Unruly Two Sprocker Pups. Crated d

Benjie spends most of the day in the crate with his brother


5-month-old Sprocker brothers Ollie and Benjie live in the kitchen, along with 10-year-old Springer Flossie.

The room was crowded with a large table, a small sofa and two crates, three young children, the couple and their adult son.

Spending hours on end in their crates

Because of the family’s work schedules, the young dogs spend hours each day in their crates. They have already been shut in crates for about nine hours at night.

The family member who had joint responsibility, who had initiated getting the two youngsters, had left without warning.

Sometimes a problem can be so overwhelming it’s hard to know where to start. It’s impossible for the puppies not to be unruly when they get some freedom.

Things were understandably a bit more chaotic than usual because of my arrival. It also was nearly bedtime for the three young children which was noisy. I saw the young dogs at their worst and most unruly which is probably a good thing.

unruly puppies


When they are let out of their crates the unruly puppies are completely out of control. They leap all over people, up at the table and sides. They nick anything they can reach and toilet anywhere. This is due both to excitement and the fact nobody thinks to put them outside regularly enough.

For this reason, even when the family is in the kitchen, the young dogs are crated or outside.

Unruly because their needs are not met

The people don’t let them out of their crates separately, feeling it’s unfair. However, I found having them out together impossible so we shut one away at a time. I lent the crated one my Stagbar to chew which he loved.

Then, while we talked and after the children had gone to bed, I worked on the other dog. I showed the people how their own reactions to the jumping up is giving the dogs the only real attention they get. I showed them how we could give the pups even better attention when they were behaving well.

We worked mostly on their jumping at the table and sides.

This will be a big challenge, taking time, patience and consistency from the three adults. These puppies need a lot more time spent on them.

In the short time I was there I had taught both dogs to sit and one of them to lie down upon request. I used rewards, something they are not used to.

Ollie was doing all he could to be good. He was like a sponge. Sitting deliberately instead of jumping up. Bless him. He managed to sit still for long enough for me to take a photo of him (above).

Motivating them

From now on the dogs should be earning some of their food – being rewarded all the time they behave well. This will be very difficult in the bustle and noise when young children are about, but one dog at a time can be free. The other given something satisfying to do or to chew in the crate.

Because of the unruly situation, unsurprisingly the two dogs sometimes fight. Unchecked, this will probably get worse as they get older. Poor older Flossie is terrorised.

The pups fly all over children on the sofa and I am concerned a child may get hurt unless just one is out at a time.

The dogs have just one short outing each day – you can’t really call it a walk. The front door is opened and the unruly puppies simply fly out to the adjacent park, off lead, doing their own thing. They are puppies but already barking at people and other dogs.

There was one surprisingly good thing – showing what these dogs are capable of when given time and trouble.  I watched the adult son preparing their food. They sat calmly and waited!

Is this the right home for them?

This is not a situation the family had envisaged when they got the puppies. If they can’t find a lot more quality time for their dogs then they would be better with just one pup – or maybe even re-homing them both.

This would both give the dogs the lives they deserve and it would give the family their lives back.

Jumping Up and Nicking His Master’s Tools!

Basset Merlin has a great personality, and look at that face!Sometimes there has to be a trade-off between what people want of their dog and what they are prepared to do to get it!

6-month-old Bassett/Welsh Foxhound Merlin is hilarious. What a face! He has a wonderful personality – he’s affectionate, friendly, playful…….and deliberately ‘naughty’!

His ‘crimes’ are stealing things, especially his owners tools including even an electric drill, and hoarding them in the garden. He jumps up at the sides to take anything he can find. He jumps up at people.

He would do none of these things if they weren’t rewarding in some way. I noticed that whenever he jumped up at the sides, people were slow in calling him down and not on the look-out, so from Merlin’s point of view there’s no consistent rule. When he is caught, loud DOWN and crossness is quite high-value attention for a tough dog!

He jumps up at people because it always gets a big result. He needs attention only when his feet are on the floor, but everyone has to do this. Unfortunately, the dogs are out in the garden much of the time and people who call are jumped on as they get out of their cars. The owners have a choice. They keep the dogs in unless supervised (which they don’t want to do) or they put up with the jumping up at callers. Something has to give. They want their dogs to run free on their land, so it’s their choice.

Stealing things is such fun! Being chased by an irate man who actually loves him dearly is a great game. He shows no aggression or possessiveness, and the tools can always be found in the usual place outside. The price to pay for now and until Merlin gets beyond his teenage stage is to keep things out of his reach and restrict free access to the garden – as one would with a toddler. Again, the people have a choice. Merlin is always ready for the main chance and misses little!

Their current ways of trying to teach him involve punishment, sometimes physical, or scolding. He must see little point in not jumping up because feet on the ground isn’t rewarding, and coming away from the sides in the kitchen isn’t rewarding. Resisting the temptation to nick something isn’t rewarding – but to Merlin running off with it is! It enfuriates them.

Seeing him lying on his back on the sofa is a picture. He really is the softest and silliest dog. I loved him. To the extent that his owners are prepared to change what they do, they will be able to change what Merlin does.

Bouncy Chocolate Labrador

Chocolate Labrador Barney is sitting still for a momentHaving lost my own Chocolate Labrador Marmite to heart disease last month at the age of just six, it was a special treat to meet Barney yesterday.

Barney is fifteen months old and extremely energetic. It takes him a long time to settle down when his owners come home and it takes even longer for him to quieten down when anyone comes to their house.  He is very persistent with his jumping up and the jumping all over people continues even when they sit down. All efforts to control this with commands and physical restraint have made no difference. He even pulls towards people in the street in order to jump all over them.

Lovely Barney needs to learn some self control!

He is given two long walks a day, but when he gets home he needs to unwind. This to me is a fair indication that the long walks are not doing their job of making him more relaxed – but over-stimulating him instead. Needless to say, walks are a stressful pulling contest!

Barney has so many good points and he is a teenager after all. He is very happy when left alone, he is superb in the car, I don’t think he would know how to be aggressive and he loves other dogs even if he’s a bit overwhelming with them.

So, self-control will start with his owners giving him some firm rules and boundaries, in a kind and fair way, so that he learns that good behaviour works and that unwanted behaviour doesn’t. At the end of the day he should be a wonderful dog that can be taken anywhere.

If you live in my area and have a dog that needs to learn some self control, why not give me a call?

I can help you, too, with these problems or any other that you may be having with your dog.