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Out of control pup

January 25th, 2006, 05:40 PM
I have always gotten such great advice from you all here. I am returning once more hoping I can get some more. I'm starting to really feel we need a trainer to come in to help us. My 7 month old pup was making strides and now is so out of control & I don't know what to do.

Today I really saw how much of a problem we have. I took the crate out to the car and tried to get him to go way. Then when I was bringing him back in with the crate, he got loose and ran out on the street! A vehicle was coming but I jumped onto the street screaming and flailing my arms. Luckily they stopped...if not he would have been hit. This has completely freaked me out.

Here are some issues I'm having:

- He will come to us only when in the house (& with a treat). If outside in an off leash park he will play chase...wanting me to chase him.
- He bites on the leash and plays tug with it (and my sweater). He also pulls a lot now...even though we stop...he doesn't get it.
- Started whining in his crate at night (this never happened before - not once)
- Barks at strangers on the street.
- Is still afraid of a busy street.
- No longer drops things on command

As you can see I'm quite frustrated but I know it is my fault. He is getting about a one hour walk everyday though. Obviously you can't address all of these things. I'm just wondering if you have any advice at all.

January 25th, 2006, 06:34 PM
7 Months, maybe he's testing you, just making sure that you are unwilling to change any of the commands, or hoping he can get his way by disregarding you.

I don't know about the other things, but when we were teaching Trigs to stay within visual range we would sometimes (and we still sometimes) play hide and seek. He's trying to get you to chase him, if you have a safe, prefferably enclosed place to play, you hide. If he's not going the right way, give him a hint. It's a good way for them to understand that he has to pay attention to you because you can be unpredictable. :)

January 25th, 2006, 07:13 PM
Basically he is thumbing his nose at you - total lack of respect for his parents. This is the age when this starts to show up.
Get him back into training - having a trainer to help would be a good idea.
Having him on the leash inside the house and outside will help alot. It reminds him that you have the last word and he needs to stop challenging you.
Treat training often falls apart at this stage because he would rather prove to you that you have no power than to come for a cookie.
Go right back to treating him like a puppy and do lots of drills throughout the day. If he acts like he doesn't remember the commands he knew then just start teaching them again - he will remember quickly enough. Often people get a dog to a certain level of training and think he's done so they stop working at it - just about the same time the dog becomes a teenager and every thing falls apart. So go back to what worked before and be ready to meet his challenges. Do not trust him off-leash - he hasn't earned it. Keep him close, re-connect and things should start to straighten out again.

January 25th, 2006, 10:29 PM
He's definately testing you at this point, its sorta the bratty stage - your pup is going to be unpredictable! But don't worry, it is completely normal:) !

With regards to recall, I did what you seem to be doing which is kinda backwards:p ! I let him off-leash when he wasn't reliable amd had very little control so he ran around doing what he wanted! I did it because I just couldn't tire my puppy out on-leash but if I had it to over, I would definately make him ear his time off-leash.
At the very least, I'd attach your pup to a lunge line, so you can reel him in when he ignores you (at this age, you can't expect to have their undivided attention all the time so you need to show him that he is not completely free to do what he wants!)

I've never personally had to deal with leash bitting but I would definately try and distract him with a toy or something that he's allowed to chew...If he likes to carry things, let him keep something in his mouth instead! I would ignore his leash tugging and reward randomly when he isn't tugging...

I have been dealing with leash pulling for a long time! I still find that the best way to stop the pulling is to randomly walk in different directions until your pup is attentive - combined with stopping and ignoring your pup until he stops pulling. By ignore, I mean you go into your own world, talk to yourself or close your eyes - (when I just stood watching my dog continue to pull, I'd get frustrated - which is exactly what you do NOT want)!! At one point, I was so used to feeling tension in the leash that I don't think I realized I was being pulled...I used to close my eyes while I walked as it helped me to recognize the instant I was being pulled.

With regards to barking at strangers and being afraid in busy streets - sounds like your dog is insecure. How much and what kind of exposure has he had to different people and places?!

Working on the drop command should be done when he's a bit tired - it's not something I would attempt working on when he's excited at the moment. Just practice giving and taking with a variety of objects. I did that randomly throughout the day with my pup and I can now give him a hot dog or piece of jerky and get him to hold it in his mouth and give it just takes practice!

Have you considered clicker training!? Contrary to popular belief, it is not a form of is motivational! Which is why I have to diagree with this statement:
Treat training often falls apart at this stage because he would rather prove to you that you have no power than to come for a cookie.
I know we all have different methods and ideas of doing things but I really believe that clicker training would be of help to you. It could be applied to every single situation you mentioned (aside from the crate because it doesn't sound serious).
When people use treats, they tend to do it incorrectly by showing the puppy/dog the food first and then giving them a command...not to mention, we don't usually wean them off the treats soon enough. Which is the only time "it falls apart"...
If done properly, clicker training is amazing - it is all about positive reinforcement...instead of focusing on the negative behaviours and trying to correct them, you acknowledge and reward for good behaviour only (and ignore incorrect behaviour)... It really puts the responsibility on the dog to figure out what you want and what pleases you. And once they understand clicker training, you can teach them new behaviours quickly and easily. I don't agree with correcting a dog when it probably doesn't know exactly what you expect of him.
I am training my dog to be a service dog and in three 15 minutes sessions, it became clear that he already understood what I wanted from him: which was to open doors and cabinets...we did everything with the clicker and my dog does not come close to ranking high on those breed intelligence lists - he is one of those "stubborn and stupid" hounds:D .

I also think that everything you give your pup - either food, attention, walks or play time he should earn...You don't need to go crazy with the NILIF program but I would make him work for every kibble you give him; if he wants to go for a walk, he needs to sit and wait at the door or before he crosses the street; if he wants to play you want a nice down beforehand etc...

Good luck with your pup!

January 26th, 2006, 01:42 PM
Thank you all so much - you have no idea how much I appreciate your help! I have already started to put many of these things into practice. Your posts reminded me how much I have been slacking lately with him, in the training department.

I started last night to take away many of his freedoms. ie. No more running loose in the backyard (and spending 10 minutes trying to get him to come back in!) and also no more freedom inside since he is such a brat and steals anything he can find! I started keeping him on a leash inside & out. I am also going to buy a clicker right away and work on the hide & seek!

I walk him daily trying to get him used to busier streets & people. He has always been afraid of both and my efforts have pretty much failed in this area. When someone kind approaches and shows interest I give them treats to give to him. He is always very hesitant. He loves & trusts only selected people. I spent a full week with my parents, brother, sister-in-law and their toddler in the mountains. By the time we left, he was pretty comfortable with just about all of them but still cautious around my brother. He loves my parents but that is because I see them often. So that kind of shows just how long it takes him. It might be unlikely for him ever to be comfortable with strangers? Strange thing is he always loves dogs! He will even foolishly approach snarling ones in a friendly way!

Once again - thank you so, so much!