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Hi All, I'm a new dog owner and a new member to this forum. I adopted a 8 week old Pitbull Terrier puppy this Saturday and she is one of the most intelligent beings I've ever had the pleasure of owning. She was going to be put down because the shelter was overcrowded and I couldn't bear to let that happen. Since it was all of a sudden, I had to go shopping for her only after I adopted her. However, I did get her a Crate, Doggy Bed, 2 Bowls for Water & Food, High protein Fish Meal Dry Kibble with Lifesource bits, Wet food (Chicken & Rice), Kong Chew Toy (with hidden treat), Puppy Teeth Cleaner Bacon flavored bone toy, Blueberry and Apple Treats. First up, is this good enough to get started?

Secondly I got her home and she had 3 accidents at one specific spot in the living room carpet (The previous owners of our current home had dogs who apparently were left home to pee on this same carpet). I caught her in the middle of the act and told her No and immediately took her outside. Since then, I put her in the crate and took her out once every hour. She has been very good at peeing and pooping once she is out on the backyard. (The doc asked us not to take her out until she is fully vaccinated). Also when she is in the crate she always yelps and lets us know when she needs to go. The first night she had to go every hour. But the last couple of nights she has gone to bed at 9pm and doesn't want to go until 5 am in the morning. This is puzzling to me as she is still a 8 week puppy and I'm amazed that she is able to hold it in so long. Seems too quick and good to be true. At this point is she considered already housebroken? At what point is she considered housebroken?

Thirdly, I've been trying to teach her basic obedience commands. She knew absolutely nothing when she came home except "NO" which she instinctively knew but I've made it so that I make her sit and stay before I give her food or take her out or even before letting her out of her crate. I'm following the "say please" method where she has to earn everything and gets nothing as a privilege. And again as I said, in 2 and a half days she has picked up sit, stay and get busy (to pee and poop) to the point she does it 99% of the time. In fact when I take her out of the crate she automatically walks with me to the door and sits down and waits before I even issue the command. I have to open the door and sit down at her eye level and say "come" before she will come out of the doorway. Now here is the problem. As good as she has been in learning to sit and stay. She is not so good at responding to her name or the "come" command. She only comes if I sit down/crouch and say come while making a sign with my fingers as if to say come. Otherwise she completely ignores the "come" and/or her name as a command. I'm puzzled and frustrated that as good as she was in picking up her other commands, why is she not responding to her name and/or the "come" command unless I'm in the crouching position? (We have been calling her by her name and praising her when she looks at us. However, she has simply not picked it up that it is her name. Which puzzles us all the more)

Sorry for the long post and multiple questions. It would be great if the hive mind of the Dogforums chimes in and helps me with my questions and provide me with any additional tips.
 

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First off CONGRATULATIONS on your new family member! And THANK YOU for saving a dog that needed you!

First off - As far as supplies go, sounds like you've got a good start on the basics! If you don't already make sure you've got a good sturdy collar and leash. I prefer leather for training, nylon for walks and just about everything else. Other then that, I think you've got the basics! You've got chew toys, good food, and a crate - That's a great start! Other things can come later as you discover a need for them. If you don't already, I'd also get a SMALL training treat, or something like a Natural Balance role that you can cut into VERY VERY small pieces (pea sized or smaller) for training. Puppies are like clay! They learn very easily!

As for house breaking - That long for an 8 week old puppy is impressive! Some can, some can't - Pits I find are one of the easiest breeds to work with, they're so human oriented and they want to please so much they catch on quick to what you want and will do anything for you! They can be stubborn at times, so you want to make sure you set firm rules with the puppy and don't let her cross them, but it sounds like you're doing great so far! I wouldn't say she's house trained, but crate trained. Now that you've achieved that, you can start real house training. What I recommend is rewarding when they do potty outside (and by reward, that doesn't mean treat - Pits often work well for praise for that type of training!), and I like the "umbilical cord" method. Basically get yourself a longer leash (10 - 15 feet) and then fasten it to a belt around your waist. It keeps the puppy always near you, and if it does go to make a mistake (accident, chewing something it shouldn't, etc), it's very easy to correct the puppy quickly and redirect it into an appropriate activity.

As far as teaching her to come when you're not crouching, body position means alot more then words with dogs, so it sounds like she just doesn't understand it means the same thing. What I would recommend is, again, get your long leash. Let her wander a ways away from you, have a high value treat (always use something she REALLY likes when teaching a new behavior, and fade into less valuable treats as she gets it!), let her do her thing - Then when she's not paying attention call her name! NEVER give the come command unless you can make SURE she WILL come! Calling her name is fine, but I use 2 commands with my dogs. 1 command means I want them to come but they don't have to, the other means GET HERE RIGHT NOW, and my dogs all come flying when I tell them to come! A reliable recall can take time! But it's very clear you've got a very smart puppy, she'll get it!

Good luck, you've come to the right place for lots of good information on how to train and work with your new baby!
 

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Ditto igmomma. The good news is you've described a textbook puppy and you've done a good job. However, I think you've made a few assumptions.
1. She doesn't understand "NO" but she does understand loud noises. However, you'll get a better relationship longterm when you use quieter voice cues and positive training methods. Keep reading the Forum to learn more about these methods.
2. As igmomma implied, never let her out of your sight until she is about 6 mos old. She is not house trained, but she is trying. And, if she is out of sight, then she can sniff and squat in a moment. When you watch her, you can reinforce the correct behavior.
3. SIT and Down are good first behaviors. Come and Name require a bit more training:
Name - Take her into the kitchen, remove distractions, close the door, and ignore her. When she is sniffing, say her name (FIDO?) and when she looks at you give her a very tiny treat - smaller than a dime, just a taste to mark correct behavior. Then, ignore her again. When she is not looking, call her name again, and give a treat when she looks. Repeat this for about 10 min. two times a day for three days. On the first few days she may not understand, but on the second day she may get it, keep going.
Come - Like you've been doing, squat, open your arms, and in a high, excited voice say Come! When she comes, give a tiny treat. Practice this in one area for 10 min. twice a day for three days. Give her three tiny treats, one at a time when she comes. You can substitute some of her kibble if it works. Then, practice in other areas, as if she didn't understand. This is important, so keep practicing.
4. RE:Vet and Shots - Typically, a pup gets 3 sets of shots. You don't want to expose her to the outside world or unvax'd dogs until her immune system is up to date.
5. Teach her Bite Inhibition - See the Sticky: The Bite Stops Here. This is especially important with Pits, so that she will learn how to control the pressure of her biting. Otherwise she may think in only two bites: Bite Hard or don't bite.
6. Introduce her to lots of friendly people - have 3 - 5 person parties at your house to get her used to many people.
7. After all 3 sets of shots, with the Vet's OK, introduce her to many dogs.

Download and read these two books: http://www.dogstardaily.com/free-downloads

Ask lots of question ..... but shot for one or two at a time.... unless you understand dissertations :)
 

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Thanks a lot igmomma and hanksimon! I will definitely try out the suggestions that I've got. I've been giving her a little bit of free run in my fenced in backyard because she didn't know what to do when on a leash and was trying to bite/play with the leash. But I will try to do the umbilical cord method here on.

Also I had innately started doing the bite inhibition method before reading the forums because I was using peanut butter on my finger for training her and when she nipped at it I didn't say no. I told her ouch and pulled my finger away until she started licking and using her teeth without hurting me. But I didn't realize that this was something that was an actual part of training. But I will focus on that better in the coming days. The problem I see with this is that when I work, my wife stays at home with the pup and she doesn't like the pup teething her. So she says NO. This makes the pup back off even when I try to make her teeth my finger. I guess we will have to work on co-ordinating the training better.

Also, to give a bit more information, we have named her Meera. which stands for Divine/Saintly because when she is sitting around us, she has an almost saintly calm on her face!

I was going to ask another question on why she was suddenly refusing to eat her dry food from last night onward but I got the answer when I was typing the post. My wife called me to explain the mystery. We feed her on a thrice a day schedule, 7 am, 1.30pm, 8pm. and I put the bowl with the food down and make her sit and stay watching the food for 20 seconds before I say "come eat". Then she is allowed to eat. We had been doing this 6 times and yesterday night, I forgot to say "come eat". I just said "eat" and she just wouldn't eat! I thought she was being fussy and told her "too bad" and put the food away. I kept trying the same routine every 10 minutes until the 4th time when she reluctantly ate. Thinking back now, I feel so bad for how confused she must have felt not hearing "come eat". I'm learning as I'm going along and I feel she is teaching me how to communicate with her as much as I'm teaching her what I want of her! :)

Btw, I've got varied reaction from friends, family and neighbors when they heard that I've adopted a Pitbull. Right from "They are the best and most loyal" to "why did u get a killing machine?", "don't let her taste blood otherwise she will go nuts" and "you've got a lawsuit waiting to happen". But being with her for just 2 and a half days, I can say that she is the most loving, intelligent, smart and obedient puppy ever and will definitely grow up to be a wonderful dog as long as I continue to be a responsible owner and remain the pack leader. My question is, how do I react when someone says something about a breed that hey have only heard off? Right now I just don't say anything for the fear of hurting them but I'm increasingly leaning towards giving them a piece of my mind on how a responsible owner is as much a part of the equation as a dog that has gone rogue and is in the news. How do members here respond to situations like this?

P1010427.jpg
 

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To respond to your last question, the best you can do is let the dog speak for itself. Socialize her well to dogs and people, and train her well so that she is polite and has good recall. People are unlikely to change their minds unless you can prove them wrong.

Have you introduced a clicker at all? I find this is an easy way to teach a dog almost anything, and their name should be the first thing. Clickers can be purchased at most pet stores for around $1. You "charge" the clicker by teaching the dog to associate a click with a treat. Then you can begin teaching behaviors. Say the dog's name, and immediately click if she looks up, then treat. Then, after she gets distracted again, repeat. If you do this for a couple of minutes a few times a day for a few days, I promise she'll learn her name quickly.
 

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I agree, sometimes the best way to change people's mind is to show them the proof! Sadly Pits are one of the most misunderstood breeds. Did you know they where once known as the "nanny dog" because of their nurturing tendency towards children? Some famous movies such as "Little Rascals" and shows like "Little House on the Prarie" stared Pits (don't know if you ever watched that show - but "jack the brindle dog" in that show was a pit bull!) When raised responsibly, managed appropriately, and started young you will find few breeds with a more stable and dependable personality then Pits! Sadly people forget about all that stuff, and they see a fighter, a killer, a danger. VERY sad. While I don't own a pit bull myself, I am a big advocate of the breed. My friend and I actually run a pit bull rescue and education group in Las Vegas, dedicated to educating people on this breed. I don't own one because I can't handle people and their attitudes, but it doesn't mean I don't admire and adore this breed! They can be easily turned into fighters not because they're mean, but because they have such a strong desire to please they'll do whatever their master asks of them!
 

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Congratulations!!! And thank you for saving a life :)

I agree w/ what everyone posted and just wanted to say...my pup was holding his bladder that long at 9 weeks old (When I got him) too! Aren't we a lucky bunch?? :D

Don't worry that he's picking up some commands faster than others. It took Brady AAAAAAAAGES to learn a simple "Paw" command. Some things are just easier than others. As for come...go ahead and crouch down, be exciting, offer treats right now.... eventually he'll associate coming with LOTS of good things, which is exactly what you want :) That leads to a good recall!

That's all I have for now! Congratulations!
 

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I would recommend that you don't fight the issue and simply call her a special designer dog or a mutt, crossed between a Staffordshire and a Lab... which are mcuh gentler and sweeter than those dogs that the other person is talking about :)

Also, there is an important magic phrase to use when people try to defeat your careful training: "Please don't do that, she's in training." It works with most people, and it is true.

BTW, it is very important to socialize her with lots of different people and dogs. Not sure about females, but males can get out of control when they play... and like any very strong athlete, they can hurt the playmate unintentionally. Socializing them helps to reduce this. You will also want to calm her down, if she gets too excited for her playmate.

Pits aren't the only dogs that do this - Labs and Rotts can also do this. In fact, all three can easily draw blood or bleed while playing - not much different than a teenage football player. But they can learn to be careful... so that the chess club player doesn't get a bloody nose :) even though the football and rugby players may come back smiling, but bloody... With training, Pits are very good at self-handicaping so that they can play at the level of their playmate.
 

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Hi All, I'm a new dog owner and a new member to this forum. I adopted a 8 week old Pitbull Terrier puppy this Saturday and she is one of the most intelligent beings I've ever had the pleasure of owning. She was going to be put down because the shelter was overcrowded and I couldn't bear to let that happen. Since it was all of a sudden, I had to go shopping for her only after I adopted her. However, I did get her a Crate, Doggy Bed, 2 Bowls for Water & Food, High protein Fish Meal Dry Kibble with Lifesource bits, Wet food (Chicken & Rice), Kong Chew Toy (with hidden treat), Puppy Teeth Cleaner Bacon flavored bone toy, Blueberry and Apple Treats. First up, is this good enough to get started?

Secondly I got her home and she had 3 accidents at one specific spot in the living room carpet (The previous owners of our current home had dogs who apparently were left home to pee on this same carpet). I caught her in the middle of the act and told her No and immediately took her outside. Since then, I put her in the crate and took her out once every hour. She has been very good at peeing and pooping once she is out on the backyard. (The doc asked us not to take her out until she is fully vaccinated). Also when she is in the crate she always yelps and lets us know when she needs to go. The first night she had to go every hour. But the last couple of nights she has gone to bed at 9pm and doesn't want to go until 5 am in the morning. This is puzzling to me as she is still a 8 week puppy and I'm amazed that she is able to hold it in so long. Seems too quick and good to be true. At this point is she considered already housebroken? At what point is she considered housebroken?

Thirdly, I've been trying to teach her basic obedience commands. She knew absolutely nothing when she came home except "NO" which she instinctively knew but I've made it so that I make her sit and stay before I give her food or take her out or even before letting her out of her crate. I'm following the "say please" method where she has to earn everything and gets nothing as a privilege. And again as I said, in 2 and a half days she has picked up sit, stay and get busy (to pee and poop) to the point she does it 99% of the time. In fact when I take her out of the crate she automatically walks with me to the door and sits down and waits before I even issue the command. I have to open the door and sit down at her eye level and say "come" before she will come out of the doorway. Now here is the problem. As good as she has been in learning to sit and stay. She is not so good at responding to her name or the "come" command. She only comes if I sit down/crouch and say come while making a sign with my fingers as if to say come. Otherwise she completely ignores the "come" and/or her name as a command. I'm puzzled and frustrated that as good as she was in picking up her other commands, why is she not responding to her name and/or the "come" command unless I'm in the crouching position? (We have been calling her by her name and praising her when she looks at us. However, she has simply not picked it up that it is her name. Which puzzles us all the more)

Sorry for the long post and multiple questions. It would be great if the hive mind of the Dogforums chimes in and helps me with my questions and provide me with any additional tips.
Sounds like you're doing a good job. I don't think she really knows what "NO" means but rather the tone of voice you are using when you say the word :)

We've also had good luck with our puppies. Our sheltie was able to hold it the entire night without an accident from 8 weeks old. Our collie has never had an accident at night but I do take her out once every night (never had to do more). They are considered housebroken when they know they are supposed to go outside and will not go inside unless they cannot hold it. In other words, the only accidents a housebroken dog has are the owner's fault!

Our collie did similar behavior with recall and her name. She would come if you crouched down but not if you were standing. What worked was this. First let her wander off. Now pull out a treat she really likes and get her attention. As she is moving to you, say "Puppy come!" or whatever your want as your recall. The key was to do it while she is moving to you. Not before.
 

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AWWWW, she's ADORABLE!!!! Such a pretty girl. More pics please!

Everyone's given good advice so far. Just socialize her well and make her an ambassador for her breed. Actions speak louder than words ever will.

Lovin' the "get busy" command lol. Ours is just plain old "go pee". :p
 

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Thanks every one for your suggestions. Some updates,

1. The umbilical cord method works great! Thanks igmomma! She now comes to me when I say come and as an added bonus if she doesn't listen, a little louder "Get Here" makes her come to me immediately! Responding to her name is still a work in progress. She now stops what she is doing and looks at me when I call her name. However, coming to me when her name is called is still 50/50.

2. Bite Inhibition is coming along great! Thanks hanksimon! She has become better at not biting sharply when I let her lick and play with my hand. However one unintended consequence has been that she wants to do the same bite inhibition play with everyone LOL! I've been trying to teach her "Off". Its slowly starting to work.

3. @lisak_87 - I totally agree on the lucky bunch part. Meera is so eager to please (a Pit characteristic I guess) she has been great on the obedience training. Here is how her night time schedule has been over the last 4 days.
7/30 -Crated at 8.30pm yelped and woke me up to take her out once every hour until 3 am. Then slept till 7 am.
7/31 - Crated at 8.30 pm. Slept until 3 am when she woke me up with her yelping. Then slept until 7am.
8/1 - Crated at 9.30pm. Slept until 5am when she woke me up. Didn't go back to sleep after that since I was awake.
8/2 - Crated at 10 pm. Slept until 7am. I was up before her at 5 am and was surprised that she didn't yelp. Took her out at 7am without her starting to yelp.
8/3 - Crated at 10pm. Slept until 6am. I woke up and went to brush my teeth when she started yelping. Took her out 5 mins after that!

4. @HerdersForMe - "the only accidents a housebroken dog has are the owner's fault!" I couldn't agree more!

5. @Shiningsummer - More pics you asked. More pics you get! :) More commands that she has picked up since the last time I posted.

Name – Respond to the name and come to you. (50% perfect come to me part is still a work in progress)
Sit- Sit down (100% perfect)
Stay – Stay at a place. Don’t Move (90% perfect)
Come – Come to you from wherever she is (90% perfect)
Stop – Stop doing what she is doing and look at you (80% perfect)
Too Bad – You made the wrong choice so no attention for you. Do this and walk away from the pup. (100% perfect. She immediately runs to her crate as if to say Daddy, I will be a good girl!)
Drop it – Let go of what is in your mouth (90% perfect)
Get Busy – Finish Peeing and Pooping (100% perfect)
Heel – Follow me and/or fall behind when being walked on a leash. (40% perfect. She walks in line most of the times except when she sees some one or something that interests her. She doesn't get hyper at all but still pulls at the leash slightly. When I tell her NO and then Heel. She will sit down and look at me as if to say, I know I'm doing something wrong but I'm not sure what it is)
Down – Go down to a lying down position from Sit. (10%. I haven't been successful so far with this command. Still a work in progress)
Go to your room - Go to your crate (50% perfect. She will sometimes go but other times I will have to pick her up and place her in the crate and ask her to sit. Then I give her a unique treat. Something she gets only if she is in the crate).
Go to bed - Lay down inside the crate (60%. She started doing this better since last night).
Off - Get off someone's hand. Used for bite inhibition. (10% perfect. Just started on it)
Fetch - Fetch the ball. (30% perfect. I use this to train and tire her out. She knows to run and get the ball. However, the problem is that it is too big for her mouth. So she will try to roll it and drag it with her mouth to me. But in between if she sees something else she will get distracted and lose interest)

Also my wife got a new job all of a sudden which has meant that we had to leave her alone for most of yesterday (between 9am - 1pm and 2pm - 6pm) with me going back midday to feed her and take her to poop and pee. My neighbor told me that she was going crazy with her yelping in the morning but quietened down an hour before I got home. Then she went at it again for an hour after I left and then stopped until I got home. I'm feeling bad for her but our work schedules are dictating this. Is this ok for the pup at 9 weeks? She hasn't soiled her bed or anything. Just whines and yelps and brings down the roof once we leave her alone in her crate. This even after 2 hours of running around and tiring her out in the morning. Today my neighbor said she was yelping for about an hour and then she has been quiet ever since. I'm about to go home and feed her now. I know I have to make her independent. But I couldn't get the luxury of building up the alone time slowly enough. I hope am not torturing her or anything. Any response/suggestion would be appreciated.

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Oh what a cute girl she is! Sounds like you're moving in the right direction for her - I wish all dog owners where as responsible as you, they'd sure be alot fewer poorly behaved dogs in shelters that nobody wants because of their bad behavior caused from a lack of socialization and training!
 
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