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The puppy blues - please tell me it will get better!(13 Posts)
We have a 4 month old puppy (a bit like a baby polar bear crossed with a shark!) and I'd love some advice. She is definitely calming down but she is also getting bigger quickly and so I find it quite scary when she does jump up and nip. She's quite a noisy dog to and will growl and bark at when she's excited (she even grows when she's spinning in circles chasing her tail so I don't think it's generally aggression but I'm not always so sure).
We got her just before the summer and I've spent all the summer holidays keeping her separate from the kids and closely monitoring every interaction between kids/puppy. As a result I've not been able to give the kids the attention I'd like to and have felt stressed pretty much ever since we got her. She bit my youngest child a few weeks ago (he was annoying her, we just didn't notice in time) and since then I've been even more on edge. I don't work and both kids have now started back to school so the daytime is a little easier but I just keep thinking that I can live like this for the next ten years. The kids are being kept separate by stair gates and the puppy is only going to get bigger.
We start training classes this week but I am really looking for advise as I am starting to be a bit scared by bitey-pup and thinking that we may have made a big mistake in getting her.
We have trained her to sit/lie/stay/leave and she's definitely not daft but also keeps jumping up at the dinner table/counters and jumps onto the sofa when she knows she shouldn't and I'm starting to get nervous of moving her. She is obviously only a puppy still but I'm finding it hard work. Have we taken on more that we can manage or is this a stage that will pass?
Puppies are bloody hard work and I bitterly regretted getting mine for several months but now he is lying on my feet and is so lovely I can't imagine life without him.
Mine was very bitey and it hurts. I used to remove myself or give him timeouts when it got too much so play stopped. When he jumped up at the table I pushed him off and ignored or used to get up and ignore him and walk away and then sit back down again.
It will get better. Starting puppy classes is good but also consider getting a 1-1 trainer as I found I learnt far more in 1 hour with 1-1 than I did over a 6 week puppy group class.
I found mine really calmed down around the 5-6 month age but then unfortunately he hit the stroppy teenage phase and that bought a whole new set of challenges.
Patience, consistency and hard work and it WILL get better. I promise.
Battendog was all kinds of trouble but right now I am away for a long weekend with him and a friend and he has been an absolute darling (13 months old). That doesn't mean he can't still have moments of trouble, but that I see more and more good behaviour giving me a welcome insight into the awesome dog he's going to be...
Reward all the good behaviour you see (keep pots of treats all round the house and never go out without some).
I was exactly where you are a month ago. However our dog is 5.5 months old now and so much easier. I’m
actually really enjoying having him around (most of the time!) now. Am bracing myself for the adolescent phase though!!
Thank you so much for your replies. I guess I just need to hang in there. She is generally a lovely pup but has moments of evil when I worry that I will never relax in my own home again. The responsibility of trying to keep the kids safe is quite overwhelming at times and I miss being able to spend as much time with them as sometimes I have to shut myself and pup in another room or the garden till she calms down. It's very reassuring to hear that it will (hopefully!) pass as she grows up.
I thought my puppy was an anomaly and would never calm down or get easier. It really is one of those things which improve with time. Also, it may sound prosaic, but the secret really is nipping bad behaviour in the bud and being consistent with discipline (positive reinforcement etc).
Given enough walks and games my boy will happily sleep the day away now. I never thought we would have strangers commenting on how impeccable his manners are.
Honestly, I found puppyhood to be an extremely anxious time (even considered rehoming with friends) but it really doesn't last forever. Hang in there!
I've been where you are. Holes in my clothes and can't let her near the kids as she would mouthe them. Aka bite. It hurts!!!
She's now nearly two. Calm and sweet and loving. Great with the kids and well behaved. It passes.
But by God it's hard work. Good luck with the training.
I also thought I would never be able to feel relaxed in my home with the pup around. My boy was a trouble magnet so I had to be on constant vigilance and it was bloody exhausting/overwhelming!
My boy now knows his boundaries and I don't have to be on guard 24/7 (thank God). We spent the day scoffing our faces and cuddling in front of the TV-bliss!
I’ve just come out of the other side of the puppy nightmare, my youngest one is 1 now and settling down.
I would say I was pretty much 0 tolerance with the biting however and it was never an issue after about a week. Housetraining was hell though
Have you got a house line? That’s the only way I can keep my 5 month old off the sofas.
Yes, we do have her on a houseline. I've found it so helpful as it also allows me to stop her jumping up at the kids (which is fortunately better than it used to be, just as well as she's getting big and will probably squash them soon!)
It just seems to require 100% focus on puppy all the time to make sure she's not up to no good. It's exhausting!
On the positive side, housetraining has been great for the last few weeks. I was upstairs putting the kids to bed earlier and she barked at the back door to be let out for a wee rather than doing it inside.
I can't tell you how much I appreciate all the replies to my post. I have really been feeling that I can't cope and have ruined the next 10 years of so of my life. We all wanted a dog and the kids love her. I knew it would be hard but not this hard. My husband works long hours and I don't think he understands how hard it is to manage crazy puppy and 2 children at the same time and keep everyone safe. It's so good to hear that this stage will pass and it will get better.
It will. It really will. Our much longed for pup had me in tears at times. Now she just makes me smile.
Oh and the training? The brain work tires the bitey little buggers out! Enjoy!
I cried the first week. Have had our puppy for 2 months and only now starting to feel less anxious. I felt like my life was ruined for a long time and I've been coping by focusing on training him which has helped a lot. We spend a bit of time getting him used to being touched and brushed which has helped us to bond as does hand feeding every so often. He used to bite a lot but now at 4 months, he's starting to just mouth or graze. When he does bite down it's usually by accident and he'll lick my hand if I yelp out. I think he's just growing out of it...I don't think we're doing anything special other than making sure he has lots of chew toys and puzzle feeders.