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Puppy issues - stealing, leash tug, begging

October 7th, 2005, 03:48 PM
I was wondering if anyone had any tips for the numerous (common?) puppy problems I am having. Housetraining, crate and basic commands have come along very well but the rest not so well. I didn't want to hog the board with many posts so here are the problems:

1) Leash Tugging. When attaching the leash my puppy bites it, tugs away from me and growls. He has also chewed through it once. I have tried coating it with various subtances but none of them deter my puppy. Presently I am dealing with it by saying no in a low tone and pulling it out of this mouth in a quick movement if he doesn't obey. I've taught him to drop it (for the leash and other things- all purpose) and it works but only if I have food to offer, otherwise forget it. I actually find the only time he obeys anything is if food is involved. :(

2) Stealing things off tables and surfaces and running away with them. He has now even mastered getting things off the kitchen counter! This one really worries me because of the danger of knives and also food he shouldn't have. He has already gotten into a whole package of cheese and throat tablets. It seems he is always on the hunt for food...on the floor, on the grass, counter etc. If he is even out of my sight for a minute in the kitchen I know he into trouble. When he gets something particularly good he doesn't drop it (in exchange for treats). He ends up running away at full speed and it takes a while to catch him!

3) Begging....anytime we eat he whines and gets nippy. We have never fed him while we eat.

He is spending more and more time in the puppy pen lately because to supervise him means to follow him around the house constantly. I would keep him on a leash but he keeps biting it! Frustrating. Any tips at all would be really appreciated!

October 7th, 2005, 04:58 PM
Is he attending puppy classes.

October 7th, 2005, 06:22 PM
He just got his 2nd set of shots a few days ago so my husband and I are looking for a class that accepts him and fits our schedule. We are finding it challenging because he is too old now (almost 4 months) for some puppy classes.

He is going to a socialization class though which we are enjoying and think is good for him. I guess a training class is what we need? I'd like to find something more personalized than basic commands though. He actually knows sit, lie down and stand well. Come and stay are coming along well too.

October 7th, 2005, 06:30 PM
My classes include a range of different things besides all your basic cues. It is too bad about the puppy class. That would have been good for him. My cut off for puppies is 5 months as this is the average age that they enter adolescence and a room full of puppies of that age that have had limited socializing experience all off leash for play time is much too dangerous.

October 7th, 2005, 11:41 PM
We are still looking into puppy classes. We might be able to get him into one for older puppies but that won't be until next month. As I mentioned before, he is in a socialization class that allowed only 1st set of vaccinations at the time.

Does anyone have any advice? I've heard trying to use two sided tape on counters to keep them from jumping up but I haven't tried that yet. Has anyone else?

October 7th, 2005, 11:48 PM
Set a trap a couple of times.

October 7th, 2005, 11:57 PM
I don't know how many trainers teach proper play/house manners. It should be a part of all puppy and basic level classes seeing that many people have enrolled their dogs in classes due to one of these issues, jumping, barking, stealing, etc. There may be a better chance for it in the older puppy class that is offered.

October 7th, 2005, 11:57 PM
This is how I would do it. I don't know if others would agree, but this works for me...

1) Leash Tugging: I would grab the top of the muzzle (palm over muzzle) and hold the top jaw still (don't squeeze, just hold) and say drop it. When he drops it, you let go. You have to do it consistently. Every time he takes the leash, you put your hand over the top of the muzzle and hold. Your fingers shouldn't pass the lips, so if he does happen to bite down, he bites his lips (they don't usually bite down though).

2) Stealing things off tables and surfaces and running away with them: NOTHING on the counters or tables below the height he can jump up to. The reward is the grab and starting the game. You have to eliminate it at the source. It might be hard to find storage for everything :D but I feel this is the best way to teach them. Remove the reward.

3) Begging: Somehow, he thinks you are going to feed him. Is there anybody in your home who might be giving him that idea? Are you 100% sure?

These suggestions are just from my personal experience, of course. ;)

I would also work on your leader skills. This puppy seems to be starting to run your home and later on, it will be even harder to fix than now. :eek:

October 8th, 2005, 12:25 AM
Great point Stacey about the older class maybe offering those lessons. I am going to phone them and ask many questions before signing up. I'll try a few places in town. I also like your thinking there about traps....hmm. Like leave a tin can on the edge of the counter?

I will most certainly try the muzzle trick for the leash Prin. I'm finding it a highly annoying habit. Our house has been in shambles since we got the puppy. We put everything that was on a lower level on tables, counter tops and in drawers. This was fine until a few days ago. Somehow he discovered now he was taller and could stretch up and pull things off the counter. I agree I should keep things out of his reach...especially the edge. I could stand being more tidy. :o

We never ever gave him anything from the table as we talked about this ahead of time..about how annoying that habit is. Of course our puppy would be better than all the other doggies :rolleyes: LOL

He just gets crazy about food. If we heat something in the microwave, he smells it and whines. If we eat in front of him I get the impression he feels it's his right to have our food. I'm starting to think I'm not feeding him enough as I recently cut down on his food according to the directions on the bag. Should I only feed him his kibble? In the past I've given him people food although never during or even after we ate and never the same thing that we just ate (ie no table scraps).

October 8th, 2005, 12:42 AM
The directions are just a guidline, you may need to adjust a bit. It sounds as if your puppy may need a little more exercise than what you have been giving.
I personally don't like holding the muzzle. I have seen too many people get nipped for it. As soon as you let go he may snap and depending how many times you do it, he may snap when you go to do it.
What I would suggest is to step down onto the leash giving him very little to play with. Stand there until he lets go and then take off your foot and start walking with a lets go.
For the trap I would tie the empty can to something he would want to take. Make the string long enough that it will hit the floor. You could also put some pennies in it. Obviously the best solution would be to not have anything available.
Giving your puppy your food is fine as long as it is healthy/safe for them and is not added to his food or given from your plate, especially while you are eating. You may want to crate him during your meal times until he begins to learn his cues like stay.
When you are checking out trainers I would suggest watching one of their classes and speaking with the trainer before you enroll.
I would really suggest increasing the exercise, it tends to help a lot.

October 11th, 2005, 08:22 PM
The trap worked!!

I tied a juicy turkey neck to a tin can with pennies in it and watched from the other room. Of course he jumped up and took the turkey and down came the can - crash!

I tried again and this time he just sat and looked at the turkey for a while. He never even tried to get it! A miracle! Thanks for the suggestion Stacey!

October 11th, 2005, 08:31 PM
No problem. You may need to set him up a couple more times just in case he thought it was a fluke.

October 12th, 2005, 07:56 AM
I'm glad Stacey recommended the "trap" solution for stealing things. I've had experiences with other dogs where this worked wonders.

One possible recommendation on the leash biting. When I first adopted Harley, I had her on a typical nylon leash and she would try to chew on it constantly. She'd even try to grab it in her teeth and tug on it when she wanted to get off the leash outside. :evil:

I switched her over to a chain type leash with a leather hand loop, attached to a normal nylon collar. Most dogs do not like the feel of metal on their teeth, and so will leave the leash alone. I had Harley on the chain leash for a few months, and she never bothered with it.

I just recently switched her back to a leather collar and leash, with absolutely no problems.

October 12th, 2005, 08:26 AM
I would be careful with using the metal leash during the cold weather. They get very cold and if it swings and hits them it is like being whipped with a wet towel.

October 12th, 2005, 09:38 AM
Didn't think of it that way, but I guess that's what comes from living in Florida. Cold weather isn't really an issue here! ;)

October 12th, 2005, 09:41 AM
Yes, I guess you wouldn't have that problem in Florida.

October 21st, 2005, 08:24 PM
Just a little bit of feedback to ad to the great advice already given.

One of the things that you may want to start on is to teach your dog to "settle" or "relax" on command. By this I mean that you little one has to realize that there are times when it's not appropriate for him to be up and wandering around getting underfoot, or just being a general nuisance. This commnad will prove to have many, many uses in the future, so it's very beneficial to start now.

For a beginner dog/puppy you may want to use your crate, dog pen, or puppy-proofed area. When your dog has settled or relaxed (preferably in a down) you want to immediately say settle and then praise - I like to use a food reward. You can continue to reward your dog by providing him/her with long, slow strokes. This will also hopefully encourage your dog to stay calm. Keep repeating this process often so that the dog learns by association. Also, a Kong, nylabone, or other such tool may be used to encourage your dog to settle down.

As Stacey already mentioned, you may not be providing your puppy with enough physical and/or mental exercise/stimulation. A tired puppy will less likely get into mischief. Just make sure that you don't over-due the physical exercise. Your vet will be able to give you a good estimation of how much physical exercise your puppy should be getting for his/her age and breed. Kongs are an excellent tool for keeping dogs occupied.

Hope this helps some.