Another miserable new dog owner

(84 Posts)
lainiekazan Thu 13-Jun-13 09:32:05

I am so worn out and worried.

We were all eager to welcome a dog and prepared by and large for what it entailed.

However, 3-month old puppy is displaying some really challenging behaviour. He is getting increasingly aggressive - snarling and growling if he's prevented from doing something (eg eating stones/attacking tv). Or if I try to tempt him into his crate if I have to go shopping/school run. He is quite big already and frankly it is a bit scary. He is well house-trained, but if I have to go upstairs he leaves a well-placed poo by the stair gate.

Also, dd said last night, "Look, Mummy, he's dancing with your cardigan.". He was most certainly not dancing, unless it was dirty dancing... He is only 3 months old!

Ds loves him, and is getting upset with me as a couple of times this week I've burst into tears. He also rises at 4.30 every morning and refuses to bed down again.

Judyandherdreamofhorses Thu 13-Jun-13 09:37:58

I really rated Ian Dunbar's work on puppies when I got mine 2 years ago. All available free online, so do look him up. I found crate training utterly invaluable (had a toddler at the time) and he is still very happy in his crate (baby now too).

There's some sections on 'error free' chew training. Ours now settles for most of the day if he has a bone. It didn't take long to get to this point.

What breed is he?

Judyandherdreamofhorses Thu 13-Jun-13 09:39:02

PS - I hated the first few months and would have given him back any time (if his breeder hadn't just died).

Wouldn't be without him now.

Chazz88 Thu 13-Jun-13 09:39:59

Hi what breed is it and have you been attending puppy training a 3 month old puppy with still be teething and may be a bit bitty but there are things you can do to prevent that. E.g yelp when he does it really loud it will give him a fright.

As for snarling he's prob just seeing what he can get away with if he does this you should all leave the room and leave him for a few moments and repeat until he stops.

As for sleeping did your 3 months old baby sleep through the night all night long every night I suspect not. Patience is key hear you have to ignore him take him to the toilet make no eye contact and put him back in his create.

My pup went through a snarly stage at exactly the same age and is now 10 months and is so placid. Even the vets have commented that he is such a good temprement they could do anything to him. But he was a snarly horror at 12 weeks.

Puppies are such hard work and they do go through stages of horrible behaviour, much like children. It won't be like this forever. Do you do anything fun with him so it doesn't all feel like slog and work? Clicker training is great for this as you have the instant reward for you and the dog.

Chazz88 Thu 13-Jun-13 09:42:26

As for the (dancing) thats completely normal and there is noting at all sexual about it he/she is not evan sexually mature yet they just think its fun. If it bothers you take the item away and repeat he will get the gist.

lainiekazan Thu 13-Jun-13 09:42:41

He's a golden retriever. I have done everything by the book and enrolled in training classes. At first he responded really well to positive training, but now won't do anything for a treat/praise.

OrmirianResurgam Thu 13-Jun-13 09:42:55

It takes time. A puppy is hard work! I do sympathise. Our dog was a year old not a pup but he had come from a home where he has been neglected and I suspect hit so was quite nervous and chewed things (new leather dining chair and entire arm of sofa hmm plus various playmobil toys), messed everywhere, and chased the cats. Patience and consistency and lots of love worked a treat. He is a now a real gent.

Spero Thu 13-Jun-13 09:43:17

Sorry to hear that, it must be hard.

I really think you need to get some professional help with training, to get you on right track. If yo are worn out and even find your dog scarey, you are going to get trapped in a vicious circle and it will be difficult to brak without help.

Dogs should bring you happiness most of the time or there is no point, it is stressful and miserable for both of you. My dog is lovely 80% of the time which means I can put up with the 20% of awfulness. But if the ratio was reversed we would both be having a horrible life.

OrmirianResurgam Thu 13-Jun-13 09:45:24

When I was having a hard time with the Harlster in the beginning I met a dog trainer who would come to the house. She reckoned one visit would be enough. But as it cost £70 I politely declined. However she did seem to have excellent results. Could you find someone like that?

Spero Thu 13-Jun-13 09:45:25

I think for this breed good consistent and early training is essential. I have met a few adult retrievers who had not been trained - they were big, headstrong and frankly a dangerous nightmare. I think the problem is they are very intelligent and have big personalities which need channelling.

Spero Thu 13-Jun-13 09:46:37

My dog walker incorporated training and exercise for £10 an hour. She was brilliant. Money well spent, she did a lot of the hard initial work, I just had to keep up with it and be consistent.

lainiekazan Thu 13-Jun-13 09:48:18

Thanks. I'm sitting here blubbing like a complete twerp. It all seems to have gone wrong and I feel imprisoned by a bad-tempered dog who doesn't know when he's well off!

Spero Thu 13-Jun-13 09:51:26

Don't cry! It is not hopeless, it just seems awful while you go through it.

Find yourself a good trainer/walker and let them take the brunt of this for at least a few weeks while you have a break. Sounds like you need it.

lainiekazan Thu 13-Jun-13 09:53:30

I have to go out to get some food and post office and I just can't face it. If I try to get him to go in his crate he'll snarl and launch himself at me.

lainiekazan Thu 13-Jun-13 09:55:09

Spero, you're very kind. I was nervous about posting as I've seen some scary dog ladies on here who think that everything is the owner's fault.

Spero Thu 13-Jun-13 09:55:09

I think you do need help. Soinds like he is picking up on fact you are a bit frightened and uncertain which possibly in turn is making him more anxious. I wouldn't tolerate any pet dog snarling at me - either he is in pain and needs medical help or his behaviour urgently needs modification.

littlewhitebag Thu 13-Jun-13 09:58:59

I have a 13 mth old golden lab. At 3 months she reduced me and my two daughters to tears most days (they were 14 and 19 then). She was hard to walk on lead. She nipped, lunged and growled at us. She was worse in the evening leaping up at our faces and tbh i was scared of her and thought we had made a terrible mistake.
Puppy class was our life saver as we were taught fantastic techniques to control her. It seems we had babied Her instead of taking complete control.
After puppy class we attended junior obedience classes. She is now a (mostly) calm and lovely dog and I am so glad we persevered.
Have you tried feeding him in his crate so he associates it with good things? Also try not feeding him all his food in his bowl. Feed it bit by bit during the day so that almost everything you do is training. This works best with kibble.
Keep going. It will be so worth it.

Spero Thu 13-Jun-13 09:59:02

Dg threads can get heated - mainly because people really love their dogs and can get very passionate. Which is good, because it shows you how rewarding it can be when you and your dog bond.

But a badly behaved dog is at best an utter pest and nuisance, at worst dangerous.

I think you need help to see if you and your dog can work together. It's always better to get on the right track at an early age.

I think it's too early for any prognostications of doom BUT if it does turn out that you and dog just don't suit each other temperamentally, the best thing for both of you is to find this out sooner rather than later so there are more realistic options for re homing the dog.

littlewhitebag Thu 13-Jun-13 10:00:40

Also our puppy class was run by a vet nurse in the practice. Contact them and ask if they have anyone who does puppy training.

Judyandherdreamofhorses Thu 13-Jun-13 10:01:24

Honestly, read Ian Dunbar. My pup wasn't interested in treats at first. I followed the instructions to hand feed every single bit of food (dry) as a reward. You measure out his food at the beginning of the day. He has to do something for you for every piece of it.

And look up clicker training too.

And lose the guilt. I felt guilty every time I left him. Terribly guilty. Turns out he doesn't care at all!

lainiekazan Thu 13-Jun-13 10:02:05

I shall phone a dog trainer now. I have tried but I shall have to call in the big guns.

He has also colonised one of the sofas: if I try to sit down he growls and tries to manoeuvre me off. Oh no, he's a bully!

MumnGran Thu 13-Jun-13 10:02:45

I think your puppy has been testing his status in the pack, and has decided he is dominant. You need to step on this now, or you will have a major problem with any and all control as he gets older....and would suggest you seek professional dog training help. Your vet should be able to recommend someone.

Ahead of behavioural expertise, you can start regaining the "top of the pack" status that you need by instigating any of the following which you don't currently do:
1) never feed him before you or the children. Eat, and then feed the dog at least one hour later
2) Don't let him walk through any doorway, ahead of you. Always make him wait (use a lead if you have to)
3) Don't allow him onto any 'people' furniture. If he has been allowed, then change it now.
4) Don't play rough-house games, and if you play tug games MUST win. If he is pulling so strongly that he always wins then lose the tug toys
5) Make him sit before giving affection.

Hope some of this helps. Retrievers are great family dogs, but they can be dominant and do need to know where they stand in the pecking order. At the bottom is where they belong, and everyone will be happy (including the dog!) once they know their place.

lainiekazan Thu 13-Jun-13 10:09:31

Yes, I did ascribe to the Positive Training ethos, but in this case the dog thinks I'm a sap. Trying to distract him from danger/undesirable behaviour with a better offer has been useless. I could offer him the postman's leg and he'd rather continue to scratch at next door's fence.

D0oinMeCleanin Thu 13-Jun-13 10:13:11

Everything is the owners fault, sorry, but it really, truly is. You'll get out of your dog what you put in. It's that simple. That's not say you've done it on purpose, or failed. Everyone makes mistakes, even the experts. We make mistakes with our kids, ditto our pets. All we can do is pick ourselves up and start again.

Puppies are hard work. I adore dogs and spend most of my life working with them but I despair when I get phone calls that start with "There's this puppy and...." grin

How are you stopping him from doing the things that cause him to snarl? A lot of dogs will snarl if you grab their collar or forcibly remove them from a situation they find fun, it's totally normal. The better way is to divert and distract. If he attacks the TV, call his name, as soon as he stops attacking the TV, click and reward with food or a game.

Teach leave it, settle, wait and stay. They are invaluable for dealing with unwanted behaviors.

How much time do you spend training? Training is awesome for building up a bond and tiring puppies out and a tired puppy is a well behaved puppy at that age I'd be aiming for at least 10 minutes 3-4 times a day. Anything longer than 10 minutes and the puppy will get bored and frustrated, try and end on a high note with a command he knows. We always start and end clicker sessions with something I know they'll get right.

Kikopup on YouTube has some brilliant clicker tutorials. Start working your way through those. Jean Donaldson's Train Your Dog Like a Pro is a good book to work through too and have a read of Gwen Bailey's Perfect Puppy book. Get booked into puppy training classes asap, make sure you look for a class that uses positive reinforcement and is not based on pack theory.

I always randomly reward calm behavior around the house. I keep a handful of treats in my pocket and a clicker around my wrist. I completely ignore my dogs when they are up and wandering about or getting upto mischief but if I pass them and they're laid down somewhere they are supposed to be laid down, they'll get a click and a treat. I give them affection on my terms i.e. when I call them to me and ignore them if they come for a game or cuddle while I am eating/getting on with college work/washing up etc. I do make sure I find time to spend one on one with each dog daily.

MumnGran Thu 13-Jun-13 10:14:47

Personally, I think tempting with better offers panders to dogs being 'in control' because it offers them a choice (not that I would start an argument with those who do operate that system, its just not for me). Firmly believe in teaching the word 'no' from Day 1 .... and using that to stop inappropriate behaviour, with a reward for compliance.

But then, I am the biggest bitch in this house grin

coffeeinbed Thu 13-Jun-13 10:15:19

Oh yes.
Golden retriever puppies are the cutest looking ever and can be a growling nightmare.
Puppy classes, stay calm but firm, she will be fine.
They respond well to treats and affection, use it.
And l

coffeeinbed Thu 13-Jun-13 10:16:08

And long walks to tire them out.

littlewhitebag Thu 13-Jun-13 10:17:54

I second the random treat idea. We all had pockets full of kibble at all times and whenever pup was behaving well she got a treat. We also used to scatter a few way from her if she was doing something undesired to distract her away. For example she used to bite our feet/ bottom of trousers. We would throw kibble away from us she would go and get it and we would walk on calmly. No fuss no attention.

ClartyCarol Thu 13-Jun-13 10:25:27

You have to be careful with Goldie pups and long walks, can lead to stress on their developing bones and cause long term problems.

HoneyDragon Thu 13-Jun-13 10:29:19

The dog ladies aren't scary, I promise. And they won't scare you. It's a lot easier to help people who want it thanks

The snappiness is a normal phase. My lab went through a brief snarly phase over being requested to get of the sofa. I consistently rewarded her for getting off nicely and ignored the bad behaviour.

Pups are hard work. Please don't be scared, you'll get
Lots of support here.

D0oinMeCleanin Thu 13-Jun-13 10:33:32

Your puppy hasn't decided he is leader of the pack. Honest. He really, really hasn't. He is a puppy and is doing what puppies do.

Please don't try and be pack leader.

Calm, positive training, is all that is needed. If you eat a cracker before feeding your dog he won't know you are asserting your leadership, you'll just look and feel a bit crackers grin

If he's guarding the sofa he is doing it because it's comfy, not because that is where the leader sits. I'd stop him from going up there unless he is invited. Not to assert dominance over him, but simply as a way to stop the bad behavior before it starts. Teach a good "off" command. Every time you spot him on the sofa give the off command and lead him to his own bed. Hide treats in his bed and randomly click and treat whenever you find him in his own bed. He'll soon get the picture. My terrier has a bad habit of guarding the sofa. We both covet the same spot. He knows now he has to get off when I walk into the room, he soon jumps back up on my lap, but I don't mind that.

If he's snarling when you try and crate him he hasn't been crate trained properly and you need to start again Kikopup can help with this start from scratch. Also keep the best treats and toys only for when he is in his crate. He'll soon see his crate as the best place in the house.

littlewhitebag Thu 13-Jun-13 10:41:13

Oh and get great chew toys. A kong which can be stuffed with all sorts of things and stag bars are firm favorites in our house.

Blistory Thu 13-Jun-13 10:45:22

You've made the classic mistake of assuming that a 12 week old puppy has intentions that he simply doesn't.

Whatever he does, he does because it's rewarding in some way. You need to find a way of ensuring that he gets rewards in ways that you're both happy with. That might involve more playtime, food treats, walks or even the odd firm no with the right tone, or ignoring him. Rewarding for positive behaviour doesn't mean simply ignoring the behaviour you don't want. You need to learn what works for you and him.

For my dog, positive food rewards resulted in her doing the negative behaviour in order to then demonstrate the positive behaviour that got a treat. Entirely my fault as I obviously mistimed the treat and underestimated her intelligence.

It took a while for me to realise that what worked for her was ignoring her and for more extreme behaviours, a sharp no with the right tone worked wonders but had to be followed up with immediate 'forgiveness' so she could associate the no as beinf only about the act itself that I didn't want. Demonstrating anger would cause her real distress and demonstrating fear or anxiety would send her hyper.

The more time I spent finding activities that she enjoyed and incorporating training into playtimes, the better behaviours she offered. Obviously I can't overcome all her natural instincts so I no longer worry about the rolling in fox poo, squirrel dashes etc and I've had to accept that she is a dog and not to put her in situations that go beyond what is controllable. So she's on lead if there are likely to be squirrels to chase but the area is unsafe and off lead if we're somewhere safe.

Get the additional help you need but remember when you're frustrated and upset that he's still brand new and learning.

BTW, you don't need to get up at 4.30am because he does. If the house training is going well, you can gradually increase the time before you go to him in the morning. Don't underestimate the effect that the lack of sleep is having on you.

spiderlight Thu 13-Jun-13 10:49:53

There's quite a good article on guarding in the current issue of Dogs Today.

Pandemoniaa Thu 13-Jun-13 11:03:40

Please ignore the now thoroughly debunked dominance theories. Your dog isn't trying to be any sort of pack leader. It matters not a jot which order the family is fed in nor who goes through doors first. Your dog is not hard-wired to dominate your family.

At 3 months, he's mainly behaving like a puppy but obviously you don't want him to develop bad habits. Snarling at humans is not allowed in my house. I do permit dogs on furniture but this comes with a simple rule. Furniture is mainly for humans. If humans want to sit down then dogs are expected to get down without complaint.

I've achieved this by positive encouragement from day one. Not that I'm any sort of expert dog trainer! However, with two Jack Russells (an extremely independently minded breed!) it would be sheer chaos if good manners weren't introduced at the outset. I've also got a (very nearly) 3 month old pup. He's not particularly bitey but he has started to test boundaries. Only this morning he treated me to what he thought was his Most Fierce Bark when reluctantly put in the wet garden for a wee. It got him precisely nowhere. But he did get huge praise and a little treat for having the wee. So I emphasised the positive rather than the attitude.

My experience of retrievers is limited but I'm afraid I have come across some growly ones. They always seemed rather unhappy dogs and I suspect that the bad habits got entrenched in puppyhood. Given that they are quite big pups, I can understand that their behaviour is scarier than, say, my small but bold terrier. But also, I suspect that your pup is picking up on your fears.

He needs kind, consistent training so that you can all enjoy each other's company. Doin has provided some really helpful advice and I'd also suggest you get some more training for him. Retrievers are clever dogs and will thrive on being given more to occupy them.

D0oinMeCleanin Thu 13-Jun-13 11:14:10

I've just read your comment where you say he won't work for treats or praise. Try a different kind of treat. Liver cake, sardine cake, raw mince (v popular in our house) ham, cheese cubes, squeezey cheese. A game of tug or fetch etc.

Different things work on different dogs.

D0oinMeCleanin Thu 13-Jun-13 11:16:21

Also feed less at meal times so he is hungry and willing to work for food. You could always turn meal times in to a clicker session. Split his meal into a small parts and get training instead of just putting the bowl down on the floor and leaving him to it (don't use Nature Diet Fish flavour for this, it stinks and will not wash off your hands <<bitter experience>>) grin

lainiekazan Thu 13-Jun-13 11:17:13

Thanks. Closely observing him this morning, I realise that he is associating treats with his fun being stopped. He is no fool - he sits, waits, lies down, presents his paws for cleaning after going out - so has worked out that if I loom towards him with something tasty it means he can't eat the washing, has to go to bed, has to go outside to the loo and so on.

Spero Thu 13-Jun-13 11:23:20

It may always be the owner's 'fault' but different dogs have different temperaments, personalities and sizes. If you are a small gentle human, you need a breed that reflects those characteristics otherwise I find it difficult to see how the both of you will ever get on well together.

I agree dominance theory has been debunked - I don't care when or how I feed my dog but she does know I am in charge which I think is essential. so to that extent alone I am 'dominant'. But I certainly don't think she is plotting to take over the household and make me the belly rub slave. But she does need to know where she fits in and what is acceptable and what is not.

belly run slave smile

'rub' - bollox smile

Hercy Thu 13-Jun-13 11:26:02

I have a 9 month old Labrador retriever who also went through a bit of a snarly phase. What worked for us was simply standing up and turning our back on him. After about 30 seconds or so, resume playing or whatever you were doing with him, and give praise for being good, and as soon as you get another snarl, stand up and turn your back again. Repeat to infinity. It can be frustrating I know, but you need to be consistent and yours will get there in the end.

Ours got particularly snarly when he needed a poo! So you might want to check yours doesn't need to go out (I would do this after you have turned your back etc so he doesn't associate getting snappy with getting to go outside).

Blistory Thu 13-Jun-13 11:26:03

Sounds like you're mistiming the treats. I had that issue and had to be really quick to ensure that a treat marked the correct behaviour and nothing else.

Blistory Thu 13-Jun-13 11:27:27

Are you using treats as a lure rather than a reward ?

lainiekazan Thu 13-Jun-13 11:33:09

Both. He only responds when he wants to.

tabulahrasa Thu 13-Jun-13 11:45:48

My puppy had horrible snarly bitey tantrums when he wasn't getting his own way - I treated them exactly like toddler tantrums, didn't let him get his own way and ignored the carry on. He'd stopped by the time he was about 5 months.

Remember he is a doggy toddler...nothing about his behaviour now is any indication of what he will be like anymore than human toddlers grow up to be psychopathic dictators if they're not allowed to be when they're little anyway. Think about how violent and unreasonable little people are, lol.

Having a puppy is soooo hard, I genuinely worried for a while with mine that I had some sort of vicious devil dog...he's 11 months old tomorrow and he's by no means a well behaved adult dog yet, he still steals things and tries to chew them and we have an ongoing issue with him being rude and overfriendly with both people and other dogs, but he is a soppy amiable big thing. He has elbow dysplasia, which has meant lots of vet's visits, an operation and leaving him with a completely unfamiliar vet in a place he'd never been before, hundreds of examinations of a leg that has been very painful and every vet we've seen has commented on how easygoing he is - I so could not have predicted that from the snarly bitey puppy he was at 12 weeks old. In fact I'm pretty sure he was 12 weeks old when he bit a friend of mine hard enough that it's left a tiny scar over a spilled cat biscuit. confused

If you're having an issue with the timing of rewards - have you tried clicker training? I couldn't see how it was any different than using praise and a treat until I actually tried it. It makes it so much easier to time things better, it makes you so much more precise that it works loads better.

Chazz88 Thu 13-Jun-13 11:46:12

Also when learning more completed things I found using a more valuable treat very helpful e.g cheese, sausage

Ilovehistory Thu 13-Jun-13 12:26:54

I disagree that all dog problems are caused by owners. Dogs are no different to humans. Some have a tendency for aggression, laziness, etc etc...

wriggletto Thu 13-Jun-13 12:28:37

I had a horrible teenage dog too - he went through such a snarly, bitey phase (unheard of for his breed) that I thought I'd made the worst mistake of my life. One 'expert' told me to roll him on his back - hmm - which I have to admit I did once, in desperation, and he promptly weed himself in fear which was awful for us both. Never did that again.

Like others, what worked for me was completely ignoring the tantrumming, and either removing him or myself from the room so he got no attention for acting up. When he was quiet, he got lots of praise and treats. I also taught him to give a paw, and to sit, and sometimes asking for those and rewarding, would be distracting enough to snap him out of his barking. (He seemed to do that thing toddlers do, of getting so into the barking/crying that he couldn't stop.) Similarly, with the sofa, I taught him that 'off' meant cheese. I also tried to notice his body language more, to work out what it was that he was really kicking off about.

Ultimately, though, I think what really helped was time. We were consistent, and he grew up. And now, while he's still a bit Victor Meldrew, on the whole he's a sweet dog to be around. Get some proper advice - GRs are smart, and very trainable but they're too big to be in charge of the house!

lainiekazan Thu 13-Jun-13 14:25:57

I have booked a trainer to come this weekend. Poor dog is, ironically, on his best behaviour this afternoon.

Perhaps he has gone feral, as we have a large garden and in the nice weather he free roamed all day. He likes snuffling in the bushes and then reclining with his legs in the air on the sofa, and woe betide anyone who tries to interfere with his chosen routine.

Spero Thu 13-Jun-13 14:40:20

This is why I don't think it is helpful to talk in terms of 'fault'.

Dogs and humans have very different personalities and sometimes you need help figuring out the dynamic.

My dog would never act like yours - she follows us around like a shadow, I just to raise my voice slightly and she looks horrified and rolls over.

So we get on fine! But if I had a more headstrong, less 'needy' dog, no doubt I would have had other problems. I am not sure it is helpful to say that would have been 'my fault'.

coffeeinbed Thu 13-Jun-13 14:58:03

I agree with the treat it like a toddler's tantrum post.
Just be patient, firm and kind.

When I said long walks I mean you want a happily tired pup.
Of course you'll have to be mindfull of a young growing puppy's limitations.

idirdog Thu 13-Jun-13 16:20:22

3-month old puppy is displaying some really challenging behaviour this is normal puppy behaviour.

Here lies the route of your problems he free roamed all day

I did wonder about that too, do you mean he was in the garden all day roaming around by himself? Sorry if I have misunderstood!

Looks at Springer puppy who will only just go into the garden by himself (for 5 minutes max) even now but prefer to flop at my feet smile Even though I would love him to go by himself in the garden more often now, not sure if I would have let him at 12 weeks but each dog and owner is different.

He might benefit from a routine maybe? Gwen Bailey has one I recall in her book, it's for very young puppies but you can adapt.

HoneyDragon Thu 13-Jun-13 16:48:44

Oh Tabularasha, you have described my 13 month lab to a tee. Steals, chews, rude and over friendly. grin

But also, walks beautifully on the lead with the odd glitch, recalls well with the odd glitch, and loves learning new human pleasers [sit, stay, commando, through, stand etc]

lainiekazan Thu 13-Jun-13 18:41:04

Oh, no. There I thought he was loving the garden, and I've made a bad error. No one has said or has written anywhere that you should restrict puppies to a small area. Now I've f-ing blown it.

D0oinMeCleanin Thu 13-Jun-13 18:45:39

You don't have to restrict them to a small area, but it is generally easier to do so, rather than puppy proof an entire house and garden.

What people were getting at is that puppies need regular interaction and supervision and guidance generally and they love routine.

Allowing a puppy to be free range with minimal human input will result in a confused, over stimulated puppy who lacks boundaries. Same as if you did that with a young toddler.

It's easily rectified. Stop being so hard on yourself.

Set regular meal, training, rest times and get clicker training.

tabulahrasa Thu 13-Jun-13 18:49:24

Oh no - he can play in the whole garden, I think it's more the amount of time that people are on about and that he's doing it at will.

At that age, really you should be taking him in and out when it suits you (as well as toilet breaks obviously) so, if you've got a period of time where you would be walking him when he's older, or where it'll suit you for him to be tired after, take him out to play/explore so that he gets into a bit of a routine.

Puppies get overtired and overstimulated, just like toddlers need to manage their time for them a bit so that they don't get hyper or grumpy.

Honestly - it's so like having a toddler, lol.

tabulahrasa Thu 13-Jun-13 18:51:23

'Oh Tabularasha, you have described my 13 month lab to a tee. Steals, chews, rude and over friendly.'

I'm always so glad when it's not just mine that's like that, lol...I know full well it's just his age, but sometimes you feel like 'that' owner.

lainiekazan Thu 13-Jun-13 18:57:00

He hasn't been free roaming all day, just when he goes out and obviously in the warmer weather there were longer periods of this. He follows the Gwen Bailey routine to the last letter (except the family meals every day - honestly - what family spends all day together every day?) We do have a rather wild garden blush which is an inquisitive puppy's paradise.

tabulahrasa Thu 13-Jun-13 19:02:36

Ah you made it sound like he'd just been wandering round all day left a bit to his own devices...he's fine to explore when he's out there.

IAmNotAMindReader Thu 13-Jun-13 19:42:55

Golden retrievers are an intelligent breed and do require lots of mental stimulation. Until he can reliably come when you call try teaching him to sit, stay, lie down and of course come to you on command rewarding with food. They are a breed which is very food motivated find the right treat and they will do anything for it. Wear him out mentally and he will be a lot calmer.

They are also very vocal and a lot of their vocalisations are through growls. They are said to be one of the few breeds that growl through pure happiness. You will learn the difference between a yeah I love this, I really love this and go away. Look at videos on you tube etc of dog behaviour for the other behaviours which say I'm not happy (looking away, yawning, leaning away, lip licking and tense body).

Ours was a total land shark you couldn't sit in the garden when she was out or she'd think it was an invitation to play and leap on you growling happily and sink her teeth in. Gradually she learned this was not acceptable. She worked her way around the stair gate and made her way upstairs and ate the bed. She has now accepted when the stair gate is on she doesn't go up even thoguh she could easily defeat it.

Calm, consitant, firm training with lots of praise as reward, they don't do well with shouting and punishment. Praise the good and ignore the bad by turning away with arms folded (mainly so they don't get chewed) or substituting a forbidden item for one they really like (favourite toy, treat filled kong etc) and a bouncy puppy will soon give up as that is boring.
Remember their coats and skin is thicker than ours so they have to learn bite inhibition and to be gentle.

Dominance theory is complete bollocks, some of it has merit because it is common sense, ie you go through a door before the dog not because you are asserting your dominance but because you don't know what is on the other side and can handle the situation better with a heads up.

Be aware as with all dogs but particularly golden retrievers due to the intelligence they learn to manipiulate us really quickly. There is no ill intent behind it they just read our body language well and soon learn if I act like this (the worlds most emo dog) then I get (insert whatever they have their eye on). Channel that intelligence with training and they will love to please as it is fun for them too.

LittleFeileFooFoo Fri 14-Jun-13 03:21:47

Is he neutered? That may help with some of the aggression too.

And exercise helps right before training, I think.

But others have very good advice.

IAmNotAMindReader Fri 14-Jun-13 09:18:54

With a large breed most vets advise neutering at around 8 months. The snapping is also a learned behaviour he has learned he gets left to do what he wants if he does it, doesn't mean he wants to rip your throat out. Dogs are relatively simple things that use the idea of do what works.
They quickly work out what gets them the response they want, if I do x (look sulky, snarl, respond to owner) I get y. You just have to approach things form a different angle now to redirect this focus to he gets his reward from responding to you. See a few trainers and stay away from those who start on about dominance, however you need to be firm, calm and consistant.

Also keep on top of training all the time, around the teenage years (8 months to just over1) it can be like being back to 3 months again with some behaviours so remember to reinforce what you learn then.

It may seem like a hard slog but put the effort in now to moulding the dog you want and he will be a wonderful family friend for years to come.

tabulahrasa Fri 14-Jun-13 09:46:42

There was a recent study (actually done on golden retrievers) confirming that early - before the growth plates have closed at about 18 months - neutering is linked to joint problems.

Besides, hormonal aggression wouldn't start a good couple of months before puberty hits.

There's no quick fixes for puppy behaviour, just training, consistency and time for them to learn what you expect.

Gingersstuff Fri 14-Jun-13 09:47:48

Little Neutered? At 12 weeks? shock No, no, no. We've had goldens many years, neutering them much before they are 2 is asking for trouble with major hip dysplasia in later life.
OP, your pup is very young and as many have said, goldies are a very intelligent breed who do need a routine, plenty of exercise (tho obviously restricted at that young age) and most of all, a calm, rational approach to training. They will take advantage of you if they're allowed to. Your pup can't be so big at 12 weeks that you can't pick him up off the sofa and put him on the floor with a "Down" or "Off" command.
Keep in mind that these big breeds don't mature much until they are 2-3 so he has a lot of growing and development to do. You do sound like you need help with him though so get ye to a good trainer who will start you off on the right foot, then consistency is the key.
Honestly, once you get past this you'll realise that goldies are just the best...calm, intelligent, loyal, laid-back dogs who are just a joy to have around. The very best of luck to you.

Gingersstuff Fri 14-Jun-13 09:52:37

IAm neutering really isn't recommended for goldies (especially males) until at least 18 months-2 years, as Tabu says. Early neutering is very probably the cause of ongoing genetic hip dysplasias as they have a surge of hormones around that age which fuse the big hip and skull joints together, which doesn't occur in neutered males (which is why the stats show much more hip dysplasia in males than females).
Vets will always advise neutering sooner than later to prevent unplanned litters and some cancers in females but specifically for male goldies, this isn't the best option.

Spero Fri 14-Jun-13 11:24:13

I hope it is going ok. My dog hurled herself on my bed this morning and flopped on her back with such a goofy expression of adoration. It is a nice way to wake up.

I hope you can get there with your dog -when it works it is great. Best relationship with another living thing I have ever had!

Confusedandfedup Fri 14-Jun-13 11:39:39

I'm hoping it gets easier. I felt a little better this week as we got rid of the crate (which I was huge, ugly and in the way). Dog is fine without it and as crazy as it sounds it was like getting back to normal (how things were before we got her).

Gingersstuff Fri 14-Jun-13 13:19:33

It does get easier though they still have their three all rolled in fox poop the other week, I washed the two girls first and while the boy was in the shower getting a scrubdown, the ladies decided they'd use my freshly-changed duvet to enthusiastically dry themselves on. I could have wept sad

lainiekazan Fri 14-Jun-13 14:00:11

Feel much better today. Dh got up at 5am this morning allowing me two hours more sleep.. Consequently dh is in a right grump and the dog is wearing a halo and has barely put a paw wrong.

Now why didn't I know that about neutering goldies until later? My vet was trying to neuter ours at 6 months. I held off until 18 months because he was bonkers and I wanted to give him a chance to mature beyond bonkers behaviour before neutering him, but I didn't know that about hip dysplasia being linked to neutering age.

I would get some training in positive reinforcement. Ours (nearly 3) is still very bouncy when excited so I have done an awful lot of work on 'down' because if he is lying down he can't leap up and at an all over people. He loves food rewards in the house, completely ignores them when out, so I have had to start using throwing a ball as the reinforcer for training when out & about.

They are very clever - which is both a help and a hinderance. Good luck!

LittleFeileFooFoo Fri 14-Jun-13 15:28:34

Animals that are neutered younger grow larger. That probably is part of the hormone surge thing too.

EuroShaggleton Fri 14-Jun-13 15:42:18

My parents got a female goldie pup to get me over my awful, awful fear of dogs when I was a child.

She was mega cute and fluffy to start with. Then she turned into the anti-social bitey bullying "toddler" that you describe. She was hard to walk and in the house had to be kept in part of a room that was fenced off otherwise she would just nip at people all the time.

The answer was dog training classes. This was a while ago so it might be unfashionable now, but it worked. We were told to establish one member of the household as pack leader. We were told to give strong clear commands (I remember at the class she was trying to bite the lead and not paying any attention to what my dad was saying. The instructor said "we don't say 'naughty' we say 'NOOOOOOOOOOO'" in this big booming voice. The instructor combined it with grabbing her by the scruff of the neck). It really worked. She turned into the most lovely, good-natured dog you could imagine. She'd walk by us off the lead, be pulled around by the local children and all sorts. She never went for anyone.

So those tehniques might not be fashionable any more, but I would say that a good dog trainer would be invaluable.

lainiekazan Fri 14-Jun-13 21:09:04

I do agree that the training method does depend on the dog. Positive training is good, but if the dog is doing something bad/dangerous you just have to boom NO! rather than doing some distraction technique. Obviously too much no-ing is counterproductive, but also too much softly-softly will lead any dog with half a brain to think it can get away with murder. Brandishing a soft toy will hardly tempt a dog away from a nice chewy electrical wire.

HoneyDragon Fri 14-Jun-13 21:19:05

No is just a good a word as any to get a dogs attention and the one the comes easiest when you see unwanted behaviour.

The important thing is to immediately follow the No! With an instruction the dog can follow, and reward the dog positively for complying. Always.

idirdog Fri 14-Jun-13 21:29:03

90% of dog training is preventing the incorrect behaviour in the first place.

eg you do not want your dog to go upstairs. Install a gate and the dog can not go upstairs, no need to yell, If you remove the gate a few months later most dogs will not attempt to go upstairs - training made easy by preventing the behaviour you do not want. You dont want your dog to counter surf do not leave food on the counter so there is no need for your dog to counter surf.

You should not put your dog in a position where you have to say boom no. IF on the odd occasion your dog does need to be stopped it would be much more positive and productive to yell down or wait then reward that behaviour than the negative command of no.

HoneyDragon Fri 14-Jun-13 21:32:40

Idirdog, as always has explained it better grin

My no! Is nearly always out side. I think my pup thinks it means. "Uh oh the humans panicking better see what's up" rather than "I am not meant to be doing this".

PeanutPatty Fri 14-Jun-13 22:55:22

Depending on what you do with the soft toy decides whether the dog will leave the wires to come and play a game with you? You need to be more interesting and fun than anything else.

I'd recommend clicker training and Kay Laurence, Learning About Dogs is worth a read / google.

Spero Fri 14-Jun-13 23:06:12

I completely agree with the judicious use of the word 'no'. I only use it in emergency or serious situation. Dog knows it is serious and responds. If she was going after one of the cats or pooing on the rug I am certainly not waving a toy or treat.

daftwit Sat 15-Jun-13 22:51:38

I can totally understand what you are going through right now, I have a 16 week pup, who is mad ! The bruises on our ankles are shocking, from the constant nipping, it gets to me some days.
However, as a family, we lost our beautiful golden retriever in a sudden and tragic accident, we were not ready to lose our family member. He was only young and a much loved member of our family. He too, as a puppy, was very trying and a complete loon . But, with lots of attention, training and perseverance he became a wonderful dog. Retrievers are loyal, obedient dogs who love to please.
As a family, we decided to choose a different breed of dog this time, our pup is a challenge, as was our retriever. However, this time around I know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Puppies are toddlers ! Very unpredictable, but constant training really does work.
Please keep at it, you are not alone in these puppy years !!!!!!!!!

lainiekazan Sun 16-Jun-13 05:57:22

Thanks for all the support. We all watched "Marley & Me" last night. Bawled our eyes out of course. Now I'm bawling with tiredness sitting here with dog who has been up since 5 past 5 full of beans. I dropped the washing powder and he ate a giant lump of that... I expect him to be foaming at the mouth later...

PeanutPatty Sun 16-Jun-13 07:40:42

A really good book which is worth a read is called "Life Skills for Puppies" by Daniel Mills.

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