Lucy is the most endearing little dog. She is a seven month old Whippet/Cocker Spaniel mix, with a whippet body and cocker spaniel ears – and bounce! With this breed combination one would not expect her to be slow and placid! Mix this with two young children and you have a recipe for EXCITEMENT.
Lucy does many of the things most young dogs do – but to excess. Jumping up, flying about, nipping and whining if shut out. Nothing new really! I have personal experience from my own working cocker spaniel Pickle, now 11 months old, of a young dog fired with rocket fuel. Everything he does is at double speed – he can’t even spare the time to stay still long enough to toilet so does it on the run. With Pickle I knew what to do from day one and he learnt that jumping up never got him any attention. If he jumped on people we would turn away or simply stand up to tip him off. No eye contact, no touching and no words. If he jumped at a table he would be patiently, quietly, gently and consistently removed by his collar or harness. If he became over-excited he would be calmly put in his crate for a short ‘time-out’ break to calm down. Consistency is the key.
Pickle never did use his teeth though. This will be because he was with at least one other sibling until eleven weeks of age and puppies learn from one another. Lucy unfortunately left her litter at six weeks old and her new family didn’t realise how important it was to teach the tiny puppy not to use her teeth – but in a way the other puppies would – with a short squeal and walking or turning away. Lucy thinks the children’s reaction to her nipping is play. Shouting OUCH is meaningless to a puppy. Pushing her away is a game and an invitation to nip hands and arms. Tapping her on the nose is an invitation to a rough game or a bite.
This is a superb little dog. We will take things a bit at a time. Firstly curb the jumping and nipping, and basic lead work in the garden and near to home without children or buggy. They will do their best to avoid unecessary excitement. Until she is a bit calmer nothing more can be done. The slightest bit off attention hypes her up.
We can then look at teaching a few basics like sit, down and stay, and taking the walking a bit further afield.