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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-09-2013, 03:15 PM Thread Starter
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Puppy Antics

Hi all!

First of all... thank you, thank you, thank you! This is my first post but I've been a long time lurker I'm not sure we would have survived crate training and shark attacks without all the wonderful information on here. After months of reading the archives, I finally have a question that I can't find an answer to by searching. Our V, Dexter, just turned 7 months old. He's been quite a handful to say the least! We've often wondered if we have a puppy or a baby shark! We patiently waited out his biting frenzies since everyone had said they grow out of them... which he did right on schedule... for a couple months. Unfortunately, after a couple months free of shark attacks and Dex starting to become quite a gentleman, he seems to be back at it. Granted, his bites are much softer now (we started Ian Dunbar's bite inhibition method from day 1) and his episodes don't really hurt us anymore but he still gets out of control with the lunging and biting. It is almost as if he thinks he is wrestling with us and can't snap out of it. Nothing we've done other than leave the room completely (often not an option on walks, etc.) or showing him a squirt bottle gets him to stop. The squirt bottle of water saved our sanity in the beginning I think! However, now only one glance at the spray bottle sends him into full on zoomies with barking. He used to only zoom after exercise, right before he crashed. Now it seems to be a stress response to the spray bottle. He is not at ALL a fearful pup, but the spray bottle does seem to trigger him now. So if we put away the spray bottle, the shark attacks start. But if we even pretend like we are going to use it, he starts zooming and stresses out. Occasionally giving him a command snaps him out of it, but not always. We do find making sure he's not overstimulated helps (he would attack us at the dog park during fetch, so now we make him sit between each throw to settle down). It does get worse when he hasn't had as much exercise as usual (due to weather and such) but even when he has been exercised it will still happen. Has anyone else ever had a recurrence of the shark attacks at an older age? Any ideas what brought it on? We really relied on the squirt bottle when he was younger, but now it snaps him out of the shark attack only to bring on the stress zoomies! Any thoughts?!
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-09-2013, 03:55 PM
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Re: Puppy Antics

Welcome to the discussion and glad you came out of the shadows to introduce yourself and your not so little Dexter. (Did you know you were naming Dexter after the TV show with the hero who kills bad guys? We named Chloe after the heroine of the TV series 24).

To your problem. Dexter is not a baby anymore and will take a bit harsher correction. A strong NO each time. OFF when he jumps, and a holler of pain from your voice when he bites. You are the Alpha and he has to know you will not put up with it. You are not an equal to play with but his master. Again, he is 7 months old.

Never wrestle with the boy on the rug. You lower yourself to playmate. Dogs bite and growl and do all kinds of dog things with fellow dogs. That can not be you.

Long walks on leash with Dexter always at your left side head behind your knee level every day you can will help restore you as the alpha in your relationships.

http://redbirddog.blogspot.com/2009/...t-of-walk.html

Give him a job. For me it was bird work with Bailey and retrieving for Chloe. Not a game but a job that they have to learn.

Here is an example of what can be done with smart dogs (like a Vizsla).

http://www.youtube.com/embed/5I_QzPLEjM4?rel=0

Work your dog's brain more would be my thoughts on some of your issues.

Have fun and be the dog's master.

http://redbirddog.blogspot.com/2010/...-children.html

Happy trails and trials,
RBD


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"I know in my heart that man is good. That what is right will always eventually triumph, and there is purpose and worth to each and every life." - R. Reagan
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-10-2013, 10:41 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Puppy Antics

I appreciate the response, RBD. I'm also a reader of your blog! I completely agree with you - Dexter no longer thinks of us as the alpha. We had a **** of a time with him from 2-4 months after which he seemed to mature. He was quite obedient and respectful from about 4-6 months. Around 6 months we noticed the shark attacks start back up every once in a while. At first we thought it was just from being cooped up from recovering from his neuter (I know, I know, controversial age) but they have gotten more and more frequent instead of decreasing. I think he came to respect the spray bottle, but not us, and now he's old enough to start testing us more. I'm starting to see that what I think of as the "stress zoomies" might actually be more "defiant zoomies" as he barks and growls at us and the spray bottle (while in a play bow) during the episodes, too. I will say these episodes aren't aggressive like they seemed when he was younger, but more just an over all "out of control" dog.

I would love any more advice on how we can become the alpha to him. We've never wrestled or played tug of war with him. We walk several miles on leash daily and he is a complete joy to walk. He's wonderful at heeling (our dog walking company thinks he's the greatest!) and focuses well. Other Vizsla owners we've met can't believe how well he walks. We did notice that he stopped nipping me a good month before he stopped nipping my husband when he was younger. I attributed it to the fact that I am the more assertive "parent" as I ride horses and am pretty quick to stop any nonsense coming from an animal! Eventually we realized that it was usually me walking him whereas my husband took him for his off leash adventures. Once my husband started walking him more, his nipping with him ceased too.

I realize now that he's started back up he needs a harsher correction - it's just that I can't seem to find any correction that has the slightest effect on him besides the spray bottle. A "no" or "eh eh" or "off" used to the do the trick, but when he's nipping, nothing gets through to him anymore. The sharp yelp or "ouch" that used to subdue him no longer has any effect. Any command is ignored completely unless he's on leash and I can correct him with the leash the very second he first jumps up. If he's on a leash, I can give him a command the instant I see him look like he wants to nip and snap him out of it since he can't zoom away to avoid getting his leash put on. Maybe he needs to wear a short leash around the house? I feel like maybe that's only a temporary fix.

We've also always made him work for EVERYTHING. We make him follow a command before he does anything (gets a bully stick, goes through a door, gets his leash put on, etc.) He doesn't have a food bowl - he earns his kibble by doing commands or getting a Kong (which he earns as well!). We eat before he does, we enter rooms before he does, he's not allowed on our bed, etc. He was quite bossy as a baby so I've always tried to make sure he knows everything comes from us.

I will take to heart what you said about him needing a job, you're right. I want to do agility with him but have been putting it off for various reasons (instructor out of town, worrying he needs to be more obedient first...) but maybe now IS the right time. He is so happy to learn that I think he'd really enjoy it. We play a lot of games with him (hide and seek, find it, etc.) and I've been teaching him silly tricks at night to tire him out mentally (loved that video!) but he is missing an actual job.

We're also going to try sending him to daycare once a week to see if we're just not meeting his exercise requirements as well now that's he older. His off leash time has suffered since it's dark out so early so I'm sure that contributes to the problem.

Well, it looks like I've written a small novel... I guess I should have been posting all along I will welcome any tips anyone has about becoming the alpha - I'm sure there's something we're not doing yet. I'm glad you pinpointed our problem for us. I keep wondering where our "soft" V is... affectionate, sweet, goofy, smart - yes. "Soft" - I'm not so sure!

(And yes, his unofficial middle name is "Morgan" after the TV show. It was during the first season of the show that we decided we wanted a V and he was our favorite redhead at the time - but then we sat on our hands for years until we had the time and resources to devote to one!)
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-10-2013, 11:13 AM
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Re: Puppy Antics

Destersmom,
The zoomies are part of Vizsla. My two at 5 and 6 years old still get into the zoomies each night with each other. Especially right after they eat.

Having two they take out their energy on each other more than on us.

Like you, we waited until we had time for the dogs. It was after both daughters were through college and married.

Now we hike many miles a week.

You sound like you are doing all the things the books say.

Be great to hike with you and Dexter in the hills to watch him run. He sounds like a great Hungarian Pointer.

If you have horses have you ever thought of doing field trials? He may be very good and you might find a new sport.

A training collar should be in your "tool kit" and learn how to use it. Like Bailey, you do not have a "soft" Vizsla.

Suggestion. Read "Merle's Door" and "A Dog's Purpose".

The more you understand "dog" the more you'll understand Dexter.

Sounds like overall you're having a great time with your 99% angel 1% devil. :

RBD

P.S Glad you enjoy the blog. 604 posts. What could possibly be that interesting about a couple dogs? ;D


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"I know in my heart that man is good. That what is right will always eventually triumph, and there is purpose and worth to each and every life." - R. Reagan
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-10-2013, 11:54 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Puppy Antics

Thanks for the suggestions, RBD. I will definitely check out the books you recommended.

I too loved the zoomies until they were happening 15x a day and always preceded by nipping! I think they frustrate me because he avoids getting corrected for the nipping by taking off and zooming. I feel like there's nothing I can do except ignore him until he quits running. Hopefully some extra exercise will help.

I wish I could take him out with the horses but I ride Arabians who would probably have a heart attack at the birds let alone the gun shots My husband has shown some interest in teaching him to hunt (neither of us are hunters but our dads are) which would be ideal since he doesn't seem to enjoy obedience training like Dexter and I do. Not to mention how much Dexter would love it!

By training collar, do you mean an ecollar? Dexter is getting an ecollar for Christmas (haha) but we were planning to use it solely for his recall. His recall is terrible off leash when he's outside and distracted. (Another reason his off leash time has diminished.) I'm hesitant to use it for anything else because of all the warnings of "soft" V's. I'm glad to hear that I'm not the only one who thinks there are some not-so-soft ones out there!

He really is a great dog and we enjoy him immensely. I'll see if I can attach a pic of him. It's always been in our plans to have two dogs, but we'll certainly be waiting until Dex (I think I really mean us!) can handle it

P.S. We would love to hike with you in sunny CA. Unfortunately, we are in Lexington, KY where it is currently snowing! We're from northern Michigan originally so it's nothing new for us!
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-10-2013, 09:19 PM
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Re: Puppy Antics

Hi,
I just wanted to add my two cents. This is our first dog and our first Vizsla. At 9 months she is still biting. I guess some people would call it mouthing and not biting. But I still call it biting and I don't like it. She has a ton of stuff to chew on, my hands should not be one of them. I have gotten to the point that I will put her in her cage for a time out pretty quickly if she does not stop with redirection or a NO BITE! Which is pretty much two or three times a day when we are inside. It happens alot less outside, but she will jump up and bite a few times a week. I believe that it is all attempts at play because if I pick up a stick or throw a ball, she stops. So, I try to keep a toy or a chewy in my pocket so that if she starts jumping up and biting me I can get her to stop. However, I try to make sure that I am not rewarding the jumping and biting by making her sit and watch me before I give her the items.

We also use a prong collar for walks and outside time with a leash attached. This way I can get her and correct her more easily. Because I get really frustrated when she is outside without a leash and starts evading my attempts to grab her when she is behaving badly!
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-10-2013, 10:02 PM
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Re: Puppy Antics

Wilson was a biter too -- tore up many long sleeves. Search the archives -- I finally did two things to get him to stop: "spray his face with water." Per our trainer, that was like a slap in the face to snap out of it. I carried a spray bottle with me for a few weeks. I also tied Wilson up to a fence or pole with his leash and walked just out of reach and turned my back to him until he say and calmed down. If he started up again, I just walked away again. Took some time but he doesn't so it anymore
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-11-2013, 10:55 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Puppy Antics

Well, I was feeling a bit better last night because Dex was very well behaved last night. I took him on an even longer evening walk than usual and did some training when we got home on leash so he was completely settled after returning home. We had two instances of nipping/zooming but both were thwarted by commands and treats. It's a great feeling when he actually stops pre-attack to sit. He actually... dare I say it... was quiet last night. Hardly even playing with his toys, just chewing and hanging out.

Cut to this morning after our morning walk :-\ I'd forgotten to take a spray bottle with me, but he's usually much better on leash since I can usually correct him before he gets revved up. As soon as we got back to the yard, he proceeded to shark attack me for a straight ten minutes. The usual leash correction and commands were ineffective as I didn't see it starting in time. So I thought I'd try out some other methods! First I tried standing still and just letting him jump and bite repeatedly while ignoring him (his bites don't hurt and my jacket is thick). He kept carrying on. I then wrapped his leash around a nearby tree so I was still holding it but he wasn't able to lunge at me. This worked like a charm, he was more interested in eating the snow on the ground. As soon as I untied him, he started back up. Repeated this a couple times each for longer periods, which didn't make a difference. Eventually I ended up sitting on him as a neighbor was watching this all and I was getting embarrassed! He calmed down after a while then started right back up when I let him up. Finally I just let him bite and lunge at me while I pulled him across the lawn into the house. I should clarify that his bites are really more like the mouthing he would do when wrestling with another dog. I'm sure if I had the spray bottle, he would have stopped in his tracks just at the sight of it but it's hard to remember it 24/7. Ignoring him doesn't seem to work and I usually try my best not to physically engage him in any way since that's often what he seems to want!

Then he was a complete angel when we were inside. I was quite firm with him in the house as I was so annoyed. I made him sit and stay in whatever room I was in at the time as I got ready to leave for work. He just gave me the "but I'm being so good, look at me listening, why am I not getting cuddles?" look.

So I'm feeling pretty discouraged again today! It really seems like his shark attacks are just a frenzied play attempt this time around. I'm hoping that enrolling him in doggy daycare will help. He used to get more play time with other dogs at the dog park but that changed when it got dark out early. I'm glad to hear (well not really as it's not fun!) that I'm not the only one with an adolescent that's still sharking (albeit minus puppy teeth). I will try bringing a toy to stuff in his mouth but I don't think that will help with Dex. In the past, he's started this while playing fetch and will actually spit OUT the tennis ball in his mouth in order to nip instead. I'm going to try a combination of more exercise off leash with other dogs, continuing to reinforce ourselves as the alpha and reading some more books! We'll see what happens! I was NOT happy to have the shark attacks resurface. Feeling a bit like a Katniss having to return to the arena a second time right now :P
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-11-2013, 11:00 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Puppy Antics

I should add that we recently starting doing time outs in the crate as well if he starts this behavior in the house. We had a hard time with crate training (he hated his crate) so we really try to only make his crate only a positive thing now that he's come to like it. It does snap him out of it though and is quite useful... but only if I can catch him before he zooms away!
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-11-2013, 11:14 AM
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Re: Puppy Antics

Modifying his behavior is not going to happen overnight.
You just have to keep working with him.

Quote:
Then he was a complete angel when we were inside. I was quite firm with him in the house as I was so annoyed. I made him sit and stay in whatever room I was in at the time as I got ready to leave for work. He just gave me the "but I'm being so good, look at me listening, why am I not getting cuddles?" look.
Dogs live in the moment and you can't punish them for something that has happened past. It may have only been 10 minutes ago but the dog has already moved on, and will not understand.
It can be tough when your aggravated, but you always need to praise good behavior.

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Spread your arms and hold your breath and always trust your cape.

Two things define you. Your patience when you have nothing, and your attitude when you have everything.
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