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What do you do with you six month old puppy to stop them getting bored?(9 Posts)
My six month old (show) cocker spaniel is prone to some bad behaviour she doesn't seem to be growing out of and I'm trying to ensure she is as entertained as possible.
She goes on two walks a day (within the recommended amount for her age),1$? I do general training with her a few times a day, play with her with toys, she has a kong and licky mat etc.
I'm just buying a puzzle feeder now.
Any other suggestions?
When my girl was about that age she would chew anything and everything, meaning we had to move everything out of her reach and live a very minimalist lifestyle. Teething I guess and she enjoyed it. I started to make her a rummage box full of bits she could chew so she had an outlet for it and the unwanted chewing stopped fairly quickly. It would usually be a cardboard box containing at least one Kong packed with tasty food, plus treats wrapped up in paper or loo roll tubes and a favourite toy that she only got when I left the house so that she was always excited to find it in the box. It does create a bit of a mess but at least she'd had fun and hadn't trashed the house.
Scatter feeding at meal times is great for dogs who like to use their nose.
I am not sure being bored is a bad thing for a young dog. Whilst they absolutely need plenty attention, exercise, fun and training, they do not need to be entertained all through the day. Despite what they try to tell you.
Learning to settle and/or amuse themseleves in safe and easy-to-live-ways is important.
Limit the damage she can do and make sure she is safe, but don't fall into the trap of providing 24*7 entertainment for her.
Our problem is her nipping me and my clothes unfortunately. She gets over excited very easily and that's when it happens. It's much worse since she has discovered jumping on and off the sofas and she can barely be in the living room at the moment without getting put out every five minutes for nipping (we have a gate so she can still see us). It's increasingly hard to put her out as she wriggles and nips all the more. It's only play nipping, not aggression, but it still hurts.
Ours was really, really hard work between 6-11 months of age. They can't have too much exercise but clearly have loads of energy. It was really hard!
We tried to stick to the following:
Breakfast and toilet break.
Walk (about 30 minutes) doing training on the way - so sits before crossing roads, that kind of thing.
Gave him a chew and encouraged him to settle. A chew lasted a while and then he normally slept.
When he woke up, toilet break and 5-10 minutes training.
Then we ignored him for a while, he either slept or mooched.
Another walk, normally off-lead on the beach or similar. Recall training was included in this.
Chew and a nap like before. He then tended to sleep until just before dinner.
Then we did training and his meal, then ignored him. He'd come for a cuddle and a fuss and normally fell asleep around 8-9. He did have bitey phases too but we just ignored it. It does pass!
We're home with him four days a week so that's what we tried to stick to. If we went out, he was either left or came with us depending on where we were going. Trips to the shops exhausted him (and still do) so you could do that if there are places you can take him?
It does get better, I promise! Like a PP said you need to encourage them to entertain themselves too so don't fall for those pleading eyes all the time!
Ah I see, I hadn't understood that from your original post. Thats not really a problem that can be easily solved on a forum, you'd be better off speaking to a trainer or behaviourist. They'd be in a much better position to give you a proper training plan. The websites for IMDT and also APDT will point toward qualified trainers.
I agree with @missbattenburg that reaching them to settle and entertain themselves is a valuable life skill. If they're over excited adding more stimulation won't help the problem, nor will physically removing the dog - as you've already discovered when the pup objects to you removing them.
I don't think nipping at six months of age is something that needs a behaviourist - it's pretty normal if not desirable. Some breeds don't finish teething until 9 months old so they will be bitey until then.
Best thing to do is distract. Mine is 13 months and still has bitey phases, but he now knows to get his tuggy to play with us. You can teach dogs the names of their toys and get them to go fetch/play with it. Mine knows "tuggy" means rope toy so if he starts being silly I say "go get your tuggy" he will, then he gets attention.
I’ve also got a 6 month old show cocker. He gets walked once a day (sometimes twice) and will play fetch with a ball/stick and practice recall.
We also do sets of 10 mins training inside twice a day.
He has a kong but isn’t interested, I might try a lickamat next.
Ours is really nippy and barky in the morning when it’s time for the kids to get dressed for school so I put him in his crate for a few minutes to calm down.
The rest of the day he is fine, just likes to snooze near me.
Could your puppy be overstimulated?
I was once told that mental stimulation is just as tiring for dogs as physical exercise.
When ours was a pup, his favourite toys were ones we made ourselves.
-Empty loo roll holder folded in at the ends with a few treats in
-Empty drinks bottle with a few treats in that he could throw around
-Anything they've got to 'think' about
In terms of chewing/nipping, I feel your pain because this is what drove me mad!! Their teeth are like tiny razors but rawhide bones worked amazingly for us. They are 60p from Wilkos and they kept him entertained for a good half hr which was bliss. Because he'd calmed down and sat having a chew on it, he'd very often fall asleep after that.
Your pup will calm down eventually. I never believed people when they told me that during the time but it's true