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Meet Lilah, our roughly 15 week old pup. I wanted to share how things are going with her and get general feedback from anyone interested in listening!

What's going good:
  • Lilah really seems to like all types of people so far. Despite raising her during COVID19, I think her socialization has gone great. She gets very excited to meet new people (ears back, butt wiggling), and offers them gentle kisses (yes, we are being caution with who touches her given the state of the world).
  • Lilah is smart! She's learned over 20 tricks so far: sit, shake, down, rise, touch, stay, come, look at me, leave it, line up, walk with me, heel, circle (she does a spin), kiss, crate, go potty, come around, between (goes between my legs), behind (walks from one side of me to the other side behind me), come find me, wave, play dead, roll over, and halt.
  • Lilah is getting better at her commands with other distractions (other dogs in the home around, in the backyard, etc.).
  • Lilah has only gone #2 once in the house since we got her at 8 weeks old! And, she seemed to have an upset tummy to give her credit.
  • Lilah's play biting has gotten MUCH better. She rarely nips me and is very quick to switch from mouthing to kisses.
What I'd like to work on:
  • Lilah is generally good about not going #1 in the house if we take her out very frequently (once or twice an hour), but sometimes if I think she needs to go and I don't physically carry her outside, she will pee by the door while I'm grabbing her leash (understood they need to go ASAP, but was hoping she would start being able to handle this a little better while I'm taking ~5 seconds to grab her leash).
  • Lilah submissive pees every single time she sees my roommate's Boston Terrier. The Boston Terrier is fairly dominant, but leaves Lilah alone and they don't have negative interactions. I am wondering if this is just something she will grow out of? This happens even a moment after I've let her outside to relieve herself in hopes of preventing it.
  • Lilah does not like her crate door closed or being alone. I have worked tirelessly since she was 8 weeks old to make her crate a positive environment. We have a pen around her crate where she sleeps and hangs out, and she will go in the crate on her own from time to time and eats her meals in it, but she really does not like the door closed on it. I have tried continuously making it a positive environment, practicing very small sessions building up to a few minutes with it closed, but she whines and howls frequently in there and has a hard time settling. I've tried giving her distractions (her favorite toy, a kong, etc) and it doesn't work. She will only be content in there if she's absolutely wiped from a puppy play date and passes out fairly quickly, but that will only be for about an hour of napping. I'm worried I won't be able to leave her for longer than an hour at a time without her becoming very stressed and nervous. If we work on crate training while she isn't napping, she often gets really worked up and is panting and obviously stressed. I want to be disciplined in getting her used to this environment as I don't trust her not to escape her pen if she was left for long periods of time, but also want to make sure I'm not stressing her out too much.
  • Lilah has started play keep away sometimes with her toys. I'm not sure if it's okay to let her continue this as a game (as long as she learns fetch adequately) or if this is something I should try to fix sooner than later.
  • Lilah is vocal and sassy! She loves to bark at her toys, or at me when she's feeling excited and feisty. I'm trying to figure out if she's just being a goofy puppy (it does make me laugh) or if I'm encouraging a behavior down the road that will be hard to correct.
Those are most of the things on my mind right now, would love any thoughts or feedback. Would also love anyone's opinion on how large you think she will become (I know this is a fully loaded question). Her dad was a GSD (looked about 100 lbs) and we were told the mom was GSD mix with Aussie (she looked around 60 - 70 lbs). They are both fairly large dogs, but Lilah doesn't seem to have those massive paws that you see with larger breed puppies. She definitely looks like a big pup and her legs are getting long, but I'm wondering if she'll be on the smaller, leaner side (I don't mind either way, just curious what everyone thinks!). She was 17.1 pounds at 11 weeks, she is getting weighed at the vet tomorrow where she will be 15 weeks. She is MUCH larger since her last vet appt, if I had to guess she is close to 27-30 now? But can update when I have the actual weight. Also, her ears were switching which one was up and down for a week, and now they are both back down, ha!

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She's so cute馃槏 It sounds like she is on her way to becoming a great dog! I think you're doing a great job with her. Does she cry when the crate door is just closed or when the crate door is closed and you walk away?

I hope others will chime in too!!
 

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Thank you! She cries when the crate door is just closed AND when I walk away. It's definitely worse when I walk away though. I think I'm dealing with different levels of separation anxiety there.
 

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If she is voluntarily keeping the toy away from you (if you have to chase her and get it from her), I would absolutely stop and take a look at the situation first before you continue with that game. Puppies should be learning to interact with you and play with you. You should establish that the toys she plays with are your and yours only, and not hers, and that they are only used as a way to interact with you. They should come out when you come out and go away when you go away. In other words, I wouldn't be letting her just have the toys whenever she wants to go off on her own.

Usually I would just ignore crate crying, and let her cry. When she stops, immediately reward the silence and maybe let her out as her reward.

Good luck!
 

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Thank you! She cries when the crate door is just closed AND when I walk away. It's definitely worse when I walk away though. I think I'm dealing with different levels of separation anxiety there.
Hmmm馃馃 Maybe take some steps back and start again with just having the crate door closed while your in the room and make as good and fun as you can, and then move up to walking away.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
If she is voluntarily keeping the toy away from you (if you have to chase her and get it from her), I would absolutely stop and take a look at the situation first before you continue with that game. Puppies should be learning to interact with you and play with you. You should establish that the toys she plays with are your and yours only, and not hers, and that they are only used as a way to interact with you. They should come out when you come out and go away when you go away. In other words, I wouldn't be letting her just have the toys whenever she wants to go off on her own.

Usually I would just ignore crate crying, and let her cry. When she stops, immediately reward the silence and maybe let her out as her reward.

Good luck!
Thank you! Noted on the keep away. She has only done it a handful of times but definitely don't want it to become a bad habit.
 

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If you have taught that many commands/tricks at that age, you are likely developing too much of a dependency on YOU, hence the separation anxiety. You must be training a ton and not allowing her enough independence.
 

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If you have taught that many commands/tricks at that age, you are likely developing too much of a dependency on YOU, hence the separation anxiety. You must be training a ton and not allowing her enough independence.
Thank you for the feedback; I have definitely been trying to work on separation anxiety since I have been working from home with COVID and am worried she is too attached from being with me nearly all day every day. How much training do you think is too much? Right now we are doing usually 2 to 3 sessions a day that are probably 5 to 10 minutes long. She will run through her commands and then we will sometimes start to work on a new one. She has been picking up new tricks usually within 5 to 10 tries, which is why it may seem like she knows a ton for her age. She seems really happy to be learning, especially once she gets a trick down really well. Do you think the time spent doing it is too much, or the quick progression of how many commands she's taking on? We also do on the spot training (usually "leave it") but it's no more than a few repetitions at a time for something she's interested in chewing, but other than that try to keep training during those sessions as much as possible.

I have been trying to make a point of letting her have "independent play time" in the backyard where she can just explore on her own, do you have any other recommendations on ways to increase their independence? Thank you in advance :)
 

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You may want to stop the "keep away". I would teach a "drop it" and or "out" to alleviate that issue.

Crate training: I think you're over thinking it and giving in too easily. Just close the door and let her fuss it out. It will be nerve grating but she will learn to settle. I would caution against an immediate praise for becoming quiet in the crate. Let her be in there a while after she has settled increasing the time before you let her out and then praise calmly for being a good girl. It may take a few days to start getting the results you want but it's up to you to give the tough love with crate training. Must pups learn to settle and nap. If you are using a wire crate a crate cover can be helpful to block out the view of you and make her crate more den like. Where does she sleep at night? In her crate? Door open or closed?
Otherwise for a 15 week old pup it seems things are going along right on schedule. Good Job!
 

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You may want to stop the "keep away". I would teach a "drop it" and or "out" to alleviate that issue.

Crate training: I think you're over thinking it and giving in too easily. Just close the door and let her fuss it out. It will be nerve grating but she will learn to settle. I would caution against an immediate praise for becoming quiet in the crate. Let her be in there a while after she has settled increasing the time before you let her out and then praise calmly for being a good girl. It may take a few days to start getting the results you want but it's up to you to give the tough love with crate training. Must pups learn to settle and nap. If you are using a wire crate a crate cover can be helpful to block out the view of you and make her crate more den like. Where does she sleep at night? In her crate? Door open or closed?
Otherwise for a 15 week old pup it seems things are going along right on schedule. Good Job!
Thank you for the feedback! At night she sleeps either on the floor in her pen or wanders into her crate (door open) for a few hours. I think you are right about the immediate praise for becoming quiet, sometimes I think coming back into sight temporarily to reward her just sets her off all over again. I had tried covering the crate back when she was much younger, but hadn't thought to try it again now that's she's become a little more used to it, so I will give that a go also. Thank you!
 
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