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Thread: Help- my 18 week old labradoodle puppy seems to have regressed!

  1. #1
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    Default Help- my 18 week old labradoodle puppy seems to have regressed!

    Hi, I am new to this forum. I have an 18 week old labradoodle puppy called Loops. My husband and I have been struggling with him lately. I keep asking myself whether this is a developmental phase or whether I am doing something wrong?

    In the last 3 weeks he has changed from a sweet little character who was very eager to please into a more aloof, less affectionate pup. He used to come when called without fail and there was nothing he liked more than to practice his commands and be rewarded with treats. Now his recall is much less reliable...sometimes he doesn't even look up. He generally seems less interested in us.

    His biting/mouthing issues also seem to have got much worse recently. A few weeks ago, he would only bite in play and when over excited and when I handled him and put my hands near his face, he would deliberately close his mouth...now he nips at my hands when I adjust his lead, brush him or do anything he doesn't want me to do. He bites my feet and tears at my clothes. Occasionally, he makes a growly sort of noise at the same time. Firmly saying 'NO!' does nothing. I have tried yelping and it seems to actually excite him and make him bite more. Time out works well but only in that instance...it doesn't seem to teach him not to do it again.

    I am hoping part of the problem is teething. We do give him chews and bones to help with this.

    I had a puppy trainer over for a private session last week and feel quite dissatisfied with her advice. She suggested I change his food (we were supplementing pro plan with ziwi peak as treats and she thinks the high protein content in ziwi peak can make dogs hyper) and that I try walking him less as she thought I might be overstimulating him. On average I take him for 2-3 x 20 minute walks per day which I think is about right for a puppy of his size? We live opposite an off leash dog park so sometimes we go for an off leash wander/game of fetch there instead of one of the walks.

    I am also getting fed up with the whole 'you never know what you are going to get' excuse. Loops is a multi generational Australian labradoodle from a very well respected breeder and apparently bred for his good temperament.

    Has anyone had similar experiences with puppies seeming to regress at this age? Did things improve? How did you steer your dog back to good behaviour?

    I would really appreciate any advice....we are expecting a baby in late feb so I desperately need to get the biting under control by then!

  2. #2

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    Hi 'Loops' and to the forum ! There are heaps of threads on pups biting - so have a good look around.

    Here are some links for you:

    This first one goes through the different ages/stages of pups lives and the sort of things that they can go through.

    You are correct in saying that your pup is teething. It can be a really painful time for them and in the past I have used frozen apple pieces, bananas and water ice blocks to help soothe sore gums but also redirecting pup to a more appropriate thing to chew on.

    http://www.dogforum.com.au/puppy-dis...-calendar.html

    Free downloads | Dog Star Daily

    Knowledge Base | Steve Courtney Dog Training

    Kikopup makes things look so easy ! Don’t worry about the clicker – use a word to mark instead.

    kikopup puppy tips - YouTube

    Leslie McDevitt: Control Unleashed�: Home Page

    Patricia McConnell PH.D. | McConnell Publishing Inc.
    Hope this helps and Good Luck ! smiley-eatdrink004.gif

  3. #3
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    Nothing much to add except, don't see it as your pup being deliberately naughty. Try to see it as a sign that he simply doesn't understand the cues and boundaries yet and take a few steps back with your training and start again at an easier level. Especially with recall. Start again at the lowest level. Only call him when he is already heading towards you and give him extra special treats. I like to use bits of microwaved liver.

    If you use time out for nipping, you have to be super consistent and persist. Leaving a short leash attached to his collar will make it easier to grab him and lead him outside. For it to be effective, you need to keep the time he is locked outside very short too. I find 30-60 seconds works best. So when you bring them back in they still kinda remember what happened before. You're then giving them a chance to show they can control the forbidden behaviour and if not, immediately out again for a minute. Also make sure time out is in a boring spot like the laundry. And preferably not a spot where he is left when you're out or at night.

  4. #4
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    Have you talked to your well respected breeder about getting some help with the training? A good breeder ought to be able to offer some helpful advice or even invite you back to help you directly.

    Off leash parks and calling your dog when your puppy is not coming - can teach your dog to ignore you calling. Repeating your commands will do the same.

    You're quite right that saying "no" doesn't work with all dogs (didn't work with mine), and yelping - just gets them excited. You have to yelp like they yelp when you step on their tail. VERY LOUD AND OFFENDED. and then you have to pretend the puppy doesn't exist for about 30 seconds. My fave trainer - tried just freezing up for thirty seconds while her puppy chomped on her. Worked for her.

    I actually resorted to pushing. I've done this with many puppies and mouthy dogs (friendly ones), when they chomp - I push the bit they grabbed gently and slowly toward the back of their throat, and then they try to spit me out. I keep up the push for a split second after that - just to make it no fun for them, and then let them spit me out. It's much more comfortable to be spat out than to rip your hand away from a dog that is still trying to chomp you. And it's much more about the puppy choosing to do the right thing.

    I would ask Steve Courtney at k9pro.com.au to recommend a trainer in your area. There are good trainers (of people to train puppies) and not so good ones. And even among the good ones, some will be better at teaching you than others.

    I would go back to basics with the things that aren't working, and I'd use the dog park off leash area as an opportunity to train with distractions but not let the puppy off lead there unless you are going to go get the puppy without calling.

    You may also want to look up a couple of games on youtube called "Collar Grab" (not collar training), and "its yer choice". Ie rewarding a puppy when you grab the collar, and then releasing to "go play", so they look forward to you reaching out to grab them, and also it's yer choice where you teach your dog to make good choices (starting with food).

    Dog training is always a forwards backwards forwards dance. If you change what you do because you think the dog has learned the task - you can end up going backwards.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loops View Post
    Hi, I am new to this forum. I have an 18 week old labradoodle puppy called Loops. My husband and I have been struggling with him lately. I keep asking myself whether this is a developmental phase or whether I am doing something wrong?

    In the last 3 weeks he has changed from a sweet little character who was very eager to please into a more aloof, less affectionate pup. He used to come when called without fail and there was nothing he liked more than to practice his commands and be rewarded with treats. Now his recall is much less reliable...sometimes he doesn't even look up. He generally seems less interested in us.

    His biting/mouthing issues also seem to have got much worse recently. A few weeks ago, he would only bite in play and when over excited and when I handled him and put my hands near his face, he would deliberately close his mouth...now he nips at my hands when I adjust his lead, brush him or do anything he doesn't want me to do. He bites my feet and tears at my clothes. Occasionally, he makes a growly sort of noise at the same time. Firmly saying 'NO!' does nothing. I have tried yelping and it seems to actually excite him and make him bite more. Time out works well but only in that instance...it doesn't seem to teach him not to do it again.

    I am hoping part of the problem is teething. We do give him chews and bones to help with this.

    I had a puppy trainer over for a private session last week and feel quite dissatisfied with her advice. She suggested I change his food (we were supplementing pro plan with ziwi peak as treats and she thinks the high protein content in ziwi peak can make dogs hyper) and that I try walking him less as she thought I might be overstimulating him. On average I take him for 2-3 x 20 minute walks per day which I think is about right for a puppy of his size? We live opposite an off leash dog park so sometimes we go for an off leash wander/game of fetch there instead of one of the walks.

    I am also getting fed up with the whole 'you never know what you are going to get' excuse. Loops is a multi generational Australian labradoodle from a very well respected breeder and apparently bred for his good temperament.

    Has anyone had similar experiences with puppies seeming to regress at this age? Did things improve? How did you steer your dog back to good behaviour?

    I would really appreciate any advice....we are expecting a baby in late feb so I desperately need to get the biting under control by then!

    Unfortunately you never know what you are going to get is sometimes relevent. Did you get a chance to meet the parents and see the litter and the other dogs from the breeder? I would be discussing this with the breeder and taking him back to get her advice. I had a dog that developed behavioural problems once from a breeder who claimed to breed for temperament. I went back to the breeder and on observing the sire realised that he was quite reactive. In an enclosed familiar environment of the breeders kennels he had a lovely temperament but expose him outside this environment and I saw a very different side. The breeder made some attempt to help but wasnt much use.

    My puppy also regressed quite badly. I actually started doing a lot of obedience and I took her to a very well respected trainer who was excellent at helping through the behavioural stuff. My dog had a genetically poor temperament and she was never going to be like my other stable dogs, but with hard work and management we did okay. I am now very fussy when selecting breeders that I have a good look at their stock preferably outside the familiar environment and I work fairly closely with my breeders in selecting a suitable puppy. I also choose breeders that are very experienced in handling and breeding dogs and like to have in depth conversations with them. The breeders I choose actually wouldnt sell a puppy without putting prospective buyers through their paces and getting a good knowledge of the theri experience level and what puppy would be most suitable.

    It is often worthwhile finding a good trainer and if you are not happy definitely move on. Lots of good pointers in the other posts

  6. #6
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    A puppy is a baby. They have mood swings, they stop listening, they do stupid things. Prepare yourself for your own human version lol

    I would say more training, more stimulation and more exercise is required. The pup has to listen, give nothing for free including attention, food and toys, he has to do something on command to your standards for what he wants.

    As for the biting, a severe scruffing or the thumb under the tongue trick and make it count. Don't shout or get angry just hold him like that until he gives in and realises biting is no fun at all and quite unpleasant actually. Offer your hand, if he doesnt bite, praise him. If he throws a pink fit or sooks, walk away so he doesnt learn that behavior will get him his own way.

    I am also getting fed up with the whole 'you never know what you are going to get' excuse. Loops is a multi generational Australian labradoodle from a very well respected breeder and apparently bred for his good temperament.
    There is still little consistency in the oodles. Read the supposed breed standard, it's so broad anything with a longish curly coat can basically pass off as a labradoodle. That little consistency means you do get a mixed bag. As for temperament, what is a good temperament? That the dog doesnt bail you up in a corner at 16 weeks trying to tear a chunk off? It's a subjective word that requires clarification - what drive level, quirks etc are coming out gentically in the dogs.

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