Hello, first post here. I've been lurking for a few weeks and since there seem to be so many experienced people here, I thought I'd see what you all thought.
I've got a 10.5 week old puppy, Wren, we've had her for 3 weeks and She's our first puppy, but not our first dog. I live on a farm with my wife and two young daughters (she seems to really like our three year old) plus an indoor cat.
Well I'm worried that I've ruined Wren. It seems our only positive interactions are food and play. She knows sit, come, lay down, and to wait while I give her her food and at the door to be let out for potty (she hasn't had an accident for about a week). She only obey's those commands when I have food or a toy and she doesn't really react at all to "good dog" or similar praise. Play consists of basically tug of war or me rolling a ball for her to chase. Unless she is in very specific mood or just tired, she will duck under our hands when we try to pet her and/or try to mouth them. Like her only association with our hands is "a thing that holds a toy". For mouthing we will hold her muzzle and say "no" and that usually gets her the message for a few minutes anyway. She does understand "no" but only when she wants too, like when the cat is around, forget it. She really doesn't like being in her crate despite me trying to build up a positive association with it by feeding her in it and giving her a treat or kong toy whenever she goes in. She's in there about 2 hours at a time (except night of course) and then she gets 1.5-2.5 hours out. Have I been describing what you would see as normal puppy behavior? I've tried to get her to "fetch" i.e. bring me toys back when I throw them, and after making progress, she now only loses interest when the toys go away. I feel like we haven't really bonded, probably because I have been a little heavy handed to her a handful of times: like early on, when she came up and pulled my beard when I was laying on the floor and my reaction was to smack her nose. I know that's taboo and I understand why; it was a reaction in the moment and not my training "method".
I guess I'm asking for new command ideas to try to occupy her mind and training and I'm looking to see if most of the above is normal puppy behavior at this stage or if I have a long long road of remedial bonding to travel.
Thanks for you input,