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So my little Maltipoo boy is 4 months old now. Unfortunately where I live, he still isn't able to go to the dog parks in my area because they're regulated and don't allow intact dogs inside. Loki hasn't been neutered yet because he isn't old enough yet.

Basically, I think he's bored, but I'm not sure what else I can do and I need some training tips. Basically, my issues are barking, mouthing, learning commands, and walking on the leash.

He doesn't have accidents in the house anymore but he does sometimes "mark" (tiny little quarter sized pee spots that he makes when I'm out of the room or doing something else). It's too quick to catch 99% of the time because he's sneaky about it, so I'm not sure how to curb this one, so when we're inside he spends a lot of time in his crate or on the couch with me where he won't do it. I'm sure this is contributing to his boredom, but I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place. Either he learns that he can mark inside because I can't catch him/watch him 24/7 or he stays on the couch/in his crate where he's probably bored.

The mouthing: he's teething, and I can re-direct him to his chew toys most of the time, but if I'm petting him or playing with him, or paying attention to him at all, he is trying to mouth me. If he's chewing a toy and I pet him, he'll switch to try to mouth at me. If I re-direct him to the toy, I have to basically ignore him or he'll just try to knaw on me. I've done the "yip!" or "ow!" whenever his teeth touch me, and that does stop him from mouthing me, but then comes the retaliatory barking...

The barking: he barks for attention. he does it when I know he doesn't need go go out, he has food and water etc. He just likes to bark at me, often after I yip because he's mouthing me. When I say "no" he whines or does a little "woof" bark to sass me. Ignoring him doesn't work. leaving the room does, but that isn't always feasible (like I need to do the laundry and he's barking and I can't leave the room with the washer dryer in it without letting him derail my day). I've taken to putting him in his crate and he won't stop barking until I cover it with a blanket on 3 sides like a bird. basically if he sees me, he'll bark. If I'm cleaning the house, this is easier than moving his crate from room to room as I clean.

We have been working on training and he knows "sit" and "down" when I have a treat, and on occasion when I don't, but basically, he likes to ignore me and treats my commands as a game. If I say "sit" he might just stare at me and do nothing. if i try to make him sit, he thinks I'm playing. He does NOT understand "come" at all. He just stares at me. I've tried waiting as long as it takes, but that is often 20-30 minutes and it's SO boring/annoying to just sit there and say "come" and clap at him for that long. Sometimes when he comes, he'll just run away again if I try to pet him/praise him because he thinks I'm playing. He comes for a treat sometimes but it's the same thing, he thinks i'm playing. Also sometimes when I'm trying to pick him up, he runs away from me to make it a game. I try to be patient and not chase him and play into it, but sometimes I have to get out the door to get to work and don't have 20 minutes to spare to get him to come to me.

Walking on the leash: he runs around in circles, tripping himself and tripping me. biting at the leash and refusing to walk normally. Stopping and not moving until he stops does nothing. he just runs in circles. the only thing that works is just walking fast ahead and he has to stop to keep up. However, I can't take him on long walks every time we go out. He goes out at 7am for 20 minutes, 10:30 am for 20 minutes, 2:30 pm for 20 minutes, 6:00 pm for 45 minutes and a final time at around 11:00pm for a 10 minute pre-bed potty break. We play inside, he runs around like a maniac, and I'm trying, but I can't dedicate my entire life to him and that seems like the only thing that would work. I need to work from home sometimes, I need to cook and do the laundry and the dishes and shower and vacuum. I can't waste 30 minutes on my lunch break trying not to give in to his games when trying to get him to come.


What the hell do I do? It's getting to the point where anytime he's out of the crate he's a nuisance. Mouthing, barking, etc. and I have stuff to do! heaven forbid I want to sit down and watch tv. I got a small dog because while I can handle giving him the 2 hours of exercise he gets a day now, I can't handle more than that due to my job. He's only 5 lbs! how much exercise does a 5 lb maltipoo need?!

It's also HOT in Texas and it's in the 90s every day. I try to supplement his walks with play indoors but it doesn't seem to be helping. He can't go to dog parks, I don't trust him off the leash in a garden or open area because he doesn't respond to "come" inside. When we go on our longer walk after work, he lags behind me panting and immediately drinks a lot of water when we get inside. it's hot! but he still seems to have too much energy. I swear it feels like he's messing with me. The sass barking, the mouthing me all the time. If he's not mouthing, he's charging my face on the couch trying to lick me. I don't want him up in my face either! If I'm "mean mommy" and don't let him even try, he ends up bored and in his crate and if I just ignore him, I risk getting noise complaints because he finds barking fun. Note: he doesn't bark when I leave for work etc. I have recorded him and he just chills. It's not separation anxiety, he's just being a pain in the butt.


I'm sure this just feels like a rant but he's kind of driving me crazy. this long weekend was a nightmare and I couldn't relax at all. I usually like to spend the weekends with him because I'm gone at work during the week, but I went to a movie this weekend just to GET OUT OF THE HOUSE because he was driving me up a wall. mouth, bark, mouth bark, bark bark bark, mouth mouth bark. That was my weekend, punctuated by walks.

Maybe he'll grow out of this? Is it the terrible twos for dogs? I don't want to encourage this behavior, but the only way I can get him to stop is to crate him and cover the crate and that doesn't seem like a lasting solution.
 

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Potty training: Don't let him out of your site when you're home. He should be gated into the area that you are in, tethered to you, or crated if you can't supervise. At that age I doubt he is actually marking. It could be a UTI even if he's just peeing a tiny amount and can't seem to control it. But basically, you need to be watching him more closely and taking him out more often.

Mouthing: Biting must make your attention end. The yelp itself just becomes a cue that you are going to walk away and ignore him. The yelp on its own won't make most dogs stop mouthing. There are probably times of the day when he's more likely to mouth than other, so make sure you always have a toy on hand to redirect, and if he won't stop biting then get up and walk away.

Barking: It's fine to put him in the crate and cover it if you need to get things done. When you ignore his barking, you may not be doing it long enough. If he's really barking for your attention and you really don't give him attention for it, it will diminish. Remember: negative attention is still attention. So don't yell or scold, just ignore.

Training: How are you training sit and down? He's not treaing it like a game, he really just doesn't understand what you want right now. And how are you trying to make him do it? If you're trying to physically put him into the sit, stop doing that and go back to luring for a session or two, then fade the treat from your hand.

For "come", start saying his name and then giving a treat. Over and over and over. Like a thousand times. Then say his name when he's not quite paying attention to you and see if he looks over. Don't say it and then sit there staring at him - he really doesn't know what you want and you're not teaching him by staring at him all day. If you call him and he doesn't come, trying running away excitedly making silly noises and get him to chase you, then praise and treat when he catches you.

Play the collar grab game to get him to come all the way to you and let you touch him. Take a treat, hold it out, grab his collar while feeding him the treat. Repeat over and over. He will learn to love having you take his collar.

I'd highly recommend a puppy class or basic obedience class. I think there are some small issues with your technique and having someone watch you in person would be a huge help. I think you are expecting him to know things that he's either too young to have fully grasped, and that you haven't fully taught him. He needs more practice and you need to bring out the treats and make it worth his while. I swear he's not trying to drive you nuts, he just doesn't know what you want and has turned it all into a fun game. If you make it more fun to play the game your way, he'll do that.

I don't think more exercise is the answer. He probably needs more training and more to do in the house like puzzle toys or bully sticks. Puppies at this age do drive you crazy, so that's normal. You just need more techniques to manage it and help him learn to relax.

Also, get a long line. His recall is not good, but you can put him on a 20ft line and let him run around a bit that way. You can also work on his recall while he's on the line without fear of him running off.

And yes, this is the terrible twos. They all are giant pains in the butt around this age and they all get better. No dog acts like a puppy forever.

Go find an obedience class and get some help communicating with him, and I think you guys will be much better off.
 

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LOL, your dog is just all puppy : ) I love that age, everything is possible.

I so agree with the puppy training classes. They are fun, informative, and great for your puppy social skills. Petco and others offer these types of classes, but some cities offer for free at doggy parks and shelters.
 

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Potty training: I can't really take him out more often. He already gets out every 3.5-4 hours and that's the recommended amount for a 4 month old. 1 hour for each month old, right? His dog walker comes in the morning and I come home in the afternoon and if I did more than that, my wallet or my boss would have a problem.

Also it's the strangest thing. he's done it while I'm actually looking at him, but I didn't even notice. He doesn't squat or anything and I missed it because I wasn't staring directly at his junk lol. I only noticed when I saw the little pee spot. He often does this within 10 minutes of coming back from a walk. It's a gamble: either he runs around and gets to burn of some energy before being crated when I leave for work (good!) BUT he MIGHT pee (BAD!) OR I crate him right away so there's no chance of little drops on my carpet (good!) but he's cooped up for an extra 20 minutes of the day (bad).

The vet says he's perfectly healthy, so I doubt it's a UTI.

Mouthing: is it okay if I move him instead of moving myself? The most common time this happens is when I'm watching TV on the couch with him. I don't want to have to leave the room and forfeit the only TV in the house to my mouthy dog lol. Can I just put him in his crate or in the bathroom instead of me being the one to leave? I do try to re-direct him, but if that doesn't work I usually just put him in his crate.

Barking: you're right I probably don't ignore him for long enough, but I do have REALLY thin walls so I try to shut him up ASAP for my neighbor's benefit. It also derails whatever it is I'm doing for the most part. If I'm reading, it annoys the crap out of me, if I'm on the phone I can't hear anything, if I'm watching a movie, I have to pause it until he's done or I can't hear anything. Again, could I just move him to another part of the house?

training: I don't push his little tushie down, but I do sometimes try to move closer to him to re-issue the command. he hardly ever listens if he's more than 5 feet away and he doesn't know "come" haha. it basically feels like he only knows things when he feels like it. If he goes in the other room and I say "Loki!" he'll come back. But if he's on the other side of the room and I say "Loki!" or "Loki come!" and clap my hands, he just stares at me. If i have a treat sometimes he gets it, but still not really. I have to put the treat right up next to his nose before he decides that he wants to come closer. He also doesn't wear his collar indoors because I don't want it to catch on his crate and it weighs him down a lot. He's tiny and the rabies vaccine and city registration tag and his ID tag weigh a lot to him! I have tried dancing around or trying to get him to chase me, but when he does, if i try to pet/praise him he runs away again (wants me to chase him and play).

I do want to do a puppy class but most of the ones I've come across don't work for my schedule. I'm still looking though.


Ugh he is just so cute and all I want to do is cuddle and pet him and toss his toys around but I feel like I always end up crating him because he'd prefer to bite and bark :(

What age do the terrible twos end? I have seen tons of videos and read tons of stories about how easily trained maltipoos are. Mine.... isn't. haha I want to teach him tricks, but It seems like i either don't know how to get him to understand or he's just too young and full of beans to slow down enough to pay attention.
 

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Potty training: I can't really take him out more often. He already gets out every 3.5-4 hours and that's the recommended amount for a 4 month old. 1 hour for each month old, right? His dog walker comes in the morning and I come home in the afternoon and if I did more than that, my wallet or my boss would have a problem.
Not all dogs can hold it by the amount in the guidelines. At 4 months old my puppy needed to go out every half hour if she was awake. However, crating can dramatically extend the time they can hold it before they have been completely potty trained. Leaving him for 3.5-4 hours is not a problem, but he should be crated during that time, not left to wander the house.

Also it's the strangest thing. he's done it while I'm actually looking at him, but I didn't even notice.
The vet says he's perfectly healthy, so I doubt it's a UTI.
The vet can't tell if it is or isn't a UTI without a urine test. It's not normal for dogs to randomly pee small droplets without noticing (it sounds like he doesn't notice either if he's not squatting or lifting his leg). It may not be a UTI, but I would certainly get him tested.

Mouthing: is it okay if I move him instead of moving myself? The most common time this happens is when I'm watching TV on the couch with him. I don't want to have to leave the room and forfeit the only TV in the house to my mouthy dog lol. Can I just put him in his crate or in the bathroom instead of me being the one to leave? I do try to re-direct him, but if that doesn't work I usually just put him in his crate.
Sure, that's absolutely fine. That's just harder to do with a big 50lb puppy, so most people will remove themsleves. But with a little dog you can easily put in a crate, that's a good solution too. Just do it without any emotion, he doesn't have to feel like it's "punishment", he just has to see the consequence that biting means he goes in his crate and doesn't get to hang out with his people.

Barking: you're right I probably don't ignore him for long enough, but I do have REALLY thin walls so I try to shut him up ASAP for my neighbor's benefit. It also derails whatever it is I'm doing for the most part. If I'm reading, it annoys the crap out of me, if I'm on the phone I can't hear anything, if I'm watching a movie, I have to pause it until he's done or I can't hear anything. Again, could I just move him to another part of the house?
Yes, you could use timeouts for this as well.

As far as training goes, it's all pretty easy stuff that someone can help you with in person once they see what you are doing. If he's not responding to cues when you're further away, I would guess he doesn't really know them as well as you think he does, or he just needs to be taught to generalize that sit means sit if you are in front of him, or next to him, or 10ft away from him, etc.

I would start simple - say his name, click, then treat. If you don't have a clicker you can say "yes". Do this over and over. You want him to be at the point where if you say his name his head whips around to you automatically because he's associated treats with his name. I would do this at least 10 reps at a time, a couple times a day, for a few days. Then see what he does if he's across the room or even in another room and you call his name. Don't put "come" to it until he's coming to you readily, then you can say "come" as he's in the process of running to you. Once you've built that up you can say "come" as the cue and he will have associated it with running to you for a treat.

What age do the terrible twos end? I have seen tons of videos and read tons of stories about how easily trained maltipoos are. Mine.... isn't. haha I want to teach him tricks, but It seems like i either don't know how to get him to understand or he's just too young and full of beans to slow down enough to pay attention.
Lots of dogs settle a bit with the mouthing after teething (so 5-6 months). Then real adolescence starts which can be awful for some dogs and last years, or just a few months.

It sounds like he's a very smart little dog who knows how to get what he wants. I think if you took a class your mechanics would improve a ton and you will have a much easier time training him. It's usually the active pain in the butt dogs who are great at learning tricks, because they really want something to do, but we have to learn how to show them what we want first.

Have you looked into clicker training at all? The clicker isn't exactly the important part (you can say "yes") but the basic technique is fantastic. I think some reading about clicker training online would really help you teach him the skills you want to teach. Or watch some of Kikopup's videos on YouTube.
 

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I'd switch some of your walks to training sessions. Small breeds don't necessarily need tons of walking exercise but they make that up for need a lot of mental exercise.

When you're chilling on the sofa and want to not physically move either give the dog a kong/chew or something to entertain himself or try train "relax on a mat".

Honestly your dog sounds like it is wanting to engage with you more than you want it to and this is frustrating for both of you. Get your dogs mind working and get the dog some independence with play and that should sort most of your issues.

I personally wouldn't crate or separate when you're being bitten or barked at, you're just putting a lid on a fizzy drink and shaking it, it's going to explode once let out again because the energy hasn't been dealt with. By all means step out the room if he's getting over threshold and biting uncontrollably but it should be a matter of seconds while you're breaking focus.

Look up puppy zen and other training games you can do while sitting and watching the tv and do those to tire the pup out.
 
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