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Old 06-21-2010, 06:02 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Hyper question

I read a thread on here about a guy in Calgary who had a Standard poodle that was crazy hyper and his parents had his dog's brother - and that dog was calm and quiet.

My son has a cross between a black Standard poodle and a golden retriever. However, he is obviously much more of a poodle than a golden - at least in looks - so I am asking my question here.

My son's dog, Cooper, sounds very much like the Calgary poodle. He gets super over excited when he meets new people or even when he meets people he knows well but hasn't seen for an hour!!

My son works shifts and then has four days off. He runs Cooper for miles. However, my granddaughter, who is 17 would also like to run with Cooper when her dad is working, but she finds him hard to control. We had him in an obedience class and they suggested using a chain collar and also a pinch collar. The chain collar would be attached to his leash, and the pinch collar would have a shoe lace so if Cooper starts acting up, she can grab the shoe lace and tighten the pinch. The instructor really liked Cooper - she told my granddaughter that she has the kind of dog that will never be offended however hard you correct him.

She breeds Aussies. I had Cooper on a down stay. As soon as she came along - he got up tail wagging. She shoved him down again - he got up tail wagging - she shoved him to the floor - ever harder - and every time he got up again tail wagging. She said "I don't know about you Cooper!!"

The answer to the Calgary guy was that poodles that are excitable like Cooper is, often don't calm down until they are two years old. I was wondering if you could give me some advice as to how to calm down my son's dog? Cooper was a year old this month.

We are taking him to doggy daycare today. Its a social daycare - he gets to romp around with other dogs so I think that should help.
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Old 06-21-2010, 07:38 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Not sure I like the trainer's advice - relying on the dog's good nature to overlook severe handling, and yank-and-shove training does not sound very fair on the dog to me. Also, that is a lot of exercise for a young dog - add in the excitement of daycare, and stress may be playing a part in his behaviour. If he were mine I would be concentrating on reward-based training and frustration-proofing - there are lots of good books out there (Patricia McConnell, Karen Pryor, Ian Dunbar to name just a few), and I would be looking for an APDT or equivalent trainer. Lots of short, fun training sessions will help to keep his mind occupied, and teach him other ways of responding to people than leaping up to greet them.
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Old 06-21-2010, 08:18 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I don't know who the Calgary poodle was, but I would say that it was an atypical example of the breed. Poodles are profoundly athletic dogs with tremendous stamina, but a well bred Standard Poodle should never be "hyper". Although, I like a Poodle with medium to high drive, that drive should always come with a channeled sense of purpose. This means quiet in the house and sense of propriety and focused energy (a "what can I do for you" attitude) outside.

As a breed, I think Poodles actually mature mentally very early. I find that by a year, most are fully with the program. Below is a picture of my girls on a hike. In that picture, the Brown Poodle, Delilah, is only 6 months old. Note.... not only was she reliable off leash, she had no trouble holding a stay long enough for me to climb down and take a picture.

As far as Cooper goes, you are experiencing the perennial problem that most Doodle owners suffer. Goldens and retrievers in general are known for an extended adolescence. They have a hard time settling until they are almost 3 yrs old. They are full of chaotic and impulsive energy and they lack focus at a young age. Take that retriever personality and combine it with the greater stamina of the Poodle, and you have an energy machine that doesn't know how to quit. On the Doodle forums, owners are constantly strategizing about how to take the edge off of their dogs. They have to exercise their dogs constantly to keep their dogs from destroying the house. Excessive barking, counter surfing, chewing, jumping and running away are common complaints among Doodle owners. At a year of age, Cooper is old enough to start road working on a bike. You can also get in a lot of exercise via retrieving work. Do you live near a lake or pond? Swim, swim, swim!

What to do training wise about Cooper. Story....

Last week a friend of a friend called me her 2.5 yr old Golden retriever. Her dog pulled and lunged so hard she could no longer walk him safely. He also jumped on guests in the home and barked excessively when he was excited. I had her buy a prong collar and bring me the dog.

Now I am an old school Carrot and Stick trainer. I believe that if a dog is doing what it is supposed to do then it is praised and rewarded. If, however, if transgresses, it is given a correction. We leashed up the dog with the prong collar and set off walking. The dog immediately lunged off after something of interest and I timed my correction so that he hit that prong collar like a ton of bricks. He had what I like to call a: COME TO JESUS MOMENT. He had to have three of these, but afterwards, he got the message.... I can walk nicely on the leash (keeping an eye on my handler) or I can get a pretty serious correction.

Now I will note that this is a lovely, lovely dog and a dream to train. He had just been allowed set his own agenda and he was out of control. Once I showed him what his job was (and showed his owner how to set that expectation) he was happy to step into line. I sent his owner home with homework and they are coming back on Tuesday so I can show her some more advanced exercises.

Anyway..... Cooper. Get a prong collar and use it like you mean it. Don't forget to PRAISE PRAISE PRAISE him when he is being good, but don't be afraid to deliver a serious correction when he is not. Do things in baby steps and always set the dog up for success.

Re the down stay......I can tell right away from your description that you are doing too much too fast. Stays need to be taught in tiny increments and ALWASY ON LEASH!!!!!. Put the dog into STAY. Take only a step back. Watch the dog for any sign of breaking. Count to 15 and break him off. Party PARTY PARTY.... TREAT! Next, take two steps back. If he gets up, DO NOT REPEAT THE COMMAND or say anything to him. Give him a collar pop with that prong collar and get him back into down position. Once he is solid on a two step Stay, add distraction like a person or another dog. Work up to being on the end of a 6 ft lead..... then a 20ft lead. It is all about the baby steps. If a dog can't do a 2ft stay, it can not hold a 10 ft stay.

Another thing to remember is that it is hard to teach a dog NOT to do something. It is far easier to give them a job to do instead. If Cooper is jumping on guests, either teach him to go to a mat by the front door, or teach him a traditional obedience Sit/Stand For Exam (this involves teaching a sit/stand stay that the dog has to hold while people touch and walk around it). If he is "working" an exercise, he gets to be the Good Dog! Right now, guests come to the door and he is left to do whatever he pleases and what he chooses to do is not desirable.

That was long.... hope it helped.
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Old 06-21-2010, 08:52 AM   #4 (permalink)
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He had what I like to call a: COME TO JESUS MOMENT.
Omg, this made me laugh so hard.

Great advice Carol!
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Old 06-21-2010, 09:01 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Come to jesus moments are sometimes required. Especially with a slightly dominent dog who really isn't SURE if your the boss or not.

My aussie (youngest age 1) walks pretty good most of the time. She doesn't have a solid heel as we haven't worked it- but can run in the show ring- stacks like a queen (OK when not melting down) and has pretty darn good manners on the leash.
Til this week. Now we're camping for 2 weeks hwile we're between houses- so no more running in a yard- we're on leash all the time. WEL enough of that she said she's going to pull and whine and pout. on went the halti- one little "OMG I"M DYING DYING" moment and 5 minutes later i had her calmly quietly politely beside me even while biking.

But i'll second Cbrand. Most poodles and higher energy dogs shouldn't be "hyper" I do see more "hyper" doodles then others. My aussie who has A HUGE working drive. (which is why she came to ME... as she's my flyball dog) has mini melt downs- when well life just doesn't go as fast as her mind. But she's not HYPER. even though leashed all this past week, Spending most of her time wtih me in a crate (vs run of a house) she's laying at my feet politely. She also doesn't need miles to run her down.

dogs who need THAT much work often need more help on IMPULS control then actual burn the energy OFF. (which IMO has gone to an extreme since 'mr dog whisperer" has become famous). Yes TIRED is good. Exhausted is not. Dogs get FIT just like horses. The more you run em the more it takes next week to tire em out- and THAT isn't good for joints or long term soundness if overdone.
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Old 06-21-2010, 09:08 AM   #6 (permalink)
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dogs who need THAT much work often need more help on IMPULS control then actual burn the energy OFF. (which IMO has gone to an extreme since 'mr dog whisperer" has become famous). Yes TIRED is good. Exhausted is not. Dogs get FIT just like horses. The more you run em the more it takes next week to tire em out- and THAT isn't good for joints or long term soundness if overdone.
This is a very good point. More and more exercise simply means that you have now trained your Doodle for a marathon. I think neVar is right that working on impulse control is your best option.
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Old 06-21-2010, 09:08 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Thanks. That sounds like "do-able" advice.

Actually, the bit by bit training was what we were doing. This was the sixth class of advanced beginners. He took the beginners earlier in the year. Mind you we had only done a couple of down exercises where the trainer walked around. If she had stayed in the middle of the training room, he would have stayed down. BUT she walked around. I was standing right beside him and he was on the leash. He hasn't progressed to the point of doing any obedience training off leash yet! Of course, he is Mr Congeniality and when she walked up to him, he jumped up and wanted to see her.

He can do a sit stay -- sit for examination - not so much! As soon as someone comes around - he gets too excited.

I am better at the training because I have trained lots of dogs, but not one this big for ages. I have some little tiny (expensive) dog treats and I use those all the time when he is doing something right. I think my granddaughter gets frustrated because she has never trained a dog and when he gets hyper and starts pulling and leaping around, she doesn't know what to do. She sometimes says "How come he listens to you?" I think I am tough on him when he is being a dope, but I also make sure I say "good boy" and give him a treat when he is doing what I want. Maybe I will try going for a walk with her and critiqueing what SHE does.

So would you recommend using only the pinch collar? Or do you like to do what we were told - use the chain collar and only use the pinch collar if he goes loopy?

As to Goldens. I had a Golden. I thought of therapy dogs and thought she would be calm. But even though I asked for the quietest in the litter, she was rather like Cooper as a puppy. My granddaughter was 4 or 5 at the time and I couldn't let the Golden out in the yard with them because if they ran she would plough the lot of them down!!

I have also seen LOTS of hyper Standards around here. Before I decided on a Mini, I wanted a Standard but I was warned off them by everyone in our kennel club because they had a reputation around here for being hyper. I now know that its not ALL Standards that are hyper - its the bad ones that are.

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Old 06-21-2010, 09:17 AM   #8 (permalink)
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BUT she walked around. I was standing right beside him and he was on the leash. Of course, he is Mr Congeniality and when she walked up to him, he jumped up and wanted to see her.
Yep... impulsive. So here is the mind shift the family needs to make when they are handling him. He is not Mr. Congeniality. He is Mr. I'm Blowing You Off and Doing What I Want to Do. I think far too many Retriever and Doodle owners let their dogs get away with stuff because they think they are being "friendly".

Quote:
So would you recommend using only the pinch collar? Or do you like to do what we were told - use the chain collar and only use the pinch collar if he goes loopy?
I'm a big fan of the prong collar. I don't like choke chains because I don't like to take away a dog's wind. I find that eventually you can transition from a prong to a regular buckle collar. What many people do is, as the dog works better and better, they turn the prongs outward until the dog has only flat links against the neck.

I think it is an excellent idea to train the granddaughter!
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Old 06-21-2010, 09:44 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Doggie Zen?

I find that dealing with dogs is like parenting and it's really important to find what parenting style suits each owner/dog.

Here's something else you may consider, check out Sue Ailsby's clicker site:

Levels.html

Doggie Zen


Just a training option for something that may or may not suit you and your poodle.

Good luck!
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Old 06-21-2010, 10:11 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Here's something else you may consider, check out Sue Ailsby's clicker site:

Levels.html

Doggie Zen
I'm totally into using a variety of methods, but I get very worried when I read this:

When you say your cue as she's turning to volunteer a come, you aren't telling her what to do. She's already doing it. You're only telling her what it's called. "Oh, by the way, that thing you're doing? We're going to call it 'Come', OK?"

Play this game every day for a week, then sometime when she's not thinking about coming toward you, ask her to come. If she comes, EE HAH! If she doesn't, that's OK.Play the game for another week. And of course if you play it periodically with her throughout her life, she'll ALWAYS have a reason to come when you call.


It's great that the dog is rewarded to come when it wants to come, but what happens when the dog would rather chase a squirrel into the middle of the street? Is it still OK for her not to come because she would rather do something else?

This sort of dog training methodology is getting more and more popular but I don't necessarily see that the results are better for the average dog owner. Experienced trainers may be able to complete the training cycle and get a well trained, reliable dog, but most dog owners who use these methods just seem to end up with dogs who do what they want, when they want to please themselves.

Anyway... I agree. Try different methods and see if you like the results you get.
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