Puppy can't calm down
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Thread: Puppy can't calm down

  1. #1
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    Puppy can't calm down

    Hey all, i recently got a lab named Gracie that is now almost 10 weeks old. She is really smart she already sits at the door when she needs to go out and knows the basic stuff like, sit, down and shake. But when ever there is another dog around to play with, she plays really hard and wont stop even when the other dog needs a little rest. I'll try to calm her down but she pays no attention to me just the other dog and when I pick her up she LOSES IT!!! Gracie growls, tries to bite pretty much does anything in her power to get out of my hands to the other dog to resume play. As soon as she can't see the other dog she relaxes but any help to fix this before she starts puppy class in 2 weeks would be great. I'am worried she's gonna lose it in puppy class.

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    Senior Member FilleBelle's Avatar
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    Re: Puppy can't calm down

    This sounds ridiculous, but have you tried wearing her out BEFORE she plays with other dogs? I mean, a slow, half-hour stroll through the park might mean that she doesn't have the energy to protest when you ask her to relax. In fact, I would evaluate how much exercise she's getting period, whether a play session is coming up or not. Lab pups have, in my experience, pretty much boundless energy and therefore need plenty of physical and mental stimulation.

    You also say that she knows sit. Get yourself some high value treats (hot dogs? roasted chicken?) and get in the thick of the play session. Ask Gracie to sit, and clip her leash to her collar while she's eating her treat. Use another treat to lead her away from her playmate and to another room where she can get a break. She may be objecting more to the fact that you're picking her up than to the fact that you're asking her to stop playing. I don't know many dogs who really enjoy being hauled around like that.


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    Re: Puppy can't calm down

    That's good advice! I always take my dog for a walk before we have class. He is able to focus much better!
    I also agree that she might be more upset at being picked up. Dogs, in general, don't like that.....FilleBelle's leash idea is a good one. Although, I 'd add this:
    watch Gracie's body language, so you can tell when she's going from play mode to crazy mode. There is bound to be something, no matter how subtle, that she does when she is about to get crazy, even if it's a change in her eye shape, or if her growl has changed from a play growl to a serious growl, or how she holds her tail, whatever. And, I'd ask her to sit BEFORE she gets totally crazy. Even the best treat in the world might not get her to sit if she's already in crazy mode.

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    Senior Member Tavi's Avatar
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    Re: Puppy can't calm down

    One thing to note as well though I have to say FilleBelle gave awesome advice is at 10 weeks old she has really no concept that other dogs may need a break. Chances are her siblings had just as much crazy energy as her and I'm betting her mom would simply leave the room when she got tired of the crazy pups. Sometimes what I like to do is schedule play dates with older dogs that have been around puppies before who will actually discipline her if she gets too crazy. Of course you have to be very careful with your choice of playmates anyway since this can sometimes result in a bite or nip for control. Also 10 weeks old seems very young for contact with other dogs...has she had all her shots already?

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    Senior Member lisak_87's Avatar
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    Re: Puppy can't calm down

    You must have my dog's doppleganger

    I stopped picking him up. Instead, I pull him back by putting an arm under him and pulling him backwards from his waist? hard to explain...
    It just took a LOT of practice teaching him when he needs to take a break. He's deffffinitely not there yet, but he did ok at his last puppy class lol. It also helped to have him around a puppy-friendly adult dog who told him to quit it.

    We'll see if he does well at tonight's class too.

    Oh, also, I gave him chicken whenever he played appropriately! Butt sniffs got chicken... backing off when a dog was giving a "look away" got chicken... being chased insted of doing all the chasing got chicken...
    There are lots of good book suggestions. one is "Off leash play"...helped me recognize when he's being polite so that I can reward that.
    Last edited by lisak_87; 04-14-2011 at 06:35 AM.
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    Senior Member hanksimon's Avatar
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    Re: Puppy can't calm down

    Two things:
    1. As you know - Labs chew (and bite), and they play. My lab used to tussle with another dog for 30 min., then they'd lie down tuckered out... and keep tussling ! .... Therefore:

    2. Use the playtime as a training exercise. While Gracie is playing, call her (or put on her leash, if needed), and ask her to sit for 5 - 10 secs. Then, give her a treat, release her and tell her to go play. Repeat this every two minutes or so, and then at random, when she learns to come. This way she'll learn that if she comes, then she'll be rewarded by more play. ... It'll also give the other dog some time to rest...

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    Re: Puppy can't calm down

    Also, keep in mind, that if you schedule play time with adult dogs, they will usually recognize your puppy's "puppy license" for awhile longer. So, not all adult dogs will "reprimand" or teach manners to a puppy as young as 10 weeks. The "puppy license" means your puppy will be "excused" from most rude puppy behavior, by adult dogs, until they get to be a bit older of a puppy.

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    Senior Member hanksimon's Avatar
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    Re: Puppy can't calm down

    Puppy license can last for as long as 10 mos ... but not all adults accept the license... And puppies can get very surprised when the license suddenly expires....

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    Re: Puppy can't calm down

    LOL! I can just see a poor, unsuspecting puppy...what do you MEAN my license expired?!
    Funny thought, but yes, it's true.

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    Re: Puppy can't calm down

    Quote Originally Posted by lisak_87 View Post
    Oh, also, I gave him chicken whenever he played appropriately! Butt sniffs got chicken... backing off when a dog was giving a "look away" got chicken... being chased insted of doing all the chasing got chicken...
    I LOVE this! Give the pup praise and attention when he is good. Much much better than waiting for the pup to be bad and punishing. See some related vidoes below. One video is called rewarding good and ignoring bad. Of course you can't ignore rough play. But rewarding correct play is great!!




    Quote Originally Posted by hanksimon View Post
    Puppy license can last for as long as 10 mos ... but not all adults accept the license... And puppies can get very surprised when the license suddenly expires....
    I like this. Puppy license. Way cute!

    Quote Originally Posted by lisak_87 View Post
    I stopped picking him up.
    I also agee that picking up can be bad. It really ruins how dogs communicate with each other (body language)
    You pup might have what Jean Donaldson calls "play skill deficit" She has a great book on this. It's really written for experienced trainers. But maybe you can find a trainer to help you with the exercises: http://amzn.to/efZTRA
    Last edited by Puddin's Training Tips; 04-14-2011 at 06:53 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

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    Re: Puppy can't calm down

    One thing I learned that i puppies play too rough, then playtime is over. Maybe catching her before she gets too hyped up and bring her to another room. I think repeatly doing this will reinforce that when they act this way they lose a playmate. I know it helped when my dog was nipping at everything because of teething. It did take a few months for him to get the hint that i I bite I dont get to play.

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    Re: Puppy can't calm down

    Hold was your puppy when you got it? My lab was only 6 weeks (a rescue) and I've read that the 6-8 weeks age is really important to be with their litter mates. It's when they learn when enough is enough. And how hard they can play before another dog bites harder. I guess they kind of learn their boundaries then. I don't know if that makes sense. We had a hard time teaching our puppy these things! I don't know if this is the best way or not, but when she would get to0 aggressive, we'd put her in a submissive position (on her back). She eventually learned and now we have an AMAZING 1 and a half year old lab. She is awsome.

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