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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello! I am a student who is watching our latest addition to the family, a 5.5 month old german shepard/husky mix. He is quite lovely most of the time - we have potty training, sits, come, leash training and some fun little tricks done. He is generally a very calm puppy who likes belly rubs and will roll over for one whenever he sees me! However, recently, I have been struggling with an unwanted behaviour. I'm actually writing this right after I was attacked in the backyard, and would really appreciate some advice.

Lately, my puppy has been getting a bit excessive with the humping :eek:. He will mount my leg, and then bite my arm roughly. I have been able to successfully get him to stop in the past by throwing a treat down, or by redirection, but today I was alone in the backyard when it happened. We just returned from a walk (we go for ~2km walks at least twice daily) and were playing a nice round of fetch. Suddenly, he jumped up and started...well...doing his thing while biting me very hard. I have tried "yelping" in the past, but it only spurs him on, so I just blatantly ignored him (IT HURT SO MUCH) for about 10 seconds. However, he did not stop!! He only went at it harder, and started biting. I was in an open field all alone so there was no way to remove myself from the situation, so I didn't know what to do. I threw treats on the floor; he looked at them and then continuing doing his thing. I tried to redirect him, with no avail. I ended up shaking his scruff a bit with a firm "No", and removed him from me. I convinced him (with some treats) to lay down and do a roll over, and he did quite obediently, but suddenly he jumped up AGAIN and guess what he was doing :rolleyes:. I ended up grabbing his harness and pulling him to his playpen to cool down, which he has. But I feel so upset and a bit betrayed (I know, he's just a puppy so that's a bit extreme) at this behaviour. I guess I'm mostly asking: What could I do in the future if this were to take place?

I tried ignoring, treats, redirection, but I'm stuck on what else I can do. He's scheduled to get neutered soon at the discretion of our vet (sometime late summer), but I'm worried that this behaviour will last. I have thick skin, so there's no blood, but man does it still hurt. I also noticed that his hackles were raised while he did this, which I'm a bit concerned about. Any advice is appreciated!!

Thank you,
a puppyowner with scratches (again)
 

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Humping is as much rooted in excitement as in sexual urges. My guess is that he was tired from the walk & over-stimulated by playing and everything he saw around him, and his self control just snapped.

I think I would work on different training games to help teach self control. The idea is to find activities that are more fun for the dog when he is following rules. My experience is that naughty dogs aren't always able to redirect their urges to a completely different type of activity. A dog that wants to run and jump and bite might be incapable of sitting still at that exact moment. However, he might be capable of playing a game that redirects the running/jumping/biting onto a more appropriate target than you. Therefore, I would develop several different types of games. Heel (following you around at a walk and a run) is something you can use when a dog is feeling too wriggly to sit still. Spin (turning in circles) is another fun game for a dog with ants in his pants. Take It (holding a ball or a toy) is helpful when a puppy is in a biting mood. Back Up will get you some distance when a puppy is jumping on you. Fetch is sometimes good, but some dogs find it overstimulating. Dog Parkour exercises (low impact ones safe for growing puppy joints, such as going under obstacles) might also be suitable.
 

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Note: sorry if this repeats some of the earlier reply but I wrote this last night and for whatever reason, it didn't post. Anyway -

It sounds like he is a bit hyper. I think the way to tackle this is actually to reduce his physical activity a little, try to stop him getting quite so wound up. All the things you tried probably didn’t work because he had already tipped over his excitement threshold - a little bit like trying to steer your car after you have driven it over the cliff edge, if you know what I mean.

So if you have just done a walk, don’t do the fetch. Tire his brain instead with something like scent work or training - brain work is even more tiring than physical exercise, and has the advantage that you won’t end up with a super fit athlete that you can never tire. Also on that note, at his age, his growth plates won’t be fully formed, so fetch is a game you need to be really careful with. You do not want him jumping, or turning hard, or sudden stop/starts. Roll the ball gently, don’t throw it. On that note, I'm not sure about spin @Curls, wouldn't that be a bit hard on his joints? And the 2 km is probably at the top end of the amount of walking he should be doing too.

As I said, make him use his brain - if you want ideas for things to train have a look at Kikopup on YouTube.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Dear Joanne,

Thank you for your reply! This is my first puppy, so I don't have a solid idea of how much exercise they need. I've heard that he was a high energy breed, so I actually thought I wasn't doing enough :oops:. But now I realize that I was using the exercise guideline for an older dog, not a puppy.

All the things you tried probably didn’t work because he had already tipped over his excitement threshold
This makes a lot of sense! I did notice that he did not have his usual focus, and even though he calmed down momentarily, he got right back up.

So if you have just done a walk, don’t do the fetch.
I will definitely do that in the future! I want to set my pup up for success, and I guess over-exercising him was not the way to go. I'll give him some mental stimulation after our walk today, and see if there are improvements. I did notice his excited jumping was a bit of a theme after our walk/fetch games, and I hope that decreasing his physical exercise will help him "chill out" a little, lol.

Thank you for your reply!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Dear Curls,

Thank you for your reply, as well as all the new games I can try with him!
Humping is as much rooted in excitement as in sexual urges. My guess is that he was tired from the walk & over-stimulated by playing and everything he saw around him, and his self control just snapped.
This makes a lot of sense! I don't have much experience with dogs, and I must admit that I was a bit shocked when he first started, well, doing his thing. But upon further research, I did realize it was normal - still weird for a human to consider, but pretty normal for a dog. I definitely need to work with him on self control - he's getting better at commands like "leave it" and "drop it", as well as sitting still, but only if there's a high value treat in it for him! I guess it's fortunate to have such a treat motivated dog - I'll have to use that to my advantage ;).
My experience is that naughty dogs aren't always able to redirect their urges to a completely different type of activity
I'll keep this in mind! Time to stock my pockets with fun toys and tugs!

Thank you!
 

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My Olde English Bulldogge used to do this all the time when I got him as a 3 year old, obviously he is a big powerful dog so I had to stop him doing it, I tried everything that I read online with regards to positive reinforcement and nothing worked, he would still do it, then I read that squirting water in his face when he did it would stop him instantly. So I bought a bottle of water which had a narrow hole in top for drinking, then when he jumped up to hump I squirted it right in his face, it instantly stopped him, he looked shocked, shook himself to get dry then went into the garden, he never did it again for rest of day. He tried again the next day and he got squirted again, he did the same thing ran away into the garden, he never tried it again for months, then when he did try it, all I had to do was raise the bottle in the air and he stopped and walked away into the garden. This has worked a treat for me, it stopped his bad behavior instantly. Give it a try, it really works. It also works for stopping dogs jumping up on people or counter surfing.
 

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I read that squirting water in his face when he did it would stop him instantly
Perhaps so, but it isn’t going to do anything to build your bond. We absolutely do NOT recommend doing anything like this, the reason it ‘works’ is because the dog is being punished with something he dislikes. But there are several things wrong with this. First, you are setting the dog up to fail, you need him to do the ‘bad’ behaviour so you can punish him. Second, instead of the person he can look to when he needs guidance, you become unpredictable person with a nasty tool. Third, some dogs might see it as a game and get even more hyped up. Fourth, some dogs might decide one day they have had enough and retaliate.

@ziddygus this is a non-aversive forum. Of all the things you use the bottle for, there are kinder ways of teaching a dog an alternative behaviour. If you are still having any issues with your dog, we would be happy to suggest ways of resolving them without using something like a water bottle.
 

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Perhaps so, but it isn’t going to do anything to build your bond. We absolutely do NOT recommend doing anything like this, the reason it ‘works’ is because the dog is being punished with something he dislikes. But there are several things wrong with this. First, you are setting the dog up to fail, you need him to do the ‘bad’ behaviour so you can punish him. Second, instead of the person he can look to when he needs guidance, you become unpredictable person with a nasty tool. Third, some dogs might see it as a game and get even more hyped up. Fourth, some dogs might decide one day they have had enough and retaliate.

@ziddygus this is a non-aversive forum. Of all the things you use the bottle for, there are kinder ways of teaching a dog an alternative behaviour. If you are still having any issues with your dog, we would be happy to suggest ways of resolving them without using something like a water bottle.
The post said they tried positive reinforcement and it did not work, I have used the water bottle method on my rottweiler when it was trying to hump my wife and it worked there also. I am sure if we spent 6 months to a year with positive reinforcement we might made real progress in changing his behavior, but do you seriously expect my wife to be jumped on by a 50 kg dog trying to hump her every day for that period of time, waiting for the behavior to change? I mean fine if it is a small dog, but for a large dog then you want to stop this behavior quickly for you and also the dog, because not many people will keep a 50 kg dog that physically jumps on them and tries to hump them every day. The water bottle method worked straight away for us, and I made sure that the instant my dog was squirted I said "off" and then "sit" then rewarded it for doing those behaviors. My dog stopped trying to hump within 3 days of using this method and I only used this method for the humping and nothing else as it was a behaviour that was dangerous to my wife imo and needed correcting quickly, not a 6 month to year of reward based training. Was my dog afraid of the water squirt, well yes, did it hurt him, not in the slightest, its water not acid, he just did not like water in his face, if anything the water focused my dogs attention onto what I wanted him to do and that was off and sit when he was around my wife. I'd rather have that than my wife being afraid to be left alone with the dog and scared to go into the same room with him. Ultimately, once this behaviour was corrected our dog has been as good as gold, has never shown any aggression at all to any member of our family for the last 6 years and has a close bond with all of us.
 

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When you need to create multiple accounts @ziddygus and @gudwin to reinforce your point, it not only weakens your argument, but is against the forum rules that you agreed to when you joined. As is promoting aversive tools and techniques.

Had you stayed online under one account, I’d have encouraged you to stay and learn. But when you created a second account simply to argue against our ethos, I’m afraid I have to conclude this is not the forum for you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I think you might find this helpful -

Thank you! I'll try it out :).

Also, after today's walk, I took him to pee and then straight home for some slow feeder lunch. Though he jumped and nipped a bit as I tried to take him in from the backyard, he was able to chill out quickly with some tasty food. He definitely seems calmer now, so thank you for the advice!
 

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You do not want him jumping, or turning hard, or sudden stop/starts. Roll the ball gently, don’t throw it. On that note, I'm not sure about spin @Curls, wouldn't that be a bit hard on his joints?
Good point on not overtaxing growing joints. I encourage gentle spins. I teach the spin by holding out a treat and luring the puppy to walk in a circle to follow it. Once the puppy gets the idea I use my finger to lure him instead. Usually I request one full rotation; then I give him his treat. This way he doesn't get moving too fast or spin so much he gets dizzy. One of my dogs prefers to do a slow wide turn, and I can see him casually glancing around as he completes his rotation. The other does a slightly faster and tighter turn; he's in a hurry to get his treat. I'm happy letting the dog pick the speed and the diameter of the turn; all I demand is that the turn is 360 degrees and end with the dog facing me.
 
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