Poodle Forum banner

1 - 8 of 8 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, new member here! Hoping I can get some advice or know if I should get a personal trainer for this issue we’re experiencing with our adolescent dog/puppy. Sorry for the incredibly long post, just want to provide context.

We’ve had our 6.5 month old male standard poodle for about 4 months now and he’s great in most areas, I’m deeply in love with him! he was a wild and demonic puppy at times when he was 2-3 months but we put a lot of work in and I have to say he’s pretty good with basic obedience commands in and out the house, really good recall (hasn’t failed in months and we have multiple recall phrases), good leash walking for the most part (he was fantastic! altho he seems to “listen” less since a few weeks ago and has started to pull a little more now again especially when chasing a smell, chalking it up to adolescence, we keep working on it), ignores people on walks but loves meeting new people, plays good with other dogs his size (altho we have never gone to a dog park), super smart and likes learning new tricks (he knows 30-35 commands/tricks), calm around the house when he can (capturing calmness works!), not destructive at all, sweet, loves being petted, still a lot of energy ofc and no biting anymore except...

He seems to have a very specific trigger for some biting/nipping attacks which had completely gone away for a good 2 months until now, again, probably adolescence-related. We have a fenced in yard, there’s some spaces with bare dirt and no grass. When he was a young wild puppy, he couldn’t be outside in the yard without the long leash cause 9/10 times he would start digging if not actively playing or if I wasn’t paying attention to him. If he started digging, 3 seconds later he would become unmanageable/would not listen at all, even if presented with sardines, sausages, anything. The only thing that would work was to pull him away with the leash to a grass or concrete space for him to calm down, often he would have this crazed face and stare like he got possessed by something haha. And often while pulling him away he would turn around and start biting whoever was pulling him away (calmly or as calmly as one can be with a big puppy chomping on your arm, no yelling just stern Nos and Leave its which he was too aroused to hear anyway). This nipping/biting attacks where he would clamp down on your pants or shirt had not happened in so long, that we had started to use the yard again (before we would go out maybe once a week at MOST cause of that issue, I didn’t want him rehearsing it - apartment friends would say I was lucky to have a yard for my puppy and I was like lol we can’t use it, but fast forward for when he was 4-5 months, he had had no issues in the yard unleashed).

I definitely know his “bucket” can get full after he’s been awake for 2+ hrs and he can get moody haha and today I made the mistake of going out on a long walk with a friend (new to him but he loved her, rolled on his back on the grass to get pets and accepted the little chicken heart she gave him), and then coming back home and letting him on the yard for a 5-10 min while I tidied up the deck before putting him down for a nap. Well... he didn’t have the long leash on and started to dig sigh. Panicked I went for his normal leash to leash him up since he was not listening to my Leave its which he’s so good at. When I put the leash on him and started to pull him away sure enough he turned around and started mouthing and biting my arms. He had not done this in a long time and his jaw strength is crazy now. He definitely left some marks and scratches, I was really upset to the point of tears cause it was scary, he’s so big now not a small puppy anymore. I put him on a timeout in the guest bathroom cause our old method of leaving the room obviously does not work in the yard. He came out much better 1 min later but still on edge. He did not protest at all when told to go to his crate for a nap and just crashed. He’s been sleeping for 1.5 hrs now.

So... has anyone else experienced this bout of craziness when older puppy is overstimulated? Should we keep with our old approach of restricting the yard etc.? Or seek professional help? For sure keeping up with enforced naps, and trying not to get him overstimulated like he’s a 2 month old puppy again I guess, but dunno if I should get a trainer to deal with this issue since I would for sure break down in tears again if he “attacks” me like that... Everyone says keep the training consistent etc. And he’s been such a great puppy with other people and dogs but these “puppy attacks” were annoying when he was smaller, but imo unacceptable due to his size now. Am I expecting too much of him? Ahhh
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
2,760 Posts
At 6.5 months he is still very much a puppy. While it is appropriate to require good manners from him, including no mouthing, he is still going to need you to set him up for success. In this case you already know what happened: he got over tired, and his impulse control disintegrated.

My boy went through a bad attitude period between 6 and 9 months. He was more confrontational and less cooperative than he had been as a young puppy. I backed off on picking unnecessary battles with him over things like trick training, but I stood firm on my requirements for things related to human and canine safety. Greet people politely with no jumping, sit at street corners before crossing, wait for permission before stepping out the door, walk down the stairs instead of running, etc. I also avoided putting him in situations where he would fail. When he stopped coming to my call he lost his off leash privileges. When he started digging up the planters on my deck I put the planters behind a baby fence.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
278 Posts
Oona is going through this now, though (cross fingers) it feels like we've moved through the worst of it. She's 8 months. Setting her up for success by preventing the situations where the behavior is likely to happen, like @cowpony suggests, has been helpful. As has training to build self control. Oona's triggers aren't from digging, but getting overtired, overexcited, or frustrated will sometimes bring out jumping and biting. If our outing has been too long she might start on our walk home; she tends to try it at the first street crossing at the start of our walks when she's fresh, so I've been reinforcing her more for walking nicely at those times/places, and sometimes it's just uncontained exuberance after she greets another dogs or does something really fun. In those cases I can usually ask her for something else and we are able to move on. Try to prevent the digging in the first place and/or change your response to it so whatever is getting him so excited isn't happening (scolding is really exciting sometimes - I just have to say 'stop digging' to Oona and that results in zoomies).

Another thing that I think has really helped us with self control recently is a two-cue time out we learned from our new trainer. The first time the dog does something you don't want, they get a cheerful "that's enough". If they do it again/ keep doing it, you say "oh, too bad" in a disappointed voice and they get a 30 sec-3 min crate time out. It shocked me how quickly Oona learned this - much more effective than "ah ah!" or "off!" or "leave it". She changes her behavior more than half the time now on the first warning.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
9,136 Posts
I would be cautious about how you approach him when he’s digging, especially since you say he’s edgy after. Dogs can resource guard holes, and you don’t want him to start thinking an approaching human means his treasured hole will be taken from him. Even worse will be if he learns that using his teeth can keep the humans away.

I think getting professional help is always a good idea, if only to have that resource available to you, especially as you navigate adolescence. Just make sure the trainer is certified (CPDT or KPA) and that they’re not going to escalate the situation by using excessive force. Your puppy just needs to learn that good things happen when he stops digging, and he maybe also needs another outlet for that drive.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
295 Posts
I’m sure a trainer can help way more than me but can you cover the bare spots with sod or seed? I’m trying to fix my front yard which has gotten a huge bare spot and the Scott’s seed I got has really helped it!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
103 Posts
Whiskey gets obsessed when he plays with Bailey, my Shih Tzu. Refused all the high value treats and toys too. I've been managing his obsession by removal of Bailey when he is excited, as suggested by his trainer.
But like your pup, it has been failing me the last two weeks (Whiskey is also 6.5 months male spoo puppy) and there were 2 incidents where he snapped at us. We just gave stern NOs and left him for 2 minutes as his "punishment". Thankfully no more snapping and growls because those were SCARY (first big dog for us).

Another thing that I think has really helped us with self control recently is a two-cue time out we learned from our new trainer. The first time the dog does something you don't want, they get a cheerful "that's enough". If they do it again/ keep doing it, you say "oh, too bad" in a disappointed voice and they get a 30 sec-3 min crate time out. It shocked me how quickly Oona learned this - much more effective than "ah ah!" or "off!" or "leave it". She changes her behavior more than half the time now on the first warning.
This I want to try :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
278 Posts
Whiskey gets obsessed when he plays with Bailey, my Shih Tzu. Refused all the high value treats and toys too. I've been managing his obsession by removal of Bailey when he is excited, as suggested by his trainer.
But like your pup, it has been failing me the last two weeks (Whiskey is also 6.5 months male spoo puppy) and there were 2 incidents where he snapped at us. We just gave stern NOs and left him for 2 minutes as his "punishment". Thankfully no more snapping and growls because those were SCARY (first big dog for us).


This I want to try :)
Just be careful that you are touching or have close access to the dog if you're going to give the "too bad". If they can jump or move away it can easily turn into naughty "chase me" once they learn what the two cues mean.
 
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
Top