Please Help! At My Witts End With New Pup

Discussion in 'Labrador Puppies' started by Kenya2009, Jun 13, 2019.

  1. Kenya2009

    Kenya2009 Registered Users

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    Hi everyone! I am new here and could use as much guidance and help as possible right now.

    We recently adopted a lab pup named Lincoln. We have had him almost a week now. He is 12 weeks and was the first of his litter to be adopted by us at the local rescue (he had 6 siblings). He is adorable and very loving. However, I am completely stressed out with this new fur baby. I have always had dogs around me since I could remember. I've grown up with them but never raised one myself from puppyhood, so this is all new to me. I honestly did not realize how much work goes into a puppy.

    Lincoln is crate trained during bedtime. However, he will whine and make a fuss for what seems like eternity. He does eventually quiet down for an hour or so, only to start back up again. We have tried moving his crate to different locations in the house and it seems he is most at ease in our family room with the curtains drawn and a nightlight on. If he is anywhere where there is light peeking through, he will go bananas all night. As much as I would like for him to be crated near our bedside, it is literally impossible to sleep in those circumstances. He still does go on and on in the family room, but I think he is easing into it.

    While Lincoln responds to some verbal cues and whistling, he is pretty much the most head strong dog I've ever encountered. He will sit down on the lawn and refuse to move if he does not want to be outside. I then will pick him up and take him to his bathroom spot where he will easily get distracted by biting on things and trying to eat leaves and sticks lol. He really does not enjoy being outside as much as you'd think a puppy would. Getting him to go potty takes about 45 minutes each time. I do give him treats when potty time is successful, so that he is rewarded for good behavior. I work from home, so I am the primary caretaker for Lincoln. It is extremely difficult to get any work done when he is spending a good 45 minutes each time to use the bathroom outdoors. He does have accidents inside, and many of them. Of course, I realize this is expected from a puppy so I do not get wound up about it. If I catch him going potty inside, I quickly pick him up and bring him outdoors. When he sees me cleaning up his mess, he thinks its play time, which is awfully frustrating. He also will refuse to go outside at times and then go potty as soon as he enters the house. This I do not understand and have no idea how to eradicate this behavior. Any suggestions regarding this would be greatly appreciated. This morning, he refused to go potty (it's been raining), so instead of just letting him run free in the house space, I put him back in his crate, fed him breakfast in his crate and waited 15 minutes to take him out again. He was not happy with this setup, but I am trying to teach him that he can't have free reign of the house until he has his morning potty.

    Lincoln is walked quite a bit, every hour or so and even 2x an hour after he has eaten a meal. I make sure to exercise him and play with him outside to wear him out so I can get work done and other household chore once we return indoors. He does nap, but they are short lived naps. Is it OK to put him in his kennel for 2 hours or so a day so I can get a little bit of work done even though I am at home?

    He has a ton of toys both outside his kennel and inside his kennel. He does seem to love his Kong toy when I freeze it with a bit of peanut butter, but it only keeps him busy and quiet for a few minutes and then we're back to whining and incessant barking.

    I do have to say, biting is not an issue with him, yet. He bites on things, but has not nipped at me or my husband, thankfully.

    As for me, I am irritated with the situation and feel like I have lost my freedom. My life revolves around the puppy. And while I do understand that this is normal in the beginning, I need some ME time to relax. My poor 10 year old cat is losing her mind. She can't stand the dog and hides under the bed all day even though there is a baby gate separating the two. She won't eat and drink water as she used to as she is scared to death, so I have resorted to personally having to feed her like a kitten again. Does this ever get better?

    I feel so awful for saying this but I am starting to wonder why I adopted him. I have broken down into tears and am completely stressed out. Tomorrow Lincoln will be meeting his "cousin" puppers (our friends dog) and I am hoping that the socialization will wear him out so that he will finally sleep throughout the night.
     
  2. Kenya2009

    Kenya2009 Registered Users

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    I should also note, he rips apart anything I put in his crate. His puppy pads end up in shreds, I had a bed in there for him but he ripped that apart so I put a blanket and towels instead. They are now ripped apart too. What can I put in his crate to keep him comfortable, warm and feeling secure that he wont rip into pieces?
     
  3. Ruth Buckley

    Ruth Buckley Registered Users

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    I've never had a puppy either (both my dog were adolescent when I got them) so not sure how much help I can be but lots of positive things really stand out from your description - in particular your puppy is affectionate and not biting you, to me this sounds amazing and definitely not something you can take for granted. You've not had him very long and you already seem to be getting into a good routine.
    I can sympathise with your poor cat - my cat is 18 and I genuinely feared Loki could kill her by accident or that he could lose an eye from her swiping him so we kept them apart as much as possible for the first 6 months or so - They are fine together now and respect each others space. Your dog is so much younger, im sure they'll become friends in no time.
    I can also sympathise with needing some 'me time' and it's worth bearing in mind that young dogs need a lot of rest. I found it easier to leave Loki alone in the kitchen (as long as I was sure he was exercised and all needs met) and get on with the things I needed to do guilt-free. I didn't cage him at this time but he was a bit older- maybe a playpen or other safe space would be the solution for you.
    With regards to destroying bedding the only thing that worked for us was vet bed. Not sure if it's available everywhere in the world or whether it goes by different names. It's a kind of fleece that dogs just don't seem to enjoy chewing. Very cheap and easy to wash and dry. I wasted loads of money on beds before I discovered it.
     
  4. Jo Laurens

    Jo Laurens Registered Users

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    Well... this is all pretty normal for a puppy, I hate to tell you. If you can do everything optimally, by the time he is about 6 months old, you should be starting to get your life back (although then have the challenges of adolescence to face). It is exhausting and hard work, it is like having a baby or child - that's just how it is. I can completely understand that you feel you don't have your own life at the moment - that is how I feel. You will get your life back, but not just yet. It's necessary to accept that the puppy is the priority and not to fight that, and just to do what you can with the rest of life when you have spare moments.

    If you don't feel like you're up for all this, then it is much better to return him now whilst he is still a young and rehomable puppy, than to wait until he is an out of control teenager, which will be a lot harder for a rescue to rehome.

    However, I think you have good instincts with things so I would encourage you to keep going...

    So this is the first thing... The best place for the puppy is right by your bed, in a crate there. If he makes noise even in that, then dangle your fingers or hands through the bars so he knows he is not alone in there. This should only take about a week with him next to your bed. Whilst, in the day time, you are practising him being in the crate where you really want him to end up and associating that with Kongs and treats and nice things.

    That is not a 'head strong dog', that is a normal puppy. Please don't label your 12 week old puppy with negative things like 'head strong' or 'stubborn' etc etc - this will only destroy your relationship with him. He is a dog, subject to the laws of learning theory. He will do what 'works' and what motivates him. What is wrong with him sitting on the lawn? Let him sit there, if he wants to.

    Carrying him to the toilet location is best anyway whilst he is very young. You need to have him wearing a 2.5m puppy house line or tag line (Clix make these). When you are in the toilet area, stand still and hold the house line. Do not let him explore anywhere away from that area - he stays in that area until he toilets. If you allow him to go and investigate the world, he will get distracted and forget to toilet and then come inside and toilet there. So you just stand there. It helps if it is an area without loads of stuff for him to investigate like leaves and sticks - just a spot of plain grass, for example.

    Good move on giving him treats. Whilst it does take a long time at first when you are waiting, he should rapidly speed up once he associates this location with toileting. Simply being in this place will make him think about toileting and he will soon start to go as soon as you get out there. But yes, at first it can take a while. Good move on giving him a treat afterwards, but make sure it is immediately afterwards and whilst you are still outside - not once you are back indoors again, or he won't associate that with toileting.

    This shouldn't really be happening and the fact that it is, could well be why toilet training is taking so long. Think about it like a tally sheet - indoors on one side, and outdoors on the other side. Every time he goes inside, there's a mark on the 'inside' part of the tally sheet. This is the way that habits are formed.

    How and why is he able to have these accidents indoors so frequently? He should be taken outside to toilet immediately he wakes up from a nap, after eating, after a play session, when he comes out of the crate and every 30 minutes if none of the preceding events have occurred! He should only be allowed free access indoors, if you know he is empty. (You have the right idea with that but I'm not sure you are applying it consistently.) If you take him out and he doesn't toilet, he goes back in the crate for another 15mins and then you try again.

    If you are cleaning up mess, that's a time he should be in his crate out of the way, so you can get on with it.

    You carry him out to the toilet place and you wait with the house line on him, restraining him within that area until he toilets. The quicker he toilets, the quicker he gets to come back indoors.

    This sounds like a lot of exercise for a 12 week old puppy. Really, a puppy doesn't need ANY physical exercise. They need mental exercise (training and socialisation). Have you enrolled him in a reputable force-free training class in your area?

    Are you taking him out daily to experience something new, every day? There's no mention of that in your post. When I have a puppy, I'm out about 3 hours every afternoon, going to cafes, pubs, dog friendly restaurants, garden centres, multistorey car parks, lifts, escalators, playdates with other dogs, traffic, skateboards, bikes etc etc... When you then return home, the puppy is tired out from the new experiences and sleeps peacefully and deeply.

    If you are not socialising him daily to new things, he will be climbing the walls.

    I am not sure what you mean by 'kennel'. Do you mean indoor crate? If so, that's more than fine - it is recommended. If you mean - outdoor kennel - then no, I would not recommend that and it will further confuse him with the toilet training.

    If it helps, my routine with a young puppy would be: Get up at 7am and take pup out to toilet. Return pup to crate perhaps with a Kong if needed and get myself up and dressed. Feed pup breakfast, using the food to train with. Take the pup out to toilet again after breakfast. Give the pup playtime out of the crate in the kitchen whilst I supervise. Take the pup out to toilet again. Crate the pup whilst I train and exercise the older dogs (probably 2 hours, but I am in and out during that time). Take the pup out to toilet and use lunch to train the pup with. Then take the pup out in the afternoon to target a new socialisation experience, we mainly ride around in the car a lot and visit things. Return home and train the pup with dinner. Take the pup out to toilet. Crate the pup - deep sleep occurs here, after the new experiences in the afternoon. Take the pup out to toilet, and then the pup comes into the family room with us all in the evening to socialise/integrate with the older dogs on a tag line and under supervision till bedtime. Toilet, then bed. Sometimes the pup will go to a training class in the evening instead, which further adds to tiredness and peace I get... Then I will set my alarm clock for the middle of the night and take the pup out to toilet. Not let the pup wake me up...

    I'm afraid he sounds mentally very under-stimulated and as if he is not getting enough novel experiences to tire out his brain...

    This may not improve and sounds like an extreme response on the part of your cat. The stairgates are a good idea, but really you need to consider the cat's needs and whether it is possible to add a dog to your household...

    I hope that helps and that things get easier.
     
  5. Ryakki

    Ryakki Registered Users

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    Do everything Jo said and look at the posts they have on this site about training. Teaching sit and stay and down and fetch and bed can be really fun and will help you communicate better with the puppy. read and then re-read until you stop seeing it as a list of things you have to do and start to understand the philosophy behind it. Learning with your puppy is such a fun thing once you understand each other.
     

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