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Dog & Toddler

548 Views 4 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  LeoRose
Hi friends,
I'm new here and I need your help.
I'm mum of a 3 years old girl and a 3 months old poodle.
Our sweet poodle doesn't want to accept me as "the boss in the house". My husband and I are trying to teach the dog to eat only from its bowl on the floor. My girl is allowing the puppy to eat on the table from her food.
The puppy is listening only to my daughter.
We are trying to be calm and to discuss with our girl what she's supposed to teach the puppy. No effect! Our daughter is not collaborating. We want to keep the puppy because it's already a family member, but it's so hard to train it.
In our small village, there's no professional trainer or a veterinarian, that can help us.
What would you do in this case?
Thank you for your time!
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Why the puppy only listens to your daughter is not really a matter of the puppy not seeing you as "boss in the house", but because she's figured out where the really good snacks come from. Since a three year old human really isn't old enough to be a 100% reliable partner in training a new puppy or dog, your best bet is to utilize management techniques to keep this situation from happening.

The puppy should be fed (at this age, probably three times per day) on a regular schedule & in a specific place (her crate or puppy pen?) well away from the humans' eating area. When your daughter is at the table eating, utilize some sort of barrier (baby gate, etc) that prohibits the pup from getting anywhere near the table. It could be really helpful, especially at first, to provide the pup with a nice, long lasting chew (bully stick, stuffed Kong, or such) in her place of confinement so she starts to understand that being separated from the table & NOT getting food from your daughter is equally enjoyable.
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I wouldn't expect any three year to be up to the responsibility of training a dog, but you're not out of luck! I agree with BKaymuttleycrew - the dog isn't seeing her as the 'boss', but rather just as someone who's a source of goodies and therefore worth paying attention to. All you need to do is build a relationship like that between you and the dog, where you focus heavily on rewarding good behavior with tasty treats.

Definitely find some way to confine the pup while your daughter has food so you can break the habit of food sharing at the table. Both because it's rude and likely to get worse if it's allowed to continue and because human food can be bad for dogs and, in some cases, make them seriously ill. You can try explaining this to your daughter as she may be more motivated to stop sneaking the dog treats if she understands it might make the dog feel sick.

Does your poodle really like their dog food? Mine sure does! If this is the case, you can start building your relationship with your puppy's meals. Just take a handful of kibbles each meal and do some really simple exercises. My favorite to begin with is just to say the puppy's name, then give them a treat. Repeat a few times. Over time, this will teach the dog to immediately stop what they're doing and focus on you when you say their name. A great tool to help interrupt naughty behaviors! Pick some really simple behaviors, like sit or touching their nose to your hand, and work on teaching your dog how to do these with treats. This will help your dog learn that you're worth listening to and how to interact with you to earn that valuable reinforcement. If your puppy isn't that impressed with kibble, replace a small amount of their daily kibble (maybe around 10%) with treats cut into small bites, like plain cooked chicken breast, little bites of cheese, etc. only about as large as your pinky nail, and use those to train the same way.

This is a really good video covering a lot of basic, easy behaviors that are important for puppies to learn and how to train them:

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Hello again,
You are great!
There's so much to learn about the dogs behaviour and training.
I will talk to my daughter that her food can be bed for dogs.
I will try all your advices and will watch the materials with my husband.
Thank you!
At three months, your Poodle is about as "adult" as your daughter. Plus she's smart enough to have figured out that your daughter is the source of yummy snacks. As mentioned, management is key. When you feed your daughter, put the puppy away. If she drops crumbs (and she will), make sure you clean them up before letting the puppy loose.
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