|Barked: Wed Dec 2, '09 11:42am PST |
|Hi - we have a new Aussie puppy, Roger. He's 12 weeks old, and is very smart - already knows basic commands - sit, stay, down, give the paw, etc. He's generally very sweet - loves people and absolutely loves playing with other dogs!
The one issue my husband and I are trying to deal with is that he has these little "bursts" where he literally goes berserk. I have tried to identify when they happen, and these seem to be the main times:
1) we have ended a walk and have just stepped onto our own property/going up our driveway
2) he has just gotten up or just eaten and is ready to go nuts and play
3) he wants something - and I'm not always sure what it is
Anyway, these "episodes" include him diving up at me, biting onto my clothing, grabbing my pant leg and tugging very forcefully, and he often growls when he's doing all of this. Over the past two weeks, he's obviously growing quickly, and it's no longer cute/funny - his teeth hurt and I have scratches on my arms and legs, holes in my pants, coats, etc. When I pull him off of me or gently push him away and/or try to use commands like "sit" to break his concentration, he gets even more riled up. He's very defiant - if I look him in the eye and say "No" firmly, he will stare right back at me and do it again.
All that said, at other times, he's very sweet and obedient and again, he doesn't show aggression toward people or dogs, but this happens mainly with me and at certain times. Is he playing, is he trying to herd me? I've also noticed he does it when we're going to walk back up to our 2nd floor condo. He will go halfway up the stairs, then look back down at me - I'm behind him - and he'll run back down to me and start tugging at me and diving at me and he does this until we get to the top.
We do have a trainer - her whole theory is based on the "ignore/act like a tree" approach where the "punishment" is simply the removal of my attention. So, if he puts his mouth on my skin, I remove my hands or whatever, or my entire self, from the situation until he calms down. The problem is that we're often somewhere where I can't do this - like on a walk. In our house, I have been picking him up when he does this and putting him on the other side of a baby gate (as he acts like a tasmanian devil in my arms) - then I let him back to the other side with me after a few seconds if he's calmed down. I will say that this does sometimes work, but I'm not sure that it's really making a difference overall. At times when I can't get away from him, I've had to resort to stepping toward him quickly and clapping my hands loudly and saying "No!" When I do this, he does stop - but again, it's not stopping him from doing it again later on that day, etc.
I'm very confused because every trainer seems to have a different approach and belief system. I don't know what I should be doing, what kind of trainer I should be using and is this behavior at all typical of the Aussie breed in general?
Sorry so long - it's my first time here!
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