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  #1  
Old 12-28-2007, 12:59 PM
KevCarter KevCarter is offline
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Unhappy New Westie Puppy Training Help!

Hi, I am Kev and I am new here. I have had a good look around and must say I look forward to becoming an active member. Some really good advice in abundance it would seem!

I am seeking both advice and reassurance (a little moral support too maybe?).

My partner and I recently took the plunge and brought home a West Highland Terrier pup having done considerable thinking and reading up. He is now 11 weeks old, KC registered here in the UK, and has just had his second vaccination. New Years Day will be his first adventure outside with us.

We have had him since he was 8 weeks old and have used a crate since day 1. Initially however we did not use it properly and allowed him access to too many places which led to toilet accidents. We soon saw the error of our ways and have since restricted his movements to a single room, wherever we may be. His crate acts as barrier between living and dining/kitchen areas and turning it to face into either area at the doorway changes his active 'zone'.

When we are not there to supervise Oscar is crated.

For some reason however if he is crated in the living or dining room and I leave the room he will cry, but if he is placed in the crate in the kitchen with the door closed he will go to sleep without a whimper. As such the kitchen is where he stays at night.

He is put to bed at 10.30pm following a visit to his outside pen area which we are using as a toilet. He is taken there after each meal, nap, and play session. Each time we take him there we say "toilet" several times in a gentle voice before putting him down. He seems to understand now that when in the pen he has to do his thing and soon gets down to it. My partner or I then get up at 02.30am and again at 06.00am to take him out for toilet breaks.

This all seems well and good but there is a problem. Our house layout means that to get to the pen area from the living room you must pass through the dining room, through patio style doors which lead into the conservatory and are closed to retain heat, through the conservatory and out of a second set of patio doors into the garden and pen area. With the dining room sealed off by the crate so that we can monitor him and restrict movements he has nowhere to really go to that would signal he needs the toilet. If we were to move the crate and open him up to the dining room on a full time basis he would be out of sight and would sit at the first set of patio doors.

3 weeks in it feels more like he has trained us to pick up on his pre-toilet behaviour which includes sniffing etc throughout the living room and taking him outside. He has not yet signalled to us that he needs to go, we have simply decided he looks like he needs to. Further, if we do not take him outside he will quite happily soil the living room floor wherever he sees fit.

I am not expecting miracles, I know being fully housebroken is a long way off but in the situation that I have described I just wonder if he will ever get there or do we need to make radical changes.

He has also now reached the stage where he has begun to challenge my partner for his position in the pack, often jumping at her face when on the sofa or nipping her arm. That however, is a post for another day.

Thanks for listening, any words of support or advice would be greatly appreciated.

Kev
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Old 12-28-2007, 01:09 PM
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it sounds like you're on the right track. It does take quite a while for housebreaking to really "sink in", especially with the smaller breeds. But keep at it and perhaps do a search on here for how to train your pup to ring a bell when he needs to go outside.

As far as the jumping and nipping, that's just puppy play, not challenging pack position. Most dogs, contrary to popular belief, are not out to rule the world. But they are feisty little terriers and will do what works in order to get attention/play. So when he starts jumping at her face and/or nipping, he gets a time-out. He comes back out when he's quiet and YOU re-initiate play. Teach him to play without using his teeth or jumping, you can do it. Whenever he starts playing too rougly, playtime is over. Immediately.

Good luck and welcome to the board!
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Old 12-28-2007, 02:05 PM
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Maxy24 Maxy24 is offline
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Sounds like you are doing good. I'm not sure how to teach a dog to signal they have to go, my dog would whine but he came mostly housebroken from a rescue. BUT there is one way people teach dogs now and they use a bell. They hang some bells at the dog's level and when they go to take the dog out they bring him to the bells first, ring them a few times with the dog watching and listening and then take him out. Later they encourage the dog to hit the bells himself, one way or another and as soon as he hits them and makes them ring they take him right outside. Eventually he learns bells=outside and will ring them when he wants out. that does not mean you should wait for his signal to go, not for now, that will lead to accidents. you should still take him out as scheduled but if in between scheduled times you hear him ring the bell then you will want to take him out ASAP. But it will take lots of time. Make sure he gets lots of praise and a treat every time he goes potty outside. Also clean up his messes with a carpet cleaner that says it is enzymatic, this means it will destroy the urine proteins making it completely gone even to the dog's nose.


oh, and I PROMISE your dog is not challenging anyone's pack status he wants to play, that's it just play. No dominating involved at all. To stop that consistency is key. Every time he jumps up at her face she must get up and leave. If you are playing and he nips the play must end and the puppy must be ignored. He simply must learn which play works and which play does not. You must teach him rough play makes the games stop and gentle play allows them to continue. also use toys when you play so he learns what is correct to bite on.

You really seem dedicated and that's great, Good luck!
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Old 01-01-2008, 04:47 PM
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lizzybeth727 lizzybeth727 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KevCarter View Post
3 weeks in it feels more like he has trained us to pick up on his pre-toilet behaviour which includes sniffing etc throughout the living room and taking him outside. He has not yet signalled to us that he needs to go, we have simply decided he looks like he needs to. Further, if we do not take him outside he will quite happily soil the living room floor wherever he sees fit.
It sounds to me like it is not necessary to teach your dog to ring a bell to signal that he needs to go out (I've never actively taught a dog to signal he needs to go out), since you are already learning his body language that tells you when he needs to go. As he gets the hang of you taking him out to go potty, he'll figure out that you're watching his body language, and he'll probably begin to make it more obvious.
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Old 01-01-2008, 06:30 PM
agnesyoung agnesyoung is offline
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Nipping, does this mean in a playful way Is your dog reddening, bruising or breaking the skin. If so I would be loathe to ignore this. First steps should be to scream "oww" very loudly to teach your dog that you are fragile and not a chewy toy. Do this everytime the dog nips. A lot of dogs will lessen the pressure of the nipping until it is non-existant. This is how they learn with their littermates. Accept no mouthing. Some dogs(especially terriers!) may instead think "Ahh squeaky toy" and continue to mouth. If so, then try the time out method but it is very important to put the dog out of the room every time he nips. This can be a very tedious process to begin with but as with all dog training the secret of success is consistancy. Nipping must be wrong always. Most dogs will respond to this. If the dog is not improving or the nipping is getting worse i would then resort to using a water pistol. Its a painless short sharp shock that is very effective. Its important to remember that if your dog nips a kid outside the parents will likely not see it as play. If you feel that your dog is challenging you in other ways i.e. growling when moved off the sofa, bed etc I would start to introduce house rules to remind the dog of his lower status. These are not harsh rules and dogs like to have a structured life. 1)Food-Always eat before your dog, even if its just a matter of pretending to eat a biscuit. 2) Attention- If your dog pesters you for attention by pawing jumping up, ignore it . Then when the dog gets bored and walks away, call him back and give attention then. This way you are not giving the dog less attention, but all the attention will now be on your terms 3) Grooming- make sure the dog remains standing when groomed. If he sits down gently put your hand underneath and lift the dog into a standing position and continue grooming. This way you are showing that you control his movementand also getting the dog used to being handled 4) Dont let your dog control doorways. If your dog has a habit of lying in doorways make the dog rise rather than stepping over or walking around him. 5) Play- control access to toys. Keep toys in a box and return the toys to the box when YOU choose the end the game. If your dog acts up during play ie jumping up, overexcited behaviour end the game immediately. 6) Do not allow the dog up on furniture, if your dog objects to being removed from these areas use a long line to gently get the dog off without any confrontation. These rules are only for dogs that are becoming hard to control and are challenging you which your dog may or may not be doing. Its just handy to have these house rules in case your dog does show signs of this as you seem to be a little concerned about this. When the dogs behaviour does improve you can begin to relax the rules a bit. if the dog reverts to old behaviour then reinstate the rules.
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Old 01-01-2008, 07:09 PM
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Maxy24 Maxy24 is offline
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Just for the record none of us were suggesting the biting be ignored...ignore the puppy. A correction is still being given through the removal of all attention. I have never liked water pistols for a few reasons, one is that many dogs still grow to fear them even though the squirt is painless but since it is the physical unpleasant part of the squirt that stops the dog from nipping they can be an object of fear. The other reason is that many a dog will quickly learn that without the bottle there is no need to stop what they are doing, if they don't see the bottle they will not be squirted. I mean even though people suggest you hide when you squirt them, it's pretty difficult to do that when you are trying to correct the dogs nipping of yourself, to hide while being nipped it just doesn't work. You can yell owww but that is not what will stop the biting for more than a few seconds. Even if you do it over and over the dog will learn to tune it out. the removal of attention will stop the biting since he can't ignore it and get back to gnawing on your hand. You can say oww to initially get him to let go so you can have your body parts back and can stand up and ignore the pup.


Agnes's tips are great for setting boundaries for a dog that seems to have no sense of them. But for your PUPPY who does not seem to be challenging the rules at all I would not be constantly thinking he's trying to challenge your position because he's not. Just set the rules now and enforce them. If he's allowed on furniture (as my dogs will) then make sure he is trained an "off" command so he can be removed without force. Dogs do see leaders in those that control resources, have him sit and wait until you say "ok" when you put down his food bowl, have him sit before you put his leash on (handier than you think when you have a dog that's wiggling around and your trying to clip the leash on, especially small hairy dogs) and once he can control his bladder, have him learn to wait for you to say "ok" to go out when you open the door (which will prevent door darting).


So what are some rules you want for your dog? Start thinking about them now. Can he go on furniture? What behavior (if any, some dogs are perfectly calm before these things, my dog would bolt out the door and jump on me when I fed him so these boundaries would have been needed for him) would you like him to show before dinner or going outside? where is he to sleep? Is anywhere off limits?

Start touching him everywhere and get him comfortable with handling. when he's sleepy start gently petting his side/back and as you pet slowly increase the length of each stroke so you go down each leg and foot, gripping the foot firmly (but gently) when you get there, then giving another stroke. pet his head and go down each ear flipping it a little as you go down it, look inside each ear for a few seconds before moving on. From his head go down his muzzle gently and flip over each lip to take a peek at his teeth and gums, the move on with petting. Go down his tail a few times, lift it up and push it down, not yanking just pushing aside. Go down his belly and between his front legs to his chest. Go over each leg again this time lifting it when you are half way down so you can look at his "arms pits" and between his legs at his genitals completely. when you bathe him make sure to clean all areas so he gets used to being touched there.

All this touching and looking will make your dog the Vets dream, one less dog trying to chomp off her fingers when she finds his pulse on his inner thigh, take his temp, checks his teeth and ears or has to flip him and hold him for an X-ray. This will also make it easy for you to clip his nails and brush his teeth (things you should also start now) or he has to be groomed or if he comes into contact with a child who finds his body amusing.

Just remember your puppy is a baby and needs guidance, he's learning and absorbing everything. he needs to be socialized with people, dogs, places, experiences (car rides, crates, touching etc.) and noises (lawn mower, fireworks, thunder, chairs sliding across the floor, the shower etc.). Good luck with him, you are doing great so far. Sorry this post does not answer your questions but it is still very important stuff for puppy owners. Hopefully my previous post helped with your questions specifically.
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Old 01-01-2008, 07:25 PM
agnesyoung agnesyoung is offline
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I just never like to presume there is no problem without seeing it first hand. Its hard to tell what the motivation is from a description. I was a bit concerned that the dog seems to be nipping one person in particular and that the face is involved. You are right that the rules are for dogs who have no sense of them and i mentioned them as a reference just in case, i am certainly not suggesting this dog needs them. But the owners seem to be dedicated and done their homework and im sure they will know if there is a real problem if it arises. The water method is for "where all else fails" situations
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Old 01-01-2008, 07:35 PM
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oh yes I agree, there is always the possibility of an aggressive pup it's just much less common. Perhaps the girlfriend plays with the pup more or does not reinforce the rules as much. I'd love to hear back from the OP.
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Old 01-01-2008, 08:23 PM
agnesyoung agnesyoung is offline
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You are absolutely right that aggression in a pup is less common and i agree it is much more likely statistically to be play biting. I probably overreacted because my own dog was an exceptionally aggressive pup and training wise i mainly worked with aggressives. So possibly i tend to err on the side of caution because ive seen the end result of not acting fast enough. In regards to the toilet training they seem to be doing everything right, i was given a handy tip once for dogs that wet the same area. Instead of disinfectant to use biological washing powder mixed with water on urine it makes it less likely that the dog will mark that spot again.
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