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What makes you think it's "angry" and not over-arousal/inappropriate play? That's a boisterous age for a spoo.

Just interested in how you distinguish between the two.

And does it happen specifically when you have the trash bin? Or just when you're inside the fenced area? Do you ever play with him back there? If so, what sort of games?

I'm asking these questions because my young spoo can get riled up very quickly while playing (or wanting to play), and depending on how I respond in these situations, she could absolutely start tugging on my sleeve or the hem of my shirt. While I definitely do not like this behaviour, I do not consider it aggressive biting.
 

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It's not about reading his mind so much as his body language, but that doesn't really sound like aggression to me.

Still highly undesirable behaviour, though. Perhaps borne of frustration? Maybe this sort of thing worked when he was smaller and he's expecting it'll work again? Or he's the "any attention is good attention" type and is being rewarded with a reaction from you?

I'll let the pros here weigh in, but I'd suspect he's bored out there alone and has some pent-up mental and physical energy to burn off. My go-to move when Peggy is over-aroused is to turn into the most boring statue. No eye contact.

(Of course, if I'm misreading this and he really is showing signs of aggression, you need a behaviourist asap. Do you have a trainer you can ask for a referral?)
 

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How much time does he spend outside by himself? What do you do when he bites?

If he were my dog he would not be allowed in the situations where he acts like that. If it is a "thing" he does in the yard he would not be going out there unless it was on a leash. He would immediately be demoted and lose all privileges and have to earn them back. He is not allowed on any furniture in the house. He does not get any food, toys, petting, treats, or attention until he does something to earn it. That means he has to obey. To get his dinner he must sit on command and wait to be released. To go out the door he must down and wait to be released. To get a treat he must offer a paw or sit up or something else. Whatever he wants he has to do something to earn it.

Check out the "nothing in life is free" method of dog training. He needs to learn that he is the dog and you are his boss.
 

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I subscribe to "Nothing in life is free" to an extent, but couldn't such an abrupt change make things worse with a dog that is already frustrated? If he's not being adequately exercised, for example?

I was asking Peggy to sit for EVERYTHING for a while there, and so she began "demand sitting" which I didn't especially like either. She's got such a high drive. Practicing and capturing calm has been more effective for us, and the foundation for that continues to be appropriate mental stimulation/energy release daily, in the form of "noodling" walks, free runs, fetch, puzzles, chew or shred time, short training sessions, etc. Without those things, we'd be fighting a losing battle.

I do agree that backyard time is not a good idea right now. Don't give him opportunity to repeat (or "rehearse") that behaviour.
 

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Frustration comes from not knowing the rules and having no guidelines of how he is expected to behave, not from being required to earn the things that he wants. Absolutely he needs adequate exercise, but that can be in large part mental exercise with daily on leash walks until he earns the right to have access to the yard to run around in. If a dog doesn't know what his place in the family is, he is forced to decide for himself where and how he fits in. If there is no apparent leader, he may decide that it's up to him to take that role. Letting him know that you are in charge lets him relax and settle down.

"noodling" walks, free runs, fetch, puzzles, chew or shred time, short training sessions, etc." are excellent. Other than the free runs they are things where the dog is interacting and cooperating with people. Free runs are fine if there is a place where you can safely let him off leash and if he will reliably come, but probably will have to wait until later as for right now he doesn't get to do that in your fenced yard.
 

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I think this dog is over excited and has poor impulse control. I also think he is desperate for structured time outside, not just jackassing around on his own. I would work on focused attention and things that connect him to you in positive ways. Look for Its Yer Choice by Susan Garrett. Play games where you impose structure and rules like fetch where he has to return the ball and sit politely while you take the ball from him and get ready to throw it again. Tug toys and flirt poles also work well for this. If he gives up tugging when you tell him to you go right back to the play. If he doesn't give the toy back when you tell him then have him do static obedience behaviors (sit, down and such) before resuming the play.
 

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My two get up to no good without their daily run too. They get to go for a run every day except for the very coldest weather, and you can tell they missed it the next time we take them! I would definitely manage the situation and not allow him to be in the area when you take the garbage out and he displays the unwanted behaviour. Obedience training is such a great thing for poodles ...I'd highly recommend finding a class. It will keep his mind busy and strengthen your bond with him.

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I agree with pretty much everything posted here... Sounds like a bored dog, not an aggressive one - which is a good thing :) My dog also goes wild if I don't exercise her every day (45 min playing at the park, or two 15-20 min walks a day), plus playing, plus brain work/training. My spoo doesn't care if it's raining, snowing, or gale force winds - she needs her exercise, and I regret it if she doesn't get it.

I'd suggest your first step is to make sure biting you/nipping you is an ineffective way to get (any)attention. Maybe head back inside, ignoring the dog?

Second - fetch is a great game, but as you've discovered, it's a game they can play all day... Adding brain work, and impulse control makes it much more tiring for the dog. I started out by demanding a sit prior to throwing the ball (after my spoo nipped me a few times in excitement), and have moved on to demanding longer sits, sit stays or down stays while I move around, sit/down/stand etc practice at a distance, etc... It makes her much more tired much faster, and teaches her impulse control. The best impulse control game with fetch so far is a sit stay while I throw the ball, then a release to get it on my command. Way more tiring than fetch (and an impressive trick to show off with :p )

Second - what else do you do other than fetch to exercise the dog? Walks, training sessions, etc? The best advice I got when I went to see a dog trainer was to incorporate training into everyday life. Doing dishes? Practice downstay. Packing lunch? Practice tricks for vegetable pieces. Etc, etc... it makes my spoo a MUCH happier, calmer dog when I work her a few times (even just 2 min!) every day.
 

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I think there's a middle ground between giving your dog adequate exercise and playing non-stop fetch....

It definitely takes a little bit of creativity in extreme weather, but, as For Want Of Poodle mentioned, it's worth it to put in that effort for a high-drive poodle. There's nothing nicer than a spoo that's had its needs met....and few things more exhausting than one who hasn't!

Of course, you don't want to take it to the extreme and create an adrenaline junkie. But enriching your poodle's days with physical and mental exercise will make you both so much happier.

Are you on Facebook? If so, look up the Canine Enrichment group. It was recommended to me by someone here and will give you new ideas daily for satisfying your poodle's doggy needs.

Honestly, sometimes I have to remind myself: "You chose this breed! You wanted a medium-energy dog and you got one!" It's just that her schedule doesn't vary like ours does. She doesn't have hard days at work, she doesn't mind the rain, and she never seems to feel kinda creaky and rundown like us adult humans occasionally do. She needs her medium-energy needs met, EVERY DAY. And that was our commitment to her when we brought her home

Of course, this typically mellows with age. My last dog was half poodle and a bit of a hellion in her youngest years. But she transformed at 3 when she fully matured, then again at 5 when she was going to work with me every day (and was soooo happy to have a "job" and a predictable routine), and then again at 8 when she began slowing down due to health issues.

By then she was the easygoing little companion of my dreams, and spoiling her through her 6.5 golden years was a highlight of my life.

But....eventually she could no longer hike with us. Or spend long days out and about. She slept a LOT near the end. And fetch was a distant memory. There were trade-offs. Painful trade-offs. So I'm making every effort to embrace these wild years with Peggy as I know what even the best future together will bring.

Keep us posted on your progress! I think you have a poodle that's trying very hard to communicate you, and is probably an excellent learner. Definitely enroll in a class together if you haven't already.
 

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Just throwing a ball for your dog isn’t enough stimulation for it. And it doesn’t teach the dog any impulse control. Try doing some actual training. Train tricks and take your dog out on true walks teaching a loose leash walk, and set up thinking exercises such as treat releasing toys/puzzles and hiding treats around the house to find. This will help him use his brain and help teach some impulse control.
 

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Bruises are no good, but they do come with the territory. With their strong bodies and immature brains, adolescent dogs can be real monsters.

If I'm reading you correctly, you sound a little defensive in your responses, which is understandable. We only know what you've told us. I'm sure your efforts at teaching your spoo are tremendous and consistent, so please don't think any of us are diminishing that. It's a big job! It can be exhausting. Many of us have been there (or ARE there). We can empathize.

I'll give you an example from my day, which you can read when you need reminding you're not alone:

Peggy inhaled her breakfast this morning, which is unusual. She was very ON, responding with great gusto to every command, trying to anticipate my movements and generally being a bit....much. On top of that, the weather is blustery and weird. I could sense it might be one of those days.

Sure enough, mid-play, Peggy suddenly tucked her tail, closed her mouth once! twice! on my arm, and began racing around the house. She's still at the zoomies age, but we do not allow them indoors. So I asked for a sit and wait before opening up the back door to let her run it out, and—ARGHHH. The neighbour behind us was doing loud yard work! Tree branches were falling with big crashes. Peggy's energy went from 10 to 11.

I called her back in and clipped a leash on her collar, walking her slowly through the house until she'd calmed down a bit. I took her for a short potty break out front, far from the loud backyard noises, and then back we went, inside. Still leashed.

I directed her to her spot in the kitchen. Sit. Stay. I made her a puzzle using treats tucked inside toilet paper rolls, folded up tight and then squeezed into a paper towel roll. I narrated as I worked, catching and holding her attention, building anticipation and interest. She eagerly followed me to her exercise pen when I released her (which is in the living room) and I closed her inside there to work on her "toy" while I FINALLY made my morning coffee. She fell into a deep sleep as soon as she got to the last treat.

An hour later, she was back to being on high alert, looking for something (anything!) to do, and barking at every little noise. So my husband played frisbee with her in the yard for half an hour. He could tell it wasn't enough. She was still looking for things to do. We could get frustrated or......

We took her to the park for a leashed "noodling" walk (lots of sniffing and seeing), following by a short training session. And then we wrapped up with an off-leash run at the dog park (after making sure all the dogs there were good matches). We called her back every few minutes for a breather, closely supervising all play, and then waited for the signs that—finally!—she'd had enough.

Hallelujah!

She's been docile, sweet, and compliant ever since, giving sleepy hugs in between long stretches of deep snoozing.

The End.

(Until tomorrow ?)


Note: We work with an excellent positive reinforcement trainer who runs weekly classes and also consults with us as necessary on any questionable behaviours. Find someone you trust if you're feeling overwhelmed!
 

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(Oh, and regarding treat releasing toys, I just make my own. We did get a Kong Wobbler and a Tug-A-Jug for kibble. Peggy thought both were great fun, but they were loud and made a big mess because she'd not actually bother with the eating part. Great tools for dogs that typically race through mealtime, though. Maze bowls are also good. Or scattering a serving of kibble in grass that's not been treated with chemical pesticides or fertilizers. This is where the Canine Enrichment group on Facebook could really help you.)
 

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I am really concerned about poodles who are aggressive and/or hyperactive. I wonder who is breeding such dogs? The one time I had a standard who was aggressive toward other dogs and, to some degree, toward people, his breeder and I agreed that he should be put down. Bad temperament is in such a large dog is really dangerous.

I know that putting such a dog down sounds awful, but poodles simply should not be aggressive dogs - never! Puppies do mouth and sometimes nip, but that needs to be strongly discouraged. As suggested above, try training and strenous play first.
 

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Johanna, you quite frankly sound ridiculous. Maybe you should put YOUR dog down. Eventhough I know almost nothing about you. Are you indirectly asking who I purchased my dog from? Because it’s none of your damn business. Have a nice day all!
 

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Wha????

Johanna, you quite frankly sound ridiculous. Maybe you should put YOUR dog down. Eventhough I know almost nothing about you. Are you indirectly asking who I purchased my dog from? Because it’s none of your damn business. Have a nice day all!
Reported!
 
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