Puppy problems.(9 Posts)
I am at my wits end and this is making me ill. I have a 13 week old male cocker spaniel puppy and I already had a (spoilt) 6 year old cockapoo. Puppy is a real handful, as puppies are, hyperactive, doesn't sleep much, chewing everything etc.
The dogs are not getting on, puppy is leaping at older dogs face the majority of the time. They are possessive over toys ( older dog now wants toys that puppy has despite not being interested before). I buy them each an identical chewy bone and they each want the others ( you get the picture). I am trying to discipline the puppy not to jump at older dog and put him in his crate for short periods of time out when he becomes unbearable ( he doesn't go in the crate at any other time). Sometimes in the evening when they are both tired they will snuggle up with each other but most of the time it's awful. older dog is stressed. How long does it take for things to get better as I am seriously considering re-homing puppy. They have one separate walk each each day , then an evening walk together. Puppy has lots of stimualation and toys etc. Please help !
Just to add, older dog is growling a lot at puppy and sometimes snapping. Others have commented that they are just play growling but senior dog has that awful snarl like you see on adverts for dangerous dogs or anti dog fighting propaganda. It's horrible to see and really distressing. Thanks for any help or suggestions..
To be honest, it all sounds very normal to me. Your older dog hasn't bitten the puppy, they are just telling them that their behaviour isn't acceptable. We've had 10 puppies in the house this year (we foster for a rescue) and my dogs behave in the same way. I crate the puppies for a bit in the morning and evening so that they have a nap, but otherwise they all have to get on with it, and the puppies learn how to behave around other dogs
Thanks Dibbler, 10 puppies gosh you are amazing doing that. I might start crating the puppy a bit more, he certainly doesn't nap enough !
This article pretty much sums up me experience and mirrors what dibbler said... clickertraining.com/what-to-expect-introducing-a-puppy-to-your-adult-dogs
Totally normal - just let them get on with it. My old boy tells the 14week old off frequently - when he’s not wrestling with her or playing tug of war. Yours cuddle up together - there’s no problem here.
I feel like I'm getting close to mine too! Picked puppy up 1 week ago. Was a dream for first two days and then the mouthing turned into more biting/snapping all the time. He's pretty good & seems happy and is nice to start with, but then starts biting, nipping....I'm following the 'instructions' about yelping when he bites/going limp etc.. but it seems to be getting worse instead of better....to the point that it's seriously p*ssing me off & getting me down!
Contacted dog trainer twice for 1-2-1 session & puppy training classes, but she's not answering me. I just feel desperate for some help/guidance!!!
skyblu: the good news is that what you describe is normal puppy behaviour. The bad news is no puppy - even the genius ones - learn not to bite in a week. I think sometimes we expect them to learn self control much quicker than they do.
The yelping and going limp... honestly, whilst this works for some puppies, for most is does not. It is nothing more to them than a funny noise and a challenge to get to to re-engage in what they see as the best game ever... biting. Most puppies require something more structured.
Firstly, biting you is not a bad thing for a puppy to do but he does need to learn
a) where he should not bite ever (face, clothes)
b) how hard is too hard
He bites hard or somewhere he shouldn't, you say something to indicate he has gone too far (I used "enough") and encourage him to redirect bites to a toy; if he doesn't stop you repeat it and pick him up and take him somewhere else in the house where you refuse to play. That could mean popping him in his pen or taking him out for a wee. After a few mins you can try playing again and repeat the same procedure if he bites too hard again. After a while you can lower your bite threshold so that weaker bites are now 'too hard' and you correct for those. Eventually any teeth contact apart from accidental brushing past, is too hard.
You just keep doing this over and over - and be prepared for it to take weeks to get through to him. He will not learn in a few days - he is a long term project and you should be expecting to be training him to behave in this and other things for the next 6-12months. Put the effort in and he will be a great pet for life, but he does require a LOT of input first.
Watch out for him being over-tired. All puppy's behaviour deteriorates dramatically when they are due a sleep and yours should be sleeping somewhere around 16/18 hours every day. If he is over tired then, just like a human child, he will be much less capable of controlling himself or learning anything. You will need to settle him down to sleep. One thing I like to do is repeat the phrase "settle down" over and over and over in a soothing voice whenever pup is falling asleep naturally. It then means I can eventually use it as a way to encourage sleep when he's not looking like he will sleep without help.
Keep play energy low key, which means being fun but never overly exciting. Full on tug or chase games with excited shouting and speaking are for adult dogs who have proved they can be trusted with them. Puppy games are gentle tug games where puppy wins and has fun in showing off or gentle ball rolls to fetch - that kind of thing.
Keep him engaged by training tricks. At his age he is capable of learning to sit, lie down, shake, get on his bed - that kind of thing. In a 5 mins session he should be able to learn a new command every day or so and it is a great way to interact with him without playing, which can lead to biting. The method for teaching it all is the same: think of a way to get him to do the behaviour you like naturally, reward him and tell him the command when he does so.
e.g. hold a treat in your hand and he will try to get to it. He is likely to paw at your hand ("shake") and if that doesn't work he is likely to sit down to think about it ("sit) and eventually give up and lie down ("down"). Each session just wait for the behaviour you want, give it a name and reward hime with a treat. Start again and he will go to that behaviour a bit quicker the 2nd time. Most pups will be going straight to the behaviour that works within 5-10 attempts. The next day have a quick refresher of what you learned the day before (e.g. a couple of sits) before moving onto learning something new.
Once he has learned a few things, you can then distract him from play with asking him to "sit" and treating him. It's another tool in your box.
Good luck and take heart that everyone wonders if a puppy was the right thing at some point in their up bringing up. The key to a good dog is perseverance with a naughty pup.
Why do you have a crate if the puppy isn't going to sleep in there? It sounds like you're using it as a punishment which isn't going to help your puppy settle. I absolutely think proper crate training is the right thing to do but it needs to be a safe space where your dogs feel comfortable and they can go when they want to be alone - you should have one for your older dog too, or a space behind a baby gate, so if the puppy gets too much for him he can have a quiet lie down. Using the crate as a punishment is going to cause even more problems I'm afraid.
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