Puppy goes mental at night!(28 Posts)
Hi, so finally got our puppy and he's fab, pretty much housetrained after a few days, has already learnt sit, down and we're practising walking on the lead indoors and in the garden until he can go out (he's 9 weeks), loves meeting people, takes everything in his stride and we all love him to bits...just that every night he turns into some sort of Cujo! He goes mental, jumps up, nips, won't listen to anything, grabs DDs clothing, hair and will not let go, they do all the right things, ie stand still, yelp, tell him no, he's v aggressive and growls, I've growled back at him which sometimes stops him but nothing seems to calm him down. I realise he's probably overtired but he does sleep a lot in the day and on the whole is really gentle and fine then, around 7 each night turns into a monster! I know it's normal puppy behaviour and am not worried he'll grow up to be aggressive or anything but how do we calm him down? I don't want to put him in his crate as that feels like punishment, he goes in it great at night and sometimes take himself off during the day but mostly likes to sleep on the towel by the back door (think he gets hot), he'll go in it when we have to leave him but soon I'll be at work again and he'll be left for 2.5 hours at a time twice a week so don't want to give him negative associations by shoving him in when he's not behaving how we want him to! Have tried ignoring him but he then starts chewing and grabbing at anything he can, I have tried putting his lead on and training him to focus him, I know it's all normal but any ideas on what we can do to give him a time out without crating? He loves the garden but when he's out there in this mood he chews moss, grass, tries to eat cat poo, just totally goes wild! Think he sees DDs s playmates or food at this time and mauls them! Apart from this he's great!!
At this mad stage I took the advice of another MNetter and saved up all the cardboard boxes, tubes etc that he could play with and chew and basically put up with cleaning a messy floor for about 4 weeks. They need to do something with all that puppy energy. I found it very difficult as the evening is when you would usually want to sit down and relax. It does pass!
Thanks Punter, I know in my head it will pass, as you say that's when you want to relax, but no such luck atm! Ok will dig some stuff out if the recycling before I go to bed!
Our lab pup was like that. Evenings were a nightmare. We were in total despair. I don't know if we were right or not but we put her in the kitchen alone when she started that and would go back through to her the moment she calmed down and allowed her back with us. We would do that maybe 3-5 times each evening then she would calm down. At 10 months she no longer does that and we have lovely calm evenings. I think it took a while though.
Yes I wondered if we should use another area for "time out", but then I think he might like that as he can chew whatever he wants in peace! He's not interested in his toys then, takes them over to the sofa and then works his way to chewing the bottom! At the moment he is happily chewing his teddy and being lovely, going to take him out in my arms today for a wander so hopefully might wear him out!!
I initially tried to avoid crating as i had the same worry as you but it was the best thing when he had evening crazies. He would be asleep within 5mins and didn't see it as punishment. He was so overtired and uncertain what to do with himself i think he was really crying out to be helped to rest. But like a toddler he just couldn't give in to the tiredness withoutsome guidance!
Thanks Spicy, my dd suggested putting him in the other half of his crate as it's divided at the moment, so nice cosy side for sleep/when we're out and other side for time out, good idea or not? He's got really aggressive with DDs today, hanging on to their clothes for dear life so they can't easily move, growling and barking, he just sees them as litter mates, doesn't he? Now he's zonked! We'll go for a "walk" when he wakes...
Have you tried toys that can be made delicious to chew? Such as a kong filled with kibble and natural yoghurt and frozen - or I have also heard peanut butter suggested. The chewer we had grew out of it mostly by the time she was 3 or 4 - but she had another companion to help to wear her out by then - so finding a toy that he can safely chew happily, or safely destroy, is a good idea!
I would put him in the cosy side. The fact that it is a "time out" is a human thing only we know. For him it should just be, oh time to have a rest. If he is distressed in there for more than a couple of mins then you'll need to rethink. All dogs are different but for us it worked like a charm and we only had to do it for a few weeks and only at the times he was in that state beyond all training or control!
Oh and mostly when I opened the door once he was settled he would stay in there, completely zonked out!
Mistlethrush he has tons of chew toys, as soon as he starts chewing furniture or us we offer those, main thing is his aggressive way towards DDs, if they stroke him his mouth goes open and he starts jumping on them, growling and grabbing their clothes. If i try to stop him he starts on me! This has happened today when he's woken up so surely not tiredness then? Will try the crate and see what happens, going to be a loooong Easter hols methinks!
Ah, I think that you might be mixing up 'aggressive' and 'boisterous play' - Jumping up on you, mouthing etc are all types of behaviour that you will need to teach him are unacceptable, at the moment he doesn't know this - you need to teach him the ground rules thoroughly! (good luck)
However, in terms of chew toys, are they really attractive and does he actually get anything out of chewing them - as they need to be more attractive than the crunchy / chewy/ soft things that he is 'finding' to chew. So, for instance, if you had a kong that was provided only every other day and it contained something that he put a high value on (food!) that was achieveable, even if it took a long time, that would be much more rewarding for him than something that didn't actually give him anything back. But you might need to reduce his food accordingly of course. You could also try putting dry food in a treat ball so that he needs to use his brain and actually work to get it out too. These are both techniques that will make him expend more effort and energy in getting his food and will hopefully mean that he's not got so much time to get up to the things he's not meant to do.
I also think comfy end of the crate too - its 'rest time' rather than 'time out'.
Thanks mistlethrush, been using kongs for when we go out and leave him, but will try at other times, didn't think of using them as play. He's actually been nice with DDs this afternoon, running to them without jumping and biting, they're off for 2 weeks so will get to really bond with him and hopefully calm down around them! He's so lovely I know once he knows the rules he'll be fab! Thanks !
They're good as a toy as they bounce in a non-standard way too. Ours doesn't seem to want to chew hers (even with biscuits in) but is quite happy to play with it.
You will get different advice on this but for me:
1. Never shut an energetic puppy in the crate. You will create negative associations with the crate and he won't be able to expend the energy and become more difficult.
2. Identify the behaviour correctly. Are you sure he is being aggressive? Mouthing, jumping up, hanging off clothes, presenting the 'play with me position' (on all fours, front legs and head lowered down, bum in the air) are all normal indications of an energetic puppy and not aggression. Some puppies also become quite vocal. If you are in doubt get a professional in to assess the puppy.
3. Pick one of these options:
a. Find an area where he can go beserk and let him. You will need to compromise, puppies need to let rip. Pick up the cat poo and let him go bonkers in the garden. What's wrong with him going mad in the garden? He has to go mad somewhere.
b. Occupy him. Play fetch, tug of war, or take him for a walk (if he has had his first vaccinations take him out. Don't let him come into contact with other dogs or dog poo, but it is vital that he socialises at this stage and you only have until about week 14 until the fear responses kick in. He should be out and about seeing the world, if there are a lot of dogs in your area carry him or pop him in a ruck sack or buggy until you get to a quieter area (look out for fox poo, also dangerous)).
c. Do more with him during the day so that he is calmer during the evening.
Just to say, i completely agree with booboo's point 1, but there was an obvious difference for us between when he was energetic and when he was unmanageably hysterically overtired. In the latter case he was almost frantically trying to keep himself awake. My advice is based on an assumption your pup is doing similar, rather than to deal with normal puppy mouthy chewy nuttiness.
With our pup she was definitely hysterically overtired because after being removed a few times she would retire to her crate and conk out or return to the sitting room to zonk out there. The removing wasn't so much time out as just creating space between us and her to allow her to calm down. Chew toys were of no use at these times. It does pass. Our pup is a real dozy head in the evening now.
Hi, haven't posted for ages as had nightmare evening! Puppy got really aggressive with DD2, pulling her nightie and growling at her, trying to bite her face, I told him no very firmly and pulled nightie away but he started growling and barking at me. In the end DH had to intervene, but ended up really shouting at him and tapping his nose which we really don't want to start falling into. He is now asleep (well everyone is apart from me ) but been really stressful as DD2 was crying and now feels really nervous. Have tried to explain this is normal puppy behaviour and he doesn't mean to be aggressive but it was quite scary, he is going to be big so really want to curb this now. In answer to you booboo, he does not do the "play with me" position at all, just launches at them, he is definitely stimulated with a variety of toys and games, by everyone in the house, we all train him at various times - he is great at this and not aggressive at all then. Girls have spent all day when he is awake playing with him, have taken him in the car today (down the road and back again) and took him out in my arms, not easy as he weighs 5.3kg already, but met some people, stood by a busy road, planning on doing this in different places every day, and he meets visitors who come to see him, delivery men, the window cleaner, we are definitely socialising him and he takes all this in his stride, definitely playing with him and training him when he is awake, but I do let him sleep when he wants to during the day. He has gone mad in the garden today and has done every day, but it's hard work trying to stop him eating all sorts of things in the garden, although I am sure a bit of grass etc cannot hurt. It just seems the whole time he is awake I am constantly saying no, and moving him from things and people and giving him his toys etc. He has more toys than you can imagine. Maybe he was over stimulated today? I feel like I cannot leave him to his own devices at the moment though, due to the chewing. Feel quite down about it, although I am sure I have read lots of threads with people saying the same thing! I did put him the crate earlier when he was going nuts, he looks all sad but then settles but as soon as I open the door he comes out and starts again! Sorry rambling on but feeling knackered and in need of a . Just not sure how to handle it really.
Ok. Others with experience will be along in a minute but try not to worry too much about the whole socialisation thing, just do one thing at a time or you will overstimulate him. I am sure our puppy hasn't been introduced to a woman wearing a green turban with a moustache but I think he will cope. Yes it's important but the books can scare you too!
It's very full on to start with, don't feel you have to play all the time, I did thus a bit and felt exhausted tbh, now I chat a lot to our puppy but entertain him less. Use the crate for a break if you need, he'll be fine.
Puppy play can be very rough, ours is a soft wuss tbh and we haven't suffered with this but we find putting our hand flat above his face and turning away helps but takes time, not that I've explained this very well.
Honest it gets better, our puppy is only 5 months but already very calm and chilled.
Sorry, being a first time owner I can't offer expert opinion just sympathy. Don't worry about doing everything 'right' though as you will tie yourself up in knots.
What's his diet? Some kibble can make them excitable I think.
By 16 weeks our puppy had experienced loads of stuff, literally hundreds of other dogs and a myriad of people and we did the carrying thing too but one thing a day would still be ok I think. I haven't met one dog or person he has found scary so its possible without tying yourself up in knots. He's not fond of the local geese though!!!!
Keep us posted.
Thanks needastrongone, hope your boy's eye is okay now? Today was the first day we did the out and about socialisation, we have had people come and visit but not tons, and we didn't see that many people today but I admit I was getting a bit stressed thinking he hadn't met his quota of people, though he seems fine with every new experience so far so I am not too worried. Once he can go for walks and classes that will sort itself out. We have a puppy party next week too (!). It is more the biting and growling, but maybe he just had too many experiences today! Will see how he goes tomorrow and get DDs to ignore him and all leave the room when he bites. Yes it is full on, every time he sleeps I run around doing all my jobs like a maniac before he wakes! DH was off last week when we got him, he's back at work but now DDs are off for 2 weeks, so has had us all around, once they go back to school he will have to "get on with it" a bit more as I will be on my own. His diet is a mixture of Burns and Nature Diet, which I have read are really good foods. Not looking forward to carrying him tbh, he is a big old lump already! Thanks all, will no doubt be posting about this or other stuff in due course!!
Iliketoclean - you sound exactly like us when we got our pup. We got to the stage that i thought we would have to give her away. SHe used to jump and lunge at my face when i was sitting on the settee at night which was terrifying. It felt like we never left the kitchen as that was the easiest place to watch her and keep her contained. My girls would be reduced to tears (and they are 15 and 20 years old!). I don't recall when it stopped but it did eventually. The best thing we did was take her to dog obedience classes. She had puppy classes which were great but less structured than the class we go to now. She is like a different dog now. Keep it up you will get there in the end.
Thanks littlewhitebag I am sure once he can go out for walks and to classes it will use up some energy in a positive way! Have muttered the words Dogs Trust to him a few times but love him to bits so no chance of that! I was fully prepared for how hard it was going to be, and in lots of ways he's excellent, no accidents indoors, sleeps all night, etc, it's just when he's awake
A couple of things again, feel free to disregard them if they do not work for you:
1. Let him eat grass, all dogs eat grass. He may do a small vomit afterwards, either clear or full of grass - not a problem.
2. Socialisation: this is by far the most important thing you can do for your puppy. You won't see the effects of insufficient socialisation until he is about 2 years old by which time it will be too late and you will be left with problems to solve. Guide Dogs for the Blind take their puppies out from 6 weeks onwards (or at least they used to when they used to come to our training classes) to take advantage of the window of opportunity until about 14 weeks. If he has had his vaccinations take him out. You run a tiny risk of him contracting something but by not taking him out you run behavioural problems.
3. Unwanted behaviour: do not tap him on the nose, do not shout at him, do not make a big deal, all these things will excite him further. Like a child you need to distract him. So when he 'attacks' DD, DD should say nothing, fold her arms and turn her back on him. You should intervene immediately say his word for 'no' (more on this below), take him gently by the collar, put him on a lead so you have some control and give him the nicest chew to occupy himself or play with him with a toy. If he is literally hanging off DD's clothes use your hand to gently pry his jaws appart.
4. If he mouths keep your hand (assuming he is mouthing your hand) where it is close to his mouth, do not pull it back as this makes it prey to be chased, and squeal the most high pitched squeal you can. This works with 90% of dogs, but if it doesn't work try a sharp intake of breath ssshhhhh sound.
5. Try not to use the word 'no' for no as it is in very common usage and it is easy to de-sensitize the dog to it. Use a specific word that comes easy to you ('ah-uh' is popular) but be very strict in its application, i.e. when you say the word the dog stops whatever it is that it is doing or you go and stop it. Never back down from that (e.g. if you are busy, drop everything to enforce an ah-uh command).
sorry "run behavioural problems" should be "run the risk of behavioural problems"
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