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Hello, I'm the new owner of a beautiful chocolate lab. Brandy has been a great puppy for the entire time that I've had her, and has only had one incident in the house thus far. However, last night I went to my brother's house where he had friends over and she got the idea that it was okay to poop in the house. While I was drinking, and may have missed her cue to go outside, I don't wish for her to get this excited again and want her to signal her need to go outside by scratching at the door. I was wondering if there was a way for me to train her to do this.

Also, she's very stubborn on the leash. Most of the time when I take her out in my yard to work on training and play time, I let her run without her leash on, or dragging her leash (since I read that this is good for puppies to get used to the leash). However, when I try to walk her with the leash and lead her with a treat, she ignores the treat completely and remains stubborn, refusing to move, and often sits down and refuses to move. I've tried waiting her out, but she refuses to move for very extended periods of time. I'm worried that she doesn't see me as the leader of the pack and will not listen to me when I try to entice her. How can I establish this? And how can I get her to be obedient? Often times she'll run under my porch steps and just lay there looking at me like I'm dumb, even if I try to entice her with the treats. If I move the treats closer, she bites at them, but still won't move from under the porch steps as I move them farther away. Please help!
 

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Your pup doesn't sound like a headache, you just sound like someone experiencing pupy ownership for the first time. I suggest you read books on raising your first puppy, and get an experienced trainer to help guide you.
 

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First. Take an aspirin.
Second, take a different look at this whole situation.

She's a PUPPY. She does not know what to do, you have to show her. The world is alternately a very exciting and very scary place for her and the first year of a pup's life can be very stressful for ALL involved.

You didn't say how old she was, but most puppies cannot be considered "completely housebroken" until they are a year old. Assuming she 'knows" to go outside is premature on your part. Not watching her or confining her when you cannot and expecting her to come tell you she needs to go out is also expecting too much.

For the housebreaking I would recommend keeping a chart of when she eats, when she drinks, when she was last outside (young puppies need to go out every hour or so at first) and whether she peed or pood while outside. Take her out on her leash for this and when she is in the process of squatting say a cue "go potty" for example and then be sure to reward her..each and every time. If she goes in the house, roll up a newspaper and bonk yourself on the head...because this is not her fault, but yours, no punishing the dog for errors as this can create a dog that WONT go with you there and may go off and hide to do their elimination. Clean up the mess and move on.

If you cannot be watching her, crate her. If you are doing other things but don't want her in the crate for long periods, tie her leash to your waist so you can keep her in sight at all times and anticipate her need to go. This will also help prevent inappropriate chewing. Puppies need to go after a nap, after a meal, after playtime, after a training session..when in doubt take her out.

You describe the "putting on the brakes" while on leash, so I'm gonna make a wild guess and say your pup is somewhere between three and five months old. Most puppies do this at about 4 months. This is perfectly normal and is a response to be ovewhelmed by the world..they simply shut down. You have a couple of options here...one, wait. I usually find after 15-30 seconds the dog will start up again. It's not that long, it just feels that way..lol.
Two: Use a squeaky toy, piece of extra yummy food treat or even a stick...wave it in front of pups nose and then toss it a foot or so ahead, making sure to keep the item at her eye level for the toss (they lose the visual very easily at this age...) and she may follow the item. You of course, will have to do this multiple times so just accept that it happens and that she's a baby and she WILL grow out of it. Resist tugging her..this causes her to resist even more (this is called the opposition reflex and is innate, not stubborness).

Get thee to a good positive puppy class as soon as possible..having a good trainer to answer your questions, tell you what is normal and help you socialize your pup is key to having a well behaved ADULT dog. Getting there is a lot of work and requires a lot of patience. Properly socializing your pup to places, people of all sizes shapes and descriptions and other (puppy tolerant) dogs and puppies is the most important thing you can do for your dog.

Get a good book to start learning what to do with your pup.
Ian Dunbar's "Before and After getting Your Puppy" is good.
So is Paul Owen's "The Puppy Whisperer"..

If you have a headache now, understanding the stages of your pup's development and how to deal with each one (labs don't fully mature until they are THREE) will prevent the migraines...really, and being armed with the right information helps a lot.
 

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Puppy classes cover all of these issues and much, much more......I think you would both find them very beneficial.

Brandy doesn't sound stubborn...from your description, she's very afraid (afraid to face the scary world/not moving...hiding under the porch). You should address the fear issues instead of worrying about who's leader (you already are).

The potty incident is quite normal in new surroundings.....they have no idea where the bathroom is in different places. Teaching her to tell you that she needs to go out is fairly easy but, you have to have some basic understanding of how dog training works...bridge words, release words, markers, timing of rewards, how to 'read' the dog, when to use corrections and most importantly when not to.
 

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Posts like this always remind me why I recommend first time owners get adult dogs instead of puppies. People comment that adult dogs in the shelters sometimes have behavior issues to which I respond that all puppies have behavior issues.

It doesn't sound like anything abnormal for a puppy. Everything is new to her.
 

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Brandy doesn't sound stubborn...from your description, she's very afraid (afraid to face the scary world/not moving...hiding under the porch). You should address the fear issues instead of worrying about who's leader (you already are).
As much as I wholeheartedly believe in the pack leader model, I'd have to agree that it sounds like at this point you have to be more worried about building the pups trust in you. The hiding under the porch thing sort of bugs me. The pup should become like a magnet to you even with no treat. I wouldn't give him treats when under the porch, you may be rewarding the wrong type of behavior/state of mind. He gets a treat when he comes out from the porch to you. Always let him come to you, not visa versa. Patience.

Accidents in other people's houses is no surprise for a young pup. Don't worry about it at all; focus on the housebreaking routines at home. If you can't watch her bring a crate.

Remember you want a confident dog. A lack of confidence will eventually create all sorts of tough problems. He needs lots of positive experiences.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Thank you, everyone, for your advice.

First. Take an aspirin.
Second, take a different look at this whole situation.

She's a PUPPY. She does not know what to do, you have to show her. The world is alternately a very exciting and very scary place for her and the first year of a pup's life can be very stressful for ALL involved.

You didn't say how old she was, but most puppies cannot be considered "completely housebroken" until they are a year old. Assuming she 'knows" to go outside is premature on your part. Not watching her or confining her when you cannot and expecting her to come tell you she needs to go out is also expecting too much.

For the housebreaking I would recommend keeping a chart of when she eats, when she drinks, when she was last outside (young puppies need to go out every hour or so at first) and whether she peed or pood while outside. Take her out on her leash for this and when she is in the process of squatting say a cue "go potty" for example and then be sure to reward her..each and every time. If she goes in the house, roll up a newspaper and bonk yourself on the head...because this is not her fault, but yours, no punishing the dog for errors as this can create a dog that WONT go with you there and may go off and hide to do their elimination. Clean up the mess and move on.

If you cannot be watching her, crate her. If you are doing other things but don't want her in the crate for long periods, tie her leash to your waist so you can keep her in sight at all times and anticipate her need to go. This will also help prevent inappropriate chewing. Puppies need to go after a nap, after a meal, after playtime, after a training session..when in doubt take her out.

You describe the "putting on the brakes" while on leash, so I'm gonna make a wild guess and say your pup is somewhere between three and five months old. Most puppies do this at about 4 months. This is perfectly normal and is a response to be ovewhelmed by the world..they simply shut down. You have a couple of options here...one, wait. I usually find after 15-30 seconds the dog will start up again. It's not that long, it just feels that way..lol.
Two: Use a squeaky toy, piece of extra yummy food treat or even a stick...wave it in front of pups nose and then toss it a foot or so ahead, making sure to keep the item at her eye level for the toss (they lose the visual very easily at this age...) and she may follow the item. You of course, will have to do this multiple times so just accept that it happens and that she's a baby and she WILL grow out of it. Resist tugging her..this causes her to resist even more (this is called the opposition reflex and is innate, not stubborness).

Get thee to a good positive puppy class as soon as possible..having a good trainer to answer your questions, tell you what is normal and help you socialize your pup is key to having a well behaved ADULT dog. Getting there is a lot of work and requires a lot of patience. Properly socializing your pup to places, people of all sizes shapes and descriptions and other (puppy tolerant) dogs and puppies is the most important thing you can do for your dog.

Get a good book to start learning what to do with your pup.
Ian Dunbar's "Before and After getting Your Puppy" is good.
So is Paul Owen's "The Puppy Whisperer"..

If you have a headache now, understanding the stages of your pup's development and how to deal with each one (labs don't fully mature until they are THREE) will prevent the migraines...really, and being armed with the right information helps a lot.

Brandi's 11-weeks-old as of now, and growing a lot faster than I expected (this isn't my first puppy, but it is my first large breed puppy). I've had her for a little over a week, and I've been working with her on training her for basic commands (sit, come here, lay down, etc.) Until I read the post about obedience training, I didn't have much experience in training puppies since all of my previous pups have been outdoor dogs; I've simply been using verbal cues with her. Is it too late to implement the visual cues? I feel like I've already scarred her for life, lol..

A friend of mine who had a puppy suggested the "Brandy, go pee-pee!" tidbit of advice to me the day that I got her, and I've been doing it faithfully for her bathroom breaks and it's working great, she's using the bathroom as soon as I say "go pee-pee" now. I walk her out to the area leading her with a treat sometimes, and sometimes on a leash. She normally stands at the door and whines when she needs to go pee, but I didn't know the other night because she was acting funny around the large group of people. She's usually very responsive to my commands but she decided to show out and run away from me for the first time, regardless of if I was trying to lure her with treats. I eventually had to chase her down before she could get to the opening in the fence (didn't want her near the road) and I don't know how to keep her with-in boundaries without a leash or some sort of cruel electric fence.

The reason I say she's stubborn is because I've tried everything I could think of: treats, a stick, a tennis ball, yet she still refuses to budge sometimes. And she's not as playful as most puppies around eleven-twelve weeks are; should I be worried about that? I try to get her to play all of the time, and a lot of times she just acts like I'm crazy or something. Also, she's afraid of squeaky toys lol. She runs to the other room immediately if you squeeze one.. It's kind of sad.

And thank you for the book advice, I'll see if I can find them at the library, or at least a decent puppy training book at the library. I found a list somewhere on this forum earlier, I'll search it out and see what I can check out from the library.
 

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As said before, you need to build her confidence in you. If you have yelled at her or made abrupt moves that have frightened her, stop. I am not saying you are doing any of that.. just saying it in case you are.

Here is another pearl of wisdom....

Dogs do not generalize behavior. This means if your dog is housebroken at your house, she is not housebroken in a new house. It means you have to retrain her in each new place until she generalizes it to the new place. This is why a "house broken" dog will sometimes pee indoors at Petsmart or Poop indoors in someone else's house.

It also means that if you teach your dog a command in the back yard (like "come here") you will have to retrain it at the park, and on a walk, and at dog school and and and to about 20 new places 9for the average dog) until the light bulb comes on and the dog realizes that this command means the same thing every place you go.

BTW.. you have to do this with EACH command you teach.

Another pearl of wisdom.. try not to let the dog fail and NEVER give a command unless you are willing to follow thru and make sure the dog does what is asked EVERY TIME.

Puppy class and Obedience 1 will help you out a lot. Good Luck and HAVE FUN!!!! :)
 

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Sounds like a puppy to me.

Re: chewing on the rug. Buy her a crate or let her sleep with you in your room. I would never let a puppy have full range of the house while I was away....it is very dangerous for them.
 

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She should be confined in a small puppy-proofed room OR in a crate at night. Never leave your puppy unsupervised in a non-puppy-proofed area. By "puppy-proofed" I mean all electrical cords, rugs, shoes, underwear, remote control, poisonous plants picked up and placed out of the puppy's reach. Usually a small bathroom is ideal.

Dogs live in the moment... they don't connect their past actions to their present situation. If she chews up a rug at night and you wake up to correct her, it's too late. She doesn't know what she did wrong and she doesn't know what you're punishing her for. Even five seconds after the act is too late. You need to catch her in the act... in the midst of chewing the rug, for her to understand that chewing the rug is wrong. That's why supervision of puppies is so important.
 
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