Puppy acts out when left with someone else, HELP!!
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Thread: Puppy acts out when left with someone else, HELP!!

  1. #1
    ArianneSayWhat is offline Junior Member
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    ExclamationPuppy acts out when left with someone else, HELP!!

    Hey everyone,

    I am a first time lab owner--11 week old yellow lab. Nala is very smart, she catches on training and changes in her environment very quickly with no major complaints... only with me though.

    When I work, I can't come home to take her out, so my roommates had been helping me out. Also, I had an emergency and had to leave for ~36 hours, and she was left with a friend to be taken care of while I was gone. My roommates and my friend both describe her as an angel when I'm around but a huge troublemaker when I'm not. She'll be getting attention and playtime from them, but it's as if she acts out.

    Here's some of the behaviors they're describing, which I haven't experienced with her when I'm around: she'll get loud, barking and growling in her crate until she's let out. When they're going to take her out of the crate, she'll growl, bark, and nip at them. Her chewing will turn destructive, and she seems to have a preference for power cords (I already had to replace my iPod USB cable and one of my roommate's straightener). Her (usually) soft nipping and biting turns hard, she actually broke skin on my friend's hand the other day, and ripped her pj pants when nipping at her ankles. Even if she's being taken out every 2-3 hours, she'll walk right back into the house to pee/poop inside, even though she just went! Sometimes, she'll get a random burst of energy where she'll be tearing through the place, running up and down the stairs, doing circles around the kitchen island and whoever's standing, jumping. Usually she can be taken out to potty or just walk around the house (supervised) without a leash, but with them she'll run away from them and the only way to catch her is to corner her; she'll even hide under furniture. She has the "sit" command down, but will not listen to anyone else. She'll also go potty in her crate and roll in her pee/poo, needing a bath every time.

    Is this some sort of separation anxiety issue, or is this normal for a puppy to act out when their owner isn't around? I mention separation anxiety only because when I am home she will follow me everywhere! Usually she goes potty outside, lets me know she has to go (with a few accidents, but then again she's a puppy!). If she gets restless some playtime will do. If the TV is on when she's crated you won't hear a peep out of her (we have this theory she watches TV lol). If unsupervised, she will not go in her crate until she's let out. She's usually a cuddler, and will just lay at your feet.

    I've thought about obedience classes, but she hasn't gotten her rabies shot yet (her appointment is on the 20th), so no place will take her yet. I got her at 8 weeks, and it definitely wasn't a reputable breeder--but I'm glad I saved her from an awful fate! (She looked underfed, was infested with fleas and roundworms, had a tick... you name it)

    Help!! With my schedule, she's going to need to be watched at times (up until she can hold it for 8 hours anyway). Also I got her while my husband is deployed, I don't want any issues between Nala and him when he gets back in December. I don't know what to do, as of right now none of my roommates or my friend are willing to help me with her anymore due to her behavior.
    Last edited by ArianneSayWhat; 06-07-2013 at 12:02 PM. Reason: Originally, I accidentally said Nala is 11 months old... She's actually 11 weeks. Whoops!

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  3. #2
    BigBrownDog is offline Senior Member
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    How is it that she does not have a rabies vaccine yet? My dogs were vaccinated for that as small puppies. She is at tremendous risk for a terrible disease and if she does bite, you could have some real trouble on your hands!

    She should not be having accidents at that age and she should be able to hold it for 8 hours.

    On her behavior - she sounds like a young, undisciplined, underexercised dog to me. How much structured exercise is she getting daily? I would vote for immediate obedience classes.
    Sharon, Blaise and Diesel.

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    ArianneSayWhat is offline Junior Member
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    BigBrownDog, thanks for your reply

    whoops, just realized I wrote "11 month old"--I meant 11 week old. Lol sorry hopefully it makes more sense now! I'll go ahead and edit it in the original post.

    She gets at least 2 20-30min walks a day, plus about 45 mins playtime inside with me and about 45 mins where I'm teaching her other commands. When I'm around, she's otherwise laying down staring at the TV with me (lol) or napping.

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    Labradory is offline Senior Member
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    11 weeks is still very young puppy. IMO your roommates are probably not as deligent as you are about puppy training. They probably play with her (because she is so stinkin' cute) even when Nala isn't behaving as you would want, ie; barking in crate. allowing the nipping until it turns bloody, etc. I think she is being overstimulated by them. Puppies don't need much encouragement to play!
    If she goes outside, someone must stay outside with her quietly until she does her business and then make a big deal. She should not be outside w/o a leash. She is playing "stayaway". Nala wants to be where the fun is, so she won't do what you expect if there is fun to be had without meeting your expectations.


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    Crystal87 is offline Senior Member
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    My sister-in-law reported the exact same thing with Jaxx when she watched him and still does complain from time to time. Apparently when he's with my husband and I, he is sweet and docile, plays hard with his toys, but doesn't misbehave. But she claimed he was a terror with her, yanking her hair, grabbing her clothes, lunging at her. She eventually realized she wasn't disciplining/training him enough. It seemed like a 'rules only apply when mommy and daddy are home'. :P

    ETA: It was fixed when he got more structured exercise and she upheld the same training/expectations we had for him. Also, it got better as he got older.

    Jaxx - 12/5/12
    Missy - 12/29/12

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    Dog Paddle is offline Senior Member
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    Her behaviour is absolutely normal and typical of puppy behaviour in many families. Often one person is better with the puppy and the rest have to learn. It sounds like you are more observant of her needs, thus you react when she needs you to, and you act appropriately. Roommates are like family, they all need to interact with the puppy on a regular basis and the same way you do. Not just when you go away. Plus, are you sure they took her out when she needed out? Did she get the same walks and playtime you give her? If this was a spouse situation we'd be saying the spouse she is the most trouble for is the one to take her to puppy classes and training classes.

    No one will take her into classes? There are no puppy classes where you live? Most where I am will take puppies after their first shot and around 10 weeks old. They don't wait till around 4 - 6 months for the rabies shot. Clear it with your Vet. Are you in a part of Europe where rabies outbreaks are at an all time high?

    Thank you for editing the original post with the correct age. You can put the reason in when you edit, then BBD won't seem nuts till we get to your second post.

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    ArianneSayWhat is offline Junior Member
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    Thank you all for your replies! I'll answer each one of you one by one.

    But first, a random thought: I happen to have a slightly deeper voice than most girls, so when I sternly tell her "no", "stop", etc., it's pretty obvious to her. The other girls however are on the higher pitch side, could it be Nala isn't taking them seriously when they talk to her because of their tone of voice/being soft spoken?

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    ArianneSayWhat is offline Junior Member
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    Labradory: She only goes out to potty without a leash when I take her out. Which might be part of the issue--when I first started potty training her, I noticed she wouldn't go (especially poo) unless she was standing far from me, like farther than the 6ft leash will allow. She's been doing that even when she had accidents in the house (she hasn't had any since I've been back in town, yay!). She's really good with me, whether it's in the house or outside she comes when I say "come." When I take her out, she does her business and runs back to the door, sits and waits for me to open it to go back inside. Maybe that's why she has trouble going potty outside with the girls since they leash her and I don't? Should I invest in a retractable leash so she can get her personal space and still be leashed when she goes potty?

    Like you said, there is the chance they're not as consistent and attentive in regards to training as I am--it's not their dog, anyway, and we're all going our separate ways in a month, so they don't have to deal with it for long. However, I've witnessed Nala getting rambunctious by the mere presence of someone other than me. I'll be sitting in the couch, she'll be at my feet, she'll hear the door open and takes off like a maniac just running everywhere and jumping at whoever came in. Yesterday she decided my friend's socks (while they were still on her feet) were a great thing to chew on, lol. But I'll call her over a few times and she'll settle down for a few minutes, then do it all over again if someone else is still around. It's only with people she knows, mind you. If she's out for a walk and a stranger walks by and wants to pet her she's the sweetest thing ever and stands still for it lol. She's kind of hesitant with males however, probably because she lives in a house full of girls!

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    ArianneSayWhat is offline Junior Member
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    Crystal87: That's probably what it is! Lol I have a feeling they're not keeping up with the training when I'm away--I had to reteach Nala "sit" after my 36 hour trip! Her nipping is only getting worse though, I'm thinking she's started teething. I'm glad to hear it'll get better as she gets older, that way hopefully there'll be no issues when she meets my husband in 6 months

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    ArianneSayWhat is offline Junior Member
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    Dog Paddle: Whew! I'm glad it's normal behavior and not separation anxiety or some other behavioral issue

    I'm hoping my roommates are taking her when she needs to, but I can see them misinterpreting Nala's cues to go outside for restlessness (she'll stare at you almost pointedly with ears half up, if that doesn't get someone's attention she'll cry (if she's in the crate) or start jumping up and propping herself up to me with furniture, or my leg which usually ends up scratching me, if that's not enough she'll start running like a mad dog back and forth from the door to wherever I'm at, finally she'll relieve herself in the foyer if not taken outside. Obviously after a couple of these episodes I caught on and I take her out whenever she "asks" or every 2-3 hours unless she's napping/sleeping. Anyway, the point is, I'm not sure if they're taking her out when she "asks" but they are helping me keep her on a consistent schedule.

    As for walks and playtime--I hope they wouldn't lie about walking her. But I do know they play because I get sent videos half the time of Nala being silly at play

    About classes--I'm in Florida. Everywhere I've checked will not let me register her for a class until she's had her rabies shot. I've checked anything from local breeders/trainers to the shelter, Petco, and Petsmart. She didn't get her first set of shots until she was 9 weeks old, the person I got her from never took her to the vet since birth, and when I took her the vet wanted to hold off on her shots another week because of her roundworm infestation, she wanted to treat that before giving her the shots. So, her appointment for her second round of shots and rabies shot is on 6/20. Until then, I guess I can't take her to a class yet!

    And thanks! I'm new here (obviously), I'll go ahead and add the reason for the edit to the original post now

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