Crabby puppy doesn't know how to relax
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Thread: Crabby puppy doesn't know how to relax

  1. #1
    hunters_mom is offline Junior Member
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    UnhappyCrabby puppy doesn't know how to relax

    Hi everyone,

    I was hoping I could get some help, advice, or even experiences similar to this.

    My lab, Hunter, is 13 weeks old. He does not know how to relax unless he is put in his crate. He will walk around anxious, nipping and whining at us (sometimes barking). It happens when he's tired. He's definitely not full of energy as this usually happens when we come back from a walk or playing. He walks slowly and sleepily, and will not play. He reminds me of a crabby, tired kid who refuses to go to bed, but once they get in bed, they pass out. When we wait to see if he will settle, he gets worse and more destructive.

    We have to physically put him in his crate for him to relax. I'd rather not do this as he has to be in the crate when we are not home and we'd like him out and around us as much as he can be. He also will not go into his crate alone, but once he is put inside, he lies down and settles. I put a doggie bed for him in the living room and have made chew toys available. He chews for a minute or two before he goes around anxious and whiny again. He even does this sound that sounds like he is nagging us.

    He's not a scared, anxious puppy. He meets a lot of puppies in class and has a lot of exposure to people. He's never had a problem with confidence.

    Has anyone had any experience with this? Will he grow out of this and learn to relax a little around us? Or am I forced to put him in his crate every time he gets a little sleepy? I'd like to cuddle eventually

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    windycanyon is offline Senior Member
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    Have you spoken to your breeder? Nope, I've not encountered this. In fact, my pup from a fairly "high geared" mom, is about as mellow as they come. Almost making me nervous. I find her down on the futon in the basement SLEEPING by herself regularly. She's 4 mos old now.... sigh.

    WindyCanyon Girls, August 2014

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    lablover34198 is offline Senior Member
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    My lab did this a lot when she was still very young. Not sure if I have great advice as she wasn't so much destructive as more a wind up! She would just go and half hearted ku do something annoying. I would basically ignore her moaning and gradually she would grumble and lie down, it was almost like she had to wait until her body was way too tired to keep going. Now she still wanders a bit but generally settles very quick and he now has a few choice spots where she likes to chill. Not great advice but I know how u feel.

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    hunters_mom is offline Junior Member
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    Thanks for the replies!

    windycanyon, I wish Hunter was more mellow like that! There's still hope for him yet, though. You mention you find her downstairs..do you think it's a good idea to give them some alone time in a room? Maybe me just being there is distracting? I don't know if that takes away from the main goal of relaxing while we are there though

    And lablover, I would have to agree that it isn't really destructive behavior, more trying to get some kind of attention. For instance, he'll grab a shoe or nip at the couch (something he never does when he's not tired). And it's how you describe it-- half-hearted. I'm glad to hear your pup finally learned to relax a little!

    I talked to my trainer about it and she said he might be too young to regulate himself. He doesn't understand when he's tired. He feels it, which is why he gets crabby, but doesn't know that that means it's time to find a spot to relax. She said I should continue to crate him to make sure he gets enough rest if he's not doing it himself and that he should grow out of it. I tried following your advice, lablover, to just ignore his whining for a while and let him wander. He did manage to lie down in the kitchen for about five minutes while I was in the living room. I was in shock!

    I think I'm just going to have to accept that hes young and curious and doesn't know when it is time to call it quits. I'm sure he'll learn to relax soon enough

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    onecrazymamma is offline Junior Member
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    Think about children and their behavior when they are overtired - they sometimes get crazy, unable to settle, etc - I use the crate/rest - potty - play - (eat if time of day) - crate/rest routine for our pups and it definitely helps limit the over-tired behavior you are seeing. I find that our pup, currently almost 9 weeks, has the most time settling down in the evening. I am trying to train her to settle on her bed near us, but it's been tough, each night gets better. A lot of times, we will put her in her crate for just 10 minutes or so to "cue" her to settle, and then take her out to snuggle with her. Works like a charm!

    Good luck!

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    calilab is offline Junior Member
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    Hi, I don't have a lot of experience with your exact scenario as our puppy falls into the super mellow category but there are times when I'm ready for him to lay down. So, I usually put some peanut butter in a kong and he takes it his bed and works on getting it out. Once this is done he is usually mentally tired and goes to sleep. So, that's the best advice I have. Hope that helps.

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    windycanyon is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by hunters_mom View Post
    Thanks for the replies!

    windycanyon, I wish Hunter was more mellow like that! There's still hope for him yet, though. You mention you find her downstairs..do you think it's a good idea to give them some alone time in a room? Maybe me just being there is distracting? I don't know if that takes away from the main goal of relaxing while we are there though

    And lablover, I would have to agree that it isn't really destructive behavior, more trying to get some kind of attention. For instance, he'll grab a shoe or nip at the couch (something he never does when he's not tired). And it's how you describe it-- half-hearted. I'm glad to hear your pup finally learned to relax a little!

    I talked to my trainer about it and she said he might be too young to regulate himself. He doesn't understand when he's tired. He feels it, which is why he gets crabby, but doesn't know that that means it's time to find a spot to relax. She said I should continue to crate him to make sure he gets enough rest if he's not doing it himself and that he should grow out of it. I tried following your advice, lablover, to just ignore his whining for a while and let him wander. He did manage to lie down in the kitchen for about five minutes while I was in the living room. I was in shock!

    I think I'm just going to have to accept that hes young and curious and doesn't know when it is time to call it quits. I'm sure he'll learn to relax soon enough
    Heck no, if you think I'm relaxed by that, forget it! LOL. But w/ this one, she seems to know where she wants/ needs to be, and so far, no issues. But do I watch?? Heck YES!!!! This isn't my first rodeo.. lol. Kanzi is lucky # 13 to be raised here, lol.

    WindyCanyon Girls, August 2014

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    hunters_mom is offline Junior Member
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    Thanks everyone for your comments! I appreciate it.

    I don't know what happened. But he did about a 180 a day ago. He lied down next to me on the couch without biting at me or smooshing my face with his paws or licking me nonstop! What a great feeling it was only a short while, but I was so happy. Having a dog lie down next to you and just relax is such a comforting feeling. Today my SO said he did the same with him and lo and behold, after work, he was happy to sit with me for a bit. I try to wait as long as I can and lead him away from his bad behavior when he's tired, hoping he'll settle down. He does every now and then for a bit (and even dozed for a couple mintues in the living room last night!). Still not fully there, but making progress already. I think he's learning that, oh the house is actually boring and I don't need to be awake and alert to see everything every minute.

    onecrazymamma, I try to stick to the same routine as you do! But, since he's in the crate when we're at work, I would like him to be able to enjoy the house when he can. For now, he's mostly resting in the crate. I will have to try your pre-crate settle...seems like a really good idea.

    calilab, I like to use the frozen peanut butter in the kong when I know he isn't overly tired, but I have to leave the house. He is SO happy when he sees the kong come out. I started feeding him his dinner with it too, since he would just guzzle down his dinner in a minute when it was in a bowl. Thanks for your suggestion.

    windycanyon...number 13?! Wow. She's lucky that you have so much experience to work with! This is my first lab. I had a dog growing up, but it was more my parent's responsibility than my own...and I remember NOTHING about puppy years.

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