(The initial post was pretty long, so as advised by BigBrownDog I've streamlined it.)
My 11 week old lab, Duke, is probably the best pet a first timer could have had. He's awesome and very hard not to love.
The few things I need advice on --
#He was taken from his mom and littermates at 6 weeks and went through two homes before ending up in mine when he was nearly 8 weeks. So his bite inhibition is somewhat faulty. I know he's going through his teething period (how long does teething last, by the way?) and usually his bites are soft and affectionate, only sometimes he goes into crazy bite-y phase and if he can get hold of our ankles or arms he bites hard enough to draw blood. Right after that if I hold him and show him the blood he becomes apologetic and licks it and calms down.
Will this pass as I keep teaching him bite-inhibition? (I say "ow" and take my hand away, ignore him and sometimes when he's more energetic I gently hold his mouth close and say "No Bite.")
#I thought labs loved water and he does like to play with the water flowing out of the bathroom taps, but I tried putting him in my bathtub full of ankle-deep water and all he did was try to scramble out of it. Should I keep trying till he's comfortable enough to play in the tub water or is a bathtub too restrictive?
#We don't have a yard. Usually he's free to roam my floor and most of the rooms on it, but he's growing up really fast and is pretty energetic now. How do I exercise him enough to keep him entertained. He still has two of his shots left so I can't take him out yet. I teach him commands and play with him but he's still restless. Should I ignore him till he settles down?
#Currently I'm spending most of my time at home. For the three weeks he's been with me, he's had me near him constantly. This can't be good for him right? I've started going out for an hour or so every other day and sometimes he's fine with that while at other times he barks and bangs on the glass door that lets out to the stairwell.
Will this lessen as he gets more used to my being away for a few hours? (I always take care to feed him and leave plenty of water before I go).
#Finally, he was pretty easy to toilet train for the most parts. I have a tiny unused balcony next to the bathroom where he's been pooping for the last two weeks. Sometimes he poops in the bathroom instead of the balcony but never in any other room. He's beginning to get the hang of holding long enough to pee there too, so I'm pretty happy. The only thing is he's shown no preference for any particular spot when peeing or pooping and tends to use the whole balcony/bathroom area as one big toilet for his use. I clean everything up immediately but of course the smell must linger in the bathroom for him. Should I use white vinegar on the bathroom floor so he knows only to use the balcony?
I know that the answers to some of these questions probably seem commonsensical enough but I've never owned a dog before and I'm scared of doing something wrong and screwing up his training. We don't have dog parks or trainers or anything like that in my city, so I have to train him myself.
Last edited by artemis-wilde; 04-05-2013 at 02:35 AM. Reason: previous post was too long and rambling
Until he has all of his shots, I would keep doing exactly what you're doing as far as play goes. If you haven't brought him in to the vet yet to get his vaccinations started, I would do that right away.
Have you tried crate training him? That will help as far as housebreaking him goes and it will prevent him from banging on the glass, which could be dangerous. Crates are also really good because they will keep him from getting into trouble when you can't supervise him and dogs are den animals, so it will be a safe space for him - if you train him to enjoy his crate. I would start by leaving him in the crate for little bits at a time with a Kong filled with something tasty (all-natural peanut butter is usually a no-fail) while you are in the same room as him. Then increase the amount of time that he is in there for and eventually work your way up to leaving the room (but still remaining at home). When you are ready to leave him alone in the crate and leave him alone in the house, start with only going away for maybe 10 minutes. Leaving the radio on helps too, as he will associate it with you. It is also VERY important that when he whines or fusses in the crate (aside from when he needs to be let out to go pee), which he will, that you just ignore him. No eye contact, no "it's okay", no taking him out, and certainly no yelling or banging on the crate. Just act like he's not there. Eventually he will learn that whining gets him no where and that he only gets to come out when he is calm and quiet.
You will probably have to teach him to retrieve as well. He will need to learn to bring the ball back to you.
If he bites you, yelp loudly and pull your hand, foot, etc., away from him and then ignore him. That will be more effective, as it will let him know that it hurt you.
I hope that helps. Good luck!!! And remember to always use positive reinforcement.
Also, this is a GREAT book - After You Get Your Puppy by Ian Dunbar
No Matter how little money and how few possessions you own, having a dog makes you rich." -Louis Sabin
I'm going to suggest that you read this thread which is located permanently at the top of the Puppies page here > https://www.justlabradors.com/forum/t...new-owner.html
There is a great deal of relevant basic training info here. Once you are past that, please post your questions. If I may give you a bit of advice - your post is quite long and many won't bother to read such a long story to find your question. Simple, to the point posts work best. Welcome to the board.
Sharon, Blaise and Diesel.
One of the most important things to teach a young pup is how to be alone. A crate is great for this. Pups need to be able to entertain themselves when their humans can't give them attention. This helps to make a well adjusted dog. Even though now you work from home my guess is at some point in the next 10-15 years that will change so I'd work with teaching the pup how to be alone.
When the pup gets wound up and starts biting grab some treats and channel that energy into a training session. You can teach them a ton of stuff at this age with a clicker and some treats.
Deep Run Traveling "Takoda" (12/05/12)
Deep Run Easygoing Ezekial "Zeke" (04/13/17)
@jjfordogs and @awackywabbit
Thank you! I've been considering a crate for him and if it helps him adjust to my leaving him for longer periods than 10 minutes then I'll go for it. Should it be an adult sized crate or a puppy one? See, he's already grown a lot in the last three weeks and I've been told he'll be almost full sized by the six month mark. So does it make more sense to get a big one?
Also, good idea about turning his aggressive moments into training sessions. That might suit us very well!
Reposted the thread with more to-the-point questions. It's still pretty long though. =) I do refer to the *best advice* post. It's very helpful, if a bit general. Thanks!
Wow! He is SUCH a cutie. I can definitely relate to your post as my pup was the same way in most aspects. Sophie did not like the bath tub at all! She would scramble to get out as soon as I set her in. So I resorted to using the hose outside to wash her, which she liked that! She doesn't like the tub but she definitely likes the swimming pool. I'm sure Duke will love to swim eventually.
Sophie was a HUGE biter when she was young! How I got her to stop biting was completely ignoring her once she nipped me. I would yell OW in a pain stricken voice, stop playing with her and turn my back to her. So to her biting=no play time. To help with the teething, there are some chew toys available at Petco/Petsmart that you can freeze and it is supposed to help with the gums. Sophie loved this.
I recommend using a crate for Duke and putting him in there a few times a day for 30 minutes or so. It's hard to ignore the crying and yelping to get out but it will stop with time...
@BigBrownDog - Made the post less rambling. Thanks for the advice. =)
@jjfordogs - I like the book a lot, thanks. I just downloaded it from his site. Also, crate training - I was considering and it does sound like good advice.
@awackywabbit - Good idea about turning his aggressive moments into training periods. It seems like something that could work with him.
@AmyA92 - I'm so glad mine isn't the only lab that hates the tub. =) After his shots are done I'll take him to my cousin's where they have a big pool. Hopefully he'll like that. But does your retriever have trouble retrieving too? =D
I'm sure he will love it! Might have to do some encouraging to get him in the pool but once he's in I bet you he will have the time of his life!! And no. Lol that's what Sophie's world revolves around is the tennis ball. Fetch is her all time favorite game. It wasn't always like that though..I would have to throw the ball in front of her..she would chase it..pick it up..and then that's when I jumped with joy, very enthusiastically told her to come here and she would bring it. This didn't happen all in one day but I'm sure duke will get the hang of it!! More pictures! He's adorable
Often times puppies mouths are sore when teething and they are uninterested in playing fetch. Give him some time. I found wetting kitchen dish towels or wash cloths and freezing them then giving to puppy really helped with sore gums. Just make sure to supervise, you definitely don't want an expensive surgery to remove a swallowed towel!
As for crate size, buy the size you will need as an adult and use dividers to make the space the appropriate size. Many come with the dividers but you can easily make one if necessary. Make sure puppy has enough room to stand, turn around and lay down comfortably.
Personally. I would not use crazed, wound up puppy time to try training. I found that Maxx was often just over tired and I would put him in his crate where he would promptly fall asleep for 30 minutes or so and wake up his happy go lucky self. All dogs are different but training never would have worked for Maxx when he was that worked up.
Definitely use vinegar or an odor neutralizer product like Natures Miracle to clean any accidents.
Good luck, it sounds like you are definitely on the right track, puppies are so much fun and in no time that little puppy will be a distant memory! Enjoy him!
Maxx & Emma Jean
Ozzy - 10/16/02 - 06/28/11 - Always in my heart.
Sometimes the hardest part isn't letting go - but learning to start over.
No, I know what you mean. If I put Duke in a crate when he's riled up there's no way he would stay in. What I meant was while he's trying to bite my ankle or hands in his periodic bite-hard phases I could distract him by training him on commands like "sit", "down" and "roll over". I've already tested this and it works well to calm him down. If he's settled enough to register the commands and follow them then he no longer wants to actively mutilate my flesh. =D
I know how quickly his puppy weeks vanishing. I wish they didn't grow up quite this fast. I won't ever be able to pick him up for random cuddles when he's all grown. =(