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Old February 26th, 2009, 10:34 AM
puppymom puppymom is offline
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Behavior issues and raising two puppies at once

Good morning. Feeling a little overwhelmed and tired and wonder if perhaps folks have some advice that might make the task of raising two pupps at once a little bit easier, and more joyful. I have two, 9 month old puppies. Tulkas (male doberman mix) and Honey (female viszla? mix) are both incredibly sweet and loving puppies, and in the process of training (have to restart - as a result of the holidays - their obedience classes next Tuesday.) I hike with them every afternoon (every now and then i have a day when i cannot) for about 2 or 3 (often 4) miles of wooded and paved trails (off lead, if i can) and we'll sometimes rollerblade for a mile or 2 (individually.) Whenever we visit the park, they also have a chance to run together in an open area of hills and also often play with their best friend, Abbie, the 3 year old boxer - though even she is feeling slightly overwhelmed by them lately.) They have a fairly large fenced in area behind my home which is surrounded by peaceful rolling hills...until the barking starts. (We're investing in citronella collars this weekend, btw) They also have a 1300 foot unfinished basement (well lit and strorage items gated off, though we get frustrated that they always seem to figure out a way to get their teeth around something - even a garage door down there!) with all sorts of toys, various bones and even a leather couch to lay on. We give them a marrow bone daily (small enough to not be too rich) and they get lots, and lots of love and individual attention; though they are almost always together. They are crate trained, and sleep in their crates (in our room) at night, and occasionally retreat to crates to rest (not often, though.) They really prefer to cuddle up on the couch or cuddle up next to me if I'm sitting on our bed working on my computer during our waking hours. Their food is premium and they are very healthy, spayed/neutered and weigh 60 and 50 lbs, respectively.

SO these puppies, maybe because of the fact that I work from home and do not have children yet, are living lives that are almost like children (really!) I know that I am primarily to blame that they seem to always need attention, but I'm also ready to pull my hair out. They really never give me a break because they 1) wrestle constantly, 2) will not stay outside without barking up a storm or scratching my basement door off (we have a protective plastic shield on it now) in attempt to be let in and 3)are everywhere i am -all the time. When I put them in their crates during the day when I am actually home, I feel so guilty, but I do make use of them when I am out (otherwise they tend to be a little destructive in their puppiness.) I'm either loving on them (because I really do love them to death) or frustrated with their restless, rambunctious energy, but I simply cant wear them out! The problem is that the evenings are especially stressful and i feel like my husband and I cant ever relax. We both work very hard, but its tough when he has to come home after a 13 or 14 hour day and play in the basement with them (which Honey loves, but Tulkas is much less interested in balls and not at all interested in retrieving.) while I make dinner, just so that we can sit down and have one hour of peace before we go to bed.

Okay...to my questions: First, I just need some counsel in terms of how much time is humane and appropriate to crate/spend with them each day. Next, is this normal when raising two puppies at the same time? (The shelter we rescued them from said, "Two puppies are so much easier than one because they keep eachother busy!" Yes...I'll admit...they keep eachother busy. What one doesnt think of, the other one does! Busy mouthing and wrestling and competing over whose getting my attention at any given moment.) How should my behavior change - it simply must change, but I just dont want to do anything wrong by them. Is this a 9 month old issue? The Rottie I lost 10 months ago was hyper when young, but grew into a literally perfectly trained and tempered adult dog (just like the Carl dog from the books!) I just dont know if it was this hard back then.

Also, are there certain dogs more predisposed to fetching? Tulkas especially is not terribly interested in either playing with ball or frisbee or coming when I call him if he's outside of his fenced play area.

One last thing, as I'm training them not to jump I do exactly what the books say and ignore when they do and reward when they sit and ask for attention, but Tulkas will every now and then nip at my shirt or even at my backside when I ignore his jumping and pushiness. I dont think I can handle the no-correction philosophy because this little sweetheart just isnt getting the point. He's super sweet and gentle with others, and I am definitely the alpha, but it's an ideosyncracy that I need to end.

I know this is a lot, but I just really, really need some good advice so that I can have some balance in our lives!

Last edited by puppymom; February 26th, 2009 at 11:20 AM.
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Old February 26th, 2009, 11:47 AM
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hazelrunpack hazelrunpack is offline
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Oh, yes, this is normal. We had two pups at the same time and the energy level was so high that the DVDs I made at the time nearly pop out of the player by themselves. You're in much better shape than we were, though--we had a year-old and two puppies in a 50 x 75 sq ft backyard and when we moved we had some serious relandscaping to do!

And it will get better. As they get older, they will mellow. And the patience and persistence you have now will pay off in future.

What kind of a schedule do you have them on? When Cole and Ember were young, they were on a fairly strict schedule. I stayed out with them when they were playing in the yard (and they still managed to pull apart the arbor vitae and dig holes ) and when we came in, they knew it was time for naps. If you need to enforce that with a little quiet time in the crates, go ahead. A frozen Kong is a great way to keep them quiet for a little while. Extra training sessions can be fun for both of you--I trained them to sit and stay first, then would call one over to do some other command while the other sat and watched, then make the first go back and call over the second. It takes a bit, and an extra pair of hands is useful when you're first getting them used to watching instead of playing, but when things get out of hand, I still use this to calm down over-excited play.

Some dogs are more prone to fetching than others. Some of ours, like Cass, love to fetch. Some, like Ridge, totally ignore any thrown toys. And some are in between. If you work at it, you can teach the different steps--"go get it", "pick it up", "come", "give"...but I've noticed that the ones that learn that way don't seem to enjoy the game as much. So now I just toss the Kongs, take them from the ones that fetch, and pick up the others to toss again as I come upon where my non-fetchers have dropped them. It's good exercise for both me and the dogs.

Unfortunately, at this age they need a lot of your time. They entertain each other, but you've already noticed that they also get into lots of mischief together. And they'll likely hit their 'rebellious phases' at the same time, too... So grab hold of your patience with both hands and continue to be consistent. Be prepared to spend a little more time with them until they finally begin to mature.

Hard as it is to believe, you're going to miss this stage when it's over. And in a few years, you'll have forgotten all about the frustration.

Oh, and btw, if anyone comes to you later and says, "Wanna adopt 3 more? If you bring them home all at once, it'll be easier for you," don't believe them. Yep, after surviving two rambunctious puppies in the house at the same time, I fell for this one, too. And doubling an adult pack from 3 to 6 all at once also turns out to be a difficult venture. (But we survived. )
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Old February 26th, 2009, 01:24 PM
puppymom puppymom is offline
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Thanks so much for your response and encouragment!

Quote:
Originally Posted by hazelrunpack View Post
Oh, yes, this is normal. We had two pups at the same time and the energy level was so high that the DVDs I made at the time nearly pop out of the player by themselves. You're in much better shape than we were, though--we had a year-old and two puppies in a 50 x 75 sq ft backyard and when we moved we had some serious relandscaping to do!

And it will get better. As they get older, they will mellow. And the patience and persistence you have now will pay off in future.

What kind of a schedule do you have them on? When Cole and Ember were young, they were on a fairly strict schedule. I stayed out with them when they were playing in the yard (and they still managed to pull apart the arbor vitae and dig holes ) and when we came in, they knew it was time for naps. If you need to enforce that with a little quiet time in the crates, go ahead. A frozen Kong is a great way to keep them quiet for a little while. Extra training sessions can be fun for both of you--I trained them to sit and stay first, then would call one over to do some other command while the other sat and watched, then make the first go back and call over the second. It takes a bit, and an extra pair of hands is useful when you're first getting them used to watching instead of playing, but when things get out of hand, I still use this to calm down over-excited play.

Some dogs are more prone to fetching than others. Some of ours, like Cass, love to fetch. Some, like Ridge, totally ignore any thrown toys. And some are in between. If you work at it, you can teach the different steps--"go get it", "pick it up", "come", "give"...but I've noticed that the ones that learn that way don't seem to enjoy the game as much. So now I just toss the Kongs, take them from the ones that fetch, and pick up the others to toss again as I come upon where my non-fetchers have dropped them. It's good exercise for both me and the dogs.

Unfortunately, at this age they need a lot of your time. They entertain each other, but you've already noticed that they also get into lots of mischief together. And they'll likely hit their 'rebellious phases' at the same time, too... So grab hold of your patience with both hands and continue to be consistent. Be prepared to spend a little more time with them until they finally begin to mature.

Hard as it is to believe, you're going to miss this stage when it's over. And in a few years, you'll have forgotten all about the frustration.

Oh, and btw, if anyone comes to you later and says, "Wanna adopt 3 more? If you bring them home all at once, it'll be easier for you," don't believe them. Yep, after surviving two rambunctious puppies in the house at the same time, I fell for this one, too. And doubling an adult pack from 3 to 6 all at once also turns out to be a difficult venture. (But we survived. )
Oh yes, for sure the digging has been a difficult situation to remedy. We had the fence built to give ourselves a little break (like a playpen for babies...though I realize folks dont use those anymore) but its almost just another task now. Thankfully, the windows in my breakfast nook overlook the area, as does my back balcony so that I can keep an eye on them. I'll tell you that our little Honey loves the laser pointer light, and she'll run and run and run chasing "her friend" in the evening when we're just too tired to run her again. For the digging, I've purchased some marble rocks to fill the holes (the rest of the grass - what's left of it - is covered in straw in that area of the yard and they LOVE it, though its a task to change every couple of weeks.) I'm just hopeful noone will try and eat the rocks. Other than that, we really havent had too much destruction, mainly because one entire border of the space is the brick wall that borders our basement.

Schedule is: Wake up and go out on lead with hubby in am, and then come in and jump up on the bed under the covers with me as fast as possible upon reentering the house. At that point, we're all awake and they usually go out in their yard for a little bit unless there are dear, in which case they hang out until the coast is clear. They come in and eat and a while later and snuggle up on the bed (I know...I shoudl not let this happen, and I have to retrain them now) and go to sleep for several hours. Decided today that what wears them out at doggie daycare (once in a while) is that they are awake all day long, so trying to decide if that should be our new MO. They're usually crated for a couple/few hours if I have errands to run or conference calls or something, and pretty much hang out in or outside until about 3, when we go to the park. After the park they kind of konk out (if I'm lucky) or have a bone, and then eat again around 6:30 or 7. Hubby gets home at 8 or 8:30 and sometimes they're gearing up or sometimes winding down, just depending on how aggresively they've played and how far we've walked that day. They're always crated while we eat (about 8:30ish) and then they hang with us for an hour or a half or so and bed at 10 on the dot. Still waking me up at 4 am at times to go outside to potty.

Have also loved the laser light, a toy attached to a rope and a spring and bolted into the basement ceiling, and a nice long bamboo pole with a long rope and toy at end to chase (is only way we can get Tulkas interested in ANYTHNG!)

YIKES! MORE REBELLION??? Yah...I think we're in that stage, actually. Tulkas was the first one to figure out sit, stay, come, etc but now when I call him to me he just sort of looks at me like, "Yah...just a minute." Then he comes when he's good and ready (unless I enforce the command, which I always try to do - calmly and lovingly.) Honey just wants to please me all the time so she rarely disobeys.

Taking a deep breath of relief at the idea that this stage will end and Iíll look back on it fondly. When does it usually end?

Re your 3 additions: WOW. You are very, very brave. Oh my gosh...I cannot even imagine... We're looking at eachother and saying, "Kids? Yah, right..." I'll add that my sister has recently relented that these two are even more work than her 2 year old. Laughing..
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Old February 26th, 2009, 02:10 PM
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hazelrunpack hazelrunpack is offline
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Are we brave or just too soft-hearted and soft-headed? After we survived the step-up to 6, we adopted two more. Currently at 8. But all were adopted at an older age--the youngest was umm....sheesh, I can't remember but I think Brier was about 8 or 10 months of age when he arrived. So, except for Brier making up for a lost puppyhood before he came here, we've not had the whole puppy thing going on.

If you have doggy daycare available, you might want to consider taking them a little more often if you can afford it and you're feeling overwhelmed. There's nothing like canine friends to wear out your furbabies. Plus it gives you and your hubby some much-needed together time while your dog rest up afterwards.

Setters (which is what we have) undergo SSMS (Sudden Setter Maturity Syndrome, as we call that transition to couch potato ) at about age 3, but they do get sane a few years before that. Typically the worst is over by age 12 - 18 months. The change is gradual--one day I just realized it'd been a while since the last episode of puppy insanity. The rough-and-tumble wrestling was replaced by loud chases around the yard with an occasional rolling, and the frequency of the play dropped. There was more moseying companionably around the yard.

These days, there's one, sometimes two games of 'popularity' (the popular one being chased down and cornered by the others, whereupon the popular one holds the Pack at bay with feints and twirls and body blows); followed by lots of wandering around to look for sticks to chew or squirrels to watch; a number of group points when mourning doves or grouse are spotted under the feeders; and then, blessedly, naps. Oh, and pesky cars driving by the house has always been a barkable offense

Yes, the naps are synchronized. But I don't remember how I trained the original Trio to nap in concert. I think it was just their own arrangement, and as the Pack grew, the rest of them just followed along.

As for rebellions....yep, 8 - 10 months is a prime rebellion time....also just over 18 months and then periodically with decreasing frequency as the dogs age. Our youngest is going through one right now--I have to keep rounding him up--but I'm hoping that this will be his last (he's about 2 now).

Oh, and if getting them into bed with you allows you to sleep later in the morning, I'm all for it! Ours do it all the time.
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Old February 26th, 2009, 02:22 PM
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welcome to the forum, puppymom

2 pups the same age ( a young age at that) j/k

now where are my manners. we would love to see pictures of your precious ragamuffins
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Old February 26th, 2009, 02:49 PM
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lUvMyLaB<3 lUvMyLaB<3 is offline
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yup very normal, and it seems you are doing well, a very thoughtful mom! just remember the saying this too shall pass!

If you keep up your training and exercise then soon everything will be fine, it takes time to learn and nothing happens right away, there will be mistakes and regression every once in a while! But at 9 months they are still needy puppies, you have to just keep on keeping on and soon they will grow into mature well behaved adults. I don't know anyone who has raised large breed puppies without ever asking what did I get myself into! and having at least something destroyed! My lab when she was young absolutely destroyed a door when we had to leave her alone, she ripped the entire door to wood shavings that she then spread everywhere! she chewed things and even had a few pees in the house, now she is the most mellow couch potato on earth and would never think about putting something in her mouth that is not hers.

Sometimes this puppyness can last right through the first year, or beyond.. The best thing to do is stick to a training schedule, incorporate training into everything, dont allow bad behavior even in play, like being too hyper, or rough. never allow the rules to be broken they will just add confusion, don't give food or attention for free, they must preform a behavior to receive them. Teach them quiet and settle so that you can make your dog have an off switch. As much exercise and stimulation you can provide will be beneficial, but let them know that after you have provided all their needs, they need to settle and be quiet.

2 large breed high energy puppies is a hand full! But all the work and persistence will pay off a hundred times more in the end. They just want what we have to give them, just our extra's, extra time, extra affection, ect... and in return they always give everything they have to give! Good luck I am sure you will be on your way to 2 well behaved life long friends! Take care!
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Old February 27th, 2009, 11:48 AM
maui_blue_eyes maui_blue_eyes is offline
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Wow two puppies at once you are brave!! It sounds like they have a wonderful life and get lots of excercise.

Just a few tips, do not feeling bad for putting them in their crates for a while for some rest if you need them to stop bugging you. I would take them for a hike and then put them in for a rest for a few hours. If they are bugging you, you could put them in again for a bit. It is ok for them to be in there for several hours per day as long as they are getting excercise.

I would really recommend, that you find time during the day to spend time training and bonding with each in one-on-one time. Puppies raised together will bond together more to the people often which can lead to issues.

If they are bothering you while you are working, and you give them attention, this reinforces them bugging you. Try to ignore them completely, no touching, talking, or eye contact (try folding arms and looking at the ceiling). I would say they can stay in the room with you but they need to learn while you are working they need to leave you alone. So, if ignoring does not stop them, put them for a time out in their crate. Try just a few minutes and let them out, if they don't get it then put them back in for a bit longer (try 2 mins or until they are quiet, next 5 mins or until quiet). If the come out the 2nd time and are being bratty, put them in for a long while. If you are consitent with this method they will learn that bugging you while you are working will not get them the attention they want, and will wait calmly for you to be done.

As for the barking, the citronella collars usually work awesome. They are probably barking out of play, or at some sort of animal, not boredom.

Good luck!
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Old February 27th, 2009, 05:24 PM
kandy kandy is offline
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I would agree that 2 pups are alot of work. I have 2 dogs, both 4 years old - and my son has 2 dogs, both 4 years old. Between us we have 2 newfs and 2 'littles' (a SharPei and a collie mutt).

Lots of exercise, and consistentency in rules and routine will get you through. I would have to advise against using the crate as any kind of punishment. Going into the crate should be enjoyable for the dogs.

You've been given lots of good advice, and yes - there will come a time when you'll miss all the rambunctious behavior and wonder what happened to your playful pups. LOL
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Old February 27th, 2009, 06:02 PM
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lUvMyLaB<3 lUvMyLaB<3 is offline
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i agree with the crate but do not agree with using it as a punishment, if they need a time out then use the bathroom or something but their crate is NOT for punishment to make them learn something. If they are bothering you just ignore them, eventually it will make them stop.. ignore bad behavior, reward the good.. that is the basics of positive reinforcement!
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Old February 28th, 2009, 10:41 AM
maui_blue_eyes maui_blue_eyes is offline
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Using a crate as a time out will not make the dog associate it as a negative place if you do not put them in it in a negative manner. If they are calmly placed into the crate for a time out, it will not harm their viewpoint of the crate as a positive. You can use a bathroom if you like also, but you run the risk of them getting into trouble in there.

I've taught many people to use a crate as a time out and it's never made the dog dislike it. I've also done it myself with lots of foster dogs. There's no problem with it, as long as you are calm.
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