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Thread: help for first time pup owners!

  1. #1
    6fthook is offline Junior Member
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    Defaulthelp for first time pup owners!

    This past Saturday my girlfriend and myself adopted a 9 week old lab/shepherd mix. We are first time dog owners so we just want to make sure we are doing everything right and have several questions.

    1. During the day even when one of us is home, is it ok to crate the pup for 2-3 hours while we get things done? Is this useful in making him like the crate or are we being counter-productive? He is fine at night since we put a sheet over, but during the day when we crate him he crys for a few minutes then just naps.

    2. When I bring him outside, he doesn't follow me, I thought pups usually follow people? He just sniffs around eating EVERYTHING in sight, and basically has a mind of his own.

    3. When I put him on the leash for a walk he just sniffs around and tries to wander off to the side sniffing and eating. When I pull lightly on the leash for him to follow, he doesn't respond. What should I do?

    4. Around the house he is CRAZY after naps, biting everything in sight including me. When I pull him away, I point to whatever he is biting and say a firm "NO" but then he starts to chomp on my hand and go back to whatever he was biting on. What should we do?

    5. Is playing tug of war with the pup bad? Does it make him think he is the "master" when he gets the toy?

    6. When we say "NO" to what he is doing and pull him off of it (chewing my shoes, etc.) he sometimes jumps back and goes into a "pounce" posture and growls a little and barks. Is he actually being aggressive or does he just want to play?

    7. When we feed him we try to have him sit first and be calm. But the second he sees the bowl he starts to jump around and bark and growl. It's the same when I'm about to give him a toy, he starts to bark and comes at me to chomp on my hand or ankles. What can we do?


    I would try to do a more in depth search of the forums and more research by reading more threads, but I cannot take an eye off the pup. I was barely able to type this up while he is napping.

    Thanks for any help you can provide!!
    Last edited by 6fthook; 04-21-2009 at 03:49 PM.

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  3. #2
    BigBrownDog is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by 6fthook View Post
    This past Saturday my girlfriend and myself adopted a 9 week old lab/shepherd mix. We are first time dog owners so we just want to make sure we are doing everything right and have several questions.

    1. During the day even when one of us is home, is it ok to crate the pup for 2-3 hours while we get things done? Is this useful in making him like the crate or are we being counter-productive? He is fine at night since we put a sheet over, but during the day when we crate him he crys for a few minutes then just naps. That is fine - just be sure that you are getting him out to potty on a regular schedule. He will nap quite a lot in his first few months anyway.
    2. When I bring him outside, he doesn't follow me, I thought pups usually follow people? He just sniffs around eating EVERYTHING in sight, and basically has a mind of his own. No - they don't naturally follow people and are very easily distracted and will put everything into their mouths - you have to watch him like a hawk.
    3. When I put him on the leash for a walk he just sniffs around and tries to wander off to the side sniffing and eating. When I pull lightly on the leash for him to follow, he doesn't respond. What should I do? He will need to learn how to walk on a leash - don't expect too much the first few tries - some puppies will fall down and flop like a fish out of water. He will eventually understand and follow along. Treating him (small bit of meat or dog treat) will help if you time it so that you treat him when he performs the behaviour you wish him to.
    4. Around the house he is CRAZY after naps, biting everything in sight including me. When I pull him away, I point to whatever he is biting and say a firm "NO" but then he starts to chomp on my hand and go back to whatever he was biting on. What should we do? All puppies are mouthy - they learn by mouthing things. You should use a sharp loud sound like a YIPE and remove your hand and present him with an appropriate chew object - a Nylabone is good a rawhide is bad. If he is really persistent stand and turn away from him holding your arms close to your body. If he is truly out of control you can crate him until he settles a bit - but know that a lot of this is coming from being full of energy. If you can channel the energy with play like fetch he will tire and be more fun.
    5. Is playing tug of war with the pup bad? Does it make him think he is the "master" when he gets the toy? That is mostly alpha dog nonsense. But - I don't like this game much with a puppy - I think it is bound to rile them up
    6. When we say "NO" to what he is doing and pull him off of it (chewing my shoes, etc.) he sometimes jumps back and goes into a "pounce" posture and growls a little and barks. Is he actually being aggressive or does he just want to play? It is play - you really need to police the house and puppy proof. You want there to be minimal opportunities for him to get in trouble. My puppy has no access to my shoes. Likewise we keep the bathroom door closed so he cannot unroll the toilet paper which is SO much fun.
    7. When we feed him we try to have him sit first and be calm. But the second he sees the bowl he starts to jump around and bark and growl. It's the same when I'm about to give him a toy, he starts to bark and comes at me to chomp on my hand or ankles. What can we do? I would start with small treats and teach him to sit and then immediately reward - you have to start with small lessons and then build them together - when he can reliably sit you can start on more complicated commands. Using treats and timing the delivery of the treats can make training your puppy a lot easier.
    I would try to do a more in depth search of the forums and more research by reading more threads, but I cannot take an eye off the pup. I was barely able to type this up while he is napping.

    Thanks for any help you can provide!!
    My responses are in bold above - you should also look into a puppy class and then an obedience class. Improvement in his behavior in your house will come with time but nothing you describe is unusual. Oh and one more thing - how you handle him can really influence his behavior - play rough with a puppy like this and you will make him a wild man. Play more gently and quietly and reward calmness and he will be more manageble. You have only had him for a few days - he is still settling in. He has had a MAJOR change in his life - give him a little time to settle down.
    Last edited by BigBrownDog; 04-21-2009 at 07:15 PM.
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  4. #3
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    Felix is offline Senior Member
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    1. During the day even when one of us is home, is it ok to crate the pup for 2-3 hours while we get things done? Is this useful in making him like the crate or are we being counter-productive? He is fine at night since we put a sheet over, but during the day when we crate him he crys for a few minutes then just naps.

    A crate is a good thing, it gives him a place for him self, and where he can sleep, specialy for pups, it is a good thing to crate them a few hours to get some sleep, and it is just very common that a pup in a new enviroment cry's like a mad man .. So, nothing special ...

    2. When I bring him outside, he doesn't follow me, I thought pups usually follow people? He just sniffs around eating EVERYTHING in sight, and basically has a mind of his own.

    New house, new enviroment, new EVRYTHING! .. As you have to adjust to having a *new* pup around the house, also he has to settle down, and he has a lot of 'things' to explore, so for now it is a bit over welming for him, but give it some time ..

    3. When I put him on the leash for a walk he just sniffs around and tries to wander off to the side sniffing and eating. When I pull lightly on the leash for him to follow, he doesn't respond. What should I do?

    Sniffing around is oke .. But, dogs dont have hands like you and me, the only thing they could do, to explore is using their mouth. But, you can already start with teaching him, that eating out of the streets is a no go area! ..

    4. Around the house he is CRAZY after naps, biting everything in sight including me. When I pull him away, I point to whatever he is biting and say a firm "NO" but then he starts to chomp on my hand and go back to whatever he was biting on. What should we do?

    Aaah, over enthousiastic after a nap, and willing to play, it just good behaviour. But, if it goes to roughly it isnt fun any more, but i gues, you already have discover that by youre self .. What you could do, if it goes to rough, just scream loud out "AUCH!".. Turn around, and ignore him. This is the way, dogs also do if they play with their brothers and sisters (and even wild little wolfs do it this way).

    5. Is playing tug of war with the pup bad? Does it make him think he is the "master" when he gets the toy?

    It isnt a full grown dog yet .. So, playing tug of war with such little 'thing' .. I whouldnt should do that

    6. When we say "NO" to what he is doing and pull him off of it (chewing my shoes, etc.) he sometimes jumps back and goes into a "pounce" posture and growls a little and barks. Is he actually being aggressive or does he just want to play?

    Dogs at this age doesnt know any agression, no living 'thing' on this earth is being born agressive .. But you can easily make a person or a animal a agresive creature.. But, if he barks or growl at you when you dont want him to chew up youre shoes, he just want to say, leave .. this is intresting stuff!

    7. When we feed him we try to have him sit first and be calm. But the second he sees the bowl he starts to jump around and bark and growl. It's the same when I'm about to give him a toy, he starts to bark and comes at me to chomp on my hand or ankles. What can we do?

    It depend on what kind of bark he shows you, but mostley it is a demanding 'bark' (he realy wants HIS food, and well RIGHT NOW!) .. But, a dog who's barking and growling at/with toys, is a good thing if you direct it in a good way -> go to puppclass, and keepup following obedience classes, you will see that he has fun in 'doing' things with you ...

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  6. #4
    Sherlock is offline Junior Member
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    I've just been going through some of the same things you described. Watson is 4 months old now, and is getting gradually better, so here's my two cents:

    1. During the day even when one of us is home, is it ok to crate the pup for 2-3 hours while we get things done?


    Sometimes you need to do that to keep sane.

    2. When I bring him outside, he doesn't follow me, I thought pups usually follow people?
    3. When I put him on the leash for a walk he just sniffs around and tries to wander off to the side sniffing and eating.


    Watson took a while to get used to the leash. We've been training him loose leash walking with kibble and treats, giving them to him when he walks right by us. It takes time.

    4. Around the house he is CRAZY after naps, biting everything in sight including me.

    I still have bite marks all over my hands. They can be stubborn, but if you do what you're supposed to, yelping, time outs, etc. eventually he'll catch on -- it took a month for us to see any change in Watson with play biting, and he's far from perfect.

    5. Is playing tug of war with the pup bad? Does it make him think he is the "master" when he gets the toy?


    I think it takes a while for him to develop an idea of what tug of war is about. I stopped playing it until we learned how to do the "give" command in puppy class.

    6. When we say "NO" to what he is doing and pull him off of it (chewing my shoes, etc.) he sometimes jumps back and goes into a "pounce" posture and growls a little and barks. Is he actually being aggressive or does he just want to play?

    He's playing. You just need to keep working with him and not let him get away with stuff. He'll get better.

    7. When we feed him we try to have him sit first and be calm. But the second he sees the bowl he starts to jump around and bark and growl. It's the same when I'm about to give him a toy, he starts to bark and comes at me to chomp on my hand or ankles. What can we do?


    Two things, 1) put him behind a baby gate while you prepare his food, then only remove the baby gate and put the food down when he calms down. The first few times you do this, IT WILL BE HARD. He'll throw a fit. Watson did the same thing. But he finally learned that only calm doggies get food around here. He now waits calmly for me to put his bowl down. 2) feed him little by little. I put Watson's dose of food in a plastic bag and give him one handfull at a time. He needs to sit or do a down for every handfull of kibble. He's a lot calmer knowing that the way to get food is to work for it, and not barking and jumping.

    Hope these help.

  7. #5
    Bob Pr. is offline Senior Member
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    You might find it helpful to read through the thread "Our best advice" on the forum that just preceded this one. While you can no longer post there, you can still read the posts. That thread contains a lot of advice from many people.

    https://www.justlabradors.com/forum/i...ic,1694.0.html


    Last edited by Bob Pr.; 04-27-2009 at 01:56 PM.
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    http://forum.justlabradors.com/showt...?p=748#post748

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    kimmibear is offline Junior Member
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    I was SO glad to read your questions... my puppy is 10 weeks and has many of the same "issues"... Glad to know they're normal and that so many of you have great advice.

  9. #7
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    sarah is offline Senior Member
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    I agree with everything! Such wonderful advice you have been given.

    I have one more bit of advice. Please try not to use the word "No" I have a friend who's dog thinks her name is "Shelby no" She won't come to Shelby... just "Shelby no" LOL.

    try and use a sound or growl to convey you aren't happy. We used to use "aaaggghhh!" And gave Milly commands for certain things. Chewing shoes "give" to hand the shoe over when she did "good girl!" and gave an acceptable chew toy to her. On the couch? "Off Milly!" then "good girl!!!" Another good command is "leave it"

    I really think though that you need to stick with the basics. Teach your puppy to sit and then get him to calm down at dinner times with the great advice you have been given. From there you can train 'leave it' and 'give' they are extremely invaluable commands to teach. And so is off for jumping on furniture and guests But as BBD said, take baby steps and slowly piece it together.

    And don't be afraid to use the crate, but don't get into the habit of placing your puppy in there everytime he's been naughty. You want him to LIKE his crate so play in there with him and give him treats in there, feed in there etc...

    Good Luck!!
    Sarah & Milly - Sydney Australia






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