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Discussion Starter #1
Hello Everyone,

I don't know what to make of this, and I wonder if it is atypical for puppies to exhibit this behaviour. And if I should be concerned. It does not occur often, and I can count the number of times on 1 hands.

Some background info ... My pup is 4 months 3 weeks old. Female. German showline. Quite mindful for a youngster, and has a healthy relationship with me.

The trigger is usually when I say 'Pfui!' or 'Ah-uh!'. E.g. if she is skulking around the birdcage and hoovering up pellets and whatever food thrown out onto the floor.

On almost every instance, she responds appropriately and trots off to find something else to occupy her.

But on a few occassions she would start barking quite intensely at me. Eye to eye. Tail is wagging lightly, with an occasionally play bow. She would also step forward and pretend to snap at my hand before backing off. She has never bitten me. It's always the motion to snap, with her nose just barely touching my fingers. Then she would run off to do a round, and then scamper back to repeat the whole display.

Eventually she lies down with her head on the ground, looking up at me. This signals the end of her 'display'.

These episodes last a very short time. I say a coupla minutes.

When she gets into these episodes, I always stand straight and quiet, hands on my side, neutral expression on my face while maintaining eye contact.

I never really thought about it but yesterday my husband witnessed it. Halfway through, he asked if I needed help, but I just said, "No, we are fine". It was the first time he has heard her Big Girl bark, and to the uninitiated, it is quite intimidating. He later admitted he was quite unnerved by it.

Should I be concerned about this? Janka is not aggressive, although this does look aggressive. What is the best way to deal with this reaction?

I hope I am not doing something wrong. That is my main concern.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks so much, Bluewolf.

I started to worry last night that I might be ruining my pup to cause her to behave like that.
 

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From such a young puppy, I also say it's not aggression.

But I WOULD say, that whenever I try a method to change my dog's behaviors, and they continue to do it....... Rather than me continuing to do the same thing, I need to figure out something else.

And for puppies I ALWAYS use positive and PRO-active methods on issues that are recurring. Hey, I'm supposed to be the smart human, right? So I can think and plan and come up with a new way to either head off the behavior completely (make sure there's never any birdseed on the floor? and that's just an example that I'm sure your bird won't cooperate with
). Or come up with a completely different good thing I want my pup to do, rather than focusing on the negative of the continuing 'bad' behavior.

In general, when ever I see juvenile issues like you describe, it means I need to up the general exercise and socialization OUTSIDE the house. Cause the amount of trouble my puppy can get into when they are BORED and full of energy can drive me up the wall. And because ANY interaction with me when she is bored (even negative and disapproving attention from me) beats whatever was happening before....... I have to watch out for my puppy 'teaching' me to react and interact when they do something bad.

For example, I hear the trash can slam over and go tearing and yelling into the kitchen and then proceed to yell and chase the BAD PUPPY..................... that can be great fun for my pup. And I am very predictable about not being happy when the can goes over, so my puppy can train me to do this yelling and chasing thing very easily. How do I head this off? EXERCISE, socialization, and putting the can up out of her reach!

You found any good puppy classes yet? The best ever to mentally and physically wear our pups out in a fun way!
 

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Sounds to me like your puppy is bored and hanging out under the bird cage gets your attention. All of the actions is your pup trying to get your attention and get your to play.

Find a way to get the pup to play with you but on your terms. If a pup is trying to initiate play, I wouldn't always be shutting them down. Play is a wonderful time to teach what you want to teach and the pup thinks it is just fun and games.
 

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Originally Posted By: The StigWhen she gets into these episodes, I always stand straight and quiet, hands on my side, neutral expression on my face while maintaining eye contact.
I would personally do exactly what you're doing, but WITHOUT the eye contact. I'd stand calmly and check out, disengage, turn my head away and stare at the ceiling or off into the distance. Wait her out. When she stops and settles down you can immediately praise her and start a game. I wouldn't want her to learn that she can initiate play whenever she wants to by surfing around the bird cage or barking and snapping at you. Puppies can learn REALLY fast that misbehaving gets them attention. And then you'll have an out of control attention barker on your hands, and you DO NOT want that!

I went to a Suzanne Clothier seminar a year ago, and one of the dogs she worked with was a corgi brought in by his owner for attention barking. It was loud, it was shrill, it was relentless. The guy was inadvertently reinforcing it by looking at him when he barked, so she had him turn his back every time Batso started barking at him. When the dog moved in front of him, he turned around again, over and over again. The second he was quiet, she had the guy turn around, praise him and give him a treat. At first Batso looked like he just couldn't believe it wasn't working anymore - it had worked so well for so long, his owner was so well trained to give him attention any time he wanted it. It was truly comical, lol!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Hello all, and thanks for the suggestions.

I strongly suspect her hanging around my bird's cage is scouting for bird pellets/food a.k.a. free handouts.
I think my parrot is teaching my puppy how to beg, because I have caught her deliberately pushing food out of her cage when she sees Janka.


I am working on discouraging that. Or rather, figuring out how to go about.


After reading the link Bluewolf sent me, it certainly appears that Janka is talking back to me. It is kinda like, "Oh yeah, you and what army is gonna make me?" sorta attitude.
 

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Originally Posted By: Cassidys MomI would personally do exactly what you're doing, but WITHOUT the eye contact. I'd stand calmly and check out, disengage, turn my head away and stare at the ceiling or off into the distance. Wait her out. When she stops and settles down you can immediately praise her and start a game. I wouldn't want her to learn that she can initiate play whenever she wants to by surfing around the bird cage or barking and snapping at you. Puppies can learn REALLY fast that misbehaving gets them attention. And then you'll have an out of control attention barker on your hands, and you DO NOT want that!
Hello Cassidy's Mom,

Thank you for this input. I was also wondering if this interaction was teaching her the bad habit of persistent barking.

I figured if I didn't react but maintain eye contact it was not rewarding her, while showing I was Alpha.

But I suppose even looking at her is enough for a smart pup to figure out it IS an attention-getter. And it IS rewarding.

I will do that the next time she decides to show me up.
 

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Diabla does that sometimes too, but I see it more like a "Relax Mom, life is too short to be mad!" If I corrected and she stopped doing wathever I didn't wanted to I have no problem with petting or playing with her afterwards, dogs don't get resentful, why should I?. At least no if she doesn't try to reoffend, then I can get a lot more serious and there is no third attempt.
 

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Originally Posted By: The StigI figured if I didn't react but maintain eye contact it was not rewarding her, while showing I was Alpha.

But I suppose even looking at her is enough for a smart pup to figure out it IS an attention-getter. And it IS rewarding.
Yep, exactly! Eye contact is definitely rewarding. She should be the invisible puppy, don't look at her, don't touch her, don't talk to her. And then immediately re-engage and praise her when she's calm. The more dramatic you can turn on and off, the better. And rather than telling her no and getting into the "who's going to make me" battle, you could distract her away from the area. "Let's go (outside, for a walk, play ball, get a cookie)" and then walk quickly away so she'll hopefully follow you.
 

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Doesn't sound at all like aggression or a challenge. All of the body language and behavior you're describing is typical excited puppy wanting to play. Quite likely, in the cases where she does it, she's in a more excited state of mind than in the cases where she doesn't. Then when your sharp noise draws that attention to you, the excitement bursts out in a fury of offers to play and begging for your attention.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks, Chris.

It does make sense when you explain it like that.

She does playbow and seems like inviting me in a game of chase. But I just stand there like a lump of salt instead.

Hehehe.
 

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WHat Chris and the others said re play invitations. I'd encourage you to play with the pup when you are invited more often than not. You want to encourage enthusiasm.
 

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The Stig, you've gotten some great comments and suggestions.

But I just want to make sure you understand that this isn't just about your reaction when your dog does something you don't want (eat the birdseed). It's actually part of the much bigger picture of 'how do I want my dog to interact and work with me'.

Because we actually WANT our dogs to play with us and interact with us. So why it's important to not just be negative and correct when the pup does something wrong.

It's much more important for us to turn this whole thing around and have a plan to change our daily interactions with the dog in MANY ways. By the time the bird seed is getting eaten, you already 'lost' the training session (in my eyes). Cause when you know there is something predictable your dog will do wrong, it's my job to prevent this from happening. Not just figure out the 'easy' part of correction.

The harder part is spending the extra hour(s) hiking with my dog. Going to dog class with my dog. Taking my dog to friends homes to socialize. Finding friendly puppies/dogs for my puppy to play with. Creating a leadership bond with my dog by all of those (and more) things that I can just look at my pup when they are THINKING about heading for the birdseed, and they will think 'nah..... I'm kind of tired anyways so maybe go take a nap.....'

Once again, dog training isn't just about reacting when something comes up. It's also about learning our puppies enough so we can be PRO-active about modifying their behaviors so they are almost always wonderful happy and well behaved. Rather than bored and active pests that are constantly having to be watched before the house is destroyed!
 

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Originally Posted By: middleofnowhereWHat Chris and the others said re play invitations. I'd encourage you to play with the pup when you are invited more often than not. You want to encourage enthusiasm.
Except that if she does this behaviour (doing something she isn't supposed to do) and is rewarded by getting to play, chances are, it will make her worse about doing "undesireable" things. She will be getting positive reinforcement for being "bad".
 

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Originally Posted By: MaggieRoseLeeBut I just want to make sure you understand that this isn't just about your reaction when your dog does something you don't want (eat the birdseed). It's actually part of the much bigger picture of 'how do I want my dog to interact and work with me'.

Because we actually WANT our dogs to play with us and interact with us. So why it's important to not just be negative and correct when the pup does something wrong.

It's much more important for us to turn this whole thing around and have a plan to change our daily interactions with the dog in MANY ways. By the time the bird seed is getting eaten, you already 'lost' the training session (in my eyes). Cause when you know there is something predictable your dog will do wrong, it's my job to prevent this from happening. Not just figure out the 'easy' part of correction.
 

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Originally Posted By: BlackGSD
Originally Posted By: middleofnowhereWHat Chris and the others said re play invitations. I'd encourage you to play with the pup when you are invited more often than not. You want to encourage enthusiasm.
Except that if she does this behaviour (doing something she isn't supposed to do) and is rewarded by getting to play, chances are, it will make her worse about doing "undesireable" things. She will be getting positive reinforcement for being "bad".
BUT she has stopped the behavior and is initiating alternative behavior so you are rewarding the stop, the responding to the command. I just think one can build on this response & keep the dog enthusiastic and happy. So what would be reenforced in this case would be stop that behavior and come play instead.
 

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Also remember the good old extinction burst.
Puppy barks (or any other behavior) - gets some sort of attention. Human stops giving the attention so puppy barks louder, and louder, and louder before stopping.

http://www.dogscoutspa.org/extinction%20burst.htm

Good news is that it does end
 
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