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How to calm a puppy?

Discussion in 'Dog Behaviour and Training' started by Pritthijit, Mar 7, 2021.

  1. Pritthijit

    Pritthijit New Member Registered

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    It has been my childhood dream to have a dog. Finally, I have fulfilled it. My nine week old lurcher puppy is very friendly in nature and always demands petting. He is hyper excited in the evening and wake me and my wife in the night. I have to calm him down . How can we calm him down so that me and my wife are having undisturbed sleep? He is a very sweet . He needs to be independent. Please offer suggestions.
     

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  2. JoanneF

    JoanneF Well-Known Member Registered

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    Sorry, is this in the evening, or is it overnight when you are sleeping?

    What is he doing?
     
  3. Pritthijit

    Pritthijit New Member Registered

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    He is being hyperactive and restless in the evening and wakes up few times in the night whilst me and my wife are sleeping. I need to address the issue.
     
  4. JoanneF

    JoanneF Well-Known Member Registered

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    The evening hyperactivity is common, and often happens when they are over tired, like small children fighting sleep. The zoomies!

    Try to anticipate when it is likely to happen, and before it does, do something calming like give a filled Kong toy, licking is a calming and relaxing activity. You can freeze it to make it longer lasting.

    When he wakes in the night, in what way does it disturb you?
     
  5. Pritthijit

    Pritthijit New Member Registered

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    He comes on our bed wanting attention. He does it four times. Thanks for the advice and will apply it
     
  6. JudyN

    JudyN Moderator Moderator Registered

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    To a certain extent, we gave in to the zoomies, got down on the floor with a load of tennis balls and other toys,a nd joined in. He would still get to the 'overtired toddler' point, but we eventually managed to teach him a good 'settle' so we could encourage him to crash out on his bed.

    Nine weeks is too young to worry about independence - he is a baby, and doesn't understand about day/night yet. When he wakes you, you could try putting him on lead and taking him into the garden to see if he wants to pee. If he does, praise/treat and take him back to bed. No talking apart from the praise - you want to be as boring as possible so he's not getting the attention he needs.

    Sleepless nights can be a killer - consider taking it in turns to be on 'night duty', maybe with the other person sleeping in another room. The knowledge that one night in two you will get a decent night's sleep can make it much easier to cope with the broken ones.
     
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  7. CoCo2014

    CoCo2014 Member Registered

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    He's a baby puppy, instead of playing energetic games, which just leave him wanting more, do some brain training, like clicker training the basic commands, sit, down, stand, give a paw, recall, touch, watch whilst you are sitting down. Lots of excellent YouTube videos from Kikopup
     
  8. Liamvv

    Liamvv New Member Registered

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    I know I'm late to this thread but I only just stumbled upon it. The simplest solution is to simply crate you pup.

    Start off teaching him that the crate is amazing, throw treats in there to teach him that good things are in the crate. Once he's happy going in then you can start closing the door, reward him when the door is closed and then let him out(do this with increasing duration). you can even feed him in his crate too so that he associates it with all the good things in his day to day life.
    Doing this training over the course of a day 5-10 minutes at a time will have him ready by the night time to relax and go to sleep. Pop him in the crate, close the door, maybe give him a stuffed frozen Kong to keep him busy and then go to bed. if he cries ignore it. It's not cruel because you know he's safe in there, you know he doesn't need the toilet because you've done your usual night time routine, so the crying is because he wants attention but h needs to learn he doesn't get it by crying.

    When you come down in the morning, let him out and give him a big fuss then carry on with your usual routine.
     
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  9. JudyN

    JudyN Moderator Moderator Registered

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    This approach isn't recommended nowadays. When a pup cries at being left alone, his distress is as real as that caused by hunger and pain. He doesn't know he's safe - in his mind, he's been abandoned. If he does eventually stop crying it's not because his distress has gone, but because he has learnt that when he's in what is to him a terrible situation, you won't help him.

    Now, if he cries or whines for a couple of minutes and then settles down, that's a different matter - but if he is clearly distressed, he's not ready to be left. Here's an excellent article on crate training by the behaviourist Emma Judson: Crate-Training.docx - Microsoft Word Online
     
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  10. Liamvv

    Liamvv New Member Registered

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    Hi Judy,
    Although its great that you've linked to a guide done by one behaviourist I'm following the science and research published by brown university. Link here for their paper.

    I know the popular method nowadays is that the dog can never experience anything even remotely negative, but just like you'd never give in to your child's demands every time they scream and cry you shouldn't tell people to give in to their dogs demands when they scream or cry.

    I've done the method I briefly described above for all 8 of my personal dogs, and have helped many clients using the same methods and advice too.
     
  11. JoanneF

    JoanneF Well-Known Member Registered

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  12. JudyN

    JudyN Moderator Moderator Registered

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    I think there's a big difference between whining because you want some attention, or the chicken just out of reach on a worktop, or would really like to play more, than crying because you're feeling scared or abandoned and no one is coming to rescue you. No, you don't want to have to go back to a dog who is screaming and crying - hence the aim of working within the dog's comfort zone, so you never have to put the dog into that position.

    The article you linked to does stress the importance of building up gradually so that your dog is much less likely to whine for any length of time, and that 'If the problem becomes unmanageable, you may need to start the crate training process over again.' It just leaves a grey area for judging whether the dog is whining because he would really prefer to have your company or is genuinely distressed, and I maintain that you need to avoid the latter at all costs.
     
  13. Liamvv

    Liamvv New Member Registered

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    You both seem to have missed the part in my first message where I describe introducing the dog to the crate and making sure it has positive associations. Instead you've latched on to the last part which is to ignore the dog whining.

    If you've made the crate a positive place to be, given them their night time toilet, and have ensured the crate is physically safe then the dog is whining because it wants your attention. No matter what way you spin it there is no other reason.
    If you come down when the dog starts crying you're then reinforcing that behaviour which as you know will increase the likelihood of it happening again. the dog learns that nice things happen in the crate AND that at night time he just needs to sleep quietly because you WILL be back in the morning.
     
  14. JacksDad

    JacksDad Active Member Registered

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    The Brown paper starts off with a fallacy. that dogs seek out dens. what is their supporting evidence? Even wolves do NOT seek out dens as a normal way of life. They do when giving birth and raising some pups, but otherwise not. And lets never forget...dogs might be genetically close to wolves, but they are not wolves. Anymore than we are mistaken as chimps simply because our genetics are so close. So this thought and justification is complete bunk/BS. Which is NOT to say teaching a dog to be comfortable in a crate is wrong, or cruel. only their starting place for "assuring" you that all is well. complete BS.

    The next fallacy, jumping to extremes of "never letting a dog experiencing anything negative" one end and "the sink or swim on the other". Even with children there is some serious rethinking of our theories in western culture. It is interesting that some cultures by our standards "coddle" their kids, but they actually end up having kids more mature, more secure, better adjusted kids than we do in the west. food for thought.

    It is NOT normal or natural for puppies to be left alone at the ages we in the western world think is ok, normal or puppies are expected to deal with. If the puppy had been left with the mother and litter-mates they would be with their social circle MUCH longer (thus not alone) and naturally (think desensitization) drift off on their own as their maturity/development progresses. in nature it is a much more gradual process than we ask of our puppies living in the human world. more food for thought.

    I agree that dogs need to learn what we might call frustration tolerance and delayed gratification, and 100% "protecting" them from anything stressful (not the same as distress) ever is a disservice. BUT they MUST learn it in age appropriate ways, and in "chunks" they can handle at their current state of development and in ways that do NOT create distress. stress is often over simplified as all bad, not so. BUT distress IS, and when a puppy whines, fusses, etc..that is best assumed to be distress. Distress as you are likely asking a dog to handle something they are not developmentally able to....yet. Mistakes happen, your not evil or a dog abuser...simply a mistake in over estimating your dogs development and training. it happens, just adjust and move on.

    Babies and puppies/dogs, are not "master manipulators". They whine, cry, fuss etc for a reason. There is a need to be met. If there wasn't they wouldn't be whining, fussing, crying. To assume it is manipulation is to assume you know what a dog is thinking and to apply an human projection/anthropomorphic based explanation.

    It is entirely possible to train a dog to settle in a crate and not ever have it cry, fuss etc. if you achieve that, you clearly moved at the pace the dog needed. if you get crying/whining/fussing...you moved too fast.

    Life provides plenty of stress for a dog to learn to deal with, we do not need to "manufacture" it by tossing a puppy into the deep in of the pool and take a sink or swim attitude.

    Do not confuse a behavior such as the dog who won't stop bugging you for just one more ball throw, with a puppy fussing in a crate. The case of the dog who won't stop bugging you for one more ball throw.... that is where we have to be the adult and say you have had enough, no more. So not "indulging" here is 100% appropriate. BUT what a wonderful history to have with a dog that just wants to play, play, play with you. On the other hand, the fussy puppy in the crate...a mistake was made on the part of the human and so fixing immediately (as in letting out of the crate) is 100% appropriate.

    Do you risk the puppy making the connection "I fuss, there for I get out of the crate"? in the most technical/labratory sense, yes. But life isn't a lab, and I have yet to see this happen IF you adjust the training so that next time, and the time after, and the time after that etc, there is no fussing and whining because the puppy isn't asked to handle more than they are developmentally able and/or the training has prepared them for.

    Addressing distress is never coddling nor wrong. it is in fact encouraged.
     
  15. Liamvv

    Liamvv New Member Registered

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    I agree with nearly everything you have said and addressed in your reply, except for the part where you think the dog wont make the connection of "when I cry I get let out".

    It is simple operant conditioning. the dog cries, you let him out(positive reinforcer), the dog learns that crying gets him out of the crate.

    The thing everyone seems to be missing in all my posts is that I agree you should train the dog to enjoy the crate. there is roughly 14-16 hours in most peoples weekend day, doing a 5-10 minute positive association with the crate every hour or two means your pup has at least 35 minutes of positive association and anywhere up to 160 minutes. More if you feed the dog in the crate and even more if you leave a filled kong with the pup like I suggested.

    The pup will go into the crate willingly, whine because it wants your attention and wants to be let out. if you ignore that for one night the pup will still remember all the good things from the day before AND the positive experience of being let out.

    I am in no way saying, nor have I ever said or suggested that you lock the dog in the crate from 18:00 to 10:00 the next day, that is too much. But if the pup is put in the crate to sleep at 22:00 when you go to bed, left with a kong which will easily last over an hour of constant licking(which no pup could sustain without falling asleep) and then let out at 08:00 when you wake up at most the pup will have been "left alone" for an hour or two because they'll sleep the rest.
     
  16. Liamvv

    Liamvv New Member Registered

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    That's me done anyway.

    I'm not here to argue or try to change anyone's ways. this is what has worked for me, all my clients, family, and friends. It's 99% of the time the recommended method by anyone who isn't a purely positive trainer because although it might cause 10 minutes of stress initially, it works and it teaches the dogs that bed time is bed time.
     
  17. JudyN

    JudyN Moderator Moderator Registered

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    As is often the case, we're possibly a lot closer in our views than it seems (and of course we pick up on the bits of people's posts we don't agree with). What is telling for me is that you say it might cause the dog 10 minues of stress initially - now if the dog whines for 10 minutes and then settles to sleep, maybe having a couple more brief whines in the night... that's fine in my books. If, because night-time is different from day, or for any reason, the dog howls for half an hour, or longer, and is clearly in distress, that's a different matter, and the dog needs rescuing. And at that point, any argument that you've trained the dog that the crate is a safe, positive, place so the dog can only be after attention goes out the window. And any argument that you shouldn't go to the dog while he's crying also goes out the window, as much as if he was in physical pain.

    So yes - I'd agree that it's OK to ignore a puppy whining in his crate if he doesn't get into a state and if he settles within a reasonable time.
     
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  18. Liamvv

    Liamvv New Member Registered

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    Thank you! I didnt even think that people would assume i meant ignore the dog if it cries for an hour. If ANY dog cries for that long then something is wrong. but most dogs will cry intermittently for 10-15 minutes before they just sleep.
     
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  19. JudyN

    JudyN Moderator Moderator Registered

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    Oh, the joys of internet discussion!! I'm ashamed to say that when I got my pup, 11 years ago, I thought you were meant to leave them to cry, no matter what... and it didn't go well :oops: It was what a friend advised me to do, and what my sister-in-law did... and I dare say there's still a fair few people who think it's the way to go.
     
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  20. JacksDad

    JacksDad Active Member Registered

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    As I said...technically yes. BUT, it is not that simple in the real world. yes, something called single event learning is real and it happens. That is what you are concerned about. A legitimate concern, but only a concern and something to be mindful of. It is Not a given it will happen. I have worked with dogs that not just occasionally, but regularly picked things up in one event. Intended or not. They are a challenge and keep you on your toes. But MOST dogs do not learn the lessons we are trying to teach on a single event. They require repetition to truly learn what it is we are trying to train. This is why it is safe to do what I am saying provided you actually adjust your plan.

    In addition, when anxiety/distress is why a dog is creating a fuss, one time of letting them out to relieve the anxiety will NOT create that association of I bark/cry I get let out. NOT in the way you are suggesting. NOT if you adjust your training plan and criteria to ensure the puppy is NOT left in the crate long enough to need to cry/bark etc. Then increase duration in a pace that wont trigger the anxiety.

    I work primarily with fearful/anxious dogs. They are a real education in how all this works and I promise you... if you left your puppy in longer than they are trained for and they fuss and cry etc and you let them out...that one time will NOT teach them to bark to get out of the crate.

    I have also "ignored" the bark when anxiety isn't in play and focused on a wanted behavior, reinforced it even though a bark tagged a long for whatever reason. In this case usually excitement, but sometimes "bossy" behavior too. BUT by focusing on the desired behavior, being precise with the reinforcement, being good with timing, the bark went away. It did not get reinforced.

    The why? Matching Law. As useful and powerful as Operant Conditioning is, it's not the only learning/behavior law in action. Matching Law tells us that given two behaviors, the one that gets the most reinforcement will be the behavior most likely to be seen.

    So if I goof in my training plan, leave a dog in a crate longer than they are ready for, dog fusses/barks etc, I let the dog out, if you graph the history of the dog and crate... if the "bark gets let out" has one event, but a quiet sit to be let out has 10 events, the sit quiet to be let out is the more likely behavior to be seen.

    It is time we start upping our understanding of behavior laws AND our training game. why should a puppy ever need to fuss, cry, whine, bark etc when being trained. Why is this considered "ok" or "good" and NOT a deficiency of a training plan?

    Time to up our game.
     
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