Rocky is biting my 9 year Old

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Rocky is biting my 9 year Old

Post by RichardCS on Fri Mar 04 2016, 18:18

Hi guys, not been on for a little while but all is well with us. Rocky is now 17 weeks and typically a combination of charming, stubborn, frustrating, crazy, massively affectionate and a total arse.

Today, we had a bit of an issue on his walk with my boys. Isaac and Toby were ahead on their scooters and Rocky just had a mad minute. We were doing recall training (which he's usually pretty good at), when Rocky went deaf, shot off after Isaac and grabbed his trouser leg and started pulling him. Isaac started screaming and pushed him away with his hand, which Rocky then decided to bite. It wasn't a nip, but a full on chomp on his hand, which has left a nasty bite mark.

We are getting Isaac to work with Rocky more, feeding him and training but It's only Isaac he does this with.

Any thoughts?
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Re: Rocky is biting my 9 year Old

Post by LizP on Fri Mar 04 2016, 18:34

Excitement. In your mind, replay what happened from down at Rocky's level. Here he was, out and having fun, and your boys were playing a great 'chase me' game! Wow, that's fun. After all, I am a dog and dogs love chasing things! He look, I've caught you, ha ha ha! Oh, a squealy noise? I LOVE squealy noises, they're so exciting!

Can you see how much excitement there is in there for the little man? If his interactions with Isaac are usually exciting, then it's normal for him to look to Isaac for play. And if Rocky gets this excited response, especially the screaming, then he will see Isaac as an exciting person to play with and will go in more full on with him.

I would say that scooters and off lead walks aren't a good combination. If you want to walk Rocky while the boys are on their scooters, then have Rocky on a long training line so you can teach him to be relaxed around them but with a limit to how close he can get.

I think it's also essential that you work with Isaac to moderate his responses. I accept fully that it's now worrying for him, but screaming will always wind a dog up. Most dogs would become more excited if it's playmate started screaming.

What sort of training are you doing with Rocky at the moment?


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Re: Rocky is biting my 9 year Old

Post by RichardCS on Fri Mar 04 2016, 18:53

Thanks Liz, that makes total sense - and after the fact you can see it 100%. Isaac is our hyper kid, and he winds Rocky up when they're together, we had a talk and explained to him how his actions escalated the situation, and I'm working with him to relax a bit and not get him so worked up, but when you're 9 it's a bit too tempting, a bit like Rocky and the bin.

I was a bit sensitive as I'd just had an unpleasant experience with my neighbour, on the way to the park who decided to pick up a stick and hide it behind her back when she saw me coming with Rocky, "In case he attacked her dog".

Training wise, we are doing the usual sit, stay and recall training. We've signed up to classes - just waiting for them to start. He's come on so well and is really clever. On walks he has learnt to stop and wait so we walk off and call him, so when he comes sprinting over it's "technically" good recall and he gets a treat!

We all absolutely adore him, the Cat can't stand him though, but she's 16 and grumpy anyway. I'll make sure that we reduce the scooter/dog time.
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Re: Rocky is biting my 9 year Old

Post by -Ian- on Fri Mar 04 2016, 19:39

Sounds like you're making great progress with the training Richard. I completely agree with Liz but would add, and this might be difficult for a 9 year old, for him to sit with Rocky and just stroke him in a calm manner. No eye poking, ear pulling, just stroking in a calm environment. This should make the bond between them closer and hopefully calmer Smile


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Re: Rocky is biting my 9 year Old

Post by Mia05 on Fri Mar 04 2016, 19:42

teaching your kid can be hard but well worth doing using lots.of.tteats and calm voices and.movements is the best way forward it.wnt be easy you will get there Smile

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Re: Rocky is biting my 9 year Old

Post by LizP on Fri Mar 04 2016, 20:02

I used to teach at Riding for the Disabled and we had a few kids who came to ride who were a bit hyper (or more than a bit!). You probably know all this, but just in case it helps...

Relaxation is hard for kids anyway, and the more energetic the child the more difficult it is. Just the concept of relaxing is hard for any 9 year old. It's easier for them to be given something else to do that takes their focus away from the exciting things and towards what you want them to do. For example, we had a child who kicked things in general and that would extend to a horse he was riding (we never used the word 'kick' with any of the kids, but especially not with him!). We would make exercises that got him to do something else with his feet, like imagining a big ball of air between him and the horse that he had to try not to squash, or doing an obstacle course and seeing how close he could get his feet to the pole, stuff like that.

There must be loads of things you could do with Isaac as well. Just off the top of my head, you could have tests to see which of them can sit still for the longest, he could try to see if Rocky can see what he's thinking by closing his eyes and not saying a word, and making up a new way of talking that involves maybe low woofs instead of high screams. That would also turn any mouthing from Rocky into a game.

As Ian says, lots of calm stroking would be great. You could get Isaac to feel Rocky's heart beating, maybe see if he can tell if it's beating faster than his or something. And the same with breathing. Again, stuff for Isaac to do that's positive but that means he has to be quiet.

As for your neighbour... Rolling Eyes I'd tell her I was going to carry a bigger stick to hit her with, just in case she attacked my puppy. (no, I probably wouldn't really!)


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Re: Rocky is biting my 9 year Old

Post by RichardCS on Fri Mar 04 2016, 20:35

Thanks for the comments, I was thinking that getting Isaac to do some agility training with him might help them to both express their desire to play together. Part of the issue I feel is that he pays more attention to the commands of my 3 year old than Isaac. Need to do something about that.
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Re: Rocky is biting my 9 year Old

Post by LizP on Fri Mar 04 2016, 20:46

I'd be a little careful with agility at the moment, for two reasons. The first is that Rocky is very young and you don't want to be doing too much jumping/sharp turning/etc. The other is that it can be super exciting, which is the opposite of what you want to achieve with them.

I've bored everyone else with my favourite videos, it's your turn! Have a look at these, this is the sort of thing you could get Isaac to do with Rocky.

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL0C724F6F6A597540

I'd also suggest clicker training. It's great for focus from both sides and it's also really good for working a puppy's brain. If you had that as something that just Isaac and you do, it would give him a special something between you and between him and Rocky.

Agility's great, but maybe later.


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Re: Rocky is biting my 9 year Old

Post by RichardCS on Fri Mar 04 2016, 21:00

Loving the videos! Thanks for the tips - fair point about agility, we'll go with the clicker.
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Re: Rocky is biting my 9 year Old

Post by Rachel33 on Sat Mar 05 2016, 08:32

I agree with Liz, there are some great pointers there Smile Many dogs get over excited and some really dislike scooters/skateboards etc. I wouldn't say that it was a concerning reaction, but an inappropriate one, yes.


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Re: Rocky is biting my 9 year Old

Post by RichardCS on Sat Mar 05 2016, 09:20

We're getting there - it's a learning curve for all of us!
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Re: Rocky is biting my 9 year Old

Post by RichardCS on Wed Mar 16 2016, 23:33

Just a quick update - we have all been much calmer with Rocky, and Isaac in particular has chilled out greatly. When he plays up, jumps or nips the kids just turn their back on him and ignore him, and he calms down almost instantly. Thanks for help everyone
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Re: Rocky is biting my 9 year Old

Post by Rachel33 on Thu Mar 17 2016, 07:44

Wonderful Smile


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Re: Rocky is biting my 9 year Old

Post by LizP on Thu Mar 17 2016, 07:53

Fantastic Big Grin


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Re: Rocky is biting my 9 year Old

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