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Hell Everyone,
Me and my wife found a 3 month old labradoodle puppy on craigslist about a month ago and we instantly fell in love with the little guy. The first couple days we had him he was somewhat well behaved but over the past few weeks he has become quite the handful. He has always had a problem with nipping which we have been combating by pushing him away and turning our backs on him for about 10 seconds. This seems to be helping but with him getting bigger by the day its turning into more of a problem as sometimes when we turn our back to him we get a nip on the back of the leg. He has some trouble understanding the word NO and any pointers on making him realize what the word means would be greatly appreciated. We are also having a problem with him when he gets tangled up or reaches the end of the retractable leash we use to take him outside. When he gets tangled(legs) or reaches the end of the leash he starts to growl and will run at full speed at the person holding the leash and jump into us. He also begins to play tug of war with the leash but when you bend down to take it out of his mouth he growls and freaks out a little by running around you, it seems playful but very intense. Any help with any of these problems would be greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,
Joey
 

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That's a puppy for you!

Try a different method for the biting. When he bites, yelp as loud as you can and turn away. It takes a little while, but yelping is how puppies tell each other they're playing too rough, and we can use the technique.

Dogs don't speak English. Dogs also don't generalize well. So no puppy on Earth has any idea what "no" means, and I don't bother to teach it. After all, think of all the things you use "no" for- no, don't pee there! no, stop biting my leg! no, don't eat that! How confusing for a dog that must be. What do you mean, human, "no" means don't pee there, I'm not peeing. Stop being confusing!

There are about 5,000,000 things you don't want a dog doing, but a much smaller number of things you do want a dog doing, so it's much easier to teach a dog what you do want him to do. For example, if he chews on something he shouldn't, give him a chew toy. Praise him for chewing on it. (and then move all the stuff you don't want chewed out of his reach. Puppy proofing is as necessary as baby proofing.)

As to the leash difficulties, I wouldn't use a retractable leash on a puppy. He needs to learn how to walk on a leash nicely and a retractable leash makes that nearly impossible. Get a normal 5' leash, find the "loose leash" or "silky leash" sticky in this forum and start training your dog.

Good luck!
 

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Thanks for the advice! We usually only use the retractable leash when we take him outside to do his business. Normally we use a standard blue nylon leash and this is also the leash I use every day when he comes to work with me and it is what keeps him from wandering away from my desk during the day.
 

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I'd ditch the retractable leash and get a 30' training leash. He's less likely to get tangled in the training leash and even if he does it won't cut into him as much as the retractable leash will.

If he keeps nipping even when you yelp and turn away try putting up a baby gate and leaving the room after yelping.

Try teaching him the commands leave it and drop, to get him to stop doing something, rather then no.

Like with shoes, if you can catch him before he actually grabs them and tell him leave it, he'll no he's to leave the shoes alone. If he comes running into the room with a shoe you could tell him drop it to get him to release the shoe rather then chasing after him to try and get it.
 

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With my dog, I also use flexi, since that's what gives him enough freedom to sniff around happily. But we get him used to not pull crazy and follow us around (so that it's as if there's no leash sometimes), and we are careful so that the leash won't get tangled or in the way.

If your dog pulls like crazy, stop walking. Also, try to get him used to pay attention to you and where you are going. You can also change direction and call him when doing that, and by doing it often, you are telling him that you're not following him and can be unpredictable that he better looks at you more times.

Of course, with him being a pup, it's a whole new world for him to discover. If you always lived in a farm and suddenly go to Las Vega, you might also not pay attention to your companions! If he gets lots of socialization and different places and experiences, you can bet it helps a lot on him not being so reactive and curious by time. :)

With the biting, I think that it's time for us to get a sticky for it lol (or maybe we do in the pup section?).

I wouldn't use yelp, since it might excite the pup more and think your a fun giant toy lol. What I would do is to get him some interesting toys and chew stuffs (he's on the teething phase too), so that he would get the habit of playing with his own stuffs. Then never play with your own body parts (again, you don't want him to think it's fun lol). Then play with him strictly with toys (tug, fetch, and so on). Then train the commands "leave it", "drop it", "wait", which trains impulse control and when well trained it's very handy. Then if pup already knows what those commands means but is still crazy and won't respect you, give him a time out either by leaving the room with him behind, or restrain him away from the group for a brief moment (only go back when he's calm).
If you can't time out, grab scruff in a neutral tone just for separating his teeth from your hand and release when he stops trying to get to your arms. This is not to hurt and you don't need to be mean when doing it, it's just to show that if you don't like it he can't reach your arms no matter how he tries. :)

Remember that he's just a pup and many people including myself can assure you that they mostly always get much better after some months.
Make sure you don't act mean, he's just learning and wanting to play and this is not any kind of aggression anyways. Think of a calm pup mom holding pup scruff or walking away, picture that serene state of mind. :)
 
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