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My blue heeler is just over 7 weeks; and yes I know he was separated from his mother too early, it's a long story and is irrelevant now.


Growing up, all my father ever brought home was usually vicious mutts from the pound so I never had the experience of owning a puppy before.


My biggest question is how many of these issues I can chalk up to his young age; should I be correcting these or will he get better as he matures?

- Refuses to walk on the leash 90% of the time. Would rather hide under cars or crash in the shade.

- Responds to the "come" command about half the time now, half the other time ignores me. The only command he seems willing to learn.

- I'm trying my hardest to stop the biting. I've read the thread here. If I try the "scream and ignore" method, he will usually keep nipping at my feet until he is locked in a room or is crated. If I try any passive-dominant methods like the mother (and Cesar Millan) uses he takes it as a challenge and gets very aggressive.

- His toe nails are nearly as sharp as his teeth; will not let me clip or file them, and won't walk enough on pavement to naturally wear them down. Has drawn blood on my mother more with his nails than his teeth.

- I am crate housebreaking him. Some days he has been great; has cried at the door to eliminate outside. Today, he forgot and went in the house a few times right after coming in from outside.


Thank you. Today was a rough day with the puppy so I'm slightly irritated but am trying to remain patient. Like I said previously, can I chalk a lot of this up to his young age or should I be doing more?

Thank you, God Bless.
 

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- Refuses to walk on the leash 90% of the time. Would rather hide under cars or crash in the shade.
He is too young to be going on walks anyway. He should be staying in your yard only. Especially taken so young, his immune system is not going to be up to the challenge of whatever might be out there. That said, my 6.5 m/o pup is a fantastic leash walker... when he wants to be. The rest of the time he stares at me like I'm crazy. We just keep trying. He does better at the park, and on a longer leash v. a shorter one.

- Responds to the "come" command about half the time now, half the other time ignores me. The only command he seems willing to learn.
That is a really hard one in distraction situations. Mine will do it great when not much is going on, but if there's something better than me he wants to check out, he won't come. Just keep throwing parties when he does.

- I'm trying my hardest to stop the biting. I've read the thread here. If I try the "scream and ignore" method, he will usually keep nipping at my feet until he is locked in a room or is crated. If I try any passive-dominant methods like the mother (and Cesar Millan) uses he takes it as a challenge and gets very aggressive.
The only thing that helped my puppy's biting was time... and puppy play groups. We got him at 8 wks. See if you can find a supervised puppy play group to join.

- His toe nails are nearly as sharp as his teeth; will not let me clip or file them, and won't walk enough on pavement to naturally wear them down. Has drawn blood on my mother more with his nails than his teeth.
For us this has only gotten worse with time. You can work on handling his feet + treats, and holding clippers + treats, that sort of thing. It's all fine and good for Hamilton until you actually want to cut his nails, then he freaks. You could ask the vet to do it next time you're in.

- I am crate housebreaking him. Some days he has been great; has cried at the door to eliminate outside. Today, he forgot and went in the house a few times right after coming in from outside.
He didn't forget. He has no bladder control yet. It could be many months before he consistently realizes he needs to go out.


I'd get him into a puppy class as soon as vaccinations allow it. It was very helpful for us in many ways!
 

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My biggest question is how many of these issues I can chalk up to his young age; should I be correcting these or will he get better as he matures?

- Refuses to walk on the leash 90% of the time. Would rather hide under cars or crash in the shade.

--He is way to young to be walking, like the poster above me said he should be kept in your yard until he has 2 -3 sets of shots, way way to young to go for walks.

- Responds to the "come" command about half the time now, half the other time ignores me. The only command he seems willing to learn.

--He is a baby you can't expect so much from him, he is young and needs a lot more time to master any command.

- I'm trying my hardest to stop the biting. I've read the thread here. If I try the "scream and ignore" method, he will usually keep nipping at my feet until he is locked in a room or is crated. If I try any passive-dominant methods like the mother (and Cesar Millan) uses he takes it as a challenge and gets very aggressive.

-- Crates should never be used as punishment, this is the dogs comfort zone, somewhere the dog can go to feel safe especially when alone. The crate should only be used to create good feelings not negative. Biting will last till the pup is about a year and will get worse once the pup is teething in a few months. Try giving him plenty of chews and redirecting him to things he can chew on. Pups aren't born knowing what is right/wrong, they have to be guided. The yelping method works but like I said it will take more than a week, try months up to a year to get rid of the biting. Puppies bite, it is kind of something you have to deal with. They need to create what is known as soft mouth, which would have happend had the pup stayed with its litter mates. Puppies play by biting litter mates, so he is just playing with you.



- His toe nails are nearly as sharp as his teeth; will not let me clip or file them, and won't walk enough on pavement to naturally wear them down. Has drawn blood on my mother more with his nails than his teeth.

-- The vet can usually clip them for you, it costs me $10 to have them done by him. Otherwise it may be a 2 person job. Try distracting the puppy with a treat in hand where he can smell but can get it until his nails are done (by another person or you) then give him the treat.


- I am crate housebreaking him. Some days he has been great; has cried at the door to eliminate outside. Today, he forgot and went in the house a few times right after coming in from outside

--He is a puppy, 7 weeks is just a baby. Expect plenty of mistakes until atleast 6 months of age. He doesn't understand everything yet, take him out every 2 hours and 15 minutes after meals.

Don't expect so much so fast, he is sooooo young. Training takes months if not years, patience.
 

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Here are some free downloads that will help: http://www.dogstardaily.com/free-downloads

1. Walking on leash will take 2 - 4 more weeks at that age of gentle training.
2. Teach Come as perfectly as possible, as he ages, he'll be more interested in distractions.
3. Clipping claws - Get a human finger or the nail clipper to clip just the tips. Smear some peanut butter on the refrigerator at his nose level. As he licks the peanut butter, you can nip the very tips of his claws. I suggest that you do only one foot every day, so that you get practice and he gets used to it. You may be able to clip them every week using this method... with the point of training him to get most used to it.
4. Bite Inhibition - The Bite Stops Here. There are some tweaks to this method that may help... It takes about 3 days before the pup even understands what you're trying to do, and you have to learn to recognize and accept his apology.

Some Tweaks to Bite Inhibition (to get him to stop biting when he wants to play):
1. When the pup bites, then yelp. It should sound about like what the pup does when you step on its paw... don't step on his paw for a sample :). When you yelp, the pup should startle briefly and stop nipping. Praise and pet. He'll bite.
2. When he bites the second time, Yelp. When he stops, praise and pet. He'll nip again, although it may be a little gentler. ...
3. When he bites a third time, Yelp (see a pattern?). But this time, turn your back for 15 - 30 secs. If he comes around and play bows or barks, then that is an apology. This is important. Accept it, praise and pet... and cringe in expectation of the next nip...
4. When he bites the 4th time, Yelp, then leave the area, placing him in a 2 min. time-out. It is better if you can leave, rather than moving him. Then, return and interact. (He's still hungry...)
5. When he nips the fifth time, yelp, and leave the area, stopping interaction for now.

Pups need to sleep over night in order to learn their lessons. So, keep doing this for 3 days. By the third day, you should notice signficant Bite Inhibition. He may still nip, but it will be softer and he won't draw blood. Keep up the training and make sure that everyone yelps.... Very powerful method.

If you learn the technique, then you can apply the "yelp" to other circumstances, also. I believe that "yelp" is "Please don't do that, I don't like it." in dog communication. I currently use the yelp when my dog plays tug, then runs with the toy, when he fetches and keeps it out of reach or when he takes a treat too quickly....
 

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He's a BABY. He is untrained and has no attention span. It can takes weeks/months to train a dog reliably. You are expecting WAY too much.
 

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Just barely over 7 weeks? Taken away from his mother early?
You are expecting too much from this puppy.
It's like expecting a newborn to know how to walk, talk, run and drive.
Just stay calm and consistent and your dog will turn out fine.
 

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I have a pup who is now 8-9 weeks. She's been with us for 3 weeks (dumped puppy).

Everything you are seeing is age appropriate behavior. Don't 'allow' it because he's a baby, but you certainly shouldn't be trying to correct him for it, either. How's that work? Management. Early puppy education is setting them up for success and limiting their opportunities to failure. It's ingraining habits you want them to keep, more than 'teaching'.

For housebreaking, that means a feeding schedule and close observation of their bathroom habits. Once you find out how often and when that is, you take them out, then. If you have a habit of going out, peeing, and 20 minutes later going again? Take him out again. If a trip yields no results, back in the crate for 10 minutes, out again and try again. Once he goes, reward him with some playtime. Then start over.

For biting that means that you never use your hands as toys, you yelp and leave for biting people and you never, ever reward it by playing with him.

For nails, that means you distract him as best you can, get it done, feed him a treat and move on - gently.

For leash walking, it means you start with dragging a leash around the house and then move onto the yard. You go slowly, capitalize on his desire to follow you and you don't move when there's tension on the leash.

You never, ever do the rolling and pinning stuff. It's not making him aggressive, it's making him terrified - fight or flight, and pinned down he can't flee. A dog being rolled by another dog is in BIG trouble. It's not a gesture of dominance, exactly, it's a 'I'm going to kill you' one, and that's not what you want your puppy to learn.

Expect all of this stuff to take, basically, months and months. Expect that about the time it looks like he's got it, for him to regress, because teenagers (human and canine) to lose their minds. Expect that about, oh, 2 years old he'll act like he's got a brain more often than not.
 
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