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Discussion Starter #1
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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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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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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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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Discussion Starter #5
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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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...
 

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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.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
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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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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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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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.
That is a very good point, and I often do call him away from undesirable behaviours. I use timeouts sparingly for the occasions where I have to say no twice and he still continues to go back.

I'm prepared to go to great lengths to be interesting to him, even sacrificing my own flesh for the sake of roughhousing with him - it changed him from completely inattentive on walks to me being able to call him away from other dogs without the training leash tightening. It was a huge transformation. Hope I'm not making a rod for my own back with the roughhousing though!

However I'm wanting to build a negative association with things he cannot chew such as skirting boards - I can't call him away whilst I'm out at work and, whilst he's teething, he's seeking out all the new and interesting textures to try. Rotating toys isn't quite cutting it.

I do have him in his pen whilst I'm out, but he's growing so fast that I've recently had to expand his pen to include a couple of walls, so his environment is no longer 100% under my control. I can't line the walls with fencing as one of the walls is actually the back door which has a wooden frame he seems to have just discovered!

I'm sure I can get past this with my opposable thumbs at some point - I've eliminated several undesirable habits (such as tipping his water bowl over) with a can do attitude and some cable ties. I'm just thinking out loud here, but perhaps expecting him to have enough self control to get him through the day with temptation unsupervised is unrealistic?

Am I correct in thinking that if the opportunity is removed when he's young he won't develop the inclination as an older dog ie he won't know what he's missing out on? If so I can perhaps rig something temporarily to weather the storm of teething

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That is a very good point, and I often do call him away from undesirable behaviours. I use timeouts sparingly for the occasions where I have to say no twice and he still continues to go back.

I'm prepared to go to great lengths to be interesting to him, even sacrificing my own flesh for the sake of roughhousing with him - it changed him from completely inattentive on walks to me being able to call him away from other dogs without the training leash tightening. It was a huge transformation. Hope I'm not making a rod for my own back with the roughhousing though!

However I'm wanting to build a negative association with things he cannot chew such as skirting boards - I can't call him away whilst I'm out at work and, whilst he's teething, he's seeking out all the new and interesting textures to try. Rotating toys isn't quite cutting it.

I do have him in his pen whilst I'm out, but he's growing so fast that I've recently had to expand his pen to include a couple of walls, so his environment is no longer 100% under my control. I can't line the walls with fencing as one of the walls is actually the back door which has a wooden frame he seems to have just discovered!

I'm sure I can get past this with my opposable thumbs at some point - I've eliminated several undesirable habits (such as tipping his water bowl over) with a can do attitude and some cable ties. I'm just thinking out loud here, but perhaps expecting him to have enough self control to get him through the day with temptation unsupervised is unrealistic?

Am I correct in thinking that if the opportunity is removed when he's young he won't develop the inclination as an older dog ie he won't know what he's missing out on? If so I can perhaps rig something temporarily to weather the storm of teething

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I don't know your personal circumstances but can you possibly use a crate. (No walls included!!)

Teething is the most testing time but it doesn't last forever.

Am not a great fan of rough housing. Prefer to get them involved in a tug game (teeth on toy not me). They only get the tug when interacting with me and is a really good training toy if you make it high value enough. But you are doing the right thing by making yourself the most exciting thing in you pups life.
 

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I don't know your personal circumstances but can you possibly use a crate. (No walls included!!)
I can and do, however as a first time owner I'm unsure whether leaving a puppy created for 4 hours is ethical - please feel free to give your opinion on that :)

I have a walker but I work 8 hour days
I don't know your personal circumstances but can you possibly use a crate. (No walls included!!)

Teething is the most testing time but it doesn't last forever.

Am not a great fan of rough housing. Prefer to get them involved in a tug game (teeth on toy not me). They only get the tug when interacting with me and is a really good training toy if you make it high value enough. But you are doing the right thing by making yourself the most exciting thing in you pups life.

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Disclaimer: When it comes to managing animals, I tend to focus less on ethics, per se, and more on pragmatics. Crating a puppy or adult dog for four+ hours may not be ideal, but it's much safer than many of the alternatives (e.g., confinement to a room or an x-pen). Puppy is less likely to escape or, more worrisome, choke on/ingest something dangerous/toxic, and you risk less damage to you home and possessions. (BTW, I always remove collars on puppies/dogs that I'm crating --- unless we're travelling). It's great that you have a midday walker, that should be fine (IMO).

I agree with @Misha111 in that I am not a fan of roughhousing with puppies (or adult dogs for that matter); I'm not interested in sporting any more bruises. More to the point, I don't want to encourage any ideas that body slamming or teeth on me are acceptable. There are lots of alternatives for hard play (tugs, kickball, etc) that will encourage focus/engagement, and build a good relationship with your puppy.
 

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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...
I play a lot of collar grab with my pups so my reaching for their collar is a positive thing. If I was to notice my pup starting to play catch me if you can then off leash privileges would be revoked because that behavior is telling me they aren't ready for that much freedom and I need to build more value for me. If a puppy is consistently making the same mistakes then I am not doing something right, and I need to work out how to set my puppy up to succeed, not keep failing and getting punished for it.

I don't do a lot of timeouts. If a puppy is doing something I don't like I figure out how to prevent it from happening. I don't like fixing bad habits so I don't let them begin in the first place. Most are easy to prevent if you manage a puppy correctly.

Thanks for this, a very good point. How do you go get them in the house without a wrestling match ensuing?
Never had to deal with that. My dogs have never had an issue going in the house. They want to be with me, so when I go inside they want to come in to. If let them out and don't come out with them they will sit and wait for me to come out, or my GSD will go and come in via my basement door on his own. If I am outside timeouts are usually the dog going back on the leash for a bit then we try again. If it is something like my pup ignoring a recall then I will either keep them on leash while I work on building value for that or if they are off leash I do not call them at all until I feel confident that they will come to me.

If you are using so many timeouts that your dog is anticipating and fighting against them then something is off with your training. Instead of your coming towards her being a good thing you have created a negative association that your coming at her and/or reaching for her means punishment is incoming. I would start playing the collar grab game with her. Begin by just touching her collar and give a reward, start off having her on leash and if she is shying away from you just slide your hand down the leash a bit at first. Keep sessions short, and you can do a few sessions per day in various places. Once she seems comfortable with you touching her collar you can start to take hold of it, then start walking around and grabbing it. By then she should be anticipating and moving toward you and staying right with you. Try to do collar grabs as much as you can throughout the day, just be sure you always reward with food or a toy. Grabbing the collar will equal good things. This is a game you can play your dogs entire life. I like to advance to me making sudden grabs for my dogs collar to sort of mimic a real life situation should I ever have to make a surprise grab. That way my dog doesn't freak out or shy away from me because I am acting scary.

I don't punish young puppies very often, if at all. If they are doing something "bad" it is usually because they don't know any better, it isn't intentional. If my puppy was chewing on something in appropriate I would simply make sure they did not have access to it and provide appropriate things to chew on vs. repeatedly scolding or punishing. I also don't give my puppies unsupervised free run of the house. If they are loose I am watching them and engaging with them, and not allowing inappropriate behaviors. If I can't give them my full attention I confine them. I know some people consider confining a puppy as mean. I see it as keeping them safe. I don't want a big vet bill because my puppy ate something it shouldn't and now has a blockage or has been poisoned. I don't want things in my house damaged or destroyed either.
 

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I try to never call pups when they are bad. And I never call for timeout, I just escort them. I like a training line for this because I don't have to get all the way to them.

If I do have to physically catch them with hands on body/collar, I always become less stern the more cooperative they are. I'll give a stern NO for something bad but if I start walking them down and they act like they are going to turn themselves in I'll soften my tone and even give a soft word of praise of cooperation. Let them know if they let me get them they aren't going to be yelled at or grabbed in any nasty way.

If I have to go hands on it is not punitive just firm. I'm not changing my mind, yes you must, but I am not going to grab you in anger or do anything scary either. I never ever want a dog to fear being grabbed by me.
 

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Disclaimer: When it comes to managing animals, I tend to focus less on ethics, per se, and more on pragmatics. Crating a puppy or adult dog for four+ hours may not be ideal, but it's much safer than many of the alternatives (e.g., confinement to a room or an x-pen). Puppy is less likely to escape or, more worrisome, choke on/ingest something dangerous/toxic, and you risk less damage to you home and possessions. (BTW, I always remove collars on puppies/dogs that I'm crating --- unless we're travelling). It's great that you have a midday walker, that should be fine (IMO).
Agree with the above and it doesn't have to be a permanent arrangement. And lots of acceptable chew toys in the crate. And you do have someone coming in halfway through the day to let you know how your pup is getting on.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I'd be using a long line and a martingale collar.
Thanks for this - this is the conclusion I was drawing also.

2 questions:

1: is a 17 week old developed enough for a collar? I've read that puppies can have fragile necks and, whilst he is usually well behaved the neighborhood kids have taken to joining us on walks - something I haven't opposed due to the socialising opportunity, but his leash manners go out the window
2: is there a recommended type? All I can seem to find in the mainstream are nylon type collars with glowing reviews, but I read that nylon can be harsh on a double coat

Thanks again for the contributions so far everyone. I'm glad I'm not being neglectful leaving him crated (though I've rejigged his pen to eliminate wall contact now)!

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