6 month old puppy barking & biting constantly!! HELP!!
I am desperate. I have a 6 month old maltese/poodle mix. Her name is Elle. She is the sweetest little pup in the world. She doesn't care or get upset over absolutely anything... I have a very young niece and nephew, so from the time I got her, I would put my hand in her food and such as she ate to make sure that it wouldn't become a problem. Growing up, both of my family dogs growled when you got close to them while they ate. Elle also doesn't care if you take away her bones or anything. she is very sweet. My problem has to do with her playing and barking.
When she is playing she bites mine and my fiances hands and play growls... also, if we get up and walk across the room, she will bit our pant legs non stop. if we reach down to stop her, she backs up and barks and barks and barks. then when we go back to what we are doing, she starts again. if she is in this kind of mode, or even just barking and not biting my pants, and i need to answer the phone or answer my door, the only way I can get her to stop barking is if I pick her up. I know that is probably a big no no because it is probably reinforcing her naughty behavior, but at that point I HAVE to answer my phone/door. so then I go to pick her up and she just runs away from me parking at me. She is a small puppy, less than 5 pounds. she is impossible to grab if she doesn't want you to. These are my major issues. Once you actually get her in your arms, she is a total ANGEL!!! its like she is bipolar!! lol. no... i know she isn't bipolar... but its just such opposites. and I know she is just playing, but sometimes I wonder. her barking sometimes just keeps going and going, like she is upset or something. it is getting worse and worse. its like she is demanding attention. If I am sitting at the computer chair, she will bark and bark and bark, and sometimes try to bit at my pant legs. if I sit indian style with my feet up in the chair to try and ignore her she starts jumping up and trying to bite at my toes. it drives me crazy. and I get TERRRRRIIIBBLLE migraines. it is just so high pitched!
i exercise her a lot... and that doesn't change a thing. I've tried the water, i've tried the little thing you plug in and it makes a high pitched noise that only dogs can hear when she barks, i've tried throwing a bottle with change in it to scare her, i've tried ignoring her, i've tried holding her muzzle (which i've now heard is really not a good idea, and i've done it a lot... hopefully it didn't do too much damage), i've tried putting her in a crate, i've tried walking out and leaving the room, none of it works consistently. maybe I wasn't consistent enough, i don't know. but I am DESPERATE!!!
absolutely ANYTHING help you guys can give me is truly appreciated it. even if it is something I have already tried, maybe it is a different method/way of doing it. i don't know. and I really don't have the money to bring her to a training class right this second. I will be able to in a few months, but I have spent a lot of money on the new puppy shots and what not up until 4 months, she had worms right after I got her (like the night after I got her, she was still 8 weeks old...), I had a scare where I had to bring her to the ER which was like, 400.00, and now she has to have two recessed teeth removed, which my insurance won't cover, as well as spaying, which my insurance won't cover... so yeah... i just don't have the money right this second. I mean, I will definitely bring her to a trainer, but I just want to see if there is something I can do on my own first.
also, i am worried that I might not be able to correct her completely this late in the game... ;/
and please, if you don't have helpful things to say, please don't say anything. please don't make rude comments because I am honestly doing the best I can... I love my puppy. she is my world and I want the best for her. trust me.
thank you guys so much in advance, and sorry it is so long! hopefully you guys got this far into it and have some answers for me! ;)
Hi ellesmommy :). First off, Elle is just the most scrumptious little girl :lovestruck:.
I think the problems you are having with her can pretty much be resolved with some basic, and consistent behavior modification. Have you done any training with her at all on your own? Like sits, downs, leave its, etc? That's the very first place I'd start. If she's busy doing as you ask of her, she won't have time to do the things you don't want her to :). Here's a most wonderful website that you'll enjoy learning from (as will she, I'm sure!) [url]http://www.dogmantics.com/Dogmantics/Free_Video_List.html[/url]
In the meantime, you can always put up a little sign on your front door saying something like, "Please be patient. Dog in training, expect to wait up to 5 minutes." You can do the same if you have an answering machine and just have folk leave a message and expect a call back shortly. Whatever you do, just remember to be consistent, consistent, consistent and your work will pay off more quickly than you'd imagine.
Thank you for your reply!! I did attempt and train her to sit, but not consistent enough. unfortunately I spend more time loving on her than training her. which I know is not good. but I am very dedicated to this... i know that it will help her to be a much happier puppy! i will definitely go to that website and take a look. i really appreciate your comments!! :)
and she appreciates your compliments... she is too cute!! :D Hard to stay flustered. most of the time I can't help but laugh at her. she is just so tiny, yet so DEMANDING!!! heh.
Put this behavior into the body of a 6 yr old girl and you would think "oh, my she is cute and sweet, but rather demanding and indulged". Her potential to be great is apparent in her very sweet behavior. But its not how good one can be but how bad that makes or breaks a relationship.
Great that you are doing the work with her food bowl etc., but you need to make the same efforts with her other behaviors. When a dog behaves in a manner we don't like, we have to hold up the mirror and ask how we have encouraged, rewarded or permitted the behavior.
With 'attention getting' behavior you have three choices.
1. Ignore it and the dog will tire and learn that it doesn't work and is a waste of time and energy. Unfortunately you will have to have patience beyond Jobs' to out do this princess. I think we are going to eliminate this choice at this time.
2. Correct it. Let her know that barking is not tolerated. This means that you have to have a means of control (ie a leash attached to both of you), and you will need to firmly tell her to be quiet (a good foot stomp will help to empower your word). The leash helps her and you because you can have a healthy interaction without her running away or running circles around you as she barks. Keeping her near you gives her the chance to listen and learn. This is our favored choice at this time because she has become obnoxious and needs to learn it is the wrong choice. At this point you need to stop the behavior in order to teach her what does work - ie. being calm and quiet.
3. Get her brain busy - a busy brain doesn't have time to act badly. And a busy brain is also a calmer brain. Every time you ask her to do something and she does it out of relationship with you she has an outpouring of calming chemicals in her brain that actually cause to her change physically. The busier she is the calmer she is.
Exercise is important as many a TV trainer will tell you, but think about it....1 hour of exercise today will have to be 1.5 hours next week in order to get the same results, because you are now conditioning an athlete and she will need 2 hours the following week and soon you wont have enough time to exhaust your dog in order to have a calm dog. AND she will be tired and take a nap but wake up the same dog she was before the workout, but didn't learn a thing. Mental workouts are far more tiring than physical workouts and have a lasting benefit because the dog is learning.
Your little beauty is undoubtably smart, she has you very well trained - she barks YOU pick her up.
The main thing you need to think about is "Who is in Charge?" Who is leading this dance? Who is making the decisions in this house? The answer needs to be you every time.
This is more than correcting her every time she misbehaves. But just like a child who consistently misbehaves we need to let them know they are making bad choices, but we also have to help them learn about making good choices. This means that she needs a BIG vocabulary so you have lots of things to talk about, lots of opportunities for learning and understanding, which can transform your dog and your relationship.
You also need to teach her how to play with you. We have a large pack of dogs and we play differently with each dog, some are growly when they play but don't mean disrespect, some are tender in their play, some are mouthy, and some get barky. We understand each and so long as all things are in balance we can accept the differences, but if someone gets too mouthy, too barky, too growly then things stop, we teach and then go back to play.
Best of luck, and please feel free to call us for additional ideas and help. We are in Colorado and take calls 7 days a week (9am to 9pm). No charge.
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