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  #1  
Old 08-19-2008, 11:23 AM
DogLuvvr DogLuvvr is offline
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Question Positive Reinforcement and Ignoring Pup Not Working...what should I do?

Sometimes when my pup is out playing, he prefers to bite on his furniture. I stick a toy in his mouth and praise him. Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn't. When it doesn't, he ignores the toy and continues biting the furniture. When this happens, I put him in time out, but he doesn't seem to be improving. He also bites the blanket in his playpen, which is where I put him for time out, so I think he may be having trouble distinguishing his blanket from other household fabrics (like the rug or other blankets). Should I remove his blanket until he learns to not things that are not toys? Today I told him very sternly "No" but felt bad because I'm really trying to use positive reinforcement techniques instead...

Also, the humping is getting worse. I ignore him and put him in time out, but he doesn't seem to be getting the idea that I do NOT want him to hump my foot, leg, arm, etc.

Any advice?
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Old 08-19-2008, 11:37 AM
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adojrts adojrts is offline
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How old is the pup?
For chewing, I keep toys/bones etc that they never see until I see them going for my stuff lol. I then distract the pup, spray Bitter Apple on the chair etc and let the pup go back to it, but don't direct them to it. Then I give them the bone or toy. This has worked very well for me.
In the crate, if he chewing on his blanket, you may have to take the blanket away but try giving him a bone and see if that works.
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Old 08-19-2008, 11:48 AM
DogLuvvr DogLuvvr is offline
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He is 9 weeks old.

Good idea about the emergency toys! I think I'll try that.

I bought Bitter Yuck and sprayed it on his leash to get him from chewing on it...

You would never know it though by the way that he continued biting and chewing.

I plan on returning it and trying something else.

Thanks for the reply.
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Old 08-19-2008, 12:07 PM
Gempress Gempress is offline
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At only 9 weeks old, I wouldn't expect results right away. It takes awhile for a pup to learn how to behave properly. Training, regardless of technique, takes time to sink in. It sounds like you're doing things right so far, just give it a little more time.
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Old 08-19-2008, 12:24 PM
Saje Saje is offline
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He is very very young for such high expectations. Just keep at it. You are on the right track. How do you do the time out? He shouldn`t get any attention to his time out and it should be somewhere where he is safe but somewhat isolated. It also shouldn`t be more than a few minutes.
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Old 08-19-2008, 12:41 PM
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Good idea exchanging the bitter yuck, it has a different formula ("flavor") than bitter apple, and sometimes one works better than the other. Nature's Miracle also has a taste deterrent, if the bitter apple doesn't work you could try that one as well.

For chewing on the leash, I'd suggest just trying to redirect his attention onto something else (maybe teach him to touch your hand with his nose, or just start running around and acting very exciting), and then reward him a lot when he's not chewing on the leash. For a nine week old, it is asking a lot to expect him to never chew on the leash, but you certainly can work on controlling it to the point where he doesn't reward himself for chewing on it.

Quote:
Should I remove his blanket until he learns to not things that are not toys?
Dogs, even adult dogs, have a VERY hard time figuring out what things are chew toys and what things are not. Everything's a chew toy to a dog. I think it's fine to leave the blanket in the crate for him to chew on, AS LONG AS you don't mind the blanket possibly getting torn up, he doesn't actually ingest the blanket, and he doesn't pee on the blanket (because that's just a bad potty training habit). I, and I'm sure many others here, use a towel to play tug with my dog sometimes, and I know it's not teaching her to tug with ALL towels.... only tug when I initiate it. I think it is the same thing with the blanket - it gives him something to keep him busy in the crate, but that's all.
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Old 08-19-2008, 01:07 PM
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You say you stick a toy in his mouth and praise, try to make him stop BEFORE sticking the toy in his mouth. Either use a high pitched squeal/squeak, eh-eh/bup-bup or body block him from the furniture (wiggle yourself between him and furniture and walk towards him so he backs up, continue blocking until he stops trying to get past you and to the furniture) and then once he looses focus from the couch redirect to a toy or initiate a game. I agree with using "special" toys that he never sees.

When does he hump (what situations)?

I also wanted to add THANK YOU for doing your best to stick to all gentle methods
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Old 08-19-2008, 04:48 PM
DogLuvvr DogLuvvr is offline
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Thank you all so much for your helpful replies! I LOVE this forum!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gempress View Post
At only 9 weeks old, I wouldn't expect results right away. It takes awhile for a pup to learn how to behave properly. Training, regardless of technique, takes time to sink in. It sounds like you're doing things right so far, just give it a little more time.
Thanks for the reassurance.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Saje View Post
He is very very young for such high expectations. Just keep at it. You are on the right track. How do you do the time out? He shouldn`t get any attention to his time out and it should be somewhere where he is safe but somewhat isolated. It also shouldn`t be more than a few minutes.
I put him in his playpen and refuse to look at him or give him any other kind of attention, since I know that is what he wants.

I know his attention span is short, so I try to keep time outs brief (unless he falls asleep, and then I'll just keep him in there). If he's in his playpen and quiet, I'll praise him, take him out, and give him another chance to play. If he continues biting or humping (or both), then back in the playpen he goes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lizzybeth727 View Post
Good idea exchanging the bitter yuck, it has a different formula ("flavor") than bitter apple, and sometimes one works better than the other. Nature's Miracle also has a taste deterrent, if the bitter apple doesn't work you could try that one as well.

For chewing on the leash, I'd suggest just trying to redirect his attention onto something else (maybe teach him to touch your hand with his nose, or just start running around and acting very exciting), and then reward him a lot when he's not chewing on the leash. For a nine week old, it is asking a lot to expect him to never chew on the leash, but you certainly can work on controlling it to the point where he doesn't reward himself for chewing on it.


Dogs, even adult dogs, have a VERY hard time figuring out what things are chew toys and what things are not. Everything's a chew toy to a dog. I think it's fine to leave the blanket in the crate for him to chew on, AS LONG AS you don't mind the blanket possibly getting torn up, he doesn't actually ingest the blanket, and he doesn't pee on the blanket (because that's just a bad potty training habit). I, and I'm sure many others here, use a towel to play tug with my dog sometimes, and I know it's not teaching her to tug with ALL towels.... only tug when I initiate it. I think it is the same thing with the blanket - it gives him something to keep him busy in the crate, but that's all.
Thanks for the tip about preventing leash chewing. I'll definitely try that.

I don't mind him tearing the blanket up. You're right about your point that it is common for folks to play tug of war with dogs with everything from towels to socks, and the dog doesn't go tearing up blankets or anything. I think maybe it's just this puppy stage, and once he matures a little, he will be able to differentiate fabrics that are ok to chew and fabrics that are not...hopefully.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maxy24 View Post
You say you stick a toy in his mouth and praise, try to make him stop BEFORE sticking the toy in his mouth. Either use a high pitched squeal/squeak, eh-eh/bup-bup or body block him from the furniture (wiggle yourself between him and furniture and walk towards him so he backs up, continue blocking until he stops trying to get past you and to the furniture) and then once he looses focus from the couch redirect to a toy or initiate a game. I agree with using "special" toys that he never sees.

When does he hump (what situations)?

I also wanted to add THANK YOU for doing your best to stick to all gentle methods
Aw, don't thank me! I have seen owners employ some pretty cruel methods to training their dogs, and the dogs often just end up confused or scared. I just remind myself that if my pup is doing something that I don't want him to do, it is because I am not explaining it correctly.

Good point about making him stop before sticking the toy in his mouth. I suppose sometimes I am so eager to get him to stop that I move too quickly in my praise once he actually stops. I'll definitely try your suggestion.

He just started humping a couple of days ago, but it seems like he always does it at the peak of his excitement, which means when he is the most wired up and excited. Sometimes he humps and bites at the same time, and sometime he just humps.
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