People Interfering With Training

Posted by shannon99
Sep 3, 2008
Hi, I am having major problems getting my puppy trained, my fiance and I end up fighting about it because he just doesn't understand the importance of it all. I purchased a Pomeranian puppy I have had her for about 1 1/2 months, she is now almost 4 months old and I have made it nowhere with her training, in the beginning I made some progress but it always gets back tracked and I am stuck starting all over, because of this I am experiencing major behavioral problems from her. She bites me all the time, my ankles, my socks, my shoes, my hands, she's developing major separation anxiety, she runs every time I try to pick her, she chews everything, I am at my wits end because I am currently laid off and would like to have her trained before I go back to work. The problem, I believe, is the fact that other people are constantly around her, picking her up, letting her bite, correcting her, it's like a petting zoo. My fiance has his own business in which I help him during the day and I bring my puppy with me to the shop, I keep her in the back room away from everyone but it seems like every person that stops in here is in the back room handling the puppy, it's to much and to many people that she has no respect for me anymore and no one respects the fact that she is in training, they all think it's cute to let her bite their shoes or get her all hyper and running around but then I am left to deal with her. She acts normal and calm when it's just her and I but when other people are around she doesn't listen. I tried saying things, politely, to people about not letting her do these things but no one takes me seriously. I thought about just leaving her home but then I won't get to work with her at all and that's not fair to either of us. I am frustrated with the whole situation, I just bought the sitstayfetch course and am hoping that it helps me with training her but I need some advise on how much this situation and people handling her is affecting my training her and what solutions would be best with dealing with this and limiting the contact people have with her, please help me, thanks
Posted by eyeluvdogs
Sep 3, 2008
Hi Shannon99,

Thank you for your post. It sounds as though you are feeling very frustrated, and I can see why. Unfortunately many people do not understand the importance of training small dogs. People think that because of their size, they do not need to be trained and controlled like a larger breed would be. However, you are seeing firsthand what happens when a small dog is left untrained, and although it sounds as though you are trying your best to train your pup, your fiancé and his customers are not making things easy for you! Do you think that your dog is happy? It sounds to me as though she is a little frustrated herself! I am sure that being handled by various people all the time and being encouraged to act crazy is not making her happy.

Do you have any time during the day when you and your puppy can have some quiet time together, without lots of people coming and going? Try to spend at least 30 mins a day with her to start going over some easy commands such as sit or lie down. Use treats to encourage her if she is food motivated. Give her lots of praise and love if she behaves well. If she behaves badly, issue a guttural growl, and then if possible, give her a time out for a few minutes. Practice giving her the commands through the day, and always have a tasty treat on hand when she obeys.

Try to give your puppy some exercise before heading into your fiancé’s place of work so that she is hopefully less hyper and more likely to rest. Don't over do it though because she is still only young. Does she have a crate where she can go during the day if she is tired or wants some peace? Set up a nice bed and put her favorite toys inside the crate. When she is in there, ask people not to harass her.

If possible, I recommend the time out method to teach your puppy that her nipping etc is not acceptable behavior. Using the time out method with pets might sound strange to some people, but I have used it effectively with a dog and a cat.

Have you started to use the Alpha techniques with your pup? Even though she will never be a large dog, I still recommend that you use them. This will help reinforce the fact that you are in charge, and will hopefully give your puppy more respect for you.

It's great that your pup gets lots of socialization with people, however I am concerned that they are not always positive interactions (encouraging biting etc), and so please try to encourage people to be gentle with your pup. If you see her biting anyone, remove her from the situation so that she learns she will not get any attention if she behaves badly. At the moment it sounds as though her nipping etc is just being reinforced - she nips, people laugh, and she is rewarded.

Have you let your fiancé know how frustrated you are? I hope that he will start to see that you only have the best intentions when it comes to your pup, and therefore will start to support you in training her.

All the best, and please let us know how you progress.
Posted by shannon99
Sep 3, 2008
Thank you so much for your post it has helped me to feel like there is hope, I wasn't going to crate train my puppy but I am starting to think it is a good idea with all the people that are around, it will give her a break and me a break. My fiance really doesn't understand he thinks I am too picky and pay way to much attention to my puppy, which I try to explain needs to be that way unless he expects to take care of her when I go back to work. The last time I left my other dog with him, she knocked over her gate and got hit by a car, which is the reason I now have a puppy and in all honesty with how busy he is throughout the day I just don't trust him to take care of her while I am gone. My other pom was already pretty much trained as I inherited her when his grandfather passed away and it was a complete devastation to lose her, it's been about 3 months and I am still not over it, she was only 9 and died way to young. Anyway I do try and spend time alone with her every night I take her out on her lead and let her investigate the land around the shop, she is very inquisitive and just loves rolling around in the grass. I do need to take more time to spend training her one on one, I am in the process of reading the sitstayfetch book and it is helping me to see the benefits of changing the way I am doing things and the environment my puppy is in and if I have to, and it comes down to it I will start staying home with her, at least until she is trained because I am frustrated and overwhelmed and I get really nervous because she is really tiny and will only weigh about 4lbs full grown so if someone would step on her or drop her she would really get hurt, I limit the contact Scotts' daughter has with her as she is really hyper and rough when it comes to pets. I am going to start on the alpha training with her asap and I will let you know how things progress, again thanks for the advice I greatly appreciate it.
Posted by nevrenufanimals
Oct 14, 2008
I think a crate is the best place for your pom during the day. Keep the pup in it unless you're working with it, so no one else can play with it and teach it bad manners. It will provide a safe haven for the pup so it doesn't feel so frustrated either with all the customers rough housing with it. Remember, in the long run, YOU are responsible for it and the training. So YOU need to take the steps to make sure it happens correctly and the pup is safely tucked away from bad influences. And don't let the customers take it out of the crate, lock it if you have to!
Posted by Annie
Oct 16, 2008
Hi there,
I feel really sorry for you....i can really hear how hard you are trying and all these people around who want their 'baby-fix'.
I like what other people have written about crates and things....and I´m not sure if you want to do this...but when my dog was a baby....when people went to grope her and cuddle her, I just warned them she has worms and a lot of fleas at the moment It was not very nice that they thought I was a bad mummy...but it made me laugh how happy they were just to watch her roll around on the floor and did not feel the need to pick her up.....

just another silly idea from me....

good luck

Posted by Annie
Oct 16, 2008
I´ve just re-read your post and I was thinking that maybe your fiance would be more accepting of your techniques if you could somehow involve his daughter a bit more. You said she is a bit rough with the dog, but maybe something like feeding your dog could be done by her ( a very important job!) or maybe she could be in charge ( I don´t know how old she is?) of photographing the dog? I have a step child, and I think I was on a similar battle with my boyfriend over training the dog. It´s only now, 2 years later, that he is proud of my efforts. I didn´t trust our boy around the dog, and I hated him bossing her he turned in to chief photographer and dinner giver.....I got a lot of brownie points from boyfriend....a happy child AND dog, and the allowance that I knew best and could set the rules when it came to the puppy....

just a thought......
Posted by shannon99
Oct 18, 2008
Just wanted to say thanks again for the advice, I have been having a terrible time with my puppy, she is so unruly, I just don't know what to do anymore. It seems like I make progress then she is influenced by something and I am back to stage 1. I love her dearly and would never give up on her I just want her to be happy and I don't think that she is with all this bad behavior. I tried involving my step-daughter and it just didn't work out, it's hard because she is only here 4 days out of the month and since I have yet to make any leeway with training my puppy just gets to worked up because it's like she's a new person all the time and Lex has a very strong hyper nervous energy about her and her way of playing is appropriate for such a small dog, especially one with extreme behavior problems. All she wants to do is set the puppy on the ground and push it around so the puppy gets extremely hyper and starts biting, it's frustrating!!!!

I want so badly to get Sadie trained, I want to enjoy having her and it's like I am all alone on training her, everyone wants her to behave but no one wants to help me with her, it's like they think I'm super human or something. My fiance hates that I give the puppy so much attention and his way of training or teaching is losing your patience and screaming so he is no help at all, he is just to stressed out all the time it's just a difficult situation. Oh well, I don't want to start telling my life problems I will stick to the puppy.

She has gotten worse instead of better, I found that walking her helps a lot and she actually does really well on a leash, but she definitely needs somewhere to channel her energy, she gets bored fast and that's when the chewing and digging come in. The thing that really gets me is she doesn't act this way when she is at home only when we are at our shop, which is why I think her behavior stems from so many people poking and picking at her, I believe she associates the shop with this active behavior.

I did try crate training her but she is terrified of the crate, she gets severe anxiety around it. I think this is because of when she was shipped, she was stuck in a crate for 8 hours and it really affected her. I decided to build a small boxed off area for her and it has worked out well, it's just a tiny enclosure I built inside of a walk in closet I have in my office. I find she sleeps better and that it has a calming affect on her. I have to get up a lot and walk in and out of the back room, my office, where I have her and whenever I would walk in or out she would constantly jump up and pace around, she would never just sleep, which to me shows an anxiety problem, she just acts funny and I can't put my finger on the cause of it. Could giving a puppy to much freedom cause stress and anxiety?

My new problem started because I had to start working, this week I started working from 8am-4pm and she was alone all day at our house and is extremely wound up by the time I get home. I tried getting up early enough to walk her before I had to leave but it just never worked out so I walk her when I get home. I start 4pm-12pm this Monday which will work out a little better because I can walk her before I leave that way she is tired when I have to go. I started seeing some aggression in her this past week though and I don't know if it is because of her being alone all day or if it is because she has so much pent up energy from being inside, what I do know is that she seriously freaked out on me Tuesday when I was trying to put her leash on. She started growling and biting hard, I don't feel it was a playful thing I think she was mad and this behavior is my worst fear, it really is, I don't want a temperamental dog, it is a sign of unhappiness and it carries a fear in me that I don't like. I love this puppy, I really do and I want so much to do what is best for her. I could go on all day about the things that are wrong or that went wrong but what I really want is to just find that thing that is right, for both of us, if anyone has any advice I would greatly appreciate any suggestions, thanks.

Oh, one more thing, my puppy loves to dig, is it a good idea to build her a sandbox and if so what is the best thing to use inside of it, regular sand or dirt?
Posted by Annie
Oct 19, 2008
Hi there,
your dog is Really a cutie! WOW!
It sounds like you have a bit of stress at the moment. I have been reading back through other posts and I am seeing that there are very clear stages in having a new dog that the owner feels overwhelmed, frustrated, dissappointed and negative. It sounds to me like you have a young dog, and are in a stage that it sometimes feels that your training is going back not forwards. There are a lot of outside influences in your life at the moment, but I think you are on the right track. I don´t believe with a owner like you that your dog will grow up to being an aggressive little monster, mostly because you are aware of the problems and are trying to improve them. Dogs will naturally go through phases of challenging their loved ones, but it´s sounds great if you can spend more time with her. Is she playing with other puppies much? This is incredibly important for the development of a dog.

All I want to say is, to go easy on yourself. I think you are doing lots of really REALLY good stuff and trying really hard. Don´t be scared that you are always a 'bad' mummy or that you are failing....I don´t see that at all.

Enjoy your new family member, it´s OK to be frustrated, have a laugh with other puppies owners.....the things we love do not alawys work out the way we planned...but often they turn out better....

I have no ideas over sand boxes, maybe someone else, but keep posting ideas, tips and questions as they come up....
take care,
Posted by Zoey
Nov 13, 2008
I feel your pain, I am training my 5 month old German shep pup and she lives part time with my girlfriend, her Mom and brother. She has free run of the yard, house and not much discipline, so when I get her there are times when she does not listen as well. Sure seems like I am starting over at times, it isn't helping. After a weekend with me she's incredable.
Good luck with your pup.