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How can I calm down my puppy?


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#1 Oyvind

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Posted 30 June 2012 - 12:21 PM

I have never had a puppy without any other dogs, but my former BC passed away before I got a new puppy.
I now have a very active little 10 weeks old BC pup in the house.

He is mostly the same as my other dogs have been, but he gets really angry, and bites and snaps around, when he don't get to do as he likes. My former puppies have been taught by my other dogs how to behave, but this time I don't have that option. He even snaps towards our faces when we carry him out or if we sit on the floor and he wants to do something else than what we do.

How can I get him to better learn what's acceptable behavior without punishing him? And how can I give him a time-out and calm him down without making his cage into a "prison"?

#2 zenotri

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Posted 30 June 2012 - 04:28 PM

I find the best way to calm a puppy is to train them for short sessions. 10 week old puppies have an amazing capacity to learn and stimulating their brain tires them out really quickly. I start recall training from day 1, they lean to sit, down, go into their crate. They learn to retrieve a ball and they learn to take and release a toy from me on command.

When I bring a pup home, I use all of their meals to reward them for these behaviours.. I try to practise good habits with them. Everything I want them continue as an adult is encouraged and everything I don't want is discouraged.

Snapping at faces is definitely something I would discourage. If you pick him up & he snaps,put him down. If you are sitting on the floor & he snaps, give him something else to do, or let him use his teeth on an appropriate toy. It is unlikely he is angry with you, more likely he is trying to play or is bored.

For times where there is still excess energy, they get a big bone to chew at , in their crate.

Hope this helps.
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#3 Pam Wolf

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Posted 30 June 2012 - 04:32 PM

Check out dogstardaily.com it has some great info on bite inhibition and general puppy raising and it is free
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#4 Gideon's girl

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Posted 30 June 2012 - 04:54 PM

Micah does the same thing when he is frustrated and overwound. I do a lot of redirection and sometimes the only thing that works is a time out for a nap. He has actually grabbed my face a couple times and I don't hesitate to grab his scruff and give him a little shake. Then he went into time out.

#5 Gloria Atwater

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Posted 01 July 2012 - 12:22 AM

One thing I tend to do with an excitable pup is a LOT of re-direction. If he's biting in play, I'll stuff something appropriate in his way for biting, and remove my arm/hand/self from his reach. If he's chewing things he shouldn't, again, I give him an appropriate chew-thing. If he's persistent, I'll just remove the non-desirable object and keep putting the correct toy/chewie in its place.

But if he's just having little temper tantrums, I'm not above a bit of negative reinforcement. Such as, if he grabs my hand/arm/whatever, I'd over-react by squealing a really loud OWWWW! and jerking away. They often will respond with surprise if your reaction is instantaneous and LOUD. Or if he's really being pissy, I may give him a stiff finger-rap across the nose and a big NO. And, once in a while, if he's really being a little s**t, I may give him a brief scruff and a big NO.

No, I don't believe in terrorizing puppies! But with no older dog to teach him, those are some light-handed things you can do to teach him a little bite inhibition. Just my thoughts, of course, and I don't expect anyone else to agree. :) Best of luck with your little guy! And do crate train him - treats and toys are a good way to get him to think the crate is a good thing.

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#6 Rave

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Posted 01 July 2012 - 07:22 AM

Puppies need a LOT of feedback, both positive and negative. Negative feedback is not punishment. Punishment would be like your parents telling you "go to your room without supper" and negative feedback would be like them telling you "take your elbows off the table". A simple "eh-eh" paired with you immediately stopping the behavior and THEN redirection will teach your pup not to do something. Simply redirecting will not always achieve this same goal because the pup never learns what he was doing was inappropriate. And snapping is definitely inappropriate bratty behavior.

When a pup snaps, I tell them "eh-eh" as I gently hold their mouth shut until they stop snapping. If they struggle, I hold them gently but firmly - do NOT put them down. This is also how I get them to calm down. Stroke and massage the pup while talking soothingly until he relaxes. The first time you try this it will take a lot longer to get the pup to relax, but the more you do it, the quicker the relaxing reaction will be.

The pup will soon learn "eh-eh" means what they're doing in inappropriate and you can then just use the verbal as they get older.

#7 D'Elle

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Posted 01 July 2012 - 12:04 PM

Puppies need a LOT of feedback, both positive and negative. Negative feedback is not punishment. Punishment would be like your parents telling you "go to your room without supper" and negative feedback would be like them telling you "take your elbows off the table". A simple "eh-eh" paired with you immediately stopping the behavior and THEN redirection will teach your pup not to do something. Simply redirecting will not always achieve this same goal because the pup never learns what he was doing was inappropriate. And snapping is definitely inappropriate bratty behavior.

When a pup snaps, I tell them "eh-eh" as I gently hold their mouth shut until they stop snapping. If they struggle, I hold them gently but firmly - do NOT put them down. This is also how I get them to calm down. Stroke and massage the pup while talking soothingly until he relaxes. The first time you try this it will take a lot longer to get the pup to relax, but the more you do it, the quicker the relaxing reaction will be.

The pup will soon learn "eh-eh" means what they're doing in inappropriate and you can then just use the verbal as they get older.



I agree with you, Rave, and think this is good advice.
I found out that it doesn't work for every puppy. I tried exactly that technique to train bite inhibition to a foster puppy that I had, and if I held her she would struggle, and the more I held her the more ramped up she got until it became a power struggle, which was ridiculous, so I only tried that once.
What worked with that puppy was the loud screech I let loose if she bit me, and if that did not stop her she went into her crate with a nice chew object. The chewey was to make the crate not a punishment; the crate was to calm her down. she would cry and make a fuss, but if she had calmed down in 5 minutes or so I would let her back out. For that puppy, holding was the worst thing I could try to do. She responded better to simply being separated from me and "the action" for a few minutes.
Had the same experience with a pitbull puppy that I was helping some people to train. He immediately went ballistic if one tried to hold him still.
So, to the OP I say try the things suggested and go with what works.

D'Elle

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#8 Rave

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Posted 01 July 2012 - 06:25 PM

Yep definitely do what works best for your pup and you. Another alternative is to just hold the pup's collar until it settles.

Also be fair, don't expect a pup to settle when it hasn't been exercised enough yet.

#9 brady's mom

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Posted 02 July 2012 - 01:28 AM

Control Unleashed is my bible and helped get me through the puppy years! It teaches calm in all kinds of situations. There's also a newer version of the book out called Control Unleashed: Puppy Program. Well worth the buy! :)
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Brady -- the king of the loveseat and master of all things tennis ball.

#10 Oyvind

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Posted 02 July 2012 - 07:25 AM

Thanks for all your advice. I have actually figured it out now, and he is like a nice little teddybear. He is getting frustrated when he is tired, and when he needs to take a bathroom break (I guess his little stomach gives him discomfort when he is full). So now he is just like what my puppies used to be.

Thanks for great advices. We will be attending the first puppy meeting (as a pre meeting to the puppy training courses) in the local dog club on wednesday.


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