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This past weekend my wife and I got a 3.5 month old pup, Zoey, from the SPCA here in town. We are currently trying to soak up and apply all the knowledge we can about crate training, potty training, and obedience training. I just wanted to check in here and see if I can get some feedback on how we're doing.

She is (we think) some sort of rott/hound mix, maybe some lab, were not sure. Shes 32 lbs. She spends most of her time in the house just laying on the floor...she's pretty easy going, and super sweet and a cutie. Anyway, here's what we've been doing:

Crate: Eating meals in the crate w/ the door closed. Giving her a stuffed kong in the crate with the door closed. (sometimes with the blanket pulled over the front...cant tell if she likes this or dislikes it yet. Shes gone to sleep in there, but also gotten scared and antsy.) She has been sleeping in her crate in the living room at night, and doesnt fuss much. She actually slept (or at least kept quiet) all night last night, without peeing. The catch is, right now my wife has been sleeping in the living room in a sleeping bag near the crate and Zoey seems to be comforted by that. Im hoping this is not a bad habit, and that she or I could then move to the couch, and then back to the bed. There isnt really much room in out bedroom for her crate, since its so big for her expected growth. The crate does have a divider to keep it a smaller size for now though. Also, she does not like to be in the crate for more than 20-40 minutes, or she starts to freak out. basically, if shes awake and alert, she freaks out (and usually pees). If shes really tired and can see us (blanket UP), shes ok for a while. If shes asleep in there, shes okay till she wakes up. She is slowly warming up more and more to her crate, though she doesnt go in by command alone yet...still has to be bribed.

Potty: She hasnt had too many accidents in the house. The first day she peed and pooped on the carpet. She hasnt done that since we put a baby gate up to our carpeted area of the apt. other than that just pee on the hardwood once and an accident at our friends house. I think she can hold it longer than most people say a pup her age should. Last night the last time she went was between 7 and 8 and then she held it till about 6:45 this morning. (despite going out before bed at 10ish, and it was the second time she went out in the morning, after her breakfast.) We take her out at least every hour or 2 hours, though many times she would rather lounge or cuddle, and she usually eliminates on walks vs. when we take her out for that purpose. She also pees when she gets excited, like when new people greet her excitedly or when playing with other dogs. Luckily this has been mostly outside.

General: She seems to be pretty lazy. Not that I mind this most of the time! For excersize we walk some, but not too far because she doesnt totally like the leash yet. She LOVED playing with our friend's 2 year old lab and 2 month old lab. Wore her out. BUT, She will just sit down or lay down when we go out to do business, or even on walks. Trying to be patient and just wait her out till she comes along, sometimes I just pick her up and take her inside though. She also often is more interested in sniffing, or other animals, than in even eating treats! Shes done well with our two cats, but sometimes wants to follow or chase them when outside, luckily shes been leashed when this happens. Barking is a big deal for us because we live in an apt and the man below us, who is home a LOT, happens to be the only unfriendly impatient neighbor we have. The first time we tried to let her bark it out, we got some loud banging and a "shut up!" from below...cool. Luckily we can have someone with her at all times this week and next week, but after that we will start having to leave her for at least a couple hours a day. As I said in the crating section, she doesnt like being alone, so this is our biggest concern right now.

1. Is it ok for my wife or I to sleep out by the crate at night and try to over time move to the couch then out of the room completely?
2. Is it really okay to open the crate door after only a second or two of her not whining/barking? I feel like that still teaches her that if she barks she will get out.
3. Is it ok to reward peeing outside even if its because she is excited (other dog or new person?)
4. What should we do when she shows little interest in treats?

thats all I can remember right now...im sure Ill remember some other questions later, and I apologize for the long post. Ill upload some pictures this evening too.

SO, how are we doing? Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
come on, 38 views and no replies?? Maybe a picture will help :)

Meet Zoey:



A little update...it seems like her potty training is continuing to improve. She is letting her puppy personality out a little more...mainly by running and jumping onto the couch or ottoman, which we are trying our best to prevent. (We let her up there some the first couple days and are now rethinking that...we want to train her to only come up when invited.) My wife called me this morning and said she was trying to get her off the couch and she nipped at her hand, hard enough to draw a little blood. First time she has done this.

She is also getting better with commands: Sit and Down, as well as Kennel (going into it...we are really excited about that one.) Trying to teach 'stop' for when shes running up to the couch, etc. Also want to work on "Leave it" but not really sure how yet.

Anyway, any advice or comments are appreciated!
 

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All in all, it sounds like you are doing well. I just have a couple possible suggestions.

...we want to train her to only come up when invited.) My wife called me this morning and said she was trying to get her off the couch and she nipped at her hand, hard enough to draw a little blood. First time she has done this.
Keep a leash on her collar inside the house and treats nearby. If she hops up on the couch uninvited you use the leash and treat to coax her down. When she is off the couch it's "Good girl!" and a treat. Then, pat the couch and use whatever you want as the cue to come up - I use "up-up" but you can use whatever you want. When she jumps up, treat her. Then repeat by coaxing her back down. You don't want to grab her collar or pick her up because many dogs don't like it when their collar is grabbed. It limits their ability to "escape" and without teaching them that it is a good thing, they don't really like it. That's just my experience though. And as for picking her up, well, she is going to get too big for that it sounds like. ;)


For the collar I would suggest touching the collar and saying "Yes" or clicking if you are using a clicker, then treat. Do this 10 times. Take a break. Come back and do it 10 times with 1 finger underneath the collar. Then 2 fingers. Go slow and get it to where you can grab her collar and she will let you hold it for a moment. Use lots of treats! This is helpful in the long run! If you ever need to grab your dogs collar they now know it is a good thing!

She is also getting better with commands: Sit and Down, as well as Kennel (going into it...we are really excited about that one.) Trying to teach 'stop' for when shes running up to the couch, etc. Also want to work on "Leave it" but not really sure how yet.

Anyway, any advice or comments are appreciated!
For the kennel, how often are you working on it? Here are some really good videos. She has a lot of other cool videos too.

Leave it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zNAOe1djDyc

Crate Training: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dUzF0g0PwY4
This one is good too, different person, but still good stuff: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6_Gb-TF9c9U

Being left home alone: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LGxh...xt=C32c983bUDOEgsToPDskKnDNaGLZFdjNO0Sod9P61V

Edit: Once she understands the "game" of getting up and off the couch, when she gets off say your command you want to use for getting her off a couch. I use "off". Do not use "down" to mean get off the couch AND "down" to mean lay down. You want them to be separate because you are asking for two different things. So if you use "splat" for the down you can use "down" for getting off the couch. Hopefully that makes sense...?
 

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She is letting her puppy personality out a little more...mainly by running and jumping onto the couch or ottoman, which we are trying our best to prevent. (We let her up there some the first couple days and are now rethinking that...we want to train her to only come up when invited.) My wife called me this morning and said she was trying to get her off the couch and she nipped at her hand, hard enough to draw a little blood. First time she has done this.
She is either resource guarding or your wife's method of getting her off the couch scared her. Either is fixable. Don't pick dogs up, it scares them. Grabbing a dog by the collar is scary, too. Coax her down with a really great treat (cooked meat, hot dogs, etc.), when she gets off to get the treat use your command word (off, down, whatever you want*) and give her the treat. Only let her on the couch when you say "up up" or pat the couch, whatever you want.

Resource guarding is a different issue, though you will need to train off anyway. There are stickies here about resource guarding. It is quite treatable, it just takes a lot of treats and patience.


*Carefully plan out your commands. I use "down" to mean "lay down" because Kabota can't differentiate "lay" from "stay". If you use "off", you'll need to use another word if you need to teach her not to jump on people. Just be aware of this sort of thing.
 

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1. Is it ok for my wife or I to sleep out by the crate at night and try to over time move to the couch then out of the room completely?
2. Is it really okay to open the crate door after only a second or two of her not whining/barking? I feel like that still teaches her that if she barks she will get out.
3. Is it ok to reward peeing outside even if its because she is excited (other dog or new person?)
4. What should we do when she shows little interest in treats?

thats all I can remember right now...im sure Ill remember some other questions later, and I apologize for the long post. Ill upload some pictures this evening too.

SO, how are we doing? Thanks!
Welcome! My answers to your questions:
1. Actually, many of us here would recommend having her crate in your bedroom, at least for the time being. She's only been with you what, not even a week. She's in a new home, with new sights, sounds, smells, people, AND she's away from everything she's used to. On top of all that, she's still a baby, and babies have a hard time "self soothing" (getting calmed down enough to sleep/relax) if they're already scared to begin with.
So, for now, I'd say put the crate in your bedroom. Even just hearing you breathe at night, smelling you, and knowing you're near will be a big help in settling her at night.

You can gradually move her elsewhere as she settles in.

2. YES, sometimes you only have a second or two of no whining/barking when you're first trying to condition her to tolerate her crate. If she's only comfortable in the crate for 20-40 minutes, then try gradually increasing, over the next few weeks. Also, do you give her anything in the crate to keep her busy, like a frozen, stuffed kong, or any other type of treat dispensing toy?

3. YES, reward her for any peeing outside. Also, the best way to potty train is to PREVENT all the accidents you can. This means, until she is potty trained, you have your eyes on her 100% of the time that she is awake and out of her crate. Yes, that's hard to do. But, if you can prevent accidents by learning to watch her, and taking her out more often than you think you need to, then she will soon come to see outside as the only option for pottying.

4. It takes awhile for puppies to settle in. She will start to show more of her personality as she becomes more comfortable. And, so, she just might not be comfortable enough to really enjoy treats right now. But, keep trying. And, experiment. Try lots of varieties. Most like the moist treats. And, you CAN use tiny bits of cheese, and hot dogs. All they really need is tiny bits, the size of your pinky fingernail.
Good luck.
 

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For nipping, read the Sticky: The Bite Stops Here, to teach Bite Inhibition. I can't be sure if the pup was playing or was serious, but Bite Inhibition is important in both cases.

I imagine the pup will get much more energetic in a week or two, when she is used to the environment. She may also take treats when she's calmer. Try to keep her playing with the Labs, at least once a week. The older Lab will teach her manners and the younger one will burn off energy.

None of the dogs - Rott, Hound, Lab - are low energy... prepare for a change in a few weeks :) Looks very much like a Rott xLab ... look for foot webbing, paying in the water dish or with the water hose, and interest in drinking from the faucet.
 

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She is beautiful! Some tips on crating, starting in the room with you will give her a pack mentality. Put her in her kennel in the same room as you guys, and gradually move it out of the room over time, until shes sleeping in her kennel where you want her to. As for keeping her in her kennel or letting her out, its a really fine line as to rewarding her for whining versus her getting rewarded for whining and being let out. Kennel training is initially tough on everyone, but in the long run she will come to know her kennel as her cave and home. Peeing outside and rewarding it is great, as long as its while they're peeing. Chances are if you're having trouble getting her to pee outside, you need to focus more on kennel training and rewarding her peeing outside with freedom outside of her kennel. When you wake up, take her outside and encourage her to go potty with a standard "go potty" command, and give her time to go. If she doesn't go, bring her back upstairs and back into the kennel and wait ten minutes and repeat. When she does go, praise and reward. The kennel is not only a place to sleep but a place for her to be easily monitored for accidents. And like the others said, if she is outside her kennel, your goal is to watch for accidents and catch them before "sniffing around for a spot to pee" or during "sharp negative NO".

That being said, shes a beautiful dog and she will have way more energy when she gets comfortable and acclimated to your training and home. Be prepared for it and the new training challenges it brings.
 

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Hey guys, thanks for all the responses!

Zoey is doing pretty well after a week with us. Shes hardly had any accidents inside, with the exception of when someone visiting excites her a little too much. She can hold her bladder at night surprisingly well, and is going outside quicker and quicker upon getting outside.

Unfortunately we cant really put the crate in our room because its so big. Theres just not really room. My wife and I have been taking turns sleeping in the living room with her and hope to fade that out as we can.

Today we had a pretty positive thing happen...while our apt neighbors were gone we decided to 'leave' her for the first time. We left and locked the door, but stayed outside to listen in. We aimed for 30 minutes, which we were able to do! She cried for 12 minutes and then got silent for the rest of the time. She didnt even pee her crate, though she sounded pretty desperate. Well be working on this all week long while our neighbors are gone, and hopefully she will be doing pretty well with it by next week when we have to leave her on our schedule. (luckily this week is my spring break so i can be home when I need to.) Do you guys recommend leaving a bully stick or kong with her during these times?

Were also going to talk to our neighbor below us tonight with the help of some fresh cookies ^_^ to ask for patience and understanding...hope that goes well!
 

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We also have a new Zoey in our family! Congrats and glad to hear it is going well!

I definitely recommend a Kong or bully stick when you leave her in her crate. Our Zoey gets a Kong when she goes in her crate for bed at night and when we leave. I stuff it with different things, sometimes just kibble, sometimes kibble and peanut butter, sometimes green beans, cottage chesse, etc. Sometimes it's frozen, sometimes not, depends on when I remember to make it. But she always gets something yummy when she goes in there. She also has her antler chew and a nylabone in there for her.
 

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Congrats on the new puppy :)

But seriously, just relax and have fun with it :) I was like you with my first puppy too, it was so intense and I had to do everything right and over-analysed everything he did. For my next puppy it will be so much easier and relaxing. I know it's hard though, but you know, just try to have fun :)
 

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Thanks guys, thats encouraging! :)

So we tried to talk to our neighbor below us last night...unfortunately we didnt even get to. He's really a strange one. When we rang the doorbell he turned his tv off as if he 'wasnt there' (like we wouldnt hear that) and then just didnt come to the door! What the heck!! Pretty frustrating.
 

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Today had some ups and downs. We took her to the vet, got some more goodies from petsmart (including a much needed harness...shes starting jumping and twisting sometimes on leash..) and had a great play date with another older lab mix in our friend's back yard. She even got her first bath.

The bad news was with the potty training...something shes been doing well with. She peed in the car after the playdate. We also left her for an hour today alone, and she barked for 10 minutes before getting quiet (which was good), but peed her crate. She was probably scared. and then after her bath, I tried putting down her crate bed (that she peed on her first night that we had since washed) with a fresh towel on it, and she was laying in it (yay!) and then just straight up squatted and pissed right on it...weird.
 

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For everything learned there is nearly always a stage of relapse before the dog truly starts to get it. Just go back to basics. On leash, confined, out every couple hours and stay consistent with rewarding for eliminating outside. Just stay patient.

Are you cleaning the pee with an enzymatic cleaner? That gets out the "pee here!" signals that are in urine. If you don't do that then the dog will most likely pee in the same spot (because those signals are there). Nature's Miracle is a widely recognized brand that seems to work well.

Also, the car doesn't automatically equal the house in terms of "no peeing here". It's hard for a dog to generalize too much. Did she pee before the car ride?

Sounds like she was doing really good before though!


Edit: Also, sometimes a urinary tract infection can cause this type of behavior. I think it may just be a relapse but maybe talk to your vet about it?
 

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She's such a baby. Don't expect too much too soon, as far as potty training. She won't have full physical control of her bladder til about 6 months of age or so. That means that she will probably have some success, but there is always the possibility that she just physically can't hold it all the time. It's because there is a disconnect between what she may understand and what her little body is capable of doing.

Also, puppies and dogs don't generalize well. So, if you've been trying to prevent accidents in the house by taking her out a lot, and by watching her very closely, that's great! But, all that means is you're teaching her going inside isn't good. You haven't taught her going in the car isn't good. Puppies don't really make that connection. In the future, try to make sure she's emptied her bladder before putting her in the car.

Nature's Miracle is a great enzymatic cleaner. You can use it as a spray cleaner for where she's peed/pooped, and you can also throw a 1/2 c or so in the washing machine when you wash her bedding or towels that she's peed on.
 
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