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DH and I are at our wits ends with our puppy.

(38 Posts)
LittleRedWagon1 Mon 24-Apr-17 09:36:17

Please let me preface this possibly long moan by saying that both DH and I have had dogs/puppies before. We lost one of our old ladies (DDog2) in December 2015 and our other one (DDog1) early June 2016, both were 17 years old. Both were cross breeds, we had DDog1 from 8 weeks old and rescued DDog2 when she was approx 18 months old.

We have done a fair to decent amount of research before getting DPuppy as she is a doberman and neither DH nor I have ever had a purebred puppy/dog before.

We got DPuppy at 8 weeks old, she is now almost 12 weeks, we've not had her long I know but we are completely at our wits end with her already. It would have been easier for us to have another child, we certainly got more sleep in the newborn phase with both DD's than we have so far with DPuppy. (I am going to try to not let this turn into a huge, long moan. I apologise if I fail)

The vet said that she cant be walked until 2 weeks after her 3rd vaccination (booster) which is not until the 10th of May this has changed from when we've had puppies before (there was only 2 vaccinations). This will mean that she will be approx 16 weeks before she can be walked! What about socialisation? Surely this isn't right!

We have booked her puppy training classes to start at the end of May but we would like to get her out and about to hopefully calm her down a bit and socialise her with other dogs.

All of us in the house (myself, DH, and both DD's) are working with her daily on basic training techniques and she has full access to our (fully enclosed) garden when we are in the house. She will go outside for the toilet but then come back in and do another wee or poo inside! We have started sitting out with her for half an hour or leaving her in the garden on her own for a short while but she cries, and this morning has just started to bark a bit!
I have apologised to both of our neighbours and plan to buy them wine and chocolates as soon as I get paid.

DPuppy sleeps in her crate nicely and only cries for the toilet at night (she wont do it in the crate thank goodness) she cries 3-5 times a night and either DH or I will pop down and let her out. She will sometimes cry for 2-3 minutes when first put in the crate but soon settles down. (She has access to water in her crate)

The DD's are still off school for the Easter holidays (back tomorrow) and they play with DPuppy outside. We are worrying though that she isn't getting enough exercise and socialisation with other dogs.

She nips the DD's, she doesn't nip either DH or I and she chews EVERYTHING despite having plenty of chew toys, balls, a teddy, and a puppy Kong. We have tried the deterrent spray but she loves the taste of it hmm

Now I've seen it all written down it doesn't seem too bad but we are exhausted with DPuppy right now. If any of you lovelies could please throw some advice our way both DH and I would be most grateful.

BiteyShark Mon 24-Apr-17 09:53:08

The nipping and chewing sounds just like puppy behaviour. For the nipping are your children making a noise or running about when this happens? This made my puppy worse and might explain why yours nips the children but not you. Get them to stay still and shout a code word to let you know that you need to take action. Then either distract the puppy with a chew toy or do a time out.

The chewing well yes they will chew most things. I found I had to remove most stuff from his reach but after a couple of months he now ignores the things he was fixated with chewing on.

I am afraid you need to sit it out with the toileting and stay with her in the garden until your puppy is forced to toilet then go manic with praise. This is better with the nicer weather and trust me it sucked in winter but was so worth it. Make sure you take her out after meals, after play, when she wakes from a nap etc. If you catch her in the act inside without any emotion pick up and place outside then praise. If you don't catch her in the act then clean up and make sure you don't take your eyes of her so you can take them outside at any indication that she needs to go. I only let mine out now without me standing outside because he is fully house trained. If you are not in the garden with your puppy how are you going to praise them during the act and thus teach them that they need to do it outside.

Find a pre vaccination puppy party (my vets did a series of them). Also take your puppy out in your arms. You can invite people into your house and you can also socialise in the garden with other dogs that you know are fully vaccinated.

BiteyShark Mon 24-Apr-17 09:55:09

Also have a look at the 'Puppy survival' thread on here. You will see lots of us have had similar issues and it might give you some ideas. Also if you join it you will have support from others that are also going through the trials of owning a puppy grin

Wtfdoicare Mon 24-Apr-17 10:00:58

When our pup went to the toilet outside, when she was weeing we'd say "wee wee pup's name, wee wee" in a praising loud voice, then we'd give her lots of strokes and a treat. You sound slightly deranged but it helped her to connect the word Wee wee with going to the toilet. She picked it up in less than a week which was brilliant for the sake of our floors!

You can take her out in your arms, in the car (to get used to being in the car) and invite people over. The nipping, chewing etc is all very normal and although is awful while it is happening, it passes quickly. The children need to be calm and not run away as it is a game otherwise. We had a food and tea towel stealer too. Try empty toilet rolls, kitchen rolls, screwed up balls of paper.

Wtfdoicare Mon 24-Apr-17 10:02:42

The stressful stage will pass quickly - honestly - and with a bit of work and puppy training, you will have a great natured dog. Good luck.

yoohooitsme Mon 24-Apr-17 10:03:44

It is hard, its all part of bonding wink one day all of a sudden you will realise she has fitted right in.

We have an 18month old lab having always had small dogs and the breed differences are there and do take some acclimatising but most of it is just a puppy learning to fit in.

She is going to be pretty large so train her with that in mind. Cute puppy antics are not so cute on full size dogs. We did't think of this and had to share the sofa with a hulking great labrador till we realised she needed to be retrained out of that one grin.

FlyingSquid Mon 24-Apr-17 10:05:02

We were told by the vet to let ours associate with as many fully vaccinated dogs as possible - has that advice changed?

We also spent many afternoons driving around and carrying her about to look at things - horses, sheep, motorbikes, bus stations, took her on the trains for a couple of stops, all that sort of things (sorry, you're probably already doing all of this!). Have to admit it's probably a lot easier with a small and portable sort of a mutt.

LittleRedWagon1 Mon 24-Apr-17 10:07:20

Thank you BiteyShark some great tips there. We will persevere with the toileting outside, I think we had it easy with our last two as they didn't need the constant supervision for anything. I was beginning to wonder if it had something to do with her not being a cross breed blush

I have gone all Cesar Milan blush with the DD's and instruct them to act like a tree (no touch, no talk, no eye contact). DPuppy tends to do most nipping when the DD's are sat down though. DPuppy cant yet get on the furniture but it wont be long, she is already just over 9kg and is growing very fast. I love the idea of a code word for the DD's to alert both DH and I and will speak with DH and DD's later on to decide which word we will use.

I will have a look around to see if I can find a local pre vax puppy party, I really like the idea actually. I wonder if I could set one up myself.

I really do feel like we are in puppy survival mode at the minute!

isupposeitsverynice Mon 24-Apr-17 10:10:51

When she nips the DDs, do they yelp and stop playing/turn their backs on her? That's we did and it seems to have worked very well. No other advice I'm afraid I loved the early puppy days! I have to say your puppy is absolutely gorgeous though grin

ChocolateRaisin Mon 24-Apr-17 10:12:57

Absolutely get her out and about, carry her everywhere. Get lots of people over. Go to friends who have dogs that have been vaccinated and let her play with them in their garden. If you leave it until 10th May you are going to have problems with her. This time is so critical for socialisation, once it is over you never get it back.

Doberman's are a high energy breed from what I know, you are going to have your hands full!

Don't just leave her in the garden to toilet, you aren't teaching her anything. House training is boring and frustrating but you will get there in the end. When my GSD was a puppy I once waited for 30 mins in the garden, nothing happened. Gave up and came in, he ran straight to his bed to do a wee! He did this about 5 times! I found putting a cue to his business really helped, so every time he did a wee I would say 'be clean' and for a poo 'do your business'. I would also reward with food after he had been as verbal praise and a fuss didn't mean anything to him. Very quickly I had a pup who would 'go' on command and no longer in the house.

With regards to the nipping I found re directing my pup to a chew-
every time he bit or nipped me I would put a chew toy in his mouth. It worked in the end!

thesandwich Mon 24-Apr-17 10:13:02

My sympathies- we have a Doberman and she nearly broke us.... they are very smart. Brilliant advice on this thread- ours is clearly a one person(dh) dog and needs to know who is boss! But she is so much fun. Good luck.

thesandwich Mon 24-Apr-17 10:14:25

Oh and she is nine but many people still think she acts like a puppy!( the best bits)

LittleRedWagon1 Mon 24-Apr-17 10:14:34

Thank you all so much.

She loves toilet roll tubes and steals socks (dirty or clean) if she can get them.

We do praise her lots when she goes to the toilet outside, maybe she needs us to be a bit more manic.

I can no longer carry her any kind of distance, she is heavy and I have no upper body strength blush plus she wiggles and scratches. She is used to the car already as we had a trip to Manchester Children's hospital 2 weeks after we had got her (Manchester is approx 1.5-2 hours from us.)

thesandwich Mon 24-Apr-17 10:15:48

Ours still steals dh's slippers given half a chance and oven gloves are often on the lawn.....

crazyzooo Mon 24-Apr-17 10:17:04

Ah you have a dobermann puppy... My comiseration grin . She is beautiful!! I have never had such a difficult puppy.... mine was an absolute needy, overly intelligent nightmare. Now I love him to distraction so don't give up!!

Toilet training - take her outside to the same spot in the garden: every hour on the hour, after each eat/drink/sleep/play. Ignore until something happens then embarrass yourself with overly effusive fuss and praise. Ignore any accidents in the house and put her out of sight when cleaning up.

Biting/nipping. Distract - keep toys handy and replace into mouth if jumps/chews people. If gets too excited, yelp like a puppy and immediately stop the game/ignore until calms down. It's useful if you can teach your children to stop play before she gets too wound up as well.

Socialisation- talk to your vet. Find out how many cases of contagious diseases there are around you (particularly parvo) and make an informed decision whether to take her out sooner or not. She can socialise with vaccinated dogs in your garden, you can take her in the car, carry her out and about etc to expose her to as much as possible. Also good time to start teaching lead manners and loose leash walking in the garden.

Have a look at the blue cross website for puppy socialisation timeline.

Also if you use FB try looking at "Devon dogs " and "naughty but nice"

So jealous and broody for another one!! smile

LittleRedWagon1 Mon 24-Apr-17 10:22:20

Some fantastic advice here, thank you.

She is high energy, luckily we are a high energy household and are very active, it's been a bit stifling being stuck inside with her. DH can carry her but when he is at work it falls to me and I can no longer carry her any length of time.

We absolutely need to get on top of her with regards to training now, I certainly do not what to be dealing with a dog as large and strong as an adult Doberman without good and extensive training. The place where we have booked the puppy classes also do agility training for dogs 12 months and over and I am seriously thinking about enrolling her when she is old enough.

When she nips the DD's, DD1 tends to stand still, cross her arms and looks away from DPup and DD2 does yelp, sometimes cries. However it mainly happens when the DD's are sat on the sofa/ dining chair etc and DPup just wont stop unless DH or I remove her. We have started putting her in the crate with her Kong while we eat our meals but I don't want to be crating her unnecessarily.

crazyzooo Mon 24-Apr-17 10:28:59

Oh and to add... If you haven't already please insure your puppy. Life time cover with someone reputable for at least 7k/year (ideally more). My little darling cost me in excess of 5k just in his first year from eating everything he could either chew or swallow whole my socks/pants/stones etc etc...!! They are also prone to an impressive list of very expensive inherited and chronic diseases...!

LittleRedWagon1 Mon 24-Apr-17 10:34:39

crazyzoo grin

I appreciate the comiserations grin blush I adore the breed. DDog2 was a Doberman cross and she was such an easy going, chilled out, DDog. Having DPuppy now and I can see so much of DDog2's characteristics especially the intelligence.

Does anyone have any advice regarding games/toys for mental stimulation for her?

I love having a dog in the house again, it feels wrong when we have no dog. I wouldn't be without her but I was in actual tears with her earlier on this morning. Her whining started the parrot off (In Laws Parrot and will be going home next weekend when they get back from holiday) and I felt really bad for my neighbours blush (I will be making it up to both of the neighbours)

LittleRedWagon1 Mon 24-Apr-17 10:36:13

She is insured, we arranged for the insurance to start the day we got her.

FlyingSquid Mon 24-Apr-17 10:37:21

God, yes, make sure she's insured. Ours cost us £900 in the first year just for things she shouldn't have eaten.

SingingTunelessly Mon 24-Apr-17 10:38:55

Just to add these great suggestions, I drove to a large shopping centre and stood with the boot open watching the world go by with my Lab puppy. It was a good socialisation experience for when they're unable to be put down but are too heavy to carry. Lots of noise, rustling carrier bags, trolleys, etc. Most people are more than happy to come and say hello to a puppy as well.

CornflakeHomunculus Mon 24-Apr-17 10:47:22

I would highly recommend joining the Dog Training Advice and Support FB group, it's run by highly respected professionals and is a fabulous source of information. The Congratulations on Your New Puppy set of articles in particular is really worth reading.

You always need to weigh up the risks of taking your puppy out before they're officially allowed post-vaccinations and making sure they get out and about enough. Obviously with a breed like a dobe early socialisation is absolutely essential so you do need to be getting her out and about as soon as possible. I agree with chatting to your vet about the prevalence of infectious diseases in the area.

Puppies are never too young to get going with impulse control games, Susan Garret's "It's Yer Choice" is a great place to start.

Basic scent games are also great for puppies, just hiding treats or food around the house/garden for them to find.

crazyzooo Mon 24-Apr-17 11:02:01

littleredwagon They are the best breed but seriously know how to test you... Also appear to come very much either end of the spectrum. So either very sensible and German about life or complete lunatics... Mine has just about calmed down at 3!!

I came across the naughty but nice dog training when he was a puppy. They do a DVD which I found very helpful to stimulate his mind! They also have a very supportive FB group

Pippin8 Mon 24-Apr-17 11:19:27

OP I feel for you, I really do. My Doberman has nearly broke me many times. I thought of rehoming her at 4 months, 9 months & recently at 16 months!

She did all you've described & was hard to housetrain, as she got bigger the nipping hurt more, I have many pairs of socks & leggings with holes in. I just kept redirecting with a toy & that worked in the end.

Then the counter surfing & jumping up started. She has been hard work, but I have to remind myself shes a puppy in a massive dogs body.

Mental games are good, it tires them out, exercise is good also but not too much due to their joints. I got mine a ball pit, a tunnel & a few of those puzzle games.

I'd take her out & let her socialise with a vaccinated dog on your garden if you know of one. I did that with my friends dog & mine could go out at 13 weeks. We also carried ours round the streets, took her in the car & DH took her to work on a building site for a few weeks.

I must say she is the most loving dog I have ever met, really sociable & in tune with our feelings. She absolutely has to be part of the family to settle. A real Velcro dog. I never let my old dog on the sofa but she's on there Day & night.

Also, we got her a friend when she turned 1, a rescue springer that can match her energy wise. Best move ever. Here they are.

Pippin8 Mon 24-Apr-17 11:25:43

Meant to add, the find it game is good. Hide chicken in the garden & let her find it. I used to get three cups & hide a treat under one cup & make her find it. I also used to do sit, stay, down everyday. Repetition is good. You could even get a whistle & start getting her used to that in the garden. Although I didn't train mine to the whistle til she was 11 months.

I will say the puzzles were a waste of money, dobermans have such big paws they can just bat them over & tip the food out. Good luck.

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