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Hello everyone! I am new to this forum and a proud mommy of my 3 month old puppy, Odie. Odie has been a very good boy since we brought him home. Crate training has been successful and he is learning basic commands. We are having a difficult time with "come" but he's catching on. I did have a few questions and was hoping that some of you could help me out.

We have about 2 acres of unfenced land. We have been taking Odie out on his leash and letting him go free as long as we are right there. We are considering putting up a fence for his safety. Any suggestions?

We are planning on enrolling Odie in some obedience classes once he is fully vaccinated (2 weeks). Does anyone have experience with PetSmart Obedience classes?

Any tips on how to keep Odie from biting our hands during play? He's pretty good with "NO BITE" and removal of the hands, but it seems like 5 minutes later he will go right back to the behavior.

Last, but not least, any other suggestions for a first time golden owner? My boyfriend and I thought long and hard about what type of dog to get and a golden seemed right for us. So far it has been going really well and we love the little guy!!!
 

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aka Ali, Oscar's mom
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Congratulations on your puppy!! It sounds like everything is going pretty well for you :)

I have no fence suggestions, as we live in an apartment, but I know from reading this forum that others will surely recommend installing one (a tall one!), because even if his recall (coming-when-called) is "PERFECT" -- you never know what temptations will distract him! I know others use "electric fences" to avoid putting up a fence (or in cases where you aren't allowed in your neighborhood), but these aren't ideal because (a) the dog can escape if he REALLY wants to (like in the heat of a chase moment), and (b) it does nothing to prevent other dogs, people, whatever from coming IN.

We are almost done the "Puppy class" at Petsmart, and we really enjoyed it. It is pretty basic, but the commands are all important ones (sit, stay, come, etc.) and the socialization aspect is key! Oscar loves going to "school" every week :) I'm sure classes at more specialized training facilities would be more comprehensive (we are looking into this for our next class), but they are also probably going to be a bit more expensive (at least around our town!)... I guess everything is a tradeoff ;)

If your pup is already responding to "NO BITE," then it sounds like everything is going awesome!! eventually he'll figure it out!! if he isn't getting the picture with playing rough/biting, stand up and walk away, or turn into a statue. He is looking for playtime attention, so just show him (without getting upset) that biting=the end of playtime. Eventually (once their baby teeth are gone, and a bit more mature LOL) they are supposed figure it out... or at least I am hoping so ;) Plus, types of "biting" (mouthing, chewing) on your hands, clothes, etc are all opportunities to show him that his teeth hurt, and you don't like it... this is a lesson that lasts a lifetime, because he needs to know that biting people is not okay, but the only way to reinforce this lesson is for him to actually bite you so you have the chance to walk away, stop play, etc... that is teaching "bite inhibition" (there are many links online & around this forum about this topic that you can check out).

Good luck with your pup -- and post pix if you can!!! :)
 

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Tracer, Rumor & Cady
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Stockade fence is nice becuase if breaks up the visual stimulation...
Even with a fenced in yard....don't count on your dog wanting to stay out there alone...Goldens are people dogs...Odie will want to be where you are.

Pet Smart Classes are only as good at the instructor....same as anywhere...

Just remain persistent and consistent with the mouthing....no teeth on skin at all is the best, most clear policy. Young puppies have the attention span of a gnat!

Now you KNOW we need some pictures! :)
 

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I agree with LibertyMe and zephyr. Both have good points.
 

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Just to elaborate on Petsmart classes....some instructors are great and you can learn a lot from them. Other instructors were working the cash register when they decided to go for the training position, went through two weeks of training for the position, and are now instructing classes. These trainers usually are not so competent.

Best advice I can give to new golden puppy owners is anything you don't want teeth marks on, put away!
 

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So cute! How come every time I see a puppy pic I want another puppy? Hopefully I won't get puppy fever too bad for another five years because I don't plan on getting another one until then!
 

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Odie looks like he's a real sweetie; he's already learned "High Five" so he's a smart pup! Here's my two cents, for what they're worth. My "pup" is now 19 months old, so some of this is recent experience and some, we're still enforcing.

1. If you're having a difficult time with "come" but he's "catching on," I personally wouldn't let a 3 month old puppy run free--I would have a long leash--15 feet, maybe 30 feet, so that way, you can enforce the command "come" and have Odie obey the command by tugging on the leash. You'd be surprised--first tug, they come running, and make sure you have a tasty treat, or a toy and lots of praise! When Odie comes to you--good things happen! If Odie gets used to the idea of running free, and coming to you only when he feels like it you will not develop early on a reliable recall. Although Odie is on your property, you still want a reliable recall. And trust me, easier said than done. My golden was doing so good, and these past two weeks, she is busted--so she's back on the long lead. We all go through it with our dogs. Anyway, with a reliable recall, you'll be able to ensure his safety while you decide on what fence to build--so have him on a long line. (JMHO)

2. I don't have experience with PetSmart Obedience classes, but someone mentioned that they are only as good as the instructor, and I would agree. I know of someone who taught at PetSmart--she was a breeder and had put titles on her dogs and the comments she shared with me gave me every indication that she didn't think the same way that most of the staff did (which would make me a bit worried). If you got Odie from a breeder, perhaps your breeder could recommend some classes--my golden's breeder had recommended the local breed club, which provided me a lot of information on which classes were offered in the area that were "golden friendly."

3. For "no bite" what worked best for me was "the trade." Say something like "good bite" or "bite this" and give Odie something to bite instead of your hand. For my golden, it was a rope toy (and she shredded 4 of them); nylabones, plush squeaky toys (that were killed in a matter of hours) and CET chews. I also turned my back and crossed my arms and hands around my stomach, but the response that gave me the quickest results was "the trade."

I remember being a first time golden owner (3 goldens ago). Worse mistake I ever made was chasing after my dog when he wouldn't come. My husband and I still laugh how Jake ran all over the yard, with a huge square of sod in his mouth and neither one of us could catch him. We were so foolish!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thank you!

Thank you all for such helpful suggestions! It's encouraging to know that he will eventually learn these things!
 
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