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Discussion Starter #1
Hey all,
Rex has reached his terrible 4.5 months (if that's even a thing). He is the best, most obedient dog....when he knows training is going on. When its not, he is an absolute "holy terror" as my best friend calls it. He grabs shoes, blankets, my face with his oh so sharp baby teeth and goes to town.
He has started being more aggressive when he wants something (i.e. I took him to the dog park ONCE and he started getting possessive over random toys he would find). He jumps up on my bed and when I tell him off, he isn't quick to respond.

In fact, any time I tell him to do something, he leisurely takes his time before deciding it's time to do it (unless he knows we are training, and then he is eager to please).

I work with him every day, and am reading all of the articles I can get my hands on. I am trying to train him DIY because 1. I would like to save money where I can and 2. I feel like the more I am in charge of his training, the better our bond will be

HOW can I make this dog want to put 100% of his love/effort towards me, and focus on me? It seems like I am his LAST priority unless I have food.
also, HOW can I stop the biting?? I yelp, scream, whine, cry, shun, timeout, and NOTHING works and I am at the point where I am so frustrated I want to cry.

I could also just use a little moral support. Every time I turn around, it seems like there is something else going on that I have to deal with. Sigh.

Any ideas/tips/ comforting words? I want him to be the best dog he can be and have the happiest life, and I know he can pick up on my frustration.

-Kate :(
 

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First, breathe! :)

The biting WILL get better, when he's lost all his baby teeth. Noah was awful. Now he mouths when he gets really excited but nothing like the the little razor teeth he had as a baby.

You also have to remember - he's a baby. Babies do have short attention spans.

I found that I was catching myself correcting Noah a lot, instead of praising him for making good choices, and made a conscious effort to give out more praise than corrections. When he's chasing our cat, instead of fussing at him, I will grab a toy he loves and distract him with that and call him to me and praise, praise praise for coming to me and then we have a short game of tug as a reward - that's just one example.

It will get better, it just takes time. Noah is 2 months older than your baby.
 

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Have you taught a look at me command. You can use any word you want. Also when you feed him start making him sit before you put his food down. Make sure his eyes are on you before you put it down. Chloe always looks at my mom before she puts the food down. This may sound trivial by it teaches your dog to focus on you.

It will get better. Just keep up the good training and it will get better. Chloe's rough play with her mouth is just now starting to get better at seven months. The landshark phase for your pup should be ending soon. For Chloe is was about four months.
 

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I have to take deep breathes and remind myself that he won't become a therapy dog overnight. And I have recently been trying to get him to focus, but using his name, which he tunes out.

I've read sooo many articles that all say NOT to repeat commands, but not a lot of them tell you what to do when your baby just WON'T listen. If he doesn't do what I tell him when, and I don't repeat, how am I ever going to get him to learn?

I sometimes lose my patience too. The other night I got sick and was throwing up and darned if the dog didn't use my momentary weakness to eat and unroll the toilet paper. I'm not for the dominance training, but sometimes I think he senses my uncertainty and frustration and gets even more rowdy or tries to "be the leader". I want to show him I'm in charge without doing anything to harm our relationship, or instill fear, but sometimes the "calm, serene confidence" every person speaks about just goes out the window amidst wild, hot frustration!!! haha
 

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I also am afraid to do time-outs in the crate, because I want him to have a good association with it, since he is in there when I am at work.
 

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You may want to do some training classes. It may give you relief your on the right track or maybe you will learn some techniques. It's really important to find a word to get them to focus on you. We are just seeing Chloe's training really start to pay off now at seven months.

Another thing restrict your pups freedom. The less he has to get into the less frustrated you will be. My mom doesn't have the gate up today and just in the last five minutes she has gone into the playroom found something and ran outside. Try to keep things put away and If needed close bathroom and bedroom doors. You can also use a gate do he only has one or two rooms where he can't get in trouble.
 

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I also am afraid to do time-outs in the crate, because I want him to have a good association with it, since he is in there when I am at work.
Use a bathroom or something. You can also put yourself into the bathroom for a few minutes so the pup knows the fun is over.
 

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Noreaster
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You're maybe asking much too much of yourself and your puppy...Goldens, bless their hearts, are late bloomers. I wish I could remember who it was on this board who described them as, " First year size, second year coat, third year brains," because it's pretty accurate. My husband just refers to ours as "brains sold separately." But believe me, I'm fully acquainted with that hair ripping feeling!

Chill a little? Your puppy isn't plotting to overthrow the regime...he barely knows where his urine dispensing unit is located, let alone what it does! Think silly, sweet baby who gets distracted very easily.

You really should try a class? It's great for them, it's support for you, and it gives you hands on help. If you can, finding older, stable dogs to teach your pup proper mouth manners is invaluable...my puppy is rarely mouthy and I know it's only because my three older dogs have told him off.

Try to relax and enjoy...I'm telling myself the same thing with mine!
 

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Noreaster is right about the older dogs is spot on. Chloe's ruff play biting has diminished since we had my sisters two senior dogs here for a couple days and her spending three days with her dogs this past weekend.
 

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Millie's Dad, Chris
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If he's super eager to please whilst training maybe you could blur the lines a little.

Don't make training time a thing. Turn his whole day into training. Use that eagerness to get him where you want him.
 

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The frustrations you are experiencing with your "holy terror" are no different than what I went through with my pup. If it makes you fell better my wife actually believed that our Duffy was missing a gene that makes goldens want to please his people. It really helps to have professional behaviourists to be able to bounce problems off of and get feedback.
The least expensive I've found were the AKC's helpline.
It's a constant challenge keeping a pup from getting bored which I found was the number one cause of undesired behavior. You are so very close to getting through the awful teething stage and you will see a dramatic lessening of the biting problem once you do.
The only thing that worked for me was "no bite" and stuffing a toy in his mouth.
Giving them too much freedom too soon is often going to end up having them searching for things to get into mischief with.
 

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HOW can I make this dog want to put 100% of his love/effort towards me, and focus on me? It seems like I am his LAST priority unless I have food.

-Kate :(
Hi Kate - you've gotten a lot of good advice today! I was re-reading your original post and this stuck out to me.

I think expecing 100% of his love/effort towards you is expecting a lot of a baby who's only been on this planet for 4 months. He's still got so much more world to discover! Also, I think I personally would be exhaused if 100% of my love and attention were expected of me all the time as well.

In fact, we've encouraged Noah to be able to self entertain himself for times WE can't give HIM 100% of our time and attention when we're home (cooking dinner, doing chores, etc).

Also - just to warn you - when your baby hits 6 or 7 months, he's going to go through juvenile delinquency stage too, where he's going to test you even more with what Susan Garrett refers to as "I don't wanna, and I don't have ta!" behavior. We're enrolled in her Recaller's online class, which builds layers of games, which I believe is helping us a lot with this stage.

I try to keep treats in my pockets all the time (I like the Zukes mini's - small and not too crumbly in my pocket), so that I can constantly randomly reward behaviors I like. Like sitting right beside me, or giving me eye contact, or coming to me when I call him away from a distraction (the cat is one of his number one distractions). I look for opportunities to turn every day events into learning opportunities for Noah (and me).

But don't set your expectations so high for him right now. Let him be a baby, enjoy your training sessions, keep them short and fun for him, surprise him with treats when he's being calm (we dropped treats in front of Noah often when he was laying quietly to reinforce that calm behavior). And most of all - just love him!
 

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Your puppy has too much free run of your home if these things are happening. He is too much in charge - I am afraid that if you don't tighten your ship and give him more boundaries and structure you are going to be downright miserable in about two more months.

My suggestions:

1) Get in touch with an obedience club in your area and take him to classes. You will bond just fine, I promise, because you will still be the one in charge of practice sessions at home every day. A club with an experienced instructor is really about teaching YOU to train your dog. The insight and hands on help is worth every penny and it is also great socializing for the dog because it's a whole different atmosphere. My club gives you half off of your class fees after you become a member. Best thing ever. I have also made some super nice friends there and help assist with teaching classes and learn even more doing that.

2) Invest in some baby gates and restrict your little terror to your kitchen area, for the next couple months, spend more time hanging out in your kitchen even if it's not comfortable. When you can't watch him (you're doing chores or cooking dinner etc.) he needs to be secure in the kitchen so that he's not getting your shoes or blankets or anything else he shouldn't be into. It keeps things from going wrong if you remove some of the temptation from him. If baby gates don't work well for your home, invest in a wire Midwest Ex Pen 36" tall. Amazon prime will deliver it to your door and it's about $50.

3) When you want to have him with you and watch t.v or play in your living room, attach a short drag leash (maybe 2' long) to his collar. Use that to enforce your rules. Puppy up on the couch? "Off" and take the leash and guide him off the couch. Don't be rough, but get right up and handle it immediately and firmly and be consistent. Sounds like right now he doesn't need to be up on furniture until he gets past this stage and is more respectful of your rules. He is still a preschooler and needs to learn the rules. Try to be matter of fact and keep telling yourself he's a baby. I know it's frustrating but if you are consistent you will get through this :)

4) Biting is the worst. Do not interact with him, play with him unless you have a stuffed toy either in your hand or within arms reach. The minute he puts his teeth on you, correct him in a loud sharp tone "eh eh eh" - "no bite" and then put the toy in his mouth, give it a little shake and tell him in your happy voice "good boy, this is what you bite on." and smile :) In addition, start teaching in to "kiss" your hand by smearing a bit of butter on the back of your hand and tell him "kiss, kiss" also, start teaching him "touch" by holding a treat in your palm, sort of tucked into the line where your fingers join your palm, show him you have it, and when he goes for it tell him "touch" and let him get the treat. As he gets the idea, move your hand to different sides and at different angles and have him start moving to "touch" your hand. Eventually he will "touch" without the treat being there and your have him "touch" and then give the treat immediately after. As he starts to learn these commands, you can switch his behavior from mouthing you to "touch" or "kiss" and that's acceptable behavior that earns him a treat.

5) When he is giving you naughty behavior, pick up that drag leash and go immediately into training mode. Give him a command he knows and reward him for the good behavior. That way he is getting positive feedback for good things. Keep a little bowl on your counter top with a few treats handy at all times. Or keep a few in your pocket at all times. That way you can go right into response mode.

6) Start working on "settle" where he has to lay down, on leash, at your feet while you watch t.v. Start with 5 minute increments. Gradually work up to an entire show. Put him in "down" and give treats for rewards for cooperating. Everytime he pops up, put him back in a down and tell him to settle. Try to work on this when he's tired.

7) Start teaching him "place" and "wait". "Nothing in Life is free" is a management protocol where he doesn't get anything from you until he complies with a command. Make him "down/stay" while you prepare his meals. Work up to having him watch you place the bowl on the ground and he has to wait until you release him to eat it. When you go outside, have him "sit" and "wait" until you open the door and then you walk through first and he can't follow until you release him. This needs to be started on leash. All things that remind him that you are in charge of the good things in his life.

There are you tube videos from a trainer site "kikopup" where you can find a lot of useful info. https://www.youtube.com/user/kikopup

8) My final thought: how are you making sure that he gets DAILY aerobic exercise? A leash walk around the block is good exercise for your grandmother, but not for a growing retriever. He needs 20 or 30 minutes of exercise that gets his heart rate up and leaves him panting most days of the week. Does he have puppy playdates (another benefit of classes is that you can network with other puppy owners and set up playdates)? Have you started working on teaching him a solid formal retrieve? This is a terrific way to exercise a dog and he should learn pretty easily. Purchase a 30 foot length of nylon rope and a clip from a hardware store. Use this to take him places like a school yard or a church yard etc. where you can give him room to roam and play games without losing control. Keep super high value treats on you (never leave the house without treats) and whenever he wanders away, call him to you and run the opposite direction, he will chase you and you reward him EVERYTIME he comes.

Don't ever call him to you if you don't have a treat to reward him. Follow this rule at home and in your own yard etc. Here is a link to work on "attention" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6rwJ1FiZxTA It's very simple and he will get it immediately. You can use his dinner to train this in the kitchen. Make sure he's hungry.

It takes months and months of consistent time and training, (take him everywhere with you that you possibly can, even in the car running errands, picking up dry cleaning etc.) to develop a relationship with your dog based on love, trust and a bond. Right now he is a baby, you have every opportunity to get this right, it's just going to take the first year or two for him to grow into that dog.
 

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As people have said here... he really will calm down as the weeks and months past and then you will look back and ask yourself where the months went.

When I look back at some of my posts over the past couple of months sometimes I was often freaking out with how "naughty" my dog was... in one of my "I am feeling hysterical" posts he had run off through the electric boundary, bathed himself in a putrid pond and ruined his 150 dollar electronic collar.

But I can honestly say that now at 10 months he is a different dog. Calm, polite and doing well with his training. He stopped biting completely at 5 months.

It is hard to stay chilled, but do try because he will pick up on your stress and it will make him worse.

There is a great thread on here for "frazzled parents of new puppies". You should read it, it will make you laugh and make you realise that you are not alone!

Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thank you all for all of the wonderful tips! I have to remember that he is a baby still, and I can't expect perfection overnight.
I've begun increasing our training sessions, as well as making them more random throughout the day, which seems to help.

-as to excercise, I haven't taught him to retrieve yet, which might be a good investment, but I usually take him to the dog park, park to play ball, or a playdate with another puppy friend every night so he's good and tired in the evening.
He really is a great dog, and very eager to please. Just sometimes I think he does naughty things on purpose because he knows I will give him a command and then he'll get a treat!

I think the thing that varies the most is probably just my own behavior or mood (i.e. if i've had a bad day suddenly behaviors that were cute the day before become super annoying).
I guess I am just struggling with the attention part, but I am going to watch the video and try and get him to focus more. Sometimes when I am trying to get his attention, I will say his name, and then he will immediately proceed into a down or a sit, thinking that's what I want him to do :doh:

Also, I got the Susan Garret Recallers guest pass and have been playing the games with him, so hopefully those help as well! It's yer choice is really beneficial.

Thank you guys for the encouragement!
 
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