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Old 12-07-2012, 12:02 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Question Cheeky Poodle

Hi,

I have a 19 months old toy poodle that is very cheeky with other dogs. He has been socialised and went to weekly puppy obedience classes until a certain age, where after we started agility training. He is fine with dogs once he gets to know them.

So this is the problem: My husband and I take our two poodles with us everywhere. Farmer markets, beaches, forests and anywhere that is pet friendly. My other miniature poodle is a peaceful one, and he has no problems with other dogs as long as they don't invade his personal space (he just gives a slight growl and moves away). It is my toy poodle that is the problem, whenever he sees another dog - big or small - he wants to say "Hi" and he pulls to get closer. When I let him interact he would then jump up against the other dog - if a big dog - he will bark and sometimes snap at them as well - and this is what scares me, what if one day a big dog bites him? Why does he do this?? He does not act aggressive; it is more like a taunting attitude.

If he is on a leash, I usually try and prevent him from interacting with bigger dogs until I have assessed the bigger dog. When he is off leash - like on the beach, or at the park - if I see another dog, I call and put him on a leash as I feel I can't trust him (I usually make sure he does not see the other dogs Ė or if he has and they still far away, he still has a good recall). I want to use positive training method to solve this problem, but donít know how?? Little bit dumb with this one.
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Old 12-07-2012, 04:48 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Is he neutered or intact? If intact, he is peaking his testosterone levels now. Does he mostly have these issues with other males or with females? I have often had problems with neutered males not being friendly to Peeves (who is intact). At the moment this is the main thing I think of.
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Old 12-07-2012, 08:04 AM   #3 (permalink)
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lily cd re,

My male has been neutered a long time ago. And I don't think his behavior is related to male/female preference. What next?
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Old 12-07-2012, 08:08 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I think he just wants to play. My Miu Miu is a toy but she obviously doesn't think that she is small. She is always interested in other dogs and tries to go near them to sniff them out. But if they respond to her and even looks at her she lets out a growl and backs away.
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Old 12-07-2012, 12:07 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I meant to say earlier that I love the picture. You caught mid-bounce so perfectly.

Hmmm, I am a little stumped as to cause, but having thought about it might suggest a training strategy that used desensitization techniques. See if you can enlist someone with a dog he doesn't know at all or at least not well. Work on getting close to that dog without the reaction behavior that you want to extinguish. Try using "look at me" or asking for a control behavior like a sit or down when you think you are just out of range of where the behavior you don't want might start and reward his ignoring the other dog.

We are currently using this sort of strategy to introduce Peeves to my mom's mpoo puppy. I don't think we will ever leave them together unsupervised, but we are making progress in getting Peeves to stop being obsessed about wanting to play with the puppy and getting the puppy used to being in the company of and relaxing around Peeves (who currently outweighs him about 22 to 1).
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Old 12-08-2012, 04:54 AM   #6 (permalink)
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lily cd re,

I think I will take that advice and give it a go. Thank you.

By the way, what does all your titles stand for?
I only know CGC. Doing mine in January, and reason for trying to work throught the greeting test.
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Old 12-08-2012, 08:04 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Oh, then to get through that part of CGC I think that will work very well. Let us know how it goes.

Lily and I do obedience, rally and agility. Her AKC titles are CD (novice obedience), HIT (high in trial which we got for her CD title leg), RN, RA, RE and RAE (are all of the rally titles-novice, advanced, excellent and advanced/excellent). Her APDT title is rally level 1 (RL 1) and she has a CPE agility title (CL1-R, which is for standard level one). We hope to finish our AKC open obedience title (CDX) next week at a poodle specialty and get our first AKC agility title in January.

She is so smart, as we know poodles are, that she would be way too creative in her mischief without her "jobs."
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Old 12-08-2012, 04:44 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I'm not sure if this is helpful or not but I have a little ten year old shih-poo who actually plays with big dogs the way you described. He has grown up around big dogs (great dane, labrador, and now a standard poodle). Whenever he wants to play he leaps from the ground baring his teeth and mouths the big dogs ears, face, neck, etc. He also kind of yaps in a high pitched whine. And for whatever reason, big dogs seem to really like it! It's not just dogs he knows, as he does this at the dog park too with strange dogs. The big dogs usually retaliate with a batting paw and a play bow, so I think it's all good. How do the big dogs act when your toy poodle lunges at them? Has one ever snapped back? I really don't want to take away from the issue if it truly is serious aggression, but I did want to offer my observation of my little dogs 'taunting' play behavior. Good luck with your kiddo!
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Old 12-08-2012, 11:47 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Wow, lily cd re, that is a lot of things you are doing!! Well done!! I am just taking one thing at a time. Just recently started competing in agility - he is over 18 months now. Think I will stick to that for now, very hard to do any of the other, as I have to travel to attend any events - nothing in my area - and dog sport not so huge in South Africa.

Meg, thanks for the "paws up", but other bigger dogs has had a negative response to Cassi's behaviour, including other smaller dogs. I think my dog thinks he is the all and mighty poodle of all poodles.

I am going to see if lily cd re advice will work, going to be hard work, as he gets focussed on other dogs and unless I have treats to lure him, he just barks!! Went to CGC class yesterday – for preparation, and struggled with the greeting test. After a few attempts, Cassi was not bothered by the other dog and sat quietly. I have to really get his attention and ask him to sit and stay.

Holding thumbs!!
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Old 12-09-2012, 12:16 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I agree with Lily about the desensitisation, but I think I would take it a step further and - if the other dogs and their owners are in agreement - use meeting and greeting the other dog as the ultimate reward. Rude greeting behaviour means turning and moving away from the other dog, polite behaviour means your poodle gets to meet and possibly play with his new BFF. Most reactive dogs are fearful, so want to increase the distance, but your pup obviously wants to meet everyone. By using meeting as the reward, you can maintain his sociable nature, while teaching him better dog manners and etiquette. I use "Say hello nicely" and "Politely!" as cues for good behaviour - not that Sophy needs them, but Poppy can occasionally get over excited, too.
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