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Hi All, so Ruger is home for 4 days and he has already A TON of toys. These are the only one's that I got for him and I am sure more are coming. My family is coming on Sunday to meet him and most likely they will bring toys for presents.
I just counted - we have 9 toys spread around the floor and Ruger plays with them all. He picks one toy at a time and either calmly chews it, drugs' it around or plays with me. For now I initiate the play, I am sure he will learn how to invoke humans in his play shortly.
He loves playing the tugging war with me.

It triggered some questions. Jus wondering if anyone would like to share opinion / experience on the best approach with puddles toys and games.

For instance, with my Standard Schnauzer i tried not to play the tug games. At the times it was an opinion that the tug game can develop the aggressive behavior in the Schnauzers. What about poodles? Is it safe to play tug with them? Ruger growled ones on me during the game and I immediately stopped it. It did not happen again, not sure if he got the message or he just was not up to growling.

Regarding the number of toys - should I keep only couple of them at the time out, or it is OK to have many? What type of toys are better for Poodle development? Or I am just overthinking it?

Also biting during the games and in general. Usually he is the sweetest gentle puppy, but there are times when he gets in a biting mood. And it is not an accidental biting. He actually intentionally tries to get you. Not aggressively, but it hurts. I am not sure yet what may trigger this. Nothing particular I can observe. If he is in this mood he tries to bite during the game. He gets also really hipper. Perhaps he needs something?
 

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Peggy Sue, Standard Poodle Born May 2019
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Puppies bite, growl, get overexcited.... It's all normal (as long as you don't see worrying signs like stiffening posture, a hard stare, etc.).

But you can help teach Ruger manners by offering an appropriate chew toy if he makes contact with your skin. If he doesn't take it, calmly remove yourself, count to 30, return. If he bites you again, nap time.

Have you read Before And After Getting Your Puppy by Ian Dunbar? I wouldn't try raising a poodle without it. :)

Having a wide variety of toys is good, assuming they're safe or he's being supervised. They can be anything from a toilet paper roll to an expensive puzzle game! Poodles are very creative.

And tug can be beneficial from a training perspective, plus it's fun! But it needs clear rules, which might be harder for a puppy with immature impulse control to master. Here's a great guide to tug:


While we enjoyed tug from day 1, I avoided anything resembling roughhousing until Peggy was closer to a year old. I still avoid any games that might encourage behaviour that wouldn't be acceptable with a stranger.
 

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I second the Ian Dunbar recommendation.

Regarding toys, no matter how many you have, a puppy will always want more. Puppies like to explore different tastes, textures, and scents. Each toy will have a unique novel blend. All my poodles have loved getting a brand new stuffed animal scented with the odors of far away places. I had two large boxes of toys (balls, stuffed animals, a favorite piece of rope, etc.) accumulated by Snarky and Pogo over a decade. Galen played with every single one of them and still wanted more. I found it very helpful to have so many toys, because I could give him something new to investigate when I needed to get 10 minutes of peace.

Regarding tug, I never encouraged it with Pogo and Snarky. They spent much of their youth running with barn dogs. We did not want the barn dogs getting in the habit of playing tug with humans. We wanted the barn dogs clear on the concept that they were not to touch or hold onto anything being touched or carried by a human.

I do play tug with Galen. However, I am also working on the concept that he is not to start the game unless I invite him, and he is to drop the tug toy when I ask. It's still a work in progress. I didn't think to pair tug rules with other settling and impulse control exercises early on, so now I need to revisit a few basic concepts.

Zoomies and crazy biting often mean a puppy is over-tired. Their impulse control wears out when they get too tired. Zoomies are often also a prelude to a puppy taking a dump. When Galen went crazy it was best to take him outside, wait for two poops (they always came in pairs, I learned after much hard experience,) and then tuck him in his crate for a nap.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
He is not stiff or mean looking - just casual biting, if you can asses it like this :rolleyes:. I did not think about 30 seconds breaks - thank you for the tip.
I did read the Before getting your puppy but not the After. I simply could not find it on the website. It was there at the beginning, but after I completed the Before book, the After was not visible anymore. May be I was doing something wrong? These are two separate books, correct?
I have saved the Tug War Rules document - thank you. I had no idea that there are rules for this game. They all make sense and I will try to implement them. Not sure how fast a yang poppy can learn them, but we will try. I did notice that he really settles after the tag game and falls asleep shortly.
 

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I second the Ian Dunbar recommendation.

Regarding toys, no matter how many you have, a puppy will always want more. Puppies like to explore different tastes, textures, and scents. Each toy will have a unique novel blend. All my poodles have loved getting a brand new stuffed animal scented with the odors of far away places. I had two large boxes of toys (balls, stuffed animals, a favorite piece of rope, etc.) accumulated by Snarky and Pogo over a decade. Galen played with every single one of them and still wanted more. I found it very helpful to have so many toys, because I could give him something new to investigate when I needed to get 10 minutes of peace.

Regarding tug, I never encouraged it with Pogo and Snarky. They spent much of their youth running with barn dogs. We did not want the barn dogs getting in the habit of playing tug with humans. We wanted the barn dogs clear on the concept that they were not to touch or hold onto anything being touched or carried by a human.

I do play tug with Galen. However, I am also working on the concept that he is not to start the game unless I invite him, and he is to drop the tug toy when I ask. It's still a work in progress. I didn't think to pair tug rules with other settling and impulse control exercises early on, so now I need to revisit a few basic concepts.


I also noticed that Ruger zooms and bites when he need to take a dump. I thought that it was my imagination. Now at list I know what to watch for;). He had very few incidents so far because I take him out on schedule, but when he did pup on the floor he was running around like crazy first.
 

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should I keep only couple of them at the time out, or it is OK to have many? What type of toys are better for Poodle development? Or I am just overthinking it?

I would leave a variety of toys out for now for your puppy to explore.. like 1 squeaky toy, 1 chewie toy, 1 rope toy, 1 plush toy, 1 that feels unique, 1 ball. You're probably doing just fine. Is it causing you to feel like your environment is messy and stressing you out? If so, then start a toy bin. When you start accumulating duplicate categories of items, then you can rotate them.

In the end, you want to accumulate some toys that add an extra layer of thought so puppy is more mentally stimulated and interactive... like the bob-a-lot toy treat dispensing toy.

This Sunday, keep on eye on their play because Ruger's energy threshold is still pretty low. Other adult human won't know play boundaries and Mom might need to step in. If you see Ruger show signs he needs a break or a nap, then be sure to call a break. I'm willing to bet he's still going to fall asleep in your arms at his age if he's that tired until around 14 weeks.

Also, keep an eye on the amount of water he's drinking on Sunday because new people and lots of play is super stimulating and he might forget his bladder versus a normal day. If any accidents happen just remember his bladder will eventually get stronger.

It goes without saying that human parents are the best toy for poodle development.

Crazy Biting. Perhaps he needs something?

Totally what peggy said, I've learned that it's best to take the foot off the pedal. On rare occasion, Basil still gets like that at 8 months still and it means she's running on fumes, so I just bee-line it home and try to enduce sleepy time; "alexa play relaxing music", blinds closed, zero movement, all toys away and I start to yawn so she does too. I leave her home like that, hop on my phone/laptop or run errands.
 

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Peggy Sue, Standard Poodle Born May 2019
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Is it causing you to feel like your environment is messy and stressing you out? If so, then start a toy bin. When you start accumulating duplicate categories of items, then you can rotate them.
This is one of the major upsides to using an indoor exercise pen. Contain the mess! Clutter can be so stressful.
 

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I have always had a toy box for my poodles. They enjoy going to it, nosing through the available toys, and pulling out a favorite. However, I also hold back some toys to preserve the novelty. I give these toys out only on special occasions. The special occasion might be something as simple as wanting to keep him occupied while I'm on a conference call. ;)
 

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Thank you for all replies! .
I got the exercise pan and even opened it up. He did not like to be inside. And toys around the house do not bother me too much (until I step on the squeaky).
I did safe few toys for later.
 

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Peggy Sue, Standard Poodle Born May 2019
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Thank you for all replies! .
I got the exercise pan and even opened it up. He did not like to be inside. And toys around the house do not bother me too much (until I step on the squeaky).
I did safe few toys for later.
Like the crate, your exercise pen will require a slow introduction and some positive reinforcement. Puppies are hardwired to resist separation from us.
 

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I got the exercise pan and even opened it up. He did not like to be inside
Do you keep him tethered to you then when not in his crate? Maybe you're using baby gates to keep him contained? The expen really is an ideal solution to allowing a bit of "own space" for him in the living area without you having to keep an eye on him every second. It also keeps him much safer since only "parent approved" items go in there.
The one thing he shouldn't have at this very young age is free rein thru the home.
 

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Do you keep him tethered to you then when not in his crate? Maybe you're using baby gates to keep him contained? The expen really is an ideal solution to allowing a bit of "own space" for him in the living area without you having to keep an eye on him every second. It also keeps him much safer since only "parent approved" items go in there.
The one thing he shouldn't have at this very young age is free rein thru the home.
He is actually running around the living area (living room, kitchen end entryway). Most of the time he follows me around the house. To extend that I almost stepped on his little foot couple of times. I watch him all the time and it is not easy especially when I have to work.
I have two crates, one plastic for sleeping at night and other wires for the day time. This was as per our breeder advise. Unfortunately those crates are empty. I tried to train him into the crates, but moment I close the door he gets really upset. He gets in and out of both crates by himself as long as doors are open.
 

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Also biting during the games and in general. Usually he is the sweetest gentle puppy, but there are times when he gets in a biting mood. And it is not an accidental biting. He actually intentionally tries to get you. Not aggressively, but it hurts. I am not sure yet what may trigger this. Nothing particular I can observe. If he is in this mood he tries to bite during the game. He gets also really hipper. Perhaps he needs something?
As with human infants, puppies, especially this young, explore the world with their mouths. That includes teeth . He is playing as he would with his siblings, and as with his siblings and until bite inhibition (soft mouth) is fully established, if one pup goes too far the other will withdraw temporarily. You can even think of it as shunning him. That's the purpose of withdrawing, to let him know that the behavior, bite in this case, is not acceptable. As with siblings, the shunning is quite temporary and then the game is back on. This takes some repetition for the point to be fully understood by him. The growling is part of the play also.

I have the dubious advantage of having littermates (love you my boys) so I watched this behavior for a while. If he gets hyper, he needs to chill. If by "needs something" you mean a nap, that ought to do :).

FWIW, it takes a while but they almost always grow out of this phase after their adult teeth have come in.
 

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Look this up online or search here on PF:
Susan Garrett
"It's Yer Choice" impulse control
Crate games
Look At That

I'm pretty sure it's been mentioned but try feeding him in the crate/expen, if you haven't already.

To extend that I almost stepped on his little foot couple of times. I watch him all the time and it is not easy especially when I have to work.
Your safety matters too. Fortunately, Neo recovered within minutes :).

From my journal July 2017:
I stepped on Neo 2x last wed am the 26th and finally fell, spraining my wrist fairly badly. I stepped on his toes. He screamed. I jumped. I landed on his toes again. I fell, breaking my fall with only my outstretched hand.
It took several months to regain full function.
 

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Peggy Sue, Standard Poodle Born May 2019
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Yes, I know. But my husband took it away. He thought that I am cruel to the little boy.
When he's an adolescent, and destroying the house because he thinks it's all his, he's going to be very confused when you suddenly try to enforce rules he never learned.

Trust me - establishing clear, consistent boundaries is the kind thing to do. (You can read this post to your husband if you like. Lol. Sometimes it helps to hear it from someone else.)

Has he read the puppy books I recommended? I find it helps a lot to get on the same page. Otherwise puppy gets stressful mixed messages.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
When he's an adolescent, and destroying the house because he thinks it's all his, he's going to be very confused when you suddenly try to enforce rules he never learned.

Trust me - establishing clear, consistent boundaries is the kind thing to do. (You can read this post to your husband if you like. Lol. Sometimes it helps to hear it from someone else.)

Has he read the puppy books I recommended? I find it helps a lot to get on the same page. Otherwise puppy gets stressful mixed messages.
My hubby does not read books on training. He had German Shepherd dogs when he was yang and the training methods were very different back then. He bound to them. And it was considered cruel to crate your dog at time. I try to avoid conflicts and get the little one in the middle of it, so I was not insisting on the pen boundaries. In general it is up to me how to train my dogs, so I try my best.
I do have two crates and I am slowly introducing Ruger to them. In fact, right now he is sleeping in his 'night' crate - door open for now. He fall asleep on my laps and then I put him in the crate. Few minutes before he fall asleep I put some of his favorite kibbles in it (cannot believe that he has 'favorite' already, less then a week home :)) and he was going in and out of it.
I will read Susan Garret Crate Games as you recommended. Perhaps I can find some better tips.
My last dog was trained to stay in the crate when I was away. He actually ran downstairs to his crate when he saw me getting in my suit to go to work. He new that he will find come cookies in it. I did not have to lock the doors - he was there when I was back home. One day crate disappeared - my hubby gave it away. Was not an issue, I could trust Pinkerton by than to wonder around the house.
I have to say that I really appreciate yours and everyone else's advise in this forum. It was a blessing to find it and get so much support!
Just wondering - how you select particular paragraph from the post to reply directly to it? So when you reply only that paragraph attached to your reply on top? I could not figure it out.
 

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Just wondering - how you select particular paragraph from the post to reply directly to it? So when you reply only that paragraph attached to your reply on top? I could not figure it out.
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I have a new puppy but regarding toys, I noticed he gets bored of them, but if I take a boring, old toy away from circulation, wash or launder it, put it away for a week, by the time he gets it again, it holds his interest a lot longer, almost like a new toy.
 
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