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Old 04-20-2009, 05:01 PM
laserbrn laserbrn is offline
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Default New Daddy...7 week old Black Lab

So I'm not new to pets, but I am new to doing it right! I was raised with dogs in my family when I was younger and I was taught INCORRECTLY how to raise dogs/puppies.

I feel like this is the confession part of my story just to get it out of the way and to give some background.

This is MY third dog since I moved away from parents house. It's been nearly 10 years, but I haven't had much success and I know why!

1st dog - Tasha. A black lab puppy that I got at 4 weeks old. She had been dropped off with her littermates at the animal shelter and they didn't have her mother. She was a really smart, great lab and I had her for about a year. At the time I didn't know how to raise puppies properly so I scolded her AND praised her alot. At the time that I got her as a puppy I was working like a madman and my significant other was "bored and lonely" and wanted a companion. I obliged her being that I have always loved dogs. Well, she grew tired of the "puppy" and I scolded the puppy alot and well the relationship wasn't very good between our 12 month old lab and us. She was skiddish and she was scared all of the time and I didn't really understand why. My (now ex)girlfriend was attempting to crate train her but clearly liked to half-read or half-do because it wasn't done properly. She HATED that crate and hated being there.

Well it got to the point where the pup and I had a working relationship and I could play with her all day on the weekends, we would go to the park, she LOVED fetch and we had a great time, but when I was busy during the week my ex-girlfriend wouldn't hold up her end of the bargain and show the dog much love. I would ask her if she took the puppy out when I got home from work and everytime she would say "yeah, twice". Basically when I investigated into how much she plays with the dog it was down to about 30 minutes a day and the dog was in the crate for 23 1/2 hours /day.

I was too busy working to really take on this kind of puppy/dog on my own and begged and pleaded for her help, and she would make me promise after promise, but as you can imagine she would let the now 70lb puppy out of the crate and she would go ballistic and was too much for my ex to manage, so her solution was to keep her in the crate.

I had a family friend who had two young boys and another chocolate lab and they were willing to take the puppy from me. I told my girlfriend that we couldn't keep her and that it was inhumane to keep a beautiful 70-75lb LABRADOR in a cage 23 1/2 hours/day and she wasn't happy about it, but I gave the dog away. I have visited her many times and she's always excited to see me and she's a great and happy dog, but I clearly made a lot of mistakes.

2nd dog-
This dog was also a rescue, but I was living on my own at this time and had more free time and not working nearly as much. She was an adult dog already and was very easygoing, very trainable. Already housebroken, just a joy to have around. I ended up giving her to my mother because her and my mother ended up like two peas in a pod after a short period of visiting. It was clear that my mother was dealing with "empty nest" syndrome having all her boys grown and this dog was PERFECT for her. Not mouthy, a wonderful sweetheart that is low maintenance and doesn't require as much excercise. She was a mix and only about 15 lbs so she was very manageable. Her and my mother are still BEST friends and I see her alot too. She gets very excited to see me and I miss her, but it was for the good of my mom.

3rd (and current) dog-
I now have a 7 week old Black Lab named "Lucille". She is a wonderful sweetheart so far (I know she's faking) and I joined this forum and read and read and read BEFORE I got this puppy this time and I couldn't be happier that I did! She's doing well with her crate training and she LOVES her crate!

I am still single and live on my own and this dog is MY responsibility. This dog is also going to be my best friend. I don't work long hours anymore and I have all the time in the world for her. I do work, so she is crate training right now, but she's in the crate from 8:00am - 11:00am (lunch break) then I put her back in after we eat and play at around 12:00pm. I have employed the help of a friend over the next couple of weeks with strict instructions to only let her out for her potty break and to give her specific treats upon her elimination outside. I get home at 4:00 and we are glued to each other until she goes to bed @ 10:00pm. I set my alarm on blackberry to wake me at 1:30, 3:30 and I get up in the morning @ 6:30am. I am hoping this won't last too long, but until she can control her bladder. I don't want her living in a mess and she can't seem to hold it any longer than that.

My current girlfriend (who doesn't live with me) and my friends are all given VERY specific instructions about how we handle the puppy and how we reward her for good behavior and correct her bad behavior (correct, not scold).

I have been a member of many online forums for other interests in my life and I have found them to be the BEST source of information so I joined this one. I want to say "thank you" to all who make this community so great. I spent weeks and weeks, reading, and following threads. Following links to resources and sharing in peoples experiences and stories and you all have opened up my eyes and educated me to properly working with Lucille and having the right perspective. I'm also sharing this with my girlfriend who is just loving the whole thing and she loves to play with the puppy and everyone is just so happy.

So far her temperament is really good and she's just cruising around doing puppy things like chewing chords (attempting to, but she gets corrected and she gets a wonderful chew toy to try), chewing the furniture, biting hands, biting toes and falling down stairs. She's adorable, I love her and she's destined for greatness because of the GREAT people on here who I'm sure I can turn to for guidance and a place to vent frustration when she's decided to bonkers in a few months! I've forewarned my girlfriend and everyone else that she will seem like she's being defiant or that she has "selected hearing", but she's just a puppy with no attention span. I am prepared for world war III with this dog, but I want her to come out the best possible!

And here she is:


She's gonna make that racquetball look aweful small REAL soon.

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Old 04-20-2009, 05:15 PM
cinnamon cinnamon is offline
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What a cutie The people are great here and very helpful.
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Old 04-20-2009, 05:32 PM
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bubbatd bubbatd is offline
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If we didn't make mistakes , we'd never learn . We're here for you and welcome you and your little charmer . Good luck !
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Old 04-20-2009, 05:34 PM
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ceciliasmom ceciliasmom is offline
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Aww, she sure is cute & looks sweet. I have never had this kind of dog. I just added another dog to my family, she is a Schnauzer, about 7 weeks old. I hear labs are wonderful family dogs. My parents got one for Christmas but I have not been able to visit with him yet. Crate training is good and I have had major success with it, with my 2 other dogs. I am hoping it will be fairly easy to train Cecilia, tonight is our first night together. I look forward to hearing more about your pup
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Old 04-20-2009, 05:43 PM
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Maxy24 Maxy24 is offline
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I'm glad you've joined, we love helping people start pups off right and I'm glad we've already helped you learn, before you even joined! You sound like you are very dedicated to potty training and that's awesome, if you keep it up like this, nice and strict with outings and rewards and supervision she'll be done quickly. It's also nice to hear that you are realistic about what to expect from a puppy, they chew and wreak havoc, but you'll make it Many people get very fired up when their pup chews and nips, it's just part of the experience.

Be careful with "corrections", there are good ways to correct behavior (body blocking, redirecting, interrupting, time outs, loss of attention, loss of freedom (dog tries to chase cat, dog is quickly leashed), ending games etc.) and more dangerous ways, what exactly are you doing? I'm suspicious of the word correction simply because it has in the past usually meant collar pops (back in the day, old style training, when you were to "correct" your dog you yanked him by his collar to inflict pain and illicit fear). For that reason I like to hear exactly what is being done, to make sure you are doing the most effective, fair, humane thing.

She is absolutely beautiful by the way! That picture with her and the ball is adorable. Do you know if she is the more field style dog? I can't wait to see her when she grows up!
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Old 04-20-2009, 05:46 PM
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Fran101 Fran101 is offline
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Welcome! your pup is soo cute i love the pic of him and the green ball

Dont worry about past mistakes, we've all made them. There are alot of doggy savvy people here so if you have any questions just ask away
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Old 04-20-2009, 05:48 PM
filarotten filarotten is offline
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Lucille is adorable, sounds like you are off to a good start with her. Welcome to the forum.
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  #8  
Old 04-20-2009, 05:59 PM
PoodleMommy PoodleMommy is offline
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Welcome to the forum.

We all make mistakes but it actually sounds like you have always done the best you could... even with the dogs you havent been able to keep you have found good homes for them and not just dropped them at a shelter... dont beat yourself up too much!

Cant wait to hear more about the new addition, she is very cute.
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Old 04-20-2009, 06:32 PM
laserbrn laserbrn is offline
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Wow, thanks for all of your responses. I can tell that this is going to be a REALLY great experience this time. I've known to "obsess" about my interests both through forums and loads of research and for some reason when I was 20 years old and had my first pup, I just didn't do that!

I know now from experience that she's going to be a "terror", but I have a very different outlook on it now. My expectations are much different and I've tried very, very hard to condition the expectations of my girlfriend in particular. She's already started with the "she's so smart" and the pup is 7 weeks old. I have to remember, the pup is adapting and learning and doing well, but she's infantile and we can't get big expectations just because of progress.

As far as the diligence in potty training, she hasn't pooped inside at all, which is fantastic, she has peed, but she's never finished one spot on my carpet without being whisked off outside to finish her business and get her treat. Then it's back inside where I try to keep her either in the kitchen behind a baby gate or occupied with someone or something else while I clean up after her.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maxy24 View Post
Be careful with "corrections", there are good ways to correct behavior (body blocking, redirecting, interrupting, time outs, loss of attention, loss of freedom (dog tries to chase cat, dog is quickly leashed), ending games etc.) and more dangerous ways, what exactly are you doing? I'm suspicious of the word correction simply because it has in the past usually meant collar pops (back in the day, old style training, when you were to "correct" your dog you yanked him by his collar to inflict pain and illicit fear). For that reason I like to hear exactly what is being done, to make sure you are doing the most effective, fair, humane thing.

She is absolutely beautiful by the way! That picture with her and the ball is adorable. Do you know if she is the more field style dog? I can't wait to see her when she grows up!
Oh there's no mean corrections by any standard. I simply make a loud distinguisable noise to get her attention and then move her along to something else. If she's chewing it's just "ah ah" and on to the chew toys. If it's peeing it's just "ah ah" and I pick her up and whisk her outside to finish her business.

I haven't raised my voice to her, other than to distract her from whatever she's getting into and then just an ah ah and maybe a clap to distract her and get her back on me. Then redirect to something she enjoys and praise her. She's responding SOOOOO well to this that I can't believe I ever did it any other way. I did always reward them for good behavoir, just a lot more yelling and trying to be "dominant". Not this time, just trying to condition her to what I like.

By all means if anyone has any puppy tips/tricks that they find work well, I'm open to suggestions. I've read lots and the puppy and I have been working on so many things. She has gotten a bit mouthy, but I roughhouse with her a little and I play with her a lot so her bite inhibition, while not the best is pretty good. Some people though have said not to play these games.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I want my dog to have good bite inhibition so I play with her and if she get's too rough I say "Ouch" and I turn my back on her or stand up and playtime is over. I haven't moved onto extended timeouts yet because I just don't think she would remember why she's on timeout 30 seconds into it. I just try to let her know that she hurt me (not really, but I don't want her trying harder). I don't want to break the "dog" outta my dog. I love to play and I love to roughhouse and I think it helps control any aggression they may have.

I also plan to play tug with her, but not until she's a little older and she can handle a little more instruction. I only want her to tug on one toy of my choosing and only when I give the command. She's just too young to grasp that yet.

Anyway, as you can see I'm excited, I just can't stop typing. There will always be pics of her and I'm looking forward to following the progress of her maturing and growing up.

And when I get the itch for another puppy later I can just follow other peoples threads!

Thanks again for all the support and kind words, she's my little sweetheart.
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Old 04-20-2009, 07:25 PM
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Maxy24 Maxy24 is offline
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Wow, you really sound like you are doing great! Your enthusiasm means you'll fit in here nicely. I love rough play with a dog personally and, like you said, as long as rules are kept (no forceful bites) it does more good than harm because the pups learn how to control their bite pressure on human skin. Please do stick around, I can't wait to watch your pup grow into the well adjusted adult she's sure to become with you as her owner
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