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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello Everyone,

Thanks again for all your help in my previous thread on problem crate training. I have a bunch more questions I want to ask and felt a new thread was prudent.

Basic Information: New Aussie puppy will be 11 weeks old on Friday, September 11th. We've had him since he was 8 weeks old.

I work full time 7-3 and my partner does shift work, which means our puppy is home alone for 8 hours, twice a week. On those days, I come home at lunch to let him out.

We're crating him at night, letting him out every 3.5 hours as that seems to be his limit. He is also crated those two days per week when he is alone. Once he is 12 weeks and has had his shots, we're planning on putting him in puppy daycare during those 2 days.

Questions:
1. He's gotten used to wearing his collar, and even fairly used to having a leash on. However sometimes he is in a mood and will pull and run and jump and flip and do everything he can to try to get away from the leash. We got worried about his neck and causing injury from all the pulling so we bought him a harness. When the pet store employee found out it was for an Aussie puppy she gave us a big lecture that they have strong necks and we should not be using a harness for him. Is there any truth to this? Is it fine to use a collar when he is pulling so hard is causes him to fall over on his back?

Note that we don't pull back when he pulls, we just stop until he settles down and then continue.

2. He throws scary tantrums at night when he's tired and fighting off sleep. He runs around biting, growling and jumping on absolutely everything and will not settle down. After about an hour of this he'll finally crash.

We got tired of this behaviour and tried putting him in his crate when he threw the tantrum. He kept it up in his crate for about 5 minutes then promptly fell over and slept for an hour.

Is this OK? Is this considered using the crate as punishment? We are not mean or negative when putting him in.

3. He's a smart pup and seems to be picking up most command words fairly quickly. The one thing he can't seem to learn is 'down' or 'off' when it comes to furniture.

We've moved every item out of our living room that can be moved. The only furniture remaining is an old coffee table and the sofa.. the rest is open space for him to run around in. Unfortunately he's very interested in being on the sofa even when we're not there. Taking him off and telling him 'no', 'off', or 'down' doesn't work. He just barks at you the first time and jumps right back up. If you take him down a second, third, or fourth time he growls at you and bites you.

We've tried a number of suggestions including tinfoil on the sofa, distracting him with a toy, taking him somewhere he likes to lie down and giving him a treat and praising him.. nothing works for more than a few seconds, then he's right back to the sofa.

If you block him while he's trying to jump, he just goes around the side or bites your legs. Unfortunately it's at the point now where he just gets yelled at and picked up off the sofa constantly. Any further suggestions would be appreciated.

4. We've found that we can't leave his water dish on the floor or he pretends it's a swimming pool and shoves his head in it and shakes it around. Either that, or he tries to dig a hole with his front paws, in the water dish. This makes a massive mess of our kitchen so we've taken to keeping his water dish on the counter and giving him supervised drinking access when he asks for it, which is fairly regular. Is this method OK, or should we be working on proper drinking etiquette? Any advice is appreciated.


Thanks again, hopefully no one minds if I update the thread with additional questions as they come up!
 

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Answers bolded: (FYI I have a 16 week old Aussie puppy so I know what you're going through :wink:)

1. He's gotten used to wearing his collar, and even fairly used to having a leash on. However sometimes he is in a mood and will pull and run and jump and flip and do everything he can to try to get away from the leash. We got worried about his neck and causing injury from all the pulling so we bought him a harness. When the pet store employee found out it was for an Aussie puppy she gave us a big lecture that they have strong necks and we should not be using a harness for him. Is there any truth to this? Is it fine to use a collar when he is pulling so hard is causes him to fall over on his back? When I get 'told' information I didn't ask for, I generally take it with a grain of salt, because IME, those people honestly have no idea what they are talking about. Yes, Aussies may have strong necks, so do adults. You know what doesn't? Babies! I personally went with a harness over a collar for Sterling because he just did NOT like his collar, wouldn't move. LOVED the harness. It's all about personal preference and what makes the dog happy.

Note that we don't pull back when he pulls, we just stop until he settles down and then continue.

2. He throws scary tantrums at night when he's tired and fighting off sleep. He runs around biting, growling and jumping on absolutely everything and will not settle down. After about an hour of this he'll finally crash. Definitely normal puppy behaviour. I would suggest just ignoring him when he's in his crate - maybe adding a blanket on top to kind of show him 'look, its dark, you're in your room, its bed time'. I do this with Sterling sometimes and even in a room full of people, if there's a blanket, he's much quieter.

We got tired of this behaviour and tried putting him in his crate when he threw the tantrum. He kept it up in his crate for about 5 minutes then promptly fell over and slept for an hour. <-- this. He's OVER tired and throwing a tantrum like a child, because he IS one. Let him tantrum it out in his room

Is this OK? Is this considered using the crate as punishment? We are not mean or negative when putting him in.

3. He's a smart pup and seems to be picking up most command words fairly quickly. The one thing he can't seem to learn is 'down' or 'off' when it comes to furniture.

We've moved every item out of our living room that can be moved. The only furniture remaining is an old coffee table and the sofa.. the rest is open space for him to run around in. Unfortunately he's very interested in being on the sofa even when we're not there. Taking him off and telling him 'no', 'off', or 'down' doesn't work. He just barks at you the first time and jumps right back up. If you take him down a second, third, or fourth time he growls at you and bites you.

We've tried a number of suggestions including tinfoil on the sofa, distracting him with a toy, taking him somewhere he likes to lie down and giving him a treat and praising him.. nothing works for more than a few seconds, then he's right back to the sofa.

If you block him while he's trying to jump, he just goes around the side or bites your legs. Unfortunately it's at the point now where he just gets yelled at and picked up off the sofa constantly. Any further suggestions would be appreciated.

Instead of telling him where you DON'T want him to be (on the sofa), maybe try teaching him where you DO want him to be (on a dog bed). You could play a lot of "its yer choice" games to make it seem like he thinks that being on a dog bed instead of the couch is SUCH a better idea!! Kikopup is a very good resource for first time dog owners too - I would highly recommend looking her up on youtube to help you.
 

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1. The pet store employee's comment was ridiculous. Aussies are not special dogs with extra strong necks. Use a harness or collar - whatever works best for you. I walk my puppy on a collar, and have tried various things on my adult dog. For the pulling and tantrums, I found it best to just gently wait my dog out - moving with them as they threw the tantrum, but not dropping the leash either. As soon as she settled I marked and rewarded her choice to give in to the leash pressure. But if you find a harness works better than use that.

2. Those are called the zoomies. Most dogs get like that. Putting him in his crate isn't an issue - he is overtired and needs to chill out, and it's fine to use the crate for that. You'll find this behavior lessens over time, or that he gets more control of it.

3. I agree with teaching him where he should be. Though I won't be much help here because I just let my dogs on the furniture. Not worth it to me to fight that battle but everybody is different. You will just have to be very persistent.

4. Personally I would leave the bowl down and redirect the swimming/pawing behavior. My puppy tries to do this occasionally and I just tell her to knock it off, or go and give her something else to do, and the behavior has lessened considerably. You can also do what you're doing and hope that he just forgets about it over time. Lots of these types of things are solved just by letting the dog mature a bit.
 

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I had a water bowl digger too. Switched to a pail and hooked it to the wall, no more digging or tipping. A heavy cookie jar worked for digging but I was always worried about it tipping as it held a lot of water.
 

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Answers bolded: (FYI I have a 16 week old Aussie puppy so I know what you're going through :wink:)
Thanks for the quick and detailed responses, I'm glad someone else experienced the same thing. I've had a few lab and golden pups in my family in the past and never experienced anything like this.

When I get 'told' information I didn't ask for, I generally take it with a grain of salt, because IME, those people honestly have no idea what they are talking about. Yes, Aussies may have strong necks, so do adults. You know what doesn't? Babies! I personally went with a harness over a collar for Sterling because he just did NOT like his collar, wouldn't move. LOVED the harness. It's all about personal preference and what makes the dog happy.
Good to hear, we'll stick to the harness for walking. I feel a lot less guilty when he pulls on this over a collar. Unfortunately the one downside to this is that we have a fat pup who is growing FAST so we're going to go through a lot of expensive harnesses.

Definitely normal puppy behaviour. I would suggest just ignoring him when he's in his crate - maybe adding a blanket on top to kind of show him 'look, its dark, you're in your room, its bed time'. I do this with Sterling sometimes and even in a room full of people, if there's a blanket, he's much quieter.

We got tired of this behaviour and tried putting him in his crate when he threw the tantrum. He kept it up in his crate for about 5 minutes then promptly fell over and slept for an hour. <-- this. He's OVER tired and throwing a tantrum like a child, because he IS one. Let him tantrum it out in his room
Good to hear that shouldn't interfere with his crate training. I've read countless times not to use it for punishment, but I've also read a lot of people use the crate for timeouts so I've been a little confused.

Instead of telling him where you DON'T want him to be (on the sofa), maybe try teaching him where you DO want him to be (on a dog bed). You could play a lot of "its yer choice" games to make it seem like he thinks that being on a dog bed instead of the couch is SUCH a better idea!! Kikopup is a very good resource for first time dog owners too - I would highly recommend looking her up on youtube to help you.

I'll check out the videos you've recommended on Youtube. The only ones I've watches so far are by a newer guy named Zak George.. I liked his training methods but he didn't address a lot of the issues.


1. The pet store employee's comment was ridiculous. Aussies are not special dogs with extra strong necks. Use a harness or collar - whatever works best for you. I walk my puppy on a collar, and have tried various things on my adult dog. For the pulling and tantrums, I found it best to just gently wait my dog out - moving with them as they threw the tantrum, but not dropping the leash either. As soon as she settled I marked and rewarded her choice to give in to the leash pressure. But if you find a harness works better than use that.

2. Those are called the zoomies. Most dogs get like that. Putting him in his crate isn't an issue - he is overtired and needs to chill out, and it's fine to use the crate for that. You'll find this behavior lessens over time, or that he gets more control of it.

3. I agree with teaching him where he should be. Though I won't be much help here because I just let my dogs on the furniture. Not worth it to me to fight that battle but everybody is different. You will just have to be very persistent.

4. Personally I would leave the bowl down and redirect the swimming/pawing behavior. My puppy tries to do this occasionally and I just tell her to knock it off, or go and give her something else to do, and the behavior has lessened considerably. You can also do what you're doing and hope that he just forgets about it over time. Lots of these types of things are solved just by letting the dog mature a bit.
Thanks for the response. How would you recommend I redirect the water digging habit? He has a fairly shallow dish so it's usually over very quickly.

Generally I will hold my hand between his paws and the dish and say no when he tries to dig. It's fine if I catch him before he does it, but otherwise he just has too much fun and ignores me.
 

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Responses bolded again ^-^

Good to hear, we'll stick to the harness for walking. I feel a lot less guilty when he pulls on this over a collar. Unfortunately the one downside to this is that we have a fat pup who is growing FAST so we're going to go through a lot of expensive harnesses. I got mine an adjustable harness and he's only just grown out of it at 16 weeks. I'd also suggest getting really cheap ones because, as you said, he'll be growing out of them fairly quickly. Not ideal, but you can always play desensitization with your pup to get them used to the collar if you aren't keen on sticking to a harness

Good to hear that shouldn't interfere with his crate training. I've read countless times not to use it for punishment, but I've also read a lot of people use the crate for timeouts so I've been a little confused. I use it for time-outs, when he's being annoying and I need to get things done, he'll go to it if he's tired, we keep his water there... I'm sure other people with more crate training experience than I could chime in (I was fortunate that my breeder had started the crate training and even more fortunate that my pup is fantastic with it) but I think don't think he would associate the crate with 'punishment' just like you wouldn't associate going to your room with being punished when you'd go to bed at night.

I'll check out the videos you've recommended on Youtube. The only ones I've watches so far are by a newer guy named Zak George.. I liked his training methods but he didn't address a lot of the issues. He's hit or miss with people here - I prefer Kikopup but that's just me

Thanks for the response. How would you recommend I redirect the water digging habit? He has a fairly shallow dish so it's usually over very quickly. Look up "Positive interrupter" in Kikopups videos! Best way to redirect unwanted behaviour
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Another questions for you guys:
How many accidents in the crate are too many?

Our guy only has to be alone for 2 days per week, and on those days I'm coming home on my lunch to let him out. Today is the fourth day he's been alone since we got him 3 weeks ago.

Unfortunately, on 3 of these 4 days he's peed in his crate before I'm able to let him out at 11am. Have we spoiled his crate training already or is this normal? Should I just be cleaning these up and moving on? Is there an alternative to this? I know he can't hold his bladder for the four hours yet at 11 weeks old but we can't bring him to puppy daycare yet because he doesn't have his 12 week shots.

I'm saying he peed 3 times, but I'm not entirely certain. Today for example I came home and he smelled strongly of pee and his fur had that grimy feeling, but he wasn't wet and his crate wasn't wet. I'm baffled. I just hope he didn't lick it up after rolling in it.

I'll be bathing him again when I get home tonight.

Thanks again folks.
 

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How long is he alone? If it's 4 hours at a time, then a couple accidents isn't that unusual. Every dog is different - my first had one accident in his crate ever. One the exact same schedule, my current puppy had multiple accidents in her crate (always the afternoon, never before lunch or over night) until she was 4+ months old. Then all of a sudden they stopped. Some puppies know what to do, and know not to pee, but they just don't have the bladder control to do it all the time. I wouldn't worry too much about it at this point.

what is the daycare like? Most of the ones I've seen would make me very nervous for a small puppy. Puppies need to sleep a ton at that age, so a daycare environment where he's on his feet and playing all day without any enforced breaks would be a lot.
 

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Would some people who have young puppies and do not work from home mind posting the schedule for a typical day? I just want to know if we're spoiling our puppy. Basically we haven't done anything BUT play with the puppy since we got him. If we're home, he's being played with. We don't have hobbies anymore, we don't watch tv or read and we certainly can't sleep in anymore. Just want to know if this is normal or if we should be taking time away from him so he doesn't get to attached? Sources seem to vary on this.
 

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My puppy is five months and I have an adult I raised from a puppy.
Typically schedule is get up at 6, do potty break, feeding, then a short 20min walk. Then my husband and I take turns getting ready for work while the other watched the dogs and eats breakfast. Home at lunch for 30-40min where we mostly do feeding and potty trips outside. Then home at 5pm from work until bed at 9-10.

When we're home, we are with the dogs but aren't necessarily interacting. I do want to relax with a book or in front of the TV and my dogs learn to chill out. For maybe the first two months of having a puppy this is hard, but by 4-5 months I expec a puppy to at least be able to settle with a bully stick for a bit. I will use the crate if she's gettin over the top and not listening, but I don't say "my puppy will be crated for a hour in the evening".

I don't think it's about spoiling so much as it's about setting your expectations and schedule of when we play and when we chill out. I want to spend as much time with my dogs as I can but that doesn't mean I always let them dictate what's going on.

But at 11 weeks, yeah, you're kind of on the puppy's schedule right now. It's like a baby human. You wouldn't expect a newborn to conform to your schedule or chill out because you want to watch tv. But luckily they grow up. Don't set expectations too high for a baby puppy.
 

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Well ... aussies ARE special (ok kidding ... or not LOL), they just dont have stronger necks than any other breed, their excitability and their determination can make it LOOK like they are stronger, because their will can make it seem like they are half bull.

Those "tantrums " you are describing are what I like to refer to as the "puppy witching hour" every puppy has one, where they get super tired and just ... go cray, most grow out of it, though, or in some, zoomies time becomes more in their control.

Also pictures please, the toll for advice is pictures ;)
 

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1. A collar is band you use to put on a dog tag. A harness is what you use to walk a dog.
2. Try more exercise. That might help. Ohterwise, it will go away with time.
3. Occam's razer. The simplest answer is the easiest one. Psychologically speaking, what's going on with you that's stopping you from allowing this family member on the sofa? I'm pretty positive that might costs a lot more than yours and my dog does just fine on there.
 

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My 17 week old Aussie pup doesn't necessarily have accidents in his crate, but he does what we call "happy leaks" where he gets so excited he pees a bit. He's well on his way to being 5 months old and I'm sure it'll stop when he gets better control of his bladder.

This is a typical week day for me:
630am - bathroom and feed
8am - crated
noon - bathroom and feed
1pm - crated
430pm - bathroom
5pm - last meal

then I try to bring him out every 30-45 minutes for potty breaks and if he's just getting to be too much and isn't settling after like 2 hours of play he gets anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour in the crate. It really depends on how quick he is to settle.

I would suggest giving him treats when he IS being calm and good - reinforcing the behaviour you WANT. I'm lucky where, like elrohwen, he'll settle with a bully stick or a chew and those nigths he doesn't have to be placed in his crate ^-^
 

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LMAO we tried to keep my MAS (miniature american shepherd which is a sister breed to the aussie) off our furniture and failed, he is just so cute that we couldnt resist LOL. Our couch is leather so its easy to clean. If you succeed in resisting having him on the furniture, more power to you, because I couldnt haha. Is there any reason why you dont want him on the sofa? Because if it has anything to do with "dominance" or "alpha" stuff you can relax, letting your puppy on the couch wont make him think he is equal or dominant.

No, I think just putting him in his crate when he gets wild is perfectly fine, provided you dont be negative about it, like dont say "no bad dog!" as you are putting him in there or anything LOL. I used to do this to Lincoln when he was that age because he would do the same thing.

As for the biting, he is a herding dog, its what they do. What I did was I had a pair of tall rubber boots that I sprayed with bitter apple no chew spray that I would put on around my puppies. A couple of mouthfuls of bitter spray was enough to deter even my hard nosed ACD puppy. When they would back off because of the spray, I would give the "leave it" command just as they let go or backed away, then praised them. Also, I found that it helps to have a toy ready to redirect them to, I use a piece of nylon rope that I knotted. I know ankle biting is not fun, especially when they get your achilles tendon ... OUCH!!!

About the leash, Lincoln did that too, I use a slip lead because Lincoln is very adept at pulling out of a callar LOL, when he was doing his tantrums, I would just stop and wait him out, he used to come up the leash at me like a crocodile LOL, but he got over it ... and so will your pup.
 
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