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Please talk me off the ledge

This is a discussion on Please talk me off the ledge within the Puppy Help forums, part of the Dog Training and Behavior category; Nothing wrong with crating and gating at this age. He is entering the "naughty months" of adolescence and it is far better to contain him ...

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Old 01-04-2014, 09:33 AM
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Nothing wrong with crating and gating at this age. He is entering the "naughty months" of adolescence and it is far better to contain him and prevent issues, than give him more freedom than he can handle, and end up being to the point you are now, where you are about ready to give up on him. Right?

Remember, he does not have much self control right now. He is like a young boy who is all impulses and no maturity yet. Its biology, not morality.

The bad news is this period of high impulse and little self control, is about to get worse before it gets better. With a large breed dog like yours, the height of this can be 7 to 10 months. If you have not neutered him yet, you may want to do that soon, and avoid the maximum testosterone levels that happen around 10-ish months. Of course testosterone really does disconnect the brain from the body, if you know what I mean.
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Old 01-04-2014, 09:39 AM
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My youngest dog, Squash, just turned 3 this past November. He gets a lot of exercise, he's been almost continuously in some class or another since he was a puppy, and we currently play at Rally Obedience and nosework. My point is, he does a lot of stuff and gets a lot of stimulation, and it was just this past summer that I felt leash walks truly, truly became pleasant and relaxing with him.

I'm not saying this to throw you into a pit of despair, but to let you know... you're normal. Your puppy is normal. It's not that you are doing anything wrong, but that puppies/dogs need a LOT of repetition and reminding before they get really solid with certain skills. (How many times do you have to remind your kids to do stuff? Dogs are like that, too!) I think leash walking is one of the hardest things to teach, partially because there are SO many really stimulating things on walks you're competing with and partially because sometimes you don't have time for every single walk to be a training session but just need to walk the dang dog so there's a lot of two steps forward, one step back.

(My situation is a little different because 1. Squash is very large, so slower to mature physically and mentally 2. I do some urban mushing, so sometimes my dogs ARE supposed to pull and I had the added task of teaching them when it was and wasn't ok. So it probably won't take you as long but my point is... 5 months is still a baby, really. Relax your expectations of yourself and your puppy a little.)
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Old 01-04-2014, 10:09 AM
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What Sassafras points out is key.
Raising a dog is a long term thing. Its a marathon not a sprint.

Your large breed boy won't be fully socially mature until he is 3 or 4 years old

If you are not having many, many moments of joy along the way, it really feels like work, and as the saying goes "yer doin' it wrong."
We don't get pets as drudgery projects.
Puppies offer a lot of fun and laughter along the journey.
Enjoy him. He certainly must have many redeeming qualities. Celebrate those things and those moments. You will both feel better.
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Old 01-04-2014, 11:25 AM
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I think slowing down is the really big thing. Tired puppies are just like tired children: VERY NAUGHTY and VERY SENSITIVE. He needs "down time" in his crate as much as you all need a break from him. Do not feel guilty about that if he is trying your patience. As for the car and walk fear- he is only 5 months, so you cannot possibly have been working on this for that long. Start by getting him used to the car- treats for looking at it, then treats for taking a step towards it etc. When he gets comfortable approaching it, turn the engine on, but keep him FAR away and work your way closer again. He needs to be so far away that he doesn't react and is not fearful. It might be good to borrow someone elses car too so he starts to generalize. Once he will approach it with the engine running, turn it off and open a door. Have him approach with the door open, engine off always rewarding every step towards the car. then repeat with door open, engine on. This could take weeks or months, and that is fine. Forcing him could set everything back for a long time.
You can do the same baby steps for walks. Open front door and click/treat if he looks outside. Click/treat if he steps through. reward any movement away from the house. Get five steps, then turn around and go home. If it takes more than 5 minutes, only go one step. Or, just be satisfied that he looked out the door a few times.
You will all figure it out.

P.S. Where are the pictures of him? We love pictures!!
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Old 01-04-2014, 11:54 AM
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I think slowing down is the really big thing. Tired puppies are just like tired children: VERY NAUGHTY and VERY SENSITIVE. He needs "down time" in his crate as much as you all need a break from him. Do not feel guilty about that if he is trying your patience. As for the car and walk fear- he is only 5 months, so you cannot possibly have been working on this for that long. Start by getting him used to the car- treats for looking at it, then treats for taking a step towards it etc. When he gets comfortable approaching it, turn the engine on, but keep him FAR away and work your way closer again. He needs to be so far away that he doesn't react and is not fearful. It might be good to borrow someone elses car too so he starts to generalize. Once he will approach it with the engine running, turn it off and open a door. Have him approach with the door open, engine off always rewarding every step towards the car. then repeat with door open, engine on. This could take weeks or months, and that is fine. Forcing him could set everything back for a long time.
You can do the same baby steps for walks. Open front door and click/treat if he looks outside. Click/treat if he steps through. reward any movement away from the house. Get five steps, then turn around and go home. If it takes more than 5 minutes, only go one step. Or, just be satisfied that he looked out the door a few times.
You will all figure it out.

P.S. Where are the pictures of him? We love pictures!!
Unfortunately, he's already been forced into the car when he had been showing extreme fear. This will require even more effort and time to correctly counter condition. I would not take the dog in the car unless absolutely necessary until the CC was successful. I believe the OP said she's no longer taking him in the car unless necessary. Just like separation anxiety, any dog that is showing fear needs to be not placed in that fearful situation. It's what makes counter conditioning some fears so difficult.
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Old 01-04-2014, 12:12 PM
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Yes, yes cutie pictures please!!!

Its just a puppy stage... it will pass.
Roman will be a teen till another 1.5+ years.

When he destroys stuffs, he does it quick and its a huge mess...
But I love him no less as he is more irreplacable than my "stuffs".

When he fought the prong collar, its fine..... just takes a lil' coaxing to show him how to walk nice on regualer collar (nothing is ever forced unto him seriously). If he sits or lays down not wanting to move from spot, I just sneak my foot under his butt to "help" lift him up... and a few times of helping + determination... he is fine walking knowing he won't get his way (like a spoiled brat he is).

If you are afraid that your doggie won't "go out" in the rain... and if your yard is just out the door... Just leash him unto a tether chain (20 ft) or long leash / rope (laundry lines, nylon cables etc.)... reel him in or leave him out when you think its time... (Roman had to be let out every 2-3 hours when he is puppy and we had to do that during hurricane Sandy).

Roman won't go near the car either and used to throw up almost everytime he goes in...
I just learned not to feed him before traveling and using his food as treats (in small feedings) along the way to get him adjusted.
Also everytime loading him into the car is going for a free roaming, off leash fun loooong hikes works towards him "loving" the car trips that he began to jump in by himself into the back with just the back hatch open.

Takes time but he did overcome eventually.

When he does what is natural for him like jump... I just waltz with him and complimented what a good boy for giving me his hugs.

If he mouth with a bit harder pressure you don't like, just start to brush, check his gums / teeth... its a great time to check out if he has dental issues.
Remember to give him a big kiss on his muzzle after you are done.

To teach a fastidious dog, you have to be fastidious yourself... set a good example. If I don't clean up after Roman, my dog will tell me to in his own way... He does not like it dirty too.

You did awesome with tricks and your pup must be real smart to learn all that in 5 months... so don't get frustarted with your pup. Use his smartness and ego to make him want to "improve" more.

You as a stay home mom has the advantage of time on your side.
Its the "love" for your pup that should overcome any bad dog habits that is all still just being a dog.

We humans forced the dog to stay and learn our social habits and rules... they weren't given any choices in the matter. The least we pet lovers can do is to compromise and give our beloved pet the luxury of time... the best time in their short life they gave to us so freely.

Just my 2 doggie biscuits, a fellow stay at home mom with the power of time. & Good luck to you and yours!
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Old 01-04-2014, 12:15 PM
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I want to add one more thing, that might sound trite but was actually really helpful to me in the beginning:

You don't end up with the dog you wanted--you get the dog you need.
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Old 01-05-2014, 02:36 AM
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Tess, I was thinking about holding off on neutering him because he naturally tends to be on the fearful side so I thought holding off on the neutering until he is older and more confident might be better for him. Also, I read some research that suggested early spaying/neutering could lead to growth problems.

And for those who requested pics
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Old 01-05-2014, 07:26 AM
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He is really adorable. Thanks for the pic.

About timing of neutering of course that is your very personal decision. One thing to know though is that if you leave him intact into adolescence and you take him around other dogs, the tendency will be for other dogs to be very hard on him. Something about the raging hormones makes other dogs do a lot of "correcting" of the teenage pup. (Don't we all want to shout at teenage humans sometimes!?). So just be careful in those social situations as you want to avoid him having a bad experience which later may result in him being fear- aggressive towards dogs.

Overall, if he tends to be on the fearful side, I suspect that is the temperament he has genetically. I have raised 4 puppies from 8 weeks old, and who they were as youngsters pretty much turned out to be who they were as adult, with some maturity added of course. But my confident relaxed puppy, was a confident relaxed adult, and my fearful puppy is now a somewhat fearful adult... And all in between.
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Old 01-05-2014, 11:46 AM
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Tess, I was thinking about holding off on neutering him because he naturally tends to be on the fearful side so I thought holding off on the neutering until he is older and more confident might be better for him. Also, I read some research that suggested early spaying/neutering could lead to growth problems.

And for those who requested pics
Awwww what a cutie!
Look at his face.

Roman is neutered at 6 months old and nooo stunted growth problems.
And in fact he is taller for most his breed (they said neutering does that to pyrs and also weight retention, so may get pudgier).

Roman is also a cautious (not fear aggressive but careful, or skeptical) boy. He still approaches in curiosity but needs encouragement as a pup and sometimes even now (like when the big cow charges at him but has a fence between). He does not shake nor tuck tail but will put my husband's body as shield (total trust in my Dh to take care of situations). So there is difference between fearful and fear aggression (see needs to defend because of vulnerabilities).

I think neutering actually helps in caring for dogs during their vulnerable times to me is a great way to bond. Dog is vulnerable, yet human protected and nurse it back to strength. I also hand fed Roman a lot after the surgery.. slept by him too. Bring him water to drink from the bowl held to him.

So yah... Tons of spoiled doggie going on. But, Roman absolutely loves it. Occasionally, after making his dinner he will run down to the family room to have me feed him on the sofa, not his regular spot to eat.

My take on it... But neutering is a personal decision of course, when, where, how or if you don't want it done.
Good luck on your pup.
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