So you just got a puppy. 8 week old fluffy cuteness that licks your hand and snuggles your face? Nope, that's a kitten. 8 week old puppies are a little different. They poop, pee, whine, bark, chew things up, and barf on the Persian rug you inherited from your Great Uncle Chester. Its only when they finally fall asleep that you say sigh and say "aw, I love puppies."
The puppy is chewing your hand, your arm, your pants, your hair, your imported Italian leather shoes and your sofa because its a puppy. That beautiful silver poodle also did these things as a puppy. In fact she went one step further and chewed a hole in the drywall just above the baseboard. Whose fault is that? Mine, because she had access to the baseboard. You don't blame the toddler for sticking a fork in a socket, you just cover the socket. Duh. Or take away the fork.
But right now you have a barking, chewing, pooping, puppy monster. What do you do? First is take it outside. It needs to run and play. Take it outside, bring it back in, take it back out, bring it back in, and then take it out again. This evolution should happen once an hour, and that is just for housebreaking. If you are trying to teach anything else you need to add that to the list not replace it. There is no way around this. It would be like wanting to avoid cavities but refusing to brush your teeth.
Does the pup bark all night? Of course, because its lonely and its looking for siblings that were there yesterday and now they are gone. Before bed you need to take away food and water and then go for a long walk. They won't sleep all night at first, but being tired sure helps. You can move the crate closer to where you sleep, or even *gasp* put the dog in your bed. It won't ruin the dog, it will learn not to sleep on the bed. But are you trying to get some sleep or prove to the puppy that it must now survive on its own in this cold, cold world? I've put a puppy in my bed before and it doesn't sleep on the bed now.
Does your pup bark during the day? Of course, take him out to play. Then bring him back in and give him something to chew on. When he wakes up from that nap, go right back outside and start over. Walk, play, nap, repeat. This is really hard if you have a full-time job. So you MUST get a dog walker. Before 6 months old they need to come in 2-3 times a day. Otherwise your puppy won't be house trained. Pups have tiny bladders. If they get in the habit of going to the bathroom in the house, or in their crate, its very difficult to retrain them. You could also get a dog door, if you have a fenced yard. Just realize that housebroken in your home doesn't mean housebroken in other peoples homes.
Its been three days and the pup is climbing out of the pen and barking. See above. Its not getting enough excercise and its stressed out. If you take a baby and put it in an orphange and then confine it to a crib its gonna cry and find a way out. So, at three days in you need to be honest, are you dedicated enough to see this through or should you take the puppy back where you got it and let it go to a better home? Only you can answer that. But if you are dedicated to the game then put a lid on the pen, either with wire designed for the pen or with a sheet. Some pens are easier to climb out of than others. Certain breeds climb much better than others. And its still barking? He's bored. Go play.
I try to help people solve the issues that come up with puppies, or even adult dogs, because they think they have no options. In truth, most of the time, they were told exactly what to do and thought they could get away with a short cut. Well, as it goes "garbage in, garbage out." You can't fake training a dog, like faking Calculus. Or Civil Procedure. If you didn't read Pennoyer v. Neff the whole class if going to know it. So rest assured, your plight is not just your own. I even forget how much work puppies can be, but I deal with it.
So if all these horrible things are happening then you need to go back and look at the basics. Did you set up the puppy area correctly? Did you schedule someone to walk the dog? Did you take off work to bond with the dog? Did you remove all the fun things from eye level that a dog can put its teeth on? And then, do you know what the dog needs? Because at this point whether the breed is right for you is irrelevant, you have the puppy now and every puppy is going to be the same. They are a puppy. Some bark a little less, some pee a little more. Look for solutions for your specific dog. Some want to cuddle, some want to swim, some want to play. But all of them have only one way of telling you that they need something.
Next, find a puppy class. This is crucial One that will allow you to get around other puppy people, co-miserate, and find out that everyone is having a problem. And I mean everyone. I have three well behaved dogs and I add a puppy, I have the same issues. But the resolution is also the same. Exercise and socialization.
For a little while you have to rearrange your whole life. Some times people don't believe that, or don't want to believe it. Your new normal is going to be pee, poop, barking, and teeth marks for the better part of 6 months. This is what you signed up for, didn't you know. If you didn't, then you batter catch up quick. Or resign yourself to failure.
It is failure if you give up. According to the SPCA there are 70-80 million dogs in the US owned by 37-47% of the households. I'm thinking a large portion own multiple dogs, so they did this whole training and bonding thing more than once. Thus, its not impossible. Its not even revolutionary. Its just work, like losing weight or crocheting a Christmas stocking for your niece. It takes time and effort, but the outcome, oh man. The outcome is AMAZING. Don't give up. Lean in and be a dog owner.
Ian Dunbar, Karen Pryor, Suzanne Clothier etc, all have published books and videos on training and dog relationships. Get into a puppy class! Get into a puppy play group. Get some digestible chew toys! And go for a walk. Its not rocket science. And if Neil DeGrasse Tyson is reading this and needs help, well, maybe you should get a cat.
If you find that you just can't do it. That its been weeks and the dog hates you, you are getting evicted, or you lost your job then take the dog back where you got it. Any good breeder or rescue will take the dog back. They want to see the dogs in good homes, not in animal shelters. If you do have to take a dog back, ok. But you need to think long and hard before you get another dog. Wait a long time. Get a cactus if you must, because it may be that taking care of other living things is not your strength. That is fine, acknowledge it. Not everyone is cut out to own a pet. Thank your lucky stars you didn't get something truly expensive, like a horse.
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