Poodle Forum banner

1 - 18 of 18 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
18 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

I've posted about Theo a couple of times on this forum, and I got some lovely responses so I was hoping to reach out again just to get some reassurance about our general puppy rearing strategy...

We brought home our little guy 1.5 months ago, he's 15 weeks today. He is smart, goofy, playful, and he loves to snuggle in our lap while chomping on his chew toys. He is very happy, whenever he sees us after a nap he will plop on his back asking for a belly rub or wag his tail furiously and offer his bum for scratch.

For obedience training, he can nail sit, down, stay, and wait. We are working on more reliable leave it, drop it, and come. Also, he's slowly starting to understand that it is polite to sit when he wants something rather than jump on us. We notice that lately, he has been ignoring us sometimes. We think this is a sign of adolescence and are trying to encourage him to listen with better treats, or using time outs when he's totally breaking house rules (like biting the carpet instead of his chews).

He has some challenges -- since we've brought him home, he has been very weary of strangers. We had to cover the windows so he doesn't bark at people on the street. And we need to spoil him with treats to keep him quiet when watching people at the park or in public. These two techniques have seemed to have made a difference! Some days he does not bark, some days he does one little weak bark, some days he forgets his training, gets anxious, and goes into a tizzy. We will continue working on it.

In general, our puppy rearing has been centered around a strict routine. When he is not with us, he is playing independently in his playpen or puts himself in his crate for a nap. Everyday we get up at 6am and follow a 1hr "on" and 2hr "off" cycle. In the "on" hour we give him our full focus -- we do potty, playing, training, exercising, or socializing. In the "off" hours he sleeps or independently plays in his pen. By 10pm he's crated to sleep for the night.

This routine helps us balance working from home and puppy rearing. It also has seemed to condition him that there is a time for fun, and a time for quiet. He's learned to be okay alone and keep himself busy with his toys when we're not around. At the same time... this routine has got us feeling like our independent lives are constrained within these 2hr segments when he's napping. It also can make me sad, because I would love to take a nap with him but he just gets too excited to sleep when I'm around.

Ideally, we want to have him out the pen and hanging out with us all day. But, he gets into trouble like running under the couch, or sprinting up the stairs when no one's looking, or jumping all over the furniture. We are happy that he is getting better behaved as he gets older, but he will still get naughty if we let him roam the house for too long during his "off" times.

So... am I doing this right? Does he sound like a typical 15 week poodle? What things might change as he gets older? Will there be one day when I don't need to give him my 100% focus for 6hrs every single day?
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
2,976 Posts
It sounds like you are actually doing a pretty impressive job. You have him on a schedule, you are socializing him, you are training him. Yes, it does get better! This work will pay off!

I would get him into a puppy training class for more socialization opportunities, if you haven't already. Puppy classes usually have a section on gaining and retaining attention as well.

At some point you will need to find some way to hold his attention that isn't a treat. Otherwise you'll just keep having to switch to higher and higher value treats, and you'll end up carrying tins of caviar in your pocket. :) Playing and running away will both capture a dog's attention. Basically, convince the dog you are doing something so interesting and fun that it's worth his while to stop what he's doing and come check it out. If he's a bit nervous, like my Galen was, running away also inspires a fear that he could be left All Alone. Oh, the horrors! Galen would come loping after me with an expression of terror when he thought he had misplaced me.

Your pup will probably settle down a lot between one and two years. Even after about 6-7 months you will probably be able to let him loose in the house without too much concern about peeing and pooping. However, he will still be in a chewing phase up until about a year. Young dogs need to exercise their jaws to build strong bone and teeth. It's best to deny access to your good furniture, electronics, eyeglasses, and anything else he shouldn't chew during this phase.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
It sounds like you are actually doing a pretty impressive job. You have him on a schedule, you are socializing him, you are training him. Yes, it does get better! This work will pay off!

I would get him into a puppy training class for more socialization opportunities, if you haven't already. Puppy classes usually have a section on gaining and retaining attention as well.

At some point you will need to find some way to hold his attention that isn't a treat. Otherwise you'll just keep having to switch to higher and higher value treats, and you'll end up carrying tins of caviar in your pocket. :) Playing and running away will both capture a dog's attention. Basically, convince the dog you are doing something so interesting and fun that it's worth his while to stop what he's doing and come check it out. If he's a bit nervous, like my Galen was, running away also inspires a fear that he could be left All Alone. Oh, the horrors! Galen would come loping after me with an expression of terror when he thought he had misplaced me.

Your pup will probably settle down a lot between one and two years. Even after about 6-7 months you will probably be able to let him loose in the house without too much concern about peeing and pooping. However, he will still be in a chewing phase up until about a year. Young dogs need to exercise their jaws to build strong bone and teeth. It's best to deny access to your good furniture, electronics, eyeglasses, and anything else he shouldn't chew during this phase.
Thank you so much for your comment! It's really relieving to hear that I am on the right track, just need to stick with it.

Yes, he's scheduled to join a puppy course in a couple weeks after his last vaccine. We really can't wait because he hasn't had any chance to play with dogs yet, and the training school was accommodating when we told them that he is timid around strangers. We have already done a couple of private sessions to get him used to the instructors and they love him -- they can't wait to see how he does in class.

Ahh, well then I'm really looking forward to that 6-7 month mark -- it will be so nice to have him around casually. We'll continue restricting his access to the goodies... luckily he loves a good chew toy!

Have you tried bully sticks with your pups? We haven't given them to Theo yet but think they could be a good secret weapon for those bad teething days.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
2,976 Posts
Have you tried bully sticks with your pups? We haven't given them to Theo yet but think they could be a good secret weapon for those bad teething days.
I used to give bully sticks to Galen when he was a pup, but he developed sensitive digestion when he got older. I had to stop. And, of course, anything awesome I give to the puppy soon becomes Galen's.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,723 Posts
Ideally, we want to have him out the pen and hanging out with us all day. But, he gets into trouble like running under the couch, or sprinting up the stairs when no one's looking, or jumping all over the furniture. We are happy that he is getting better behaved as he gets older, but he will still get naughty if we let him roam the house for too long during his "off" times.
What I do is tether my puppy to me or to a table or chair (just use a 6 foot leash) near me. That way he learns to settle or play nicely and won’t be going everywhere destroying stuff and making a mess.

Will there be one day when I don't need to give him my 100% focus for 6hrs every single day?
If you want that day to happen, you just need to stop. Think about it the other way : for everyone to be happy, once your dog’s needs are met, he needs to adapt to your living situation, not the opposite. Tethering him to ypu will help accomplish this.

Do your regular routine, with as many breaks to take care of the puppy as is needed, but don’t plan a strict routine. At least not for the whole day. Some days you will play more, some days less, depending on what your day is like. But overall, your puppy will still be well cared for and you will be happier.

On the other hand, puppies are always very demanding. It gets better around 10-12 months old.

You are doing a very good job with this puppy. Keep it up ! :)
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
2,976 Posts
deally, we want to have him out the pen and hanging out with us all day. But, he gets into trouble like running under the couch, or sprinting up the stairs when no one's looking, or jumping all over the furniture. We are happy that he is getting better behaved as he gets older, but he will still get naughty if we let him roam the house for too long during his "off" times.
I tend to use baby gates or panels to cordon off areas during the transitional period between when they don't really need to be in an x-pen any more, but they can't be trusted loose. For instance, right now I have baby gates blocking Galen out of my bedrooms (allowing the bedrooms to be safe zones for the cat) and out of the kitchen (allowing baby Ritter to nap undisturbed.) It would be chaos if all three animals were milling around loose. Galen and the puppy would be jumping on the couch and pushing each other off onto the coffee table with brief pauses to chase the cat. Usually the worst behavior occurs when the cat is hungry and the dogs are tired. Separating and confining the animals makes things a lot more peaceful when they hit the witching hour.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,114 Posts
It'll get better after 6 months when potty training improves 300%. Next up is teething. Basil's (spoo) teeth started to pop out from 16-20 weeks. They'll come out like popcorn. Then, you have hormones to deal with. It sounds like you have a hold on things. If you just hang out 10-15 mins/day on here then you'll learn all the tips and tricks so it's easier.

I love cuddle time with Basil and keep a closed container of treats by my bed. So, if I want poodle warmth, I lure her up with a treat then she spawls out ontop of me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
What I do is tether my puppy to me or to a table or chair (just use a 6 foot leash) near me. That way he learns to settle or play nicely and won’t be going everywhere destroying stuff and making a mess.


If you want that day to happen, you just need to stop. Think about it the other way : for everyone to be happy, once your dog’s needs are met, he needs to adapt to your living situation, not the opposite. Tethering him to ypu will help accomplish this.

Do your regular routine, with as many breaks to take care of the puppy as is needed, but don’t plan a strict routine. At least not for the whole day. Some days you will play more, some days less, depending on what your day is like. But overall, your puppy will still be well cared for and you will be happier.

On the other hand, puppies are always very demanding. It gets better around 10-12 months old.

You are doing a very good job with this puppy. Keep it up ! :)
Thanks so much for your comment. That’s a really great way to think about things in terms of being flexible and meeting my needs too. I should remind myself of that more often!

Tethering seems to be an interesting option, I’ll give it a go.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
It'll get better after 6 months when potty training improves 300%. Next up is teething. Basil's (spoo) teeth started to pop out from 16-20 weeks. They'll come out like popcorn. Then, you have hormones to deal with. It sounds like you have a hold on things. If you just hang out 10-15 mins/day on here then you'll learn all the tips and tricks so it's easier.

I love cuddle time with Basil and keep a closed container of treats by my bed. So, if I want poodle warmth, I lure her up with a treat then she spawls out ontop of me.
Ah yes, the hormones. He’s such a sweet boy, I’ve been dreading the days when he switches to a little bugger because of his hormones.

We’ve been pretty good with potty training. He consistently holds it while we’re in the house… sometimes too well and won’t let it out outside either because he saw a plastic bag in the distance and must bark now instead!

I’ll keep up with the forum posts… I’m so happy this website exists!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I tend to use baby gates or panels to cordon off areas during the transitional period between when they don't really need to be in an x-pen any more, but they can't be trusted loose. For instance, right now I have baby gates blocking Galen out of my bedrooms (allowing the bedrooms to be safe zones for the cat) and out of the kitchen (allowing baby Ritter to nap undisturbed.) It would be chaos if all three animals were milling around loose. Galen and the puppy would be jumping on the couch and pushing each other off onto the coffee table with brief pauses to chase the cat. Usually the worst behavior occurs when the cat is hungry and the dogs are tired. Separating and confining the animals makes things a lot more peaceful when they hit the witching hour.
Sounds like you’ve good control over those three — which, like you’ve mentioned, must be really tough during witching hour. We didn’t realize that was a thing until we mentioned to our trainer he consistently goes a little bananas right before bed every night. We have been trying to find ways to keep him stimulated enough to get tired but not over do it and push him over into zoomies and humping.

Our latest plan has been taking him for a drive at 9pm, popping the trunk in a Walmart parking lot, and people watching. He loves it because it’s just an excuse to get treats while he stares silently at all the different kinds of people he sees.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
570 Posts
I think you are doing amazing! I also like the parking lot visits, it's a good place to be able to keep at a distance where people and cars are noticed but not reacted to. With success you should be able to slowly decrease the distance. One way that I increase value of attention to me, and decrease anxiety from a stressor, is to introduce movement. So for example, scattering a few treats on the ground for him to sniff out, or having him chase my hand on a release from a sit or down. A ball on a rope or a soft tug are good non-food rewards that work well to keep focus away from stressors.
As far as your schedule, what about slowly introducing some variation? Make one great period half an hour longer, and the next one half an hour shorter, for example.
A trainer that I respect has mentioned that they keep puppies in an x-pen at all times unless they are directly interacting with it (much like you are doing), to prevent the puppy from developing bad habits. I think they start relaxing it around six months or so. One thing they do, is often move the pen close beside them when they are working. This helps teach the puppy to relax near you. Especially if you have a bed he likes to live on, you can periodically reward relaxing on the bed, and this should translate to the same when the pen is down.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I think you are doing amazing! I also like the parking lot visits, it's a good place to be able to keep at a distance where people and cars are noticed but not reacted to. With success you should be able to slowly decrease the distance. One way that I increase value of attention to me, and decrease anxiety from a stressor, is to introduce movement. So for example, scattering a few treats on the ground for him to sniff out, or having him chase my hand on a release from a sit or down. A ball on a rope or a soft tug are good non-food rewards that work well to keep focus away from stressors.
As far as your schedule, what about slowly introducing some variation? Make one great period half an hour longer, and the next one half an hour shorter, for example.
A trainer that I respect has mentioned that they keep puppies in an x-pen at all times unless they are directly interacting with it (much like you are doing), to prevent the puppy from developing bad habits. I think they start relaxing it around six months or so. One thing they do, is often move the pen close beside them when they are working. This helps teach the puppy to relax near you. Especially if you have a bed he likes to live on, you can periodically reward relaxing on the bed, and this should translate to the same when the pen is down.
That’s a great idea… we’ll start doing that to encourage him to chill out while we’re around. Thanks!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
10,062 Posts
You are on the right path, but it is exhausting. I wasted a ton of money on cute stuffed animals, until we landed on the indestructible Fluff N Tuff Giant Sadie Bear. For healthy chews, Buck loves lamb ears and bison knee caps. He did not get the run of the whole house until around six months. He did become a master criminal stealing glasses, tissues, paper money and documents. It’s a long road to poodle perfect - take it one day at a time with a sense of humor and humility. This is a MENSA breed:)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
208 Posts
I'm no expert - I have had my mini-poodle pup for 7 months. But it sounds to me that you're on the right track and in the right place - the Poodle Forum! I have found so much useful information here! Topper is now 9 months old and the hard work of the early months are paying off. And bully braids are his very favorite toy/treat. We get the 12-inch ones and they last him a week or two. Enjoy your pup!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
You are on the right path, but it is exhausting. I wasted a ton of money on cute stuffed animals, until we landed on the indestructible Fluff N Tuff Giant Sadie Bear. For healthy chews, Buck loves lamb ears and bison knee caps. He did not get the run of the whole house until around six months. He did become a master criminal stealing glasses, tissues, paper money and documents. It’s a long road to poodle perfect - take it one day at a time with a sense of humor and humility. This is a MENSA breed:)
It’s definitely exhausting — but he is such a sweetheart it makes it all worthwhile. Thanks for the ideas on healthy chews!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I'm no expert - I have had my mini-poodle pup for 7 months. But it sounds to me that you're on the right track and in the right place - the Poodle Forum! I have found so much useful information here! Topper is now 9 months old and the hard work of the early months are paying off. And bully braids are his very favorite toy/treat. We get the 12-inch ones and they last him a week or two. Enjoy your pup!!
Thank you for the reassurance! So glad to hear Topper is doing so well. I’ve never heard of bully braids, I will give them a try!
 
1 - 18 of 18 Posts
Top