6 month puppy is jekyll and hyde

Discussion in 'Labrador Puppies' started by RedsDa, Dec 14, 2020.

  1. RedsDa

    RedsDa Registered Users

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    Hi,

    Hoping for some help/reassurance. Most of the time my 6 month lab pup is great but sometimes he flips a switch and turns into a monster when he gets over threshold. Issue is there doesn’t seem to be any real trigger to this. In the house it is fairly manageable - I can put him in another room and give him a timeout. On a walk not so much. I say no trigger but quite often it’s off lead - 90% of the time he is great and then out of no where it seems he will start jumping up and biting at me frantically like a maniac. Sometimes I can calm him down and get him to sit but sometimes it’s like he’s not even there behind his eyes!

    Any tips? Is this normal behaviour?

    thank you!
     
  2. J.D

    J.D Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    I don’t have a solution for you but know that you are not alone. Toby did the same probably between 6-12 months and then out grew it. It was like a sudden over excitement got the better of him and he would charge from behind and usually grab the back of my daughter’s or husband’s upper arm( for some reason not mine) I could then calm him down and do some nose work with him and on we went. Being on a beach was one of the most likely places it happened.
     
  3. SRW

    SRW Registered Users

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    Time outs do not work on children and are even less effective on dogs.
    Your pup has lots of energy. Walking on leash is not exercise for a dog and burns of no energy.
    Get him out somewhere he can run or swim, preferably retrieving something.

    Excess energy or not, at six months old your pup should sit on command. Until he does you cannot proceed any farther with obedience.
     
  4. RedsDa

    RedsDa Registered Users

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    Hi SRW - With the timeout I’m actually following the advice on this website under the “over excited puppies” section which states “If it’s too late and your puppy is in melt down carry him to a safe place - crate or puppy proof room - preferable without noise or bright lights - and leave him there to calm down for ten or fifteen minutes”. If you have any references for this, I’d love to read them as I’m always open to learning. So far this does seem to be effective in the home.

    At no point did I say I was walking him on leash, and actually most of the time this has occurred it is when he has been off leash.

    He does sit on command, however he is not a robot and I am asking for advice for when he is extremely over stimulated in a public setting.
     
  5. RedsDa

    RedsDa Registered Users

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    Thank you J.D. - this is exactly what my pup does. I will maybe try some nose work like a scatter feed once I have him back on lead to see if that will cal, him a bit
     
  6. Outi Lehtinen

    Outi Lehtinen Registered Users

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    We have had exactly the same issues with our pup, she is now 9 months and things are so much better now than 2 months ago. The worst period was 6-8 months.

    For our pup the main thing was overstimulation but also nervousness. On leash walks we could see when she was lagging behind appearing nervous, that she would jump on us and sometimes also bite real bad, repeatedly. The nervous triggers could be scary sounds, new smells, new elements like snow and puddles. Things that I think helped her:
    -Offering hand touch (nose to palm) when nervous, giving a treat right after -> a better option for reaching out
    - avoiding places and things that got her over threshold, going the "safe routes": and giving a lot of praise and treats for calm behaviour
    - when she gets jumpy an bitey we ask her to sit, which she usually does, then after a few seconds give her a treat
    - if that doesn't help and it gets scary, throw treats on the floor to get her to snap out of it, then try calming down again
    - only calm play, no squeaky toys or fetch for until the worst period was over (couple of months) then little by little only a limited time until she was able to calm herself quickly after play
    - lots of brain activities, hiding treats, kongs, labyrinths, rawhide chews for relaxation, undisturbed bedtime during the day (at least one hour of alone time)

    We based our actions on Pippa's website, books and a dog behaviourist's consultation. We were really worried and anxious a couple of months back, because she was very teethy in those situations and we have an 11 year old so. Today she is the sweetest dog. I still try to limit the triggers on leash walks but lately we have even been able to play fetch off leash (not for too long) without over excitement. She still jumps occasionally when she hears an ambulance or other scary sounds, or when excited, but we are able to ignore it because it's not so fierce and painful anymore. She will get excited and bouncy because she's still a puppy but ignoring it seems to help eliminate the behaviour best. If it's impossible to ignore, try can easy command and if nothing helps after that throwing treats. Hand touch is a good way for her to communicate nervousness on leash walks. We trained that in the house and then started offering the hand on walks.
     
  7. RedsDa

    RedsDa Registered Users

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    Thanks so much for your response. I thought we were making progress but he's definitely in the teenage phase so I'm strapping in for a crazy few months, but it sounds like there is light at the end of the tunnel.

    I have been working a lot on calming activities and little behaviours I can do if I notice him getting over threshold like hand touch, middle and sit.

    The biggest thing that has helped is being able to read when he is getting over excited and the easiest way for me to tell is how he takes food - if he nearly snaps a finger off when taking a bit of food I know I need to start managing him!

    I definitely found his squeaky tennis ball to be a trigger. If I want to let him play with it I drop it when he isnt looking and then get him to go back for it - this seems to let him play and keep him below threshold but sometimes he still goes off the rails if we are somewhere exciting (anywhere outside is exciting really lol).

    Thank you for all your tips! Lots of brain activities and more undisturbed time in his crate have really helped with his calmness around the house - by the evening time (8ish) he is usually the perfect dog.
     
  8. Outi Lehtinen

    Outi Lehtinen Registered Users

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    Sounds like you are definitely on the right track!

    Its definitely a clear sign that the puppy is over threshold if it hurts when you give a treat :-D Then you know it's not the right time for excitable play or any extra stimuli. Our puppy was very reactive to even excitable gestures and voices, that's why we had to tell our son it's a good idea to try to act calm and less like a funny playmate, if he doesn't want to get jumped on and bit by her. It was really hard, or course because that's what he was expecting from a puppy, lots of play and funny times. Although things are a lot better now we still cant let our son go out and throw ball with the puppy without adult supervision. She still goes a bit crazy sometimes when we do something overly exciting like that.
     

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