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Advice for 6 month old puppy

(30 Posts)
TodayIs Thu 16-May-19 18:45:32

We are half way through adopting a puppy. She's 6 months, a Lurcher, very strong already. She's lovely but crazy. So much energy. So much that I'm considering not adopting her (in the hope she'd be homed elsewhere more experienced).

She has zero impulse control, pulls so hard she chokes, and has no manners yet at all. She pulls hard to every person and dog she sees and will jump (continually bouncing) to lick faces. Is this normal puppy behaviour?

I have lots of experience with dogs but only with adult dogs. Never had a puppy before and I'm scared I'm out of my depth! I want the best for her.

Essentially, are all these things trainable with a Lurcher? (Greyhound x Saluki?) It's essential that she'll be (eventually) good off lead.

I've found puppy classes starting in July, but any tips/advice MUCH appreciated...

OverFedStanley Thu 16-May-19 19:16:51

Pretty normal for an untrained puppy but the bit about it being essential that she will be good off lead is not a given with the breed mix.

Alwaysgrey Thu 16-May-19 19:37:10

We have a six month old pup. He’s a sod on lead. Pulls, pulls to see other dog and can be quite bouncy still and we’ve had him since January. He’s alright off lead it’s only when we see other dogs that there’s an issue. I’d say you’ve got a good opportunity to train still it just depends how much you want to.

TodayIs Thu 16-May-19 19:43:12

I'm really happy to dedicate lots of time and patience into training. I just don't want to let the pup down.

EnidPrunehat Thu 16-May-19 19:53:15

I've got a 5 month old lurcher (Bedlington/Whippet/bit of collie) and I work constantly on his manners. I can definitely see an improvement in the jumping up and lack of impulse control and his recall is good for now - all will probably go out of the window as adolescence hits. I'd say that what you are experiencing is typical for an untrained pup of 6 months. With consistent work and patience, all of these traits are trainable though. But what would concern me is your need for a hitherto untrained Grehound/Saluki Lurcher to be good off lead. That's not the best of breed mixes in that respect.

historygeek Thu 16-May-19 19:55:23

Sounds exactly like our lurcher. We got him as a rescue at 6 months. He was a bugger on the lead, would pull and jump up and try and bite through a fabric lead (we had to use a metal chain lead). He was a bugger off the lead, would jump up, run off (very fast) and was obsessed with other dogs. We worked really hard with recall in an enclosed space with no other dogs around using treats and a dog whistle. He needed to be off lead to burn off energy. Lurchers are literally born to run. Try and get hold of a copy of the RSPCA dog training handbook, written by Ben Fogle's dad (Bruce?)- loads of practical advice in there.
This took a few months but he is now an absolute dream. He's 5 and is so soft, obedient and loyal. He's ace with DS. You will get there and it will be so worth it!

BetterEatCheese Thu 16-May-19 19:58:01

We have an 8 month old whippet and have mostly sorted the jumping at people but he still hunkers down and leaps at other dogs. Recall is hit and miss so we have him on a 20m lunge. Constant positive training with food and clicker is working plus whistle work for recall (3 blows randomly all the time in and out of the house and he gets food).

Re the pulling - we stand still until he stops - took hours of crap walks but he got the message and 99% of the time he's fine (unless he sees a squirrel)

Lots of work but we're getting there. Puppy classes didn't work as he is too big and jumpy and his attention span is crap, so short sharp bursts for us. Start with easy stuff so she gains confidence

BetterEatCheese Thu 16-May-19 20:00:35

@EnidPrunehat your message rang a bell! Recall has been 100% until the 8-9 month hormone surge. He legged it last week and ran back to the car. Sat in the middle of a field, looked at us and turned round and ran! Nothing would get him back. Just decided he didn't want to be with us and wanted to go home! Long line again for now. Apparently 12-13 months is a challenge too

Bookaholic73 Thu 16-May-19 20:00:58

This is very typical of a puppy of this age.
If you don’t want to dedicate time to training, please don’t get a dog at all. Maybe a cat is a better idea?

Bookaholic73 Thu 16-May-19 20:01:51

Sorry, just read that you said you ARE happy to dedicate time to training. Oops!
By all means, go for it then.

TodayIs Thu 16-May-19 20:08:09

Thanks for the reassurance and experience - I may have to come to terms with the recall never being perfect with a sighthound and off lead being a pipedream.

It's all a bit overwhelming! I want to make the right decision.

She's already been adopted and returned once so if I bring her home it will be for good.

TodayIs Thu 16-May-19 20:14:55

@historygeek your post has given me hope! As you say, they need to run and eventually I'd like to trust her enough to play ball/agility while off lead. She may have a high prey/chase drive too.

We had a greyhound and it was a real struggle to find places safe enough to let her off (which she needed and adored) without spending a fortune on hire-by-the-hour spaces.

adaline Thu 16-May-19 20:17:08

I think pretty much all puppies jump and bounce and pull - it's pretty normal behaviour. Ours 15 months now and no longer has any interest in random strangers when we're out although he will try and jump if people come and fuss him still. The pulling is much better though still an issue at the beginning of walks - a harness will prevent the choking though it won't stop the pulling - it's a training issue more than anything.

Her breed probably means she'll never have decent recall. We have a beagle and while we do let him off-lead, it's only in enclosed fields or at the beach so he can't follow a scent and disappear! We're very lucky in that we have a beach that's kind of fenced along the dunes so he can only run along the sand or to the sea if that makes sense - there's no risk of him vanishing after a rabbit!

longearedbat Thu 16-May-19 20:22:54

Well, 6 months is the age at which they are most annoying, sort of troublesome teen. If you can grit your teeth and get through the next 6 to 18 months you will probably have a calm, settled and biddable dog. All these annoying kangaroo puppy tendencies go away after a time, with training and maturity. She will also settle down when she feels more secure. It must be very confusing for her to have been rehomed once and returned. In my experience some lurchers can go off lead, but they seem to take longer to get used to the idea of returning to you. Have you got any secure dog walking fields near you?. You can usually hire them (and take doggy friends). Have a look online.

RIPwalter Thu 16-May-19 20:23:48

Look at the ruffwear front range harness, it has a second attachment on the front door training, so that when the dog pulls they just spin round to have you. No more choking.

Summerorjustmaybe Thu 16-May-19 20:24:38

Mm scrumptious dpuppy indeed........

EnidPrunehat Thu 16-May-19 20:45:09

Interesting what you say about puppy classes @BetterEatCheese. I've not considered them for dpup for precisely those reasons. Right now, everyone in the area seems to have dear little fluffy puppies whereas in comparison, I have this enormous great gallumphing creature that looks as if he's stepped straight from a cartoon...

TodayIs Thu 16-May-19 20:50:40

Have you got any secure dog walking fields near you?

This is the issue - I don't have any secure close-by fields. Only a paid (£15 an hour) secure field that is a twenty minute drive away. I can't afford to use that very often.

My worry is that she won't have enough exercise from being walked on lead, being a Lurcher she needs to run.

Thanks everyone.

Bookaholic73 Thu 16-May-19 22:05:15

TodayIs wow..£15 is a lot!
I pay £5 an hour for a local dog field. I take my 2 cavaliers twice a week for an hour and they love it.

Kaddm Thu 16-May-19 22:13:44

Again it’s cost but I’d look into getting 121 training sessions for her to sort the recall. Watch out for the age limit on puppy classes. She may be too old to start them but too badly mannered to start the next class up
. I have a 6mth pup on a major hormone surge. Sleep has got worse!! I would say the behaviour you describe is normal if no training has been done. Was there a main reason why the previous people returned her or a major problem or had they just taken on too much?

MsMustDoBetter Thu 16-May-19 22:29:23

With patience and training you can get her to respond and become well mannered. It's just a matter of know how and some professional help is invaluable when raising a family dog.

You could turn this dog round really quickly with consistency. Have you seen the Dogs Behaving Badly programme on ch5? The very worst dog behaviours are quickly corrected and you are just describing normal
puppy behaviour. You have to let them know what you want by praising and rewarding them, even if they aren't consciously trying to please you need to let them know "I like this, this is good" by a combination of verbal praise and food reward.

MsMustDoBetter Thu 16-May-19 22:41:57

If you know of a good trainer could you take them to see the puppy before you commit?

TodayIs Fri 17-May-19 06:53:49

Was there a main reason why the previous people returned her or a major problem or had they just taken on too much

She was bought back after 7 days because the lady said the puppy needed more room (she's really big already) and was peeing/pooing in the house.

BUT she'd never had a dog before and she didn't have a garden. Having a well behaved adult dog would have been adjustment enough let alone a huge energetic puppy! The housetraining issue doesn't bother me at all. I've successfully house-trained adult dogs and assume it'll just take a little longer with a pup.

We have 1 to 1 training today with her at the dog rescue center with their behaviourist. I'm going to ask lots of questions! The center offer lots of support.

I've reserved a place for her on a puppy class that (right age, luckily) but I have the feeling she may be too distractable; it starts in July. Can only try!

I've woken up feeling far more positive. I have all the time and patience in the world for training, as long as I learn what the best positive training methods are then I don't think she's likely to find a better home.

Recall is one of those things with any breed - depends on personality too. She may be good as gold this time next year.

Question for those experienced owners - how long does the crazy stage last in a puppy?

Thanks again, all.

TodayIs Fri 17-May-19 06:58:19

*wow..£15 is a lot!
I pay £5 an hour for a local dog field*

Yup £15 an hour! It's open 7am-7pm and very rarely has a slot open too. The owner must be making a fortune.

adaline Fri 17-May-19 07:02:56

In my experience the worst months are 6-11 - they forget their training and go through the teenage stage!

Mine was fab at 5 months, then went through teenage hell, got much better at 12 months and better again at 15 - he's not perfect and still has his moments but he listens much more now and you can see he's calmer than he used to be.

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