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Hi Everyone! I'm an owner of an 11-month-old chocolate standard poodle and we've been having a couple of challenges with him that make it difficult to relax and just enjoy him being around. He will be neutered within the next month or so.
  • He regularly bites our clothing, our arms our pants when going up the stairs or walking by in the house. He doesn't bite hard and it isn't malicious. I believe he is just playing. However, this is a big issue because if you're on the computer, for instance, he will constantly nudge you and mouth you albeit for attention. Not to mention the slobber lol. He doesn't do this AT ALL to strangers or other people.
  • Secondly, when in the same room he will constantly bark at us. I have been using the command "Quiet" which has been helping some but it still isn't 100% effective. I have also been keeping his training collar on inside to correct him when he barks and then I say "quiet" when he settles down.
He has been in basic and intermediate training and sits, walks well on a leash, knows the down command, etc and is nearly potty trained. He listens pretty well to commands. I'm just not sure what to do, to correct this behavior at home.

Has anyone had a similar experience with their poodle? If, so do you have any tips on how to correct this behavior? It has been quite annoying for a while now, not sure what to do.

Thanks for your help!

463293
 

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Hi, and welcome! Your dog is beautiful! Here's my advice:

Get rid of the training collar, stop any aversive corrections, and start exercising and training your dog more.

I learned when I got my spoos that they are mouthy dogs. As long as he's not hurting you, I don't think you have to stop the nipping (I call it "love nipping" in my dogs). But if you want to stop the behavior, you can use clicker/treat training to reward when his mouth is OFF of you.

He's barking because his needs aren't being met. Has he been fed enough? How much exercise has he gotten? Has he gotten a training session in? He needs all of this every day. Make sure he has plenty of chewing opportunities as well. Stuffed Kongs, bully sticks, etc.

Hope this helps.
 

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Your dog is a pre-teenager, he seems excited and hyper. Some of it will quiet down on itself but you need to set boundaries, Telling him to be quiet when he barks at you is giving him attention. He might need more exercise if he’s not getting enough. A tired dog is a good dog.

Is this your first dog ? Just as a side note, the agreement on neutering for males is usually to do it when they are fully grown, around 18 months old. Unless there are specific medical issues. You might want to look into that. Male hormones play an important role in preventing some diseases, among other benefits. https://healthypets.mercola.com/sit...angers-of-early-pet-spaying-or-neutering.aspx
 

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What do you mean by a training collar? I am guessing an e collar and if so unless you have tons of experience using one it isn't a fair tool. Your timing has to be incredibly good and 99+% of people aren't that good. Also an 11 month old adolescent shouldn't need that kind of correction.

I too agree that it is probably too soon to neuter your youngster and actually don't think doing so now will fix the behaviors you describe.

I also would suggest that you spend more time doing brain games that will help control impulsive behaviors and that should really help with nipping and pulling on clothing. For a dog the age of yours I think you need to be doing short (5-7 minutes) training sessions that increase bonding and put behaviors under orders 4 or 5 times a day.

Also you need to match your demeanor to how you are feeling. If you smile and pretend you are happy when you aren't really happy your dog will sense the mismatch and respond with confusion. It is impossible to lie to a dog.
 

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It's a bit like saying you can't just relax and "enjoy" a toddler.

Our teenage poodle reminds me very much of a human toddler, and—like a toddler—her brain is going a mile a minute. Everything is new. She needs physical and mental stimulation and structured naps. She is working HARD to communicate with us, and if she thinks she's been successful, she'll use the same tactics again and again. (Ever laugh at a toddler's high-pitched shriek and then regret it five minutes later when they haven't stopped because they're trying to elicit the same response?)

Our groomer had a great piece of wisdom for us the other day. She said that dogs will only do what works for them. So if they're repeating a behaviour, it's because it works.

In this case, it sounds like your poodle has a lot of pent up mental or physical energy and is asking you to help him with it. Or maybe, as mentioned above, he is hungry. Or thirsty. Or tired and unable to settle. Or a combination of all of these things.

Buzzing him with a collar whenever he tries to communicate with you is damaging your relationship. Take the opportunity instead to figure out what he needs and provide him with a more constructive way to get it himself or ask you for it.

A good positive reinforcement trainer or behaviourist can help you with this if you're at a loss.

We're not too far behind you. Peggy will be 7 months old the day after Christmas. It's a challenging period, but if you're kind and clear and consistent, it will payoff tremendously. Good luck :)
 

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Thanks for the quick reply! By training collar I mean a prong collar, not a shock collar as someone else mentioned here.

Our breeder has 12 months to neuter in the contract so we may not have much of an option when it comes to that unfortunately. I have no intentions of breeding the dog either way but I understand the breeders stance.

I agree I do think perhaps more exercise will help him settle down a bit more. I’ll definitely give this a shot along with finding other activities he will enjoy.

What do you mean by a training collar? I am guessing an e collar and if so unless you have tons of experience using one it isn't a fair tool. Your timing has to be incredibly good and 99+% of people aren't that good. Also an 11 month old adolescent shouldn't need that kind of correction.

I too agree that it is probably too soon to neuter your youngster and actually don't think doing so now will fix the behaviors you fescribe.

I also would suggest that you spend more time doing brain games that will help control impulsive behaviors and that should really help with nipping and pulling on clothing. For a dog the age of yours I think you need to be doing short (5-7 minutes) training sessions that increase bonding and put behaviors under orders 4 or 5 times a day.

Also you need to match your demeanor to how you are feeling. If you smile and pretend you are happy when you aren't really happy your dog will sense the mismatch and respond with confusion. It is impossible to lie to a dog.
 

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Great advice! I meant prong collar not shock collar. Sorry for the confusion.

I see the most common similarity here is exercise and mental stimulation.

I could certainly exercise a bit more so that puts things into perspective. I’ve owned several dogs in my lifetime however it has been quite a number of years since I had a puppy. And certainly not a dog as energetic as a poodle.

It's a bit like saying you can't just relax and "enjoy" a toddler.

Our teenage poodle reminds me very much of a human toddler, and—like a toddler—her brain is going a mile a minute. Everything is new. She needs physical and mental stimulation and structured naps. She is working HARD to communicate with us, and if she thinks she's been successful, she'll use the same tactics again and again. (Ever laugh at a toddler's high-pitched shriek and then regret it five minutes later when they haven't stopped because they're trying to elicit the same response?)

Our groomer had a great piece of wisdom for us the other day. She said that dogs will only do what works for them. So if they're repeating a behaviour, it's because it works.

In this case, it sounds like your poodle has a lot of pent up mental or physical energy and is asking you to help him with it. Or maybe, as mentioned above, he is hungry. Or thirsty. Or tired and unable to settle. Or a combination of all of these things.

Buzzing him with a collar whenever he tries to communicate with you is damaging your relationship. Take the opportunity instead to figure out what he needs and provide him with a more constructive way to get it himself or ask you for it.

A good positive reinforcement trainer or behaviourist can help you with this if you're at a loss.

We're not too far behind you. Peggy will be 7 months old the day after Christmas. It's a challenging period, but if you're kind and clear and consistent, it will payoff tremendously. Good luck :)
 

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Barking sucks. I'm sorry you're dealing with this. Your dog is barking to get your attention. And it works! You notice when he dog is barking and very interesting and exciting things happen next. You get loud, and maybe you give a correction. Barking is exciting. Let's change that around and make barking the most boring thing that happens.

Your training set up..
1. Tiny dog training treats that are about the size of a pea.
2. A very nice chew stick or bone.
3. A room with a door that closes where you can leave your dog alone for a bit.

Enter the room with your dog and tiny treats. Practice sit, down, stand, heeling, and eye contact games for five minutes. Then, give the dog the bone. Sit down and pretend to play with your phone. If the dog chews on the bone, drop an extra treat next to the dog every 10 seconds, praise the quiet with soft words, then return to playing with your phone. If the dog barks, silently take your treats, leave the room and close the door. The dog will go bonkers and sing the song of his people. Let him. Let him bark and sigh and cry and fuss and yell. Ignore. After 10 seconds of quiet, return. Repeat the game, sit, down, stand, eye contact games for five minutes, bone to chew and quiet time for you. Barking makes you disappear. Silence means extra treats, praise, your presence, and a nice bone. Eventually, your dog will realize barking makes nothing good happen, and being quiet makes good things happen.

Create a pattern for yourself where before you sit down at the computer, you engage in five minutes of training. Before you watch TV, five minutes of training, give bone, watch TV. These little five minute bursts of training will become something your dog looks forward to, and something you'll look forward to as well. Sit. down, stay, heel, come, front, finish, and tricks... repeat repeat repeat and repeat.

Clothes chewing... Redirect to an appropriate chew, like a squeaky toy or a bully stick. And teach your dog a better way of getting attention, such as fetching a toy for you to tug. However, I am going to bet, if you start training repeatedly throughout the day, the clothes chewing will simply stop.

Reward what you DO want the dog to do. Spend 99% of your effort in rewarding what you want to see and you'll get that reflected back. Good luck

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Great advice! I meant prong collar not shock collar. Sorry for the confusion.

I see the most common similarity here is exercise and mental stimulation.

I could certainly exercise a bit more so that puts things into perspective. I’ve owned several dogs in my lifetime however it has been quite a number of years since I had a puppy. And certainly not a dog as energetic as a poodle.
They're really in a league of their own, aren't they? I've had other dogs, too, including a German Wirehaired Pointer, but nothing prepared me for this poodle's brains!

Since I know I'll never be able to keep up with her physically, I focus on keeping her mind engaged even with something as simple as narrating what I do throughout the day. She loves my "cooking shows" lol.

And I combine exercise whenever possible with other forms of enrichment, such as short training sessions or lots of "noodling around" with her nose to the ground in an interesting place. She especially loves the parking lots of big box stores! So much to sniff, see, and hear. It tires her right out.

Half an hour with a well-matched canine playmate or two is also good, especially with lots of short "settle" breaks—just a few seconds of calm and then back to play.

Helping our dogs learn to relax is an under-practised skill.

One question: Why are you using a prong collar for barking? If your dog is spooked by outside noises, for example, and you physically correct him for expressing this fear, you're at best suppressing his communication efforts, which could cause him to act out in even less desirable ways. Or you're making him even more afraid and unstable. Imagine you heard something scary outside, turned to a love one to tell them about it, and they pinched you for it?

Or if the same thing happened every time you tried to ask them a question or tell them something important?

Would you pinch a guest in your home for asking for a glass of water? Probably not. But if you were tired of being interrupted, you might make sure they knew how to meet their own needs.

Are you employing this collar technique under the guidance of a trainer? If so, you might find more success with someone skilled in positive reinforcement methods. It's been a real learning experience, but when the methods click, they REALLY click—not just for your dog, but also for you. I wish I could go back and retrain past dogs with this new understanding of their behaviour.
 

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Our breeder has 12 months to neuter in the contract so we may not have much of an option when it comes to that unfortunately. I have no intentions of breeding the dog either way but I understand the breeders stance.
Please look thru this link re neutering. This is to a paper from UC Davis. The science is moving away from neutering early, and 12 months is too early for a standard.

Then contact your breeder with this info to see if they'll agree to 18-24 months.


--------------------------

At the same time as the neuter, many spoo owners consider gastropexy to reduce the likelihood of torsion concurrent with bloat. This might be a lifesaver.

Here's the sticky post on that:

 
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My spoo is still nippy at 4 years old. It‘s usually when he is super excited at agility class. When he occasionally makes contact, the game stops (I calmly return him to his crate and another dog gets to play . . the worst punishment ever!). Just saying, it might not go away under all circumstances. I used to get upset about this but, it’s better to have a dog in overdrive for the sports we play.

Another tiring activity for both of my dogs is to visit dog-friendly stores. This is also good socialization! We’re going to Farm & Fleet today. Should be lots of meet & greet on the last shopping day before Christmas.
 

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Well you have gotten good advise. My st. poodle, after having had many dogs who I had trained well previously was my biggest challenge. I also used a prong collar which was effective in teaching a relaxed walk. I didn't need to make corrections he learned on his own. I actually no longer have the need to use it as at 2 years old he is good. Now because I am old and have weak knees and ankles I do use it in certain circumstances as he will occasionally leap in the air in excitement. As he ages he keeps getting better and better. For instance when I go to the groomer he is excited and really isn't thrilled to go in so he isn't as good on his leash however when we leave he is perfect and will wait per step as I slowly go down them. LOL He then waits nicely at the car to jump in. I have found good advise here and just doing a little training helps his mind and when he used his brain he settles down. Most day I give him some free ball fetch playing in our yard. Right now its too wet and he slips too much to safely run so we do some short training sessions in the house and just some extra attention. He then goes and lies down and settles. While training him I said to myself many times I would not do this again, it was just difficult but now I feel differently I would do it again and again he is just marvelous. My guy was also mouthy but he outgrew it with me, he is only mouthy at play mostly with the other dog in the house but will grab at his leash when he gets excited or wants to play. He does have a soft mouth and if if takes my hand it is very gentle. I no longer have torn shirts or slacks, lol. I had him neutered at 14 months, it was just time even though recommendations are for 18 months. My vet who stays up to date felt his growth plates were closed at this point and we could go ahead. My breeder was willing to work with me though she also has a neuter in his contract Years ago it was more significant for breeders to put a time line in their contract but today the AKC offers a limited registration to the breeders to provide for dogs sold without breeding rights. I think because of this they can be neutered later and not be registered as a sire, ever.
 

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Well honestly I wouldn't use a pinch collar on a dog that young either and I do use pinch collars pretty routinely. If one resorts to harsher corrections with an adolescent dog then there is nothing to turn to later should you need it. Also pinch collars require the dog be given a chance to get used to them and have to be used correctly. I would never use a pinch collar for anything having to do with barking since it would seem to me that would require popping the collar which is truly unfair. Never pop a dog on a pinch collar. That is just mean spirited at the very least and poodles are too sensitive to understand what is happening. When a pinch collar is used correctly the dog will make its own correction.
 

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I also tend to think that if repeated use of an aversive isn't having the desired effect, it's doing more harm than good. I've succumbed in the distant past to shouting out of frustration at an incessantly barking dog, but did it work? 100% never. So I don't do that anymore. I know better so it only feels right to do better.

But.....I do know some otherwise wonderful, intelligent people that will holler at their dogs, day in and day out, with no acknowledgement whatsoever that it's not working and no interest in considering another approach.

Sigh.

I think the best dog trainers know that it's mostly about training people.
 

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Peggy tell your silly mom that if she wants you to stop barking she has to stop barking!
 
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Discussion Starter #17
Please look thru this link re neutering. This is to a paper from UC Davis. The science is moving away from neutering early, and 12 months is too early for a standard.

Then contact your breeder with this info to see if they'll agree to 18-24 months.


--------------------------

At the same time as the neuter, many spoo owners consider gastropexy to reduce the likelihood of torsion concurrent with bloat. This might be a lifesaver.

Here's the sticky post on that:

Thanks, I'll check it out but it's in our contract.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Well you have gotten good advise. My st. poodle, after having had many dogs who I had trained well previously was my biggest challenge. I also used a prong collar which was effective in teaching a relaxed walk. I didn't need to make corrections he learned on his own. I actually no longer have the need to use it as at 2 years old he is good. Now because I am old and have weak knees and ankles I do use it in certain circumstances as he will occasionally leap in the air in excitement. As he ages he keeps getting better and better. For instance when I go to the groomer he is excited and really isn't thrilled to go in so he isn't as good on his leash however when we leave he is perfect and will wait per step as I slowly go down them. LOL He then waits nicely at the car to jump in. I have found good advise here and just doing a little training helps his mind and when he used his brain he settles down. Most day I give him some free ball fetch playing in our yard. Right now its too wet and he slips too much to safely run so we do some short training sessions in the house and just some extra attention. He then goes and lies down and settles. While training him I said to myself many times I would not do this again, it was just difficult but now I feel differently I would do it again and again he is just marvelous. My guy was also mouthy but he outgrew it with me, he is only mouthy at play mostly with the other dog in the house but will grab at his leash when he gets excited or wants to play. He does have a soft mouth and if if takes my hand it is very gentle. I no longer have torn shirts or slacks, lol. I had him neutered at 14 months, it was just time even though recommendations are for 18 months. My vet who stays up to date felt his growth plates were closed at this point and we could go ahead. My breeder was willing to work with me though she also has a neuter in his contract Years ago it was more significant for breeders to put a time line in their contract but today the AKC offers a limited registration to the breeders to provide for dogs sold without breeding rights. I think because of this they can be neutered later and not be registered as a sire, ever.
That makes sense. It may be something to consider reaching out to the breeder about. I wasn't aware that 18 months was a recommendation. This is good to know. Thanks!
 

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P.
Peggy tell your silly mom that if she wants you to stop barking she has to stop barking!
Amen!!

But—for the record—I don't ever shout at Peggy. And I can't believe I ever thought that might work on past dogs. It was probably more about letting out frustration.

Humans aren't always as evolved as we like to think we are.
 

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They're really in a league of their own, aren't they? I've had other dogs, too, including a German Wirehaired Pointer, but nothing prepared me for this poodle's brains!

Since I know I'll never be able to keep up with her physically, I focus on keeping her mind engaged even with something as simple as narrating what I do throughout the day. She loves my "cooking shows" lol.

And I combine exercise whenever possible with other forms of enrichment, such as short training sessions or lots of "noodling around" with her nose to the ground in an interesting place. She especially loves the parking lots of big box stores! So much to sniff, see, and hear. It tires her right out.

Half an hour with a well-matched canine playmate or two is also good, especially with lots of short "settle" breaks—just a few seconds of calm and then back to play.

Helping our dogs learn to relax is an under-practised skill.

One question: Why are you using a prong collar for barking? If your dog is spooked by outside noises, for example, and you physically correct him for expressing this fear, you're at best suppressing his communication efforts, which could cause him to act out in even less desirable ways. Or you're making him even more afraid and unstable. Imagine you heard something scary outside, turned to a love one to tell them about it, and they pinched you for it?

Or if the same thing happened every time you tried to ask them a question or tell them something important?

Would you pinch a guest in your home for asking for a glass of water? Probably not. But if you were tired of being interrupted, you might make sure they knew how to meet their own needs.

Are you employing this collar technique under the guidance of a trainer? If so, you might find more success with someone skilled in positive reinforcement methods. It's been a real learning experience, but when the methods click, they REALLY click—not just for your dog, but also for you. I wish I could go back and retrain past dogs with this new understanding of their behaviour.
Yes for sure they are definitely a special breed! I do love how smart he is compared to other dogs I've had!

To answer your question about the prong collar it was a bit of a combination of things. I explained the mouthing situation to the dog trainer we were using for basic and intermediate class and he said that it would be ok to use it in the house to help correct behavior. However, I became less confident in his advice when I saw it wasn't working. He did show us one correction that involved popping the underside of the jaw and then petting him gently afterwards. However, I wasn't able to execute it as he always follows my hand with his mouth wide open.

I think his barking, nudging and biting is more for attention than anything else. He is well fed and watered. The only thing I can think of is that he could certainly use a bit more exercise. This is something we plan on tackling more. In fact, today I took him to a local football field and played fetch for about a half hour. He loves to run full speed and seems to really enjoy it.

Overall, my pup has been able to learn all of the basic and intermediate commands, walk great on a loose leash, etc but unfortunately, the trainer was unable to help with these issues. So I scoured the internet and figured this forum would be a great way to get some answers. Everyone seems to be very knowledgeable. Poodles are a unique breed and seem to require a little extra care and attention.

I wasn't crazy about the idea of using the prong collar in the house (or at all for that matter) as I have only used it for teaching him to walk correctly on the leash which helped immensely. He now walks very well on a loose leash and I only use the prong collar intermittently these days for walks. So while it did seem a bit scary to use it actually worked very well and accelerated his learning quite a bit.

We will be looking at putting him into another intermediate class in the next month or so. We hope that the next trainer is better and also we hope to find new skills, tricks and move his training forward a bit more. And of course, it's always great to keep him interacting with other dogs and people.

Thanks for your advice, I found it helpful.
 
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