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Discussion Starter #61
Humbling is a good way to describe raising a puppy for sure! And I hear you about the difference between small and big dogs. I went in the opposite direction, from big to small, and swore the little guys would not get away with things just because they’re little.

I’ve failed at that. There is no way I would have let the big dogs careen through the living room and climb on the furniture the way these little dogs do. They would have been promptly escorted outside to carry on out there.
And those glass lamps, well if they break, it’s on me! Four dogs, grandkids (one is a toddler)..what was I thinking? But they’re really pretty, and were a great deal at Marshall’s...lol!
I bet your home is a lot of fun with those dogs and grandkids! Can't get too attached to material things with all those sweet creatures around. :)

I remember an ex-boyfriend referring to Gracie bouncing towards him on her back legs as "doing wheelies." And it usually elicited an "Awwwww!" from everyone else.

If Peggy does that now it's "lunging" and "Very Bad."

Poor Peggy. ?

She's learning to just sort of dance in one spot when she can muster the self-control, rather than lunging towards people. I'm undecided on how I feel about that.
 

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It sounds like Peggy is doing a good job of developing some self control, I’m trying to picture her dance! She is such a beautiful dog.

Yes, those little guys do get away with more, I’m very guilty of that!
 

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On the subject of barking at weird things? I was walking Cleo the other day, and she suddenly froze and started barking--very unlike her. There was a school bus coming, so i thought maybe that was it? But she doesn't bark at vehicles. Not really at anything except squirrels. So i looked for squirrels, and saw nothing. I encouraged her to keep walking, and after a couple of steps she stopped and barked again--the "alarm" bark. And then she cautiously approached, sniffed, and finally approved this--and then kept walking like nothing had happened:

IMG_9315.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #64
On the subject of barking at weird things? I was walking Cleo the other day, and she suddenly froze and started barking--very unlike her. There was a school bus coming, so i thought maybe that was it? But she doesn't bark at vehicles. Not really at anything except squirrels. So i looked for squirrels, and saw nothing. I encouraged her to keep walking, and after a couple of steps she stopped and barked again--the "alarm" bark. And then she cautiously approached, sniffed, and finally approved this--and then kept walking like nothing had happened:

View attachment 464277
?

Good girl, Cleo! That was a very scary monster.
 

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Tips? Tricks? Commiseration? Bring it on!

I wasn't expecting it quite so soon, but Peggy's 26th week has brought us a whole new level of dog. Eeek! It kicked off with the worst puppy class we've ever had. Usually after a rocky start, she settles right in. But she was wild-eyed from the first minute right through to the last. Even our trainer's assistant, who's typically Peggy's biggest fan, stepped back with a "Whoa!"

Yes, there's positive progress. She snoozed on the couch with me for a full 20 minutes the other night. That's new! But mostly it feels like the bond we've worked so hard to forge with her is in tatters. A typical teen—she just doesn't think we're all that exciting anymore! And the rest of the world....well.....it's maybe a bit TOO exciting.

My husband came home from an especially challenging walk with her this afternoon and had to go right back out by himself to clear his head and regroup. And just now, as I was typing this, I nearly had a heart attack as she erupted into a fit of wild barking and growling. The trigger? The heat clicked on and a plastic bag floated off the counter and onto the floor. But that's nothing compared to reflections in dark windows.... Oh the drama.

I'd love to hear from anyone else who's navigating (or has navigated) this trying period. I've scoured the forum for other threads on the topic, but links to any particularly good ones would also be appreciated.
Hang in there. It won’t last. Just don’t let her win. Distract her with “sit” and a treat during her tantrum. Or... I went into the bathroom and shut the door and stayed there until he calmed down. I said sit... and peeked out. When he sat I came out w a treat and a good boy
 

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Discussion Starter #66
We attended our "teen angst" training class today without Peggy. She's in heat, but a new session was starting and we'd already missed last week. We didn't want to lose our momentum.

It was EYE-OPENING!

Wow!

We're—gasp!—not the only ones with an occasionally monstrous teen!

We're usually so focused on Peggy in class, I guess I tend to imagine everyone around us is doing great. It was a very valuable experience. (Just don't tell Peggy where we were!)

How are everyone's teenagers doing?? I'd love to hear some stories.
 

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Tips? Tricks? Commiseration? Bring it on!

I wasn't expecting it quite so soon, but Peggy's 26th week has brought us a whole new level of dog. Eeek! It kicked off with the worst puppy class we've ever had. Usually after a rocky start, she settles right in. But she was wild-eyed from the first minute right through to the last. Even our trainer's assistant, who's typically Peggy's biggest fan, stepped back with a "Whoa!"

Yes, there's positive progress. She snoozed on the couch with me for a full 20 minutes the other night. That's new! But mostly it feels like the bond we've worked so hard to forge with her is in tatters. A typical teen—she just doesn't think we're all that exciting anymore! And the rest of the world....well.....it's maybe a bit TOO exciting.

My husband came home from an especially challenging walk with her this afternoon and had to go right back out by himself to clear his head and regroup. And just now, as I was typing this, I nearly had a heart attack as she erupted into a fit of wild barking and growling. The trigger? The heat clicked on and a plastic bag floated off the counter and onto the floor. But that's nothing compared to reflections in dark windows.... Oh the drama.

I'd love to hear from anyone else who's navigating (or has navigated) this trying period. I've scoured the forum for other threads on the topic, but links to any particularly good ones would also be appreciated.
My Emma will be 7 mos. the 4 th of March and amazingly is pretty stable...... so far. She does have those moments of insolence, total disregard for what's being asked of her and no focus but they are pretty fleeting. That being said, she does get a lot of outside free time. She's up and out with the other dogs by 7 and by the time we're done with chores it's usually 9:30 - 10. In that time she chases the barn cats (less since the "discussion" we had about that a couple days ago), runs back and forth visiting/ playing the fool with the brood mares and two year old stud colt in the arena and outside, runs the fence and cleans up as I throw feed for 4 mares, then we jog on out to the boarding colt pen and back (1/4 mile), go water the cows and she chases them away from the tank to "protect" me, then I scoop poop for about 30 minutes while she rambles around on her own harassing the other dogs, helps me fill the hay bags and often tries to take a wad in her mouth to give to the horses, after which we go to the house. If she's being too crazy I have a bucket hanger strap attached to my waist and I just snap her up and continue on my way. She gets a lot more focused in that case! Today for the first time we did some short distance heeling off leash and she was good.... tomorrow, meh. She sleeps from about 10-12 then out the herd goes and free for all with the old dogs till about 12:30 after which we do some mini training in my tiny trailer we live in and then nap till about 3. It's then time to go out again and free play, unless I'm working on something outside that she has to oversee, and feed horses again at 5. On the evening run we go out to the front gate and lock up for the night which gets her another 1/2 mile jog. During several days in the week we randomly go store hopping in her vest and visit friends, do laundry, etc. She's been very good about sitting to meet people and doesn't jump up at all, she can clear the occasional counter at a check out, was waaay to happy to meet new people at my chiropractor appt. but was well behaved while I was on the table massager and surprised Doc by not taking exception to me being manhandled by him. His family raise Mastiffs so he was wary. By the time we got home she was tuckered out and crashed for the afternoon. That mind work and dealing with new places just wears the poor baby out. On the teenager side she does launch herself to Superman heights when we go feed the horses and is pretty mouthy...... we're working on it, we're working on it. She does get the zoomies occasionally but always in the barn and I think the daily morning and evening runs with her superdog leaps at each horse's nose for a kiss as she sails by airborne takes the edge off. I'm sure I'll have plenty of issues, her lack of focus is a biggy right now, but at least she isn't going to get any younger. She wants to please and is a real thinker, overnight usually, but does have some comprehension issues (coupled with lack of compliance desire). All in all raising Emma so far is a real hoot and keeps me young. I'm dying to see how she reacts to the new foals coming, one any day now, and hope she remembers to stay OUT of their pens as those mamas get real touchy about their babies being messed with. Life is hectic, life is good.
 

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If anything I think Cleo is getting more "teenaged" by the minute--definitely moreso than a month ago. She will be 11 months on Sunday. It's harder to get her to focus on me during our walks, so there is more pulling to interact with her environment, even when i give her plenty of sniffing time. I have to give her more treats than i had been doing on our walks, and they have to be good ones.
Also, whereas she had almost totally stopped jumping on people (just on dogs), this has started up again--with visitors, etc, not with me. She's just SO excited to be around anyone new, it takes her quite a while to settle down. It is clear that she has a lot of trouble with those impulses. On the good side, I've taught her to jump on cue to allow her some fun. She jumps up and touches my hand with her nose (target). She will also jump up on cue and rest her front legs on my forearm, and i give her a hug that way.
We are taking a CGC class, even though i know she won't pass yet. She does well at just about everything, except when people approach me, she goes toward them the first couple times, or when someone approaches to pet her; she's not into it and kind of wiggles away--unless i give her good treats, then she will be still and tolerate all of it. But, no treats allowed on the test! She's used to the other dogs in the class now, so she doesn't try as hard to interact with them, and that makes it a kind of artificial situation, so I'm try to get her out and about more to desensitize her, i guess. When she was younger she got carsick all the time and that made it hard to go to a lot of places; i'm trying to make up for it now. Either way, the CGC class is a valuable experience and it actually makes me feel better about things, b/c it helps to know how to work on things and see that there are a lot of things she can still do well. Plus, i see that everyone has stuff they have to work on, even though the other dogs are all older.

Finally, i've had to pretty much start over with her emergency recall training after she slipped out of the house the other day (the door opened behind me when i was leaving and i didn't realize). It took 20 minutes and the decoy of the dog next door in order to get her back. It was a very scary incident. This teenage thing just stinks, if you ask me! We put in all this training for several months, and suddenly poof it's as if it never happened!
 

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So my spoo has been pretty amazing and will be 2 years old next week - at 8 weeks we started socializing and he has been going with me to a local art gallery on Saturday evenings at least twice a month since that time. He encounters all kinds of people and charms most everyone he meets - he always has. He was the easiest dog I have ever house broke - only two accidents ever. He's a dream on a leash. I know I have been very lucky.

He has one issue - he gets surprised - when he is caught off guard he barks very loud and looks like he will pounce. He never does but he has scared the crap out of people - including a couple of his pals at the gallery. He has this reaction to kids sometimes too and that is hard to deal with because out in public he will be around children. I almost hate to expose a kid to him at this point because he can scare them - I have a couple of friends whose grandkids know him well so we work with them. I keep taking him places so that he is exposed to all kinds of people. This whole kids thing is a puzzle - his breeder has 5 kids and he was loved on and played with by all of them - they are a very dog friendly home so it's not like he has never seen children.
 

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Artsi, maybe you could try desensitizing him to kids by starting at a distance where you think he won't bark, giving him treats, gradually getting closer each time, always with more treats, until he's able to tolerate being near kids without barking, b/c he'll associate them with good stuff (treats)?
 

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Artsi, maybe you could try desensitizing him to kids by starting at a distance where you think he won't bark, giving him treats, gradually getting closer each time, always with more treats, until he's able to tolerate being near kids without barking, b/c he'll associate them with good stuff (treats)?
Good idea. I know that some of his reaction is protectiveness - he’s very protective of me and if he’s afraid of kids then he needs to protect me from them. He needs to associate them with something fun.
 

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Discussion Starter #73
I feel like we might be experiencing a bit of a hormonal lull, thanks to the end of Peggy's first heat cycle. But she's only 9 months old, and I'm sure there's plenty more excitement around the bend!

So I'm going to take a deep breath and focus on two upsides of adolescence so far:
  1. Cuddles! All the cuddles! Peggy will now seek out my lap to rest her head while she sleeps. In fact, it's rare she strays very far from us, and she's very good at balancing her affections between me and my husband.
  2. Tail wags! I didn't realize puppy Peggy didn't have a very demonstrative tail until adolescence hit. The change has been dramatic! Overall, I think she's just gotten much better at communicating. Her default used to be a frustrated bark. Now, with her growing vocabulary of body language, her frustration seems to be melting away.
 

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Discussion Starter #74
He has one issue - he gets surprised - when he is caught off guard he barks very loud and looks like he will pounce.
I actually remember reading about this exact trait in a description of the breed. Apparently it's quite common for poodles to startle easily.

One way I've been working to desensitize Peggy is by gently "surprising" her by putting my hand on her back when I give her a treat. I've also eased up on games of fetch after reading it can elevate cortisol levels long after the game is over, leaving dogs on edge. I imagine the same would be true of lengthy dog park sessions and other high-excitement activities.
 

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I actually remember reading about this exact trait in a description of the breed. Apparently it's quite common for poodles to startle easily.

One way I've been working to desensitize Peggy is by gently "surprising" her by putting my hand on her back when I give her a treat. I've also eased up on games of fetch after reading it can elevate cortisol levels long after the game is over, leaving dogs on edge. I imagine the same would be true of lengthy dog park sessions and other high-excitement activities.
I had never heard of this trait but that is good to know. He's such a chill dog that it is a shock when he reacts. He did it Saturday when I was leaving the gallery. It was after dark and someone was on the sidewalk outside with a dog on a leash - he just lost it. He never advanced towards the dog he just barked and backed up so loud.
 

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Discussion Starter #76
I had never heard of this trait but that is good to know. He's such a chill dog that it is a shock when he reacts. He did it Saturday when I was leaving the gallery. It was after dark and someone was on the sidewalk outside with a dog on a leash - he just lost it. He never advanced towards the dog he just barked and backed up so loud.
That exact scenario has been described here MANY times. So...take some comfort in being in good company. :)

It's such a tricky one, because you never know it's coming. You can't prepare yourself to make it a teachable moment.

Would love to hear if anyone else has found a way to manage nighttime scares. Our current approach is just a cheerful, reassuring demeanour and getting the heck out of there:

"Let's go!"

And off we briskly go in the opposite direction, rewarding with a treat.

"Wasn't that a nice man? Aw. He loves puppies! I can tell. Good quiet Peggy."

Another treat.

"Nighttime sure is spooooky. Thanks for being so quiet so we can listen for more nice people."
 

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Discussion Starter #77
Adolescence update:

Lately we seem to get one good day (like, so good that I forget she's an adolescent) and one not-so-good day that can really test our patience. Luckily, even on the more challenging days, she's fully embraced lazy mornings. Whether she's on the floor in my husband's office or on the couch with me, she's quite content to snooze away the hours until lunch.

(Unless of course the FedEx guy dares to step on the porch.)

Clicker training has definitely been part of our leap forward. It's alleviated Peggy's overall frustration and improved her recall tenfold. This morning I said "Peggy here!" and she literally soared through the air from the top level of our yard. It's amazing how it suddenly "clicked" for her.
 

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PTP, i'd love to hear how you worked on recall. That is still a problem for us, still unreliable. We started out on clicker training, and once the behaviors were ingrained, i didn't use the clicker anymore. But for recall it didn't seem to work out. Could you tell me exactly what you did that worked? Did you click once she had come to you, and then treat, or something else?
 

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Discussion Starter #79
PTP, i'd love to hear how you worked on recall. That is still a problem for us, still unreliable. We started out on clicker training, and once the behaviors were ingrained, i didn't use the clicker anymore. But for recall it didn't seem to work out. Could you tell me exactly what you did that worked? Did you click once she had come to you, and then treat, or something else?
I really think the late introduction of clicker training might have been the key for her. We'd already been working on recall for over 6 months. The foundation was there, but the reliability wasn't.

Even now I don't trust it would work in a high stakes situation. That's something I don't expect from her (or any dog) until maturity. And even then, I know there can always be exceptional circumstances.

But I knew we'd made huge progress when she started literally sprinting to me. And that was almost immediately after I introduced the clicker. Once she mentally paired the clicker with reward, she tuned into me on a different level. Every command began eliciting an immediate response.

To start, I just spent a few minutes (my trainer said this process should have actually been days or weeks - oops) doing click, treat, click, treat, click, treat. Then a few minutes doing simple commands:

Sit, butt hits floor, click, treat.

Lay down, elbows hit floor, click, treat.

Repeat, repeat, repeat, always being extremely careful to time the click with the EXACT moment she does the desired behaviour.

Until I introduced the clicker, we'd been working on a more relaxed version of "come" in class, which is basically just her name paired with the word "here." Until then, she'd gotten a high value treat each time she returned to face me, but her response was spotty at best, especially if there was something more fun going on.

But it's been solid since that first clicker session, even when I don't have the clicker. I tried just a gentle "Peggy, here!" when she was playing with her dog friends the other day, when food is usually the last thing on her mind, and she returned so quickly to me that another owner gasped, "Peggy! Wow!"

During a clicker session, the sequence is always "Peggy, here!" followed by a click the moment she arrives in front of me. Then treat.

Chicken or cheese work best for Peggy. Sometimes I'll use dry treats like a special kibble she loves, but not if we're doing anything active, otherwise she chokes. Tiny bits of string cheese is the best.

P.S. It's been hard training my husband not to ruin the command by using it for unpleasant things or by saying it in a harsh tone. Even for things she doesn't really mind, I encourage him to use an alternative. So going into her crate, for example, is "In."

I never want her to stop and think, "The fun ends if I obey this command." It should just be an extension of the most fun thing ever.

One way we reinforce the fun, outside of clicker training, is by playing "catch" with her. I call it that because it's almost like we're tossing her back and forth. We do this by standing at opposite ends of a field (or the house), each armed with treats, and we take turns calling her. It's the fastest I've ever seen her run. 😂
 

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Discussion Starter #80
Oh! In addition to that novel I just wrote, I should add that I've found clicker training most useful from a distance. Have you tried that? I think that's probably helped her recall, too—learning to listen to me even when we're 15 or 20 feet apart.

I use a "Go to your bed" command paired with a point, which sends her to a mat. The moment a paw touches the mat, click, and I toss a treat. Then we go through the basics from a distance: Sit. Lay down. Up. Wait.

Always with a click and a treat toss. Or sometimes I'll mix it up by walking the treat to her.

Note that I really don't actually know what I'm doing. 😂 I'm only just started to seriously research clicker training, so most of this is just my intuitive approach. Proceed with caution. ;)
 
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