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Before my question . . . a little background so anyone with some thoughts can know what we are already doing. Gracie is 17 mos. and we have been in formal obedience class pretty much non-stop beginning at 3 1/2 months. She is impressive during training sessions; she learns new commands rapidly, and works very well off-lead, however . . . she remains a highly energetic pup and has a reputation for being a ball of energy and a bit of a clown. I have no doubts that she will mature and settle down and I am very pleased with her progress. BUT . . . we have (stupidly) allowed her to fall into an attention-seeking routine that we are having trouble breaking. This routine usually occurs at around 7-8 o'clock when we are both "done for the day" and ready to just sit and gel. It is at this point that Gracie would prefer that we be paying attention to her instead--she lunges and grabs at us and tugs at us (hands; arms; clothing) and paws at us. She thinks of us as her play toy and we are obviously not the donimant player in this game. "No," or "wrong," accompanied with a quick shake are not working. As soon as I release her, her mouth opens again. What I have begun to do is this: For the mouthing, I rap her sharply on the snout with a couple of fingers; or I have even gently and carefully extended a finger into her mouth so that she gags on it. I follow that with an open hand for her to lick, and when she does that I praise. (Both of these techniques are recommended by The Monks of New Skete who I think I may just idolize!) I have also put her into a down-stay for a few minutes or have done about 5 minutes of heeling work around house. Those things do distract her, but I don't seem to be making much of a long-term behavior change. As for the pawing (which can really hurt!), I don't have a clue about how to give an immediate correction for that. Gracie gets brushed and massaged every day, she has a yard to run around in and we throw a frisbie for her to chase. She gets a 20-30 minute walk on weekend days and on most week days. I realize that she likely could use two walks, but at this time of year, this is the reality of what we can do. I should probably add that we keep a supply of small frozen marrow bones on hand and if we give her one of those, that pretty much ends it. I don't mind doing this, but feel that it is a cop-out and not a good solution for the long term. And finally . . . there is no crate. We stopped closing the door at 10 months. Gracie has never destroyed anything in the house, and when we saw that she didn't adopt it as her den, we folded it up and stored it. So, after my typical long-windedness . . . any suggestions??

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Comment by Jill Denver and Willow on February 27, 2012 at 12:44pm

My dog does similar behaviour as well.  He is 1 yr old.  For the pawing, I grab a hold of his paw and give a quick firm squeeze and say "OFF".  He does not like this and has reduced his pawing of me.  I find now if I ignore him when he is trying to get my attention he goes and lays down.  If I engage him too much with NO he gets more aggressive and excited and thinks I'm playing with him.  The pawing can really hurt I know what you mean.  Hope this helps a bit.

Comment by Daryl & Janet's Dyna Doodle on February 26, 2012 at 5:53pm
It is Janet, Daryl doesn't do computers he would need to sit down for a while and he is a keep moving until you drop guy. That is why he and Dyna are such a good team.
Comment by CJ, Gracie, and Quinn on February 26, 2012 at 5:45pm

Funny, Janet? Daryl?--I had a friend visit for a play date today (posted pics) and she mentioned that she crosses her hands over her chest. Gracie picks up on hand signals pretty quickly, so I'm definitely going to try this. I've never tried the thumb pressure--I'll see how she reacts to this next time we have this go-round--probably in about 3-4 hours Ha! The bone down first idea makes sense too, Lois. AND . . . I like the High 5 idea as well. I did that with her when she was just a few months and being frisky in my lap, but somewhere along the line I stopped. Time to start again. This is exactly why I am so glad I stumbled across this wonderful community. I'll get trained yet! Thanks everyone!  

Comment by Lois - Izzi on February 26, 2012 at 4:52pm

thumbs up to Krystal...  all I would add is:   when you and husband want to watch tv without her antics start with the bone..  make her down tell her quiet..    Put the bone down 1st as she may be seeing the playfulness as something you want before she gets her treat.   I used the my thumb on Charlie's jaw but I think the snap on the nose works faster.  Point being is to redirect the thought process

Comment by Daryl & Janet's Dyna Doodle on February 26, 2012 at 4:47pm

Not a suggestion but an observation. We were having problems with Dyna not knowing the deference between negative attention and positive attention. She just wanted attention and strangely it was the same time of the day that you mentioned. Well pushing her down or anything that involved touching her just made her worse. We found the same thing with her jumping up. Pushing her down just made her worse because we were touching her and that was what she wanted. So we started folding our hand across our chests and turning our backs on her and ignoring her and not giving her what she was demanding and when she settles down she gets what she was seeking, it worked. I have found that they are not much different than the 25 foster children we had through the years in our younger days. They just want attention any way they can get it. So we have to be careful to turn it around where they got more attention for obeying and not the response they wanted when behavior is negative.  So she wants to be touched so we don't touch her and ignore her when possible when she approaches us in a negative way. Of course some things need to be dealt with immediately  like destructive behavior but is sounds like that has not been a issue for either of us.  I don't know how or if that would translate for you but just and observation as I said. We also used Krystal's suggestion for the pawing and it worked it has turned into a gentle high five. By the way Dyna just turned 10 month yesterday. Time real does fly Krystal.

Comment by Krystal Segale on February 26, 2012 at 2:12pm

I know Dexter is only 13 weeks but when I got him 2 weeks ago he was very mouthy and I have a 14 month old baby and a 6 year old that I had to protect from  this big black bundle of energy.... So what I did that I have see a lot of improvement on is this,

-When he bits I hold onto his bottom jaw with my thumb ether on his tong pushing down or under his tong pushing down I hold him there for a few sec before telling him "no bite" and letting go. I do it every time he bites so he understands when he dose that the thing he hates will happen. He hates it and dose not bite nearly as bad.

As for frozen bones I dont see that as a cop-out at all. I use a black Cong with frozen can food.

To turn your "cop-out" into a learned behavior while she is down chewing nicely put her and tell her "Nice calm Gracie" or "Good Gracie, calm" Her chewing on the bone is what you want right.. Her not jumping and biting on you so show her that when she is calm that is what you want from her.

As for her pawing.. Turn it into shake or high five. She wants interaction from you so turn it into training. Take her pawn off you and tell her shake and shake it. take her paw and shake it if you even think she will paw at you.

I hope this helps

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