I just got Strider 2 weeks ago. He's 3-1/2 months old and already very big (40+ pounds). Some people are wondering if he's older or not, but the people we bought him from had the AKC papers and showed his birthdate on it. Anyway, he's starting to bite a lot. It seems to be mostly when he wants to play, but I work at home and cannot play during the day. I let him outside, and he jumps on the door to be let in. He doesn't like to be outside by himself. He also is very hard to housebreak. I keep taking him out, but then he will sometimes come back in and pee on the rug. We have cleaned the rugs and have used sprays that supposedly remove odors, but he still does it. He's also starting to bite on the couch and grab pillows off the couch and bite on them and was 'humping' one this morning. He has plenty of chew toys and stuffed animals and balls to play with. He is kept with me in the same room that I work in at all times, he doesn't have run of the house. I have tried shaking a can with pennies in it to try to startle him to stop, which doesn't work well. I have tried holding the scruff of his neck and telling him no when he is biting us or the furniture. We crated him for the for week of having him and all he did was bark and whine all night. He won't go into his crate and we have to practically "shove" him in it. This week we put the crate in the garage (attached to our house) and let him stay in there at night. He whines just a little and then settles down. Any ideas on how to get him to stop doing the bad stuff. We are going to enroll him in obedience training within the next two weeks.
One, even with training him everyday, you still have about 3 or 4 months before he will be completely housebroken. (meaning that towards the end, you will still have occasional "accidents")
Two, he's bored. That's one reason why he is destroying your furniture. He's also full of energy. If you are busy during the day, take him out for a run first thing in the morning. Wear him out and he will mostly likely sleep the day away. Take him out around lunch time and after dinner. Keep wearing him out until all he wants to do is sleep when inside!
Three, if you make crate training unpleasant for him (ie, you shove him into it, you put him into it as discipline, whatever) he will NOT want to go into it. Make that his special place. Put in a comfy blanket, put in his favorite toy or give him his treats in there - and then let him out when he's done eating it. Make it so that crate=good, comfy, safe, bed.
Fourth, he is a puppy after all. Until you train him, which takes alot of time and patience, he will seem more of an annoyance. But definitely take the time now to train him, you will love him more for it in time and always remember however long it takes you to train your dog, it takes 10 times that effort to break him of a bad habit..
First, please read a few books on puppy training – Puppy Perfect is a good one. The Other End of The Leash is good too.
Second, please know THIS IS WHAT PUPPIES DO! Start by relaxing your expectations of yourself and of Strider – you both will be better off.
THIS MEANS CHANGING YOUR DEMANDS FOR THE PERFECT DOG!! Poor Strider is jut being a puppy DON’T PUNISH HIM FOR IT!
Putting him in the garage is akin banishing him from the family. DOGS ARE PACK ANIMALS DO NOT BANISH THE DOG INTO THE GARAGE!!! When we do things like this, we are actually training another set of behavior- behavior we don’t want!
And the crate!! The crate is a place where the dog while – eventually – go for peace and solace. DO NOT FORCE STRIDER INTO IT. Use treats and toys to get him to go into it. Put an old towel in there so he can feel comfortable. Praise him for going in. Crates replace dens that dogs use in the wild. They need to know their backs are protected, they need to know they have a safe place. Put the crate in one place in your house and allow Strider to get used to going into it. Let him make it his own.
A note- my dog Pilot used to pee while looking right at me – then one day, at 8 months old, he resisted going into his crate. I said “ok, I will not force you”. The next day, and ever since (10 years) Pilot whined at 6:30 am to go outside, and he has never peed in the house again. Pilot doesn’t use a crate, his brother Broccoli still does.
DO NOT PUNISH HIM FOR CHEWING YOUR FURNITURE. This is senseless. He is doing nothing wrong. DO put Bitter Apple on the furniture, you can get this at most any pet store.
And, this is important. YOU AND YOUR FAMILY go to the training – it is usually need training first!
Please know, I have 5 dogs, all found, and they all listen. They reason they do is because I have been PATIENT, PERSISTENT, AND CONSISTENT. I learnt these skills from observing how my dogs try to train me.
You also might want to start using a chest leading harness – like the Walk Your Dog With Love harness, you can get one at http://www.WalkYourDogWithLove.com. This is versus a collar or worse, a choke chain. It is a natural way of leading your dog and Leading sounds like it is a key issue here. Leadership is not something you impose on your dog though yelling and force, it is something that occurs you are compassionate and understanding.
***Edited By: biteyboy on 3/15/2008 11:52:51 AM*** Reason: misspelled some words
Thanks to everyone for the advice. I've had puppies before, it's just been 10+ years and it just seemed that he is worse than the last one I had. I see the point in everything that is said. It hit me this morning, he's just like our 2-year-old son, we are still constantly telling him no for certain things. We are definitely going to start obedience training and I'm going to look into the bitter apple spray. I have read a couple of books and have gotten some advice from them too. I just need to be more patient, as many of you said, he is just a baby and it will take time for him to "grow up" and he needs the guidance to be good, just like our children. Thanks to everyone for the boost of confidence this has given me. I must have been having a bad day and feeling sorry for myself. I know that this is normal and I do not have it any worse than anyone else.