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Well I lost the long post I typed out!

So the short version is: I'm fostering a spoo that is a 10 week old female. She is independent, head strong and a vocal girl when playing or denied something. Example, when she reaches the end of the leash and can't go where she wants she alligator rolls, growls yowls and barks, jumps like a bucking bronco... basically just throws a huge fit. She's mouthy beyond belief (taken from mom at 5-6 weeks) and has zero interest in pleasing people.

Tips or ideas on working with her to make her a more well balanced pup and more adoptable?


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Well that face sure doesn't match the alligator inside! I would try games that encourage focus and attention. They are good brain work, connect the dog to the handler and help with impulse control. With a bit of energy burned off from that work things like sit and leash manners should be easier to work on. Good luck, sounds like a lot of work ahead. It is unfortunate she was separated from her momma and sibs so early.
 

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I don't have any advice, just wanted to say that's a cute puppy! Hope you can help her behave better and get into a great home.
 

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First... WHAT a CUTE BABY!!! Those bottom teeth are so precious.

I agree with Catherine completely to use focus games! These are so beneficial in many ways.

But I will add .. do not give into these tantrums and walk away (unless she is in danger), let her get annoyed, mad, bark, roll, all of it!! But the moment she calms down or sits calmly... TREATS and PRAISE!! I learned this while going to obedience course. ALWAYS praise and reward behavior you like and you will see more of it!
For example if she pull on the leash, stop walking completely and hold the leash still (not pulling her back). Stand/Wait there calmly and when you see her relax and stop the tantrum, praise and rewards!! It may take some time for her to figure out why you're not giving in or why you arent paying attention to her, but she will eventually learn!

Some people in public may be embarrassed to let their dog throw a fit... but I let Norman do it because I knew if I just gave into what he wants it was a few steps back... I stood my ground when he pulled or barked and slowly he learned!

Good luck! Seems that she may be headstrong so do not give up! Consistency and positive reinforcement are keys to training most dogs!!
 

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I'd say puppy class! puppy class! puppy class! And not the big box pet store kind. We have an excellent local trainer who matches pups according to their immunization and energy levels. Even just some social sessions with other pups or mentor dogs might help her, since it sounds like she's been lacking in the role model department.

What an absolute cutie pie.

P.S. Peggy is 21 weeks and much more interested in pleasing us now than she was at 10 weeks. But, even still, she must feel we're being fair. Consistency, calmness, and ample brain exercise has been key!
 

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A lot of this reminds me of Misha! And I think he's turning out fine. She will come around. She may be a high drive dog. Leash walking was a nightmare for a while with Misha because he refused to go forward. He wanted to keep exploring right where he was! Or he wanted to zoom around like a madman. It took a lot of work to get him used to just continuing in a forward direction. Just don't avoid walks because of the pain they are. You might try a short leash so she doesn't have so much freedom. A 3 ft leash allows you much more control and will help you to direct the activity.

As far as tantrums, I had my share of those too. The first time I ate ice cream in front of Misha he just could not believe that he wasn't getting any. At 6.5 months he still tries to turn anything into a game. Want to put a collar on me? Haha you have to catch me first! But I don't see that as disobedience so much as an extreme desire to engage. Poodle pups are all mouthy, but Misha was also (and still kind of is) extreme in this regard. He tore a lot of my pants from attacking my legs. But remember this is still her wanting to engage with you. It's better to have her mouthing than not wanting to engage at all. Extreme biting should be met with ending play and dog goes in pen. Recently if Misha is driving me nuts I put some peppermint extract on my hands because he cannot stand the smell of it and he stops mouthing.

Use every opportunity you can to build a relationship. Meal times should be used to start teaching good behavior. Sit, down, stand are easy for pups to learn and she can cycle through these in return for kibble (or whatever you feed).
 

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Excellent advice, but I would add to find some sensible dogs to help you. It sounds as if she missed out on time with Mum and siblings, and an experienced older female or two is likely to be able to teach her acceptable behaviour far more quickly than us poor humans!
 

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Just thought of a relevant experience with Peggy: She is queen of the "demand" bark. She knows what she wants and will utilize all the behaviours she knows to get it. I think it's actually a sign of intelligence, even if it's occasionallly maddening (and sometimes painful when she pairs it with nips).

One thing I've found useful (and maybe it's not the right thing) is looking away from her and just waiting patiently until she offers up a better behaviour.

So for example, Peggy WANTS to come in the bath with me. She will bark in my face and then escalate to nipping my shoulder if I firmly say "no." It's like she gets even more frantic in her communication efforts. Lord help me if I lose my cool and shout!

So I've stopped saying no and instead just completely check out. And it works! She'll usually do one more tantrumy bark and then lay down next to the bath. Sometimes we have to repeat this a few times, or I'll shorten my bath so we end on a positive note.

My husband asks why I put myself through the torment, but it's because I like having a canine companion when I'm relaxing in the tub! My last girl kept me company for 14 years' worth of baths. I'm not going to give up on sharing these precious quiet times with Peggy just because she doesn't yet understand what's expected of her.

The same tactic works well for getting her to sit before she comes out of her exercise pen, or sit at the front door, etc. I just let her offer up behaviours until she nails the right one.

It takes the patience of a saint, which does NOT come easily to me.

Maybe others can weigh in on whether or not this is a good technique.
 
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