Is my puppy untrainable, a demon spawn, or just a puppy?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Charles J P, Aug 27, 2002.

  1. Charles J P

    Charles J P Cinematographer

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    Our 6 month old basset hound puppy had my fiance literally frustrated to tears last night. Overall she is a great dog, but sometimes...
    We both work pretty long hours and took this into consideration when we decided to get a dog, however, after talking with some coworkers with dogs who are huge workaholics and seem like they are at the office more than they are at home we decided we could do it. So, we bring this dog home, and we decide to "crate" train it. Which means you put it in a port-a-kennel to sleep, and during the day while your at work. The idea is that dogs wont mess in their own "bed" so this is how you house break the dog.

    Well, once we started to figure out that one of us really couldnt make it home every day for lunch, we decided we needed a better solution. There is no way I'm putting a dog in a little pet carrier for 7 hours at night then let it out for 45 minutes in the morning, and then put in the little carrier for 9 hours while we're at work. So we bought a dog "play pen" its basically just a portable fence that we setup in the unfinished basement that gives the dog about a 10' X 15' area to move around in. The problem is, we have a linolium remnant down there so we can clean it easily, but the dog goes to the bathroom all over it, all the time. Its covered in pee and poop every day and the whole basement stinks. She is house broken to the point that when we have her out in the evenings, she goes to the door to be let out and usually doesnt have accidents in the house. However it seems like she makes no attempt to even try to hold it until we let her out in the morning or after work.

    Should we change her feeding schedule? No food or water except after we get home from work, so she has a chance to go before bedtime? We tried to "paper train" her in pen so that her mess would be confined to one area and easier to clean up, but she just shreds the newspaper or those special puppy pads if we leave them in there.

    The other thing she does, is she has basically destroyed the walls she can get at in her pen. They are unfinished drywall, and she has gotten ahold of the paper at the seams or at the bottom and ripped huge chunks off, and in some places, she has dug the plaster out, so now all that has to be patched.

    She also is very hyper for a basset hound. I thought they basically slept all the time. The dog equivilent to all cats. Sometimes she just runs all over the house grabbing anything she can reach.

    I dont know what to do, I have had dogs growing up, but never a house dog. My fiance cried for a couple hours last night after cleaning up after her. She feels like the dog runs the house and controls our lives right now. We dont want to get rid of her, but we are at our wits end. I think if we could even make progress in one area it would help. I guess I wish we could get her to contain her mess when she is in her pen (paper train her or something) because its not fun cleaning up pee and poop every day. Is there something we can spray on the floor in her pen to either make her go in one spot or make her not go everywhere else?

    Thanks in advance guys and gals.
     
  2. Dean DeMass

    Dean DeMass Screenwriter

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    Charles,

    Puppies bladders cannot contain waste like adults do. When they have to go, they have to go. I crate trained both of my dogs and it worked very well. However, I had schedule feeding times for them while they were pups. You can't just let them have food and water whenever they want. Get your pup on a schedule. Feed her a little bit of food before you go to work in the morning (about 45 minutes before you leave), then take her outside to go to the bathroom. She should have to go to the bathroom about 30 minutes after she eats. I would always go outside with them until they were house-trained and would repeat "Go potty" while they were sniffing around. When they finally would go, I would say "Good girl" and then give them a tiny treat if they did a #2. They learned real fast that going potty outside was rewarding. Another good trick to get them potty trained is hang a bell on the door she goes out. Every time you take her outside, ring the bell. Eventually she will start ringing the bell herself to let you know she wants outside.

    If you have any more questions, drop me an e-mail or post here.

    -Dean-
     
  3. Randy_Sh

    Randy_Sh Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi Charles,

    Hang in there...I understand that these things can be pretty frustrating...but I think that there are a few suggestions that folks can make...

    We have our puppy-Bootsie-crate trained, and it's the best things that we did. She's almost 9 months old and a 40lb lab mix, so I think that she's bigger than you Basset.

    You say that you aren't putting her in a "little pet carrier" for 7 hours at night and 9 hours during the day really bothered you...How big was your crate? The crate that Bootsie is in is large enough for her to stretch out and sit without bumping her head, but not large enough for her to "run" or really even walk in. This is where she goes to sleep and were she stays when we are away. Because we made it like a "home" to her, she doesn't mess in there, and doesn't get upset going in there when we are out. We will leave her in her crate for up to 6-7 hours at a time now. I think that this is the part of the problem with your Basset. The 10' x 15' space is so big, it doesn't matter if she goes, because there is more space-ie clean area. We made it a priorty that we have to come home for lunch to let her out...We also walk her in the morning before we leave and again at night after dinner...

    Also, Dean hit on some good points with the feedings...it isn't clear if she is on a strict schedule...but that is very important. Bootsie eats (3) times a day, basically braking up her recommended share of food into 3 equal portions...The recommendation of repeating the phrase "go potty" is a good one too. If you feel silly saying "go potty"-say hurry, hurry or something like that...

    Ok. As for the "hyper" Basset-what you have there is a puppy. Bootsie will get a mood and tear around the house-don't know why-and we sit back and let her rip. That's part of the puppy. Shreading the paper-yep, puppy too. Bootsie used to take newspapers and tear them up-doesn't do that now, but goes after dryer sheets and dirty socks on a regular basis...as far as the drywall-I think that it's another puppy thing-or bored dog-does she have any toys, chews, or things to play with in her 10 x 15 area?


    Your fiance sounds very frustrated-dog runs the house and controls your live-we felt that way too for a period...I agree, but there is a big responsibilty/committment in having a dog...heard it is good practice for KIDS!

    Please don't give up on her...I am sure that things will work out...please post back if you have other questions...
     
  4. JayV

    JayV Supporting Actor

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    Dean, what you recommend is exactly what worked for me. That is, what worked for my puppy. Unfortunately I didn't have your advice and went through a lot of the heartache Charles describes during our first two weeks.
    I feed my puppy twice a day, half her food in the morning and half in the evening. I also wait half an hour before taking her out. She gets fed in her crate, so I don't have to worry about her emptying both tanks in the house after eating. Feeding her in the crate also helped teach her that good things happen in the crate.
    Until she learned to control her bladder, I also watered at controlled times. This can be tricky if you aren't around enough during the day, so be careful -- dogs can need lots of water!
    Charles, does she have enough chew toys? You may want to swap one out each day, so she always has one toy that is "new." My dog is a dedicated and aggressive chewer, so she can only have hard rubber toys. Get her a kong and put a little peanut butter in it. This can entertain her for a long time.
    You can also let her fight the Bottle Monster, an empty two liter bottle. I pop it in the freezer before putting the cap on tightly. The bottle is hard to crush then. I like to hang a bottle in her crate sometimes, too. Remember to supervise this so your puppy doesn't chew it up and swallow plastic shards.
    My trainer told me that a lot of this behavior (and my puppy also ate through drywall) is just being a puppy. Boredom, teething and separation anxiety can exacerbate this behavior.
    The solution for me is that my puppy is is in a controlled environment at all times (in theory). She is either in her crate or under adult supervision.
    Dogs think of their crates as their dens, which is why they tend not to soil them. Could you keep her in her crate during the day and hire a dog walker to take her out in the afternoon?
    Also, are you taking a class with your puppy? I would be insane if I didn't take a class. My puppy still has her bad days, but puppy class was a godsend.
    I have two posts and both on dog topics? I'm off to post on another subject.
    EDIT Randy, your advice, esp. about the crate size is perfect. What mix is your dog? I also have a lab mix, 8 months old; black lab and border collie.
    Good luck,
    Jay
     
  5. Randy_Sh

    Randy_Sh Stunt Coordinator

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    Jay-

    Good advice.

    And Charles-6 months isn't too young to start some training classes as Jay suggested...oh yeah, the KONG with peanut butter is a fun toy...

    Bootsie is a lab/beagle/something else mix. Definitely lab-similar black fur and webbed feet-she has white "boots" and a white chest/stomach. Beagle probably as well because she is very vocal-lots of funny sounds in the morning/to go out/when playing...and the something else is just probably becasue she is...

    Probably will top out at 45-50 pounds...
     
  6. Charles J P

    Charles J P Cinematographer

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    Ok, just to clarify a few things, which some of you may have noticed, but I'm not positive based on some of the responses. The dog is 6 months old, and we have had her for about 3 months. She doesnt have accidents in the house too much maybe once or twice every two weeks, just in this "play pen" that she is in while we are at work and sleeping.

    I really appreciate all your responses, and have few more questions.

    1) Bassets get about 40-60 pounds depending on sex and genes. Ours is 30 pounds now, at 6 months and I expect her to get to 40-45 maybe since she is a female, I dont expect her to get much bigger. The thing to remember as far as what type of crate you keep her in is that bassets can be as long as other much taller dogs, because of the way they were bred. So, having said all that, her "crate" is a Large, on a scale of small, med, large, XL with an XL being big enough for most dogs even full grown labs, retreivers, etc. She can go in, lay down, turn around etc, but cannot really move around much inside other than getting up, turn around an lay back down. Is this too small to keep her in for 8-9 hours a day plus when we're sleeping?

    2) She does have lots of toys, but some of her favorites dont go in the play pen with her because they are soft, cloth doll-type toys and they would end up soaked in pee. She has a Kong, but we usually put a dog biscuit in there and she really cant get them out. I didnt know you were supposed to put peanut butter in there. I'll have to try that.

    3) If we give her food and water in the morining and then take her outside and let her eliminate, and then give her food and water after work, will she need access to water while we're at work and at night, if she is in an air-conditioned basement?

    4) Randy, you said Bootsie stays in her carrier while your away, which sounds like it is as big as Greta's (that's her name by the way). Does this mean that she is shut in there during those times or can she go in and out as she needs?

    We had some friends that did this, and at the time I didnt think it was cruel, (in fact the dog didnt seem to mind at all) but now that I have a dog it seems different. Am I being too "soft". I have always heard and felt that its kinder to discipline your dog correctly and keep them under control then let them go to the point where you are forced to do something much more drastic than the original discipline would have been.
     
  7. JayV

    JayV Supporting Actor

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    Charles,

    1. It sounds like the perfect crate size. I really get the impression that your dog is not ready to be left alone in the playpen, and she consistently empties both tanks as a symptom of separation anxiety.

    I believe there are two keys to extended periods in the crate: 1. make sure she thinks of it as her den and 2. gradually build up the duration in which she's kept in her crate.

    Also, consider the crate's placement in the house. I've been told that it's best in an area where she can see what's going on and feel like part of the family. Mine's in the kitchen where she can look outside.

    I also leave a radio on whenever my dog is alone in an effort to reduce separation anxiety. She likes NPR.

    2. A little peanut butter in a kong is works great for me, but I understand that some dogs like that disgusting aerosol cheese in there (you know, Easy Cheeze, or whatever). I think disgusting is key with dogs.

    3. My dog now has access to water at all times, but when I was controlling access (specifically, before she would control her bladder), she would get it four times a day: once in the morning, once in the afternoon, once in the evening and once 15 minutes before going out to pee before bedtime.

    4. I think we might need to clarify terminology: a carrier is a little, well, carrier for trips. A crate is the bigger deal in which your dog can sit, lie down stretched out and turn around.

    Finally, I really can't recommend a basic puppy class more -- I got ten 60-90 minute lessons for $80 and I don't know what I would've done without the class. We started when my puppy was 6 months old. It's been great for both of us; I really believe that every dog wants to be a good dog, it's just that they don't speak English very well. The classes help there.

    -j
     
  8. Randy_Sh

    Randy_Sh Stunt Coordinator

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    Charles,

    Glad that we can try to help. I'll answer a few of your questions...and will talk to the SO tonight-she did a lot of the training with Bootsie...

    1) That's all the room that Bootsie has in her crate...she can move in, sit down, turn around, lay down, but not much else...I think that this is the "right" size for her.

    2) The soft cloth like toys-Bootsie destroys them...I think her record is about 30 minutes to have the "squeek" broken, the head torn open and the stuffing out...so, needless to say, we don't leave her alone with those, only the hard rubber toys-like KONG...

    3) This one I am not so sure of...I would think that in an A/C environment, she would still need a bit of water...not 100 percent...

    4) Bootsie is in the crate with the crate door shut and locked...she's doesn't have come and go privleges...the crate in in the laundry room which is only about 8 x 10, but we still keep in in the crate.

    Understand what you mean...Am I being cruel because I keep the dog in the crate? At first I thought so, but now I think not. I know that Bootsie is safe in the crate, she's doesn't get into trouble, and she keeps it clean. Plus we mcake sure she gets lots of exercise in the times that she isn't in there...walks in the morning and evening, plus plenty of fetch as well...

    Good luck, and keep asking questions, we'll do our best to answer...
     
  9. Charles J P

    Charles J P Cinematographer

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    Jay, in regard to your #4. It is a carrier, but I guess its just a carrier thats oversized enough for her to move around a little. This is the size right here http://www.petco.com/product_info.as...tab=1&subtab=1
     
  10. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

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    hehehe got pictures of her? [​IMG]
     
  11. Charles J P

    Charles J P Cinematographer

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    You guys have really been great, and have given me new energy to approach the problem. I guess my biggest fear is that eventually my future wife will say "I cant wait til this thing dies, and we're never having another dog again" That would crush me. Neither of us is to that point yet, and considering we have 12+ years to go, a lot will change.

    Thanks again.

    EDIT: Philip, Yeah, she's adorable. My fiance has some scans, I'll post them tonight when I get home.
     
  12. JayV

    JayV Supporting Actor

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    Charles, this is what I mean by a crate (link to PetSmart). And, yes, the bottom is an ABS pan that slides out for easy cleaning. I like the airiness of a crate, but YMMV. It sounds like her travel carrier is sized perfectly.
    Randy, can you recommend any durable toys? In addition to her kong knock-off, I found the "chew and clean" ball and bone are the only toys that last longer than a couple hours.
    Yes, please, let's see some pics. Here are a few to start us off:
    1. Lucy coming home from the shelter
    2. Lucy posing
    3. What Lucy really thinks while getting a bath
    -j
     
  13. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

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    hehe very cute jay.
    wish I lived in a house, or anything besides an apartment and could keep a dog [​IMG]
     
  14. Dave E H

    Dave E H Supporting Actor

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    Well, I've got an 8 month old puppy in my house and it's been pretty good. Here's how I've dealt with it:

    * dog was paper trained when we got her (3 months.) Pretty good - she kept to this as a baby and she's now litter box trained (yes, litter box.)

    * she's only destroyed (knock on wood), toys, some carpet (chewing) and a couple of electrical cords (one was a $70 AC adapter for my laptop.)

    * after about 5 months of age, we started leaving her out most of the day. She seemed much happier and just waits around the front door for us to come home.

    * we pay for a dog walker to come at least once or twice a day for 30 minutes or so.

    * she's been through 2 puppy schools (beginning & intermidiate)

    * we shifted schedules so that one person leave early and comes home early, and one person leave late and comes home later. This minimizes the time the dog is left alone (6-7 hours, with the dog walker coming in between.)

    Dog walker is a key. It's expensive (15-16 a visit, some can be cheaper) but it's cheaper than replacing parts of the house as they are destroyed. Also, the _dog_ is so much happier. She gets exercise, socialization, and reinforcement of training habits.

    Basically, when we decided to get the dog, we decided that we would spend the money to have a dog walker etc. It's paid off - she's a terrific puppy - but it's hurt in the pocketbook. We've weaned her down from 2 visits EVERY day from the dog walker to 1 visit M-W-F and 2 on T-Th. We're going to get her down to 1 a day at some point, and then probably mix in some dog day-care (take her to a facility where she can run and play with other dogs all day) once or twice a week to just tire her out. At a year old, we might be able to leave her 6-8 hours w/o a walk and she can just use the litter pan.
     
  15. Randy_Sh

    Randy_Sh Stunt Coordinator

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    Jay,

    Cool dog...looks a bit like Bootsie...must be the LAB...

    As for toys, she's a big fan of the standard green fuzzy tennis ball. Loves to naw on those, knock them around with her paws, and generally chase them. We got to a point where she will sit and we can toss them to her underhand from about 8-10 feet and she catches about 75 percent of the throws...pretty cool...plus the tennis balls hold up well...we've also had success with the tug of war rope type toy...you know the big knotted rope...not so much as a tug of war thing, but something to case after and chew on...

    Charles,
    The crate link that Jay posted is what I was talking about when I mentioned crate in the posts...your carrier does sound about the right size...hope things are going well...

    Dave,
    What kind of pooch do you have? Interesting about the litter box, our neighbors have a small dog that uses a litter box...I don't know, just doesn't seem like a natural dog thing to me, but if it works, GREAT!
     
  16. Joel Mack

    Joel Mack Cinematographer

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    Charles,

    The problem with the dog constantly fouling her "playpen" may be tied to how you clean up the messes. Are you just picking up/mopping up, or are you deoderizing, too? If the animal can smell that it's relieved itself in a place once, it will continue to do so until you make it inconvenient or undesirable to do so further.

    If I remember correctly, you're in Omaha. Go to Albertson's and pick up a bottle of "Herbie's Fame Care". It works wonders for cleaning/deoderizing areas where accidents happen.
     
  17. Dean DeMass

    Dean DeMass Screenwriter

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  18. Steve Zatkoff

    Steve Zatkoff Stunt Coordinator

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  19. Thomas Reagan

    Thomas Reagan Stunt Coordinator

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    I agree with Steve. Nylabone is the way to go. And if you have a VERY aggressive chewer (like my 2yr old Labrador Retriever) here is the KING on Nylabone chews:
    Galileo Bone
    It takes months for my dog to destroy this one !
    Thos.
     
  20. Charles J P

    Charles J P Cinematographer

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    Just wanted to chime back in here with an update. Our dog is the perfect little angle 90% of the time now. She still has her moments, but she has been great. She has really settled down. I think we were being to indulgent with her. Thanks for all the advice.
     

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