HELP - problem doodle!

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HELP - problem doodle!

Post by lynncampbell81 » 06 Jan 2012, 22:40

We have a 10 month old F1 male doodle. We got him at 5 months of age from a reputable breeder, she had 4 left of the litter due to them having labrador coats and not being "allergy friendly". He had not had much training so we knew we were taking on a bit of a challenge, however, my husband grew up with dogs and his father was a dog trainer so he felt "equipped" to deal with the challenge that lay ahead. We did thoroughly research doodles before deciding they were what we wanted for our family and were aware of their good and not so good points. We are now considering rehoming him. Rehoming is the last thing we want to do, however, the situation is close to that stage.

We have 3 young children, my husband works shifts and I am at home all day, the only time he is left alone is for a couple of hours maybe twice a week. He has been house trained and responds to most commands and is in a good routine with feeding and walking. We have a good sized garden which he enjoys being in and an open kennel for him.

The problem is chewing (which we expected a bit of), he has been with us since middle August and to date has caused over £1500 worth of damage to our home and belongings. I spend most of the day chasing him to get things off him. Last night, after being away 2 hours for shopping we returned to our newish stair carpet and underlay ripped up and chewed. While we are out we stays in the hall/porch which is quite large and has a variety of toys/chews which are rotated every day. In addition to the chewing he had made my eldest daughter the object of his desires and became aggresive when she pushed him off, we had him castrated which has solved this problem, however, he has now become jealous when I show my children affection, jumping on me and biting (I was bit on the face a few days ago). He shows no aggression with the two younger children, they share a strong bond. Another not so major problem he has developed is running away, he will not come back on my command but will for my husband. We are trying clicker training at the moment but are not seeing much progress.

I apologise for the story but I wanted to give the full picture to see if anyone can offer any advice. We cant continue like this, with the exception of house/command training we have seen very little progress since getting him - his behavior is getting worse. I would really appreciate any help or advice anyone has.



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Re: HELP - problem doodle!

Post by Nimitor » 06 Jan 2012, 22:55

Oh dear you are having a hard time:( Doodles can be very naughty, have you thought about getting a cage to leave him in when you are out?Wes is 12 months old and it has only been the last week that we have left him out of the cage when we go out, and even then he is left with his bed in the hallway and no access to any rooms. Maybe he thinks you are playing a great game when you spend so much time stopping him chewing things?With Wes I just say NO! ,take away anything he shouldn't have and then ignore him, he hates being ignored. Do persevere..Wes was neutered 2 months ago and it didn't really seem to calm him down until now :)He has matured a lot in the past month or so. Good luck xxxxxxxxxx

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Re: HELP - problem doodle!

Post by sadiethestinky » 06 Jan 2012, 23:00

I am sorry I cant offer much help but did notice the age of your doodle. He is well into his teenage phase and that often, from what others have said, can be harder to cope with than the puppy stage, as they are much bigger and stronger, and willful, testing the boundaries, and testing what they can and cant get away with, and who they can get away with things with ie the running away with you but not your husband. Are you and your husband consistent with how you deal with him? Are you using a firm enough voice with him when giving him commands etc? or letting him get away with things instead of having patience and continuing with training etc? Not critising at all this is just things that I can think of that might be going wrong that you havnt realised you are doing? Have you considered getting a trainer in to help you?

With the chewing, I would seriously consider buying a large crate for when you cant be there. Where does he sleep at night? If he was placed in the crate with some toys and maybe a filled kong etc on the times you have to leave him alone, he couldnt be so destructive. How does your daughter react to him when he is getting funny? Does she react to him? Or ignore him? I know, hard to do. Maybe teach everyone to just stand straight up when he does this, and ignore him completely, or turn your back and ignore him?

Sorry I know that isnt much help hopefully someone will be along soon to offer more advice. xx

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Re: HELP - problem doodle!

Post by Daise1970 » 06 Jan 2012, 23:07

Wow, well it certainly sounds as if your boy is a handful and it is really distressing to see your home being destroyed around you when it sounds like he is hardly left alone anyway!! Do you think he may be attention seeking when you do venture out as he is so used to you being at home with him? It could be his form of protesting. These Doods can be very smart at times!! :roll: Does he only destroy your house when you are not present or does he chew through the night too??

Just a thought, have you contacted the breeder about your concerns? Maybe one of the parents was problamatic too? I would be very concerned about the aggression with your oldest child though.. :( Your daughter has to show him that she is the boss of him and then he will realise his place in your house pack..
Good Luck with him!!
Daise xx

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Re: HELP - problem doodle!

Post by 19jackie69 » 06 Jan 2012, 23:24

Hello, sorry to hear you have been having problems with your dood.

Just agreeing with previous comment about a cage. We have a large cage(big enough for her to stand and lie out) where we leave our 2yr old labradoodle in while we are out. At first I thought it cruel but we were also having trouble with her destroying items in the house, so thought we would give it a try. We introduced her to this when she was about 10 months old, we gave her a treat while she was in her cage. Sometimes I would hide treats for her under her blanket, or give her something she really enjoyed in a kong. 18 months later we still use this, we just have to get our shoes and coats on and she takes herself to the cage, even when the door is open, she still lies in there. It is also useful when she gets to excited or nips my children when she plays, we can walk her calmly to the cage and shut her in and close the door to the living area and ignore her for a few mins.

Our dood (Custard) is our first dog, so we have been on a huge learning journey with her and she still finds new tricks to get our attention. I am sure you will get lots of useful advice from many experts on this site. It must be hard with 3 young children and husband on shift work, I wish you luck.

Jackie and Custard

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Re: HELP - problem doodle!

Post by Leah » 06 Jan 2012, 23:26

Hello and welcome, sounds as though you're having a hard time with your dog.
I would consider using a crate for nightime and when you're out so you can leave the house without worrying what he's up to!
Could you walk him more? Don't know how much exercise he already has, but maybe an extra walk, or taking a ball thrower to give him a really good work-out would mean he had less energy for chewing? Also walking with a friend and their dog is much more tiring (more likely to sleep at home!)
When Monty was younger and wanted to chew I used to get him a fresh bone from the butcher a few times a week and put him out in the garden with it at lunchtime, where he was happy to stay having a good chew for a couple of hours. This seemed to fill his urges to chew and saved our belongings!
Also feeding him all his meals in kongs or treat balls etc, or scattering all his meal around the garden so he has to sniff it out, will make him think and work for his food and use his brain and energy doing something acceptable.
He is still very young and WILL settle down with time (easy to say, I know!)

Good Luck, Leah

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Re: HELP - problem doodle!

Post by MrsAdmin » 06 Jan 2012, 23:55

Oh dear. Please don't feel bad about posting on here, you will find only sympathy as many of us have been through this with our own Doodles or rescue dogs.

Do not give up on your boy. This is a common reason for Doodles coming into rescue at his age because they are not the easiest of dogs, being so smart and strong and wilful, especially in their 'teenage' time, which your boy is.

Practically, what to do?

1. Get the biggest crate you can possibly find so he has room to move around, stand easily and lie down full length. Crate train him very gently and patiently from the beginning. Start as though he is a puppy again and leave the door open, feed him in there, toys in there etc until he sees it as his refuge, NOT a punishment. Cover it with a cloth or old blanket so that it is like his little cave. Don't forget to ensure he has plenty of water in there at all times.

Then you can work up to leaving him in there overnight and when you go out. Set up a doodle proof room, like the kitchen, and have a stairgate he can't jump. Put his crate in there and leave the door open when he can be trusted not to go nuts. Don't expect him to roam the house at will without causing havoc.

2. Get a long line and use it when walking him. Never give him a return/come command if there is a chance he will disobey. He must learn that come means he must come to you, the most exciting thing in the universe. The more he gets away with not coming the less impact your commands will have. Be really exciting. Wave arms, squeaky voice, treats, the lot. Doesn't matter if everyone thinks you are a nutter - he will love you (and the liver cake/dried liver) :wink:

3. Read up on positive training of dogs. With respect to your OH and his parents, not all methods used in the past are regarded as suitable today. Positive training is what will work long term, not being cross or shouting at him. Many old school trainers were/are really strict with dogs and bullied them. You need to make him WANT to come back to you because you are his universe. Long term it's the only thing that works, along with ball obsession.

4. Get a whistle and teach him that a short blast means come quickly. It will neutralise the panic in your voice and carry far better than you trying to shout him back. There are loads of info videos on using dog whistles on U tube. Continue using clicker training for reinforcement.

5. Ensure he has loads of things he CAN chew. I find my two love the tough nyla bones. Remove any precious things from his reach for the next six years. Think of him as a naughty 2 year old and take the same precautions.

6. Get your daughter he gets stroppy with to hand feed him and be in charge of him. You don't want her afraid of him and he needs to see her as a good thing and source of pleasure. She needs to be very calm and just turn away and fold her arms if he barks at her or tries to jump up.

7. Have a routine with him so he knows what is expected. He is still very young and it DOES get a lot better as they get older. I'm at home a lot too and our routine is that our two get a long run for an hour 1st thing with Hubbie, with ball throwing; then they get shut in the kitchen with their beds and behind a stair gate and have to cool down for an hour before being given breakfast.

I usually leave them in the kitchen to sleep and rest for the rest of the morning until about 12 or 1pm. You might need to do a loo trip during that time as he is younger than my two. They now know the drill and know this is a chill time and Mum is not on tap. I get shopping, meetings and chores done then.

It doesn't have to be totally rigid or else, but a set routine is as calming for animals as for children. They know what is expected of them.

They then get released for play and training with me and being around me in the house and garden, followed by another hour long walk and play mid afternoon, ideally meeting loads of other dogs and people After the excitement of Hubbie coming home, they get fed again and then settle happily next to us for the rest of the evening.

8. If you are unsure about a particular behaviour then get a qualified behaviourist to have a session with him and you all and have another pair of eyes observe what actually happens.

9. Book him onto puppy classes and take your children and OH so they know how to work with him too. Get a head collar, like a Gentle Leader, a Canny Collar or a GenCon or Dogmatic. If you control the head, you control the dog. If he is in a harness he might use this as a means to pull harder.

10. Don't give up on him but come on here and vent your spleen when he is being a right royal p-i-t-a.

Good luck, we are routing for you because we've been there, especially with our Beccles. :roll:

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Re: HELP - problem doodle!

Post by black all over » 07 Jan 2012, 01:12

Hi. I read your posting earlier this evening and was going to reply with some of the advice Mrs Admin has since posted - all really sound & experienced so won't repeat it, except to stress the care and time it may take to crate train your dog - worth doing definitely but it must always be somewhere he wants to go - never as a punishment (in fact never anything as a punishment, only tons of praise and treats for the good things he does). He must be a very strong dog now, and if the crate door is closed too soon he could become dangerously stressed and injure himself in trying to get out - a terrier I knew managed to force his head through the gap between the door and the side and almost strangled himself. So slowly, slowly does it, no quick solutions here, and you will get a lovely happy dog who knows its place and respects you and its boundaries.
Sue and Eddy


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Re: HELP - problem doodle!

Post by Nicky » 07 Jan 2012, 01:24


when Dexter was younger when we went out we confined him to one room with his bed and toys so that he couldn't chew anything except his toys, luckily we have a utilty room with a door.

It's only now at nearly three that we let Dexter in the lounge to roam at night, but we have to shut the bedroom doors or he would be on our bed or ripping my daughter's pants up in her bedroom!!! :roll:

dood's are naughty, and Dexter is worse if he dosen't get at least 2 hours exercise.

Good luck with your doodle :)

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Re: HELP - problem doodle!

Post by wellies » 07 Jan 2012, 01:27

Hi Lynn,
I don't have much to add to the excellent advice the others have given. I'm sure some of the behavioural stuff with the children is because your dog was with his litter mates as a youngster and not with a family learning about humans: I know another dog who was a 'left-over' pup with a breeder: she was pretty much left to her own devices and also has some behavioural problems as a result. I hope it all turns out well for you.
Leon and Sally: fast moving and heading for the horizon!

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Re: HELP - problem doodle!

Post by Danda » 07 Jan 2012, 10:20

That's why I love this site - lots of helpful and friendly advice :D

Where are you Lynn; see if you could join a doodle walk / meet other doodles? Always good for moral support.

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Re: HELP - problem doodle!

Post by linny » 07 Jan 2012, 11:17

I took on an "unruly" ten month old Dood and reading your post it's daja vu for me :)
I have had dogs for over 50 years and my particular boy was and is the most challenging dog I have ever owned.
He is still (at 2yrs 9 months) a work in progress but hugely improved on the delinquent he was.
As the others have said , your Dood is now in his teenage phase and it can be the most annoying and frustrating time....but it's a phase that will pass if you can stay sane for long enough :lol:
Try and be firm and consistent with him, and try and find something to challenge him mentally.
Perhaps set up a small agility course in your garden, nothing fancy , just some weaving sticks and perhaps a seesaw ....anything to occupy him.
I realise you have a young family so time is a premium for you but perhaps you can enrol with a local dog training class and take him to a weekly session yourself so that when your OH is away you are the boss.
Don't give up, stay 8) he will improve ....honestly

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Re: HELP - problem doodle!

Post by Barneyboy » 07 Jan 2012, 13:53

Funny, I took on Barney when he was 10 months too! He's now snoring at my feet.....

We found routine, hand feeding every meal, strict rules when playing games (dog teeth touch human skin - game ENDS!) We tied him to furniture or doors when we couldn't supervise him (such as when preparing food or just wanting to chill and watch telly) He was given stuffed Kongs (frozen ones too) and we've recently found Deer Antler makes a wonderful chew toy for a bored dog.
My 14 year old son and I were black and blue from wrist to elbow from his 'mouthing', he'd snatch food or toys from your hand. We found having a 'house line' on his collar was a boon, as we could restrain him without having to grab his collar - which meant he couldn't steal things and turn it into a game. (He hasn't been able to give up sock and knicker stealing, but it's a small price to pay)

If you can persever with him, you will be rewarded, believe me.

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Re: HELP - problem doodle!

Post by Rowan11 » 07 Jan 2012, 15:45

hello ! great advice from people already. good luck with it all. we crate train and it works a treat. :) i also take treats out on walks and call luna back for no reason at all other than to give her the treat for coming back to me.
Dawn & Luna x

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Re: HELP - problem doodle!

Post by DiSet » 07 Jan 2012, 17:14

Hi, please keep going if you can with your doodle. I say this as someone who struggled desperately to integrate my doodle into my family's life. He mouthed, jumped and generally tried it on with everyone he met (he still will now if very excited and unsupervised). The chewing hasn't been much of a problem as he's always had plenty to chew on and is crated (with small pen attached) when on his own. We have a baby gate on kitchen door and one at the bottom of the stairs. He only has access to lounge when we are there.

When I got my doodle there were lots of other puppies about whose owners only seemed to put in a fraction of the time and effort I have yet their dogs seem to be a lot easier than mine, but at nearly two years old he's "getting there". Mrs Admin and everyone's advice will really help if you can implement it and try to be firm, calm and consistent (easier said than done I know).

Take care XX

PS. A trainer I once went to told the rest of the class my dog was special needs (she did help though). I saw her a few weeks ago and she complimented me on his progress and made a real fuss of him (he jumped all over her!) :)

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