4 mo Berner won't stop jumping up and biting me on walks

Discussion in 'Bernese Mountain Dog Training Forum' started by spearmint, Oct 2, 2015.

  1. spearmint

    spearmint New Member

    Hi, everyone...

    My 4 month old female berner has hit a naughty streak in her training. It feels like overnight she's stopped listening to everything I ask her to do. I know puppies start to get rowdy at the two year mark but it is way, way too early for the Terrible Twos!

    The worst thing is her behavior on walks. We'll start out great: walking side by side, her sniffing and being calm, etc etc. And then something will just click in her little puppy brain, demanding for (my!) blood. Sometimes I know what triggers it: people greeting her excitedly or acknowledging her in a high pitched voice (the latter I can't really do anything about) and then leaving will cause her to turn on me, and it's not pretty.

    She'll start jumping up and grabbing onto my clothes with her teeth, tugging on them. She doesn't understand how sharp her teeth are, or her own strength, so when she scrapes my skin it really hurts. All my clothing has holes in it, and my arms have scrapes everywhere. She also goes for pant legs.

    Sometimes this is triggered randomly, or when I stop because she is pulling on the leash.

    Sometimes I can say sit, down, etc and she'll stop and do the command, but be right back at it the moment I try to start the walk again. I've tried shortening the leash away from me so she can't attack me like a little hell hound and tried to wait it out with some success, but then it'll just trigger all over again when someone acknowledges her in that baby voice (which happens a lot, since puppy). I've tried running her in the yard before walks, but she still does it.

    It's really putting a strain on our relationship... I love her but I'm starting to dislike her over this... When I get back from walks I just want to scream into a pillow. We can't even take long walks because she'll just keep doing this over and over again. I try to keep it positive on walks (thus keeping them short before I get frustrated) but it's getting harder and harder... My Australian Shepherd never did this, so I don't know what to do... help!!
  2. LuvmyBerner

    LuvmyBerner New Member

    Good morning. Boy..what a stinker!!! My Berner went through stage where she would tug and pull, bite at hands, jump etc on leash as well as a puppy. What kind of collar do you use. I found that a good choke collar works well (my girl only wears a collar for a walk..the minute we are in house, collar comes off..choke collars are too dangerous to be worn unattended). Always keep the collar loose so when you do need to correct, the quick 'snap' gets her attention. If the collar is always tight or you have a "tight' lead, the collar won't be effective.
    Keep a close eye on her body language when someone approaches..as soon as you see the excitement start (Tail erect, ears erect,etc), give a quick correction and use your command word (no,calm, etc). More important is that you stay calm throughout as well...as hard as that is!! If you have tension on her lead, she will feel it and respond. When our girl was acting up so bad by pulling, biting lead..We would stop walking, I would drop the lead and turn my back until she stopped. If she actually nipped I would use the "no bite" command sharply then continue to ignore until she settled. The moment she settled, she would get rewarded with a treat (to this day all my coats have zip locks with dog treats in them). I spent many a long walk standing on the sidewalk trying my best to ignore a crazy dog...lol. It won't happen overnight but persistence is the key (I think we had to work for a good two weeks to make it better but she still has her moments and she is a year). Reamining calm on your end is important, they can sense your feelings and if you start the walk nervous , your pup will feed off that and be "excited" as well.
    Don't be scared to tell people how you want them to approach your dog either. When people approach my girl I always tell them that she is young and still learning her manners before they even get close enough to pet her. If you know that the high pitch voice sets her off, tell the person that it gets her too excited. Most people will respect you and lower their tone. I have actually told people in the past that they couldn't approach her at all when we were training her to 'ignore' others until she was invited to say hello (I would explain to them that she was being trained so as not to appear rude).
    It will get better and you will enjoy walking your Berner again. Hopefully this helps a little.
  3. rasp96

    rasp96 New Member

    We have had the same situation with our Berner puppy who is just over five months. I carry a spray bottle of diluted perfume and spray the parts of my body and clothes that he wants to chew on. That has been the most effective for changing his behavior. I also carry treats and ask for sit, touch, etc and this has helped as well. I have also asked people to wait until he calms down a little and let us do the approaching. He is so much better than he was but the tools are handy just in case.
  4. Abbey'sMom

    Abbey'sMom New Member

    Abbey also went though this excited behavior. It was like she was so excited that she was looking for an outlet...my right arm. I tried commands, throwing toys, stepping on the lead...all with limited success. I then tried leaving her lead loose and as she came at me I told her "knock it off" as she came up on me I spayed her in the face with water which was in a small spay bottle (the type used to clean eye glasses) carried in my pocket. She did this twice and now if she starts to get excited I just say "knock it off"....she no longer attacks. Maybe this will work for you.
  5. summersnowbr

    summersnowbr Active Member

    I did two things when our Berner was thesame age as yours. When on our walks if I saw someone and she started to tug or jump toward them I immediately turned around and walked about 10 feet and turned back the other way. If she repeated it I did the same thing. I told people they were not allowed to pet her until she sat if after there times turning around we would just walk by the person and I would say to them maybe next time you will be able to pet her. I also carried a can of "quite it" I would spay the can away from her when ever she did some thing on our walk she was not to do along with my saying "No" when she would correct her self immediately I'd say good girl. If you use the "quite it" to often what you will find is that they get used to the noise. So I saved that for the extreme cases. One thing these breeds hates most is to be ignored. They love attention.

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