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Doggie Owners...helllppp!

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
So, the people I babysit for got a dog. An 8 week old yellow lab puppy, to be exact.

Now, I'll preface this by saying that these are like the last people on the planet that needed to get a dog. They're away from their own children 11 hours a day, so I don't know what possessed them (other than the 9 year old constantly begging for a puppy) to buy this dog (they got it from a breeder, so strike one as far as I'm concerned), but they did.

So, they clearly have NO IDEA what they're doing.

Anyway, the puppy pees in the house, which is what I understand puppies do. THey crate him during the day and send me over there during the afternoon to walk him. But the pee issue is bothering them and I'm wondering how to sort of manage the puppy so that we have the smallest amount of accidents as possible.

Also:
Does the wet/dry food debate extend to dogs? Which is better?

How early and with what method can training begin?

What toys and treats are best?

What are some things a dog should never be given?

Can you do early s/n for a puppy, and if so, how much do they need to weigh?

What are some common issues/misunderstandings that people complain about with dogs (i.e. scratching or missing the litterbox with cats) and how SHOULD they be handled?

Any answers you coould give me would be great, you know, now that I have a dog.
post #2 of 15
It's all about training, training, training. All of the way into adult hood and maybe beyond. Puppy can begin classes after the last set of vaccinations are administered. My vet also spayed Cody at that time as well but some vets have different opinions on how old/young your pup can be altered.

As far as peeing in the house, puppy should NEVER be left unattended during the house training period. Use a leash and attach it to you whenever the pup is not crated. Tell tail signs of wanting to eliminate are sniffing around the floor and walking in circles. If you think the pup may need to go then out she goes and if she does indeed eliminate, heavy praising is a must.

I fed Cody adult dry food from the get go. Puppy food has growth eccelerants that I believe are unecessary. Puppy teeth can break off easily so a puppy kong and other soft toys are good to use.
post #3 of 15
Does the wet/dry food debate extend to dogs? Which is better?

Like cats the protein in wet is more digestable ... I recommend a small amount of wet mixed with dry for dog s... Mine of course eats wet and raw ...lol..

If mom and dad were over 60 lb s a LARGE BREED Controlled growth puppy is a good idea ...

How early and with what method can training begin?
These folks NEED to TAKE time to go to puppy training( 10 weeks I think for most ( sorry I was four last I had a baby puppy)) ... Puppy training covers potty training social skills and basic commands

What toys and treats are best?
For a lab puppy a pink or blue puppy kong and or kong bone ... a compressed rawhide could be introduced by 12 weeks and see how it goes .... I love the new teething bones( there canvas so tough) you add h2o and freeze to soothe little gums ...I avoid squeky toys due to easy to destroy nature
What are some things a dog should never be given?

Can you do early s/n for a puppy, and if so, how much do they need to weigh?
I beleive it is 4lbs but MOST vets make you wait till 3-5 months

What are some common issues/misunderstandings that people complain about with dogs (i.e. scratching or missing the litterbox with cats) and how SHOULD they be handled?
LABS will EAT anything .... Basically they need to get down on the floor and see what the puppy sees and PUPPY PROOF ... jumping is common( just turn away is the easiest training ... Some will mouth ( I dont mind this but some do ) the dog will NOT bite but will take your hand in its mouth ...



Is the puppy on a potty schedule??? Did the breeder paper train?? in the crate ?? was it using pee pads >??

Many of the larger breed dogs are nearly potty trained by the time they leave mom

Any answers you coould give me would be great, you know, now that I have a dog.
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post #4 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by lionessrampant View Post
Anyway, the puppy pees in the house, which is what I understand puppies do. THey crate him during the day and send me over there during the afternoon to walk him. But the pee issue is bothering them and I'm wondering how to sort of manage the puppy so that we have the smallest amount of accidents as possible.
An 8 wk old puppy is like a human baby in diapers. They have NO bladder / bowel control. They do not understand the feeling of 'having to go' so by the time they need to go, they ARE. The rule of thumb is that the number of hours a puppy can 'hold it' is its age in months plus one. The best thing to do is to take the dog outside every hour (two MAX) and than act like he won the Nobel prize when he goes outside.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lionessrampant View Post
Does the wet/dry food debate extend to dogs? Which is better?
It is not so much wet vs dry but raw vs not raw. If you want to start a fight on ANY dog board, post an innocent question like "I was thinking of switching my dog's food to (fill in the blank)". It is amazing how normally nice people get get go hot under the collar. I have recently seen a debate over how your dog will get sick if you feed raw and kibble at the same time, but I am not buying it. I am NOT a dog food fetishist. Most people will agree that Canidae kibble is good. Most will also agree that there is no point in feeding "puppy food" because it has a higher calorie rate and it is NOT a good idea to speed up growth of large breed dogs like Labs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lionessrampant View Post
How early and with what method can training begin?
It can't start early enough. Start with "sit", progress to "Stay" and then "come". Also socializing is important. However, do not let the puppy go near other dogs or even outside in areas you are not familiar with unless he has had parvo vaccine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lionessrampant View Post
What toys and treats are best?
The dog may well choose his own toys. You can go out and buy expensive balls, kongs, stuffies etc, and they will happily chew on a stick they found themselves or the leg of a table. My advice is to provide a range of rubber things to chew on, from very flexible to very hard and see what the dog wants. This can change from day to day and WILL become important during teething. At that time it is a good idea to put the chew toys in the freezer. Also rope toys are good, they are like doggie dental floss. With stuffies, well, we do not mind if the dogs shred them but I understand that not everyrone wants their house littered with bits of cloth. At any rate, they do need toys and it is a good idea to have one handy at all times. That way when doggy has decided to chew on the underwear he has removed from the laundry hamper you can calmly say "no" and replace the "no-no toy" with the "ok toy".[/quote]

Quote:
Originally Posted by lionessrampant View Post
What are some things a dog should never be given?
Most common one is raw poultry bones (although I do, most agree that it can be dangerous. Chocolate and raisins are toxic. Careful of stuffed toys meant for humans, they can have these big plastic eyes and such that can be dangerous.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lionessrampant View Post
Can you do early s/n for a puppy, and if so, how much do they need to weigh?
Hot topic. Some say yes, others no. Disadvantage of early s/n is that muscular development will be halted in males by early s/n.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lionessrampant View Post
What are some common issues/misunderstandings that people complain about with dogs (i.e. scratching or missing the litterbox with cats) and how SHOULD they be handled?
Most common ones are

messing up housebreaking be scolding dog when 'caught in the act' or worse, rubbing nose in pee/poo. All this will accomplish is to make the dog secretive about eliminating and you end up with sneaky messes behind the couch. Learn to recognize the signs of needing to go (takes practice, 8 wk old will not show it, but in a few weeks you will see the sniffing around that means he is looking for the perfect spot) and then calmly whisk dog outside. Do not yell, scold or say anything other than "uh-uh" or maybe "no" calmly.

chasing dog when teaching to "come" Dogs, even puppies can run faster than humans and they can hide under the car, under the bed etc. To them it is a great game when human chases them. To get them to come run the other way. This will get them to chase you. At the same time, say "come" so they associate the word "come" with running towards you. In the beginning, they have to learn that if they come when a human tells them to, something good will happen. Most owners make the mistake of calling the dog to "come" so they can punish them (dogs ain't stupid, that happens once and then they never come again).

Quote:
Originally Posted by lionessrampant View Post
Any answers you coould give me would be great, you know, now that I have a dog.
Lucky you, check out this site!
http://www.perfectpaws.com/pupstuff.html

And remember, dogs WANT to please and they never forget anything. One more thing, don't let the Lab puppy run too far or too fast, it is not good for their joints. Good luck!!
post #5 of 15
OOops, don't mean to hog the thread, but I forgot about the mouthing. About the time they start teething, the puppy nipping thing starts. This is one of the bigger annoyances. They have teeth like needles and this is how they play. A very understanding and patient human has to teach them where the limits are over and over and over again. This takes weeks, even months before it penetrates their skulls. When they nip, you can start with the yelp (and freeze for a minute, halting play is punishment enough), if needed walk out of the room and leave them alone, or in more extreme cases hold their snout and say "no bite". Don't yell, they are not doing it to be mean, they sometimes do it when they get excited.

Also forgot out feeding. Don't believe the food amounts you see on the bags of kibble, they are WAY too high. Labs are notorious for eating until they bust too, so do not free feed. Puppies need several small meals a day, at that age maybe three or four.
post #6 of 15
There are entire books related to training a puppy! Rather than rewriting a novel, if they are serious about managing the puppy, they should find a reputable trainer and use those sessions to educate themselves about the puppy.

Someone said that the length of time that a puppy can hold it is 1 hour for each month. I disagree, depending on the breed, etc. My pups needed to be walked every hour for a long time. They are large mutts.
post #7 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thank you guys so much for your help...I really appreciate it.

Now comes teh hard part...trying to convince these ....people....that I'm right!
post #8 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by lionessrampant View Post
Thank you guys so much for your help...I really appreciate it.

Now comes teh hard part...trying to convince these ....people....that I'm right!
That is the hard part! You're a really great person to be doing all this research considering it's not even your dog!

You have been given some really really great advice. 2DogMom - GREAT post. My only addition to that is that puppies are HARD WORK. And it only gets harder. These people will find that their things are chewed, there are pees and poops in the house, the puppy (as it grows) will be boisterous and destructive and crazy - it's a hard time, tough, trying and for people who are barely ever home, almost impossible. They are SO lucky they have you.

It's also the most fun, best time - puppies are sooo fantastic and gorgeous. They are a light in your life. These people have managed to go and get themselves one of the most high energy, silly, high maintenance crazy breeds. Labs are notorious for eating anything, having loooooong puppyhoods that last until they are about 18 months to 2 years old, HIGH energy and high commitment levels. They need a lot of work.

Training and consistency are the keys, here, and positive gentle training. They are sweet dogs who love you wholeheartedly, and you need to be firm and kind and patient with them - same as kids. There's a ton of great books and literature out there that you can read.

Most importantly, remember that dogs are, first and foremost, opportunists. They will repeat behaviours that have a pay-off. They don't necessarily want to please you - that's a little too complex a reasoning process for a doggy mind - it's more that when they do things that inadvertently please you, they get a positive response, so they keep doing it. So when they chew up the lounge or they steal food off the bench - it's not naughtiness. They don't actually know how to be naughty, they know how to be dogs. Chewing up the lounge is fun, stealing food off the bench, well, that one's self-explanatory. Digging is fun, barking is fun - the best way to train a dog is to see things from it's perspective and then use that in your process! Make it MORE fun NOT to chew the lounge - by redirecting their chewing pleasure to a special toy just for them. Make it MORE rewarding to dig in a designated spot in the garden. Make it MORE fun to come to you rather than run away from you. See it from their eyes - it's got to be worth it or they won't do it. And your praise, your attention, your time - that's what they want. If they get positive attention from a certain behaviour, they'll repeat that behaviour.

The biggest mistake dog owners make is to assume their dog knows what they are thinking. So, you call your dog, it doesn't come back to you straight away, and then when it does, you scold it. You know you're scolding it for not coming straight away, but the dog thinks `I came over, and you yelled at me. Woopsie! Won't be doing that one again'. They cannot possibly work out the reasoning behind you calling, them not coming, you calling again, them coming, you scolding - when the scolding was for something they didn't do five minutes ago! It works that way with everything - you've got to shape the immediate behaviour that you catch, or provoke, cos otherwise they won't get it.

I like to do sort of `hands-on' activities with dog owners, to make them get a perspective of their dog's world. We were at the dog beach last weekend and some woman out of nowhere just scolded her dog in a really harsh way - grabbed his ruff, was saying, `Honestly, what's the matter with you sometimes? I can't believe your behaviour! BAD boy!!' and shaking her finger in his face. Now this dog had stopped to sniff at another dog. Perfectly reasonable, natural and instinctive doggy behaviour - and she screamed at him for not being right by her side where she wanted him. Now that dog would not have had the first clue what she was on about, but he cringed and had his tail between his legs, to which her response was `you know you've done wrong, don't you?'.

Well, at that point, I'd seen enough so I went over and said, `Your dog doesn't know what he did wrong, he's cringing because you're screaming at him. What did he actually do wrong, by the way?' She said, `He wasn't following me'. Well, that was it for me, `You are at a DOG beach - what do you expect him to do?'. She had no answer. I said, `How would you feel, if you were at the beach, walking along in the sand, and you bent down to pick up a seashell and look at it, you turned and looked out at the ocean, you stopped to scratch your leg, you said hello to someone walking by, and the person you were with all of a sudden turned to you, screamed your name in your face, and then went nuts at you for five minutes about how you never listen and you never do as your told and you're a BAD person?? All in French? So the only thing you understood was your name? Would you have a CLUE what they were on about? No - I just asked you what you expected of your dog, and you couldn't tell me. If you don't even know, how the hell is your dog supposed to know? You haven't told him in any meaningful way what you want of him, and you've just spent five minutes screaming at him for not being a mind reader". And then I walked off, leaving a very red-faced woman standing there with her dog.

My point of that rather long story was that dogs will not know anything at all that we expect of them unless we teach them in a way that is meaningful and that they can understand, and that we teach them with consistency, patience and with a gentle manner. They are sensitive, intelligent and responsive - we just have to know how to speak to them.

Phew! Sorry! Long post!!
post #9 of 15
Sarah wrote it beautifully

An adult dog has the mind of a 6-8 yr old human ... so a puppy is basically a mobile 6 months old
post #10 of 15
Lions - have you checked out the lab website yet?
post #11 of 15
Thread Starter 
Yes, and the website was really really helpful.

The new issue is that they clearly don't give a damn about what I have to say. I sent a big email and have made suggestions on several occassions and nothing changes.

As an adoption counselor, I can tell you beyond the shadow of a doubt that this dog will be in a shelter with some severe emotional issues within the year. I'm just exhausted trying to deal with the whole situation and I can't rear a puppy when I'm only there 2 days a week.
post #12 of 15
That's so sad - I feel for you, knowing this and not being able to do anything about it. Perhaps you should anonymously call your local humane society, and get them to come around. Perhaps the owners would listen, then.
post #13 of 15
Oh, that's sad. And yes, Sarah and 2dogmom nailed everything right on the head. I guess what baffles me the most, is when people who take no time in their lives for EACH OTHER, think they can adopt or buy a puppy, and expect wonderful results. Puppies are extremely hard work. I would venture to say they are almost as difficult as raising a human infant...and do consume nearly as much of your time. What is with the breeder that homed the lab puppy with this family? Did he/she not assess this home situation before placing the pup with these people? I actually feel that the "breeder" needs to held accountable in situations like this...it is obvious to me that he/she is more than likely in the business of dealing puppies like cash crops, rather than in the business of improving the breed. Is there any way for you to contact the breeder (anonymously), and ask him/her some questions...as far as what is included in his/her puppy contract (if he/she even has one), and what process is involved with homing the puppies? I would certainly be interested in knowing the deal here.

Let me just say that if the puppy does end up being placed in a shelter due to their lack of time and dedication to actually training and socializing the puppy properly, I would be PISSED, if I were you. Labs are wonderful dogs, and hold a special place in my heart, as two of mine are lab/chow mixed breeds. In fact, I'd be pissed enough to either foster the puppy until he/she finds a loving forever home, or I'd be willing to consider adopting the lab myself. Of course, being a cat owner, you'll have to consider how this will work with your kitties, but you just may be pleasantly surprised, particularly with a pup this young...he/she could adapt to felines quite well, with a lot of patience, and positive gentle training.

Just my 2 cents! I really hope they can learn to take some time out of their busy schedules to actually include the dog in their lives, as with any pet, they become valuable family members. If the lab is later placed in a shelter...don't be afraid to intervene, if that will work for you. Ugh. Ignorant humans.
post #14 of 15
I have a rather strong dislike for people who get dogs "for the kids". They obviously didn't think this through, or erally want the puppy. Do they not realize that Labs can be 115+ lbs??? Labs are very energetic...and smart! Sigh..... I seriously hope that this poor pup can be taken out of the home in time.
post #15 of 15
This remind me of my sisters dog Halo who still has not been trained to pee in the right place at almost 2 years old. At least no one in my family yell at him when he does this. That poor lab.
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