Welcome to PetForums

Join thousands of other pet owners and pet lovers on the UK's most popular and friendly pet community and discussion forum.

Sign Up

At the end of my tether.

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by blossom21, Nov 10, 2012.


  1. blossom21

    blossom21 PetForums Senior

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2012
    Messages:
    784
    Likes Received:
    5
    Today has been a nightmare from the minute I got up. I have got into a habit of ignoring Bramble when I first come into the room until he calms down then I make a fuss. If I dont give him attention he starts his nonsense,same damn routine, this morning he stole a newspaper and tore it to shreds,next it was a CD which he broke into pieces which could of injured him if he had swallowed any. Next its dragging his blanket out of his bed and tear around the room with it, the list goes on. I try ignoring,try trading for a treat,but nothing is working to break this frustrating behaviour. He doesnt do it with hubby only me, it makes me feel Im to blame and doing something wrong. Ive tried time out but that doesnt work either. He is fed well,loved,played with,walked I really dont know how much more I can take of this behaviour its getting worse not better. I try not to get cross but sometimes I cant help myself when for the 3rd time he has wrecked something of a morning.:incazzato: We went for a 2 hour walk across the heath today I kept him on lead as he has gone backwards with re call which wasnt 100% anyway, the drive to hunt is so strong in him. On our last attempt at off lead at the park he was a real nightmare, got into an area where someone kept chickens and upset them, thankfully he didnt get to any. I am at a loss at to what more I can do and have got to a point where Im wondering if I have bitten off more than I can chew and would he be better off going to someone who could use him to work that hunting streak. He hates being on the lead thats clear as he grunts and pants to move off, but I cant trust him off lead.Ive worked so hard and seem to be getting nowhere after 6 months. All his naughtiness is saved up for me it seems, as when Im at work hubs says he's good as gold. He reduced me to tears today with his awful behaviour. When I come in from work he jumps up at me,Ive tried ignoring,turning away. I go to the loo, bedroom,kitchen and he is like my shadow. Again its only me he does it too Im so upset about all this and do feel like throwing in the towel...:angry:
     
    #1 blossom21, Nov 10, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2012
  2. Sled dog hotel

    Sled dog hotel PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2010
    Messages:
    39,822
    Likes Received:
    10,365
    Although he is well fed well, loved, walked and played with, it sounds like he maybe needs more mental stimulation and be taught to self amuse and keep himself occupied and have to use his brain more. The fact that when you dont give him attention he starts attention seeking behaviour that will get a reaction too possibly points to it, with the stealing things. That and possibly the fact that you could be mis- timing and not following through enough with the things that you are trying which can be a common mistake. Dont know how old he is but guessing he is probably in or fast approaching adolescence too when even ones that are pre-trained can start to not listen to commands, push at boundaries and do things like start to miss recalls. As his recall was not 100% before then its likely to be even worse or relapse even more if this is the stage he is at.

    I personally would change his play, to more structured things, making him work to get his attention. If he has never been to training classes either or only did a basic puppy class this would be worth considering, as then you would get back up in a more controlled environment but at the same time be training with distractions. Welcome to APDT - Association of Pet Dog Trainers UK should find classes and trainers in your area.

    I would start in favour of wild play, start to do training sessions instead, in fact if you go to classes you can then practive what you have learnt doing several short training sessions a day practising them as well. Getting him to go through all the basic commands, and rewarding and treating when he gets it right. You can then mix this with play as well but structuctured play, using the commands, working on something like sit and wait while you throw a ball or toy, then a release with find it, then once he has picked it up, getting him to return it to you, then teaching a drop, and then a sit wait again while you repeat the whole game/process. This way he is learning commands, has to work for his attention,
    it also teaches impulse control. Obviously you have to teach all the individually commands first, like, sit,wait,find it, retrive, drop, and then you put them all together bit by bit, in a structured form of rewarding play, but at the same time its still training and working, giving him mental stimulation as well as physical.
    Also you need to use these commands in every day life too, getting him to work for anything he wants and that you are going to give him, which should help you gain control.

    Looking at the whole structure of his day too can help. He gets walks, but at the same time he needs to have self amusement and wind down times as well as part of his day. After a walk, when he has gotten rid of excess energy, and more likey to be easier to settle, give him some down time, some pups and young dogs, will just keep going and going getting more any more hyper and wound up and have to be taught how to switch off and relax, the more interaction and stimulation they get often the worse they will be. Separating him with a baby gate in his own area and giving him something mentally stimulation to help him wind down should help as regular routine parts of his day.
    Give him a Kong, if he is on wet food you can stuff it with part of his daily allowance, if on dry you can put it in a kong wobbler or Busy Buddy, keeping him occupied and having to work at it, You can also fill them with various other things too. Chews are another good thing, as chewing is a natural destresser for dogs. It should help him and you at the same time.

    As regards his fraustration at being on a short lead and not being able to get rid of so much energy, try instead a long line, but at the same time going back to basics, with recall training, so again he is getting mental stimlation and interaction but from you instead. If you wants hints and tips on retraining and ways to make you more interesting just ask.

    I would still carry on with the time out too, but you need to make sure of timing and following through. He needs to be put out at first signs of hyper active or unwanted behaviour, left until he is really hyped up and into it, then its all the harder to calm them down, some can get to a point they really lose the plot if too hyped and over excited. You need to leave him for long enough to let him calm down, then let him out, but say and do absolutely nothing at all dont even look at him. Continue to ignore him, to make sure he is going to stay calm and then call him to you and get him to sit then treat and give attention. If he starts to hype again straight away he goes out again, and keep repeating it until he gets the message. Be consistent, some take longer then others for the penny to drop, that jumping all over you, and doing unwanted behaviour like running around like lunatics, stealing things get them nothing, and calm behaviour and doing as they are asked does.
     
  3. Sled dog hotel

    Sled dog hotel PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2010
    Messages:
    39,822
    Likes Received:
    10,365
    Forgot to add things that can give him mental stimulation and make him work for his meals etc.

    Recipes - Kong

    Wobbler Dog Toy | Dog food fillable toy for paced eating | Kong Co.

    Busy Buddy Twist-n-Treat - YouTube

    Buster DogMaze - YouTube

    https://www.antlerdogchews.co.uk/easy-antler-dog-chew-medium

    Another really good book is the pet gundog, written by lez graham a gun dog trainer but specifically for gun dogs who are pets and specific training for those,
    might be worth looking into, I read a serialisation in a dog mag from the books and it was very good, and I know Grandad a member thought very highly of it and I believe he had working spaniels.

    The Pet Gundog Book

    In fact I believe shes written a sequel now too, that he thought highly of and useful as well.
     
  4. Sarah1983

    Sarah1983 PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2011
    Messages:
    15,301
    Likes Received:
    7,118
    In addition to Sled Dog Hotels post, what is he fed? Food can have a huge impact on behaviour. Mine's bouncing off the walls, unable to settle, unable to focus and basically a nightmare to live with on certain ones.

    My dog is a terrible thief. If it isn't nailed down Spencer will steal it. If it's in your pocket, Spencer will steal it. If it's up on a shelf out of the way, Spencer will steal it. For the past 6 months or so we've had everything we're bothered about put away behind closed doors so that we can simply ignore the stealing. He's getting better with it, slowly. More and more often he's choosing to bring his toy instead of a moblie phone or a shoe or something else that he's managed to find. Completely ignoring the stealing has been FAR more effective than time outs or trading for treats with him.
     
  5. Bagrat

    Bagrat PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2012
    Messages:
    1,722
    Likes Received:
    39
    Champion of My Heart » Relaxation Protocol MP3 Files
    http://www.dogdaysnw.com/doc/OverallRelaxationProtocol.pdf

    I have only limited experience but have found rewarding Jackson for relaxing has helped a lot.
    The relaxation protocol above looks complicated and LOOKS as if you're training your dog to stay but it's really more about relaxing and being rewarded for that in a variety of circumstances. Once your dog has got the hang of it in one room of the house, try elsewhere and outside. I do it with Jackson in a "down", he sometimes falls asleep!
    I've not used the audio files as I'm a reader but if you are used to an MP3 player it could be good I guess.
    It seems to have made quite a difference to Jackson with regard to his inappropriate greeting which unlike you is worse for my OH
     
  6. blossom21

    blossom21 PetForums Senior

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2012
    Messages:
    784
    Likes Received:
    5
    I forgot to mention Bramble is 3 so by no means a pup. I knew he had this behaviour when I adopted him,but it has gone from moderate to over the top.I get the feeling his former owners made it into a game when he ran away with something (cute puppy and all that). For instance this afternoon I went out leaving him with hubs for 2 hours,I return,he jumps up at me,I ignore and off we go with the bad behaviour. We have done puppy classes but had to stop as although he was in a doggy seat belt he got so worked up he chewed through it and the seat belt it was attached to.Ive done the kong thing also, he already had a strong sit,down but I have worked harder on it.Stay is good when he wants to, I do use a long line so he gets some exercise when we are at the park.I get him to down, get the line to its max and call him to me,he does it every time. Headstrong is the word I would use when he doesnt want to do something nothing I do will get him to change his mind.Its all so disheartening, I can actually see every inch of him tense as if to say let me off and let me get in that undergrowth as when we near that part of the park or on the heath he wants to be in there. I have read endless manuals trying to correct all this behaviour. Also the other night he ran off under the table with something belonging to hubby, when hubs remonstrated with him he bit hubby not to break the skin thankfully, I said it was fight or flight as hubs had him cornered but we cannot have this behaviour. As I type he has grabbed a magazine to destroy and gone under the table with it.
     
    #6 blossom21, Nov 10, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2012
  7. Sarah1983

    Sarah1983 PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2011
    Messages:
    15,301
    Likes Received:
    7,118
    Managing the environment so he can't get attention by stealing is probably going to be key in stopping it. Even if you tell him off or punish him his behaviour would still be getting him the attention.

    If completely ignoring him when you come in triggers the behaviour you don't want then personally I'd stop ignoring him. Ask him to bring you a toy or sit or down and then make a fuss of him. He wants your attention so give him an acceptable means of getting it.

    With Spencer I taught him that coming to me with his prize was far more rewarding than running off with it. It's not ideal as he will still pick up things he shouldn't but at least now I can get them back without having to catch him first. And now we're working on him picking up his ball whenever he gets excited and feels he absolutely HAS to have something in his mouth. We're not quite there yet though. We've been working on his criminal tendencies for 9 months now.
     
  8. Bagrat

    Bagrat PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2012
    Messages:
    1,722
    Likes Received:
    39
    We found Jackson got even more excited if we ignored him so now ask for a "sit" and have a tug toy in every room!! They are just bits of plaited fleece I've made. Once he's sat he gets a quick game of tug and then a fuss. He is two by the way, but didn't have a puppyhood as far as we know so is doing it now.
     
  9. jayne5364

    jayne5364 PetForums VIP

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2009
    Messages:
    1,033
    Likes Received:
    24
    The ignoring him clearly isn't working, but I know that feeling well with one of mine. When mine start their antics when I come home from work, instead of ignoring them I have a few treats in my pocket and make them earn them.
    Mental stimulation is far more tiring than physical exercise. I could have mine out a couple of hours chasing balls ect, half an hour later they'll be raring to go. 20 minutes on the field, walking to heel, making them focus, sit, stay, down ect. Keep them on their toes and thinking works when I need to tire them out.
     
  10. spaniel04

    spaniel04 PetForums Member

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2011
    Messages:
    224
    Likes Received:
    5
    Do yourself and your dog a favour and go and see a gundog trainer. He is a working bred spaniel with a huge hunting drive. A good trainer will teach you how to channel that instinct so that you stay in control and your dog has an outlet for his drive. There are a few fantastic trainers in Dorset that I can think of. Let me know if you need help in finding one. :)
     
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice