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Spazz attack

This is a discussion on Spazz attack within the Puppy Help forums, part of the Dog Training and Behavior category; We've just been playing 'hunt the kibble ball' - I fill it up and hide it. Have you tried hiding things? Once the get the ...

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Old 10-22-2013, 10:02 AM
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We've just been playing 'hunt the kibble ball' - I fill it up and hide it. Have you tried hiding things? Once the get the hang of it you can keep them occupied for a while like that. Unfortunately since dog-proofing the house there's not too many places to hide things. With my JRT, we used to hide 6 biscuits around the room.
It does sound like the walks are the problem, is there nowhere dog-free that you could take him for a good run around on a long lead? Even allowing him to eat/sniff/chase things? It's easy for me as Raffles is not so reactive and we have plenty of walks with not a dog in sight, though he is a bit reactive to cars. As I've said before, he picks up everything too, but I do allow him a certain amount - sticks, even (a tiny bit of) horse and cow poo. Today he picked up an apple and carried it for most of his walk, so I threw a stick, took it away, and cored it for him when we got home.
I'm just clutching at straws here, hoping to find an idea that clicks for you as helpful
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Old 10-22-2013, 10:33 AM
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Originally Posted by raffles View Post
It does sound like the walks are the problem, is there nowhere dog-free that you could take him for a good run around on a long lead?
There aren't many parks around here that allow dogs, but I could let him run around our back yard on a long leash (can't let go completely, neighbors yard is eroding so there's a huge gap under the privacy fence). The reactivity we experience is dogs, cats, cars, bikes, runners, people, leaves, sound, wind...the list goes on and on. It's not always high reactivity, but it's enough to be extremely distracting. He and I are working on loose leash walking indoors right now, every morning, so some of his food goes to that. It's almost time for us to practice going up and down the driveway!

I do give him a puzzle toy for the second half of his food, and that allows me to get my lunch/breakfast together for the day and get ready for work. I'll try hiding things around the house, I think he'd really like that! Thanks for that suggestion

I just wish I could get inside his brain and figure out what he is barking at and why is it at ME!!! Let me live, Theo! Sometimes I just want to sit on the couch and watch re-runs of 90210, come on!!
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Old 10-22-2013, 10:48 AM
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Maybe your husband hasn't bonded with him totally - we get equal shares of teeth
I understand your problem with walking - along the road we have to fight acorns, leaves blowing in the wind, any amount of poop in the verge, anything dead, & cars, so I do try to keep off road as much as possible. But the difference when taking him for a really long (couple of miles) walk is amazing, he'll just crash when he gets back. When I want a bit of time to do something, I give him a section of frozen marrow bone, that keeps him quiet for 20 minutes. I have a retracting lead, so he's on a long lead off road, and sometimes has the funny five-minutes then but that does mean we have to untangle from trees quite often, and watch out for birds taking off. On the road I make him walk on the verge side of me, but it is hard work - especially where a neighbour dumps his cat litter.
Can you take him somewhere in the car? I suspect he's bored with the yard. I sympathise as you have to work, it makes it a lot harder!
It sounds like you're way ahead with the loose leash walking than us anyway!
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Old 10-23-2013, 11:54 AM
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we might be taking him out to my mother in law's house, so she can watch him when we go away for our anniversary, so he could run around her yard on a long leash for a bit. i feel bad that he is bored, but i also feel bad taking stuff out of his mouth all the time and carrying him back home! i really, really wish he could stay focused on me, or feel better about "drop it".
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Old 10-23-2013, 06:06 PM
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I think you need walks. My puppy acts like you are describing when I'm late on walk time - basically like a complete idiot. Occassionally I can skip a day, but for the most part he gets 1-2 walks per day. On a few bad days, he has gotten 3.

On days I just need to walk and enjoy myself, I use a training leash. It stops nearly all bad behavior and makes the walk just a nice time for me. When my tolerance is higher, then no training tools except treats. Over time it is getting much better. Yet, it is a lot easier to work on these issues early on then waiting.
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Old 10-23-2013, 06:16 PM
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He sounds nervous and anxious. It would not surprise me if picking him up and carrying him home really created some discomfort with you. Some dogs really do not like to be handled, even gently, in this way. It is scary for them. The marking may be part of that. I've noticed with my male dog, that inappropriate marking is a sign of high anxiety.

I'd be very careful what you inadvertently reinforce. For example, if you are trying to "solve" the problem of him jumping at you, by taking him for a walk or out to play fetch, he will certainly continue this unwanted behavior.

Do you do clicker training? It is very effective. Try sitting on the couch with a bowl of his kibble. Click and treat for anything he does that is calm. Ignore anything he does that is undesirable.

Don't take him for a walk until he sits calmly for some period of time. As he starts to understand this exercise, increase the period of time he must be calm, before he gets what ever he wants next.
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Last edited by Tess; 10-23-2013 at 06:18 PM.
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Old 10-24-2013, 07:56 AM
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thanks for the suggestions, Tess. The "airmarking" has been going on for a few weeks now, so it didn't start with Monday's interesting behavior. We don't do clicker training, but we do use "YES!" as his marker, so would that have the same effect regarding rewarding calm behavior?

Also, I did notice that Theo lost a tooth on Monday...then Tuesday...then Wednesday...and today. Maybe he was in some discomfort on Monday.
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Old 10-24-2013, 09:45 AM
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Clickers are more effective. Check out kikopup on u toob
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Old 10-24-2013, 10:20 AM
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Koda did this last night after we did a lot of exercise and brain work..I think it her way of saying that she can't think anymore and can bounce around but still wants to play. Kind of like when you're overtired and can't sleep? Except hyper puppy version? Crating her only helped partially, because she really needs *alone* time in her crate to stop whining and my roommate kept going to bother her, so when she stopped for a little bit I ended up taking her back out and calmly petting her for an hour til she fell asleep. We were having a weird static day yesterday, I have no idea why that helped because it wasn't pleasant XD

ALSO YAY ON THE SLEEP. THAT'S FANTASTIC NEWS.
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Old 10-24-2013, 02:01 PM
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I think you need to do something more interesting outside. Don't give him a chance to get distracted and spazzy. Work on calmness at home and in the yard, but work on something else outside. Try moving faster- go for quick jogs: out the door, zig zag up the block (this way. Yes. Treat. Repeat a few times) then stop. Give him AWESOME treat. Something that will take him a minute (I like the nylabone edibles, but other things will work). Let him chew it, then head home. Make outside ALL THE POSITIVE exciting things. Chasing mommy, getting toys and treats, but he has to be paying attention to you. With puppies/reactive dogs I think there is a fine line between over stimulated and under stimulated. There needs to be enough going on/being asked at first to get the dog used to ignoring stimuli that they would react to. Sometimes high value treats aren't enough, they need action as well. You need to teach him to be calm, but you also need to take teach him to focus with distractions. Being more exciting and unpredictable than the environment is one way to start working on this outside while you work on calmness closer to home.
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