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Discussion Starter #1
We have several problems.

My dog won't stop howling/crying bloody murder the moment I close the door to his crate or to his playpen, even if I'm standing right there. He actually seems to take my presence as incentive to cry even more violently as he pounces around the crate or playpen and even tries to gnaw on the bars. These are ear-piercing wails and tantrum-like barks. His voice is now sore.

I already read so many things about not rewarding him with my presence/attention while he's howling. And I haven't, for the most part. This doesn't seem to do much good though because shortly after I arrive, oftentimes he will start up again (and it can last an hour or more). I cannot feed him, nor clean his crap on the floor, nor water him, nor take him out the moment he starts howling because that would be reinforcing the bad behavior, right? This seriously narrows down the window of opportunity to keep him healthy, because he must cry himself to total exhaustion before the window happens.

I have tried putting the blanket over the crate, then over the entire crate, added a ticking clock "heartbeat" in the room, played music in the room, coaxing him in with treats (which he promptly darts in and takes OUT of the crate). I take the treat away from him and put it back in the crate and only let him keep it if he stays in the crate, which he has only done once willingly before I left and he started his tantrum again. I toss treats in there, but after he's darted in and out and eaten it, he actually jumps all over me and nips me for more. He does not respond to me giving him praise, or when I "bark" at him to show my displeasure.

I have also tried "yelping" and ignoring him for 10 seconds if he bites me too hard. That has done all of nothing - he seems to think I'm just playing, because he just jumps at me constantly until he gets my attention again.

He has had very little interest in toys. But he likes a rawhide that keeps falling out of the holes of the crate as he gnaws on it. I tried putting a Kong in there, but he's not all that interested in it even though it's stuffed full of almond butter and kibble.

The ONLY time he calms is when I'm in the playpen WITH him, or in physical contact with him. Cuddles after bathtime is when he is the ABSOLUTE calmest (he falls asleep on my chest and acts all cute-like, as demons can be).

He poops in his crate or playpen then jumps all over it while he's having his tantrum. I'm not allowed to take him out to do his doody until his shots are done, according to the vet, but I need to take him out to potty train and to socialize him or expect behavioral issues when he's older according to others. I was also told that puppy pads would be teaching him the wrong thing to do! HOW exactly is a person supposed to follow these contradictory instructions?? Am I expected to let him poop and pee in the house for the next three months? Expect to put him down because he has behavioral issues later in life?

I tried taping down garden cloth on top of all the grass in our tiny backyard to create a barrier from any dog-diseases that may be on the ground, then put a small square of fake grass on top for his restroom. He has peed in there twice so far, and both times I fed him a little treat within 3 seconds after the event, along with lots of praise and to-do. The poop, however, will not come out of that rascal's little butt unless he gets some exercise, which he cannot get in a tiny little back yard or tiny bedroom/crate/playpen. So far his "exercise" is coming from him having long-winded tantrums. My playing with him in the garage, running around in circles or tug-wrestling with a toy (which he loses interest in fairly quickly) doesn't seem to be enough.

I should also mention that I reviewed the entire AKC "ideal" schedule for puppy feeding/exercise/playtimes. I found it hilariously unrealistic for the working individual. I have a full time day job, how else would I pay for the dog's food and care, let alone my mortgage? I do complete what I can in the early mornings, during every lunch break, and immediately after work.

I have lost so much sleep taking care of him. And I want to do this right, but all the information I've found is just contradicting each other. Help!

Any whole or partial advice would be appreciated. Thank you for your time!
 

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Throwing treats in is a good start, but there's a lot of crate games you can play to make a crate (or pen) less of a scary place. The YouTube channel Kikopup has some great (free!) videos, but there's lots of others if you search "crate games". Some good tips are hiding especially tasty treats in there for the pup to stumble across, feed all his meals in there, and to zip-tie a Kong or similar food toy to the back wall so he has to stay in there to enjoy it. That said, I'm not a huge fan of "scream it out" unless you can be absolutely sure the pup is demand barking. If he's genuinely distressed (and it sounds like he might be) and/or you need to make sure his environment is clean and dry, do what you've got to do. Clean things up. Put in a hand and talk to him to see if that soothes him. He's still a baby, and learning to be alone is going to take time.

I also find that many dogs find the "yelp" method exciting, so unless it clearly works right away, drop the yelping and simply stop all interaction when he bites. You can mark it with a "whoops" or similar, but there's no need to be harsh: this is super normal puppy behavior and it takes time for them to learn how to control their mouths. Stepping over a baby gate (or out of the playpen) can be really useful if the pup continues trying to bite or chew at your feet/pants even if you stand up and turn away.

Are any other dogs or a lot of wildlife passing through your yard? If not, it's probably safe to just let him go there without all the fuss. The real danger is places where a lot of strange (potentially unvaccinated) dogs (or foxes, coyotes, etc) do their business. Most private backyards are pretty safe this way.

Baby puppies are a LOT of work. My boy was a few weeks older than yours when he came home, and I had my fiancee (now wife) to split the early morning potty breaks with, but oof is it hard. They also have just been moved from everything they've ever known and mum and siblings and it takes time for them to settle in. Praise, for example, isn't effective for all dogs, but it's ESPECIALLY not effective with a dog who hasn't bonded with you. Likewise, it's pretty common for pups or dogs new to your home to not be that into food or treats for a while. I thought I'd wasted all the expensive treats we bought Sam before bringing him home... a month or so later and he would practically do somersaults for boring ol' kibble! Try to be understanding and give him time to decompress and get to know you and your home/routines.

Basically, don't give up yet. You've signed on for a lot of hard work, and there's even a phrase for a lot of what you're feeling: puppy blues. Lots of us have had them, no matter our level of experience. Hang in there: it DOES get better, and the rewards are awesome.
 

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Thank you for your sound advice, DaySleepers.
His tantrums are slowly, slowwwly but gradually getting shorter. I've gotten a little better at timing his meals I think. Crossing my fingers and toes about that.
I talked to the breeder, and he assured me that I could walk him and expose him to other dogs if I wish because he gave the dog two booster shots for parvo before I picked him up, on top of the vet shots I took him to a week ago. This has been making the experience far more manageable.

I've also found that a "settle" command while holding him vertically by his front armpits, his back to my chest (uncomfortable position for a dog, but not enough to cause severe retaliation), and wait for him to calm down, he will stop biting me. This requires a lot of enforcement, so I hope I can find some other way to teach him on top of "settle."

I have also drilled holes in his chew toys and tied them to his crate so he can't take them outside to enjoy. He must enjoy them IN the crate. So far he seems more frustrated than not about that, and just abandons them altogether in favor of dancing around outside the crate. Will need to see if this changes.

Instead of feeding him in a bowl, I started sprinkling his kibble on and around (and under and hidden in the crevasses) of his blanket. This seems to keep him willingly in the crate far longer than before.
 

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Glad he's improving! A little maturity goes a long way with puppies.

Although I have to say, I'd listen to the vet over the breeder re: parvo, because the vet is going to know the parvo risk in your specific area. I'd certainly only expose him to dogs you know, who are both vaccinated and good with other dogs, both for disease risk reasons and socialization. In young puppies, the maternal antibodies (assuming mum was vaccinated) will protect the puppies for 6-16 or even 18 weeks - it's different for each individual pup. While those maternal antibodies are at work, the parvo vaccine won't take effect. The reason we vaccinate young puppies in a series is to attempt to minimize that gap between maternal antibodies wearing off and the vaccine giving them new, long-term protection, which is why most vets suggest not exposing young pups to heavily dog-trafficked areas until they get their 12 or 16 week shots, depending on the parvo risk in your area. Does that make sense?

I also am not a fan of any kind of holding or pinning techniques to teach bite inhibition. For one, it takes the choice away from the dog, which means they're not developing impulse control and may continue to have poor bite inhibition in intense situations - overexcitement, fear, pain, etc. It's also likely to create a dog who doesn't like being held or even handled, which is especially not great for a breed mix that'll need lifelong grooming. You're inducing a state of what's called "learned helplessness", which you might guess isn't a lot of fun for anybody, and it's a sad thing when a pup associates those negative feelings with being held by their owner. As an alternative, try teaching him to go to a particular bed or mat on cue using rewards - treats, a quick tug session, etc. Whatever he finds rewarding. This is called teaching an incompatible behavior, because he can't bite you if he's also sitting on his bed! But remember he's a baby puppy, and his attention span and self-control are still developing.

All around, it does sound like you're seeing some good improvements, so keep it up!
 

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Hi! My new pup does the same thing when I leave or walk across the room to do something else. I'm trying to teach her to "shh" aka be still and be quiet when I get up. 15 minutes before I decide to go into another room, I'll stand at her pen and say shh while showing her my hand in the "stop" gesture. When she sits, I Praise and treat her. I do this several more times at varying distances and time lengths, and then leave. In one day she was able to obey "shh" and wait for me to come back while still within sight, and I hope with time she will do this when I'm in another room too. If I do go into another room and she barks, I'll continue doing my thing until she calms down at which point I come back to praise and treat again. I hope this works for you too!
 

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Does he listen to the radio or watch TV? My Kaila watches TV so, a subscription to DogTV and a small TV near her crate with the volume on low does the trick. She likes going in there to relax and watch TV, does it on her own during the day and, happily sleeps in there as long as the TV is on. Over the coming weeks, I'll trade the nighttime TV for a night light, then dim that to nothing in a couple of months.

You said he likes after bath cuddles, so save the towel you dry him with, it has that scent on it and will remind him of bath cuddles. Put that in his crate or play pen, it might clam him to smell it. Maybe an air freshener that smells like his shampoo, or the shampoo in a fragrance warmer would help if he likes the scent.

Sometimes we have to get creative with what a new dog likes to get them going the way we want them to go. Let him train you, give him your dirty clothes to sleep with if it helps then, train him slowly to do without his security "blanky" whatever it turns out to be.
 

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I am so glad you asked your questions, Godzillama! I, too, have a 10 week old terror who screams when crated and when I leave the room. My solution was to close the doors to the areas I didn't want her in and let her have free access to the bird room, bathroom and kitchen (I'm in an apartment). We're slooooowly (Painfully slowly) working on crate training. So far I can have her in the crate for 10 seconds before she starts to fuss. Sigh.

Going to check out crate games. That might be more for for Myrrh than me always tossing treats into her crate when she's in the kitchen :)
 
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