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Hi,
First post here. Have been enjoying reading the posts. I've got so many questions as Bear, our standard poodle, is now 4.5 months old and I'm always wondering if I'm doing things right. I don't know if he's tracking well, if he's happy, if his behavior is normal, etc. So I expect I'll be asking a lot of questions. He's also our family's first pet at all, so probably should have been more prepared for this, but I guess I'm that guy who got the pandemic pup and now wonders what he was doing...

Anyhow, thanks in advance for any advice!

We got Bear around the 12 week mark. For about 1.5 months we'd take some (difficult) walks, tried to keep it to about an hour total, usually got around 1-1.5 miles a day. Now with some training and a little less nonsense, we're walking 2-3 miles a day, sometimes i take him 3-4 times a day for shorter walks. We're now in a groove where in the morning we walk about 2 miles, then in the day, depending on how busy I am, i can get one to two more walks in of 1-2 miles each. Working from home during the pandemic has some benefits...

Generally speaking, we don't have any other significant 'exercise' time (fetch is still an work in progress), and we don't have a fully fenced in yard yet so the walks are pretty much all the exercise. I'm not sure though if it's enough, too much at this age, or what. He doesn't seem tired at the end of the walks really, but he sleeps a lot in my opinion. if we're just hanging out at home he's either eating or sleeping seemingly. Am I working him too hard? He does sometimes plop down stubbornly during walks but I really haven't attributed that to tiredness but more about a battle of wills.
 

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I have a 3 month old spoo and I’m no expert and new to the poodle game. But I walk our pup 5 x his age. So he gets two 15 minutes walks. I have my pup on a schedule. It just helps throughout my day to know what’s coming up or when I can get housework done or school my kids. I’ve realized that not only does he need physical exercise but mental as well. At night, when it’s the toughest, I put boxes scattered throughout the area he’s allowed in and I put treats or a toy in or under old cloth he has to dig for. They r his busy boxes 🙃. He will go from box to box looking for treats. He will do this rotation for about 30 minutes. Good exercise for body and brain. Also, sometimes when teddy seems super amped or hyper I can check schedule and it’s usually too tired. Like he’s past needing a nap and it’s getting ugly.
 

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Hi and Welcome!

I hope some more of our spoo people show up soon, my experience is mpoo's. but that sounds like too much walking and exercise. I'm still searching thru my usual medical sources but here's an excerpt from a reliable poodle website about why too much can be detrimental:

" How Much Exercise a Poodle Needs

Puppies - For toys and miniatures under 1 year old and standards under 18 months old, owners must carefully schedule exercise times. Offering quick bouts of outdoor walking is a great way to for the puppy to discharge their abundant energy.
That being said, greatly exceeding exercise limits for puppies can be detrimental to their growth.

Why? During the first year for toys and miniature Poodles (and until about 18 months old for standard Poodles), the bones are still forming and growing. At the end of all major bones are growth plates; these are soft areas that contain rapidly dividing cells that are instrumental in allowing the bones to develop and grow longer as the Poodle pup matures from puppy to adult.

Once a Poodle is done with puberty and is officially an adult dog that is done growing (approx 18-24m), the plates harden and calcify. Until that time, over-exercise can cause injury to this soft bone tissue and interfere with normal bone growth.


So, you'll want to find a balance of enough walks, for the proper duration, to allow the pup to release energy and start becoming socialized to the world, yet be careful to not exercise your Poodle puppy to such an extent that it could possibly harm those growth plates.

Do keep in mind that normal play in the house, etc. is expected and a puppy needn't be crated to keep him from moving around! Over-exercise relates to repetitive actions such as running, walking briskly, etc. for an extended amount of time… It is important that a puppy romp around to his heart's desire… when he gets tired, he will rest. You just never want to push a young puppy into activity that puts stress on the body and raises the heartbeat if he is not up to it.

In looking at these guidelines, we must remember that the duration is the same, no matter the size of the dog. This is because it is the pace at which the dog moves that equates a state of exercise. Toys will trot and standard Poodles will trot, and it is the owner that will need to adjust the pace at which they walk to keep the dog going briskly.

A good rule of thumb is: 5 minutes per day, for each month of age. Here is a quick reference of recommended exercise times:

3 months old = One 15 minute walk each day
4 months old = Total of 20 minutes; this can be two 10 minute walks
5 months old = Total of 25 minutes; split into two walks
6 months old = Total of 30 minutes; split into three 10 or two 15 minute walks
7 months old = Total of 35 minutes; divided into two sessions
8 months old = Total of 40 minutes; best if done in three sessions (15, 15 and 10 minutes)
9 months old = Total of 45 minutes; best if done in three sessions (15, 15, 15)
10 months old = Total of 50 minutes; best if done in three sessions (20, 15, 15)
11 months old = Total of 55 minutes; best if done in three sessions (20, 15, 20)
For standards only, 12 months through 23 months = Continuation of 55 minutes (20, 15, 20). Toys and minis will at this point, move ahead to adult exercise requirements.

You'll want to go at a moderate pace that is not overwhelming. Young puppies are only starting to learn about how to walk on leash and it can take some time for them to focus on proper heeling. Ahead, we'll dive into tips to making walking a more pleasant experience coming up."

here's the link to that page:


I don't think it's stubbornness or a battle of wills. I think he's drained, tired and may not feel very good. Puppies require a LOT of sleep daily, 16-20 hours isn't unusual in the earlier months and even at 4.5months your boy is still a very young pup.

with some training and a little less nonsense
Of course I can't know what you mean by nonsense, but I'd have to guess you mean he's behaving like, umm, a puppy? Walks at his age are far more than just exercise and while obedience is always a part of the experience, it's his chance to get to know the world. That means lots of stopping and sniffing and scratching and stopping and sniffing...you get the picture :).

Mental stimulation for a poodle is equally, probably more important, than exercise. Once he catches up on his rest, look into brain games (aka training) in short bursts, 5 minutes or so, several times a day and puzzle toys to help him learn to solve things on his own too.
 

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I think you may be pushing him rather too far, too fast, but it rather depends on whether you are marching steadily ahead, or noodling along at puppy pace, stopping to let him sniff and watch the world and enjoy learning about life. I would take shorter walks, ideally to somewhere you can sit down with him and let him rest and watch the world go by. When he is older 5 mile hikes will be a great pleasure for both of you, but at the moment he is rather at the stage of a human toddler, and needs to exercise and learn through play more than route marches.

Learn to watch him and try to understand what he is telling you - if he stops is it because he has found something interesting he wants to explore? Or because he is tired? Or anxious? If he is wild and silly is it pent up energy that needs a game to release, or overtired fractiousness that needs a nap?
 

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I think you may be pushing him rather too far, too fast, but it rather depends on whether you are marching steadily ahead, or noodling along at puppy pace, stopping to let him sniff and watch the world and enjoy learning about life. I would take shorter walks, ideally to somewhere you can sit down with him and let him rest and watch the world go by. When he is older 5 mile hikes will be a great pleasure for both of you, but at the moment he is rather at the stage of a human toddler, and needs to exercise and learn through play more than route marches.

Learn to watch him and try to understand what he is telling you - if he stops is it because he has found something interesting he wants to explore? Or because he is tired? Or anxious? If he is wild and silly is it pent up energy that needs a game to release, or overtired fractiousness that needs a nap?
Good point - there are 'puppy' walks and 'let's get this done' walks. Normie enjoys sniffing out who's peed where on our walks; I sometimes enjoy the tiny breaks. I'm very good at letting him sniff around when we're halfway up the hill. ; )
 

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I agree that it’s too much. I feel half of the 15 minute walks r Teddy sniffing and looking. Training is good exercise as well..sit stay come. I’ve received lots of good advice here and I’ve only joined a handful of days ago. U will not regret joining! Lots of good solid comments and opinions.
 

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Hi HP-KS!

I hope we haven't lost you. I'm going to drop some info below since you mentioned he's your first family pet and these resources can be helpful, even for experienced owners. PF is also here for you :).

Ian Dunbar
A lot of free info

Susan Garrett
A lot of free info
Periodically offers free online video course
"It's Yer Choice" impulse control
Crate games
Look At That

Kikopup Training YouTube videos
Or search YouTube for Kikopup + training topic

Zak George Training YouTube videos

AKC training - get certified or just good things to know and train
AKC Canine Good Citizen - mix or pure breed

AKC Trick Dog - mix or pure breed - get certified or just fun things to learn

Research on Dog Cognition - Dr Brian Hare

Formal testing not free but search online for examples

Dog Vision
 

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Hi HP-KS!

I hope we haven't lost you. I'm going to drop some info below since you mentioned he's your first family pet and these resources can be helpful, even for experienced owners. PF is also here for you :).

Ian Dunbar
A lot of free info

Susan Garrett
A lot of free info
Periodically offers free online video course
"It's Yer Choice" impulse control
Crate games
Look At That

Kikopup Training YouTube videos
Or search YouTube for Kikopup + training topic

Zak George Training YouTube videos

AKC training - get certified or just good things to know and train
AKC Canine Good Citizen - mix or pure breed

AKC Trick Dog - mix or pure breed - get certified or just fun things to learn

Research on Dog Cognition - Dr Brian Hare

Formal testing not free but search online for examples

Dog Vision
See what I mean?! Amazing!
 

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A couple of additional things to mention. You said that he didn't seem to be tired after the walks but that may be due to over adrenalization.

You also said that Fetch was a work in progress. Not every poodle cares to play Fetch. These pups think about and consider things like nobody's business. Does you boy enjoy it but just not catching on to the whole program?

Of my last five poodles, Sass loved playing Fetch. She'd do it all day, every day. Holly and Noel would watch the ball fly, look at us then go off and sniff something. Bunnies and squirrels however were Game ON! Remo loves chasing and catching the ball but it doesn't usually make it back anywhere near us. Neo is of the Holly and Noel school of thought.

We have many members skilled in training but the two that come to mind first are lily cd re and Click-N-Treat. You'll find a lot of their advice thruout the forum and specifically in the Training section.

If your boy chases the ball but doesn't bring it back there's a technique called backchaining. Click explains that in this short thread:


Hope we hear from you!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks! I guess the long walks might be too much!

I’m often wondering if this or that is too much or too little. Too much training? Too little? Too much freedom? Too little?
Too many treats? Not enough?
And on and on.

one thing I was wondering since someone mentioned sleep. At 5 months outside of night time sleeping how much were your spoos napping?
 

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Puppies play so hard! I have a 14 week old spoo and he will play hard then find an ac vent and nap 🤣 they sleep a lot. When dogs r tired they sleep. They r babies. They need lots of sleep.
 

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Hi again! What's your boys name btw?

Routines are really helpful for puppies. To answer your questions better, it'll be helpful if you'd describe how a regular day goes for you all. What time does he get up? What happens next? Is he crated or penned when not under direct supervision or free rein? When does he eat? Go out? When do you do training, what are you training and how for how long?

To generally answer your questions above:

Training in short sessions 5-10 minutes several times a day. Poodles don't respond well to too much repetition. You may think they're not understanding something but then the next time you try, they seem to have it down. Things happen in poodle brains when we think they aren't paying attention :). As he gets older, you can increase duration and frequency a bit.

If by freedom you mean unstructured time, then unless they're asleep or having quiet time in crate or expen, the time is fairly structured, as in a routine is followed, play time, quiet time, food time, out time, walk time, training time, all done at similar times for similar durations every day. .

If by freedom you mean free rein of living quarters, not until they're thru teething so the need to chew is reduced, and reliably housetrained. Tethering two wasn't viable so we gated off the kitchen and family room from the rest of the house and kept them under direct supervision at all times. They earned free rein of the entire main level at about 8 months. It could have been sooner by 4-6 weeks but that was in the holiday season so we just kept the gates up a while longer. They didn't get full house privileges until they were about a year old. This is partly because we're in a split level and line of sight is important :).

Treats are always earned for doing something. The calories are counted as part of their daily intake. I found some very small, soft treats that I could break even smaller so their total calorie intake of treats hardly had an impact on the daily intake.

Puppies typically sleep 16-20 hours a day, if they have the opportunity. Mine would drop off by about 10p and sleep under the sofa or coffee table. Hubs and I are on slightly offset schedules. I stay up til about 3a, so while young, they'd stay downstairs with me after hubs went up to sleep. This took care of 1-2 middle of the night go outs, since I was still up. They'd sleep in til about 9a after I got them up to their condos. Around 9a I'd get them out to P&P, we'd play a bit, then back in for breakfast, back out then back up to the condos til abt 11a. That's around 12 or so hours so far. There would be a couple of quiet hours thru the day in the upstairs or downstairs condo's, and they'd doze in between other activities. They probably were in the 16 hour range, but I think they'd have done better with a bit more. Puppies of any size go thru such rapid growth physically and growth mentally that they need a lot of down time to process things.
 

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A puppy's day should be mostly sleeping, eating, short and fun training sessions, following the humans around while they do funny things like laundry, dedicated chew time, playing in the grass, and the occasional leashed "noodling" walk in which the puppy's nose takes you both on an adventure.

Assuming you've already armed yourself with a solid training manual to help you understand his dogginess (I recommend Ian Dunbar), it might help to sometimes think of Bear as a toddler. You don't take toddlers on long marching walks. You take them by the hand and explore the world in bits and pieces: Ooh! A flower! Ooh! A child on a bicycle! Ooh! A rumbly garbage truck!

Maybe you pause and watch the scary things with some encouraging words and a tasty snack. Then it's on to the next thing, slowly slowly, always with a sense of curiosity and fun.

And the whole time, you watch for sleepy signals: Slowing down. Over-excitement. Crankiness. Inability to focus. Just a general sense that the little one's brain has switched off.

Then it's time for a nap with no disruptions so Bear learns to settle and gets ample time to process all that he's learned.
 

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A puppy's day should be mostly sleeping, eating, short and fun training sessions, following the humans around while they do funny things like laundry, dedicated chew time, playing in the grass, and the occasional leashed "noodling" walk in which the puppy's nose takes you both on an adventure.

Assuming you've already armed yourself with a solid training manual to help you understand his dogginess (I recommend Ian Dunbar), it might help to sometimes think of Bear as a toddler. You don't take toddlers on long marching walks. You take them by the hand and explore the world in bits and pieces: Ooh! A flower! Ooh! A child on a bicycle! Ooh! A rumbly garbage truck!

Maybe you pause and watch the scary things with some encouraging words and a tasty snack. Then it's on to the next thing, slowly slowly, always with a sense of curiosity and fun.

And the whole time, you watch for sleepy signals: Slowing down. Over-excitement. Crankiness. Inability to focus. Just a general sense that the little one's brain has switched off.

Then it's time for a nap with no disruptions so Bear learns to settle and gets ample time to process all that he's learned.
Your first paragraph makes me want to be a poodle.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Thanks for the advice, i'm sure it won't be the last time. Everyone's been great

Bear (who is all black except for a few small spots of white) getting close to 5 months old.
I believe that he's come a long way pretty fast, however, because of my inexperience in general with pets, I'm trying to learn as much as I can and also try to make sure he's tracking well. I wanted to get a smart dog, probably not quite as big as a SPOO but I also was concerned about shedding and allergies for the family, so there were lots of different factors in the ultimate choice, as well as our budget and availability at the time we were looking. The pandemic led to kind of a good window of opportunity when we would always have some adult coverage at home plus a 3rd grader always home so before things got reopened we wanted to get through some of the earliest difficulties of puppy orientation.

We got him at 3 months and for the first month he almost exclusively stayed in a penned area in our basement which is called The Bearricade. it's about 12' x 10' tiled floor with carpets and blankets, his travel crate, and chew toys that's 'fenced' off on one side, walled on 2 sides, and has a sliding glass door to the outside. He stayed there from day one until about 1 month had passed. I wanted to wait to let him into the rest of the living area of the basement until i knew he had enough control of his pee (accidents happened a couple times early on). Now he spends about 1/2 to 2/3rds of his waking day in the basement as long as there's someone there. initially it was watching him like a hawk, but now we can just hanging out or playing or watching TV etc. and he's pretty much fine. But he's in the Bearricade if no one can be in the basement at all.

One quirk is that we have never put him in the crate to sleep. He's had such a big space for himself though and he finds his bedding and curls up for sleep when we put him in for the night, around 10:30-ish. He's actually asleep before then around 9:00 but I move him into his area around 10:30. He sleeps until about 6-6:15, and I take him out to pee. He has learned some decent threshold manners with me, he gets leashed, then sits by the sliding door. I open it, go out, then call him out. He used to rush out but now waits. I don't even have to tell him to sit, he just does it. He gets his pee done in about 20 seconds, then we wander around the yard to find the poo spot, which can take about 2-5 minutes or so. Once that's out of the way, I let him wander the yard on the leash, but he's in charge. We don't have a fully fenced back yard, but there are lots of features that he sniffs around for about 10 minutes. He does not get to lunge or really run though because I try to keep up with him and also I don't want him to get into the habit. He's a serious puller if you let him.

After enough "Smell time", we go to the patio near the glass door and do a little training. He's really decent with training with food/treats. Mostly i used his kibble but lately have been giving more things like cheese, chicken leftovers, and other treats. We're working on Place and Place+Stay. He's good out on the patio and on cinder block platform I made for him, but I don't think he's quite generalized "Place" to everyting. We go in after I run out of treats. I give him a few more pieces of kibble then I rush up to get his breakfast and mine.

I try to feed him exclusively with Kongs, or some feeder toy, or by hand during training. Sometimes we do give him food to 'hunt for' in the Bearricade because he's often just staring at me waiting for food to come his way. So if i don't feed him into his mouth, i'll toss some small pieces onto the folds of his blanket and in his crate and in the corners so he's sniffing them out while i can get some work done (i put a small desk next to his area so I can do some work too), or run upstairs. His morning Kong then is his first 'meal' mostly kibble, mushed up in a spoon of cream cheese.

While he's eating, i get some coffee, some toast and then head down again to take him for his walk. This is I think one of the things that I've learned may be too much. But to date we've gone on a morning walk for about 1 hour nearly every day. It's nice because it's still very quiet, hardly any other dogs are out at 7am and it's nice and cool. I think going forward (counting today), i'm cutting that way back, but just saying that's what we had been doing. Couple things to note: the walks are pretty slow pace. there's no trotting or jogging, it's a 26-28 minute mile pace but fairly steady. I do give "Smell time" at the places he really likes to sniff, so he does pee and sometimes poop and often likes to eat/nibble mulch or something in the grass which i have no idea what he's doing.

On the walk we do little bouts of training, sits and stays. When we get back, I do another bit of training, place and stay. When we get close to home he's still pretty fired up, if i don't hold him tight
he'd sprint a good 50 yards. After he settles in, I get a second Kong or a feeder toy of some kind, and then let him eat it while I deal with the rest of the family or get ready for a meeting/work.

For the most part he goes outside for potty breaks every 2-3.5 hours. Has another Kong for lunch, one for dinner, and we usually have some small play time or training time.

If someone is available to supervise, he's in the living area of the basement. he has stayed at times alone but he's liable to find something to chew to bits (like shoes) so I want to keep him with someone as much as possible. He hasn't yet been on the 1st or 2nd floor, and I don't foresee that happening until he gets much calmer. Maybe not 'calmer' per se but less suddenly-crazy. we notice that every so often he just gets hyper and jumps from place to place. I "think" that might actually be like the storm-before-the-calm because if he's being crazy he usually will take a nap pretty shortly after that. I think this is a good idea to keep him in the basement, but I sometimes feel guilty. He can definitely seem sad when I have to leave him in his pen, even for a a moment, but I think until he's probably 1 years old or so, this is just going to be something he deals with.

In terms of sleep/naps, he's definitely a napper. Even if we want to play with him, mostly we don't know a lot of great, calm things to do together other than petting/brushing and training/feeding. So we will watch some TV and he'll just find a spot on the floor and will nap until someone decides to move around or come down the stairs. Doesn't really matter if he's sleeping or not, if he hears someone coming down the stairs he's sitting pretty like he's about to get a treat. I think that with his night time sleep, which is 8-9 hours straight (he doesn't go out in the night), he gets at least a couple hours more before lunch, a couple hours mid afternoon, he'll also get another couple hours of naps after dinner. I think in general at night he can make it from 9pm to 6:15a.m. with no potty breaks. Which I am pretty pleased about.

In the late afternoon I usually take him for another (long) walk. I'll cut that down as well, but there's definitely been days where we would get two big walks in a day each over 2 miles, each about 1 hour long. I'm going to cut that back now though and try to keep it to a lot less. After that he gets his dinner.

Dinner's usually another Kong plus sometimes we do some extra treats for fun. Still trying to find out what he likes (or rather find out if there's anything he dislikes, since he'll pretty much devour anything). I portion out his kibble into 3 kongs and another feeder toy plus there's a little left over. I think we add some random treat food but it's usually not a lot. every other day he might get a hot dog or a dental chew or something from leftover dinner but it's not a staple.

That's mostly the schedule of the day. It's not super duper strict, but follows that flow fairly consistently.

Not that anyone asked but...

Personality wise I think he's a pretty cool guy, meaning he's a bit aloof, not super needy, greedy, hoardy, etc. Things that I think might be telling are that he does whine if no one is around but it's very soft and doesn't last too long. He almost never barks unless there's an animal outside the glass door or the few times I've let him bark back at dogs that are in their fences on walks. He's not barking for no reason thankfully. He's super curious, but i think that's all puppies. He definitely likes to sniff the ground and sometimes it's like he's trying to ingest the earth through his nose, he's rubbing it down so hard. I don't like him getting too into the dirt because I can't really see if he's just smelling or eating. He's eaten some other animal's poo at least once about two months ago and that's made me nervous since he caught roundworm. So I try not see what he's sniffing if at all possible. He isn't yet really motivated to play or perform unless there's some kind of payoff. but if we bring out the cheese or some chicken etc. he's ready for action. I think he's very food motivated. Which makes me wonder if we're actually feeding him enough or if he's just loving the flavor and not really needing the calories.

he's also not the most affectionate. He isn't really all that interested in us. He does sit with us occasionally on the couch and enjoys being petted and rubbed but he's not all over us for attention. if we don't have food on us, he's pretty much fine with being near us but not next to us. I sometimes wonder if this is because I unwittingly forged a psychological distance due to the bearricade, instead of letting him from day one be with us everywhere. no way to really know, but I guess time will tell.

In terms of smarts, i think he's probably pretty smart but i don't have much to compare. He's our first pet, and I know the breed is very intelligent, so he seems to be picking up things pretty well. If we have treats and are inside or on the patio with little or no distraction he is great at many commands (come, sit, stay, down, up, fetch, leave it, weave, place, "In the crate", "On the bed", paw). Outside, or with distraction, not so much. I think it'll take a while until those are even marginally reliable without food or in a distracting setting.

I know you only asked about a schedule but i've been thinking about Bear so much that I am looking for more experienced, more wiser folks like yourselves to give me some critiques.

Thanks!
 

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I think it sounds like you're doing a wonderful job! And Bear sounds very normal (something we almost all worry about with our pups) so don't be concerned. Puppies can take a while to find their voice, and they can also take a while to get cuddly. Of course, all dogs are different. But at around 6 months, Peggy discovered her bark and suddenly realized how wonderful it is to snuggle with humans.

The only thing I'd caution against (aside from cutting down on his mileage a bit, unless you can limit it to grass/soft-surface strolls) is keeping him so far removed from the sights and sounds of everyday life. Have you considered adding a pen to your main living area, even a portable one? Or try tethering, either to you or to a safe, immovable anchor. (Some people actually drill into their baseboards for this.)

Unless I missed something, it sounds like he doesn't get to hear things like pots and pans banging at dinner time, excited splashing during your child's bath time, etc. If you've not already done so, you can look up a socialization checklist and start working through these items, ensuring each exposure is positive. Bear's past his critical socialization window, so you might be playing some catch-up. Watch for fear periods and be extra gentle and understanding.

And Peggy says: "Let him eat dirt sometimes! It's delicious!!" 😂

Keep having fun with Bear and please do start sharing some photos with us, if you can. It's so fun watching poodles grow up. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Unless I missed something, it sounds like he doesn't get to hear things like pots and pans banging at dinner time, excited splashing during your child's bath time, etc. If you've not already done so, you can look up a socialization checklist and start working through these items, ensuring each exposure is positive. Bear's past his critical socialization window, so you might be playing some catch-up. Watch for fear periods and be extra gentle and understanding.
i think it might be a good idea to set up a place 'on the main floor' for him to be in. would tethering to a baseboard though be kind of cruel? Also i'm afraid we're not baby/poodle proof enough. Maybe some short exposure time would be good though so he's not overwhelmed in the future? One thing I'm trying to figure out is how do we eat without him getting worked up about not eating what we're eating? i know eventually it'll come but do people just crate puppies at dinner time so they're not out of control? If we can't let him be near us I'm sure he'll start whining (and probably barking) to get "the good stuff".
 

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I think more sounds r good idea as well. Teddy is very scared of cars, lawn mowers, sirens. Which are scary noises since they r new. I try to when cars come by have Teddy sit and stay calm to help teach him to stay calm. Same with lawn mower and mail truck. I have a crate in our living room and he rests/plays in there during hustle bustle of dinner. Gotta get use to our crazy 😜 My fella isn’t a snuggler either but likes to be around. It sounds like u r giving it your all. Puppies r hard work!
 

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The description of a usual day is very clear and it's good that you added more detail about him.


If someone is available to supervise, he's in the living area of the basement. he has stayed at times alone but he's liable to find something to chew to bits (like shoes) so I want to keep him with someone as much as possible. He hasn't yet been on the 1st or 2nd floor, and I don't foresee that happening until he gets much calmer. Maybe not 'calmer' per se but less suddenly-crazy. we notice that every so often he just gets hyper and jumps from place to place. I "think" that might actually be like the storm-before-the-calm because if he's being crazy he usually will take a nap pretty shortly after that. I think this is a good idea to keep him in the basement, but I sometimes feel guilty. He can definitely seem sad when I have to leave him in his pen, even for a a moment, but I think until he's probably 1 years old or so, this is just going to be something he deals with.
"If someone is available to supervise, he's in the living area of the basement"

Is spending a lot of time in the basement how you all normally live? If not, it's not how he should normally live either.

"he has stayed at times alone but he's liable to find something to chew to bits"

Yep, he's a puppy. If he's not under direct supervision of a responsible human he will be safer in his pen or a crate in the same living are that the family spends their time in so he's still with the family.
Other choices are to have him tethered to a human as they move thru the house. The tethering to a single point is meant more to allow the human to do things like cook or do laundry without either getting injured by lots of quick short movements by humans or tripping over an inquisitive poodle, it's not meant to be in place of human interaction. Place a mat on the floor in the area but out of traffic and teach him to Settle in that place. One of PTP's happy moments in training Peggy was to look over and see that Peggy had Settled herself, without prompting.

"He hasn't yet been on the 1st or 2nd floor, and I don't foresee that happening until he gets much calmer. Maybe not 'calmer' per se but less suddenly-crazy. we notice that every so often he just gets hyper and jumps from place to place."
Yep, still a puppy. Could be normal zoomies (wait til you see him race around in a safe, large enclosed area. Poodles RUN!) or it could be adrenaline. You want him to learn how to behave in the home before he reaches full size, not after :). Standards don't really fully mature til they're about three years old. Do you foresee doing the basement thing for another two years or more?

"it might be a good idea to set up a place 'on the main floor' for him to be in"
More than a good idea, it's a necessity if you want him to understand what being a part of your family means and that any part of the house he's in is also where he lives. Poodles will respect the home once they understand. Might need to get thru teething first :).

You'd mentioned earlier about generalizing information and instructions and that's valid. Allow him to generalize life with the family.
You said "we're not baby/poodle proof enough" on the main floor. That's where the tethering to a human comes in. It's a wonderful way to spend normal daily time together and is also a great way to keep "accidents" down. The human gets to learn the cues and get him outside fast! If you're in an open concept home, then a mini version of the Bearricade would be ideal.

I hope PTP doesn't mind that I use her setup as a pictorial example:
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The wire exercise pen is not intended to withstand a puppy left alone in the house. That's for a crate, so if you can add a crate to the mini Bearricade, that's ideal. There are plastic options also, at lower and higher price points. I prefer the Richell for a few reasons. It comes in a 36" height, it can be broken down into different configurations, or even as a barrier across a wider doorway.


I'm in an older style split level home, so we just put up baby gates to contain the boys to the kitchen and family room. I had the Richell playpen set up also in the living room so I could keep an ear on them while I was making beds and such I later used it as barriers to certain areas. As my boys became more reliable, they earned more free space.

"how do we eat without him getting worked up about not eating what we're eating?"

How would he know that what you're eating is the "good stuff" :) ? We usually just eat in the family room so the boys were always at out feet when we ate. They didn't really beg and we didn't feed them in the family room, ever so they didn't associate the one action with the other. They learned the kitchen is where food happens and now, if we bend the rule and give a bite after we finish, they still don't beg.

"he's also not the most affectionate."

Some of what you mentioned may be a factor, Poodles are people dogs and he may be feeling kept at arms length. It may also be just that it's not unusual for some poodles to not become that way til they're a bit older. I don't think my boys became cuddly til they past six months, maybe longer. I'd have to check in my journal. I can tell you now that if i've settled down for the evening, I've got a lap full of poodles. If they're not with me, they're on the other sofa with my hubs. Or they split up, and we each have one :). If we're sitting, there's a poodle or two attached :).
 
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