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Someone please help! My springer spaniel puppy can't be disciplined

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Yes why is it always something precious? It's never the old curtains you wanted to replace. If it makes the OP feel better, our lawyer friend in London told us how on 'Bring your dog to work day' his Head of Chambers' beloved English Bull Terrier chewed through the leg of a Chippendale table in their meeting room- while they were sitting around it. Approx value: £25,000.
Well, he is a spaniel, and spaniels are not the calmest of dogs! About the nipping, leave him, ignore him, throw him a toy and walk away. My sister, runs away when the puppy nips and her and then the doggo just thinks its a game! With dogs, positive reinforcment is always the best way. The thing about pinning him and growling, that won't work, it'll get him riled up if anything. I think the crate idea is actually pretty decent, but, it depends on the dog. At this age, it kind of hard to stop the boundless energy... I should know, I have an 11 week old cocker. When your puppy has had his vet checkup with the vaccine, and he can go out for walks, it'll be much easier. When he is old enough, take him for long walks and run with him to tire the little one out, by the time you get home the poor thing will probably just collapse into his bed! I wouldn't reccomend doing it on a rainy day though, I just took mine for his first walk and all he wanted to do was sit there and shiver as it was pooring down, but I had no choice because I had to go pick my sister up from school. Then, we got home and he was racing round the house biting everything in sight! Also, yes it does help to have another dog around.

Hope it all does well with puppy! :D
He's just over 10 weeks old so I've had him for two weeks. I've read all of this very logical sounding advice on how to discipline puppies but it simply doesn't work on my dog. When he does something naughty me and my husband both know to clap once and say no firmly (at this stage it's a proper shout). He just doesn't register it,

First, there is zero reason to "discipline puppies". why? they are just being who they are, puppies. doing what comes natural. However, this does NOT in any way mean we have to accept or allow or be "permissive" etc with behaviors that are not compatible successful living with puppy/dog. What it does mean is you need to shift your focus from stopping behaviors to training and reinforcing what you would like your puppy to do.

Why? because when you focus on just stopping behavior, the puppy/dog is not learning to the "right thing". In absence of training what to do, they will continue to cycle through natural, normal, but likely unwanted dog behavior. which leads to frustration on your part.

he has manic episodes where he starts biting and nipping at us and our clothes as if we are toys, if we stand up or try to redirect him to one of his vast amounts of actual toys he just starts going at our legs and has put holes in two of my leggings.

perfectly normal puppy behavior BUT also perfectly understood to be UNWANTED puppy behavior. ALL puppies go through this to some degree. So do not let your self slip into thinking this can't be solved or you have a little monster on your hands. And yes, it is VERY frustrating.

We have now resorted to putting him in the crate when he does this. I can see that people have said do not use your crate for discipline, but we really have no option.

Yes, you do not want to use the crate for discipline. BUT how you go about this is what makes it "discipline" or not.

He also chews at the base of the sofa and has already damaged it. When he does this he gets the clap and the no which he always ignored, and then he goes in the crate for about 1-2 minutes, but as soon as he's out he chews the sofa again, so the process repeats and I really think he has no idea he's not meant to chew the sofa.

So you are running into one of the reasons I do not advise punishment. In behavior terms punishment means doing something that the learner does not want to experience again. Clearly you have yet to actually do that or the behavior would not be repeated. To achieve an experience not wanted repeated might mean doing some really painful or really scary things to your dog. There is WELL documented reasons for not doing this because of the fall out. I have worked with the consequences of this. In all cases I have worked, the fallout put others at risk of being bit by the dog.

I also do not generally advise telling a dog no. NOT because I think you are going to damage the poor dog's psyche, that is just silly. The why is for the exact same reason we do not use sit to also mean down, come, stay, leave it, etc. If you told someone to train all those things using just one word, we would all laugh and say "that person has no clue what they are saying". But yet we seem to think we can achieve this very idea when telling a dog "no". No has no meaning to a dog because it is too abstract and broadly used. they are generally responding to our tone of voice, scary body movements, and the intensity we put off in that moment. NOT the word "no".

in the example you provide, it is a NATURAL reflexive response on our part to start saying no when we see our puppy chewing on the couch. but do not confuse it with "training". Your reaction ends up just being a disruptor, nothing more.

I've tried harsher forms of discipline such as growling at him and pinning him down like my parents dog does to him as a telling off (which he listens to when it's coming from the dog) but he seems completely oblivious to even those when it's coming from humans.

completely expected. we are not dogs and trying to replicate dog behavior is a wast of time.

I know harsher forms of discipline are never advised but I'm just desperate to see some kind of acknowledgment from him. I've had two red setter puppies in the past at my family home. Neither were as bad as my puppy, perhaps because it was a busier household with other dogs.

Harsher forms of discipline is not the path you want to go down. I will give you options in a moment.

Lastly, you can NOT judge this dog by other dog's past behaviors. each dog is their own individual. It is also easy to forget years later the frustration with the last puppy. if we didn't, we probably wouldn't repeat the experience over and over.

So what to do.

First, on the chewing. what is legal to chew? This is taught in a few ways.
1. when seeing the puppy starting to chew on something they shouldn't, redirect them to what they should chew.
2. when seeing the puppy about to start chewing on something they shouldn't, redirect them to what they should chew.
3. regularly offer the right chew. puppy just hanging out, needing something to do, here is a legal chew item.

rarely is this single event learning. meaning you have to do this regularly, repeatedly for a couple weeks.

combined with above, when you can't supervise the puppy, they are in a xpen or some confined space so they can't experiment with chewing the wrong thing...and are provided with the right thing to chew while in the xpen.

a lot of learning is through repetition, so do not expect anything else from the puppy. remember, baby, with baby sized memory and attention span. it will get better.

time outs and chill outs. Not the same thing.

Time out is a consequence of action. typically the following is the most effective. puppy is jumping on you. nipping at you (which makes this a bit harder) you simply disengage. step a few feet away. count, 1, 2,3,4,5. reengage. puppy bites/nips. disengage. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. try again. IF on the 3rd time the puppy isn't indicating "they get it"..teeth on human, nipping at clothes ends the fun/engagement it is time for a chill out.

the reason the "time outs" are you disengaging is because if you pickup the puppy, that is still interaction. or it could turn into a game of chase and by the time you get the puppy, the lesson would be lost. also the short duration is a key...longer and you risk the puppy not making the connection between their action and the consequence...loss of access to you. the play stopping etc. But if they are not responding even a small amount to start, it isn't that this isn't working, they are simply over excited and not in a state that facilitates learning. time to chill out.

Disengagement can be you stepping away, or exiting the room behind a closed door.

Chill out.
this is simply the puppy needing time to calm down. it's not punishment, it's not reinforcement, it's not training. it is simply puppy chilling out. put you puppy into a xpen, crate, small room behind a baby gate that is all setup for puppy. they have their water, bed, get given a toy or chew item and given 30 minutes or more to just calm down.
The space is prepared for puppy, and if they have a house training accident there is no damage to the house. pee pads line the surface.

Speaking of house are stopping in play to give a chance to go to the bathroom in the right place right? waking up, play, eating all stimulate the puppy to eliminate. so be sure when these things happen there is ample chance to get outside to bathroom.

The behavior textbook, the one that is the "bible" for how skinners (Aka, reinforcement and punishment as consequences of behavior.) devotes 3 very larger chapters to how to use reinforcement to correct unwanted behaviors. in a nut shell, it is simply proactively training what it is you want, and reinforcing the heck out of at this stage. And that is where your focus should be right now. training your puppy what to do. otherwise you are going to be chasing your tail and become frustrated.
Thanks all. He's now able to go on walks which makes a huge difference as I just take him for a walk when he gets manic. Also great to hear that positive reinforcement is the most important thing at his age, takes the pressure off in a big way!
Thanks all. He's now able to go on walks which makes a huge difference as I just take him for a walk when he gets manic. Also great to hear that positive reinforcement is the most important thing at his age, takes the pressure off in a big way!

If it helps, even with dangerous aggression I have never used punishment (discipline/correction), it just isn't needed.
Actually, at all ages ;)
Just as a good example of positive reinforcement for all ages, my reactive old boy I walk, he's nearly 14 years old, I've been using the 'watch me' technique for passing dogs easily, with just slices of carrot( as he can't have other treats) and with being consistent in the teaching/training, I'd say 7 times out of 10 we will pass with no reaction at a closer distance than he's ever been comfortable with.. and the unavoidable close meets where he does react I can get him to pass, calm down and watch me in just a few steps now as opposed to him obsessing until the dog is virtually out of sight and then on with our walk.. I am really chuffed with his progress, having a more relaxed walk is good for all..:)
Good luck with your pup, if you can teach an old dog new tricks you can teach a new dog anything if you do it the right way eh;)

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