GO!

Attention-seeking behavior

This is a place to gain some understanding of dog behavior and to assist people in training their dogs and dealing with common behavior problems, regardless of the method(s) used. This can cover the spectrum from non-aversive to traditional methods of dog training. There are many ways to train a dog. Please avoid aggressive responses, and counter ideas and opinions with which you don't agree with friendly and helpful advice. Please refrain from submitting posts that promote off-topic discussions. Keep in mind that you may be receiving advice from other dog owners and lovers... not professionals. If you have a major problem, always seek the advice of a trainer or behaviorist!

  
Ringo

Squirrel!
 
 
Barked: Sat Mar 30, '13 7:40am PST 
I am about at the end of my rope with my dog's attention-seeking antics, and I hope somebody can give me insight into what I might be doing wrong and what I can do to correct this.

My dog is a 1-year-old Schnoodle. He has been through basic obedience class (with me), and is generally very obedient. I know that at his age there is still some puppy in him, so I try not to expect too much.

For whatever reason, he is very possessive of me. If I am talking to someone else, like a guest or now even my husband, he will jump up incessantly and nip at me until I acknowledge him. I always end up giving in and reprimanding him rather than ignoring him, because I'm afraid of what he might do if I just let him keep jumping/nipping. He definitely understands the "off" command, but completely ignores it in this situation.

As far as how I treat him normally...well, I'm not one to "baby" my dog, carry him everywhere, let him do whatever he wants, etc. Where I think I have gone wrong is in the past I have picked him up and held him when guests are around because he got too excited. Not the best idea, I know, but it was easier at the time. I generally keep him in the kitchen with the door closed until he settles down, but sometimes no matter what I say they insist on going to see him "because he just wants to say hello". Argh! So, I guess maybe he got the idea that when guests come over he gets treated like a baby. I'm not sure why he has started this behavior when it's just my husband I'm talking to, though.

How do I make it stop?? I have tried ignoring, I have tried treating him when all four paws are on the floor, I have tried pushing his nose with my hand when he jumps up. I have not tried a spray bottle or a shake can because I've read that it may lead to aggression or fear, but if that's the only way I will get through to him, then I will try something like that. We do not have a crate, but he has a bed in the kitchen and my husband has had some success telling him to stay on his bed when he is misbehaving. I'd be willing to get a crate if that would make a difference (though I'm a little worried he would freak out and injure himself in one).

This dog really knows how to push my buttons, and it's making me frustrated (which I know only makes things worse).
[notify]
Tiller- (Skansen's- Ira in the M

I DO Exist...To- Drive You Batty
 
 
Barked: Sat Mar 30, '13 9:43am PST 
I know this problem well, but with a Giant Schnauzer, so that's around 100 lbs of dog laugh out loud Poodles are witty hams generally, and Schnauzers tend to really amp when puppies when ignored, and yes, I find I can't employ that ignore strategy either due to the threat that I will get physically harmed due to their extreme escalation and physicality.

Part of the problem, as you've admitted yourself in different words, is that you have sort of enabled this behavior by not working on his arousal with visitors when younger.

It sounds as if you did all the right things with early training, etc., but my general advice is that you need to work a lot more on impulse control. You can do this with things like waiting for a particularly juicy treat, tugging and practicing release, tossing a ball and having him wait to be released, etc. Sort of "advanced" impulse control where you are working with him at a heightened arousal.

You might also want to consider a "place" command, which is where he will have his spot to be sent to, rather than locked away. I know it was easier back then to simply manage the behavior, but it's always best not to save those things for "later" wink HERE is a decent primer. Place is his spot and whenever he's too much or you need him out of the way, offers a command directing him to go there and settle. It is trained positively and stops the need to reprimand. Schnauzers particularly seem to find reprimands hysterically funny laugh out loud big laugh As they do your tightened nerves wink

You also can deal with their keen intelligence in knowing when they have you at a disadvantage....you are trying to have a conversation or entertain company...by actually "staging." This is where there is a ruse of the conversation or guest, but it actually is a training session to get the behavior you want. You will likely be more collected then as you aren't "really" trying to have a convo or entertain, you are just having people help you stage the scene, so you are calmer and have more time and energy to insist on behavior without worrying about seeming rude to whoever you are talking to by actually concentrating on your cute little dog's rogue behavior wink

I personally ignore my dogs when people come and then treat and play with them lavishly when people go. In time, they tend to get aroused when interactions *conclude* for this reason. Just a word to the wise wink
[notify]
Ringo

Squirrel!
 
 
Barked: Sat Mar 30, '13 9:56am PST 
Thank you SO much! It sounds like a lot of this is breed-specific, and you have put me so much more at ease just hearing that. Not that it solves the problem, but at least I know it's not just me smile

The "place" command is something we haven't really put a lot of energy into, but that sounds like something that would help, and that we could easily focus on. We have made him practice "patience" since he was a puppy--he needs to wait until I tell him it's okay to eat his food, wait before we toss a toy for him to fetch, etc. I've been a little more lax on that recently though, so I will ramp that up again, too.

You've given me some good ideas--thanks again!
[notify]

Tiller- (Skansen's- Ira in the M

I DO Exist...To- Drive You Batty
 
 
Barked: Sat Mar 30, '13 10:41am PST 
Oh good....I am glad I was able to give you some inspiration smile There's no "one" way, it is all about the individual dog, but at least you've got several directions to try now and see where you can find some promising response.

This can occur with any breed, but one thing Poodles and Schnauzers share in common is that they are very attention seeking, wanting to be the center of attention, and they also are VERY witty. So it's pretty easy for them to know when they have you over a barrel wink

I am sure you'll do fine. I am sure your dog is very bright! That's part blessing and part curse wink This is a difficult age where they are more likely to press buttons generally, so this is all pretty normal and just something you need to adjust. One day....they grow up laugh out loud And then you have many happy years with a perfect pet, as long as you put in that good early work way to go
[notify]