It’s as if Willow, the over-excited one-year-old Wirehaired Vizsla, is driven by rocket fuel!
Trying to stop her being so excited
All their efforts are understandably around trying to stop Willow jumping up at people, flying all over them, grabbing feet and so on.
Now they need to find ways of making these unwanted behaviours as unrewarding as possible whilst showing Willow instead what they do want her to do.
Excited, she nudges family members repeatedly with a toy, wanting a game of tug. It works! If she persists, they always give in – particularly the son.
They will now ignore her efforts to get attention by persistent nudging them with a toy whilst initiating other activities themselves. This will be a challenge initially. Willow undoubtedly will become frustrated and try even harder. Never before has this ploy of hers not worked in the end!
Giving her plenty of alternative activities is the answer, better activities that fulfil her. Some will help to calm the excited dog down. Others will give her an opportunity to vent her wildness so she can take it out on something other than the son! A ‘Rummage Box‘ for example (thank you Selina Valentine for the video).
People send her wild with excitement.
Willow’s behaviour around people is the most difficult aspect of her being too excited.
It’s a problem when someone comes to the house, whether she knows them or not. She jumps on them and flies all over them. She pants and drinks constantly.
It’s a particular problem when they meet people on walks. If anybody gets near to her she leaps up at them. She is far too aroused to react to commands even if she hears them.
For now they will use management by way of a lead or a long line. She needs to get out of the habit of automatically charging at people and flying all over them.
At home they can keep her on lead when people are in the house while giving her things to chew and to do. The people themselves will be asked to pay her little attention.
When out and in the park, they can use a long line. They will teach her to stay with them and not to rush and jump up at anyone she sees – or to mug their dog.
Later she can learn to sit for a fuss but she is far too excited at the moment. This may be some time down the road!
The behaviour that they do want.
Now they can begin to show her the behaviour they do want. They will make it suitable rewarding.
Keeping daily life as calm as possible is vital. Training games are great when she’s calm, but repeated commands when she’s aroused simply add more rocket fuel. Foraging, sniffing, hunting and generally being busy with chewing are the best things.
After a few weeks when she’s a bit calmer and a little less excited around people, we will then take another look at the situation. We will look at activities that encourage motivation and self-control.