Author Topic: Help with puppy problems  (Read 549 times)

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Offline Sarah7795

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Help with puppy problems
« on: April 09, 2022, 05:52:38 PM »
Hi I have came here to see if anyone can offer me some advice. In January we picked up our 9 week old cocker spaniel puppy, who is half show half working. Since we picked him up we have struggled quite a bit with a few things.
The worst one is that Our pup is very, very bitey, he is now 23 weeks old and has episodes where he will jump up onto the sofa and just try to bite into my arm, when I get him off the sofa he will lunge at me trying to jump onto me and he will be trying to get a hold of my legs and sometimes he will even be barking at me. I am embarrassed to say that there has been a few times where I have felt afraid of him as he almost seems out of control. When I get up to leave he will follow biting me as I go. He does this with my partner but Is much worse with me when Iím on my own with him - he never barks or anything at him.
The second problem is barking - he has been very barky since we brought him home, he used to bark at us for food and attention although this has subsided a lot as we ignored it. But he barks at other dogs on walks, it started out as him barking back at dogs who barked at him first, but in recent weeks he is initiating the barking and will continue to do it - he also wonít walk on if another dog is behind him. We took him to puppy classes where he basically barked non stop the entire time despite no other dogs barking. He also has occasionally barked at families with young children and no dog, he barked at a scooter and twice when we took him to the local market he barked at a man playing live music- all of this makes me worried that he is going to be a reactive or unfriendly dog- I felt we socialised him well but now I am unsure :( Everyone I speak to about it canít believe that a 5 month old pup is barking at other dogs and call him Ďballsyí which just makes me more worried! :( has anyone else experienced this? Or could it be a sign he wasnít socialised well enough?
He also has problems being left alone and will cry and sometimes bark when I go upstairs without him.
We waited a long time and did a lot of research before getting our puppy and he can be so sweet and loving - I just feel as though he is way more chaotic and badly behaved than any other puppy I know and itís making me very worried about how he is going to grow up :(

Offline cazza

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Re: Help with puppy problems
« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2022, 10:37:54 AM »
Hi and welcome to COL

Biting sounds normal and he will grow out of it, they tend to get worse at this stage when they are tired
not sure if my link will work but look in the puppy section on here at the pinned posts http://www.cockersonline.co.uk/discuss/index.php?board=6.0

As for the barking I have no advice but someone will be along soon I hope - also search the forum for other posts regarding barking and biting and read some of the fantastic helpful advice replies

Wishing you all the best with your pup




Offline Lobo do Mar

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Re: Help with puppy problems
« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2022, 08:03:43 AM »
Seems almost a bitey and feral appearing (but he was not really) as Salty was :)
What I had wished I could have worked out earlier was using a 1.5m house line (i.e piece of rope as a lead) that trailed around after him and allowed me to get him and quickly get in control
http://www.cockersonline.co.uk/discuss/index.php?topic=120397.msg1721088#msg1721088

Offline phoenix

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Re: Help with puppy problems
« Reply #3 on: April 12, 2022, 11:49:36 AM »
Iíll try to be brief!  Bob was difficult to say the least. First puppy class he didnít like the hall or dogs and  barked his head off till the trainer told me he was shy and anxious. Tipping over a trestle table told us to stay behind it. Bob  would be nosey enough to peep out and watch. He did, and three weeks later was star pupil.   He still had other issues like guarding.
Cockers are very clever but many are over sensitive.  All they can react with is barking and fear aggression.  I think you need to be careful not to escalate your situation.  House line is a great idea for moving him away. More important is distracting him with treats or a game to call him down without upsetting him.  Time out behind a baby gate for a couple minutes is useful.
Workers are very excitable and need to let off steam outside regularly.  Thatís why they were bred for working. Bored dogs make up their own games. He thinks the bitey games are fun.  Barking is a confused dog.
He may benefit from  more training game sessions inside and in the garden.
Youíre right to talk about it with us,  many of us have experienced difficulties which is what the forum is for.   Donít hesitate to have a reputable behaviourist visit you.   If you have a private trainer once a month , it works out the same as going to a class weekly., when you wonít get individual help.
What helped with my current terrier  rescue,  was to hang around on  park  benches,  not interacting with anything, ie., no stress.   With Bob at his worst,  it was no eye contact with other strange dogs or people.
Yours is still a baby,  and super quick to learn.  Get his brain doing what you want ,and what he enjoys. Itís hard work but ultimately very rewarding , and a closer respect and love with both of you.
RIP Marti  the EPI springer age 12,  and beloved black cocker Bobby, 8 yrs old, too soon, from PLN.
Now owned by TInker, tiny hairy grey poodle/terrier rescue from Greece and Jack, local rescue,   scruffy ginger terrier mutt.

Offline langcliffe

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Re: Help with puppy problems
« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2022, 08:08:21 AM »
Watching Dogs behaving very badly on the tv last night and the lovely trainer there had  a bitey dog to deal with, and what he did was have the dog on a lead , but when dog started biting put dog in next room behind a closed door, when the dog settled he let him back in.. pup very soon learnt.. we still have to do something similar with 12 year old bramble.. when she is noisy/ demanding for food etc.. we put her behind a baby gate .. only for 10- 15 secs and when she is quiet/calm let het back in.. it works..
Linda & Allan
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Thinking about Music....

Offline sophie.ivy

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Re: Help with puppy problems
« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2022, 09:32:50 AM »
You're not alone in feeling like you have chaotic and badly behaved pup, Sarah! My working cocker is 8 months now and a very 'fizzy' girl. I quickly learned that tiring her out physically wasn't going to happen and if anything, wound her up more so I focus a lot more on brain games and it's really helped. I rarely played tug or high energy games with her when she was younger as my gundog trainer told me 'you don't need to wind up a working cocker puppy as they're already wound up enough already' and it's so true.

I wonder if your boy might be overtired or over-stimulated as that's what triggered a bitey episode in my girl? If so, make sure he is getting lots of naps during the day (18-20 hours sleep is recommended for pups) and if he's having a cockerdile moment, just pick him up calmly and put him in his crate and walk away for a few minutes. If you're not using a crate, you could use a small room or get a pen/stairgate to section off an area for him. This worked for my girl - the second she started biting or lunging, I picked her up and put her in the crate, no attention for 2-5 mins, then came back and let her out. She had normally calmed down when I let her out, but if the biting started up again, back in the crate and then walk back for a longer time. It can be frustrating and feel like you're getting nowhere at first BUT my girl isn't mouthy at all now and learned that biting = end of play and no attention so what's the point?

I have found that quite a few of the behaviours that used to drive me nuts at 3-6 months are more manageable now or stopped altogether so keep the faith! It does get easier, I promise. Adolescence is not without it's difficulties of course, but I much prefer it to those early puppy days! Only this morning, I put a jumper on in front of pup and said to my husband 'can you believe we can do this now without her jumping up and trying to tug on the sleeves?!'

Offline Sarah7795

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Re: Help with puppy problems
« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2022, 08:00:20 PM »
Thanks so much for all the helpful replies! :) I will definitely give the house line and time outs a go for the biting! 
@phoenix for your dog who barked, did you treat them while sitting on park bench? Or just sit to get them used to people and dogs passing? Do you think this could be a sign of fear or fear aggression..I have (probably stupidly) thought he was just over excited however the past few days he has put his tail down and refused to walk when he sees an oncoming dog but once they are close will lunge on the lead barking but his tail is usually up and seems exited  :-\
@sophie.ivy Thankyou so much for your reply, I think he is definitely over tired - I will try to have more enforced naps for him. Itís good to know it gets easier eventually  :lol: Does/did your girl ever have any barking issues?

Offline sophie.ivy

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Re: Help with puppy problems
« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2022, 09:10:46 AM »
My girl did go through a phase when she was attention barking/whining at 4 months. We tried a few things but I think she just grew out of it to be honest! It's rare to hear her being vocal at home now, but birds or something new and strange to her (like an overturned canoe the other day!) can cause her to react.

I try and spot when she's about to lose it over something and distract her with a game of 'go find' treats I scatter in front and behind her or showing her the magic fur ball I keep in my pocket. What worked well recently with someone riding a horse was asking her to come and sit at a distance from them and stroking her chest and talking to her in a calm voice until it was out of sight.

It sounds like your boy might be getting overexcited by other dogs or unsure how to react in unfamiliar situations. Nothing unusual there for a puppy! I would try and keep an eye out for other dogs coming your way and distract him with a bit of training and treats whilst they pass. If my girl ever gets into a barking frenzy and can't be distracted from it, I just pick her up and walk away! Not ideal and occasionally embarrassing, but once they're over the threshold as young pups it's hard to bring them back down with training/distractions alone. Sometimes it's best to just walk away from the situation or end the walk.

I found 2-5 months really quite tough with my girl, but it does get easier and they get more settled in the house. (It can then get tough again during adolescence, but we're a week away from 9 months and I would take the occasional teenage rebellion over those early stages anyday!)

Offline Sarah7795

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Re: Help with puppy problems
« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2022, 08:18:47 PM »
Thanks so much for your reply I will definitely try that! I do think itís excitement and good to know itís fairly normal as I do worry thereís something wrong with him sometimes  :lol2: So glad to hear it does get easier with time - canít wait for him to be a teenager at this stage!   :lol2: