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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around how to best train a puppy. I've read things that say "if the pup eats your chair, it's your fault because you didn't watch him!" I agree with this mindset, that the dog WANTS to be "good", just needs to know what good and naughty are.

Based on this, I've gathered the following plan for a possible adoption of an 8 week dingo/heeler mutt:
  • Cage in my bedroom, next to my bed, where she sleeps, and where I slowly give her more time by herself to get used to an hour or 2 with me gone
  • A play pen on the hard wood floor with toys, maybe a blanket, generally for playing around in while I work on the computer in the same room
  • Slowly increase the roaming size for Pepper within the house, being careful every time it expands and she's closer to furniture, computer cables, heaters, etc.
  • Food & water 3x/day, with bathroom breaks after 5-30 mins (depending on dog's preference)
  • 3x5min clicker sessions with the pup, providing treats and love for good behavior
  • One solid walk a day, maybe an evening walk too depending on energy. Walks include time at the park where she can socialize with other dogs
  • Going away from the home to coffee shops where I can work on my computer and pup hangs out on a leash, keeping her to her food/water times

So, between crate naps, play pen hootenannys, bathroom breaks, feeding, a walk or two a day and some obedience training, what else is there? Would Pepper spend the majority of her time in the play pen or passed out in the crate?

If anyone has a guess to a puppy timetable, I'd really apprecaite it! I like living on a schedule, and it would help quite a bit with my daily planning so Pepper gets an optimal lifestyle and I'm not spending all my time "guessing". I do understand, however, that I will need to listen to her, to do my best to guess her needs and help her get them met, but a relative "my 8wk old slept ~16 hours a day, ran around for ~1hr, played alone with toys for ~2, and the rest of the time was alert and just hanging out" would be very helpful!

Thanks for the help!
 

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Sounds like you have given this a lot of thought! That's great!

I would just advise a few "tweaks" to your program:

- as for increasing her roaming: A puppy should really never be out of your sight until she is potty trained. A puppy that has even a tiny bit of freedom will usually find a spot to sneak off to and have an accident. The exception to being 100% supervised is when she is crated or in her pen.

- as for being careful when she's allowed closer to furniture, heaters, computer cables: a better idea would be to puppy proof the area in any way you can, which would include picking anything up that would be dangerous to her (when possible), and possibly taping down cords or cables. You might get down on the ground, to her level and see what's down there. It looks way different from that perspective.

Managing a puppy's environment (puppy proofing, keeping things picked up, moving things out of the way) is a really good way to prevent some "naughty" behaviors before they even start. She can't chew on cables if you prevent it. She won't even realize it's a possibility!

- Set a timer and take her out every 30 minutes, in addition to the after meals times, after nap times, after play times.

- Make sure you don't take really long walks till she's a bit older. You don't want to damage undeveloped joints.

I'm sure you'll develop questions as you go! The forums are a great place to learn! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Every 30 min bathroom breaks + walks that aren't too long: Added to the list!

My apartment is pretty puppy-proof, except for the edges of things (chairs, couches, stools, doors).

Would you recommend some bitter apple on those things, or am I just smarter to catch her in the act and... what? CLICK her and provide something else to play with?

Also, adding casual entries and exits of the house, as to not overexcite her before I leave, or when I get home. I love that. Calm, assertive.
 

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For chewing, it helps to pre treat those areas you're concerned about her getting at. A spray before she chews is a lot easier to do than to fight with her after she's found the corner of the coffee table to be great for chewing. I use 'here' and treats a lot, and if Kilt starts to go after the wrong thing just grab a treat and call her, then give her something she can chew and praise. I also don't stick to an exact schedule as far as time goes, she gets three meals a day but not always exactly at the same time.
 

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Would you recommend some bitter apple on those things, or am I just smarter to catch her in the act and... what? CLICK her and provide something else to play with?
Not catch her in the act, catch her BEFORE she does it. Watch her, so you can see when she's headed toward something she shouldn't chew on, and stop her before she even starts. That way, she may not even get "hooked" on a certain behavior you don't like. She doesn't even consider it on option.

Here's the idea:
Say she's heading toward the couch and she tends to chew on the leg, when you see her heading that way, say her name, get her attention, give her a toy, or play with her, or ask her to do something she knows, like "sit". Whatever, just distract her, so she never gets to the couch.

Yes, it's a lot of watching. But, it's better to prevent it, than to buy a new couch.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the reply, doxiemommy! Catching her when she "even looks interested" sounds WAY better than stopping some razorbladeteeth and the impending doom on my couch.

I spent quite a bit of time reading "Click & Easy - Clicker Training for Dogs" by Miriam Fields-Babineau. So far, it's a great read (even on my Kindle!)

Based on Fields-Babineau and all the posts I'm reading on the board, I need the following for my Amazon order (that I'd like to place today). Pepper arrives on Wednesday of next week, and with potential delays in shipping due to Mardi Gras, I'd rather get things ASAP.


The harness was recommended by the author, and I like the idea of keeping pressure off of the pup's neck. Also, the lead coming from the front seems like a PERFECT solution. I'll need a leash and a flat collar, but I think those are going to come from here.

What about inside the xpen, when Pepper is playing? Should I provide something soft to sit on, like a bed? More toys? I picked up a crate for Pepper to sleep in, next to my bed. When I meditate, would it be best for her to get used to sitting by me, or in her crate (I could meditate near her crate), or just let her play in the pen?

I read a book by The Monks of New Skete called "The Art of Raising a Puppy" and they talk about the dogs sitting with them daily to meditate. Any input on the best place for Pepper to sit?

Obviously, I'm excited, and in my excitement, might have missed something. PLEASE let me know if I've missed something important like a dog bed, etc.

Thank you!


- Pepper's Poppa
 

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Read: http://www.dogstardaily.com/free-downloads two free downloads... better'n Monks...

You will want to teach Bite Inhibition, and more socialization. After all shots, play time with other dogs.

General Behavior Timeline:

8 weeks - First few days, scared, whiny... then fluffy and cuddly. curious and clumsy.
10 weeks - 12 weeks - More confident and runs faster, getting more coordinated
12 weeks - 16 weeks - Nippy, playful, energetic, gaining more independence may start to teethe ...
16 weeks onward ... more independence... never seems to get tired....
 

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One solid walk a day, maybe an evening walk too depending on energy. Walks include time at the park where she can socialize with other dogs
Walks should be at least 4x a day, not including pee/poop breaks.

Do not walk your dog around other dogs or where they might have been until after all the puppy shots have been given.
 

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You can put a doggy bed in the ex-pen if you want. Just be careful she doesn't pee on it. You might want to check it a few times daily, to make sure she isn't using it as a toilet. Sometimes with a puppy, they don't pee very much, so it's not like you'd be able to tell unless you check it.

Also, try several types of toys. You never know what she'll be interested in. One of mine likes rope toys and anything else that we can play tug with. But, another of mine likes balls and things that bounce, and things she can really chew on.

Also, experiment with treats. You want treats that will motivate her, and different puppies like different things.

It might be nice for her to learn independence and try some crate time when you're meditating.
 

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I just don't see walking an 8 week old pup on a leash as anything but frustration to all involved. I'd personally went that route at first and in hindsight I realized I should have spent weeks training the loose leash walk in my basement, living room, back yard, front yard (you get the picture) then taking it on the road. As it was I wanted the walk the pup for exercise, but the pup didn;t understand the leash. Take your time, teach loose leash walking in small detailed steps then gradually extend the range of your walks. Relay on other things for tiring the pup out. And yes, to much walking on hard surfaces will be harmful to the joints and soft issues. Keep an eye on the pups pads.
 

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I just don't see walking an 8 week old pup on a leash as anything but frustration to all involved. I'd personally went that route at first and in hindsight I realized I should have spent weeks training the loose leash walk in my basement, living room, back yard, front yard (you get the picture) then taking it on the road. As it was I wanted the walk the pup for exercise, but the pup didn;t understand the leash. Take your time, teach loose leash walking in small detailed steps then gradually extend the range of your walks. Relay on other things for tiring the pup out. And yes, to much walking on hard surfaces will be harmful to the joints and soft issues. Keep an eye on the pups pads.
We didn't really get into walks until our pups were about 12 weeks. We focused on other mental stimulation/ training and loose leash training. We still keep our walks short- generally about 30 minutes or less. Once the sniffing becomes more interesting than the walk, we think it's time to go home.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Pup is actually really good on leash. I've walked her 20 mins on leash, she's 10 wks today. I'll keep in mind "sniffing = go home".
 

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I disagree about the sniffing = go home. One way dogs learn about their environment is through smell. One reason walks are so good for dogs is that they are mentally stimulating as well as physically stimulating. Walks exercise their minds as well as their bodies. So, letting them sniff new and different places is one way for them to explore and check out what is out in the big world. Of course, if they get completely fixated on sniffing something, as titiaamor says "sniffing becomes more interesting than the walk" then, you'd want to redirect them. But, it doesn't have to mean going home. You just redirect them!
 

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We didn't really get into walks until our pups were about 12 weeks. We focused on other mental stimulation/ training and loose leash training. We still keep our walks short- generally about 30 minutes or less. Once the sniffing becomes more interesting than the walk, we think it's time to go home.
For my dog, the sniffing is the best part of the walk. She LOVES to smell around and I give her lots and lots of time to do so. Allowing your dog to smell around is great for their mental stimulation, too. My girl runs and fast walks, too, but walks are mainly about smelling for her.
 
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