PDA

View Full Version : I need a pep talk!



Daisy's Mom
23rd July 2006, 03:50 AM
I'm at my wits' end with this puppy! She spends about 90% of her waking hours biting us. We are constantly correcting her and we've tried everything recommended in all the books, websites, etc. including advice from a conversation with her breeder, who also shows cavaliers in obedience. I had poodle puppies growing up, and they did nip, but this dog out & out bites! She's drawn blood on me more than once. I'm trying all the bite inhibition things people have recommended, and we've found that she is completely insensitive to us yelling ouch, screaming out in pain, or my kids breaking into tears from her bites! I'm beginning to wonder if she's all there personality-wise. I have always wanted a cavalier because of the sweet temperament, but frankly, I don't see much of it in her. I researched breeders sooooo carefully, and paid a huge amount of money for her because I wanted so badly to get a good, healthy dog. Right now, I'm feeling like I've made a mistake, despite all my care in selecting her.

She's an angel with people she doesn't know, all wiggles and licks, and with us she is basically a terror. She had my daugher in tears 3 times today, and she is about to wear me down. From everything I've read, I don't think that she's trying to dominate us, I think she has a HUGE prey drive and if something is moving, she goes after it. I've never really liked the terrier personality, and it seems like I've somehow managed to find a cavalier who shows that exat type of behavior in spades. She has never aggressively bitten any of us when we pick her up, or take something from her, etc. It's just that she "plays" extremely violently, and we can't seem to get her out of that behavior.

I'm kind of depressed right now, partially because in addition to all the biting (as if that's not bad enough), she's had 2 pee accidents this evening on the carpet, one right in front of me. No one could have been more religious in taking a dog out over and over and over than we have been this last 2 weeks (that's how long we've had her). I probably take her outside 10-12 times a day, maybe more (that's just during the day, she does pretty well at night, only waking us up to take her out once at the most). I follow all the advice in terms of taking her out after she eats, drinks, plays, sleeps, etc. She always goes potty when I take her out, usually multiple times. I'll bring her inside thinking she's completely empty, and she'll turn around and pee in the floor 15 minutes later. I feel like crying.

My 5 year old daughter (who adores dogs and has dreamed about nothing but getting a dog for the last year) said this morning "Why can't we just get rid of her? It was so calm before we had her!" I've explained her biting and scratching away as being puppy play so many times that I feel like my kids think I'm always siding with her over them. I have to physically detach her teeth from their clothes about 10 times a day, minimum, not to mention my own.

Someone, help me see the good dog at the end of this puppy period, please! I keep telling the kids and my husband that this is the hard part, and that she will get better, but there are times I doubt it myself. I used to love puppies, and I had every confidence that I knew the right way to raise a puppy to be a good family member, but right now, I wish we had gotten an adult dog (or none at all). Honestly, if I could send her off to puppy detention center right now, and have her come back reformed, I probably would.

Sorry to be the only downer in all these positive posts about how great our dogs are, but I needed to vent and ask for support!!!!

Cathy Moon
23rd July 2006, 04:17 AM
Hi DeAnna,
How old is your puppy?

Cathy Moon
23rd July 2006, 04:18 AM
Hi DeAnna,
How old is your puppy?

Daisy's Mom
23rd July 2006, 04:21 AM
She is 12 weeks old. We got her at 10 weeks.

Charleen
23rd July 2006, 04:31 AM
Deanna, It just doesn't sound like this puppy is fitting with your family. You and your children seem traumatized by this experience. Instead of it being a time of wonder and fun, it is a time of anxiety. Would the breeder consider taking this puppy back?

Daisy's Mom
23rd July 2006, 04:40 AM
Because she is a good breeder, she does have a policy that if you ever have to give up the dog, she will always take her. I think about that at least once a day, I have to admit. It's just so unreal that I would even entertain that thought, given how much I love dogs and that I grew up with dogs, and how long I've anticipated and prepared for this time -- all the books and websites I read about how to introduce a puppy to the family, etc., explaining to the kids how they need to treat her, respect her, etc.

But you're right, she is definitely causing very high anxiety levels in all of our family right now, especially me because I was the driving force behind getting her so I have guilt on top of worry. I'm going to try not to lay awake tonight thinking about it. Maybe tomorrow will be better...

When she is sweet, she is very, very sweet, but the other times are getting tougher to take. If the ratio of sweet to crazed would just get a little more favorable, I know I'd make it through.

Cathy Moon
23rd July 2006, 04:43 AM
Hi Deanna,
It sounds like maybe there is too much activity going on around your pup. She may be getting too aroused by sounds and quick movements. Could that be a factor? How old are your children?

Daisy's Mom
23rd July 2006, 04:54 AM
My daughter will be 6 in about 3 weeks, and my son is almost 8.

I don't let them get wild with her around, honestly. All it takes to provoke her play attacks is for someone to walk through the room in white socks, or for my daughter to walk by in her ankle-length nightgown -- she will literally launch herself through the air and attach herself to the hem of her nightgown and I have to pry her teeth off of it. She also hangs off our pantlegs as we walk. I feel like I'm correcting her 100 times a day by pushing her away and saying Off. Eventually I get so sick of it that I put her in her crate to keep my sanity and to prevent my daughter from being attacked. I've never been one to yell at or swat a dog, but I'm beginning to wonder if it needs to come to that to get her attention. I have started yelling No or Off at her and clapping my hands. Sometimes that will distract her long enough to let go for a second before she makes another lunge.

I play fetch with her a lot and she's very good at it. She'll even eventually release the toy to me on her own when I say Drop it in a low voice and look her in the eye. I've also taught her to sit and lie down very well and we are working on rollover. She always sits for treats really well. I think she is very smart. We try to play with her a lot to work off energy (and because playing with a puppy is fun, of course), but we don't do walks yet because she's only had 2 of her 3 puppy shots and I don't want to take any chances. Plus, she's not good on a leash yet at all.

Daisy's Mom
23rd July 2006, 05:10 AM
I'm probably exaggerating somewhat when I say she is biting at us 90% of the time. Right now, I'm kind of depressed (as you can tell), so I'm probably focusing on the negative. She's an angel sometimes. She will chew on her nylabones for quite a while a couple of times a day, and when she first wakes up, she is very calm and loves her belly rubbed. We all love to hold her and pet her when she is in a calm mood, and during those times, I feel like she's worth any amount of trouble. The kids love her then, too. We love to pet her and cuddle with her, but those sessions are just very brief and few and far between, compared to the times when we are fending her off. I don't mind being mouthed by a puppy, but I'm getting awfully tired of being bitten, and I certainly didn't bargain for her lunging at the kids repeatedly. She bit my daughter on the jaw the other day and left a mark. Is this normal cavalier puppy behavior? Did I just have unrealistic expectations?

Cathy Moon
23rd July 2006, 05:20 AM
I know how much work puppies are - we had two at once, but there were just us two adults. We took them to puppy training, which you might want to consider. If it's a puppy class everyone will all be having the same problems, so the trainer may spend a lot of class time addressing these problems.

You will learn different ways of responding to your pup that focus on positive reinforcement. If you reward your puppy's 'good' behaviors and ignore or redirect 'bad' behaviors, you may see her good behaviors increase and the others will decrease. She wants your attention after all, so she will do whatever it takes to get it. You could reward her by feeding her pieces of her food during the day instead of giving it all to her in her bowl (be prepared for a little extra pooping though.)

We learned that pushing a puppy away is perceived as attention to the pup. So by pushing you are reinforcing the behavior you want to extinguish.

(I'm going to submit this and start a new post.)

Cathy Moon
23rd July 2006, 05:36 AM
Our puppies did bite a little hard a few times, but we had already been trained to say "Ouch!" and then walk away and ignore the pup. This is what a littermate would do - squeal in pain and stop playing. You should not pull your hand (or whatever) the puppy is biting. Just say ouch like a squeal to let her know it hurt (even if its just your pant leg) and then ignore her for a few minutes so she learns that she cannot bite if she wants your attention.

Since she's hurting the kids, I would always supervise their time together!! Maybe could she go in an x-pen or a room with baby gates that is off limits to the children when you cannot supervise?

Kingofthehouse86
23rd July 2006, 05:39 AM
DeAnna it kinda sounds like she is in a big teething stage...I'm not sure if u've read some of my post but i work in a pet store (who sells pups)...I've seen pups that are in such a great deal on pain cuz of their adult teeth...Have u tried any chewing deterents like Bitter Apple..that's our best chewing deterent that we sell....u can use it on ur cloths (just color test first) even on ur hands and feet...some dogs are immune to the taste but it usually works on puppies...

I wouldn't give her up if I were u...well I can't really say that cuz my kid was never a aggressive chewer when he was a pup...just an average chewer...

Can u hold her with her lying on her back...cradled like a baby?? usually they say if the dog legs u then the pup is submissive... King, my kid, is very submissive but every ckcs is different... Just don't let this stage get u discouraged on keeping her...

I really hope it works out wit ur lil baby just keep letting ur kids play wit her when she calm... Also one other thing i just thought of which some ppl don't think is very nice towards the pup (but one of our local breeders usually suggests this for the bigger pups) is if she bites ur hand put ur thumb in her mouth and press on her tongue..they dont like it and as ur doin this say "NO BITE!!!!" sometimes this works but it wouldn't hurt to give this a shot... Good luck with her

Daisy's Mom
23rd July 2006, 05:52 AM
Yes, we can hold her on her back, and she will even go to sleep that way in our arms. We can also hold her (under her front legs) in front of us at arm's length and she will just stare at us and wag her tail. So I really don't think it's dominance or aggression. I think she is basically very sweet and submissive, but she's clueless about how to play in any other way than to bite (hard). I think she played very rough with her littermates and for whatever reason, she never learned signals about when enough is enough. I think she is somewhat of a "hard" puppy who is fairly impervious to correction, and that I am a very "soft" person who is timid at correcting her because I don't want to be unkind. I've always been accused of being too soft-hearted -- maybe they are right in this case!

Thanks for your advice -- we will keep working on it. Maybe we will eventually find the "magic" technique that will work with her. In my darkest moments, I do envision giving her back to the breeder, but I've never given up on anything as important as this, and I can't see myself doing that. I'm not saying it won't come to that, but I guess I'm not to that point yet.

Thanks for the words of encouragement.

Cathy Moon
23rd July 2006, 06:01 AM
Our puppy trainer had a talk with the class about yelling at our dogs. She said her dog can be in another room of the house and hear her in the kitchen opening a food wrapper. With hearing that good, no yelling is needed! Just teach them the word 'no' and you won't have to raise your voice. ;)

judy
23rd July 2006, 08:53 AM
deanna--from what you say, it sounds like your puppy is smart and very capable of learning acceptable behavior and being socialized. what is the puppy's name?

how frustrating it is for you to have tried to correct her and she is not getting it. maybe some of the suggestions in this thread will help. Or maybe there are less 'softhearted' corrections that would make a difference (i am not talking about abusing the dog but about getting her attention and conveying your seriousness). I've had some luck with using time out. but your situation has a real urgency about it. i would think if your small child was bitten on the jaw and it left a mark, something needs to be done immediately--because it's not a one time accident but a foreseeable injury, given the degree and intensity of biting you're talking about. From what you say, it doesn't sound like the puppy is abnormal--in a home with one adult, no kids, an adult who enjoys rough play with the puppy, the same behavior might not be a problem, or in a home where the guardian uses corrections that intimidate the dog, the behavior might be curbed. i'm not advocating that, but just saying that the problem isn't with the dog or with the family, but with the match between them.

it's no wonder you're depressed. I definitely agree with the suggestion that you start a puppy training class as soon as she has her last shots, one that is compatible with your values and softheartedness, and in the meantime, invest in one or two sessions of having a trainer come to your home and work with you and the puppy on this behavior. You've paid so much money for the dog--hopefully you can afford some more to get help with this problem. On the one hand, it doesn't really sound like a big problem, if you can just learn a way of communicating limits to the pup that she will take seriously. On the other hand, it's a big problem because of the level of stress and unhappiness it's causing and your report that your daughter has been bitten in the face, and is too young to protect herself from this, in a situation where such things are bound to happen because the puppy doesn't yet understand what is expected and required, and i don't think the puppy will outgrow this behavior, not in the short run anyway, without some change in how it's being managed.

About peeing on the floor, i think she is too young to get the indoor outdoor concept yet. That is a gradual process, and can take up until the dog is 6 months old or so--even when they learn to only go outside, suddenly one day, they'll do it on the rug again after they've seemed to have mastered it. I guess it takes time to get the distinction between in and out. This certainly happened with Zack. He was able to go in and out multiple times throughout the day, and soon seemed to get the pattern of going outside and not inside, but then occasionally he would still go inside, quite disheartening. but i think your puppy is way too young to get it yet. no matter how many times you take her out, she still doesn't know that inside is not for peeing, and developmentally, this normally takes longer than 12 weeks, often a lot longer.

it sounds like if it wasn't for the biting behavior, the peeing behavior would not be as upsetting.

it hasn't been that long since you got your pup from the breeder, i would think you could get a refund if you decide to go that way. You can certainly get a different puppy who doesn't play as rough. Dogs do vary on things like that, and it doesn't mean the dog has an abnormality, but just that the match between dog and family isn't working. I think the breeder should give a refund, if it can't be worked out, or should come up with some solution, does she have another puppy? probably not, from what you've said.

i know this situation is really depressing, but one way or another, i know you'll find a way through the dilemmas. I think your best bet is to quickly find a trainer you can communicate with and have at least one or two sessions in the home, and also start a class after she has her last shot. In the meantime, is there a way of keeping the puppy separated from the kids except when you are able to protect them? you are describing an inability to have an effect on the biting behavior, due to softheartedness or whatever, but the kids urgently need protection, as you know, whatever it takes.

you mentioned sending her to boot camp--there are such residential training programs. They're expensive but i know of several. you can send the dog off for a few weeks and the dog is trained by professionals. but for the good socialization to continue, the management has to continue at home when the dog returns. but i think you can solve this problem in a less extreme way. I hope so. good luck! I hope you can find some good help.

Mimi
23rd July 2006, 10:44 AM
Hi ,
My first cavalier Ruby was a real chewer too except that she preferred our toes to bite than anything else and those teeth are sharp . She did grow out of it . Its worth putting up with a little pain now for all the joy your puppy will bring you . Just continue with ouch and no and ignore puppy when the chewing happens and make sure you have a chew toy to offer instead .
Good luck.
Mimi

Angela
23rd July 2006, 10:55 AM
Hi i feel for you right now i really do as i have been through the exact same experience. All i can say to you from my own experience is it really will get better. I too was depressed with the biteing etc and the same as you i did a lot of research into buying a puppy and came up with the cavalier because all the websites kept going on about their excellent temprement. To be honest i think what you are experiencing is perfectly normal. I think a lot of people maybe forget what their puppies were like. My Joey is 11 months now and is the perfectly behaved little guy i had always longed for. They do go through a teething age like babies where they just want to chew on everything to numb the pain a little. I would say that by the age of about 5 or 6 months it will completely stop if you can persevere with that. I think you were just looking for a bit of reassurance and that is what i am trying to give. Honestly this time in a few months you will be enjoying the little puppy you always dreamed of. I just wanted to reply to your post because i can remember so clearly how i felt at that time thinking i just had a bad dog and now my boy is a little angel who my whole family love. It really is just a stage. I hope this gives you a little hope. :flwr:

Karlin
23rd July 2006, 01:12 PM
This is pretty normal puppy (or kitten, actually) behaviour and the best way to manage it is to first and foremost, eliminate the possibilities for this behaviour in the first place. This is because if the puppy doesn't have the opportunity to be triggered by certain things and then learn this behaviour, the problem is stopped before it starts. Also you don't want to keep scolding and reprimanding a puppy, which isn't good for the puppy or for you (and indeed may increase anxiety levels in the pup, making her even more nippy and overstimulated). A reprimand loses all power if it is constant (as in scolding a child all the time -- soon the scolding has no meaning). That's another reason to totally remove the stimuli that cause the problems.

These stimuli seem to be certain ways in which the family, especially the kids, interact with the puppy, and certain types of clothing, and how the puppy herself is managed during these encounters. All these problems are common but let's try to eliminate them from the start.

I do think the main problem is simply overstimulation because of the activity of small kids, and not least because you don't have the same problem when others come over. A 12 week pup is also very young and very small to be running around on the floor with young kids unless the interactions are all very closely supervised -- for just the reasons you are finding. Puppies can nip and nip hard and this can hurt children; likewise children can accidentally harm a puppy that is as small as a cavalier.

Cathy's advice is very good -- if you don;t have an x-pen, buy one. Then put the puppy in an X-pen when the children are there so the puppy has its space and the kids have theirs but they can visually interact and enjoy each other safely (a puppy this small needs confining anyway for effective housetraining and should only be brought out for *brief*, controlled interactions with kids, just as you wouldn't leave small kids alone with a human baby). ALL interactions with the puppy should be with the children sitting on the floor, not getting up and moving about, also that the environment is calm, and chew toys for refocuisng biting behaviour should be right there. If the kids are ready to do something else and get up, then the puppy goes back into the X-pen. Put a crate in the X-pen so that the puppy always has somewhere sheltered and quiet to go and the kids should never be allowed to take the puppy out of that 'safe zone' -- this will help the puppy know where to go if she needs to chill out. If she feels overexposed this too is probably causing overexcited nipping.

Another issue is the socks and nightgowns hems -- if these are problems, then don't have the puppy loose when people are wearing things that trigger unwanted behaviour (remember this is only going to be for a while, not forever! But kids will need to wear the right clothes for 'puppy time'). When the puppy is out, kids need to be in shoes. No pajamas and loose garments; no clothes that might serve as something to encourage chasing and biting.

If she is hanging off pantlegs then again -- let's not allow this to happen (or to look at it a different way -- why is she in a situation where she is able to do this?). If this type of behaviour happens, don't scold, shout, slap (especially!) -- simply pick her up and put her in the x-pen and leave her with everyone ignoring her for 10 minutes (remember if interactions are now done when people are seated on the floor, cross legged, this isn't going to happen anymore anyway). Same if she nips or grabs anything that you don't want -- calmly into the pen she goes and is left there for 10 minutes. Exile is far worse for a puppy than shouting (and indeed some puppies and dogs will prefer to get *negative* reactions -- as it is still attention -- than no attention. You will know that human kids do the exact same -- 'asking for it' even though they know their behaviour will see them sent to their room or reprimended. The attention form the parent is better than no attention.

See if these techniques don't help, and look for some toys to help with teething. A good one is an old washcloth soaked and then twisted to squeeze out excess water, than freeze it while it it tightly rolled. The cold is very soothing for pups.

On a more general and serious note: puppies do not suit every family and can be especially difficult with small kids around. For that reason I often recommend an older dog, as it is much, much easier to integrate in for many people. The idea of a puppy is often a lot more attractive than the reality and I fit into that slot -- puppies are darling but it was HARD having Jaspar for the first few months and I don't know if I would ever want to go through having a puppy again, as tempting as they look from time to time (I also far prefer adult cats to kittens). And I live on my own and don't have kids as well to manage! :) Also some puppies can be more active than others and more in your face (just as people can). For this reason you might indeed want to consider changing puppies to a quieter personality or even waiting to get an older dog or older pup (6 month or older) from the breeder; please sit down and consider those alternatives too because you shouldn't be so stressed out over a puppy that you aren't enjoying this addition to your family and no two families (or individuals) are the same when it comes to what is right for them. Keep in mind that you will have many more months of training and work with a puppy ahead of you and consider whether that fits with what you want right now. Incidentally, did your breeder ever do a personality assessment on her litter to match them with families? Many do this and it tends to greatly increase the chance of success. It sounds like perhaps you really needed a calm, quieter puppy for your family and instead have an extremely outgoing puppy which is a bit overwhelming (and her personality overall is unlikely to change, though the nipping will indeed stop). For this reason, if this is not the personality you want, you talk to your breeder about options. I would recommend this ANYWAY -- a good breeder is the best source of advice for the problems you are having and she should be able to give guidance and full backup and reassurance, whatever you decide to do.

A final note -- please try to forget about old fashioned and outdated notions of dominance and submission as these can be VERY simplistic as they are applied to dogs by humans in books, TV shows, videos or advice from boards :lol: -- and can cause very serious problems in dogs because we often have it entirely wrong. They aren't relevant here anyway -- a puppy of 12 weeks is not showing dominance behaviour to you, just puppy play and testing out what it is able to do, just as human babies mouth everything. Dogs won't be showing dominance ofthe kind that matters to them and very occasionally, to us, until they start to reach sexual maturity months from now, and overall, even then this behaviour is widely misunderstood and misinterpreted and is really best left to qualified behaviouralists to interpret. Please don't try techniques that are supposed to subdue puppies, such as rolling and pinning them on to their backs (alpha rolls), holding out at arms length and shouting, scruff shakes -- these are all very risky behaviours to try on puppies and terrifying to them too. In general, adog that runs the house is almost never 'dominant' in the way some simplistic training methods claim -- it just has never been taught polite behaviour or enough polite behaviour.

more info:

http://www.cavaliertalk.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=2286

The best approach is simply to control behaviour calmly and kindly and not allow it to happen in the first place. As with children, setting a dog up for success -- eg put a puppy or adult dog into situations where they have little chance of the wrong behaviour and every chance of the right behaviour -- is what cements the good behaviour to start with, and confidence, and your good relationship, and training classes can later, help build on that.

Maxxs_Mummy
23rd July 2006, 02:37 PM
Hi DeAnna,

I've read right through this thread and really feel for you at the moment as you are obviously upset and stressed. - This is also going to affect the way the puppy behaves. I think that you've been given some excellent advice and Karlin has just given you the very same advice as I was going to give.

I think an X-Pen or kiddies playpen is the best way to go here and calm playtime, coupled with 'time out' sounds like just what she needs.

She is only a baby herself and remember that everything in her life has changed dramatically in the last two weeks - she's gone from having other pups to play rough with, to being in a home where there are two small children (that she probably views as puppy type playmates) who get upset when she's only doing what comes naturally.

I think in this case that I would most definitely also get back in touch with the breeder - he or she might be able to give you some helpful advice too.

Tbh, any problems I ever had with Maxx, I was straight on the phone back to the breeder. A good breeder will appreciate this and after all, they know that pup better than anyone after helping bring it into the world and helping to nurture it for the first weeks of its life.

Good luck in whatever you decide to do. X

gocamping
23rd July 2006, 02:38 PM
Hi

We don't have our Cavalier yet, but we trained a yellow lab when my girls were 7 and 4. We also went through the biting stage and the kids would cry.

Here are a few things we did to eliminate the problem:
First, we used biter spray on the kids hands. This did seem to deter the biting. It also gave the kids a little confidence.

We backed up to supervised play. Which means that every one had old shirts, shoes and sat indian style to play. When we couldn't watch everyone together, especially after bath time, Riley went into her crate. We didn't have an x-pen at the time.

After 9pm, when the kids were in bed. The puppy got more one on one time with myself and hubby. To this day, she brings toys to me at 9pm! lol

Don't give up on her. It sounds like she is very smart and trainable. I think she needs more time in an x-pen. Especially, until she is housebroken too.

Good Luck and keep us posted on how it is going!

Maxxs_Mummy
23rd July 2006, 02:53 PM
That no bite spray is an excellent idea for the kids hands - you could use it on their ankles too.

I also used the word, or noise 'Bahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh' like a deep growl when Maxx did anything I didn't like. It mimics the noise made by the mother dog when she is chastising the pups. Doesn't hurt them but they stand back and cock their heads as if to say 'Hmmmmm, naughty!' :lol:

Cathy T
23rd July 2006, 03:52 PM
DeAnna - I feel for you! You sound so frustrated. All kinds of great advice above. I also think Angela is sooo right about some of us forgetting about how difficult our puppies were. I was reading your post and feeling bad for you and my "negative" memories came flooding back! After two weeks my husband came home from work to find me in tears. I felt I had made a huge mistake in getting Jake. He frustrated the heck out of me....biting, crying, and on and on and on. I was just at my wit's end. Now I have two of them! So things do get better. I don't have any experience with the kids and dogs but what has been suggested sounds like sound advice.

Remember...this is a great place to vent....we can relate to what you are feeling and no on thinks the worse of you for it! :)

Please keep us posted on how things go. Best of luck to you as well.

arasara
23rd July 2006, 04:04 PM
Ahh I just had the longest post ever typed out and Mr. BusyPants decided to jump up and put his paw on my lap top. He touched somehow the select all and delete key! grr :( OK so for the second time . . . I am sorry with what you're dealing with . Having a young puppy can be a terror, but it also brings so much fun to your life! Ours just turned 6 months old this past week and he's still hyper and wants to play all the time, but he doesn't nip anymore. THe only teeth he has left to shed are his fang teeth though so he's pretty much done with all of his teething. I can tell you that around the stage you're at now (3 months) was the height of his nipping and biting. It really helped for us to take him to doggy obedience school. I don't know what you have available there but we used PetSmart which was very well priced and 100% guaranteed. They also only use positive reinforcement training methods. Every single person in our class (7 of us) had the same exact problem as you are having. My trainer suggested 2 ways to our class to deal with this. The first one is that when they bite at you say NO! and spray them in the face with some water. We tried that with ours but he ended up liking water. . :oops: The second method is to take an empty pop can, put some pennies in it, tape up the top and squish it. Then you say NO and shake it loudly whenever they do something wrong. This scares them and makes them stop whatever they are doing immediately.

arasara
23rd July 2006, 04:06 PM
That second method has worked with us for both nipping and jumping. Good luck with your pup and I'm sorry about your negative experience.

Cathy Moon
23rd July 2006, 04:43 PM
My trainer suggested 2 ways to our class to deal with this. The first one is that when they bite at you say NO! and spray them in the face with some water. We tried that with ours but he ended up liking water. . :oops: The second method is to take an empty pop can, put some pennies in it, tape up the top and squish it. Then you say NO and shake it loudly whenever they do something wrong. This scares them and makes them stop whatever they are doing immediately.

These two methods are not considered to be positive reinforcement / reward based training methods!

Moviedust
23rd July 2006, 05:12 PM
My trainer suggested 2 ways to our class to deal with this. The first one is that when they bite at you say NO! and spray them in the face with some water. We tried that with ours but he ended up liking water. . :oops: The second method is to take an empty pop can, put some pennies in it, tape up the top and squish it. Then you say NO and shake it loudly whenever they do something wrong. This scares them and makes them stop whatever they are doing immediately.

These two methods are not considered to be positive reinforcement / reward based training methods!

Cathy is right-- a shaker can, which is often suggested to use (even our puppy class trainer has suggested it) works by scaring the dog. The scare is a distraction, and it often gets the dog to stop barking/biting, etc. I have seen it "work" to adjusting the dogs behavior to the point whenever someone reached for the can the dog stopped. This is the same philosophy my father used with his "dont make me stop this car" or the "dont make me come over there!" threats. I behaved, but it didnt really help my relationship with my father!! I've also seen the can have negative consequences when used with nervous dogs. Once, I saw it used in a class with an unruly dog who wouldnt stop barking. It got the barking dog to stop, but another dog on the class was so scared by it that it didnt want to go into the training building!! They had to have special training time in the building to overcome the fears that can started with just one shake.

You can use the same technique as the can's distraction but in a positive way by distracting the dog with something the dog LIKES. A special toy or a treat works. Get the dogs attention by showing the dog the toy/treat. When the negative behavior stops (and I generally include a sit command, even with a very young pup) and the dog is calm and well behaved, s/he gets the fun stuff. Just like with reaching for the can, as soon as the dog sees you reach for the treat/toy, the negative behavior stops, but instead of being afraid of you, you're a great wonderful person who has the fun stuff!!

Nancy
23rd July 2006, 06:24 PM
I know exactly how you feel. 15 years ago I had the puppy from Hell...no meant nothing, and nothing worked on her. She was a Lhasa puppy. Cavaliers are usually much easier but it sounds like you have a strong personality on your hands. A good rule, is that a tired dog is a good dog. Find something she likes to do and exhaust her, ie , throwing toys outside if it isn't too hot, really anything outside tends to make them run around. Then you can really work on not biting when she's tired. Don't use the xpen or crate as punishment, but merely a good place to be. I tried to get my breeder to take that puppy back, she wouldn't. Miraculously, she turned into the best little Lhasa anyone ever met. It was time more than anything. Puppies are really exhausting. People who know me, are surprised I just got another one, but I was assured he was an exceptionally nice , easy puppy and he is. Sometimes people are better off finding older puppies or young adults.

notme
23rd July 2006, 06:32 PM
DeAnna, I am so sorry that you are having a rough time with your new puppy. I have had two new cavaliers in less than two years and I understand your frustration. However, that being said, I think your expectations are high of a twelve week old pup. Our first cavalier was also ten weeks old when we got him. His energy level far exceeded ours. I think your small children are seen by the puppy as litter mates and your pup is attacking in play like she would with her litter friends. Both or our cavaliers would lunge at socks, strings and straps hanging off the table. (My new camera hit the floor this morning because the strap was hanging off the table) When our baby cavaliers would get rough, we would YELP like a litter mate puppy would do. He would immediately let go. We would ignore him after he made us yelp. It took awhile to get him to understand that when we yelped, the fun was over.

A puppy at twelve weeks needs a play pen. I bought an X pen and put Jack's and Max's toys and his crate inside the X pen. When I got tired of the attacks, I would put the puppy in his X pen where he could see me and make him stay there. His food also was given to him in his X pen. We kept our X pen in the family room and gave the puppy access to the doggy door when he was older from his little play area. When the puppy was calm and we were ready to play with him, we would take him out and play and let him tire and fall asleep with us snuggling. When he woke up, he went outside and then back in the X pen with a C.E.T. chew or nylabone. There is no reason your small children should have to put up with being attacked in play by a loose puppy.

Your expectations seem very high DeAnna. Your puppy is twelve weeks old and you are trying to train to sit, roll over and other dog tricks. A puppy at twelve weeks really should be allowed to be a puppy and the other things can come just a bit later. One thing at a time. Potty trainng and "no bite" should be your focus and forget the treats for sitting and staying. Treat for good potty behavior and keep it simple right now.

Pick two things to work on right now. Potty outside and no biting. That is all. If you yell at the puppy he sees it as barking. He may view it as barking in play. Yelping is what dogs do when they hurt each other. A high pitched yelp will get her attention. Puppies are not vindictive. She is not coming in the house and pottying on the floor in front of you to be bad. We had a similar issue with Maxwell. We would take him outside.....stand there for fifteen minutes trying to encourage him to go. It was February and cold and we wanted to be in the house, but Maxwell wanted to be outside. Finally we would get so cold we would pick up Maxwell and go in the house frustrated that he hadn't gone potty and then he would pee right in front of us. We finally figured out that he was "holding it" outside because he knew if he pee'd, we would quickly pick him up and run inside. He wanted to be outside. In his eyes, peeing brought negative results. We changed the process. We started taking Maxwell out and waited and waited. When he finally couldn't stand it, he would pee, we would treat him and tell him what a good boy he was, then we would stand there and let him play outside while we froze. He didn't feel like he was being punnished for peeing outside anymore and the problem was solved.

You need to try to think like a dog. Many times we view little puppies as babies and forget they are dogs. A book that I bought was my saving grace while training both my boys. "Puppies for Dummies" This book did wonders in helping us understand "dog" behavior. Your puppy sounds healthy and active and right now very frustrating. My guess is your puppy has too much freedom and your expectations of a twelve week old puppy is high.

Talk to your breeder. Tell her your frustrations and see if she has some suggestions. It could be this little high energy girl is not a good fit for your family. If she isn't a good personality fit, your breeder will take her back and I am sure find a better fit puppy for you. Our boys are extremely differnt. Maxwell quiet and sensitive, Jack is our crazy wild puppy that is smart and high energy.

I hope it all works out for you. Puppies stay puppies such a short time. If you handle things right, it sounds as if you will have a very smart, fun and well trained pup. GET AN X pen and have some peace!!! Puppies need boundries and you need some rest.

Nancy

judy
23rd July 2006, 06:55 PM
...I also used the word, or noise 'Bahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh' like a deep growl when Maxx did anything I didn't like. It mimics the noise made by the mother dog when she is chastising the pups. Doesn't hurt them but they stand back and cock their heads as if to say 'Hmmmmm, naughty!' :lol:

This was the mainstay of my working with zack to redirect behaviors, whatever it was, chewing on my shoe instead of his toy, charging the cat, licking the cat's but, biting my hand, the list goes on. I had read this in a book. the book said to use 'nhaaaaa' but it's the same thing. I had read the book before i brought zack home, so i used it from the beginning. I was quite surprised at how immediately responsive he was to it. I did not expect it to work the way it did. I could say it at a very low volume, i could even say it with a certain warm tongue in cheek tone of voice because the unacceptable behavior was a bit amusing, or he was just so cute, yet, when he heard that growl, he stopped. amazing. Saying the word 'no' did not have that effect. I don't know why it worked so consistently and so decisively. It provided me with a gentle effective way of using my words/voice to manage his behavior. One of the most amazing things was that the growl could be used one time, and he would never do the behavior again! he would never chew that wire again, would never chew my shoe again, would never bite my hand again. There were occasional exceptions, lunging at the cat exuberantly was one. But generally, he would simply give up the behavior that got the "nhaaaa." I was amazed. It seemed too good to be true. i'm very grateful that i had stumbled onto this method. It was not something that caused him to be afraid of me, or which discouraged him from being curious and exploring. It just communicated to him what he needed to know, what was ok and what was not.

Biting my hands was a case in point. I kind of laugh about this example because my own ambivalence about it resulted in mixed messages to zack, and changing policies, which he good naturedly went along with. When i first got him, i was happy to let him bite on my hands, he wasn't a very hard biter, and i'd done this with my other dogs, years ago, and it was fun, to me it was a way of bonding, i'd play with him in a gentle 'rough' way, and he'd bite--he would initiate this, it was the same way he played with other puppies. and i wuold do it to entertain him, it made him very happy, smiling, 'laughing,' and i had never thought of it as a problem. but then, the book i was reading, the one wiht 'nhaaaa,' said that this 'mouthing' shoujld never never never be allowed, and that it was very bad for the relationship between dog and ownder. it wasn't really explained why it was bad. it was assumed to be self evident. I had gotten valuable advice from the book, so i changed my ways with zack and stopped encouraging his play biting on my hands, and when he did it, i softly said 'nhaaaa.' and he looked puzzled and mildly disappointed, but he stopped. after a couple of times, he no longer tried to do it, he would just lick and lay on his back in my arms to be petted, where he used to bite and invite me to play.

this made me sad. :-(

after a while, i decided i wanted to trust my gut feeling that his play biting really wasn't a problem, i didn't understand how it was a problem, it wasn't like he was biting all the time. It was just a play thing, like playing tug of war. so, i started inviting him to play in that way again. and we were both happy doing it.

Then my daughter, age 22 at the time, and her cavalier belle, came to visit for a weekend. i have always been a tomboy, i played with boys a lot, and mimicked the culture of boys who were "rough and tumble", where you don't cry when you skin your knee and you wrestle on the lawn. my daughter was the opposite. So when zack was laying in her lap on his back, and he started play biting with her, the way he does with me, at some point, i heard her complaining about it, "ouch," that hurts, and at first i didn't think anything of it. I didn't think he bites hard--true, if you let him, it can get more hard, but the manner of play involves, on my end, moving my hands in such a way that i don't get hurt. but maybe once in a while, a tooth will hurt a little. i just never minded it. but then, i began to understand that for Lisa, it really hurt and wasn't fun, she didn't like to play in that way, so she was just the passive recipient of being bitten. belle also liked play biting, but Lisa didn't do it with her. Her boyfriend Joe did it with her sometimes and i did. but belle and zack had a great time play biting each other for the whole day.

Anyway, that was when i realized the reason for teaching the dog not to do play biting on peoples' hands. Some people may like it (it was my dad who role modelled it for me with my first dog) but many people will not like it, and those people can get hurt. Lisa cried out and then said zack had actually made a mark on her arm with his teeth. She said it was an accident, he didn't mean to hurt her, he was just playing, but it hurt.

So, i told just her not to let him doing it anymore, tell him 'nhaaaa' and stop him, and after that, i discouraged him from doing it with me--and he complied. He always understood 'nhaaa.'

zack has been so cooperative about that. He's like , "whatever you want me to do , i'll go along with it. feel free to change your mind when you want." he never acted confused.

The way it is now, i still do the play with him and he has learned how to do it in a gentle way, no more accidental hurting someone, he bites very softly and he tries to miss your hand or your skin, he gives a wide birth, and he doesn't bite down with his teeth. so we've worked it out where it's an innocuous thing now. When he was a younger puppy, he could only learn from experience, he wasn't born knowing how hard was too hard.

when i was a kid, i remember my dad doing it with Teddy and i remember watching him, and he would say to Teddy, "Too hard, too hard," and pull his hand back, and then he would go back to playing, and Teddy learned to play gently.

i had a dog that bit my ear once and i had to go to the emergency room and i still have a scar, it was right after Teddy died when i was 14 and we got another puppy, Darin. Darin just got wild and was jumping through the air with his jaws flapping, and i was sitting on the grass crosslegged, and his mouth caught my ear, he didn't mean to, it wasn't more like he didn't know what he was doing.

The woman i got Zack from told me I could try him for three weeks and if it didn't work out, i could have a full refund. She also indicated it wasn't a rigid three weeks,, it could be a little longer, but she just implied that i could have enough time to be sure it was right, that he was the right dog, or that having a dog would work for me. She understood i live in an apartment and can't have barking, and she knew about my cat. When i talked about these things, this was actually before i met zack and was considering another puppy, that's when she said i could take three weeks, she wrote it in an email, and we talked about it too. She said she wanted me to be happy with the dog. And her contract requests that if i cant' keep the dog that she be given first choice to have him back.

WoodHaven
23rd July 2006, 07:21 PM
I have never understood why some believe when a pup bites that you should act hurt and walk away-- It sounds like an Omega thing to do--- An Alpha would make some negative sound that would upset the pup-- shake can whatever. I haven't had a pup with a human biting issue. I had one larger male pup that would hurt his much smaller littermate. When she squeeked (like the omega-- and run away-- he'd come back to do it again). I would hold his mussle closed and growl. Pretty soon all I had to do is growl and he'd stop. JMO- Sandy

Karlin
23rd July 2006, 07:29 PM
Two other thoughts:

You said this



My 5 year old daughter (who adores dogs and has dreamed about nothing but getting a dog for the last year) said this morning "Why can't we just get rid of her? It was so calm before we had her!" I've explained her biting and scratching away as being puppy play so many times that I feel like my kids think I'm always siding with her over them.

This is a key thing about getting a dog when there are kids. Kids have a totally rosy picture of what having a dog is like -- and puppies and kittens both bite, scratch and need constant care from the adults, not the kids, with kids only having careful time with such young animals. The reality is that 95% of the work with a puppy will fall to the adults, and a child this young should maybe have several opprtunities a day to sit Indian style on the floor and play with the puppy for a 10 or 15 minute stretch, but otherwise children and puppy need separate safe places at these ages. :) This makes the puppy interactions happy, not stressful.

Second, I do strongly agree with others that 12 weeks really is very young to be trying to get a puppy to lie down and roll over -- all this extra activity may in itself prove very frustrating to her and be causing some of this unwanted behaviour, when she just has had enough (just like a child having a tantrum or getting gidy and silly when you keep trying to make a child focus on something a bit tedious like homework or cleaning a room, beyond his or her attention span). In general, puppy training should only be simple and fun til they pass 5-6 months -- they simply do not have the patience or memory to do anything very complex. No training sessions more than 5 minutes, no more than 2-3 times a day, max. No stays, downstays, or complex things like rollovers (that;s more the kind of thing to teach after the dog is an adult). Teaching a tiny pup to rollover is like trying to make a two year old read -- it is just so very hard for them and frustrating to not be able to do correctly what you keep asking them to do. I'd recommend instead just focusing as noted on housetraining and no biting, and do a *fun* puppy training class in a month or two, if there's one in your area. :)

By the way I have lots of info on kids and puppies/dogs in the Library section -- did you look there for some help, too?

http://www.cavaliertalk.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=1107

http://www.cavaliertalk.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=1603

http://www.cavaliertalk.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=1101

I really recommend all the articles on the diamondsintheruff site.

Though they are sometimes recommended as ';gentle' methods, I also would not use coins shaken at dogs or spray a dog. These are both punishments for bad behaviour, rather than refocusing the dog to do what you prefer it to do. Ignoring is really the single most effective way to train away from an unwanted behaviour, but takes a bit more time and patience.

And be sure to read this immediately! It should make you feel a lot better and help you think through all this:

http://www.diamondsintheruff.com/puppystuff.html

ALL her stuff on dog language, on what dogs think about our postures, about how kids can learn to stand and play correctly with a puppy -- are excellent and should be very helpful to your family.

Daisy's Mom
23rd July 2006, 09:00 PM
Thanks, everyone! I feel a lot better today about Daisy -- like a lot of things, when you are down and it's late at night, everything seems bleaker. The next morning it doesn't seem so bad.

I've read all the advice and really appreciate it. It is frustrating, though, when you read/hear that you will probably have to do a scruff shake to get her attention and then in the next minute you read that that very thing will damage her/our relationship.

Today, I have separated the kids from her and when she started to get nasty with me (growling, turning her head to bite me), I put her in her crate and walked away.


I'm just going to try to work on consistency with her biting, and then we will be doing a puppy class at the end of August. After that, we will see where we stand. Hopefully these things, along with the passage of time, will resolve our issues.

I especially thank those people who offered me empathy and said that they often felt the same way as I am feeling. It gives me hope that we will have the kind of relationship I have dreamed about. I'm not a quitter and it really helps to hear that lots of Cavalier loyalists didn't have it all rosy in the beginning either.

As far as the training thing goes (sit, down, rollover), I think she really likes it. I think she is as smart as a tack and this really engages her mind. It's one of the few things that snaps her out of her frenzied periods. It's not that I think it's crucial right now, but it seems like something cooperative that we do together that doesn't involve corrections or anhything negative on either side. That and fetch are our lifesaving activities at this point!

Thanks, again, everyone!

Moviedust
23rd July 2006, 09:18 PM
Thanks, everyone! I feel a lot better today about Daisy -- like a lot of things, when you are down and it's late at night, everything seems bleaker. The next morning it doesn't seem so bad.

I'm glad everything seems better this morning. Sometimes it just helps to vent and get those frustrations out!!


I've read all the advice and really appreciate it. It is frustrating, though, when you read/hear that you will probably have to do a scruff shake to get her attention and then in the next minute you read that that very thing will damage her/our relationship.

One scruff shake or a shout isnt going to make Daisy hate you. Even dogs who have experienced abuse and harsh conditions (which is NOT the same as a shout or scruff shake!) dont always turn into nasty biters. Especially with a little baby like you have, she will overcome (and forget) a lot of stuff. There are huge debates in dog training what is the best way to do things, so dont worry too much about damaging your relationship.


Today, I have separated the kids from her and when she started to get nasty with me (growling, turning her head to bite me), I put her in her crate and walked away.

I'm just going to try to work on consistency with her biting, and then we will be doing a puppy class at the end of August. After that, we will see where we stand. Hopefully these things, along with the passage of time, will resolve our issues.

It sounds like you've started a good strategy of dealing with the situation. Teaching the kids how to handle the dog is just as important as teaching the dog how to handle the kids. And the kids will definitely understand when the puppy is in timeout! (They will learn how timeout is necessary sometimes, maybe even for humans!!)


As far as the training thing goes (sit, down, rollover), I think she really likes it. I think she is as smart as a tack and this really engages her mind. It's one of the few things that snaps her out of her frenzied periods. It's not that I think it's crucial right now, but it seems like something cooperative that we do together that doesn't involve corrections or anhything negative on either side. That and fetch are our lifesaving activities at this point!

In my opinion, teaching some basic commands is a good thing for a pup this age. We taught Cedar to sit on command when she was probably 9 weeks of age. It helped out that she knew the command to distract her from negative behavior. when she jumped up, we could give the sit command. It ended the jumping behavior, and she felt rewarded for sitting. Now, at a year old, she knows to sit for attention rather than jumping. So a little bit of training at this age can pay off in the long run.

I'm glad you have a fresh start this morning. Puppy raising isnt easy, but it has its rewards!! I hope you keep us informed on how you are doing. Other who are waiting for their furball right now will have a more realistic understanding of what they are getting into because of your open and honest posts. Sharing experiences is one of the greatest benefits of online boards like this one!

Post some pics, too, if you find a spare minute!! ;)

judy
23rd July 2006, 10:23 PM
I've read all the advice and really appreciate it. It is frustrating, though, when you read/hear that you will probably have to do a scruff shake to get her attention and then in the next minute you read that that very thing will damage her/our relationship.

glad to hear you are seeing things less painfully today.

about training/teaching a puppy or dog, or kids, i don't think there is a one size fits all right way, or a one size fits all wrong way. People disagree about child raising or dog raising methods, about using punishment, using only positive reinforcement, etc, but it's all in theory. What's right for an individual situation will come from the particular characteristics of those involved and their circumstances, a person's values, their temperment, their strenghts and their weaknesses, their lifestyle, their background.

When you ask a group of people for feedback or advice, all you can get is their own individual experience and beliefs, and these vary so much from person to person, you're going to get a mix. This can be a good thing, you get lots of perspectives and lots of choices.

You've found yourself in a challenging complicated situatioin. for me, just one small kid was quite a lot to deal with and to try to figure out what was right. you are brave to get a dog along with two kids and a husband! no wonder you are reeling a bit with a puppy who is stimulated by the family members and family members who are upset and hurt!

The best advice or counsel i ever got when i was raising my daughter, given my own anxiety about making some kind of irreversible mistakes, was that kids are not fragile little eggs in the egg toss of life (John Rosemond's metaphor). And a therapist I saw pointed out "There is a difference between letting her express her feelings and letting her be abusive." duh!? oh yeah, huh. Stating the obvious, yet when i was swimming in it, it was hard to see.

You are facing a steep learning curve where there really is no one right way to learn. :yikes


Today, I have separated the kids from her and when she started to get nasty with me (growling, turning her head to bite me), I put her in her crate and walked away.

It sounds very hard to have a puppy who gets nasty. From your first post, i didn't really get that part, i thought it was all playful. If the growling is vicious, i'm not so sure that's normal after all. But i'm sure that it can be corrected at such a young age. you really have my sympathy for such behavior. Keeping her separate from the kids should bring some relief from worrying about anyone getting hurt.


I especially thank those people who offered me empathy and said that they often felt the same way as I am feeling. It gives me hope that we will have the kind of relationship I have dreamed about. I'm not a quitter and it really helps to hear that lots of Cavalier loyalists didn't have it all rosy in the beginning either.

reading about yours and others' experiences makes me thankful that i've been lucky with zack, he has always been very sweet and gentle and cooperative. I did deliberately get an older puppy, i wanted one who was 5 or 6 months. The woman i got him from mistakenly said he was 5 months but his birthdate showed that he was not quite 4 months, but by then, i was sure about wanting him. I had my own problems with him though in the beginning, and probably not unlike you, basically went through emotional hell and extreme stress because he was sick and was getting sicker and sicker, and vet bills were mounting fast, with no control over it, vets recommending expensive procedures, and no reason to have any confidence those would do any good, i was thinking about having to return sweet little Zack to the woman i got him from because i simply couldn't afford to go into debt thousands of dollars--I had signed him up for maximum coverage pet health insurance. But this was all happening during the first 30 days, when the coverage hadn't begun yet.

I can't begin to tell you the misery i felt at a time that i had thought would be fun and happy with my new puppy. Racing home from the office to get Zack and take him to the vet before they closed for emergency appointments, several vet visits a week, one medication after another that didnn't work, shoving several pills down his throat two and three times a day, coming home from the office to give him his medicine, watching him be listless and lifeless, watching him vomit, bloody diarrhea, feeling the weight of it all being on my shoulders to do something about all this, and nothing i did was working. i kept trying new vets and finally was lucky to try one who had the idea to deworm him and he was fine ever since, but before that, up until that day, almost every other day was so depressing, $1100 in vet bills just like that, with no end in sight, i had to seriously consider giving him back---that caused not only grief at the thought of it, but also of course major guilt.

Like you, i felt better when i asked people on these forums about what was happening and heard about other peoples' similar experiences. It helped a lot.


As far as the training thing goes (sit, down, rollover), I think she really likes it. I think she is as smart as a tack and this really engages her mind. It's one of the few things that snaps her out of her frenzied periods.

i was impressed when you wrote about that the first time. What a smart puppy. And a nice way for you and her to interact where she can be a success. i've watched those clicker training videos where they have preschool aged kids training 8 week old puppies to come and to sit with a clicker and a treat, and it's obviously fun for everybody. As i said, Zack was already 14 weeks when i got him, and after that first month of crisis, i started teaching him to sit and stay. I haven't been that consistent and he doesb't always seem to know what sit means, though sometimes he does, but he always stays. Somehow he gets that.

good luck with the things you are trying!