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Greetings!

I'm new, but I love the atmosphere of this forum already. SO. I got married almost six months ago. I have always wanted a dog; my then-fiance agreed but told me I had to read up on training techniques, etc. I read a book by the Monks of New Skete. It was a good read. ANYWAY, we (foolishly) did not spend any time visiting shelters (we were determined to adopt for our own various reasons). But, we did check out web sites of various shelters. We are in a two-story home without a fenced yard. So, we knew a large dog was out of the question. I had no interest in puppies (personal preference); we both have allergies, so long-haired or prone-to-shed breeds were out of the question.

In October, we have a few hours on our hands one Saturday so we decided to go to the County Animal Shelter. And, you know how it ends: we came home with a dog. Dora is a one-year-old boxer mix with a short, dense fawn coat; she weighs less than 40 pounds is just under 24 inches long. I work with her on a daily basis. At the moment, we are all working on come, sit, stay, and loose leash walking. We are rewarding her with clicks and treats, since we have no idea of her former life. Her concentration breaks after about 25 minutes, so sessions are short. She is doing well with waiting for potty breaks; come and stay still need some work. Sometimes, I swear she is stubbornly ignoring me (when it gets to that point, I end the session and play with her). Is this how training goes? Do some dogs just take longer? I read stories of dogs who have wonderful and dependable recall skills--and I want for Dora to be a dog who can enjoy life because she minds our come, sit, stay commands.

I need reassurance. We go out at least four times a day for potty breaks and exercise. I work from home, so I am usually here: but, as a lawyer, I can be gone for up to 10 hours some days :( I guess I just need to hear that I don't suck as a dog owner, and that it is ok for her to be in her playroom (with water, toys, radio on NPR, treat ball, bed, etc.) sometimes (though not ideal). We feed her once a day because she was having so many accidents on a twice a day schedule (3 to 4 a day...!). We are down to 1 or none a day at the present.

Of course, Dora still has a lot of puppy-ness in her. And, I feel terrible when I can't play with her. Again: I just need reassurance that every other dog owner in the world is NOT playing with their dogs 5 hours a day, training for 1 hour a day, and going on 2 hour walks. Overall, Dora is mischievous and playful and I enjoy having her. But, I don't know very many dog owners. I didn't want to leave her in the shelter, but I also don't want her to be miserable.
 

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Hi Feeniqx,

Welcome to the Dog Forum and congrats on your new dog!

My impression is that your expectations are a bit too high for Dora. I'd like to suggest that you read this article:

Three Ways to Confuse a New Dog

You've only had Dora for a month now, and as a new dog owner, you are learning the ropes of dog training yourself!

Patricia McConnell, by the way, has a terrific guide that addresses the practicalities of adopting shelter dogs:

Love Has No Age Limit-Welcoming an Adopted Dog into Your Home: Patricia B. McConnell Ph.D., Karen B. London Ph.D.: 9781891767142: Amazon.com: Books


I'd also like to suggest that you search for Kikopup and Zac George on youtube. They are both terrific positive reinforcement trainers. Some of the methods espoused by the Monks of New Skete are considered outdated and are not recommended on this site.

Good luck and keep asking questions!
 

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I don't think your doing to bad, and congrat's on your new addition.

As for the training, most dogs are going to get board/loose interest after 25 minutes. 5-10 minute sessions a few times a day a good way to go. As you work with her more and more, youll start to be able to pick up her signs of loosing interest. That's when you want to stop and give her a break.

10 hours isn't the most ideal to leave a dog alone, especially one that's not completely house trained. But from what I understand this is not a every day occurrence? Is some one able to let her out midway through the day? Im lucky enough right now to be able to be home more do my current schedual, but before I was gone 6-7 hours a day, and my dog did just fine. But I think 10 hours is kind of pushing it for holding their bladder so I would see if its possible to get some one to let her out at some point in the day when your gone that long.

I think as long as she has about 45 minsish to a 1 hour to a 1 hour and a half of play and walks and training she should be fine. When your gone for long hours make sure you take her out and play or go for a walk to tire her out before you leave. Besides I don't think most dogs could handle spending 7 hours a day of physical exercise. What's important is a good mix of physical stimulation (exercise) and mental stimulation (training)

Other then maybe being gone a little long on some days I think your doing great.
 
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I like to use my pups morning kibble to do our daily training exercises. They don't get loaded up on treats that way and are motivated. I usually keep our sessions to about 20 mins or so. That way they don't get bored.

It sounds like you are doing a good job of trying to be a good pup parent. Just try to keep up with current training methods. I'm a fan of Dr. Ian Dunbar.
 

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You sound like you're not a too sucky dogowner. ;)
i think 10 hours is a bit long for a social animal though.
for the day where you're absent 10 hours, I'd try to have someone visit them and let them outside around 4 hours, so that the dog doesn't get in distress because it can't go do its business.
generally when it's an adult, a healthy dog should have at least an 1-1.5 walk every day, plus a few shorter potty walks.
for training... i keep my training very short and mostly it's a game for sancho, we rarelly train more than 5 minutes at a time. better a few times during the day, than just one big training session... in my experience he is more focused that way.
I also use special super-awesome treats (dried duck or fish, cheese or sausage for example) when i want to learn a new trick with him.
 
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Discussion Starter #6
Hi Feeniqx,

Welcome to the Dog Forum and congrats on your new dog!

My impression is that your expectations are a bit too high for Dora. I'd like to suggest that you read this article:

Three Ways to Confuse a New Dog

You've only had Dora for a month now, and as a new dog owner, you are learning the ropes of dog training yourself!

Patricia McConnell, by the way, has a terrific guide that addresses the practicalities of adopting shelter dogs:

Love Has No Age Limit-Welcoming an Adopted Dog into Your Home: Patricia B. McConnell Ph.D., Karen B. London Ph.D.: 9781891767142: Amazon.com: Books


I'd also like to suggest that you search for Kikopup and Zac George on youtube. They are both terrific positive reinforcement trainers. Some of the methods espoused by the Monks of New Skete are considered outdated and are not recommended on this site.

Good luck and keep asking questions!
Hi, SusanLynn! I am definitely new to everything, so thanks for your reply! I am just in need of assurance that I'm not ruining Dora's life. LOL. Yeah, the Monks are cool...but, that shakedown thing they talk about seemed a bit much. I finished the book with the takeaway that dogs are smart and they can adapt (barring some trauma or psychological issues).
 

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I don't think your doing to bad, and congrat's on your new addition.

As for the training, most dogs are going to get board/loose interest after 25 minutes. 5-10 minute sessions a few times a day a good way to go. As you work with her more and more, youll start to be able to pick up her signs of loosing interest. That's when you want to stop and give her a break.

10 hours isn't the most ideal to leave a dog alone, especially one that's not completely house trained. But from what I understand this is not a every day occurrence? Is some one able to let her out midway through the day? Im lucky enough right now to be able to be home more do my current schedual, but before I was gone 6-7 hours a day, and my dog did just fine. But I think 10 hours is kind of pushing it for holding their bladder so I would see if its possible to get some one to let her out at some point in the day when your gone that long.

I think as long as she has about 45 minsish to a 1 hour to a 1 hour and a half of play and walks and training she should be fine. When your gone for long hours make sure you take her out and play or go for a walk to tire her out before you leave. Besides I don't think most dogs could handle spending 7 hours a day of physical exercise. What's important is a good mix of physical stimulation (exercise) and mental stimulation (training)

Other then maybe being gone a little long on some days I think your doing great.
Hi, Sabina88! Yeah, 10 hours a day is rough (on her and on me). But, that rarely happens more than 3 or 4 times a month (and some months, that never happens at all). At most, she is usually in her playroom for no more than 5 hours before my husband and/or I return home.
 

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I like to use my pups morning kibble to do our daily training exercises. They don't get loaded up on treats that way and are motivated. I usually keep our sessions to about 20 mins or so. That way they don't get bored.

It sounds like you are doing a good job of trying to be a good pup parent. Just try to keep up with current training methods. I'm a fan of Dr. Ian Dunbar.
Hello, EverythingEnglishMastiff!

Thanks for the suggestion of Ian Dunbar. I also definitely use some of the morning kibble in a treat ball when I do have to put her in her playroom. I appreciate the fact that everyone has been open and it seems like no one is really doing more than 25 minutes in a training session anyway.
 

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You sound like you're not a too sucky dogowner. ;)
i think 10 hours is a bit long for a social animal though.
for the day where you're absent 10 hours, I'd try to have someone visit them and let them outside around 4 hours, so that the dog doesn't get in distress because it can't go do its business.
generally when it's an adult, a healthy dog should have at least an 1-1.5 walk every day, plus a few shorter potty walks.
for training... i keep my training very short and mostly it's a game for sancho, we rarelly train more than 5 minutes at a time. better a few times during the day, than just one big training session... in my experience he is more focused that way.
I also use special super-awesome treats (dried duck or fish, cheese or sausage for example) when i want to learn a new trick with him.
Hello, Mathilda!

I definitely need to up Dora's exercise time, but it's a Catch-22 because her leash skills are still a bit lacking. She's only 36 pounds, but she's pretty powerful and I want to be sure that I have control over her before we go too far away from home. She's not aggressive but still playful like a puppy except she's much larger than a puppy. Right now, we mostly stick to our large yard, long driveway, and cul-de-sac. Would the longer walks help her learn leash skills more quickly?
 

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Hello, Mathilda!

I definitely need to up Dora's exercise time, but it's a Catch-22 because her leash skills are still a bit lacking. She's only 36 pounds, but she's pretty powerful and I want to be sure that I have control over her before we go too far away from home. She's not aggressive but still playful like a puppy except she's much larger than a puppy. Right now, we mostly stick to our large yard, long driveway, and cul-de-sac. Would the longer walks help her learn leash skills more quickly?
regular walks help to train leash behaviour more often and so i personally think, yes they help with lash behaviour if done right.
it doesn't have necessarily to do with the length of the walk though... you can also do several half-hour walk. :)
You can also train leash behaviour in the house, if outside is still to distracting. I liked working with a houseleash with Sancho.
 
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@mathilda
Yes! That is exactly what it is: outside is so distracting. Slip collars and pinch collars do help; copious rewarding with Van Patten's Dog Rolls also is a miracle worker. I think, overall, that perhaps I am expecting too much too soon! She hasn't even been with us an entire month yet. I am sure that by the 3 month mark, we will all have settled into a routine.
 

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I'm against pinch collars. it's not needed to hurt a dog, to teach good leash behaviour.

I'd let the dog wear a regular padded collar and a well padded and fitted regular harness ( the shelter had a few julius k9 harneses with y-straps, they worked well).
the dog shouldn't learn to pull on the collar, because it can easily hurt the neck, that's why i recommend using both parallely.
click the leash in both, the collar and the ring on the back of the harness and take awesome treats with you.
Now you can start training on an area that is very boring.
if the dog is walking nicely, while being lead on the collar-part of the leash: praise and reward a lot.
if you notice that it's too long and the dog can't concentrate anymore: switch to the harness and try again a few minutes later.
worked fine for me. :)
 

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There's a couple of articles on this thread about different kinds of collars:

http://www.dogforum.com/training-behavior-stickies/choke-prong-collars-163962/

You're going to find that there are multiple approaches to dog training, some better than others. What I've always appreciated about this site is that it focuses very much on positive reinforcement training. The advice you're going to get her will generally be quite consistent.
 

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You are doing a great job with her!

I have a puppy and have been working with her for 3 months and I imagine will still be working on training her for some time and that is okay! It took me a while to realize there was nothing wrong with her, but there was something wrong with how "I thought" a dog should behave and act. Once I changed my expectations things became much easier. She still doesn't have great recall skills but we are working on it. I currently take her to a fenced baseball field with a 15, or 25 foot lead and we work on her recall there, she is making progress slowly. Give it time!

I don't play with my dog 5 hours a day so don't worry about that ;) I also work from home so I usually go on one short walk in the morning and then play for 30 minutes around lunch and then she gets a longer walk or time at the dog park in the afternoon.

Again you are doing a great job! :)
 
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