Things you’d have done differently with first dog?

(23 Posts)
BuildingQuote Fri 25-Jan-19 11:12:16

I keep asking for rather a lot of advice as waiting our first puppy.

I just thought it would be helpful to hear if there are things you learnt from having your dog that you might have done differently ? I plan to join regular puppy classes but already wondering about things like separation anxiety as we will be with her all the time so if there is a time we can’t be when she’s older I don’t want her to feel upset?
I also thought we’d start by getting her used to sleeping In her crate and decide when she’s older if she’s allowed in the bed (she’s a cavalier) .
Thanks for any tips! Also on socialising as once her 2nd jab done I imagine she needs to see other dogs daily too and are bigger dogs too rough?

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spot102 Fri 25-Jan-19 11:15:57

Left it at her breeders!!
Turned out to be somewhat reactive and caused me no end of problems in the 10 years she was alive!
Positives though: I learnt a lot, and she was a great family dog!

Doggydoggydoggy Fri 25-Jan-19 11:19:03

1. Train a heel.
Believe me, once they get away with pulling once you will find it incredibly difficult to fix. Never let them experience what pulling feels like.

2. Really read up on dog body language and use it when deciding which dogs to interact with.
Any hint of tension do not let them meet.
My dog is dog aggressive.
My own anxiety is a big player but the aggression came about due to multiple unfriendly dogs aggressing at her, sometimes outright attacking her.

missbattenburg Fri 25-Jan-19 11:23:12

1. I would have been less fussed about finding friendly dogs to play with and sought out boring ones that were easy to ignore
2. I would have told the puppy class owner that allowed all puppies to play together for the first 10mins of class to f* off and never gone back
3. I would have used a trailing lead for recall right from the off
4. I would have been strict about pulling on the lead right from the off
5. I would have taken more puppy videos - they are little for such a tiny amount of time and it flies by

BuildingQuote Fri 25-Jan-19 11:35:14

These are great, thank you. Spot102 I am sorry you had a hard time with yours ! I am a bit anxious about the challenge but so excited too

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missbattenburg Fri 25-Jan-19 11:36:02

Nope. That puppy does not look totally scrumptious at all.


BuildingQuote Fri 25-Jan-19 11:37:35

Missbattenburg do you mean you let the lead trail after them while get them used to it and use treats to come back? I saw this on a video and they stressed to not use any pressure on the lead while they learn and to instead teach puppy to pay attention with food. I’ve got liver treats and might try fresh salmon too though bet that is messy !

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BuildingQuote Fri 25-Jan-19 11:37:58


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Doggydoggydoggy Fri 25-Jan-19 11:39:44

By fresh salmon are you referring to raw salmon?

If so, raw salmon and raw trout can carry liver fluke worms that can make your dog extremely ill..

LonnyVonnyWilsonFrickett Fri 25-Jan-19 11:40:13

Try tiny - and I mean tiny - cubes of cheese mixed in with cubes of toast for treats OP. I really can't bear the feel of meat or fish on my fingers so that's what we use.

missbattenburg Fri 25-Jan-19 11:42:49

I mean a 10m long trailing lead that you allow to trail behind them out in fields etc. It allows you to have an element of control at distance so you can work on recall.

Battendog the springer flushed his first pheasant and hare at about 6 months and experiences were so exciting that he never forgot them. A trailing lead would have put a stop to that.

Ditto, he learned early on that ignoring recall and running up to other dogs was most fun. It is a long slog to unlearn it. Again, a trailing lead would have prevented that.

Preventing the behaviour you don't want is so much better than curing it.

BuildingQuote Fri 25-Jan-19 11:46:00

Ah that is invaluable as our garden is teeming with rabbits and pheasants. Thank you and I didn’t even know about trailing leads.
I meant cooked salmon as reading a training book but the cheese and toast idea sounds much easier! My book does mention cheese too

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BuildingQuote Fri 25-Jan-19 11:46:56

Do you grab the trailing lead then if they do something they mustn’t and otherwise just let it trail?

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missbattenburg Fri 25-Jan-19 12:01:44

Grab it or stand on it - same result.

Sliced hot dog for training treats. Cheap, relatively clean, smelly and tasty.

missbattenburg Fri 25-Jan-19 12:03:35

p.s. only attached to a harness and not a collar, to prevent neck damage if there is a sudden stop.

Perch Fri 25-Jan-19 12:06:13

I would have trained him to go in only one spot in the garden, perhaps a dedicated area covered in bark chips that I can hose down. I have kind of trained him to do it since but it would have been so much easier to have started as a pup. In my defence, I didn't realise his wee would be like nuclear waste that would leave my lawn with countless dead patches!

BuildingQuote Fri 25-Jan-19 12:12:39

We do have one grassy area that we never walk on near front door so I might use that . This is all really great, thank you so much !

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Myranium Fri 25-Jan-19 15:32:54

Pretty much everything!! Good advice was much harder to come by when I got my first puppy and there was so much I did wrong that made it all much harder for both me and her. The two specific things I have the most regret about were using puppy pads (toilet training took much longer than it should have done) and letting her "cry it out" in her crate. The latter had some fairly lasting consequences which took a long time to overcome.

I'd highly recommend joining the Dog Training Advice and Support FB group, it's run by professional trainers/behaviourists who only advocate the use of up to date and force free methods. There's loads of great information in the 'Files' section, particularly the Congratulations on Your New Puppy pack which contains articles and guides covering almost everything you need to know to successfully raise a puppy.

Socialisation is about providing safe and positive experiences for the puppy whilst also teaching them how you want them to behave in such situations. Polite interactions with other dogs or people are good, running riot with them or leaping all over them getting loads of attention not so much. Not only is there scope for the experience to become scary or overwhelming very quickly but it's not how you want your puppy to behave as they grow up. A good puppy class with really help with this. If you've not already got one lined up then you can post in the aforementioned FB group for recommendations in your area or they have a downloadable list in the 'Files' section.

BuildingQuote Fri 25-Jan-19 17:05:43

myranium that’s wonderful and I’ve asked to join that group. Thank you.

Someone else said that leaving their puppy to learn to sleep in their crate at night only took a couple of nights but they would offer them the chance to go to the loo in the night with little interaction when needed. Was the crying it out you mentioned at night too and was the crate in your room? I really don’t know how to do it right but nervous of starting a puppy in our bed as might then not have the choice if staying somewhere else?

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Myranium Fri 25-Jan-19 18:03:02

Was the crying it out you mentioned at night too and was the crate in your room?

Yes to both. Back then the advice was into the crate at bedtime and ignore any resulting noise except for offering occasional toilet trips during which the puppy is completely ignored.

Unfortunately my puppy just screamed herself hoarse literally all night, getting more and more distressed.

It was upsetting and exhausting for me but traumatising for her. She ended up very scared of both crates and being left alone. It wasn’t until she was about two years old that she could be genuinely happy either in a crate or being left.

With my subsequent puppies I’ve slept downstairs on a sofa bed with the pup on the bed with me. As soon as they start shifting about during the night I whisked them out to the toilet (with very quiet, gentle praise for going outside) and got them back into bed pretty much before they were fully awake so they settled back down to sleep straight away.

It’s much less stressful for everyone involved and helps the puppy feel secure and settled much quicker with no risk of them associating either night time or being alone with being in distress.

Having them with you in the early days doesn’t mean they have to be on (or in) your bed forever. Once they’re fully settled in and are sleeping though you can start moving them to where you want to sleep long term, or gradually retreating to your bedroom if you’ve been downstairs with them. Mine all still sleep on my bed as adults but I know I could get them sleeping quite happily downstairs if that’s what I wanted.

You can use a crate right from the first night if you want but you need to do it in a particular way to avoid upset. It’s better described on the guide from that FB group but in short you wear the puppy out, make sure they’ve been out then pop them inside the crate (which needs to be right next to where you’re sleeping) once they’re conked our. You stay by then until they’re deeply asleep then get some sleep yourself until they wake you up because they’ve woken needing the toilet. Quiet, unexciting trip outside then back into the crate with you again waiting until they’re deeply asleep before shutting the door and getting back into bed.

BuildingQuote Fri 25-Jan-19 19:06:40

Thanks for such a clear explanation; funnily enough I had wondered whether to move a camp bed downstairs for a bit. I wonder whether age makes a difference too.
There is a lot to learn and amazing having mumsnet!

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MilesJuppIsMyBitch Fri 25-Jan-19 19:49:47

The main thing I would do differently is forgive myself (and my dog) for all our mistakes.

You really learn on the job, & you're not going to get everything right the first time.

Good luck: that puppy is gorgeous!

LittleLongDog Sat 26-Jan-19 09:12:31

That’s nice advice @MilesJuppIsMyBitch smile

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