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Discussion Starter #261
Amen, Spotty!! Peggy is also the first dog I've had who wasn't spayed or neutered at an early age. I've received so much support here while riding her hormonal roller coaster. I don't know where I'd have gotten that help otherwise.

The other day she was particularly challenging. Like you said, it felt like she was supposed to be over that stuff. Why's it coming back?? She's even started jumping on me excitedly again in the morning.

Of course, if I slow down, take a breath, and really think about it, the behaviour is nowhere near as bad as it was 6 months ago. A gently murmured correction and she immediately stops—I'd have been thrilled with that not so long ago!
 

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I haven’t been able to check in here in a while but I am so thankful for this group. Especially this discussion right now. Stella is a year and almost 4 months and at times I could cry. Where did my well behaved puppy go and in her place is this wild crazy stubborn girl. I love her to pieces and just have to keep telling myself we will get back to that sweet girl. Has anyone else found that since COVID your pups have went kind of backwards. I know adolescence has majority to do with it but I find Stella has been worst since we haven’t been going places since March.


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Discussion Starter #263
I haven’t been able to check in here in a while but I am so thankful for this group. Especially this discussion right now. Stella is a year and almost 4 months and at times I could cry. Where did my well behaved puppy go and in her place is this wild crazy stubborn girl. I love her to pieces and just have to keep telling myself we will get back to that sweet girl. Has anyone else found that since COVID your pups have went kind of backwards. I know adolescence has majority to do with it but I find Stella has been worst since we haven’t been going places since March.


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Yes. That's a very real issue. We lost a lot of the progress we'd made in one particular area. Our house is perched on a little hill, and Peggy can see people coming up the sidewalk from quite a distance and will growl. Or if she's in the backyard and sees glimpses of them through the fence and shrubs, she will bark hysterically.

Once they're close enough to greet her, she's fine. But we've really failed at addressing that distance stuff. She even recently did it on a hike, when she saw people through the trees. That was a real regression.

At the start of covid, when she was 9-10 months old, we had long stretches of time where she saw no one at all. People weren't even out walking in our neighbourhood. Her socialization abruptly stalled and I focused more on one-on-one training. Even worse, she'd been in heat prior to that, so she'd already been cooped up for a month. Just a bad combo.

My advice to you would be to let go of the idea that your poodle is stubborn. Your poodle isn't stubborn, I promise. :) She's got hormones telling her to test boundaries and explore further from home, and she's a dog, so she's always going to do what's most reinforcing/beneficial to her.

Think about the things she does seemingly automatically (e.g. running to the door when you pick up her leash) and then figure out how she's actually being rewarded for that, intentionally or otherwise. You'll see that consistent positive reinforcement is a driving force in her life, and you can harness that power for your own benefit.

For example, Peggy hated having her eyes cleaned until I started letting her eat the eye goop. Now a thumb approaching her delicate eye area—which used to just mean discomfort—means yummy things! Gross, I know, but it made both our lives easier.

If I'd not started doing that, she'd have entered adolescence and, with her newfound hormonal confidence, she'd have realized she didn't have to let me poke around her eyes. She could back away. She could hide. She could even bite.

I'm still trying to understand what Peggy "gets" out of growling at people from a distance. If she was still nervous when they got close, it would make more sense to me.
 

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Yes. That's a very real issue. We lost a lot of the progress we'd made in one particular area. Our house is perched on a little hill, and Peggy can see people coming up the sidewalk from quite a distance and will growl. Or if she's in the backyard and sees glimpses of them through the fence and shrubs, she will bark hysterically.

Once they're close enough to greet her, she's fine. But we've really failed at addressing that distance stuff. She even recently did it on a hike, when she saw people through the trees. That was a real regression.

At the start of covid, when she was 9-10 months old, we had long stretches of time where she saw no one at all. People weren't even out walking in our neighbourhood. Her socialization abruptly stalled and I focused more on one-on-one training. Even worse, she'd been in heat prior to that, so she'd already been cooped up for a month. Just a bad combo.

My advice to you would be to let go of the idea that your poodle is stubborn. Your poodle isn't stubborn, I promise. :) She's got hormones telling her to test boundaries and explore further from home, and she's a dog, so she's always going to do what's most reinforcing/beneficial to her.

Think about the things she does seemingly automatically (e.g. running to the door when you pick up her leash) and then figure out how she's actually being rewarded for that, intentionally or otherwise. You'll see that consistent positive reinforcement is a driving force in her life, and you can harness that power for your own benefit.

For example, Peggy hated having her eyes cleaned until I started letting her eat the eye goop. Now a thumb approaching her delicate eye area—which used to just mean discomfort—means yummy things! Gross, I know, but it made both our lives easier.

If I'd not started doing that, she'd have entered adolescence and, with her newfound hormonal confidence, she'd have realized she didn't have to let me poke around her eyes. She could back away. She could hide. She could even bite.

I'm still trying to understand what Peggy "gets" out of growling at people from a distance. If she was still nervous when they got close, it would make more sense to me.
Thank you so much. You are right. I think I am just letting my frustration lately get the better of me. And I know Stella’s main problem right now is being bored. I bring her in the backyard and play with her and we do some training but she absolutely thrives on going places and also playing with other dogs and she hasn’t been getting any of that. Her main issue is jumping and nipping now with not only me but anyone she knows that comes over. People she doesn’t know she is a little standoffish with. I think it’s her being overexcited about company now. Have any advice for me on working with her on that particular issue?


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Normie desperately wants to be In Charge.

Dream on little doggie. I survived two adolescent humans; one little dog ain't gonna shake my cool.

That said, we're training more and strategizing behind his back. Two humans vs one poodle. Not such good odds for us.
 

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Discussion Starter #266
Thank you so much. You are right. I think I am just letting my frustration lately get the better of me. And I know Stella’s main problem right now is being bored. I bring her in the backyard and play with her and we do some training but she absolutely thrives on going places and also playing with other dogs and she hasn’t been getting any of that. Her main issue is jumping and nipping now with not only me but anyone she knows that comes over. People she doesn’t know she is a little standoffish with. I think it’s her being overexcited about company now. Have any advice for me on working with her on that particular issue?


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Without seeing the jumping and nipping, it's hard to say. At that age, there is a clear difference between biting and mouthing. If it's biting, it likely means "stay away!" and I'd enlist the help of a good force-free trainer.

If it's mouthing, it likely means "I'm over-excited and don't know what to do with myself!!" Common practise is to teach an incompatible behaviour, like sitting or going to a mat when guests arrive. Peggy used to jump on our trainer at playdates, and she fixed it quick! She would produce a treat very rapidly at Peggy-level, the moment Peggy got close. By our next playdate, Peggy was automatically sitting and sniffing her hands instead of jumping.

I've never really dealt with standoffish behaviour before, but I'd probably take a no-pressure approach: Stella can greet people or not greet people. It's entirely her choice. Meanwhile, you remain calm and confident so she can trust you've got things under control. I'd probably also enlist the help of an expert, just to assess the situation. Anything that has the potential to turn into aggression (and fear is a big one for that) makes me want a professional opinion.

Then again, poodles are often more aloof than other dogs we encounter. They don't beg for affection and that's totally okay. They may also object to being pet on the head and take a step back. Also totally okay.
 

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When Buck was maturing, I wanted SO many, many times in start his name with an F! His thieving is legend. Poodles absorb to the energy we give off, either at the other end of the leash or in the room. Takes a lot of trainer finesse and persistence every day, which is why poodle/pet ownership needs to be a commitment and not a whim. When I volunteered at a shelter, that’s what I saw with our intakes:adolescents or sad seniors.
 

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I'm having similar regressive issues with Cleo, especially since both my kids had been home for 6 months due to covid and now both are away living their lives (although one will be back from college in a couple weeks). My husband and I are both working from home, so we play with her and take walks, etc, but i don't have as much time to spend with her as my kids did, obviously. Recently she started doing things like chewing on the fringes of a rug or stealing (eg) and avocado off the counter--she thought it was a very cool ball! We never had a big counter-surfing problem, and she hadn't done anything like that for probably a year. I am guessing she's bored, and a bored poodle is a mischievous poodle. So I started doing short training sessions with her during breaks from work, even just 5-10 minutes where she has to follow me around the house and follow my instructions. Also something she likes a lot is "find it"--I hide a treat somewhere and she has to find it. She waits for me to hide it, I tell her to find it, and she sniffs around the house for it.

But the big problem i've had is with recall when I want to call her inside from the yard. Her recall has always been sketchy in that situation--she'll respond for a few weeks or a couple months and then start ignoring it. One of my kids taught her to come when he whistled (of course, i'm a terrible whistler!), and that was working well. Now, though, she's started ignoring it again, which means i have to find another unique sound or word to re-train her on. It is extremely tedious! I don't know why i can't get it to stick with her.
 

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Discussion Starter #269
But the big problem i've had is with recall when I want to call her inside from the yard. Her recall has always been sketchy in that situation--she'll respond for a few weeks or a couple months and then start ignoring it.
Is it a party every single time she responds to your call? Poodles are so dang smart, all it takes is one unpleasant recall to get their wheels turning. Like, "Hmmmmm. What I'm doing right now is REALLY fun. Why risk ending the fun when I can just keep going?"

Peggy still (knock on wood) gallops inside, full-speed, every time I call. But it's been hard to ensure my husband doesn't inadvertently poison that command, and I imagine it would be even harder with a larger household. I've actually considered coming up with my own secret word.

As for bored poodles, whoa can I ever relate to that. After putting herself to bed super early last night, I could sense Peggy was feeling feisty this morning, and so far today she's stolen two socks and a dish towel. The dish towel she carefully draped across the ottoman and then rested her chin on it, eyes locked on mine: "Try to grab it. I dare you."
 

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Olive is very problematic at 9 months old. She looks me in the eye and then does something that she knows is not allowed.
 

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Olive is very problematic at 9 months old. She looks me in the eye and then does something that she knows is not allowed.
More likely, she looks you in the eye to make sure you're watching, and then does something that's sure to get an entertaining reaction from you.
 

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Is it a party every single time she responds to your call? Poodles are so dang smart, all it takes is one unpleasant recall to get their wheels turning. Like, "Hmmmmm. What I'm doing right now is REALLY fun. Why risk ending the fun when I can just keep going?"

Peggy still (knock on wood) gallops inside, full-speed, every time I call. But it's been hard to ensure my husband doesn't inadvertently poison that command, and I imagine it would be even harder with a larger household. I've actually considered coming up with my own secret word.

As for bored poodles, whoa can I ever relate to that. After putting herself to bed super early last night, I could sense Peggy was feeling feisty this morning, and so far today she's stolen two socks and a dish towel. The dish towel she carefully draped across the ottoman and then rested her chin on it, eyes locked on mine: "Try to grab it. I dare you."
Yes, definitely! I give her excellent treats if she comes in when I call her, and i make a big deal about it, and when the kids were home they were all working on it with her. I think she is focused on what's happening outside and tunes us out if she's not interested in coming in. Plus, she has FOMO--she's always running to the fence to see what the neighbors are doing! Anyway, maybe i need to celebrate even more. Otoh, if i go outside and play with her for a few minutes, she'll nearly always come in when I'm ready, so i think she may also want me to come and play, so she waits it out to see if that will happen.
 

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Discussion Starter #273
Anyway, maybe i need to celebrate even more.
I find play works really well. She comes racing inside, we play tug or chase, I toss a treat or two, and then the energy naturally mellows. Then again, she's rarely outside alone, so that probably makes it easier. Once I start enforcing solo potty sessions, things might change.
 

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Discussion Starter #274
Today marked a real adolescent milestone: Peggy stole her first mouthful from the kitchen garbage can!

I threw away a hunk of fat from tonight's pot roast and then wandered out of the kitchen for a sec. When I returned, my brain couldn't quite comprehend what my eyes were seeing. Where did Peggy's head go? Why is the garbage cabinet open??

It was that much of a shock.

I scared the you-know-what out of her. I accepted the fat as a loss (no way was I about to grab for it and possibly trigger a resource guarding episode) and simply slammed the cabinet shut. She jumped back, but it was short-lived. Less than a minute later, she was back to nosing the cabinet door, right in front of me! The nerve.

So.....I opened the cabinet, pulled the garbage bin out, and carefully placed a few paper towels on top, tucking in the edges so they covered the contents of the bin. I grabbed my trusty jug of vinegar and soaked the paper towels. And then I walked away. Moments later, I heard a poodle sneezing.

She didn't try again after that.
 

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Olive, black miniature poodle, 9 months old
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Olive is being BAD! Today I saw her chewing a wire. She does not seem to remember being electricuted after chewing a wire. When I told her not to, she let go and ran at me shrieking, barking and growling. She bit me. What can I do to prevent this.
 

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She has been doing it for the past few months, whenever I tell her not to do something.
 

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Peggy is one and a half years old today. We now consistently have days where I feel blessed with the world's greatest dog.

And then for a week? Oh boy. I feel like I jinxed her by even having those positive thoughts. But just when I can't take one more second of the craziness...I've got the world's greatest dog again.

Like just now we were in the backyard playing. I picked up her leash and walked to the gate, fully expecting her to run some wild protest laps before grudgingly following. But she carefully put down her jolly ball, walked right over to me, and lowered her head (rather unnecessarily) for me to clip the leash on. It was so cute, I almost cried. Instead I walked her ten feet out of the gate, and then turned her right back around for five minutes of bonus play.

We then proceeded to have the best walk of her life. Dog? Who cares. Bike? Who cares. Dog AND bike? Who cares.

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Hug your adolescents today, poodle friends! They may be going through some stuff, but underneath the crazy are some very good dogs.
 
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