Biting Leash and Jumping up to bite our cuffs on evening walk

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Biting Leash and Jumping up to bite our cuffs on evening walk

Post by TwoSocks on Wed Feb 17 2016, 21:21

Una's mouthy and when tired/excited/frustrated/zooming she can go for our cuffs/wrists and trouser ankles if she's not got something firmly in her mouth. I do the morning walk alone and although Una has her moments it's not often and we're mostly long leash walking / running around.

Me and the OH were doing joint walks in a local park at night, but Una hit a spate of getting over excited/tired and jumping up and biting at the leash and us. So we switched for calmer walks around our local streets and it seemed to work ... for a couple of weeks. We've abandoned the walk on the past 2 evenings as she's jumping up and biting - even ignoring her hedgehog toy (who only comes out for walks) in preference of biting the leash and us.

When we get home she settles and wants to curl up on our laps to sleep. We're stumped, it could be the weather (snow, rain, ice), perhaps two of us being on the walk is too exciting or she's tired from an afternoon of playing ball and tug, or maybe she's just hitting being a teenager and independent? Has anyone else experienced this - what did you do?
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Re: Biting Leash and Jumping up to bite our cuffs on evening walk

Post by LizP on Thu Feb 18 2016, 09:50

There are probably various factors coming into play at once here - possibly her age, possibly just over-excitement, but also I would guess a large element of learned behaviour. This is a great game for her and she just knows that you'll join in!

I think you need to look at methods of calming her before she gets to that stage and also of teaching her to 'leave it', bringing more control and focus into the equation.

The first thing I'd suggest is to look at how you walk with her. Before starting the BAT work with Chaos and now Millie, I was very much like pretty well everyone, going for a walk from A to B (usually in a known circle or so), and keeping up a pretty steady pace. Even though I knew that my pace would affect them, I hadn't thought of slowing things down so far as to not really go anywhere half the time. It's really helped both of them relax. I wonder if trying that with Una might help, teaching her to snuffle more quietly and leave the energy burn, more hyper play for in the garden (or charging round the house!), at least for the time being.

I think you also need to look at how you are reacting when she does start jumping and biting. The natural reaction is to raise your arm/the leash out of the way, which will encourage her to jump higher, and to maybe raise your energy in an attempt to discourage her. As she's trying to get you to play, these things will just reinforce her behaviour. You need to keep very calm and make this 'game' incredibly boring and not worth playing. You might end up with a few chewed leads but you need to resist the urge to try and remove it from her in a way that she could see as play. Just let it go loose - not dropping it completely but going with her as she tries to pull. Make it like a tug of war when the other side is doing completely the wrong thing, which makes it no longer any fun. If she chews the lead, don't worry. You can get a new one.

Then, spend time teaching 'leave it'. At home and quietly, give her something like a toy to hold, then offer her a really stinky treat while saying 'leave it'. Pair that command with the treat, so she learns to drop the toy to get the treat. You then build up through not showing her the treat first to being able to ask her to let go of anything anywhere. Until it is 100% solid, always give her the treat when she's dropped something.

You should then have a few tools - keeping her calmer, keeping yourselves lower energy and having a trained behaviour to call on if she does grab hold of something.

Does that make sense?


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Re: Biting Leash and Jumping up to bite our cuffs on evening walk

Post by TwoSocks on Thu Feb 18 2016, 10:24

Thanks Liz, that makes perfect sense. She's got her leave it command in progress at home, we're showing the treat with the command and it usually works inside but is needing more practise in the garden and outside. You're so right about what we do with the leash so I'll go get a couple more leashes and we'll start being boring when she grabs it!

Yeah we'd tried at night to make it more a meander without a set route, but maybe her head's not worked that out yet and our slower pace is making her want to up the energy with a game of tug leash and wrists!

Right, I feel better equipped for tonight's walk Smile
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Re: Biting Leash and Jumping up to bite our cuffs on evening walk

Post by Mia05 on Thu Feb 18 2016, 11:20

hiya id take an extra lead on night walks could also be shes reacting as she may be wary of the dark


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Re: Biting Leash and Jumping up to bite our cuffs on evening walk

Post by TwoSocks on Thu Feb 18 2016, 13:27

You're right Crystal - Una has a number of fears and the dark is one of them. I've brought out another leash for tonight's walk.

We're coming up on the 3 month mark of Una being with us and while I think I'm better at spotting some of her body language I know I'm missing or misreading a lot of what she's trying to tell me.
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Re: Biting Leash and Jumping up to bite our cuffs on evening walk

Post by Mia05 on Thu Feb 18 2016, 18:00

recognising her fears is half the battle this way you can correct them . through plenty of reassurance she will get past this I learned pretty quickly they can sense tension/anxiety that was my problem with mia and motorbikes took me ages for her to stop lunging for them barking and growling .


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Re: Biting Leash and Jumping up to bite our cuffs on evening walk

Post by TwoSocks on Thu Feb 18 2016, 19:08

That's good to hear you made progress, Una's got that on her list too - we think it's diesel engines as it tends to be vans and only some cars that she'll lunge at.

She refused her walk tonight (it's tipping it down) so is crashed out beside me on the couch making a happy-pig-in-mud squeally sigh. Thankfully we'd a good walk earlier and have been busy with the babble ball (Liz it's brilliant, Una even offered a "play dead" to get me to bring it down from its hiding place so she could play with it).
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Re: Biting Leash and Jumping up to bite our cuffs on evening walk

Post by TwoSocks on Tue Feb 23 2016, 19:34

Thanks for the advice Crystal and Liz - incredibly helpful as ever. We've ditched the evening walk in favour of an afternoon one as it seemed to be just too many things going on with the dark, the pavement, corners and other dogs, the weather and as you said Liz - learned behaviour.

I'm now doing her morning and afternoon walk and if she's bouncy in the evening we're doing some play time at home rather than going out.

I'm using our 5 metre leash which she seems much happier with rather than the 1.8 metre ones but I've got a couple of those and will try to get her used to them as well - even if it's just getting Una from the house to the car and back.

Thanks!
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Re: Biting Leash and Jumping up to bite our cuffs on evening walk

Post by LizP on Tue Feb 23 2016, 20:12

You're welcome!

I'd get her well settled before switching to the shorter lead again, and maybe work with changing how much of the 5m line she has - shorten-lengthen-shorten - so she gets used to it gradually.

Happy walking!


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Re: Biting Leash and Jumping up to bite our cuffs on evening walk

Post by TwoSocks on Sat Mar 19 2016, 09:50

A wee update, with the lighter nights we're back on early evening walks mostly in woodland areas rather than pavements. We're keeping the short leash time to small distances, recalling Una back and going onto the leash for a few metres and then off again to snuffle and explore.

We still have an occasional jump/leash grab but it's no longer the norm and it's much easier to get Una to leave and go into a sit/reward. We're also using a clicker to mark calm behaviour at home and on the walks which is so much easier and Una's taken to the clicker really well.

There's a 2 year old pointer she walks with some mornings and I think walking/playing with him is really helping her practise self-calming. The number of times Una has to go back on her leash to calm down before playing again is dropping and she's starting to choose to break up the exciting play with snuffling around alongside her new friend. We're far from perfect but we're all much happier. (I still carry an extra leash around with me though!)
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Re: Biting Leash and Jumping up to bite our cuffs on evening walk

Post by Mia05 on Sat Mar 19 2016, 09:54

well done una u have come far in a short space of time Smile


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Re: Biting Leash and Jumping up to bite our cuffs on evening walk

Post by TwoSocks on Sat Mar 19 2016, 18:15

Thanks, yes Una's done very well considering she's putting up with us as first-time dog owners Smile
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Re: Biting Leash and Jumping up to bite our cuffs on evening walk

Post by LizP on Sat Mar 19 2016, 18:18

As well as how well she's done, how well you've done! There are many experienced dog owners who wouldn't have the understanding you have shown. Big pat on the back all round, I'd say!


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Re: Biting Leash and Jumping up to bite our cuffs on evening walk

Post by TwoSocks on Sat Mar 19 2016, 22:03

Thanks, we've got some dog fear/excitement aggression, reactions to bikes/motorbikes and some vans to work on but compared to how things were, we're all calmer and happier - honestly couldn't have managed it this far without this forum's guidance. Thank you! Love Struck
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Re: Biting Leash and Jumping up to bite our cuffs on evening walk

Post by LizP on Sun Mar 20 2016, 08:34

The main thing is you're recognising it and dealing with it early. Una's one very lucky pup to be with you.


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Re: Biting Leash and Jumping up to bite our cuffs on evening walk

Post by TwoSocks on Sun Mar 20 2016, 20:20

Thanks Liz, it's lovely to see her growing up and some of her fears starting to ease away Smile
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