<snip> But he had a very distinct "witching hour" in the early evening when he would get TOTALLY out of control, barking like crazy, running in circles, jumping on people, teasing the cat (something that backfired a few times!
) and tearing things up.
This behavior is very, VERY common among dogs - and, as you pointed out, children, too. My friends on various dog-lists have called it having the Zoomies - now I can call it Hav-ing the Zoomies [deadpan]
I realized that it was a lot like the phenomenon you see with young children, where they don't want to leave off playing, even though they are tired, so they get more and more manic as they try to fight off sleep. They are almost WAITING for someone to step in and get them to settle. After his nap (during which we'd try to get dinner done!
) he was Pleasantly playful, without that manic edge, for the rest of the evening.
As has been said, Let Sleeping Dogs Lie. Very wise.
That's a great description, and, in my view, an excellent analogy. It's the nature of the being. It's physiological in origin.
I have a few elaborations - just little ones - stuff I omitted, as I wasn't paying attention to certain details usually associated with clicker-training.
TREATS - what to use? any food that's safe for your dog is fine; the smellier or stinkier, the better - use stuff your dogs REALLY like.
Keep the treats VERY small, because it's the smell and the symbolism that matters, and you will, if you are teaching regularly, use a lot of treats, in order to meet the criterion of having a high rate of reinforcement. Treats the size of a very small pea are good.
Of course, don't forget to reduce your dogs' regular feedings by the approximate amounts of calories you deliver with treats.
WHAT TO DO ABOUT SHARKING!
At times when the dogs are quiet and relaxed, teach them, gently, to take treats nicely, without biting your fingers. You can start by laying the treat in the palm of your hand, and offering it that way, but eventually, you'll want to be able to hold the treat between your thumb and a finger, to make delivery fast and accurate.
You could hold a bunch of treats in one hand, and pick them up, one-by-one, with the other, between thumb and finger. If the dog grabs too hard, tuck the treat into your palm, and close your hand into a fist, so the dog can't get the treat. Dog is likely to sit back or stop, shocked. Then offer the treat again. Keep tucking it away as long as the dog bites.
This technique may be varied as necessary to keep your hands whole and unbloodied!
Best done not too long after the dog has had a full meal; that will help with the sharking problem.
When you confine the dog, it's by far best to do so where you can see the dog, and the dog can see you. I don't go for any kind of abandonment.
Toss a couple of treats into the confining area when you confine the dog.
Best, teach the dog beforehand to enjoy its crate or ex-pen. Best article I ever read on this is here:
So there are a few things I forgot to mention. Please, anybody, elaborate and add to this; thanks!
Mon, 20 Feb 2012 12:30:13 (PST)
And again, I forgot something. When you confine Sasha (this would be for any over-aroused puppy) - ignore the puppy completely once it's confined. Otherwise, it will have a very hard time settling down. I've found it's quite typical for a puppy to take about five minutes to calm down; We get a sensation as though the dog is giving in, finally, to its actual need for rest and/or sleep. The dogs I've handled this way typically heave an audible sigh at the moment they actually settle - then they lie down and sleep.
And, as Karen suggested, don't go wake them up! Let them awaken on their own. If you've shut a crate door, by all means open it, but if opening the door will awaken the pup, I'd leave it closed till you see and hear the dog has awakened. (This is only one of the reasons I like the confinement area to be in human view, under supervision.
Mon, 20 Feb 2012 12:44:14 (PST)