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Hi

I just need to get some advice or some comfort about our Springer puppy, Digby.

We got him at 10 weeks old. He is now 4.5months old and has been teething for about 3 to 4 weeks. His adult incisors are just about through.

He got used to his crate within a few days, and now he sleeps from 11pm normally right through to about 7.15am.

A typical daily schedule (I work from home) is after breakfast, usually a cuddle on me or hubby whilst we are getting ready and then out for a walk. we spend about 1hr on the walk but the walk itself is nowhere near the distance you would normally cover in that time, as we are lead training to stop the pulling on the lease. If we walked it properly without stopping, I think it would be about 30mins max. We vary where we go (through country lanes, alng a country path, through a wooded walk etc.).

After the walk, back home and in his crate (he goes voluntarily, sometimes I close the door, sometimes I don't, depends on what I am doing) for a snooze. Late morning, a 10 to 15 min training session (indoors) and then a it of a play. Back for another snooze and then lunch.

After lunch, we go for an off-lead walk around our land and then a bit of (outside) training and then for another snooze.

Before tea, another short training session (indoors) and then tea.

After tea, we tend to come and sit in our lounge and he either sleeps in his crate (he has one in the kitchen where he sleeps and where we spend most of our time during the day, and one in the lounge), or on me or my husband (not on the sofas, but we get on to the floor so we can have some cuddle/bonding time).

In terms of food, we have gone for a no-grain, quality food.

His lunch is all served in puzzle bowls or similar, and he gets a kong in the afternoon generally as well.

In terms of training, inside he responds very well and we have sit, stand, lie down, circle, roll over, paw, high five, bed, come, stay and wait. Outside.....well a different matter. Come is ok, but stay, wait....basically anything ele is very difficult. He just gets so distracted.

Walking - he seems to like walks, but as mentioned above, he does pull and we are trying to stop that. So far, we have been actively trying for about 3 weeks, and some days we can see some improvement, others it is a step back. We have a front-ring harness.

Biting - he doesn't bite that often, even though he is teething (maybe we have ad it easy-ish so far), but when he does bite, it is hard!

Socialisation - he gets very scared/excited by dogs and people w meet on walks so we are taking him to a doggy socialisation class on Saturdays (this week will be our 4th, and the trainer says Digby is doing well)

The main issue is I cannot tell if he is happy and whether we are doing the right tings to end up with a happy, well-adjusted Springer.

I just want to know as well when the biting will stop. We d all the normal things (yelp, redirect etc.) but sometimes nothing seems to work.

We would also like him to pay more attention to us when we are outside, he gets distracted so easily.

I suppose all in all I just want to know that this will all be worth it and he will learn/stop biting etc. I think that we just need to cut him some slack and see how well he is doing, rather than focusing on what he hasn't got yet.

Sorry for the long post.
 

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If he's only biting sometimes, I think you are ahead of the game! Atlas was a complete land-shark (and also bit very hard) for months. My guess is Digby will start biting less and less as he grows up, just on his own. You could also work on a gentle command - without actively trying to train in, we managed to mostly teach Atlas to soften his bites. Then he basically weaned himself of wanting to bite us, and any play biting now is gentle and he will stop as asked. (I'm not as strict about him playing with his mouth on us as some people, but can perfectly understand why some people do not accept it.)

Some dogs are definitely more distracted by things than others - Atlas is also one of those. People he is generally ok with, but other dogs? I don't exist! I'm actively starting to work on it. What was suggested to me starts with teaching them to 'leave it' - treats and such. You want them not only to leave it, but to look up and make eye contact with you to get their reward. (The long term goal being that they see something distracting, and will look to you instead of at it.) Then, you take that outside (or to something distracting) and work on clicking/marking and treating so they start to figure out distracting things mean lots of treats - then you build up to them actually seeing the distracting thing and then look to you. Now, I don't have much else to add, because I'm still very much trying to get this sorted out with Atlas right now, but it's something to maybe look into, and try working towards a bit at a time. Atlas is a year and a half now, so you will be far ahead of us anyway! :) I am sure there are many other ways to train this same idea, so don't be afraid to do some research to find what works for you guys. Also don't be afraid to take him somewhere and just sit and watch the world go by - you could do this in the above training scenario too. Socialization doesn't mean he has to interact with everything, so sitting on a bench and just watching life happen without being expected to interact can be beneficial as well.

Oh, and for pulling (ALSO an issue I'm working on with Atlas... Ugh, I swear he's still a good dog! Haha). We are in a rally obedience class, and this video was recommended to us to help get started on heeling work. https://youtu.be/vTNCgG9mV2M It definitely helped Atlas, and bonus was we could do a lot of it at home in my living room. It seemed to take awhile (though I could have practiced more) but he started to understand, and we have some pretty nice finishes and pivots. It *definitely* won't instantly fix any loose leash walking issues you're having now, but might give you a leg up later on. (There are tons of other people who have better loose leash walking suggestions on here, if you do want any help with that.)

Anyway, don't worry. It sounds as if you're doing a fantastic job with Digby! Keep at it, and you're definitely giving him a really great start in life.
 
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