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Hi everyone! This page has been so helpful preparing for my golden puppy, Brodie. However, since bringing him home last week, he has been way more difficult than I expected or thought was possible. I grew up with dogs, but this is my first time raising a puppy, so it is a likely mix of first time puppy parent naiveness and puppyhood.

For one, he is super distracted outside and won’t stop eating our tree roots, leaves, sticks or grass long enough to actually go to the bathroom. We spend 30-40 minutes just trying to get him to go to the bathroom before we take him inside and put him in the crate. Then he goes in the crate.

The other thing is that he seems to be having a witching hour. He gets super mouthy and aggressive from 9:30-10:30 every night. I’ve tried just putting him to bed at 9:30 to avoid it, but he will just howl for an hour in his crate instead.

He was so calm and mellow when I brought him home and now he is a completely different dog. I love him so much, but I’m feeling very overwhelmed, discouraged and anxious about him. I want him to be a good dog with manners, but it’s one step forward, five step backwards right now. At least he is cute!

Sorry for the rant/vent/cry for help, but any advice would be SO SO SO appreciated.
Dog Dog breed Carnivore Wood Companion dog
 

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Puppies are a lot of work just like bringing home a human baby and yours is just getting ready to hit the most troublesome stage. It will take lots of time and training to have the sweet mature Golden Retriever everyone wants. The witching hour is very common. Rukie's was at 7:30 pm and we called it hell hour. He was so wild it was both hilarious and scary. We started taking him out at 7pm and letting him run around a lot which really helped. I think there is a lot of truth to the saying that a tired puppy is a good puppy. Have you enrolled in puppy classes? They are so helpful in teaching you how to train your puppy. Try to remember that they are just acting in the way that is natural puppy behavior and your job is to teach them the right behavior to live with you. Teach a reliable sit command, it helps in a lot of situations. When you take him out keep him on a leash and running around a little so he can't eat everything he sees plus I think a little running can help them pee sooner. Throw a party with treats and praise everytime he goes. It is common to have moments of feeling like what was I thinking getting this puppy and they are often not super cuddly and sweet because they are so busy but the time passes quickly and if you teach them they learn quickly. Hang in there. It takes a lot of patience but you can teach him how to become the dog you wanted.
 

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Re: potty training: Take him out on a leash (preferably a slip lead) and limit his access to things that distract him. If he still isn’t pottying quickly, take him back in and try again in 20 minutes. If he’s not going quickly, then he doesn’t really need to go. If he goes in the house, don’t take him out right after, that just confuses them. If you manage to interrupt a pee in the house, then take him outside to finish.

Try starting a training session right before he’s due for his witching hour. Get him focused on you and working and he might forget to be crazy. Play the name game, do sits, downs, hand touches, spins, recall games, etc.
 

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Brodie is adorable :) and sounds like a 100% normal Golden puppy. First, your feelings are understandable and also pretty typical. Doesn't matter whether it's a human or a dog - you see the photos and hear the stories and you know they will be super adorable and it will be life changing to bring one home - However, nothing can really prepare you for the reality of being totally responsible for another life. Especially a life that has a communication gap. Pretty much no one has a real grasp of how much work it is. The best thing about a puppy though is that you are allowed to crate him for his safety and take a break. Plan on scheduling a half hour for yourself every evening - or morning if that is how your schedule works best. Purchase "low odor bully stick" or do the frozen stuffed kong trick or a flavored Benebone and keep these things put a way and save them for when you want a half hour of Netflix or reading etc. Crate the puppy and give the special chew item. When your time is up - put the special item away until next time. Keeping access limited keeps it special. If you're smart, you will keep two baskets of puppy toys, and rotate them every week. Keeps things interesting.

Housetraining for Dummies is a good book, dogstardaily.com is a great website. Kikopup on youtube - puppy training videos for attention and foundation behavior is hugely hellpful

If you aren't signed up for puppy obedience class yet, it's not too soon. Start researching a dog training club or AKC obedience club for referrals in your area. Network, everyone knows each other in an area. Plan on being enrolled in obedience classes and practicing at home every day for the next two years or so. Just look at it as a long term project. You wouldn't dream of running a marathon without a long process of training and this is the same concept. Those amazing family dogs aren't built in a week or a month. It's a long term commitment and you can absolutely do it - you just need a plan and some guidance.

Use the search feature here at the top and read through all the old threads - any subject you can think of has already been covered here multiple times. So many good ideas. Look up "crate training" "help, my puppy is driving me crazy" "Landshark" "Puppy eats everything " etc. Some puppies are a bit more a handful in certain areas than others. You should keep a notebook and see what helps you, write down schedule and patterns and try different things. Put a crate in the car and take that puppy places to see the world and meet people. You will discover that if you think it through (plan to take your time for potty breaks, bring treats and all the clean up items for an accident) it will be a great way to help occupy him so he sleeps when you're home and you can get chores done.

Share your adventures here and you will discover a lot of people stepping up to help you out and enjoy helping you learn. YOu can do this. It's just very time consuming and you are not the only one to discover this. Even people who have raised multiple puppies for decades sometimes wonder what the heck they were thinking bringing home a Golden puppy. Some days you're just tired. It's ok. Keep reading and learning and interacting, games, training and exercise are your key. Get help. Cut back on eating out and coffee runs and use that money to schedule a few private lessons with a good trainer. Expensive but worth every single penny. Hang in there, you've got this and it will be SO worth it.
 

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Puppies can be difficult but in the end it's really worth it. For potty training, you might try tying his leash to a stake at a spot in the yard where you want him to go. Watch him from a distance until he goes. And then praise him like crazy when he does. I think a breeder suggested this to us. I used this for my first golden and it worked well. The second golden it wasn't necessary. Potty training takes a long time. Most dogs don't get it until they are 6 or 7 months old.

You'll find a lot of good advice on crate training here. Try different things because what works for one dog might not work for another. For us, it helped to have the crate in the bedroom. When he was in the basement, it was barking all night. I also bought his crate a soft dog bed. I think that might have helped a little bit.

Also, make sure the crate is not too big for your puppy. If he has too much room, it encourages him to find a spot to potty in there. Be sure to wash out the crate with good enzyme cleaner so it's not an already marked place.

Hang in there!
 

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You have a lot of great advice above, so all I'll say is that my girl was like that as a puppy (especially the witching hour- usually at 9ish in my house too!) and as they grow up and you train them consistently, they outgrow it.

Hang in there, you got this!
 

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Echoing all of the above as well as validating your feelings!! I hadn’t had a puppy before, so though I had studied this forum like I was getting a PhD and I was ready with all the “stuff”, the reality of Archie vs. the dream of Archie were two very different things!!! Everything you mentioned is 100% normal…frustrating at times, but normal. My recommendation is that you get enrolled in a training class. Not only will you be proactively moving towards the manners you want, but you’ll be with other puppy pawrents and you’ll see you’re not alone…misery loves company 😁. Above all enjoy that bundle of floof because the time goes by way too quickly!!
 
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