A couple of puppy training questions...

Discussion in 'General Dog Training' started by jhash75, Dec 17, 2007.

  1. jhash75 New Member

    Hello, my wife and I just bought our first puppy, a chocolate lab. She does ok in her crate and I read that you should never punish her in the crate. However when she does something wrong in the living room, bite the Christmas tree or the furniture, we clap, say no and give her something else. When she is biting on the crate or excessively whining, we clap and say quite. She quites down and usually falls asleep...Should we not clap at her when she is in the crate since it is her safe place?
    Alsooo, we live in NY and it is COLLLLLDDD. She goes out but isnt very playful. She sits down in the driveway and shivers. Is there anything we can do about this? Thanks for advice on both topics! :dogwub:

  2. CollieMan Experienced Member

    What can happen with the approach that you are currently taking, is that the dog can see it as a sure-fire method of getting your attention: "If I whine, I get attention. If I gnaw the crate, I get attention. Hey, I like this game...." Remember, attention doesn't have to be getting stroked. Attention can be as little as eye-contact.

    Not that there is anything wrong at all with your dog getting attention, or even asking for attention, but both should have limits. My own dog knows that she can come and sit at my feet, and she'll get attention from me almost immediately, but barking at me would get her absolutely nothing at all, not even a "quiet" command. (It's perhaps worth mentioning here too that, as it is, you're currently saying "quiet" when the pup is being noisy, and so it will end up meaning, to the dog, do what I was doing when he said quiet. "Oh, I remember, I was whining!") It's working at the moment, because it's an interruption, but eventually the pup's intelligence will kick in and she'll start to make the links for herself.

    Where is the crate in relation to where the family usually sits? What breed is the dog? How old is the puppy? Does the pup whine immediately after being put in the crate, or does it come on when she gets a little bored? When the dog currently sits and shivers in the driveway, what do you do currently? Pick her up, by chance?

    If you can answer the above questions, I might be able to offer possible solutions, more customised to the actual dog and issue.
  3. jhash75 New Member

    Thanks for that info. The puppy is a 9 week old chocolate lab. The crate is in the kitchen area, moderate traffic and can see the living room from there. Some people said to put it in the bedroom, but Im hoping it doesnt come to that and with some patience she will be fine in the kitchen. We have her going into the crate by herself sometimes, but she whines mostly when she is getting antsy (about 1 am and 5 AM at night) or when we just leave her in there to go to bed.
    When she sits on the driveway, I usually start walking around until she follows and begins to move some. Thanks for the help!
  4. CollieMan Experienced Member

    With regards to the shaking in the driveway, I don't know how things are done in the US, but here in the UK, you shouldn't really walk your dog in the big outdoors until it's had all of it's primary inoculations. (12 weeks usually.) You can (and should) however, carry your puppy around outside to get it used to sounds, sights, and smells, and meeting people. The more you do that, the better it will be for both of you when it comes to walking when she is ready. But as I said, I don't know if things are different where you are, so forgive me if it's not applicable to you.

    At nine weeks, everything is big, bad, and very scary and it will take a lot of coaxing and patience for her to build confidence. I wouldn't worry in the least about the shaking on the driveway yet. As mentioned already, almost all dogs here in the UK don't even start walking outdoors until they are twelve weeks of age, so you will be fine.

    Now the crate... It really is as simple as being able to ignore the whining. I know it's hard, but it's much easier now than it is when your dog is grown up and can produce an adult bark and adult whining. Now that really does keep you awake! :)

    I see no reason to move the crate into the bedroom, unless that is what YOU want to do. I do not believe, as some do, that allowing the dog to sleep in the bedroom, or even on the bed, leads to dominance issues. In fact, if you were to look at some of the most impressive human/dog teams, I'd be willing to bet that the majority of them share the bed! Though, that is not to say I am trying to encourage you to do the same. We all have different living conditions and situations, and what is practical for one may not always be practical for another.

    How many nights has the puppy now spent in the crate? It usually gets better after three nights of being ignored. But if you constantly cave in when the dog whines, then that three nights can take a long time to achieve. I promise you, if you can ignore it, it will improve in no time.

    Practical things that you can try if things get really bad:

    - Place an old sweater in the crate at night, that carries your scent.
    - Leave a radio on really quietly so that the dog can hear it, but you can't.

    I'm going to assume that you place a toy in the crate for the dog to chew on when it gets anxious. If not, try that too. :)

    Good luck and take comfort -- it does get easier! :) P.S. I saw on our news tonight that N.Y. has some huge snow right now. Pup will need some extra warmth at night during these times, especially at that age.
  5. jhash75 New Member

    Thanks for all the info. We do have a decent amount of snow. Here I was told not to take them for walks until after their 2nd shots, which Moose gets tomorrow. Does it really get better after 3 days? I dont have any issue with ignoring the pup in the crate to teach her properly, except the neighbors complain about the whining (wish I could just walk away and ignore them) so I am hoping she shapes up soon! Thanks again.
  6. CollieMan Experienced Member

    In my experience, that's always the main problem -- the neighbours! We end up feeling guilty that we're keeping the neighbours awake.

    Obviously, each dog is different, but in my experience it seems to be that the major whining stops after about night three. (I am presuming that we are talking about that major-league, heartbreaking, almost non-stop whining, and not the more subtle "I sure could do with a pee." whining. :)) I'm presuming that you are letting the pup out to pee last thing at night, and that you accept pup will need to be let out during the night at this age. What you don't want is a pup that learns it has to toilet in its own crate.

    It's always best if you can get the neighbours on side by letting them know what's happening. Then you won't feel as bad about ruining the neighbours sleep too. I'd bet that in a survey, that is why most people cave in when trying to crate train their dog. :)

    Another method that I have seen used, in case things get REALLY bad. You can place the crate in the bedroom right next to your bed, then, each week, move it a little further away so that it eventually gets to its final destination. Though, this can back-fire if the pup decides later on that it's not happy. By that time of course, its whine is louder, and its bark will never get quieter from week to week.

    With regards to your walking issue. Once she's had her second set of jabs, if she still refuses to move then I would just do your best to coax her with toys and if it's just on the driveway, that's fine. At that age, the dog doesn't need walks for exercise. What she will need however is as much exposure to as many different situations and people as possible. It's an absolutely critical time in that respect. The more variety of experience she gets at this stage, the more well-balanced and confident she will be as an adult dog.
  7. sassybrat New Member

    No means so many things that eventually it can mean nothing if you aren't careful. I got really frustrated with hearing SOPHIE NO! from my husband and son all the time when we first got our new puppy (who is 5 and a half months old now). I taught them and her....that when she was doing something they didn't like their first respose would be SIT. that way it gave her something to do instead of something not to do, and she would stop what she was doing sit and focus her attention on us,then depending on the behavior...biting the christmas tree for instance...the command would be "leave it" we worked on "leave it" a lot it really comes in handy...bait her with something interesting put it on the floor and when she goes for it cover it with your foot and say "leave it" when she does reward her. with a treat or an appropriate toy and a "good girl!" pretty soon she will stop and not go for things you don't want her to when you give her the command.

    we don't crate our puppy at night she sleeps with our son but we do crate her in the day when we are at work, she would whine and howl terribly and although i see most ppl said 3 days it did take our baby about a week to stop whining and howling when we locked that crate door. We do try to give her a couple interesting things in her crate incase she gets lonely or bored...a stuffed animal a squeaky toy a chew...a kong with some peanut butter is inticing. we always give her a reward when she goes in the crate on her own too..and leave it open for her all the time. so it's not such a scary place.

    Shivering outside. well it is cold and she is a baby...i'd limit outside times to a potty break and and a couple minutes of play for now, she's got lots of time to be outside ahead of her! but that's just me...i don't like to be cold anymore than puppy does! lol

    good luck! it's never to early to start her training! we started our Sophie in puppy classes at about 12 weeks and it really did help!
  8. l_l_a New Member

    Collie Man and Sassybrat have given some good advice. The only things I can add:

    for the whining in the crate, just ignore it. yes it is heartbreaking, but if you give any attention, that teaches the pup that whining will get your attention. It helps if you can tire out the puppy before putting her in the crate, and put treats in the crate too that way she will settle down much sooner or at least not have the energy to cry and fuss.

    I think the crate is fine in the kitchen, that's where my dog's crate is and where he has slept every night since he was 10 weeks old when we got him.

    If she's whining in the middle of the night it could be because she has to go potty. At that young age they have to potty very often and normally can't last the entire night without at least one potty break until they are 5 or 6 months old.

    I would make her wear a coat when she's outside if she's shivering.
  9. splitz831 New Member

    I have a Bernese about the same age as your lab, and he's a whiner! We've found that if we turn the lights off at night (or any time) he'll calm down and realize that it's bed (or rest) time. We've also found though that if he hears us talking in the bedroom at night he'll start again. It comes down to loneliness. We have two other dogs and sometimes we let them all sleep together, which keeps him quiet, but as it's getting colder they need to be seperated because one likes the cold and the other two don't. We gave him a stuffed dog and he snuggles up to that and calms right down, even when he can hear us.

    As for the shivering...she may be cold! I have two bostons and they can't make it very long oustide even with a coat on (now I live in Canada so it might be colder here). I suggest a coat and getting outside with a toy. If you have a backyard or a park to play in try bringing a toy out and playing fetch or keep away with it. She'll forget about the big scary world around her and start playing with you, eventually she'll decide to explore. This will also keep her warm since she'll be running around with you (it will keep you warm too, lol). She may also be uncomfortable with the leash, two of our three dogs refused to walk on a leash for almost a month after we bought them. If you have an inclosed backyard try taking her out there without the leash or wearing the leash in the house for a little while, while playing so she gets used to it. Also consider that her paws might be tender to the snow (I think I read that you have snow where you are). My pups hate booties but yours might like them, or you can get (at least in Canada anyways) this spread stuff that is like silicone and you put it on their feet before you go out, it helps to protect their sensitive paws from the cold and salt, which can be very uncomfortable.

    Last piece of adivce...if you have friends with other dogs, try getting them to come out with her, it might make her feel better to see another dog playing in the same area and not getting hurt (if possible make it a dog she's met before). I know that helped with my pups.

    Good luck...
  10. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    As I'm not sure how you crate-trained, please forgive me if this is old news to you. Just thought it could be helpful. =)
    With most dogs, especially puppies who have recently left their mum and siblings, they have to adjust to being alone. The "den" does feel safe, but it is solitary. If the dog enters the kennel on command, tell her to kennel, and reward her when she does. You are rewarding her for:
    1: Entering the kennel.
    2:Being quiet in the kennel. (She didn't really have time to feel alone and start whining.)
    Do this several times, then start closing the door, but only for a second or two. Open it and reward her. Again, repeat this and slowly increase the time the door is closed. You can then progress to moving a short distance away. Take a few steps, and then open it and reward. Then a few more, a few more, then maybe duck around a corner for a second or two. This will help her learn that it's okay to be alone, and that you always come back, even if it's for eight hours while you sleep. Slowly increase the time that you are away until she is sleeping peacefully with no whining. If she is whining when you duck around the corner, regress. Go back to just taking a few steps away. If this is what she was comfortable with, then she's just not ready for you to be out of sight yet. That's understandable. Go back to the prior step and repeat more times before ducking around the corner again. Eventually she'll learn to be okay with being alone. Also, giving her something to do is good. Chew toys are good. This may or may not take a while. Just be patient; she'll improve. :dogsmile:
    As for the shivering, if she's cold just get her a sweater or something. If she's shivering out of fear, try to make outdoors a fun place to be. Encourage play, maybe train oustide, play with other dogs if you have friends with dogs. She'll come around.

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