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Jumping and biting on walks- ddog bit dc(25 Posts)
I am well prepared to be crucified here, but I really want genuine advice on what we should do.
Ddog is 11.5 months old, a hated MN crossbreed (labradoodle). We've had her since 8 weeks. We've done puppy training and also had a IMDT behaviourist work with us. She's very intelligent and quick to learn.
One thing we had not been able to resolve is biting and jumping, mostly on walks (or in garden) where she suddenly gets the "zoomies" and frantically runs back and forth, jumping up and biting and growling at me/dh. It is very hard to calm her from this, impossible to simply turn away or distract. Because of the way she jumps and bites she has often broken the skin (through clothes) and left significant bruising. Tonight she did it on a family walk and went for ds (10). She has broken the skin on his shoulder.
We do a lot of sniffing work with her, "find it", as well as attention training, puzzles. We do raining before we go out for a walk, as advised by behaviourist, so her stimulation level is lower.
We thought we had cracked it and she was so much better. But she gets gunky ears, which vets are trying to treat and I do wonder if that is related.
Ds was understandably terrified, although later he told me he'd made up with dog and knows she doesn't mean it.
Her behaviour fits the criteria of overexcited or over stimulated. And I know we made some mistakes when she was small, which I tried to resolve (ds would let her bite him and play fight, but use cushions to shield- I repeatedly explains why he shouldn't and would stop) but this is likely linked.
I have been adament up to now that this is an issue with us, we need to train differently, look at ways to prevent. But tonight has made me wonder if this is the right approach. Should I be considering returning her? Is this something anyone else has managed to train out? The behaviourist was only able to say that we are doing the right things, just need consistency and time. I could not take dc on walks with her while this is worked on.
So please be gentle, I am genuinely asking for advice.
Lots of sniffing/brain games plus a walk is a lot of stimulation for a young dog.
What do you currently do to encourage her to calm down? Does she have a command to settle or go to her bed, for example?
We’ve had some problems with our pup (10 month old cocker/ terrier cross) and our ds. A few things that the behaviourist suggested might help your situation:
-plenty of quiet time, more than you think. Enforced AM and PM
-adaptil plug ins
-change your the best quality food you can afford
Best of luck. I’m new to dog ownership so I’m no expert but the adolescent phase is hard and it sounds like you’re doing a great job in the circumstances.
Have a look at Absolute Dogs website. They train using games to encourage calmness, confidence, disengagement etc etc. They’re really good.
They can be a handful until around a year, seems a bit worse but they do usually calm down around 12 months.
Couple of thoughts, correct spray is good to defuse a situation, sprayed into the air it sounds horrible to them. We used food designed for guide dogs because it's meant to be calming. You could also approach your vet for calming tablets.
Keep walks on lead or long line for now? So when she starts to zoom you can control & remove her?
Reduce risk of harm - no walks with DC until it's fixed, just keep them doing training & puzzles in the garden.
It may well just be age - she's still young. Sounds v similar to my friends cockerpoo - mouthing & jumping & biting at 1. She is hyperactive but slowly improving.
Your behaviourist is right. Time and consistency from everyone in the household is the only thing that you will undo this. How did they tell you to deal with it?
Obviously the play fighting has made things a lot worse than they needed to be, but I suspect you realise that now.
Sounds like she needs practice on being calm. Don’t walk out the door with her until she is calm, if she starts to get over excited on the walk, just stand still until she is calm again, then continue walking. It will probably take you 7 hours to just get off the drive but these things take time-maybe she isn’t suited for a family life and should be more a working dog?
Not much advice from me but I would keep her on a longline so that I could reel her back in if she starts to get overwound. It sounds like self- rewarding behaviour so she'll do it again unless she understands that the consequence of even starting to get wound up is boredom.
Good luck. Dogs can be a real challenge and I know that awful sinking feeling of finding that an issue you thought was going away has popped back up.
It sounds like you're doing all the right things and the behaviourist has promoted all the right methods. I would say you're reasonably close to the age where they calm down a little and don't get over stimulated so easily so keep going.
On a walk to reduce risk I would get a long line so you can get hold of it if these incidents start to occur. I would also try to identify the cause or something in their behaviour that changes before you get the overstimulation. You might notice more looking around (hyper vigilance) or a change in breathing or cheek puffing but at this point you might still be able to redirect attention onto a find it. Maybe take some super tasty treats for these find it's so they become the best thing about a walk - the more sniffing you can encourage the better as it's calming. I'd also get your son involved in these so they're building a positive relationship in an appropriate way.
It might also be worth making a walk with your son into a shorter but more structured activity. Have the dog on a long line and get him to hide behind a tree, encourage to find him, you have the dog on a long line and follow behind. When found he gives them a few treats again scattered on the floor to encourage more sniffing and then repeat. 20/25 minutes of this will be more than enough, start shorter and easier hiding places and progressively get more difficult. More info online if you look up mantrailing ☺️
All this advice sounds great. I just wanted to jump on and say that it's nice to see a feed where people are being kind and genuinely offering supportive, constructive input rather than berating you. It sounds like you're doing a great job!
I have a terrier and he was terrible for this when young, couldn't have him out in the garden with the kids as he would jump on them and tear their clothes, out on walks, they couldn't run as he would get too excited and start jumping. Bicycles as well, couldn't have the kids on bikes on a walk.
He is 3 now and a lot calmer. I found that taking him on walks on my own or just me and husband helped (my dcs are old enough to be left for a bit) avoid playgrounds and running kids.
It sounds like you are on the right track and just be patient, make walks calm, let him sniff and possible try him to get into toys/balls instead of running DCs
I have a golden retriever who still occasionally does this, he’s two now. Think it’s a Labrador / retriever type thing .
One thing that really worked for us at the worst stage was switching to a Halti head collar - it helped us regain control of him and I think sort of switched his mindset and he gradually stopped the silly attacking thing, even when running about off lead. Google Halti OP and you’ll find out more.
I had this with my dog when he was a similar age.
On walks when he was off lead he would run past and jump up and bite my arm. Sometimes really hard. Ripping costs and breaking skin.
I wouldn’t be able to catch him to stop it.
I remember the lowest point standing in a field sobbing whilst he ran circles and bit my arms and I literally just wanted to take him to the vets and have him put down. I was convinced I had a broken nasty dog.
Now, he is pretty much perfect. People praise him for his good behaviour.
He did grow out of it, I used a long line so if it happened I could grab the line and carefully reel him in until I was able to control him.
Most walks were done on a lead, letting him sniff, and if he was off lead I would direct him rather than letting him run about willy nilly- throwing treats in long grass for him to find, balls, training whilst off lead ie getting him to sit and wait then walking a distance and recalling him etc etc. I found that by directing his mind it stopped him losing his head and tipping over into the aggression.
A meticulous daily routine, and careful not to over stimulate.
In my case it DID get better.
Thank you all. I had been so certain that this was about being consistent in our training, but yesterday I worried that I was being naive or foolish.
We will continue with the training and not take dc on walks with her, except shorter on lead walks where we have more control.
I know that the play fighting will have contributed, but I'm not blaiming ds (obviously he's 10!) although I did always intervene and stop and explain when it happened.
We have a long line, so will use that all the time now or keep walks on the lead. Also going to try and do some training on impulse control, see if that also helps.
Totally agree about walking on a lead. Control and management is 90% of all dog training especially with puppies/teenage dogs. Also get back to your behaviourist and ask for specific advice in this situation.
I doubt impulse training will work to stop this situation but it is generally a good idea to train.
Again depending on the dog (your behaviourist will know your dog and if this is a good /bad idea) encouraging them to carry a toy can prevent some from dogs from biting. Although in other dogs it can rank up the excitment.
Talk to your behaviourist about games for amping her up on purpose and then stopping, like with a flirt pole or a really exciting toy, you get her excited stop, ask for a calm behaviour... wait for it and then the reward is more play.
It works quite well with dogs that struggle to calm themselves - alongside everything else obviously. As longterm they then know what to do when you go, right enough! Lol
Short term I’d try a toy in a pocket that you can redirect her to when she’s like that, that you whip out and she bites that instead.
But - discuss it all with your behaviourist, they know your dog and you.
Oh yes, good point - our boy instantly stops any silliness if you have a good stick or ball he can carry instead.
Oh, my dog was like this at that age. I totally relate to the despair. He was abominable . And I had done all the training to the letter, taken him to classes etc etc. We would be on a walk and suddenly he’d start biting the lead, rolling on his back, and I just couldn’t get through to him. He was not very food driven which was annoying as I could have turned into a fillet steak and he wouldn’t have cared.
At 13 months he was frogmarched in for the chop, which I had been delaying because of “professional” advice. He came out a changed dog! Instead of howling at the gates of likely female dogs and trying to escape, humping everything and everyone in sight, he was suddenly much more obedient and willing to learn (although still an accomplished thief...).
She is on a waiting list to be spayed. Normally that would have happened at the end of June, but Covid 19 means it has been delayed.
Under a year is very young to neuter a larger dog @BreathlessCommotion I would rethink that plan or take further advice .
We were advised to have her spayed 3 months after her first season. She had her season at the end of March when she was 8 months. That was bloody stressful, I was hoping not to have to go through that again
This link is meant to help, not confuse you further
New Study into age for neutering and spaying dogs
That is really interesting @ViperBugloss
According to that she should be spayed after 11 months (labrador- standard poodle is any time). She will be 1 in a couple of weeks and there is no way it will be done by then. I have no idea how long the waiting list is.
Mine had his off at 7months. The minute he started thinking with the wrong part of his body... 😉