Desperate for help

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Joined:Sun Sep 02, 2018 1:58 pm
Desperate for help

Post by Ralphy » Fri Oct 19, 2018 6:13 am

I am the owner of a 3 yr Frenchie and a 14 mth English bulldog. I have a few issues but would be here for ages telling them all!!! The main problem which had me in tears again this morning is out on walks. He will just randomly start jumping up biting me. It is like he is possessed. He does not respond to anything. It's difficult to ignore him or walk away as he continues to bite and it really does hurt. It is not only painful but very embarrassing. If I stop and talk to someone he will start, barking dogs also triggers him. I have thought he gets over excited or anxious. I am desperate if anyone could explain why he does this and how to mange it I would be very grateful. I am starting to dread walking him

Joined:Tue Jul 26, 2011 1:20 pm
Location:Dorset, UK

Re: Desperate for help

Post by JudyN » Sat Oct 20, 2018 2:09 am

Is it the 14-month-old bulldog doing this, or the Frenchie? How long have you had him for, and when did it start?

I've been through this, so I do know how you feel. And the good news is, it's fixable, though it can take a while! I think as you say, it's just a case of the dog getting overexcited & generally worked up, and needing to find some sort of release.

What worked for me eventually on walks was turning my back, folding my arms, and standing against a fence/tree so he couldn't come round my front. I didn't say anything, just waited. I wore a thick denim jacket from a charity shop to protect my arms and so I didn't have to worry about damage to my clothes. Then when he stopped I would praise him and try to walk on - sometimes I did have to repeat this a few times.

I made a point of only walking him places there were suitable trees/fences. Also, he was better in general on really narrow paths. I never walked through the middle of an open field because that was guaranteed to set him off and there was nowhere to hide.

Occasionally I would stand on his lead so he couldn't jump up at me. I'm not sure if this counts as positive, but at the time I'd have been tempted to use a mallet if it worked :oops: I would also loop his lead over a convenient fence post or branch if available, and stand just out of reach (occasionally I walked a fair distance away, but I wouldn't recommend this at all - it could be really stressful for the dog, and stress would make him worse).

He was worst towards the end of the walk, like a fractious child after a long day out, so keeping walks short helped (they should be very short at 12 weeks anyway).

In the garden I'd do the same thing, staying near the edges, and close to the back door so I could go inside as soon as he started.

You may be able to teach a really solid 'sit' and ask him to do that when he's thinking about jumping up. But by the time he's got to that stage, he may just be too worked up to listen.

Teaching impulse control can help, as it's one thing for a dog to know what not to do, but another for it to have the self-control to resist its impulses. Check out this video:

After being really consistent about all this, after a while I noticed my dog would run towards me with that look in his eye, and then stop himself at the last moment. When he did that, I'd praise and treat him heavily - the penny was beginning to drop.

Until recently (he's coming up to 9 now) he could still be set off occasionally, e.g. when first let off lead on a beach, but it would be much less intense and would stop sooner. I dare say he'd do it now if he got really excited.
Jasper, lurcher, born December 2009

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Re: Desperate for help

Post by Nettle » Sat Oct 20, 2018 3:28 am

Brilliant advice from JudyN, and I'd just like to add that if you are trying to walk both of them together, you are setting yourself a really difficult task, so leave one at home with something like a stuffed frozen kong to work on while you walk the other, then switch. A shorter walk (if necessary) with your undivided attention will pay dividends for your relationship with the dogs. It seems insurmountable now, but it IS fixable with time and determination.
A dog is never bad or naughty - it is simply being a dog


Joined:Tue Feb 17, 2015 10:04 pm

Re: Desperate for help

Post by Shalista » Sun Oct 21, 2018 12:12 pm

also pay attention to triggers. for bax he used to go crazy if there was ANY tension at all on the leash. a tug for him to keep moving was translated as a cue to lose his marbles. it made loose leash training super tricky because even standing still when he pulled was enough to kick him off.

we adapted and i rarely feel the need to tug anymore. he tends to stop and sniff as he pleases while we walk and i dont tug him along. our walks are slow but they're enjoyable and he doesn't run circles around me jumping and kicking like a lunatic.
Baxter (AKA Bax, Chuckles, Chuckster) Rat Terrier, born 01/16/13

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