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Discussion Starter #1
Hello everyone,

I've really enjoyed this group and it has been beyond helpful in every way possible. Wanted to share some strange things about our new friend who is approaching 12 weeks:

1) Obsessed with eating sticks, bark and leaves. Pretty much all that happens when going outside... sniff, eat, sniff, eat. Pooping out wood chips and slivers... it amazes me how they can all move out of the GI tract. Rarely it comes out through vomitting. Pretty much forgets we are there outside with them, rarely listens to commands or likes to play. Just sniff and eat. Should I let them be, or redirect behaviour?

2) Once we are outside things are usually good (unless the weather is bad), but getting him outside has been an odd struggle. Puppy will actually sit patiently in front of the door and once we are ready to go out he just continues to sit and doesn't want to go out. Sometimes he will inch closer to the edge... pretty much have to bribe him with a treat... are we conditioning him to do this because we give him a treat 75% of the time? Once he's out the door, he seems fine.... more sniffing and eating outdoor organic matter.

3) Absolutely hates the sound that the spray bottle makes. Doesn't matter what is being sprayed but will go wild with barking and growling. Even if I am around the corner and spraying something he will be upset. Makes it really hard to use the detanger spray when grooming! Any thoughts or suggestions?

As always, thank you for reading and allowing me to share!
 

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1. Redirect chewing anything outside. There are poisonous plants that sprout up everywhere. Your puppy is young. Do not permit chewing random stuff. Bring an appropriate chew with you outside. Or, better yet, put a chew bone or two in the yard. Bring the dog on leash to the chew and let the dog discover it. Your puppy needs to be on leash outside for safety.

2. You have expertly trained your dog to wait before going outside. Training a puppy not to bolt out of a door is done exactly how you did it. This is not a bad thing. In fact, it's a wonderful, potentially lifesaving, thing you trained. This is a dog that will not escape and get hit by a car when you open the door. Encourage the puppy to wait until you give permission to exit. Change your bribe into a reward for staying put. That is, tell the puppy to wait at the threshold, watch the puppy wait as usual, then bring a treat to the dog, and act happy the dog waited. Then release your dog from the threshold with a second treat and a recall word like, "come!" And give a second treat for coming.

3. Spray bottle sounds need to be desensitized. With the puppy in the kitchen, and unable to flee, drop pieces of cooked chicken on the floor. One after another, five pieces of chicken fall on the floor. Drop, puppy eats, drop another... Then, spray one (1) spray of cleaner on the opposite side of the kitchen, as far away as possible from the puppy. Throw a piece of cooked chicken on the floor within a blink of the spray sound. It's important not to speak because we want the puppy to make a mental connection between the sound of a spray bottle and chicken.

Spray, chicken falls. Wait for the puppy to eat the chicken. Pause for three breaths. Spray one spray, within a blink, throw a piece of chicken on the floor. Your goal: the spray sound predicts chicken falling. Chicken=good. Spray=chicken=good. Spray=good. Once you spray the counter, and your dog wags his tail looking for chicken, up the ante by spraying twice before dropping chicken. Inch up until you can spray and clean the counter, then treat the dog.

While you are doing this, never spray detangler on your dog. Dip your comb or brush in a bowl, then pour the detangler back in the bottle. Once your dog is ok with spray=good in your kitchen, repeat the same game with a spray of detangler near your dog, 1 spray = 1 treat. Spray into the bowl of detangler for a week. Following week, spray on the dog once during a grooming. Spray the dog twice during a grooming for a week. Inch up from there. Go extremely slowly. If it takes you until April to be able to spray your dog with detangler during a grooming, that's fine. Work in stages.

If you find your puppy is nervous or afraid of something, slow down. Add distance from the scary thing, and gradually close the gap.

-- Click-N-Treat, certified professional dog trainer, KPA-CTP
 

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Personally I allowed chewing anything outside that I felt was unlikely to be dangerous. I worried taking it away would make it more interesting. Misha ate a lot of sticks at first. Never caused an issue. He grew out of it. But I have also seen dogs with pica so there is such a thing as too much. If he had something I worried about, I distracted with food to get it back. The trade up method is good.
 

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Do exactly as Click detailed so nicely.
 

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Peggy Sue, Standard Poodle Born May 2019
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Click, you’re a treasure.

One thing to consider about the spray bottle is what’s inside it. Does it have a strong smell? If so, know that it’s much stronger for your puppy. If we put on hand sanitizer near Peggy, she immediately starts sneezing. Same thing happens if I spray vinegar nearby. So I’d stick to water in your spray bottle for now.

And P.S. absolutely nothing you’ve shared about your puppy sounds strange. :) But if you’ve never had a poodle before, your puppy’s intelligence might be a shock. They are constantly learning, whether we’re aware of what we’re teaching them or not. So with that in mind, you can often trace the origin of “weird” behaviours.
 

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Mia, Christmas in June 2010
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And P.S. absolutely nothing you’ve shared about your puppy sounds strange. :) But if you’ve never had a poodle before, your puppy’s intelligence might be a shock. They are constantly learning, whether we’re aware of what we’re teaching them or not. So with that in mind, you can often trace the origin of “weird” behaviours.
Didn't we have a thread last year about all the things we've inadvertently taught our dogs? E.g. when I first got Mia, I would walk her just to the stop sign, and then we'd run back to our house. Fast forward to our first real walk: she calmly walked away from the house with me, and when she realized we had made a turn and were now heading back towards home, she took off at a sprint! It took a few weeks of re-training. Oops!
 

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True with the spray bottle. If it smells strong to you, it stinks like an outhouse on a hot day to your dog. I was considering the sound, not scent. It could very well be the dog can't stand the odor, in which case you need new products.
 

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Peggy Sue, Standard Poodle Born May 2019
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Didn't we have a thread last year about all the things we've inadvertently taught our dogs? E.g. when I first got Mia, I would walk her just to the stop sign, and then we'd run back to our house. Fast forward to our first real walk: she calmly walked away from the house with me, and when she realized we had made a turn and were now heading back towards home, she took off at a sprint! It took a few weeks of re-training. Oops!
Lol. Love it! I similarly taught Peggy to sprint up our driveway. Sometimes I wish I had our neighbour’s security camera footage from those crazy puppy days; it covers our whole driveway. I’m sure they had some good laughs.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thank you Click and everyone for your suggestions and sorry for the delayed response.

Update: Our little guy isn't bothered by the spray sound or action when it's made. I tried as suggested with treats and spraying on the floor. The thing is, when I spray him with the detangler which is supposedly unscented (at least it is to me), he becomes very dramatic and starts rolling on the floor and running around me in circles. He does come back and isn't whimpering, barking or growling. My partner thinks he's playing but I almost get the impression he doesn't like it.... It's not as if he's sitting there calmly wanting me to give him a misting shower.

Also, he stopped eating so many things off the ground outside. He had a few episodes where those outdoor ground things came out his mouth and he didn't seem too happy. He's also much better with going outside. Sometimes we have to treat him to exit the door but overall much more willing to participate.
 

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Keep up the good work - glad for your progress report.
 
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