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Old 12-16-2012, 04:45 PM
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Help! New Owners in Need of Training.

We brought our boy Spike home the weekend after Thanksgiving and he will be 13 weeks old tomorrow. I have to admit, this has been a struggle so I'm looking for a little guidance and advice. This is our first ever dog.

Background: my wife and I have two small girls ages 3 & 6. We live in a split level home with a big, but un-fenced backyard. Spike is too scared to go down stairs, so he's confined to the upstairs. We're crate training, and if I'm being honest, he's stuck in his crate a lot of the day.

So far, a normal day goes like this. My wife wakes up at 6:00AM and takes Spike outside to pee/poop. She brings him inside, gives him food & water inside his crate where he stays for awhile. I try to wake up at 6:30 to take him on a short 20 minute walk, but unfortunately I was sick for a couple weeks, so that hasn't been a routine yet. He gets to go outside to relieve himself at least once more (often twice) before we leave for work at 8:00 AM. My wife and I both come home for lunch from 11:30 to 12:30, so he gets to go outside twice, once when we get home, and once before we leave. We get off work at 5:00 PM and get home in 15 minutes after picking up the kids from after school program and daycare. (We live in a small town.) He gets to go out immediately when we get home to eliminate. Then I try to take him for a longer walk right away. He's back in his crate for supper because we can't watch him and feed our girls, and he will pee on the carpet guaranteed. He goes out several times to pee/poop in the evening and for sure right before we go to bed. He whines to be let out at least twice each night.

Now the past couple days he started barking a lot. He'd bark in the middle of the night. Like he wants out of his crate. I don't blame him, but we can't always watch him and he'll pee on the carpet. I hate to admit but when he was barking too much, I gave in and alpha rolled him for about 10 seconds and yelled at him to "STOP BARKING!" It must have scared him, because today I can yell "stop barking!" from another room and he'll stop. But I feel bad and hope Spike isn't scared of me. He doesn't seem to be scared to be with me, though he is slightly more submissive today around me.

Here's where we need help... We want to train him but just don't know where to start. I've read posts, articles, watched YouTube videos, but it's overwhelming me and I don't know what step one is. If I let him out of his crate, bring him outside to eliminate, and then let him roam around upstairs while supervised, he's crazy unless he's chewing on a bone. If I take this 13 week old puppy on a 2-3 mile walk, make sure he eliminates before coming inside the house, and let him stay out of his crate, he's still crazy! He almost weighs as much as our 3 year old and jumps on her and bites her hair. He's actually knocked her over from behind and tried to chew on her hair.

I know he wants to behave and needs training. It's going to be my responsibility to do the training. Yes my wife will help, but I've been put in charge of making that happen. I just don't know where to start. Do I focus on learning to "come" or "sit" or what? How do I get him started on training when he's so crazy?

Going to a trainer or obedience class isn't an option unfortunately. The only classes available right now are in the early evenings and over a 1 hour drive each way, so 2 hours total. With work until 5:00 and two young children to feed and bathe and spend time with, and first grade homework (I can't believe how much homework my 6 year old gets), we just can't be on the road for 2 hours.

I'm determined to train Spike and am willing to be patient, but unsure how to start, so it's frustrating and things aren't starting out that well. For example, use treats to train. Which kinds of treats??? Sigh... I'm probably making this too hard, but as I said, we're new to this, so WE NEED TRAINING so that we can properly train Spike. I hope that makes sense.

Last edited by Skolvikings; 12-16-2012 at 04:50 PM.
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Old 12-16-2012, 04:50 PM
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I'll try to refrain:

1- 2-3 mile walk for a young puppy is too far.
2- he's in that crate far too much.
3- GR's are people dogs, they need to be around people.
4- Training is a must, even if it's not convenient, it's our responsibility

Youtube, kikopup has great training videos.
Good luck
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Old 12-16-2012, 04:51 PM
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Old 12-16-2012, 04:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bentleysmom View Post
I'll try to refrain:

1- 2-3 mile walk for a young puppy is too far.
2- he's in that crate far too much.
3- GR's are people dogs, they need to be around people.
4- Training is a must, even if it's not convenient, it's our responsibility

Youtube, kikopup has great training videos.
Good luck
What do you mean by "try to refrain"?

1. Normally the walks are 0.5 to 1 miles total. That was just an example that even a long walk doesn't seem to tire him out.

2. I agree, but what's the solution? As I see it now, to change that I have three options 1) take care of the dog and neglect my children, 2) let Spike pee all over our carpet, 3) get rid of him. I'm not making excuses nor do I like any of those options. That's why I'm here asking for ideas and suggestions from you all who are more experienced.

3. He's around us constantly while we're home. His crate is in the kitchen/living room (we have an open floor plan), so even when he's in his crate he's with us. His crate is literally inches from where my daughters sit and eat meals.

4. Sigh. I know you're trying to be helpful, but if you re-read my OP, I totally understand its my responsibility to train Spike. I need help getting started. I'm asking for help getting started. My first training session with a 13 week old puppy, what do I try to teach, how long should it be? Etc?

5. I've been watching the kikopup videos. I haven't found the video yet titled, here is your brand new puppy. In your first training session, do this and focus on teaching this. It's a ton of information but no structure on what to do and when. Again, that's why I'm here asking for some constructive advice.

Thanks.

Thanks.
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Old 12-16-2012, 05:04 PM
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Sorry.
OK first I would focus on potty training. Then teaching sit. Stay, come would be next. At the same time I would be working on teaching not to bite because these pups are land sharks.
Bentley is my 1st pup and I found kikopups videos the most helpful. Are you going to clicker train?
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Old 12-16-2012, 05:05 PM
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I also want to point out quick that I'm trying to do the right thing and to start doing it now, at 13 weeks old, rather than trying to start training a 6 month old (or older) dog. If I didn't understand my responsibilities to Spike, or if I didn't care, then I probably wouldn't be here asking for help.
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Old 12-16-2012, 05:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skolvikings View Post
I also want to point out quick that I'm trying to do the right thing and to start doing it now, at 13 weeks old, rather than trying to start training a 6 month old (or older) dog. If I didn't understand my responsibilities to Spike, or if I didn't care, then I probably wouldn't be here asking for help.
I understand. And I'm sorry if I sounded short with you, having my own pup problems today

Welcome to the forum
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Old 12-16-2012, 05:07 PM
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I'd scale down on the length of walks, personally. Play time should be a puppy's form of exercise until they're older.

Is he in the crate when you guys are home and not busy (i.e. eating supper)? I can't tell from your post. You say he gets let outside a few times but not what's happening in between. Like you say he gets let out twice to eliminate during lunch break...but is he inside his crate the rest of the time or is he being engaged with?

I think you guys need a better schedule. Take things one step at a time. It is easy to get overwhelmed with a puppy and that's when inappropriate behaviours come out, i.e. yelling and alpha rolling. A scared or submissive puppy isn't the cure for the difficulties you're facing.

With my foster pups, the first thing I do is house-training and crate-training. Puppies go outside first thing in the morning until they and poop. Then they get 3 little cookies (one wellness brand puppy cookie in three pieces) for a reward. Then it's breakfast for them in their crate but with door open. It helps make the crate a nice place to be.

Then they go back outside - in nice weather - and I play with them for about thirty minutes. Guaranteed they will pee and poop again in that time frame. Playing involves rolling a ball for them, getting them to chase a squeaky toy, etc. If there's inappropriate biting of my pants or hands, they get an appropriate item to chew on. So playtime = training.

Overall, my pups are outside their crate for about 60-90 minutes before I leave for work. They go out for one last pee and they're usually tired when I put them back in their crate. Once they're 12 weeks, they get a kong with a little smear of peanut butter in their crate when I leave. This way they're happy for the 4 hours or so until lunch break.

Lunch: let out and pee asap. Then reward with 3 little cookie pieces again (3 seems to be key, don't ask me why - it sticks in their little brains better). Then lunch. Then play time again. If we're inside, I take them out 15 minutes after they eat for a pee/poop break. Again, pup is out for an hour before going back in crate.

4pm: Home. Pup is out to pee/poop and praised. Then its their supper. Supervised activity/play session again. I keep the puppies out from 4-6:30ish pm. Once they start getting tired - even if they don't - I put them inside while I make and eat supper. At 8pm, they're back out. Either inside the house or outside the house, supervised the whole time.

9:30pm: They go out for a last pee and poop. I put them in their crate because it's their bedtime and a chance for me to get some things done.

11pm: Outside for a pee and poop break. Back in crate.

So, while my pups are in crates...the majority of their time is spent outside. Socializing with people, playing, learning puppy manners. Putting them in a crate because you don't know what to do with them is going to cause problems down the road.

I highly suggest looking up puppy classes in your area. Look for positive reinforcement classes and go from there. Bring the whole family to watch and learn.

In the meantime, I'd buy an x-pen so puppy can be in a controlled area yet still be part of the family. When people are watching tv, puppy can be in x-pen with toys in the same room. Every 20 minutes, take puppy outside to pee and you'll eliminate half the accidents in the house, guaranteed.

* As for stairs: my pups are too small to climb stairs for the first few weeks so I carry them up and down them so they can be with me wherever I am. Once their little legs get stronger, I'll start putting them on the second last step so they only have to climb one step for the first few times and then LOTS of praise when they do it. I repeat that every time we go up or down and then change it to the third last step. Once they master going up or down two steps, they're quickly clambering up or down the entire staircase.
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Old 12-16-2012, 05:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bentleysmom View Post
Sorry.
OK first I would focus on potty training. Then teaching sit. Stay, come would be next. At the same time I would be working on teaching not to bite because these pups are land sharks.
Bentley is my 1st pup and I found kikopups videos the most helpful. Are you going to clicker train?
That's the kind of help I need! So teach him to sit first? I don't know if I should clicker train. I'd rather use a verbal cue like "good" or "yes" unless clicker training is much better. Thoughts?

PS. Sorry to be defensive earlier. I really do understand the responsibilities my family signed up for by bringing Spike home. I want what's best for all of us and am willing to ask for advice if that will help.
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Old 12-16-2012, 05:12 PM
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There are different opinions about clickers. Personally I've always used them because I click faster than I can say YES. Some ppl have trouble clicking, holding treats ect. It takes practice. Some ppl in our class don't use clicker and they do ok.
Yes, sit is the 1st thing I taught Bentley. They get it pretty quickly.
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