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Will my year old dog ever calm down?

I have a year old britt. He is great in the field. He pointed and retrieved woodcock and grouse his first year out. The problem is when he's around the house and yard. He runs around like crazy and forgets all commands. He's like Dr. Jykll and Mr. Hyde. Then if I pick up the whistle, he calms down and becomes the perfect gentleman. How long will this go on? Will he ever calm down enough for the kids to play with him? Oh yea, he's a one man dog. He only listens to me. One trainer told me in about four years, he'll come out of it. Say it ain't so!!!!

You're one year old Brittany is one that has tons of energy. Some breeders find that trait very good as they compete in field trials with their Brittanys and stamina is important. When he is in the field, he is in his element. He can run hard which is a 'release' mechanism for his abundant energy. The fact that he does have field obediance is very good. This means he can be worked with at home.

There are several schools of thought regarding how to control him at home. First and foremost, he needs lots of daily outdoor exercise. Secondly, he needs discipline at home and it must be consistent from all family members. It may mean that you need to take him to a local dog obediance trainer and let the whole family practice and learn. Now normally I don't recommend this for a young hunting dog but you indicated that he now has hunting experience and is good in the field so formal obediance shouldn't hurt any field training at this point.

One of the other schools of thought is that they will outgrow it after several years which is true to a point. But you indicated that he can't play with the children because of his activity level - presuming that he knocks them down, etc. This is where he has to learn discipline around the children. Right now, according to you (he only listens to you), he only has respect for yourself. He must learn that same respect for everyone which is why the family needs to be involved in some formal obediance classes for ordinary dogs.

Finally, if none of this works, they have behavioral specialized vets in some big cities that you can take him to. I would say this is a last resort. Also, there are some obediance trainers who will work with the animal and your family at your home.

We have a Brittany that is similar to yours and he is completely trained indoors and out. However, when he is indoors, he can never be left alone (he'll chew something to pieces or knock something over). We enjoy him indoors occasionally but now he is mostly an outside dog.

Good luck and best wishes,

Dave Jones
Chief's Brittanys
Guided Upland Bird Hunts, Gundog Training, Started Gundogs, and Brittanypuppies
We GUARANTEE our Brittanys to hunt and be healthy!
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