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I have a 9 and a half week old chocolate labrador puppy, I've had him for a week and a half now. I've started teaching him some commands using treats, heavy praise or toys and brief playtime as a reward. He has learned the 'sit' command fairly well, and he comes most of the time when I call him, actually he comes every time, I just have to be a bit more persistent some times, I suppose he'll get better at it with more practice. He has also stopped mouthing and biting me as much, but again, I expect it to stop with a bit more repetition.

Now, to get to the point. My puppy listens to me most of the time now when he is calm. But every now and again, when he is fully rested, he gets into this crazy chaotic play mode and he is difficult to calm down. Also, I am having difficulties getting him to do what I want when new people come to my place. They pet him, and play with him, and that is all fine, but I feel he gets distracted too much in new situations such as that.

So my questions are:

1. How should I approach calming him down when he is in his play mode? He gets really restless, and I'm ok with him wanting to play and having energy, but I sometimes need to take a breath, and rest for a minute, and I want him to slow down for a second sometimes.
2. He sometimes barks, and I recognize it as an invitation to play. Again, I want to play with him, but I don't want to teach him that barking gets a positive response. What is the correct thing to do here? I get that he basically isn't doing anything bad, he means well, but I want him to be a bit more gentle about it in the future.
3. Should I practice the commands I've already taught him when I have friends over for example, just to make sure he pays attention to what I say in all situations?

Again, I get this is all stuff puppies do, but it's my first experience owning a dog, so I want to make sure I do it right and don't make mistakes along the way.
 

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First, keep in mind that he's just a tiny baby. His attention span right now is about as long as a gnat, so he's not going to be able to follow your cues all the time. Keep your expectations low for now.

When he gets a bit crazy, he may just be tired and overstimulated, like a toddler who runs around the house at bedtime. Try crating him during this time and I bet he'll settle down and fall asleep after a minute. Many puppies (and some older dogs too) need to be told when and how to settle down. When he's older you can work on sending him to a mat or bed and having him lay down, but that will take some additional training.

If you don't want him to bark at you, then don't play when he barks. If he barks, turn away or walk away and end the play session, then come back and try again after a minute. He'll learn that he can only initiate play by being quiet.

Practice your cues in all situations, just go at a speed he can handle. If he's so overwhelmed and overstimulated by having people over, it may be too soon to ask him to listen too much in that situation. Gradually increase distractions and eventually he will be able to listen to you around harder distractions. Also keep in mind that he may "know" cues like "sit" in a quiet part of the house with no distractions, but may need help when doing it in a new place, or with increasing distractions. In that case, just go back to basics and lure the sit the way you did at first. Each time you teach it should go faster as he learns to generalize the skill.
 

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Yeah, he goes to sleep after we play, or after going crazy for 10 minutes. And I've been doing the walking away when he barks, so I guess I should continue with that. Ok, I try what you suggested, thanks! :)
 

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at 9 weeks old don't expect much when it comes to training. enroll in a puppy
class. socialize, expose your dog to the world. a crate is helpfull. i got my pup
when he was 9 weeks old. he was in a puppy class at 10 or 11 weeks old.
formal training didn't start untill he was 4 months old. he knew a few things
before the OB class but once OB started things took off. basically he learned
1 to 2 commands a month. if your dog learns 1 command a month that's
12 commands a year. in 2 years that's 24 commands and 24 commands
is impressive. don't rush training. be consistent and proof your training.
 

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You've already been given great advice, but I do want to add: don't give him any cues you don't plan on following through with.

Practicing cues while you have company is a great way to practice training while there are distractions, but if you give him a command make sure you follow through and your pup actually does it. If you don't follow through, it's a good way to teach the dog they don't have to listen all the time.

Also, as a personal preference, I don't like to give my dogs any commands in an unfamiliar environment/situation if they don't know it solidly at home, in their normal/quiet environment - i.e. my dog Coda will sit 100% of the time on command at home, but will only roll over on cue about 70% of the time. I expect her to sit if I ask her to at the dog park, but wouldn't expect/ask for a roll over (yet).
 

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You've already been given great advice, but I do want to add: don't give him any cues you don't plan on following through with.

Practicing cues while you have company is a great way to practice training while there are distractions, but if you give him a command make sure you follow through and your pup actually does it. If you don't follow through, it's a good way to teach the dog they don't have to listen all the time.

Also, as a personal preference, I don't like to give my dogs any commands in an unfamiliar environment/situation if they don't know it solidly at home, in their normal/quiet environment - i.e. my dog Coda will sit 100% of the time on command at home, but will only roll over on cue about 70% of the time. I expect her to sit if I ask her to at the dog park, but wouldn't expect/ask for a roll over (yet).
jsca brings up a good point. If you say "sit" and then "sit" and then "SIT" and then your dog sits, you're teaching your dog that the cue for sitting is actually "sit . . . sit . . . SIT". For that reason, it's a bad idea to give a cue unless you are reasonably certain your dog will respond. So if your dog is already running around all crazy or is completely overstimulated by people or being outside, don't even try the cue. If you did try the cue and the dog didn't respond, let it go. Just recognize that your dog needs a little more training and that was a bad time/situation to try and move on.

Remember, dog training isn't a sprint. You'll have your dog for many years, you don't have to train everything today.
 

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1. How should I approach calming him down when he is in his play mode? He gets really restless, and I'm ok with him wanting to play and having energy, but I sometimes need to take a breath, and rest for a minute, and I want him to slow down for a second sometimes.
2. He sometimes barks, and I recognize it as an invitation to play. Again, I want to play with him, but I don't want to teach him that barking gets a positive response. What is the correct thing to do here? I get that he basically isn't doing anything bad, he means well, but I want him to be a bit more gentle about it in the future.
3. Should I practice the commands I've already taught him when I have friends over for example, just to make sure he pays attention to what I say in all situations?
Hey at 9 weeks your puppy is doing more than mine!

1. Just ignore him when he gets too amped up. My puppy starts to bark when he gets really excited so I end play and wait for him to be calm for 10-15 seconds and then resume. Now I have a quiet puppy who allows me to determine when play time begins and ends.
2. See one.
3. When you are sure he's got it down perfect you can try in unfamiliar areas and with distractions. Take it slowly though, you always want to set it up for your puppy to succeed.

Good luck!
 

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Ok, thanks guys, that's great, I'll give it a try and see how it goes. One more thing, he is still inconsistent with his tendency to bite and nibble, sometimes he is calm and ok, but sometimes he really snaps his jaw hard, I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do, I get that it's all play, but I'm afraid of him developing a habit of biting.
 

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Ok, thanks guys, that's great, I'll give it a try and see how it goes. One more thing, he is still inconsistent with his tendency to bite and nibble, sometimes he is calm and ok, but sometimes he really snaps his jaw hard, I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do, I get that it's all play, but I'm afraid of him developing a habit of biting.
That's totally normal for a puppy. Heck, that's normal for a human baby! (My 5 month old niece grabbed by finger, put it in her mouth and proceeded to chew on it and growl, while looking me dead in the eye.)

You need to teach bite inhibition. We have stickies on it, but the basics are: when your puppy bites you, squeal loudly and pull away. Ignore him for a few moments, then go back to whatever you two were doing. If he continues to bite you, calmly leave the room for a minute. This will take weeks to a few months, depending upon how mouthy your dog is. (Labs, for example, are bred to be mouthy, so they take a while to train bite inhibition.) You just need to be consistent and patient.
 

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Lab pups are energetic, intelligent chewing machines. With that in mind:

1. You and elrohwen kinda stated it - when pups are tired, they may get the zoomies to burn off that last bit of energy. I'm assuming he runs in large circles or figure-8s with his mouth open and maybe doing a drive-by playful nip. If he does this on a 'predictable' basis, then try taking him for a 15 min potty walk about 15 - 30 min. before he'd zoom. What you want to do is drain his energy, before it explodes into the zoomies. :)
2. You are correct that unmanaged barking will turn into expectant barking. My dog will bark at people if they stop petting him :) One counter-intuitive approach is to teach him to bark on cue - When he barks, say "Speak!" and give him a very tiny treat. Keep doing this until he barks reliably when you say Speak.... With a Lab and Food, this may only take 2 minutes :) Continue a few minutes of practice for 3 days.

On the fourth day, get him a little excited, by saying Speak, letting him bark, and saying Speak again ... No treats, yet. After 3 or 4 barks, say "Quiet!" and maybe put your finger to your lips, and shove a treat right under his nose to smell and eat ... Be sure to treat, only when he is Not barking... timing is important. Practice Quiet! for 3 days... No treats for barking (altho you can say "Speak!"), treat only for Quiet! Tweak these two and you can get some interesting results.

[For example, I transferred Speak, Speak, Speak into "Three" ... etc.] But, be sure to train for a solid Quiet!

3. One of my old trainers had a saying - You can teach a pup everything in two weeks .... but it'll take two years for him to obey with distractions. Think of a cue in the face of any distraction as being a completely new behavior, and train it that way, starting with minor distractions, first.

A different approach [not better, just different] is to have your friends [one at a time, at first, so that you can see what happens] do the training, also. That way the pup gets socialization, training, and generalization. Training tends to help a pup focus, and if you have friends who will listen to you, this can work...

BTW, talk you your pup to get him used to your voice. And, train him as much as you can, keeping it fun, at this early age. I have a personal believe that the more "English" you can teach a puppy early on, the faster they'll learn, gaining a better vocabulary.

Search for Chaser - The intelligent Border Collie on Youtube ... I believe that Labs can do this, too ... if the trainer is as patient as a retired professor. :)
 
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