Help with Joyous Dog Behavior

| 1/23/2009 12:24:34 PM

Tags: dogs, CP, photos,

CP the cocker/poodle mix grins for the camera

As Constant Reader has already seen in earlier blogs, I relatively recently adopted a completely adorable cocker/poodle mix from the local humane shelter. He stole my heart the minute I laid eyes on him and is still absolutely the object of my affection. He’s gained several pounds (from a nearly starved dog to a little round chunk, actually) and has easily settled in with my elderly dog and my adolescent cat. He is joyful, energetic and adoring, the happiest of happy dogs.

/uploadedImages/GRT/blogs/KC/Cutie-Patootie-009.jpg   /uploadedImages/GRT/blogs/KC/Cutie-Patootie-011.jpg   /uploadedImages/GRT/blogs/KC/Cutie-Patootie-012.jpg

I, however, am not the happiest of happy dog wranglers. He doesn’t have the very best manners and insists on jumping up on visitors. Since the farm I live on has a U-pick operation and, therefore, lots of visitors, CP needs to learn to keep his paws to himself.

But the worst thing he does is get to my front door, get just about ready to come in the house, then look at me with complete joy and mischief in his eyes and gallop away. He wants to play, thanks. He doesn’t quite agree with the go-inside-now plan. To my enormous chagrin, this behavior most often happens when I am dressed and ready to drive into town to my job. So I am faced with two options: Chase him down or just let him stay outside all day and hope my neighbors will take pity on me and toss him in the house if they can lasso him once he’s worn himself out. Either way, I end up late for work.

So what I would love to know from our wonderful readers – so many of whom are dyed-in-the-wool dog people – is what I can do to break this bad behavior and get him to come when I call? The not-jumping-up-on-people thing would earn bonus points.

2/18/2009 2:28:48 PM

I hate to recommend a tv show but the one on the animal planet of the english dog trainer has great ideas. She uses only positive actions and distraction. Both of those things seem to always work great with dogs.

kathy turcotte
2/12/2009 7:40:15 PM

I am plagued by the same 'joyous' dog behavior - just multiply it by 12. I raise Cocker Spaniels and have a very stong willed Corgi (a major culprit)and an red-headed snippet of an Irish Setter, Jillian who loves to bounce off me on the way from the dog run to the house. I have to agree on the leash training but I am lax on this because of a fenced in yard leading to the dog run. Plagued by fibromyalgia, there are days when I get little exercise........but not for long. Today, Charlee and Freckles wanted to play catch, Bagel insisted on me chasing him in circles till we reached the door - albeit, breathless (me) and caught, Bagel. Jillian wanted to stand up on her hindlegs and have a dance. So did I get my exercise today? I would have to say I did. My 'joyous' dog behavior is what gets me though the day. Did I forget to mention my five puppies all wanting my attention like I was the most important person on earth? And who can resist a chubby, wiggly Cocker Spaniel puppy even if they have run through their food bowl? Kathy of the Enchanted Wood

1/31/2009 10:52:13 AM

I'd do lots of leash training -- especially with a 15- or 20-foot leash where you let them amble around until it seems they've forgotten they're on ANY kind of leash, then call and reel them in with LOTS of praise and a treat. Do lots of short sessions until "I MUST come!" is ingrained. And once your pup can do a down-stay or sit-stay, expand it to the "disappearing stay" and you can play hide and go seek. (He stays, you hide somewhere in a dark house and then call him, and there's much rejoicing when he finds you.) Every dog I've ever had LOVED this game. My shepherd mix was so good, he could play it outdoors, off leash. My husky liked to invent new ways to cheat at it. Playing lots of hide and seek is keeping my terrier saner these days. Dogs love games!

kc compton_2
1/30/2009 11:03:51 AM

Yes, one thing I do have going for me is the cocker spaniel part of his makeup creates one people-pleasing pooch. The thing with the treats is that as soon as they come out, Ace of Kittens and Bob Dog think it's their turn, too. But, hey... why not? Bob now gets anything he wants anyway, and the cat is out and about all day stalking meeces and trying to get the girls out in the barn to stop hissing and come out to play with him. I'll get some by-the-door treats tomorrow. Thanks -- and happy weekend! --KC

lindsay fraley
1/30/2009 9:06:05 AM

Hey girl, I admit I use the "here's a treat" method to entice our new rescue dog into foregoing the "let's race around the yard some more" plan, and coming inside. I keep a jar of Cheese Nip crackers just inside the door - 'Bear' has learned to recognize the sound of the lid coming off, and he now knows that I WILL stand there for however long it takes for him to step inside to get the treat. After a few sessions he now comes right in. It's worth a try. Funkia

kc compton_2
1/26/2009 10:06:31 AM

Thanks! I'll check out this resource. He hasn't been very well leash-trained, I'll admit. Living in the country,he kind of has the run of the place, but it's apparent some reining in (literally!) is in order. Still ... what a guy. --KC

robyn dolan
1/26/2009 9:15:11 AM

A little leash training might be in order. I have had very successful results in applying the Koehler Method, by William Koehler, a famous dog trainer who trained many of the dogs in the old Disney films. His books are available on, and there is a website now, Good luck! I love my pups.

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