Help! Jumping up on me and biting clothes

Discussion in 'Behavioral Issues' started by betsyjp, Apr 6, 2012.

  1. betsyjp

    betsyjp Member

    Hi, it's me again...the new Cardigan owner! Our five month old male pup is continuing to be a challenge in some unexpected and problematic ways. Recently, as he has gotten bigger and stronger and really good at catching tennis balls, he has also begun a VERY annoying habit of jumping up on me for attention and biting at my clothes. I know all about ignoring, arms crossed over chest, and looking up to ignore. But it is hard to that when he is after my clothes. I find myself needing to grab him from the back of his collar and pull him down....saying "OFF" and then "Good boy." But a second later he is on me again...probably figuring my defense was an invitation to play. This happens especially in the mornings when I am trying to get ready to leave for work...I think he knows that! Sad to say, I have come to dread the mornings...or whenever he starts that jumping/biting.
    Yes, he has had Puppy Obedience classes...but we still have lots of work to do on Stay, Down, etc. And I have a call into a local trainer to help me one on one with him in our home...but she has had to delay getting started for other personal reasons. We don't live close enough to any other trainers for me to have other options. And Petsmart (for more group or puppy classes) is about an hour away. Too far.
    I have just begun reading _Other End of the Leash_ - great book.
    Any suggestions? I fear our pup is getting some ingrained bad habits - building upon his fearless and dominant temperament - that may be next to impossible to "break." I hope I am wrong. I would be heartbroken.....

    P.S. Of course, right now as I type this he is lying placidly down in the living room looking up at me with "love" in his eyes. :)
  2. LaRogue

    LaRogue Senior Member

    IMO, his behavior is a bad mannered puppy and not related to temperment, dominance or personality. An obedience class would probably help. Puppy classes, IMO, are more for socialization than actual training.

    Bad habits can almost always be broken. Consistancy and gentle fiimness is key.

    For jumping I tell the dog OFF once. If they persist, I turn and ignore the dog, until he/she is calm and all 4 feet on the ground. Then I will give the command to sit and stay. I ONLY give attention as long as he/she does so or until I release him/her. If the sit stay is broken, it is back to turning my back, walking away, and ignoring. I do allow them to jump on me, if *I* initiate/invite them to.

    For me, unless the puppy is digging in and pulling, it hasn't damaged any clothes for me to turn around and start walking away. He/she will usually let go.
  3. Cheetah

    Cheetah Global Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    This sounds exactly like what you're thinking there. When you grab him and say stuff to him, it's attention - exactly what he wanted.

    Does he do this any time other than the morning? Is there any way you can get this behavior to manifest at a time of day when you can turn it into a training session? If so, I can describe the best I can what I did with Shippo:

    I had a door close by that I could walk into and close. When Shippo started in on his jumping/biting, I yelled "OUCH!!!" and immediately, calmly walked through the door, shutting it behind me, shutting him out. About 30 seconds later, I came back out and started giving him attention again in the form of play and pets. But as soon as he started with the biting, I repeated the above exercise. It was like a time out for him. And dogs hate when they get their attention taken away. Corgis especially thrive on attention.

    In the past, I had tried saying "no," tapping them on the muzzle, grabbing the muzzle and holding it shut, tapping them on the butt, and even scruffing! None of it ever worked, and only seemed to excite the dog more. I even tried to hold Shippo's muzzle closed as a correction before trying this. It only made him come back at me stronger and more hyper than before.

    Then I found out about this method. I don't even remember where I found it. But it worked for me. Just be consistent, and hopefully it can work for you. It might take a lot more repetition for your pup because he's older than Shippo was when I took care of this behavior. But don't give up. =)
  4. betsyjp

    betsyjp Member

    Thanks to both of you for your speedy replies and great suggestions. We ( = I) will try them!
  5. tseiler

    tseiler Senior Member

    I think he needs a little grounding. As in, "You're grounded!" This is also called NILF - the Nothing In Life Is Free program. Make him work for everything he gets. He wants a toy, he sits. He wants his food, he downs. He has to do something YOU tell him to for every.single.thing.he.gets.

    For the jumping and grabbing clothes, if other things do not deter him, I suggest he wear a collar (flat buckle type) with a nylon leash generously coated with Bitter Apple while you are with him. (Never when you are not present.) When he wants to be near you while you are getting dressed, stand on his leash so he has about a foot's worth free between collar and foot. When he goes to jump, he will correct himself. When he has all four feet on the floor, he gets praise.

    Alternatively, you can tell him off, and if he does not do it, you can give a small sideways and downward pop on his leash to knock him off balance. Not pulling, and never a jerk. Praise when all four feet are on the floor.
  6. betsyjp

    betsyjp Member

    Thanks, Tracy. The leash is a great idea...except that in our pup's case, he loves chewing on it...even with Bitter Apple. I've gotten some different aversive spray made by Nature's I may try that. But I fear that using the leash as a tool in this problem behavior may just encourage more leash-chewing? Which has been the topic of another post of mine a few weeks ago...sigh...and still a problem. :-(
    I realize I may be overthinking this....but I tend to be a Type A sort :) ...with lots of books about dog training and development. I have had dogs in the past - Cavalier King Charles Spaniels - but this is my first foray into "Corgi-dom." This forum is a wonderful place to get guidance, support, and experience with the Corgi breed(s), which has its own wonderfully unique joys and challenges. Thanks so much!
  7. LaRogue

    LaRogue Senior Member

    Cheetah-I like you door method. I bet taking away attention and leaving the puppy with it's own thoughts for half a minutes gets their attention!
  8. Dillydoodle

    Dillydoodle Senior Member

    agreed.. I have done that same type of thing with Dillon when *I* need the time out from him - when he is acting up and frustrating me.. i will close the door .. i can see he is at the door sniffing at it , wondering why i have shut him out.. but after a minute, i can open the door and he is a lot less geared up. I did it more to give myself a moment to compose so i am not frustrated while trying to work / train him, as he reads this instantly and it affects him negatively. ( we get nowhere if i am a frustrated trainer!)

  9. tseiler

    tseiler Senior Member

    Dang! It's a bummer to have a dog that LIKES Bitter Apple. Maybe a pepper spray...? I've never had that problem!

    One other thing I forgot to say is that he needs something to DO. Mental exercise is key for corgis, I think. Every day a little training where he has to use his faculties. But a lot of fun and praise thrown in. Maybe a combination of downs, sits, and stays with play and clicker work where you shape fun behavior, like... how long does it take him to figure out to put two front paws on a sturdy low box? How long to figure out to lay on his back? To raise a paw and give a wave or a high five?

    There is a cool list of tricks here you can try to train and even get a trick dog title.

    Once he has an arsenal of tricks he LIKES to perform, you can ask him to do those when he is rambunctious. Have a little bowl of his fave treats standing by while you are dressing, and tell him to do one trick after another. LOL
  10. betsyjp

    betsyjp Member

    Love this, Tracy. Will check out the list of tricks. Our little guy (not so little anymore...over 20 lbs!) is....well...brilliant! He knows the difference between "ball" and "moo-cow" [a fav toy]. Picked up "sit" and "watch me" easily. Down and stay are more problematic. Anyway, I do think more mental stimulation will be important. As a reminder, imagine my chagrin to discover today when I moved his crate out from the wall that he had left a couple of soup-spoon-sized "holes" in the dry wall - a new chew toy, apparently. Sigh.... I guess his slender snout with new adult teeth found its way through the crate to the said wall. Right now he is lying so beautifully asleep on his back by my chair with all four legs in the air. Doesn't get any cuter than that. Makes all the rest easy to cope with. Mostly.
  11. Peggy

    Peggy Senior Member

    Teach him to sit. And reward him (with a small treat) for doing so. Then pet him and give him attention. If he gets up and starts jumping and grabbing clothes, just tell him to sit again. He will eventually learn that he ONLY gets attention when he sits. And you'll have to be very consistent.

    I don't think he's necessarily got a "dominant" temperament. He's being an energetic puppy that wants attention and to play. He sounds pretty typical to me.

    Bad habits, that I will agree with, and it's time to break them now. They are not impossible to break. Even a dog that's an adult, even in senior years can unlearn bad habits and learn new good ones. It's never too late to train a dog as long as they have the physical capacity to do what you're asking of them. So, it's not hopeless, just keep trying!

    Of course he is. ;)

  12. Peggy

    Peggy Senior Member

    See if you can find some called "Bitter End". I found it works better than any other spray I've tried (and I've tried many!).

    Yes, and no. A leash is a great tool for controling a dog. And in this case can be very handy. Try the spray on the leash. I have one too that likes to grab leashes and tug on them. It's an on going battle with her. I've resorted to stopping and not going forward until she drops the leash. She's not chewing it so I'm not overly worried, but don't want her doing this in the show ring either.

    And another of my dogs, JJ likes to carry the leash in his mouth and "walk the person". He doesn't pull, tug or chew it, just carries it. In this case we let him do it, as he's not tugging on it or chewing it.


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