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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

I found this forum earlier and decided maybe it was worth posting to see what kind of ideas I get here!

My husband and I adopted a 6-7 month old pit (mix?) who we named Pikel last Thursday, so exactly a week ago. He's been doing well, has already learned sit and is pretty well potty trained, and is well on his way to learning stay and leave it, thanks to a visit from a one-on-one trainer yesterday.

So, among all the good things, there are some really frustrating things as well. He likes to hump my leg/back (if he climbs up on a chair behind me), which I don't appreciate. He's never done this to my husband. I've tried getting up and moving away, ignoring him, and placing my hands on his shoulders to hold him down and saying "NO." in a deep, stern voice. If I move away, he follows and jumps up again. If I ignore him, he keeps doing it. If I hold him down, he starts spazzing and gets away then either gets the zoomies (after which he'll come back and start humping me again) or jumps right back. I watched a video that someone posted of a young woman who basically "hugged" her dog to calm him down when he was humping from excitement, but I tried that a little bit ago and it just made him crazier.

One thing that seemed to help last night was putting him in a time out in the bathroom. Only problem is figuring out how to get him IN the bathroom! Last night wasn't a huge issue, but this afternoon when I tried to do it again, he wouldn't go in. I finally got him to follow in a toy that I threw, but any tips on that would also be appreciated.

So to summarize, any help anyone can give on helping a dog calm down (specifically getting him to stop humping) and any help on getting a dog into time out would be greatly appreciated!!!
 

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I had this problem with my dog. Instead of putting her in time out, it became easier for me to just walk away. I'd go into another room and close the door if I had to. I would calmly pull her down off of me (it took me a while, but I found how to pull her off without making her more aggressive about it. For her, I had to be very calm and gentle.) Then walk away. At first she was very persistent and I always had to walk into the other room and close the door. Wait a minute or so, and come back out. If he starts again, go back into the room. It takes a lot of patience, but my dog eventually learned, and I'm sure yours will too :)
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That does sound easier!! Especially if it only has to be a minute or two!! :) I'll try that, see if it works better.
 

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On recommendation of our trainer, I actually got a squirt bottle! I think I squirted him once? with just a tiny bit of water and he's only had one problem since then! It's also been about a month since his neuter, and the trainer said it could take a while for the hormones to work their way out of his system and that might help (though obviously there are a lot of reasons why dogs hump!!), so maybe that's helping too? But so far so good!!
 

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Careful with the squirt bottle. Adding a painful/annoying stimulus as punishment doesn't actually teach the dog "don't do that." Instead, he is learning, "IF I do this, THEN I will get squirted." He'll still want to hump, and only as long as he thinks the squirt is worse than not getting to hump will he do it. It is much better to teach a dog to WANT SOMETHING ELSE. In this case, it seems like you should be rewarding him when he is not climbing up on the chair behind you. ;)

I'm not surprised that holding him down makes him crazier. There are methods of deep touch, a special kind of massage, that can help induce calmness. Without proper training, however, you are much more likely simply to be telling the dog, "Let's play!" Calypso is very much the same way. When she is already riled up (and usually even when she isn't, haha), any touch sends her over the moon with excitement.

As far as finding a timeout space--yes, yes, this is really really useful. However, keep in mind that when Pikel is super psyched, of course he doesn't want to stop play/be confined. So you have to teach him that his timeout space (the bathroom) is an AMAZING AMAZING place. When he is calm, and *not* in "trouble" (because remember, it's not that he is being bad, it's that you have not fully taught him how to act, yet), spend some time throwing kibble and treats into the bathroom, letting him run in and eat them, and then run out again. Heck, give him a few meals in there. Let him come to see it as a happy place.

Then, when you need it as a timeout zone, he'll go in willingly (especially if you toss in a treat first!). That is how I worked with Calypso's crate as her timeout zone when she was a baby. Result? She learned not to nip (...eventually), and she still loves her crate!

If you are looking for suggestions on overall calmness, the most important thing is waiting for the dog to grow up. ;) You can also give rewards (treats) for calmness. Whenever you see Pikel lying down in a relaxed position (e.g. with his legs flopped out to the side, tail down, etc), place a little treat on the ground in front of him. It also helps many dogs to have an identified "calm zone." At least, this is useful for Calypso. She is much more likely to settle down when she can identify "bed" and "not-bed" spaces in the vicinity.
 

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I definitely agree with the squirt bottle thing...I just thought I would give it a try. And he hasn't shown any desire or attempt to hump anything other than my leg every once in a while, which he hasn't done in the past week or so. Perhaps the combination of "hmm, if I do this, then I get squirted..." and lowering hormones from more time since the neuter and the ignoring I would do while I squirted (wouldn't give him any attention, just a little squirt and moving/walking away) helped?

Pikel's the same way...gentle petting is sometimes fine, but any ear ruffling etc. gets him all excited. Which my mom had to figure out when we went to visit, because that's how she's used to petting dogs!!

I think we're going to use our deck as a time out place (with a baby gate across the stairs) because the second and third times we put him in the bathroom, he freaked out and peed and whined and was clearly NOT NOT NOT HAPPY. Thus clearly not a good time out place. While it may achieve the desired results somewhat (non insane dog when he gets out), it could be doing a lot more damage. On the deck, he can still see us through the glass door. And, like you said, it's at least a neutral place, or maybe a happy place! My husband put him in a deck timeout once and Pikel did much better. Even that was about a week ago...so I guess he's improving!!

I watched one of kikipup's videos last night on how to get your dog to calm down and saw the sneaky treat when resting tip, which I'll be trying! And yeah, he's a puppy...so time will help. :) I'm excited to get my clicker next Monday at our first obedience class so I can start trying a few more of kikopup's tips.
 

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Deuce (yellow lab) came home with us last year intact and 5.5 years old. He had a list of behavioral issues, one of which was humping. 65lb, insanely happy, crazy dog humping you is NOT fun, so we set to work on that. Fortunately, I had a sidekick in my older dog, Sam. Since he was the target of most of Deuce's, uh, playing, I was told to let Sam handle the issue. I did and that cut out the majority of it. However, sometimes Sam just wasn't in a teaching mood or Deuce would go after the kids and they would end up on the ground. At that point, I would step in and tell him to knock it off (knock it off = stop doing that; I'm going to find you something else to do) and we'd go play fetch. Or practice basic obedience. Or go for a run. Or...you get the idea. For us, this worked better than time out because it gave him something to do to burn off the energy and helped towards showing him better ways to spend his day. This in turn led to him doing less destructive things, which led to us trusting him more, which led to him being able to be out more because we didn't have to supervise him like a hawk, which led to a calmer, happier dog who hasn't humped anything or anyone in I don't know how long. So there is hope, even with an older dog :D
 
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