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jonboy1

puppies - newbie advice please!

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Hey! 

So after a lot of deliberation (and reluctance on my part) we've got a puppy. My wife has wanted one for a good while now, and last weekend we picked up a 9 week old toy cockerpoo boy.

We've both gone through the usual "oh my goodness what on earth have we done!?" scenario's at 3am following 2 hours of crying and a poop splattered puppy and crate, but we seem to be getting him settled and into a good routine now where he isn't crying until he needs to go outside, which is just twice a night. So I'm quite happy with that progress.

My main issues that I'd appreciate some advice on are:

1: He wants to eat and chew EVERYTHING! I know puppies are teething and like to chew stuff, but he really is chewing and eating everything. When he goes outside he is head down, searching for snail shells, pebbles, branches, plants, cat poop, moss - anything he can get in his mouth. He just inhales it! We're feeding him 4 times a day, as recommended by the vet - but you'd think we didn't feed him at all if you watched him. Is this normal?

2: He's incredibly sociable and friendly, doesn't bark at all. But yesterday in the garden he suddenly stopped dead and acted very ****htened, staring at the back of the garden and started barking. I went to have a look and there was nothing there. I took him with me, and he settled down and was ok, only for it to happen again a few hours later. My only conclusion is that the house behind us may have a dog and he could smell it and it upset him. The other odd thing on the same subject is we got him a little heat reflecting blanket for his crate at night and on the box was a picture of a cute little dog looking all cosy and warm in the aforementioned. He did not like this at all - barking and rearing up at the box. As soon as I turned it over he settled. Is this normal for a puppy, and will it ease as we introduce him to more dogs? We can't take him out on the leash yet as he hasn't had his second set of vaccinations yet, so other than his mum and siblings he probably hasn't met any other dogs.

Any advice would be very much appreciated.

Many thanks

Jon

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jon, 

when my lab was a puppy, she would eat carpet, door frames and even the artex from the walls... what you are saying above sounds completley normal for a puppy, the good news is this should only last 6 months or so! 

its always advisable to start them on some sort of puppy training, but as far as your concerns go, i wouldn't worry too much, your dog is not defective!

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There is a spray called bitter apple and it tastes nasty. You spray it on anything you don’t want him to chew

get the smallest crate he can fit in. Dogs don’t like to be by poop do if he barely fits his crate, he won’t poop in it. 

Give him lots of love. He is crying in the night because he misses his pack. Your wife and you are his pack now. Keep him close

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28 minutes ago, catman79 said:

, i wouldn't worry too much, your dog is not defective!

that's a shame - I thought I might be able to get a full refund if he was defective ;) 

 

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Jon,

Whilst I've not had a dog of my own, I've got some learnings from when my Mum decided to rescue a young dog.

If you've had a dog before, ignore me, you'll have far more experience than me!

The main one is training - as much as for you as the dog. Training doesn't have to stop after they are a puppy either, Sandy (Mum's lab / collie mix) is 10 years old this month but still benefits from a once a week group session with an ex-Police dog handler. It will also help with socialization - a current concern for puppies in a lockdown world. 

You're the boss. The Alpha in the pack. Get the pecking order sorted and it gives the dog comfort and stability. Anxiety leads to bad habits, chewing, etc.

Good luck, you're braver man than I! 

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4 hours ago, jonboy1 said:

1: He wants to eat and chew EVERYTHING! I know puppies are teething and like to chew stuff, but he really is chewing and eating everything. When he goes outside he is head down, searching for snail shells, pebbles, branches, plants, cat poop, moss - anything he can get in his mouth. He just inhales it! We're feeding him 4 times a day, as recommended by the vet - but you'd think we didn't feed him at all if you watched him. Is this normal?

Each time he chews on something he's not supposed to you distract him with a chewing toy. Yes, each and every time. 

Take him outside for poop duty after each activity. If you've played for a while -out and poop. If he's slept -out and poop. If he's eaten -out and poop. You could reinforce the outside = pooping by giving him a treat when he's finished. 

Sleep with one eye open and take him out as often as he needs. After a few weeks he'll sleep through the night. 

5 hours ago, jonboy1 said:

2: He's incredibly sociable and friendly, doesn't bark at all. But yesterday in the garden he suddenly stopped dead and acted very ****htened, staring at the back of the garden and started barking. I went to have a look and there was nothing there. I took him with me, and he settled down and was ok, only for it to happen again a few hours later. My only conclusion is that the house behind us may have a dog and he could smell it and it upset him. The other odd thing on the same subject is we got him a little heat reflecting blanket for his crate at night and on the box was a picture of a cute little dog looking all cosy and warm in the aforementioned. He did not like this at all - barking and rearing up at the box. As soon as I turned it over he settled. Is this normal for a puppy, and will it ease as we introduce him to more dogs? We can't take him out on the leash yet as he hasn't had his second set of vaccinations yet, so other than his mum and siblings he probably hasn't met any other dogs.

Everything is normal, he's learning his way and his place in the world. Socialize him with other dogs as soon as you're able to. Puppy training as others have suggested is a good investment, both for the puppy and for you as owners. 

Use positive reinforcement, always and tons of it. If he does something he's not supposed to or you don't want him to do distract him, don't yell at him. Reward him when he does as he's supposed to. 

People usually end up with the dogs they deserve, make sure you deserve a devoted well behaved friend that's a constant source of joy and laughter for the next 13 + years. It's easier to do that now and over the next 12 months than trying to correct behaviour later on. 

Congratulations on make the best choice ever! Dogs are the most amazing creatures on four legs. 

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On 4/6/2021 at 11:45 AM, Badcrumble said:

Anxiety leads to bad habits

I agree that many habits are psychological.  

[Alpha]  Humans being alpha means that you eat first. Dogs eat last.  Eating order shows the hierarchy.  No should mean no, yes should mean yes, etc.  For us, "hey!" came to mean "no."  We don't use that word for humans, so it's a specific word meant for him only.  If you are consistent, all dogs would know, "come here," "no," "go back (we mean stay)," "dinner time," "let's go for a walk," etc.   We can't even say the word "walk."  If we are discussing walking the dog, we have to say "stroll" so he wouldn't know what we are talking about.   

Dogs are weary of other packs.  As far as he's concerned, all other dogs are threats to your pack or his position in the pack.  He wants to warn you about other packs and he doesn't want other dogs taking his place.  Our dog only barks when he's very very playful mood, or when somebody's at the door.  He barks only once. But he won't be settled until he's sure there is no intruder.  If it's a false alarm, I open the door to show him nobody's there.  He learned to ignore whatever sound it was.  In your case, I would pretend to check the neighbor's side to show him that you checked and there is no threat.  

[Anxiety]  I think eating objects came from being in a new environment.  It should stop in few weeks.  Our current dog had been abandoned. We were at a vet when a mother and daughter came in with a tiny dog, looking for a chip.  The vet found no chip, so we said we'd take him in.  As far as we know, we are the 3rd family.  When we went to neuter him a couple weeks later, the vet said he had eaten all kinds of stuff.  I'm sure he was finding it comforting to eat stuff.  He was skin and bones when we got him. From the stress of it, he bit his side, and he still has no hair there. He gained enough weight and then didn't eat strange things.  

We share the bed with dogs and he found it comforting. He has to feel my breath or something. If I toss and turn, he'd step over my neck and chin to get to my face. He still does it, even though it's been 6 years since we took him in.  Now he won't even walk if both of us don't walk with him.  He simply refuses to go anywhere unless the pack of 3 (including him) go together.  Abandonment anxieties don't go away, I suppose. 

If there was no lapse in care, dogs don't eat non-food.  Long ago, an acquaintance was trying to offload a puppy, so we borrowed the mother with the pup.  When the mother dog was stepping on him to wean him off, we returned her.  So he had his mother from birth, by the time his eyes were open we were the pack.  In his case, he'd sniff, but he never ate anything other than food.  But when he was about to lose his baby teeth, he did bite hard stuff like furniture legs for a week or 2.  If that's the case, you'll find his teeth around the house (or in his doodoo).   

[No Human food]  If you feed table scraps, try to avoid sweet or sticky things (unless you are willing to brush his teeth everyday).  Also chocolates and grapes could be deadly to dogs. (Chocolate--or sugary stuff--can raise the heart rate too fast. Grapes are poisonous to dogs. When feeding something new, you can google.)  

Whoever abandoned our current dog before had fed some sticky food. (maybe cat food?) That's bad. He almost all of his front teeth fell out in the first 3 months or so, not to mention bad breath despite daily brushing.  The older dog we had gotten table scraps (mostly meat), but never sticky food.  His breath wasn't bad. I never had to brush his teeth. He kept his pearly whites until the day he expired at the dog age of 92.  Also keep him lean.  Our old dog was slightly overweight and that never helps with longevity. Wise people learn from other people's mistakes, average folks learn from their own mistakes, below average don't learn.  I'd say it's very wise of you to ask. (I should have! But I was unwise.)  

 

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Good luck !

Never had a dog but have looked after friends dogs when they have gone away or been out for the day - wouldn't want one myself but each to their own.

Your wife wanted the dog so doesn't that make her responsible for it and everything it does ?

A few neighbours have got dogs over the past year but the novelty of having to take Fido for walkies every day even in freezing cold weather & rain seems to have worn off rather rapidly and the local dog walking services are doing good business round here. I compare this to buying a nice car and then paying someone else to drive it for you.

Dogs seem very needy and can be destructive - as you have found out. A neighbour spent £10k+ on a kitchen refit then got a puppy shortly afterwards - the new kitchen was wrecked in a week.  

Give me a cat any day - they are very easy pets to own - just feed them twice a day and they are quite happy to amuse themselves or sleep for hours on end. 

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You posted looking for advice about a puppy without posting any photos of said puppy? I'm sorry; I can't help you. ;)

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Check out Canine Intervention on Netflix !  It's more specifically about correcting behavioural issues in dogs but the philosophies and techniques are brilliant.  You pretty quickly work out that the same techniques work for the majority of doggy problems.

Consistency is the key with any dog training and correction straight away with a firm NO within 2 seconds.  Then encourage the desired behaviour and positively reinforce the good behaviour with a reward that suits the dogs personality so a treat for a food driven dog or a play with a play driven dog or a cuddle for an affectionate dog.  Getting to know your dog and work with your dogs personality type will get their training to the next level !

As above @Robert5000 mentioned :  Take away the item you don't want chewed and substitute in something that they are allowed to chew...... then positively reinforce chewing the right thing is a good behaviour.  This especially works with playful chewing and pretty soon your dog will go and get his allowed chew toy and bring it to you when he wants to tug or playful chew.  It's a eureka moment when they start bringing the desired chew toy to you instead of eating a skirting board or a door.

Enjoy that puppy and yes..... post a photo !

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thanks for all the advice guys, I'm very glad to have the reassurance and suggestions you've all provided - really appreciate it :) 

I've already started to discover there will be a battle of persistence with behaviour issues, but I'm nothing if not stubborn ;) He's settling in very well, no crying before bed last night, only up once for a toilet break and generally much more at ease. We got him from a council registered breeder, as we wanted to make sure he was looked after as well as possible, but I'm not entirely sure that worked out. From the moment we got him home he had a bad tummy and the next day we saw blood on his leg after he'd gone to toilet, so we rushed him to the vets. It turned out that the breeder had put him on kibble the day before giving him to us, so his tummy was all over the place - but didn't think to tell us this. The vet was not impressed with the breeder at all about this. She also told us to feed him twice a day - which again, the vet said was absolutely not the thing to do. So we got him on some sensitive food and he is depositing perfect piles of poop now. My feeling is that the breeder just sees them as commodities (she told us she has 9 females she breeds once a year, and the price of puppies has more than doubled since the pandemic, so you do the math...) and she was feeding them twice a day as it's easier for her. Could be wrong, hope I am, but I have a bad feeling about it. Tomorrow he goes to have his second set of immunisations so 10 days later we can finally take him for a walk! We've been carrying him around the neighbourhood every day to get him used to the sights and sounds, so hopefully that'll help him when he's in his harness. 

The funny thing is, for years I've watched dog owners walk their dogs past our house, thinking to myself "why do you let your dog just stop and sniff everything - just keep it walking!" Ladies and gentlemen, I have a strong suspicion I am about to be that person.....:P

Here's the little fella - you wouldn't believe such an innocent, cute and fluffy little thing could be so naughty, could you? He's currently flat out asleep on my lap....

 

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Man, so cute.

I forgot to put in my last post that I do believe dogs are the most rewarding companion, you've a friend for life there. And I'm a 'cat person'! Enjoy!

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Don’t forget to wear a crash helmet, gloves, elbow & knee pads when you go out for walks @jonboy1. You don’t want to be pulled to the ground when some lunatic drives their RC car past you scaring the living daylights out the little fella 😉

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7 hours ago, Re-Bugged said:

Don’t forget to wear a crash helmet, gloves, elbow & knee pads when you go out for walks @jonboy1. You don’t want to be pulled to the ground when some lunatic drives their RC car past you scaring the living daylights out the little fella 😉

 :lol: :P they deserve to be banned - hooligans who haven't grown up, terrorising the public! 

I just had the best advice ever from a mate:

"they pick up on stress in the home, so ask Mrs Jon to not tell you off when he's around, and then make sure he is always around..."

with that in mind this could be the perfect opportunity to get that Turbo Optima I've been wanting for ages........ :P

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You seat the dog in the kitchen, then you let him sniff a £20 note..

You wrap a dog treat in the note and hide it in the living room..

Reward the dog with a treat when he finds the money..

Eventually, you don't put the treat in with the money but give it on the discovery of the money.. 

Now you have a money sniffing dog,.. 

Go for long walks along the coastline..

Good luck on finding a suitcase full of discarded cash..

😊😁😁

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My experience is limited, but get the puppy used to spending the night in his or her crate.

Do not come get the puppy when it cries. It will otherwise learn that crying will get it out of the crate.

Training is easiest and most effective in a low-distraction environment. Usually that means home. Once the dog has mastered a command at home, move to a slightly more distracting environment, such as the yard.

Also, I taught my dog (a very large and dominant male pit bull terrier)  that nothing is free. He'd have a nice meal, but he'd only get to eat after I said he could eat, and he'd have to sit and wait first.

It got to the point where I could leave a raw beef liver in his bowl and I'd tell him to sit, right in front of it, I'd walk out of the room, and he knew not to touch it until I came back and told him he could eat.

As someone said, first people eat, then dogs eat. 

Find out what motivates your dog (food, praise, toys, bones, whatever) and use that as a training reward.

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