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Temper Tantrum & Passive Punishment(14 Posts)
I have a gorgeous 10 week old Labradoodle, who, for the most part, is settling in just fine. Toilet training is making progress and she's great in her crate - no problems there. She's loving the garden but does tend to want to eat everything in sight. When she starts chewing at plants I'm not sure of, I carry her away but when I put her down she's straight back at the plants. I'll do this a few times but when she doesn't get the message I carry her back inside. The trouble is, she'll wriggle violently and have a snap at me (this, to me, indicates a temper tantrum). When she does that, I go and put her straight into the crate and lock the door, which she doesn't like and she whines like crazy for a few minutes. After a short while, once she's settled down, I'll open the crate for her to come out. Is this the right kind of action to take? Or should I approach a temper tantrum differently.
You shouldn’t be treating the crate as a time out spot
It’s supposed to be her safety area and somewhere she is happy to go in. She won’t go in it as an adult if you use it as that.
Firmly tell her no, remove her from the area.
Rinse and repeat
I would have thought that a more productive approach would be to teach her to come away from a situation willingly in a way that doesn't create a "tantrum" as you call it.
You should probably also look up what plants you have and remove anything potentially toxic.
I’d use a long line and gently reel her in if she makes for the plants, with something she can’t resist as a distraction.
It's not a child having a temper tantrum, it's a dog! Who is snapping at you and being locked in what should be a 'safe space' if you choose to use a crate, it shouldn't be a 'time out' and dogs don't understand time out anyway. Give a firm 'No!' and clap your hands if it doesn't stop and distract with a ball/ toy, or say 'No!' Then whistle and the dog gets a treat for coming to the whistle. It's a dog!
Dogs don't like being picked up all the time randomly, (what they regard as random). I would redirect to something more interesting straight away rather than picking her up again and again, she is learning that she doesn't like being picked up rather than that the garden is a good place to play in. My dog used to snap and wriggle when I picked him up to remove him from situations, and I now think this was a bad way to deal with the problem - as one trainer put it, your dog thinks of you as a policeman who is spoiling the fun, rather than the person who creates the best fun, and whose every command is to be revered. It also makes your grabbing hands a source of irritation to the puppy which means that it is more likely to choose to nip you later on when he should have stopped, rather than seeing your hands as something which provide delicious treats and nice strokes.
So either make a proper place in the garden for the puppy to play where there aren't any dangerous plants (a big run perhaps), remove dangerous plants (can be temporary, they really aren't interested in them for long), or invest in some amazing toys or games that tempt him away from the bad stuff.
Personally I don't think there is anything wrong with the crate being a timeout place, but in a good sense, a nice place to go to distract from being tired or over stimulated, or unsafe, but not a punishment place per se or place to "teach" the puppy to behave better next time.
Our pup used to pick up anything in the garden and eat it. We had a 1-1 training session and she said to do ‘swaps’ in situations like that.
So hold out a toy or small treat and say ‘leave it’ or whatever (same every time) - they will drop it anyway (usually!) to get the toy or treat in their mouth. Then praise and give the reward. For weeks it felt like I was rewarding unwanted behaviour. But suddenly he clicked and he is now great with ‘drop it’.
I agree that some dogs don’t like to be picked up and perhaps that squirming and snapping behaviour is unrelated to being annoyed that he’s being denied a delicious plant, and more to do with wanting to be put down.
Distract if your dog is chewing something just divert with a toy or a game.
Firstly - stop picking up your dog! They hate it and you probably won't manage it when he's older and bigger so you need to do something now that will also work in ten years time. That's why she's snapping at you - she's saying "put me down!"
If she's doing something she shouldn't, lure her away with a treat or ask her to do a command that means she can't eat that plants. Practise drop, wait, leave and stay commands.
Thanks for the tips everyone. She's quite happy in her crate and knows that is her "safe place". I only shut her in for a few minutes and ignore her so I really don't think that's going to put her off it. Good advice about picking her up; I'll stop doing that. Also about diverting her away with treats with a "leave" command. Lots still to learn methinks.
Can you block off the garden with the plants?
They do grow out of it but I had to section a corner of the garden off when BiteyDog was a puppy as he would eat stones.
Unfortunately the 'drop it' exchange just mean he learnt that eating stones was a means to getting a treat so we ended up having to rethink that one.
In your situation I would either block off the plants or use a trailing lead to move her away.
As PP have said, stop using the crate as punishment - you may think it’s ‘fine’ It isn’t and you’re storing up problems for later. You cannot use the same space as both a sanctuary and a punishment - it will create confusion and conflict
Also stop picking her up - if she’s snapping she’s deeply uncomfortable and you’re creating conflict/distrust in your relationship with her which again is going to create problems for you later
The general rule for addressing an unwanted behaviour is to replace it with an incompatible behaviour. So if she heads towards the plants, call her back for a game of tug or fetch - distract her with something enjoyable. Dogs rarely ‘entertain themselves’ in the garden unless there’s something specific for them to do (dig, eat plants) so it’s up to the Human owners to entertain them out there
It’s not a tantrum.
Don’t pick up your dog or use a crate as a punishment.
Distract or use a longline to reinforce a “leave”. (Only on a harness never a collar.)