Another question - what to do all day?

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Another question - what to do all day?

This is a discussion on Another question - what to do all day? within the Puppy Help forums, part of the Dog Training and Behavior category; I feel like an idiot asking this, but I'm sort of at a loss. I took this first week with Cobber off from work so ...

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Old 05-22-2013, 08:03 AM
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Question Another question - what to do all day?

I feel like an idiot asking this, but I'm sort of at a loss. I took this first week with Cobber off from work so that we could do some bonding. Even when I go back to work, it's only 3 days a week, so we spend a LOT of time together, which I thought would be great.

But I find myself running out of ideas for things to do. Puppies have pretty short attention spans. We do some walking, we do a little training work (he's doing well with come and sit), we do some playing (loves all the cats toys), then he seems either uninterested or bored.

I've just signed up with a local puppy training class, but that won't start till early July (the one I need now is already full). We've been out and about meeting people, to the vet, to Petco (where the pets go), etc.

But what about the rest of the time that's not mentioned in books and training videos? Are there games I should be playing with him? It seems like such a ridiculous question, but if he's not doing something, then he seems even more determined than ever to go back to biting on me/my shoes.

He's too young to go to the dog park or to meetup dog-walk group things because he's not fully vaccinated yet.

I mentioned in my other thread (the housebreaking, biting one) that I've raised a couple other pups before, but back then I was working full time, and I honestly can't remember having this much trouble with keeping a puppy entertained even on the weekends. Of course, back then I had a husband and a little kid, too, so maybe we just went about our lives and the puppy went along, but things are pretty different for me now.

So what to do with a puppy all. day. long?
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Old 05-22-2013, 08:26 AM
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During down times, I teach my dogs to relax.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FRM0LeSBjxA
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wesm2OpE_2c

If you don't already have a kong and a few other food toys then pick some up! They are wonderful ways to provide mental stimulation and keep a puppy busy when you need to do something around the house or even just take a break!

Also, I noticed your location says Central PA (I am too). Depending on exactly where, you might be able to find all sorts of dog friendly events on the weekends.
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Old 05-22-2013, 09:18 AM
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I'd hide his food around the house (or at least the room you're sitting in) and let him search for it - I put my dog's food in plastic eggs and stash them everywhere, but yours might try to eat the egg itself (my dog is ~5years, so no longer a puppy!). Also, cheap treat dispensing toys are leftover snack boxes or tupperware with holes cut into them. It's fun to watch puppies struggle with them

Also reward for being calm and relaxed, as kmes suggested.
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Old 05-22-2013, 02:17 PM
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Thanks to both of you and for the video links! I guess my problem is that every time I let Cobber explore the main room we're in with the toys and hidden treats, he -- without any signal I can see -- pees/poops. It happens so quickly I can't get him scooped up and out the door in time to make a difference. And since this happens even after he's just done those things out in the yard, I don't even know when I can trust him. It's very frustrating. I want to play with him, but I find myself doing nothing but cleaning up after him inside or staying outside where he's hot and doesn't seem interested in anything. The idea of letting him snuffle around the room looking for hidden treats makes me cringe anticipating a lot of accidents. Is that normal (not me cringing, but the accidents part)? Like I said in another post, I've had puppies in the past but they were so much easier for me to "read" the signals on that this one.
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Old 05-22-2013, 08:03 PM
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Hmmm, our shih tzu when she was a puppy peed everywhere at any given moment! We resorted to keeping her leashed to us for a week or longer, which helped prevent some accidents. Eventually she learned to give us "the stare" to cue us that she needed to pee, but I think she was 4 - 5 months old before that happened.

What about putting him in a crate/xpen and hiding the treats in shredded paper piles or boxes with just-barely-bigger-than-the-kibble holes in them? I've even found a box bigger than my current dog (all 47lbs of her!), filled it with packing paper and poured kibble, treats and toys into it, and told her to "find it"! She jumped in and rummaged around in there for a good 15 minutes before she got bored. Perhaps you could do the same thing - get a box he'd have trouble jumping out of and making it into a giant toy box. At least he'd be contained and it's easier to clean out a box than the carpet.
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Old 05-23-2013, 12:03 AM
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I see from your earlier posts that your puppy is only 8 weeks old! At so young an age his attention span is nil! Training sessions of a few minutes at a time is about it!
Right now he will mainly sleep and play and explore, so let him learn to entertain himself and just follow you around to adjust being away from his littermates.
You really don't need to entertain him constantly! I would also suggest that when he is not under supervision,you have an area baby gated off for him so his messes are confined to one area (an ex pen is good too!)
Puppies are so much fun! LOL!
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Old 05-23-2013, 05:35 AM
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I spent a lot of Calypso's puppyhood working from home at my computer, with her in her playpen next to me. Puppies, as noted above, need lots of sleep and rest! And to be kept out of trouble. Some people find it works well to keep their dog on a short tether instead of in a playpen; this didn't work so well for us because I rent and Calypso chewed carpet.

One of the absolute most important things that Cobber needs to learn is how to entertain himself, whether or not you're around. This includes learning that there are times he needs to settle down, not play. (The single hardest lesson for Calypso, and one she has still not totally mastered. But I have sort of a crazy dog for a Bichon.)

Has Cobber finished all his puppy shots yet? It's getting to be parvo season, so be careful about taking him around strange dogs until it's safe. I did take Calypso to pet stores before her vax series were finished, because she really needed the socialization and I didn't have a clue where else to do it, but I never set her down on the floor and wouldn't let her meet other dogs, just receive treats from, be held by, and so forth with nice people.

P.S. Thanks for the nostalgia moment--one of my first threads on DF, almost a year ago (!), was "Um, how do you play with a puppy?" A nice reminder of how amazingly far Calypso has come.
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Last edited by Sundog; 05-23-2013 at 05:38 AM.
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Old 05-23-2013, 07:58 AM
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Smile Big thanks!

Thanks to everyone who's posted here. Even my ex had to remind me that it's not my job to entertain the puppy as much as it is (or will be) the pup's job to get used to my household and routine. It's amazing how much a little change in perspective can help.

I have been trying to do things with Cobber on a lead so he can explore and play, but it gets tough because the overwhelming activity seems to be detangling him while keeping my hands out of his teeth. I ordered a pen that will show up today (thank you amazon prime!) and I think that will help both of us immensely. Also the "flirt pole" is a god-send that someone suggested. I love that! Right now he's sleeping next to me. I'd love it if he were cuddlier, but when I pet him as he's sleeping, he gets up, moves away then lies down again out of reach. One of my other dogs, also a Terrier, was the same - not a cuddler most of the time.

Yes, puppies are absolutely adorable and that's the part of all this I want to enjoy! When I find myself getting exasperated or annoyed, just step back, remember he's a little puppy and redirect. He's doing well with Come, Sit, and even Down and Beg. He definitely is a Terrier, tho. Not a lot of guilt, he does have a stubborn streak, once he latches onto a toy (as though it's a rodent) that toy gets the treatment, and he loves to dig.

Yesterday my ex wasn't home at his house (our old house), and it has a great enclosed back yard that I suspected would still have traces of scent of our past dogs. So I took Cobber over and let him explore the back yard, then drink from the water spigot. He loved it! Today we may go back to Petco. And yes, the fact that he's not done yet with all his vaccinations is why I'm not taking him to dog parks or letting him play with the dogs in the 'hood yet.

Anyway, thank you all!! And if there are other suggestions on this topic, I'd love to read them!!

Thanks again!!
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