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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Mt 55 pound spoo get very excited when he sees people or dogs, deer, etc. He lunges, bolts, pulls and my joints are wearing out trying to contain him. I took him to teenage puppy school and by the fourth class he could sit, social distance, with the other three dogs, but he was by far the most crazy to be with everyone else, I’ve had a trainer come to the house, and I have completed an on line boot camp for reactivity. My question is, since he is sooooo social, should I be taking him to daycare to play? My trainer is all about making sure I am the most important thing in his life, but I need something to relieve his over excitement So we can leave the house on a leash without either one of us getting hurt. I’m wondering about a harness, or maybe some encouragement that he will outgrow this as long as I am consistent with the training?
 

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Personally I took/take my dog to an area where he can play and socialize with other dogs regularly. At least a few times a week. It isn't a daycare and I do not feel comfortable with daycare personally, but it is an open area where he has lots of dog friends around. I am still the most important thing in his life. You just need to make sure you aren't using that play as your dog's sole activity and interaction. I think it is important for them to have some dog interaction when growing up so they can learn what is appropriate behavior. Adult dogs are good at correcting youngsters and can serve as good mentors for behavior. We have also always trained a lot in the vicinity of other dogs. So it's not like I just dump him and say go play. He is regularly returning to me and practicing recall and other things.

The excitement was something my mini had as well. He needed a harness because he would jerk his neck on a collar. It takes time and maturity for them to grow out of it. Mine is still prone to it at 2 years but much less than when younger. Obedience training helps because you can ask for behavior like a heel when there is an excitement trigger around. It takes a long time for them to gain that impulse control though.
 

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He'll outgrow it eventually, but it will take a while. Well socialized young dogs enjoy playing with other dogs -- that's a good thing! My last pack of spoos played daily until the ends of their lives. The problem is always finding reasonable dog friends when you have a single dog. I've always had a pack of dogs, but I've got a single right now. Dog daycare where the dogs are "curated" by the daycare staff is one option. Otherwise judicious use of dog parks; be prepared to intervene, avoid shady looking dogs (No, it's not a good idea to socialize your nervous pit bull at the dog park!), avoid dog size mismatch, go to the park during off hours when the crowd is minimal, etc.

We also play a lot of games around the house. I play "Dogs" with my guy by inviting him to play and then running around the house picking up and throwing toys and chasing each other (the rules are similar to Calvinball.) We also play "The Game". When we ask him if he wants to play the game, he runs out of the room and we close the door while we hide a couple of treats. Then we let him into the room and he goes to work. When he started, he was remarkably bad at finding treats that even I could smell. Although he's thrilled by the chance to play games, he still wants to play with other dogs.

We're signed up for a training class that involves walking with other friendly dogs and behaving nicely at coffee shops, if this stupid epidemic ever ends. We're also signed up for a Zoom class that starts in a few weeks and which will work on attention and impulse control through the Humane Society.
 

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Try to find your boy a best friend with similar energy and have 1:1 playdates. There's an app called Spotsniff where you can rent a yard for an hour. Your boy & friend can have exposure to a new private and safe setting to burn off some social steam.

Your outside too, so it's covid-safe.

Then, once you find 2-3 good dogs & owners you just rotate every week.

A playdate on a Wednesday breaks up the work week. Your sanity is important too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
What exercise does he get?

What mental exercise does he get?

What is your typical routine?
His typical day is
potty, sniff walk, train, play, eat, takes about an hour, then a 2 hour nap
then potty, sniff, train, play, eat
then hang out with us in the yard doing chores, or we go to the beach and work on exposure to people , dogs, horses, and birds, or we play fetch in our waterfront. now it’s about 3:00 or 4:00 and he naps through the afternoon and has couch time after dinner then kennel to bed.
 

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Tangent to other suggestions - if he is repeatedly hitting the end of his leash hard, it's not doing your shoulder any favors. Shoulder inflammation and injuries take ages to recover. You might want to switch to using a leash with a shock absorber while you are still sorting out the lunging issues.
 

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Ok, sounds like he probably is getting a good mix of mental and physical exercise, and sleep. That's awesome. So probably just a case of 'crazy spoo puppy'.

I love dog socialization/play and think it is really valuable... I don't like daycares personally. My spoo developed some really bad habits from spending a week going to daycare everyday that it has taken me more than a year to work on and settle down. It amped her up and made her far more excitable/reactive to dogs and squirrels. Is there anyone you know with a dog you could have playdates with, even weekly? Or a training centre that offers 1/2 to 1 hour play dates?

Maybe consider working on games like Look at That, It's Yer Choice, and down stays? I found working on impulse control really important when my puppy was young. Look at That is considered key for dealing with excitement over things, and teaching a dog to refocus on you. Dogs find self control exercises really tiring, which is a bonus.

I also really really like Sophia Yin's stuff on walking and Say Please by Sitting.



To save your arms, for now, I might consider a no- pull harness or a head halter. I really don't love using them but sometimes human safety is more important.
 

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Your post is soooo timely! I am having the exact same issue and am getting really discouraged. Winston gets lots of exercise, mental stimulation, training, etc. We’re on our second training course really more for socialization opportunity and he is by far the craziest pup there. I am actually so embarrassed when in class. If you can picture a cartoon character dog running in place on a slippery floor, that’s Winston. He gets soooo excited to see the other dogs that when I do let him interact (picture a few dogs happily rolling around) he actually pees a little (which of course gets on the others too).😬 He is coming along well on his walks as long as we can steer clear from other dogs and people. We still don’t go very far because he can’t hold himself together that long. No hour long walks. Maybe 30 mins TOPS but that requires A LOT of constant interaction with him, marking, etc so don’t end up getting very far (which I’m ok with for now). With people, they can be across the small street and I can manage to distract him, have him focus on me, etc but a dog and people that close, forget it. It is utterly discouraging. There are a ton of dogs in the neighborhood, but none that are a good match in size, age, etc. I may try to see if a few of his best matches in his class would be willing to get them out to play. Am also going to try to do some deliberate training for introducing to dogs and people ( ie start from far away and closer, closer). Need to find volunteers for that. And also, have resolved that I may need to try a gentle leader. I really really did want to resort to that. Makes me feel like I failed but I also need to have him be successful and have the opportunities to mark the good behavior. This afternoon an unsuspecting neighbor that we crossed in the street started screachimg his name to say hello and he went absolutely crazy and must have been jumping about 6 feet off the ground at the end of his leash as I frantically tried to get control. In those instances, not even the highest value treat can get the highly food motivated pup back. I guess I should be happy that it is as far away from agression as can get (seriously, it’s like he about to be reunited with a long lost friend or owner that he hasn’t seen in a couple of years)
 

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LOL, sorry I have to laugh but this is my boy. He is 3 now gets so excited will slip across the floor and can jump 6 ft in the air. I kinda figure this is him. He is better but this is his personality. On an other note he has not an aggressive bone in his body. Last week he went to the vet for his annual, now this dog does not like to leave me and will bark if someone comes to close to me and do his excitement stuff. He has learned that he must sit for a pet but the person must turn away from him. LOL Anyway the vet tech allowed me inside the main door up to the scale, after we weighed him 68.9 lbs. I handed her the leash and before he realized it he was in the exam room with her. When she n the vet came out they said he was perfectly behaved. He gets overly excited and protective with me, take me away and his manners come out. LOL I guess I'm the bad one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Ok, sounds like he probably is getting a good mix of mental and physical exercise, and sleep. That's awesome. So probably just a case of 'crazy spoo puppy'.

I love dog socialization/play and think it is really valuable... I don't like daycares personally. My spoo developed some really bad habits from spending a week going to daycare everyday that it has taken me more than a year to work on and settle down. It amped her up and made her far more excitable/reactive to dogs and squirrels. Is there anyone you know with a dog you could have playdates with, even weekly? Or a training centre that offers 1/2 to 1 hour play dates?

Maybe consider working on games like Look at That, It's Yer Choice, and down stays? I found working on impulse control really important when my puppy was young. Look at That is considered key for dealing with excitement over things, and teaching a dog to refocus on you. Dogs find self control exercises really tiring, which is a bonus.

I also really really like Sophia Yin's stuff on walking and Say Please by Sitting.



To save your arms, for now, I might consider a no- pull harness or a head halter. I really don't love using them but sometimes human safety is more important.
Thanks for your response and suggestions. I’m debating about a harness, but every day I think I’ll just try one more time. Play dates seem to be a popular suggest and I’ll definitely continue impulse control. Thank you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Your post is soooo timely! I am having the exact same issue and am getting really discouraged. Winston gets lots of exercise, mental stimulation, training, etc. We’re on our second training course really more for socialization opportunity and he is by far the craziest pup there. I am actually so embarrassed when in class. If you can picture a cartoon character dog running in place on a slippery floor, that’s Winston. He gets soooo excited to see the other dogs that when I do let him interact (picture a few dogs happily rolling around) he actually pees a little (which of course gets on the others too).😬 He is coming along well on his walks as long as we can steer clear from other dogs and people. We still don’t go very far because he can’t hold himself together that long. No hour long walks. Maybe 30 mins TOPS but that requires A LOT of constant interaction with him, marking, etc so don’t end up getting very far (which I’m ok with for now). With people, they can be across the small street and I can manage to distract him, have him focus on me, etc but a dog and people that close, forget it. It is utterly discouraging. There are a ton of dogs in the neighborhood, but none that are a good match in size, age, etc. I may try to see if a few of his best matches in his class would be willing to get them out to play. Am also going to try to do some deliberate training for introducing to dogs and people ( ie start from far away and closer, closer). Need to find volunteers for that. And also, have resolved that I may need to try a gentle leader. I really really did want to resort to that. Makes me feel like I failed but I also need to have him be successful and have the opportunities to mark the good behavior. This afternoon an unsuspecting neighbor that we crossed in the street started screachimg his name to say hello and he went absolutely crazy and must have been jumping about 6 feet off the ground at the end of his leash as I frantically tried to get control. In those instances, not even the highest value treat can get the highly food motivated pup back. I guess I should be happy that it is as far away from agression as can get (seriously, it’s like he about to be reunited with a long lost friend or owner that he hasn’t seen in a couple of years)
Exactly my dog. I was afraid they were going to tell us not to come back to puppy class. So embarrassing.
 

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I personally think we as people should be our dogs' BFFs and don't particularly sbscribe to the idea that dofs need doggy day care. Most dogs sleep most of the day if they have the right balance of MENTAL and physical interaction with their peeps such that the peeps are well respected and with whom there are good mental bonds. I also don't use no pull harnesses or head haltis. Some no pull harnesses restrict the dog's range of motion without preventing them from trying to jump, potentially causing injuries which could have lasting consequences for spoos who are not yet skeletally mature (think less than 2 years old). As to head haltis I saw a dog fight two weeks ago with the instigator being a newfie on a head halti. It was pretty ugly with the newf going after a much smaller dog twice, making contact both times. This dog should not have been on a head halti since they are not permitted on show grounds and this was at a show. Additionally though it shows how a seemingly trained dog entered for a rally trial is not really under good control on a head halti. I personally agree with the trainer who told you you need to work on being the focal point for your dog in excitable situations. And while I know some people won't like this idea if I was going to introduce a new tool for this dog it would be a pinch collar properly and carefully introduced by a method described to me by Ian Dunbar and described on PF in a number of places.
 

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Make note Ian Dunbar does not routinely use pinch collars, but in this situation since you are getting hurt I think urgency says this is okay, Just make sure you do it carefully and remember that you never pop a leash when it is attached to a pinch collar. The goal is for the dog to learn to stop pulling when they decide they don't like the feeling. I currently have a private client who is using a pinch collar for a large dog who was dragging her unrelentingly. Since she is older this was urgent for her safety and since your situation seems somewhat similar I think it could work very well for you. If you need guidance please ask and I will search for posts on this topic.
 

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I found replacing our leash with a climbing rope helped absorb the force of sudden pulls.

And yes, consistent training (if it’s the right kind of training) will absolutely help as he matures. Right now he is a silly teen and probably has very little impulse control.

I think your goal should be to teach him that he can peek or sniff at exciting things, but then his attention should swing right back to you. You certainly don’t want to punish him for getting excited. This might be fine for some dogs, but in others it can result in anxiety or even aggression.

I also think it’s important he has a chance to run like a wild poodle once a week, to really stretch his legs. If you don’t have a good-sized yard, you can find fenced spaces using the Sniff Spot app and rent them for an hour at very reasonable rates. There you can let him run and also practise recall. Another thing I find very helpful is to practise walking without a leash (in a fenced area, of course). This prevents you from using it as a crutch and teaches your poodle to pay attention to your other cues. (I learned this lesson well back in my riding days, during those dreaded classes where we had to drop the reins.)
 

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Until a dog has developed really good focus and impulse control allowing him/her to do things that are known to make them over excited is just a way to allow the dog to continue to rehearse and reinforce things you don't want them to do in the future. The most effective way to break continuation of unacceptible behaviors is to not allow them to occur. This training also makes for a thinking dog. My dogs are free to run around like crazies in our yard, but generally they don't do so, they prefer sniffing for evidence of bunnies and such. Do they chase each other and wrestle with each other? Well of course they do, but they also don't yank me around on leashes because they have learned not to do so. I have a bad shoulder so I understand your desire not to be pulled and have it hurt.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Make note Ian Dunbar does not routinely use pinch collars, but in this situation since you are getting hurt I think urgency says this is okay, Just make sure you do it carefully and remember that you never pop a leash when it is attached to a pinch collar. The goal is for the dog to learn to stop pulling when they decide they don't like the feeling. I currently have a private client who is using a pinch collar for a large dog who was dragging her unrelentingly. Since she is older this was urgent for her safety and since your situation seems somewhat similar I think it could work very well for you. If you need guidance please ask and I will search for posts on this topic.
I appreciate your input and offer for help. I‘m not ready to change collars yet. I was really wondering if having him be around other dogs in a play situation might make him less excited when he sees other dogs. I would like dogs, deer, birds etc to not be a trigger to pull.
 
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