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Hey Everyone!

Warning: Super long post... sorry :redface: And thank you if you continue on reading

So I've posted here before in anticipation of getting my belgian tervuren, oscar. We got him on Tuesday, and really, so far he has been fantastic. I have a few things I'd love to get your advice on... I seriously believe that just how it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a fantastic dog forum to raise a puppy. :)

Since Tuesday, Oscar already knows the door he needs to go out to go potty, knows his name, comes when called, and can sit on command; So I think he's doing pretty good. We've also started to walk him on a leash and while he's far from perfect, he's getting better every time we do it.

Issue 1) He has had about 1 accident per day in the house. Admittedly, all but 1 of the accidents were our fault, he told us he needed to go and we weren't listening. We've learned that he really DOES need to go out every hour, and when he sniffs, it's not just for fun. :redface:

In Dunbar's book, it really has me freaked out that these accidents are going to cause housebreaking to be way more difficult. We're doing our best and so is he, but I can't help but be a little nervous. I want the best for this little guy and I don't want to be the one to ruin it obviously! Am I making this way hard on myself right now? Are we doing okay?

Issue 2) I've worked from home all week to make sure he is settled in. We have a crate he sleeps in in our bedroom (only whined the first night, he sleeps a full 7 hours now) and an xpen with another dog bed in it in the room we spend most of our time. Beginning Tuesday, he will be home for 4 hours at a time, by himself.

He has been in his crate with me in sight for up to an hour at a time with very very little whining. What worries me is that when i left him in the xpen and went outside to see what he would do, there was whining, barking, etc, until I came back in (it was 5 minutes, tops) -- and when I came back in I was trying to ignore his whines to get him to stop but he didn't stop! Any suggestions on this? The fiancee and I are planning on going out and leaving him home today for the first time, we plan on giving him a kong to keep him occupied for a little while, but we won't really know if he barks since we won't be home. Is there anything we can look for? Also a little worried about "accidents" while we're gone (it's expected since he's so young, right?)

Issue 3) We fully realize the importance of socializing him at an early age, and the breeder was really great about it before we got him. Since he doesn't have all of his shots, we're obviously very cautious about bringing him in many dog-friendly public places. We have had a few friends stop over for an hour or two to meet him, so by the time we have had him for a week he will have met 15 people plus about 6 at the vet (at 11.5 weeks of age) including an 18mo old little girl who he was great with. Ian Dunbar suggests 100 people at 12 weeks or something insane like that... well... that won't happen!! I don't have enough time or really, know enough people to make that happen. It's making me nervous. Our breeder suggested we take him to Lowe's / Home Depot as they allow dogs but don't have nearly as many there, while keeping him in a basket or something similar, so we might do that in the next few days as well. THought on this?

Any suggestions would be SUPER helpful. I just purchased Paul Owens' puppy training book this morning so I can get some ideas from him, since Dunbar has me sort of freaked out right now so I'm going to stay away from his rigid tone right now.

Sorry for the long post here. I plan on keeping this up to date with how we're doing, and pictures, and questions, too. I remember I read a thread here a few months back (December or so) where the poster really outlined almost day by day how puppy was doing and progressing -- it was SO helpful as a new reader here so I hope to do the same thing for others here.

Thanks! Andi





 

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Beautiful, fuzzy teddy bear!

Issue 1) ... He is not the one that had the accidents, if you didn't act :)
Dunbar tends to be a little dramatic. Just keep it up, now that both of you are learning.
Don't be so hard on yourself, you're doing OK. In a week or two, he won't need to go every hour, maybe every two hours, then every four.

In a month or two, He'll need to go when he wakes up, after he eats, and before bed.

Issue 2) He may bark and whine for about 3 days, then calm down. Make sure there are no things to chew up, but that he does have a Kong and a chew toy.

Issue 3) Dunbar makes the suggestion, b/c people ignored the importance of socialization. Keep it up, use a very wide diversity of people, eventually broaden to different locations, and experiences, as well as large and small dogs, and other animals .... as young as you can safely do it. It really does make a big difference when you socialize young. And, Home Depot etc., are good, as long as his feet don't touch the ground until he's had all his shots.

Dunbar's suggestions are the gold standard... the way that he states them could be toned down a bit. His timing and what you should do is based on solid research... how you accomplish it is stated in a somewhat extreme way.
 

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Oscar is a cutie! I bet you could spend all day snuggling with him; he, I'm sure, has other plans ;)

There's another thread about socialization with great information (and someone else who was a bit freaked out by Dunbar's guidelines). Like HankSimon said, Dunbar is the gold standard; however, his tone can cause anxiety. I read only a few chapters and was convinced I'd ruin my puppy by looking at her the wrong way. Some people need his strict approach, and if I knew someone who didn't seem prepared or serious about raising a puppy, Dunbar's books are the ones I'd recommend. Owens' tone is almost the complete opposite; he's very gentle and calm with his readers. I loved his Dog Whisperer and Puppy Whisperer books.

Sounds like you and Oscar are off to a great start!

ETA: here's the socialization thread
 

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Dunbar freaks me out too. However, I do believe the veracity of his claims, and that he writes in a frightful way in order to convince people to take action, rather than just couch potato out when housetraining is done. Sometimes his suggestions even seem a little "duh", like around adolescence he prescribes a walk every day to continue socialization. To that, I say, duh! Who doesn't walk their dog every day, who actually cares about a well-rounded dog? ;)

I would suggest pet stores where you keep him in a cart or in your arms while you walk through (or you can even just stand in front of the store). Some malls and shops in my area allow dogs, if you live in a similarly yuppie area then those would be good places too. It's totally fine to do more socialization when he's gotten all his shots; it probably won't be AS easy as when you had a curious 10 week old but you won't totally screw him up or anything.

ETA: Yup that was my post ;) I think it's really all about building confidence and showing him something new (safely) every other day or every week rather than shoving your pup into everyone's face.
 

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Beautiful, fuzzy teddy bear!
And, Home Depot etc., are good, as long as his feet don't touch the ground until he's had all his shots.
After he has his shots Lowe's and Home Depot are AWESOME. The team members LOVE puppies (normally) and everyone there will tell you stories about dogs they have/had and tell you how cute/gorgeous/adorable he is. Those places went a long way for us teaching Astro not to be afraid of huge men (I'm maybe average sized) and people of different ethnicities as well.

Be careful around the plants though. Astro ate a carnation last December when we were at Home Depot. He came home and vomited everywhere.
 

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1) Everyone makes mistakes. I've had dogs all of my life and our adult dogs still have the rare accident because whoever is home at the time lost track and forgot to let them out. Even our adult dogs will not be able to hold it forever. Don't be so hard on yourself. For the sake of hygiene though, I do recommend a good enzyme cleaner be used for every little puddle or pile instance. Dogs can smell much better than we can, but even I can smell a puddle of urine when I walk in a room.

2) I like to leave a piece of worn, but not laundered clothing, with a new pup. It seems to give them a sense of comfort. Puppies have usually been around their bitch and litter mates until you took them home. They are used to having playmates around. And now you are going to just leave him by himself for a few hours every day. You need not feel guilty about it, but you should expect a period of adjustment.

3) I'm pretty big on socializing young dogs. There are lot of opportunities. Lowes/Home Depot/OReilly Auto Parts all enjoy 4-legged pals. Umpqua Bank here even puts down bowls of water for them! We also make play dates with friends who have properly vaccinated adult dogs. I also try to take my dogs to different environments...like school parking lots during busy periods and outside the gates of school playgrounds when the kids are out. I don't risk letting the kids come in contact with my dogs in training because I find most children do not know how to appropriately approach a strange dog. But I do it more for the dog so they get desensitized to children screaming, slamming doors, horns, and to make them fearful of moving vehicles.
 

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Beautiful, fuzzy teddy bear!
Thanks, hanismon! He's a little cuddler right now, it's hard to resist it!

Issue 1) ... He is not the one that had the accidents, if you didn't act :)
This is VERY true. We never punish him for .. our .. accidents. We just let him out the door and say "Go Potty!" incase he still has to go, while one of us cleans up the mess.

In a week or two, he won't need to go every hour, maybe every two hours, then every four.
In a month or two, He'll need to go when he wakes up, after he eats, and before bed.
This is relieving to hear. Very, very relieving... lol.

Issue 2) He may bark and whine for about 3 days, then calm down. Make sure there are no things to chew up, but that he does have a Kong and a chew toy.
After I posted this, we went to run errands and he was alone in his crate for about 2 hours. It was the longest time he's been in his crate and home alone (with the cats). When we walked in, I was expecting him to have had gone to the bathroom in his xpen (we had paper down in case), and we walked in, he was laying down, didn't even bark. I was so proud!
 

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Oscar is a cutie! I bet you could spend all day snuggling with him; he, I'm sure, has other plans ;)
THanks :) He is actually a huge cuddler! It is so hard to resist cuz he's so fluffy and small right now! In the back of my head, I know I should discourage the lap cuddling since he will grow to be 65lbs (and I hope my lap doesnt grow to fit him....... ha ha), but it's jsut SO HARD. If anyone has any advice (like, no need to worry!) that would be helpful. I don't always discourage the cuddles... i just can't help myself!

THNK YOU!
 

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Be careful around the plants though. Astro ate a carnation last December when we were at Home Depot. He came home and vomited everywhere.
Eek, thanks for the plant-warning! Lesson learned, I guess, right?
I follow your threat about Astro, actually! It's really helped a TON as we were planning to get a puppy.

Can't wait to hear an Astro update :)
 

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Yup that was my post ;) I think it's really all about building confidence and showing him something new (safely) every other day or every week rather than shoving your pup into everyone's face.
I couldn't agree more! I'm trying to introduce him to new people in the safety of my home/yard, but standing in front of a pet store with him in our arms is actually a fantastic suggestion! Thanks :)
 

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1) Everyone makes mistakes. I've had dogs all of my life and our adult dogs still have the rare accident because whoever is home at the time lost track and forgot to let them out. Even our adult dogs will not be able to hold it forever. Don't be so hard on yourself. For the sake of hygiene though, I do recommend a good enzyme cleaner be used for every little puddle or pile instance. Dogs can smell much better than we can, but even I can smell a puddle of urine when I walk in a room.
I didn't really think about the enzyme cleaner since we have hardwood floors. I used the hardwood floor cleaner (I forget what it's called) but you're right and that likely isn't enough. Next store purchase, thanks!

2) I like to leave a piece of worn, but not laundered clothing, with a new pup. It seems to give them a sense of comfort. Puppies have usually been around their bitch and litter mates until you took them home. They are used to having playmates around. And now you are going to just leave him by himself for a few hours every day. You need not feel guilty about it, but you should expect a period of adjustment.
THIS IS A FANTASTIC IDEA!! He sleeps with an old t-shirt of ours as well as a towel from the breeder... duh, i can put something in the xpen too!! :) thanks!!
 

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Successful day in my books, I think! We left Oscar alone for 2 hours, which was the first time by himself and the longest time in his crate. When we came home, I was expecting some potty on the newspaper we left, and lots of barking; we got a clean xpen and a puppy that was laying down, even when we opened the door! Very impressed right now.

We bought some bully sticks to put in his xpen strictly for the times when we are gone/away, and to get him to start enjoying his xpen. I asked a few folks at our local pet store and they said bully sticks would be fine to leave in the xpen when we're gone. I haven't seen anything otherwise, so i'm going with it.

Regarding socialization, is it fine to have a puppy over who is up to date on shots, even if they were in contact recently with a puppy with absolutely no shots (that often goes to the dog park)? It is one of the only puppies I know (that I would trust right now) -- but I don't know how it really works with this stuff. I'll play it safe for now. We enrolled him in puppy kindergarten which starts next Saturday. It's with the breeder & the puppy she kept. I'm hoping Oscar does well in the class (I feel a little pressure.. lol) and I'm def excited to start it myself.

So far, I'm feeling a bit lucky with how well he's behaving. I have a feeling that we will get ours as soon as his feels more comfortable in our house and family, but for now, I'll enjoy it.
 

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Ugh, I think my last post spoke too soon. Oscar woke up 2x in the middle of the night (we went to bed at 9:30, he woke up at 12:30am, 2:00am) and had to go outside to the bathroom. I'm really not sure if he woke up on his own or my fiancee was up and heard his whines (because I did not hear them, and i usually do) and took him out.

One thing he has been doing that I've been trying to get him to stop is biting my sweatpants/sweatshirt when he wants to play. He literally has put 4-5 holes in my pants and a few in my sweatshirt. It's all I wear around the house now cuz i don't want anything else to have holes in it.

I have been saying NO, getting a toy and redirecting him, and when he persists, I leave the room for like 30 seconds. Is this normal behavior for him? Is there something else I can be doing to stop this?

Also, his "sit" and "stay" commands are spotty. I know he's still young but I get worried since he's such a smart dog, I want to make sure we can "control" him later in life. Is there some sort of timeline for this stuff? Like, he should know basic commands (sit, stay, down) by 14 weeks or something like that?
 

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What I've heard is to stop play whenever he mouths. You can put a sound to it, like uh-uh! then stop play/ignore him. Don't redirect with a toy if he is mouthing you because that makes it part of the game. And of course if he is mouthing hard enough to hurt, make an Eek/yelp sound to stop and let him know that it hurts.
 

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I wonder if I should get up and leave the room after saying "no" a few times or just ignore it, deal with the bites, and hope he stops soon.

oy vey.
 

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I'm pretty sure mouthing is one of those behaviors that doesn't go away with puppyhood unless if you train it out of him. The best way is to be consistent and let him know you don't like the mouthing by removing your attention and stopping play. If he still insists on mouthing you after you've ignored him then leave the room. Usually just the first part is enough because he wants to play and will start to learn that mouthing you means he can't play anymore, so he'll stop.
 

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As far as cuddling, I don't see a problem with cuddling on the floor. I still "cuddle" with my 12 yo, 65 lb dog... but I set up some rules as he got bigger... able to tackle a full grown adult.

For any type of nipping and biting, check out the Sticky: The Bite Stops Here for a consistent approach. It's OK to redirect with a toy, if you can make that work. He has to chew, so the goal is to give him something appropriate. Don't ignore or "deal with the bites". Withdrawing attention, leaving the room are good approaches, after marking the nipping with a sound. Even if he 'grows out of' nipping, you also want him to learn how to bite softly - Bite Inhibition, and that's an important part of this training... to help prevent surprise or pain-driven bites...
 
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