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Puppy training, am I doing it right?

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Hello dear everyone!


I just got my puppy -- Gogo -- last Friday and I've been learning so much from everyone on this forum about how to get along and train a pup. Plus, Gogo is my first dog ever! So big THANK YOU!


After only 3 days, Gogo can already do sit, stay, come(sometimes), release(sometimes). And he is able to sit still for food until I ask him to start eating. I am thrilled by how smart he is!


But I do have some questions I want to consult you pros :)


1) I live on the second floor of a condo. If Gogo is in his crate, he will whine to let me know that he needs a potty break. And I will take him downstairs. Since the stairs is pretty long and steep and he is afraid to go up and down himself, I will be holding him on our way. But when he is not in his crate, there is no way I can know he wants to pee -- he will just pee on the floor if I wasn't paying close attention(I did caught him in the middle of the accident several time and scooped him immediately and went outside). So now, if I know it's around his potty break time, I will put him in the crate so that he can alarm me. I donnot imagine this to be the way forever, but how should I teach him to give me the potty sign when he is not in his crate?


2) He started mounting/humping on my legs. I will clap my hands really loud and then turn around. So far this seems to be taking effect, but I'm not so sure. If you have dealt with similar situations, I would greatly appreciate any advice!


3) He seems to be afraid of darkness. When we take a walk at night he will just sit on the grass/ground and refuse to move, sometimes with his soft baby whining, ears hanging. Is there a way to teach him not to be afraid? Or will he just overcome it over time and as he gets familiar with the environment?


Otherwise, I think Gogo is doing great! Although there are setbacks in his training, esp when we go outside, Gogo does learn very fast and is a sweetheart!


And here comes the photos!


Thanks, everyone!






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Gogo is so cute! Our border collie mix is 16 weeks old, but we've had him since he was 8 weeks. I think, when it comes to potty training, my philosophy has always been that a puppy can't go outside too many times for potty. You don't say how old Gogo is, but from the photos it looks like he's maybe 8 weeks? At that age a puppy needs to pee about every 30 minutes. Definitely after naps, after meals, and after playing/excitement. This is tough when you live in a condo, but honestly their bladders are just tiny when they're young. We would take Cricket out after all those times, and many times in-between. We watch him closely and if we saw him sniff the ground, turn around in a circle, or look distracted, we knew he had to pee. Take Gogo out the same door each time. We hung Cricket's leash on the knob of the front door and would rattle it each time we went to take him out. Now he goes to the door and sits by his leash.


I can't speak to the humping, but I suspect this is perfectly normal behavior. My family dog growing up (a spayed female) used to hump my dad's legs all the time, her whole life. :)


Cricket was afraid to venture out in the dark when he was little. Only in the past couple of weeks is that fear fading. I think that's very normal instinctive behavior. The dark hides predators, right?


Good luck with Gogo -- what a sweet pup!

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Your puppy looks very young (also very cute). How old is Gogo?

I think he is just a baby right now. This means that, as mentioned by the previous response, he cannot hold his pee very long.


the best way to potty train is simply never to allow the puppy to go potty in the house. If he is not in his crate, you gotta be watching him literally every single second. If you cannot keep eyes on the pup, he is either in a crate or an X-pen, no exceptions, not even for one minute, not even long enough to go get something from another room or go to the bathroom. And you take him out after meals, when he wakes up, after he has played, after he has had water, and so on. Praise him enthusiastically for alerting you to his need to go. If he manages to squat in the house, say "uh-oh!", and pick him up and take him out.


Humping is normal. Your response seems reasonable. Just don't get frustrated or angry about it; he is only following instincts, and he will learn in time that you don't want him to do that.


As for being afraid of the dark, or whatever it is that he is fearful of at night, the most important thing is to let him know that you are his safe place and you have his back at all times. Don't feed into his fear by making "ooh, poor baby, it's OK" kinds of noises to him (not that I think you were, just saying). Instead, be extra cheerful about going out at night. Say "let's go out!" in the happiest tone of voice, take some yummy treats with you, and talk cheerfully to him while he is out. Give him a few treats. Tell him he's a good and wonderful puppy and he is safe with you, and always in an upbeat tone of voice. If he likes a certain toy or kind of play, try to engage him in that for a minute or 2.

Probably soon he will start to like being outside at night.


If you see him fearful of something in particular......another dog, an owl, whatever.....pick him up and tell him, again in an upbeat tone, that he is OK and safe with you. He needs to know that you will protect him and it's all ok.


Welcome to the forum. You will get a lot of info and support here.

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I've taught all my dogs a 'check it out' cue. Your pup may be too young right now, but it might be a good idea to have in your back pocket. 3 of my dogs have been timid, the other two were in love with everything all the time.


When you first see your dog flinch or turn away from something, (and you know it's totally safe) walk up to the Big Scary Thing and coax them to you. If they're very afraid, they may only take a step towards you and that's a good start. Praise/reward however you do that, then keep on going. Around the BST if you have to.


Keep doing this process, letting them set the pace and rewarding/reinforcing for bravery. Two things happen: you build more and more trust from your dog to you, and your pup gets a better sense of being okay in the world in general.


My current boy is almost 10, and still shys a bit when he sees something totally unexpected. I saw a friend a few days ago on his motorcycle. Gibbs had met Ken before, but never on a bike in all his gear. Gibbs halted for a second, but as soon as Ken said hi he went right over for a pat on the head.


Keep exposing Gogo to the nighttime in small bits. Make it fun, and don't 'poor baby' him. Take a squeaky toy outside with you, that you've already taught him to play with during the day. You'll get there.


Ruth and Gibbs

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Regular potty breaks are good. Take him out immediately after eating or drinking etc, don't leave him too long. You will be able to increase the time as he gets older. When he does start to pee outside, say whatever you would like to be his "pee command" and then praise/treat. Eventually he will learn to pee on command.

I know others have had success teaching their dog to ring bells when they need to go out. I have never trained that, but maybe someone else can help.

As far as night time walks go, I suggest if he is afraid and unwilling to move, sit next to him very calm and happy, talk to him in a happy voice while looking around. Let him know he is safe with you and you feel safe. Don't pat him or coo to him, let him gain courage from your demeanour. When he starts to explore, praise, treat etc. This may take a long time, but you need him to decide night is not scary, and it is hard when you do not know exactly what is the Big Scary Thing. (This is not from my own experience, just an idea)

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Thanks everybody!


I did comfort him a lot today when he saw a fire hydrant and I walked up to it and was patting it myself. He followed up!!!


And this must be magical -- I said "No" in a very firm tone and clapped my hands loud. Only after three times, he stopped mounting!


Border collies are amazing!

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