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Pup went bezerk (& other questions)

December 14th, 2004, 12:34 AM
Me again... I know I have an endless stream of questions.

Pretty much every night Batman goes crazy. He just starts frantically trying to get up on the couch, chase the cat, chew things he isn't allowed to and normally doesn't, tries to play tug of war with everything in site. Now if it happened on days when he didn't get as much exercise as usual I would attribute it to that but it seems to be WORSE when he gets lots of exercise.

Last night after a fun & busy day he just went out of control. It was too the point where my fiance and I were scared that maybe this was his 'real' personality. When he gets like this he is also very reactive so any correction or control we try to take just gets him even more wired. He seriously looked deranged!

I would love some advice on how to deal with this. Usually when it happens we are sitting on the couch relaxing because it is getting close to bed time. Last night we played monkey in the middle (he loves it) with him before it usually starts and it clearly did not help at all.

The rest of the time he is great. He knows many commands, he can stay/sit while he is distracted & when I am out of view, he isn't aggresive, (we will pretend to eat his meal before him, take his bones and pretend to chew them etc. and he doesn't mind at all).

Another area I would love some advice on is stopping regular bad behaviour. It seems so easy to teach good behaviours but terribly difficult to stop the undesirable ones ie: tugging on pant legs, jumping up at the couch, chasing the cat (who doesn't seem to mind too much), getting overly excited and playing too rough which leads to nipping, barking etc.. The barking is the only one which he seem to beable to control because he is never that excited when he barks. But the other behaviours he does when he gets really wired and when we try to correct him he gets even MORE crazy. We have been mostly ignoring and saying NO = no effect.

My next questions.

How do you know if you are on 'command overload'. I feel like we have taught him so much... he has learned everything so far and seems to really enjoy learning new commands. He has several functional commands: come, sit, stay, take it, no (that was incorrect), over here (if we want him to go somewhere), Hurry Up, Paw. We are in the practice phase of down, leave it, & Find_____. He also is pretty good with the names of his three favourite toys 'rope' 'pink ball' & 'bone'. Actually 'come' definitly need practice because I dont' think it is entirely reliable.

I am not sure which approach is best. Do you try to teach him as much as you can while he is young & keep perfecting as he gets older? For example work gradually on making his stays longer and longer. Or do you stick to a few commands and then add more later.

For example 'Heel'. When do I add that? Batman currently walks on my left side most of the time in basically the heel position. Since he was little I just made it so he was on my left side and he naturally likes to walk beside me.

I just have been trying to teach him as much he seems comfortable with and gradually all the commands are getting better. I use them all day long for everything.

December 14th, 2004, 02:21 AM
You sound like it's a great start!!! Good one!! Congrats on the baby! :)
Sounds like he just has to burnoff some energy, and probably will for a while....he hee. What about a long walk after supper?
As for command overload, maybe try to limit your obedience sessions to 10 minutes at first.

December 14th, 2004, 02:31 AM
Thanks for responding! :) I do keep training to usually not more than 5 minutes but it might add up to 20 minutes a day or more perhaps.

Today is going SO well! He has had NO ACCIDENTS and seems so grown up and mature. He! He! He is almost 13 weeks and I think it child years he seems about 6. Wheras when we got him it was like having a kid in the terrible twos! :crazy:

December 14th, 2004, 06:10 AM
When it comes to "frap" time (F.R.A.P. stands for something that I can't remember anymore -- but it's what you called going "berserk") happens with my puppy (8 month poodle), there's nothing i can do but watch and direct him towards activities he's allowed to do, like play rough with his toys. If I've tired him out well enough, sometimes there is no frap time -- and these days he knows how to go nutsy without disobeying the house rules! It takes time though. But don't worry, Batman sounds pretty normal!!

December 14th, 2004, 06:17 AM
Well last night after spending a day of reading my dog books and reading about FRAP (Frenetic random activity periods). I took charge and when he started trying to bite out pants legs etc. I gave him a 20 sec time out in the bathroom. He came out and went crazy again. I said "no" took him to the bathroom again for about 20 secs, let him out and he was totally fine after that. Yes he still played and was very energetic but he stopped attacking us. :) I have only given him a few time outs before because I am not sure how I feel about them, but it did seem to make him realize that I wasn't going to stand for him 'attacking' me.

December 14th, 2004, 07:55 AM
My Duke has always had these moments. Usually in the evening even after exercise. I let him do it for a bit and then call him to come and reward him for coming. By the time he is finished his treat he forgets what he was doing. It can be quite intimidating when humans are in the mix. I have put his harness or gentle leader on him a couple of times to remind him he is in the house and/or under control.

With the obedience, I do believe sometimes it is too much too fast. Duke has displayed some challenge behavior which I think is normal but I am slowing it down a bit. Quality versus quantity.

Try putting his collar, harness or gentle leader on.

Good luck.

December 14th, 2004, 09:26 AM
Young pups do tend to go nuts around dusk. This is when the pack would hunt. They are hard wired to get wired at this time. it is natural - so try to make the best of it while still setting limits on bad behavior. it will subside as he matures. He is still such a little baby and has a way to go before he grows up. You are doing a great job by working his vocabulary so much. We teach that a pup can have a 40 word vocabulary in a week or two. Teach him as much as you can and then be sure to use it. He could have 20 different toys and know their names. Teach him to track and find (which it sounds like you have started), give a name to every room in the house, name every action he can perform, etc.

Command overload would show up as "hitting the zone". All learning is stressful and he has to put out chemicals to deal with the stress. He only has so much of the chemicals and then he runs out. He might seem less engaged or just generally not as enthused - Quickly end on a positive note and give him a break. He needs to replenish the chemicals before he can do any more successful learning. Try to get to know him and how long it might take him to get to the 'zone'. Try not to work so long or hard that he gets there again. Always stop just short of that point - this will keep things more fun and interesting for both of you.

Besure that you are not over exercising this little body. Play is the best thing for him - not long walks. His body is not ready for long walks (the muscles can only support his joints and bones for so long - before damage occurs), and the more you rely on exercise the more you are conditioning an athlete. Exercising his brain is just as exhausting and not quite so full of adrenaline rushes. So it would be good to balance the physical workouts with mental workouts. It gets you a better behaved dog and a deeper relationship. It sounds like you are already doing a great job.

Heel - he can know today.

Our training method is all about creating balance - rewarding the good stuff while balancing with setting boundaries and limits on the bad choices - ie grabbing your pant leg. We aren't so keen on time outs. Dogs react in the moment - both with pressure and rewards. So we teach you how to pressure the bad choices and reward the good ones in the second. Dogs get it right away because its who they are. Having the leash on to empower your words when he is making bad choices can help alot.

He is still very young and is going to challenge you. But because you have started on such a good note his challenges should be less negative overall.

December 14th, 2004, 11:32 AM
Besure that you are not over exercising this little body. Play is the best thing for him - not long walks. His body is not ready for long walks (the muscles can only support his joints and bones for so long - before damage occurs), and the more you rely on exercise the more you are conditioning an athlete. Exercising his brain is just as exhausting and not quite so full of adrenaline rushes. So it would be good to balance the physical workouts with mental workouts. It gets you a better behaved dog and a deeper relationship. It sounds like you are already doing a great job.

Actually just yesterday I read something similar to this and decided to back off on walks etc. Out vet said to make sure he gets lots of exercise... but after doing some reading, and reaing your post I am going to back off and add more mental games. He just LOVES "find the_____". :D

December 14th, 2004, 11:34 AM
I have only given him a few time outs before because I am not sure how I feel about them, but it did seem to make him realize that I wasn't going to stand for him 'attacking' me.

Giving a pet a time out, due to bad behaviour is no different than givng a child a time our for bad behaviour. Our dog is over 10 months old, and he still gets time outs when he has been naughty.

December 14th, 2004, 08:42 PM
my 2yrs old blue heeler does that every nite nomatter what she did that day she would just start running around the house chasing the cats harassing my dad when hes trying to nap, :p and sometimes shewill come running at me and leap in my lap and haveing a 35+lb. dog(she thinks puppy,and lap dog)leap in your lap is not a very fun thing a dont mind wrestling on the floor with her which she absolutly loves to do,she thinks it is so great when i get really rouff(sp) with her problly the breed,i usually give her all her toys and she will try and distroy all of them throwing them so she can run and get it and throw it again and again and again she does this for about an hour than after that she falls on the floor and goes right to sleep. :D

jen & blue

December 14th, 2004, 10:09 PM
Giving a pet a time out, due to bad behaviour is no different than givng a child a time our for bad behaviour. Our dog is over 10 months old, and he still gets time outs when he has been naughty.

Yep, Casey too.

Sometimes I think the timeout is really for me. I don't want to get frustrated with him (yes, I have done that in the past and regretted it -- whacked his poor little bottom :sad: and came here for support -- Luba was so great that day :love: .... I miss her)

December 15th, 2004, 05:24 AM
Well Jeff and I are not worrying when Batman starts going bonkers. It is nice to know that our puppy isn't special in that regard.

Last night it happened and again we gave him two timeouts and after that he went to his play area and took him energy out on a toy and blanket and then passed right out.

I do agree with moontamara... it is nice to have those few seconds to recollect your patience. I still have only been using the time out for when he 'FRAPs' out because it is the only thing that apparently works. For his normal 'bad' behaviour we dont' need to use them.

I suppose I should think of what it would be like having a big dog going bezerk. :p Batman is a HUGE 6 pounds... but we do try to treat him just as you would a 90 pound dog. Still 6 pounds of crazy dog is much easier to deal with. :cool:

December 15th, 2004, 01:55 PM
Great thread. Batman sounds like a canine genius!! :cool: I have the same problem with my 9 month old Sibe. He is relentless with the nipping and general harrassment (usually evenings on days with less than normal activity) I too, have been losing my patience. :confused: I usually end up walking away to another room. I like the time-out idea. I have tried to distract him with other things, but he seems to really just want to wrestle. I have taken him out for a game of fetch, but he continues to nipp and jump etc. :evil: Will try the time-out! Thanks

December 15th, 2004, 03:02 PM
If time-outs are working that's great - I just want to make sure that we aren't avoiding teaching by doing the time-out.
Dogs live in the moment and learn through the boundaries that other dogs set for them. A young puppy jumping all over mom is fine until he nips her and she will correct him in a heart beat and then let him go back to playing. If he does it again she will follow with the same correction. Now he is starting to see a pattern - I nip hard = she gets mad - but as long as I don't nip hard I can keep playing with her. She has set a boundary on his behavior and as long as he plays by her rules he can keep playing.
We immitate this by allowing the pup to play with us and we give it a direction "Let's play" - if he starts to misbehave we say "Easy" or "quit" in a firm low tone while looking him in the eye and throwing some pressure in his direction (pressure can be a startle, closing our distance, an irritation etc). Then we give him a chance to choose again. As long as he is playing nicely we will play with him, but when he goes overboard he gets corrected. He might challenge a few times - thinking we don't really mean it - but if you are intense in your displeasure then he should get the message fairly quickly.

December 16th, 2004, 08:51 AM
Hi Tenderfoot,
I love the way you described that and it will stick in my mind from now on when Batman crosses that line. The problem with when he goes Bezerk is that he becomes highly reactive. If we say no, or try to get him to settle it makes him even MORE excited. :rolleyes: Usually when he just gets rambucous he is good about backing off when asked - it is just when he becomes this wild maniac that nothing but a timeout works.

I am going to keep working on teaching him to play nicely as you have described. Everything else you have given me to work has worked amazingly!

OwndbyaSibe - well we certainly like to think he is a genius. :p Actually Rat Terriers are known for being very intelligent - part of the reason we picked the breed. With the timeouts we usually count to about 20 and let him out... if he comes out and won't listen again, back in he goes. We have only ever had to give him 2 timeouts in one evening. After that he usually mellows out and starts listening again.

December 16th, 2004, 10:48 AM
The key at that time will be to correct and disengage instantly - he will come at you for more - then correct and disengage instantly again.
If you meet his energy with more energy, when he is in that mood, then he will 'up the ante' so to speak. So you have to be clear and quick. Don't make it a battle. He might challenge you several times, but if you can back your word up with the leash then he will know he has no power over you and should give up.
I would highly recommend the 'love & trust roll" for this little guy. If you need me to explain it I can.

December 16th, 2004, 12:55 PM
I have never heard of the "love & trust roll". Please explain! :D

How exactly do I stop him when he is doing something undesirable.

This is what happens now...

*Batman starts trying to jump up on the couch when I am sitting there*

me: "OFF" and give him a push down

*Batman increases his efforts, bouncing up and down*

me: "OFF" and push him down, ignoring him as much as possible

this may repeat a couple more times - eventually he gets mad and will make some noise (sort of a growl/bark/ whine)

Finally we get so fed up with him we may direct him to his toys (which sometimes works if he is starting to calm down) or if he is getting Increasingly excited he send him for a timeout as a last resort.

This is only one scenario. I am having so much fun training him to DO things, but I am getting increasingly frustrated with getting him to STOP doing things that are not allowed. I think it is because I don't quite understand the process of getting my message across. Perhaps he isn't 'listening' because he just doesn't understand what I mean???? I am sure I am using the right tone of voice. :confused:

Would you recommend us keeping a leash on him at all times? Then it would be availible to use... but how would I use it??

December 16th, 2004, 05:33 PM
Time outs are very helpful, as long as they quick....or the pup will completely forget why he was put away. I know when Solara was a pup, she'd have those spurts and it was usually because she was tired, I'd put her in her pen, and dhe'd go right to sleep :)

December 16th, 2004, 06:22 PM
First the 'Love & Trust Roll" (NOT!!!! the alpha roll).
We promote an exercise that we call the "Love and Trust Roll" - It is when you place your dog on his back between your legs (his tail is towards your lap and his head is towards your feet) and give him a nice massage. This places the dog in a vulnerable position and teaches him to trust you while you give him a loving massage. This promotes trust and teaches him to relax while you examine him, trim his nails and spend a nice time together without resorting to aggression. I want to teach my dog to trust that I will not hurt her in this position - sometimes trust must be learned, because it does not always automatically come with a relationship.
The key is to make it a nice time - many dogs who will willingly roll over for you to rub their tummy (saying "pet me now!") can have a hard time emotionally when you roll them over intentionally with an agenda in mind. Suddenly they get nervous and defensive. So this would give you an opportunity to create boundaries on his good and bad behavior. He gets massaged and rubbed when he is relaxed and good, but he gets eye contact and sharp tone when he is not. But you must always return to the soft massage in a heart beat after you have delivered your message, and make your face and tone soft again. When he is relaxed (loose limbs, deep breath and his head is laying back to expose his neck to you) then you slowly release him and keep him with you as he does a mental body check. "Oh, she didn't hurt me and if fact that felt pretty good when she rubbed me." Now, do it again - hoping for a faster response to relaxed mode. Do it a few times until he seems to melt when you flip him over.
We do the "Love & Trust Roll" at no particular time in his behavior pattern. It is simply that I need to teach him to trust me in his most vulnerable position. Again calmness is what releases him and from there I keep them in the position a little longer each time as I massage them and examine his teeth, ears, etc. It should become a nice time for both of you. My dogs line up when they see its time for the roll. They can't wait for the attention to be lavished on them.
Because this drill works on your dog's respect/trust for you it teaches your dog to have better self-control during the potential temper tantrums that occur when he is in the turbo mode. This will also hone your responses to his behavior. Lightning quick as you change from happy to firm to happy - just like a dog.
We have had clients tell us that their "oh so sweet puppy is the dearest thing on the planet" and then we do the trust roll and she becomes the Tasmanian devil. It is because no one has ever pushed the little darling’s buttons and she has gotten everything she wants when she wants it. Now she is put into a vulnerable position and some of her truer temperament comes flying out. I would much rather know who my dog can be under a controlled circumstance with me then when she is caught off guard by an innocent child who could get bit.
NEXT - Leashes & voice corrections
Yes, we recommend that your dog is on the leash, in the house, as much as you can stand it for a week or so. Especially when he is out of control. This gives your word power - otherwise he learns he is faster than you and can do as he pleases and your word is meaningless. DO NOT do it if you are in a bad mood. This is not to punish either of you - it is to create a balanced relationship.
Everywhere you go he follows - you are the leader, he is the follower! Simple.
You are ready to praise or correct a behavior in the micro-second it happens. Always giving him the chance to make another (better) choice about his behavior.
As you see that he is listening to your words and hand signals and you are not actually using the leash then you are off leash. This should happen in a matter of minutes to days - not weeks or months. Sometimes my dog will be great for a few weeks and then he gets a wild hair and he goes back on the leash for a couple of hours until we are back in balance again.
Have someone listen to your voice corrections. You might be surprised or you might sound great but something else is missing in his respect for your words. You corrections should be short, sharp sounding and firm. Too many people make NO sound like a long drawn out melody, which is one reason we like the word "quit" it is short and to the point. Make sure you don't sound like you are asking a question when you correct him - no? quit? It is a solid direction not a question.
NEXT - Jumping up
When he is jumping on you and you tell him off - Do not PUSH him down - that is a game to him and he doesn't take you seriously. Make your hand flat and palms towards him and you can "pop" the air in front of him. Do not HIT him that is not what this is about - setting a boundary with your hands and energy is very different than hitting him. Simply create a boundary that he is not welcome in and MEAN IT. If he jumps up and touches your 'popping' hand it will be uncomfortable for him and after a few tries it will no longer be fun and he should give up and hopefully sit asking "well what can I do?". When he sits then rewards him with praise and soft touch.
Ideally you have to stop him as he is thinking about jumping up not when he is half way in the air - he can't stop himself then. So show him your flat palms and say 'off' just as you see him thinking about jumping up. This is teaching you to read your dog's thoughts and to react in time to help him make a better choice. Always use just enough energy to get results - not so much that you intimidate him but not so little that he blows you off. Each time and day might be a little more or less according to his mood, and as he gains respect for your word then it will be come just the hand signal or just the word and barely any energy at all.