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Teenage pup going crazy around animals

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by Amelia M Richards, Jun 17, 2019.


  1. Amelia M Richards

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    I adopted a 10 month old whippet cross spaniel around 6 weeks ago and have had an uphill struggle with training ever since (mostly due to her lack of interest in treats and extreme amounts of energy and excitability)
    The main struggle is when we're out, if she sees another animal (dogs, cats, foxes and birds) she goes crazy, flipping around on the lead, tail wagging, energy at 100%. Shes gone to run in front of fast cars to chase birds, and all the recall training in the world doesn't work if there are dogs around (perfect when were on our own though!)..and dont even get me started on the foxes that just stand in our path brazenly staring us out on late night walks while shes practically hyperventilating and going crazy. I thought she just wanted to play and it was teenage excitability but during a vet trip yesterday, while in the waiting area she was so wound up with all the dogs there, when an elderly dog went to sniff her she snarled and snapped at her. So obviously I need to change my training tactics asap to nip this in the bud.
    Unfortunatley as I've just paid for her neutering I wont be able to afford a behaviourist until next month so has anyone dealt with this before? I assumed she wasnt socialised as a pup so was giving her lots of opportunities to sniff passing dogs and see animals and hoping she just grew out of it. But the aggression she has now shown has me too scared to let her near other dogs or let her off lead ever and I'm not sure how to help her. Ever other dog she met she's generally just jumped all over excitedly until I've pulled her away.
    Also randomly today she started barking and attacking a garden waste bag someone had left outside their house?! My last dog was so easy to train and calm so my crazy girl is leaving me clueless..
    And ideas to share? Frustrated dog mum here!
     
  2. Jamesgoeswalkies

    Jamesgoeswalkies PetForums VIP

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    She probably wasn't socialised well and she sounds very anxious in general - but unfortunately the socialisation period closes by 6 months of age and so introducing her to lots of dogs when she is already scared tends to have the opposite effect to the one we are looking for.

    She will have to be taught how to cope with each of the things you mention - birds, cars, cats, foxes and of course other dogs - with some it will be anxiety and poor social skills (ie; with other dogs), with others just training and with others such as birds it will be an uncontrolled prey drive.

    I would start by making sure I have a good front lead harness and a pocketful of high level food (cook something or slice up some chicken) and spend the next few weeks walking somewhere calm and quiet where you are unlikely to have much distraction. Start to teach her all about going for a walk with you. Dogs very rarely take treats when they are over threshold (gone crazy) but most will be interested when they are calm. Keep a distance from other dogs so she can learn to be calmer.

    I would keep her away from free playing areas (off lead areas) and again start to teach her about having a nice time with you. Or use a long line

    10 months is still young and yes, it certainly will be a good idea to get some professional help in the future.

    J
     
  3. Amelia M Richards

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    Thank you, that's very helpful. Her last owner was ill and I get the impression she wasnt walked much. She is a bit of a harness Houdini, we've found one that she cant escape from (a whippet harness) but it's not front attaching though and she pulls like anything, we are getting there slowly with that and shes better once shes had a run. Any harness suggestion? We are using a long lead at the moment and reeling her in when another dog comes close. I've been working on teaching her to play catch and psying attention to me while out. Slow progress but getting there. I'm doing all of this around looking after two young children while hubby's at work and working evenings myself but I'm determined to make a calm family pet out of her yet!
     
  4. Amelia M Richards

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    Also regarding the high value treats, we had success with chicken and cocktail sausages but we were doing so Mich training as she didn't even know 'sit' when she came to us, that she decided that she didn't want her boring dog food and would refuse to eat until the treats came out! So that was another battle we overcame.
    Were having slight success with cat treats now though.
     
  5. JoanneF

    JoanneF PetForums VIP

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    If you cut your treats into pea sized pieces she will get the taste but not enough to put her off her food.
     
  6. tabelmabel

    tabelmabel PetForums VIP

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    Do you mind my asking if this is a mistake @Jamesgoeswalkies or you have come across different research to me? Everything i have come across goes with dog - human socialisation critical period closing at 12 weeks and dog- dog closing at 16 weeks.

    I know pups tend to have a 'puppy license' lasting until about 6 months, whereby other dogs will give rude pups a little leeway for their behaviour, but that's a different thing entirely.


    Agree with everything else, and know you're (almost) never wrong, otherwise wouldnt have queried it.

    Which reminds me - that TT owner never came back on that other thread. Pity.
     
  7. StormyThai

    StormyThai Moderator
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    @Amelia M Richards Have a look at Indi-Dog https://indi-dog.co.uk/
    They are custom made and the Houdini harnesses have an extra belly band behind the ribs so they can't slip out of them and they have a front ring :)
     
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  8. Jamesgoeswalkies

    Jamesgoeswalkies PetForums VIP

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    I always say '6 months of age' but it's a generalisation - a kind of guide - actually most of the work is done by good breeders (or ruined by bad breeders) under 5 weeks of age. It's another reason why breeders are so important. Many puppy owners don't get their puppies home until after the period is nearly over so I am always conscious that if I say '12 weeks' it can be very demoralising. We get quite a few people on here panicking that their socialisation will be derailed by late inoculation etc.

    The interesting thing here is that no one knows the actual specifics and most research is based on tests with groups of dogs done in the 1950s and 60's. Scott and Fuller called it the 'critical period', now it's generally called the 'sensitive period'. Personally i prefer the former. There is no sudden growth. No sudden change of chemical structure. Its done on tests to see how puppies react. There are so many factors involved though ie; core temperament. As someone who breeds puppies from time to time i find it a fascinating subject.

    But yes, there are specific 'periods' which I place under one umbrella .. 6 months of age :D

    J
     
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  9. tabelmabel

    tabelmabel PetForums VIP

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    Thanks for explaining! I find it fascinating too, since my background is in child psychology and language development so studied critical periods in some detail many years ago. The first example i learned was for an A level psychology course, before i began my degree in speech and language. It was chickens deprived of grain between the ages of 4 and 7 days. This is the critical period for chickens learning to peck. They were given plentiful grain on day 8, and 'starved in the midsts of plenty' it was observed. Very cruel experiment, but embedded in my mind how important critical periods are for ever.

    Now, i havent looked recently, but i did try to find that experiment once online and could find no reference to it!! But it is not another Prussian tin dog!!!
     
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  10. lullabydream

    lullabydream PetForums VIP

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    I think with dogs though, although we are talking critical period..with socialisation it's not the same as say critical periods in child development. Those children who never learn to walk because they 'missed' the stage of development..the worry about those Romanian orphan children confined to cots, am sure you can remember those images...missing critical periods. Critical periods are usually innate.

    We have read here, there and everywhere how some dogs who haven't left their houses ever go in to rescue at whatever age and with TLC and lots of treats and devotation become fairly well rounded dogs. No different to what other dogs that have been socialised correctly.

    Then you get brilliant owners here, which know their stuff and end up with 'problem' dogs..or ones that have less resilience.

    As @Jamesgoeswalkies I think a lot is down to breeders, breeding for temperament and resilience. How dogs do and will cope...some dogs can have horrible overwhelming moments as puppies/dogs and it's like water off a ducks back, others not so much.

    Is it Spaulding with the chickens? I think they did chickens and Harlow did ducks but I can't remember @tabelmabel
     
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  11. tabelmabel

    tabelmabel PetForums VIP

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    Harlow was monkeys and i just cant recall the chickens at all. My understanding of the puppy thing is that it is innate and, yes dogs can be rehabilitated and taught skills after 16 weeks, but that it is a teaching process after that age, whereas prior to 16wks, pups are receptive to accept and mix with all dogs, after that, the window closes.

    I think it is similar to learning a language. Up until 5 yrs of age, a child will easily learn a language, simply by being absorbed in it. After that, it gets harder. Of course, people can and do become proficient speakers of other languages when learned later in life - but there are usually clues that they are not native speakers of the language unless they were exposed to it very early on.

    So, yes, you can teach a badly socialised pup how to manage in the world, but it will never be quite as proficient socially as it would have been with good socialisation early on in life.

    That is my understanding of it, but happy to be put right:)
     
  12. lullabydream

    lullabydream PetForums VIP

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    Harlow did ducks as well as monkeys...like most only one study became universally talked about...

    It's like anything psychology wise though...or behaviour science wise how do we really know...because let's be fair when talking human reaching potential we are talking from in the womb. We just will never know to a degree...and different perspectives give different ideas...so as James says the majority of dogs behaviour lies with sound breeding.
     
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  13. tabelmabel

    tabelmabel PetForums VIP

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    I think i might have moved onto maternal deprivation studies by the time they got Harlow out on my course!!! Probs bypassed the ducks altogether:D:D i just remember a monkey cuddling a wire 'mum' that was harlow, wasnt it.
     
  14. tabelmabel

    tabelmabel PetForums VIP

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    Yes, im not going to disagree with that!! Very true.
     
  15. Amelia M Richards

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    Just ordered a Houdini proof harness from indi dog..they look perfect! I've been trying to find one like that, but haven't come across them despite all the Google searches...thanks for the heads up! :)
     
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  16. lullabydream

    lullabydream PetForums VIP

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    Harlow and attachment theory yes! Cringe at that experiment as all of them to be honest!
     
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  17. Kakite

    Kakite PetForums Member

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    We got our pup at 10.5 weeks and started socializing her from then at puppy class and she was quite timid. She watched the other dogs play and wanted to join in, but only did so at the last class. We tried to meet up with other dog owners to safely socialize her before she was fully vaccinated, but it didn't happen very often. Just didn't know enough people with dogs with a calmer temperament. By the time she was fully vaccinated and ready for walking outside, she was scared to even walk past other dogs.

    Now she is almost 6 months old and while she is not a social butterfly, she has lost most of her fear and even goes to doggie day care 1-2x a week and has her buddies on walks and will pick and choose to play with some dogs at the dog park. We just had to work extra hard on carefully socializing her on her terms and with lots of patience and high value treats. We've had many good experiences and while it used to worry me sick (of having missed the ideal window of time of socializing her), now she's is doing really well. In saying that, we had to put in extra effort, as she was bullied in her litter (being the smallest) and wasn't too keen on interacting with other dogs at first. Now she 'plays like a real pup' and it makes us so happy to see her enjoy herself.
     
  18. tabelmabel

    tabelmabel PetForums VIP

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    But you didnt miss the 'ideal window time' 10.5 weeks is well within the window.

    Dont forget, breeders start the process before you even pick your pup up so you didnt miss the boat at all.

    Your pup doesnt need to be a social butterfly. Most arent. Socialisation isnt about being friends with everyone. It's more about having the resilience to cope with all the scary things in our world without fear. Just being able to walk down a street and pass dogs, screaming kids, car horn, postman with high viz jacket - if your pup can do that sort of thing without cowering, barking, freezing, panting, then you have done a great job of setting up your pup with the skill that will stand it in good stead for life:)
     
  19. Kakite

    Kakite PetForums Member

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    I didn't get my puppy from a breeder, she was more a rescue from a private home. At puppy school most of the other puppies were 8 weeks old and one person said to me that it's getting a bit late for my pup because she started when she was 11weeks old with puppy school and they said at 12weeks it's all done and over. That made me worry and panic. But she turned out just fine.
     
  20. tabelmabel

    tabelmabel PetForums VIP

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    Then she likely got off to a fine start - people coming in and out of the house, household sounds, all good. It's more these puppy mill pups that are kept in shocking conditions, never see a kind human at all during the early weeks that need extensive rehabilitation. Sounds as if your pup is fine!
     
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