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Behavior shift- naughty overload

In the past two weeks or so my 1.5 year old American Bulldog mix has been a royal pain!  She is getting into everything- counter surfing (she ate an entire bag of english muffins) jumping onto the couch ....the other morning when I wasnt home my husband went to the bathroom...he came out and SHE WAS ON THE KITCHEN TABLE., we are talking unsupervised for minutes.  All the chairs were pushed in, there was no food on the table- she just felt like going up there.  What the hell?  Shes 75 lbs!!!. 

 Lately, she barks for no reason, she will stare at us on the couch and just bark and bark-it is ear piercing.  I can't think of why this is happening, there have been no changes at all- food is the same, house is the same, we have no kids its just the two of us, her level of exercise is the same (though on days where its very hot Ill admit we don't take her out as much, she is super susceptible to the heat)  I have no idea what to do.  We took her to obedience and still do training at home...sits, stays, downstays...we try to follow the rule that she gets treats only for good behavior or following a command-always make her sit or go into a down position before she gets something.  We are the ones to start and stop playtime. 

The barking is driving me crazy b/c she never did this before-its loud and overpowering.  My husband thinks she is pent up but I disagree, she did this nonsenseyesterday and we had taken her to the dog park where she ran and ran for a full hour in the morning and we still had some playtime and a walk at night as well.  Anybody have thoughts on this?  Im starting to lose patience here....and if it is an exercise thing I noticed another post about exercises in the heat..I live in NY and its been around the 90's lately, she cannot handle that at all.

Re: Behavior shift- naughty overload

  • When it's too hot outside for exercise, work on mental stimulation indoors. Mental work can wear out a dog more than just physical exercise.

    Try teaching new commands/tricks. If she already knows "down," teach to her "play dead" next (flop onto her side). Teach her to "spin" when she's standing in front of you (do this by putting a treat in front of her nose and moving it in a circle around her so she has to follow it and put the command word with the motion).

    You can also get mentally stimulating treat dispensing toys that make the dog think to get the treats out. 

    Teach the dog a "quiet" or "hush" command. When she's barking at you, wait for about 2 seconds of quiet and give the command and immediately praise and treat. You want to reinforce that her NOT barking gets her attention and treats rather than her making noise.

    And until she starts behaving in the house when unsupervised, I'd resort back to crating 101.

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  • My dog needed seemingly endless exercise and mental stimulation at that age. At 3 she's finally a bit more relaxed, but she'll still "act out" when we slack. A tired dog is a good dog!

    LuckyAngel gave you great advice. We love the Kong wobble treat dispenser for giving dinner. We also make up games sometimes, like putting a cat treat (oh boy cat treat!) inside a cardboard tube with the ends folded in, or in a box with the flap folded. It's fun to watch her figure out how to get the treat and it gives her a challenge.  Just watch that pup doesn't eat any cardboard they rip off. And Riley's fav self-play toy ever is a tennis ball in a knee sock with a couple knots. It swings and bounces and she loves to whip it around in circles and let it hit her head. Just watch out if it flies across the room, lol. 


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  • Have you brought her to the vet? All the naughty behaviors could be a symptom of something.  Just a suggestion.
  • image LuckyAngel07:
    When it's too hot outside for exercise, work on mental stimulation indoors. Mental work can wear out a dog more than just physical exercise.

    For the longest time I didn't understand this idea, now I swear by it!

     

     

     

     

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  • I have a 9 year old AB. What you are describing happens when he is bored or doesn't get enough exercise. I say he is being ornery. When it is hot out, we wait until the sun goes down and walk him then, he can tolerate it a lot better and we make sure to take water with us. He is also very sensitive to changes in his routine.

    We have been having issues lately but that is because we lost our lab last week and it has him all out of sorts. 

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