New here and desperately need help...

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hvnbnd
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New here and desperately need help...

Post by hvnbnd » Tue Jan 18, 2011 12:58 pm

First I want to apologize for this being so long, but I desperately need some advice.

My husband and I got a chocolate lab puppy (female) about 9 weeks ago, when she was 6 weeks old. I've since learned that this is too young to be taken from the mother, so some of our problems might be a result of that. Since we have had her, all of the training, exercising, etc. has been up to me. I am home all day with my daughter, and my husband works from 6:30-4, so it is usually me, daughter, and puppy for most of the day. This is my first time really training a dog.

For the most part I would say she's a pretty good dog. She knows sit, stay, down, shake, and kennel - assuming I have a treat/food. If not, she might listen, she might not. I understand she's still young; we don't really push anything, just work on things from time to time at home. She is crate trained and sleeps in the crate all night with no problems.

That being said, I am really struggling with a couple of things, and hope you all might have some good advice/suggestions.

The first thing is the leash. She knows the leash means we are going outside for a walk, but getting it on her is a nightmare. She jumps, whines, barks, etc, and will not be still long enough to get it on. When I try to reach down and put the leash on, she starts biting, trying to get my hands and the leash. Once on, she tries to bite it until we get out the door, and then she starts pulling like crazy. I have had to start walking her with a prong collar (which is also difficult to get on her), as it is the only way she will listen on our walks. Even now, when she bolts off to the side, she can about knock me off my feet, and that's not something I can take a chance on, especially since I'm pushing my daughter in a stroller at the same time.

The other thing is teaching her "off". She has never been allowed on the furniture, yet she will jump up and place her front feet on the couches and chair. If I'm right there next to her, I tell her "off" and remove her from the furniture. If I'm not right there, I can tell her "off" and she doesn't move; just stands there and looks at me. She will only move once I start walking over to her.

Again, I'm sorry this is so long. Any tips to help our situation?

Melissa

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Nhuskr
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Re: New here and desperately need help...

Post by Nhuskr » Tue Jan 18, 2011 1:57 pm

Hi Melissa and welcome!

Puppies are so much fun aren't they? :twisted: Sounds like you have your hands full. I don't think the issues you are having have to do with him coming home at 6 weeks. Those aren't behaviors that would be taught by mom or siblings. It sounds more like you haven't established yourself as the pack leader. How does pup behave when your husband is home? I would recommend you check out Cesar Milan's (The Dog Whisperer) books and dvds from the library. They can go a long way in helping you understand your situation and how your approach to the dog might be contributing to his behavior. They've helped me tremendously.

One thing I might suggest right away, put the leash on pup and make him wear it in the house all the time. This will give you a means to quickly get a hold of him to correct him. It also should help him learn that the leash doesn't always mean excitement and going for a walk. If he tries to chew on it, correct him with a firm "No" and a snap of the fingers, then re-direct him to something he can chew on.

Keep me posted, we stay-at-home moms need to keep together!

Cheryl

PS- Something else I wanted to add. You can't hurt a dog's feelings by correcting them! Most of them really do want you to be the leader, it's a lot less stressful for them. Cesar also works hard to get people to understand that a dog is "animal first, dog second, breed third, name fourth." Relating to them in that manner should help you as well

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AzDoggin
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Re: New here and desperately need help...

Post by AzDoggin » Tue Jan 18, 2011 2:10 pm

Yep.

An exercise pen (ex-pen) (samples from Wallie world http://www.walmart.com/ip/Pet-Exercise- ... ls/3946902) would help you manage the pup at home as well. He has not yet earned the right to run loose in the house. Put him in the ex-pen with a couple toys and a couple chewies and he'll be alot easier to manage in the house while he matures and gains more impulse control. Some dogs take up to a year or more until they have learned the manners to be in the house off leash running free.

Here's some reading for you: http://leerburg.com/trainpupsdirectory.htm This one in particular may be a good starting place: http://leerburg.com/puppygroundwork.htm

Have fun and enjoy, this time goes FAST!

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Re: New here and desperately need help...

Post by hvnbnd » Tue Jan 18, 2011 2:17 pm

@AzHuskr- so should she stay in the xpen unless she is outside for play/exercise, going potty, things like that? Right now we have her confined to the living room and kitchen. I do have an xpen, though, so I will have to give it a try.

@Cheryl- Hubby doesn't really do much with her once he gets home. He's usually on the internet, watching tv, etc. He might pet her or play with her a little, but that's about it.

I think one of MY biggest problems is that I get frustrated really easily with her. If I vent to hubby about it, he just says "she just needs to be trained" or something to that effect. But all of said training is left up to me.

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Re: New here and desperately need help...

Post by birddog1968 » Tue Jan 18, 2011 2:47 pm

Teach the dog to sit with her food bowl......make her sit as you hold the food bowl full of food, tell her sit. As you lower the bowl to set it on the floor if she stands raise the bowl back up, make her sit and command sit. Once sitting lower the food bowl again, if the dog stands before allowed raise the bowl again.

You can drill sit in very well with the food bowl. The first time you may have to keep her sitting with your hand and give her the food and a atta-girl.

In short order 1-3 days the dog should have learned this lesson easily.....Mine will sit upon hearing the first S sound of the sit command and the food bowl drills it in so tight so as to be compulsory. Do this religiously EVERY time you feed the dog for its entire life.

Sit (and don't get up) is the begining and basis of almost all the dog will learn, teach sit well and stay consistent and you might be amazed at how further training is accepted.

Don't be afraid to give the dog a little smack and NO on the back of the head when chewing but as said always present a chew toy and when they take it a stroke and Good girl....pup should learn quick whats acceptable to chew on. Puppies and dogs respect firm , fair and consistent lessons.

All that said some puppies are just bad :lol: but they will all come around if one is firm, fair and consistent.....

Good luck.
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hvnbnd
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Re: New here and desperately need help...

Post by hvnbnd » Tue Jan 18, 2011 3:06 pm

I do make her sit or lie down and stay before she gets to eat. She does that great - as soon as she knows I've filled her bowl, she runs to her spot and sits. I just feel like I have so much on my plate and as a result I have very little patience with her, which I am trying to work on.

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Re: New here and desperately need help...

Post by ezzy333 » Tue Jan 18, 2011 4:05 pm

Stop putting so much pressure on yourself. She will learn whatever you are wanting to teach as long as you consisiantly make her do the same thing everyday. They learn by repetion but there is no set time table they follow. Just do what you are doing and do it everytime the same way and it will happen. Relax and enjoy the process. Sounds like you have a smart normal puppy.

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AzDoggin
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Re: New here and desperately need help...

Post by AzDoggin » Tue Jan 18, 2011 4:41 pm

hvnbnd wrote:@AzHuskr- so should she stay in the xpen unless she is outside for play/exercise, going potty, things like that? Right now we have her confined to the living room and kitchen. I do have an xpen, though, so I will have to give it a try. .
Basically she's in the ex-pen when you have to be inside and can't supervise or attend to her 100%. The advantage of having it inside is that she still gets to see and smell her family and gets socialization, but can't eat the couch and otherwise wreak havoc. It may help her feel more positive about the leash as well because she will quickly learn that leash means getting out of ex-pen to go outside (rather than restricting freedom - leash represents granting freedom). Continue to give her pottie breaks as normal.

Alternatively, some folks use a short (4 or 5 feet) chain tether inside. Put an eye bolt into the baseboard in a corner, making sure there is no furniture within reach. Give her some chew toys and something to lay down on. The only disadvantage of this approach IMO is that until she is wiser to the ways of leashes/tethers, there is the potential of getting tangled.

I agree with Ezzy - take the pressure off of yourself if you can, design a system with crate/ex-pen and going outside that you can live with and and try to enjoy this time.

As for putting on the leash, get a tasty food treat and get her to sit and give her a reward. Next make a slip loop with the leash that is oversized and put it around your "food" hand. Say "leash" and offer her the food morsel with one hand while you are slipping the loop around her neck with the other. You could work on a calm sit at that time, maybe offering one more treat. She'll form positive associations with the sit/leash/calm routine and then you release her and you are good to walk off. Eventually, you won't need the food - just a good way to ratchet up the "cooperation" with a young pup.

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Re: New here and desperately need help...

Post by kninebirddog » Tue Jan 18, 2011 4:59 pm

birddog1968 wrote:Teach the dog to sit with her food bowl......make her sit as you hold the food bowl full of food, tell her sit. As you lower the bowl to set it on the floor if she stands raise the bowl back up, make her sit and command sit. Once sitting lower the food bowl again, if the dog stands before allowed raise the bowl again.

You can drill sit in very well with the food bowl. The first time you may have to keep her sitting with your hand and give her the food and a atta-girl.


In short order 1-3 days the dog should have learned this lesson easily.....Mine will sit upon hearing the first S sound of the sit command and the food bowl drills it in so tight so as to be compulsory. Do this religiously EVERY time you feed the dog for its entire life.

Sit (and don't get up) is the begining and basis of almost all the dog will learn, teach sit well and stay consistent and you might be amazed at how further training is accepted.

Don't be afraid to give the dog a little smack and NO on the back of the head when chewing but as said always present a chew toy and when they take it a stroke and Good girl....pup should learn quick whats acceptable to chew on. Puppies and dogs respect firm , fair and consistent lessons.

All that said some puppies are just bad :lol: but they will all come around if one is firm, fair and consistent.....

Good luck.

+1
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Re: New here and desperately need help...

Post by birddog1968 » Tue Jan 18, 2011 5:10 pm

Another thing I just remembered I did with my pups was to teach them to lay quietly while I was reading/watching TV.

Put the short lead on and put the loop end around your foot and pin it to the floor. Go about reading your book and ignore pup. The dog may give you fits at first but with consistency the dog will learn that when you are engaged it should lay down at your feet and be calm. Have a chew toy there or something the dog likes, they will learn to occupy themselves and not be a rebel.

Maybe you don't need training suggestions but I thought I would add it for your benefit or others who read this. You sound like your doing well and are involved enough to care. I am sure your pup will become a good citizen and make you proud.

Again Good Luck.
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hvnbnd
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Re: New here and desperately need help...

Post by hvnbnd » Tue Jan 18, 2011 5:17 pm

Regarding keeping a short lead on her while she's out of the crate in the house...if she starts trying to mouth/bite the lead, do I just ignore her and let her get used to wearing it? Or do I go over and tell her no and remove it from her mouth?

and @birddog1968- I can use all the training advice/suggestions y'all want to give :mrgreen:

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Re: New here and desperately need help...

Post by K9luke » Tue Jan 18, 2011 8:40 pm

As far as the lead goes. Use a chain type and tie her short enough so she cannot lunge hard and hurt herself. Leave her alone/ignore her and she will eventually submit to it. This may take a couple of repititions but it will work. The chain type lead will also discourage her from chewing the lead. She may be biting at your hand thinking that you have a treat in it. I give my dogs treats from my mouth during obedience training. That way they learn to allways watch my face instead of my hands and pockets.
One other drill that will help a lot. A few times a day make her lay down and stay. Stand over her with her between your feet straddling her and completely ignore her unless she tries to get up. If she does then IMMEDIATELY make her go back down to the origional position and continue. Do this for a couple minutes each time and later extending it to 3 to 4 minutes each time. This is a dominance exercise. It may be inconvenient and meaningless for you but to the dog it is teaching who's the boss and means an awful lot to them.
Allways use a normal voice when talking to the dog. Yelling makes no difference to them whatsoever and they don't respond to asking them to do something. A command is just that, A command. Continually repeating a command is going to teach the dog that it is just a meaningless noise. Give a command once and back it up.Tone is everything and volume means nothing to them. If you say NO and it doesn't respond then make it respond and do it quick. Dogs have an average of 3-4 second attention span. If you punish or correct the dog more than 3 seconds after it does something wrong then chances are it will have not a clue what it is being corrected for.
Keep your sessions short and fun for the dog. Allways end on a good note and "NO" is the most important thing to work on for now.
Sounds like you are doing just fine and it will get better. Hang in there !

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Re: New here and desperately need help...

Post by gonehuntin' » Wed Jan 19, 2011 5:52 am

birddog1968 wrote:Teach the dog to sit with her food bowl......make her sit as you hold the food bowl full of food, tell her sit. As you lower the bowl to set it on the floor if she stands raise the bowl back up, make her sit and command sit. Once sitting lower the food bowl again, if the dog stands before allowed raise the bowl again.

You can drill sit in very well with the food bowl. The first time you may have to keep her sitting with your hand and give her the food and a atta-girl.

In short order 1-3 days the dog should have learned this lesson easily.....Mine will sit upon hearing the first S sound of the sit command and the food bowl drills it in so tight so as to be compulsory. Do this religiously EVERY time you feed the dog for its entire life.

Sit (and don't get up) is the begining and basis of almost all the dog will learn, teach sit well and stay consistent and you might be amazed at how further training is accepted.

Don't be afraid to give the dog a little smack and NO on the back of the head when chewing but as said always present a chew toy and when they take it a stroke and Good girl....pup should learn quick whats acceptable to chew on. Puppies and dogs respect firm , fair and consistent lessons.

All that said some puppies are just bad :lol: but they will all come around if one is firm, fair and consistent.....

Good luck.
+2. There is no reason for that pup to be biting you. Smack her or pinch her nose on her teeth, but do NOT put up with it.
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Re: New here and desperately need help...

Post by EvanG » Wed Jan 19, 2011 7:52 am

gonehuntin' wrote: +2. There is no reason for that pup to be biting you. Smack her or pinch her nose on her teeth, but do NOT put up with it.
I absolutely agree. In my more than 30 years of training retrievers I've found this little issue to be very common. But it's easily cured by following this simple advice. Timing will be very important to your success when correcting your pup.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bywrx4O9FeY
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yVbFKGrS5DE

The sooner you start this pup through a solid, proven puppy course the better. Let me know anytime I can be of help.

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Re: New here and desperately need help...

Post by K9luke » Wed Jan 19, 2011 6:48 pm

quote="gonehuntin'"] +2. There is no reason for that pup to be biting you. Smack her or pinch her nose on her teeth, but do NOT put up with it.[/quote]

And when you do allways give a stern "NO" simultaniously.

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Re: New here and desperately need help...

Post by MikeB » Thu Jan 20, 2011 11:24 am

hvnbnd,

Did you get my PM I sent you?

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Re: New here and desperately need help...

Post by hvnbnd » Fri Jan 21, 2011 3:43 pm

Just wanted to update - I've been working on the tone of my voice when I tell Charlie to do something, and it seems to be working. The other day we were going to go for a walk, and I calmy but firmly told her to sit and stay. She wiggled a little bit, but I was able to easily get both the collar and leash on - and there was NO biting!! So I think if I can keep that up, we'll be just fine. I think I just need her to understand that when I say something, I mean it.

@MikeB - I did get your message. I've been meaning to respond, but I've just been really busy. I'm going to try and email you later on today.

Thank you all for your advice! I'm sure I'll have more questions in the future.

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AzDoggin
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Re: New here and desperately need help...

Post by AzDoggin » Fri Jan 21, 2011 3:59 pm

hvnbnd wrote:I think I just need her to understand that when I say something, I mean it.

:D Good for you. Cesar Millan would call that "calm, assertive energy." If you can catch a few "Dog Whisperer" episodes on Nat Geo, you can watch the pro a few times, and you'll see the effects of that over and over.

Oh - and your human pup will benefit from that approach come school age also :wink:

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Re: New here and desperately need help...

Post by Nhuskr » Sat Jan 22, 2011 8:28 am

Great to hear the update. Keep up the good work! And if you can get your husband involved, you'll see even faster progress. If he's a reader, find "A Member of the Family" by Cesar Millan. It's a good easy read that stresses the importance of the whole family being on the same page. You can even begin teaching your 2 yo to be a pack leader!

Have a great weekend,

Cheryl

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