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Author Topic: Sophie is driving me crazy- vent/need advice  (Read 5912 times)
Binky
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« on: October 25, 2008, 01:15:21 PM »

I am at my wit's end with Sophie.  She is 9 months old now and is showing no signs of settling down.  I know that big dogs take longer to mature but she is just over the top.  She doesn't seem to be learning any of the rules of our house.  She grabs food off tables and counters, grabs food from me and the baby, constantly bothers the other animals, jumps all over me, is still "play" biting and mouthing, growls and pulls on walks... the list goes on and on.  No training seems to help.  The prong I use for walking her worked for about a week- now she has almost pulled me over twice. 
We have a trainer coming to the house on Monday to give us some advice but do any of you have any advice for me?  Are Leo pups generally like this?  Binky (our Pyr) had a few moments of hyper but generally settled down by 6 months.  Sophie literally looks for trouble- if I put something down, she grabs it, if I take it away, she'll bother one of the dogs, if I remove her from the dogs, she'll get into the trash, etc.
She gets a nice long walk every day although, I am starting to dread walking with her.  We have a big yard that she runs around in and plenty of bones and toys to chew on.  I give her a ton of attention and she is rarely by herself.  I don't know what more I can do! She is so sweet and good when she's good but most of the time she's not! Thanks for letting me complain and any advice/ideas to tire her out would be great!
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« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2008, 02:48:08 PM »

I'm so sorry you're having such a rough time of it. Maybe some of the advice over on "I Think I'm a Bad Akita Owner" might apply to your situation as well? If nothing else, it will reinforce that you're not alone.

http://www.bigpawsonly.com/index.php?topic=24808.msg299830#new

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threedognight
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« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2008, 03:47:52 PM »

Sophie looks like a Malinois, perhaps mix. I am the lucky owner of two, and what an education. Previous to these two dogs I had "pets", like a family back yard dog. Not my malley's! Very active, some will always be very active(sought after drive in a WORKING dog). They are all of the great things you said, but don't expect them to quiet down at 6 months to a year!These dogs are great workers, and will reward you handsomely if you can take the consistent time to train. Try agility or Schutzhund. I have done schutzhund under a wonderful trainer, and my little girl is awesome. She is a love, but will ALWAYS be an active dog that I have to spend time on. She is a friend to the family, and a good little protector.
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FXgirl
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« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2008, 07:57:17 PM »

I feel for ya, I really do.  Hang in there.

You ask: are leo pups generally like this?  Mine have always been a handful but Sophie sounds like a shovelful.

Is it possible your house is so over stimulating and so tempting with distractions for both Sophie and you?  It's incredible that you can handle so much on your own.  Maybe what Sophie needs is a lot of forced time outs by herself where she can just chill and get away from everything where it's quiet.  A crate, x-pen, dog run with a chewie for a few hours?

When she's in the house why not try leashing her to your waist so she can't get into so much trouble stealing food and bugging your other dogs.  It'll be easy to catch her in the act when she is doing something wrong too.  It'll be good training for her to settle by your feet when you do the dishes or follow you around when you do laundry.

Maybe you can try taking her to a doggie day care once a week?

When Gunnar was the same age as your Sophie I entered him in a leo show.  It was a 3 day show and I stayed for one day.  He was such an embarrassment.
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People Whisperer
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« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2008, 09:05:39 PM »

The best thing to do is to eliminate ALL the temptations Smiley
No food on the counter and if you are eating put her away...She will know that she only gets stuff when she is good  Smiley
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patrick
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« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2008, 02:07:47 AM »

If your yard is fenced put her outside for 8-10-12 hours a day  She's got a lot of pent up energy and that will help her burn it off.  Remember a tired puppy is a good puppy.  As for food- put it away!!!!!!!!  Some dogs will always steal food from the countertops but they can't steal it if its not there. If she is getting in the trash its because she can- secure the trash can or don't put wonderful stuff in there like leftovers, empty cans etc.  In my house anything that might be of interest does NOT go in the trash can- it is bagged and put on top of the fridge until the trash is emptied. Training will definitely help but she needs to burn off some puppy energy and the human body is not built to be that active so taking a walk a day isn't going to do it. 
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Binky
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« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2008, 02:31:40 AM »

If your yard is fenced put her outside for 8-10-12 hours a day  She's got a lot of pent up energy and that will help her burn it off.  Remember a tired puppy is a good puppy.  As for food- put it away!!!!!!!!  Some dogs will always steal food from the countertops but they can't steal it if its not there. If she is getting in the trash its because she can- secure the trash can or don't put wonderful stuff in there like leftovers, empty cans etc.  In my house anything that might be of interest does NOT go in the trash can- it is bagged and put on top of the fridge until the trash is emptied. Training will definitely help but she needs to burn off some puppy energy and the human body is not built to be that active so taking a walk a day isn't going to do it. 

As always, thanks everyone for advice and encouragement.  As for putting temptations out of the way- I do.  Our counters are empty, the trash is lidded securely in the kitchen (she sneaks upstairs to get into the bathroom wastebin) etc.  However, it's when I have food out for a minute to make something that she will try to get it.  I guess I will put her out when we make dinner/eat but it feels like isolating her from the rest of the family Sad We do have a fenced yard and when she's out there she either destroys ANYTHING she can find, including, a wooden lawn chair, the door frame, three welcome mats, part of the fence...OR she sleeps! 
Patrick, do you think I should take her for more than one walk a day?  We take all the dogs for a 45 min walk daily. I don't want to overstress her bones, etc. but will make time for more exercise if you think she needs it.
Thanks again.
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« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2008, 02:52:03 AM »

I feel for you on the pent up puppy energy.  Is there anyway you can get her in a puppy playdate?  Maybe have a friend with another large energetic dog that would like to run and play with her.  It sounds like the destruction in the backyard is due to boredom.  I'm guessing that when you put her outside to make dinner or something that she is probably out alone or that Binky doesn't want to play with her.  I know the little guys are too tiny to play with her.
Maybe you could try setting up a lure course on the outside of your fence or where she can't catch it and get her to chase the lure.  Then you are outside watching her and she can have some more activity.  Or you can get some pvc and houla hoops and make some jumps and weave poles and start teaching her agility.  It will help her use some physical and mental energy.
Good luck.
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« Reply #8 on: October 26, 2008, 02:58:52 AM »

More exercise will definitely make a difference.  They are all better behaved when they're tired.  The suggestion of doggie day care is great.  Can you find one she can visit for a few hours a day, a few times per week?  I think your sanity would be worth the expense!

Also, does she have a lot of toys to keep her entertained?  That is, does she have things she's allowed to destroy?  Not just chewy toys, but toys with a purpose to them, like treat balls or kongs filled with goodies.

If you exercise her a lot and have lots of things to entertain her when you can't watch her, you need to be crating her and/or tethering her to you the rest of the time.  It shouldn't take more than a few weeks of this, but if you remove ALL opportunities for her to be naughty, she'll slowly forget those habits. 

Sophie's at the age when most big dogs end up getting dumped at the shelter.  I know you would never do that, but now I bet you understand why that is.  Their bodies are full grown, or nearly so, but their brains are still little baby brains, with little self-control. 

It's not like she'll always be this wacko.  Sometime, reminding yourself that this, too, will pass helps get you through the day.  If you can make it through the next few months with your sanity intact, you'll be home free. Grin

Sophie has a TON of toys- marrow bones, bully sticks, etc.  The problem is that she literally eats a 12" bully stick in under 10 min.  The marrow bones wrok for a little longer but she loses interest.  And for some reason, not one of our dogs has ever liked the kong- even frozen with PB and treats!
I do not like to put Sophie in the yard alone but the other dogs will not play with her any more- she is so rough and just will not stop.  Binky is as fed up as I am!
The doggy daycare is a good idea and now that we are temporarily out of the boonies, it's a possibily.  And, just to reassure everyone, of course I would never, ever "get rid" of Sophie!  I just needed to vent Smiley
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« Reply #9 on: October 26, 2008, 03:26:31 AM »

Sophie sounds like a fun loving gal.  "Exercising" her mind by teaching her some new "manners games" and "tricks" may be helpful.  Training will use up a lot of her energy.  Life is all games to Sophie at her age.  Make the games positive, fun and training times short.  Eventually, she will trade her counter surfing and stealing games for ones that you prefer.  Good luck.  Cirra has never liked Kongs either.  Cirra is one of those challenging, fun loving gals.  She almost four years old and a therapy and reader dog.  We think that she is the best.   
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FXgirl
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« Reply #10 on: October 27, 2008, 11:46:42 AM »

Try bringing a squeaky toy with you on your group walks.  Find one that's small and has the most obnoxious squeak.  You can use that as a distraction before she goes over the edge or to try and bring her back.  She'll stop growling, barking, lunging which will help you relax so you can teach her to focus on you.  Let her have the toy for a less than a minute or so as a reward and then put it away again for the next time.
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