Puppy (New Member)
Correcting Jumping Problem
So Nanook really likes meeting new people-- and I mean REALLY likes it. So much so that she tries to jump on them to get at eye level and lick their face. Obviously, having a strange large dog try to pounce on you out of nowhere is pretty scary even if she's being friendly. She's around 55 lbs right now, and I really want this behavior corrected before she gets bigger.
In all other situations, she listens when I tell her "no". But when I comes to meeting people, she either ignores me or listens and just waits a couple of seconds to pounce again. Also, She only does this with people she doesn't know or sees on occasion.
Her second problem is that she gets very sassy when people ignore her and starts barking at them for attention. It isn't an agressive bark at all, but since her bark is so deep, people often interpret it as aggression. Similar to the jumping, I will tell her "no" but she will only listen momentarily then try it again after a minute. She stops immediately if she gets pets, but I obviously don't want to reward this behavior.
I really like that Nanook is so social, but I wish she would stop trying to assault people with her love. Any suggestions for training this behavior out of her would be helpful!
Old Dawg (Senior Member)
The good news is that both Nanook's jumping on people and the sassy back-talk are pretty normal behaviors for Pyrs her age. You could easily have described Sebastian at around 8 months old with your post. At that age, he lived to push my buttons. The more of a response his bratty behavior got out of me, the more fun it was for him to behave like a diabolical teenaged jerk. The second bit of good news is that it does get better. Part of it getting better is a matter of her growing up. Just as we outgrew the stupid things we used to think were really cool when we were teenagers, she will outgrow her puppy antics.
The other part of it getting better is teaching her manners and self-control. Unfortunately, there is no effective quick fix for either the jumping or the attention-seeking barking. With some time, patience, consistency, and treats, you can help her to learn that the best way to get attention is with polite behavior.
If you haven't already, I strongly recommend starting NILIF (Nothing in Life is Free) with her right away. This is something that everyone in the home (family and guests) will need to be on board with. Bevause she is engaging in attention-seeking behavior, I would include petting with the resources she has to earn with good behavior.
If you haven't taken her to obedience classes yet, I think that is another good start. I have known a few dogs who have done well with the Pet Manners classes at What a Great Dog training studio. They have locations in Frisco and in Richardson. The next time I have a dog in need of group classes, that is where I will be taking them. If that isn't a good fit for you, Petco and Petsmart also offer positive, rewards-based training, which is what you want. Stay away from classes that base their methods on "dominance theory" or "dog psychology".
Another thing I would recommend is trying a number of different training tools (harnesses, head collars, flat collars, martingale collars), to see which one works the best for you. I've had a lot of luck with no-pull harnesses, but others prefer the gentle leader or a simple martingale. From my experience, if a trainer insists that you use one tool to the exclusion of all others, they are not going to be the trainer for you.
So, now for the hard part. The best way I have found to deal with a dog who is engaging in obnoxious behavior as a way to get attention is to suck the fun right out of that game by ignoring her. Don't say no, don't scold her, don't give her the stink eye. Attention is attention is attention. Turn away from her if you have to. Go into another room if you have to. Hide under a blanket if that's what works (I actually have hidden under a blanket several times). Once she calms down, then calmly pay attention to her.
With the jumping, treating the behavior is going to be multi-faceted. The first part is going to be draining some of her excess puppy energy before putting her in a situation where she might be meeting new people. Sebastian and I lived in a tiny apartment in Knox-Henderson until he was two. He was a very high-energy puppy with no impulse control. As we couldn't really avoid meeting new people on our walks, I designated a spot early on our walking route as his "crazy puppy spot". Once we got to that spot, Sebastian usually went potty, then literally ran circles around me like a mad man until he had gotten it all out of his system. I encouraged it, as it usually made the rest of our walk much easier. If you know Nanook is going somewhere where she will likely meet new people she will want to jump on, I would recommend a little pregame play session in the yard so that she can drain some energy. If she is like Sebastian was at that age, and has the energy of a thousand suns, consider taking her to doggie daycare every once in a while, or if you have a good dog park close by, take her there every so often (although I recommend avoiding peak hours at the dog park).
It's a good idea to invest in a training treat pouch, keep it full of a variety of high-value treats, and wear it whenever you think she might meet someone she will want to jump on. If she tends to greet guests at the front door with a jump, grab the treat pouch and her leash before you answer the door. Have her sit while your guests come in, and have them ignore her unless she is sitting politely. If you are out on a walk and someone asks if they can pet her, tell them that she is a puppy and that she is in training. Have her sit, and tell them not to pet her unless she is sitting politely. If you are in a situation where you know there is no way you are going to get her to sit politely, don't be afraid to tell people no.
If she has the tendency to jump on random people as they walk past, try keeping her on a shorter lead and distracting her with a treat while they pass by. Once the person is past you, give her the treat.
None of these are magic fixes, but hopefully, they will help. Although she is probably already one of the biggest dogs in your neighborhood, it's important to keep in mind that she is still a puppy, and will be for quite some time.