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Discussion Starter #1
I read a thread on here about a guy in Calgary who had a Standard poodle that was crazy hyper and his parents had his dog's brother - and that dog was calm and quiet.

My son has a cross between a black Standard poodle and a golden retriever. However, he is obviously much more of a poodle than a golden - at least in looks - so I am asking my question here.

My son's dog, Cooper, sounds very much like the Calgary poodle. He gets super over excited when he meets new people or even when he meets people he knows well but hasn't seen for an hour!!

My son works shifts and then has four days off. He runs Cooper for miles. However, my granddaughter, who is 17 would also like to run with Cooper when her dad is working, but she finds him hard to control. We had him in an obedience class and they suggested using a chain collar and also a pinch collar. The chain collar would be attached to his leash, and the pinch collar would have a shoe lace so if Cooper starts acting up, she can grab the shoe lace and tighten the pinch. The instructor really liked Cooper - she told my granddaughter that she has the kind of dog that will never be offended however hard you correct him.

She breeds Aussies. I had Cooper on a down stay. As soon as she came along - he got up tail wagging. She shoved him down again - he got up tail wagging - she shoved him to the floor - ever harder - and every time he got up again tail wagging. She said "I don't know about you Cooper!!"

The answer to the Calgary guy was that poodles that are excitable like Cooper is, often don't calm down until they are two years old. I was wondering if you could give me some advice as to how to calm down my son's dog? Cooper was a year old this month.

We are taking him to doggy daycare today. Its a social daycare - he gets to romp around with other dogs so I think that should help.
 

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Not sure I like the trainer's advice - relying on the dog's good nature to overlook severe handling, and yank-and-shove training does not sound very fair on the dog to me. Also, that is a lot of exercise for a young dog - add in the excitement of daycare, and stress may be playing a part in his behaviour. If he were mine I would be concentrating on reward-based training and frustration-proofing - there are lots of good books out there (Patricia McConnell, Karen Pryor, Ian Dunbar to name just a few), and I would be looking for an APDT or equivalent trainer. Lots of short, fun training sessions will help to keep his mind occupied, and teach him other ways of responding to people than leaping up to greet them.
 

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I don't know who the Calgary poodle was, but I would say that it was an atypical example of the breed. Poodles are profoundly athletic dogs with tremendous stamina, but a well bred Standard Poodle should never be "hyper". Although, I like a Poodle with medium to high drive, that drive should always come with a channeled sense of purpose. This means quiet in the house and sense of propriety and focused energy (a "what can I do for you" attitude) outside.

As a breed, I think Poodles actually mature mentally very early. I find that by a year, most are fully with the program. Below is a picture of my girls on a hike. In that picture, the Brown Poodle, Delilah, is only 6 months old. Note.... not only was she reliable off leash, she had no trouble holding a stay long enough for me to climb down and take a picture.

As far as Cooper goes, you are experiencing the perennial problem that most Doodle owners suffer. Goldens and retrievers in general are known for an extended adolescence. They have a hard time settling until they are almost 3 yrs old. They are full of chaotic and impulsive energy and they lack focus at a young age. Take that retriever personality and combine it with the greater stamina of the Poodle, and you have an energy machine that doesn't know how to quit. On the Doodle forums, owners are constantly strategizing about how to take the edge off of their dogs. They have to exercise their dogs constantly to keep their dogs from destroying the house. Excessive barking, counter surfing, chewing, jumping and running away are common complaints among Doodle owners. At a year of age, Cooper is old enough to start road working on a bike. You can also get in a lot of exercise via retrieving work. Do you live near a lake or pond? Swim, swim, swim!

What to do training wise about Cooper. Story....

Last week a friend of a friend called me her 2.5 yr old Golden retriever. Her dog pulled and lunged so hard she could no longer walk him safely. He also jumped on guests in the home and barked excessively when he was excited. I had her buy a prong collar and bring me the dog.

Now I am an old school Carrot and Stick trainer. I believe that if a dog is doing what it is supposed to do then it is praised and rewarded. If, however, if transgresses, it is given a correction. We leashed up the dog with the prong collar and set off walking. The dog immediately lunged off after something of interest and I timed my correction so that he hit that prong collar like a ton of bricks. He had what I like to call a: COME TO JESUS MOMENT. He had to have three of these, but afterwards, he got the message.... I can walk nicely on the leash (keeping an eye on my handler) or I can get a pretty serious correction.

Now I will note that this is a lovely, lovely dog and a dream to train. He had just been allowed set his own agenda and he was out of control. Once I showed him what his job was (and showed his owner how to set that expectation) he was happy to step into line. I sent his owner home with homework and they are coming back on Tuesday so I can show her some more advanced exercises.

Anyway..... Cooper. Get a prong collar and use it like you mean it. Don't forget to PRAISE PRAISE PRAISE him when he is being good, but don't be afraid to deliver a serious correction when he is not. Do things in baby steps and always set the dog up for success.

Re the down stay......I can tell right away from your description that you are doing too much too fast. Stays need to be taught in tiny increments and ALWASY ON LEASH!!!!!. Put the dog into STAY. Take only a step back. Watch the dog for any sign of breaking. Count to 15 and break him off. Party PARTY PARTY.... TREAT! Next, take two steps back. If he gets up, DO NOT REPEAT THE COMMAND or say anything to him. Give him a collar pop with that prong collar and get him back into down position. Once he is solid on a two step Stay, add distraction like a person or another dog. Work up to being on the end of a 6 ft lead..... then a 20ft lead. It is all about the baby steps. If a dog can't do a 2ft stay, it can not hold a 10 ft stay.

Another thing to remember is that it is hard to teach a dog NOT to do something. It is far easier to give them a job to do instead. If Cooper is jumping on guests, either teach him to go to a mat by the front door, or teach him a traditional obedience Sit/Stand For Exam (this involves teaching a sit/stand stay that the dog has to hold while people touch and walk around it). If he is "working" an exercise, he gets to be the Good Dog! Right now, guests come to the door and he is left to do whatever he pleases and what he chooses to do is not desirable.

That was long.... hope it helped.
 

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Come to jesus moments are sometimes required. Especially with a slightly dominent dog who really isn't SURE if your the boss or not.

My aussie (youngest age 1) walks pretty good most of the time. She doesn't have a solid heel as we haven't worked it- but can run in the show ring- stacks like a queen (OK when not melting down) and has pretty darn good manners on the leash.
Til this week. Now we're camping for 2 weeks hwile we're between houses- so no more running in a yard- we're on leash all the time. WEL enough of that she said she's going to pull and whine and pout. on went the halti- one little "OMG I"M DYING DYING" moment and 5 minutes later i had her calmly quietly politely beside me even while biking.

But i'll second Cbrand. Most poodles and higher energy dogs shouldn't be "hyper" I do see more "hyper" doodles then others. My aussie who has A HUGE working drive. (which is why she came to ME... as she's my flyball dog) has mini melt downs- when well life just doesn't go as fast as her mind. But she's not HYPER. even though leashed all this past week, Spending most of her time wtih me in a crate (vs run of a house) she's laying at my feet politely. She also doesn't need miles to run her down.

dogs who need THAT much work often need more help on IMPULS control then actual burn the energy OFF. (which IMO has gone to an extreme since 'mr dog whisperer" has become famous). Yes TIRED is good. Exhausted is not. Dogs get FIT just like horses. The more you run em the more it takes next week to tire em out- and THAT isn't good for joints or long term soundness if overdone.
 

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dogs who need THAT much work often need more help on IMPULS control then actual burn the energy OFF. (which IMO has gone to an extreme since 'mr dog whisperer" has become famous). Yes TIRED is good. Exhausted is not. Dogs get FIT just like horses. The more you run em the more it takes next week to tire em out- and THAT isn't good for joints or long term soundness if overdone.
This is a very good point. More and more exercise simply means that you have now trained your Doodle for a marathon. I think neVar is right that working on impulse control is your best option.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Thanks. That sounds like "do-able" advice.

Actually, the bit by bit training was what we were doing. This was the sixth class of advanced beginners. He took the beginners earlier in the year. Mind you we had only done a couple of down exercises where the trainer walked around. If she had stayed in the middle of the training room, he would have stayed down. BUT she walked around. I was standing right beside him and he was on the leash. He hasn't progressed to the point of doing any obedience training off leash yet! Of course, he is Mr Congeniality and when she walked up to him, he jumped up and wanted to see her.

He can do a sit stay -- sit for examination - not so much! As soon as someone comes around - he gets too excited.

I am better at the training because I have trained lots of dogs, but not one this big for ages. I have some little tiny (expensive) dog treats and I use those all the time when he is doing something right. I think my granddaughter gets frustrated because she has never trained a dog and when he gets hyper and starts pulling and leaping around, she doesn't know what to do. She sometimes says "How come he listens to you?" I think I am tough on him when he is being a dope, but I also make sure I say "good boy" and give him a treat when he is doing what I want. Maybe I will try going for a walk with her and critiqueing what SHE does.

So would you recommend using only the pinch collar? Or do you like to do what we were told - use the chain collar and only use the pinch collar if he goes loopy?

As to Goldens. I had a Golden. I thought of therapy dogs and thought she would be calm. But even though I asked for the quietest in the litter, she was rather like Cooper as a puppy. My granddaughter was 4 or 5 at the time and I couldn't let the Golden out in the yard with them because if they ran she would plough the lot of them down!!

I have also seen LOTS of hyper Standards around here. Before I decided on a Mini, I wanted a Standard but I was warned off them by everyone in our kennel club because they had a reputation around here for being hyper. I now know that its not ALL Standards that are hyper - its the bad ones that are.
 

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BUT she walked around. I was standing right beside him and he was on the leash. Of course, he is Mr Congeniality and when she walked up to him, he jumped up and wanted to see her.
Yep... impulsive. So here is the mind shift the family needs to make when they are handling him. He is not Mr. Congeniality. He is Mr. I'm Blowing You Off and Doing What I Want to Do. I think far too many Retriever and Doodle owners let their dogs get away with stuff because they think they are being "friendly".

So would you recommend using only the pinch collar? Or do you like to do what we were told - use the chain collar and only use the pinch collar if he goes loopy?
I'm a big fan of the prong collar. I don't like choke chains because I don't like to take away a dog's wind. I find that eventually you can transition from a prong to a regular buckle collar. What many people do is, as the dog works better and better, they turn the prongs outward until the dog has only flat links against the neck.

I think it is an excellent idea to train the granddaughter!
 

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Doggie Zen?

I find that dealing with dogs is like parenting and it's really important to find what parenting style suits each owner/dog.

Here's something else you may consider, check out Sue Ailsby's clicker site:

Levels.html

Doggie Zen


Just a training option for something that may or may not suit you and your poodle.

Good luck!
Darla
 

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Here's something else you may consider, check out Sue Ailsby's clicker site:

Levels.html

Doggie Zen
I'm totally into using a variety of methods, but I get very worried when I read this:

When you say your cue as she's turning to volunteer a come, you aren't telling her what to do. She's already doing it. You're only telling her what it's called. "Oh, by the way, that thing you're doing? We're going to call it 'Come', OK?"

Play this game every day for a week, then sometime when she's not thinking about coming toward you, ask her to come. If she comes, EE HAH! If she doesn't, that's OK.Play the game for another week. And of course if you play it periodically with her throughout her life, she'll ALWAYS have a reason to come when you call.

It's great that the dog is rewarded to come when it wants to come, but what happens when the dog would rather chase a squirrel into the middle of the street? Is it still OK for her not to come because she would rather do something else?

This sort of dog training methodology is getting more and more popular but I don't necessarily see that the results are better for the average dog owner. Experienced trainers may be able to complete the training cycle and get a well trained, reliable dog, but most dog owners who use these methods just seem to end up with dogs who do what they want, when they want to please themselves.

Anyway... I agree. Try different methods and see if you like the results you get.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for the help. I was wondering. Is it possible for a prong collar to come apart while you are using it? Someone on another board told me that it is. I sure wouldn't want to take that chance.

So - use the prong collar and not the chain collar?

I've seen Sue's levels site. I used to be quite friendly with her years ago. She and another woman I was friendly with owned a pet store in Regina. So far as I know she just does judging now. I know she has Llamas or Alpacas on the farm - probably has dogs too. Someone said a Portuguese Water dog but it was just gossip.

Cooper is pretty smart. He learns things quickly. His basic problem is his excitability. Its hard to get him to listen because he gets so excited - if you know what I mean. OK if I was in the training hall by myself, I could probably get him to do a sit stay for 5 minutes and walk away 10 steps or even further, but if someone else came in - that would be it! And that is not all that much use as far as being obedient is concerned!!

I think the - tough correction with a prong collar for being stupid -- and happy good boy rewards when he does what you want -- is the way to go with him. I don't expect instant results though!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Another thing to remember is that it is hard to teach a dog NOT to do something. It is far easier to give them a job to do instead. If Cooper is jumping on guests, either teach him to go to a mat by the front door, or teach him a traditional obedience Sit/Stand For Exam (this involves teaching a sit/stand stay that the dog has to hold while people touch and walk around it). If he is "working" an exercise, he gets to be the Good Dog! Right now, guests come to the door and he is left to do whatever he pleases and what he chooses to do is not desirable.

That was long.... hope it helped.
Ok I have a question about the above. This is what happens, I would like to know what should be our reaction. You put Cooper in a sit. He sits. As soon as someone comes near he leaps up. You chase him round the house. etc etc. and this is not necessarily "me" - he does the same thing with my son, my granddaughter, my husband etc.

Is the only way to teach him that STAY means put your bum on the ground and don't move even if the world comes to an end -- is to put him on the leash and correct him if he moves -- and correct him if he moves -- and correct him if he moves etc?? Considering how excitable he is, how long should he stay sitting at first before he gets "good boy" and a treat?
He knows what sit means, he knows what stay means -- he just would rather get excited and leap about than keep on sitting and staying.
 

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Is the only way to teach him that STAY means put your bum on the ground and don't move even if the world comes to an end -- is to put him on the leash and correct him if he moves -- and correct him if he moves -- and correct him if he moves etc??
Well in my training world yes. This dog should wear a leash anytime he is out of a crate. However, he should not wear his prong 24X7 because this is a choking hazard.

He needs to learn that there is a consequence for breaking. The biggest problem I see is that owners baby sit commands and repeat themselves over and over again: "Sit" (dog gets up)... "Siiiit" (dog starts to shuffle) "Eh Eh Eh"..... Anyway you get the idea. The owner is constantly managing the dog and the dog doesn't have to take ownership of the exercise or the dog waits until the owner has repeated the command for the 3rd time before it complies.

Considering how excitable he is, how long should he stay sitting at first before he gets "good boy" and a treat?
To a count of 10. Then to a count of 10 with a distraction. Then to a count of 20. Then to a count of 20 with distractions. If he messes up at 20, go back to 10.
[/QUOTE]
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Yes. That drives me nuts too. People who say sit, sit, sit, sit. I tell him sit once and then if he gets up - I make him sit again. But I don't keep telling him 15 times.

I did manage to get my own dogs to stop barking and barking when someone comes to the door. I generally say "quiet" once and then if they keep on - I say "hey". I guess I got the idea from Cesar Milan. I know lots of people don't like him, but it worked with my dogs.

That's another thing I can't stand - dogs that never shut up. I don't care if its your dog, my dog or the other neighbour's dog - I don't want to listen to an hour of yapping.

I had a headache on Saturday. The people across the back alley had a dog that went yap, yap, yap -- for an hour. In the end I went down the end of my yard and I yelled "Do I have to listen to that dog yap all afternoon?" And it stopped. Even if I didn't have a headache - I didn't want to listen to that. They tie the dog up or something on the deck and its want to get in the house -- what part of that can't they understand??

(sorry - got off the topic)

but I am very grateful for all the help. I will get Cooper a prong collar.
 

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=cbrand;98567]I'm totally into using a variety of methods, but I get very worried when I read this:

When you say your cue as she's turning to volunteer a come, you aren't telling her what to do. She's already doing it. You're only telling her what it's called. "Oh, by the way, that thing you're doing? We're going to call it 'Come', OK?"

Play this game every day for a week, then sometime when she's not thinking about coming toward you, ask her to come. If she comes, EE HAH! If she doesn't, that's OK.Play the game for another week. And of course if you play it periodically with her throughout her life, she'll ALWAYS have a reason to come when you call.

It's great that the dog is rewarded to come when it wants to come, but what happens when the dog would rather chase a squirrel into the middle of the street? Is it still OK for her not to come because she would rather do something else?

This sort of dog training methodology is getting more and more popular but I don't necessarily see that the results are better for the average dog owner. Experienced trainers may be able to complete the training cycle and get a well trained, reliable dog, but most dog owners who use these methods just seem to end up with dogs who do what they want, when they want to please themselves.

Well, Sue's methodology is based on Operant Conditioning and positive reinforcement. When you have an understanding of learning theory, it helps you understand your animals' behaviors better, and plan their training accordingly. Operant conditioning forms an association between a behavior and a consequence. (It is also called response-stimulus or RS conditioning because it forms an association between the animal's response [behavior] and the stimulus that follows [consequence]).

"Learning Theory" is a discipline of psychology that attempts to explain how an organism learns. It consists of many different theories of learning, including instincts, social facilitation, observation, formal teaching, memory, mimicry, and classical and operant conditioning. It is these last two that are of most interest to animal trainers.

If, indeed, what you said about the average dog owner using OC +R ending up with a dog who does what it wants when it wants were true, then the average dog owner is someone who doesn't take the time to understand learning theory, doesn't understand their dogs' behavior, and doesn't take the time to learn and understand! My 12-yr. old grandson grasped it very quickly, and has successfully trained his dog (a hound mix) using this methodology. His first dog, and his first attempt at training. Good Job! C/T lol
 

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"You put Cooper in a sit. He sits. As soon as someone comes near he leaps up. You chase him round the house. etc etc. and this is not necessarily "me" - he does the same thing with my son, my granddaughter, my husband etc."

I think you have explained a large part of the problem - you are rewarding him for leaping up and running with a wonderful, noisy, exciting game! If he sits, reward him. If he bounces, turn your backs and ignore him. If he is impossible to ignore, put him behind a baby gate. Keep calm, quiet and all do it EVERY time. If he has the intelligence of his poodle half, he will get the message very quickly as long as you are all consistent and don't join in his game.

I am with Poodleholic - the principles of operant conditioning are very simple once you get past the jargon, and it works - with minimum stress for dog and for owner. I have tried other methods, and I have tried this evidence-based one - and I know which one gives me fast and consistent results, and happy dogs! I was complimented today by two seperate groups of walkers we met on how well behaved my dogs are - especially as they are so young. All down to paying attention to the findings of those who have analysed the research into how dogs really learn, and come up with practical ways to apply it. Oh - and their recall is pretty good, too - even from the field where the rabbits live!
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I'll have to read Sue's site and the comment above a bit better when I have more time.

One important thing I have got out of this post is that Cooper's behaviour is not because he is Mr Congeniality - its because he is being disobedient and doesn't respect our instructions. I didn't see that before.

I have to drop my granddaughter off at school this morning and I'll go back later and pick Cooper up and go and get him a prong collar. I can see now that his behaviours are because he is thumbing his nose at most of us humans!!
 

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If, indeed, what you said about the average dog owner using OC +R ending up with a dog who does what it wants when it wants were true, then the average dog owner is someone who doesn't take the time to understand learning theory, doesn't understand their dogs' behavior, and doesn't take the time to learn and understand!
Yes. This is the problem.
 

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Yes. This is the problem.
I agree. I believe the "average" pet owner does NOT "take the time to understand learning theory, doesn't understand their dogs' behavior, and doesn't take the time to learn and understand"

As a former manager of a humane society, I would say the "average" pet owner wants a perfectly behaved pet but has no idea how to achieve that. It is the "above average" pet owner that does the research and gets the training they need to train their dogs to be well-behaved. IMO...
 

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=Purley;98728]One important thing I have got out of this post is that Cooper's behaviour is not because he is Mr Congeniality - its because he is being disobedient and doesn't respect our instructions. I didn't see that before.
Cooper is a 1-yr. old untrained puppy who obviously doesn't understand what you want him to do. When this happens with a puppy or adult dog I'm training, I look at how I'm trying to teach/communicate what I want, because if a dog isn't getting it, it's because s/he doesn't understand, so I tweak what I'm doing.

You might want to work on self-control exercises with Cooper. NILIF can help, and so can daily 30-min. down/stays. He's young, and stays require time. Start with a 5-min. down/stay. Have him lay on a mat/rug/bed next to a chair you're sitting in, and watch him with an Eagle eye. Catch him BEFORE he breaks the down - just the act of leaning over him and saying "EhEh" should be effective. Make him sit and wait before going outside. Little things like that add up, and give him practice with self control.

Keep training fun - for Cooper, and for YOU, too! I have absolutely no dignity when I'm training! lol My dogs just love it when I act goofy, and doing so is a good way to get, and to keep their attention, which is key in training. Without their attention, it's pretty hard to do any training.

I can see now that his behaviours are because he is thumbing his nose at most of us humans!!
Nope, dogs don't think that way - only humans do that kind of thing!
 
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