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Killi

Am I the right owner for my puppy?

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Killi   

I have a new 10 week old puppy named Max. His dad was a kelpie and his mum a border collie x koolie so I expected him to be high energy. I spend time with him through the day, run him around a bit, play games and try to get some training in but after having him for about a week now I’m starting to question my sanity because he just. Doesn’t. Stop. He’s good through the night but during the day he is an absolute terror. I don’t have the biggest yard for him to run around in - think smallish suburban block - so I know I need to get him out and about but I can’t even get the lead on him. I’m not generally the most active but I’m working on changing that and having a dog to motivate me to move my butt was part of the plan. Any tips for getting through these early stages are much appreciated. Or any thoughts on whether we are the right fit for each other as well...

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1 hour ago, Killi said:

try to get some training in

hi :) 
Can you expand on this ? What exactly do you do ? We have an almost 10 weeker who I describe as a fire-cracker stuffed football  ;) he is a Koolie- thankfully he lives on our property and has much freedom! 

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Killi   

At the moment our training is around basic commands - sit, getting him to recognise his name, trying to get him to come when called. For games we play tug and I throw a few things for him to chase, let him run a bit. We did manage to get the lead on and get out the front gate for the first time this morning but he is fairly timid and was shaking so much I picked him up and brought him back inside before we’d gone past the neighbours house. He rough houses with my housemate as well. 

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Rebanne   

hmm, there seems to be a lot of high energy games being played. Yes your pup comes from breeds that are typically high energy but most pups are full on. I'd start thinking of some quiet things to do with him. Sit out in the yard and call his name, toss a treat as soon as he looks at you. Then start tossing the treat as he comes to you. Within hours, if not minutes lol you will have a pup that will hardly leave your side. Teach him to lie on a mat. Same deal, toss a treat on the mat saying go to bed or whatever you want. Soon he will be hanging on the mat of his own free will. Then you start tossing the treat when he actually lays on the mat etc. Same with feeding him. He does not get fed until all 4 feet are on the ground, even if it's only for a nano second. He'll soon learn to plant those feet as if they are in concrete. As for out the front. Start with taking him just in the front yard, sit out with him and let him watch the world go by. Make sure you are out with him when the garbage truck and postie go by. Teach him to walk on lead in the back yard first,then the front, then step out to the footpath. At 10 weeks of age he does not need a walk as such. He needs exposure. Drive to a busy area, a supermarket is good, and let him watch people and cars. 

 

Stop thinking you have a high energy pup, start thinking you have a smart pup!

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Killi   
4 minutes ago, Rebanne said:

hmm, there seems to be a lot of high energy games being played. Yes your pup comes from breeds that are typically high energy but most pups are full on. I'd start thinking of some quiet things to do with him. Sit out in the yard and call his name, toss a treat as soon as he looks at you. Then start tossing the treat as he comes to you. Within hours, if not minutes lol you will have a pup that will hardly leave your side. Teach him to lie on a mat. Same deal, toss a treat on the mat saying go to bed or whatever you want. Soon he will be hanging on the mat of his own free will. Then you start tossing the treat when he actually lays on the mat etc. Same with feeding him. He does not get fed until all 4 feet are on the ground, even if it's only for a nano second. He'll soon learn to plant those feet as if they are in concrete. As for out the front. Start with taking him just in the front yard, sit out with him and let him watch the world go by. Make sure you are out with him when the garbage truck and postie go by. Teach him to walk on lead in the back yard first,then the front, then step out to the footpath. At 10 weeks of age he does not need a walk as such. He needs exposure. Drive to a busy area, a supermarket is good, and let him watch people and cars. 

 

Stop thinking you have a high energy pup, start thinking you have a smart pup!

My comments probably make it seem more high energy than it is. He gets the active stuff in bursts in the morning, in an effort to burn some of his manic first thing energy off. I am using treats to help with training, which is much more of our day, and he is generally more responsive to that after some running around first. Having said that, it was five minutes after I left him alone following treat based training that he dug a hole in the garden big enough to hide him today. And similar yesterday that he dragged pot plants back into his bed. 

 

I haven’t launched straight into walking him either, spent time getting him used to the idea first, but being in the other side of the fence freaked him out. 
 

He is good when he’s with me, generally responsive and well behaved for his age. It’s as soon as he can’t see me that the trouble starts. And given I am likely to be back in the office soon rather than working from home, I’m having doubts about how well matched we are. 

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Rebanne   

welcome to puppy hood! Yep, most pups will dig holes, drag pot plants around, pull washing off the line etc If they didn't get up to some mischief I would be worried they were ill. Honestly he sounds like a very normal, happy healthy pup.

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Dogsfevr   
1 hour ago, Killi said:

My comments probably make it seem more high energy than it is. He gets the active stuff in bursts in the morning, in an effort to burn some of his manic first thing energy off. I am using treats to help with training, which is much more of our day, and he is generally more responsive to that after some running around first. Having said that, it was five minutes after I left him alone following treat based training that he dug a hole in the garden big enough to hide him today. And similar yesterday that he dragged pot plants back into his bed. 

 

I haven’t launched straight into walking him either, spent time getting him used to the idea first, but being in the other side of the fence freaked him out. 
 

He is good when he’s with me, generally responsive and well behaved for his age. It’s as soon as he can’t see me that the trouble starts. And given I am likely to be back in the office soon rather than working from home, I’m having doubts about how well matched we are. 

Generally what people say is what they mean & what people complain about is what annoys them .
First off you have a puppy ,they do damage,they annoy you ,they are work no matter what its breed or combo is .
Puppies rely on you too be the owner that teaches them life skills & that applies whether a lazy puppy or active puppy .

From the pups point of view its fun is solely in the backyard so the backyard is where it makes its games & fun .This is what its currently been taught .

As for lead training pups will scream,lay flat ,chuck wobblies creep about or just get on with it but the more you make off it the harder it will get .
Put the lead on in the backyard & start doing leadwork there BUT you need to start building its confidence in the real world & that is solely based on your skills on not giving up .
All this would apply to any other dog .

So what is your long term plan & expectations from this dog .
For example will you always be home based or will you be working outside your home .I say this because at present his all day is about people at home ,has pup been leaving self independence skills ??

 

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Killi   

I will be back in the office pretty much as soon as the state government says they can open up again. I’ve been trying to get him onto self reliance tasks - hiding toys and treats around the yard for him to find, leaving him alone for longer periods, whatever I can think of during the work day, because 4 days a week I have to work even if it’s from home. I check him at break times at the moment. Looking for some more advice on self reliance that is not destructive though because at the moment every time I leave him he does something. I try not to immediately react to those things (and some of them I only find later) so he doesn’t associate that activity with getting my attention, but when there are loud crashes followed by barking (he barks at the things he destroys, letting them know he has won) it can be hard. He is my first puppy, at least of my own not shared with family growing up. I generally live alone (although have a housemate during the COVID restrictions to save a commuter being on long train journeys). I’m looking for company and a reason to get out and about, that’s why I got a dog. 

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Rebanne   

have you tried leaving a large raw bone, like a marrow bone in the yard for him to chew on? Or maybe get a kong and stuff it with a meal so he has to work to get it out. In the mean time pick up what is most precious to you and relocate it. Puppies are destructive, they like to try their teeth out on things.

Could you get a load of sand and put it up the back? Encourage pup to dig up there by planting toys for him to find. He actually sounds pretty good that you can leave him outside without making a fuss about you not being there. That bodes well for when you return to work. But yes you do need to puppy proof the yard a bit.

My puppies have always loved empty plastic milk bottles to toss around and yes empty plastic pots. My backyard is for the dogs and if I want a tree or something in there I usually fence it off until it's mature. I've never had potted plants. Maybe you could group them together and fence them off. Swap the toys around each day as well, saves them getting bored with them.

I know it's hard with Covid but have you looked into puppy school? A lot of vets have them, they could help you with your questions. What about the person you got your pup from, can they give you advice? It's often easier face to face to explain things.

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juice   

Did you do any research on what breeds would suit you ?

working breeds in suburbia with full time worker ( you will be ) , isn’t ideal . 

I used to have a cattle dog and I’m on a tiny block , but he got walked twice a day offlead an hour each time . I ran him everyday alongside my bike too , worked from home and had at least 2 other dogs as buddies . 

Would I do it again , nope because I’m much older , can’t ride anymore and work away . I love working breeds but they are busy dogs . 

I feel like you are asking for backup to rehome him , buyers regret is kicking in . It happens , sometimes it’s best to admit it’s not a good match . 

6 months down the track he will be harder to rehome with bad behaviour traits . 

Personally I would have said older dog would have suited you better .

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KobiD   

Great responses in here! 

Is this your first dog? If so, it can be very overwhelming and frustrating at times. It sounds like you are on the right path to me though, just doubting yourself.


Like others have said, puppies are active AND destructive! Many people will crate train to reduce potential damage, but really puppy proofing or a play pen can work to set some boundaries. Give the puppy things it can work on that you are happy with. Bones, Kongs, chew toys, etc. 

 

And finally, some of the best pieces of advice I was given...

Instead of thinking about what you don't want.. have a vision of what you want to achieve and encourage and reward that behaviour. You will see more of it. If you see something you don't like, take away the triggers and stop that from being reinforced. It means thinking a couple steps ahead.


And.. every single time you spend time with or away from the dog it is learning. It's an opportunity to train. Making them think tends to tire them more than physical play does, so lots of mental games and shaping activties are great for smart dogs! AND always work with the dog you have infront of you. Some days will feel like steps backwards.. Don't expect what you saw yesterday, just work with what you have. 

Keep sessions short! Take a breather as required. 

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3 hours ago, Killi said:

He rough houses with my housemate as well. 

If you want a calmer pup- cut out the rough housing :(  I suggest play quieter games ....not games that stir the blood! 

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Tassie   

Some great advice here.   A couple more things to consider.

I would definitely be crate training your pup.  It will save your sanity, and his.  Basically .. using a wire crate, which you can put some sort of cover on when you need to, make it a wonderful place for pup to be … for short periods of time at first … with super good things ..like meals, stuffed Kongs or similar etc. happening in the crate .. then … make sure you train a release word - that is going to  be the permission word for the pup to do things like come out of the crate, come off the mat (the place training that @Rebanne was talking about, going out or in the house doors, the gate, out of the car ...etc. etc.    My 3 year old Border Collie girl is still on the crazy side, so she has spent time in her crate after meals, so that she can learn to relax.  It gives their cortisol levels a chance to go down.

My dogs sleep in crates beside my bed, so I can know when they need to go to the toilet at night .. like last night .. 3.30 am … so the lead goes on, pup is taken outside to toilet praised for that,, then back inside and straight back into bed in the crate, with a treat.   So my young one has a lead on as part of her normal day.  Initially  she would get a treat every time the collar went on, and the lead .. so again, it becomes a non issue.  You can actually just sit down with the pup anytime, inside, and play lead on, lead off  with pup sitting with you ..treat for lead on, no treat for lead off … high value treats to start with.  Then take the behaviour outside.

Your pup does need to get used to the outside world .. but frankly, I would not be trying to take a 10 week old pup for a street walk on a lead.     It would be better to just sit in the front yard with the pup and lots of treats and just let him watch the world go by.   You can do the same thing if you take the up in the car to somewhere not too overwhelming, and just sit with the pup so that he can take things in, but doesn't have to do anything.  Once he knows some basic behaviours, like sit .. you can ask him to do those while he's somewhere watching the world.   Again .. lots of rewards for what he's doing. 

If he's fearful, it will take time and patience and respecting what he's telling you, to get him comfortable.  It will take as long as it takes,  There is no rush, as long as you're getting him out and about to see and hear the world without having to actually interact with it.   And the more relationship building games he plays with you, the more he will have confidence in you.

There are some great force free trainers on line.   Kikopup's YouTube channel and her Dogmantics site have great material. and you can also check out Zak George on YouTube, and Spirit Dog Training;s website.

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Killi   

Thanks for all the tips. I did have a border collie growing up but you forget what the early days with them are like (and don’t see how much work your parents do...). I took up the Zak George tip so I’m trying out some of his things tomorrow. Max is very smart so hopefully that will help us both. Fingers crossed! 

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Working breeds need mental activity.  As others have said, reward for calmness, have the pup sit before an interaction and start training - tricks are good to tire them.  I used to have cattle dogs and when I learnt about the Nothing in Life is Free program they became much easier to handle and live with.  Google it, it's easy and becomes a way of life.  

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I am training 18 week Soda to be a Therapy dog and a competition dog - two very different purposes with two very different training schedules.

 

Inside there is no play - i work toward him relaxing on place; it helps i have two adult labs that model this for the newest pack member. If he’s not being supervised on place then  he’s in his ex pen and if he’s not in his ex pen he’s in his crate in the open plan living area. In the evening he practices being passed around to whoever is home for a relaxing lap cuddle. We are teaching him to switch off. Inside is boring and snooze worthy. 

 

Outside we play structured tug - he’s learning to control his impulses, we do loose leash walking under distraction (atm a bowl of food is one distraction and the other the walking past the house across the road that has two fence runners/barkers and scattered toys are more distractions). We do lots of recall and behaviour interrupter work. We are teaching him to train in drive...switch on to work and then switch off.

 

We also have introduced him to early nosework. At the early stage it’s more mental stimulation that tires him out.

 

I would suggest, since he’s so timid, to do as much confidence building activities as you can. I created an enrichment activity space outside - nothing exciting - upturned shell wading pools to climb up on, one shell filled with noisy stuff, an old crate was turned into a walk-through activity tunnel with hanging bottles etc. We had him walking on planks at gound level. Take him on outings where he has indirect experiences like being in the trolley on a trip to Bunnings etc As he becomes more confident add direct contact with strangers etc. Do lots of engagement building activities so he learns to check in with you for direction. The first month - 6 weeks with Soda were almost solely about engagement, confidence and a behaviour interrupter.

 

Perhaps consider a training system - it can help direct your training and give it purpose. Training  to a system with support has made a huge difference this time round for me.

 

 

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