Almost 7 month old Pup

Share your favorite training tips, ideas and methods with other Positively members!

Moderators: emmabeth, BoardHost

Post Reply
Lotsaquestions
Posts: 621
Joined: Wed Aug 23, 2017 6:06 am

Re: Almost 7 month old Pup

Post by Lotsaquestions » Sun Oct 15, 2017 11:02 am

Took Merlin to a large park today that he's been going to for a few months to meet up with two terriers and mooch around, swimming and the like. Well, we ran into another terrier he's met before, they had a blast running around and going into long grass, but then when the other terrier had had enough Merlin, you guessed it, mounted him and growled. Then when we interrupted the behaviour he seemed to escalate and growled louder (we took him away on a lead and he cooled off instantly).

His behaviour is starting to get a bit more intense. I know extinction bursts and all that, but I'm almost sure a fight was about to start with Merlin as the instingator given how loudly he roared. He seemed angry this time, mouth open wide roaring. I can't tell if this is 'normal' for an intact boy and I just need to manage it better (if that is true - how? It seems totally random to me when he does it and he can be fine just seconds before.), or is this is a symptom of a behavioural problem where we should really get him 'done'. I always interrupt when he's getting aroused (the moment he starts being vocal is the giveaway) but this time he seemed coolheaded and alot of the time they spent together was just sniffing undergrowth. It just seemed like he was mad as hell that the terrier stopped. The other terrier didn't think he was trying to fight, he kind of just ignored it all.

User avatar
JudyN
Posts: 6677
Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2011 1:20 pm
Location: Dorset, UK
Contact:

Re: Almost 7 month old Pup

Post by JudyN » Sun Oct 15, 2017 11:43 am

My guess is still that this is a hormone-driven phase, and that while neutering early might help, it could be harmful in the long run. I think frustration might be a big part of his behaviour, and I would be more concerned if you said that he froze, got a cold hard look in his eye, and went silent.

But I'm not an expert, I can't see his behaviour, and as far as the pros & cons of neutering are concerned, I can only go by what I've read on here and elsewhere. Why don't you find a behaviourist who can observe what he does first hand? I'd certainly recommend Emmabeth, as mentioned in another thread.
Jasper, lurcher, born December 2009

Lotsaquestions
Posts: 621
Joined: Wed Aug 23, 2017 6:06 am

Re: Almost 7 month old Pup

Post by Lotsaquestions » Sun Oct 15, 2017 2:19 pm

Unfortunately my partner would never agree to a behaviourist at this point, since we're paying so much for training. We are due for a group walk with one of our trainers who is also a behaviourist with loads of years experience in rescue centres, so if he does it there she will be able to help.

I've looked all over the internet for a video similar to what he does, and this is the closest I can find. He does what the brown dog does at the start to the shepherd, but with his mouth wide open and LOADS of growling. He looks a bit crazy when he does it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BUDXBZjrtcI

This is as close to the face he pulls, which is a pic of him when he was younger and he went crazy digging in his brand new bed, but with dogs his mouth is open wider.

Image

Like the vid he isn't stiff, but he's not floppy either. If the dogs run before I can interrupt, he will chase them and a game starts. If the dogs tell him off, he backs off and walks away. If the dogs do nothing he just growls louder and louder like a shout, not a low rumble, but we've always stepped in at that point so no clue what would happen next. When interrupted and taken away by us, he will yap at them but not lunge, and will calm down fairly quickly.

Lotsaquestions
Posts: 621
Joined: Wed Aug 23, 2017 6:06 am

Re: Almost 7 month old Pup

Post by Lotsaquestions » Tue Oct 17, 2017 7:06 am

Ok it is definately, as you said Judy, a frustration based thing. He normally plays with this one 6.5 month old boy, intact, but the boy didn't want to play today and Merlin escalated into his roaringness. First he was being pushy, so we distracted him with a ball which worked out fine. But then Merlin was pushy again and this time chased the boy trying to nip at his back, and his teeth were slowly coming out. We seperated them and nothing came of it. I gave Merlin a time out to cool off, and within minutes he was normal again and they were sniffing around together.

Because I'm fairly certain I know what is triggering it, I'm just going to call Merlin away if the other dog doesn't reciprocate his play stances right from the get go. I'm not sure what else I can do to help his frustration tolerance, I am going to assume that is an age thing? A 'I WANT IT NOW!' or 'ITS NOT FAIR!' type thing.

I have ordered some Tryptophan suppliments which apparently increase serotonin, but I'm wondering if there is anything I can do to help him deal with frustration? He wears an adaptil collar, and I also have a plugin near his playpen.

User avatar
JudyN
Posts: 6677
Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2011 1:20 pm
Location: Dorset, UK
Contact:

Re: Almost 7 month old Pup

Post by JudyN » Tue Oct 17, 2017 7:54 am

I honestly wouldn't use the tryptophan supplements - from what you have said he is a NORMAL adolescent. 'Normal' covers a lot of variations, so don't assume that just because you don't see other dogs behaving quite like he does he's not in the 'normal' range. (I also didn't see anything worrying in the video you linked to, though the brown dog was quite uncomfortable, possibly wanting to control the GSD but being a little overwhelmed by it's size and puppyish behaviour.)

I don't get the feeling he really needs the Adaptil either. If you're able to stop the unwanted behaviour when you need to, you really don't have a problem. Imagine if we medicated all adolescent humans who got stroppy on a regular basis... :shock: Usually we just have to ride the storm and wait till they grow up.

Have a search for 'It's Yer Choice' games on the internet for frustration tolerance & impulse control: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ipT5k1gaXhc But Merlin is already showing a lot of control. Needless to say, Jasper had awful frustration intolerance, he would get snarky with me if, say, when he was on lead he saw someone in the distance who always gave him treats, and I wouldn't let him get to them as fast as he wanted, which was 30 mph :lol: And he improved a LOT with time, so can now deal with frustration very well.
Jasper, lurcher, born December 2009

Lotsaquestions
Posts: 621
Joined: Wed Aug 23, 2017 6:06 am

Re: Almost 7 month old Pup

Post by Lotsaquestions » Tue Oct 17, 2017 9:25 am

We use adaptil for him because he recently went through a phase of being worried by every tiny noise. He was alert barking at every little sound and couldn't settle at all, he was pacing around the entire day despite being exhausted (and I mean exhausted! He would plonk down, but then be so restless he had to get up again because of a noise, his eye bags had bags). It was horrible for him and we were about to book him into the vets incase he was in pain, but the adaptil allowed him to rest.

I'll rethink the supplements. I just don't like seeing him frustrated and not being able to help him. Thanks for reminding me he's normal and every dog goes through it and comes out the other side. I read a book recently that talked about adolescence in dogs, and the first sentence was 'don't give up.' :lol:

User avatar
JudyN
Posts: 6677
Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2011 1:20 pm
Location: Dorset, UK
Contact:

Re: Almost 7 month old Pup

Post by JudyN » Tue Oct 17, 2017 9:54 am

Ah, yes, the Adaptil sounds like a good idea in that case.

I guess they need a degree of frustration to learn to be able to control it, if that makes sense. If anyone needs drugs to help them get through this stage, it's usually the owners :lol:
Jasper, lurcher, born December 2009

Lotsaquestions
Posts: 621
Joined: Wed Aug 23, 2017 6:06 am

Re: Almost 7 month old Pup

Post by Lotsaquestions » Wed Oct 18, 2017 2:24 pm

I've got a chilled bottle of baileys permanently in my fridge, I'm all set! :lol:

The park today was full of young, teenage girls of the four legged variety. It isn't usually like this, so was a bit of a shock. I've realised that Merlin only gets frustrated with teenage, intact boys who are younger than him (old intact teenagers seem to get a pass of his crazyness). I don't know why, because Merlin isn't spoiling for a fight, instead its like he just gets too OTT with them and his self control dissapears.

Now, I've realised this because every single time a girl had enough of him, he was fine. If he sniffed a girl and she didn't want to play, he was fine. If they wanted to play, he was under his arousal levels the entire time (zero vocalisation). A stark contrast to how he can be with young boys. At one point Merlin was rolling around in absolute bliss as two Chorkie sisters jumped all over him, he was so chilled out I swear he could have just fallen asleep there and then. I've decided now that he is going to be limited with his interactions with young boys. I don't mean keep him away (as I assume this would be bad?) but instead very, very, VERY frequent play breaks, and if the boy doesn't reciprocate play signals right from the get go, Merlin is called away.

Now, another thing he did today I think has signalled he's in a fear period. He growled at two approaching elderly people who were cooing at him (he looks like a fox, and everyone and their mum likes to tell me so!). It wasn't a teeth out 'you're going to die' growl, but it was a 'I'm a little worried mummy' thing. Unfortunately we were blocked in and sitting down, so he had to face his fears before we could walk away. He ended up wiggling around them in his arcing nervous greeting, and got alot of chicken out of it, but right after they left he yipped at me to leave whilst dancing in spot (we were waiting for my mum to finish her doctor's appoinment at the time) whereas before he was just happily relaxing. I took him on a short walk away, and he really was OTT in pulling. Poor boy must have been really stressed :(.

Now I remember being told here that BAT can backfire, so I don't want to risk that. So what should I do in future? Take him away immediately? Get people to toss chicken at him?

User avatar
JudyN
Posts: 6677
Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2011 1:20 pm
Location: Dorset, UK
Contact:

Re: Almost 7 month old Pup

Post by JudyN » Wed Oct 18, 2017 3:25 pm

Is he worried about people in general? Is this a typical reaction he has to people in general, or could there be something specific about these people and/or their behaviour, clothing, etc.?

Don't worry too much about the odd stressful situation. All dogs, like humans, have occasionally to deal with really stressful circumstances(like the vet if the dog is scared of the vet), but as long as most of the time they feel safe and that you will protect them they should become generally resilient.
Jasper, lurcher, born December 2009

Lotsaquestions
Posts: 621
Joined: Wed Aug 23, 2017 6:06 am

Re: Almost 7 month old Pup

Post by Lotsaquestions » Wed Oct 18, 2017 4:52 pm

He isn't worried by people in general. He either ignores them or bounces up to them, depending on his mood. He has barked at people who appear out of nowhere in places he doesnt expect, or do strange things he hasnt seen beforet. But then He only gives out two woofs and bounces up to them, so this was different.

If i had to guess, it was because we were sitting down and they came out the doctors behind him and made a beeline for us, looming over him. They werent wearing anything unusual. One had a cane but Merlin has seen plenty of canes with no issue. Having said that Merlin isnt a dog who seeks out affection from people at all. Even greeting people he knows well ot is a very fleeting 'hi,hi,hi... Lets go do things now'.

User avatar
JudyN
Posts: 6677
Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2011 1:20 pm
Location: Dorset, UK
Contact:

Re: Almost 7 month old Pup

Post by JudyN » Thu Oct 19, 2017 2:11 am

Lotsaquestions wrote:
Wed Oct 18, 2017 4:52 pm
If i had to guess, it was because we were sitting down and they came out the doctors behind him and made a beeline for us, looming over him.
I wouldn't worry about it then. It may well be a one-off, so just be prepared to avoid being 'cornered' and letting people loom over him. Move away, and/or tell them that he's nervous and not to approach him because he finds it scary.
Jasper, lurcher, born December 2009

Lotsaquestions
Posts: 621
Joined: Wed Aug 23, 2017 6:06 am

Re: Almost 7 month old Pup

Post by Lotsaquestions » Thu Oct 19, 2017 3:23 am

Ok, will do that. I don't think he really enjoys being stroked by strangers, but he will play with them / do tricks for them with a massively waggy tail. Sometimes he will lean in for a butt scratch, but only real doggy people seem to know that sweet spot. Average joe likes to go for the head, which he ducks and then shows them his side like 'come on, dude, the butt please'. Weirdly, he's very eager to see kids despite them being the rudest of the bunch, which is fortunate because kids are lunatics and DO just run up to him because he 'looks like a fox' and apparently also looks like a dog called Kong on youtube.

From now on I'll let people know he's in a shy phase, and if they want to interact with him its through tricks UNLESS Merlin goes in for a stroke. Hopefully it is just a phase / one off.

jacksdad
Posts: 4833
Joined: Thu Dec 10, 2009 10:48 pm

Re: Almost 7 month old Pup

Post by jacksdad » Thu Oct 19, 2017 11:27 am

Lotsaquestions wrote:
Thu Oct 12, 2017 3:56 pm
Ah! I didnt know it could be harmful! Luckily i only ever did NILIF in regards to things he wants that are in human hands. This could be food, a toy or even some paper he likes the look of. He had to sit for it. I started it after being nipped when he tried a 'smash and grab' for various things, then subsequently learned people recommend it for guarding.
If you are worried about or need ideas how to address guarding behavior, Jean Donaldson's Mine book is probably your best reference.

https://www.amazon.com/Mine-Practical-G ... n+doaldson

Lotsaquestions
Posts: 621
Joined: Wed Aug 23, 2017 6:06 am

Re: Almost 7 month old Pup

Post by Lotsaquestions » Mon Oct 23, 2017 10:01 am

Thanks Jacksdad, we followed that book when counter conditioning him and it worked a treat. I've not worried about his guarding since he was 15 weeks old and continue to randomly give him a treat when he's eating every now and then. Since freezing when our IMDT trainer bent down to pick up his kong, he instead brings me his kong when he can't be bothered to get the rest out :lol:

Merlin did his 'jump on and growl' again to a 6 month old male spaniel, and when I took him away he snapped in frustration at thin air (it wasn't directed at anything or anyone). I've been reading extensively about it trying to find a reason why since we can't afford a behaviourist. He didn't do it at all on his group walk, and there were young males there, so I couldn't get a drive by opinion from the behaviourist there. I DID notice, however, that her own intact male dog persued Merlin a little with the same kind of body language Merlin gets, but she's good at distracting him with his ball which I've not get been able to do as easily for Merlin. From my explanation to her she said it is bullying and we should interrupt, which we've been doing, but it just feels different to 'in your face' bullying AND I think my interrupting is making him frustrated.

I know the dominance theory has been disproven, and I don't think Merlin is trying to take over the world. This description from an article called 'The Macho Myth' describes what he's doing perfectly; "Most adult dogs are quite lenient with young pups until they approach adolescence, whereupon adults (males especially) relentlessly pursue, stand-over and growl at the adolescents (males especially)". Merlin does stand over them (on their back), does persue them, and does growl, and he only does it to intact boys of around 6 months old. When he's doing it everyone tells me I should neuter him, and that he's 'trying to be the boss'. I don't think he's trying to start a fight, but he is DEFINATELY posturing and being intimidating, which does concern me that it might lead onto worse things.

Now, I was wondering if anyone here has witnessed this in their own intact boys, and if it does go away on its own or how they managed it? I try to keep him away from young intact boys but I actually thought this one was a girl at first since I misheard the owner.

I was also wondering how I can 'charge a toy' enough that Merlin will be more easily distracted / have any ideas of a toy that lots of dogs go mad for that I can keep hold of for tug? He doesn't like things that are too hard in his mouth.

User avatar
JudyN
Posts: 6677
Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2011 1:20 pm
Location: Dorset, UK
Contact:

Re: Almost 7 month old Pup

Post by JudyN » Mon Oct 23, 2017 1:16 pm

Lotsaquestions wrote:
Mon Oct 23, 2017 10:01 am
Merlin does stand over them (on their back), does persue them, and does growl, and he only does it to intact boys of around 6 months old. When he's doing it everyone tells me I should neuter him, and that he's 'trying to be the boss'. I don't think he's trying to start a fight, but he is DEFINATELY posturing and being intimidating, which does concern me that it might lead onto worse things.

Now, I was wondering if anyone here has witnessed this in their own intact boys, and if it does go away on its own or how they managed it?
Yes, this is more or less exactly what Jasper has done. He has also put a paw on the other dog's back, glared at the other dog, and then when he thought the other dog had got the message, walked away. Also, with laid-back unneutered males (with laid-back owners :wink: ) I have been able to let them 'sort it out' - he's maybe put his paws on the other's back, given him some snarky verbals, and then left it at that. After that, we've been able to continue walking with the other dog and they've been fine. (I'm not saying you should try this - this was when Jasper had settled down and when I knew how it was likely to pan out, and after discussion with the other owner. He's also always muzzled because of his occasional unpredictability with 'scary' humans.) Bear in mind that this was after he was neutered.

It looks very much like 'wants to be boss', but bear in mind that there must be a level of insecurity to feel the need to do this in the first place - or maybe it bolsters his self-confidence. There are dogs who other dogs seem to respect, almost admire and fawn over, but these dogs don't need to use threats to earn this. So whether we view Merlin/Jasper's behaviour as bullying, dominance, bossiness or whatever, the take-home message is the same: if it's prevented, and interrupted when it happens, it will almost certainly get far better as he matures; and neutering may or may not make it better but could also make it worse or more entrenched.
Jasper, lurcher, born December 2009

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 3 guests