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My girl, Kozmo, will be 12 weeks old this Friday. I have had her for 3 weeks and she is overall a great puppy. She is my first puppy, and although I have been reading and researching for months, I still have a bunch of “Is this normal?”, “Am I doing this right?” and “What do I do?” questions. I’m not sure if I should post each question on a separate forum, but I will give this a try first. Absolutely any feedback, advice, opinions, etc… would be greatly appreciated. Thank you! :)

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1. Socializing: The whole socialization process has been going well. Kozmo has met a lot of other animals, adults and children. She absolutely loves people and gets extremely excited around young children. I have her on a leash wherever we go, but she will still try to run towards ANYbody and pull on the leash. She has mastered the sit command, but at times like these I am consistently ignored. Also, sometimes she gets so excited that she pees. I know she is “just a puppy”, but I am curious to know what I could be doing to ensure these actions do not become problems as Kozmo grows into adulthood.

2. Pulling on the leash: Apart from getting excited and running towards people, Kozmo is constantly pulling on leash. She always seems to want/need to go in the opposite direction I have tried, based on previous reading, turning my back to her and beginning to walk in the opposite direction, but this just causes her to pull harder, whine and bark. Sometimes she will just take off and pull on the opposite direction herself. Sometimes I just take off and run a little ways with her, or I just let her lead the way, but I feel like this is giving her the control, which is probably not the best course of action. Also, I have been using a standard collar and all the pulling makes me worry a bit about her neck. I have been looking into the gentle leader collar or a harness, and am just wondering if these will help. I don’t know if either of these will help, if she will outgrow the pulling, or if there is something else I should be doing before this, too, becomes a bigger issue.

3. Biting: I read a lot about bite inhibition and what to do when puppies bite, but I am still thinking a lot about the future and how “puppy things” can become “adult dog problems”. The first few days, Kozmo would bite a little bit and when she bit too hard, I would say “ouch” and stop playing with her for a little bit. I have also tried shoving a chew toy in her mouth every time she started biting or chewing (this made it seem like I was rewarding her for biting me though). Something seemed to be working for a couple weeks, but now she is back to biting hard all the time, everywhere, my hair, my legs, my hands, and when I stop playing with her, she doesn’t even seem to be phased, she just finds something else to do. Again, it doesn’t really bother me that she bites, I know puppies are born to bite, I just feel like maybe I need to be doing more now to prevent future violence. Side note (not really a biting issue): Kozmo HATES brooms! Every time I try to sweep she barks and attacks the broom. I even let her check it out first, but she still hates it. When I put her in a different room, she can still hear the broom so she barks and freaks out (she usually doesn’t bark at ANYTHING else).

4. Eating EVERYTHING: I have read, similar to biting, that it is normal for a puppy to try to eat non-food items. Well, Kozmo, not a big fan of dog food or treats of ANY kind, wants to eat WHATEVER she can get her teeth on. This includes rocks, grass, carpet, bugs, and dirt. I feel like I do a good job keeping an eye on her so I usually stop her before she actually eats anything bad, but the second I look away, she is back to gnawing on the carpet again, or eating sticks when I take her out to pee. I get that she will most likely outgrow this (hopefully), but I am wondering the best way to stop her from eating non-food items or if I need to be doing more than saying “no” or guiding her away to stop this from happening.

5. Training: I read a post (on this site I think) about a German Shepherd puppy who could sit, stay, lay down, speak, jump, etc… all by 9 weeks. If I’m not mistaken, this is still pretty early, but with Kozmo, I don’t feel like that would have been at all possible. She is great at the “sit” command and can fetch (which came naturally to her). She can also “look at me” on command, but anything beyond that is a struggle. I have read MANY step by step training instructions, but I am running into a few problems. First, this is probably something silly, but I can get her to lay down from the sit position by holding a treat in my hand on the ground in front of her, but then she is just done. I don’t know what to do to get her to get back up and continue training. Do I need to physically stand her up every time? Second problem, she just wants to play and bite me and chew on my pant leg when I try training. To negate this I tried training when she was tired, but she would just lay down and give up right away. Does this mean she is just not ready for training yet? Thirdly, she doesn’t even like treats! I have tried ALL sorts of treats too, but she is mostly uninterested almost to the point that I thought something was wrong with her scent. I tried training just with positive reinforcement, which of course didn’t work so well. I have also tried training with a toy, but when I gave it to her she just took it and ran off to play with it. Any advice? The come command is really my greatest concern at this point, I know it is one of the most important to teach so I am trying, but continuously failing.
 

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I suggest you look at the posts in the Puppy Place -you will find lots of answers to your questions. Also I recommend the book "The Art of Raising a Puppy" by the Monks of New Skete. Enjoy your pup!
 

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you are expecting too much and putting wayyy too much pressure on your pup. shes 12 weeks old. she has the attention span of seconds. i'd advise not to try to force her to train all these commands. at 12 weeks you should spend 95% of the time playing with your pup. if you make training not fun for her, she wont want to do it and will be eager to quit. you have to gage when she has had enough training. every pup is different. it all depends on what line your dog is and how much drive she has.

also one of the most important things for me when dealing with a pup is engagement training. your pup is pulling everywhere because she wants to explore everything in the environment. she shouldnt be wanting to meet every single person. my 12 week pup will look at people but never try to sniff every person. everything is more fun than you. when you socialize, you dont have to let your dog interact with everything. you want her to look but be interacting with you. you need to be the most fun thing in the world. if you are then why would she want to run towards a stranger? if you are the most fun thing in the world your dog would come running when called. my 12 week pup can be in another room chewing on something he isnt suppose to and if i call to him he will come running full speed. whatever he's chewing on isnt more fun than coming to me because i will immediately give him a high value treat or play tug with him. i never call him to yell at him. engagement is important because you dont want your dog to be focusing on every person/dog/tree on your walks. she should notice them but be focused on you.

i also had lots of question when i got my first gsd. just be patient and enjoy your pup. dont expect too much too fast.
 

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Beautiful pup!

I second the suggestion to read the Monks of New Skete book. It is a good overall approach to raising a puppy.

Other than that, you'll find that all the issues you are having will be ongoing, and will get easier with time. Socialization and training and leash behavior and biting...all important, but can not be solved overnight.

Best advice I can give is to work on things slowly. Baby steps. Rome wasn't built in a day. But your pup looks gorgeous and you obviously care about them a lot, so everything will work out just fine.

FWIW, my pup's training at 12 weeks was pretty minimal, but I did multiple small sessions through the day. I kept it light and fun. At that age, even playing fetch can be training - in fact, not a bad way to work on the basics of the dog's recall.

Once my dog had the down command pretty good, I started to teach him 'stand.' You'll get there...your pup is still young. Look into clicker training, it's a good way to teach simple motions like that.

Best way to keep a pup from eating things you don't want them to is to give them plenty of chew toys. At a certain point they will understand what they are supposed to chew on.

Don't have much advice on biting as my boy was always very gentle. I got lucky there. Same with leash training. My challenge was getting him to walk fast enough, lol...he was a bit of a lazy ass at that age.
 

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My pup was horrible about wanting to eat everything outside .. bark, leaves, rocks, dirt. However, at 15 weeks, he is already much better than he was. We are still having pulling issues ourselves, but I've noticed that if I work on engaging the puppy he pays a lot less attention to other stimulus and more to me. He is still verrrrry interested in the kitten that has appeared at our house *sigh*. It's good practice for 'leave it'.
 
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