I've never had a puppy before - HELP!

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by nvts, Jan 16, 2010.

  1. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    Hi! Well, we did it. difficult child 2 has been a shining star in a sea of blackness. He's doing well in school, has been a pleasure at home, and is doing the best that he can dealing with difficult child 1.

    A neighbor's sister had an 8 week old shih tsu that was being pushed around by her 7 month old shih tsu, so she gave it to us. Yahoo.

    Now mind you, I'm a person who LOVES big, dumb, sloppy, goofy dogs. We've always adopted shelter or dumped animals that couldn't get a home, but even those cost upwards of $250 to adopt. Amazing - they even run credit checks!

    Now, I'm being told to keep the dog in a cage almost all day or he will get an attitude and feel that he's the pack leader. Is this right?

    How old should he be to start box training him?

    He walks in circles all the time, sort of weird in my book.

    Any hints, tricks, experience with a self-propelled slipper would be greatly appreciated. If you have a good training web-site for small icky dogs, I'd appreciate it as well!

    Hope everyone is well!

  2. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    The cage is a good place for sleeping at night, and when you need a bit of time away from him during the day. Eight weeks is terribly young. It's like a 3-4 month old baby. It probably was still nursing last week.

    I would never keep a dog in a crate all day. No wonder it is running around in circles. It needs to be socialized and figure out his living space. Don't give him free run of the house, because they learn to not pooh in the area they live in. If they get too big of an area to run around in, they'll run off into a corner and do their business. But, they sleep a lot if you can get the kids to let them be!

    Are you sure you want a puppy?
  3. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    By "box training", do you mean a crate? A crate is a real life-saver and helps a lot with potty training but you don't want to keep him in it all the time. Just remember that when they are that little, you will have to take him outside probably once an hour until they get the idea, then when they go outside praise them to the hilt! And one that little is physically unable to hold it all night. You have to be very, very patient and remember that an 8 week old puppy is still an infant! That's pretty young to already be on his second owner. Ideally, they should stay with their mom and littermates till at least 10 to 12 weeks.
  4. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    The crate becomes their safe "cave". Never use it as punishment. All of mine are/were crate trained. I keep the crates in the garage with the doors open. One goes in on his own accord when he wants his bone to himself or he just wants to have safe space. It's a good way to train pups so they aren't frantic when they do need crated.
    Get a really reputable book on raising a puppy.
  5. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    You don't want to get a crate that's too big right now because if they have too much room in there, they'll pee and poop in one end and sleep in the other. Some of the wire crates have dividers where you can partition part of it off while they're little and open it up bigger later on. If you get a wire crate though, you will need something to cover it up with so he feels like it's his little 'den', his safe closed off place.
  6. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I had never used a crate before we got my little guy Buddy. We always had big dogs since I got with Tony. Buddy came with a crate and was crate trained. When Cory brought this new little puppy to us, I put her in the crate with Buddy. The crate is what I would call medium sized. The two of them sleep in there just fine. Now they wont be able to much longer...lol. Nina is going to be a big girl. The both go in there by themselves when the door is open. Its getting to be a tight fit now but they both want the other one in there now.
  7. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    The pet I struggled most with in the past to train, was a shih tzu. But he turned out to be the best dog EVER. He just took a while longer than I'd hoped to train.

    Once I did the crate training, he propelled along rapidly!!! The advice about a too large crate is pretty true. If given a huge room to roam inside, they will "go" inside. I purchased a kennel that would be adequate for sleeping and for when I was out, for when he'd be full sized. It gave him some extra space when he was a small pup. I put blankets inside to avoid the bit of extra room becoming a potty spot and had no problems.

    In the long run, what worked for my dog was:

    - He slept each night in the crate with the door shut. I woke through the night for a potty break until he was well trained. He did cry for a while at night until he adjusted. I learned to ignore it for his own sake and the long term value of him adjusting to the crate. He learned to LOVE that crate. After a couple months, if I was up later than normal, he would go climb in his crate and whimper until I said goodnight and closed it for the night hahaha

    - Because I'm home quite alot and not out all day working, it was a challenge to get him to be okay in the crate during daytime hours. It was so rare he would cry his poor head off. So I got advice from a good dog trainer, and began to crate him even when I was home, for short periods, during the day. I believe I started with 30 minutes, then moved to 60 minutes. He became content to be there during daytime, allowing me to know he was happy when I was out. His crate became a safe place for him. I called it his "Bed". Go to bed, time for bed, etc.

    - I never put him in the crate for being naughty. I didn't want a negative association.

    - Because he'd been paper trained when I got him, I did leave paper right at the door to outside initially. It was up to me to be sure to watch him. If he went to that paper, before he could get to business, I'd say something in a jolting tone (to distract him). Things like Potty, etc. I'd then scoop him up quickly and bring him outside without delay. I reserved treats the first few months for when he'd go outside and come in with success. If he didnt' pee or poop outside, no treat. When he did, a praise and a treat. He caught on quick.

    I found that before using the crate technique, he was simply not learning well. He'd mess in the house, get into things he shouldn't. The crate became his security blanket, which is the goal crate use is meant for. Smaller dogs tend to be jittery if they don't know what they are meant to be doing. I found that without a structure, he struggled to be a good dog, while instinct for chewing, messing etc was overwhelming for him.

    Because I wasn't wanting a guard dog, I didn't want him barking. Some smaller breeds can be very yappy. I also live in an apartment, and didn't want upset neighbors, or barking habits while I was out and he was home alone. I would give a sharp sounding NO when he'd bark for no good reason. I never let him leap on visitors from day one, and I trained him to not bark at doorbells, knocks, the kids coming into a room, etc. I would have loved to have a dark bark only in danger situations, but the result would have been him barking at ALOT of different stimulants. Because he wasn't permitted barking from day one, it was an easier thing to train into him than potty, chewing stuff etc.

    He was trained fully in a few months. He didnt' chew stuff, bark, mess in the house. He was a terrific pet with a wonderfully quirky personality. He was also alot of fun with his hair and LOVED to be brushed. The longer he got, the more time it takes though. They mat quite quickly. Especially take care of his ear hair as they are a breed very prone to ear problems. Keeping the ear hair trimmed, while maintaining a bit of it to protect from irritants, is a balance you'll learn quickly :).

    Enjoy your new pooch!!!! I was seperated for about 9 months a couple of years back, during which time I had a MS flare that stopped me walking in my home, let alone outdoors. Poor guy had a really hard time and it wasnt' fair for him. Since I didn't have anyone to help, I did right by him in finding him a new home. I have never gotten over losing him :(. Ironically S/O and I got back together within about 2 months. I wish I'd toughed it out. I've been looking online for ads to purchase another. I absolutly fell in love with the breed. They become true loyal friends.
  8. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    Young puppies just don't have the bladder capacity to go more than a few hours between potty trips. Something else you can try when it's still little and having accidents in the house ... When the pup is up and running around, literally tie him to you! Attach one end of a leash to your belt loop and the other to the dogs' collar. If you catch them starting to have an accident, you can immediately snatch them up and take them outside - then praise and treats when they go outside.

    And NEVER make going in the crate a punishment! It should be their refuge, their private safe little spot. Mine are so respectful of each others' crates, they don't even stick their noses in! I give them their breakfast in their crates so they don't mind going in at all. They've been so funny lately though! The three Bostons each have their own medium sized crates and I just recently bought a much larger crate for my mixed breed, Freebie, to use so she can be inside out of the cold while I'm at work. As soon as I brought the new BIG crate in the house, they all had to check it out - and they ALL want it! They don't associate it with Freebie yet so they figure it's up for grabs. I laughed till I cried at Katy the other day! I told her to get in her crate and she ran right into the big one, sat down, and waited for me to close the door! When I looked in there, she was sitting there smiling at me! When I said, "Katy ...", she gave me this look like, "Whuuuut????" :tongue:
  9. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    I used a crate (wire) until recently with my GSD. I quit and went to a heavy orthopedic bed when his back started going bad. He found it difficult to get up and down in the crate.

    Now, I wasn't closing the crate. He was denning in there. Part of the reason for having a dog like that is that he be free for home protection duties.

    I've since gone to the heavy foam bed and he sleeps on that just fine. In fact, the cat often sleeps with him, which is find of cute. (when the cat isn't parked on the bed, the more quilts the merrier or so he says.

    I still have the old crate and if someone wants it and can work out transportation from N. WI, they are welcome to it. If so, PM me. If not, I'm going to donate it to the local animal shelter where I volunteer.
  10. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Here's a good link about puppy training. It is to the house training part, but there are links inside it that have to do with other parts of puppy training.

    As Cary Grant said in "To Catch a Thief", puppies are "not for tourists". They are a very big commitment.

  11. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    The work factor is why I won't have another puppy. Gryphon will be the last. I do plan on always having a dog, but the new one with be an older dog from a rescue organiztion. I just don't feel up to dealing with the house training, the destructiveness, all of that.

    The next one will also be a medium sized dog. Still big enough to be a protector, but small enough that I can pick it up.

    I got Gryphon before I wrecked my back. Since then, I cannot lift hiim in and out of the SUV if his back is acting up. I'm a "big girl", but I cannot pick up a 90+ lb dog.
  12. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    Hi! Check on Craigslist. They're on there quite frequently as well as rescue dogs. There are actually shelters dedicated to different breeds (in NYC there's actually a pug rescue group!). Adopting was running roughly $250 bucks, but with the recession going on, a lot of people are giving their dogs away. If you're patient, you'll run into one that will meet your needs!

    Who knows? Are you allowed to mail them out to people? I'd put holes in the box...I swear!

    Actually, Furb (that's what difficult child 2 has named him, from Phineus and Ferb, but he wants it spelled with a "u", as in "fur", you know, like a dog has fur, get it, get it?) is neat little bugger - dumb as a stick, but a neat little bugger.

    Thanks everyone for all the help. As usual "you know who" accepted the offer of the dog and has really done nothing to help me figure out what to do! I was lost!

  13. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member Staff Member


    I agree with donna, who said that they need frequent potty breaks, even at night. When we got our Yorkie, I would have to get up every three to four hours at night for several weeks. Gradually, just like an infant waking through the night, she tapered off. I kept the crate in my bedroom and would get up when she started to whine. Within about a month or two, she was able to go through the night.

    I had a small kitchen back then and would lock her up in the kitchen after a while and got rid of the crate. Don't make that mistake. Since that was her "safe place," taking place of the crate, she growled at people when they came into the kitchen....like my mother-in-law and she bit a little 3 year old in the kitchen once. She also got a hold of the wallpaper on the wall and tore shreds of it. I hated that wallpaper anyway, but not really so good for the dog.

    Don't let the dog eat raisins or grapes. Apparently, they can cause kidney failure in dogs. Of course, I didn't know that and my dog would go nutso when the kids would leave a box of raisins on the table. I'd find the box shredded to peices all over the floor in another room. Possibly the reason why my dog had kidney failure. I wish someone had told me that little tidbit of info.
  14. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    What does my little E think of Furb? (Congrats by the way) and Happy belated birthday to my widdle baby girl....her's so precious yes her is.....I just remembered that 1.6.was her birthday - I am SO sorry I missed that. KISSES baby head softly!! WUV -Auntie Star.....who only has a picture of her in a yellow onesie.....sigh....:tongue:
  15. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I cant believe I forgot she just turned 1!...lol.
  16. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    Did you see this one?

  17. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    She is getting so big!
  18. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    What a cutie patootie!
  19. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member Staff Member

    Awww!!! She is so darn cute.
  20. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Here are the dog rules in my house:

    Seriously, though, Shih Tzu's can be very hard to train. See the link below and look at the trainability. It's not that they are not smart, they are just stubborn little cusses. LOL I say that with one laying at my feet and one draped across my lap as I am trying to type.


    I found that you just have to take them out every couple of hours to avoid accidents. Both of mine will tell me if they are cooped up in a room with me but if they get out of sight, accidents can and do happen.

    Having said that, they are the most lovable, sweet little things and I will always have a shih tzu in my life. Just invest in a big bottle of Nature's Miracle . . . it works wonders on accidents on carpeting.

    Good luck!

    Last edited: Jan 18, 2010