Almost 7 month old Pup

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Lotsaquestions
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Re: Almost 7 month old Pup

Post by Lotsaquestions » Mon Dec 11, 2017 5:02 am

Lovely advice, going to follow it to the letter. I've been practising the rapid fire treats whilst out on his short wee walk whilst he's recovering from his operation, and its obvious there is a knack to it. He looked away after every single treat so I need to increase my speed!

jacksdad
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Re: Almost 7 month old Pup

Post by jacksdad » Mon Dec 11, 2017 9:22 pm

or increase your distance.

worked with a fearful lab mix this weekend that needed close to 50 yards when the other regular size dog (lab, pit, Shepard etc) was running and playing with it's owner. small does walking by could be in the 20 foot range.

non fearful, over excitable dogs have the challenge. a calm dog/disinterested dog may be easier to ignore, but that one that is having fun and bouncing with energy may require more space than the calm one for your dog to be able to refocus back on you.

Lotsaquestions
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Re: Almost 7 month old Pup

Post by Lotsaquestions » Tue Dec 12, 2017 6:57 am

Ended up having to put it into practise again though I didn't set out to. Just walking to the next street and I was met with two seperate off lead dogs. I created as much distance as I could before he noticed them, but he did eventually notice them. At one he let out a really tiny whine but then turned right back to me when I asked for a 'watch' then just continued on his walk, ignoring the dog (though we walked in opposite directions). I was prepared to give him more treats but he didn't seem to want them. Then the next was a playful waggy tailed whippet and he did let out a whiney bark as soon as he saw her, but again one 'watch me' and he turned back to me then just continued his walk, though he was still trying to look for her occassionally and started to pull on his lead so he was amped up.

I've found his distance I think. Both times he didn't seem to want more treats after the first and was ok to just mooch around sniffing. Should I just leave him to ignore the dog on his own after I got a 'watch' or reward him for choosing to ignore the dog or just keep asking him to watch me? In the past I've heavily rewarded him choosing to calm himself down or turn away (its how he got let off lead to play) so I think thats why he chooses to at the moment.

My goal is to work towards him being comfortable passing dogs on the opposite side of the road without getting excited, but his distance at the moment is twice that and I'm not going to rush him. He is really relaxed if the other dog doesn't seem interested or is fearful, he either sniffs them if they want to greet him or turns away if the dog is a bit worried, or if they are far away he just looks at them then carries on. What you said about excitement non fearful dogs having a really hard time watching playful dogs but not calm ones is basically him to a tee. Puppies are where he's at his absolute worst even if they are really, really far away and he will not calm down for a while after that.

Lotsaquestions
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Re: Almost 7 month old Pup

Post by Lotsaquestions » Thu Dec 14, 2017 6:48 am

THANKYOU JACKSDAD!

I know he's got a long, long way to do but I'm already seeing improvement. Last two days he's seen two of his big triggers - two playful dogs, one of which was at night and running up and down the road with a child. They were BOTH only over the road, with one even coming towards us. He turned back to me when I asked for a 'watch' and was hugely rewarded with quickfire treats. No barking with either. He was also less amped up after he saw them, and was able to continue on his walk calmly. Going to keep working on it, and hopefully one day I'll be able to catch a vid of him walking past a dog calmly. I wish he wasn't recovering from his neuter, because one of those was absolutely textbook for me rewarding him with a greeting. He sat down, calmly, as the dog came right up to us but I had to tell the owner he couldn't greet :(. He got lots of treats instead.

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Re: Almost 7 month old Pup

Post by jacksdad » Thu Dec 14, 2017 9:18 pm

Lotsaquestions wrote:
Tue Dec 12, 2017 6:57 am
I was prepared to give him more treats but he didn't seem to want them.
all you can do is offer.

sometimes not taking the treat is a sign you are still too close. sometimes it is a sign that you are just right. see trigger, get rewards for doing something else...treat maybe for looking at you, sniff around doing what he wants etc.

Lotsaquestions wrote:
Thu Dec 14, 2017 6:48 am
THANKYOU JACKSDAD!
you are most welcome.

Lotsaquestions
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Re: Almost 7 month old Pup

Post by Lotsaquestions » Sun Dec 17, 2017 1:34 pm

As many already know Merlin has been on bed rest for two weeks, and has to suffer it for at least a week more. At first he was 'ok', but now its now gone to a new level.

Basically he still mouths my partner when he wants to be let out into the garden to have some zoomies. He was getting better not doing it as he was terrible when he hit 6 months, and we made loads of progress, but right now after every single walk (which can be up to 5 lead walks a day because he refuses to poo in the garden) his eyes are dilated and he is just really, really OTT. He basically comes home and immediately enters zoomie mode, but we can't let him straight out into the garden to have his zoomies because he isn't allowed to run so he just turns around and bites my partner. He has now bruised my partner's leg through jeans after coming back from a walk and he's constantly nipping him, its like he's that 6 month old puppy again. We've been trying to ignore it, so it could be escalation before it stops (its getting worse), but he just seems so wound up.

We've tried tuggy toys instead, but he'll only play them with me and bite my partner. We've got a treat ball we're going to try now in the hopes his adrenaline goes down. We've tried doing training with him on a walk and playing whilst on a lead, and also not doing that. Makes no difference either way. It makes no difference if he sees his stressors (dogs, nighttime, cats) or not. Walks just seem to work him up rather than wind him down at the moment because he's stuck on a lead.

He's not doing it angrily, like he's not going stiff and growling and biting. There is no display and it is definately FOR attention, as he will then attention bark when my partner is folding his arms and ignoring him. He just jumps up and bites at his legs or his hands if he tries to stroke him. He also jumps up and bites if he thinks we're ignoring him, though this is more just mouthing and is easier to ignore since it doesn't hurt. We've tried everything to 'tire him out mentally'. Tricks, training, chewies, food puzzles, he doesn't seem to tire at all. We've also tried not doing those incase he was getting too excited, made no difference. The vet suggested longer lead walks, but all I can think that would do is make him more frustrated since all he wants to do is run. He's gone from 2-3 hours free running / playing to none.

I've thought about lowering the protein he has for the week to see if that helps, at the moment his food is 35% protein, 70/30 dry food (Millies Wolfheart) with a raw duck neck thrown in. His treats are the same level of protein, or are boiled chicken. But to be honest I have no idea what level of protein is too high or not for him right now, and he can't have white potato to increase the carbs to compensate since it gives him a bad belly. He also doesn't like rice or sweet potato.

Any help will be greatly appreciated since I'm exhausted and my partner is quickly becoming a collinder.

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JudyN
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Re: Almost 7 month old Pup

Post by JudyN » Sun Dec 17, 2017 2:54 pm

He's a sensitive high-energy dog, he's had a couple of stressful times at the vet, and he's (unavoidably) underexercised. To be honest, I think it's about survival right now rather than training. I doubt dietary chances would make any difference, though you could try natural calming remedies like skullcap & valerian. Apparently you can give them chamomile tea...

If he's better with you than your OH, then try to do most of the 'Merlin duties' yourself and send OH off to cook tea or buy you more Xmas presents or whatever. This will pass, and he'll be back to how he was but hopefully calmer. In the meantime, you don't need to survive unscathed - you just need to survive :wink:
Jasper, lurcher, born December 2009

Lotsaquestions
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Re: Almost 7 month old Pup

Post by Lotsaquestions » Mon Dec 18, 2017 4:38 am

Been up since 4am surviving today. :cry: He was howling which normally means he needs the toilet, but today it just meant he didn't want to be alone and was worried. I don't think he's actually in pain generally, as in I don't think the wound hurts (we need to touch it alot for his cream). I think it hurts him when he pulls at the skin through since its all scabbed over, so he tries to **** his leg and just gets a nip of pain and sits down worried. Its weird they didn't give us antibiotics and just a cream, but we're hoping that means its not actually that bad.

Lotsaquestions
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Re: Almost 7 month old Pup

Post by Lotsaquestions » Mon Jan 22, 2018 7:46 am

Ok so we've been working really, really hard on his reacitivity and he won't react 90% of the time to dogs, but there is a small hurdle we are struggling to get past.

Every morning when we go out for his walk, he's really excited. He walks down the street barking at anything and everything, and sometimes nothing. If he sees a person, he'll bark, the wind, he'll bark, a dog, he'll bark. Basically I can't stop him being reactive for the first 2-3mins of the walk.

Most people know him by now (hard to miss him) and know he's friendly so with people its not so bad. He sounds like he wants to kill them, but it is definately only frustration since he will do it to my mum when he's behind the stairgate and she's taking too long to say hi. I'm not worried about him being fearful of people. However, he does need to stop.

I tend to scout the road for dogs before I step out the door, because I know 100% he'll react. Unfortunately this time I wasn't paying enough attention and we ran into a dog. Doubly unfortunate was the dog I think was a bit unsure of dogs so lay down and stared at him, then lunged at him which made him react more. I managed to catch it on video, and I know I did so many things wrong. The other dog wasn't moving so I got a bit unsure as to what to do, since normally I make him watch me whilst he's still to let the dog past. Moving made him loose all focus on me. His reactivity went from frustration to fear (you can hear it in his bark when the dog lunged).

So basically, I wondered how I could combat his start of the walk excitement? I have tried getting his focus all the way down the road, but he is just so amped up. I've tried playing games pre walk to get some energy out, and also doing a 2min stay to get his focus before we leave. It made no difference. I can't have him barking at people down our road because one day he'll end up frightening someone. Then theres the issue with dogs.

https://youtu.be/kPSiyQ6ubFA

Just before we started recording he barked at my neighbour and got a big old stroke from her. He LOVES my neighbours. Like I said his barking sounds scary but it is 100% excitement / frustration. He acts and sounds very differently when he's worried, more of a scooby doo type sound. His alert barking is also different, high pitch and quick.

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JudyN
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Re: Almost 7 month old Pup

Post by JudyN » Mon Jan 22, 2018 8:01 am

I wouldn't worry too much about 2-3 mins of excitement - life will gradually get less exciting as he matures. You could try turning and walking away the moment he reacts (or when you spot something he might react to), or even turning and walking back home, waiting a minute, and going out again. The problem is that this might just get him more frustrated and worked up. Also, you could try quietly dropping a treat in front of him whenever he's walking calmly for the first 2-3 mins of a walk. This will work both as a reward, and a 'fun game' for the start of the walk.

I've just watched the video (should have done that first, I know :oops: ). At one point you were saying 'Yes!' each time he barked, and then you told him how exciting the first part of the walk was. I'd keep much quieter, don't ask him to come back in to you unless you know he's going to (he quite possibly thinks you're rewarding him for reacting), but turn in the opposite direction from the 'trigger' and if he doesn't turn with you, turn into a silent statue and wait for him to lose focus on the trigger. When he gets bored and/or the trigger has gone, and he turns back to focus on you, THEN give him a treat.
Jasper, lurcher, born December 2009

ZaraD
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Re: Almost 7 month old Pup

Post by ZaraD » Mon Jan 22, 2018 8:11 am

I can only give advice from my experience with Sampson. Whenever he sees a gate he get tense and starts barking and lunging at the gate , so what I do is I try ( not always possible) to make sure that I spot the gate first ( I'm always on the lookout for gates) then quickly get is attention with a treat but a treat he really values in Sampson case it's cheese :D then once he focused on the cheese I start walking with the cheese still in front of his nose and when ever he looks at the gate I say cheese he looks at me and I reward him the cheese and then quickly get another peace of cheese and continue this until we have gone passed the gate and he relaxation, for Sampson this works as he's cheese obsessed :lol: . Been doing this for just over a week and I'm only just starting to see him become a little calmer around gates and he's not once barked or lunged , unless I take the cheese away or he spots it before me. We still have a long way to go before he's happy to just walk past a gate without needing to distract with cheese.

Lotsaquestions
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Re: Almost 7 month old Pup

Post by Lotsaquestions » Mon Jan 22, 2018 8:44 am

@Judy I probably am making it worse now I can see myself on video. I used to try and just be quiet but somewhere along the line acceptance kicked in and I started to just roll with it, it saved me blushing. I'll go back to being low energy and quiet.

About turning in the opposite direction from the triggers, I know of some (people, dogs, anything moving) but sometimes, like on the video, he will just bark for no reason. Should I just stop still when he does that until he focusses on me? I personally don't mind him just barking as he walks its just I know that when he's in 'that mood' he will also bark at people and dogs which I (and they) do mind!

@Zara Food has little effect when he's on his first thing excited mode. I've even tried pure liver. Maybe if I just kept throwing it on the floor when he's quiet that would help calm him down enough to think straight. Basically he's just yelling at the world that he's going on his walk and that we're not going fast enough to the park.

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Nettle
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Re: Almost 7 month old Pup

Post by Nettle » Mon Jan 22, 2018 12:50 pm

They never bark for no reason - just that we don't always see/hear/smell the reason. :wink:

Basically he's just yelling at the world that he's going on his walk and that we're not going fast enough to the park. yup, that sounds like a reason to me.

Chill. He's a pup. He's like a little kid. Sometimes ya just gotta bark.
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Nettle
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Re: Almost 7 month old Pup

Post by Nettle » Mon Jan 22, 2018 12:56 pm

Just watched the video - thanks, that explains a lot.

Basically you aren't on the same walk. Shorten the lead so he is walking beside you, and work on your loose-lead walking. You can interact with him as you go along. At the moment he is "alone" on his walk and you are just an annoying weight on the end of the lead. Thus he feels he is responsible for what happens as he goes along. All you need to do is change that focus so that he sees YOU as his friend and protector.
A dog is never bad or naughty - it is simply being a dog

SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS

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JudyN
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Re: Almost 7 month old Pup

Post by JudyN » Mon Jan 22, 2018 2:06 pm

I've no experience of 'barking for the fun of it' but I think I'd just ignore it when it's not in response to anything. That way you're not encouraging it, but neither are you risking adding to his arousal by discouraging it. If other people don't like it - well tough, really. He's just expressing how he feels, like a child shrieking in glee, which is fine when he's out on a walk having fun. I expect most people you apologise to and tell that he's not aggressive already realise that, and if they don't, it's not their place to judge.
Jasper, lurcher, born December 2009

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