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Offline Katrina

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New and a bit overwhelmed!
« on: September 12, 2021, 01:06:21 PM »
Hi all!
I'm Katrina and I brought our new puppy Oscar home last week. He's a beautiful little Red cocker, 13 weeks old now and he's so cuddly and friendly. He's doing lots of new puppy stuff which I can see from other posts is pretty standard stuff... digging up the garden, eating grass/moss, trying to chew everything in sight... 

We've never had a dog before and I thought we had done our research but man are we exhausted!!!

He sleeps all night and is doing pretty well with toilet training so far. He's been outside for everything all day yesterday and so far today. He automatically sits when he thinks a treat is coming and I feel like he has such potential to be a delightful doggy!

However, I'm still struggling a bit. We have two kids (11 & 5) so the house is active and noisy. Oscar is really struggling to settle down to get some sleep whilst we're all around in the day. And then when he's over tired he really is a nightmare... just grabbing, air snapping, running everywhere and biting (just nipping really) if we try to stroke him and help calm him down. I dont want him to keep getting in this state... but I cant just stop family life to sit with him quietly (when I can I do and he settles well with me in the room, but if my 5 yo comes in to ask something, or there's chatter and movement he's up again). He does have a crate and sleeps well there at night, but in the day just wants to be with us all the time and won't rest. Any tips to help him get some rest??

We're all getting a bit anxious about his sleep/ over tired state and my 5 yo is often in tears when he's like this which adds to the stress.

We're trying a routine of in crate every couple of hours for about an hour-ish. He needs to wee every two hours. He always gets treats and fun stuff in his crate and seems to like it there. He goes in by himself sometimes and we're training in/out with treats.

Can anyone help please?

Offline Ben's mum

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Re: New and a bit overwhelmed!
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2021, 07:51:32 PM »
Hi Katrina I feel your pain 💕 George is 13 weeks and exactly the same.  He is our third cocker though and I know lots of people with cocker pups over the years so although it is exhausting this bit I was prepared for it (sort of)  when they lunge snarling and snapping itís hard to remember the cute puppy pictures in the books 🤣 it does get better and it is so worth it in the end xx

The grabbing and biting hurts doesnít it and in the evening when you are tired anyway it is such hard work!
Some of the things we find help:
Training with a clicker but not fetch or tugging games. We have done basics like sit, down, paw, touch with his nose etc things he has to think about they make him work and he is sleepy afterwards
We have a range of the brain games to find food and alternate them so he has different ones
Give him his tea in a snuffle mat so he is busy and working for his food
We have just given him his first puppy antler to chew that keeps him busy and his teeth clean. But I always swop it for something nice to take it away after a while so he doesnít guard it.
We also have an anco root to chew on
Some days this works and there are some days he has a blast of biting even if we have tried all this so he has time out but normally only a few minutes at a time till he calms down.

If all else fails we just let him rampage round for a few minutes while we sit with our feet off the floor so he canít reach us and nip them and when he realises he is not getting any attention he calms down.
Hopefully this stage wonít last too long xx


Offline Katrina

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Re: New and a bit overwhelmed!
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2021, 08:30:46 PM »
Hi Ben's mum,

Sounds like you're doing such a fab job! Thanks for the reassurance - it's good to hear that this won't last forever. I've had a few teary moments wondering whether we've made a huge mistake. But we all love him so much!

Do you train all those basics at once? I dont know whether we're supposed to be focusing on certain things at a time or just going for a few different ones and hoping he picks it up (or... more realistically... hoping I can recall them!)

It's a great idea to focus on training in the evening to calm him and wear him out too. My 11 yo would love to be involved too so that sounds perfect. I just need him to be calm enough to be listening!

Thanks for the snuffle mat idea too, my youngest would really enjoy hiding his tea in it  :D

Offline Ben's mum

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Re: New and a bit overwhelmed!
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2021, 11:24:38 PM »
Hi Katrina
How much you teach Oscar each time depends on how food motivated he is and his attention span. George is totally obsessed with his food so it makes life easier and I use his whole evening meal portion for training and brain games.
I always start with sit itís the easiest and I use a clicker.
I aim to do enough training so that he is tired but not too much so he gets board or frustrated and always end on a high !

We did sit and down for the first day or so, but I started at 8 weeks as soon as he came home, then added something new every couple of days so he has quite a repertoire now 😊 
So one handful of food is our evening tea
Some goes into snuffle mat, that takes about 5 mins
I would do 5 mins toys that hide the food inside
About 10 mins actual clicker training
Then the brushing game 🤣 so I still use the clicker but really calm and gentle with a puppy brush start to brush his back click and a treat, brush his ears click another treat, I work all over it takes about another 5 mins touching his paws and between his toes (click and treat )
Lift each ear etc etc to George itís the relaxing end to a game but it is getting him used to being handled and touched everywhere, very useful for keeping feet and everywhere tidy and trimmed. He is reasonably sleepy by the time we finish.
At this stage I keep the treats just quite plain like puppy biscuits, saving things like chicken or liver cake for harder situations like practicing Ďgiveí when you are outside and the stakes are higher 🤣 or recall outside.
Oh yes give is really useful, you can get them to spit out most boring stuff like socks, shoes, paper, leaves etc on the give command in exchange for a biscuit.
Hope that helps a bit xx

Offline Katrina

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Re: New and a bit overwhelmed!
« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2021, 07:19:02 AM »
Thank you so much! This is so, so helpful and has given me hope that we can really get started on some of these skills.

I think we have a reasonable start to "sit" and toileting is still going well. I'm going to treat recall today and get his favourite treat out for "give" (cheese!) 

I'm going to go and get a clicker today - I've been praising with "good boy" and giving treats which does work. But I've done some Google games and can see why a clicker might well be a better/faster option. He absolutely loves his food and eats everything in sight... he can smell a treat a mile away and after a wee goes to sit in the kitchen by the cupboard the treats are on!  I can see how helpful this is going to be!!

Thanks again - it's so good of you to share your experience with me! I really appreciate it!!! Xx

Offline Ben's mum

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Re: New and a bit overwhelmed!
« Reply #5 on: September 13, 2021, 04:00:48 PM »
Hi Katrina
One thing I will say is after the hard work cockers are just the most gorgeous dogs ever 💕 you just have to keep that in mind 🤣
I had a thought about another easy brain game we do and your children could do with Oscar.
If the weather is decent you can throw the handful of one meal on the grass and let him Ďfind ití he has to use his nose and snuffle round to find all the food. It also slows down eating, I donít know about Oscar but George practically inhales food.
I do the same thing indoors but it depends how houseproud you are as the food goes everywhere! I also use the Ďfind ití command while George is looking and he now knows that means to look for food. Sometimes in the evenings if he is really boisterous I will hide food in harder places like under cushions on the floor and in quite tricky places so he has to work a bit harder, he gets so excited and it keeps him happy and busy for a while xx

Offline Katrina

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Re: New and a bit overwhelmed!
« Reply #6 on: September 13, 2021, 09:16:51 PM »
Yes he inhales food!  :005: they sound so similar! I did get a bowl that drops the food into swirl shapes but he doesn't seem to be able to get the food out yet- maybe he's too small??  I can absolutely just chuck it in the garden though... easy solution! And I am houseproud... but he loves food so much that I have no doubt he'll find and eat it all. A quick hoover and who's to know the floor has been for mealtime?!

I need a list of commands stuck up on a door or wall somewhere though...

Sit
Find it
Down
Paw
Touch

The shiop near us had no clickers left so I've ordered one and it's coming later in the week.

We've just had a another wild evening of leaping, snapping and being all round over excited. He just wants to play... but seems out of control. Hopefully the clicker training will help...

Offline MIN

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Re: New and a bit overwhelmed!
« Reply #7 on: September 14, 2021, 09:22:05 AM »
What your children can do, and will be fun for all in the house. Get a hanki or similar and rub it in your /their hands. Get pup to sit and someone go and hide cloth in another room. Hold your hand under pups nose for a sniff then send him to find and bring back. We still do this with our 10 years old red girl. She will find hidden toys just by us naming them
You're always there when I need you. Devoted, loving and true.
No one could wish for anything more, Than a faithful friend like you
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Offline Katrina

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Re: New and a bit overwhelmed!
« Reply #8 on: September 15, 2021, 07:49:37 PM »
Thanks min! The kids really would love this! He's rubbish at bringing us things though!  :lol2:  I think we'll need to teach a retrieve... he picks things up and just runs away with them!

Offline cazza

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Re: New and a bit overwhelmed!
« Reply #9 on: September 16, 2021, 05:09:27 AM »
Thanks min! The kids really would love this! He's rubbish at bringing us things though!  :lol2:  I think we'll need to teach a retrieve... he picks things up and just runs away with them!

So he runs away with an item, the worst thing you can do is chase him - go round the house and toddler proof it like you did when your children were starting to crawl. That way he shouldnít be able to get anything of value to you or dangerous for him to have.
Start teaching recall and give him cheese as a reward (as you say thatís his favourite- Ashís is hot dog sausages  ;) ) and also teach Ďgiveí and swap the item

Hi and welcome, youíve been given great tips so far - recently been back to that stage myself and it does sometimes make you wonder if you have done the right thing bringing in a pup  :shades:

Ash is nearly 8months now and thankfully those mad cockerdile moments are very few but there is still the odd time - a lot of time with Ash itís because she is over tired

I make Ash work for her food too, we have a treat ball and a flying saucer (both from pet at home)

Wishing you and your family all the enjoyment a cocker brings and look forward to see how you are getting on  :D

Bensmum - madam hates the brush I can touch her all over but as soon as she sees the brush the  >:D comes out - going to try the clicker on her with that, didnít think of that so thanks (was treating her but not using the clicker)




Offline Katrina

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Re: New and a bit overwhelmed!
« Reply #10 on: September 17, 2021, 10:21:00 PM »
Thanks cazza!  We try to supervise him all the time he's out of his crate and I don't chase him... I'm working on the kids not chasing him. They just forget and wander after him and so he thinks it's a game    :-\  Most things are away in the rooms he is allowed in and in the garden. In a busy household, it's more often things that are accidentally left out rather than kept in that place.

I'm trying the 'drop' or 'give' when he does mange to find something he shouldn't have. It's usually silly stuff - my eldest had a friend round today who took her socks off... treasure to Oscar!! He really wanted it, but did give it up for a tiny piece of ham.

I totally agree with the overtired comment. We have had a brilliant day today - a couple of really good walks and he's responding really well to sit, stay and lie down; he's so responsive after some sleep! He's been super cuddly and settled most of the day and then got very excited to see a new face in the house - he played nicely for 10 mins and then got a bit nippy again, so back in the crate to chill out. But then this evening he just went wild! After an hour of trying to help him settle with us in the living room, I've popped him back in his crate and he's out for the count. His behaviour definitely deteriorates when he's overtired. I really need to make sure he's getting enough rest!  If someone can tell me how to explain to a cocker he needs to sleep; that would be great  :lol2:  ;)

The clicker arrived today  :D I've been "loading" it by clicking with every treat. And we've been playing brain games with him - he loves to find which hand has the treat. The brush is a total fail though  :lol2: he would very much like to eat it! We'll see what happens once the clicker is established.

Making him snuffle for his food works well too, tea time has been like that for a few days and he seems calmer after it.

I'm feeling much more positive than this time last week. He's a lovely addition to the family, although I know we have a lot of work ahead of us. But I feel like I understand him a bit better!

Thanks all!! It's so lovely of you to take the time to share your experience xx

Offline phoenix

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Re: New and a bit overwhelmed!
« Reply #11 on: September 17, 2021, 11:46:40 PM »
What a lovely thread!    So positive
 
Puppies leave you in tears some days,  but the rewards are worth it.    My advice is to train the humans , which is much harder.  Now schools back, you can get peace and quiet.
Enjoy every day, they grow so fast
Xx
RIP Marti  the EPI springer age 12,  and beloved black cocker Bobby, 8 yrs old, too soon, from PLN.
Now owned by TInker, tiny hairy grey poodle/terrier rescue from Greece and Jack, local rescue,   scruffy ginger terrier mutt.

Offline Mrs Moo

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Re: New and a bit overwhelmed!
« Reply #12 on: September 22, 2021, 12:16:11 AM »
Hi Katrina,
I am new too, with a 15 week old girl, it's a baptism of fire isn't it  :luv:.   I hear you 100%!
Puppy may be overtired from not being rested consistently enough during the day, thus driving you all a bit batty for attention.  If you google it there are tables online showing how much sleep they need and t's a lot at this age, I can't remember but up there in the high teens (number of sleep hours advised), even though they are all fired up.
From reading your post, the real concern is giving you all a bit of a break and establishing a more balanced routine.  If you can try to keep to a rough schedule of crating it may help a bit e.g. have really set times during the day when you crate, come hell or high water, perhaps cooking/mealtime, school home-time, i.e. when it's busier.  An hour here or there are what works for your schedule and busy household.  Getting puppy used to calming time on own in a quiet spot is a good thing, a definite skill for them to learn.  Ours grumbles for the olympics at first, lol, but now settles after a minute and takes a nap.  She has learned  that I will return and is becoming used to it. 
You could try a beef trachea as a crating aid (sounds grim but is essentially a dried hollowed out chew-stick type treat which has health and dental benefits) is something we introduced at 14 weeks - puppies from 12 weeks can chew on them without issue -  you will find them online.  It looks like a battered old opaque rubber windpipe. Ours will happily spend 20 mins chowing down on that in her crate, and now actually prefers a quiet spot to get stuck in and indulge.  We reserve it for crating time so that she associates it with time to chill. You could try one, you never know, your puppy might also find them as irresistible as ours? When crating during the day, I also close curtains and put on radio 4 down low, lol - sounds bonkers but it creates a relaxing atmosphere away from the human motorway  :005: that is our kitchen area.
Only very recently we have noticed a big change in behaviour, really quite startling - puppy has gone from bonkers cockerdile needy mode to much calmer, dare I say it, more mature mode.  I am so grateful that the posters on here were right - puppy will start to calm.  I now believe it, so keep the faith.
It sounds like you are doing so many great things with your puppy, I empathise with the sheer constantness of it all and exhaustion of early days, but I'm sure you will start to turn a corner soon.  Best of Luck  :D

Offline Katrina

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Re: New and a bit overwhelmed!
« Reply #13 on: September 24, 2021, 08:59:09 PM »
Hi Mrs Moo!

Thanks so much for your ideas. I really appreciate them!

Yes he's definitely overtired! Today he's wild in the evening and just can't settle - he reminds me of my son when he was a screaming, overtired toddler!

I can find lots of information about maximum crate times at once and about how much sleep puppies should get. I cant find how long it's fair to crate him in total over 24 hours... he only consistently settles in his crate, but I don't want him to spend hours in the crate overall. So I grapple with guilt that he's not resting vs guilt that he's crated.   >:(

None of this is helped as he has eaten something that has disagreed with him and he's had a dodgy tummy. We've been avoiding treats and he's been on chicken/rice so I'm finding it difficult to do training with him. So many "brain games" are also food based so I think he's under-stimulated too. So without training... he's making up his own "jobs" to keep himself busy (chewing his lead is #1)

I feel like we're really messing this up today :(

Offline Katrina

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Re: New and a bit overwhelmed!
« Reply #14 on: October 03, 2021, 02:08:35 PM »
Hi all - I wanted to just check in and say thanks to you all for your advice! I keep coming back to this thread to check that I'm following as much as I can...

We now have a solid sit, stay, lie down, off and come in quiet areas without distractions.

Next steps are building this up in other places and adding in some loose lead practise at home along with leave/take it.

We also need to desensitise to the car, hairdryer and brush.

We're beginning to feel like we're making some progress. He sits when the kids enter a room until they sit down - they feed him and do some of the walks with him. He does still get jumpy and occasionally nippy, but much less now than a couple of weeks ago.

I just wanted to update you all since you took the time to respond  :luv: