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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello! My parents had dogs, but this is my first puppy (I'm 61). He's a 12-wk-old spoo, and I just got him 2 days ago. I read books and watched videos on training, but I feel I'm not doing nearly as well as I'd hoped. It would be great to speak with an owner and ask all my questions from day to day. Is there anyone out there who has successfully trained their spoo and wouldn't mind being my mentor for the first few weeks and answering my many questions? I'm sure few people would have time for that! Unfortunately, I'm on a fixed income and can't afford a trainer. I plan to do my own training in and grooming. The training videos make it look so easy. My breeder is great, but I know she's busy and I feel I can't keep bothering her.
 

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Elroy: Standard Poodle, Born 02/20/21
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Welcome to the forum! What's your puppies name? Do you have a crate yet? I recommend reading "Before and After Getting Your Puppy" by Ian Dunbar. Not sure you'll find an actual "mentor" here, but if you ask specific questions, the group will be glad to offer advice. We'd love to see pictures of the little guy!
 

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Ask away.

Also, don't think you can't be a budget master groomer at home. if you want to turn heads then we can help you. We can tell you what you need. There's a poodle pattern for everyone's situation and season.

The trick is to brush your dog while your listening to the news. 10-15 minutes AM and PM. You'll have a georgous dog.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for reaching out! His name is Carlo, and my actual name isn't Carla-- that's just for the PF, lol. I did read that book but maybe should read it again. I was hesitant to keep him in his crate so much and feed him through chew toys, because he was free-feeding at the breeders and I didn't want to shock him by having everything so suddenly change in his life, including being alone in a crate.. Maybe I'm wrong.

The breeder wanted me to read the books by the Monks of New Skeet. I also watched Zak George videos on YouTube. Maybe my problem is confusion-- I know I have to stick to one method and stick with it, but haven't committed yet.

I would love to hear how Dr. Dunbar's method has worked from people who've tried it, and hear how their dogs seemed to feel and respond to that.

One problem is that Carlo is all black and I can't see his beneath his curls unless I bend down-- so I can seldom see his eyes and couldn't attempt to teach "look at me." I'm ordering some tiny rubberbands to pull some of his hair out of the way and hope that will help.

BTW, his breeder has groomed him, but he doesn't like it when I try to brush and comb him. He especially doesn't want me to do his legs or belly.

I want to start brushing his teeth as well, and I have nubby finger sleeves to start with, but he probably won't like that.

My biggest problem is that his place to do his business for now is my very small back yard (maybe 20' x 40'), and he started off using it, but refused today after he heard my backyard neighbor's dogs barking loudly. He scored mostly 3s on temperament, so I didn't expect him to be frightened like that.

Here's his picture. He seems very big to me, but I know that, at 12 weeks, he's still a baby. He still takes a lot of naps.
Dog Vertebrate Mammal Carnivore Dog breed
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Ask away.

Also, don't think you can't be a budget master groomer at home. if you want to turn heads then we can help you. We can tell you what you need. There's a poodle pattern for everyone's situation and season.

The trick is to brush your dog while your listening to the news. 10-15 minutes AM and PM. You'll have a georgous dog.
Thank you! I have all the grooming tools, and my breeder will give me a grooming lesson in few weeks. But until then, Carlo really doesn't like it when I brush or comb him. I hope he'll get used to it. He tries to bite the brushes and combs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Welcome to the forum! What's your puppies name? Do you have a crate yet? I recommend reading "Before and After Getting Your Puppy" by Ian Dunbar. Not sure you'll find an actual "mentor" here, but if you ask specific questions, the group will be glad to offer advice. We'd love to see pictures of the little guy!
Another problem I'm having is that, when training, we are supposed to reward the dogs with treats, but the treats package recommends only 2 treats per day. Does anyone know a low-calorie treat I can use for training?
 

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At that age he should be sleeping 18-20 hours a day. Naps are good. :)

I agree this can be a real issue:

Maybe my problem is confusion-- I know I have to stick to one method and stick with it, but haven't committed yet.
Not only are you going to confuse yourself, you’re going to confuse Carlo. And a confused puppy is a stressed puppy....often mistaken for a naughty puppy.

Ian Dunbar is a leader in his field. He knows what he’s talking about. Although I’ve read his book with each of my puppies, I’ve never applied it quite so diligently as I did with Peggy. And the results have been astonishing.

Just remember: You don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Animal behaviour is a science. Wrap your head around the basic reinforcement formula and you’ll be speaking “poodle” in no time.

And if you can afford it, get yourself to a good puppy class. Early socialization is extremely important, and you’re sure to meet some other folks there with whom you can share tips and commiserate.
 

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Another problem I'm having is that, when training, we are supposed to reward the dogs with treats, but the treats package recommends only 2 treats per day. Does anyone know a low-calorie treat I can use for training?
This is all covered in Before & After Getting Your Puppy. :) That’s what I mean by not needing to reinvent the wheel. It’s all laid out for you in that book. It’s basically a Carlo user manual.

But generally speaking, packaged treats aren’t great for training. In low distraction environments, you can use kibble. Out in the world, you’re probably better off using small pieces of plain boiled chicken breast (chop, freeze on a cookie sheet, place in a ziplock bag, and grab as needed) or tiny bits of low fat string cheese, etc. No larger than a kernel of corn and soft. Always soft. I save crunchy stuff for at home, and even then only when we’re staying fairly still. Otherwise it’s a choke risk and also just very distracting.
 

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Elroy: Standard Poodle, Born 02/20/21
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Take Carlo's entire daily ration of food (I use Purina Pro Plan Puppy, kibble) out in the morning and put it in a container. Divide it into 4 or 3 equal sized meals. Now when you feed him at each mealtime, keep enough in reserve for training purposes. With Elroy, I found that his regular kibble was motivating enough for training in undistracted conditions.
 

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Hi and welcome!

You are so not alone here! It had been over 35 years since my last puppy. I joined initially to thank PF for being such a solid source of info and comfort.

Not to distract from Ian Dunbar, and I agree that picking a single source initially will help you and Carlo learn the same language, what are the more immediate things you'd like to know more about?
 
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How are you trying to brush him? Starla was shaved so very often that she was a pro when she came to me at 8 weeks with shaving, but was not the puppy I had imagined with brushing. She only wanted to be brushed or combed on the table - there she was just fine with it. Phoebe was not shaved as a young puppy (first face shave minutes before I got her), so that has been a harder path, but she is what I envisioned originally with brushing. She loves laying on the floor in my lap getting combed out. That was a long winded way to say -if you’re trying on the floor, move to the table and if you’re trying on a table, move to the floor and see if that makes a difference.
 

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Carlo really doesn't like it when I brush or comb him. I hope he'll get used to it. He tries to bite the brushes and combs.
Poodles are particularly mouthy. Carlo will be for some few months yet. (Always have a toy to trade out for your fingers, hand, arm, leg, pants leg... My Neo, 4 yrs old now, still runs to grab a toy to stuff in his mouth when he gets excited, so he won't mouth us.)

I have miniatures but the technique I used is size irrelevant, for now :).

I'd wait til my boys were tired but not cranky, put them on the sofa with me, take the brush/comb, make one pass, then stroke with my hand (tiny treats optional) and just let them drift, not quite sure if they were being petted or brushed. Rinse and repeat. This is one of those things that just isn't optional for poodles so he will need your help to accept it. If this doesn't work (don't give it up too quickly), there are other ways.

I know it's daunting at times. I was in tears more than a few times, but those times do pass. Once you start getting some successes together and start building your partnership, it gets better. Not necessarily easier, but definitely better :).
 
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Store bought treats can be very pricey, and they aren't always great for the dog when fed in large amounts. All of my pups have gotten the runs when fed too much dried liver. Other people on PF have reported their dogs can't handle vegetable glycerine, which is the softener used in most moist treats.

Right now I'm using different flavors of "all life stages" dog kibble to reward Ritter. His primary kibble is Purina ProPlan; he greets it with the enthusiasm of a small child presented with a plate of broccoli, lol. Therefore, a handful of Royal Canin or Acana is actually a treat for him. I find a mix works best, because curiosity about the next flavor to come out of my pocket helps motivate him.

I also keep some dried fish or limited ingredient freeze dried treats around as special rewards for when he's done something extra hard: coming when loose in the yard, performing a new trick for the first time, etc. During his puppy kindergarten I had a half cup of frozen leftover steak or chicken scraps in my treat pocket. I would use these to regain his attention when he was distracted by the other puppies. With previous dogs I've used tiny pieces of string cheese and even cat food as treats.

To sum it up, I use a mix of regular kibble - flavors that aren't part of his regular meals - for rewarding easy stuff he already knows. He gets a special treat - steak scrap, freeze dried fish - when he deserves to be rewarded for something requiring extra thought, effort, and self- discipline.
 

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For puppy Kindergarten, we were instructed to bring 5 different treats of varying degrees of yummyness. I didn't want to use most store bought treats with veg. glycerin (per PF advice) BC he'd be getting a lot of treats during class. I've brought 1) kibble 2) Full Moon jerky tenders 3) string cheese 4) Deli Roast beef 5) chicken breast 6) Purina 'Moist & Meaty' steak 7) all beef Hot Dogs. All treats are cut into very small pieces smaller than the size of a pea.
 

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Treats -

our poodles think that 5 pennies are better then 1 nickel. So, when you (Mom) want to communicate, "this behavior is good" after it's done, then reward treat then treat then treat x 3-5. You'll see Carlos tail start to wag more like "oh this is awesome."

Also, remember that our poodles are people pleasers. So, the more enthusiasm you express verbally and with your body language, then the greater Carlo will receive "oh that made Mom really happy. I like to make Mom happy."

If people don't think your a "crazy dog mom" then your not showing enough enthusiasm.
 

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One of the most important grooming tools is a table. I have a deal with my spoos that serious grooming ony happens there and I also pay well for being well behaved there-freeze dried chicken or beef liver reserved only for being good while being groomed. If for some reason they won't eat the secial cookie then I know it is time to give a break because that pup is stressed.

See if you can find an AKC affiliated training club. They are much less costly than any private trainer will be. We charge $140 for a 6 week beginner/puppy class and $185 if it is an 8 week class. The price of the class gives you a membership for a year and a discount for any drop in class you attend after that (for seniors there is a discount and each class is just $14). On the other hand private trainers in my neck of the woods can be anywhere from $100-150 for an hour.

Don't watch or read too many different people as it will lead to confusion. I don't watch or read too many online trainers since much of their material is on pet training and I am not interested in them for myself since I do performance/companion events with my dogs so I won't say too much about any of the pet trainers out of lack of familiarity. I am a CGC evaluator and also a CPDT-KA trainer and have some free time now since I am just teaching one online college class, so I do have some time to offer suggestions.
 
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
At that age he should be sleeping 18-20 hours a day. Naps are good. :)

I agree this can be a real issue:



Not only are you going to confuse yourself, you’re going to confuse Carlo. And a confused puppy is a stressed puppy....often mistaken for a naughty puppy.

Ian Dunbar is a leader in his field. He knows what he’s talking about. Although I’ve read his book with each of my puppies, I’ve never applied it quite so diligently as I did with Peggy. And the results have been astonishing.

Just remember: You don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Animal behaviour is a science. Wrap your head around the basic reinforcement formula and you’ll be speaking “poodle” in no time.

And if you can afford it, get yourself to a good puppy class. Early socialization is extremely important, and you’re sure to meet some other folks there with whom you can share tips and commiserate.
Thank you! As you've had success with Dr. Dunbar's methods, I will try them. I hope Carlo won't be upset when I change our (kind of non-existant) plan, but as he's only been here two days, at least that's easier than it might be later.

As soon as he's fully vaccinated, I'll see if there's an affordable class.
Treats -

our poodles think that 5 pennies are better then 1 nickel. So, when you (Mom) want to communicate, "this behavior is good" after it's done, then reward treat then treat then treat x 3-5. You'll see Carlos tail start to wag more like "oh this is awesome."

Also, remember that our poodles are people pleasers. So, the more enthusiasm you express verbally and with your body language, then the greater Carlo will receive "oh that made Mom really happy. I like to make Mom happy."

If people don't think your a "crazy dog mom" then your not showing enough enthusiasm.
Thanks. No, I dont think I have been enthusiastic enough. I am naturally a rather reserved and quiet person, but I will take this on with my best effort!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
One of the most important grooming tools is a table. I have a deal with my spoos that serious grooming ony happens there and I also pay well for being well behaved there-freeze dried chicken or beef liver reserved only for being good while being groomed. If for some reason they won't eat the secial cookie then I know it is time to give a break because that pup is stressed.

See if you can find an AKC affiliated training club. They are much less costly than any private trainer will be. We charge $140 for a 6 week beginner/puppy class and $185 if it is an 8 week class. The price of the class gives you a membership for a year and a discount for any drop in class you attend after that (for seniors there is a discount and each class is just $14). On the other hand private trainers in my neck of the woods can be anywhere from $100-150 for an hour.

Don't watch or read too many different people as it will lead to confusion. I don't watch or read too many online trainers since much of their material is on pet training and I am not interested in them for myself since I do performance/companion events with my dogs so I won't say too much about any of the pet trainers out of lack of familiarity. I am a CGC evaluator and also a CPDT-KA trainer and have some free time now since I am just teaching one online college class, so I do have some time to offer suggestions.
Thanks so much for the info! I have 2 other issues--maybe I mentioned one of them earlier. 1. Carlo hasn't responded to any toys but a flirt pole. He doesn't want to play tug-of-war or chase a ball. That being said, he is only 12 weeks old and I've only had him 2.5 days so far. How can I interest him in other games? He seems to be starting to be a bit bored of the flirt pole. 2. Now he's afraid of my small backyard because the neighbor's big dogs barked at him from behind a fence (he can't see them, however). Now he has become hesitant to play there or do his business there. What should I do? 3 He tries to eat/chew grass and leaves outside. Should I prevent him? He is ignoring his toys that I brought outside. Thanks for any advice!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Poodles are particularly mouthy. Carlo will be for some few months yet. (Always have a toy to trade out for your fingers, hand, arm, leg, pants leg... My Neo, 4 yrs old now, still runs to grab a toy to stuff in his mouth when he gets excited, so he won't mouth us.)

I have miniatures but the technique I used is size irrelevant, for now :).

I'd wait til my boys were tired but not cranky, put them on the sofa with me, take the brush/comb, make one pass, then stroke with my hand (tiny treats optional) and just let them drift, not quite sure if they were being petted or brushed. Rinse and repeat. This is one of those things that just isn't optional for poodles so he will need your help to accept it. If this doesn't work (don't give it up too quickly), there are other ways.

I know it's daunting at times. I was in tears more than a few times, but those times do pass. Once you start getting some successes together and start building your partnership, it gets better. Not necessarily easier, but definitely better :).
Thanks do much for sharing. I have felt like crying , too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Hi and welcome!

You are so not alone here! It had been over 35 years since my last puppy. I joined initially to thank PF for being such a solid source of info and comfort.

Not to distract from Ian Dunbar, and I agree that picking a single source initially will help you and Carlo learn the same language, what are the more immediate things you'd like to know more about?
Thank you! I would like to know how to interest him in playing fetch or tug of war. I want to get his energy out!! Also, thunderstorms are possible in Illinois today. How can I take him for "potty" if it's pouring rain?
 
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