrong so I tried to fix, the whole time he was mouthing my hands every time tried to fix it. I gave up then and was so upset I made him come home, we had only gone two houses down.
Not sure what to do, we have done all the positive training and ignoring bad behaviour. We been to two lots of puppy training class and our trainer completely disagree with any of the pack leader stuff and says he is an anxious puppy. But I am told daily by other dog walkers that he is very excitable and quite naughty and needs a firmer hand! Any advice? He finally go him stopping to pull on the lead with a new harness but he is still very jumpy, especially with new people and dogs and doesn't seem to listen to anything we say. He is walked for 40 mins a day, goes off lead (though his recall has been not so great in the last few weeks) and playable in the garden for a couple of hours a day. Doesn't sleep a lot! Any trading tips would be great!!!
I'm not sure if this is helpful at all but I have two friends with working cocker spaniels and they've both had issues. One with jumpiness/mouthing and the other either escaping. Not to point out the obvious but they are working dogs - one of the friends sought the help of a gun dog trainer and the other was told to accept the working cocker personality traits instead of trying to fix them. After that she enjoyed her dog a lot more. They are both lovely dogs who have calmed down.
I have an 8 month old working cocker. First he can get mouthy at night which is sorted by timeouts so any biting of clothes or mouthing we simply remove him from us for a few mins.
Mine is a loon outside but in the home is very calm but we have worked on that so whilst we have play times if he can't settle when he should again we remove him from us for a few mins until he calms down and then he is fine.
I go gun dog training because spaniels are hunters and I know I am struggling to control him on my own and they help you understand why they behave as they do and you can focus on getting them to do things which they are bred for. However, mine is definitely more naughty at the moment and that is because he is in teenager mode so expect recall etc to regress for some time.
I would recommend finding a trainer that specialises in gun dog training as I found it to be much much better for my dog than the traditional dog training.
Working Cockers are full on very full on! I have 6 collies and I would not want to have a working cocker even though I am used to busy dogs
All the behaviour you describe is typical puppy behaviour. It is common for dogs to not like being pulled by the collar or having objects removed from them. It would help to swap the item for a bit of very tasty food so the dog does not become wary of you.
You are giving a lot of exxercise and I would not give free reign to a puppy in the garden. He knows how to run around and get excited but he needs to learn how to be calm and bored.
He needs more mind games consider a few of the one:-
The Nothing Exercise
I bet he is dead cute though
As PP said mind games are good. Because working cocker are hunters the best one we find it to get lots of tennis balls and hide them in different places around the house and garden. We use the command 'find it' and he hunts them out and you can tell by his body that he absolutely loves it. The problem we have though is he loves it so much we have to then spend a bit of time calming him down so you may have to work on being calm first
The nothing exercise is downloading as dog puzzles again.
Could you try to link it again please
Have you had him neutered? 9 months will be when his hormones are starting to kick in.
You did the right thing in bringing him straight home on his walk because he was messing about.
Put olbas oil on the lead (keep repeating as it wears off) to deter him mouthing it.
Whoops sorry Hopefully this is the right link now
The nothing Exercise
Also please do not have him neutered at 9 months for behavioral issues . If he is showing a degree of anxiety it will make this worse. Wait until he at least 2 to consider neutering.
This is also a time when puppies hit a fear stage so go gently on him keep things up beat and below threshold - loads of positive reward for the calm behaviour
And please don't put any nasty tasting stuff on the lead. That's just cruel.
Thanks so much for all of your replies! All so helpful! I have just found a trainer nearby who specialises in gundog training so will give her a ring to see if he could have some training.
Those links look great User! I think that is what he needs. Our previous trainer said he is quite clever so maybe we are not giving him enough to do.
We are going in on Thursday to discuss with the vet on having him neutered.... DH is keen to get it done, but our previous trainer who is attached to the vets said the same, leave it until at least 2 yrs due to anixety.... so will have a chat. Last time we went in the nurse said he was a prime candidate for it!! So has encouraged us to at least chat to the vet.
Will try the calming exercises and will try the limiting the garden. I let him have free rein really so I guess that is what I am doing wrong. Last night he found it hard to settle and he had been in the garden most of the day!
He is super cute! I don't stay mad at him for very long. He does have a lovely active personality, i just need to accept it and start enjoying him. Good advice, Slipper! 😀
Thanks for all your help!!
Prime candidate for neutering is if he chases every bitch he meets for sex - this is rarely seen in dogs of this age.
Humping, scent marking, excitability is NOT a reason to neuter - whatever the vet says. You could try chemical castration to see if behaviour changes as that is reversible but I bet money it will not calm him down - if only it were that simple.
I would actually encourage the tugging on the lead but I would want it to be on my terms and using a tug rather than the lead. Have lead in one hand tug in the other and you have a fully focussed dog on you - which is 80% of training sorted
Please do not have him done at such a young age! At least wait until 18 months when he's fully grown physically as well as fully matured. Getting dogs done before they've fully grown and matured stunts their growth and can lead to health problems.
It is a myth that getting them done "calms them down". It doesn't, it just stunts their development. We see endless amounts of dogs with health problems because they were done as puppies. It's really cruel
I also NEVER grab my dog by the collar. I'd only do that to help her if she was in danger. That's probably why she's nipping/mouthing you when you go near her with your hand. Wouldn't you lash out if someone tried grabbing you by your neck/something round your neck?
Keep training and praising. You have to remember your dog is not even a year old yet - of course he's gunna be challenging! But don't take the lazy option of getting him done in the hope it'll calm him down. Put the effort in training and mind games and he will get better
Try doing 'Sprinkles' with him - little shards or bacon, cheese, fish etc warmed in the microwave and then chucked all over the lawn. Warming them releases the scent, and my Border Terrier will spend ages sniffing all round the garden for the tiniest piece of food.
I do it 2 - 3 times a week, sometimes mixing his kibble in to prolong the activity. I've noticed with my BT he's always tired afterwards and it seems to calm him. I now keep a box of sprinkles in the freezer that I top up regularly (last night's salmon skin went in, chopped up tiny), it's a great way of giving a dog mental stimulation and helps with focus.
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