10 week old golden retriever advice - Golden Retrievers : Golden Retriever Dog Forums
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post #1 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-23-2019, 01:54 AM Thread Starter
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10 week old golden retriever advice

Me and my girlfriend got a golden retriever 2 weeks ago after moving in to a new apartment. He was 8 weeks old when we got him. We had already prepared for getting him and purchased the basic things he would need (toys bowls leash food etc) one of the main things bought was a crate. We bought one of the full size crates that is collapsible wire and has a divider that can be used to limit the space in the crate. We have his crate to be 4 inches longer than the length of his body. We have been running into a lot of problems while trying to train him and welcome him in to our family. Me and my girlfriend both took an entire week off of work to stay with him. (About 9 straight days) He will go into his crate willingly but he will not stay in it. He will only go into it to grab something out or if we set his meals or a high reward treat. We were trying to use these as means to train him to enjoy his crate. He has a bed and sheets on the inside as well as blankets and another sheet covering the sides and back of the crate. If he falls asleep outside of the crate and we move him into his crate he will sleep fine. But only if we are able to shut the crate without making a single sound. If the handle to close the door even taps the crate and makes noise he wakes up and cries. We have tried the meals inside, high reward treats, increments of crate time, sleeping next to the crate, and so on and so forth. We have been reading over and over different methods to help crate train and none are working. He also only had one accident in the first 3 days we got him. And the first accident was when he has first came in to the apartment. After those 3 days he has been having random fits of accidents even though we have our phones set to let him out every 25-30 minutes. He has had 9 total accidents. We are also having trouble getting him to walk with a harness. He will walk around and go in grass and what not when not on a leash. He will have pauses to sniff things but generally will follow us. While this is nice there is a policy requiring us to have him on a leash. When we have his leash on him he just freezes for no reason. There is nothing around to scare him he just doesn’t move. We try coaxing him with treats or his favorite toy and it doesn’t work. We also have been trying to teach him name using treats as well as a sound to go along with his name (whistle for example). He knows sit shake up and lay down. But he does not know his name. Teaching him his name was the first thing we started and yet he has still not got it down yet knows those other 4 tricks. We feel like we don’t have a connection to him and vice versa. It feels like we are just his care takers. He does not show affection to us but he does let us pet him. Leaving him for both of us just feels like a relief rather than us being sad to leave him. We feel like we can not handle him but we want some second opinions
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post #2 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-23-2019, 06:00 AM
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You have the canine equal of a human infant. Of course he isn't in love with you- he's a baby. You provide all good things, but he doesn't really need you to be a happy boy... and the leash, well, it is new to him. Don't expect anything to become a norm in two weeks! Think about (though I hate making these sorts of examples- dogs are not humans) what you would do if someone put a long line on your neck and expected you to 'just know' you should follow along? Lots of treats to get him to walk along. He probably does know his name means something good, but not what. Again- 2 weeks.
All of this is new puppy stuff and perfectly normal.
Boys pee in fractions. Girls empty their bladders. He obviously is not house trained, nor can he 'hold it' when up and moving around, why should he? He has no idea is it not the thing to do to just pee where the urge hits him!
This is a job, to train a puppy to a great companion. I'd have suggested you split up your time off- why have both of you there, when she could have taken off one week and you the next?
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post #3 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-23-2019, 08:06 AM
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Having a golden puppy can be really intense. I remember feeling very overwhelmed at times when my girl was a baby and wondering if I had made a mistake and couldn't really handle a puppy. My girl had multiple bouts with giardia so we were getting up 4-5 times a night many times a week for months on end... so that was fun.

Your boy is literally a baby. It's going to take more time and consistent training for him to be house trained. Every dog is different. Some pick it up fast (maybe by 12-13 weeks at the earliest) and some take a lot longer to really get it. I recommend using bells on the door so he can notify you when he needs to go out. We used them from day one of bringing our puppy home. At first we rang the bell every time we brought her out to use the bathroom so she would start to associate the sound with time to go potty. Then we started encouraging her to touch her nose or paw to the bell with treats before we went out. We helped her ring the bell herself by literally lifting her little paw and hitting the bell and then gave her lots of praise and a treat right before taking her out to go. She's a year old now and still uses the bells.

Crate training takes a long time. Sounds like you're already doing the right things. Keep doing them. For the next couple of months. He may never love his crate but eventually he'll learn to settle down in it. It's for his safety and is non-optional unless you can completely puppy proof whatever area he's in when you can't supervise him. Search this forum for other threads on crate training and you'll find a lot of good advice.

I remember it felt like it took a really long time for my girl to seem like she knew her name. Again, every dog is different. He'll learn it eventually but right now he's literally a baby.

Your comment that you feel like you don't have a connection with him yet is pretty concerning to me. Is your puppy happy to see you guys when you return from somewhere? Are you happy to see him wagging his little tail? Relief when you don't have to constantly supervise a baby is completely understandable but not being happy to see him when you come back is very concerning to me. If you and your girlfriend aren't happy to see your little guy now when he's in the adorable phase you may want to seriously consider whether or not you'll be able to do the work that's needed to train a puppy over the next two years. If not, there are many reputable golden retriever organizations with lengthy and well vetted waiting lists of people who would be able to provide your puppy with a good life.
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post #4 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-23-2019, 10:11 AM
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Hang in there -- it gets better. I remember feeling a lot of the same things when my bf and I brought home our 8 week old puppy. They are a LOT of work and you may not have that super strong bond right away. That develops over time and it's tough sometimes when you feel like every day is a struggle. But I'm sure there are signs that he loves you guys (tail wagging when he sees you, snuggling up to you, etc.)

The crate training -- you just have to stick with it and let him cry it out. It sucks, but everyone goes through it. We actually timed Cyrus and he never cried for more than 10 minutes. After that, he'd just settle down. The next night, he would last like 8 minutes, then even less time until he went in without crying. It's all about perseverance.

Just hang in there; take turns taking him out. That really helped us so one of us could feel like we had a break. Trust me, it'll be worth it soon!
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post #5 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-23-2019, 10:33 AM
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Re: the crate, I've had 3 dogs and they've been crate trained. My first boy, Bear, cried for a week whenever he was crated. I had to cover the crate with a blanket cause we would put him to bed around 8pm and we would still be up and making noise so he didn't want to go to sleep, he wanted to be out with us. As an adult, he would go into the crate when asked and would chill in it, but never sought it out as a safe space to sleep (for him that was the whole house and 9 times out of 10 his safe space was literally under/on top of my feet). My first girl, Gypsy, has separation anxiety and the crate for her is a trigger. If I crate her with another animal (or side by side) she is more calm, but the crate is never something she seeks out. My youngest girl, Lana, doesn't actively seek out of the crates to sleep when we're home. But during the day, she has a 'play pen' and she will sleep in the crate rather than in the pen. At night if she wants to go to bed, she will make it known she wants to go to bed (and she sleeps in a crate in the bedroom).

I played crate games with Bear and Gypsy. None with Lana. I honestly think it's a personality trait with the individual dogs as to whether crates will be a love it or tolerate it sorta thing.

In general, remember than your baby is only 10 weeks old. That's like 70 days old. All this stuff is new and you are a new house where they are without their litter mates and you have way different rules than the breeder's house. Puppies are exhausting. I have said with EVERY SINGLE puppy "why did we do this?" And that is saying something cause both Bear and Lana were relatively EASY as puppies (comparing them to pups we've fostered). They still wiped us out. On average, it'll take 2 weeks for a dog to settle into a new environment. Couple that with the physical and mental immaturity of a 10 week old, and you'll have some bumps to get through. Lana had accidents in the house until she was about 5 months old. Bear had accidents in the house until he was 6 months old. Gypsy I don't remember having accidents but we didn't get her until she was 4.5 months old.

With name training, the goal is to get attention when you say their name. With Bear and Gypsy we used a clicker. Said their name, if they turned toward us, click and treat. Rinse and repeat until eventually asking for harder stuff (eye contact, etc). With Lana we did the same but without the clicker. Used the word "yes" as a marker. Lana was sooooo hard for this one. As a puppy she was wrapped up in all the outside world and didn't want to pay attention to us. I remember our kindergarten trainer being like "you're doing this wrong" because I would say her name and wait and she wouldn't respond because she was watching everyone else. But eventually I got her to organically respond to her name and it kinda snow balled from there by building on each instance.

Be kind to yourself. Raising a puppy is exhausting and often frustrating work. Puppies don't fall in love with humans as fast as we fall in love with puppies. Give each other time. Allow for mistakes. Enjoy the ride. They grow up so fast.

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Hi-Tide's Danger Scone - "Lana"
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post #6 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-23-2019, 10:53 AM
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People often have a very romanticized idea of what life with a puppy will be like, and the reality - especially when the puppy is an active working breed like a Golden Retriever - can be a bit of a shock.

First, for the crate: Most pups don't like being crated while their humans are in the house with them. Goldens are sociable dogs that like to be with their people and they do not enjoy being shut away in a crate while the humans are in the house. If you're trying to crate-train by putting your pup in the crate while you're at home, you may be setting him up for failure. If you crate him and then go out, he may fuss for a while but should eventually settle. If you've been letting him out of the crate when he fusses, you may have made the problem worse and it will take longer to get past the difficult stage. My advice would be to crate him (1) at night and (2) only when you're going out and leaving him behind. When you go out, don't come back into the apartment unless he's quiet. Have a special (safe) treat for him when he goes in the crate: a stuffed Kong toy would be an example - something that he likes and that will keep him busy for a while.

Second, the house-training: It's important to realize that most dogs aren't reliably clean in the house until they are between five and six months old. The first month is going to be rough. What you have is a canine infant. He isn't physically capable of controlling the muscles that regulate elimination - in other words, when he needs to go, he can't physically stop himself because he has no control over the muscles. He starts to develop that ability around three months of age, and will get better at it over time. In the meantime, just keep doing what you're doing: taking him outside every half hour or so, and giving lots of praise when he does anything at all outside, and watch carefully for signs that he wants to go out (e.g. being near the door, turning in circles). Most pups need to go out shortly after eating and drinking, immediately after waking up, and immediately after a play session. Indoors, when he has an accident, don't punish him: clean it up properly (using some kind of solution that removes the scent) and take him outside. If you catch him in the act, indoors, scoop him up and carry him outside, then praise him when he goes outside.

You should start to see some improvement when your pup is 12 to 14 weeks old, but it's unfair to expect him to be fully house-trained until he's about six months old.

Third, walking on leash: He's a tiny puppy and he doesn't need a harness. If the harness is poorly designed or poorly fitted, it might actually be hurting him or restricting his shoulders so that movement is uncomfortable. My advice would be to get rid of the harness and use only a flat collar. Get a lightweight leash, clip it to his collar and let him drag it around the house for short periods (keep a close eye on him to make sure he doesn't get tangled up). Play games in the house, while he's wearing his collar and leash, so that he gets used to it. Pick up the leash and follow him. Don't jerk or pull on the leash at all. Most dogs learn to tolerate the leash very quickly. Once he tolerates it, he'll be comfortable following you while wearing it. My guess is that the harness is the problem in your case.

Fourth, his name: Names are a human thing, not a dog thing. Your dog has learned some basic commands because when you use a command word - "sit", for example - you always expect the same response from him - to sit down. So you say "sit" and the dog quickly understands what to do because it's always the same thing. It's easy for him to learn. A name is something else altogether. You might say it when you want him to come to you, or look at you, or stop doing what he's doing, or you might yell it when he does something you don't want him to do (e.g. pee on the rug), or you might use it as a sign of affection. So when he hears that word, he knows you want something but he doesn't understand what it is, because you use it in so many different contexts. I teach the name by asking for only one response at first: to look at me. I sit on the floor with the puppy and a pile of treats, and I say the name, and when the pup looks at me, I reward it. So the pup learns (a) that the response I want is for him to look at me and (2) that the name is a positive thing because it means treats. You have to be careful not to use the name in negative situations at first, and always to reward when he responds by looking at you. It doesn't take long if you're consistent. Once he's understood that he has to look at you when you say the name, you can start using it in different situations to get his attention: for example, you can say his name, and when he looks at you, you can give a command: "Fido, come", "Fido, sit", etc.

Fifth, the connection: I find it very telling that you don't mention your pup's name at all in your post. It's as if he's just "the dog" to you, and not "your dog". Setting that aside: the concept of being physically petted is a very foreign thing to a pup. Most pups tolerate it well, but don't understand that touching is a sign of affection from the human. It's something they learn over time. My pup wasn't "affectionate" when he was very young, but now he actively seeks out attention. He'll lie with his head on my foot. When we're on off-leash walks he'll come and trot next to me for a few paces, so I can pet him, and so on. Affection comes when you build a bond with your dog. Right now you don't have that. It's not the pup's fault - he's just being a dog. It's your job to create the bond, not his. Right now you are just his caretakers. It's normal. When you get a puppy, you have to train it and shape it into the type of companion you want in your life. It's not an instant thing: it's a process.

Sixth: I strongly suggest that you find a good training school and take a puppy class. Not the kind of class that's simply a free-for-all play session for the pups, but the kind of class that teaches humans how to train puppies using positive methods. The very best way to create a bond with your dog is to train him. Not only that, but in six months' time your cute little puppy is going to have grown into 60 lbs. of muscle and energy. Now is the time to teach him not to pull on leash, and to come to you when you call him - not when he's a defiant adolescent. After puppy class, you should plan on doing at least a couple of basic obedience courses too. With a large, strong dog like a Golden Retriever, it really is the minimum. Remember, what you have is basically a working dog: Goldens tend to do better in life if they have a job.

Many people aren't prepared for the huge amount of work it takes to raise a puppy and are shocked when faced with the reality. You're not alone in feeling overwhelmed, but you do have a choice to make: either buckle down and do the work, or re-home him quickly, while he's still young. If he comes from a good breeder, your contract will state that you have to return him to the breeder if you decide not to keep him. If you don't have that type of contract, or if he comes from a less-than-stellar breeder who won't take him back, or if you bought him from a pet store, the best way to rehome him would be to contact your local Golden Retriever rescue and ask them to identify a good family for him. Whatever you do, don't sell him on Craiglist or via the classified ads. If you do that, there's a better than even chance that he'll end up as bait for a fighting dog ring, or in a laboratory somewhere. Find a rescue group and let them rehome him.

And last, a dog is a lifelong commitment. Living with a dog in an apartment means taking him out several times a day, every single day, and making sure he gets plenty of exercise. A young adult Golden needs a minimum of an hour's exercise per day - not just walking on leash, but aerobic and mental exercise: training, running, retrieving tennis balls, etc. Or a sport like flyball, agility, scent detection and so on. Having a dog means missing out on after-work drinks with colleagues, or spontaneous weekend activities, because you have to go home and take the dog out. It means making lots of adjustments to your life to accommodate him (vacations, activities, etc.). It truly is a lifestyle choice.

You can do this. It absolutely does get better. But you have to want it.

I wish you good luck with your pup and I hope things work out for you, and for him.


Ruby 13-01-2007 to 18-03-2015.
My dog of a lifetime. I'll miss you forever.
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post #7 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-23-2019, 01:12 PM
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Everyone has given you very good advice. Patience is required. Our Rocky is 22 months old and doing great. He is loving, housebroken and yet he still has more to learn. The first 6 months were difficult. Housebreaking was an adventure. We would take him out and he would come back in and pee. Finally, at age 6 months he was housebroken. Hang in there. The end result is worth the trouble.
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post #8 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-23-2019, 02:33 PM
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"Me and my girlfriend both took an entire week off of work to stay with him. (About 9 straight days) "
How is your schedule going to be the following 2-3 months?
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post #9 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-23-2019, 09:53 PM
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Lower your expectations.

2 weeks is NO WHERE NEAR LONG ENOUGH for him to be trained on anything

He won't be house trained until 4 to 6 MONTHS old. He will have many accidents in the meantime. You are doing the right thing taking him out frequently. He is just much, much to young to have any control over his bladder. It will get better.

He is an infant. Everything you are describing is absolutely normal for an infant puppy. Keep doing what you are doing, you actually have a good plan. Over time he will learn, and as he gets older he will be able to learn easier.

What are your plans to take care of him when you go back to work? He can't be left alone all day every day.

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post #10 of 28 (permalink) Old 05-24-2019, 07:26 AM
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There’s so much good advice here. When our Lincoln turned 10, we decided to get another pup, Bear. We have successfully raised 6 Goldens so I felt I was a veteran. We got Bear when he was 8 weeks old. I had forgotten how much they pee. Within minutes of going out to pee, he’d go again in the house. I was convinced something was wrong and actually brought a sample of pee to the vet. He was fine. It just takes time. He’s 10 months old now and not only housebroken but completely out of his crate. I do believe Lincoln had a lot to do with that...they’re inseparable. I would suggest that when he does go out you tell him to go pee over and over and over again until he does and when he finally does go, praise him lavishly. Same goes for poop. I’ve done this with all my dogs and it comes in handy during cold, snowy, rainy days when you don’t want to be out for long walks and just want him to do his business. Please hang in there. He will turn the corner.
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