Desperate. Her Puppy Jumps Up, Snaps and Barks at Her

“I am desperate!

“….I love my puppy so much and don’t know what to do. She bites, jumps up and snaps at me. I can’t eat in front of her. I could go on.

Skye likes to watch the dogs on television. I watch Victoria Stilwell’s programme. That’s how I found out about you.”

Desperate because of puppy's behaviourSkye is a four-month-old Westie.

It’s very easy to get into a spiral of despair when everything we do seems to make a puppy more wild or rough. All the time we are trying to stop the puppy doing things she gets worse.

The most dangerous is being underfoot and liable to trip the lady over which, due to her age, could be particularly disastrous.

Through different eyes.

The lady is now completely changing her perspective. She is looking at her puppy through different eyes. Instead of trying to counter unwanted behaviours with scolding and discipline, saying ‘no’ and getting cross, she will constantly look for and reinforce those behaviours that she does want. She already no longer feels desperate.

How does a dog or puppy know what we DO want? Ted Talk.

The clever puppy soon learnt that a click meant ‘Yes!’ Each time she jumped up, instead of reacting we waited. When she was back on the floor she earned a click – and food. This ‘brain’ work is exactly the kind of stimulation she needs.

We are also teaching Skye alternative behaviours that are incompatible with those things she now does that the lady doesn’t want her to do.

Where circling feet and grabbing trousers is concerned, she will be taught ‘Away’, running after a rolling piece of food. This way the lady can keep safe. She just has to make sure she has food on her for now.

We ask ourselves, what is it that drives the puppy to wildly jump up, bark at the lady, snap in her face when she bends over her, scratch her legs till she gets attention and so on? What is it that is causing the lady to feel so desperate?

Puppy over-arousal is at the bottom of it. Cutting back activities that stir her up and replacing with activities that use her brain and natural instincts like chewing and sniffing will help.

A little tornado!

It’s totally natural for a puppy to be excitable and have bouts of wild behaviour where she’s like a little tornado. Pressure has built up in her that has to explode somewhere! If she was with her siblings they would riot together and it would soon be over.

One great idea is a ‘box of tricks’ that Skye can go to town on and wreck. Biscuits are hidden in screwed up paper, food cartons, milk containers, loo roll tubes, old towels etc. The cardboard carton itself can be attacked.

If we want our puppy to be gentle and calm with us, then that is how we need to be with her. Friends and family need also to treat her calmly – no wild greetings and pumping her up.

Having a motivated puppy leads to good behaviour.

The lady should always reward her when she asks her to come to her.

It’s much better to call Skye away from something she shouldn’t be doing or chewing, rewarding her and giving her something acceptable to do. Much better than saying ‘No’ and scolding – trying to stop her.

This means having food in a pouch or pocket all the time for now.

No more feeling desperate.

From email a week later: ‘Skye is so much calmer I can’t believe how much we’ve achieved in a few days. The biting has just about stopped. I’m amazed that she appears to be getting the message so quickly.’ (It’s not so much about her getting the message, but the lady is communicating with her in a way she understands a bit better). 

 

NB. For the sake of the story and for confidentiality also, this isn’t a complete ‘report’ with every detail, but I choose an angle. The precise protocols to best use for your own dog may be different to the approach I have worked out for Skye and because neither dog nor situation will ever be exactly the same. Listening to ‘other people’, finding instructions on the internet or TV that are not tailored to your own puppy may not be appropriate, and in many cases the owner needs training personally. Being able to see a professional demonstrate and react appropriately to a puppy’s behaviour can be necessary. If you live in my own area I would be very pleased to help with strategies specific to your own puppy (see my Help page)

Depression? Huge Adjustments

Westie suffers from depression

Mitzie eventually lay down

Mitzie’s behaviour points to depression.

Only after I came home did I get the eureka moment. Westie Mitzie’s odd behaviours, obviously as a result of huge changes to her life, were consistant with depression.

They have had the little four-year-old dog for only six days. They are still getting to know her and she has a lot of adjusting to do.

There isn’t much known about her past, but when they picked her up she had seemed bright, confident and happy. She was also very dirty and in bad need of grooming. Her yellow-stained feet suggested that she was constantly caged or kenneled and having to stand in her own urine. After being groomed, she then had a thorough vet check, her first injection and was micro-chipped.

They took her for a walk.

So far, so good. Hindsight as ever being wonderful, perhaps this was all just too much too soon.

Her behaviour then changed, literally overnight. The first night she had slept through the night but the second night she cried when left.

The next day she refused to go out for a walk.

By the fifth night she howled and cried for ages.

depression

Mitzie paces the perimeter of the room she’s in. Round and round and round, always in an anti-clockwise direction. My guess is that she had been caged in a small area for hours on end if not all the time and was driven mad with boredom. Much like a confined zoo or circus animal she would circle.

It’s like she is literally trying to ‘unwind’. The more she does it, the more she will do it. I suggest they interrupt by gently calling her, rewarding for coming (fortunately she loves her food) and then doing something else with her briefly. This is hard because a symptom of depression is that she’s lethargic and lacking in interest, but at least she still will take food.

Mitzie’s body language from the moment I entered was really unusual. She stood still a lot, she moved slowly, tail and head down. She back away. The door of the room was open and she could have run away had she so wished. The only things she did with any purpose was to circle the room. I described her manner as distant, careful and worried. When they put their hand out over her head to touch her she shrank back. If her chest was tickled she stood still but showed no sign of either liking it or wanting to avoid it.

She has had a few accidents indoors, unsurprising if not having had the opportunity to get out of her living area for quite a long time. I also read that one sign of depression in dogs may be lacking the drive to try to go out.

The one thing that does get a reaction apart from meals, is being left – most particularly when the gentleman leaves the room.

I have a theory about depression happening when life suddenly becomes good, based on my own childhood. I was very unhappy at a boarding school and a few days after I went to a much nicer place, thinking I was in heaven, I suddenly developed a psychiatric problem that today would have been diagnosed as depression. It was like, as soon as I could relax and worry no longer and my defenses were down, the black devil was free to ride in.

Little Mitzie has really landed on her feet. She lives with a very kind and caring couple in a peaceful environment. The change in her life being so sudden and enormous, this is all to do with her adjusting. Meanwhile, she should be allowed to make her own choices and have a predictable routine. Pressure in terms of trying to get her to react and giving too much attention should be relaxed. Picking her up to get her to go out or to her bed should be avoided where possible as this takes away her choice – she will be able to walk because she is still motivated by food. Going out on walks just isn’t important at the moment.

Here is a quote from a friend of mine who works for Hounds First Sighthound Rescue (the breed is irrelevant of course):

“On the first day it’s like they are running on adrenaline and then seem to crash. We give them their own space such as a crate, covered in a blanket, and let them do things in their own time.  Obviously if dogs are in urgent medical need we get them to the vet but everything else is left for a good week to two weeks until they start to unwind. We always say that they are either very good or at the other end of the scale shut down for 2-3 weeks, then you get all the unwanted behaviours appear, then after that they start to adjust and this can take months or even years”.

One thing is certain. If receiving love has anything to do with the speed of her rehabilitation, then Mitzie should throw off her depression before too long.

About three weeks later: “She seems much happier. Wags her tail to greet us, plays with her Kong toy, chews on her hide bone chew, likes sitting in the garden.  We go for a short walk around the church and she trots happily with her tail up. Does not circumnavigate the extension or garden anymore (no more pacing in circles)…….Her coat looks a lot better and she has put on a little weight.  Overall she is a happier looking dog……We are also aware that there is still a long way to go as we are still working on leaving her alone for short periods but this is improving. We think she realises that life is better with us!!”

Westie Barks at the TV

Westies sleeping togetherIsla, now fifteen months old, started life having been left out in a garden for much of the time, barking. Consequently when the lady took her into her family six months ago the little dog had learnt to bark non-stop. The other Westie, Hamish, began to join in!

Although things are not nearly so bad now after the work the lady has already put in, the most disruptive part of Isla’s barking repertoire is barking at the TV.

She’s wary when the TV is on, but if she sees or hears and animal on TV she goes mental. Hamish backs her up by joining in. In a way, so do the family when they shout at the dogs to stop.

The barking in other aspects of the dogs’ lives should be addressed appropriately so they cease to get so much practice! If barking gets the gentleman to open the door in the morning, then barking is proved to work. If barking when something comes through the door drives the postman away (or so they think), then again, barking works. If barking at a neighbour when they are in the garden results in them being told BE QUIET and maybe chased around the garden, then barking is reinforced.

I take a psychological approach. If barking is an alarm call, should not we, as the ‘parents’, be taking responsiblity for the perceived danger rather than scolding or joining in?

Westies look upHamish is fine with the TV when Isla is out of the room, so it’s Isla who needs a great deal of desensitisation. This takes patience so would best be done during the day by the lady when the family isn’t wanting to watch TV.  Nothing is more infuriating when you want to watch something and a dog barks at the TV.

It’s surprising how many more dogs I go to that do bark at the TV now – the huge HD screens I believe are the problem.

To start with the lady can work on just the picture – no sound and no animals. Then introduce sound. Then silent animals. Then no picture but animal sounds. Then very soft sounds with pictures and animals…. and so on. It could be a long job.

At present the dear little dog deliberately looks away from the TV. This needs to be rewarded. She also may take herself off to her crate in the other room. I would like to try her crate in the sitting room but out of view of the TV, and to teach her to take herself into it when she feels anxious.

The two young dogs have plenty of exercise and sensible stimulation and they love to play together. They are fed the best nutrition available and everything else is in their favour, so I’m sure they will conquer little Isla’s fears of the ‘monsters in the box’ if takcochranen slowly.

Lovely message and photo on Facebook – seven months later:  ‘This is my two watching tv right now. Actually I’m watching and they’re snoozing. Theo, you’ll remember how reactive Isla was when you came to us a few months ago.

NB. The precise protocols to best use for your own dog may be different to the approach I have planned for Hamish and Isla, which is why I don’t go into exact detail details here of our plan. Finding instructions on the internet that are not tailored to your own dogs can do more harm than good. One size does not fit all. If you live in my own area I would be very pleased to help with strategies specific to your own dogs (see my Get Help page).

A Dog and a New Baby

WestieAlfieNine-year-old Westie Alfie’s predictable life has been turned on its head – the couple’s first grandchild has arrived on the scene.

The new baby grunts, snuffles and cries. The family that previously saved all their cuddles for him, now instead cuddle and hold this strange-smelling alien – an animal maybe?

Alfie is fixated with small prey, and squirrels live in the trees by their home. He spends much of his day on ‘squirrel-watch’ when not watching out for the disembodied human heads that pass behind the fence at the back of the garden.

Alfie barks and he barks. Squirrels and people always go away when he barks. It works in the end. But barking doesn’t work in driving away this new being – and it’s not for lack of trying.

If the people don’t do something, they will lose out on visits with their baby granddaughter whose mother is understandably concerned. They initially tried ‘comforting’ and spoiling Alfie which made no difference at all, and now they scold and put him out of the room.

Alfie is part of their family and they don’t want to exclude him. They don’t like to see him so distressed.

Actually, little Alfie normally calls the tune and this has been no problem at all – until now.  He now needs to dance to their tune a little! He needs to cooperate willingly and be taught happy things to do that are incompatible with barking at baby.

We chopped up small bits of cheese.

Alfie morphed into a focussed and willing little dog when he realised there was something in it for him! You’d never believe that he hadn’t been asked to do things for years. He loved it.

They have foundation work to put in before actually working with the baby. The brainwork, the exercises and the food rewards will together help him to associate baby with good stuff.

He also needs to be prevented from so much ‘go-away’ barking in general. They need to keep him away from squirrel-watch (which he ‘enjoys’) and boundary barking as far as possible, and when he does break into barking they will deal with it immediately in a positive fashion. After all, barking at the baby isn’t so very different.

We have a plan broken into small increments to get him accepting the baby, starting with a crying doll that they have. He shouldn’t be pushed beyond what he can cope with. It takes as long as it takes. The baby lives nearby and can be introduced very slowly for very short periods – starting when she’s asleep and in her pram.  Nice things will happen when Alfie is near the pram with the sleeping baby, thus building up positive associations (anxiety and scolding having done just the opposite).  As soon as the baby stirs they will implement those exercises that they  have been working on.

They need to keep Alfie under threshold, meaning that they do their best to pre-empt any reactivity by separating baby and dog. He won’t be ready for the baby to be carried around or nursed – or crying – for a while, but they will get there with patience.  Whilst playing safe, all humans must remain relaxed or Alfie will pick up on their anxiety.

Slowly slowly, little and often should do the trick.

NB. The precise protocols to best use for your own dog may be different to the approach I have worked out for Alfie, which is why I don’t go into all exact details here of our plan. Finding instructions on the internet or TV that are not tailored to your own dogs can do more harm than good – most particularly where babies or young children are involved. One size does not fit all. If you live in my own area I would be very pleased to help with strategies specific to your own dog (see my Get Help page).

Clever Westie Needs More to Do

WestieFraserOh Joy! This was one clever little dog.

Eighteen-month Westie Fraser that I went to yesterday lives with a couple and their 3-year-old son. He has two different traits, both of which result in toileting indoors.

When the little boy is up and about Fraser can become very amped-up. The child is bright, talkative and energetic just as little boys should be, and he is very hands-on with the dog. Mostly it is a lovely relationship, but at times I feel it gets a bit too much for Fraser, who, during the day can be displaying stress-related behaviours whereas in the evening, with the little boy in bed, dad at home and less happening outside, he is altogether a more peaceful little dog.

Fraser has developed a sequence of behaviours beginning with his hearing or seeing something outside the sitting room window and ends with his toileting on the floor. They live on a corner so there is plenty passing by.  Fraser first starts to bark, he carries on being agitated and barking for several minutes, then he starts pacing and compulsively sniffing the floor. His agitation ends with him either peeing or pooing – or both.

The other thing he does that also results in toileting is in the kitchen when they are busy cooking or doing something with the little boy. Fraser’s not getting their attention – they will be ignoring his usual squeaking and whining (something that usually ends in getting what he wants), so he pees – or poos. He may even look at them as he does so. Although they don’t scold him as such, he certainly gets a reaction! Whatever they are doing stops for a while.

When he is left all alone in the kitchen at night time or when they are out, the place is always clean so this backs up my theory. At most other times his squeaking and whining at them will get him the desired result.

The bottom line I feel is that Fraser doesn’t have enough to occupy his brain so he’s fairly frustrated. I thought we would just try some clicker work to see how he got on. In the past he would sit and stay on request but he refused to lie down.

This little genius got the hang of earning clicks (hence food) in no time at all. He was lying down/getting up/lying down repeatedly, really chuffed with himself.  The couple also caught on very quickly and soon the lady was teaching him to touch her hand (‘touch’) and to look into her eyes (‘watch me’). The options are endless.

We now have a tool for interrupting the alarm-barking routine and teach him to do something else instead – which this morning the lady told me is already working. The other thing they will do is to put static plastic window frosting on that window so he can’t see out.

So far as whining for attention is concerned, he needs to realise in all other situations as well as when they are busy in the kitchen, that it doesn’t work. He will actually be getting far more attention and mental stimulation, but not instigated always by himself, and certainly not as a result of whining and squeaking.

The lady will also be clicker training the little boy with Smarties (and the word Yes instead of clicking so as not to confuse the dog)! She will reward him when he gives the dog space, when he lets him eat in peace and so on.

I was really excited at how quickly this little dog picked things up, and the couple were amazed. We actually carried on for far longer than I would normally without a break, and he still wasn’t ready to stop. There are all sorts of things he can learn to do.

Fraser has a very rosy future and I’m sure it won’t be long before their floors are clean!

Westies and a Thundershirt.

Westie in ThundershirtA while ago I went to see two entire male Westies that had previously played and slept together, and now had started to growl and go for each other.  They were doing really well until a month or so ago when things went downhill again. There had been problems at home with worry and tension and these little dogs will probably have picked up on it. The people have been inconsistent. I went to see them again last night.

Both dogs were back to their compulsive carpet-licking. Westie Milo was barking at any animal on the huge TV. Both are back to charging out into the garden, trying to get ahead of each other, often sparking off trouble.  Every little thing gets them going and it snowballs; the more aroused they become, the more reactive they are so the more aorused the become, and so on.

We have put some new management suggestions into place. Both dogs are shown (one is entered for Crufts this year) and accustomed to being in a crate. I suggested one soft crate in the sitting room. Then the instigator of the growling can quietly be put in in the crate and both given something to chew – an alternative to carpet-licking that helps them to calm themselves (they can’t usually be given bones or chews because it could start a fight). With Milo’s barking at TV, again he can go in the crate and it can be covered. He is on ‘animal watch’ and his keen eyes spot the smallest animal on the screen! Something to do with dog’s eyesight and HD TV makes this possible. We let them into the garden, but before doing so the lady slipped a lead on each dog, waited at the door for calm, stepped out and only let the dogs off lead one at a time – the calmer one first. This worked perfectly. The people must remember to do it each time now for a while.

They had a Thundershirt for Milo and the fireworks (Merlin isn’t bothered by them). It made little difference apparently. While I was there we experimented with the Thundershirt and the carpet-licking. The Thundershirt went on Merlin and he stopped the licking and relaxed, completely calm. We put it on Milo and it made no difference at all. It was a graphic illustration played out before my eyes with two dogs of the same breed with the same habit, and of how a Thundershirt works very well with some dogs and not with others.

Here is the link to the story of my original visit: http://www.dogidog.co.uk/?p=9323

A week later and things are settling down again: “Thought I would give you a quick update a week after your visit.  After having to put Milo in the crate a couple of time on the first couple of nights, things have greatly improved…..there has been very little, if any, growling.  In fact, they have been playing the last couple of mornings when I have been having my breakfast.  And evenings have been very good as well.  So, hopefully we are moving in the right direction again”.

Male Westies Started Falling Out

Milos is the more confident Westie

Milo

It took me a while to tell these two beautiful little dogs apart, but they are very different really. Milo is more nervous but more bossy, and Merlin is more confident but the bigger barker. Milo loves to be cuddled, but Merlin may grumble if touched or moved against his will.

Both are show dogs so they are entire. You can see how beautifully groomed Milo on the left is. The two used to play together and get on famously until, strangely, a few weeks ago their diet was changed. It was changed to raw meat, chicken wings, cooked rice and what should be an excellent diet. However, it brought out food aggression, especially over the chicken wings, and although they have been withdrawn things have never been the same since. With feeding ‘real food’, raw or cooked, it can be quite a responsibility getting the dietary balance right. It’s a known fact that too much protein can affect hyperactivity just as the additives and colourings in certain complete brands can.

All is not quite well in other respects though, so this was maybe just the catalyst. Both dogs have been obsessive lickers of carpets, sofas etc. As soon as there is any stress of any sort, they turn to licking in order to ease it – releasing the calming pheromones. It’s understandable to keep shouting at them each time they start, but we demonstrated while I was there that although they wouldn’t be distracted, by ignoring it they actually stopped a lot sooner.

The dogs are now growling at each other much of the time.  Milo eyeballs and controls Merlin. Merlin growls. Milo thenThe two Westies asleep together growls. They growl around the lady owner and around doorways. They are constantly ‘ready to go’ as soon as they hear something outside. Barking frantically they skid across the kitchen floor in a race to get to the back door first, resulting in a scrap when they get there. Again, shouting at dogs for barking makes it worse, they could even think you are joining in with more angry noise. It’s also unfair when the dogs are doing the job they have been given. Best is to relieve them of the job!

I suggest the dogs revert to their original diet seeing as it was working well. Having chosen the highest quality dry brand available, they should avoid all the extras which have no nutritional value and upset the careful nutritional balance. Everything should be done to keep the dogs as calm as possible.

When I ask people for a list of the things that stir their dogs up, it’s surprising just how many stressful, over-exciting or over-stimulating things can be cut right down or avoided altogether.

A month has passed by: “we have seen a vast improvement since we first saw you…… they played a little last week.  It was only for a minute or so but Milo was the one who instigated it, which made me really happy.  I haven’t seen them play together for so long, so it was really nice – made my day and showed that we are doing the right things.
I can help you, too, with these problems or any other that you may be having with your dog. Please just check the map and contact me.
 

Westie – A Very Important Dog

Westie Hamish is the KingLook at him! This is Hamish, a Very Important Dog, and he knows it.

He is no trouble at all most of the time but he has his family jumping to his bidding.  He has them up and down opening the garden door, and then may decide he doesn’t want to go out anyway. He takes them his food bowl when he wants food, and obediently they fill it. Whenever he brings them a toy, they will always play. When he wants to be fussed or touched, they always oblige.

However, things are a bit different if they want to do something with him, if his own space is invaded.  He has bitten several times, mostly when they take his collar to either inspect his feet or groom him. When they go into his space he may back into a corner and bite. He has been chewing his back feet, but they can’t inspect them.

He went absolutely frantic at the vets recently, biting his male owner in the car park and having to be restrained with a catch pole in the surgery. This sort of experience will guarantee future vet visits will be even worse, if that’s possible.

If his owners give him better leadership and make him work a little for some of their attention, Hamish should then start to value them when they want to attend to him. They need to learn not to corner him – we wouldn’t like that either. He needs to want to come over to them – to please them. He needs to learn that to get attention he sometimes has to work for it.

For dogs that have problems with people invading their personal space, you need to work slowly and imagine how it feels to the dog. First, I would say that putting him somewhere high to groom him, maybe a garden table, would be less challenging for him. It all has to be done in tiny increments, starting with him being happy simply being lifted on and off the table. Then he can be massaged and touched in areas where he’s less touchy – no brush or scissors in sight. All the time he needs to be watched for signs of stress, as that is the time to stop that particular session.

He needs to change vets to give him a fresh start. There is a vet nearby at the back of a pet shop. This would mean he first would smell toys and treats, he could be called through at the last moment. He could be taken there beforehand a few times to buy his dog food. He also needs to be weaned into wearing a muzzle, and this also need to be done in tiny increments, until he’s happy wearing it around the house. It’s essential that the muzzle is not associated with going to the vet.

In other respects Hamish is a chilled and confident little dog and no trouble at all (apart from being another Westie like I met a couple of weeks ago that barks at animals on telly!). A beautiful boy.

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

Attacking the TV

Much of the time Westie Snoopy is an obedient, relaxed and happy little doI have been to mansions to help with dogs and I have been to tiny flats. Yesterday I went to a houseboat on a marina.  I couldn’t believe how spacious it was, like walking through a little door into another world.

I met a beautiful little Westie called Snoopy (a female Snoopy!). She is 21 months old.

The couple  have never had a dog before. They carefully researched dog ownership and have done a very good job. Sometimes circumstances can work against us. Snoopy’s start in life wasn’t ideal in that she had no socialisation until about nine weeks old, and when she eventually went to puppy classes she was so scared she disrupted the class with her yelping vocalisings that they had to give up. This was not a good first encounter with other dogs, and will have been to do with how the class was handled, too much noise, and too many dogs including some whose own behaviour will have been scary to a tiny Westie puppy.

Now Snoopy is wary and reactive to many dogs, and recently went for a dog that jumped up at her gentleman owner – she may have been protecting him. She can be a bit scared of people as well. She makes her screaming vocalisations at certain things like the sound of the venetian blinds being raised or the window opening. One of the reasons I was called was her reaction to animals on TV. She barks, lunges and snarls and is so stressed and hyped up that she may even, uncharacteristically, go for them if they take her collar to remove her. This makes peaceful evenings watching telly rather difficult! Besides, it builds up Snoopy’s stress levels and it’s a vicious circle. Stressed by barking, she is more ready to bark.

Much of the time Snoopy is an obedient, relaxed and happy little dog. She is given sensible rules and boundaries. It is only on the protection front that she seems not to quite trust her owners and thinks she needs to do the job herself, so leadership needs tightening up. She needs to be shown that it’s not her job to worry about animals on TV, nor other dogs on walks. This means the couple will need to ‘think dog’. A good leader/parent would protect the pack/family and never lead them into trouble. So, on walks, a different strategy needs to be used around other dogs. The walk itself needs to be a calmer and more comfortable affair. Pulling frantically on lead must be so uncomfortable for her little neck that she will already be in a heightened state when she meets a dog.

Her frantic TV behaviour needs a patient and consistent approach, again – ‘thinking dog’. Why is she doing this? What would a kind and wise leader do in her eyes?

In every other respect Snoopy is the perfect dog for life on a boat.

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

Westie/Bichon Frise Puppy is over-excited

West Bichon Frise Sally stand by the back doorPuppy's coat looks like fluffy dandelion seedWhat a lovely time I had today! Sally is a five-month-old Bichon Frise/Westie mix, and as her lady owner says, her coat looks like a fluffy dandelion seed head. She is a well-adjusted, independent little dog, with puppy exuberance and sometimes, naturally, pushing her luck!

Sally tends to get over-excited when people come to the house, jumping all over them and perhaps making a puddle, but this isn’t her fault. Because she is so cute everyone makes so much fuss of her in such an exciting way, she is thorougly wound up. It’s hardly fair, because then her lady owner tells her to get down and gives commands and gets cross in an effort to make her behave, which stirs up even more.

In order for a dog to calm down and not jump all over people, the humans need to approach her differently. The more noisy and excitable people are, the more noisy and excitable the dog will be.  People need to give her a break and take no notice of her for a little while to give her time to calm down. Then when they do say hello, not to make it so exciting that it hypes her up again.

Without a single word from me, and with no more than my looking away, turning away, gently tipping her off and giving gentle hand gestures for a while, Sally very soon got the message that she wasn’t to jump all over me, and you could see she was a happy relaxed little dog for it. I could then give her some gentle quality attention.

Sally still sometimes messes and wees in the house. Some puppies simply take longer to get the message than others, and it’s possible that although she knows toileting outside is good, she doesn’t understand that this doesn’t apply to inside as well. She is never scolded, fortunately. I have often found that the more important the messing indoors is to the owner (often due to worry about damage to the flooring), the slower the puppy will be in become completely house trained.

With fewer commands and a casual and calm approach, Sally will be able to work out for herself what she should do and it will take the pressure off her. I am sure the toileting will soon become more reliable with a few new strategies in place.

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