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What do I do with a 5 month old puppy ?

(25 Posts)
Babieseverywhere Wed 02-Jan-19 08:04:47

We are looking after a relations 5 month old puppy for a few weeks.

Clearly we are feeding, watering, walking on lead only, playing with puppy. He goes into a crate overnight and a play pen during the day, when we are eating meals or if he is being far too nippy (teething at the moment)

We give treats to puppy and our cat, for sitting calmly next to each other. We do that a couple of times a day.

Just thought it might be nice to do some basic sit, stay, come training with him. How do I do it ? He does sit if you point at his bum whilst holding a treat but not if you just say sit. He doesn't seem to answer to his name.

Plus any tips about teething/nipping. When he nips I give him a toy to mouth instead of me.Then say no sharply. When he bits a third time in a row, in goes outside or in play pen for a couple of minutes. Repeat endlessly. Am I doing something wrong or is it just his age. He is much better in the morning and worse after tea in the evening. Is it tiredness. I enforce a crate/playpen quiet time after tea, he seems to need the break.

The kids seem to bring out the worse in him nipping wise. Because of their over reactions, which spurs the puppy onto be even more excited! So I am having to be firm with the children about carrying/offering a toy, not screaming and jumping around if he starts to nip and generally being firm and gentle with him.

Poor puppy he is use to a very quiet home and we are a noisy household here. He goes into the playpen voluntarily sometimes (We leave the gate open and he keeps a bed, toys and water bowl in there) to get some peace!

Any advice on helping the children and basic training with the puppy ?

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LittleLongDog Wed 02-Jan-19 08:42:55

What breed is he?

My puppy also has form for turning into a baby crocodile in the evening and when over tired.

Silly question but if he doesn’t answer to his name are you sure the owners call him that? He might have a name but they use a nick name? To get him to respond, get everyone to carry a few treats hidden in their pockets and just call for him throughout the day from different places. Every time he comes he gets a treat.

Lucisky Wed 02-Jan-19 08:42:59

Re training, it is just a matter of endless repetition in very short bursts. 5 minutes is enough at a time. How quickly dogs pick up commands can often depend on the breed too - some are more receptive than others. It sounds like you are doing it right.
Use his name before every command, he will soon learn it. To teach him to come when called, start in the house with a whistle, reward with a high value treat when he comes, and expand it from there.
My dog is now 2, and is mostly very obedient, but it has taken a lot of work behind the scenes. 5 months is still very young. You will get there, just be consistent and kind.

Babieseverywhere Wed 02-Jan-19 09:04:35

He is a Sprocket and his name is definitely what they call him. I think our house is jusy too distracting full of kids and a cat, that are too fun to bouncy over to, rather than to listen to me. Unless he hears the russle of his treat packet and he runs over and sits in front of me !

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Babieseverywhere Wed 02-Jan-19 09:05:45

Sprocker I mean. I know he is super young, so I am not expecting him to learn too much in the few weeks we have him here.

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Eeeeek2 Wed 02-Jan-19 09:13:39

My sprocker at 5 months knew sit, lie down, come, stay (as long as you were in eyesight) heal (but needed reminding regularly)

The key is consistency, the command has to be the same and you have to reward only when the desired result happens. Also do short bursts of training so it isn't overwhelming, and preferably when it's a little quieter and calmer to start with.

adaline Wed 02-Jan-19 09:38:17

It depends what commands they use.

Mine is one and will do more tricks to hand commands than verbal ones. So sit is an open palm flat to a fist and he plonks his bum on the floor. Lie down is then lowering the fist towards the ground.

Different trainers teach different methods!

Booboostwo Wed 02-Jan-19 09:38:43

Assuming you are sure the owners are OK with you training their puppy and with the training techniques you will use...

teach 'leave it': put a small treat inside your palm and close your fist tightly. Put the closed fist right by the puppy's muzzle and leave there no matter what the puppy does. As soon as there is a space between the puppy's muzzle and your palm click and open your palm so she can have the treat. Repeat.

For sit put treat on puppy;s nose and lift upwards. As the nose goes up the bottom goes down, as the puppy sits click and give treat. Repeat three times then show puppy treat and wait for her to offer a sit. This is very important as it teaches the puppy to offer behaviour and not just wait to be lured.

Don't practice sits and downs one after another, break up with another behaviour.

For down start with sit then move treat down between front legs. Do as you did with sit.

Target: put your open hand close to the puppy's muzzle, as the puppy touches it click and treat. Eventually move palm around so puppy follows.

Don't practice leave it and hand target one after another, break with another behaviour.

Call puppy's name, when she looks at you click and treat.

All the recall games.

Booboostwo Wed 02-Jan-19 09:39:52

PS don't use words at this stage. Puppies do not speak English. Get the behaviour, strengthen the behaviour and once the behaviour is reliable attach a name to it. No point in saying "Sit, sit, sit please, SIT, will you sit?!!!" while the puppy is having fun doing something else.

Babieseverywhere Wed 02-Jan-19 15:22:09

I like the idea of hand signals. I will try that.

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Awesomeo90 Wed 02-Jan-19 19:37:40

Don't train someone else's dog! You could really confuse things and make things difficult for his owners. Play games like fetch, hide the toy etc instead. Clicker training and teaching hand signals to a dog that isn't yours really isn't a good idea

LittleLongDog Thu 03-Jan-19 08:33:16

I do agree that unless the owners are doing the same training, there’s not much point in you training them with different techniques for a few weeks. But I assume you’ve spoken to the owners about it?

ReaganSomerset Thu 03-Jan-19 08:38:38

I am no expert, but would imagine that giving the dog a toy when it nips you could be interpreted as a reward and cause him to nip you more.

I disagree with PP, do use words while training, otherwise he'll never learn them. By all means hand signals, clickers etc as well, but dogs can learn verbal commands. Babies don't speak English either, doesn't mean you don't use it to speak to then. The dog may not understand command words yet but will eventually.

Booboostwo Thu 03-Jan-19 09:47:55

Reagan a toy when a dog nips is not a reward to nip more it’s a suitable displacement so the dog can nip something appropriate.

You misunderstood my advice. I didn’t say to never use words, but rather not to use words at the beginning when the dog doesn’t understand them. What you need is behaviour, when you get reliable behaviour you start pairing the word, when the word is paired you can finally use the word to get the behaviour. That takes quite a few months though because each behaviour has to be repeated many times in many different locations under different circumstances.

At the beginning there is no causal connection between words and behaviours, you get behaviour anyway you can, e.g, by luring, shaping, exploring circumstances or coincidentally.

Booboostwo Thu 03-Jan-19 09:49:51

Ps the clicker does a different job to the hand or verbal command. The clicker is a marker of the behaviour to be rewarded. The reason hand commands are used quicker than verbal ones is that they are easier for the dog to understand from luring, but as I said above it is important to do nothing and wait for the last rewarded behaviour to be repeated. This teaches the dog to offer behaviour which is crucial for learning new things.

DogInATent Thu 03-Jan-19 11:37:53

Watch Zak George on Youtube, he's got a few easy puppy training exercises on video. I see no harm covering Sit, Stay, Fetch, etc. whilst the pup is in your care.

Babieseverywhere Thu 03-Jan-19 16:11:18

I have used clicker training with my cat before. But won't be using that with borrowed puppy.

The dog owners have said they would like us to work on sit, down, leave, stay and come. Which is what they are doing with him.

I took him out on today's walk with some dry treats to rattle and got him to return to me 6 times.

Once when he started to chase a cat, but a rattle of his treats and he came back (Thank goodness)

Basically he seems to listen closely when you have a treat in hand and ignore me the rest of the time, lol smile

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Babieseverywhere Thu 03-Jan-19 16:12:23

Thanks DogInATent. Those videos sounds perfect. Off to watch them.

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ReaganSomerset Thu 03-Jan-19 16:16:31

I still think a toy for a nip is going to encourage nipping and confuse the dog. After all, they give toys to drug search dogs as reward and motivation. We always gave a stern no and either a tap on the nose or a spray of water for bad behaviour, worked very quickly. And seeing as distraction doesn't seem to be working..

Booboostwo Thu 03-Jan-19 20:06:05

Yes Reagan you certainly are no expert in puppy training if you hit your puppy.

ReaganSomerset Thu 03-Jan-19 20:18:41

It's a tap, but I suppose dogs in the wild give their puppies teether toys to discourage them from unwanted behaviour?

adaline Thu 03-Jan-19 20:26:34

It's a tap, but I suppose dogs in the wild give their puppies teether toys to discourage them from unwanted behaviour?

What does that have to do with this situation? You're not a wild dog, neither is your pet. Dogs are WELL aware that you are people are not dogs - they don't treat you like another dog, nor do they expect you to behave like one!

Spraying/tapping (hitting) work because your dog becomes scared of you. It might stop the behaviour but only out of fear, not because it's learning to do the right thing. My dog is one, we never hit or tapped or sprayed him and he's stopped nipping because it was a phase all dogs go through - there was no need for me to scare him into behaving!

ladybee28 Thu 03-Jan-19 20:27:49

I suppose dogs in the wild give their puppies teether toys to discourage them from unwanted behaviour?

There's no such thing as dogs in the wild.

But assuming that was something that existed, should we also be tearing raw meat from still-warm, just-killed carcasses with our teeth and feeding it from our mouths to our puppies?

MsMightyTitanAndHerTroubadours Thu 03-Jan-19 20:46:33

it's all about timing with puppies, you might find this a bit more difficult in a busy household, but we tend to keep the pup with us at all times, and watch them like a hawk...pocket of treats and as the pup sits, you say sit and reward. It is much easier than trying to get a bouncy wilful pup to sit when they know you have a treat. As you work on it you slightly change the order so you get a sit for a command, it won't take long.

recall....I get the pup's attention first, clapping, "hoo-hooo-hoooo" -ing, whistle, squeaky toy, then make myself as appealing as possible down low, arms wide, excited voice and ONLY when they are committed to returning do I call their name or use the recall command

this is good in groups, all sit far apart in the garden or biggish room, with one person at a time being noisy/inviting.

you also need to work out what is your pup's currency...some it is food, some a toy, some are just happy to do good...not many but some do! ;) It does sound like a nice rustly packet of treats is working well for you!

you must be an angel to be taking on a five month old sprocker! Those people are going to owe you a huge favour!! grin

Babieseverywhere Sat 05-Jan-19 22:30:34

We keep trying the treats and calling thing. It seems to be working slowly.

He is learning to like balls. After a few daysof hand throwing a ball, I bought a ball on a stick and he loves it.

DDog will dash to ball bring it back and sit for a treat ! No idea if we are doing well or if that is a treat based response ?

He just ran once today to a man who appeared to be walking a dog but it was just a stick. DDof was sad there was no dogs on the field tonight.

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