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Discussion Starter #1
I'm really frustrated at this point. My parents bought a shih-tzu pekignese puppy mix while I was away from home, on vacation in GA. They didn't consult me, they simply told me I would be the trainer for this puppy they'd bought on impulse "because he chose mom by latching onto her fingers, and the pet store said that was 'how the puppy chooses you' ". Bullshizz >_>

Totally irresponsible. But they're smitten and likely won't take him back (or to a shelter) for a few months. Not that I'm advocating that they should give him up, but I know they will soon get frustrated with his puppy behaviour. They're relying on my, a young woman who has trained her hand-raised cat, but I've never trained anything else.

I've read a couple of Ian Dunbar's books, and I've been poking around these forums a bit. I wrote out some guidelines for my parents to follow (mostly my mother, since my father and I work full time during the day), but my mother is elderly nd physically disabled...and thinks she knows everything. She lets him do whatever he wants when she has him out of the exercise pen with her. When I tell her not to let him do something, or to do "this" instead of what she is doing, she makes excuses for why what she is doing is okay and ignores me. So training...is going very slow. She basically undos whatever I'm trying to accomplish.

So, my questions are these -

How can I make crate-time appealing to a puppy who is used to having run of the house and doesn't seem interested in chewing on the food-stuffed Kongs in said crate?

How can I potty train a puppy who has no qualms with pottying in his crate? I took him out every 30mins, but he always pottied in the crate. Also, when my mother has him out of his pen, she does NOT watch for him pottying, so he goes when and where he wants, and she doesn't even notice, much less correct him.

How can I get him to calm down in his pen? If he's not out f his pen with someone, he cries and barks. I myself can ignore it pretty well since I'm used to noisy birds, but mom talks and coos at him (even though I've told her not to!), which just encourages it.

Is there anything I can do? Obviously, we all need to be united in the training, but mom thinks she knows best, and I just can't see it happening. I; getting frustrated that they pushed the training of their puppy onto me while I wasn't even in state, and yet they're not even letting me do "my" job.

Thanks, and sorry for ranting.
 

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tough. very tough.


My thought is trying to educate your parents, and specifically your mother. Training will be 2 steps forward and 1 step back with this pup unless everyone is on the same page and obeying the rules. It is unfortunate, but true.

I know the frustration all too well. My Boys and I lived with my parents for over a year and it was.... um... yeah. Horrible would be one word for it. Much regression took place because the rules weren't equally applied and my parents would 'spoil' the dogs.

Would your mom be willing to come to the forum? If not, why not pass along some of Dunbar's books?
 

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Wow - this sounds like a very tough situation. I'm going to leave the potty training questions to the experts, since my dog came to me already house trained. But I wanted to respond about the crate.

Even if he's used to having the run of the house, I think Ian Dunbar's trick will work here. You get something really yummy (in my case I used a stuffed kong with his kibble mixed with peanut butter), let puppy sniff it and maybe get a lick in, and put it in the crate and close the door. The puppy should be looking and sniffing around and trying to get to the kong. When he looks up at you with that "Please PLEASE help me" look, open the door and let him in.

He may settled down in there for a good chew, if you sit with him. If he just gets in and takes it back out, keep putting it back in there.

Another option, if he's not ready for that, is to just throw some yummy treats in the crate from time to time so he starts expecting good stuff in the crate. You can also feed his meals in the crate. Then just have him settle down in there and sit outside the crate with the door open. Keep feeding treats and praising. I just did this every day for a few minutes at a time, maybe for a week.

Then EVERY SINGLE TIME I had to put him in the crate I would throw a stuffed kong in there with him. THis is a special crate-only treat - he never gets them outside the crate. I would say Hobbes stopped whining and avoiding the crate within a couple of weeks of this type of training. He barked at first when we left, but he got over it pretty quickly.

Good luck - all of this will be so much easier if you can somehow get your mom on board. But you know that. Sorry it's all on you.

ETA: Hobbes was already a year old when I got him, so I would assume that it may take longer for a young puppy, but not sure about that.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
I have offered the books to my father...but unfortunately, part of my mother's current disability is her vision is failing. They are planning to do a couple of surgeries to attempt to make it so she can see better, but that will be a few months down the line. So when I wrote out my guidelines, I paraphrased things from the book that I wanted her to focus on, since she CAN read...with a large magnifying glass. Basically summarized the important things...but I can see she's not following what I've written.

I just gave Chewie (sorry, I realize I referred to him only as "the puppy") about 10 minutes of "let's go in the crate for a tasty liver treat" play time, and also learned that when he actually focuses on something, he's pretty smart, haha. During that, he started learning the sit command. So, he is definitely a bright little thing, just confused about what he should be doing and not doing.

Thanks for the replies, by the way =)

a7dk, He has such a short attention span (is there something I can do about that, as well?) that when I tried that...he just frantically looked everywhere but where it actually was, and quickly lost interest in finding the Kong. And I'm reluctant to give him anything that isn't his normal food or liver treats for training (in regards to the peanut butter). Mother was letting him eat cat food when he wanted because "the pet store said to let him eat whatever he wanted in the first days". It's well past his "first days", even if that WAS good advice, which I highly disagree with.

About feeding meals in the crate...should I try using a bowl, then?
 

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I

a7dk, He has such a short attention span (is there something I can do about that, as well?) that when I tried that...he just frantically looked everywhere but where it actually was, and quickly lost interest in finding the Kong. And I'm reluctant to give him anything that isn't his normal food or liver treats for training (in regards to the peanut butter). Mother was letting him eat cat food when he wanted because "the pet store said to let him eat whatever he wanted in the first days". It's well past his "first days", even if that WAS good advice, which I highly disagree with.

About feeding meals in the crate...should I try using a bowl, then?
That's tough about the attention span - I'm not sure how to remedy that. To feed him meals in his crate, yeah, a bowl is probably easiest. You can get one of those stainless steel dog bowls, and turn it upside down. You put the food in the depression around the edges, and it slows him down. This only applies if Chewie wolfs food down. If he eats at a decent pace, then using it the normal way is fine.
 

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The find a treat he REALLY likes (enough to go into the crate for), you'll need to feed him something that isn't his regular food. Is there any reason you don't want to? Does he have an extra-sensitive tummy?

And puppy do have terribly short attention spans. He'll be able to concentrate for longer as he gets older.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
He really likes the freeze-dried liver treats that I got, and using them today, I was able to get him into the crate willingly, and close the door for half a minute. I'll keep working on that.

I'm reluctant to give him any food humans like to eat. I KNOW my mother will give him bits of her meals - she does it with the cats and has already given him bits of things off her plate, and it is NOT associated with training. I just don't want him seeing us eating, say...a peanut butter sandwich and deciding he wants to jump in our plate and steal it. Maybe when he's a bit older and more familiar with the rules I'm setting down, then I would feel more comfortable with giving peanut butter...but if you can convince me there won't be a problem, I'm very willing to learn xD I guess I just assumed that since he's still rather new, he should ONLY be eating his normal food and training treats. Would peanut butter in the Kong count as a training treat, then?

Oh, my father just got home from work, and I gave him a head's up that I'm having trouble getting mom to follow my instructions. He was unhappy at hearing what I witnessed today (the puppy peed on a pillow right in front of her and she didn't pay any attention), but said "I can't do anything about it today". I have more hope for him - he really does seem to stand behind me in this, so I think with his help, we may come up with a solution to the mom-problem. I just don't know what the solution will be.

ETA - I just did another little session with him after he woke from a nap, where I encouraged him to go in for a treat, then I would close the door for up to 45secs, then let him out and have him sit for a treat. He's picking it up quickly, so I tried having him "down" which is my word for laying lay, and he understood within two attempts! I'm impressed xD So now he's learning "sit" and "down".
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I do already, but he's not as interested n that -yet-. Thinking of mixing in some peanut butter to make it more appealing..
 

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As hard as it is -- know that pets can really be great companions for the elderly. My grandfather just passed away and even with severe dementia (he didn't know who I was, who his wife was, who his caretaker was)...he knew who his dog was. For that I was willing to put up with all the "fun" that a beagle who has been cooped up is :)

Keep up the good work.
 

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Check your local library if they have any audio books or can get them for you. I know that some libraries offer at least horse training audio books and dvds. I have had trouble with my eyes in the past and even if I could read ... it was so exhausting (not least psychologically) to try to figure out text that I usually just skipped it unless I absolutely had to read.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Hm, good idea, Hast. I'll check around tomorrow.

And yeah, I know LeadTime...we already have quite a few cats that keep her company, and birds, and such. I just wish my parents had thought more about it, since my mother also cannot take Chewie out for walks, even when he learns to behave on the leash, simply because she cannot walk outside on a regular basis. It just seems to me like a puppy isn't a good fit for my family at this point in time, but I'll do my best to make the best of the situation. =)
 

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Why not bake him some treats? It's pretty easy and it'll make it easier for your mom if she thinks of them as something 'special' for her pup (perhaps get mominvolved too) and be less likely to feed the pup human food. Let her know that acceptable human food would be carrots, apples and bananas (some of my dogs favorite treats) or unseasoned meat.

Training treats I make are simple and most dogs go wild for them; Get a container of chicken liver, spread evenly in a baking dish, sprinkle a little garlic POWDER on them and bake, let cool and cut into small pieces. Yes they need to be refridgerated but they're a fraction of the cost of the freeze dried treats.

Oh, all pups have a SHORT attention span BTW, frequent sessions of no more than 5 minutes is the answer.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Oooh, thanks Carla - good idea. She's actually started to do really good lately (as far as I know - I've been SO busy with work, I've hardly been home long enough to do anything but shower and fall into bed...), which is a pleasant surprise. I think Dad must have talked to her.
 
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