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Puppy home in less than a week, freaking out!

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by FreyaAngel, May 28, 2017.


  1. FreyaAngel

    FreyaAngel PetForums Newbie

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    Hi!

    So after waiting almost 15 years for the right time for a dog of my own, and then researching breeds, trainers and everything else extensively for over a year, I took the leap...

    I am getting a golden retriever boy on June 3rd from an absolutely brilliant breeder. He will be my first and, at least for the time being, my only dog (though I was around them as a child). He will come from really good lines, his mum has already produced two trainee guide dogs, three of her brothers are qualified and his dad and several uncles on that side are stud dogs for Guide Dogs for the Blind. He is going to have so much potential, bless him.

    I am also going to be working with a trainer to take him through the KC GCS and then when he is older I will be with a charity, CGI, to train him specifically to help with some of my PTSD symptoms.

    I have all of his things ready and have been round the house twice puppy proofing. The garden is mostly good and the bottom of the hedge is being reinforced this week.

    I guess what I am trying to say is that this was not a whim and I am not unprepared BUT... I am now terrified about bringing him home. I have no idea what to do and the more I read the more conflicting advice I get and I just can't keep looking at books/threads/blog articles and trying to work it all out on my own.

    I have been told to have him in the bedroom, have him downstairs, get up in the night, don't get up in the night, start puppy classes before the vaccinations are finished, don't, hand feed him only at first, add food to his bowl while eating or take it away and then give it back. I had assumed that neutering was the right thing to do as a matter of course but then I have heard people saying they feel it 'ruins' a dog (a phrase I hate, but you know what I mean). I don't know what age would be best! I have no idea what to do to prevent resource guarding before it starts.

    I have a socialisation checklist but I don't know how many times I should introduce the puppy to each thing and how regularly? Is encountering things like running water, sand, farm animals once enough or does it need to be repeated?

    I just want to do everything right and set this little one up for success from the start, but I'm feeling totally useless...

    I have asked my trainer some things (she has come with me every time to see the litter and is really supportive) but I don't want to keep bothering her when my fears are so non-specific.

    What I do know is that I want to go with crate training, rewards-based training, and I like the idea of NILIF especially with an intelligent and high energy pup like a golden. But I don't know how I would start implementing NILIF from day 1 with an untrained pup?

    I guess really I just want someone to say, it's okay, look, this is what you do in the first day/weekend/week until you find your feet and he finds his... I am at home all the time and will be there for him and with him 24/7, I can offer him unlimited attention, I'm just not sure what to actually do with that...

    Please please help?

    And as a huge thank you for getting to the end of this, I will add puppy pictures xxxx


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  2. Lurcherlad

    Lurcherlad PetForums VIP

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    As you say, there are so many opinions on what is the right way so it's hard to know which way to go!

    All I can tell you is that I think in the early days a pup goes through a major upheaval and I want to make them feel safe and secure with me.

    We have always had pups and kittens with us at night until they have settled into their new home and family. Ours have slept with us, but if you don't like that idea maybe a box with a cosy nest next to the bed so the pup is contained, but you can touch him for reassurance (and hear him for toilet breaks).

    Contrary to the belief this creates a clingy dog with bad habits we find it creates a calm, happy and confident dog.

    Crate training can then take place gradually during the day with no dramas.

    Once the pup has settled with you then start with all the other things in a very relaxed way and avoid going too fast with new things or overwhelming him.

    Be aware of the difference between socialisation and sensitising - a common pitfall! ;)

    Given your future plans with him if you can create a dog that is neutral to other dogs (too many friendly (pain in the ar*e GT's and Labs round me! ;)) and focussed on you that will be great! :)

    Resource Guarding can actually be created by taking food and toys from a pup in the early days so I would definitely advise against that. A new member has just come on with that issue for exactly that reason it seems. It makes sense - if you kept nicking stuff off my plate, I would stab you with my fork! :D

    And, relax......you sound like you will manage very well......and enjoy! :)
     
    #2 Lurcherlad, May 28, 2017
    Last edited: May 28, 2017
  3. JoanneF

    JoanneF PetForums VIP

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    I agree with @Lurcherlad, have him close by at night. Having just left mum and litter mates, he will feel a bit insecure so being close to you will help. I would get up in the night, if you can avoid him having an accident indoors it will help his toilet training.

    For resource guarding please don't take his bowl away - what would you do if you were in a restaurant and someone took away your food? Taking away his bowl will just make him guard it more.

    Neutering has pros and cons but you don't even need to think about it until he is six months old (at the earliest) so park that one for now and see how he goes meantime.

    In the first week get him used to his name, start calling him to you for a reward to begin recall training, work on house training - out every 45 minutes and always after sleeping, eating, playing. When he toilets outdoors make a huge fuss (never mind the neighbours, act like outdoor toileting is the best thing you have ever seen) and reward him with a high value treat. Do that immediately, don't make him come to you for the treat so he is clear that it's for toileting and not for coming to you. The idea is that he eventually wants to earn the treat enough to hold the toilet until he is outside - once he is physically able to control his toileting obviously. If he has an accident inside don't react at all. If you get annoyed he may learn to fear your reaction and avoid you if he needs to toilet - the opposite of what you want.

    Leave the room for short periods so he doesn't get too dependant on you.

    You can also take him to places in a carrier or a sling to start introducing him to the world. With socialisation remember quality is better than quantity. Hard as it is I wouldn't encourage random strangers to come and fuss him.

    I don't use NILIF. If my dog comes for a cuddle, I don't expect him to earn it. But he does work for other things - about a quarter of his food is given for recalls on walks, eyes on me etc.

    And as lurcherlad said, relax and enjoy - after a couple of months you won't remember what life was like without him.
     
    #3 JoanneF, May 28, 2017
    Last edited: May 28, 2017
  4. FreyaAngel

    FreyaAngel PetForums Newbie

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    Thank you so so much, Lurcherlad and JoanneF. Really clear and helpful advice. : )

    Okay, so I'm not going to think about neutering right now.

    Going to get some really special high-value treats (the litter all adore fish apparently; they have been weaned onto pilchards among other things...) this week. I will probably carry a portion of his day's food around with me for general recall/name work and 'sit' (I know how to teach that one! It doesn't matter if they understand at first, it's something you can wait for them to do naturally and then reward and slowly it will click). But high-value treats for going outside! I won't get annoyed, I am prepared for accidents and I have a spray that takes away the scent so it doesn't set them up to keep going back there. It's good that he is a summer puppy too, and I am with him all day. I can just keep him going out all the tine until it clicks. : )

    I think I'm panicking most about socialisation because it is so important and you have limited time to do it. But I TOTALLY take your point about quality over quantity and looking to your pup to check how he is doing and setting the pace for him. I just so want to do right by him. I want him to grow into a confident, happy, totally calm adult with no fears or reactivity, who can come with me
    pretty much anywhere that it is safe for him to. With CGI I will be working towards qualified assistance dog status and passing the UK access test, so I want to set that up from the beginning.

    What is the difference between socialisation and sensitising? Could you tell me more about it, and maybe the most vital things to focus on at first please?

    I do have a puppy sling and I am really looking forward to using it!

    Okay - and I will not take his food away. Seriously, thank you for telling me that. Too true I would jab you with my fork too!! What about putting some more in his bowl as he is eating though, so he gets used to people being near as a positive? Or hand feeding him sometimes? How often would I do that if that would be a good thing to do?

    You are amazing and I am so grateful xx
     
    #4 FreyaAngel, May 28, 2017
    Last edited: May 28, 2017
  5. FreyaAngel

    FreyaAngel PetForums Newbie

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    Oh Lurcherlad - how would I go about trying to get him to be neutral towards other dogs and focused on me, please? I would love any advice about that! X
     
  6. WillowT

    WillowT PetForums VIP

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    I don't really have any advice...just wanted to say love the photos. Keep us posted
     
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  7. JoanneF

    JoanneF PetForums VIP

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    This is a good idea, even dropping something even tastier than his food into his bowl so he learns your approach means good things happen.

    Have a look at www.positively.com for good tips on training (unless you are already overwhelmed with too much information) and Kikopup on YouTube.

    Others will explain socialisation better than me but basically I understand it as getting your dog accustomed to meeting people and dogs and being well mannered around them. That doesn't mean every dog and person you meet gets to put their hands on your dog! Quality not quantity, take him so he can see people and dogs but supervise any meetings. Get friends and family to help, for example by asking for quiet calm behaviour before giving a treat. Sensitisation is an increase in response the more a stimulus is experienced - maybe you are thinking more of desensitisation, such as where we try to teach our dogs to ignore things like the doorbdoorbell ringing?
     
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  8. Siskin

    Siskin Look into my eyes....

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    Not got anything more to add to the good advice already given, but just want to say 'don't panic'.:D


    It will seem totally ovewhelming when you first bring your pup home and you will wonder if you have done the right thing especially when the cute little cuddly pup becomes a lively biting monster. The biting stage will pass, I hope you've read up on what to do to teach your pup that biting humans is not the thing to do. Remind yourself when you observe your bitten hands and scratched legs, that this is only a stage which will start to wane at 14 weeks and start to go at about 16 weeks.

    Goldens are easy to train, but also easy to upset. Be gentle and kind and you will be rewarded by a lovely happy dog.

    You have chosen the best of breeds in my opinion:Smuggrin

    Can't wait to see pictures
     
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  9. lullabydream

    lullabydream PetForums VIP

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    High value stuff for the bowl, but normal kibble for anything else as suggested, part of your dogs daily allowance.

    The puppy stage will feel horrendous and overwhelming, but on the whole repetition learning works.

    If you use too many high value treats now, when you are very much a god like being to your new puppy, especially with recall. Then when teenage stage hits, you have used all the good stuff, and cannot up the anti for when it really matters. Teenage stage usually means the most well trained dog becomes a nightmare, where all training goes out the window. Many people think, it will never happen to me after all this effort and training, but unfortunately it does.

    Good luck with your new puppy, it may be a bumpy ride, but the ups far out weigh the downs.
     
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  10. Lurcherlad

    Lurcherlad PetForums VIP

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    Basically, by being choosy in the early days which dogs you allow yours to greet and play with and teaching him to look to you for permission when he is off leash later on.

    You need to be more exciting than them! ;)

    I'm not a trainer so best to check out those websites mentioned for specifics ;)
     
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  11. FreyaAngel

    FreyaAngel PetForums Newbie

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    Thank you so so so much! My copy of Mine! arrived today and I'm going to photocopy the two pages on preventative puppy training and stick them to the fridge...

    I have also read the online article on bite inhibition and again I am going to stick the four stage bullet points at the end up.

    And I have some MASSIVELY HIGH VALUE fish treats that absolutely stink (my cat is after them!!) for use in trading/food bowl situations and then later on for being more interesting than other dogs ('eyes on me').

    I'm sure I will be wondering what on earth I've done again by this time next week, but for now, bring it : )
     
  12. LittleKrystal

    LittleKrystal PetForums Junior

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    I was in your situation not long ago. I read loads, watched loads of videos, did loads of research, asked around a lot and I ended up worrying about lots of things and wanted my puppy to accept everything and be happy with everything. I quickly learnt that won't happen, there will be some things he just doesn't like and it was best to prioritise things that are more important and will impact his everyday life.

    I ended up spending a lot of time working on bathtime which he still doesn't like, but realise it's pretty pointless as we only need to bath him once every 3-4 months and it only takes 5mins (he's a small dog). And worked on nail clipping, but I don't need to cut his nails since he walks on pavement every day. He probably only needs to have it done once a year. Really I wasted a lot of time on that when I should have focused a lot more on things like getting used to the mop and the hoover...etc he isn't too keen on those as I didn't spend as much time on that when he was small. He's getting better though but it's taken a while for him to not bark at all at those two things, tho he still runs and hides from it.

    What I'm trying to say is, don't over read too much and over think too much, which was what I did. Nowadays I'm much more relaxed with my puppy, and we focus on one thing at a time and things that are important. So relax, and take it easy.

    I found it very difficult to train my puppy any commands in the first 4 weeks, but slowly over time as we worked more and more, his focus on us was much better and he was able to understand that we're trying to teach him a new action/word/signal etc. So you might experience something similar but have patience as he'll get better in a few weeks as he starts to understand what is happening. Start with his name and eye contact on you, and do that for a week before starting anything else. You can work on come when called as well but my puppy pretty much comes when his name is called as he thinks his name means comes real close and look at us, so in a way you can kill two birds with one stone with just his name and his focus on you.

    One thing I think you should work on asap is getting your puppy used to being alone in the house. Since you're at home all the time, your puppy will quickly get used to you being around and when you need to pop outside, he won't like it and will be very scared! Once you've gotten your puppy used to the crate, start working on being alone in a room, then in the house etc. Eventually, you should leave the house a few times a week (or daily even) and maybe a few times a day at random times and random length so that he's used to it, and know that you will come back. Separation anxiety is one of the hardest problems to fix in a dog so start young so he won't develop it.

    Good luck, honestly you'll be fine. There's a puppy support thread over at the dog chat area that you can join us. We're all talking about general puppy stuff like nipping, toileting etc and we're all at around the same stage as you.
     
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