i don't know how to be patient w/ him!

Posted by singinmedic
Jul 22, 2008
we just got a new puppy last thursday, and i am just overwhelmed. my husband is out of town for the next couple of weeks, and i don't know how to do it by myself! we seem to have sit mastered, and we are getting pretty good at potty training. but, now, it seems like new things are coming up! his jumping has increased(more so when i am in bed..we don't want him on the bed because it is a safe place for our cat), and he is beginning to chew things he didn't before, like paper, shirts, shoes, his bed. he also started digging up cat poop and eating it. i started trying to clicker train him yesterday..not sure if that is working yet. i am working my way through the book, but i am just frustrated. my friend is telling me to get a trainer, and i am not sure what is my fault or not. i am trying to be firm, and use strong commands, but sometimes, he thinks i am just playing, and other times, he obeys. i realize we haven't even had him a week, but i have a long shift tomorrow, and am concerned about leaving him. he is sort of getting used to the crate, but barks a lot once he is put in it.

i guess i just need a little encouragement and what not. he really is a loving dog, but just is young i guess?(a bit over 3 months)...and a lot of separation anxiety.

sleep has been difficult, so i think it makes it a lot harder too, so i just wanted to get some outside and experienced thoughts on the matter..

thank you:
Posted by Annie
Jul 24, 2008
Hi there,
You sound really stressed and tierd. I´m sorry you are not enjoying your new arrival. You sound like your expectations about owning a dog were very high.

I´m sorry to say that owning a dog, and especially a young baby is an incredible ammount of work. It really does feel like 1 step forward and 6 steps back. I´m also sorry to say that the improvements that come will come slowly and it will be later, when you look back, that you see how far you both have come.It takes a lot of work and patience, and many people under estimate what this involves. If you are willing to stick it out you will have a friend and a well trained happy dog, but until your training starts to show, it will be a lot of sleepless nights and busy days. It can be more work than a human baby. Your dog sounds to me like a energy-full puppy and has a lot to learn, but you should take pride in getting him to sit so well. That´s really teriffic!

Potty training is a must but it does take a little while for the baby to 'get it'. All I can say is stick with it, we all know how tiring it can be and how frustrating. If, however, you choose to give him away, do it soon while he is still a fresh little fella and check his new home carefully. Don´t feel like a failure, just consider perhaps that this is not the right stage in your lives to take on this much extra work...
Take care, and good luck,
Posted by MaxHollyNoah
Jul 25, 2008
Hi singinmedic!

You really sounded stressed out in your both postings so I would like to help you out if possible.

I think Annie is right about raising puppies. I don't know how old you are but if you had babies of your own, you know you had sleepless nights and frustrations and sometimes desperations, so forth.

I think what you need to do this point is to crate train your puppy. I don't know much about crate training but I could suggest you get a crate and put him in there with some chew toys such as bones, balls, Kongs, etc. for short time to start with so that he will get used to the crate. Then, leave him in his crate during the night and leave the crate as far as possiblle from your bedroom in the house. Usually dogs don't like to wet their bed so he might be able to hold until the morning. He will probably cry or whine but you should ignore the first few nights and he will get used to the crate.

Young dogs tend to take being scolded/reprimanded as a play so don't burn yourself. Ignoring your dog is not bad especially when you need a little break. However, be careful not to make the crate as a punishment.

I never used crate for my dogs but I hear a lot of good things about crating your dogs. I hope someone can give you more details in crate training.

Don't let yourself stress out so much, your puppy senses it and it does not work favorably for neither of you.

Good luck!
Posted by taniajennifer
Jul 28, 2008
hi singinmedic:

just a few words of experience and encouragement. with my first dog i had NO idea what i was in for (even though i did my research and should have - it just didnt sink in i guess) he was the most difficult dog i have ever had and i made a lot of mistakes on him and it was HARDER than when i had a new baby in the house. i felt guilty all the time and was constantly worried about progress and the lack of it. and i did go to a training class. so you are not alone in your feelings. some puppies are definately more difficult than others.

the best advice i can extend (in addition to annie and maxhollynoah, who really knows her stuff and has given me great advice in the past - thanks maxhollynoah!) is to stick with the alpha exercises! that is the most important. dogs are pack animals that look for a leader. in this case it is you! and you can do it!!!
-no sleeping in your bed,
-always have him walking behind or at your side even if you only get halfway down the street and back because you have to keep stopping or changing direction,
-dont walk around him, make him get up and move out of your way,
-umbilical in the house would be helpful with this one also i think
- etc.
I like to keep in mind that a good way to establish control over your dog is to provide:
#1. exercise, #2. discipline and lastly #3. affection - in that order! We often inadvertently reward wrong behaviours with affection without meaning to. Provide lots of calm and gentle loving when you catch the puppy doing what you want - being calm and quiet and obedient.

he is first and foremost a dog, not a person, so its ok to ignore him when he or you need it! dont make the mistake of humanizing him with human emotions and then torturing yourself with guilt and empathy. he is dog and he actually wants you to give him clear and firm boundaries. he doesnt need constant doting care and attention - he needs rules.

I have crate trained in the past - it wasnt so great for me but my sister and many many others swear by it. i think it is awesome but its just that my first dog has bowel issues and kept getting diareahea all over his crate when crated at night and it was so awful to try and clean him and the crate up at 6 am EVERYDAY before work and it was so stressful for him to make a mess and on my god i dont even want to think about it all again. it was a terrible time.

so you are not alone in your frustration and worries. its hard but like annie said,try to take heart in the small successes in the beginning. the progress is little baby steps in the beginning but then,once he figures out it is more fun to behave because you will make it more rewarding to have good manners and boring to not follow the rules, then he will probably take off in leaps and bounds. and then, of course he will backslide and regress and we start all over again. that's dog ownership. steps forward and backward. take it seriously but dont beat yourself up. the dog will only exploit that.
be all yoga about it and just work in the moment.

good luck and chin up. you can do it!

tania & libby the good dog
(who learned how to play hide and seek thanks to maxhollynoah)