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new puppy: inexperienced owner - am I doing it right?

(11 Posts)
rhetorician Mon 24-Aug-15 11:08:01

Hello: I got my puppy last week, so she will be 12 weeks tomorrow. She is a terrier, miniature pinscher cross and I just wanted some reassurance that I'm doing it all ok. She is crated at night, more or less housetrained and goes in the crate if I need to pop out, or when we are eating. I've listened very carefully outside the house and she whines for a few minutes when she goes in, but otherwise is quiet in there unless she needs to pee. last night she slept from 11-6. How much is it OK to use the crate with a dog of this age?

I guess her breed means that she is very nippy, very jumpy, and keen to dominate. She is more or less OK with me, DP and older daughter, but is still treating younger daughter (4) like a playmate (nipping, jumping, grabbing DD2's tutu hmm). DD2 is a bit scared of her. Her teeth are very sharp, but she hasn't managed to draw blood yet. She loves to sit on my lap, but I am trying to be firm about this, telling her down, and drawing her down to the floor by following my hand. E.g. she can sit on my lap only at my invitation. I am making sure to let DD2 sit on my lap too so that Ddog doesn't think she owns me.

With nipping I yelp "ow" at her, praise her for licking and soft mouthing, put her down and turn away if she doesn't stop. Sometimes she growls if she doesn't want to let go of something. Barks at the cat who has given her a few swipes. I try to distract her into play biting one of her toys.

I taught her to come when I call - which is fairly reliable. And I've put her in a collar and will start her on the lead today. I can't do puppy training with her until all vaccinations are complete.

I just want some reassurance that I am not going to create a psychopath of a dog and that she will eventually turn into a good family pet.

Thanks for bearing with me this far!!

sparechange Mon 24-Aug-15 11:58:32

It sounds like you are doing it all right, except thinking she is 'keen to dominate'. That it a total myth.
She is keen to play, and is excitable and exploring, but firm and consistent boundaries will put a stop to it.
When she growls, you need to take that thing away firmly and permanently - in a cupboard without any eye contact. Let the cat sort out their relationship themselves...

Some positive association training for the collar would be good. Put it on her when you feed her, and use the lead in the house for short bursts. Don't use an extender, which encourages them to pull, and don't let her just run around the house with the lead, as that does as well.

As things progress, if she gets excitable about the lead coming out (ie she wants to go for a walk), the lead goes back in the cupboard, and you make a cup of tea and pretend a walk was never on the agenda.

Re puppy training, don't use this as your only socialisation. If you have friends with older dogs, let your puppy spend time with them. Puppy classes with dogs of the same age don't teach your pup how to behave with older dogs. They need to learn dog manners as well as have puppy play time.

Well done on everything you are doing! I'm sure you'll have a great dog who will be best friends with your DD...

rhetorician Mon 24-Aug-15 12:04:43

thanks sparechange - I think she is doing pretty well for such a little puppy, she is more or less happy in the collar, but will try her on the lead in the house. Also need to work on her chicken chasing tendencies! Glad you said that about dominance - I've read so many contradictory things!

pigsDOfly Mon 24-Aug-15 13:02:48

If she's a very small breed don't use a collar for attaching her lead, use a harness - although a good idea to have a collar for her tag - because it is very easy to damage the trachea in small dogs when they pull again the lead, and all dogs do at the beginning.

Disagree that extending leads encourage them to pull, used properly and if dog is taught not to pull, which you have to do with any type of lead or dog I think they're fine; although they must never be used attached to the dog's collar, only on a harness. I know they're not popular on here but I've always used one for my dog as she's very small and I had difficulty finding a long enough static lead for her to walk on a loose lead next to me.

Sounds like you're doing everything fine; using the crate correctly.

However you need to stop the nipping of your DD2's clothing. That has to stop immediately, puppy must learn it's not acceptable. Every time she does it she has to be distracted and given an alternative thing - e.g. a toy of her own - to focus on or nip.

Also it's very important that you teach children not to create a game of nipping and chasing for puppy. So while you're training puppy, you need to train DC not to run away or chase with the puppy. They need to learn to be calm and still around her. If she runs at them they need to stand still and turn their back to her otherwise she'll think it's a game and it'll be difficult to break her of the habit.

rhetorician Mon 24-Aug-15 13:07:59

she wasn't mad about the lead - wanted to chew it, but I just kept luring her along with treats, her behind me, me in front.

Children need training too - but they are catching on fast! thanks for your tips

pigsDOfly Mon 24-Aug-15 13:10:04

She will want to chew the lead they're very chewy at this stage smile.

rhetorician Mon 24-Aug-15 13:16:38

she's cute though, playing with her toys on the floor now

rhetorician Mon 24-Aug-15 15:46:01

I do feel a bit sad that I don't have as much time to spend with my kids though - instead of doing craft with DD2, she is playing games on the leap pad (not that she minds, of course!) while I attempt to contain pupster. I suppose this phase will pass - just have to hope that the long-term benefits of owning a dog will outweigh the short-term disadvantages - which are considerable

pigsDOfly Tue 25-Aug-15 13:53:32

Yes rhetorician it does get better and less full on and it's so worthwhile putting in the effort; you'll have a well behaved sociable dog.

It's a really good feeling when you see you're efforts begin to pay off.

rhetorician Tue 25-Aug-15 18:10:44

am pleased with today (well, other than the piddling in the house...) - she did well on the lead for a bit, I took her outside and introduced her to kids and neighbours, and a big dog, and a car...and I spend a good while this afternoon with DD2 playing with the dog, telling the dog to "leave it" when pulling on DD2's dress and to get "down" when jumping up at her. Got DD to offer dog her hand to lick and she was good about keeping her movements slow and calm. There was the occasional distraction with a treat - I assume that's an OK thing to be doing

pigsDOfly Tue 25-Aug-15 20:17:06

Yes treats are very good. Bribery is good. smile

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