Ask the Dog Guide: Welsh Terrier Excitement

January 7th, 2009 by Dan

My Welsh Terrier puppy gets quite excited when we exercise him(especially when we allow him off leash). After fetching things he will jump up and bite my sleeve. The sit command does not work in these circumstances. I then have to resort to putting him in a submission hold (which is very tricky as he’ll try to bite my hand) & then take him inside and place in his crate.

What do you recommend?

I can see that your intentions are good and you mean to make your dog mind his manners, but your response to his exuberance is making the behavior worse! First of all, it’s important to remember that your dog is a terrier. These dogs tend to be intelligent, stubborn, brave, loyal, and often mischievous. Terriers don’t often react well to being bullied into submission. It’s more effective to convince them that your way is best.

Welsh Terrier in show clip

Welsh Terrier in show clip

Photo by Benny Solz

I suggest that you immediately stop using any sort of submission hold on your puppy. This is likely to result in a serious bite to you or someone else someday if you continue to use this method to discipline your Welsh Terrier. If your dog tries to bite you, there is something wrong with the situation. In this case, the problem is that a “submission hold” or “alpha roll” is an ineffectual technique invented by trainers attempting to mimic wolf behavior. The result: Many bites to well-meaning owners, and a method of controlling a dog that’s more difficult and less useful than simple praise and rewards.

In addition, a crate should never be used as punishment. Crates should be puppies’ safe dens, where they feel secure and confident. When a crate is used as punishment, the puppy will (understandably) be reluctant to enter it for any reason!

Instead of using punishment to correct your dog’s jumping and mouthing, start teaching him that naughty behavior means the end of the game. If after fetching something he jumps up, turn your back and silently leave the room or go inside, leaving him in the (fenced) yard. Ignore him completely for 30-90 seconds. Separation from you and the withdrawal of your attention is a much more effective punishment than forcing your puppy onto his back.

After a brief period has passed, return outside and reward your puppy if he greets you calmly. If he jumps up, continue to ignore him until he is calm. When he does behave politely, reward him with praise, treats, or play.

Consistently inflict a time-out and ignore your puppy any time play or exercise causes him to misbehave, and you’ll have a well-mannered Welshie in no time!

4 Responses to “Ask the Dog Guide: Welsh Terrier Excitement”

  1. M. Deter Says:

    My problem is with 11 week old pup when outside walking on a leash and when not able to dart away after several attempts tries to bite at leash and myself ( rather aggressively ). Also inside jumps and bites at pants and feet when not even engaging in playtime. The ” no ” only makes her worse.

    She has no enclosed yard so house-breaking and walking must be on a leash.


  2. Janse Says:

    I baught a Welsh male puppy. He is 10 weeks old, and very stubborn. He gets very aggresive if things to going his way. He lived with us for 3 weeks now, clearly there are NO way to discipline a Welsh terrier. He is KUZA registerd, but I start thinking to get rid of this terorist. Please help – Which way did I need to follow to discipline this dog?

  3. claire Says:

    i live with my sisters dog she torn up my arm tonite. very upset with the insitent.

  4. Barbara Says:

    You wouldn’t expect a human baby to be perfect. It takes time, patience, consistency and love. These puppies are barely away from their siblings where rough play with nipping and chewing was the order of the day. They are still excitable and can’t always listen much less respond to your commands. Withdrawing your presence for a short time works. That gives them time to focus on the fact that they are not getting your attention which ultimately is what they want. As with children another great technique is distraction. Take their attention from their misbehaviour by presenting them with a toy away from misbehaviour into something enjoyable without the need for confrontation. When correcting them ,use a firm but calm voice. Do not become excited or raise your voice as this will make them worse. My Welsh puppy was very bitey when she first arrived but following these rules and making sure she had plenty of short spells of exercise she is now a very obedient little sweetheart whom I love to bits. Most of all be realistic. You have taken these puppies away from all that they know into a strange and sometimes frightening environment. It’s up to you to make then feel safe and secure. Holding them down by the throat will never succeed. Follow the steps above and give them time and love.

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