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Hi we have a new standard poodle puppy “Charley” he is now 14 weeks old and is the sweetest boy. Can’t wait to learn all about poodles and make new connections. i am struggling with getting him to stop eating dirt and chewing on bark (cedar not colored-dyed). He gets the bark and just runs from me and wont drop. I am afraid he will get something really dangerous and not listen and just eat it. He loves dirt clods and will mow the grass to get one or many. Any suggestions?
 

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Never chase him when he is playing this "game". That makes it super rewarding for him even if you are angry, yelling. If he is eating dirt, distract him into a different game. Make yourself more interesting than dirt!

Play lots of "trade" games with him all throughout the day. Any time he has something in his mouth, trade him for treats or toys, and then give the thing back to him and let him keep it. If it is something he is not supposed to have, let him end with keeping something else. When he is outside and has something, turn and run away from him. Usually a puppy will run after you, often dropping whatever he has in his mouth. If he doesn't drop it, try to get him to trade for a treat, toy, or even another piece of bark. The object is to get him interacting with you with it instead of playing keep away. Try to always end with letting him keep something, whether it is a treat or a toy.

Try to get into the habit of keeping a pocketful of treats on you, and having toys handy where you can grab them.

Bottom line is you have to watch him and distract him when he starts these behaviors, and show him that if he comes to you he will be rewarded with a fun game or a tasty treat, and he doesn't have to worry about you "stealing" whatever it is he has found. Sometimes you will take it, but you will always leave him with something good.
 

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I agree with reraven. Never chase a playful puppy, make the puppy chase you instead. When Javelin was a baby dog I would sit on the edge of my deck and pet him and play with him to get his interest in me way up then I would get up and trot away. He would follow 100% of the time. I always let him catch me, play some more and then leave again. He developed super centripetal attraction for me and has the best recall of all three of our dogs.


When you are taking him out just for potty breaks I would use a leash so he can't take off on you and make those trips all about pottying. Praise lavishly for doing his stuff outside and then also use it as an opportunity to teach potty on command.
 
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Hi and welcome to you and charley.

It’s been many years since I had a young puppy so my advice may not be up to date.. I’ve always gone by the rule that puppies and kittens need to be kept away from doing anything dangerous, harmful or annoying when they are very young so they don’t learn bad habits. For example with my kittens I put hot sauce on plants and wires and other things I didn’t want them chewing. With puppies I do the same and remove all shoes and socks or anything I don’t want them thinking it’s a toy they could run around with. Puppies are exploring their environment and it’s important to allow them to do so safely while blocking access to anything dangerous and not allowing them to develop problem behavior. It’s a lot easier to stop bad behaviors from developing than it is to train dogs to stop behaviors they have learned to enjoy. So you are wise to be asking for suggestions.

You’ve identified two dangerous behaviors that he shouldn’t be allowed to do, eating dirt and cedar chips. Can you fence the areas off where he eats dirt and cedar chips? Maybe temporary fencing so he doesn’t have any access until he is older and has lost interest in them? Can you put hot sauce in the area so if he tries to eat them, he’ll get unpleasant feedback immediately from his choice to eat them? You could limit his movement by either putting him in a expen when he’s outside or keeping him on a long-line leash so you can limit his movement.

I also agree with the others, never ever chase a playful dog, make them come to you.
 

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Welcome to you and Charley. You will find tons of good info here and many different ideas on training. I am working on recall with my boy. He actually had very good recall as a baby but now if he is having fun his recall leaves something to be desired. I will stop all play and interaction if he does not come when called. That usually works with him. I was taking his toy away to bring him inside but now I let him keep it when I call him in with me. That works well and after a few minutes I replace it with something else he is happy with. We still have a way to go and mine is 18 months now and really he is just getting his focus. He knows his basics but now he needs to think more.. Anyway Charley is cute and looking forward to hearing more about him.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you all for your welcome and tips. We are working on trading, and it is working most of the time. Do you have any suggestions for jumping up? He is getting better when walking around the yard with me. I use “off” command with a lowering motion of my hand (and treats) but when excited, or meeting new people in the house - we have only had 3 visitors so far, or looking at things on counter/ couch (he is growing ?) he doesn’t seem to care.
 

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Don't interact with him in any way when he starts jumping on you. Turn your back. If he comes around and keeps jumping, keep turning away. When he stops jumping very calmly praise and treat but only as long as all four feet stay on the ground. This is a very hard one, poodles seem to come hard wired to jump! At least mine does, at three years old he is very much better about jumping on people, but still bounces up and down like a pogo stick at the slightest bit of excitement.

Using your hands in any way will be interpreted by him as a game, so keep hands very still or cross your arms. Don't even look at him as you are turning away. If your are meeting people, tell him to sit and keep putting him back into the sit when he gets up/tries to jump. He should be on leash so that you can control him and not give him the opportunity to jump. People can pet him as long as he is sitting. If he cannot maintain the sit, he gets ignored until he sits back down. If he jumps on people and they say "Oh, that's OK, I don't mind" tell them that you DO mind and put the dog into a sit. I get that all the time, and it's hard when people you meet undermine your training, but you just have to insist.

Like I say, this is a tough one, and a longterm thing with poodles.
 
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