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Bentley is now coming up to 13 months old and is mostly a fantastic boy. However, he has a problem that he displays while out walking although not every time. Up to now, my husband has said that he he sometimes gets over excited and starts to run around having a skit and barking. This then turns to focusing on him, jumping up, grabbing at his clothes and nipping at his heals or arms. It is as if a switch has been put on and appears to come out of nowhere. As he never does it to me, I have been giving some advice on how to get around this and calm him down. It usually lasts 30 secs to a minute to get him back to normal and then it is as if nothing has happened and he behaves perfectly.
Yesterday, I went with my husband to see if he would do it and he had 4 of these episodes and also focused on me, but assumed this was because I was trying to get him to snap out of it. My observations were as follows: He appears to do it when we come out of woodlands into open fields and he gets excited and starts to run around. Also if he gets his excitement levels up. It is almost as if his brain overloads and then looks around for someone to play with and thinks we are other dogs to do just that. Whilst we both feel uncomfortable while he is doing it, I do not feel threatened as he does not do it in an aggressive way if that makes sense. But we do not want it to become a habit and want to stamp it out as soon as possible. This is the first time time he has done it in front of me when we have both been together which is really odd, but my husband gets very uptight now, worrying if he will do it while they are out and this feeling obviously feeds the situation. In the home, he is really well behaved and quiet. We have been letting him on the settee but I have decided that any position of power is to be avoided so he has been relegated to the bed on the floor in the lounge now. All his other behaviour outside is fine and he is a submissive dog but does try it on with Malcolm who is not so hot on making sure he is boss all the time. If anyone has any ideas on how we should deal with this situation I would be very grateful, so Malcolm can enjoy taking him for a walk the way he should do.
When
he started to leaping round, I try and get him to come to me and get him to sit and go into a down stay, to break his train of thought and focus on me in a proper way. I do some of this for a couple of minutes and this seems to work, but if he is got really excited, it takes 30 sec to a minute to achieve this. If I notice the slight change in his behaviour quick enough, I can avoid the behaviour, but sometimes he flicks without any warning or without us noticing. As Malc is not so focused on Bentley anyway and has a tendency to daydream , this is not usually possible for Malc to act in this way.
Please help as my husband is reaching the end of his tether.
Caz and Bentley
 

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Have you tried a different type of leash, our 2 1/2 year old likes to pull and stray while we're walking him and we went and got him an anti pull leash, it doesn't hurt them by anymeans. This has worked very well with Jake. It will take a time or two for Bentley to get use to it but I think that you will like the results. Hope it works for you.
 

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I doubt it has anything to do with being allowed on the couch. It sounds like Bentley is overexcited as you say, and may be trying to nip at your husband's heels--so to speak--to get him to play or to move faster. I'm no dog trainer, but I'm reasonably well-versed in behavioral theories and techniques. FWIW, as an experiment, I think it would be worth seeing what happens if your husband refuses to move (standing still, acting like a tree, not interacting or speaking to him) and turns his back on Bentley until Bentley calms down and stops nipping and jumping. As soon as Bentley calms down, continue walking and interacting wtih him, and repeat as needed. This would do a couple of things: 1) remove any reinforcement for Bentley's behavior; he may persist for a few moments in trying to get your husband's attention, but should quickly realize he isn't going to get anywhere or get any attention for doing these things, and then he will have to change strategies, 2) allow Bentley some time/space to settle down, remove any stimulation and forward movement that may feed into Bentley's excitement. If it doesn't help, you may need to consult a trainer. Here's a link to an international professional trainer search. http://www.apdt.com/petowners/ts/intl/default.aspx
The same search should allow you to find a group obedience class, which can be very confidence-building, if you haven't already taken one. A lot of times the group instructors will take questions about common behavior problems (which I suspect this is--it's most likely "normal" for dogs to act like Bentley, as you say--we humans just don't like for them to do it).

Sarah
 

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Re: Growling and Nipping update

Hi Everyone, I thought I would send an update to my original request for help back at the beginning of Feb.
You will not believe the difference in my little man in such a short time. Basically all we did was change my husbands behaviour to represent being more of a pack leader and Bingo...... All the problems have virtually disappeared overnight. By not letting him on the furniture let him know that he was lower in the pecking order and for the first few days, I instructed my husband to not take any notice of Bentley if he came to him. Instead, he did everything on his own terms and called Bentley to him for a cuddle or fuss when he wanted one and made him earn it.
When out walking, for the first few days he would have minor incidents but Malc growled loudly no and attempted to put him on his side until he submitted and then onto his lead for a few minutes, but only had to do this once, so caught on quick!!
He has had no further incidents with me since that one day and now is as good as gold with Malc every day and rates somewhere between 9 out of 10 on his walks to a massive 11 out of 10. Malc is really enjoying taking him out now so all round things have settled down once more. We had a great mail from our ever supportive breeder, instructing us what to do and said that it was just Malc's lack of leadership that was being challenged and needed to step up to the challenge to correct it. She was spot on and remains a true friend to us all.
Thanks to those that replied for their support as well.

Lot's of love from Bentley too
xx
 
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