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Generalized puppy concerns and blather

This is a discussion on Generalized puppy concerns and blather within the Puppy Help forums, part of the Dog Training and Behavior category; Originally Posted by Redwood Frustration is slowly creeping in and I feel bad for it. Sam is active and healthy, and still learning as well ...

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Old 05-14-2014, 08:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Redwood View Post
Frustration is slowly creeping in and I feel bad for it.

Sam is active and healthy, and still learning as well as a puppy with a gnat's attentionspan can learn. If I leave the room, he MUST sniff me over thoroughly as soon as I return, even if it was for less than a minute, directly underfoot the entire time, which means if I move at all I WILL trip over him, boot him unintentionally or step on him. This is annoying, but I don't feel I should scold for it.

He is directly underfoot any time I am home. Not at my side, not nearby, I mean glued to my legs as if there were a couple inches between us would be the end of the world. I can't get up to use the bathroom without running into him. After being penned all day I don't want to pen him more when I am home but I'm beginning to wonder if I should anyway.

Still working on Pupperoni with dad. It works.. sometimes. If I'm there. If I'm not RIGHT THERE to give him confidence it doesn't work, and then only works if I AM there, if dad is sitting in a chair or on the ground. Sammy will sit about 3 feet away and patiently take treats from his hands, then. Sometimes creep closer. If he stands.. well, the dog runs the other way. And he's no longer just growling, now he runs the other way with his hair up and teeth showing. Sammy's growling is extending to anything he doesn't like. He'll growl if someone just walks past, until he can identify who they are and either wags and trots after them (me, cousin, grandmother), or runs the other way with tiny teeth bared and hair all up (dad, anyone unfamiliar). I'm hip deep in finals, and getting minimal sleep thanks to stress related to those finals, and I feel like my temper is fraying rapidly.

Aside from his escalating hostility issues, Sammy is the sort of puppy that would teach someone horrible ideas about how puppies are. He doesn't cry at night, he is housebreaking well, he learns fairly well, he doesn't bug the cats (except for one, who bugs him, and they chase each other around the house), doesn't tear up things much.. he is the anti-normal-puppy in that respect. I'm grateful, I think I'd be going insane if he was a more typical getting into everything howling whining complaining pup.

It feels like DogForum is basically the only place I can even talk about any of this.
I know it seems like you're frustrated, but a lot of the things you are saying are positive! He is coming to your Dad with pupperoni, he's a well-behaved puppy with low potty issues/crate problems/whining, etc. These are all good things.

As far as him being underfoot, train this out of him by asking for a sit or lay down when he refuses to move from underfoot. He's only going to get bigger and this will be more bothersome. As far as the growling escalating to teeth baring-I would tell your dad that this is the product of him getting smacked. He's showing more signals of fear and this can only get worse if dad continues to hit him. Clearly he doesn't show teeth with you or your grandma around-something to mention to him. Maybe he will start to get it.

Puppies fray nerves-and I've been there with finals. I understand. Trust me. It gets easier.
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Old 05-14-2014, 08:57 PM
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I hope so. I really do.
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Old 05-15-2014, 10:08 PM
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The clingy-ness you describe is exactly how Riley was as a puppy. You don't know how many times he was accidentally kicked or stepped on. He could be sound asleep but as soon as so much as I moved an inch, he would be up and ready to follow. In Riley's case, and perhaps in Sammy's too, it was because he was still fearful and uncomfortable with his surroundings. I would allow him to follow you around, he probably needs the comfort and support of having you near. He should also learn from trial and error to give you some space as well (ie walk beside you not under you).

Otherwise, it sounds like things are going well - progress is progress! Good luck on your finals
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Old 05-18-2014, 04:52 PM
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Today Sammy had his first puppy class! It went well, and I got to show off his dead-stop sit a lot, which impressed people (I am a bit of a showoff for the things Sammy does well). I encouraged everyone to pet him as much as he'd allow, and given his shyness the trainer allowed it, so he got lots of love and cuddles. With other puppies, he was a normal active furball, and would even go to dad so long as another pup was there. As soon as the other puppies went home (I had questions for the trainer), he went right back to being shy and nervous.

Wheruepon the trainer suggested we get a second dog, and dad glommed onto it. I'm going to scream. The trainer said littermate syndrome is a myth, undoing all my hard work convincing dad two is a bad idea.

Other than this stupidity the trainer is solid.

'Generously' dad has offered to let me pick the breed of 'my' dog, since Sammy is 'his', and said if I don't pick one (I asked for a shelter cat, I can handle a kitty and the local shelter is exploding with cats right now), he'll just get whatever. Since I have ALL SUMMER OFF clearly this means I can handle two dogs!

Not. Time to spend a while convincing him AGAIN that I can't handle two and all the bad ideas about having two puppies at once.
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Old 05-18-2014, 09:06 PM
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ARGH!!!

If you HAVE to get a second dog, I'm wondering if it should be another puppy or an older, calmer dog. No idea really. Maybe others here will have a better idea of how to handle this situation.
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Old 05-18-2014, 09:11 PM
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That trainer sounds like a moron to me. I would want to scream too. If dad says that the 2nd dog can be "yours" than my argument would be that he can train him and play with him and generally do everything with him-like you have done for "his". See what he says to that. Otherwise I would flat out refuse.
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Old 05-18-2014, 09:44 PM
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If if /if/ he INSISTS on a second dog (spent most of the night arguing against it, trying again tomorrow) I'm going to ask after one of the seniors at the local rescue/foster thing. A stable, calm, already housebroken dog who's learned to take life in stride will probably help more than another pee-factory pup. A dog I won't go insane dealing with as it chews up everything in the house like puppies do. And nobody ever seems to want to adopt a senior.
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Last edited by Redwood; 05-18-2014 at 09:48 PM.
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Old 05-18-2014, 10:02 PM
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I think you're on the right track. INSIST that a second dog is still a bad idea-but an older dog will be out of puppyhood, and then littermate syndrome won't be an issue since one dog will be older and clearly not a pup. He/she will be easy to potty train and easier in general to handle than a puppy. Not saying you need another dog (mention the COST of a second dog to dad!!) but adopting an older dog would absolutely be the way to go if all hell breaks loose.
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Old 05-23-2014, 02:17 PM
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Thankfully I could convince dad a second dog is not the answer, but ... I'm beginning to experience frustration with Sammy's growling at dad. Dad has NOT hit him yet in spite of threats to do so basically on a daily basis. Over the past week or so I've gotten him to spend a little more time and keep doing the treats thing, and Sammy will get to the point of being willing to play around him and take treats fine and begins acting like a normal puppy.

Then he goes to sleep and it's like sleeping completely resets his brain. NOTHING we did the day before sticks, even after days of repetition. He's always exactly back where he started, and there's not even a discernible improvement in how long it takes him to relax and begin playing and taking treats. Yesterday he actually dozed off at dad's side after playing! Then today was back to showing teeth and snarling at him. This is an EVERY DAY reset, and with no improvements at all it's beginning to get really stressful. It doesn't seem to be helping. Not even a little. Sure it'll help for THAT day, but after Sammy sleeps, it's gone. It's erased, as if it never happened. He even fails to recognize the same treats he went gaga over the day before until he tastes it a few times.

I know we're not supposed to give up but after all this work and nothing at all to show for it ... nothing at all. It's beginning to drive me to frustration and worse. Every day I'm hopeful there'll at least be like, he relaxes a little faster, but he DOESN'T. I'm seriously wondering if maybe there's something WRONG in Sammy's mind, and he is actually in some way medically having problems. It doesn't feel like a puppy's usual short attention span, as his training does after a fashion stick pretty well. Dad is the example we deal with every day, but it's the same with my aunt and even cousin, both of whom he'll love on after about a half hour of showing teeth and growling and snapping at them. EVENTUALLY it clicks that hey, he knows these people, and then he's fine. He'll even growl at me at first, before he realizes it's me (which can take a couple of minutes).

I brought him to the vet on Thursday but they couldn't find anything wrong with him except dandruff and a ringworm which is now being treated. Three-ish weeks in and I'm finally getting the puppy blues.
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Old 05-23-2014, 02:39 PM
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Dad is also beginning to think maybe something is wrong with Sammy, and we're working on finding a behaviorist who can take him for a few days and see the reset for themselves, as an hour or so evaluation really won't... show what's going on, and I'm worried we'll get 'oh that's not possible dogs don't do that'. But it'll probably cost us, so saving money is a go. Given the fear trainers want 500$ for 3 weeks of 1 day a week lessons we're expecting about 1,000$ or so, which is more than we have budgeted for anything but emergencies and don't want to use the emergency money in case an emergency comes up.
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