Timeouts for a large puppy - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-12-2017, 12:09 PM Thread Starter
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Timeouts for a large puppy

Hi all,

I've previously used timeouts quite effectively with my 16 week old at times when he was small enough to pick up and place into his play pen for a timeout.

As an example, he was chewing the carpet on the stairs and, once I was consistent and adopted a zero tolerance teeth+carpet=timeout policy he stopped within a day or so.

However my previously manageable 10kg pup now weighs twice that - I have an injury to my back that, I suspect, won't ease until he's big enough to jump into my SUV himself and he's certainly too big to catch and place into his pen.

The result is that timeouts turn into a battle of wills - he either struggles within that context to understand the command or, I suspect, simply doesn't want to go and lacks the proper incentive.

- if I incentivise him going into his pen of his own accord I fear he may associate the incentive with the bad behaviour
- if I wrestle him in there (he wears no collar in the house) I fear he may enjoy the game
- I have considered buying a collar for him (he's still using a puppy harness and didn't want to transition to a collar until pulling on the lead is eliminated - thyroid damage and all that)

Keen to know your thoughts - I'm a big believer in prioritising our bond and getting things right first time and, but for the occasional blip that needs to be nipped in the bud, this seems to reflect in Chuck's behaviour - I'm a real proud daddy!

Thanks for your wisdom :-)

Will & Chuck

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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-12-2017, 02:13 PM
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Sounds to me like your circumstances require that you teach your puppy that recall/come is not an optional command! Of course, you'll want to do that separate of the timeout thing, so there's no negative association. I would either leave his harness on, or get a collar, and leave a lead attached to that in the house. Then at random, preferably usually when the puppy is engaged in some other activity, call him to you. Say the command once in a normal voice, and if he doesn't come say it once again in a more commanding tone. If he still fails to come, calmly walk over and then drag him to where you were when you called him without saying a word. When he gets there praise him profusely, then release him to go about his business. In a few minutes, 10+, do it all again. My dog only required 2 trips, and she's been 100% on recall ever since...even when it's obvious she doesn't want to. Good luck! I'm sure your puppy will pick it up quickly, then you can resume your timeouts if desired....
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It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog. Mark Twain

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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-12-2017, 02:27 PM
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Teach him to enter the pen on his own. Build value for going into the pen and teach him he can't leave until released. I know a lot of people worry that is the use a crate or pen for time outs the dog won't like it. I have never had that problem, though I do spend time building up value for the crate and pen before using it for a time out so it doesn't become just a punishment zone for when the puppy does something "bad".

What are you giving time outs for?
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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-12-2017, 02:31 PM
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Originally Posted by tim_s_adams View Post
Sounds to me like your circumstances require that you teach your puppy that recall/come is not an optional command! Of course, you'll want to do that separate of the timeout thing, so there's no negative association. I would either leave his harness on, or get a collar, and leave a lead attached to that in the house. Then at random, preferably usually when the puppy is engaged in some other activity, call him to you. Say the command once in a normal voice, and if he doesn't come say it once again in a more commanding tone. If he still fails to come, calmly walk over and then drag him to where you were when you called him without saying a word. When he gets there praise him profusely, then release him to go about his business. In a few minutes, 10+, do it all again. My dog only required 2 trips, and she's been 100% on recall ever since...even when it's obvious she doesn't want to. Good luck! I'm sure your puppy will pick it up quickly, then you can resume your timeouts if desired....
Personally I never call a puppy to me before giving a time out or some other form of punishment. This will quickly poison a recall and you will end up with a dog who won't come because they may be punished for it. If I need to give a time out I go to the puppy and get them, never call them to me. If I call my dog to me only good things will happen to them.
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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-12-2017, 03:26 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by tim_s_adams View Post
Sounds to me like your circumstances require that you teach your puppy that recall/come is not an optional command! Of course, you'll want to do that separate of the timeout thing, so there's no negative association. I would either leave his harness on, or get a collar, and leave a lead attached to that in the house. Then at random, preferably usually when the puppy is engaged in some other activity, call him to you. Say the command once in a normal voice, and if he doesn't come say it once again in a more commanding tone. If he still fails to come, calmly walk over and then drag him to where you were when you called him without saying a word. When he gets there praise him profusely, then release him to go about his business. In a few minutes, 10+, do it all again. My dog only required 2 trips, and she's been 100% on recall ever since...even when it's obvious she doesn't want to. Good luck! I'm sure your puppy will pick it up quickly, then you can resume your timeouts if desired....
This seems like the way forward - I have been using this approach on walks but I must admit I got complacent having a drag lead in the house as he was either reliable or small enough to retrieve!

I've been using timeouts for chewing - he hasn't damaged anything but he's mouthed at the skirting and a pair of shoes. I know, I know, I'm to blame for not controlling his environment. But I also think it's wise to use the opportunity to impress upon him that certain things are his to chew and chewing other things brings about consequences.

Many thanks for the responses so far.

Tim do you have a collar on your dogs permanently or do you only attach a collar when they're under your supervision?

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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-12-2017, 05:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Bramble View Post
Personally I never call a puppy to me before giving a time out or some other form of punishment. This will quickly poison a recall and you will end up with a dog who won't come because they may be punished for it. If I need to give a time out I go to the puppy and get them, never call them to me. If I call my dog to me only good things will happen to them.
Good point! I've never used timeouts for anything, so I guess I wasn't seeing the connection. I was focusing on the OP's back issue. But if you go and get the dog every time for punishment, wouldn't that quickly just turn into the chase me game? Where a punishment is coming and the dog knows it, how can you get them to stand still?

Perhaps my approach is so different that I'm not seeing the obvious?! I don't do timeouts or any other form of delayed punishment. I talk to my dog's. If I'm upset they know it and don't like it, so they usually come to find out if I'm okay. At that point redirection has already occurred and we move on...

It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog. Mark Twain

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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-12-2017, 05:54 PM
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My dog always wears a flat collar. I also sometimes use a prong when we're walking, as she still every once in a while shows a bit of leash aggression.

It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog. Mark Twain

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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-12-2017, 06:07 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by tim_s_adams View Post
My dog always wears a flat collar. I also sometimes use a prong when we're walking, as she still every once in a while shows a bit of leash aggression.
I'm lucky enough to say that Chuck hasn't demonstrated any aggression or dominance whatsoever so far, though perhaps at 16 weeks he's still too young for that and I'm due a nasty surprise! For the time being at least he's just a lover...

I'm looking for a martingale as we speak for walkies - my father is a leather worker so I may ask for a rolled collar for my birthday for around the house supervised wear if that sounds like a good idea?

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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-12-2017, 06:09 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Bramble View Post
Personally I never call a puppy to me before giving a time out or some other form of punishment. This will quickly poison a recall and you will end up with a dog who won't come because they may be punished for it. If I need to give a time out I go to the puppy and get them, never call them to me. If I call my dog to me only good things will happen to them.
Thanks for this, a very good point. How do you go get them in the house without a wrestling match ensuing?

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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 09-12-2017, 06:15 PM
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I have never used the crate/pen as a timeout (and she can be a menace) but she will happily go into her crate on the command 'in' or if I rattle her biscuit tin. Which means I can get on with things where I can't supervise her. Your pup likes carpets, mine used to like a sneaky chew of walls haha. Learn't never to leave her unsupervised and took the opportunity, instead of punishing her, to teach a really strong leave command. If you make yourself more exciting enough, at that age they forget why they were doing it in the first place.
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