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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all. So a week ago I adopted an Aussie mix named Theo (currently 11 weeks ago). From bringing him home, I automatically just began putting him in a playpen that we had and started house training and basic obedience training.

The house training is going pretty well so far, I've been taking him out regularly and when he seems a bit more antsy (this past week, we've had 0-1 accidents a day, all due to my lack of attention or me leaving the house for too long). And the obedience training is going wonderfully too- at least while we are inside or in a location with very little distractions. He's able to sit on command and does down and stand while being led with treats. I'm also teaching him stay and leave it as well and he's slowly progressing with those.

In regards to his playpen, when I am not playing, training, exercising, bathroom-ing Theo, he is in his pen. I'm just concerned that although he is making progress with house training, he's only doing so within his pen and is unable to generalize for the current room he is in.

I've tried the tethering method and it is extremely exhausting. He is constantly pulling on the leash and trying to bite and chew something. I train him outside of the pen and he is focused during training, possibly because of the treats. So should I just always be incorporating treats while tethering as well? I just don't really know how people let their dogs out (even if they are tethered) of his crate/pen. I would like Theo to be acclimated to the whole house eventually and for him to learn not to soil anywhere inside (not just his play pen), but i'm having difficulty tethering him because he's constantly chewing/pulling on the leash.

I'm exhausted! I've just been giving him my attention all day and when he's napping or if I have time to myself I just research how to correct his behavior or train him or am reading/posting forums. Words of advice on tethering/house training/ for a first time pup owner would be super helpful! I just don't know or understand how this lifestyle is sustainable ack!
 

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Sounds like you are doing really well. My pup is at 24 weeks and pretty much house safe now despite a much worse track record than Theo's. Keep doing fun things out of the play pen so he gets a chance to work out that inside is a play/food area not to be soiled. It really just takes time.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you for your response!
How did you get your pup accustomed to your house? Teaching how to act with all the furniture w/o biting and such?
 

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It's an ongoing process honestly and it depends on your pup. A good leave it/off cue helps a lot. Having lots of chew toys helps too, nylabone and antler worked for us. Decide what boundaries you are going to set before he has access to things so you can be consistent. Mostly she just grew out of it, as long as she gets plenty of exercise and mental stimulation she's no longer a furniture murder machine.

One difficulty I have that seems to be herding breed related is that Echo has real difficulty switching focus to handler in even minor interesting/stressful moments. I recently picked up a copy of control unleashed the puppy program and I can't tell you how much I wish I'd picked it up earlier. The exercises in it are helping immensely.
 

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@Chaz gives great advice.

I tethered my pup and I feel like she housebroke SO much faster than friends dogs who did not use this method. Another benefit is that your dog will get used to being by your side. Once we were done tethering, Aspen continued to follow me around the house/yard. I love a velcro dog :)

I love that you're teaching "leave it" at a young age. This is a wonderful but underused command. I also taught this command young and I can leave a plate of food on the floor, tell her "leave it" and she will not touch it. I have friends who have a RUDE boxer. This dog will (and has) literally jump on the kitchen table and take your food. I will not have a dog like that haha. It can also save your dogs life. If you drop bleach on the floor and your dog has a solid "leave it", you're good. Regarding your issues now, I would continue to train "leave it" and make the rewards frequent and wonderful. When your pup starts chewing on something s/he shouldn't, redirect to a toy or chew that they can play with. It's just a stage and with proper management now, you won't have to worry about it as they get older. I rotate toys and chews often so they're always new and exciting. I buy a bunch when they're on sale. Toys and chews are cheaper than replacing a couch ;)

At this age, I also keep training sessions super fun and positive. Even when you're frustrated, don't show it. I use a happy, cartoon like voice. When she does something right, it's a PARTY!

Check out Kikopup on YouTube. She has some great tips for a variety of situations.

Good luck! Be consistent and things will fall into place quicker than you can imagine.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for your suggestions!! I'll definitely have to check it out.

Another quick question about tethering.
So right now I just do it for a little at a time, 15-60 minute sessions because Theo is super easily distracted when out of the pen. (I just really don't think I have the mental ability to stay so engaged and focused for longer...) He will sniff and chew everything he sees, the carpet, furniture, starting to jump on the couch, bite pillows. Currently, I've been redirecting him using treats, toys and bones seem to not work, but I do try those as well.

He is only calm when he realized that I have treats and so will lay off the biting and focus on me (or should I say the treat). When this happens, I try to get him into a down to a settle and then also give him a toy to occupy himself. However, this self preoccupation doesn't last long and then he is always going back to chew furniture.

Should I continue to gain in focus using the treats? Will be mellow out with more time and practice?
 

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@mbrightx

I can only speak from my experience. I tethered my dog the entire time I was home and awake. I get home about 4 pm from work (M-F), let her out to go to the bathroom, offered food and water, took her in the backyard to play for 20-30 minutes, then we were in the house making dinner, doing laundry, etc. On a typical day, I don't settle down until 8 pm or so anyway so she was doing these chores with me.

Do you have puzzle toys? These may keep your pup distracted a little longer than a regular toy or treat. You could also give him a Kong stuffed with peanut butter or yogurt and frozen.

How many training sessions do you do per day? I find that mental exercise tires my girl out more than physical exercise.

I think time and consistency will definitely help.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I do have a Kong toy that I occasionally feed him meals using.
However, with it full, he usually finishes it within a 5-10 minutes.
Perhaps, I could try filling it with peanut butter or something that will take longer to finish? I also don't want to feed him off schedule though, and usually a full kong is half the amount of food he eats in one sitting.


But yeah, I'm going to start having him come out of his pen more while I am at home and able. Hopefully, with more exposure and repetition, he'll learn what's acceptable and not, we'll be able to build up the time!
 

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I do have a Kong toy that I occasionally feed him meals using.
However, with it full, he usually finishes it within a 5-10 minutes.
Perhaps, I could try filling it with peanut butter or something that will take longer to finish? I also don't want to feed him off schedule though, and usually a full kong is half the amount of food he eats in one sitting.


But yeah, I'm going to start having him come out of his pen more while I am at home and able. Hopefully, with more exposure and repetition, he'll learn what's acceptable and not, we'll be able to build up the time!

Honestly, it took me until just this week (15 weeks old today) to finally let Jasper out of his pen to freely roam (with constant supervision). I was just SO tired before and really needed him to just have the pen as his "safe" area. He didn't know anything different since coming home at 8 weeks so he didn't know what he was missing out on. For me, my sanity depended on him having a safe, puppy-proof place to be (my house is all open so no way to gate off an area), plus I have 2 cats that I was trying to have him slowly get accustomed to. The ex-pen allowed my cats to approach him as they pleased, sniff him through the protection of the pen, and just get used to him being in the house. I tried tethering him to me for several days, but I felt like he was getting so attached to me, that even when my husband and kids were around, he wanted me. He is for the whole family and I really didn't want to encourage separation anxiety when he wasn't with me.

So Saturday evening I just decided to let him out and follow him around and see what he did. He sniffed like crazy (I must have taken him out 20 times worrying he was sniffing to pee) and then he just played :) We sat strategically around the living room area so that he was sort of contained to that one room and just threw toys, played, etc. He was out for a couple hours and did great. Sunday we did more of the same. This morning I let him roam for the first time during the morning routine. He DOES try to chase the cats which I interrupt with a correction noise, and he has tried a couple times to chew inappropriate things (wall once and heater once) which I also quickly interrupted and then redirected with a toy. He generally wanted to be in the kitchen with me, BUT he did disappear for about 15 seconds and when I went looking he was headed upstairs :eek: So my advice is to get him out for supervised tours of the house ASAP, reinforce when he is doing something you want, interrupt when he is chewing something you don;t want and redirect to something acceptable. And also make sure before he gets to roam , he has JUST gone out to pee/poop. I am no expert, this is my first puppy, but this has been OK for me so far and I have been really anxious about him being out of the pen, so if I can handle it, I am sure you can :D
 

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@MHDDOG2016
Thank you so much for your response. It's encouraging to hear of similar trials and successes of others and their puppies.

I definitely can relate to your feeling of anxiety when you let Jasper out. My house is open too and so I put a play pen in the living room. I'm constantly hovering over Theo every second he's out of the pen with treats and toys incase he starts to chew or bite something he shouldn't. The first time you took him out, you said he was out for a couple of hours and did great, were you constantly supervising and playing with him/redirecting him?


Thanks again for your help. This is my first puppy as well. I've only had Theo for a little over a week and definitely have the puppy blues still. Everyday, I just have this terrible feeling in my gut.. "What if this is what it's like for the next 10+ years." It's hard but I'm learning to deal with it, be positive, and consistent. Ah but definitely, these forums have helped me feel less lonely :)
 

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@MHDDOG2016
Thank you so much for your response. It's encouraging to hear of similar trials and successes of others and their puppies.

I definitely can relate to your feeling of anxiety when you let Jasper out. My house is open too and so I put a play pen in the living room. I'm constantly hovering over Theo every second he's out of the pen with treats and toys incase he starts to chew or bite something he shouldn't. The first time you took him out, you said he was out for a couple of hours and did great, were you constantly supervising and playing with him/redirecting him?


Thanks again for your help. This is my first puppy as well. I've only had Theo for a little over a week and definitely have the puppy blues still. Everyday, I just have this terrible feeling in my gut.. "What if this is what it's like for the next 10+ years." It's hard but I'm learning to deal with it, be positive, and consistent. Ah but definitely, these forums have helped me feel less lonely :)


Anytime he is out, I am following him around - exhausting but necessary ;) This morning he was up at 5:45, we came inside from potty and all I wanted to do was sit in the living room and drink my coffee, but Jasper decided he wanted to wander the house endlessly and also chase the cats :mad: I basically spent from 5:45-7 following him around, redirecting, trying to engage him in play so he would just stay in the living room with me. My coffee got cold and then I had to leave for work :eyeroll: I too have thoughts/visions of never being able to relax again and it sucks. But then I think of yesterday afternoon when I was on the couch and he fell asleep at my feet for an hour and a half and I was able to just relax and be on the computer...so it is possible and eventually all my hard work and the following him and redirecting will hopefully pay off. The puppy blues/anxiety have significantly lessened finally and I feel like we have really turned a corner in the last 5 days with his jumpy and bitey stage, as well as being easier on the leash. My friends just got a Goldendoodle the same exact age as Jasper two days ago and now it feels good to be the voice of reason for her. He is already 20 pounds, totally untrained and crazy and I keep telling her "you will get there, just be consistent and be patient". I laugh in my head b/c I was such a basket case when Jasper was 8-12 weeks old and never thought I would get to a point where I was telling someone with a puppy that it gets better- LOL. It is still exhausting and challenging and I miss my life pre-puppy, BUT I finally can say that I love Jasper and the house would feel empty without him (no offense to my cats :))
 

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I'm not sure how much advice I can offer as I never tethered Finnegan to me, because it seemed kind of pointless--if I'm sitting on the couch with my laptop and he's tethered to me, he can still chew the couch, or the coffee table, right? And I never used a playpen because I have no room for one. I did attempt to bar him in a puppy-proofed bathroom with a baby gate but he just barked and screamed the whole time, which meant it never actually allowed me to have a break.

So, I understand how tired you are. Finnegan has been loose in my house since I brought him home at 8 weeks old a month and a half ago (though I do gate off the stairs so he can't go to another level without me). It does require constant supervision, and it is beyond exhausting, both mentally and physically. I don't know how I'm doing this. But, lately I've been able to put him in his crate or in the bathroom for a while and he will settle down.

I didn't believe people when they told me it would get better. But it did get better, and it is continuing to get better, so I expect that, eventually, life will just be good again. Someday. It will be for you too. :)
 

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Thank you @Bexille and @MHDDOG2016

I've had Theo now for 2 weeks now and my puppy depression/blues has been getting minutely better. I'm still very anxious, hopeless, and regretful. And it doesn't help when my parents "joke" everyday saying that we should just return him or give him up.

This feeling just really sucks :-( And I definitely don't want to give him up, but sometimes I just miss my old life so much. Haha
 

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So very normal. Your pre-puppy life was YOUR life, and now your life revolves around this little creature who is 100% dependent on YOU for everything. It's a lot to realize. Best advice is to expect ups and downs, a few steps forward, a few steps back. You won't realize it at the time it is happening, but then one day you will be like- "wait, I am sitting here and he is roaming around and being calm and kinda cute and I actually feel almost relaxed"...You will get there. Take each day one at a time, otherwise you will go crazy b/c the thought of this current situation lasting forever (or the next several weeks) is unbearable, or at least it was for me. Come vent on here when you are lonely, frustrated, etc. We all know what you are going through.
 

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I haven't read the other replies so I apologize in advance if anything I say is repetitious!

My puppy (heeler/pit mix) is 16 weeks old today. In the beginning, he was either in his playpen or tethered to me. Honestly, I only tethered him to me for about 5-10 mins at a time. I only let him have free run of the downstairs when I had time to follow him around. I did (and still do) carry kibble and toys on me at all times, to reward good behavior and redirect chewing. We did several short (2-3 mins max) training sessions every few hours. As he's gotten older and learned better house manners, I now use the ex-pen to block off certain parts of the house (in front of the couch, for example, when he was going through a phase of wanting to jump on the couch). I use treat puzzles, frozen Kongs, antlers, bully sticks, and bought a mat for teaching him to settle. I also spent a ton of time reinforcing his dog bed as a wonderful place so he does go there a lot to chill out when he sees that I'm busy. Or, he follows me around a lot too, which I honestly love, an I constantly give him treats for sitting/laying patiently while I finish a chore.

He is still not allowed full access to our upstairs because it's carpet and not totally dog proof (lots of kid toys to chew on, etc) so I still have him drag a leash whenever he's up there with me.

MHDDOG2016 said:
"wait, I am sitting here and he is roaming around and being calm and kinda cute and I actually feel almost relaxed"
THIS. We have finally reached this point, after weeks of sleep-deprivation and training and reinforcing good behavior and wanting to pull my hair out! It's an awesome feeling. Puppy blues are for real but I do believe there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Sometimes I still feel anxious when I take him out to train around people/dogs/new environments and we revert back to square one (seriously, our last puppy class involved me basically waiting him out because he was super excited and whining and couldn't focus AT ALL but I just ignored it for a few minutes and he finally started offering eye contact and we were able to go from there). But I do see progression and I love the dog he is becoming.

Also, Control Unleashed is an awesome book so I totally second that suggestion.

It does get better, I promise!
 
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