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M&M's mom
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Discussion Starter #1
I'm hoping for some advice. Our golden puppy is 5 months old. We spend much of our time at home (husband retired and I work at home part of the time) in a large open area in our finished basement. Maizie's crate is underneath some steps to upstairs and her X-Pen opens off it on one side near the door to the outside. Our dining table is near the other side of her crate, then our living room area with the TV next to that. There's also a kitchen area she can easily see from her crate and X-Pen.

Our problem is that she doesn't seem to be able to entertain herself. She has tons of toys of all types and I try to rotate them so she doesn't get tired of them. I'm afraid to give her rawhides or anything like that and she doesn't seem to like the deer antlers I got her. She loves bully sticks, but you can only do so many of those. I give her Kongs but even frozen they don't last the "hours" many people describe for their dogs. Its winter here and between the mud, then the cold, we haven't got her outside for exercise as much lately. But many days she gets one or two 30-45 minute walks.

She really is pretty much housetrained, especially because we try very hard to take her out to potty often. But yesterday she had an accident (first time in a month) in the X-Pen, just reinforcing my thinking that she's not ready yet to even be left in the X-Pen or open area without some close attention. We let her out into the main basement area with us for at least 1/2 hour in the morning and again around noon. She's out with us for at least 1 1/2 hour in the evening. When she is out of the X-Pen she is constantly wanting to play and has never once just laid down and took a nap. I'd love to get her to the point where she'd just relax and chill out with us, but she's go-go-going when she's out of her pen. She has a bed to lay on by our couch and she will go to it when told, but doesn't stay there long unless I sit and feed her treats every couple of minutes.

I'm just feeling that we're her favorite toys and that might not be entirely healthy. I'm hoping for some advice on how to get her to play alone sometimes and how to get her to settle down with us in the evening after she's had her play session.

Thanks in advance. I've got some awesome advice on this forum and I appreciate all the information that's helped to make my life sane these last few months!!!

P.S. I love our puppy and want to spend lots of time with her, but I've got to get some other things done once in awhile.

Mom of Maizie
 

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Well, a pup that age needs some stimulation. They are not good at entertaining themselves at that age.
Sorry to say this, but YOU or hubby need to play more with her and need to go for more walks, bad weather or not.
I lived in Michigan where it was very cold and snowy and I still walked my dog at least four times a day. Even when being in College full time and then working full time. I would grab that leash and walk him before leaving. Hubby had the opposite shift, because he worked nights. He would take him for a noon walk and then when he got up after sleeping. I would take him again at night before going to bed. It did not matter whether it was muddy, snowy, rainy or whatever. We were there for the pup/dog.
Living in Tennessee now, I have 12 acres, am not working right now and no matter what the weather and also having a good size fenced in yard, I walk my three boys five times a day, regardless.
Having a pup is a big responsibility and it takes work and sacrifices.
 

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Penny is like that too...not as much into toys as she is into us! lol

Have you tried leashing her to your waist? I did that with Penny and she loved it! Also I was able to keep an eye on her and make sure she got outside often enough. I vacuumed, did laundry, dishes, cooked and she was totally content to get dragged where ever I wanted to go! ;)

I might be wrong, but I think keeping her in the x-pen just doesn't teach her anything and doesn't give you a chance to interact with her on a 'normal' basis. The only time she's with you is for play time so that is what you are teaching her. People = playtime.
 

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Yuki's mom...Syd
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i agree with Penny's Mom. i used to keep my previous golden Saya on a leash tied to my waist and it worked for us. Saya used to be confined in an area when i was working and everytime i let her out she would get excited and only wanted to play. after i kept her on a leash while i worked she calmed down. after a couple weeks i didnt need the leash. Saya would just follow me where ever i went and sit quietly as i worked. She was 6 months old at that time.

my current pup Yuki is 4 months old. he has his play time and walk time. the rest of the day he sits beside me with his head on my lap wanting me to pet him or lies down near my feet and takes a nap. he has also learned to play by himself when we (me and my parents) are taking naps or have gone out. i didnt need to use a leash for him as he learns pretty quickly. he also follows me around and sits quietly while i cook, do laundry etc. he does get excited sometimes and doesnt obey but he is still a pup and is learning.

after the experience with Saya i decided not to confine Yuki while i worked and i think i made the right choice.
 

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M&M's mom
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Discussion Starter #5
I've now got the puppy leashed to me more

Thanks for the suggestions.

First of all, I probably didn't do a good job of explaining just how much time we spend with our puppy, but I appreciate the reminder that a puppy takes a lot of time and sacrifice. We've gone to great lengths to provide stimulation and a wide variety of experiences for Maizie. I can't begin to calculate the substantial amount of time we spend with our puppy.

What was especially helpful were the suggestions to leash her to me throughout the day. I've done that before, but I admit probably not nearly as long as I have today... and I do see a difference already. She seemed interested in following me, didn't play and act wild all the time, and I got some absolutely necessary tasks done without feeling guilty that I'd left her cooped up while I did them.

I'm thinking that I will continue in this as much as possible as it seems to make sense that she will learn more this way and it will be a natural transition to the goal of having her loose in the house with us most of the time.

I don't know what I was thinking trying to leave her in the X-Pen, but I'm glad I asked for advice because once again someone could show me what I couldn't see in front of my nose!!! I admit I have a lot to learn.

Mom of Maizie



 

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Nancy
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I remember when Hank was that age I wondered if we'd ever get to watch a complete TV show again. I bought bullysticks in bulk and gave him one if we wanted some quiet time, it was the only thing that kept him busy.
 

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Yuki's mom...Syd
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I'm thinking that I will continue in this as much as possible as it seems to make sense that she will learn more this way and it will be a natural transition to the goal of having her loose in the house with us most of the time.
:D good choice. i am sure it will work out well. Maizie's older than my Yuki so she will learn quickly. keep us posted.

I don't know what I was thinking trying to leave her in the X-Pen, but I'm glad I asked for advice because once again someone could show me what I couldn't see in front of my nose!!! I admit I have a lot to learn.
no worries. we are all learning from each other and helping each other out. :D i too have a lot to learn. i have also made some errors and learned from my mistakes so i wouldnt repeat them again. :)
 

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You might want to set up a "play schedule" of sorts also if you don't already have one. So you alternate between active times and quiet times on a regular basis. After her morning walk, perhaps an hour of "quiet" time. Then a 20-30 minutes of active play (tug of war, laser tag), then 2-3 hours of quiet time, etc. I'm guessing that if you did that fairly consistently she'd get with the schedule.

That's sort of what I've done with Tucker. It's not rigid, but he goes to the dog park most mornings for about an hour, and when we get back, he crashes next to me on the floor for up to 3 hours. He's figured out that what he's supposed to do.
 

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Jill -- Maisie's "Mom"
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Second to the Dog Park

OutWest mentioned outings to the dog park and I whole-heartedly agree. Maisie loves them and then completely collapses when we get back home. The entire process is great -- for us it involves a 10 minute car ride, a 15 minute loose leash walk through the "people park" to the dog park, then the fun of romping with the other dogs. Before the weather got quite cold and the water access was closed for the season, she could even swim. Anyway, we've been going at least every other day since she got all her shots and it really made a big difference in what I could get done.

The other two things that helped us were to make our kitchen Maisie's space by using baby gates to fence it off before she had the run of the house. Her crate is in there, so she can go in if she wants to, but she's never really used it as a den, she just hung out with me in the kitchen, but I could get a lot done there and keep an eye on her at the same time. The other thing is that by an hour or two after dinner when she was starting to wind down a bit, I would leash her to me and sit with her on the family room floor and watch TV or a movie. If I had a few toys at the ready, I could entertain her and amuse myself a bit at the same time.

(BTW, my husband is retired and I work part-time from home, so we're on a simlar schedule, I think.) And now that she's almost 7 months old, she's much better at entertaining herself -- batting a ball around and chasing it, holding a toy and chewing on it, etc., and even napping -- so they do evolve.
 

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Yuki's mom...Syd
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You might want to set up a "play schedule" of sorts also if you don't already have one. So you alternate between active times and quiet times on a regular basis. After her morning walk, perhaps an hour of "quiet" time. Then a 20-30 minutes of active play (tug of war, laser tag), then 2-3 hours of quiet time, etc. I'm guessing that if you did that fairly consistently she'd get with the schedule.
i agree with this. its the same what i did before with Saya and what i am doing now with Yuki. it really helps.
 

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We have a similar situation and our puppy is also 5 months old. Sometimes it just seems like he'll use up every second he can get from us. The kitchen is the "boring" room and he sleeps there. Every place else is just too interesting I guess and we're either playing with him or he's looking for entertainment. Entertainment would be destroying the kleenex box or chewing the throw rug or raiding the trash can. Every now and then he'll just sit at our feet for a few minutes. More minutes each day, so I suppose someday I can get back to sewing. Last week I finally sewed something that wasn't a doggie bandana.
 

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M&M's mom
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Discussion Starter #12
:wave: Just thought I'd check in here and give some thanks again to the people who gave me ideas to help with Maizie being constantly in need of entertainment. It has taken a few weeks, but we got rid of the X-Pen. That had the effect of getting her to understand that there was some down-time when she's not crated. She's even starting to take naps laying around on the floor now and then!!!:D

Also, we were fortunate enough to meet her sister, Daisey, and they have play dates once in awhile. That totally knocks her out for the rest of the day! :) They have so much fun together! I'm going to try posting a couple pictures to show them together. We found a relatively new dog park nearby and it isn't used much yet, so they had it to themselves.

Thank you!!
 

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Musician/Songwriter
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I remember when Hank was that age I wondered if we'd ever get to watch a complete TV show again. I bought bullysticks in bulk and gave him one if we wanted some quiet time, it was the only thing that kept him busy.
The Ole "BSB" (bully stick bribe). Always right before Law and Order.:)

(I wish my keyboard would type what I tell it to)
 

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Momma to angel Cody
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Jill, Maizie and her sister look a great deal alike! A word of caution about having collars on when they're playing.....take them off. There are too many horror stories of dogs getting their jaws caught in the playmate's collar and breaking a tooth, their jaw, or actually dying. My angel Cody died from a basset pup's lower jaw getting caught in his collar. Three grown men couldn't even get enough room to cut it off of him until he died.....and then we revived him and I rushed him to the vet. A choke chain and a prong collar with wrestling puppies is an accident waiting to happen. How great that their playdates are helping to wear out your pretty girl, but please give this advise some thought.
 
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