Please help with our puppy! So many questions...(24 Posts)
We got our puppy (miniature labradoodle) 3.5 weeks ago. She's now 11 weeks. I'm not sure if we're doing "it" right or what to expect when.... All thought v welcome! We have a 2 year old as well.... It's a bit chaotic!
1. We crate trained from the beginning. She sleeps in her crate through the night and is v happy to have naps in there. She also goes in there sometimes if for instance there are loads of kids about and she seems overwhelmed - she likes going in then! We also put her in if we need to go and sort DD out upstairs etc. Then, she sometimes howls for about 2 minutes when she goes in then she settles and sleeps. Presumably that's ok?
2. House training - we are ignoring accidents and taking her out when she looks like she's about to go and just after waking/eating/drinking. We click and treat when she goes outside. She sometimes goes to the back door. Not often and we have quite a few accidents (maybe 3 a day sometimes less). Is this right? When will she start to get the hang? An I expecting too much?!
3. Biting / mouthing - she bites/mouths when excited or playing. We say no, hd her jaw and turn around and ignore her. Is this right? What do you suggest?
4. Stealing food - she jumps up to DDs little toddler table and takes whatever she can. We just say no and knock her down with our elbow. But she just carries on! What should we do?
5. Jumping up to people - how do we stop this! We say no and get down to her level, but guests are a bit rubbish at it.
6. Recall - When do we start teaching this (I guess we should have started already....?). I assume we will click and treat. How does it work?
Generally,we try to say no and not scold with her name, but it's hard!
I am panicking a bit as I am 6 weeks pregnant (v early days I know!) and am just overwhelmed at the thought of the puppy as she is now with a baby!!!! When will it get better? Will we still totally have our hands full as set out above in 8 months time? What should I expect then from the puppy?
Thanks - sorry for so many questions!!!
I have a 10 week old lab puppy and a lot of what you say sounds completely normal. I've 2 other dogs as well, but am by no means an expert.
I would say though that dogs will steal food, especially labs. I personally wouldn't have the puppy in a position to steal food, so if a toddler table has food on, then the puppy shouldn't be in the same room. It is really stressful to try and police a toddler and puppy, let alone around food, so I'd just separate the food from the puppy.
With the jumping up, what we do and ask guests to do also is to turn away and ignore the puppy until she has calmed down - will only take a minute or so - then call her over to make a fuss. We did this with our older dogs and it works as they don't jump up when you come into a room or from being out. I know it is difficult to ignore a puppy, but it does get easier and is so worth it when you come in with lots of bags, or carrying a baby, and the dog just waits for you to acknowledge them rather than running up and jumping.
Well done on the crate training - mine won't settle in her crate at all, and got her jaw stuck around the bars on one occasion, so we can't use ours now.
Housetraining sounds fine BTW, and normal for this stage.
With the mouthing/nipping - all pups do this, and there are probably several ways to tackle it. I say no, remove my hand and give him something else to chew immediately. I figure it is like toddlers - you can't just say no don't do that, distraction is a better tool as it gives them something else to focus on.
Get yourself a book that will explain how to train all these behaviours with the clicker. Idiots Guide to Positive Dog Training is a good one. Just saying no forevery unwanted behaviour and knocking her down without teaching an alternative desirable behaviour will not be very effective. Also please don't hold her jaw. Replace you hand etc with a toy as she needs to learn to direct her chewing onto appropriate items. I would also separate food at this stage as you need to have trained a good leave and off to deal with that, along with reinforcing good behaviour around food. But with a greedy lab you can expect them to counter surf if stuff is left in reach.
I would strongly strongly advise classes with a positive, preferably APDT registered, trainer so you can be shown the basics and practice with other puppies in the room. If you start now and train consistently on short bursts every day it will make managing dog and baby much easier.
Oh and you sound like you are dping well with toilet training. Dogs vary in how long it takes but SpicyPup took a good few more weeks to get reliable.
I didn't realise we shouldn't hold her jaw.... The vet suggested it! We have one book by Di Williamson I think and it is v keen on ignoring bad behaviour. We do swap things she shouldn't have for toys abc that works. It's just do hard not to say no when you have your hands full!
I did a three strikes approach so swap for toy, swap for toy, swap for toy then if still persisting, ignore or remove self from room for a few seconds.
I understand what you mean with no but the puppy doesn't understand it and if you are constantly saying it as a generic word for "stop what you are doing" she will learn to ignore it. Read up on the training method for each behaviour, follow it consistently and you will see results.
I say no, but it's not a command - I just say it...tbh he probably thinks it's his name, lol. I do then give him a command though, so it's puppy, no, leave or puppy no, off. I know I shouldn't really, but my dogs have always coped with it fine, they treat it as a cue word - oh, she's going to tell me to do something here rather than what a person would mean by no, but that's fine.
The crate - mine does that too, I figure they're just going, I'm here, I could come too...as long as she's settling down quickly I'd ignore it and eventually she should work out it's pointless.
Toilet training - it took about 7 or 8 weeks before we weren't getting accidents if we watched him closely and another couple for him to work out how to ask.
Stealing food - it's not stealing as far as she's concerned, there's food right there, lol. I'd make sure she can't get to it and teach her leave it, once she's got that you can then go about teaching her that that food isn't for her.
Jumping up, I teach off and don't let people say hello till the puppy's on the ground. It's taking a while with this one right enough, but he's getting there.
Recall, do/ have something that will get her to come over, say come, click when she does...she probably already comes to her name? Pretty much like that, lol. Then get her to sit when she comes, but the coming is the important bit.
I am being dense with the "no" thing... If she does something where I need or want her to stop, do I remove/stop her in silence, or can I say no, or should I give another command? For instance, jumping up onto the sofa. If I'm sitting on the sofa, I gently elbow off and turn away,then fuss her when she sits nicely. But if, say, I'm the other side of the room or its DD she's jumping up to or mouthing? Dirty to be dense, but what would you do? I had been saying no loudly then walking across and removing etc. what positive should I instead?
Don't think I'm a natural at this.......
Errr... Weird iPhone! "Sorry" to be dense.......
1. We crate trained from the beginning. She sleeps in her crate through the night and is v happy to have naps in there. She also goes in there sometimes if for instance there are loads of kids about and she seems overwhelmed - she likes going in then! We also put her in if we need to go and sort DD out upstairs etc. Then, she sometimes howls for about 2 minutes when she goes in then she settles and sleeps. Presumably that's ok? Yes perfectly fine as long as she settles - maybe put her in with a kong or a treat the times you know she will whine
2. House training - we are ignoring accidents and taking her out when she looks like she's about to go and just after waking/eating/drinking. We click and treat when she goes outside. She sometimes goes to the back door. Not often and we have quite a few accidents (maybe 3 a day sometimes less). Is this right? When will she start to get the hang? An I expecting too much?! you need to take her out more, she will not ask to be taken out for quite a while, so every hour take her out as well as when she wakes up and has eaten
3. Biting / mouthing - she bites/mouths when excited or playing. We say no, hd her jaw and turn around and ignore her. Is this right? What do you suggest?
depends on the dog usually stop playing be very still, no eye contact, no interation at all until she is calm, to start with this may make her more jumpy and excited as this is how she has got you to play in the past ignore stand still, turn your back on her
4. Stealing food - she jumps up to DDs little toddler table and takes whatever she can. We just say no and knock her down with our elbow. But she just carries on! What should we do? this is very self rewarding so either put her in another room when dc is eating, or have snacks that your throw into her crate during the mealm so she goes to her crate and she will get food rather than from your DD table
5. Jumping up to people - how do we stop this! We say no and get down to her level, but guests are a bit rubbish at it. a young doodle will jump up, so all interactions with people need to be supervised and maybe on lead, again get people to ignore her but to drop treats onto the floor, reward her for having four feet on the ground and sniffing rather than jumping up, you can then start to ask for a sit when people arrive and reward that
6. Recall - When do we start teaching this (I guess we should have started already....?). I assume we will click and treat. How does it work? teach it now from day one - call her name and say come and treat her, do this when you are close to her, always treat her for this maybe play a game whatever she likes best, do this when you feed her - very very very quickly she will realise that come is great and will come charging to you - do this many times a day
Generally,we try to say no and not scold with her name, but it's hard! distraction is way better than punishment, so if you see her about to do something you do not want her to do , side track her, practice recall have a game teach her to sit show her the behaviour you want do not let her give you behaviours you do not want. A good command is to touch if you hold our your hand she will sniff it (I would click and treat this) then you can put out your hand and ask her to touch reward her - this is great for any distraction. She goes to do something you do not want put out your hand and ask her to touch it
Find a good clicker training class to help with this
The problem with no is that while you think it means one thing - it doesn't really, it's shorthand for hundreds of different things, no don't take that food, no get on the floor, no don't bite me, bite this.
When you're talking to someone - that's fine, because it's understood by both, but dogs don't speak English.
What you want to do with a dog is tell them what you do want them to do - off for instance means get off that thing you're on, instead of no which just means a vague, I don't like something you are doing.
Thanks so much for all the comments. I do think I'm not that great at puppy stuff! Not the thread for it I know, but feeling rather overwhelmed by everything since discovering I'm pregnant (a surprise!) and just reeling at the thought of puppy as she is now plus DD as she is now plus baby!!! The suggestions are great as they are practical things I can do now!
Don't panic - your puppy really is young at the moment and the most reliant on you it will ever be. Maybe don't look at any threads about doggie adolescence just yet though!
That made me laugh! Argh adolescence!!! It's just my pregnancy hormones I think. She can be a dream. We had about 8 adults plus 6 children here last weekend, all being a bit full on (waving toys at her etc) and she just lay down calmly on her rug jn the sitting room. The other dog owners there said she was more mature than their 2 year old! It's just when it's her and DD and everything else! I'm sure
I hope she'll be easier in 8 months!
Right now puppy is in crate asleep and DD is napping.... Bliss!
Btw, v exciting as we can take puppy out for the first time on Monday!!! So far, to get her used to traffic etc, we've taken her out in a Waitrose jute bag!!! But now she can go on pavements (it'll be one week after her second jabs)... Hooray!!
Don't worry about it does get easier, I found the tiny puppy stage massively overwhelming.
She's tiny yet, she hasn't got a clue about anything - the whole don't say no, teach a command instead is just to make it easier for you. Do this is easier than don't do that, it's like telling a toddler to behave instead of suggesting they come and draw instead of running round shouting.
So.... Recall seems to be working well. I'm calling, then clicking and treat when she comes. She bounds over. This morning tried ignoring jumping up then fussing once she's calm. Didn't take long! They learn fast!
Still worried about/not sure what to do about nipping. Dd acts as probably another puppy would... She yelps and pushes puppy off fairly roughly. Not sure what to do here practically.
Thanks for all the wonderful advice so far!
Reading this with great interest - as we have a miniature doodle pup almost the same age - and she is exactly the same!
Yours wasn't born 18 Nov in Dartmouth Pk (unlikely I know?)
No, she was born on 16th Nov in Herefordshire! How are you getting on Turnip? Sound familiar?
Re: nipping, I actually did yelp and pull away on purpose. I figure that's what his litter mates would do. Ddog was about 6 months when we got him and teathing!! He got the hang of it pretty quickly.
Btw, I used the same method when dd's wrong through the biting stage :D
I don't know if it's what you're after, can't really add to what everybody else has said.
But just a little tip, in case you need it in the future, our boy Sprocket was a bit mental at around six months and our vet recommended a DAP diffuser, it calmed him like a magic wand.
It used to only be available at vets, but now you can get it at Pets at Home. It's a plug in diffuser, and is now called 'adaptil dog appeasing pheromone', just like any other scented diffuser it goes into the air, the dog breaths it in, and they calm down within minutes.
I have never heard a bad word about it, and I can't find anything to suggest that it is in any way bad for people or dogs.
It's simply the hormone the Mother dog produces when she is nursing, and it really is worth the money (they are expensive) and lasts for months. (We still use one on occasion, and the dogs look like they're in heaven)
Hope it helps, you sound like you're doing a great job, wish someone had told us about it sooner, for those awkward stages puppies tend to go through. (be careful though, we never leave them plugged in overnight as they get quite hot, switching it on now and then seems to be plenty for our dogs, and makes it last longer)
Congratulations on the baby, and good luck with everything.
Legallyblond - very familiar!!
They are very close in age - but not littermates clearly.
My dogs nipping is getting worse. Anytime I take her into the garden she starts going nuts at my legs and jeans. I have tried staying still looking yp at the sky with arms folded (as receommended by our puppy class) - she will stay there biting at my legs indefinitely.
"Luckily" she only does this with me, not the kids or DH. Not sure why this is. She also does it to me whilst I am trying to walk her on the lead. Which then brings walk to an abrupt end as I can't let her do that, nor can I do a loose lead whilst holding her head away from my legs.
Any tips (sorry for hijack?)
Am going to get this diffuser though. Sounds great!
re: stealing food. my 6mo rescue lab x is a prolific food thief! he will nab anything he can get his jaws on. when we hav breakfast - particularly ds who eats at a small table, he is just shut out of the too,. he is so used to it now he just mooches off to his bed under teh worktop in the kitchen. I have learned how to keep food away from him as he is now quite leggy so can easily accesss food on the worktop! It is a pain in the arse tbh but we have adapted and he knows if he has overstepped the mark as he drops whatever he has found, looks at the floor and clambers into his bed
shut out of the room I mean!±
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