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Old December 12th, 2011, 05:23 PM
violagirl violagirl is offline
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Large Dog Jumping and Nipping

I say nipping, but really I was bruised through a sweatshirt and a winter jacket.

The back story:

She is not my dog but at the SPCA, so needs to curb this habit in order to stand any chance of adoption.

1.5 year old black lab. Very friendly. Very sociable..very pushy!

I can understand some of the jumping because from the chart she was only walked once last week. So I'll bet one problem is she just has loads of energy and no outlet.

She actually is pretty good on leash, after the first bit of pulling she settles in nicely. Probably about 70% good.

Since a sitting dog doesnt' jump, i wanted to concentrate on getting her to learn to sit. She picked it up quickly. So quickly in fact that she kept launching herself in front of me to sit. I stopped treating unsolicited sits.

She decided she would jump up on me. So i turned my back and ignored her. Then she moved on to using teeth to get my attention as if to say "HEY!! i sat and i got nothing!! hey!!! hey you!!". Finally she sat.

Question is..do i then reward the sit? or will she take that to mean.." jump jump bite...THEN sit and get a reward?"

If she is smart she will quickly realize the quickest way to a reward is to skip the jumping/biting and proceed directly to doing what i ask.

Any positive training advice would be appreciated.

Yipping made her more excited. I've only ever had to train puppies not to jump so an adult dog may be different.
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Old December 12th, 2011, 06:21 PM
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pbpatti pbpatti is offline
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violagirl, do you have any clicker training? If you do you can always use the clicker when she is walking nicely, sitting or doing whatever you want from her. If she is toy motivated you can use toys instead of food.

Sasha loves the clicker, when she sees it she will go through her routine until I get her settled down and doing what I want her to do.

I find it so sad that these dogs only get out once a week , but on the positive side I am really happy that you have come to help them out. Shelters need all the volunteer help they can get so kudos to you MF. patti
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Old December 12th, 2011, 07:27 PM
violagirl violagirl is offline
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While I have used clickers before, I find it hard to balance the leash, clicker etc etc. I usually use my voice as a marker ( I know not as good, but generally works)
I know i want to reinforce the calm behaviour, the question is does doing it immediately after all the jumping and biting lead to her thinking jumping and biting lead to good things...or was I doing it right? Turning my back on the jumping, and biting. Only giving attention when she was sitting. I did try turning away and stepping aside and using an "ack ack" noise but it is hard to ignore a dog that is biting your arm. I might act differently if she was doing it aggressively but the vibe i get more from her is impatient puppy. Just a very big puppy.

This was my second time walking her. I just wanted a bit of feedback before I went tomorrow. I know 30 minutes of training and walking a day isnt' enough for a Lab, but i am hoping that if I can at least provide some mental and physical stimulation she will be a bit calmer and more willing to work with me.

I think a Lab would be open to holding a toy in her mouth. I did teach my own dog who jumps and nips at the door to go get a Kong when people come in. I might try that idea.
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Old December 12th, 2011, 08:09 PM
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Winston Winston is offline
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Does she jump when on leash? If so I would suggest a bit more control on the leash so that she doesnt have the ability to jump (shorten it). If your timing is good then a quick correction on the leash may work but your timing is important for that to be effective. Does she only do this when she is excited?

If you have taught her to sit then dont move forward from the sit until she is not excited anymore? sort of like a sit stay? she must be calm before you move to the walk.

Good Luck and let us know what works for her!
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Old December 13th, 2011, 12:39 AM
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millitntanimist millitntanimist is offline
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Reward the sit. Or rather, mark, then reward the sit.
Using a reward marker properly will make it clear to her what behavior you want - if she starts a jump-sit cycle just space your mark for a slightly longer period of sitting. One other thing that works really well for encouraging excited dogs to stay down is either tossing or placing the treats on the ground.

Attention, even negative attention, with a bored and hyper puppy is going to make her more aroused. You are on the right track. A vocal reward marker is fine if you make a consistent sound. I like 'Yes' because the consonant 's' sound tends to get naturally emphasized - an 's' hiss is very specific and more of a sound than a word.

She sounds like an excited puppy trying to figure out exactly what you want of her (and becoming a little frustrated, but that's very understandable given the circumstances). Is there a fenced area at the shelter where she might be able to do a few zooms off leash? That + a bit of training will be way better than a leashed walk.

In the mean time, my suggestion would be a slightly longer leash that you could step on, not to hold her down (no pressure when she's at normal dog height, we don't want her dependent on it) but to stop her from getting any height with any jumps and grabbing you. Ideally, a second person to hold the leash until she kicks the habit, or it at least becomes less extreme, would be handy, but work with what you've got.

I would also practice removing her from her kennel (at the start of the walk) as conditional for calm behavior. I'm not sure if this is part of the problem in her case, but it certainly was with most of the shelter dogs I have worked with.
If she's jumping, she doesn't come out until she calms down - it might take a few sessions of practice for her to settle in any good time. In this situation, you and the open door are the main rewards, so be ready to remove yourself and close the door if she starts to get rowdy. For clarity, you could add a no-reward marker here like 'oops' or 'that's not it' to make it extra clear.
Once you know she has the sit down, you can ask her to sit while she is bouncing (say it once and wait for her to bounce herself out), reward with food to keep her down (toss it to her) then reward her further with an opening door and you moving closer. If she can stay calm(ish), you put on the leash and lets go! If not, go back a step until she gets it.

You are doing an awesome thing
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Old December 13th, 2011, 04:17 PM
violagirl violagirl is offline
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I walked her again today and the difference was night and day.

I shortened her leash a little but she was completely different!! Minimal jumping and no nipping at all!!!

In addition to being able to read her body language better, so i knew when she was thinking about jumping, I did a few things differently.

When she went in front and looked to be thinking about jumping, i would pivot and bring her back around to my left side and i would yes and give her treat there. Also yes and threw treats on ground when she walked nicely by my side and was attentive.

I got her to sit and wait longer 8-10 seconds for the treat. All in all I was extremely pleased!!

She does jump in her kennel when I approach. They don't allow you to stay long in the kennel or use food there. I was thinking to teach her not to jump when someone approaches, i could use the dog park. I could use the double door section to get her to practice sitting before I let her out.

What do you think the best approach would be to getting her to sit when i approach?
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Old December 14th, 2011, 09:05 AM
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millitntanimist millitntanimist is offline
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I would just work on proofing her sit a little more until you can get some distance between you. You can also work on an informal stay where you toss treats to her without her breaking position -this may be a little impractical if you are working on grass- and/or walk towards and away from her then rewarding her without her breaking position. This should set her up nicely for you to ask for a sit behind a barrier and will overall make her sit pretty bombproof - not to mention teach her better self control.
The gates at the dog park sound like a good place to practice (as long as no one is using the park and being super-interesting-oh-my-gosh!). I think getting her used to taking tossed food without breaking position too much and getting her to understand sitting at a distance is key to your being able to go through multiple stages of gate closed -> gate opening -> gate open -> moving toward her -> leash/collar placement.
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