Feeling like I'm being TOO mean?
Hi everyone, just got my pup on Saturday and we are adjusting pretty well. So far potty training is going well and he will go almost any time he is outside, and so far haven't had any accidents today :)
He's getting more comfortable around the house, which I'm happy he is, but now he is getting to be quite mouthy with everything. I feel like I am constantly following him around telling him "NO!" and then giving him toys which he seems to be bored with already. Am I being too harsh? Surely it can't be good to run around constantly telling him no?
Another area where I'm afraid I messed up, just took him outside and he peed in the grass so I told him good boy and gave him a few head pats. Then he walked around a little bit and pooped, and before I could praise him for it he started eating it, go figure. So my initial reaction was to yell "NO!" which I did, and it got his attention, but now I am afraid he thinks I was scolding him for going to the bathroom outside. Did I mess up horribly?
Side now, I am obviously a first time puppy owner :)
I would definitely start tethering him to your side with a 6 foot lead when he is not crated or in a playpen with appropriate toys. Eating poop is pretty common with puppies, but I would make sure you are watching him closely when he goes outside. Be ready to reward and redirect immediately after he poops - don't even give him time to sniff it! It's much harder to break after he's made a habit of eating it, so don't let him start that habit in the first place :)
Instead of yelling "NO" try just redirecting onto something else. I'll say "Hey!" or "Over here!" in a happy tone to get my puppy's attention so that I can make his environment and his (guided) choices as positive as possible. Show him that his toys are much more interesting and most importantly, make sure you're not just stuffing the toy in his mouth and expecting him to play with it - interact with him, play a fun game as a reward for him choosing the toy over the poop/shoe/ thing he wants to chew on.
Instead of following him around saying no, try engaging him in play, use treats and work on focus, teach him his name. When he's outside keep a close eye on him and be ready to "intervene" right after the job is done, then you can praise as well as clean it up before he has a chance to eat it.
"No" Is going to become just noise if that is all he hears.
Humans talk too much.
Keep him leashed or tethered, do scheduled naps in the crate, get him an expen with toys he can have, and keep the times when he's with you enjoyable and fun.
I recommend this lady to all new puppy owners. She uses a gentle and very effective approach.
She has a very good and short book on Amazon.
Oh, and I would recommend Patricia McConnell's books too. Dogs hate head pats. As a matter fact, giving a head pat is a good way to get your dog to leave.
Poop eating is a mindblower....but all 3 of my GSDs over the decades have had this fascination with eating their crap as pups......always short lived...but yet I clearly remember it. They all grew out of it....however the EPI shepherd I had was toughest to break...makes sense I guess.
I said "leave it" with my newest girl and she seemed to understand after a short bit..now it never needs to be said.
I don't think you are messing up at all...dogs live in the here and now..what happened 5 seconds ago is history....correction and reward needs to be immediate.
I yell "HEY!!" when he goes to "investigate" his poop.
When we got him, he was absolutely fascinated with licking it. Disgusting!! I had to be immediately next to him anytime he pooped else he'd go to town. We tried tabasco sauce...he just licked it off like it was delicious. What kind of a puppy did we get, I thought...
He all of a sudden stopped around 11-12 weeks. We had about 5 weeks of peace where he'd poop, sniff at it and then run away in disgust. Suddenly about 2-3 days ago he's taken to wanting to lick it AGAIN. Ugh!! I may have to start carrying the Bitter Apple spray around as he hates it.
Gracie was a poop eater as a pup. Forget tabasco sauce, pineapple, etc. it didn't work for me. Aside from being right there to pick it up, I also had to have treats at the ready to trade with her. It was way better than getting into her game of "catch me if you can". As she grew older, I found I could relax a bit more as she lost interest and eventually "trades" turned into "show me the poop" and she would show me where it was so I could clean it up. She was a basketcase when it came to nerves, but she was also a very smart cookie!
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