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Puppy advice

Discussion in 'Personal' started by happy_monkey, Sep 5, 2011.

  1. I have a puppy who is a couple of weeks away from being 6 months old. We've had him since he was 8 weeks old but we're having real trouble with leaving him in on his own for any amount of time. Any other training we've done with him has been really successful but not this.
    We tried when he was younger to get him used to being in alone but always came back to a disaster zone and he's only got worse as he's gotten older. He chews everything he can get hold of (I know this is typical puppy behaviour) and when there's nothing around for him to chew he'll pull up the carpet or lino or just chew a on wall. He also does the toilet even if only left in for half an hour and even when he's just been out to the toilet before we leave.
    I don't want to end up one of those people who can never go anywhere because of their dog and I'm hoping some people on here might have some good advice on ideas to improve the situation.
  2. dusty67

    dusty67 New commenter

    You could try "crate" training him. You'd need to read up on it (use google to get you started) because you are starting with an older pup rather than having used it from his introduction to your house.

    Some people think crate training is cruel but others swear by it. You need to do the research and choose for yourself.
  3. Dragonlady30

    Dragonlady30 Star commenter

    Have you thought of getting him a cage-sorry I hate the word, but you know what I mean.
    We used one for one of our Spaniels as she was a terror. She got used to it quickly and would go in there on her own during the day for a sleep. As it was her place, she never soiled it.
    Also, when you go out, do you fuss the puppy first? This can excite him and then, suddenly, he's alone and confused.
    I have heard of good results with a cage and leaving something with your scent on in the cage. Maybe buy a few tee shirts, wear them for bed so they have your scent on.
    Is he teething? You could try those thick rubber toys-not the thin ones as they'll be in kit form in seconds.
    If you take him to training and socialisation classes, have you asked the instructors?
    I don't envy you-it's not easy having your home destroyed.
    Good luck.

  4. Have considered the crate/cage idea but am pretty sure he would just howl and bark and drive the neighbours mad which would bother me. also wasn't sure with his age if it was still possible.
    He never gets a fuss made before we go out, in fact we try not to speak to him at all if possible for a little bit before we leave, I actually snuck out to Asda while he was sleeping the other day and managed to make it back before he woke up lol.
    He is teething and he's got so many toys I could start up my own shop but he only wants to chew things he knows he's not supposed to have.
    thing is he knows he's done wrong when I get home because I don't even have to say anything for him to look guilty and slink away with his tail between his legs.
    We've not had him at any training classes to be honest as he gets to meet a lot of other dogs when out and about and also spends a lot of time with our friends and families dogs. He's been really good with all other training so kind of felt the classes would be a bit of a waste of money.
    Think we're going to have to look into the crate though, as I'm going spare trying to keep the place nice :(
    Thanks for the quick replies :)
  5. We've had this problem on and off with our Spaniel since she was about 6 months old - we decided to get a crate and train her that way - she loves being in her crate - as soon as we get in from her morning walk and after her breakfast she gets in her crate of her on free will and settles down. Sometimes I feel mean about her being in there but she is so happy to see us when we get in instead of looking sheepish because she's eaten the carpet / my record collection / the sideboard etc ... that I think it's best for her.

    At about 10pm every night she get up off the sofa and puts herself to bed in her crate- so cute!

    I was told by a trainer it could be separation anxiety (common amongst spaniels / super loyal breeds of dogs) and the crate which is hers with her toys in etc makes her feel safe and knows we're coming home to her) I'm also told she'll grow out of it!
  6. Also, we use a kong designed for large breed dogs (she easily chews through others) stuffed with peanut butter - this keeps her busy for a while and judging by the wagging tail - very happy!

    Whilst here I might also hijack this with a question of my own - our dog is just over 1 now and like your puppy she is excellent around other dogs and has been delightful to train BUT after 10 throws, fetches and drops of her ball she just won't give it up ... Any ideas?
  7. When I was in my teens and we got a puppy the breeder would only sell to people who were either at home all / most of the day or had another dog.

    I think it is good advice, as he is good with other dogs could you have another dog - either as a permenant addition or borrow a friend's dog to keep him company?
    I've never used the crate - but others on here seem to have had success

  8. My dog was a bit like that and we were at home most of the time - even ten minutes popping out to get a lint of milk was problem. He grew out of it around six months so maybe you just need to wait. We used to leave the telly on in another room so that he couldn't tell so easily that the house was empty. Nice, durable toys helped too.
  9. I've got a dog that's prone to separation anxiety and can chew for England.
    For the chewing - give him something more interesting to chew - kongs, nylabones, one of my dogs goes mental for his chuckle (purple dumbell you put a few treats in the end of) - he'll fling it around and chew it all day. Also helps with the boredom - the other really good toy I've got is a Kong Wobbler - like one of those weeble toys from the 1980s - looks like a giant solid plastic Kong but if you're going out and he's fed dry food - put it in there (you might have to do a dry run to help him get the hang of it) and he's got to get it out - that one keeps my problem dog busy until at least 11am when we have to leave him (hubby comes back at lunchtime to check ont he dogs on days I have to go out).
    You could get a crate and try crate training - I personally don't (haven't got the space with the size of my dogs!) - but don't just shove him in, slam the door and call it job done - you've got to build up to making it a fantastic place for him to be, like his little den and make it lots and lots of positive associations to being in there - loads on the net about how to do this. We've dog-proofed the kitchen, have had to put perspex on the doors to stop him scratching etc - because we can't fit crates for two very large dogs in the house.
    For the separation anxiety (if it IS this and not just a disgruntled bored doggy that his entertainers have left him alone) - you can train them into being left. Start leaving for a few minutes, make NO fuss leaving or returning, mix it up - pick up your keys and bag and then go sit watching TV or go out of a different door... just to stop him building up this "oh no they've got their coats on and their keys, they're going to leave me and I'll be all ALONNNNNNNEEEE!!!!" state of mind... build up the time you're leaving him for very gradually - we got our second dog at the start of the summer holiday and I've spent a lot of time leaving for 5 mins, then 10 mins, then half an hour to pop to Tesco and working it up that way. Leaving a telly or radio on helps a lot, as does discouraging the canine velcro routine (no dogs I do not in fact need an escort to go to the toilet) somewhat.
    Loads on the internet if you google up separation anxiety and crate training... tonnes of boredom-type toys. If you buy a Kong - loads of stuffing recipes - might need to just do a quick smear of pate or something on the inside of it to start with to give him the idea of how he's meant to do it and then gradually build up the challenge factor (freeze 'em when you're wanting to give him the canine equivalent of the Krypton factor)... if you get a Kong though - use it with you around to start with - we had one dud one (they replaced it) that split when jawsomatic got his chomp on it within about 10 minutes - thankfully I was in the room at the time and could take it off him before he choked on it.
  10. BelleDuJour

    BelleDuJour Star commenter

    Crate training is the answer.
    It's never too late to start.
  11. Firstly, at six months, he is still very young so things like the chewing etc, are a natural stage of his development, which should settle in time.
    The chewing stage is very important for bite inhibition, so it is very important.
    At the moment he is chewing things he needs to, so it would be a good idea, to make it clear to him what is his to chew and what is not his. Provide him with a variety of chew toys, and encourage him to play with him. Reward him with a treat and lots of praise when he plays with those and distract him from chewing things he isn't supposed to, by introducing his own toy, and rewarding when he changes to it.
    How long are you leaving him for at the moment? He needs to get used to being alone for short times, first, and by by short times, I mean just a few minutes - like leaving him downstairs alone, while you go upstairs to the toilet.
    Don't make a fuss or linger when you are leaving him, but praise him and reward him when you return.
    Gradually increase the time you are leaving him alone.
    When you are gone, you can maybe leave a radio on, so he hears noises.
    Someone has mentioned a Kong, which is great. You can either give him it as you leave, or hide it somewhere for him to find while you are out. Sometimes before I go out, I leave a little selection of treats in various places, and my dog will have herself a treasure hunt ;)
    Also leave some chew toys or some stimulating toys, which he can interact with when you are gone.
    If you are going to be away for more than a few hours, it may be worthwhile seeing if you can get someone to pop in, to see him.
    Crate training is ideal, but tbh I probably wouldn't confine my dog to a crate the whole time I was out. I would probably confine him to say the kitchen, and the hall for example. Put a stairgate on the stairs to prevent him going upstairs. Have his crate somewhere within that area with the door open so he can come in and out, as he pleases. Most dogs like to be able to withdraw into their crate at times, when things get a little too much, and see it is a safe place to rest.
    Toilet training pups can often take longer than 6 months. You need to make sure he has been to the toilet,just before you go out, andnot just been out for a wander around the grarden and then come in without going. Don't make too fuss if he toilets in the house when you are out, he won't have done unless he really needed to. His toileting indoors may improve as his anxiety decreases.
    It is really important before choosing a breed, that you look at whether it is a breed which likes to be with people all the time, or whether it is one that doesn't mind spending some time alone.
    Some breeds are not good at being left alone. No dog should be left alone for more than three hours at a time.

  12. Thanks for all the advice everyone.
    He'es never left alone for very long, if I'm out all day working my partner takes him to work as he's self empoyed, or someone comes over to keep an eye on him. the longest he's ever out is if we maybe go to the cinema or to a friends house for a while although we've started taking him to our friends house if we both go as they have dogs too and they're happy having him there.
    I sort of like the crate idea but at the same time I'm just not 100% sure how well he'd take to it.
    I've heard of the Kong toys so I think I'll definitely look into getting one of them.
    Before getting the puppy we looked into different breeds and the one we've got meets everything we wanted, issues with being in alone didn't come into it as, like I mentioned, due to my partner being self employed he'll never be left in long.
    He is a very clingy dog with me, he tends to follow me everywhere around the house. I think it was made worse by the summer holidays. When we first got him I was working full time and he spent more time with my partner or staying at my mums during the day then during the holidays I was with him for the majority of every day so I guess he got used to me being around all the time.
    Have also tried both ignoring him when he does the toilet inside and also giving him a row, I think it's best to ignore but my partner thinks it's best to tell him off.
    Am off to google Kong toys and other toilet training techniques. Appreciate you all taking the time to help me out :)

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