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HELP! Wild Puppy!

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Dear Karen,

I have an 8-month-old chocolate Lab who we cannot get to settle down when other people or animals enter the picture. She obeys pretty well the first time or two using the clicker and treats, but then totally ignores us and goes her own way - jumping on people and running off with whatever distraction (i.e. other dogs) come her way. She seems to have gotten wilder in the past month. We take her for at least 1-1/2 hour hikes/runs everyday (sometimes twice a day) so she is not a dog desperate for exercise or company. She just likes to jump and play - to everyone's dismay. She will only work with me and the clicker/treats for short time spans - then does her own thing. When we're so far from the house (on these walks) it's a dilemma how to "positively" deal with her so she "gets it". Any advice? I don't want a juvenile dilinquent dog. Is 8 months too late to break these habits that have arisen?



Your dog is just entering into the adolescent period in which Labradors, particularly, drive everyone crazy. This is when many a lab changes owners or ends up in the shelter.

She will eventually settle down. A few clicks during the height of the distraction is not going to make much difference; the work needs to be done when distractions are at a minimum, and then distractions can be very gradually introduced. Maturity will bring major changes but is not complete with labs until they are two or three.

Meanwhile I suggest a) a Gentle Leader so you can walk her without having to battle her strength, lose control, or resort to force (which she'd ignore, largely, anyway). You can get these safe head-halters at www.dogwise.com or www.sitstay.com. b) I'd try to find a clicker class or a gentle, all-positive puppy or beginner class, so that she has a weekly experience of working in spite of the presence of other dogs. and also some chance to meet more dogs and c) I'd try to find her a dog playmate or two so she can have regular experiences of roughhousing with other dogs, who will teach her good dog manners. You might also start working through the exercises in Peggy Tillman's Clicking with Your Dog, available on our website. An energetic young hunting dog needs activities for its mind as well as its body, and these will tire her out mentally and help her relax (and they're fun for you.)

Karen Pryor

jumping up onto furniture

My 18 month old Bichon is jumping on to the couch, then walking on the end tables.  Jumping on chairs and taking items off tables- not necessarily food.

I want to teach her to stay OFF all furniture unless invited onto our lap or onto a visitor's lap. She has been stopped before jumping when we SEE her

but she now knows to jump up when we are not looking.  She is crated when we are not at home.

Jumping, hard nose bunting, nipping - 7 month old pup

Hi Karen, after some advice please! We have the book and clickers and have had great success with our 7 month old basenji. However, I can't work out how to address the following problem:   The last few weeks he has been jumping and nipping us (adults) on the bottom,  and jumping and knocking over our small children. He kind of does a fast run and jump/nip/nose bunt on the way past us (which is face height for the kids....). We  have tried 'being trees' but he keeps jumping up, and the kids aren't tall  enough to 'be a tree' without him jumping to their faces, and I don't feel comfortable with this. I can't work out a trigger for this because he doesn't  do it all the time. Most bite prevention info is relating to aggressive behavior, and I'm sure this is a play behavior, but its very rough. My 4 year  old sat on the grass today to put on shoes, and the dog ran over and started to jump on him, I was right there but it was so quick and my boy was  frightened and waved his arms and legs about so the dog bit him on the leg (without aggression) but it left marks and a bruise.....  What signs should I be looking for to predict this, and how should we deal with it? I have tried giving him our hands every time he is near us so he can bunt them for attention instead of needing to jump, and he gets alot of gentle attention throughout the day and has lots of toys. It's like he needs a 'rough play release' or something?? He is a lovely well behaved dog otherwise.  I would love your advice please!

Teenage Deliquent

We have an 8 month old - Shitzu/Jack Russell that we got a 6 weeks from an Indian Reserve. He is learning but has issues with our grandkids. He just loves them so much but jumps up on them when they enter the house (other guests as well are greeted this way) Also have chewing issues such as chewing on everything/anything. Grabs socks, slippers, laundry baskets, plastic bags, pop bottles you name it he goes for it.

I take him daily to the doggy park which he just loves...this wears him down and we have a calm evening together. Also loves his ball, first thing when we enter from work is greeting us at the door with his ball in mouth just wanting to play. If you don't immediately (in about 4 - 6 mins) start tossing it he will nip at your feet until you do.

We are planning our first vacation (camping/fishing) trip with him and are not sure what will become of it. After have him leashed most of the time when our grandkids are over (usually every other weekend) because he just will not listen and leave them be. I have come to the end of my patiences but love him so much I hate to think of giving him up. I am open to trying anything/everything to get him to listen to me. Of course it's no different than when I raised the boys....I just MOM with no real authoritive voice...lol

Please help me find a way to stop he aggresive behaviour. He just doesn't listen get it (or I dont)

Thanks for any suggestions. Also we are thinking of a harness type for walking as well because with a leash all he does is pull and choke.


I also think that if your

I also think that if your young dog seems to prefer people then treats, access to people can be used as the reinforcer. So for exemple, practice with a friend, stop before reaching her and ask for a sit. Just wait with your dog on leash until she sits, then she can gets to greet the person. Then you are not competing against distractions but using them as reinforcers to sit, pay attention to you or whatever else you find useful.
good luck :)

In the same boat

I own a 8 month old golden retriever and I am experiencing the same problem. She is SO people friendly and get very excited, hyper and 'loses her mind'. Click and treating does not work in these situations (yet!, I hope) and I end up just avoiding them or removing her from them.

But since starting a clicker class, I have practiced sits, etc with the instructor watching and she has started bring her attention back to me quicker. I strongly believe with our dogs we need to introduce distractions at a slower pace than others.

Loud barking at guests

Moved message  

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