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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
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I think I am doing something wrong with Ruger's training. I was reading all kind of books and this forum and thought that I was all ready for a poodle. I was not, it is really clear to me now. Ruger is 14 weeks old now and I have the following issues and not sure if this is normal at all:
1. He bites. I mean he really bites, to blood. Some times he is really sweet, but others he just bites to get something he likes, or when he is not really comfortable, or when I try to take his leash off (or put it on), etc.....also while playing. I try to replace whatever he bites by a toy, but he is going around the toy for my hands. Not always, but really often. My vet told me that Ruger will outgrow it, but I think he would not unless I train him, and I have a fear that I am not training him correctly.
2. During the day he is soiling in the house sometimes. I take him out on schedule and he goes outside. But he would not show me in any way (Or I do not recognize his signs) that he needs to go. Is it to early to expect? If he needs to go before I take him out, he does it in the house.
I am so afraid that I will miss the time and then he is going to be impossible to train. Really appreciate any advise.

We are starting the Poppy Kindergarten classes this week, but I do not think they train for issues.

May be he has too much freedom around the house? He has a playpen attached to his day time crate, but he is hardy ever in it. Usually he runs free on the first floor of the house. I just feel that he needs to exercise and it is too cold outside right now. Is this a mistake?
 

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Sounds like you've got a normal puppy to me. :)

You are correct that Ruger needs some training to help him learn that biting isn't acceptable. There's a lot of "OW! MY PUPPY WON'T STOP BITING ME!" threads on here that have loads of information on that topic (here's a good, fairly recent one for starters):

Puppy Biting - Help!

Until a puppy is about six months old, they lack the muscle control to take care of their movements. So when they need to go, they go right then and there. Taking note of the times that he's going to the bathroom and strategically taking him at those times helps a lot of people.

I personally would restrict him to beside you or in the x-pen so you can watch him and correct mistakes he makes/reward good behavior. You can get some pretty decent exercise with a flirt pole.

This book is free, and is generally recommended to new puppy owners here to help them in their training:

https://www.dogstardaily.com/files/downloads/AFTER_You_Get_Your_Puppy.pdf

Finally, you got this. :) Puppies are some the most downright selfish creatures on the planet, and it's perfectly normal to doubt yourself from time to time. I really, really strongly suggest that you look at Zak George's Dog Training Experience series to help ease your fears:


He doesn't gloss over mistakes like a lot of YouTube trainers do, and it's very similar to what raising a puppy is like. I believe Inertia even has potty accidents and the like on camera in a few episodes!
 

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:sleep:
Ruger is 14 weeks old ... not sure if this is normal at all:

2. During the day he is soiling in the house sometimes. I take him out on schedule and he goes outside. But he would not show me in any way (Or I do not recognize his signs) that he needs to go. Is it to early to expect? If he needs to go before I take him out, he does it in the house.
I am so afraid that I will miss the time and then he is going to be impossible to train. Really appreciate any advise.
That's totally normal. As you know, sometimes poop & pee are unpredictable and unexplainable. The best thing to do is just clean it up. There's light at the end of the tunnel. From 18-22 weeks Basil's ability to hold it got WAY stronger (more than 2 hours between pees, more like 2.5-3.5, then 3-4). 6 months is generally when you can look at the worse of potty training in the rear view mirror.

It's a bit of a process and to empathize with you Basil's peed on the rug 3 times from weeks 22-38. It happens.

Basil does a bit of a pee dance where she paces back and forth on leash sniffing. It's similar to a kindergardener bouncing up and down saying "I gotta go I gotta go". In addition, you can get a visual que when Ruger has to go poop because his butthole will look like the rhino scene from Ace Ventura Pet Detective with a similar dance. Hope that helps.

 

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I regularly say that I think potty training is the least important thing with a new puppy. Socialization is the most - potty training gets easier as the dog gets older, socialization gets a lot harder and there are So MANY THINGS to expose a new dog to.

I think my other reminder is that poodle puppies need sleep. Lots of sleep. 18 hrs or so. And many puppies aren't good at KNOWING they need sleep. If your puppy is being bitey - he may just be an overwrought toddler with a temper tantrum and no self control. Crate time is a good idea at that point, after an hour or so nap, your puppy is likely to be much better behaved. The thread linked earlier has some more good strategies.
 

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Great advice in here. I would say yes, 14 weeks is early and I would not worry so much about potty accidents and just try to work toward less potty accidents. Remember that he will need to potty about every 30 minutes when he is active. When asleep or resting they can go much longer, but they really cannot hold it long when they are awake. It does sound like your pup has way too much freedom right now. At that age, my pup was in his pen unless he was under direct supervision. Many people find tethering the puppy to them with a leash is a great way to keep an eye on them. He does need exercise, but only in short bouts of activity. Twenty minutes of play followed by nap time in the pen. An over exercised puppy is definitely going to be more mouthy.

Poodle puppies can be incredibly mouthy. I would not worry so much that he bites, and just focus on being consistent in your discouragement toward biting. My own puppy was very similar when young. He delighted in causing pain and loved to attack constantly. I used the time out method for excessive mouthing and also redirection with tug toys. It can last until 8-9 months but they do stop mouthing with consistent direction.
 

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Sharkla, errr I mean Starla, is the bitey-est puppy I’ve ever had. At 4 months it’s getting better, she hasn’t ripped any clothes in at least a week, so though the progress is slow, it’s there. She was playing with my husband a couple days ago and he still has a cut on his hand. Just commiserating, 😊.
Potty training puppies is like potty training people. When they’re ready, they’re ready and until then be prepared to clean up accidents as they happen. Don’t ever punish for an accident since it wasn’t an on purpose and you’ll be fine.
Try not to be so hard on yourself. Yes, the socialization window is small, but dogs are adaptable. Most can be picked up off the street and learn to live in any home, if you think about it. Sure, you might inadvertently teach something you’ll have to unteach later, esp with these smarty-poodles, but they stay teachable. It’s never too late.
 

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Peggy Sue, Standard Poodle Born May 2019
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Wonderful advice as always. I sure love Poodle Forum. :)

Puppy kindergarten might help remind Ruger to be gentle when he bites. How many puppies were in his litter? And at what age did you bring him home?

Puppy Peggy’s needle teeth generally only broke the skin if I pulled away from her nips. It’s important not to do that, as the quick movement can not only cause injury, it can be very exciting to poodle puppies! She also broke my parents’ skin a few times while playing, just by catching a tooth on them. They are in their 70s and are much quicker to bleed.

Now she has a lovely, soft mouth, but we do have a nice small pack of well-socialized dogs that she plays with each week. They are very efficient at correcting one other.

One other thing: It sounds like you’ve done loads of puppy research, which is great. But sometimes training methods—especially well-meaning online advice—can be contradictory. I think it’s important to stick with one excellent book as your foundation. You really can’t go wrong with the Ian Dunbar title linked above by @FloofyPoodle.
 

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Noelle was a winter puppy. I get the temptation to let the puppy run free, but too much freedom will slow down house breaking. Can you block off the kitchen? The classic large puppy play area is the kitchen with baby gates. Remember that puppies have to potty after sleeping, eating, drinking, and playing. Set a timer, take the puppy out every hour on a leash. When the puppy goes, praise. If the puppy doesn't go, crate. At this age, your puppy is too young to have actual bowel and bladder control. What you're trying to do is catch the puppy going in the right place.

When the puppy gets too mouthy, quietly leave the area. I found that yelling, "Yikes!" Or "Ow!" only got Noelle more charged up. So, I left before she went too wild. Waited 30 seconds, and returned. It took a while for Noelle to make the mental association, if I get too wild, people leave. Make sure you have appropriate toys to bite and soothe sore gums. And remember, this too shall pass. Puppy needle teeth and shark behavior is developmental and not permanent.
 

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You have a perfectly normal puppy! And you are doing lots of things just right. There are also great bits of advise above, including that you are very ambitious in what is realistic to expect from such a young baby dog. It does sound like you are giving too much freedom in the house. Don't feel badly about restricting pup's house freedoms. It is too important to get house training right to feel badly about using your crate and ex-pen. Follow Ian Dunbar and you can't go wrong.
 
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Winnie is 6 months old now and has her BIG teeth. She is still a little shark but a lot less than before thank goodness and whereas before she couldn't control how hard she bit, now she is much gentler and doesn't hurt unless we get caught by accident during tug. We still work on her not being a little shark though by yelping and turning away. She knows she did something wrong as she comes to lick your hand and gets all cuddly whereas when she was very little she just carried on regardless so I do think she understands a bit more now that she is older.
With regards to the soiling, Winnie gave us signs she wanted to go but they were very subtle. Like she would be playing and all of a sudden she would stop and just stare at us. As she got bigger she would stop and stare but start moving towards the back door so it was a bit easier to understand. Now she sits by the back door.
When I need to exercise Winnie I find the quickest way is to use a flirt pole or chuck a few balls in the garden for her to fetch. Even when its cold, she is warm with 5 or 10 minutes running around. I am the one that's cold 🥶 She is absolutely fine.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
In addition, you can get a visual que when Ruger has to go poop because his butthole will look like the rhino scene from Ace Ventura Pet Detective with a similar dance. Hope that helps.
Thank you Basil_the_Spoo. I really needed a lough today: Ruger sliced my right hand thumb open this morning. It was not his fault: he just noticed my had hanging within a reach, jumped and garbed my finger, slicing it down with his sharp teeth. It was really painful and took a while to stop bleeding. I put him back in his playpen and cried. He was crying in the pen with me, so if was an interesting concert, it someone could see it. It is all good now.
About the look of his but, I also noticed it, but some time it is just too late to stop him from pooping. So far it was not hard to clean it up, so I just clean and spray with smell remover.
I found an advise in one of the training books to use the bells on the door for house-training. Not sure if anyone had experience with them.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I think my other reminder is that poodle puppies need sleep. Lots of sleep. 18 hrs or so.
I will pay more attention to the sleep. I think this is probably one of the reasons he is a bit crasy. I normally put him in his crate when I work (I work from home these days), and he likes it. I have his crate next to my desk at the day time, and next to my bed at night. But probably he needs to sleep more, because some days he falls asleep on the kitchen floor next to me.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
How many puppies were in his litter? And at what age did you bring him home?
It was 7 puppies in Ruger's litter and I got him at the age of 8 weeks. He was not as bity at that age, so I was concerned that if he gets worse I am not doing a good job teaching him. Reading all the great responses here I feel much better now.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Can you block off the kitchen? The classic large puppy play area is the kitchen with baby gates.
Unfortunately I cannot close any area on the first floor - we have an open floor house and gates did not work. I only blocked the stairs to the scond floor, and even that does not work 100% - Ruger manages to open the small area in the gate and snick through. Fortunately so far he does it only if I have to go upstairs for something, not when I am around him. So now I just put him in the pen when I have to go to the second floor.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
With regards to the soiling, Winnie gave us signs she wanted to go but they were very subtle.
I noticed a similar behavior from Ruger. He would come to me and really try to get my attention. It even feels like he is talking to me. But it is really hard to understand if these are the signs to go potty, or just to play with him. I am sure it will get better. I just did not know how long it usually takes for a poodle poppy to give a recognizable signs that he needs to go. My last dog was a poppy more then 20 years ago and in my memory he started knocking in the glass of the deck door within a month after I took him home. But he was 12 weeks old when I got him, perhaps this is why it took less time.
 

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I noticed a similar behavior from Ruger. He would come to me and really try to get my attention. It even feels like he is talking to me. But it is really hard to understand if these are the signs to go potty, or just to play with him. I am sure it will get better. I just did not know how long it usually takes for a poodle poppy to give a recognizable signs that he needs to go. My last dog was a poppy more then 20 years ago and in my memory he started knocking in the glass of the deck door within a month after I took him home. But he was 12 weeks old when I got him, perhaps this is why it took less time.
My dog 24 years ago would give a high pitched whine to get your attention and then if you asked 'do you want to go toilet?' she would start shuffling and fidgeting but she was a bit older too when we got her so I do think as they get older they get better at letting you know.
 

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Get him in a pen that is only big enough for him to turn around in. Keep him in that pen! KEEP HIM IN THE PEN. Seriously. If he’s indoors, he’s in the pen. Period. They are relatively cheap to buy and if you buy two sets you can make about three and have one in three different places in the house. Then you put him on a schedule. Read Ian Dunbar for sure. Puppies do not get free roaming indoors.

About the biting— your vet is wrong. And it should be stated that vets are not necessarily dog trainers or behaviorists. Your puppy won’t necessarily grow out of biting. What he will grow is an adult jaw with adult teeth. You need to communicate STRONGLY that biting is not ok. My first standard was super bitey and the only way to fix it was to grab his muzzle firmly and loudly say NO. This is old school, so no one else is going to tell you to do this, but it really is the best way IMO. Giving him a toy when he bites obviously doesn’t work. Be aware of what message you’re sending— he can’t understand you or have a civilized conversation with you, don’t accidentally reward bad behavior.

Go to YouTube and search for videos showing mom dog/puppy interactions and pay attention to how mom dogs treat their puppies. Mirror that behavior. Read Ian Dunbar. Remember puppies are hard. It sucks. It’s totally normal to feel like you’ve made a mistake and want to go back to life before. It will get easier if you put in the effort. It is possible and you can do this!!
 
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