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Hi, I wondered if anyone can give me some advice about my Irish setter Scarlett. She is 12 months old and has suddenly become really naughty. She was very well behaved having attended 3 puppy training courses. She came in from the garden as soon as I whistled, had never weed indoors and never chewed anything apart from her dozens of toys. But in the last couple of weeks she has become a nightmare! She has chewed up cookery books, a tablecloth, table mats and anything she can climb up to get. She has weed in the lounge despite being outside for an hour before. She ignores all commands, jumps up all the time and is mouthing and biting our hands and arms. But the most frustrating thing is she just barks all the time if she hasn't got your undivided attention and especially at four o'clock every night.
We have 2 other dogs including a five year old setter that she sleeps with and is with during the day. I am at home all day so she has company. She is regularly walked, has a huge variety of toys that we play with and gets lots of cuddles.
Nothing has changed at home, she is very healthy and eating well, so why is she such a pain at the moment? I wondered if she might have her back teeth coming through - I am not sure when they usually grow? That would explain the biting but need to stop all the other unwanted behaviour especially the jumping up and barking!!
Please can anyone suggest anything to help?
Hi Gigi, thanks for your reply. She has already had her first season about 3 months ago so unfortunately cannot put the naughtiness down to that.
Oh Shoot, sounds as if she's in the teenage phase. That can take half a year. You'll get throught it.
Can you try to ignore her demanding behaviour and reward her when she's done the right thing?
I know it's wearing down to ignore excessive barking.Is there a trigger when she starts? Why not use that trigger and when she barks say "quiet" and as soon as she's quiet, reward her? Helped a bit with our barky. Stress on "a bit".
With this mouthing business, can you try to say "ouch", walk away from her and don't interact for say an hour? I know it's hard.
Do you have "house rules" such as "No Go in the kitchen" - you can set your own rules, most important, stick to them even more than usual.
When she jumps up, can you ingore and then make her sit instead and reward this? I found that jumping business was the hardest.
My experience: At one point I just got a bit relaxed regards rules and structure. Because I thought "well, they behave anyway". Which turned out to be a mistake. Maybe that happened to you and you just got to reintroduce the rules?
These are just thoughts and suggestions. HOpe they help a bit.
do you have a crate to put the dogs in? We found if we put them in the a crate for a few minutes each time there was any really bad behavior isolating them from the pack visually by putting a blanket over the crate they got the message fairly quickly.Barking at 4am may be more a problem if you are in close range of neighbours a squirt in the face with some water stops barking generally. hope this helps
Thank-you so much for all your advice, looks like I have a stroppy teenager to deal with and lots of re- training to do! She is such a gorgeous girl that I find it soo hard to be cross with her, but we have new neighbours moving in soon and I don't want them complaining about the lunatic setter barking every night because she has decided she wants to play! Gotta love those setters!
As I have advised to others in the past, why not try watching the Dog Whisperer? (Cesar Millan) - it's worth giving his programmes a try. I'm a complete convert. She's of the age when she may be trying to assert her place in the pack and if she doesn't see you as the pack leader she will challenge you in many ways. Cesar promotes calm, assertive behaviour and shows on the programmes how to achieve this. Important things are not to 'reward' excited behaviour by petting - it just makes it worse. Don't take her out for a walk or put the lead on until she is completely calm - however long it takes! Also, don't let any of the dogs go out of or into a door before you. If you're the pack leader, then they must follow - it's how it's done in nature.
What do you have to lose?