Dog Training/Puppy nightmare :(
Oh my goodness, it's hard to stop crying long enough to type.... I am a sleep-deprived mess. My husband and I have had our mini-dachshund puppy Mal, male, 10 weeks old, for only 11 days but I already feel like I won't be able to handle him much longer. I feel so incredibly stupid. He's a mess. I'M a mess. Crate training is not working AT ALL; he whines and shrieks all night and there is nowhere we can put him that we won't hear him. Refuses to be paper-trained, pees in his crate, bites me, my husband, the children I take care of-the nipping is just atrocious!! I have tried everything from saying no, yelping like another puppy would, shoving a chew toy in his face, shaking a can of coins, giving time-outs in his crate.....everything. He just refuses to LEARN. I thought having a puppy would be wonderful, I did everything right!!! Went to a reputable breeder, got a great vet, bought all the right equipment, toys and food, signed him up for puppy training.....and just 11 days later my home reeks of urine, my hands are covered in painful bite marks and I haven't slept, to the point where I am having auditory hallucinations and forgetting the ATM pin # I've had for ten years. I am in desperate need of HELP. The puppy seems to love me and likes sitting on my lap and cries when I leave the room and all that but I can't bond with him properly unless he starts obeying me and just being more manageable! Everyone I know with dogs say their pups were crate trained in a couple weeks, with better success every night. Mal has had ZERO success. 11 nights later he cries for just as long and has just as many accidents. I'm losing my mind. I don't want to give him back to the breeder (though she has stated that she would take him back) but I feel I may soon have no choice if I am to sleep and be able to function at work and be happy again; that's what makes all of this so hard, I thought the puppy would bring joy, not misery and stress. :( It's 3:13 a.m. and after soaking his crate pad with pee and pooping on the floor while I tried to clean it, then howling for two hours, he's all curled up asleep on my damn pillow while I huddle at the end of my bed. This is SO not fun. I have approached this with a sweet, gentle attitude and have been exercising and feeding him properly, playing, petting, everything. I'm not cruel and I don't yell. He has everything he needs and all I am getting out of this relationship is terrible stress and stomach pain. Please tell me....what can I possibly do to take back control of this???!! I WANT my dog, but I need to have him act like a normal puppy and actually LEARN!!! Please please please help me. :(
It is unusual to hear such a horror story with a puppy and such a little one at that.
I am including below several documents, I hand out to my students and hopefully these will give you some insight into where you may be going wrong.
These are generic so after reading them if you have further questions please contact me again.
A lot of dog owners feel that crate training puppies is cruel. This thinking is wrong and it prevents them from taking advantage of the best house training tool - a crate.
If you can avoid some common crate training mistakes, your puppy will enjoy the time he spends in his crate.
You see, just like wolves, dogs are den animals. A crate provides them with the same sense of security that a den would have provided them in the wild.
The tricky part about crate training puppies lies in the fact that unless you use a crate correctly, you will not achieve the desired result.
What follows are some tips and suggestions you can use right away. Further down, there is a page where I talk more about crate training your puppy.
So, without wasting any more time, let's review some...
• The first step in crate training puppies is to decide where to place the crate. Because puppies are social animals, it's best to keep the crate in an area where your family spends a lot of time, but avoid placing it next to air vents or in direct sunlight.
• Put a soft blanket inside the crate. To make your puppy feel more secure, put the crate next to a wall and cover the sides with a towel. Or get a Crate wear Pet Dreams 3-Piece Complete Crate Bed Set that includes a mattress, padded bumpers and a crate cover.
• Though buckle collars are generally safe, it's not a good idea to use them when crate training puppies. Why? Because even a flat collar can get stuck between metal bars and injure your puppy.
• The best time for crate training is when your puppy is hungry, bored, or... both.
• Never force your pet to enter the crate. If he needs some encouragement, put some of his favourite toys or food inside the crate (from my experience, food works better than toys).
Initially, leave them near the door and leave the crate door open. As your pet becomes more comfortable, you may move the toys further inside his crate.
• If the above doesn't work, try another approach...
Some puppies get anxious when encouraged to enter the crate but will venture inside on their own if there is an incentive.
• One of the most difficult parts of crate training puppies is locking your pet in his crate for the first (and second, and third, and... times). Here is a trick I learned a long time ago.
With my dog inside the crate and eating, I lock the door, but only for the duration of his meal. Even if he notices that I locked the door, most likely, he will be too busy eating to express his displeasure. As soon as he finishes eating, I open the door. As you repeat this exercise, keep the door locked a little longer each time.
• Always praise your puppy for doing things right. Did he just enter his crate for the first time? Or maybe he didn't cry when you locked the door? I am sure you'll agree these milestones deserve some praise and a treat or two!
• Don't try to accomplish too much too soon. As you begin crate training your puppy, keep the sessions short and gradually increase the training time when your puppy is ready.
• A crate is the most valuable tool for training puppies. But to get the most benefits out of crate training, your puppy can't associate his crate with anything negative. So, never use it for punishment.
Housebreaking your new puppy is going to take patience. You should begin to housebreak as soon as you bring your new puppy home. Puppies need to relieve themselves approximately six times a day. A puppy should be taken out immediately after each meal since a full stomach puts pressure on the colon and bladder.
A puppy is not physically able to control the muscle that allows him to "hold it" until he is about 12 weeks of age. Before this time, good housebreaking routines should be practiced to avoid having your puppy urinate and defecate all over your house. Watch for signs of urination or defecation, such as turning in circles. Take your puppy out often. Using a crate or confining your puppy to a small part of the house that has easy clean up floors are some ways to ensure your puppy does not urinate all over your house. It is much harder to housebreak a puppy if he smells is urine in places you do not wish him to relief himself.
There are many different methods in which you can housebreak your pet, however I find Crate training the most effective. Whichever way you choose, it is important to understand your puppy. Dogs want to please; the trick is to make them understand what it is you want from them.
Dogs do not think the way humans do. When you are unhappy with your dog, it assumes that whatever it is doing at the exact moment you show disapproval - is the thing that is upsetting you.
If your puppy relieves himself on your floor and you show your disapproval five minutes after he has committed the act, the puppy will think that the mess on the floor is bad. He will not relate to the fact that it was the act of relieving himself on your floor that you disapprove of. The dog will eliminate, see the mess and get worried; you are now going to be unhappy. This is the reason so many dogs will relieve themselves in inappropriate places and look really guilty about it, yet they continue to do it. Dogs want to please, right?
Some owners start to think that their dog is being sneaky when really it does not fully understand what it is doing wrong. It knows the mess upsets you but does not understand that it should stop "making" the mess. To your dog, these two things: "the mess" and "the act" are unrelated.
The trick is to catch your dog in the act and make him understand. You do not need to hit your dog. The tone of your voice is enough to make the dog see you are unhappy.
A firm "Eh! Or other correction sound. You are not allowed to go in the house. “Eh!” or other correction sound is all that is needed.
Immediately take your dog outside to the appropriate place. Wait for your dog to go again and when and if he does, praise him. Important: Always praise your dog after he eliminates in the appropriate place.
Crate Training Caution:
Before you crate train, please be aware: a dog that is left in a crate all day long, gets let out in the evening after work for a few hours and put back in the crate for the night can become neurotic, destructive, unhappy and noisy.
If you work all day, it is recommended that you find someone who can take your dog out for a long walk in the afternoon. If this is not possible only use the crate at night.
If you must leave your dog all day long every day and you have nobody to let the dog out during the day, you should find a room without a rug, put down Pooch Pads Reusable Housebreaking Pads, food, water and toys.
You should set up the room so that the bed and food are at one end and the pee pads at the other. Spread the toys in the center of the room. Dogs are not fish. They need to find something to occupy their mind, so give your dog plenty of toys. It is said that dogs are den animals and like the crate, but even a den animal would go crazy if it was lock up all day long.
You must be willing to invest time and energy for just a few short weeks in housetraining. The effort you put in now will last for the rest of your pet's life.
The crate training method is as follows. Buy a crate and for the first 3 to 4 weeks keep your puppy in it when you are not with him. Make sure the crate is not too big. It should be large enough for the puppy's bed, but no larger. Dogs do not want to soil their bed and the use of a crate teaches them to control their urge to eliminate.
You must maintain an eagle eye at all times. As soon as you see him pacing, sniffing around, and turning in circles, immediately take him outside. He is telling you "I am going to go pee pee somewhere, and this carpet looks like as good a place as any." NO, you do not have time to put on your shoes, just go.
Be patient and do not rush the little guy. He may have to go several times in one "pit stop." Give him about 10 minutes before taking him back inside. Do not play with him while you are on this mission. Let him know this is a business trip.
Make sure you take him out after every meal and play session BEFORE you put him back in his crate. Be consistent and establish a schedule. Pay attention to your puppy's behaviour so you can develop a schedule that works for you and the pup. When does your puppy naturally defecate? In the morning? 10 minutes after eating? Around bedtime? You may have to make some compromises.
Be fair to your puppy. He cannot be expected to stay alone in his crate for endless hours and not relieve himself. During your work days, you will need to have someone go to your home at least once (lunch time is good) to let the puppy out. Take him for a long walk. Your dog is not a fish and he needs something to occupy his mind.
Make sure everyone who is involved in the housebreaking process is using the same spot in the yard and the same word. Everyone should agree on the place they will take the puppy. The odour from the previous visits will cause the puppy to want to go in that spot.
Use a simple word like "Potty/Weewees" when taking your puppy to the chosen spot. Use this word consistently and later this word will help build communication between the family and the dog. When you notice him going toward the door and you say "Potty" he can say "Yup, that’s where I need to go," or, "Forget it. I am getting back up on the couch for some shut eye."
Until your puppy is about 5 months old you will need to take him out frequently and keep that eagle eye on him. But before you know it, you are going to be able to trust and communicate with your new pet. And he will learn that when he pleases you by going out to do his business, he gets more freedom in the house.
Communicating with Dogs
How do dogs communicate?
Dogs communicate by Scent, Body Language and Sound in that order. We Humans communicate by Sound, Body Language and well as for scent, we know Mum’s cooking Beef Stew, our dogs know that it’s a pot of Beef, Water, salt, garlic, potatoes, carrots, onions etc. Their scenting abilities far out ways ours, but we need to know and understand that scent is their first and foremost method of communication.
For example dog trainers and professional handlers have known for years that whatever you are feeling goes down the leash to your dog. Well now science has now confirmed that, in that our pheromones Scent changes dependant on our moods. Science can not yet tell the level of that mood but agrees that our dogs can smell the slightest change in the level of our moods. For example your dog knows from across the room if that lottery ticket you are looking at is for $50, $500, or $5,000 or if you just hit the jackpot and won millions, without a sound or movement, you dog will realise that your level of joy has increased, just by the change in your pheromones i.e. scent.
So scent is an important part in working with dogs. Thus the use of treats for training, the scent of the treat gains your dogs attention, the more they like the scent, the more focused they will be on what you are trying to get them to do. For example a small piece of Rollover, gets their attention, but something else around them is happening and the scent of the Rollover is not enough to focus them on you, so you bring out their next level of favourite treat let’s say it’s cheese, now that distraction is not strong enough to distract them from you as you now have cheese a scent they know and like more than Rollover.
A dog barks furiously at the window, no amount of shouting seems to get through to him, yet you wave a piece of cheese in front of his nose and he immediately turns towards you. So scent is a major component of working with dogs.
Your scent is crucial, i.e. your mood. If you are anxious, nervous, angry your dog may not know why, but knows something is wrong at that moment and reacts to that. A classic example of that is a dog that reacts at the sight of another dog on the walk. Your dog would have smelt that dogs approach before you saw him, but he’s reacting at the sight of it, because you just saw it and thought “Oh No he’s going to act up again here comes another dog”, your scent changed, your dog reacted. OR You’ve entered a dog competition, Agility, Confirmation etc, you felt fine happy confident until it’s your turn in the ring, you get nervous or anxious and your previously calm contented dog starts to act-up, because your scent just changed.
Now some dogs use their nose more, because of breed traits or are just proficient using their nose, some dogs do loose this main ability, but they all had it working full out when born, because that’s the only way for them to find their mother’s teat and feed. All dogs are born Blind and Deaf, their ears and eyes do not start to open until about 3 weeks. So their first view of their new world is by scent. We humans are born with full hearing and our eyes though open, do not focus well as yet. So here lies the main difference in how we as Humans and Dogs communicate.
What’s Body Language
Body language includes how we stand, use of hand signals, footwork and facial expressions.
Too be effective you need to know about dog’s body language, what those different stances mean, how the ears are positioned, what the tail is doing. A common misconception is a dog that is wagging his tail is happy, this is not always so. Dogs move their tails in different patterns, often hard for us as humans to see, but other dogs of the same breed easily recognise these differences. Dogs of other breeds notice common threads, but may confuse a tail signal, as it’s not familiar to them. I.E. Dogs with cropped tails, dogs with long fur on their tails etc, can affect the viewing of the message the tail is giving. The same goes for ears, so dogs that are well socialized with different breeds as puppies learn that tail and ear signals can give mixed messages, and thus would rely on Scent and the rest of the body stance and even the use of sound to fully interpret the message being given.
With so many different breeds, thus so many different tail and ear shapes and sizes, dogs will rely on what the rest of the body is doing, to confirm what the body language means.
So what are the basics that dogs use that we can interpret?
Standing tall and square, making the body appear as big as it can be, is a way of declaring you are Large and In Charge, very confident, self assured.
Making yourself as small as possible, means you are unsure, afraid, and not confident.
Our dogs see us moving around all day, and thus know that confident stance and that unsure stance, our scent at these times confirms their interoperation of these positions.
What about hand signals and footwork
Well, this is part and parcel or an adjustment to the reading of ears and tails and also comes down to the selective breeding we did down from the original wolves to the many breeds we have today. We selectively breed those that watched us all of us, not just our overall body language but all those other appendages we have. A recent study also proved that Dogs are the only species to recognise how we use our eyes, even our closest genetic cousin the great apes cannot make the association that if our eyes are closed we cannot see, but dogs can and do, notice and connect this.
The other part that ties in with hand signals and foot work is to do with sound, as our sound can be inconsistent and the moving of a hand/arm/foot/leg is more consistent.
So what is sound all about?
First and foremost is for you to acknowledge that dogs do not learn to speak or understand any human language what so ever. They are not sitting because you said did, they are sitting because when you made that sound and they put their bum on the floor you rewarded the behaviour. This statement also lets you know why your dog sometimes does not sit on command, he/she has yet to learn that the sound you just made also means Sit, and here is where hand signals come into play, they recognise the hand signal but not the sound, and therefore rely on the body language (hand signal) to interoperate the sound. A reason why, dogs respond to hand signals and footwork, better than voice commands. As your voice, sound, tone may change when saying Sit, your hand signal remains the same.
So here are the basics on sound; dogs have sounds that indicate a mood or need. The Bark, The Growl, The Whine.
So we need to understand that our sound i.e. tone needs to match what we are communicating by scent and body language.
The Growl when issued by a dog is a warning or correction sound tone it is Low, Deep and quiet, so when you want your dog to know you do not approve and or unhappy or angry your tone needs to be Low, Deep and quiet from your normal everyday tone.
The Deep Bark a warning or alerting tone.
The High Pitched Bark means excitement or an invitation to play and/or overall happiness.
I am sure you have all noticed these different types of sounds coming from dogs, even the smallest dog can issue a low deep tone of warning for his/her size. In larger breeds is it more distinct change in tone between happy let’s play bark or back away warning bark.
So we as humans need to match our tone to our message. A very common mistake we make and one that is natural for us as humans to do, is raise our voices when angry, shout or yell, what you need to understand in this case that as Humans when we do this we actually go up an octave from our normal speaking tone and our dogs excellent hearing picks this up.
A classic example is – You find your dog shredding the couch – You get angry (scent), you bend towards the dog (unsure, or even play invitation), You way a finger or shake a fist (rapid irregular movement invitation to play), you shout or yell (you go up an octave from normal tone – Praise or Play tone).
Now if you communicated by scent, body language and sound, what you would smell is anger, what you see and here is lets play, confusing isn’t it. And that’s the look your dogs gives you, not one of guilt but one of appeasement, Calm down your not making sense are you mad or do you want to play.
When you match your sound and body language to your scent, your dog can understand what you are trying to communicate with him/her.
Power Point Presentation
Defining The Term PACK
• Here is where there is a huge divide between Dog Trainers.
• Those that adhere to the The Pack Theory and those that do not.
• But which Pack Theory?
• The old or new
• Alpha or Alpha-Beta-Omega structure
Pack – Alpha
• This Pack Dominance theory came from studying forced Packs. Wolves in captivity.
• We now know that Natural Forming packs follow a Alpha-Beta-Omega structure
• Domestic dogs, like their wild wolf counterparts, also interact in complex hierarchical ways.
Dog or Wolf
• Dog behavior refers to the collection of behaviors by the domestic dog, and is believed to be influenced by genetic, social, situational and environmental causes.
• The domestic dog is a subspecies of the grey wolf, and shares many of its behavioral characteristics.
Although there are important and distinct differences between dogs and wolves.
Wolf – V – Dog
• Research in packs formed in the wild indicates that wolves form a family group, including a breeding pair and their offspring.
• In these familial packs, the terms "dominance," and "submission" are less useful than "parent," and "offspring," and bring with them a number of misconceptions.
• While the majority of research to date indicates that domestic dogs conform to a hierarchy around an Alpha-Beta-Omega structure, like their wild wolf counterparts.
Pack – v – Family
• Packs are family units, and the "alpha" of a pack does not change through struggles for dominance. Rather, it argues that the family unit serves to raise the young, which then disperse to pair up with other dispersed wolves to form a breeding pair, and a pack of their own. This model undermines the popular conception of dominance in wolf social behavior.
• I use the word Pack and the term Pack Leader.
• I could say Family and Dad or Mum or Mum & Dad or The Boss
• I use the term Leadership
• I do not mean Dominance when I say that, I mean Leadership
• What leadership means in relation to our interaction with our dogs is to provide direction, to show and teach them what they are allowed to do, guide them towards what they can and may do instead of engaging in nuisance-type behaviours such as jumping up, biting on hands, pulling on the lead, barking, or barging through doorways.
• And 'do' is an important word here - it's not enough to say 'I want my dog to stop barking' or 'I want my dog to not jump up' or 'not pull on the lead' - leadership is about teaching them what we want them to do instead, not what we want them not to do.
• Leadership requires concerted and constructive effort on our part, and involves us prompting and coordinating friendly social interaction, activities and behaviours that bring beneficial results both to us as leaders and to our dogs as followers. It's about quality of life and enriching the bond that we have with our dogs.
Leadership requires us to communicate clearly and compassionately with our dogs, to be patient and tolerant while our dogs are learning to follow and trust our direction, and above all, to remember that we are on the same team as our dogs – always.
• Every species is unique in their behavior. That is how we tell them apart even if their anatomy is closely related.
• As such, humans and chimps are clearly different species, with a common ancestor, but only some common, primate behaviors.
• The same is true for dogs and wolves. There are some common behaviours.
Evolution of the Dog
• Behavioral variations happen when animals adjust to different environmental demands.
• Adapting to one’s environment, is evolutionary success.
• The big divergence regarding wolves and dogs is that dogs live on human waste, and non-captive wolves hunt and kill prey.
The Human Bond
• Food seeking is a primal drive, and that makes that difference a profound one, because it means that wolves depend on one another for survival, and dogs don’t.
• They depend on humans.
• They evolved from Wolves into the Dog.
• A mutually beneficial result for both Dog and Human
Pack Leader/Mum or Dad
• Why does it matter to us if dogs are natural pack animals or not? Because it impacts their behavior and our life with them, that’s why.
• Does that mean that our canine companion needs a pack leader? Well, she certainly needs someone who explains how her world works; how she can belong, stay safe and access resources. How she can thrive through cooperation. And that someone has to be the human. The onus is on you, but an existing canine co-dweller who knows the ropes can certainly function as a great helper.
Nipping & Chewing
Puppy Nipping and Chewing: How to Stop the Biting That Hurts
Love that new puppy, but don't love what she is doing to your sofa, sneakers, or fingers? Then it's time to intervene. While nipping and chewing are natural behaviours that occur when a puppy is between two and six months of age, they can be stopped!
Puppies will teethe, just like human infants. Chewing and nipping is investigative behaviour. It is how they learn about their world...and it is completely normal. But it is important, to direct the puppy to chewing appropriate items.
Look for specially designed pet toys. Rubber toys that have an opening for food, such as Kong®, can keep a puppy happily occupied for a long time.
Dog Nanny Special Tip – Take any leftover Bones and place them in your crock pot with plain water, simmer over night, to get all that nice flavour out. Soak a plain rope toy, in the now flavoured water, then put in a Ziploc bag and FREEZE. Now you have a cold and crunchy toy your puppy will love to chew instead of you or your furniture.
Beware of items that may hide a choking danger. Don't offer your pup anything with a squeaker that can be ripped out and swallowed.
Examine toys regularly for tears, breakage, or stuffing leaks.
Rotate toys. Puppies love novelty. Different items will help make playtime special.
As you would with a baby, supervise your puppy at all times. If you can't be with your dog, protect her in an exercise pen or crate. Puppy-proof your home."
Put away items that you don't want chewed or that could be harmful.
Install a safety lock on the cabinet under the kitchen sink.
Keep human snacks and candy out of reach. Remember: Chocolate is toxic to dogs.
Use Bitter Apple / Bitter Yuck / Fooey (brand names), sprays on objects you cannot put away. Remember these sprays must be applied Daily, so that the object ALWAYS tastes bad.
When it's more than play
Puppy biting and chewing are generally not aggressive. However, it is important to be aware that some puppies can be aggressive. If you have a puppy that seems deadly serious or is snarly or if you are afraid of the puppy, it is important to learn the reason. Videotape that behaviour or have The Dog Nanny make a personal house call to view & investigate the behaviour and it’s cause. If you are concerned about it, there may be a reason to be concerned."
Puppies should remain with their litter until seven or eight weeks of age to learn how to communicate with other dogs. When they rough and tumble, they learn that they will have fun if they bite gently.
Reinforce positive play
To teach the puppy appropriate play behaviour, "hard biting should elicit a painful shriek from a human companion, sending the message that this behaviour is unacceptable. Stop interacting with the puppy for a few seconds. You have removed the rewards (you and playing), and you are teaching bite inhibition." This is best done between two and four months of age. "Only ever allow teeth touching only pressure of a bite you permit and add a cue before yelping to teach a signal to the dog.
"The only biting you should allow is soft biting on bare hands or clothed body parts.
Other biting, such as the lure of a pants leg or shoelace, can be handled by distractions such as throwing a toy or a simple clap. "Don't engage the dog verbally. IT reinforces the negative behaviour." "Reinforce only the positive behaviour." OR simply ignore the behaviour, no re-action from you is not fun and puppy will learn to get your attention a different way.
It is important to remember that as much fun as a new puppy may be, children and puppies should NEVER be left together unsupervised. Work with children to teach them how to teach the dog to play correctly. Hide-and-seek is a terrific beginning. It introduces the concepts of the "come" command. Teach children not to roughhouse or wrestle. Like a human baby, puppies get overtired and over stimulated. They need time to rest and calm down. Always provide you puppy/dog with a safe zone, such as his/her crate, where they can get away from bothersome children. Ensure all children know when the dog goes to their safe zone, they are off limits.
"Control the game, control the dog."