Hi everyone, long time lurker here, this is my first post and I'm after some advice if possible!
As an intro: Willow is a six month old female sable merle and one feisty lady! Since we got her at 8 weeks life has been a whirlwind, and it hasn't all been plain sailing; poor thing has had a UTI, conjunctivitis in her eyes, she's been one nippy madam since about 10 weeks and we cannot for the life of us get her to keep all her paws on the floor when we're in the house (she's constantly jumping up, either on us, guests, kitchen work surface, sofa, tables etc). On the plus side, she's super easy to train, highly intelligent, has been housetrained since about 11 weeks old, loves fetch, catching her ball and doing tricks.
She's not remotely treat driven though, isn't very affectionate and although I took that quite personally to start with, from doing some reading on here I've seen that it can take a fair few months for BCs to become a bit more affectionate and that it may not even happen! She also pulls a LOT on the lead, which we're trying to correct in our obedience classes and we also have a gencon lead that we use with her intermittently to see if we can try to calm her pulling a bit that way (along with praise and pieces of chicken/sausage).
Up until about 2 weeks ago she loved her crate. Would happily get into it when asked and would settle quite well. However, we're realising now that we have a puppy who will not settle in the evenings, no matter how tired she is, she wants to be around us constantly and if we put her in her upstairs crate (so that we can eat tea for example) she's taken to barking the house down for half an hour plus.. Same routine as she's always had, she goes in with a handful of treats, a peanut butter filled kong and sometimes even a chew if she's been particularly good!
We try to keep play after 9pm to a minimum, no tuggy toys or things with squeakers, just knuckles and pigs ears for chewing, and prior to that in the evenings we usually take her out for a 20-30 min walk and chuck a ball for her in a park near our house for 10/15 mins. We're trying very very hard to keep exercise to a minimum as we don't want to wreck her joints at such a young age. We do a bit of 'brain training' when we get back, work on her tricks and whatnot but back at home she goes from lovely to BITEY in MINUTES. It's very hard to know what to do with her at that point. We tell her no, she snaps and bares her teeth at us, or she seems very happy on the sofa with a pigs ear for about 20 mins and then she's bored and goes back to coming to us and biting us again..
This is where I'm a bit lost.. If we play with her too much, she'll come to need/require the playtime, right? She should have alone time, to play by herself and keep herself entertained? We have an open plan downstairs, with her crate in the kitchen area and a playpen around it.. But when we put her in her playpen now she just wants out. She jumps and jumps and jumps and barks and no amount of toys or treats will get her to calm down, she just wants to be with us. If we let her out (after telling her 'settle' and waiting for her to calm down) she just goes straight to biting us and wanting to play (and therefore ends up back in her pen). In the nicest possible way... when I'm eating my tea I'm not going to stop what I'm doing to play, Willow! So then she goes upstairs to her crate out of the way and goes mad barking in there..
Us being right in front of her whilst she's in her playpen is probably the issue, but we don't have a separate room to stash her in, we only have the upstairs room and to be honest with you, I don't want to have a dog that we have to shut away when we're eating, I just want her to stop jumping up and biting us whilst we're eating, I want her to be able to settle herself nicely. Am I asking too much? It's hard to know if my expectations are too high or if we're teaching her bad habits inadvertently.
Hopefully I have explained this properly, although I may have waffled a bit. If anyone has any suggestions or tips of how we can handle this I'd be so grateful, she's going to be a cracking dog, she's just so hyper at the minute.
Thanks in advance!