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Hi everyone, I am thankful to find out this site. I am a first time poodle parent. I am concerned about my pup Dakota. He is a red mini poodle. He came home at 8 weeks. 3 weeks after that he started developing strange behaviors:
1. He would sit and didn't want to walk at the time that he usually exercised. That happened every other day.
2. He wouldn't come when I call his name. I let him go to the yard to relieve himself. Then I called but he wouldn't come I had to go find him.
3. He growls aggressively when my kids comes close when he ate a bone. He also did that when he slept and my kids tried to pick him up. I told my kids to leave him alone, but I wonder what could be done to stop that.

Thank you very much for your help!
 

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Well you will get advise from several of the trainers on here which I am not but to me it seems he is getting too much freedom, too soon. You are allowing him to be in charge and he is doing just that. First I'd structure his schedule, eat at such and such time, go potty and regular intervals on a leash. He probably doesn't recognize going out in the yard is for potty but also for playtime and wonderful sniffing. Too young yet for that. Don't give him a bone, when you do hold it and let him eat it. It belongs to you not him. Teach him the drop it command and a trade game, one good thing for a better one, don't grab it from him, . He should have his own area to go to bed not in with your kids until he is older and he eventually respects them. You could place him in a playpen with a bed next to your children. That will be his space and he gets to come out to go outside on a leash to potty and then to eat.
 

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Nothing you are describing is out of the ordinary for a young puppy. What is urgent though is to teach your kids not to bother the puppies when they are sleeping or eating. No petting, no picking up. This has to be a very strict rule or there could be serious consequences for your kids and the puppy. Dogs will growl as a warning, but if the warning isn’t acknowledged, they will resort to biting. Even if your puppies are small, this needs to be taken very seriously as it’s the number one cause of dog surrendering.

Mufar42 had good advice for training. I would get a trainer as well, just to guide you with the basics of dog ownership.
 

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I will second Dechi's urgency that you make your kids give him some space. Dogs give off warning signals before they bite, and what you describe as dog-to-children interactions is very similar to what dog owners with dogs who have bitten kids have described. The dog is just being a dog; an animal, and if you allow that animal to be pushed to the point where it feels that the only way out is to react aggressively, it can and will do so. He's being very good about giving you warning signals--heed them and don't try to silence him, instead working with him to feel comfortable about coming to you to ask for some space. I also really suggest a trainer to help you get the basics down. This is a good article in the meantime: Kids and Dogs: How Kids Should and Should Not Interact with Dogs
 

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Peggy Sue, Standard Poodle Born May 2019
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I would get a trainer as well, just to guide you with the basics of dog ownership.
I agree. Nothing you are describing is strange for a growing puppy, but it's not behaviour that we humans intuitively know how to manage. Getting some help now will set you and your family (human and canine!) up for success.

You specifically want a force-free trainer. Here's a good place to start: KPA CTP Certified Training Partners Online Directory Of Dog Trainers
 

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Agree too much too soon on many fronts. After 3 weeks, no puppy knows anything that is really installed properly as a behavior. He is a baby dog so you need baby steps. You are in the equivalent of having seen your human infant roll over and figuring he will walk later that week.

The one super important part of what you describe because it is dangerous is the resource guarding (being protective of food, treats, toys etc). When a pup or adult dog growls they are telling you they are very uncomfortable with the situation they are facing. Ignoring a growl that isn't heeded leaves the dog only one choice which is to bite. An adult needs to play trade up games to teach this pup to not guard his bones and other chewies. Your children need to stay the heck away from that situation while you are training that the dog needs to be willing to give up special treats and even then I don't know that I would want children involved in taking things away from any dog.

You need to teach your children to respect your pup during nap times. Ask them how they would react if you arrived in the middle of their own sound sleep and you just grabbed them with no warning and dragged them out of bed. If you need to do that to teach them how the pup feels about this then you should actually go drag them out of a sound sleep some time today or tomorrow. Are you familiar with the colloquial expression "let sleeping dogs lie?" There is a good reason for it. I would also teach your children to not pat the puppy on the head or to sneak up on him and handle him roughly. Everyone who gets a puppy for the family dog with children in the house really has two distinct jobs. One is tend to proper husbandry and training of the pup so that they maintain the lovely temperament that hopefully his breeder made the first steps in establishing. The second job is to teach the human children not to manhandle and rough up on the puppy. Puppies are living things, not dolls. I did various things to some of my childhood dolls like terrible haircuts, painting them with nail polish and such, but I never did anything that could be remotely construed as rough to my real living beagle baby. My parents saw to that. Please take this seriously and deal with it immediately. A puppy that has only been home for three weeks and is learning that growling is something to do will start biting with intention if his discomfort is not understood. You need to resolve this situation quickly.

Another couple of places to look for a trainer who will help you appropriately should you decide you need one are: Certification Counsel for Professional Dog Trainers at, ccpdt.org and the Association of Professional Dog Trainers at apdt.org. I am a member of both of these organizations and both subscribe to and hold their members to maintaining a strategy known as least intrusive/minimally aversive training.
 

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Catherine and I are certified professional trainers. I'm giving two huge thumbs up to everything Catherine said. I'm also adding, https://www.thefamilydog.com/families/ This is dog bite prevention for families. A puppy that is growling over a bone is telling you he's uncomfortable. We don't want puppies to feel uncomfortable. When you bring home a puppy, you're inviting an infant of a different species into your home. He's a baby and needs you to protect him like a baby.

Watch the Kid Videos on The Family Dog. They're cute, but also helpful for teaching kids how to interact safely with dogs. https://www.thefamilydog.com/stop-the-77/kid-vids/

Find a positive trainer. Certification Counsel for Professional Dog Trainers at, ccpdt.org and the Association of Professional Dog Trainers at apdt.org, or KPA-CTP Karen Pryor are all solid places where you will gain what you need going forward.
 

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I’m so glad you found the poodle forum so you could ask your questions. You may be surprised at the responses you’ve gotten. We have very experienced dog owners and professional dog trainers here and they want to help you raise the best puppy.

I agree with the suggestions of finding a quality positive trainer, one with the credentials mentioned above. These are people who have spend years training dog owners, have attended seminars and other educational venues as well as passing an extensive test to prove their knowledge. A few sessions with a quality trainer will help you set things right with your puppy and your children. You can ask this trainer to recommend a puppy class.

This puppy is like a newborn infant. It will take time and training before the puppy will learn his name. Lots of training to teach your dog to always come when called.

Always take him out on a leash to his potty spot. Tell him “go potty “ and give him a treat when he’s done. I wouldn’t let him out to potty off leash until he’s much older and knows his name and always comes when called. Right now you are rehearsing bad behavior which you want to avoid. If you don’t want to have to go out and find your dog after potty for the lifetime of your dog, then you need to take the time now to train him properly.

I don’t know you or your children. I got a tpoo when my children were young, 2 and 5 years old. My children loved the puppy and my daughter turned out to be a gifted animal trainer who trained this tpoo to perform circus tricks. My children were extremely gentle and respectful of the puppy. I didn’t have to do much, they were naturally careful. However not all of their friends were. Some kids are more rambunctious or energetic etc. and these children need close supervision around the puppy at all times. Each child is different so be honest about your children’s behavior and that of their friends. Be prepared to train your children and their friends. No rough or cruel behavior should be applied to the puppy.

Some children are mature enough to understand not to grab the dog while sleeping or eating. If your children struggle with understanding then follow through with the suggestion to do it to them to help them ”feel” how uncomfortable it is. Most dogs do not like to be carried- it can be very scary. Your children may not be picking up and carrying your dog safely. It’s best for even little dogs to keep all 4 paws on the ground most of the time. Little dogs that are carried a lot can become neurotic.

Many people don’t realize how much work goes into training a puppy, especially for that first year. If you put the work in now, you will have a lifetime of a well behaved dog. If you allow you dog to rehearse bad behaviors now because you don’t want to take time to train, then you will have a lifetime of a dog who never learned to do things correctly. There is nothing better than a well behaved dog. You give your kids a very special gift showing them how to respect and love their puppy and letting them see how a puppy is trained. If they are old enough they can help with the training.

Good luck and please come back and ask more questions and keep us informed on your progress. We want success for everyone and every puppy.
 
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