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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hey yall. So, I'm going to give a rundown and whatever advice you can provide will be amazing.

This is our first puppy and second cattle dog. We got Rogan at 8 weeks. Initially, she was sweet and cuddly and a few days later she was sick with an upper respiratory viral infection. She had an ER visit and a bunch of shots. We restricted her food and thus paused training. A week later she got Giardia and same thing. No treats and no training. We managed to teach sit and lay down within those few weeks. She played fetch and came when called for the most part. Also, I've been taking her everywhere and carrying her. She's been great with other people and was pretty good with other dogs. She's suddenly become scared of vehicle rides (we think it's because of the windshield wipers. It was raining one day)

Anyways, this is what we are extremely scared about. Like a normal acd puppy, she did the ankle biting and pant leg pulling. It was easy to distract and remove our clothing from her mouth and it seemed more playful. Now, it happens occasionally but, when it does she is relentless and growly and snarly. When she's getting into something and we pick her up she snarls and growls at us. We decided to only pick her up for good things from now on and leash her when we are trying to get her to stop digging or eating stuff. Today, I picked her up when she was digging and she got so angry she bit my arm. I put her down and She went after my pant leg. I used my foot to shove her off and she went absolutely crazy on my pant leg. I know I shouldn't have done that but, she hurt me and I had been frustrated. Never again.
But, overall, she's attentive when we have food and listens to commands in the house. Outside in the yard it goes to crap. She sometimes recalls and sometimes doesn't.

Right now, these are new things that are escalating. She got Fiesty with a pup in puppy class she was normally friends with. She growls at us when we touch her sometimes. She runs away with toys and then growls when we try to get them. She snarls and throws a fit when we pick her up when she is told no and doing something naughty (decided to stop this as stated above).

We've been seeing a trainer and learning place and she's darn good at it all. He said she has a lot of promise but, the past two days it's like we own a monster. She wants nothing to do with cuddling but, has climbed in my lap recently. She growls when she doesn't get her way and she even growled at the pup we are caring for (owner is on vacation) when she was drinking water. She's very bossy.

She goes to a dog daycare at a private home with only a few bigger dogs. There, she is submissive and sweet but, here she acts like she owns the place. I mean, we couldn't train her when she was sick and we tried various behavioral corrections but, didn't know which was right or wrong. We tried the nose pop and that made her fight back harder. We just started hiding behind a door and it's been successful most of the time. We have been putting our heart and soul into her. I barely study or work now because I am training her. Please, any help would be appreciated.

We are hoping that the next six weeks with the professional will help us better our communication. I just hope this isn't the beginning of an aggressive dog. She is currently 13 weeks old.
 

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Sounds like a normal cattle dog puppy to me :D

I hope the trainer you enlisted uses positive reinforcement based principles. What puppies need are structure to prevent practice of unwanted behaviors, and heavy reinforcement of desirable behaviors. She's already learned that 'being feisty' (biting, snarling, growling, nipping, etc.) gets you to stop doing things she doesn't want. If you correct her, it may make her more defensive and reactive (as the breed tends to be tenacious), or it may get her to stop the unwanted behavior in that moment. But it doesn't teach her what TO do.

To control a dog, you control its environment and its resources. You don't put your hands on the dog to control the dog. Because give it a few more months and I am sure she won't be tolerant of that... true aggression could be a valid concern then.
 

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To give you more concrete advice...

-Don't try to cuddle her. Instead, turn every physical interaction into a handling exercise involving classical conditioning (ie, all sorts of handling = treats). A lot of energetic puppies, and adult herding dogs, don't like cuddling anyways. This is not a ground rule. But really, some dogs are more into doing things, not so much snuggling with people. It doesn't mean they don't love their people.
-Don't give her access to things you don't want her to chew or steal.
-Stop trying to pick her up, unless you are doing a very deliberate and positive handling exercise. If she is 'getting into things' stop letting her get into things. Crate, pen, leash, tether... All are great options for different households and circumstances.
-If she has a wild child moment, put her somewhere where she can't touch you (gate, crate, pen, tether, etc.). This is a gentle time out for her to calm down.
-If you can't physically put her places with your hands, she should be dragging a light line (under supervision only!) at all times so you can move her with a leash and not put your hands on her.
-Use another toy to trade for the toy she has, or engage her in a game of tug so that she learns interacting with you is fun.

Really, puppies require constant supervision or management, especially feisty cattle dog (read: working herding dog) puppies. If your first one wasn't like this, I would find THAT weirder than what you're describing now. Everything you are describing is totally normal and your pup's behaviors are predictable. She has all this freedom and also conflict when she does something you don't like... a result of having too much freedom. I'm not saying isolate her and forget about her. But I am saying, she might not be the kind of puppy that can calmly 'hang out' without structure.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thank you! She doesn't mind being picked up when she's not "on a mission" maybe only 2/15 times when we pick her up per day does she get like that. Even if we were trying to correct her she doesn't always do it. Obviously, that number is a guess but, it only is occasionally. When I'm walking outside and she goes after my legs or pant legs, now, that is more frequent.

The trainer uses a penny jar to stop unwanted behavior but, we've only had to use it a few times followed by the word "No" and sometimes she listens to NO now. She is gated in the kitchen area and doesn't get freedom in the living room other than occasionally. The backyard however, she has free range of, which we are now changing. The problem is that she doesn't poop on leash as willingly. But, we are going to approach her and leash her when she's doing something wrong.

I think a lot has to do with all of her energy. She has two more weeks before her last round of shots and then I can run her. She goes to a dog daycare twice a week and then the other days, I'm home training and fetching. She had a few mentally stimulating toys and then we go on outings a lot. I take her in my vehicle at least five days a week.

Our last cattle dog was a rescue and he came to us at about a year old. No barking, no biting, no chewing, no growling, and no desire to do anything but play with other dogs and be as close to us as possible.
 

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That sounds pretty normal for an ACD puppy. Growling and all sorts of vocalizations are normal during play. My Aussie/Collie mix sounds downright vicious when he plays with dogs and humans, and it would be difficult to figure out if it was a play growl or a real growl for someone who doesn't know him.

-Don't try to cuddle her. Instead, turn every physical interaction into a handling exercise involving classical conditioning (ie, all sorts of handling = treats). A lot of energetic puppies, and adult herding dogs, don't like cuddling anyways. This is not a ground rule. But really, some dogs are more into doing things, not so much snuggling with people. It doesn't mean they don't love their people.
-Don't give her access to things you don't want her to chew or steal.
-Stop trying to pick her up, unless you are doing a very deliberate and positive handling exercise. If she is 'getting into things' stop letting her get into things. Crate, pen, leash, tether... All are great options for different households and circumstances.
-If she has a wild child moment, put her somewhere where she can't touch you (gate, crate, pen, tether, etc.). This is a gentle time out for her to calm down.
-If you can't physically put her places with your hands, she should be dragging a light line (under supervision only!) at all times so you can move her with a leash and not put your hands on her.
-Use another toy to trade for the toy she has, or engage her in a game of tug so that she learns interacting with you is fun.

Really, puppies require constant supervision or management, especially feisty cattle dog (read: working herding dog) puppies. If your first one wasn't like this, I would find THAT weirder than what you're describing now. Everything you are describing is totally normal and your pup's behaviors are predictable. She has all this freedom and also conflict when she does something you don't like... a result of having too much freedom. I'm not saying isolate her and forget about her. But I am saying, she might not be the kind of puppy that can calmly 'hang out' without structure.
I don't really have much to add that Canyx has not already mentioned. You want the pup to understand that doing what you want is rewarding! Management is also important. Use baby gates, pens, and crates to set up boundaries and keep her away from things she isn't supposed to get into. Physical corrections are not recommended. It may literally come back to bite you.
 

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The penny jar method is antiquated. Just based on that, I would not go to that trainer. Like I said, you can stop a thousand variations of unwanted behavior. Eventually the dog may get it (or not), or the dog may simply learn to do things when you aren't looking. But it does not effectively teach the dog what to do instead.

I would not approach her and leash her when she is doing something wrong. That will teach her to be evasive of your approach and the leash. I would have her dragging a leash so that you can easily and GENTLY remove her when she does something you don't like.

Think about how many times a day you are saying "No" or throwing a can at her, or correcting her. For every correction and redirection and scolding, there is something else that should be rewarded 100 times more. If this is something that does not make sense, I would advise seeking a trainer that can help you with that. Puppies need structure, and with the right structure there are actually very, very few corrections needed.

I would not "run" a dog until 1-2 years of age (depending on many factors). The growth plates are still developing and repetitive motion is bad for their joints. Yes, physical stimulation is important. But I see this a lot, ESPECIALLY with high drive and high energy dogs... people think 'tiring the dog out' is the thing to do. It is not. As I said earlier, providing structure is very important. The more you try to tire these kinds of dogs out, the harder they will push for exercise. Exercise IS important. But it is not the be all end all.

I recommend checking CCPDT.org to find a local trainer.
 

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I too am against the Penny jar thing either shaken or thrown. It can REALLY work against you in the long run.

At this age it is all about showing the puppy the right thing and the right response and making those responses highly rewarding. The more rewarding you make the right behavior, the more the puppy will want to repeat that behavior in place of other behaviors you find less desirable. In fact, if you make the right thing really desirable, most puppies will offer that behavior really fast and first! They know what earns them a reward (usually a bit of food).

The penny can is really a correction tool. I use corrections and aversives in my training, but not on a puppy of this age and not for normal puppy behavior (which is what your puppy is exhibiting).
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Canyx just to clarify. We do not throw a can at her. We've only shaken the penny jar and then said no. Another trainer we were looking into uses the bonker method. We didn't like that much. With this guy, his goal is to not have to correct using the jar. Thank you for your input. We have a really long lead leash we will out on her from now on. That is a great idea. I ordered a slip leash also.

Also, let me clarify that I don't plan to run her. Just more sore walking in parks and around the neighborhood. She does get a lot of running in already with fetch and dog play. I should have clarified because, I too worry about the growth plates. She's smaller for her breed and we are waiting to spay her until after they are grown.
 

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So, just for more information here is a little summary of what we have done regarding training thus far.

We began with clicker training for sit and lay down. Sit came in one day and lay down waited about a week after she got better from her illness. Now, she would prefer to lay down than to sit and he lays her head on the ground right between her front paws. Then, we introduced the collar and the leash (vet recommended due to her having Giardia) so, it was tough because we weren't yet prepared to begin leash training and couldn't reward her with treats to make the process more exciting. When we aren't in the backyard, she walks well on it. We also introduced bathing which she handles well.

To crate train, we started with "crate" and a hand motion. It took about a week but, then she was doing it as if it was a game when we said "crate" and jumped in happily. Then we started having her sit and laydown in the crate. About two weeks ago, I began feeding her in her crate. Now, I hand feed her when I have time also in the crate. She doesn't sit in her crate by herself but, for the most part she joyfully gets into it and is fine when we close the door. She does bark when the cat is around and when she does pitch a fit, we started closing the door and then opening it and treating her when she calms down. From day 1 she didn't have any freedom other than the small kitchen area and the backyard. We put her in the crate throughout the day and at night. We take her potty as soon as she leaves the crate. She has never messed in her crate other than when she had Giardia (that was only one incident). If we place a blanket over her crate, she stops barking usually. We are going to begin teaching her how we are with "place" and that's the command "crate" followed by a release word when she can leave.

Problem #1 we encountered was her climbing over the gate. We were worried about injury and her dismissal of barrier respect. We were not prepared for this challenge. We tried different things to keep her from climbing but, just because she's better contained it didn't mean that the behavior was fixed. Something we still haven't really learned how to train other than "off" when she is about to climb. We treat her when she is sitting pretty behind the gate and calm. Now that we have a taller and vertical bar gate, she doesn't attempt it that often. We started to allow her to have freedom in the living room so we could remove the gate entirely before we got the new one (to see if it made a difference) and she was much more behaved in her crate when it was in the kitchen and there was no gate separating the two. This worked really well for a few days. She stayed content with her toys in the living room, didn't go explore as much and was put into her crate every other half hour and didn't cry or anything. Then, she started abusing her freedom and stopped listening so, we got the new gate we have now and her crate goes in the bedroom where we can close the door and she gets range of the kitchen but, no more living room freedom unless she is on a leash or carried.

Problem #2 was the ankle biting and nipping. We tried the yelping which made it worse and a loud "ow" which also made it worse. Then, we started throwing her a toy when she would come after us or our pants and realized after about a week or two that it was only rewarding her behavior because we threw them after. We threw toys before she came to us also but, our was mistake was doing it after the bad behavior to get it to stop also (she probably got a few mixed messages from that). NOW, we throw when she looks at us and BEFORE she bites so she doesn't have a chance to come near us. When she is on my lap (used to be more frequent than it is now) I made sure she had a toy. Overall, the biting has dwindled but, the growling has increased. The times it does happen now its more intense as mentioned in a prior post. When we are inside, I say ow and go behind the door and slam it drastically. After a few times she is over it and moves on. When we are outside is when its the worst and sometimes I don't have a toy and I don't know what to do. I don't want to reach for her but, I don't want to drag her across the lawn either (I did this the other day when she went bonkers over my pant leg).

We have officially learned crate now and I put a treat on the ground of her crate now.
When shes outside and recalls, I treat her when she comes
We were saying commands too many times in a row which, we have corrected now
We just started "place" which she seems to really like along with a release word.
"Drop it" sometimes works but, she fights it if she doesn't see a treat in my hand. I try to redirect with a different toy and I am always vocalizing "good"
Throughout the weeks, I've been greatly rewarding her when we are in the kitchen and I walk and stop and look at her and she sits or lays down. I don't give her a command or anything but, when she sits down and looks at me when I stop walking, i say good and treat her or throw a toy.
We've also been working on handling her and just started treating her when she sits nice in our arms and while she is chewing a toy and we are petting her.
Overall, the picking her up when she's doing something wrong thing has only been going on for about a week or so. Only when her health is at stake have we done it because we fear her eating something since she was sick for about two weeks.

I hope that with the change in communication on our end that she can come around more and we can be more confident in her behavior. It totally makes sense, what you are saying but, with new puppy owners and unexpected things that happen trial and error happens. We've only had her for 5 weeks so, I'm hoping the error hasn't affected her personality too much. One thing is for certain though, since the day we got her she gets lots of treats for sit, laydown, crate, and recall. The penny jar and stuff like that have only been tried and aren't super consistent. It was really hard to be consistent with behavior correction because, we didn't know what to do. The toy thing was the most consistent but, we realized we were rewarding her so, we changed how we do that.
 

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Not a fan of using ANY kind of fear tactics, whether it's a rattle can or the so-called bonker method. Especially not with a 13 week puppy.

Either of the trainers you've mentioned sounds unacceptable to me. For one thing, IF you're going to use a rattle can the verbal "no" should come before the rattle -- not after. Indicates to me that the guy really doesn't even know how to properly apply punishment. It's basically similar to someone suggesting that you should treat first and then click.

Frankly, I'd run away fast, and look for another qualified trainer who is based in positive reinforcement as much as humanly possible. Entirely R+, if you're fortunate enough to find one with such a degree of skills in your area. Also Pat Miller has a great book, "The Power of Positive Dog Training". I highly recommended reading it.
 

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I would use a toy in training outside, so she has an appropriate outlet and a fun game to play BEFORE she goes for your pant leg. I would have her dragging a light line out there. If she starts nipping you, just take the line and hold it out so that she can't reach you and she can calm down. Alternative idea... If you are playing in an enclosed and safe area, you can leave the area if she gets too rowdy. It's all about removal of fun/access (you), not applying correction.

One thing I recommend carrying for super mouthy puppies is a bite rag. This can be an appropriately sized bit of sturdy cloth, or leather. Carry it around at all times. Think of it like a pacifier. Pretty much, if you are interacting with this puppy, you should be ready to reward good behaviors with treats, or with a little game of tug on an appropriate object. The puppy will then see your presence as fun/structured time, not 'crazy wild time'. If the puppy is calm she can hang out with you (on leash). If the puppy gets wild she gets removed; she can still be in the same room! Just behind some barrier or safely tethered so she can't take out her excitement and frustration/boredom on you or on inappropriate objects. I know it sounds robotic. But really, some puppies are more like the ones in the movies (sweet, toddle around, cuddly, sleeps a lot), and some puppies are like yours. Mine was certainly like yours. Some puppies crave something to DO, not just someone to hang out with. If you introduce that structure NOW your puppy will settle down, and maybe even enjoy cuddling (maybe not), around the 9 month - 1.5 year mark. It's about to be harder and you will enter the phase were it seems like she NEEDS something in her mouth every waking second (teething), a phase where lots of regressions in training may happen (adolescence). But then it will be easier.

I totally get that trial and error happens, even for very experienced owners. I'm not trying to be hard on you here, just directly addressing the points and questions you brought up.
 

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The piece of advice I can give you from being on the other side of 'mouthy puppy' - by which I meant bit the crap out of me a lot, and also is 1/2 cattle dog - is that when I had to move him from place to place I did it with him latched onto a toy or chew (IE: not me) that I was holding one end of. There were stages of his life that if I was 'walking him' anywhere, he was walking and chewing at the same time.

Bonus: He learned where he needed to walk to get rewarded on leash (and off) pretty danged fast. So it doubled as actual training.

But mostly moving somewhere made him excited and excitement made him bite. It gets better, but keeping something in his mouth helped.

And I am going to say,yes, this is what I would expect from an ACD puppy.
 

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Hello! So I have a now 9-10 month old rescue ACD/American Pit bull Terrier mix. What you are describing here sounds EXACTLY like my Luna when she was a younger pup. Luna came from a big shelter that rescued a bunch of pit mixes from a puppy mill in the south that was breeding them as fighting dogs and setting the "failures" out as strays. Luna was a stray. She is not aggressive, plays so well with other dogs, and gives me nothing but love...but when she was young, she was exactly like your dog. I never had a dog before so I kind of freaked out a little bit about he being aggressive and made an appointment with a well recommended trainer in my area. I took her there (this is when she was, I guess, about 5 or 6 months) and we did a several hour behavioral observation where they elicited the behaviors and taught me hands-on how to handle her in those situations. It took months for the techniques to actually set in, but here is what what worked: impulse control training! No penny jar, no bopping, no fear, no dominance. Your dog is SMART. If you teach them what you want through rewards based training....you will get it, if you are consistent.

Essentially, when my dog got over-stimulated (much like your dog this only happened outside) and she was digging and I went near to redirect her, she would growl and snap and actually run circles around me. I actually was afraid to take her outside for a while, she jumps about 6 feet in the air and I would be lying if I said I wasn't scared she would get my face one day. Basically, they get obnoxious when they WANT something we don't let them HAVE or DO, you know? She used to do the same thing if I had her ball or bone. Anyway, I didn't want to ever hit her or make her afraid of me. Here is what I did with the trainer:

Clicker training for sitting and down, and then stay. I would work her up on purpose - take her ball and run away with it until she began to do what you are describing above. Then, when she was jumping/biting/ barking/etc I would take the ball away, hide it under my arm, and turn my back to her. Dogs basically look for "is this behavior working?" and when she was realized it wasn't she was like "crap, HOW DO I GET MY BALL?" So I would ask her to sit (eventually, this became a down-stay, but start with sit because it is easier for your pup) and it took a while for her to actually do it but when she did I IMMEDIATELY clicked and gave her the ball and cheered and treated her. I worked at this every day for months. Now, if she wants something - she immediately assumes the down-stay and waits for me to give it to her. I did this with EVERYTHING, though - her food, any toy, outside time, pets, street greetings. So now her default is "I want that, I better lay down or I won't get it!" So it worked phenomenally for us. She is a ball of sunshine and they love to make ya happy - so reward like crazy when they do.

Anyway, I advise you to do your own research on impulse control training because I am in no way an actual dog trainer - but that is the jist of it. Watch youtube videos, they will help!

Edit: About the digging, it is going to be frustrating to curb that because its an instinct, and a pretty strong one at that. What I did was set up a spot in the corner of my yard for her to dig. If she starts to dig anywhere else, I redirect her to the corner and she digs happily. Now, she does it only there automatically. Doesn't destroy my yard and is able to get pent up energy out. A tired pit ACD is a good pit ACD.

Forgot to mention that the whole turning your back on them thing doesn't just go for the ball, it goes for the biting. She eventually linked "she turned her back, I gotta get down now" together. So when she would bite my ankle or pull on my clothes I would cross my arms and turn my back to her, and she would lay down. Usually what they really want in the end is attention, gave her all sorts of loving when she finally went down (it is not easy for them, so big rewards really help to enforce the behavior.) Teaching her leave it really also helped, but I did this first and that second.

Also, when I first started doing this, she was always leashed outside. I didn't hold the leash just let her walk free with it. If she did start to jump or bite I stepped on it until she layed down. I didn't step close enough to FORCE her to lay down, though, because I wanted her to offer it and not be forced to do it. I don't do this anymore, because she learned this quickly and it stuck pretty strongly.

Try to not to use the treat to lure the behavior, because then you'll only get it if they see the treat. Wait until they offer it, click and treat the hell of it. Then you'll start to see it more and more. Crate training is great, worked well for my dog - I never use it as an area for punishment, though. I will use a 30 second time out (any longer and the dog forgets that they are in time out and why, so 30 seconds, 1 minute MAX for effectiveness) where I stand behind a door or just turn away and ignore her. Reducing frontal pressure is always good too if you feel they are "too" worked up. It just takes time. I didn't do any of it right at first and my dog progressed well beyond any of the errors I made. She is wonderful. Wishing you the best of luck! And run that pup, they love it :)
 
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