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Hi there,

Please excuse the "triggering" subject material, but I want to be as honest as possible.

I have a 7 month old goldendoodle who is great in 90% of situations. I read lots of training advice before I got him that mentioned making yourself the most exciting thing to your dog. The logic being that they will focus on you when needed. This is true.

Unfortunately, the side effect is that my dog now relies on me for all the fun on walks and gets frustrated/over excited if I don't engage with him in the way he wants e.g. I throw a ball, but after a few gos he decides he wants to jump and nip instead. Usually when this happens I redirect him and all is fine.

However, this morning was different. He starts to jump and nip at my arms, hands and back. I'm 152 cm and he's 40lbs and tall, so he reaches to about my neck when jumping. Growling and barking etc.

As he's done this before, I consulted a trainer who advised me to give a firm "no", but also stand still until he stops. This is so he isn't rewarded with any form of attention.

So I do this (try to, anyway) until he bites down on my scarf. I'm holding a hot coffee and I don't want it to spill on my dog. People in the park start to ask if I need help. Every time he pulls at the scarf, it's tightening around my neck - I'm being strangled.

Then, running out of options and giving in to reflex, I smack my dog on the top of his head with the same force as you would swat a fly. He lets go of the scarf and stops jumping.

We leave the park and walk home. He is well behaved as usual - no pulling, tail high, looking back when asked.

So this is all a bit of a freak situation. I've never had to reprimand my dog physically. He isn't traumatised (although he's aware something unusual happened).

My question is, standing still until he stops jumping and biting doesn't seem to reduce the frequency of him doing this on walks - and standing still, in my mind, encouraged him to try harder to get my attention and therefore bite onto my scarf and pull for dear life... is this something he will grow out of? what can I do to prevent the cause and not the symptom?

I really appreciate any and all replies. I think a forum like this is a great space to talk openly and without judgment.

Thank you! :)
 

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What happens when a dog is trying a behavior, is that they will go through something known as an extinction burst. They will try the behavior even harder and more frantically to see if it will work before finally giving up and trying something else. That may be what happened in your case, and the fact that your boy managed to snag your scarf and play tug-of-war likely rewarded him so he may decide to try it again.

Is he on leash? If he is then when he starts the behavior tie him to a tree and get just out of reach, wait for him to calm down, you want 5 full seconds of calm, then go towards him, if he acts up stop and wait for 5 more seconds. If you get to him and as you reach for the leash he starts acting up get back out of his reach and wait for 5 seconds of calm. Do that till you can untie the leash and have him be calm. While he's calm, give him so high value treats, and some attention then continue on your walk, so that his good behavior is rewarded. If he acts up repeat tying him to something and waiting for him to calm down. While waiting ignore him, don't talk to him, don't look directly at him, when he's acting crazy, he does not exist.

This video may also help you
 

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He is an adolescent, so he is pushing boundaries a bit.

I'm a little surprised your trainer suggested a ”firm no”. No is not usually recommended because it's a vague word - the dog doesn't know which behaviour you want to interrupt because he will be doing so many things simultaneously - as well as jumping he will be looking, hearing, sniffing, playing, etc.

So, still keeping yourself as his focus, the easiest way to stop a behaviour is to ask for a different and incompatible one. Like a sit or a down in this case - he can't sit and jump at the same time. The sit will have to be really well rewarded, because it has to trump the reward (to him) of the fun of jumping and grabbing.

I had this reply pretty much typed out when I got the nudge that someone else had replied. I realise this is different from what Rain suggests, so try both methods and see what works best for you.
 

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He is an adolescent, so he is pushing boundaries a bit.

I'm a little surprised your trainer suggested a ”firm no”. No is not usually recommended because it's a vague word - the dog doesn't know which behaviour you want to interrupt because he will be doing so many things simultaneously - as well as jumping he will be looking, hearing, sniffing, playing, etc.

So, still keeping yourself as his focus, the easiest way to stop a behaviour is to ask for a different and incompatible one. Like a sit or a down in this case - he can't sit and jump at the same time. The sit will have to be really well rewarded, because it has to trump the reward (to him) of the fun of jumping and grabbing.

I had this reply pretty much typed out when I got the nudge that someone else had replied. I realise this is different from what Rain suggests, so try both methods and see what works best for you.
I agree, both methods can work, it depends on the dog and what works best for him and the owner. Its always good to have more then one method to try.

Just be sure to give whichever one you try a couple of weeks to work before trying the next, or you could end up with a confused, hyper, dog.
 

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I agree, both methods can work, it depends on the dog and what works best for him and the owner. Its always good to have more then one method to try.

Just be sure to give whichever one you try a couple of weeks to work before trying the next, or you could end up with a confused, hyper, dog.
Really appreciate the replies, both. I previously tried redirecting him into a sit etc, but with low to medium success. Like Rain said, once he gets into this "state of mind", he doesn't seem to have any self control - it's like he's deaf to the world.

Practical question, but what if there are no trees close by? Do I steer myself to the nearest tree with him attached and still jumping at my leg? I have done this before, but it looks ridiculous and he seems to enjoy the ride!
 

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Once he is in that state of mind, it is really too late - you are right, he is deaf to you. The trick is to catch the moment before that happens. I know it's easier said than done. Can you mix up your walk with walking, playing and little training sessions?
 

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Been there, got the t shirt, got holes in the t shirt... I know just what this is like!

For my dog, asking for a sit was no help, but turning away, pulling in our arms, and ignoring him did - eventually. It helped to wear protective clothes that I wasn't fussed about. I went all through summer wearing a charity shop denim jacket, which also had the advantage of hiding the bruises. I'd ditch your scarf, or keep it tucked in!

My dog was worst in open spaces, and towards the end of the walk. Keeping walks shorter, maybe fitting in an extra one to compensate, may help. I clung to narrow paths, lanes, and edges of fields, where he was less likely to kick off and it was easier either to find something to attach the lead to or just face away from him without him being able to come round the other side. He would also do it in the garden occasionally and I would carry a plastic trug at all times to hold in front of me to block him, which was enough to stop him.

Hang on in there - it does pass, though it can take a while and even when you think he's rgown out of it, extra excitement, e.g. a trip down the beach on a windy day, might kick it off again. At one point I'd see my dog approaching with that look in his eye, then he'd think twice and veer off again - then I'd praise him and give him a treat. Sometimes I think he did this on purpose just to get the treat but if it meant he saw that as a better behaviour than jumping up, I wasn't complaining!
 

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Gen
Been there, got the t shirt, got holes in the t shirt... I know just what this is like!

For my dog, asking for a sit was no help, but turning away, pulling in our arms, and ignoring him did - eventually. It helped to wear protective clothes that I wasn't fussed about. I went all through summer wearing a charity shop denim jacket, which also had the advantage of hiding the bruises. I'd ditch your scarf, or keep it tucked in!

My dog was worst in open spaces, and towards the end of the walk. Keeping walks shorter, maybe fitting in an extra one to compensate, may help. I clung to narrow paths, lanes, and edges of fields, where he was less likely to kick off and it was easier either to find something to attach the lead to or just face away from him without him being able to come round the other side. He would also do it in the garden occasionally and I would carry a plastic trug at all times to hold in front of me to block him, which was enough to stop him.

Hang on in there - it does pass, though it can take a while and even when you think he's rgown out of it, extra excitement, e.g. a trip down the beach on a windy day, might kick it off again. At one point I'd see my dog approaching with that look in his eye, then he'd think twice and veer off again - then I'd praise him and give him a treat. Sometimes I think he did this on purpose just to get the treat but if it meant he saw that as a better behaviour than jumping up, I wasn't complaining!
I'm genuinely tearing up a bit reading your message. I try hard and he is so exceptionally good most of the time. Then he lunges and jumps with the "crazed look" and I just feel this weird shame wash over me! It doesn't help that bystanders look at the situation like he's a demon, or that I have zero control over my dog. I'm glad there are dog owners who can relate.

After I sent my original post, we went to the woods and 30 minutes in he got jumpy again. This is all after ball games, training throughout the walk etc, you know, varying it up. I did tie him to a tree this time, which seemed to work better.

Serious question: should I worry that he might try and do this to someone else on the walk? In Germany, there are many places where dogs can go off leash, however I'm starting to worry that he might jump on someone (he chased a cyclist earlier). In any case, I bought a muzzle, which he didn't like, but tolerated.

When did your dog stop doing this? It's making me so on edge and walks are no longer enjoyable. :(
 

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I feel for you. I remember when he jumped up on me when I was in the middle of a playing field and he broke the used poo bag I was carrying - it went everywhere! I got back in the car and cried :( Of course, I can look back and laugh now, and you will too eventually:)

The good news is, he never did this with anyone apart from me and my husband so hopefully your lad won't either. It's difficult to remember when he stopped, but he was probably around 1 before we even finally settled on the best approach and did it consistently, and then it took a long time. He was always by nature rather wild and prone to tantrums. Which reminds me - impulse control. It's all very well your dog learning what you don't want him to do, but he still needs the self-control to stop himself from doing it. I found this video very useful for teaching this skill:

You know, playing ball and doing training on walks might not help. The first is very exciting, and the second is maybe a little stressful, in the sense that he's having to do what he's asked. Think of a child after a long day at school finally let out... You might want to try taking him somewhere inherently more interesting, with things to smell, paths to explore, birds, squirrels (OK, squirrels might not be so calming...). You could scatter bits of kibble in the verges to let im sniff for (sniffing can be inherently calming), and just generally hanging out together, watching the world go by. There's a balance here in that he might then be frustrated because he can't play ball, so you'll need to see how it goes.

Good call on the muzzle - for safety, it needs to be a basket muzzle he can pant in and drink through, not one that holds his mouth shut. Ideally you introduce it gradually, but if he's tolerating it, that's good. You just don't want it to be something that stresses him more and might then make a meltdown more likely. The good thing is that it should help you to feel calmer - if you can be totally Zen-like, this will help him calm down.
 

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This was Bowie today, affectionately known as "Bocifer" while I tackle his teenage rebellion!

245957
 

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I feel for you. I remember when he jumped up on me when I was in the middle of a playing field and he broke the used poo bag I was carrying - it went everywhere! I got back in the car and cried :( Of course, I can look back and laugh now, and you will too eventually:)

The good news is, he never did this with anyone apart from me and my husband so hopefully your lad won't either. It's difficult to remember when he stopped, but he was probably around 1 before we even finally settled on the best approach and did it consistently, and then it took a long time. He was always by nature rather wild and prone to tantrums. Which reminds me - impulse control. It's all very well your dog learning what you don't want him to do, but he still needs the self-control to stop himself from doing it. I found this video very useful for teaching this skill:

You know, playing ball and doing training on walks might not help. The first is very exciting, and the second is maybe a little stressful, in the sense that he's having to do what he's asked. Think of a child after a long day at school finally let out... You might want to try taking him somewhere inherently more interesting, with things to smell, paths to explore, birds, squirrels (OK, squirrels might not be so calming...). You could scatter bits of kibble in the verges to let im sniff for (sniffing can be inherently calming), and just generally hanging out together, watching the world go by. There's a balance here in that he might then be frustrated because he can't play ball, so you'll need to see how it goes.

Good call on the muzzle - for safety, it needs to be a basket muzzle he can pant in and drink through, not one that holds his mouth shut. Ideally you introduce it gradually, but if he's tolerating it, that's good. You just don't want it to be something that stresses him more and might then make a meltdown more likely. The good thing is that it should help you to feel calmer - if you can be totally Zen-like, this will help him calm down.
I think you're right. He may well be over stimulated. I can't drive, so it took us a train, a tram and a bus to even get to the woods. He so wants to please and everything is a training opportunity, but I can see how I might expect too much from him.

PS yes, the muzzle is the fabric one. It gave me peace of mind so will use this off leash going forward!
 

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PS yes, the muzzle is the fabric one. It gave me peace of mind so will use this off leash going forward!
So it holds his mouth shut? They are really only suitable for very short times, e.g. at the dentist. You really need a basket style, like you can see if you scroll down on this page: How To Stop Your Labrador Eating Rubbish

This is my dog in his (he wears it for other issues) - note how much room there is for him to open his mouth and pant. Note also that it hasn't stopped him having a lot of fun!



It's a shame it's difficult for you to get to the woods - they were a godsend for us.
 

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So it holds his mouth shut? They are really only suitable for very short times, e.g. at the dentist. You really need a basket style, like you can see if you scroll down on this page: How To Stop Your Labrador Eating Rubbish

This is my dog in his (he wears it for other issues) - note how much room there is for him to open his mouth and pant. Note also that it hasn't stopped him having a lot of fun!



It's a shame it's difficult for you to get to the woods - they were a godsend for us.
Ah, sorry - I misread your message. Yes, the fabric one velcros shut. It was all the pet shop on the way to the woods had, but I will make sure to buy the bucket one (looks roomy and should prevent him from eating anything he sees). In Berlin, people have been known to put raw meat down laced with rat poison...

Your dog looks so happy and muddy. I love it! Thank you for all the advice. I need to stay patient and consistent. Bowie really is the sweetest boy.
 

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Aww, he's so cute!

A basket muzzle might really help, while he will still jump up on you, he won't be able to nip at you, so you'll have some protection while you work to extinguish the behavior. Here's a website that has a lot of information on fitting a basket muzzle, and on how to train the dog to like wearing it. The Muzzle Up! Project | Muzzle advocacy, Education, and Training
 

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I had a similar problem with my former foster dog. He was a pretty big dog (75 lbs) and sometimes he got really wired up when he was off lead, I could immediately see when he went into “the zone”. He got hyper, started running like crazy and jumped up on me, nipping and biting. I understand your frustration because it really hurt, I had bruises all over my arms (It really looked like I was being abused) and at first it didn’t seem like anything would help. I would of course stand still, be calm etc, but he could still keep going.

I of course could’ve stopped having him off lead, but It didn’t happen that often and we both really enjoyed when he could roam free in the fields (enclosed). So what I decided was to establish a kind of interrupting command. A command that is incompatible with the behavior as @JoanneF mentioned. I would not recommend to use your normal “sit” or “down” command since you’ll risk to “ruin” them. I chose to establish the command “ey” were I wanted him to stop and more or less throw himself on the ground, it didn’t have to be a nice “lay down”. We started to train this when he was on a lead and calm. When “ey” was established at a calm stage I started to get him more hyped up and playful (still with the lead on) and trained him to follow the command even when he was playful. When he was able to do that I removed the lead and trained it as he was being playful but off leash. And then we just trained it over and over again and build it up until he was able to follow the command even when he was “in the zone”. I will try to attach some videos so you can see what I’m talking about. None of the videos show when he is “in the zone” but I hope you will get the picture. Hopefully it will work but i’m still confused on how to upload videos. iCloud
iCloud

I don’t know the correct word for it in english, but when a dog doesn’t know how to handle a situation because they’re overwhelmed, overly excited or stressed out so they show these kind of behaviors (humping, running, biting, zoomies etc). Anyhow this was the reason for my dog’s behavior and I’m not surprise if it would be the reason for yours as well. Many times this kind of behavior is due to over or under stimulation. The dog might be overly stimulated with high stress activities. This doesn’t per say mean that the dog needs less activities, just different.

As previously mentioned ball games is causing excitement and stress. Every time you throw a ball you can compare that to the dog hunting for a prey which every time releases stress hormones. But apart from real hunting the dog doesn’t get to work with its nose or mind, it only include the most stressful part “running and catching” without the opportunity for the dog to work and get tiered. Ball games can be really fun and great at times but doing it too much and too often without other “mind-tiring” activities it can cause stress problems. I would really recommend to try out some more calm activities were he gets to work with his nose and brain to tire him out.
 

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Sunflower, what an awesome post! I appreciate how generous you are in sharing your experience and expertise. The video demonstrated your advice well.
 

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I have a 10 month old newfypoo, so he's also a doodle. He used to do the same things on walks, so I can relate. It's horrifying! I've also had people in public ask me if I need help, give me dirty looks, and even criticize the way I choose to train my dog. It made me second- guess myself a lot and wonder if I was raising a crazy, aggressive dog.

From what I understand, poodles can be nippy puppies. Mine still nips me on occasion, but it has gotten leagues better.

What I found is that he typically started jumping, grabbing clothes, and nipping in one of two situations:

1. He was over tired. This would happen near the end of walks and would signal, "I need a nap." Just like a cranky toddler would do. If it's after a game of fetch, or if you're also training (which is mentally exhausting), he may just be telling you he's tired and ready to go home.

2. The park was environment was overstimulating. This would also happen in crowded parks where he needed to politely walk at heel past other dogs and people frequently. Especially trails with bikers and roller skaters whom he so desperately wanted to chase, but couldn't. This behavior drastically improved when I started taking him to lesser used nature trails where he would only occasionally need to walk at heel.

Over time, he started to just grow out of it. It didn't take so much mental energy for him to walk in public and his physical stamina improved, in addition to the fact that he stopped teething and we did work at home with the nipping.

In summary, what worked for me were shorter walks more times per day, so he didn't get to tired, on more secluded trails.

Don't worry! I can see you're working hard to do the right thing for your pup. He'll grow out of it. Just be patient and stay confident in your training!
 

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Sunflower, what an awesome post! I appreciate how generous you are in sharing your experience and expertise. The video demonstrated your advice well.
Well, thank you! I wouldn’t say I posses any expertise necessarily, but hopefully some shared experiences can help.
 

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I had a similar problem with my former foster dog. He was a pretty big dog (75 lbs) and sometimes he got really wired up when he was off lead, I could immediately see when he went into “the zone”. He got hyper, started running like crazy and jumped up on me, nipping and biting. I understand your frustration because it really hurt, I had bruises all over my arms (It really looked like I was being abused) and at first it didn’t seem like anything would help. I would of course stand still, be calm etc, but he could still keep going.

I of course could’ve stopped having him off lead, but It didn’t happen that often and we both really enjoyed when he could roam free in the fields (enclosed). So what I decided was to establish a kind of interrupting command. A command that is incompatible with the behavior as @JoanneF mentioned. I would not recommend to use your normal “sit” or “down” command since you’ll risk to “ruin” them. I chose to establish the command “ey” were I wanted him to stop and more or less throw himself on the ground, it didn’t have to be a nice “lay down”. We started to train this when he was on a lead and calm. When “ey” was established at a calm stage I started to get him more hyped up and playful (still with the lead on) and trained him to follow the command even when he was playful. When he was able to do that I removed the lead and trained it as he was being playful but off leash. And then we just trained it over and over again and build it up until he was able to follow the command even when he was “in the zone”. I will try to attach some videos so you can see what I’m talking about. None of the videos show when he is “in the zone” but I hope you will get the picture. Hopefully it will work but i’m still confused on how to upload videos. iCloud
iCloud

I don’t know the correct word for it in english, but when a dog doesn’t know how to handle a situation because they’re overwhelmed, overly excited or stressed out so they show these kind of behaviors (humping, running, biting, zoomies etc). Anyhow this was the reason for my dog’s behavior and I’m not surprise if it would be the reason for yours as well. Many times this kind of behavior is due to over or under stimulation. The dog might be overly stimulated with high stress activities. This doesn’t per say mean that the dog needs less activities, just different.

As previously mentioned ball games is causing excitement and stress. Every time you throw a ball you can compare that to the dog hunting for a prey which every time releases stress hormones. But apart from real hunting the dog doesn’t get to work with its nose or mind, it only include the most stressful part “running and catching” without the opportunity for the dog to work and get tiered. Ball games can be really fun and great at times but doing it too much and too often without other “mind-tiring” activities it can cause stress problems. I would really recommend to try out some more calm activities were he gets to work with his nose and brain to tire him out.
I love that command and you do it so effortlessly. I'll try it. In regards to ball games, this is a fairly recent addition. I prefer more mentally stimulating games (Bowie is 75% poodle so it's important for me that he use his nose and brain.)

The challenge here is that he comes to the office with me 2 days a week. There's a park near my work and I've relied on kicking a ball about in order ro release some energy during the day. But now I see that I'm getting him over excited when - now I think about it - he's happily sniffing and I interrupt him!
 
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