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Some of you may know from the senior/deaf dog training thread that our sweet 14 year old golden/lab mix passed away at the end of March due to GVD/bloat despite 2 surgeries. It was too quiet in the house and we really miss the companionship a dog provides (despite our 3 old cats and a chinchilla), so we contacted golden rescues and breeders that week.

And 2 weekends ago, we drove to Lake Tahoe and picked up Tomo! He was born 3/20/2019.

Overall he's doing great, it's only been 10 days but he's picked up commands pretty well and he's adjusted to being with us. He knows come here, sit, down, stand, and we're working on sit stays in the pen, leave it, and trades for ball throwing/treats. He'll potty to "go pee" if he has a full bladder and he's not too busy to respond. He's mostly good about sitting when he sees the cats around, but the chinchilla escape was too exciting.

Perhaps it's just the Tiger Mom in me, but there's a few areas of concern we're actively working on and I'd love some advice:

1. Potty training is rough (ruff). Crate training is going very very slowly, so he sleeps in the x pen that's connected to the crate. Potty outside ratio varies from 1.2:1 to 2:1 successes to accidents, so that's still pretty good. Sometimes he is too busy playing in the yard to want to pee, then as soon as he comes in, he pees in the pen.

We plan to keep doing more crate training and maybe it's time to bring out the bully stick... So far we've put kibble, kongs with pb/yogurt, Earth Animal no hide chews, and tons of toys in the crate, and he's fine eating in there, but he doesn't ever sleep or lay inside. Other than progressing with the crate, I think what we're doing is okay and it's just a matter of time.

2. He gets into bitey moods. We're working on mouthing slowly so he can learn bite inhibition (I think this was in the Ian Dunbar book I'm reading), but he's started to bite at clothing and pants to pull at them. Success rate with "leave it" is okay, but he'll let go, eat the treat, and then immediately latch back on to my pants. Taking myself out of the room works to a point, but he'll often just be playing with something when I return, so he's not really being punished per se... I found a squirt bottle but it only mists so that didn't bother him at all.

He'll get a bit calmer if I make him do commands (and he does really like to train), but what other method can I use to calm him? I'll look for another bottle that does jet spray and fill it with vinegar water... And tonight we're going to a puppy social so hopefully playing with other puppies can help teach him that this playing is not acceptable??

3. This is more of a yard question... He's had 4 baths already because it's been raining and the wood chips are getting old, so he either gets muddy or dusty when we go in the backyard. I'm thinking about more wood chips (albeit temporary solution because he likes to munch on them), plant some groundcover plants or lawn alternatives (eg, clover), and add some large tiles or flagstones? Is there something I can put down to protect the plants while it's growing and still be okay to walk on?

4. Our house is pretty quiet, so we started going out for socialization opportunities this weekend. We went to the farmers market and to the mall, and we are starting puppy kindergarten this weekend. He's actually more nervous about the car ride than meeting new people, so I'm planning to do more short excursions around the neighborhood. He's fine when the car is not moving (it's a Prius so it stands still) but gets a bit anxious during stop and go. Should I just keep talking to him and feed him treats continuously while we're in the car?

I know that the puppy class will cover some of the same house training/manners questions I have, but I just really want him to start off doing things right and not have my lack of training be the reason why he's not living a great puppy life.
 

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And photos, because what is even a puppy thread without photos ;)
He grows so fast and has already gotten much bigger these past 10 days! He’s learned new things everyday, and has learned to climb the stairs in the yard, although we’re still carrying him up and down 95% of the time.
 

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Some of you may know from the senior/deaf dog training thread that our sweet 14 year old golden/lab mix passed away at the end of March due to GVD/bloat despite 2 surgeries. It was too quiet in the house and we really miss the companionship a dog provides (despite our 3 old cats and a chinchilla), so we contacted golden rescues and breeders that week.

And 2 weekends ago, we drove to Lake Tahoe and picked up Tomo! He was born 3/20/2019.

Overall he's doing great, it's only been 10 days but he's picked up commands pretty well and he's adjusted to being with us. He knows come here, sit, down, stand, and we're working on sit stays in the pen, leave it, and trades for ball throwing/treats. He'll potty to "go pee" if he has a full bladder and he's not too busy to respond. He's mostly good about sitting when he sees the cats around, but the chinchilla escape was too exciting.

Perhaps it's just the Tiger Mom in me, but there's a few areas of concern we're actively working on and I'd love some advice:

1. Potty training is rough (ruff). Crate training is going very very slowly, so he sleeps in the x pen that's connected to the crate. Potty outside ratio varies from 1.2:1 to 2:1 successes to accidents, so that's still pretty good. Sometimes he is too busy playing in the yard to want to pee, then as soon as he comes in, he pees in the pen.

We plan to keep doing more crate training and maybe it's time to bring out the bully stick... So far we've put kibble, kongs with pb/yogurt, Earth Animal no hide chews, and tons of toys in the crate, and he's fine eating in there, but he doesn't ever sleep or lay inside. Other than progressing with the crate, I think what we're doing is okay and it's just a matter of time.

2. He gets into bitey moods. We're working on mouthing slowly so he can learn bite inhibition (I think this was in the Ian Dunbar book I'm reading), but he's started to bite at clothing and pants to pull at them. Success rate with "leave it" is okay, but he'll let go, eat the treat, and then immediately latch back on to my pants. Taking myself out of the room works to a point, but he'll often just be playing with something when I return, so he's not really being punished per se... I found a squirt bottle but it only mists so that didn't bother him at all.

He'll get a bit calmer if I make him do commands (and he does really like to train), but what other method can I use to calm him? I'll look for another bottle that does jet spray and fill it with vinegar water... And tonight we're going to a puppy social so hopefully playing with other puppies can help teach him that this playing is not acceptable??

3. This is more of a yard question... He's had 4 baths already because it's been raining and the wood chips are getting old, so he either gets muddy or dusty when we go in the backyard. I'm thinking about more wood chips (albeit temporary solution because he likes to munch on them), plant some groundcover plants or lawn alternatives (eg, clover), and add some large tiles or flagstones? Is there something I can put down to protect the plants while it's growing and still be okay to walk on?

4. Our house is pretty quiet, so we started going out for socialization opportunities this weekend. We went to the farmers market and to the mall, and we are starting puppy kindergarten this weekend. He's actually more nervous about the car ride than meeting new people, so I'm planning to do more short excursions around the neighborhood. He's fine when the car is not moving (it's a Prius so it stands still) but gets a bit anxious during stop and go. Should I just keep talking to him and feed him treats continuously while we're in the car?

I know that the puppy class will cover some of the same house training/manners questions I have, but I just really want him to start off doing things right and not have my lack of training be the reason why he's not living a great puppy life.


Omg he is so cute congrats!!!!
 

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Ann
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OMG..he’s so cute. Congratulations! Nothing replaces the loss of a loved pet, but a puppy helps ease the pain.

1 - I’ve never used an X pen connected to a crate with any of my dogs. So, I can only speak to my experience: I used a crate just large enough for him to lay down. They usually don’t mess where they sleep. I had a soft bed for him but no toys or food. I was worried that he may choke on something when I was not home and oh, before I forget, I took his collar off when he was in the crate as well.

2- They pee CONSTANTLY. You may have seen one of my posts. I thought Bear (who’s 10 months old now) had a urinary tract infection so I took a sample into the vet for testing; it was negative. It’s tedious but he will learn if you are persistent.

3 - I have no suggestions as to gardening, but you should put cotton balls in his ears when you bathe him. They can easily get ear infections if they’re ears aren’t dried well. (You probably know this already but thought I’d mention it just in case)

4 - Biting is rough when they’re teething especially. Just keep giving him a toy to chew instead of your hands, clothes etc. he will outgrow it. I think having an older dog, Lincoln who’s 10 yrs old, helped us as Bear played with him and when he nipped too much, Lincoln corrected him with a growl and Bear got the message and just backed off.

5 - Bear’s not crazy about traveling in the car. When he was younger, it took a lot to get him in and even out. He’d get car sick within 3 miles of our house (thankfully he’s grown out of that). It has gotten better, however. I don’t think you should give him treats. It may upset his stomach. Just talk to him as you drive. I’m sure eventually he will get used to it

Puppy classes will help immensely. Your puppy is very, very lucky to have you and is living a great puppy life! Please keep us updated.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks, guys! Good to know that we have the basic idea and are on the right track. I guess I’ll just have to be more patient and enjoy the ride more 😉 He’s already so sweet and eager to please, I’m sure continued training and time will do it.

Tonight we went to our first puppy social and he had a great time! He was pretty popular with the other puppies, being gentle with the smaller pups and trying his best to play with the more energetic pups (even if it seems like he was pinned a lot...). But his tail was up the entire time and he seemed to really enjoyed it.

I wonder if all that running around for an hour is too hard on his joints?? He does zoomies at home but it’s on bark in the yard, and is learning to climb up the garden steps already (though we try to carry him as much as possible).
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
OMG..he’s so cute. Congratulations! Nothing replaces the loss of a loved pet, but a puppy helps ease the pain.

1 - I’ve never used an X pen connected to a crate with any of my dogs. So, I can only speak to my experience: I used a crate just large enough for him to lay down. They usually don’t mess where they sleep. I had a soft bed for him but no toys or food. I was worried that he may choke on something when I was not home and oh, before I forget, I took his collar off when he was in the crate as well.

2- They pee CONSTANTLY. You may have seen one of my posts. I thought Bear (who’s 10 months old now) had a urinary tract infection so I took a sample into the vet for testing; it was negative. It’s tedious but he will learn if you are persistent.

3 - I have no suggestions as to gardening, but you should put cotton balls in his ears when you bathe him. They can easily get ear infections if they’re ears aren’t dried well. (You probably know this already but thought I’d mention it just in case)

4 - Biting is rough when they’re teething especially. Just keep giving him a toy to chew instead of your hands, clothes etc. he will outgrow it. I think having an older dog, Lincoln who’s 10 yrs old, helped us as Bear played with him and when he nipped too much, Lincoln corrected him with a growl and Bear got the message and just backed off.

5 - Bear’s not crazy about traveling in the car. When he was younger, it took a lot to get him in and even out. He’d get car sick within 3 miles of our house (thankfully he’s grown out of that). It has gotten better, however. I don’t think you should give him treats. It may upset his stomach. Just talk to him as you drive. I’m sure eventually he will get used to it

Puppy classes will help immensely. Your puppy is very, very lucky to have you and is living a great puppy life! Please keep us updated.
Thank you for the helpful post!

Yes, we are working on the crate, but it's slow going. Today I broke out the bully stick and he was happily chewing away at it in the crate. I'll get some more high value chews at the store so he can spend more time laying about in the crate.

The peeing timing is half our fault with timing (eg, waiting longer than 30 min, waiting until he wakes up from a nap even though he's ready to pee immediately when he wakes up), and half because he's so playful when he's out in the yard. Many times we'll be out there 20-30 min, or even an hour, and he won't pee - and as soon as we come in the house, put him in the pen, and turn around to do something like get his kibble, then it's pee time... He's getting better about peeing on command if he's not preoccupied with playing, so I think if we eliminate our half of the mistakes it'll be fine.

Yes! I clean his ears with ear cleaner and gauze (haven't had a chance to pick up cotton balls yet) after baths. He's gotten one every 3 days because he gets so dirty!

So glad to hear that he'll grow out of biting. I'm sure it's a ton of fun to bite us and grab our clothes... We're working on leave it, trades with treats, and redirection with toys. He seems to be bitey-ier when we're out in the yard, probably because he gets more excited when he's playing outside and digging and eating all the plants. I remove myself from the yard for about half a minute, but when I go back he's off doing something fun instead of sulking and reflecting on his guilt, lol. I found a good water bottle for deterrence but the the video in the new thread about biting makes me think that I should just stick it out a bit more and continue with loud ouches.

He's a bit better in the car today. I'm thinking tomorrow I'll put him in the car and just let him explore when it's parked, plus treats inside.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
I realized today that he's much more fussy and clingy with me compared to my husband or my roommate. I was entertaining him in the x pen today when my roommate came down to do the day shift (thankfully, she works from home and volunteered to do puppy duty! A saint), and as soon as she sat down on the sofa with her computer, Tomo settled down and was ready to nap... My husband is actually able to play computer games while Tomo is napping or lying quietly...

With me he's often awake for 3+ hours at a time. Not sure what exactly I do that riles him up?? I do a lot of short training sessions with treats, playing with the stuffies, rub his belly and do touch desensitization, show him how to knock the kongs around so he can get his kibble out, etc. Maybe I'm just more hands on and touch him too much, so he feels like time with me is always play time? When I'm sitting down or moving from room to room, he fusses and pushes against the pen. If I ignore him, half the time I come back to pee on the floor. Not sure if this is just timing or what. Although, I tend to get the 6am-9am and 5pm-8pm shifts, I read that dogs are crepuscular, is this why?

As much as I love our current relationship and our training, I would like to have him lie quietly so I'm able to be in another area of the house for other chores, showers, etc without having to get someone else to watch him. Right now, if I'm the only one watching him, I'll have to keep him preoccupied with a frozen pb kong or similar, or sneak off when he's napping.
 

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I realized today that he's much more fussy and clingy with me compared to my husband or my roommate. I was entertaining him in the x pen today when my roommate came down to do the day shift (thankfully, she works from home and volunteered to do puppy duty! A saint), and as soon as she sat down on the sofa with her computer, Tomo settled down and was ready to nap... My husband is actually able to play computer games while Tomo is napping or lying quietly...

With me he's often awake for 3+ hours at a time. Not sure what exactly I do that riles him up?? I do a lot of short training sessions with treats, playing with the stuffies, rub his belly and do touch desensitization, show him how to knock the kongs around so he can get his kibble out, etc. Maybe I'm just more hands on and touch him too much, so he feels like time with me is always play time? When I'm sitting down or moving from room to room, he fusses and pushes against the pen. If I ignore him, half the time I come back to pee on the floor. Not sure if this is just timing or what. Although, I tend to get the 6am-9am and 5pm-8pm shifts, I read that dogs are crepuscular, is this why?

As much as I love our current relationship and our training, I would like to have him lie quietly so I'm able to be in another area of the house for other chores, showers, etc without having to get someone else to watch him. Right now, if I'm the only one watching him, I'll have to keep him preoccupied with a frozen pb kong or similar, or sneak off when he's napping.
I think this is just part of the process. I too would make sure my husband or son was watching Bear in the first couple of months if I had to leave the room he was in. I had a chuckle reading your post and remembering how I’d sneak away when he was napping only to step on a creek on the floor which of course woke him for a second. I’d stand there frozen, not moving until he put his head down again. It sounds like you’re doing everything right. It’s exhausting but so worth it as you know.

Again, I don’t have any experience with an X-pen. I just used the crate at night for our dogs or when I had to leave the house. They did not mess while in the crate and learned to hold it. We set up a “playpen or play yard” in our family room. We put a plastic tablecloth under it to “catch” any accidents and put all his toys in there. This way he was with us in a controlled area.

True to his retriever breed, Bear greets us with a toy or sometimes a shoe when we come into the house or even the room for the first time in the day. I find it endearing and luckily, he doesn’t chew our shoes...just brings it to us as if he thinks we were looking for it.

As I said previously, I think our older dog, Lincoln, was a big factor in his training. They grow up so fast although right now you don’t think so. ; ) Good luck with the training. Please keep us updated. We love the pics.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Tomo just turned 10 weeks old yesterday :)

Potty training is going better, we realized that he’s regular like clockwork and we have to set 30 min timers. This morning I decided to rouse Tomo when he started stirring at 6:15 and the potty break went really well.

The bully stick is his favorite chew so far, he would lay in the crate for 15 min just chewing there. We practiced doing a couple of trades with it and I also took it away when he’s otherwise occupied so it could be a crate-only special treat.

To get him more used to car rides since we’ll have to drive 30-40 min to get to puppy kindergarten on Sat, yesterday we went and just sat in the stationary car with the windows down. He likes to sit on the back of the seat in the hatchback position, I suppose because it’s carpeted and way more stable than the leather seats. Today I plan to do a couple of short rides with the dog seatbelt, and the harness will arrive tomorrow.

He’s growing up so fast!

Here’s him taking a nap with his snuggle buddy, and super bright eyed and bushy tailed at 6 am lol (I’m really not a morning person.....)
 

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I think this is just part of the process. I too would make sure my husband or son was watching Bear in the first couple of months if I had to leave the room he was in. I had a chuckle reading your post and remembering how I’d sneak away when he was napping only to step on a creek on the floor which of course woke him for a second. I’d stand there frozen, not moving until he put his head down again. It sounds like you’re doing everything right. It’s exhausting but so worth it as you know.

Again, I don’t have any experience with an X-pen. I just used the crate at night for our dogs or when I had to leave the house. They did not mess while in the crate and learned to hold it. We set up a “playpen or play yard” in our family room. We put a plastic tablecloth under it to “catch” any accidents and put all his toys in there. This way he was with us in a controlled area.

True to his retriever breed, Bear greets us with a toy or sometimes a shoe when we come into the house or even the room for the first time in the day. I find it endearing and luckily, he doesn’t chew our shoes...just brings it to us as if he thinks we were looking for it.

As I said previously, I think our older dog, Lincoln, was a big factor in his training. They grow up so fast although right now you don’t think so. ; ) Good luck with the training. Please keep us updated. We love the pics.
We really like older dogs and the adoption route would have been so much easier in terms of how much time and effort we are spending now, but I definitely am enjoying our time together, teaching him new things, and watching him grow. He's already learned so much, and everyday is slightly different. He has such a great personality, playful but gentle for the most part (except when he gets bitey).

I wished I searched for puppies a year or 2 earlier, I keep thinking how much Tomo would have enjoyed being with Kuma and learn how to do things from him. When Kuma died, I washed everything except a dog bed and a squirrel toy. The dog bed is in reserve until later, but the squirrel toy is Tomo's favorite, maybe because it has Kuma's smell. And as soon as we took Tomo to potty on the top terrace of the yard where Kuma used to potty, he became much better at going on command.

As much as I love Tomo, I still really miss our old dog. I haven't buried his ashes yet, I want to clean up the yard and do it properly, and put a plant on the spot.
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Tomo had a busy weekend!
- We went to a puppy social at a new location, about a 30 min drive through the city, so we worked on car rides with seatbelt/harness. He learned that he loves sticking his face out of the window. It's great watching the cars on the other side - people just brighten up and smile when they see him hanging out the window :)
- Puppy kindergarten on Sat, 40 min drive away. He did okay on the highway when the windows were up. Entertained him with a chew and treats. We sat in front of a coffee shop a while, and also walked around the shopping plaza meeting people.
- He jumped out of the shopping cart at the pet store (!!! will be clipping him in in the future). He seemed to limp a little and was tired from the long day, and slept most of the way back. We went to the vet for a check up just in case, and he was declared to be fine. Definitely scary!
- A party at the house on Sun, where he met 8 new people, 2 toddlers, and 3 dogs. He was in his pen for the most part, and we checked up on him every 30 min or so. He was super into his Bob a Lot and chews, and was better about being alone.

He's growing up fast, and this weekend seemed to be the turning point for potty training. He was great at holding it during car rides all weekend, didn't need a pee break during the night, and quietly waited in the mornings. There's still a couple of accidents but we're super proud!
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Question:
I'm not sure what is the best to calm him down when he's playing hard. This morning we were playing tug in the back yard and our roommate came out to check in on him, and he growled at her even though his body language was playful (his first growl). He was bitey and tugged on her clothes, so I think it was just him trying to play?? But still, it's concerning.

At socials and classes we are instructed to pick him up for a few seconds time out, but this will be a lot harder in a couple of weeks as he continues to grow... (Already during classes when everyone has their pups in their arms, I leash him and put him in a sit or down stay because he's so large already to hold for more than a minute.)

I think we need to work on both the biting/tugging and calming, is that right? Is calming all about down stays? How do I make the distinction that tug play with toys is okay but tug play with our clothing is not okay?
 

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After talking with my roommate who also keep getting bitten and tugged, we think this behavior occurs after we've rewarded him with directed playing in the yard - either tug or fetch for a few minutes, and then he gets excited and does the zoomies, and works himself into super crazy mode - and then the bites occur. Screaming (pretend or real) does little at this point.

Tomorrow we are going to try to keep the playtime short and interspersed with training/commands to get him to calm down a little before we resume play, and see how that goes. I know it's important to keep working on bite inhibition, but at the same time I want to set him up for success and learn how calm himself down a little.
 

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He’s so cute and growing fast. I’m sorry I have nothing to add for tugging and growling. I have not had dogs that did that but I’m sure that training will help. I read an interesting article about playing tug and I’ve added it below.

I did notice in your pictures, his head is outside the car window and it reminded me of what my vet told me. It’s not safe for him to do that. Here’s a direct quote:

“Dogs love the wind in their face but bad things can happen. First, foreign objects like leaves, insects and rocks can strike them with tremendous velocity. Just think back to the damage a tiny pebble might have done to your windshield or the finish of your car. The cornea of a dog’s eye is far more delicate and damages are not so easily repaired. Similarly, foreign bodies can find their way into a dog’s ear or nose and cause severe inflammation.”

Hope the training continues to go well.



https://www.quickanddirtytips.com/pets/dog-behavior/playing-tug-of-war-with-your-dog
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
Thanks! I'll try the training in the article, it should help to let him know when it's okay to play and when it's not okay.

We were at the vet this morning to get his booster shots, and she said he's starting to teeth, so that's probably why he's been so bitey this week. She suggested more chew toys and to keep a toy on me when we're out in the yard so he'll have something approved to bite on. She also said we could start expanding his bubble a little bit and walks in a week. That will really help since he'll be too busy checking out all the new things to want to bite :)

I made a couple of kibble+water+pb kongs for his meals so that should help out too!
 
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