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Matty's latest update, and a few Q's

December 8th, 2005, 12:27 PM
Hi all,

Haven't posted here for a while and Matty's 6 months old already! Before I forget, let me post a new picture of Matty first ...

I took the picture with my phone so the quality's a little poor. He's a big boy now ... weighting 55lbs at 6 mths.

We've taken Matty to an obedience class and he's going to graduate next week! I was skeptical of the obedience class initially because most of what is caught in the class I knew before-hand and I've trained Matty with most of them already. But surprisingly, Matty's responded pretty well with the class ... maybe it's a case of training him in an environment with distraction from other dogs and people, or maybe it's just the trainer emphasizing on points that I overlooked in the first place.

So while I'm happy that Matty is a more obedient doggie after the class, he's far from being an obedient dog though.

A few things I want him to improve and need some help are:

- When we walk him, whenever he sees other people, especially kids, he'd launch himself at the person and we'll have to pull him back. When the person gets within shooting range, he'll try to jump up to the person. We pull him down, and usually try to distract him from the person by asking him to do sits, stays, downs ...etc etc until the person is gone. We'd like to let other people pat and play with him, but it's been impossible. We can distract him half the times so he doesn't harrase the people walking by, but he just can't learn how to behave with other people.

- He's 6 months old, but he's still a little nippy when we play with him. It isn't so much he's actually trying to bite us, but when we play, or when we're doing something to him which he doesn't like (like holding his collar) he's too active with his mouth. Everytime he does it we'd go "Ouch" loudly, then firmly tell him "No!" and then isolate him for 15-30 sec's.

- He's an attention freak. We'd be sitting in the family room trying to watch TV. He'd come over, sit in front of us, lay down, wig his tail, but when we still don't give him much attention / pat him / play with him, he'd start barking at us. We'd tell him "No Barking!", and if he continues to bark we'll isolate him for 15-30 sec's.

- Last but not least, he'd climb up to the counter top a lot especially when there's food. He'd try to lick / eat what's on the counter. We'd take his front legs (which are on the counter top), while keep telling him "Off! No jumping!" and make him walk backward until he gets tired and sits down.

At least he's improved in other areas that annoyed us a lot ... when he wakes up in the morning he no longer barks in his crate, but he'd patiently wait until we come downstairs to let him out. He still bites forbidden stuffs around the house (slippers, plants, furnitures) but at least he's a lot more responsive with the "off" command.


December 8th, 2005, 12:41 PM
it sounds exactly like my 7 month old lab, except for the greeting people, she's been in obedience class since she was 7 weeks old, when we walk on the bike path and a person/jogger or a biker shows up, we step off the path and make her sit/stay till they go by, now she does it automatically, if someone stops and wants to pet her, we tell her "settle"....and when she calms down, then we allow them *L* she gets all hyper and excited then. Just keep up the positive enforcements and before you know it, it will all "click" into place.

December 8th, 2005, 12:58 PM
Thanks. I guess we'll keep doing what we've been doing and be patient then. He loves people and other dogs though, which is a good thing (unlike my beagle, who doesn't really care much about meeting other ppl / dogs). He just hasn't learned his manner yet.

BTW now that I count again, Matty's 7 months old, not 6. So he's the same age as your dog! :)

December 8th, 2005, 01:15 PM
Wow! He is such a big cutie! I can't believe his size at 7 months old!

For the jumping at people, I would enlist the help of a friend and get her to approach Matty..if he pulls/jumps toward her she is to stop and turn her back on him...You can have him in a sit/down/stand-stay if you want...keep getting your friend to walk closer and closer to him until he is okay with watching her walk by. Then eventually, not necessarily in the same session, you can get her to approach him directly (with the intention of giving him a fuss)...If he pulls or jumps she is to turn her back on him...eventually Matty will get it and you can test it out with other people.

With regards to being nippy when he doesn't like what your doing to him...I would start handling him ALL over throughout the can start when he's resting so he's not as hyper. I would practice the problem spots a lot - like the collar area, until he doesn't notice or care that you are petting the area...eventually you can start holding him in place by the collar treat him for it. I found that I had to stop playfighting with my pup because he got so excited that he would start nipping - now we play tug or fetch with toys but rarely do we playfight... Also, I would make Matty's time-out longer than 30 seconds because if he's all hyper from playing he'll need longer to calm down...

With regards to being an attention hog - is there any possibility that he could be bored and need more exercise? Before going to sit in the TV room, I would do some training with Matty...after you can give him a kong or treat ball to keep him busy...Have you taught him a command like "go lie down"? Matty is still young but your goal is to teach him that he cannot demand attention...he only gets cuddles or play time with you if he's earned it (and at your discretion!)!

I've never had to deal with a counter-surfer...but to me, this is totally unacceptable and I would be a bit more "forceful" about keeping him off the counters...I would probably get a spray bottle or a can with a few pennies in it and set him up with temptation... Leave something on the table and wait where he can't see you but you can see him... the instant he goes for the temptation, either squirt him, or rattle the shouldn't need to do that too often before he gets it...Alternatively, you can work on the "leave it" command...where Matty is in a stay while you put food in front of him...the goal is to teach Matty self-control by being able to put food on his paws, or toss food at him or walk by food in heel position without taking it (eventually you will want him to not even look at the food).

Whew! Good luck with Matty! I'm sorry I wrote so much but I've just experienced exactly what you are going through!:D

December 8th, 2005, 02:10 PM
Lissa gave you fabulous advice, so I won't repeat anything. Just wanted to say Matty has turned out to be quite a handsome devil! sounds like you've done a great job thus far, as I'm sure you'll continue to do! best of luck to you and Matty!

December 8th, 2005, 02:47 PM
Thanks for the good advices ... yes we think Matty's a pretty good looking dog too (but of course, we're biased :) ) and he's growing to be a big dog. His dad was ~ 75lbs full grown and Matty's well on that path. Like most puppies, Matty tends to pull when we walk him but fortunately he isn't too bad. We hope by the time he's fully grown he won't pull on the leash at all ...

Yes, I'll try getting my friends to help train Matty to not jump at ppl ... hopefully when he gets older he'll also be a little less hyper. For now we haven't been able to get him to behave when strangers want to pat him. We end up having to pull him away cos he's too hyper and just won't settle down.

As for him being nippy, yes we're been practising the problem spots a lot. We've been touching / patting his mouth area to try to get him to bite. Because the goal is to eventually train him to be a therapy dog (my wife used to volunteer at the hospital with her last dog and she wants to do the same with Matty) we want to make sure he won't get mouthy no matter what. I guess it just takes more time and practise ... I just wanted to make sure we're on the right path.

As for attention hog ... no it has nothing to do with his exercise / energy level. Last night when we got back from the training class, he was dead tired and actually fell asleep on the short drive home. But when we got back home, when my wife sat down to watch TV he started acting up begging for attention, and when he doesn't get it he started barking. I could give him a kong-with treat but he finishes it up in ~ 5 minutes, then he starts looking for attention again.

Finally for being a counter-surfer, yes it's a big no no to me as well. Spray bottle is a good idea ... Matty is pretty good with the stay, so that when I toss food at him during a 'stay' he can mantain his stay. It doesn't seem to stop him from climbing the counter top though. Like most dogs, Matty LOVES to eat.

December 8th, 2005, 02:58 PM
What kind of training are you in now? Have you tried clicker training?

Sorry, I don't think I was clear - don't give him a kong when or after he's begging for attention. It sounds like the best thing to do is teach him to go to his place! It's sorta a good thing that he's an attention hog - I think he'll make a wonderful therapy dog!:)

You are on the right track and it definately sounds like you know what your doing! You have nothing to worry about - you, your wife and Matty will be just fine!!

Not to make you worry but my dog is now 17 months old and still gets overly excited when certain people make a fuss of him! It's definately a work in progress!:D

Do you have any more pictures of Matty!?!? I don't think I saw him when he was younger!

December 8th, 2005, 02:58 PM
Just to add to the great advice already given...

with regards to jumping w/ strangers - my pup (8mths) does it too - but I make a point to tell the stranger no pats unless all four are on the floor. I ask the stranger to step away from a jump, because my pup is still learning.

attention hog..... mine is too - I give him "red barn" filled treats - they make bones filled w/ a meaty filling, also come in peanut butter, etc.. but once the filling is licked out you can spread your own stuff in there. I use cream cheese and/or peanut butter - the bone tends to keep mine busy longer than the kong.

counter-surfing... I have a surfer too... the spray bottle works great.

December 8th, 2005, 03:10 PM
Yes I'll try the water bottle whenever he surfs the counter.

Yes, bones last much longer than treats-in-kong, but Matty also has a weak stomach so if he has too much bone he tends to get diahrrea easy.

And I can try asking him to go to places when he begs for attention, but I suspect he'll start braking once he's gone to a place (say, his bed) and he doesn't get to play / get pat.

Finally, more pics? Here they are ... these were taken when he was ~ 8-10 weeks old

December 8th, 2005, 03:11 PM
Here's another one ...

December 8th, 2005, 03:12 PM
One more ...