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Nickel is turning 4 months this week. He continues to be a very playful puppy who is learning new things everyday and is reliably housetrained. But there are several behavioral problems that are definitely catching my attention:

1. He used to stay in his crate quietly until I got off my bed and only then I would hear him getting a bit restless, all ready to come out and go potty. But recently, he is not doing so well in his crate - he has never had any accident inside but he would keep crying and crying for 10 mins after I put him in and he would cry in the morning and wake me up. What should I do?

2. From the very beginning (and still) he is very excited and wags his tail like crazy whenever he sees my husband and he rarely wags his tail when he sees me, except when I let him out of his crate. He follows me around in the house (not so much for my husband) and he stays close to my feet when both of us are watching tv. Recently when he's dozing off near my feet, he would growl at my husband when he walks near him/pat him. This happens almost every time when he's sleepy. How should I fix this?

3. As some of you may remember, Nickel was scared by some skateboarders a while ago. He's getting a lot better now BUT only when walking with me. One time I had to go back home and grab a jacket and I told my husband I would meet them at the regular spot, when I came down I saw them standing right there. Nickel refused to go with him. According to hubby, he cried and cried and dragged him back. But once he saw me, he ran and jumped up to me. I didn't want to reenforce this so I calmly called his name and we walked together to our regular spot. And he walked nicely on leash without any problem. And he ran and played with my husband with no problem.

Background info: I am the sole caregiver - I feed, I clean, I brush, I bathe, I take him to class/playgroup, I myself walk him twice a day. Hubby joins our evening walk maybe 4 times a week and he plays with him like crazy for 20 mins everyday after work (typical dad~)

I think Nickel is seeing me as the pack leader and my husband as his playmate/peer. How can I let him know that papa is papa but not his peer?
 

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Hi Schnauzerpoodle,

I feel like I can relate with you on many levels since I just a few months ahead with my mini.

1. He used to stay in his crate quietly until I got off my bed and only then I would hear him getting a bit restless, all ready to come out and go potty. But recently, he is not doing so well in his crate - he has never had any accident inside but he would keep crying and crying for 10 mins after I put him in and he would cry in the morning and wake me up. What should I do? Yep, same here. I would just ignore him. Jager used to be really bad in the morning, the slightest sound woke him up and he would cry to come out. But I just let him cry and now he’s much, much better and usually stays pretty quiet in the mornings until we get up (aside from the total relapse last week when he was sick!)

2. From the very beginning (and still) he is very excited and wags his tail like crazy whenever he sees my husband and he rarely wags his tail when he sees me, except when I let him out of his crate. He follows me around in the house (not so much for my husband) and he stays close to my feet when both of us are watching tv. Recently when he's dozing off near my feet, he would growl at my husband when he walks near him/pat him. This happens almost every time when he's sleepy. How should I fix this? You got me on this one… hopefully someone else has some good advice. Is he just startled/scared, or he knows it’s your husband and he growls?
3. As some of you may remember, Nickel was scared by some skateboarders a while ago. He's getting a lot better now BUT only when walking with me. One time I had to go back home and grab a jacket and I told my husband I would meet them at the regular spot, when I came down I saw them standing right there. Nickel refused to go with him. According to hubby, he cried and cried and dragged him back. But once he saw me, he ran and jumped up to me. I didn't want to reenforce this so I calmly called his name and we walked together to our regular spot. And he walked nicely on leash without any problem. And he ran and played with my husband with no problem. Again, not sure on this one, although I find it hard to believe a mini poodle puppy could drag your husband around. :)
Background info: I am the sole caregiver - I feed, I clean, I brush, I bathe, I take him to class/playgroup, I myself walk him twice a day. Hubby joins our evening walk maybe 4 times a week and he plays with him like crazy for 20 mins everyday after work (typical dad~)

I think Nickel is seeing me as the pack leader and my husband as his playmate/peer. How can I let him know that papa is papa but not his peer? In the beginning, we had a similar problem because I am also the sole caregiver for the most part. Now, my husband walks Jager alone a few times a week (without me) and also feeds him several times a week. He came to one of our puppy training classes, and practices sits and downs with the dog at home. Hubby recently started getting Jager out of his crate a few mornings a week and taking him out to potty. We also made it a point to have Jager sit with my husband when we watched TV at night for a while, and not with me all the time. I would say Jager now sees both of us as leaders, and treats us pretty similarly (although I have to admit, he does love me just a tiny bit more! I’d be lying if I said I didn’t like that just a little bit…)
 

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Background info: I am the sole caregiver - I feed, I clean, I brush, I bathe, I take him to class/playgroup, I myself walk him twice a day. Hubby joins our evening walk maybe 4 times a week and he plays with him like crazy for 20 mins everyday after work (typical dad~)

I think Nickel is seeing me as the pack leader and my husband as his playmate/peer. How can I let him know that papa is papa but not his peer?
Hubby needs to assert himself. You just have to do what you did when you came to meet them on the walk, Ignor Nickel when he does these things.

I do 90% of the feeding and potty breaks- but my BF is pack leader and all of our dogs know this. Your hubby walks with you 4 times a week, thats great! He must be holding the leash while you observe. Also, this must be reinforced inside as well. Get hubby involved in training and treating. This is key to socialization also - Nickel will need to "learn" this for basic obedience as well.

Also - no "playtime" after work for 20 minutes, it's too much about fun fun during a high energy moment anyway - so no skills are being learned when the dogs level of energy is a 10. Nickel should earn playtime. :)
 

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Thanks for the replies. Nickel was able to drag my husband around because he was afraid he would hurt Nickel's neck/throat if he insisted to walk to the meeting place. So, yeah, in a way he let Nickel do what he did.

I'll get hubby involved in training and treating and taking him out for a walk, under my supervision though. I don't trust him to go alone - He didn't see Nickel picking up a chicken bone near the trash and there was one time he let Nickel run towards a big dog without asking the owner and it ended up that dog was not good with puppies/small dogs and the owner had to stand between his dog and Nickel to protect Nickel. My husband, who has never had a pet before, somehow thought that all dogs can play together without any problem. Sigh~~

Silly question: Nickel rarely wags his tail when he sees me. Does Nickel love me less? Or because I am always there (I work from home)? Maybe I should play hard-to-get on dogs too :p
 

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1. He used to stay in his crate quietly until I got off my bed and only then I would hear him getting a bit restless, all ready to come out and go potty. But recently, he is not doing so well in his crate - he has never had any accident inside but he would keep crying and crying for 10 mins after I put him in and he would cry in the morning and wake me up. What should I do?

I had a similar issue when mine was a pup, when he figured 'out of the crate' was more fun than 'in the crate'.

I had to do maybe 2 totally ruthless sessions, where I stuck him in the crate with toys and chewies and then put headphones on and cleaned the house for two hours while the puppy went through increasing levels of 'I'm totally dying' whining and howling dramatics. He learned quite quickly that making any noise at didn't get him out of the crate, and after that he was fine, as long as I remembered to reinforce the noise = staying in longer connection. Poodles are SO smart, that is one of the most difficult things about training them!
 

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He is a baby, who has attached himself to you as his main carer - I don't think that at 4 months he is planning on taking over the world any time soon! If he finds something rewarding, he will go on doing it - if offered a more rewarding alternative, he will do that instead. Remember that dogs find any attention - laughing, yelling, chasing - rewarding, but hate to be ignored. I suspect he wags his tail more for your husband because he is excited to see him, whereas you are there most of the time so are more loved, but less exciting. As you say, get your husband more involved in the day to day care - especially the nice bits like feeding and walking - and both of you take him to training (after all, training classes are at least as much for owners as for dogs!).

Is he perhaps waking up earlier as the mornings get lighter? If so, it should get easier after the solstice!
 

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Get a harness, preferably one of the Easy Walk ones. It will make your life (and your husband's) easier.

When he growls at your husband or anyone else, you need to correct him. Let him know that YOU do not approve of that behavior. Be consistent and he will catch on.

Your husband needs to be more assertive. Some people don't know how to do this, so he may need a few classes himself. ;)

PS Teddy always seems to have more affection for people he meets, including strangers, than he does for me. I like to think of it this way: Would you shake hands with your husband every time you pass him in the hallway? It's really the same kind of thing. He doesn't greet you that way because he does love you more. :)
 

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I was going to answer your questions but everyone has done such a wonderful job already, I won't bother. The only thing I would say is the thing about pulling your husband on the leash. I had a friend with a Bichon and she said the walks took ages because the dog had to sniff every blade of grass!! I said "You mean you let a 15 lb dog dictate how and when you walk and when you stop? So don't let him sniff every blade of grass. You are the one in charge!" I think the person who said your husband needs lessons and needs to be more assertive is right. Dogs pick up what you are thinking. We used to have a Golden. My husband and my older son used to come home and talk to the dog in excited voices, and the dog went crazy and jumped all over them and put her feet on my husband's chest.

My younger son and I just came in the door calmly and she wagged her tail and came over - but she didn't go bonkers because we didn't let her. Dogs are like kids, they get to know pretty quickly what they can get away with!
 

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Please remember that your pup can sense your uneasiness you have with your husband's dog handling skills. Hovering around your husband and pup will not help. Educate him and then let them establish their own relationship. It's time to step aside. Have fun with your pup!:)
 

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Good advice on the behavioural stuff. In terms of the tail wags, I'm totally sure it's because he's with you all the time. Darcy comes to work with me as well and my colleagues and other people I see throughout the day generally get huge tail wags and body shakes while I get nada! The only time Darcy has been super excited to see me is when I go out and come back. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks, everyone.

He has a Easy Walk and he walks perfectly when he's with me. He pulls a little bit when my husband is holding the leash (and I am walking with them). And he dragged my husband back home when I was not there. So I think he does know how to walk nicely on leash but just like you guys said, my husband lets him pull/take control.

Last night I left home earlier and let my husband handle all the rituals - putting on the Easy Walk, etc so that my husband could walk Nickel alone and then met me at our regular spot. I think they are both learning :)

Oh Nickel is going to have his first visit to the groomer's this afternoon. Hope he is not going to cause too much trouble there ;)
 
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