Author Topic: Trainer/behaviourist diagnosis - feeling very down  (Read 630 times)

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Offline Poppy123

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Trainer/behaviourist diagnosis - feeling very down
« on: May 29, 2022, 05:25:17 PM »
So we had our first training session with our 13 week old cocker bitch today. To cut a long story short, the trainer told us our girl is completely hyper with through-the-roof energy levels and zero bite inhibition. None of this surprised us particularly, as my shredded hands and arms will attest to, but it’s left me feeling very deflated. Apparently there is quite a lot to work through before we can really start with a training programme. Not sure how much longer I want to put my family through this. The children are already scared of her to varying degrees. Could do with a kind word and virtual hug!!!

Offline JohnMcL

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Re: Trainer/behaviourist diagnosis - feeling very down
« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2022, 05:49:51 PM »
Hi,
Peanut was exactly the same and it was tough going. But she’s 15 months now and wonderful! Distraction was our way of coping, keeping toys in our pockets to clamp her sharp teeth into worked very well. Enforced naps in her crate helped as she was worse if not getting enough sleep and from memory that’s about 19/20 hours at 13 weeks.
Things got FAR easier at around 5 months when the needle teeth start to go.
A good routine with crate naps got us through.
Training through playing will tire her out, it’s a great time to be getting the basics strong.

Keep wine nearby, for you! 🙂

Offline phoenix

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Re: Trainer/behaviourist diagnosis - feeling very down
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2022, 06:37:25 PM »
My cocker drove me to tears as a puppy . That’s why I’ve stayed with Col forever.
One thing that helped was lots of short sharp fun and tricks training. I was amazed at how fast he learnt.  I used a clicker followed by immediate treat . You can let him follow your hand with a titbit. As he’s a bitey pup,  use a touch stick, which can be a wooden spoon with a squidge of food on it, like soft cheese, meat paste etc. First job was eye contact. ‘Look at me’ click and treat.
He could catch on to any trick in five goes. So you’ve got sit, stay, lie down, come, spin, crawl, roll over, and tricks with a touch stick that you can Google.  Then doing instructions across the room.
You need to feel you can have fun with him .
Bobby couldn’t cope with classes at first and had to stay behind the furniture till he calmed down and joined in at a distance from the other dogs. He was soon the star pupil. Our  trainer really understood him and gave us all his own  A4 sheets of lessons and homework which had to be practised.   It is well worth asking around for a trainer that you respect.  Small classes are better for excitable dogs.
I don’t know how old your children are, but they need  to be shown how to react with him.

Most cockers are very intelligent but also very sensible and rewarding .  Puppies are exhausting. Since Bobby passed away, I deliberately adopted adult rescues, which is a different story.
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 vixen

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Re: Trainer/behaviourist diagnosis - feeling very down
« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2022, 07:51:44 PM »
I have to endorse what john and phoenix have said.
Lots of ‘general’ dog trainers don’t understand the traits of cockers and too easy to label them as hyper.
My present dog is 11 months and she has been the most challenging of all my dogs  but as I have had cockers before, I knew she would improve in time.
She can still be a little bitey but when I tell her no, you can now see her considering her options  :005: and then doing the right thing  :luv:
When she turned into a monster, she went straight in her crate, not as a punishment but as a time out session as she would never voluntarily go in when she was tired.  She would then come out a totally different dog.
At 13 weeks your little girl is still only a little baby and if she isn’t being shown how to behave, she will find her own way.  Phoenix has given you lots of good advice.  The most important and first thing I teach my dogs is a recall.  It was taught from the first day home and even when my Maisie was being a little monster at home, I knew that I could rely on her coming back instantly to the whistle.
If you look on the puppy board you will find lots of posts similar to yours which shows you are not alone and may be comforting to you. 
The first year of dog ownership  IS hard work, but if you put the work in, you will have a dog that will hopefully live over 13 years and will give you so much love, loyalty and devotion.
I read an article the other day that says lots of new puppy owners get “puppy blues” when they suddenly realize that this cute little bundle they got is going to be much harder work than they thought.
You are not alone, just keep telling yourself that she WILL get better because it is true  :luv:
Max (GSP)  always in my heart

Offline ips

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Re: Trainer/behaviourist diagnosis - feeling very down
« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2022, 08:45:49 PM »
I have to endorse what john and phoenix have said.
Lots of ‘general’ dog trainers don’t understand the traits of cockers and too easy to label them as hyper.
My present dog is 11 months and she has been the most challenging of all my dogs  but as I have had cockers before, I knew she would improve in time.
She can still be a little bitey but when I tell her no, you can now see her considering her options  :005: and then doing the right thing  :luv:
When she turned into a monster, she went straight in her crate, not as a punishment but as a time out session as she would never voluntarily go in when she was tired.  She would then come out a totally different dog.
At 13 weeks your little girl is still only a little baby and if she isn’t being shown how to behave, she will find her own way.  Phoenix has given you lots of good advice.  The most important and first thing I teach my dogs is a recall.  It was taught from the first day home and even when my Maisie was being a little monster at home, I knew that I could rely on her coming back instantly to the whistle.
If you look on the puppy board you will find lots of posts similar to yours which shows you are not alone and may be comforting to you. 
The first year of dog ownership  IS hard work, but if you put the work in, you will have a dog that will hopefully live over 13 years and will give you so much love, loyalty and devotion.
I read an article the other day that says lots of new puppy owners get “puppy blues” when they suddenly realize that this cute little bundle they got is going to be much harder work than they thought.
You are not alone, just keep telling yourself that she WILL get better because it is true  :luv:

Great post 👍
Muddling along in the hope that one day it all makes sense.

Offline bizzylizzy

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Re: Trainer/behaviourist diagnosis - feeling very down
« Reply #5 on: May 29, 2022, 09:45:58 PM »
I have to endorse what john and phoenix have said.
Lots of ‘general’ dog trainers don’t understand the traits of cockers and too easy to label them as hyper.
My present dog is 11 months and she has been the most challenging of all my dogs  but as I have had cockers before, I knew she would improve in time.
She can still be a little bitey but when I tell her no, you can now see her considering her options  :005: and then doing the right thing  :luv:
When she turned into a monster, she went straight in her crate, not as a punishment but as a time out session as she would never voluntarily go in when she was tired.  She would then come out a totally different dog.
At 13 weeks your little girl is still only a little baby and if she isn’t being shown how to behave, she will find her own way.  Phoenix has given you lots of good advice.  The most important and first thing I teach my dogs is a recall.  It was taught from the first day home and even when my Maisie was being a little monster at home, I knew that I could rely on her coming back instantly to the whistle.
If you look on the puppy board you will find lots of posts similar to yours which shows you are not alone and may be comforting to you. 
The first year of dog ownership  IS hard work, but if you put the work in, you will have a dog that will hopefully live over 13 years and will give you so much love, loyalty and devotion.
I read an article the other day that says lots of new puppy owners get “puppy blues” when they suddenly realize that this cute little bundle they got is going to be much harder work than they thought.
You are not alone, just keep telling yourself that she WILL get better because it is true  :luv:

Totally agree! I do wish some of these trainers would realize that all dogs are different! I remember walking out of classes in tears on more than one occasion because it seemed I had the only dog (he was the only cocker!) who wouldn’t/couldn’t stay calm for more than 2 seconds and was given the feeling he was a lost cause! But as he got older and I gave him the opportunity to do the things that he‘s good at -i.e. nose work, retrieving, etc, he gained confidence and I learned to concentrate and take pride in his strengths rather than feel frustrated and depressed because he wasn‘t the star of the puppy class. Cockers just take a little longer to convince you that’s all  :lol2:, but it does get better, I promise, celebrate each new success and ignore the rest and you’ll get there!!  :luv:

Offline Poppy123

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Re: Trainer/behaviourist diagnosis - feeling very down
« Reply #6 on: May 30, 2022, 06:43:45 PM »
Thanks everyone for your replies and support. It definitely helps! I was feeling a bit defeated yesterday but much better today.  I was definitely under no illusion about how much hard work puppy raising is, but I don’t mind admitting that her lunging and biting periods each day have really taken me aback. I was definitely not prepared for it to be as bad as it is. Hopefully just a phase we have to see out.

Offline Lobo do Mar

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Re: Trainer/behaviourist diagnosis - feeling very down
« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2022, 01:46:33 PM »
We were within a gnat's *?*? of giving up on Salty as we had no hope (or blood) left
(see my posts on Salty
http://www.cockersonline.co.uk/discuss/index.php?topic=120397.0)

But I stuck with him

I am so so so happy I did as he is now the best thing that ever happened to me (hope my wife isnt reading )

Still can be a right PITA but so loving and so much fun - I dont want a military standard obedience dog - luckily  :005:

house line was the best trick for us - put us back into control without the runaround (always won by him without something to grab hold of easily)

Yesterday I was in my workshop (AKA my Dog House) and he slinked in past me like a low-riding prowling wolf

He looked at me as he passed to the back of the room
I knew what he was going to do
He knew I knew what he was going to do
I knew he knew I knew what he was going to do
etc

then a mad lunge for the rag box from both of us and canine makes a triumphant bolt for the door as I just missed him again

Followed by merry cocker prancing up and down in front of the open garage door, always just out of reach with the rag swinging from his (I swear) grinning face

I managed to ignore him (just muttering 'little b*gger' and other phrases under my breath) so he just came back in (in his own time of course), dropped the rag at my feet and pawed at me till I picked him up and cuddled him like my baby that he is

We will never impress with his subservient training prowess - but I love him like that

Offline vixen

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Re: Trainer/behaviourist diagnosis - feeling very down
« Reply #8 on: June 01, 2022, 05:23:33 PM »

Yesterday I was in my workshop (AKA my Dog House) and he slinked in past me like a low-riding prowling wolf

He looked at me as he passed to the back of the room
I knew what he was going to do
He knew I knew what he was going to do
I knew he knew I knew what he was going to do
etc

then a mad lunge for the rag box from both of us and canine makes a triumphant bolt for the door as I just missed him again

Followed by merry cocker prancing up and down in front of the open garage door, always just out of reach with the rag swinging from his (I swear) grinning face

I managed to ignore him (just muttering 'little b*gger' and other phrases under my breath) so he just came back in (in his own time of course), dropped the rag at my feet and pawed at me till I picked him up and cuddled him like my baby that he is


That made me laugh so much as I can see the drama being played out  :005: :005:

Just today I was on the phone ( a licence for Maisie to be up to no good) and she went to my plant pots on the patio and dug out the geraniums to proudly show them to me in her mouth and to try to get me to chase her  >:D  :luv:  Whenever I am distracted I can almost guarantee she will be up to mischief to get my attention. 
Max (GSP)  always in my heart

Offline Lobo do Mar

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Re: Trainer/behaviourist diagnosis - feeling very down
« Reply #9 on: June 02, 2022, 09:46:38 AM »
 :005: :005: :005: :005:
I'm sure Maisie doesn't need any kind of licence  :005:

But when Salty was a young puppy he wasnt just playful - he was sometimes a right little monster! ('little monster' is the polite version of a number of more rudimentary phrases that fitted better)
My legs and hands looked like a horror movie

Offline Firestorm

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Re: Trainer/behaviourist diagnosis - feeling very down
« Reply #10 on: June 04, 2022, 10:42:37 AM »
When Max was a few months old he was the same our hands and arms shredded. At 6 months we took him to indoor puppy classes and after the first lesson I was in despair. He was the most vocal dog in the class and wouldn’t sit still for a second lunging to play with the other dogs. The trainer wasn’t very sympathetic telling me I needed to bond with and control my puppy. After the 6 week course ended nothing had changed, he could do all the basics except walk nicely on his lead and was still the most hyper vocal puppy in the class. Then I went to another training class which was outside in a field the trainer understood cockers after the second session he recommended one to one training. During the one to one he explained that working CS have high arousal which makes them easily hyper. Also as his parents were working gun dogs he will be difficult to train to walk to heal as he will prefer to be following every scent he can find. He told me to let him off lead and I was amazed that instead of running off, which I thought he would do, he kept in close proximity always checking I was in sight and his recall was great with only minimal training. Now at 9 months he is still very lively always up to mischief but by having a better understanding of his needs rather than my expectations of him we are enjoying him even during his adolescent period. He still pulls on his lead but great off lead. We used to get down because at every opportunity he would run off with every thing he could find in the house ending up with us chasing him like maniacs. Now we laugh at his antics of him sneaking off to find anything he can and waiting for our response. So stick to it don't despair it does get better.

Offline vixen

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Re: Trainer/behaviourist diagnosis - feeling very down
« Reply #11 on: June 04, 2022, 01:40:26 PM »
When Max was a few months old he was the same our hands and arms shredded. At 6 months we took him to indoor puppy classes and after the first lesson I was in despair. He was the most vocal dog in the class and wouldn’t sit still for a second lunging to play with the other dogs. The trainer wasn’t very sympathetic telling me I needed to bond with and control my puppy. After the 6 week course ended nothing had changed, he could do all the basics except walk nicely on his lead and was still the most hyper vocal puppy in the class. Then I went to another training class which was outside in a field the trainer understood cockers after the second session he recommended one to one training. During the one to one he explained that working CS have high arousal which makes them easily hyper. Also as his parents were working gun dogs he will be difficult to train to walk to heal as he will prefer to be following every scent he can find. He told me to let him off lead and I was amazed that instead of running off, which I thought he would do, he kept in close proximity always checking I was in sight and his recall was great with only minimal training. Now at 9 months he is still very lively always up to mischief but by having a better understanding of his needs rather than my expectations of him we are enjoying him even during his adolescent period. He still pulls on his lead but great off lead. We used to get down because at every opportunity he would run off with every thing he could find in the house ending up with us chasing him like maniacs. Now we laugh at his antics of him sneaking off to find anything he can and waiting for our response. So stick to it don't despair it does get better.

Lovely update on Max as I remember you telling us about him.  My experiences were very similar to yours when my girl was young but fast forward several months and getting so much better in the house and always  checking up on us when we are out, great recall and an absolute delight. 
Maisie is almost 11 months and still has her moments inside  but getting better every day  :luv:
Thanks goodness though,  you found a good trainer.
Max (GSP)  always in my heart

Offline sophie.ivy

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Re: Trainer/behaviourist diagnosis - feeling very down
« Reply #12 on: June 07, 2022, 09:15:55 AM »
Reading your post Poppy, reminded me so much of how I felt with our young pup! A trainer also described our girl as 'hyper', a 'lunatic' and 'like a ferret on a string' when she was on lead (that one made me laugh). I remember thinking there must be something wrong with her as all the other puppies at puppy classes were so docile in comparison, and the energetic ones normally crashed out after 15mins of playing - something we could only dream of!

It wasn't until I joined this site and read lots of the puppy posts and also sat down with the owner of her dad (who is a gundog trainer) did I start to understand that her behaviour was perfectly normal for a spaniel and they can be very different (and difficult!) puppies to other breeds, but they grow into the most wonderful adult dogs.

To give you some hope, Ivy just turned 10 months and we took her in a campervan to Devon the week just gone. We were worried about it to be honest and had a plan B if it all went wrong, BUT she was an absolute dream. Didn't chew anything in the van, chilled out on her mat outside the van watching the world go by, and didn't really bark at anything (we're still in shock!) She still has a way to go in her reactivity to birds and off lead behaviour, but I'm seeing a big improvement in her calmness around the house and ability to self-settle.

I never would have thought it was possible to see her self-settle, especially in new environments at 13 weeks so it really does get easier I promise you.

Good luck with your girl, it may seem unimaginable now but you will look back at those puppy pics of her at this age and think 'she was so cute!' or 'how could something that small and sweet be such a big pain in the you know what?!'

 

Offline Lobo do Mar

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Re: Trainer/behaviourist diagnosis - feeling very down
« Reply #13 on: June 25, 2022, 02:34:16 PM »
'like a ferret on a string'

 :005: :005: :005: :005:

Offline JohnMcL

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Re: Trainer/behaviourist diagnosis - feeling very down
« Reply #14 on: July 26, 2022, 09:46:32 PM »
Ferret on a string!  :005: :005: :005: That’s brilliant!

I’ve still got scars on the top of my hands 12 months after Peanut’s baby teeth!