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Hi all!
My pup Rory is almost 11 months old. He is still in tact and I am not planning on neutering him until he is at least 2 years old for health reasons.

I've reached out on here before for various puppy behaviors and it has been so helpful. I have seen progress in nearly every area over the past few months but I am still having trouble navigating some of the new behaviors he has picked up since adolescence.
-> He has quite an "alpha" personality but is super extroverted and LOVES both people and dogs. When he plays with other dogs, he is 100% playful and bouncy and does not play meanly, even though he has a pretty "large and in charge" demeanor. Since around 7 months he has become super focused on other dogs, but we are working on this behavior everyday and starting to see progress.

However, he has become quite the little macho man and is both territorial and super protective of me. I am unsure how to navigate this and how much of this I need to curb and how much I should just let him do what he wants.

1. Marking- when we are taking a structured walk, he only is allowed to mark on the command "go sniff" because otherwise he would be marking every piece of grass. On long sniffy walks, I give him more freedom and he marks constantly. My main issue is that I am concerned is that he is wanting to mark inside buildings now. Not our apartment or building, but he tried once at a store and then most recently at a new friends house. Thankfully no pee came out (probably because I shrieked loudly) :ROFLMAO: but he lifted his leg to their couch! So embarrassing! They do have a large male dog and Rory had never been inside their house before. I did not have him on a leash.
What do I do to teach him not to mark inside new places?

2. territorial/protective- Rory doesn't have anxiety issues and never barks unless I am with him (I have a camera that alerts me to any noises in my apartment) but the moment I come home he will start barking at any noise or movement that he thinks is threatening, night or day. I have tried different techniques to get him to calm down after alerting me to a stranger or someone outside our apartment, but so far nothing has worked. I taught him to speak on command and then tried to teach him quiet, but once he is on high alert, he just ignores. Especially its dark outside, he will get super worked up and even run to the edge of the yard or rear up on his hind legs and bark ferociously at whoever he deems a threat. It is always at people, not other dogs until last week when he growled at a dog for the first time. We were at a self wash place and a large male dog walked in with his owners and Rory let out a low growl.

Any tips?
He is 60 pounds so even though he is still just a fluffy baby to me, I can see that* people can feel uncomfortable or scared by him.

3. humping- this isn't much of an issue anymore thankfully (he would try to hump humans when he was little) but wondering- do you let your dog hump other dogs or do you intervene and stop it?

Thanks guys!!!

9CBDC2C2-965D-45D4-93E0-754F36E0E71D.jpeg


Follow Rory on Insta: @Rorythepoodlepup
 

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Look at Rory! What a big, beautiful boy.

I'm currently navigating female adolescent woes, which do overlap a fair bit, and nighttime is almost always tricky. I'd say just limit his nighttime activity as much as possible right now so he's not rehearsing these behaviours. This time of year, it's not really dark until after poodle bedtime anyway, so you can use that to your advantage.

Also worth repeating something I recently overheard from our trainer: Barking dogs aren't confident dogs. So this (adorable) macho personality you've created for Rory may not be his whole truth. I'd work on letting him know that you've got his back. When he barks, step between him and the noise and investigate. Tell him thank you. Keep the curtains closed so he's not on hyper alert. Make sure he's getting adequate rest and start teaching him to settle on conmand, if you haven't already. Let him take out his frustrations on a good chew. Ensure he's got a place that's "his" where he can retreat, and send him there regularly to decompress. Just generally reduce his stimuli as much as possible while he's in this developmental stage.

You mentioned he growled for the first time at another dog at a self wash place. It's possible he was already at threshold because of the overwhelming sights and sounds and smells and that dog pushed him over the edge. Are you familiar with "trigger stacking"? If not, read up. It can help you better identify what's causing Rory's brain to turn off. He's probably building up to this state long before you're aware of it.

Keeping experiences short and sweet can be tedious, but ultimately so worth it.
 

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What a pretty boy! Misha likes to mark a lot as well. When he first started marking I tried to limit it, but I realized that he gets so much joy and mental stimulation from marking that I might as well let him do it so he gets maximum enjoyment from walks. So long as it's on appropriate surfaces. I do prevent marking on human things, though I know it is tough for him when other dogs have peed there previously.

With humping, Misha went through an early phase where he was really bad about it for a month or month and a half. He mostly tried to hump other young male dogs. He had zero interest in females. That was around 9-10 months. Now he's 16 (I think) months and he's lately started having some minor issues with inappropriate behavior again. But this time, rather than other males, he's actually focusing on spayed females. He's following them around sniffing their butts and will occasionally find one he likes enough to try to hump. It seems more of an exploratory behavior, as if he hadn't noticed female dogs before. I think he would stop if he was told off by dogs a few times, but dogs are way too tolerant of him. My response, whether with males or females, has always been to intervene and prevent the behavior if the other dog isn't correcting him. I give him a few chances to behave better, but if he keeps humping I remove him from the dog and we go elsewhere. With other males it's just dominance play, but that sort of play isn't great for maintaining harmony between dogs. Occasionally he has found another male that seemed to really enjoy the dominance play and they had fun together without one bullying the other. But usually it seems one dog is the bully and the other just takes it. So I don't allow that.

I agree with PeggyTheParti that the macho barking behavior is fear based. I would take her advice as she's dealt with a lot of the same issues.
 

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I agree that a lot of these issues might have to do with insecurity. When I had both Snarky and Pogo, Snarky was less confident and usually submissive to Pogo. Snarky was also the one with the most anti-social behavior. Off-leash he was the one most likely to start a dog fight or to hump another dog. In stores he was the one most likely to try to pee on a display. At home he was the one watching out the front window and starting the bark fests. In the yard he would always hang behind Pogo if they saw deer or wildlife through the fence.

Snarky did get much less reactive when I started training him with treats. Part of that is that the treats became a pleasant distraction to him. He would focus more on me and the treats and less on whatever else was around us. Part of it also was that the treats became a signal to ME. When Snarky was too overwrought to accept a treat it meant he was too overwrought to think rationally about anything else either. Time to put him in a quiet place and let him calm down.
 

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Rory is just gorgeous!!! What a handsome boy! Bobby loves lifting his leg! Never had a dog who liked to lift as much as he does nor as high! 😂
I have read that poodles are instinctual and that this is a thing. I really wanted to wait longer to neuter but he started lifting his leg in the house and we could never catch him as he was quick. We ended up neutering at 13 months. He was pretty much done growing though so we were at peace about it. He never lifts his leg in the house anymore, thank goodness!
A couple things that I have read. I read that it’s important to vary your dog’s walking route if they are markers because the more they mark the same area the more they think it’s all their territory, which for some dogs can be a problem. Essentially, when they mark the same place over and over again enlarges their territory. Not sure if this is actually true but it makes sense to me! We always take different routes and mix it up.
I also read, and I think this makes sense too, that if you’re going into a new place, if it all possible, you go in first, walk around, put out your scent then go back and bring your dog in. Basically you have established it’s your territory and not theirs. If they go first they think they have to make it theirs, thus marking. We were really worried about last fall when we rented a cabin. Bobby was just turning a year and being a “Big Boy” and not neutered yet. We went in first, looked around, brought our stuff in, rubbed a couple things in each room, essentially made it “ours.” He was a perfect gentleman the whole time we were there. Could have been a coincidence but I figured we had nothing to lose! Their just may something to that!
 

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I too must comment on what a good looking boy Rory is and so meticulously groomed! My boy had some of the same behaviors however he never lifted his leg, still doesn't at almost 3. However I always had him receive himself and on sniffing walks never allowed too long a sniff. He was just as happy walking and seeing new sites. Now when he barks, and this will sound odd I click the sec he looks at me he gets a treat and forgets about what made him bark in the first place. I also ended up getting him neutered at around 13 or months. And in the end I was glad I did . It isn't at all unusual for a male dog to want to lift his leg in a new place. I'd leash him so that you can correct immediately. I have a friend and both her poodles would do it whenever she took them to her friends home, she said it was very embarrassing and costly but they did it each time they ran in, ran around sniffing everything and boom. Both dogs were neutered, so...also my neighbor would sit for her daughters little dog, dog never ever marked in his house but whenever she had him, overtime, it was in one room so she was able to close the door. I think the is a behavior you will need to tether them for and correct.
 

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Such a pretty boy! I'm also going to repeat ad nauseam that barking does not necessarily mean confidence. Fluffy was attacked by another dog a little over a year ago now. After the attack, he became ferocious towards other dogs, barking and whining. If he was a larger dog, I would not have been able to handle him. Does this mean that he was being macho? No. He actually started the original fight with a gentle lick to the upper part of the other dog's face. Was he being aggressive? Yes, but he was frightened, insecure (before and after the incident), and worried that I would not protect him. So he made himself as big-looking as possible. It's only because of the wonderful folks here on this forum that he's been able to start to overcome his fears. Now if I ask him if he "sees the puppies", he takes his attention from the other dog, turns around, and does a happy dance for a treat, so long as we don't get too close to the other dog.

For marking, I would work on taking him a variety of places so that he understands potty time is outside only. You may have a mess or two as he figures out the limits. If you can, a pet store might be your optimal starting point, so long as you know his barking won't get out of control or you can go in the quiet hours. They usually have really cleanable floors and cleaner on hand, so it won't matter as much if he messes them up versus, say, a friend's expensive rug.

As for humping... We're on week 9 I think of our training. Before starting, Fluffy would attempt at least 2x a day to mount our other dog. It was frustrating, and trying to make him stop would only make it worse. Now he only tries rarely, and it's easy to distract him when he does. Whether it be maturing or training helping with his confidence, the issue did eventually go away. I would dissuade your dog from mounting now, however, as if he tries the wrong dog, he could get bit, as the behavior is considered rude to other dogs.
 

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Just an update on Rory! Thank you all for your input and suggestions.

For about a month, we've been following a pretty strict protocol of more structure and limiting his stimuli. I hadn't thought of his "macho"ness stemming from him feeling insecure so I have given him a lot more structure and limits so that he has less to worry about.

The blinds have been closed, he is spending more time in his crate, and I have limited his freedom to potty until I give him a cue word-so he is only allowed to mark when I tell him. His walks are about 90% structured now as well, meaning he has to stay at a heel and is not allowed to sniff. (If he starts wandering and sniffing, he will definitely still mark.)

I have actually opened up the blinds again this week, and he has been enjoying looking outside and has only barked once or twice a day when there is someone actually in the yard!

He stayed with a friend for 2 nights and didn't try to mark inside at all and we just went to a dog friendly hotel last weekend and he didn't try then either! So maybe this issue is solved! I still don't trust him to sniff in places like Pet stores etc. because I'm pretty sure he would mark but thankfully he hasn't tried inside a house since that one time.

As far as the humping, he has responded very well to a verbal correction and will stop if I tell him to when he has tried to hump his dog friends that are passive, and he stopped with the ones that correct him with a bark or snap. So thankful on that account too!
 

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Just an update on Rory! Thank you all for your input and suggestions.

For about a month, we've been following a pretty strict protocol of more structure and limiting his stimuli. I hadn't thought of his "macho"ness stemming from him feeling insecure so I have given him a lot more structure and limits so that he has less to worry about.

The blinds have been closed, he is spending more time in his crate, and I have limited his freedom to potty until I give him a cue word-so he is only allowed to mark when I tell him. His walks are about 90% structured now as well, meaning he has to stay at a heel and is not allowed to sniff. (If he starts wandering and sniffing, he will definitely still mark.)

I have actually opened up the blinds again this week, and he has been enjoying looking outside and has only barked once or twice a day when there is someone actually in the yard!

He stayed with a friend for 2 nights and didn't try to mark inside at all and we just went to a dog friendly hotel last weekend and he didn't try then either! So maybe this issue is solved! I still don't trust him to sniff in places like Pet stores etc. because I'm pretty sure he would mark but thankfully he hasn't tried inside a house since that one time.

As far as the humping, he has responded very well to a verbal correction and will stop if I tell him to when he has tried to hump his dog friends that are passive, and he stopped with the ones that correct him with a bark or snap. So thankful on that account too!
Sounds like he is doing well! I personally feel like dogs do need some chance to sniff and mark outside for their own mental well-being, though this doesn't need to be all of the walk. With Misha I have tolerance for sniffing and marking but only if he is quick about it. After about three seconds I give him the "Let's go" cue or tell him to "Hurry up" if I know he is planning to mark the spot. He does seem to understand quite well. It teaches them to be quicker so you can keep walking. I have also taught him to sit to ask permission to investigate something out of his reach. So he will tell me rather than trying to pull me there if it's really important to him. I try to balance both of our desires.
 

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Good work! I agree with Raindrops that sniffing on walks is important, and denying that natural exploration intinct can lead to its own set of problems (such as anxiety in new environments or even fights with other dogs).

Plus, it's just nice to let them just do their doggy things sometimes. :)

I like to allow a good sniff at the start of a walk, then do more structured walking until we reach a good spot for loose leash noodling around. Then a relaxed but forward-focused walk home. Sometimes we'll even just drive Peggy to places to let her sniff around. This really improved her confidence in busy shopping areas.

And we also use "the power of sniffing" in stressful environments, by scattering treats.
 

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Good work! I agree with Raindrops that sniffing on walks is important, and denying that natural exploration intinct can lead to its own set of problems (such as anxiety in new environments or even fights with other dogs).

Plus, it's just nice to let them just do their doggy things sometimes. :)

I like to allow a good sniff at the start of a walk, then do more structured walking until we reach a good spot for loose leash noodling around. Then a relaxed but forward-focused walk home. Sometimes we'll even just drive Peggy to places to let her sniff around. This really improved her confidence in busy shopping areas.

And we also use "the power of sniffing" in stressful environments, by scattering treats.

That sounds like a great mix of structure and fun! Unfortunately, Rory will try to immediately mark on anything he sniffs! So especially in public places or around other people's property I can't let him have free sniffing reign, unless its all pee-friendly 😅
We are working with a trainer and she said some of his dominant/territorial behaviors might be tied to him feeling like he "owns" the whole neighborhood by marking it all. ha! so now he kind of knows now that our neighborhood park is the place where he can "go sniff" and have free reign to sniff and pee to his heart's content!
 

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Sounds like he is doing well! I personally feel like dogs do need some chance to sniff and mark outside for their own mental well-being, though this doesn't need to be all of the walk. With Misha I have tolerance for sniffing and marking but only if he is quick about it. After about three seconds I give him the "Let's go" cue or tell him to "Hurry up" if I know he is planning to mark the spot. He does seem to understand quite well. It teaches them to be quicker so you can keep walking. I have also taught him to sit to ask permission to investigate something out of his reach. So he will tell me rather than trying to pull me there if it's really important to him. I try to balance both of our desires.
That makes sense and I see what you mean about letting them sniff!
I'm hoping Rory will settle down his marking urge LOL! he will start marking in literally one second after starting to sniff! I want to have a good balance like that too! I have been letting him have free (loose-leash) reign of the neighborhood park once on every walk so he can do all his sniffing.

Rory also will just when he wants to go investigate something beyond the leash length and will just stare at it until I tell him "go sniff"😅
 

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I'm a little skeptical of the dominance theory, as my old girl was a notorious marker and this behaviour increased dramatically in unfamiliar territory, when she was feeling insecure.

I think this article explains it nicely:


The idea that marking can prevent intense social encounters is new to me, but makes good sense.

I understand the need to manage it, though, and what a delicate balance that must be with also allowing natural doggy behaviours. Leg lifting certainly complicates things, as it allows male dogs to mark in less desirable places. My girl, for example, could never have successfully marked a parked car, but I've seen loads of male dogs pee on tires. That must be a little embarrassing for their humans.
 

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I'm a little skeptical of the dominance theory, as my old girl was a notorious marker and this behaviour increased dramatically in unfamiliar territory, when she was feeling insecure.

I think this article explains it nicely:


The idea that marking can prevent intense social encounters is new to me, but makes good sense.

I understand the need to manage it, though, and what a delicate balance that must be with also allowing natural doggy behaviours. Leg lifting certainly complicates things, as it allows male dogs to mark in less desirable places. My girl, for example, could never have successfully marked a parked car, but I've seen loads of male dogs pee on tires. That must be a little embarrassing for their humans.
I have often wondered what Misha's reasoning is for marking. He is so enthusiastic about it even though he isn't territorial or possessive. I think he must view it like a doggy bulletin board. "Cute black male miniature poodle, super fast, ISO partner to accompany for long romps in the park, must love sticks"
 

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I have often wondered what Misha's reasoning is for marking. He is so enthusiastic about it even though he isn't territorial or possessive. I think he must view it like a doggy bulletin board. "Cute black male miniature poodle, super fast, ISO partner to accompany for long romps in the park, must love sticks"
Haha! So cute. I hope he finds his doggy match one day.
 

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That makes sense and I see what you mean about letting them sniff!
I'm hoping Rory will settle down his marking urge LOL! he will start marking in literally one second after starting to sniff! I want to have a good balance like that too! I have been letting him have free (loose-leash) reign of the neighborhood park once on every walk so he can do all his sniffing.

Rory also will just when he wants to go investigate something beyond the leash length and will just stare at it until I tell him "go sniff"😅
Yep the more you just allow sniffing on walks the more they will mark. My males dogs have not marked since I learned this. There is a time and place for sniffing/marking but not as a at your pleasure...lol
 

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You can give him a pillow or toy to hump.
Do not act scared if he snaps, growls ar bites.
You can use treats to show him thst you are in charge by only giving treats when he does something good.
 

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You should use a leash on a walk, he can run off, sniff and mark, chase small animals or cats and growl at or bite other dogs and people.
 
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