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New puppy questions.

1050 Views 6 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Xeph
Hey all!

My wife and I recently got a 7 week old miniature pinscher, so she's about 8 weeks now. We're teaching her bite inhibition, and doing our best to constantly be around to substitute toys in place of furniture, cords, and rugs that she shouldn't be chewing on. Potty training has been going very smoothly with the poop side of things since taking her out after she eats seems to be enough, but she's been piddling inside of her crate at night for the past two or three days, where at first she would wake us up by whining so we could let her out.

I have a few questions, as I want to make sure I'm doing things right!

Being a min pin, she's very rambunctious and spirited. Sometimes she loses her temper when I remove her from, say, my leather belt a few times in a row and starts snarling and biting viciously me. I take these (thankfully not common) opportunities to gently but firmly hold her down for several seconds until she stops struggling and submits. Is that the right way to deal with this? I definitely don't want to be permissive, but I don't want to be too forceful.

Also, I introduced her to a collar and leash today. She definitely doesn't like either of them, but I guess that's to be expected at first. We went for a relatively short walk once she stopped constantly scratching at it, and every time there was the slightest pulling pressure on the leash she clammed up and dug in, refusing to cooperate. Should I just give her time to get used to wearing them? I don't want to dig my heels in and try to declare my authority the way I might with a disobedient adult dog, lest she decide that she hates leashes. Once she gets older I want to be able to take her jogging, and that means she needs to learn how to walk/run beside me on a loose leash. I think.

Is it too early to start obedience training? She understandably has a pretty short attention span.
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crate piddling:
pull her water supply 2 hours before bed, and go for a nice 10 minute walk before you crate her for the night.
Drink a big glass of water before bed so that your bladder will wake you up. Take a potty break for you and a potty break for your puppy.

to me it sounds like you are dealing with it appropriately. Min pins are prone to snarkie sharkieness, so while you are dealing with it correctly for a typical dog, i'm not 100% its ideal for a min pin. Be sure that you always have a positive choice to offer, even after the tantrum. Get her calm and instantaneously offer an appropriate chew.

put the collar and leash on for about an hour and let her wander her environment and get over it. DO keep her in your line of sight so that she is safe.
Anytime you are at the other end of the leash and want to move say "let's go!" wait 1/2 a second and then start walking. If she plants her feet, keep steady tension on the lead, say "let's go!" again and do not let up until you get forward movement. When you do, praise like crazy. Forward movement is step one to leash training.
Food baits, doggy friends, and toys also help to entice the forward movement and keep attention. Remember it has to be fun, and the only punishment for keeping still should be the slight discomfort of the tension of the leash. no tugging or snatching.
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I do not recommend pinning any dog in terms of correction. I do teach my puppies from a young age that being held down is not a bad thing....mostly it's just teaching them to relax so we can move on to learning how to tolerate having nails done.

With little dogs, instead of pinning while they're being snarky....I pick them up. They may struggle and squeal all they want, but it won't help. If they continue to behave like twits, I simply hold them out away from my body. They may not be able to reason, but I find myself talking. "Gee, sure is a long way down, isn't it?"

I've never dropped a puppy doing this. They learn pretty quick to quit squirming.

The moment they relax, I praise them, set them down, and let them go on their merry way.
This is the fun part of forums..you're going to get all sorts of different advice..lol.

Mine is different from the above.

Reduce her freedom. Puppy proof so she doesnt' have the opportunity to get your leather belt, shoes, remote controls or whatever. If she cannot be watched she should be in her crate. Management is key here. She has to EARN her freedom to roam. If you don't want her in the crate, get a waist leash and tie her to your waist while you go about your business (being careful not to step on your little..)

When/If she DOES get something she shouldn't have in her mouth TRADE for a treat and then replace with a proper chew toy. Do not rip something or force it out of her mouth..this creates many more problems than you will want to deal with. Use the trade game for everything and eventually add a drop cue. This comes in very handy later, on walks, when she will pick up everything she can find, including the leash, in her mouth. She is now going to be teething and will need appropriate softish toys for chewing on.

Don't pin the puppy. Period. Do calming "holds" when she is NOT doing something you don't like. Hold her in your lap, hand on chest (under front legs) with her back to your chest so she cannot nip your hands or face and just hold her firmly but not tightly until she stops struggling, then rub her tummy soothingly and say "settle" or "calm". Repeat as often as you can. This is to teach her to be calm in your arms/hands. Pinning only teaches her your hands are scary...and CAN increase her discomfort/fear/tantrums to real biting.

Let her drag her leash around (again when supervised) and then occasionally start picking it up and letter her wander a bit, the less tension on the leash the better at first. Reward her every time you put the leash and collar on.

For walking on leash. Be patient. She's only 8 weeks old, and by getting her at 7 weeks you got her right in the midst of her first fear development period..she needs time to adjust to not only the leash and collar but the outside world in general. It's a dang scary place when you weigh three pounds...there is also a boatload of distractions.

You should be working on socialization at this point, leash manners come later, when she is able to feel safe and actually concentrate on what she is doing. If you have to pick her up and take her away from the house and walk her home instead, do that. Puppies always put on the brakes, and it gets worse around 14 weeks for a while as they go through another "holy crap" period. All normal developmental stages for the puppy.

Work on taking her out and introducing her to all sorts of people, play "pass the puppy" and have her handled (nicely and positively with lots of treats) by as many different people (sizes, ages, sexes, colours) as possible. Include people with beards, glasses, hats, big coats, umbrellas etc etc. The initial socialization period lasts from 6 to 14 weeks or so and this should be your main focus aside from housetraining.

Get the book "The Puppy Whisperer" by Paul Owens. It's GREAT and will go a long way towards helping you understand the stages your puppy goes through and how to handle each one. It gives graduated training lessons (kindergarten through college level) so you learn how to increase the difficulty of her skills over time.

I hope this is helpful for you.
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Thanks everyone for the replies!

She's at the stage where she seems to only have two modes, playing and sleeping. Playing, of course means attacking everything whether it moves or not.

If pinning is bad (and neither the dog nor I enjoy it), then how should I respond to her rabid dog tantrums? I like your suggestion of using treats to get her to drop what she was chewing on, should I always have a bag of them in my pocket when she's not in her crate?

About that, won't she hate being in her crate if she wants to play and we confine her there every time we're doing something where we can't be managing everything she puts in her mouth?
The best way I have found to deal with tantrums is to ignore..but a lot depends on WHY the tantrums happen in the first place..can you tell me the usual situation in which they happen? The idea is to find a way that works for you that prevents it from happening (so the behaviour doesn't get "practiced") without it being the dog gets her way all the time.

As for using the crate when you cannot be supervising. You teach the dog to crate up on cue by at first using lures, lure the pup in, give the food. Pup comes back out. Repeat. Then remove the food lure using only the hand (same movement) and then reward from the other hand. Once this is happening reliably you add the cue "kennel" or whatever you like to use. Practice some more. Then it's kennel and close the door, reward. It's getting the pup socialized to the crate. Building up time with the door closed. Do this once or twice a day.
The rest of the time, lure her in, give her a kong filled with pb or cream cheese and kibble and frozen (I make up several at a time) and just leave her. She should ALWAYS have something to chew on (tasty) that is only for crate time. It will take some time to learn to be happy there but it will come. The crate then becomes a rewarding place to be, instead of a stressed out place.

Oh and about the treats. I recommend several little dishes filled with pieces of kibble, tiny bits of freeze dried liver and one or two small bully sticks placed strategically around the house..(near her crate, in the kitchen, near the door where she goes out to "do business" etc) means you always have something available. Every opportunity you have to reward her for good behaviour means the behaviour occurs more frequently. Preparing yourself is the way to win the games! You can't play if no one brings the ball to the field!
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If pinning is bad (and neither the dog nor I enjoy it), then how should I respond to her rabid dog tantrums?
Like I said, I just pick them up ^_^. They'll continue to go "OMG WTF PUT ME DOWN YOU SUCK!!!!!!", and I just continue doing what I was doing, carrying them around while I ignore the fussing. The moment they settle, I give them a few more seconds to be sure they really ARE relaxed, then I praise and let them go (direct them to something ok to do).
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