Frustrated Puppy

Cavalier puppy and his big toy dogWhat do normal puppies do?

They toilet indoors, they have manic sessions tearing around the place, they may fly at you and nip, they chew the carpet, they bite you with their sharp little teeth, they get over-excited and they may even get cross when they are told off.

What usually happens? “No, No, No, No, STOP”.

“How otherwise can I teach my dog NOT to do these things,” people ask?

It’s not that I don’t take it seriously, but I say that the unwanted behaviours are unimportant.

“You teachAfter manic sessions of tearing around the place, Cavalier King Charles puppy sleeps him to do other things instead”. If you just keep telling him off, you create a frustrated puppy that either gets worse and worse or becomes fearful.

Here is adorable eleven-week-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Hassle. Hassle (self-named like my Cocker Spaniel Pickle!) plays nicely until he gets over-excited and then he flies at them. Too much hand play and touching simply encourages him to go for hands. He may bite, nip feet and grab socks; he tugs at the lady’s hair. When they try to stop him firmly, Hassle gets cross. They feel he’s becoming aggressive.

The problem with all ‘don’t’ and no ‘do’ is that a dog can become bewildered and frustrated.

Puppy does one thing and the humans react in a way which causes puppy to try harder. Human reaction escalates all the problems until they have a battle of wills on their hands.

It can be so hard but they need a new mindset, one of: “Do do do do YES”.

They will keep half of his food back to ‘mark’ quiet moments. When he gets over-excited they can scatter some in his large crate and, shut in there, he can then be busy ‘hunting’ which will calm him down. He can learn how to take food gently from hands. They can show him what he can chew and make sure there are plenty of options. They will remove temptation.

One big problem is that Hassle toilets all over the place, day and night. They live in an upstairs flat with no garden so he is expected to go on puppy pads. At the moment he ignores them.

Hassle has too much space. From the start the puppy’s environment should start small and gradually increase in size as he becomes trained. His environment needs to be controlled so that initially, unless he is closely watched, he has two just choices for toileting – in his bed or on pads.  It’s very unlikely he would go in his bed so he will be choosing to go on pads. Gradually, one sheet at a time, they can be lifted until there is just one left – and that will become his necessary indoor toilet place until he realises that walks are for toileting.

Of course – Hassle loves destroying puppy pads, so what should they do? Scold? No (it only makes him worse). They should ‘mark’ the moment he stops with a piece of food and offer him something he can chew!

So far he has learnt that he’s let of his crate out as soon as he cries, so now he can learn how to be quiet before he is let out of his crate. How? By rewarding just a moment of quietness and then letting him out – and building up from there.

Until he can stay happily in his crate at night-time and when they aren’t watching him, they may have little success with the toilet training.

The quality we need above all others with a puppy, is patience.

NB. The precise protocols to best use for your own puppy may be different to the approach I have worked out for Hassle, which is why I don’t go into all exact details here of our plan. Finding instructions on the internet or TV that are not tailored to your own dog can do more harm than good. One size does not fit all. If you live in my own area I would be very pleased to help with puppy parenting strategies specific to your own puppy (see my Get Help page).

Would Rather Toilet Indoors Than Out

Brother and sister are a mix of Jack Russell, Pomeranian and ChihuahuaMillie and Max are seven months old, and supposedly brother and sister.  They are a mix of Jack Russell, Pomeranian and Chihuahua. They were bought from a pet shop at ten weeks of age so nobody will ever know.They certainly look very different, and Max is a lot bigger. He’s like a little fox!

They are delightful and full of puppy exuberance – Max in particular. Millie is a little more anxious.

The main problem is constant toileting indoors – everywhere. There are puppy pads in all the rooms. I feel because the pads are impregnated these little dogs are in effect being taught to go indoors. It’s Catch 22 because without the pads they would be peeing even more on the carpets – and pooing as well.

From the start they were toileting several times in the night, even when shut in a crate. The crate was abandoned because of the mess they made. By the age of ten weeks old most puppies  will have been introduced to the difference between indoors and outdoors, and it’s clear these little dogs had not. The problems had already started. Once home from the pet shop, they were so tiny, Millie in particular, that rules and boundaries were not properly introduced. The dogs, sleeping on the lady’s bed, will get off wee and poo several times in the night – mostly on the pads but not always.

This is a huge problem as you may imagine. Max also now marks up the curtain as well. Millie peed four times while I was there, once under the table, and the other times on puppy pads. She does lots of small puddles. I did wonder whether this constant peeing from Millie could be due to a medical problem, but she been checked over by the vet.  She is usually carried outside, but this way she will never learn that part of the process is walking to the back door.

My view is that their terrotiry should be cut down from run of the house to just kitchen and utility room, unless they are being watched – and then they should not have freedom to wander. I would advise the same thing at night. Shut them in the utility and leave them to it – but this would probably be too big a leap for the young lady. Understandably;).

Puppy training needs to go back to square one. They are praised massively for going outside, but maybe they think they are praised for going, irrespective of where. Praise needs to be gentle, not distracting, and if a little reward is dropped on the grass in front of them as they finish they may start to get the connection with toileting and grass. Visits outside will need to be very frequent, after meals, after waking, after playing, when the dogs are restless, and at least every waking thirty minutes.

They may need to try different food, because four, five or even more poos a day is excessive. The more complete the nutrition, the less waste there will be to pass through!

The final element which needs to be put in places is reduction of excitement and stress. There is persistent jumping up and maybe nipping when the lady owners come home, and at visitors. Walks are pulling affairs with anxiety around other dogs. They fly all over the chairs and people.

Stress, excitement and anxiety lead to peeing and possibly pooing. Stress and excitement also lead to drinking. Drinking leads to peeing! A few calm rules and boundaries will help enormously, I’m sure.

I can help you, too, with these problems or any other that you may be having with your dog.