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Help needed to keep kids and pup happy, before one of them has to go!

(23 Posts)
tooearlytobeup Fri 23-Sep-11 20:41:57

Curently 4 year old DD is the favourite to leave angry

I have 1x15 week old pup, 1x stroppy 4 yr old DD, 1x 9yr old DD, and 1x 11yr old DS. Husband working away from home, so just me, kids and pup at home.

Todays walk started off well, littlest on bike (with stabilisors) me holding dogs lead (normal short lead with collar). We got to the end of the street before I cracked and made littlest get off and walk as she had already nearly ended up on the road twice.

Littlest then walks at a snails pace, so we have to do the same, and are constantly stopping to wait for her. She keeps up a constant whinge of 'I'm tiireeeeeed' and drags her feet.

Pup is pulling like a train, not that I blame him cos I feel like running away too, but I cannot really concentrate on working on this as I have to watch the kids.

I was stressed, kids were all fed up. Oldest was trying to help by carrying the littlest, but I was telling him off as I didn't want to pander to her and encourage her to do it more.

Pup pulled so much, he was panting and coughing. By the time we got to the park, he was totally uninterested in treats, probably because he was thirsty. As this is his main reason for coming back to me, I did not feel confident that his recall would be good (actually it was fine smile, so he was not left off lead for as long as usual.

The girls were left to play in the playground while he was offlead, but when we left, we had to do the same walk home sad

None of us enjoyed it, and there must be a better way, but I can't seem to work out what it is.

I will remember to take water for pup in future, and wonder if a harness would be better than a collar for him? I would rather sort out the pulling altogether though.

I have tried littlest on scooter, but that is no better. I got desperate yesterday, and ordered a pushchair for her for really bad weather, or when she is extremely tired, but don't want to use it all the time as she has not had one for nearly a year before this.

How does everyone else manage dogs and kids? I now have alcohol, which is making things seem better, but would like to have a plan for tomorrow smile

misdee Fri 23-Sep-11 20:48:50

how long was your walk?

at this stage walks should be nice and short and you can gradulally build them up.

Rhinestone Fri 23-Sep-11 20:55:45

I'm a big fan of harnesses so would recommend one anyway. What breed is he? Ruffwear do a really good one - beware of the step in ones that clip over their back as a determined dog can get out of these.

Right, the walking. I would suggest that you need to do some training to stop him pulling and it will be impossible for you to focus on this whilst the kids are with you. Can you leave them in the house and take pup outside on the street right outside your house, i.e. so you are not really leaving the kids? Every time he pulls walk in the opposite direction so that he learns that their really is no point to pulling.

Plus you need to give him an enjoyable reason to stay at your side - take a bag of kibble so that you can feed him every time he walks at heel to reinforce that this is a good place to be! Do this training when he's hungry anyway, you can actually give him his entire meal doing this for a few days. Include a 'jackpot' occasionally - that is his absolute favourite treat in a large quantity, e.g. small (raisin-sized) pieces of chicken breast or steak.

Training is hard and requires patience and 'good' vibes - you can't do this if the kids are stressing you out. If you walk 30m from your house then turn round and walk past it again then I'm sure your kids will survive!

Good luck.

tooearlytobeup Fri 23-Sep-11 21:05:36

Thank you both for helping.

Misdee, Park is 10 minute (if walking, not stropping hmm ) walk away. Pup is 15 weeks, and a springer spaniel, so a bundle of energy.

I do carry treats constantly, and reward him when he walks well, but near roads I find it hard to hold lead, while pup bounces around, hold a childs hand, and hold a treat bag, with a hand ready to take a treat grin

Unfortunately, his best doggie pal lives two doors down from us, and he is constantly trying to get to see him, so outside the house is the worst place to practise. I suppose I could try in a field though. i will google harnesses smile

Rhinestone Fri 23-Sep-11 21:11:12

OK, if you're worried about the road then may I suggest you get a second leash, loop it through the handle of the leash attached to pup and then clip it around your waist. That way if you have to let go of him or if he pulls the leash from you then he is still attached IYSWIM. It's a bit of a back up that I use with completely mad and untrained spirited dogs that I walk.

And get yourself a bumbag for the treats, will free up a hand!

Can you palm your kids on to someone for 20 minutes a day whilst you do the walking training?

Booboostoo Fri 23-Sep-11 21:11:26

Just a little thing which might help: have you tried a bum bag for the treats? It will leave you two hands free to sort out everyone else and you can treat when you get a moment free. Also have you tried some version of clicker training? The actual clicker may just be too tough due to the no free hands problem, but if you get the puppy used to a "well done" sounds like clicking with your tongue, you have marked the behaviour which will re-inforce it and then that gives you a bit longer to fish out a treat.

tooearlytobeup Fri 23-Sep-11 21:13:10

Ok I'm lost, which sort do I need?

When I though of getting a dog, I budgeted for adoption fee, food insurance, kennels, vets fees. I didn't think of puppy classes, wellies, waterproofs for kids, pushchair hmm multiple leads, harnesses, toys, crate, car crate, replacing shoes etc etc etc.

I think this pup is going to bankrupt me grin

Rhinestone Fri 23-Sep-11 21:14:29

Which sort of what?!

tooearlytobeup Fri 23-Sep-11 21:19:01

Ok, bumbag added to shopping list, good idea! I'm not worried about dog on road, he is on lead and generally listens to me, its 4 year old who is in more danger. I may get a lead for her too ...

I tried clicker training, but kids got too into it, and kept clicking hmm Pup ate so much he got the runs.

Unfortunately I cannot palm kids off on anyone. The older two can stay home on their own, and are genarally fine anyway, I may resort to the youngest in pushchair, but then cant react quickly to pup when he is offlead.

tooearlytobeup Fri 23-Sep-11 21:20:29

Sorry, which sor of harness, I cross posted. I saw a few different Ruffwear ones, and I'm not sure which type will be best smile

daisydotandgertie Fri 23-Sep-11 21:29:56

The rule of thumb for exercise for puppies is about 5 minutes for every month of age; so your pup should be out for no more than 15 minutes a day walking total. You could happily split that over 2 walks if you wanted to.

The more you walk him the more difficult he'll get. Little puppies - regardless of breed - need careful management to ensure they don't get over tired/over stimulated. The most useful skill you can ever teach your puppy is how to self settle - and it'll take a while to teach!

Our 5 month old puppy is far happier in herself - and much better behaved with just one 25ish minute walk a day than she ever is if we go a little bit beyond the guidelines.

It'd be really useful to do 2 5 minute sessions in the garden each day on lead walking. Keep him on a short lead at one side of you - don't allow him to cross sides - and just tweak the lead gently if he pulls. If that makes no difference do a 180 degree turn, keep the same length lead and encourage him keep walking to heel. A few days of that and you should see a massive difference. Your dog will get stronger and stronger and pull harder and harder so it'd be a good thing to get it fixed sooner rather than later.

Honestly - at his age, it's far more important to nip pulling in the bud and work on a rock solid recall and so on than try and juggle everything on a walk and allow him to get away with pulling.

Dogs are quite simple. In his mind he's pulling so he gets somewhere; and today it worked. So he'll do it again tomorrow. And without you being able to concentrate on him he'll get the same result and within no time at all, it'll be a very hard habit to break.

I'm not trying to be a voice of doom - but just remember there'll be years of walks with the dog and the children - there's no rush.

Rhinestone Fri 23-Sep-11 21:32:02

I recommend the Web Master that comes in black or red. There's a very good chart that tells you how to measure your dog to see what size although I'm guessing a springer would be a small. Although of course you'll probably want to wait until he stops growing as they're not cheap.

tooearlytobeup Fri 23-Sep-11 21:41:56

Thank you. We have been trying to keep to the recommended time limits. We do very little walking on lead, I tend to drive somewhere, and then he is off lead running about mainly.
I do find it hard to understand the blanket time limit for a pup, I would have thought that larger, or more active breeds would need more excercise than toy ones, even from when they are small. I suppose this makes it harder for me to stick rigidly to it though. I am happy to be corrected smile

Thank you for explaining Rhinestone, its things like that that catch me out. I guess we are making yet another trip to pets at home tomorrow grin

Labradorlover Fri 23-Sep-11 22:24:57

Treats for your 4 year old DD.
Smarties always worked here. ie "when we get to the park, you can have a smartie" etc. DD's recall is also good now wink
Your DD's fitness will also improve with all the dog walking.
Lead and recall training can be done in the house/garden. Little and often.

daisydotandgertie Fri 23-Sep-11 22:25:18

Well - it's not a rule really, just a guideline but IME it's a pretty valid one. Larger and more active breeds in many ways need more care because they grow so much in such a short time and need every single possible care taken of their bones. Running and jumping about can also damage delicate joints so a very active breed of dog needs a similar amount of care. Little dogs have comparatively less growing to do to reach full size and tend to mature earlier, so IMO it's less important with little, less active dogs.

Puppies really don't need much exercise - regardless of breed. There is no opportunity like puppyhood to build the dog you hope to end up with. I do my very best to take advantage of it with every pup we have. Little bursts of training will wear your dog out far faster than walking - mental exercise is so valuable, very controllable and often forgotten.

I have 4 labradors and expect a great deal from them when they're adult - but until then, it's short walks and lots of training/games. Try a hide and seek game with your pup - hide toys or treats and teach him how to find them. Teach him how to retrieve using a tennis ball and little throws - make him deliver the ball into your hand each time and come round to sit at your heel. Work on the sit and stay commands. All those things are useful. They'll build up the bond you have with your dog which is the first step to a really obedient, rock solid, reliable dog.

And above all - enjoy him grin

rogersmellyonthetelly Sat 24-Sep-11 09:42:28

Def. Go with a harness, but it takes time and patience, and then some more time and patience, and finally, a lot more time and patience to stop them pulling. I have a staff puppy who is now 6months and I did despair of ever being able to walk her without her pulling my arm out of its socket! Now she walks to heel at whatever pace I am walking, with the odd exception when a cat or dog comes to close then she will pull.
Re the bouncing about thing, I taught my dog to sit every time we stop walking this is fab when crossing the road as when you stop they sit down and wait until you cross.

Lizcat Sat 24-Sep-11 10:08:22

Your 4 year old will get better the more she walks - she is just getting used to it. IMO puppies and children learning to ride bikes should not mix they need to be separate activities.

alp Sat 24-Sep-11 16:07:22

Tooearly- Daisys advice is great and very valuable! She helped me lots on the original new puppy thread.

It is hard to juggle all kids and dogs! I have my youngest in a pushchair and he is not allowed out until we get to woods/park etc I have a bunch of treats to get him in/out of it.

I have a treat bag clipped onto my belt loop which helps with the heel work. But she does still pull at times - I find that walking round the garden practicing helps a lot too. Also I find I need to interact with dog, praising and treating all the time when she is close by, keeps her attention on me and then her by my side.

Good luck! I met a beautiful 4 year old springer today! That's the dog we are going to have....eventuallygrin

tooearlytobeup Sat 24-Sep-11 18:37:37

Thanks for advice all smile Just got back from a walk which was much better.

I drove to the beach, which was quiet due to the rain. I put youngest in the pushchair (oldest 2 left home, which they are fine with), and walked along the prom. so there was hardly anything to distract him, and we could walk at a steady pace.

I used one hand to push pram, the other to dispense treats from my pocket and praised like a madwoman whenever the lead was slack grin

He paid much more attention to me, and pulled a lot less. I think this is the way to go in future

He hasn't been able to have any off lead time though which I feel guilty about, so we will all go tomorrow and play hide and seek in the woods smile

I can't wait until he is grown up, Alp, puppies are cute, but I would love to skip this part and go straight to having a well trained dog who does what he is told lol

teta Mon 26-Sep-11 09:28:50

I am in a similar situation tooearly---.I tend to concentrate on dog training when the dc's are at school [my youngest is 5].My eldest takes the puppy out for a walk when she comes home from school [or before it gets dark]-shes 12.Though the puppy is her dog and we keep on reminding her that she is reponsible for him.We incorporate the training into everyday activity.Sit and wait before meals,before opening gate so he doesn't hare off down the hill,heel and treats [to make him come back!]and to put him in the utility behind the stairgate when he's trying to nick the dc's food.Its very important to have somewhere that you can put him seperately with young dc's arround [also when puppies have manic moments].
Your puppies really young and you will find gradually that your puppy will calm down and become easier [mine is now 22 weeks] and more enjoyable.Puppies are really difficult, as well as adding young kids into the mix so don't be too hard on yourself.

tooearlytobeup Mon 26-Sep-11 10:36:00

Thanks teta. Unfortunately I work 4 days a week (school hours) so don't have much time without the kids.

We had a great day yesterday, short walk along a river, then the kids clmbed on rocks and threw sticks in the water for pup to fetch. Everyone was happy smile
Little madam only threw one strop and stormed off, but puppy ran after her and sat on her feet so she couldn't go anywhere grin

She is actually asking to walk him now cos she wants to go in the pushchair. I still haven't told my hsband I've bought one though blush I sold ours a few months ago telling him it would never be used

teta Mon 26-Sep-11 11:20:52

Sounds as though your puppy is learning how to handle the little madam grin.One of the benefits of having dh's working overseas is that you can self-edit certain sections of family life!.

misdee Mon 26-Sep-11 14:13:03

also one of the bonus' of walking with a pushchair, is that the dog learns not to go past the rear wheels. or runs the risk of a paw being run over.

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