Poodle Forum banner

1 - 20 of 26 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
41 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My pup is now 8 months old. He can be very sweet and then turn on a dime and begin biting and chomping and throwing himself at me. No amount of stuffing chew toys in his mouth does any bit of good. There are times we can sit on the couch cuddling for 2 hours, after which he just starts in. Fortunately, he has lost his milk teeth, but he can still draw blood and cause bruises. He has completed 12 training classes, earned two certificates, and is considered an excellent and very bright dog. This little feller is my 6th standard poodle and the first I have ever been exasperated with. I am in my mid-70s. Maybe it's my age. Maybe it's he. Maybe it's 5G making all the animals go nuts. I sure wish I knew! I will admit that he's pretty spoiled. Maybe I am treating him like a grandchild instead of a child. Any ideas. Have a call into a canine behaviorist who raises poodles. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is both ends of the spectrum. I wish we could meet somewhere in the middle! He does no serious damage to the home, apart from playfully pulling towels off the rack. But he eats "stuff," including a face mask, twigs, dried leaves, paper towels, and whatever he can get his mouth on in the yard. This little feller was one of 13 in his litter. I am led to believe the rest are all just angels. Perhaps...
 

·
Super Moderator
Peggy Sue, Standard Poodle Born May 2019
Joined
·
8,820 Posts
One of Peggy's favourite games is quietly sliding a dish towel off the oven door and then romping around, tossing it in the air. After months of this, I stopped hanging our dish towels on the oven door. Lol.

Peggy has a decently soft mouth, but at the start of adolescence, she occasionally did damage to my parents' hands and arms when she'd get over-excited during play. They are also in their 70s, and find they bruise and bleed more easily than they used to. If this is the case for you, as well, I can see how this would be an urgent situation. Your poodle really does need to learn to never put his mouth on you. Period. I hope the behaviourist can help with this. Excellent that they have poodles!

I will say that at 8 months Peggy would never have been content lounging on the couch for hours and hours. We were still very reliant on her indoor exercise pen and crate for enforced naps, and when she was relaxing unconfined, it was often very active for us. I tried so many methods of "capturing calm," but clicking and treating was the most successful. I also established a strict post-dinner routine, as this was when our energy levels were most likely to clash:

She ate dinner in her pen and then was expected to settle in there for an hour while we ate ours. Then it was outside for training and play, including zoomies as necessary to drain her battery, before evening rest. If she grew restless, it was out for a final leashed potty session, and then straight into the crate for bed.

Eventually the energetic post-dinner play was replaced with a fun-but-focused training session, and now that's all she needs to signal that it's time to chill. (But she does very much need it!)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,429 Posts
I think this behavior is not uncommon for poodle puppies, but I do think your age is probably making it more difficult. I know when my mini was a puppy he was able to draw blood on the skin of older acquaintances when he never drew blood on the skin of younger people. So I imagine a standard puppy would be able to do even more damage. Skin just gets more fragile as people age.

I think implementing more structure is a good idea. Creating routines is very important for living a sane life with a poodle. The puppy might resist these boundaries at the beginning but he will get used to it. Poodles really appreciate knowing what to expect.

But also, at 8 months, he is still a puppy and probably still in his bad mouthing stage. I think it will pass but it will take some time. If toys stuffed in the mouth do not work, I go with a time out. Gives you time to breathe and settle your demeanor.

My mini was a monster from 6-8 months. It drastically reduced by 9 months. They do grow up, and good training will help to speed this.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
2,596 Posts
My boy Galen is 10 months right now. All along he has, throughout the day, cycled between being a quiet little angel and being a mouthy little brat. The mouthy periods seem to happen when he's tired; he simply loses the ability to control himself. I'm sure any parent of toddlers has seen similar behavior, when 4 pm rolls around and their kid erupts with tears and thrown toys. I call these times the witching hour. Fortunately, as Galen has matured, I'm seeing more angel and less brat.

I deal with him several ways. First, we have a pretty consistent schedule. He gets up in the morning, gets walked, goes back to sleep while I work, gets a noon walk, takes another nap while I continue working, and then gets another walk and/or play session after I knock off work for the day. The consistent schedule helps me predict when he's likely to have a meltdown and channel his behavior into something more appropriate.

I commonly employ two strategies when he's in bonkers bitey zoomies mode. One is to practice off leash heeling. I start walking and even trotting around my yard with a pocket full of treats. Galen, naturally, chases me. I stuff my hands in my pockets so he can't bite them and ignore him when he's running in circles around me. However, if he moves to my left heel, I hand him a treat. As he gets more focused on me I will increase the difficulty by going up stairs, circling around shrubbery, and changing direction abruptly. He gets a treat each time he manages stick with me through a difficult maneuver. The exercise satisfies his desire to chase something while also rewarding him for working his brain as he figures out how to stay by my heel.

The other thing I do is play with a flirt pole. I made my own flirt pole for under $5. The ingredients were a 5' length of PVC plumbing pipe from Lowes, a tassel I made from the arms of three T-shirts consigned to the rag bin, a 7' length of laundry cord, and a large metal washer. I simply ran the cord down the center of the pipe, knotted the washer to one end, and tied the rag tassel to the other.
471553


To play with it I simply wave the tassel in front of Galen and twirl it away when he tries to grab it. After a few passes I let him catch it. Sometimes we proceed to have a tug of war once he catches it.. other times, if he seems over-excited, I let him calm down by lying and mouthing the tassel. I repeat the cycle several times, teasing him to sprint after the tassel and letting him lie quietly, until he seems to be getting tired.
471555


Notice the amount of bend in the pole. You do not need to use bungee-cord; the PVC pipe itself has enough spring to act as a shock absorber. Additionally, you don't want more than 18" of cord between the tassel and the end of the pipe; any more than that is likely to get wrapped around the dog's neck or leg.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
2,596 Posts
I also, on occasion, resort to time outs. Right now Galen is in time out, locked with me in my study, because he pulled me away from Thanksgiving dessert to chase the cat. (The cat was sufficiently annoyed to start chasing him back, ears back and eyes blazing.) Galen whined and pouted a bit and then flopped down with a heavy sigh and closed his eyes. Overtired puppy.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
41 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I think this behavior is not uncommon for poodle puppies, but I do think your age is probably making it more difficult. I know when my mini was a puppy he was able to draw blood on the skin of older acquaintances when he never drew blood on the skin of younger people. So I imagine a standard puppy would be able to do even more damage. Skin just gets more fragile as people age.

I think implementing more structure is a good idea. Creating routines is very important for living a sane life with a poodle. The puppy might resist these boundaries at the beginning but he will get used to it. Poodles really appreciate knowing what to expect.

But also, at 8 months, he is still a puppy and probably still in his bad mouthing stage. I think it will pass but it will take some time. If toys stuffed in the mouth do not work, I go with a time out. Gives you time to breathe and settle your demeanor.

My mini was a monster from 6-8 months. It drastically reduced by 9 months. They do grow up, and good training will help to speed this.
Thank you. He has been through training and knows what to do, and his moods are predictable. He can sleep on my lap like an angel for an hour or more, then start right in again. At that point, I have no choice but to go behind the living room gate and give myself a time out. He has learned, by the way, how to open the door on his pen. And when the door gives him a problem, he just jumps out. Very clever by far!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
41 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
My boy Galen is 10 months right now. All along he has, throughout the day, cycled between being a quiet little angel and being a mouthy little brat. The mouthy periods seem to happen when he's tired; he simply loses the ability to control himself. I'm sure any parent of toddlers has seen similar behavior, when 4 pm rolls around and their kid erupts with tears and thrown toys. I call these times the witching hour. Fortunately, as Galen has matured, I'm seeing more angel and less brat.

I deal with him several ways. First, we have a pretty consistent schedule. He gets up in the morning, gets walked, goes back to sleep while I work, gets a noon walk, takes another nap while I continue working, and then gets another walk and/or play session after I knock off work for the day. The consistent schedule helps me predict when he's likely to have a meltdown and channel his behavior into something more appropriate.

I commonly employ two strategies when he's in bonkers bitey zoomies mode. One is to practice off leash heeling. I start walking and even trotting around my yard with a pocket full of treats. Galen, naturally, chases me. I stuff my hands in my pockets so he can't bite them and ignore him when he's running in circles around me. However, if he moves to my left heel, I hand him a treat. As he gets more focused on me I will increase the difficulty by going up stairs, circling around shrubbery, and changing direction abruptly. He gets a treat each time he manages stick with me through a difficult maneuver. The exercise satisfies his desire to chase something while also rewarding him for working his brain as he figures out how to stay by my heel.

The other thing I do is play with a flirt pole. I made my own flirt pole for under $5. The ingredients were a 5' length of PVC plumbing pipe from Lowes, a tassel I made from the arms of three T-shirts consigned to the rag bin, a 7' length of laundry cord, and a large metal washer. I simply ran the cord down the center of the pipe, knotted the washer to one end, and tied the rag tassel to the other. View attachment 471553

To play with it I simply wave the tassel in front of Galen and twirl it away when he tries to grab it. After a few passes I let him catch it. Sometimes we proceed to have a tug of war once he catches it.. other times, if he seems over-excited, I let him calm down by lying and mouthing the tassel. I repeat the cycle several times, teasing him to sprint after the tassel and letting him lie quietly, until he seems to be getting tired. View attachment 471555

Notice the amount of bend in the pole. You do not need to use bungee-cord; the PVC pipe itself has enough spring to act as a shock absorber. Additionally, you don't want more than 18" of cord between the tassel and the end of the pipe; any more than that is likely to get wrapped around the dog's neck or leg.
Looks like a cute game. I have a lovely yard. An extra lot actually. All fenced in, but I cannot be in the yard at the same time as Raffi. He sees it as an excuse to attack me. But one night, I went out with a flashlight to search for him. The flashlight served to calm him a bit. He didn't try attacking me. Not sure what the dynamic was or if he was just baffled. So I am always sure to have the flashlight with me. Daytime frolicking in the yard is not possible for both of us. If I have gardening to do, Raffi must be on the porch or in the house. If he needs to go out, he must be out alone. His attacks are wild. He throws his body at me and bites and growls. Never, ever experienced this with any of my other poodles. I sure hope he outgrows it. This is not fun!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,052 Posts
I think maybe you should leash him. My standard really wasn't too much different. I've had dogs forever and trained many to be well behaved big dogs but my standard was the most challenging of all. I am also your age and at times feel myself slowing down. Now at 3 (tomorrow) he is better behaved but still has moments. I always take him in the yard on a leash, on a leash he knows how to behave. Off leash he didn't though now he does. He will sometimes come running and bouncy into the air but he stops and never jumps on me. Against positive training methods, I used a bath towel, smaller one, rolled up and rubber banded. I firmly said no to the behavior and threw it at him. I was careful that he didn't actually notice it was me throwing it, kinda came from no where when he misbehaved. Took 2xx and he stopped. Haven't had to use it again.(to make a towel I laid the towel flat and folded one of the longer sides in reaching the middle of the towel, and then the other side and just rolled it up and secured it with a rubber band on each side. I also found not to be repetitive with him . If say I take him out he potties then we play ball and I repeat this each day, after a day he thinks well I'm must do this. So I try to keep him guessing. One trip we may play while another day he just chills. It has taken a long time to get where we are but I am now pleased.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
41 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thank you for this idea with the towel. Another friend suggested a paper bag filled with air. She swats her pup's behind with it and she hates it. Raffi kept us up all night. He started barking (rather an insistent call, not a full bark). So I let him out. Tried going back upstairs. Took him, thinking it might work. Didn't all he wanted to do was play and bite me on the bed. So downstairs we went. (I carry him down. He refuses to go.) He woke us up several times. Been in the yard around 5 times since 5:00 am. It's tough telling whether he must go or is just playing around. Leash is good, but even in the yard, I have to tighten him up or carry a spray bottle or he lunges at me. In summer, the only thing that worked was a hose. I also like your idea about NOT repeating things so that he will expect to do something, like play ball. Glad things have worked out with your pup. I know they will with Raffi eventually and I hope I have not done too much damage on the way. He can be sweet, but that's never long lived. Thank you for posting.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
41 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I think maybe you should leash him. My standard really wasn't too much different. I've had dogs forever and trained many to be well behaved big dogs but my standard was the most challenging of all. I am also your age and at times feel myself slowing down. Now at 3 (tomorrow) he is better behaved but still has moments. I always take him in the yard on a leash, on a leash he knows how to behave. Off leash he didn't though now he does. He will sometimes come running and bouncy into the air but he stops and never jumps on me. Against positive training methods, I used a bath towel, smaller one, rolled up and rubber banded. I firmly said no to the behavior and threw it at him. I was careful that he didn't actually notice it was me throwing it, kinda came from no where when he misbehaved. Took 2xx and he stopped. Haven't had to use it again.(to make a towel I laid the towel flat and folded one of the longer sides in reaching the middle of the towel, and then the other side and just rolled it up and secured it with a rubber band on each side. I also found not to be repetitive with him . If say I take him out he potties then we play ball and I repeat this each day, after a day he thinks well I'm must do this. So I try to keep him guessing. One trip we may play while another day he just chills. It has taken a long time to get where we are but I am now pleased.
By the way, Raffi is my 6th poodle. Our first was a rough coat collie, gorgeous dog who came with our first house!
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
2,596 Posts
I realized on a walk over the weekend that I have also, unconsciously, been setting Galen up for a lot of "God gotcha" moments. It's a trick I learned when dealing with mouthy horses. As I brush and saddle the horse, I stand with my elbow cocked towards the horse's head. Then, if the horse swings his head to nip at me, I simply shift my stance to ensure he whacks a tender part of his nose against the boney point. Oops, pony, there was an elbow where you just put your face. I don't acknowledge that he hit me. I don't alter the cadence of my brushing. I just let him conclude all by his lonesome that encroaching on my personal space isn't a great decision.

I realize I use the same technique against Galen. On our walk over the weekend Galen was doing what I call strafing runs. He would run full speed at our legs, veering aside at the last possible moment. He used to play like this with Pogo, inviting chase games by running close. My husband hates it, as sometimes Galen doesn't turn quite quickly enough. I discouraged the game by casually lifting my foot up and angling it so that Galen would whack himself on my bootheel if he ran too close. Oops, fancy that, I wasn't expecting a dog to be there when I stuck my foot out. :whistle: Same principle as using an elbow against a mouthy horse. Galen soon took care to give me a little extra space. My husband in contrast would actively step aside, causing Galen to repeat the run. "Yippee, we're playing bull and matador! This is fun!"
 

·
Super Moderator
Peggy Sue, Standard Poodle Born May 2019
Joined
·
8,820 Posts
How much exercise is he getting? Does he get to run free?
I'm also wondering this. With all the training you do together, it sounds like Raffi is mentally fulfilled. But does he get to really stretch his legs every once in a while, in a way that's safe for both of you?

To be honest, 8-month-old Peggy would have thought a hose or spray bottle was part of a wonderful new game. And she met any display of force with renewed vigour. So we went the opposite route, just consistently removing our bodies or attention. This is a form of punishment she understands.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
41 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I'm also wondering this. With all the training you do together, it sounds like Raffi is mentally fulfilled. But does he get to really stretch his legs every once in a while, in a way that's safe for both of you?

To be honest, 8-month-old Peggy would have thought a hose or spray bottle was part of a wonderful new game. And she met any display of force with renewed vigour. So we went the opposite route, just consistently removing our bodies or attention. This is a form of punishment she understands.
As a matter of fact, the spray bottle is also now a game for him. He lunges at it. The paper bag won't work for too long either. He's just too smart. As for running, I have a half acre enclosed for him. So he has plenty of run space--provided I am also not in the yard with him. He goes out quite a bit. Last night, he was out about 5 times since 3:00 AM. Very exhausting for me, but I can't know if he needs to go or has an upstairs tummy. So I get up and let him out.
 

·
Super Moderator
Peggy Sue, Standard Poodle Born May 2019
Joined
·
8,820 Posts
When puppy Peggy needed out in the middle of the night, we kept it super boring: Lights stay off. Leash goes on. Walk straight to a good potty spot. Two minutes of sniffing and circling. Back inside.

If he throws himself at you and you respond by being a boring statue (silent, no eye contact) and then be fun again as soon as he stops, how does he react? He sounds like such a smart boy. I feel like he'd figure it out pretty quickly.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
41 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
When puppy Peggy needed out in the middle of the night, we kept it super boring: Lights stay off. Leash goes on. Walk straight to a good potty spot. Two minutes of sniffing and circling. Back inside.

If he throws himself at you and you respond by being a boring statue (silent, no eye contact) and then be fun again as soon as he stops, how does he react? He sounds like such a smart boy. I feel like he'd figure it out pretty quickly.
Problem is, he is very smart. Wily, crazy, will try anything at least once. Typical boy, but also very loving, when he chooses to be. When I fold my arms and turn my back, he leaves me alone for the most part, unless I am in the yard. There I have no recourse but to run onto the back porch for my own safety. He will even attack from the rear!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
9,996 Posts
Why I started wearing fishing vests in the yard with Buck. Pockets for tug toy, leash, treats. a ball, waste bags. If he went into Tasmanian Devil Dog, I had the tools. I am a huge fan of flirt poles to end the endless energy. Think rainy days, bitterly cold... Establish a schedule fair to you both and celebrate every success along the way:)
 

·
Super Moderator
Peggy Sue, Standard Poodle Born May 2019
Joined
·
8,820 Posts
Problem is, he is very smart. Wily, crazy, will try anything at least once. Typical boy, but also very loving, when he chooses to be. When I fold my arms and turn my back, he leaves me alone for the most part, unless I am in the yard. There I have no recourse but to run onto the back porch for my own safety. He will even attack from the rear!
It's very tricky when your safety is involved, and I'm sorry that's the case. :( I will say that while those smarts are exhausting right now, you can absolutely use them to your advantage. Just ask yourself every time he does something undesirable: What's he getting out of this?

If you can show him how to meet those same needs in another, even more rewarding way, he'll catch on fast.

I wonder if you or someone else played chase games in the yard when he was a small puppy and he's figured out how to get you to "play" again (i.e. send you running).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
41 Posts
Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Why I started wearing fishing vests in the yard with Buck. Pockets for tug toy, leash, treats. a ball, waste bags. If he went into Tasmanian Devil Dog, I had the tools. I am a huge fan of flirt poles to end the endless energy. Think rainy days, bitterly cold... Establish a schedule fair to you both and celebrate every success along the way:)
Love the idea of a fishing vest. I wear my polartec North Face all the time, even in the house. And pockets have poop bags, etc. I need to be ready at any moment to go outside, and it's already bitter cold. Flurries this morning. He loves the back porch, but it's a 3 season porch and the stove only heats it up so much in bad weather or wind. The couch out there is lined with a sleeping bag in case he wants to cuddle there. Am going to invest in a flirt pole next. Just when you think you have thought of everything, along comes another helper. Thanks!
 
1 - 20 of 26 Posts
Top