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My girl is 7 months old. She is my first dog and I waited until I retired before getting her so I would have the time to devote to her. She can be so sweet and gentle. Like most new puppy owners, the road has had highs and lows. Currently, we are on a low. I feel like everyone has the perfect answer to whatever challenge I’m facing with her. I’ve spent tons of money on collars, toys, or training methods. She digs and chews on shrubs/trees/roots; she has starting biting again and leaving bruises (thought we were finish after baby teeth fell out). Presenting appropriate toys apparently isn’t nearly as much fun as chewing on me; she chews/destroys her toys which is ok except I worry about her eating string, fabric, and most recently the felt off the tennis ball. I find it all in her poop. She does have an antler, a couple of Nyla bones, a sterilized bone, and other various textures of chew toys including rubbery types. She likes them but gets bored and moves back to the fabric or string/rope ones. She doesn’t chew my things because everything is on the counters, tables, anywhere up high. I can’t seem to train her to walk without pulling. At the direction of my trainer, I tried The Gentle Leader, the Halti Head collar, a body harness, and on advice of a friend who had a golden, a prong martingale. I only put that on her once because I feel I need more education before embracing that one. My breeder, suggested The Wonder Walker. I’m taking her on 2-3 walks daily, usually 30 minutes or more. She no longer wants to do what I ask of her except to sit, lay down, and she will wait until I “release” her to eat her bowl of food. Lastly, I was unsuccessful in getting her to stop barking. She traps the cat under furniture then barks at her. This can go one a long time even when I break it up. She just runs and chases the cat to another place and the barking continues. My trainer taught us to say “quiet” and squirt a couple of drops of lime juice in her mouth. Even with doing it consistently, she’d only stops until I move away from her. The handyman suggested a spray bark collar. It sprays citronella once and beeps when she barks more than once. After less than 2 weeks, she doesn’t bark, however she potties in the house now. I tried to use a bell at the door as my trainer said when she was potty training but she played with, and ripped it down so many times I gave up. You know what’s coming ... she would bark once to let me know she wanted out. So I’ve done this last issue of going potty in the house to myself. Not sure how to fix this except to make sure I take her out every hour or so like when she was a baby.

I understand a lot of her destructive behavior (digging, chewing up toys, antagonizing the cat, is out of boredom. I play with in the fenced yard but after a few tosses of a ball or frisbee, she stops bringing it back and begins biting and jumping on me. I hide treats in paper lunch sacks, and try almost whatever I find to help alleviate the boredom. I decided to get a second puppy sooner than I maybe would have just so they can wear each other out and hopefully play nice some of the time :). The new girl will come home the middle of February. I always wanted two so I’m looking forward to her, but wasn’t planning on it so soon. I’ll be taking her to training also but not sure it will be the same place. It’s just me in the house so there isn’t anyone else who can assist with things.

Is all of this normal behavior for a 7 month old or am I causing problems. I’ll take whatever advice or thoughts you want to share, even if it’s not flattering to me. Thank you.
 

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I agree with Megora about waiting on a second puppy.

But, I didn't see it anywhere in your post, is she crate trained? Does she have any area for herself to just relax and turn off? 7 months old is a stage that can be hard, but she sounds like she's really gotten the best of you and your advice prior hadn't really been consistent. People have used positive punishment training for a long time, but like other training methods it has to be consistent or it won't work. The harnesses and head halter can be a good start to loose leash walking by giving you the tools to keep the pulling from being strong, but they still require the work.

I recommend you look into other, positive reinforcement methods of training too. My loose leash walking training is a combination of positive reinforcement and positive punishment (I add a "punishment" to discourage a behavior). When you decide to start loose leash walking, it will need to be consistent so as to not confuse her, and it will take time. Bring treats and be ready for A LOT of stop and go. What I usually do it reward for a few steps of loose walking and if they pull or hit the end of the lead, we turn around OR stop. I've used both and some dogs are more receptive to one over the other. Your goal is for her to realize that not pulling is what rewards her with the treat and that if she pulls, you're not going to let her keep going, she won't get what she wants.

Crate training can be vital with the cat or dealing with excessive energy or behavior.
 

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Sometimes, especially at that age, I had to tell myself "I will not let this pup be stronger willed than me." It can be a battle of wills but in reality you have all the power, you just need to assert it. Anytime she bites, I would put her right into the crate. Put the toys out of reach and make her do some obedience training for everything she wants and make her sit and wait at meal time until you release her. Put her on a leash and hold her by stepping on it if you have to, and wait until she complies. I would also try to find her a playmate. She needs to run hard to drain energy. Maybe your trainer would know someone with a dog who could be a playmate. Are you taking any classes? If you've done the basic puppy classes try Good Citizen classes even if she's no where close to passing. Just getting out and working on something together really helped Rukie and I during those stages. We did a little intro to agility which was fun. There's also nose work or dock diving. You can get her shaped up! I am afraid a new puppy could just leave you outnumbered by two out of control puppies if you can't get her to be more compliant before another puppy arrives.
 

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I have a total of 3 puppies, including an 8 week old. Routine and consistency is key. And stand your ground! It is a lot of work, and 99% of it is on me but I am a stay at home mom so it works out ok.

First I would come up with a routine that works for YOU. I get a block of time each day just for myself from 4-6pm. That way I can recharge and be my best for my family. No negotiations here....everyone goes in their crate and takes a nap so I can have done some me time.

I have a busybody 6 month old so I do a lot of fetch with her and she gets tired quick lol! I give her some rawhide because it lasts forever and also tires her out. My 9 month old enjoys the squeaky toys. The 8 week old just loves to eat so I teach him tricks.

And yes...crates are super helpful. They help with control, potty training, safety, nap times, etc.

If you wanna chat please don't hesitate. I'll do my best to help ya ?
 

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My girl is 7 months old. She is my first dog and I waited until I retired before getting her so I would have the time to devote to her. She can be so sweet and gentle. Like most new puppy owners, the road has had highs and lows. Currently, we are on a low. I feel like everyone has the perfect answer to whatever challenge I’m facing with her. I’ve spent tons of money on collars, toys, or training methods. She digs and chews on shrubs/trees/roots; she has starting biting again and leaving bruises (thought we were finish after baby teeth fell out). Presenting appropriate toys apparently isn’t nearly as much fun as chewing on me; she chews/destroys her toys which is ok except I worry about her eating string, fabric, and most recently the felt off the tennis ball. I find it all in her poop. She does have an antler, a couple of Nyla bones, a sterilized bone, and other various textures of chew toys including rubbery types. She likes them but gets bored and moves back to the fabric or string/rope ones. She doesn’t chew my things because everything is on the counters, tables, anywhere up high. I can’t seem to train her to walk without pulling. At the direction of my trainer, I tried The Gentle Leader, the Halti Head collar, a body harness, and on advice of a friend who had a golden, a prong martingale. I only put that on her once because I feel I need more education before embracing that one. My breeder, suggested The Wonder Walker. I’m taking her on 2-3 walks daily, usually 30 minutes or more. She no longer wants to do what I ask of her except to sit, lay down, and she will wait until I “release” her to eat her bowl of food. Lastly, I was unsuccessful in getting her to stop barking. She traps the cat under furniture then barks at her. This can go one a long time even when I break it up. She just runs and chases the cat to another place and the barking continues. My trainer taught us to say “quiet” and squirt a couple of drops of lime juice in her mouth. Even with doing it consistently, she’d only stops until I move away from her. The handyman suggested a spray bark collar. It sprays citronella once and beeps when she barks more than once. After less than 2 weeks, she doesn’t bark, however she potties in the house now. I tried to use a bell at the door as my trainer said when she was potty training but she played with, and ripped it down so many times I gave up. You know what’s coming ... she would bark once to let me know she wanted out. So I’ve done this last issue of going potty in the house to myself. Not sure how to fix this except to make sure I take her out every hour or so like when she was a baby.

I understand a lot of her destructive behavior (digging, chewing up toys, antagonizing the cat, is out of boredom. I play with in the fenced yard but after a few tosses of a ball or frisbee, she stops bringing it back and begins biting and jumping on me. I hide treats in paper lunch sacks, and try almost whatever I find to help alleviate the boredom. I decided to get a second puppy sooner than I maybe would have just so they can wear each other out and hopefully play nice some of the time :). The new girl will come home the middle of February. I always wanted two so I’m looking forward to her, but wasn’t planning on it so soon. I’ll be taking her to training also but not sure it will be the same place. It’s just me in the house so there isn’t anyone else who can assist with things.

Is all of this normal behavior for a 7 month old or am I causing problems. I’ll take whatever advice or thoughts you want to share, even if it’s not flattering to me. Thank you.
It's normal behaviour for an untrained 7 month-old. I don't think this is your fault: you have a trainer who hasn't been helpful. What you are describing is an adolescent dog that doesn't respect you and that is calling the shots. What you need to do is to change the nature of the relationship so you're in charge and she does what you want instead.

I have a few suggestions that might help you. First, throw the citronella collar away. Second, find a really good group training class. Look for a training club where classes are given by people who train humans how to train dogs using positive methods. Your dog is too old for puppy class, so you need either an adolescent obedience class or basic obedience.

Next, buy a crate. When the dog torments the cat, put her in the crate. When the dog bites you, put her in the crate. When you take her to the crate, do it calmly and firmly. She is going to bark in the crate at first. Don't let her out until she stops barking. Go out and get a coffee somewhere if necessary, to give her the time to stop barking.

For the toys, take away the rope/string/fabric ones. They are dangerous and you might end up with a hefty vet bill if she ingests too much of them. For the digging and chewing of shrubs, don't let her outdoors unsupervised. Either play an interactive game with her in the garden (retrieving a tennis ball, etc.) or take her out on a long line or leash and reel her in when she starts digging or chewing.

Also, start a "nothing in life is free" regime for her. She gets nothing unless she works for it first: no toys, no petting, no food, no treats. Do several short, upbeat training sessions throughout the day. Get a treat bag, fill it with stuff she likes, and use it only for rewards in the training sessions. It won't be long before she will come running to you when you get out the treat bag. She has to work for all the treats: have her do a short series of commands (sit, down, sit; down, sit, stand; etc.) and reward each time. Teach her to go to her bed. Teach her to go to her crate.

For the potty training: you're doing the right thing, going back to basics. It will settle down in the end. The problems are probably a result of the citronella collar.
For the walking on leash: there really is no short cut to this. However, pulling can be made worse by inconsistency. Choose one method or device and stick to it. If you're unsure, I've found that a front-clip harness is often more effective than other devices, and is safer for the dog, provided you get one that doesn't hamper her shoulder movement. Then practice. What I do for my dogs: once a day, I fill my pockets with kibble, enough for a whole meal. Then I start walking, feeding the dog pieces of kibble one by one to keep him by my side. If he pulls or loses focus or starts sniffing, I do a u-turn and reward him when he catches up with me. The first few times, I barely get out of the driveway. Eventually I can start spacing out the pieces of kibble. Walk quickly, be upbeat, make it a game, intersperse walking with short training sessions (sit-down-stand, etc.). We are both exhausted by the time the kibble runs out. I feed one meal per day doing this, for as long as it takes to get a decent loose-leash walk, which may be several months. Consistency is important.

I personally wouldn't get another pup until this one is behaving well. If you do, you run the risk of having two misbehaving dogs that both potty in the house. A second risk is that they will bond with each other and not with you. I'd recommend waiting until your first dog is a couple of years old and past the teenage phase.

I wish you the best of luck. The teenage phase can be a bit discouraging, but if you can find a good trainer, he or she will help you through it. Let us know how it goes!
 

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I have a total of 3 puppies, including an 8 week old.

I have a busybody 6 month old.... My 9 month old.... The 8 week old...
Wow.... why would you have 3 pups so close in age? That's completely insane. o_O

I have a 7 month old and a 18 month old and I struggled with how close in age they were. Normally I do not bring a pup home until I've gotten the next older dog completely trained (about 3-4 years difference). With my dogs it turned out OK, but would definitely say that their needs are very different.

The 18 month old needs extra love and attention that is just his in addition to training time.... the pup needs extra training time more so than the older dog. The two of them are close enough in age that I see there isn't a natural hierarchy. Meaning, I can see the younger pup pulling rank on the older one at some point. They need more hands on attention when they are playing to make sure that playtime doesn't get serious - because as lovable, sweet, soft that they are, they are still dogs.

My initial thought is that with my 7 month old, he is settling down. But a lot of that is having a calm and regular schedule.

I work during the day (at home) so the dogs know that while I will feed and potty them in the morning, they are expected to hang out and sleep most of the morning and afternoon until the point they hear the computer lid go down and I'm taking them out. That's not 2 hours quiet time. That's at least 8 hours.

When I'm not paying attention to the dogs or actively interacting with them - they hang out and go back to sleep.

If they are worked up, maybe I'll give them bones to chew on or they play quietly with their toys. But generally they know to just hang out. <= Literally, as I'm typing this, all the dogs are sound asleep.

The youngest pup early on needed more potty time than the other dogs, but that stopped by the time he was 3-4 months old. That was the point where as long as the dogs stayed quiet and just hung out - they were fine.

I do have a crate - but I will say that I probably would not have used it if I just had 1 dog.

Crates with 2 pups close in age is NECESSARY - because it's not just a matter of them learning to just hang out and deal when I'm ignoring them. I also had to train them not to play with each other and get ramped up while I was ignoring them.

Individual training time - I do this with my 7 month old 4-5 times a day. That's 4-5 ten minute training sessions. With him I learned that each time we train it hypes him up. So much of those training sessions occur when I have time to pay attention or take the dogs out to run afterwards.

Yes, having 2 dogs to keep each other occupied is nice - but again, I can't emphasize strong enough that you can't just let dogs play-play-play nonstop. Because it's not just fun and games. At some point playtime gets serious and you could have pups developing problems. That's either humping issues (which I loathe and do not allow with my dogs!). Or as I've heard and seen with other dogs, they begin seriously fighting with each other trying to establish a hierarchy or totem pole.

If OP were bringing a pup home in late summer or fall, she'd have a lot more time to work things out with her 7 month old, establish a better bond with the dog, and develop a schedule that will bridge over by the time she brings the next pup home. Otherwise, she will have 2 puppies chasing and barking at the cat.

Bringing a pup home in 3-4 weeks does not give you a lot of time to get the 7 month old to settle down. Training classes are an absolute necessity and with a good trainer. I saw the list of things tried with the dog to stop pulling and barking and I see an emphasis on instant results - and that's not the best way to go about it.
 

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You are not alone. Everyone has highs and lows! Heed the good advice of the responders before me ~ their suggestions are right on and have worked for me with a 6 mo crazy pup. This is my first Golden. I have raised Shepherds, Rotties, Labs ~ this young Golden is probably the most challenging for me. Patience, consistency and determination are key.

I struggle some days but take a deep breath and persist. I also find that a tired pup is a good pup. I work full time and can bring my pup to work as long as he behaves ( most of the time!). It can be very stressful when he acts up. So I wake up extra early and give up a lot of my time to exercise my pup often so he sleeps much of the day in between outings. I go to fenced in school fields, parks, hiking trails...I am ALWAYS searching for exercise opportunities and friends for him to play with. It is not easy! My theory is that extra time invested in the first year or so will pay off! He’s more responsive to training sessions when he’s tired too. Hang in there!!!
 

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I want to thank you all for your input and suggestions. I do have crates and will take away the dangerous toys. I am looking for classes or groups to join. There doesn’t seem to be much that’s obvious at first look near me but I’ll be making a few calls. We have at least 3 other goldens in my neighborhood and a couple of “doodle” mixes. I’ve been asking if anyone wants to make a play date but so far with the weather being so wet, they all suggest waiting for better weather. No one seems to want a dirty dog. ?
I won’t be going back to my original trainer who taught the Kindergarten and Obedience classes. The last collar I bought (last night) is a front-clip harness. I have been making U-turns and stopping when she pulls so after reading some of your responses, I’m feeling more confident that I’m on the right track. I do reward with treats but I can see I could use more. I used to do time outs in her crate but got away from it because she was so good. Thank you again for the reminder to go back to that. I also used to always supervise her the yard. Again, I stopped and I’ve begun again with your posts. I agree with chucking the citronella collar. Today has been a good day with my girl. I’m going to save all of your responses so next time I need reminding, I’ll have them. Your input has been very valuable. Thank you so much.
 

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I’m glad to hear you’re looking for group classes. I feel starting at Basic Obedience is your best bet and if you have to repeat because you need to...repeat! Socialization is key too. Pulling...my goldens have always been the worst pullers. And my one trainer did recommend the prong for my 18 month old. Paid $20 for it at class and we wore it twice. After that it was a different dog with pulling. And I realize it is not like that for every dog.

As for another puppy...are you totally ready to take on another dog’s training before the first one is ready? I feel like there will be a lot of dogs vs you and you may lose to the “duo.”

We all have days in dog training where we say, “oh boy.” But I can guarantee if you invest hours and hours and hours of training in the right settings with the right trainers it will be 100% worth it.
 
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