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How to stop bad behavior

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Hey everyone! Got a couple of questions for you if you don't mind.

Our spoo, Oliver, will be 4 months old on Sept 4...FYI. He is a wonderful dog but plays a little too rough. Not in a mean way, but still too rough. A lot of the time, when we try to pet him, he is turning his head this way and that way trying to bite or nibble our hands. He also loves playing chase with my children but is just too rough on them. He jumps at their backs...since they are running from him...and 9 times out of 10 rips a hole in their shirt...don't even get me started on the number of shirts both of my children now have with a tiny little hole/tooth rip in the back.

Like I said, he isn't being mean just too rough. We tell him "no" and "down" but this behavior continues. What should we be doing or saying to actually get him to stop doing this. My kids say put him in time out...but I'm afraid he just won't understand the concept. LOL!

Also, is this just normal puppy play? Something he needs to learn to stop doing, but still just puppy play?

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1,403 Posts
First I would work on teaching your spoo some basic manners and commands such as "off" "sit" "stay" and "wait" poodles are very smart and clever dogs so I think it does take a firm hand to resolve that sort of behavior. When I say firm I don't mean to hit your dog or anything like that I just mean be direct in your commands, make sure you are giving a direct order to the dog and not just talking to him.

Also, I don't believe in repeating things over and over if the dog knows how to sit and you say sit and he doesn't listen it doesn't do much good to keep saying it over and over again because obviously he's ignoring you (or he doesn't have it down yet) in which you should go back and make sure he knows what is being asked of him. I ask my dogs something once and usually they do it but if I say come or sit and they don't I go to them and guide them into a sit or I will go to them and walk them over to where I want them if they don't come, you don't have to be forceful about it but you should take a leadership role and make sure they know that when you ask them to do something you expect it done or you make sure it gets done.

If you have the commands down solid and to the point where your dog will listen telling your spoo "off" when they jump or "sit" when people come over shouldn't be so hard.

For the nipping and playing rough when he starts to get even the slightest bit rough with you or the kids make a scream noise and tell the kids to make a noise almost like a puppy or dog would yelp. Dogs learn that biting hurts when playing with liter mates and also from their mother. Soemtimes when removed from the mother and littermates too early the dog may never learn properly how to socialize so that is where you come in. Even if your dog is licking your hand and you feel teeth make a yelp or a noise that can tell your dog "Ow!"

Or during play if the dog gets too rough make a noise showing it hurts and then the fun play stops and comes to an end. Your dog has to learn that being rough makes the fun stop, you'd be surprised how effective it is especially when attention is involved.

Also make sure your spoo is getting plenty of exercise, a wound up poodle can be a force to deal with. I take mine to doggy day care about twice a month and they LOVE it they get to run around all day with other dogs and then they come home POOPED. I also love to run and so does my boyfriend so that's another great way to get a spoo worn out.

Most poodles love the water so if you have a lake nearby swimming is another way to tire out a hyper dog.

Last if none of that works never underestimate the power of a crate. When you can't 100% supervise I would definitely keep the dog crated, not to punish him but just to protect the kids. If you are there to make sure nothing bad happens then training should work just fine. I think the hardest part with training is being consistent. Don't allow the poodle to jump on you or other people and then say no when it comes to the children. If jumping isn't allowed it should be frowned upon for everybody and make sure any house guests know your rules for your dog.

I don't allow guests to interact with my dogs until i say "okay" and let the dogs up from sitting or lying down and they respect my rules and it has kept my dogs from darting for the door every time it opens they stay put until I give an okay command.

Just be consistent, be firm and make sure to always reward good behavior.

1,002 Posts
awe... they love to play don't they! I'm really trying to get a handle on this now, so when Rogan is bigger, he'll already know what's expected of him!
I think a big part of this problem is not catching it in time... what I mean by that is just not letting the dog get too excited in the first place. They need to remain calm and gentle around children at all times... no exception.
I also think it's important to teach your children some simple lessons on being pack leader; So for the example you gave,
#1. tell your child to stop running
#2 turn, face the dog and even take a step towards him while telling him no, or off or whatever your command is. Ours is simply HEY!, in a loud low voice and a point of the finger, like, you're in my space MOVE. Be consistant! Correct the dog EVERY TIME he does this so he realises, hey , I get rough, the fun stops. He'll figure it out in no time!

Make sure your kids hold their ground and make sure he does what they're asking him to do. If he doesn't, physically help your child get the dog to do what your child is asking him to do, and work as a team. The dog will realise that you are on the child's side and you're both above him in the pack rankings! (ok yes, I watch a lot of Cesar Millan, and have read his books but seriously, it WORKS! even on our 8 week old pup!) The minute our 22 mnth old daughter is lying on the ground playing Rogan thinks it's an invitation to climb right up on her and maul her with puppy kisses, all I have to do is stand over her and say HEY and point where I want him to go and off he goes immediately! Ideally, when I see him heading for my daughter and I know he's about to pounce on her, all I say is a little warning "hey" and he lowers his head, slows down and just goes over and sits by her. It's pretty cool~ I'm honestly amazed with how quickly he's picking up on things! Poodles are SO smart, expect more from them, you'll get it!! I tell my kids, respect goes 2 ways, you have to respect the dog, (no hitting, kicking, pulling ears tails etc) and the dog must respect you. It's non-negotiable :)
national geographic channel --> cesar millan! I love this man! lol

268 Posts

My Mini Poodle, Cozi, will also be 4 months on sept. 11th. We are going through the exact same thing right now. We have been doing commands since the beginning which seems to help and she has to sit for food, pets, everything... but the one thing that has been hard to stop is the play biting/mouthing during play. not at all agressive but just a little too rough to always have that open mouth coming towards you lol.

We started obedience classes with her- one on one with trainer and already they have given us some solutions for correcting this behavior. For us, the "no bite" didn't work, closing her mouth just made her think we were playing a "you bite me, then I bite you game" lol, and ignoring kind of worked but not all the time if she was too excited. We have been trying a pattern now of saying "nooo...no bite" and if twice she doesn't listen, a tiny spray of bitter apple on her open mouth or just a little on the gums. It's still going slowly but today she actually stopped playing to give kisses to my hand instead of mouthing it! --- YAY Progress!!!

They are just too cute as puppies, and yet so smart that they are one step ahead of us aren't they?
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