Help me enjoy our puppy again.........(42 Posts)
The gorgeous Rollo - golden retriever puppy - has now been with us for about 12 to 13 weeks, since he was 7 weeks old. I knew that having a puppy would mean a big life change for us all and I'm committed to making this work.
However, 3 months on and I'm really struggling - or should I say, STILL really struggling.
I get no more than 5.5 hrs sleep a night (not always because of puppy of course but adding him to my already busy life has meant that any catch up nights are no longer happening and it almost seems as if every night recently either I've been woken by him barking to be let out again (he recently had diarrhoea all night), or by one of the DCs being ill/ having nightmares.
So I'm in a sleep deprived state, although not nearly as bad as when DCs were really small.
But secondly, my DCs are clearly NOT enjoying having a puppy at all. On school days, they really don't see him at all, as I drop them for school at 7.50am and then do the first dog walk and before we leave home, they just don't even interact with the pup/ don't have any time.
When I pick them up from school, I'll already have done walk two with Rollo and the absolute worst, impossible, unendurable hours are between 4.15pm and 9.00pm when DCs need me - for making supper/ supervising homework etc etc but also Rollo needs me to play in the garden with him, as he's napped post-walk 2 and is rearing to go again.
I'm pulled between his needs and DCs needs and no time at all for my own.
DCs are now being more clear that they HATE any time involving the puppy. Every single w/e that they obviosuly have to come along on Rollo's 2 walks, they hate every minute of it. One of them tends to cry and just wants to go home and the other elicits horrible, horrible rows with me. So dog-walking is a complete nightmare rather than a family fun time.
Rollo is now creeping towards the start of adolescence I presume and is much much less likely to do what I say, won't recall if any other dogs/ people/ interesting smells are near and so many 'walks' now involve me pulling him along by his lead and harness. I've completely given up on trying collar and lead walks as there just isn't time to ensure he gets a walk at all but isn't choking himself every step of the way.
Thankfully, owing to this forum, I realise we all have low points in puppy owning and knew that adolescence woule be a hard time. However, having wanted a dog all my life, I'd assumed that my sons - like many children - would at the v least tolerate and rather like Rollo - if not adore him. Clearly, they don't.
He jumps up and bites them in play, if they interact and is at his worst doing this at the times they have available to interact at all - evenings after school. So they don't want to be around him. They do say they love him but this doesn't at all translate into wanting to have him around them, which is understandable as he's no fun for them at all.
I have less time and admittedly less motivation to train every day and I'm just really shattered and getting all the negative sides of puppy owning and none of the good sides.
When you reach this pointm what's the best way to go from here in terms of rejuvenating the joy in having your pup?
In all honesty, I think you are making things extremely hard for yourself, both with the puppy and the DC. Sorry.
You need time for you and that means at least puppy and possibly DC at times, have to work around that. Couldn't the DC stay at home during weekend walks? Not least as walks must still be pretty short for now?
It's great that you're so commited to the puppy, but Rollo must learn to amuse himself, there is no way an almost 6 month old puppy still needs your constant attention and I would say it's important not to let him demand it. Attention/play time is when you say so, not the puppy.
He is also too old to be jumping up and biting at your own DC still. Have you taken him to training classes? (sorry, I forget!) I would do so and try and involve the boys if you can. Look for a class where the trainer understands you want the boys ot be interested in the dog and that will work specifically with them and him or maybe look at a few intial sessions at home? Once the boys discover that they can control the dog and make him do the things they want/teach him tricks, they are much more likely to become interested in him. Would they consider taking him to a fun dog show? Everyone loves a Golden Retriever puppy and he's likely to be popular there and them getting to show him off might have a positive effect?
Also, are there things you can do at weekends where you can take the dog but the DC can do something they like? A skate park for example, if they are into that sort of thing? You can sit and encourage them with the dog, but they can sort of amuse themselves? Sitting outside for an hour or several with a young puppy is just as beneficial as a walk IMO. Maybe the boys have other outside hobbies that they can take part in whilst you and Rollo watch? Or I am not sure if places like Go Ape would appeal to them and whether you can take a dog there?
You need to sort the on lead walking out sooner rather than later, so some extra training classes or a one to one trainer if that's easier are a must IMO. Walking a dog that doesn't behave on a lead is an utter nightmare and only gets worse and worse.
And chin up, you're doing a great job. Puppies are very hard work.
You sound stressed out and when youre tired things always seem overwhelming.
I'm not an expert (new puppy owner) but have you been to an APDT trainer? The lead problems, jumping up and biting can be solved through training, I'm sure. I would think the sooner you deal with it the better, he will only get bigger.
Have you got a crate? Could you settle him with a kong filled with his evening meal so tha the has something to work at. Like a child, he needs to learn to entertain himself some of the time.
Also cook in advance so that's not an issue.
If you're a bit frustrated by the puppy the kids will be picking up on that.
I hope one of the experienced owners will be along with more advice soon.
Cross posts with midori
Our dcs enjoy recall training in the park. The all have some treats and spread out, sometimes hiding behind trees, etc. Then one of them calls him. He gets a treat for coming and sitting or lying down. We also play that in the house and garden. We were at first puppy class last night with all 4 dcs and the trainer actually said she liked the kids to come as it helps to socialise other people's puppies to children.
Bribery? For the DCs, as well as the dog.
"Rollo and I are going to the park/ the beach / the ice-cream shop". And see who else wants to come?
what young doods said. during the week i walk the dog[s] on the school run, and then at the weekend we go to the field. the kisd love the field more than the dogs as they want to explore, and they have foiund 'treasure' there (old pottery that the wild rabbits dig up) so they always want to come with me there.
hmm, who is the boss in your house? Who makes the decisions? DCs , dog, you? Puppy needs to learn to get on a bit and no means no. (same for dcs I find). Training class pronto (I like clicker training myself) as this also helps with socialisation. Buy a walkezee harness. Then puppy cannot pull and your dcs will also be able to hold lead and be involved.
If you can afford it have a trainer come to your house a few times to train puppy and dcs together. I found that really helped with our first dog when dcs were little.
Do you have a crate? GET ONE! the puppy is in there safe and sound sometimes with door closed sometimes not. KOng stuffed with peanut butter, nylabones, etc for amusement. Walk puppy around your timetable that you can keep up FOREVER. Mine still gets up and hassles me at midday even though I've changed his second walk to a more convenient time for me...2 years ago...
good luck, puppies are wonderful
I've got twins, and was thinking of getting a dog, so interested in your situation.
The first thing that strikes me, is that you are making life very very hard for yourself. You need some time to yourself. Babysitters don't cost that much money, really they don't. They cost less than dog trainers. They cost less than lots of things.
You need some time off at the weekend, so that the world seems less overwhelming. What about a teenager to come in the evening to play with the dog whilst you are dealing with children. A teenager who likes playing with dogs and boys?
A friend who was a lone mother, with a 4 year old son, (who was used to her undivided attention) found it very difficult to accommodate needs of puppy and son, and she didn't even work. The son and puppy were in direct competition for at least 6 months, and she felt very antagonistic toward her little son (who she had bought puppy to complete the family ifyswim). It was backbreaking. But her son absolutely adores the dog now, and they have a new dog 7 years later too..(She has found second one backbreaking too but couldn't resist) You and your kids were the family before, you can't expect them to adjust to a super tired, super busy mummy just because the dog is what YOU'VE ALWAYS WANTED. They will love him, but on their terms not yours.
It is easy to get tunnel vision. You need some sleep, or you need to change the way you live. It will work out, but only because you help yourself and stop being superhuman.
PS. Your kids are probably exhausted too, after a term of school, the holidays may be a chance for them to chill out with Rollo.
Kind energetic teenagers generally cost £8 a hour max. Cheap at the price,if you just need someone to take the strain and lighten the atmosphere.
Thank you. The thing is, I've put in place much of what people are suggesting, since the second day home with Rollo. He's had one to one clicker training about once a week since he was 7 weeks old and also attends a puppy class with the same trainer. We even joined another class for a bit too but didn't have time to keep this up.
This trainer is v good and also works as a primary school teacher and from the start involved the DCs. If we're out with her, doing training, it's not nearly so difficult and the DCs participate a bit and she also lets them join in in the class too.
One thing is that there's been no class for the last 3 weeks as the trainer hasn't been able to do it and nor have I had time to arrange one-to-one training either. The DCs were starting to resent our w/es being taken up with the pup.
I've emailed the trainer but she's not yet got back to me.
Rollo's crate trained since day one. He's toilet trained too but as he signals by barking when he needs to 'go' and as he recently had diarrhoea, I've been reluctant not to respond immediately when he barks....hence last night going back and back to him till midnight but still he was barking and up by 5.30am.
He generally doesn't like being shut in his crate now and I only do this at night and he tends to settle more easily, if he's just flopping on the kitchen floor.
He's one of those pups that either takes seconds to empty a kong or gives up straightaway if it's not easy enough. I'm trying to find something else that'll occupy him for longer but not sure what to use? He shreds cardboard but that's not ideal for him and he chews the kitchen skirting boards a lot now.
I already 'pay' the DCs to come on walks with me at the w/e or give them chocolate whilst we're out. They're still not happy. DC2 has Asperger's traits and has a 'need' to be home in front of his PC at certain times of the day and therefore gets massively upset if he's out for the second walk later in the day. DS1 is just bored by walking. they're so unlike me as a child, where I'd spend part of whole days off in parkland, finding stray dogs to follow and pretend were my own and loving being out in nature!
Neither DS has outdoor hobbies really - both hate football and most sports other than horse riding. DS1 wants to do things outside to some extent but things that a puppy will disrupt and so he gets annoyed with Rollo and me for getting a puppy.
Rollo has a good enough routine now - with first walk around 8.00am and second walk around 2pm and playtime in the garden too from about 5.30am till 6am, from 11am till 12.00pm, from 4.30pm till 5.00pm, from 6.00am till 7.30am and then from about 9pm till 10pm - although he now settles less well for the night around 10pm. So I'm on the go with him in every single 'gap' that previously existed or didn't actually 'exist' but has been created to fit him in.
I'm heading down to the kitchen now to take him out on his walk before doing school run....so I'd better go. There's just been no respite for 3 months now and I'm beginning to struggle!
Only just seen your messages - thanks. Most of the summer I'll have to work and twins are in various clubs but we're going away for one week and, as I've written on another thread, will probably put Rollo in boarding kennels - which is making me feel guilty but not yet found another option and also getting a sense of total relief too, I'm afraid.
Pup needs constant supervision in garden and anywhere other than kitchen wo whoever is with him needs to know about puppies and their behaviours! Have bought some wire netting stuff to fence off part of garden but no time whatsoever to begin to try to do this. Rollo still nips and jumps up so whoever looked after him would also need to know how to manage this.
Sleep is what I need most of all.
Solo - reading through your last post I would say you were doing far too much with him. Maybe he is completely overtired hence won't sleep? This playtime in the garden, are you playing with him for all that time? That's 4.5 hours of play plus two walks, no wonder you are exhausted, I bet he is too! My puppy is a lot younger than yours so maybe I have this to come but I don't do anywhere near that with her and she spends most of the day asleep, and sleeps very well at night too. I spend about an hour playing with her at some point in the day and usually I take her on a walk for 30 mins, sometimes she has two walks and half an hour play extra or sometimes she has one walk and a puppy playdate. Generally she is "on the go" for maximum two hours a day, rest of the time she mooches around the garden chewing something or she sleeps.
You definately need to bring back the crate and let him learn to be in there for a few hours in the evening whilst you sort out the boy's homework. All time he is in the crate you know he is not getting up to mischief and he will probably get a well earned rest - go back to the original plan and when he barks or cries ignore him.
I know he had diarrhoea but by keep going back to him when he is barking is doing exactly what he wants - getting your attention and it is working clearly so he is going to keep doing it.
You are making this really hard for yourself
You are really making things hard for yourself! This puppy needs to fit in around you and your lifestyle, it is never going to work otherwise. To some extent, your DC need to fit around you aswell, although obviously at the same time you need to accomodate the DC and the dog.
I wouldn't allow anyone else to look after the puppy, personally. However, you could easily stick him in his crate for an hour or however long it takes whilst you stick the fence up in the garden. Put the crate in the garden so he can watch you if you like, but give him the kong and he'll just have to like it or lump it. The fence being up will benefit him and you, so you need to make it a priority. It is essential that Rollo learns he must spend alone time and amuse himself and he cannot rely on you for company or entertainment all the time. Bones will probably keep him amused, but I wouldn't give him them until his tummy has cleared up.
If the DC like horse riding, is it not an option to book them a riding lesson one day at the weekend as a 'reward' for the time they have to spend traipsing round with you after the dog? Most riding schools would be happy for you to take along a puppy on a lead to watch a lesson.
I also wouldn't tolerate the chewing. If Rollo can't be supervised he must be in his crate. Chewing is potentially dangerous for him as well as a nuisance.
I suspect what has happened is that you are so keen to keep everyone, including the puppy, happy that everyone has you wrapped around their little fingers. If the puppy barks, let him bark and in your current situation, I would let him bark even if he has diarrhea I'm afraid. They are so quick to learn and they soon learn how to get attention.
You're spending almost 5 hours a day playing with/amusing this puppy on top of walking him. I admire your commitment, but there's no way on this earth I would ever do that. I couldn't because of my other dogs and DC, it just wouldn't happen. He really needs to learn to spend more time alone.
Solo my day goes like this
7.00 puppy out of crate, wee, poo, breakfast, 15 mins in garden waiting for the inevitable second poo.
In crate, door open if I am there 90% of time I am, door closed if I go out. If door closed and she is not sleeping a kong goes in. Toys in the crate.
Mid morning, she might deign to get out of bed for another wee/poo.
Lunchtime walk or playdate and lunch, followed by another wee/poo in the garden, if nice she will sit out there on her own chewing a toy if not nice she will sit in the dining room chewing a toy whilst I work.
She usually chooses to go back to bed for the rest of the afternoon, if I need to go out or need her to know that it's complete silence i.e. I am on conference calls then door is shut.
Early evening, play in the garden or walk, dinner, mooch around the kitchen playing with toy if we are cooking. We might go out to dinner or for a drink or do the shopping, then it's back in crate.
When we come back, out of crate, whizz round the garden for half an hour. Back in on a lap on sofa cuddle for an hour then bed.
She seems happy with this and so are we - it means I can take my daughter out on her own as she got a bit jealous/resentful of the puppy during the first few weeks and also she can't stand it when the puppy is manic. Puppy does get manic if overtired and also if she hasn't done enough so I have to make sure the balance is right.
Solo2 - I am sorry you are feeling like this. I'm sure if you could get a few decent nights of sleep you would feel much better.
I am feeling guilty now, since I was one of the people who encouraged you to go and see these pups.
But, if my experiences are anything to go by, you should be over the worst by now. I also found the first 3 or 4 months very challenging, and found it impossible to get things done if I was the only one around. I also sufferd from lack of sleep. That has all changed. Rory has just turned 1, and over the past 6 months I have gradually got my free time back again. Rory has started sleeping longer at nights, and he is much more chilled-out in the mornings and evenings. As other people have said, you have to teach him to spend more time amusing himself, and make him fit into your life. He is no longer a tiny puppy.
How long have you left him alone for, during the day? I think that leaving Rory for 2-3 hours on a regular basis (i.e. once or twice a week) has been a factor in helping him learn to chill-out in his crate on his own. Why don't you leave him at home for a couple of hours this weekend and do something exciting with the boys ?
P.S. Just talking to my sister in law, who was reminiscing about her Golden Retriever pup/dog that she got when she was seven, and how much she loved him.
I'm sure twins will love him, just that at the moment he is a threat to them isn't he, as he's taking what is most precious to them (if you think about it) YOUR ATTENTION. No amount of reasoning is going to change that, and the fact that he's made you frazzled/even shorter tempered with them and their demands. You are already feeling cross with them for not being the sort of child you were
I often feel sad that my dcs don't like doing some of the things I enjoyed as a child, like you I spent a lot of time wandering around inventing imaginary games, playing outside, making camps, sewing, reading to myself. However, you can't replicate the conditions of your own childhood, so you have to be careful about expectations.
I think the dog is non-negotiable, but there might be something else on the checklist that is..maybe cut out something that is creating stress, music lessons, some extras, lower your expectations of yourself and the kids. In a year you could always start any extra-curricular stuff again. I have cut out some of the stuff my 3 dcs do, because it was making me and them by extension exhausted, even if on a individual basis those activities were commendable. You need to think of your family life as a whole, even if you feel that you HAVE to do x y z for various reasons, no-one is making you do anything but yourself.
And I know how demanding dcs can be, contrary to expectations they seem to need more and more attention as they get older, (bedtime stories, little chats, intervention in fights, all that homework) not less. I think you just need to spread the load, and relax together a bit more, and get them on your side. It is hard learning to relax together, don't let anyone tell you otherwise!
Thanks again. I've been feeling guilty for not spending enough quality time with Rollo or doing enough training recently. So to hear that it might actually be too much - well in terms of general attention and playtime - is helpful.
When I spend time in the garden with him, it involves about 15 mins play each time but the rest of the time, it's me following him round and grabbing his lead to pull him off something dangerous or trying to extract something poisonous from his jaws - like newly fallen tiny apples, snails, cat poo (I think this was what gave him awful diarrhoea recently), sticks that he chews - or stopping him digging ever more holes in our once lovely lawn - which is now pockmarked with yellow dead patches from wee and holes from his digging!
He'll spend much longer cheqeing something he shouldn't than something he should! He'd NEVER spend more than a minute or two with a toy on his own and believe me he's got TONS of puppy toys! I wish i could find somehting he'd chew on for hours but I thought bones were only for much older dogs? He did get into a nylabone once but seems to have abandoned it recently and I think he isn't teething as much now.
He does get left alone in the kitchen for 2 two hour blocks a day, when I work and for about 1.5 to 2 hrs when I do the teatime school run. I also leave him there alone when I finally go up to get the twins to bed between 8pm and 8.40pm. Their time with me then used to be the only quality time we had in the day and might have been from 7.30pm till 9pm so they've lost a lot of that special time.
On my part, I'm now itching to settle them in bed so that I can start the evening dog duty in the garden/ kitchen. I never ever ever get time in the sitting room but haven't since my twins have been born. My pre-puppy pleasure was to go to bed around 9pm and read till about 9.45pm. Now instead, I'm up and down to the dog till at least 10 pm and recently till maybe midnight.
If I leave him barking, he keeps it up and I assume he needs to poo and as he's in the room under my bedroom and DS2's bedroom, I'm afraid he'll wake DS2 and in any case, he wakes me. It's like having babies all over again where you just finally think they've settled and you drift into sleep and they wake up calling you yet again. It's torture!!
So Iguess I have to learn to ignore the barking? He now has a v v loud and deep grown-up dog bark that goes on and on and DCs spend most of their time in the room adjacent to the kitchen (where they have PCs) and hate it when he barks and ruins their time at PC and beg me to take him out of his crate, into the garden.
You're right, I really must fix up the garden run so Rollo can go int he garden unattended. the thing is, I'm pretty sure he'll bark and bark because it'll restrict his access to the more 'interesting' parts of the garden, as he barks all the time if I ever stick him briefly in the playpen. I use that for dire emergencies only.
He just seems much more strong willed now and on walks will happily race off, when off-lead, in the opposite direction to me and not look back /come back, which I assume is a sign of adolescence? Then he also now will come racing towards me and jump up and nip and he constantly jumps up in the kitchen, if I'm cooking and goes for anything on the kitchen counters. So I put him in his crate, just in order to cook the twins' supper and he barks constantly and v loudly whilst in there, which makes the whole time v unpleasant. I've taken to shutting myself in the kitchen, thus also blocking out my DCs and the other time when we might be chatting as I cook.
If I could just get him back to sleeping happily from about 9.30pm till 5.30am that would really help but having to repeatedly go down to him, sometimes an hour after he's gone quiet but then started barking again - this really is driving me to distraction!
He's not neally as responsive to training and today for eg has stopped responding to the command Down and instead, will jump towards my face if I point to the floor, as if he's expecting the treat straightaway and really can't be bothered to do a Down for it. As this is pretty scary for me even, no way will I let the DCs near him unsupervised.
I think I'd better try to find more time to book more one to one training asap. I'd like to buy earplugs for the night but the DCs often need me in the night and I want to be able to hear them and also DS2 may wake up if rollo keeps barking on and on....
Right now, he's sleeping like an angel of golden fur on the kitchen floor...Who would think he could be such a trial!
My suggestions would be to knock the first thing in the morning and last thing at night play sessions on the head. If he knows you get up and play with him at 5.30 in the morning, in his head why on earth should he sleep later! If you're not convinced he'll last without a toilet break, then go down,, let him out, be very boring, and then put him back in the crate and go back to bed (DC routine allowing!)
Likewise evening playing - I agree that young pups seem to need to burn off a burst of craziness before going down for the night, but I'd think you can start to reclaim your evenings now. Don't get sucked into giving attention on demand (and how I wish I'd known that...). Out, toilet, bed. No fuss.
Seeing as you are actually giving him a huge amount of time, you can probably swop half an hour of getting frustrated in the garden with 10 minutes of really really fun play, then 10-15 minutes of training once or twice a day. The dog will be equally, if not more, tired, and you can hopefully make progress without losing any more of your day.
If you have a chewer, i'd persevere with the Kongs. It took ours a while to get the hang, but they'll occupy him for a good while now. If he has a lot of toys, try taking them all away and only give him 1 or 2 each morning, rotating them so he doesn't get bored.
It's absolutely fine for him to have raw bones (cooked can spliner) and they are likely to occupy him for ages, especially at first. Marrow bones can cause upset tummies, but you can take some of the marrow out at first so he doesn't get too much. Most butchers will give you bones for free too, as they have to pay to have them taken away.
I understand your reluctance to let him bark, but I suspect that you have accidentally trained him to bark more. Ignoring him now will be hard at first because he know that barking gets him attention, so at firstr when you ignore him he will bark even more/for longer because he'll think if it worked before it'll work now. It's really important once you decide not to go to him to not go to him at all, because if you do he will just learn he has to bark for a really long time to get the attention.
I also think that if you have a situation where Rollo is jumping up and stealing food next to you whilst you are cooking, you need to get that dealt with. It's one thing for a puppy to steal food you have left out, but quite another for him to try and steal it whilst you are stood next to it/preparing it. Does the trainer/behaviourist know about this? It is something I would ask them to help you work on ASAP. The suddenly runnin gup and jumping up and nipping is something that needs to be dealt with too, it is not a sign of adolescence at all and it's certainly not acceptable. It shows a complete lack of understanding appropriate behaviour on Rollo's part and needs nipping in the bud ASAP. It will only get worse otherwise.
I am not suprised you're not enjoying your puppy much any more tbh. It dounds like your lifelong dream has somewhat turned into a nightmare. You are desperately trying to do all the right things, and you've got a lot of things right, but more boundaries regarding the dog's behaviour need to be established. I don't think anyone could fault you on your commitment to the dog, I suspect a lot of people (including myself) would find such demanding behaviour hard to deal with.
ok, so a bit more info helpful to know what you've done already. I appreciate it's hard to advise without knowing the whole situation.
BUT stick with crate, he has to learn it is his space and you have your space. Can you find another trainer who can take over, you can't really break teh routine imo. get different things for him to chew, take stuff away that you don't want him to chew. we used a 'hold it' so he always had something he was allowed and swapped it with what he wasn't. Get excited about what you are doing to distract him and then he will be interested.
Now he is so old, stop early and late sessions - he is in the habit but you will need to be firm, he simply doesn't need it. He will bark and fuss but IGNORE him. Make sure that he has been to toilet before you go to bed though.
Dog proof your garden, fence etc - should be done before dog really but do it now then he can be outside alone (with bit of checking) If you can't do it everywhere what about a bit of the garden for him fenced off with gate so kids are away from him too?
Pay your kids to come on a walk? wow, mine sometimes got chocolate but not much. i know that ds has aspergers so that is different but he can be encouraged to join in - there must be some way he can be engaged with the dog.
lead - if he is in a harness he cannot pull, it isn't possible so do you have it on properly? Sorry to ask but have you had someone check its on correctly? my ds can take our big labradoodle on a walk by herself now.
apart from all this (sorry being very bossy but dont want him to end up in rescue), don't forget he is part of your family. He is lovely and wants to please you but goldens are bouncy puppies who dont grow up for 2 or 3 years! enjoy him
Others on the puppy thread have been giving their puppies bones and it seems to keep them occupied for hours. I would be tempted to try something more hardcore to keep him occupied in his crate, yes he might not get kongs yet but he will do eventually, try different things, boursin cheese, peanut butter, liver paste.
I agreed with ATYD about the rotating toys. I clean up Maggie's toys every day and she gets them rotated so isn't bored of them. You say he won't play with his toys, well maybe not now because he doesn't need to, he has got you wandering around after him entertaining him!
I would definately not be following him around the garden for hours I would spend 15 minutes of good play or training with treats that is quite a lot for a puppy so outside for a play, then back inside for crate. Ignore the barking and do more crate training whilst the twins are at school. If he has recently had wee, poo, play then into crate with something interesting - have you looked at the stagbars link - they seem to be a hit. If he barks do not assume he needs another poo, he doesn't he just knows that when he barks eventually you will come to him. I can totally understand that the twins want you to take him out of his crate however every single time you do that you are creating a bigger problem, he knows you will eventually come when he barks! Can you get the twins some earplugs or have them listen to music whilst they are on PC. Everyone in the house needs to buy in that he needs to be ignored whilst he is in his crate, eventually he will settle and sleep and then he can come out or you can open the door.
Personally I would cut his activity right down....and I would also just ignore him at night, however I also know just HOW loud they are and how sensitive we are to worrying about children waking. I have many times lain awake waiting for the barking to start because I was so anxious about my daughters sleep (of course she slept through it all!!!) At six months he can wait to go to the toilet for at least 8 hours and the quicker you get him doing this the quicker you can get 8 hours sleep yourself.
You say he is asleep on the kitchen floor - put him in his crate, he is tired and the sooner he learns that crate = sleep and down time the better.
Be prepared to go through a few days/week of hell because he will up his game for attention as that it what he is used to.
Solo solo solo I would love to come and help.
You are doing WAY TOO MUCH (yep I am shouting!) for that puppy (and probably the boys as well)
Rollo now needs two walks a day
15 min training morning and maybe afternoon
that is it
Ok maybe a little bit of grooming and feeding. Take him out if you pop out and about to socialise him.
He has to learn to be on his own, he has to learn to be bored and relax as well.
Weekend walks with the boys have you tried geocaching - it worked a treat with my lads. Basically a treasure hunt using a gps and it always got them out and about on new walks with the dogs and they didn't even notice!
In the evening Rolo should not be needing much attention at all. He has had exercise he has been fed he should be snoozing quietly at your feet while you relax with a nice glass of wine.
In one post you said you played with him for an hour and a half in the evening way too much for a puppy.
I am the worst dog owner in the world - if my dogs are ill (obviously only a mild stomach upset not if really poorly) I put them in a separate room newspaper on the floor and go to bed. I have a big clear up in the morning when I am rested. The dog will not get into the habit of pooing indoors at all - so don't worry about that.
Please don't take this the wrong way but I think your boys have a lesson to learn - they cannot have all of your time and must realise that you can not always be there just for them (I may be way off with this but I would be worried if my children resented time I was giving to another living thing - I would want them to recognise the importance of caring for something else- but I only do dogs so that could be a load of b@@@cks!)
Get a bit of the garden safe temporary fence it - get a marrow bone from the butchers give it to Rollo and enjoy and hours peace.
Stop trying to be perfect - you are already and you must give yourself some slack.
Re Rolos behaviour - you need to make sure he does what you want and not train you to do what he wants!
It is so easy for us to give advice on here as we are not in your situation but you can stop doing so much and everything will still be ok - honest.
Solo, I just want to send you a message of support really. I have been following your threads about Rollo with interest because our pup is almost the same age (a few weeks older). I don't really have much advice to give (I think if there were any easy answers to some of the issues you have you'd have put them in place already) but maybe I can empathise with how you must be feeling.
I'll confess that although we have been doing our best to teach her what is acceptable (and still are) our pup is still play biting and jumping too. She is massively improved but we haven't managed to completely eradicate it. We are also starting to have less instant compliance in terms of recall etc as she gets older (trying to nip it in the bud).
My situation is somewhat less complicated than yours (in that I have a DP to share some of the load, only 1 DC and am a SAHM) but I do find it hard trying to divide my attention and time between DD and puppy. She is used to having me all to herself and it has been a period of transition for her. She and pup aren't fantastic together so I often find myself shuttling between different rooms and feeling guilty that I'm not doing as much with DD as I used too. Completely agree that afternoon/evening is by far the hardest part of the day.
The only practical thought I have (and I am prepared to be flamed/ignored) is that you depart from the 5mins per month x2 'rule' and give Rollo a longer afternoon walk. Maybe then he will settle/sleep better during the after school time - freeing you up for some quality post-school time with the boys and quieter PC time.
(DP and I have considered the evidence and decided to depart from the rule - our pup definitely needs more exercise at this age to be settled and content the rest of the day. However, ours is smaller dog and we are careful to not to exceed her limits and consider the surface she is walking on
Oh, our pup loves bulls pizzles to chew on - keeps her interest for a good chunk of time. Hasn't upset her tum. Stink though!
Sorry this is an epic post..
Solo I feel for you. i still have bad days with Miss Daisy and get torn between her and the kids and DH who likes her but would still prefer we had not got a dog. My DD was dithering with school bag at the front door yesterday and Daisy raced out. I really snapped at my daughter to close the door and ended up with her in tears, Daisy racing up the street and general stress and chaos.
I keep telling people - and they agree- that we will have a lovely dog in a few months. I can see with Daiz that she moves through phases. Now she is toilet trained and no longer jumps up and nips our clothes. Her current phase is furniture chewing and loud pointless barking . She pulls much less on the lead and is getting a bit calmer when visitors come to the house. It is hard work, isn't it? You will get to the point where your kids can lean on Rollo, cuddle him, tell him secrets and he will enrich all your lives all the time.
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