Puppy Forum and Dog Forums banner

1 - 18 of 18 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,674 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
My doxie mix pup turns 4 months old tomorrow. My goal in life has become getting him as tired as possible so he's not a menace in the house. He makes this very difficult, however, and I'm hoping someone has some suggestions.

He refuses to go on walks. He doesn't pull or run off, he just sits and won't walk. Treats don't help, luring doesn't help, dragging doesn't help (and I don't want to drag him!). Sometimes he'll walk at the park, but I have to pack him up and drive him down there so it's like an additional 30 minutes of travel time to and from, which eats into exercise time. He'll walk for maybe 20 minutes then it takes us another 20 minutes to get back to the car because he's pulling to get back to the car so we take two steps, he pulls, we stop, I call him back, he comes back, repeat.

We have a big fenced in back yard. SOMETIMES he'll run after toys if I throw them them, sometimes he'll play fetch, most of the time he'll find a nice stick or pinecone to chew and sit down and chew on it. He insists on going back inside, we go back inside, he's a maniac again, so we go back out, and repeat the process.

In the house he'll decide he wants to do something like eat the couch. I think this is a bad idea. I sit next to him on the floor (mind you, he's always really close by) and throw a toy for him. He ignores it. Get his attention, throw another toy, he ignores it. He wants to eat the couch. I do commands with him, he does them, then goes back to wanting to eat the couch.

He has a kong we stuff with things. He only slightly cares. We have different treat dispensing feeders for his food. If you don't stand right next to him he won't use them. If you do stand right next to him he gives up about halfway through a meal.

The end result of all this is that he has a LOT of pent up energy and he takes it out by getting nutty and nippy but I feel like anything we try to get him to burn it he rejects. He goes to puppy class, and puppy social group, and have play dates with other dogs as often as we can. I get almost nothing else done because I'm constantly trying to engage the puppy in some sort of activity but he wants no part of it. Help?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,075 Posts
How about rodent hunting? Maybe you can check into the " Go to ground " clubs. Maybe someone can direct you towards the clubs that engage in this activity. I was going to do this for Leeo... Talk about high drive!

Should Lucy ever get well I may try this for her ... and even though she is sick right now ... her drive kicks in 100% when we see a squirrel outside! :)

Given your pups mix ... he may enjoy this!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,674 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
I've never heard of rodent hunting clubs. I'll have to look into it. Of course that wouldn't solve the day-to-day problem. After two hours of wandering the backyard in the heat, Hamilton seems to be tuckered enough for one night. He's enjoying a compressed rawhide on the couch with me (why does he need to jam it into my leg?! all my pants get rawhide smears on them. seriously gross).

I think we could construct a flirt pole for him. He might like that. I thought the problem with dogs was that the owners weren't committing enough time to exercise. In our case, the owner is committing several hours a day to exercising the dog but the dog isn't interested. Oof.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,075 Posts
Interesting... though i don't have a JRT.
I was told that there are some clubs that welcome all breeds ... just haven't done enough homework yet. :)

I was going to get Leeo involved ... as Schnauzers are just one other breed that likes to hunt.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,674 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Start teaching tricks and simple commands and doing impulse control games. Making them use their brains is really helpful.
Like I said, we do run through his commands. He has them from his puppy class and from commands we've taught him at home. It isn't a substitute for him burning his energy though, and I don't want him doing commands until it isn't fun anymore.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,193 Posts
But tricks, like run and lie down on your bed, spin, speak, hand-targetting, targetting, crawl, kennel up from a distance... All exciting and fun things that help your pup use his body...

And it sounds like his leash training is lacking if you can't take him on walks... Retrieve training too. Those can be worked on inside.

Concentrating on fatigue isn't something I do. It's a by-product. Teaching a dog to function nicely within his natural energy seems more important to me. If he thinks that being inside means training, it might eliminate some of the craziness within the house.

But, if that isn't what you are looking for, I get that too. We all do things differently and tailor situations to fit our needs and perspectives.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,674 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
He leash walks like a champ in the house, and when he feels like walking outside he walks with a loose leash. He also retrieves well when he feels like it. Maybe I'm lacking the knowledge to be able to motivate a stubborn dog? (he is half-doxie) He knows turn around, and targetting, and we do a lot of "find it." I'm not downplaying the importance of doing his tricks and commands, and how they are mentally stimulating - but I was under the impression that a 4 month old puppy should also be getting physical exercise every day. The trainer we work with says to tire them out BEFORE we start doing commands/tricks. If he gets some good running around time or a good walk in, then I am able to do things like cook dinner or pick up the house without a pup nipping at my ankles the entire time. If we spend that same amount of time running tricks and practicing commands, it doesn't produce the same level of calm that physical exertion does. At this point, I devote most of my time at home to the pup, but I can't work with him continuously for the six hours between getting home from work and bed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,722 Posts
There is no need to tire the dog out before doing training. That would be counter productive. You want the dog in a slightly aroused state to get the most out of training, which is done by having short sessions and regular play breaks throughout the sessions.

How do you train? I find that shaping where I'm not constantly helping and giving them hints tires them out as much as a half hour walk. I never used to get tired dogs from shaping, but I now realise I was helping them out too much and making it too easy, and if they struggled I would go back a few steps and I was constantly helping them figure stuff out. So I could never understand why people were saying shaping tires them out. But after I changed my shaping technique and actually let them fail and have to figure stuff out they tire very quickly. If you're using luring for training then no, this wouldn't provide much mental stimulation.

If the puppy isn't interested in toys, but is interested in food/treats, you can build value for toys by reward the puppy for interacting with toys. The value of the food is then transferred to the toy by classical conditioning (I I like toys because they mean food).

If the dog walks nicely in the house, could you work on it inside for a bit, then walk out the door as part of the training session, then walk back in before the puppy refuses to walk? And then gradually walk further and further before turning around.

Also, don't underestimate the value of a playpen. That way you can leave the puppy alone with a puzzle toy, bone or kong without risking that it ruins furniture. If it's never allowed to practice bad habits it will never develop them. Dogs are creatures of habit, so if you're strict and consistent for the first year they will form good habits for life.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,145 Posts
Two of my dogs are far, far worse at training if they are tired going into it. Especially Squash. Once he gets really tired he just loses all interest in doing anything but goofing off. That's a very individual thing, I think.

Also, unless he's afraid of car rides or gets car sick or some other negative association, that ride to the park is probably fairly mentally stimulating. There's a lot of stuff to watch, and anticipation for the walk is building, and it's just something a little different out of the day. So I don't think you need to think of it as counting against you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,707 Posts
Also, unless he's afraid of car rides or gets car sick or some other negative association, that ride to the park is probably fairly mentally stimulating. There's a lot of stuff to watch, and anticipation for the walk is building, and it's just something a little different out of the day. So I don't think you need to think of it as counting against you.
This^^ If I know I'm not going to have a lot of time for walks or park with the dogs I will take them in the car with me while I am running short errands (weather permitting of course) and they love to watch out the windows as we drive through town and stop places. It gives them quite a bit of mental stimulation and usually a good nap follows. I do think the mental stimulation is just as important as the physcial. And any training that can turn into games is great. Sunday was kind of an on-off crappy day for us so my 2 only got a short walk. But we spent about 20 minutes or so in the back yard working on sit/down stays and recall and they were so focused and excited about it and crashed in the house afterwords.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,674 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Thanks for the thoughts.

I guess I feel like we have the mental stimulation part down, just not the physical. It's just really hit or miss with him. Some days he adores his toys, other day he doesn't care. Some days he's thrilled to be going to the park, other days he won't walk. Sometimes he'll play fetch for a half an hour solid, other days he stares at me like I'm crazy for asking him to chase a toy. I can see the difference in his behavior on the days he has both mental and physical stimulation, vs. the days it's just mental. With all the talk about mental stimulation here, I feel like I'm a little mental for trying to make my dog exercise!

We're getting better at car rides. He doesn't get car sick, and he no longer is shrieking the entire time we're in the car. He is crated in the car, and does periodically express his discontent at being in the crate, but it is no longer constant. That said, being in the crate and being small with short legs, I don't think he can really see out the windows at all. Eventually I might get him a booster seat thing, but I don't feel safe having him loose in the car (for him or for me). When the weather is bad, I'll drive him to the pet stores just to walk around to get him out of the house for a while. I wish there were more stores and things to which you could bring a dog to walk around!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,719 Posts
Is there any possibility he's reluctant to do physical activity because something is wrong with him and he's hurting?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,674 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
Is there any possibility he's reluctant to do physical activity because something is wrong with him and he's hurting?
I severely doubt it. Aside from being at the vet all the time, it's not that he won't do physical activity -- it's that he won't do it in appropriate ways or at appropriate times. Like I'll bring him outside to have him run around and burn off some steam and he won't, but then I bring him back in the house and he's full of energy and out of control. Or he'll be inside the house chasing the cats, and going after our feet and ankles as we walk, but if you try to engage him in chasing toys or redirect him to appropriate things to chew he has no interest. It's not like he won't walk, or won't play, or won't run around - it's more that he'll do it where he wants when he wants, and we're trying to get him to do it in appropriate places at appropriate times.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,350 Posts
I understand the trainer recommending to tire him out before training, in a way. This IS a four month old puppy we're talking about.
I remember when my mini dachshund was that age, he absolutely could NOT focus on training. He wasn't wild, or crazy, just didn't want to focus for any length of time! :) I realize that 4 month old pups lack the attention span that older dogs have, so, for us, it did help to do a little physical activity before working on training.

Our dachshund is a very mellow guy, all the way around. He was (and is) a funny little guy. He played a bit more when he was younger, of course, but, even then, he would rather chill on our laps, the couch, his bed, whatever. He doesn't like walking either. Oh, we still go, every day, but he's not one of those dogs that gets super excited about going on walks....but once we're out, he's fine.
 
1 - 18 of 18 Posts
Top