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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Oona, nearly 8 months, is smarter than us and it's causing some issues. We are trying to up her self-control by asking her to go to her mat or sit-say to prevent behaviors like barking when my 9 year old or husband goes up the stairs, and to give her fewer opportunities to get mouthy with my daughter which is still among her favorite ways to have fun in the house. It's improving and the barking and mouthiness is less regular and less intense, in that it hurts less and can be stopped more easily, but at the same time, with the mouthiness at least, it now seems more intentional and sneaky instead of being just an over-excited/over-threshold behavior. For example, about half the time she will calmly trot over and grabs the kid's sleeve as soon as she stands up from the table, before being unceremoniously escorted to her crate (but even better, from her perspective, if she can avoid the collar grab, as my kid is not always on top of it, and try to goad her into a chase around the living room/hall/kitchen loop, which requires both adults to stop what we are doing and entrap her in the hall or kitchen to end the fun). If either adult stands up while the mouthy play is happening she immediately stops and usually goes to grab a toy which is of course better, but she seems to know what she can get away with and when our attention is on other things, and/or maybe she is looking to produce our response/attention. Do we just keep doing what we are doing, add in more supervised training practice with the dog and child so that she listens to her better, and try to up our vigilance? I guess this is partly a question about being outsmarted by your young dog and partly a question about when to be patient and carry on with a strategy and when a change in strategy is needed.
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Photo of the wicked smart, newly groomed Oona waiting patiently on her mat when she has her person's full attention.
 

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First that is a beautiful groom. It is hard to get mad at such a lovely dog isn't it? But of course getting mad isn't the solution anyway, right! I would try to get more respect for your daughter out of those impulsive moments. Have your daughter do all kinds of training on things she does well for adults but struggles with with youngsters. DD doesn't have to take over everything, but do have her do some regular "homework" with Oona.
 

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One way I contained some of Galen's lunging behavior was to teach him both "back up" and "sit at a distance." He can't grab my sleeve if he is sitting six feet away from me. Once he has retreated the appropriate distance I toss a treat at his head, and he snaps it out of the air.

I use a clicker to teach new trick, because it is the easiest way for me to mark the exact behavior I want. YMMV. There are plenty of videos on how to teach a dog to sit; I won't go into it here. The way I taught "back up" was to walk directly towards him while saying "back up" and making a shooing motion with one hand. He instinctively stepped backwards to avoid getting stepped on. As soon as he made that first step backwards I stopped walking, clicked, and tossed him a treat. Lather, rinse, repeat in many short training sessions over many days while increasing the distance requested. He's now at the point where I can ask him to back 10 feet and then sit down. This didn't happen all at once; but each session reinforced the previous and added a little distance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
One way I contained some of Galen's lunging behavior was to teach him both "back up" and "sit at a distance." He can't grab my sleeve if he is sitting six feet away from me. Once he has retreated the appropriate distance I toss a treat at his head, and he snaps it out of the air.

I use a clicker to teach new trick, because it is the easiest way for me to mark the exact behavior I want. YMMV. There are plenty of videos on how to teach a dog to sit; I won't go into it here. The way I taught "back up" was to walk directly towards him while saying "back up" and making a shooing motion with one hand. He instinctively stepped backwards to avoid getting stepped on. As soon as he made that first step backwards I stopped walking, clicked, and tossed him a treat. Lather, rinse, repeat in many short training sessions over many days while increasing the distance requested. He's now at the point where I can ask him to back 10 feet and then sit down. This didn't happen all at once; but each session reinforced the previous and added a little distance.
Very helpful to use "back up" this way! I've been trying to teach Oona "back up" with a similar approach and she hasn't "got it" yet but we will keep at it.
 

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Also never run after your dog, or any dog. To them it’s just a game and they love it. Just wait until he calms down, no matter how frustrating it is, and calmy get a hold of him. Never let your dog know how desperate you are to catch him or he will purposely make sure you don’t. :)
 

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Dechi yes, never chase. They think it is funny and as I've said to many people who are frustrated by things like no recall, four legs will always beat two.
 
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I like lily's idea of having it be a lesson inside of a lesson with special daughter-and-oona homework. 2 birds with 1 stone.

Do you have a clicker?

We didnt use a clicker until Basil was ~8 months old. Training became more enriching when we introduced the clicker.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I like lily's idea of having it be a lesson inside of a lesson with special daughter-and-oona homework. 2 birds with 1 stone.

Do you have a clicker?

We didnt use a clicker until Basil was ~8 months old. Training became more enriching when we introduced the clicker.
I haven't used a clicker with her, because my timing in with past dogs with a clicker was not great, and I found it annoying to carry. It's worth trying though, as it can't hurt and we can always keep using our 'yes' marker if it isn't working for us. But my daughter's timing is not even very good with the verbal marker, so she would not be able to manage the clicker.
 

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If we were to chase Peggy for grabbing our sleeves, she would never stop. It would be as reinforcing as if we rewarded her with a big piece of juicy steak.

I think the best approach is to consistently drain all the fun from the moment. Look away—not in a huff, but like you’re a robot and your battery just ran out.

I would also immediately stop with the collar grabs in those moments, or you will not be able to restrain her when it really matters. We reward every collar grab, just like we reward every recall.

As for the clicker, you don’t have to have it on you all the time. You can just use it a training tool. I call mine my human-poodle translator, as it’s so effective for communicating my expectations to Peggy.

Oona is at the age when we really started to see some changes in Peggy, so be patient. Focus on rewarding Oona when she chooses to do the right thing, keeping in mind that rewards comes in many different forms, and can vary from situation to situation and moment to moment. If Oona wants attention or a game of chase? Give it to her the moment her bum hits the floor. Then slowwwwly increase the amount of time between bum-floor contact and play. Maybe just seconds to start. And make sure that chase goes both ways. We’ll chase Peggy for a second and then abruptly change direction so she runs after us instead of away. Every game we play with her, I try to ensure it reinforces behaviours we like.
 

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Oonapup my clicker timing is also awful so I don't use one even though I certainly understand them as tools, just haven't made good use out of them. I prefer my three word verbal marker system. Yes means excellent have a cookie and take a short break. Good means that was very nice but we are going to continue working for now. Oops/uh oh means that wasn't what was supposed to happen followed by no cookie and let's try that again.
 
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This might work for you. I'll keep the clicker and treats in my right jacket pocket or front right jean pocket. There are 15-30 training treats loose in my pocket and the clicker is loose in there. I click and deliver the treat with the same hand right hand. Left hand is my leash hand. I hold a treat under my right ring finger and click using my thumb and index.

Basil is with her grandparents for 9 hours a day. My parents don't do any clicker work with her. The clicker work I (Dad) do with her one-on-one daily helps to sharpen her when she is with them too... the effect is carried over.

You should totally attempt the clicker again. You probably leveled up as a fur parent a few times since the last time you tried. So, expect the best and be patient. Watch a video on clicker training before you try again so you're primed. It's going to be fun.
 

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For moutiness, at some point I realized Basil needs to exercise her jaw regularly to help tire all of her out. This is the best way I've found to tire her jaw out. It might be fun for your daughter (or anyone) to anchor onto Oona's bully stick while she chews it. Get a 12 in long bully stick. Be of careful of your fingers. This helps our poodles get a better saw action on the bully stick making it more entertaining, delicious, and tiring... Like our jaws get with a loaf of french bread.

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
This might work for you. I'll keep the clicker and treats in my right jacket pocket or front right jean pocket. There are 15-30 training treats loose in my pocket and the clicker is loose in there. I click and deliver the treat with the same hand right hand. Left hand is my leash hand. I hold a treat under my right ring finger and click using my thumb and index.

Basil is with her grandparents for 9 hours a day. My parents don't do any clicker work with her. The clicker work I (Dad) do with her one-on-one daily helps to sharpen her when she is with them too... the effect is carried over.

You should totally attempt the clicker again. You probably leveled up as a fur parent a few times since the last time you tried. So, expect the best and be patient. Watch a video on clicker training before you try again so you're primed. It's going to be fun.
Well, it looks like we are trying out the clicker anyway - the class we just started tonight uses them, and handed them out to us so I don't need to find one on my own. Thanks for the tips on how to coordinate. I don't know if you've heard about the failings of most women's pants, pocket-wise - but hoodie or jacket pockets will do.

For moutiness, at some point I realized Basil needs to exercise her jaw regularly to help tire all of her out. This is the best way I've found to tire her jaw out. It might be fun for your daughter (or anyone) to anchor onto Oona's bully stick while she chews it. Get a 12 in long bully stick. Be of careful of your fingers. This helps our poodles get a better saw action on the bully stick making it more entertaining, delicious, and tiring... Like our jaws get with a loaf of french bread.
Interesting. Oona LOVES bully sticks and we use them when she needs to be kept occupied/busy for a bit, but she doesn't like for us to hold them and prefers to take them a bit further away to her own space to chew. She lets me trade it for a treat so I don't mind letting her have it her way. But they are so expensive that we don't let her have them daily. Got to find a better bulk source I think.
 

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I found buying a clicker with a spiral cord for around my wrist so it dangles in my palm and I no longer drop it on my dog's head helpful. Also the game where you throw something in the air and try to click at the highest part of the arc to improve your precision/speed with the click.

I admit that I do use a tongue click more often than a clicker now if it. Yes doesn't work for me, though I do use two versions of good (one for close the other one,with more enthusiasm means reward time)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Dechi yes, never chase. They think it is funny and as I've said to many people who are frustrated by things like no recall, four legs will always beat two.
If we were to chase Peggy for grabbing our sleeves, she would never stop. It would be as reinforcing as if we rewarded her with a big piece of juicy steak.

...

Oona is at the age when we really started to see some changes in Peggy, so be patient. Focus on rewarding Oona when she chooses to do the right thing, keeping in mind that rewards comes in many different forms, and can vary from situation to situation and moment to moment. If Oona wants attention or a game of chase? Give it to her the moment her bum hits the floor. Then slowwwwly increase the amount of time between bum-floor contact and play. Maybe just seconds to start. And make sure that chase goes both ways. We’ll chase Peggy for a second and then abruptly change direction so she runs after us instead of away. Every game we play with her, I try to ensure it reinforces behaviours we like.
We do not chase in the house as a rule even as a planned game, but what happens is I say to my daughter "grab her and put her in her crate" and because Oona is often grabbing her sleeve or her sock or whatever when she's trying to do something else, 1/3 times she isn't fast enough to get her automatically when she first grabs on, and Oona - SMART - hears me say "grab her" and I suppose that has become a cue to trick the child into a chase game. Then I yell "don't chase her! too late!" You're right, it is extremely rewarding to her so I guess we will just have to be more proactive in preventing her from starting and less lazy in relying on the kid to stop her.

Oona and I do play a chase game in the yard but it's very controlled. She has to be holding a stick and the "take it" is the cue to start the game. Instead of turning and have her chase me like Peggy, after a few zooms, I stop and put my hand out and she has to come do a "touch" and then I will chase her again. Sometimes when she touches she gets a treat (for which she has to drop the stick) and pats. After I give her the stick back with a take it, I will chase her again. It's a great game to tire her out. I wonder if getting my daughter in on this game, (if Oona can handle it with her without getting too excited that she gets mouthy) would satisfy her desire to play with the kid in this way, while still teaching her she needs to be able to regroup and listen to human rules. Now that it's nicer out and lighter for longer we may have more opportunities to try this in the yard.
 

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Could you teach a 'go to crate' cue instead of a 'chase the dog' cue? Annie would be over the moon delighted to have a child try and catch her lol. Excellent reward.

Annie's cool down zone is the bathroom, as I no longer have a crate. So, if she is wild and barking (saw a squirrel out the window and brains exploded) I say 'go to the bathroom' and she goes, I shut the door, then open it in 20-30s. Hilariously, occasionally she will take herself there to calm down (and gets lots of praise/treats for doing so.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Could you teach a 'go to crate' cue instead of a 'chase the dog' cue? Annie would be over the moon delighted to have a child try and catch her lol. Excellent reward.

Annie's cool down zone is the bathroom, as I no longer have a crate. So, if she is wild and barking (saw a squirrel out the window and brains exploded) I say 'go to the bathroom' and she goes, I shut the door, then open it in 20-30s. Hilariously, occasionally she will take herself there to calm down (and gets lots of praise/treats for doing so.
That's adorable. We've been using her mat like that as a voluntary time out/cool off spot, and it works well if we intercept her before she gets grabby, but she's a lot harder to interrupt once she starts. She does know "crate" and goes willingly when she thinks its mealtime or we are training, or sometimes takes herself there for a nap without being told to, but won't take herself there as a time out - in those situations she needs to be brought. I don't blame her though, getting the humans to make noise and run around is way more fun.
 

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That's adorable. We've been using her mat like that as a voluntary time out/cool off spot, and it works well if we intercept her before she gets grabby, but she's a lot harder to interrupt once she starts. She does know "crate" and goes willingly when she thinks its mealtime or we are training, or sometimes takes herself there for a nap without being told to, but won't take herself there as a time out - in those situations she needs to be brought. I don't blame her though, getting the humans to make noise and run around is way more fun.
Does she get a big reward and a fast release for going in her crate? I had to do a ton of work in non-crazy times doing short in/outs with her. I basically played the Fenzi crate games with our bathroom so she wanted to be in there and trusted I would let her out quickly.


Also - what happens if you all leave the room and shut her out?

(Feeling grateful right now that I had Annie myself most of the time, no kids, and when I wasn't living alone I lived with my mother - she is hardly the sort to run and attract puppy teeth. Puppy raising on your own is hard work, but I see some big advantages!).
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Does she get a big reward and a fast release for going in her crate? I had to do a ton of work in non-crazy times doing short in/outs with her. I basically played the Fenzi crate games with our bathroom so she wanted to be in there and trusted I would let her out quickly.

Also - what happens if you all leave the room and shut her out?

(Feeling grateful right now that I had Annie myself most of the time, no kids, and when I wasn't living alone I lived with my mother - she is hardly the sort to run and attract puppy teeth. Puppy raising on your own is hard work, but I see some big advantages!).
We could do better with releasing her more quickly. I will admit to sometimes leaving her longer than I should because I need to get something done and because she usually settles very quickly in there (and would have been sleeping/laying on the rug or back of the couch if it weren't for the busy excitement of the kid). It's less fun in there, but it's keeping her out of trouble when it isn't practical to reorient the morning around a training activity or when it wouldn't be fair to do so. It's also a tool that allows the kid to have freedom to move around the house without having to worry about exciting the dog for these transitional times, which is what I mean when I say it's not always fair on the human child to release the pup right away and have to rinse and repeat again and again when she's just trying to pack her lunch bag, brush her hair, whatever. There's so much to think about in terms of managing the two of them, that I often forget my own role, which is I think a lot of the time what Oona is either reacting to in the first place or aiming to get a response from. A fair amount of this whole situation could also possibly come down to both "kids" vying for my attention in ways that create a mess. Oona's behavior makes it higher stakes and thus harder for my kid to comply with whatever we are asking her to do (one chance to get upstairs while Oona is resting - do it now; don't touch the dog while she is leaving you alone), which causes me to hassle the kid, which gets the dog more amped, etc.

The open/doorless layout of our main floor where all this happens is such that we can't all leave the room and stay close. We can only all go up or downstairs. If we all left in this way to interrupt a problematic play biting session I think she would bark/cry but it is worth a try. She has also been doing ridiculous dramatic yodeling vocalizations when prevented from mouthing my daughter on the couch or chew her hair. That one is really hard not to laugh at.
 
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