Poodle Forum banner

1 - 17 of 17 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
13 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi everyone,

Seeking some advice about how to best exercise my moyen Alfie indoors and get him to burn off his energy.

Some background:

My husband and I welcomed a newborn son about three months ago, when Alfie was just about nine months (he's recently turned a year, so very much still a puppy). We moved into a new rental which, unfortunately, does not have a yard, so Alfie's main exercise is his 3 walks a day, which range from 15-25 minutes, depending on how long my husband and I can leave the other with the baby. Alfie is excellent on walks, except for some playful biting at his leash; no barking at other dogs, no pulling when he sees them etc.

As soon as we get into the house and his leash comes off, however, he's bolting around the house, barking like a maniac, trying to lunge at us, just a complete lunatic. Try as we might to ignore him, the barking eventually wakes or scares the baby, so we it often ends in him having a time out in the crate.

He's also been really bad about jumping on people when they visit. He doesn't do it to us as much - he responds to us turning our back and ignoring him pretty well, and he understands his sit and stay command. He's hyper when we return home but isn't out of control. When anyone comes into the house, though, it's truly hectic getting him to stop jumping - largely because guests, through no fault of their own, don't really know how to ignore him properly and it's not their responsibility to train my dog at that moment, of course - so as of late, we keep him leashed, make him sit, and don't allow him to approach guests until he's been calm for some time. Most of the time, though, he'll leap onto them immediately and we have to start over. Often he has to be directed into his crate for a brief respite.

It's clear to me that he understands his commands, and I'd say 85% of the time, he's a sweetheart, just sleeping at our feet, coming up to us for a pet or a kiss. But man, that other 15% is maddening.

Having spoken to a trainer and done some virtual sessions, all signs point to his needing to burn more energy. But with the lack of a yard, me trying to look after the baby while my husband works remotely in the office, and, to top things off, a hip and back injury that's made it more difficult for me to, say, play aggressive tug of war with a toy like I did in the past with my late standard -- it worked wonders because it would both tire her out and she'd get annoyed when I'd win, so she's just trot away with it on her own! -- it's just not possible for me to exercise Alfie like he needs.

Does anyone have suggestions about how to keep Alfie more occupied and tire him out under these restrictions? Or is there something else at play here that I maybe am not picking up on? I know the introduction of the baby must have thrown him for a loop, but he hasn't displayed any particularly worrisome behavior toward or at the baby, nothing that indicates jealousy and, when we brought the baby home, we decided we'd allow Alfie to start sleeping in bed with us so he felt some security about our bond.

Would love to hear your thoughts and feedback. Thank you in advance.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
767 Posts
Hopefully some of our trainers will come along and comment/correct my advice if need be, but I think that 3 walks a day would be considered a decent amount of exercise for a Spoo. It sounds to me that Alfie is more bored than anything else--do you do training with him on a regular basis? Thinking takes up a lot of energy. I take my toy poodle on walks totaling a little over a mile every day, but he still has energy to burn, and unless I do a twenty minute training session with him regularly, he can get very naughty. Another thing to consider is that exercise is not a magical cure-all. Bad behavior allowed to repeat itself is always going to repeat unless you break the chain and give him an alternative. In addition, Alfie is still very young and learning how to behave. Not only that, but he is going into the teen-age mess period, and will need some extra repetition to really get a calm behavior down.

As for rushing around the house after walks, what you describe seems to me like a case of routine zoomies. Dogs are creatures of habit, so, after a walk, I would break his routine by, say, doing a quick 5 minute training session before coming inside (what you do in this session is up to your choice, I typically do a bout of sit-stays mixed with various tricks) and then going inside. He would then either go in the crate for about 15 minutes or do a down-stay beside you, whichever keeps him calm. And, of course, calm behavior should give a reward such as treats.

What you are doing with your guests sounds perfect, it just needs more repetition. If it was me, I would establish a no-touch rule with the dog until he could prove himself calm. However, you mention that he is hyper when you come home--maybe he is taking that behavior and applying it to your guests. In that case, there should be a rule that maybe a single bark and approach is fine. Jumping and acting crazy is not. When you have people over, you can train him not to jump by slowly approaching the guest, much like:
Sit. Look at guest. Look at me. Treat.
Walk a step closer. Look at guest. Look at me. Treat.
And so on until you are by the guest. If he jumps or lunges at any point, he goes away from the guest to the last point he wasn't jumping and has to re-focus on you. This is important--he has to learn that crazy behavior accomplishes the direct opposite of what he wants.
Once you get to the guest, reward him sniffing them calmly. Again, if he jumps, he goes back and away. Ideally, you would recognize him about to be jumping and call him away before he does it so he doesn't have the opportunity to repeat the behavior.
Approaching the people here is an additional reward. I'd suggest having multiple people come over multiple times solely for the purpose of training him to act calm around guests.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
13,276 Posts
Can you take him for an off leash run for one of his walks? Walking attached to a human does not really give an athletic young dog the chance to stretch and use his muscles.

Have you got space for a flirt pole? That can be good for both physical exercise and pausing to teach self control.

I would give him a good chew on his bed/in his crate after walks to break the zooming habit.

5-10 minutes of training games several times a day; hunt the treat and other scent games; hide and seek - all games that can be played indoors and will tire his brain as well as his body.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
2,721 Posts
Something I'm wondering is if the baby turmoil has put Alfie into a mindset where he thinks any attention, even punishment, is better than being ignored. Babies are just a black hole of need. I can't imagine he hasn't noticed he's not the center of attention any more, even if he's being cheerful about it.

I see one of my neighbors out jogging with their baby in a jogging stroller and their dog running along side. That seems like a reasonable solution if there is a runner in the family. Even if there isn't, walking and simultaneously practicing heeling, sitting, look-at-me would be good physical and mental exercise for everyone. (I would NOT take the dog and the stroller out together if there is any danger he might lunge and tip the stroller. I would have trusted my boys Snarky and Galen; Pogo was too reactive.)

Do you have the option to hire a dog walker or even take him to a doggie daycare one or two mornings a week?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,540 Posts
I think that for a 1 yr old spoo, 3 walks is probably just not meeting his needs for mental and social stimulation. Brain games are good indoors. But I would personally really try to find an option where he can run off leash and physically exert himself. Flirt poles are good for this even if you need to put him on a longline for safety. If you can have a play date with a good doggy playmate this would be even better if you know somebody with a yard. When our parks were closed due to lockdown I took my mpoo on bike rides so he could get in a good couple miles of running. It may be a bit early to bike with a spoo at 1 yr, but short rides would probably be ok. He might also really enjoy learning a dog sport like agility, nosework, dock diving, lure coursing, etc. Taking classes like these are a great way to bond with your dog, increase communication, and mentally exercise them. It gives you specific tasks to work on each week which helps to easily keep them mentally stimulated.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,749 Posts
Annie would go nuts without offleash running time at least 1-2 times a week. I also dont have a fenced yard, which means i take herto the dog park, for an offleash walk, to a training class, etc. Sometimes it is a big xhallenge to find a wayto do it, but i know unless i do, i wont be hapoy and neither will she.
Other than that, i like practicing long down stays and settling exercises like Relax on a Mat indoors. Also games where you play, ask for a sit/down, and then restart play after they comply. It teaches them to turn off excitement more quickly
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,427 Posts
Normie does the happy dance zoomies after his walks too.

I'm envious I can't follow his example. So I have coffee.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
9,055 Posts
I agree to break up that post-walk routine. But most importantly, Alfie needs to be able to run at least a few times a week. I don't think dogs zoom just because it's fun. I think it's en efficient way to burn off unpleasant energy (basically stress).

I also think it's amazing he's such a good little walker, considering it's his primary method of exercise. The post-walk zoomies are probably the reason for his good walk manners, so yay zoomies! And good boy, Alfie.

If you don't have a park nearby where he can safely run off-leash, you could try playing a good game of fetch on a long line. The key is to let him really stretch those muscles and go full-tilt. Maybe you could even build this into the end of his walks as a reward, and also because this is when he naturally wants to drain his battery. Peggy zoomed most often in the evening, which is common. So this became her outside time. Even as her need to zoom has started to wane, we've kept this routine, using the time for fetch and/or some fun obstacle training.

That's another thing you could do at a park: find things to balance on, hide a treat in some leaves and ask for a dig, etc. Really engage his nose and his brain.

If a park is not an option, I'd probably look into daycare a few days a week, and only for a few hours at a time. But that wouldn't be my first choice.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,268 Posts
Hi😁. I think adding some flirt pole play in between walks and some puzzle toys will help, but I would try walking away into another room and close the door behind you for a few minutes if you can.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
669 Posts
I totally agree that your pup needs to burn off energy and some great ideas have been shared. I definitely encourage puzzle games and treat dispensing toys. If you can afford it there are quite a few different ones if your pup likes them you get several types and rotate them to keep the interest up. Also, sniffing and “find it” games are a great way to burn off some energy. You could even do sniffing games on walks to burn even more energy.

I know there are varying opinions and it doesn’t work for every dog and of course it would also depend upon what is available in your area but we find sending Bobby to doggie daycare a couple times a month really helps drain pent up energy. Something to look into, maybe? There are pros and cons but for us it’s super helpful.

Do you have a Home Improvement Store in your area that allows dog? Winter is snowy and icy here and we would walk Bobby at our local Home Depot as a neighborhood walk was just too slow as we didn’t want to fall. At Home Depot a simple walk becomes a major training time/fast walk sort of thing. We walk fast and no sniffing or slowing down unless I ask him to, except for sits, stays, etc. and a greeting now and then. I work him hard. All the walking, turning, stops and stays, distractions and interesting things burns energy in a way that a walk in the neighborhood does not. He’s quite pooped when we are done.😊
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
145 Posts
I find that with my spoo, a snuffling walk really tires her out more so than a brisk walk or jog. She doesn’t go to the bathroom on walks (leashes - why I don’t know) so when we get home she will do a minute or so of zoomies in the backyard and then poop. Most of the time I’ll just go straight to the backyard rather than going through the house because I don’t want her zooming around inside lol. She needs the off leash time to run free so is it possible to take him to an off leash park or see about renting a yard?

I would agree with the flirt pole recommendations - that thing tires my dog out and I tie in various commands (leave it, sit, down, wait, spin, dance, paw, burpee, and drop it) in between playing with it work with her mentally as well as physically.

If it’s gross weather, I have “inside” fetch toys (softer ones that are less likely to break something), hide and go seek, find it, and a bunch of different puzzle toys/treat dispensing toys that I use.

I tried a couple doggy daycares for a few trial periods around here but found that a large portion of the dogs were dogs that I don’t feel comfortable with my spoo playing with if I’m not there to supervise or the supervision wasn’t adequate (no limits on amount of dogs, staff let dogs play without any supervision, dogs left in pens for hours with 5-10 other dogs). However, my friend takes her spoo (different province) to a doggy daycare and it’s amazing and great for him considering they live in an apartment. You really have to do your research and talk to people for recommendations and try them out for a trial period to make sure that it’s a good doggy daycare and the right fit.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
669 Posts
Gosh PTP, I think we’ve were just really lucky. We discovered this place when our Great Dane Moose was young. Same owner for the last ten years. We love it there and both Bobby and Moose loved/it. We had taken Moose to one that was closer but didn’t like it that much and it was too small. The place Bobby goes to is a large facility and they group dogs by size and energy level and they have a free trial day to see if your dog is a good fit. They know dogs, which of course is critical. We live in a large metropolitan area so there are many, many dog daycares. There are two just a couple blocks away from us but we aren’t impressed.

To answer your question, I guess like anything these days, word of mouth, researching, Internet, reviews, I heard about our daycare from a coworker. I definitely recommend
reading reviews, talking to the owner/staff, visiting to get a sense of everything....how they treat the dogs, size, cleanliness, numbers of dogs, their dog knowledge as a whole, etc. A webcam I think is very important. I’m always encouraged when I watch Bobby. I think it also depends upon what you are looking for, regular daycare, just once in awhile, boarding? The small one in our neighborhood was always booked so I felt we had an emergency we were out of luck. The one we use now is large so therefore more accommodating. I also wanted a place where my dog can actually run and go outdoors. We have a bit of a drive but it’s worth it.

Not all dogs are daycare dogs and not every neighborhood has access to a good daycare. We are lucky on both accounts.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
849 Posts
I've bought nearly every animal part chew for Basil and the bully sticks keep her busy for 2-5 hours. The first one I got her 2 days ago was 6" she spent 5 hours on it. So, I bought a 3 pack of the 12" ones on amazon and she's lost a little bit of interest, but she's 2 hours in so far on a new 12" one. Her jaw's probably sore. I imagine if I rewarded them like a weekly treat, it would keep her busy for 3+ hours for 1 day/week. Just an idea. It's a bull's male-part dried.. but to her it's like stick at the park that tastes like meat. (keep it pg rated).

You find these at the pet store, but they're stupid expensive there. Maybe get one to start there to see if it's a hit, if so, then go to amazon.

Maybe this helps shrug.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,749 Posts
Best of luck - i also remembered this thread, from when i was struggling wirh this - my suggestions and a bunch of other peoples suggestions too
 
1 - 17 of 17 Posts
Top