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Hi everyone,

I'm hoping for a bit of advice. I have had my collie pup a week now; he's 9 weeks old. We have been doing well with many aspects of training with some basics learnt already and good crate manners (a little crying when I leave the room but that's expected). We are learning leash walking (quite challenging; he is a fighter) but he is generally very good. Socialisation and habituation are going well considering the limitations - he is pretty bold and fearless. The hoover has met its match!

However, we have two problems. The first, and worst, is the biting. This got very bad with leash training (started yesterday) and other training such as paw/roll over/anything that requires some sort of hands on help. He will lunge for my hands and bite my legs and feet extremely hard. If I try to redirect him to a sit and then praise, he will snap at my hand and engulf the hand with the food, and then lunge again. He doesn't seem that interested in the food.

I have read a lot about solutions and have tried the 'ouch!' method - that makes it a million times worse and he will growl and increase the bite. I can sometimes draw away with a toy but he will try again very shortly after and I don't always have a toy right to hand. I know that negative reinforcement is bad so I am trying not to shout no or do any physical restraints like take the collar but I have to admit that sometimes I am so frustrated and it hurts so much that I do cry out a 'no' on occasion. I am trying so hard but I feel very defeated and at a loss and I am worried it is getting worse. I find myself resisting training and leash walking because it just ends up in me desperately trying to get him off me, frustrated and upset.

Because of the circumstances I cannot find a puppy class open within the next 6 weeks and we are now restricted on meeting indoors, so puppy play dates are harder. He has been on a couple and was good but I fear it is not enough to train his inhibition.

Secondly (not as bad!) he is obsessed with chewing anything and everything, particularly the carpet and furniture. He has many chew toys and we play with them frequently. I always redirect him with a toy but he either quickly returns (he will fetch the toy and then take it slyly next to the bag and then 'accidentally' start chewing the bag...) or is too focussed on the item to want the toy. I haven't tried spray yet but have some on order.

Sorry that is so long! Any advice here? I have experience training dogs when I was younger and had a very good agility collie (my intention with this chap) but the biting has me in tears.

Thanks wise ones :)

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Hi there and welcome to the forum.

Right now, after only a week, he still doesn't even know who you are or what is going on. You are pushing him way too hard and fast. He is very likely to be completely overwhelmed with all the newness and what he is and is not supposed to do. Look at it from his perspective.

Forget teaching him tricks. Right now you need to be working on establishing a strong relationship with him, and that means first and foremost, letting him discover in his own time that he can trust you. Don't do body manipulations at all. He doesn't know what you are going to do to him, and so he is being defensive. Right now, just love him and speak kindly to him and let him be a lot of the time if you can; let him settle in to your home gradually and quietly. Don't ask much of him. In fact, I recommend not going to him at all. Leave him alone and let him come to you when he wants to make contact, and then just speak quietly to him and stroke him softly.

Biting...this is a puppy thing, but that doesn't mean you don't need to stop it. Don't view it as aggressive, though. Remember he's just a baby.

.Don't just yelp, take him and put him into his crate and leave him there for 5 to 10 minutes. Then let him out with no ceremony. Next time he bites, same thing. The thing is, biting is unacceptable, and if he bites he doesn't get to be with you, period. No trying to distract him, no toys, nothing. Just -boom- into the crate.

 Any time he even starts to go toward your hand or any other body part with his mouth, he gets put into the crate. Treat it as if it were a force of nature - cause and effect. You may have to keep this up for some time. He may spend a lot of time in the crate. But you have to make this stop right now, as you are well aware.  

As for chewing everything, this is completely normal. He's a puppy! The only solution is to puppy-proof the house and make sure there's never anything within his reach that you don't want him to chew. Put bubble wrap on the legs of the furniture. When he bites into that it will pop loudly and may keep him from doing it. Other than that, never ever allow him to be free of supervision in the house. By supervision, I mean you are constantly watching him, not reading or watching a movie while he is in the room. It's like having a toddler.....you don't take your eyes off them! If you cannot watch him, pop him into the crate (while you go to the bathroom, for instance). You have to be totally diligent in this. Most puppies grow out of the "chew-everything-in-sight" phase, but in the meantime you simply have to make it impossible for him to misbehave in that way.

And, if he does get by you a time or two, give a quiet No, and into the crate he goes, with his chew toy. 5 minutes, then out he comes. Repeat as needed.

Leash training...are you using positive reinforcement on this? If you ever jerk him on the leash to correct him as some trainers say to do, that will make him frustrated and will even hurt, and he will retaliate with trying to get away or bite. Use a chain leash if he tries to bite the leash. If he tries to bite your legs while on the leash then the walk stops, he goes back home, and into the crate. No more fun.

Don't use a punishing attitude with the crate.....you don't want him to hate it. Just cause=effect.

And, until you get the biting issue under control, don't try to teach him any tricks like paw or roll over. Just stick to leash training and showing him he should not bite everything in sight. He may be a dog who doesn't like to have his body manipulated at all, and you will have to ease him into those things a long way down the road after you have established a trusting relationship with him. Start with the trust.

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Thank you so much D'Elle, that is really useful. To answer a few of your Qs, I am really trying to be positive with the leash - absolutely no pulling, but he pulls himself back and leaps around and if I relax the lead I almost end up chasing him backwards to avoid the fight. It's hard to lure him forward with a treat as he's not always interested, and also as soon as he starts moving, he goes for the legs or my hand. He won't just follow my hand sniffing for example. Do you have any advice on this? Should I try a toy and let him latch on to that?

Just to clarify too, I'm not trying to manipulate his body, it's more about luring - sorry I wasn't clear here. So moving his head into the roll, guidong him so the paw comes up, or touching the paw. As I explain below this was recommended with a pup of the same age, but it is clearly too soon. 

Regarding the crate, he cries when I leave the room and it has been hard getting him to settle in it - he's much better now and will go in more willingly, and will wait before barging out. I think he was chucked in a crate when he was younger (came from a farm) and had negative associations before he came to me.  I will take this slowly and carefully. Should I reward with a treat at the back of the crate at all? What should I do if he cries excessively? I am anxious about making it negative again and creating separation anxiety. 

I absolutely expect some biting - it's just my complete inability to instigate any presure control or redirection that is frustrating and very hard. My previous collie pup responded well to feedback but not this little chap! I certainly don't want to stop it, just have a way of controlling/stopping it when it makes play/interaction/training impossible. 

I certainly don't want to push him - I have watched countless videos about puppy training and have been careful to focus on only what has been suggested for the first week or two, but it looks like I need to take a step back. Whilst I have collie pup training experience, I am not an expert or full time trainer. I clearly need to be more realistic about wanting my boy to be on the same path as the amazing 12 week old collie pups (Kikopup and Wish; FreestylePaws and Aragorn/Legolas...) that can do amazing attentive freestyle. Instead I have a bitey maniac who prefers ragging the rug and eating chicken poo than eating sausage! Many of the 'standard' training videos I watch too (McCann and Zak George I can't seem to get away from) have very calm, super food-orientated collie pups.  I clearly need to understand that my pup, myself, my environment and my time are all different and that is OK. 

Based on the above too (and guides like DogStarDaily), it is really hard to know what pace to take. There is also so much 'pressurised' infomation out there: you should leash train from 4 weeks, socialise them fully even before jabs; they should come to their name and do basic obedience before 8 weeks... etc etc... and all these come with warnings of the awful things that will happen if you don't do these.

It is also such a joy to have a collie pup again and he has been excellent with so much of his learning and development (inc socialisation and desensitization). He is very willing to learn, but he is clearly excited and bold, and that's when the biting starts.

I will take a step back and focus on some easy things like learning his name and working on the biting and I expect things will be different in a few weeks. 

Thanks again for your help. 

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Happy to help in any way I can.

To reply to your points:

You are comparing your puppy, who you say came from a farm and probably didn't have much interaction let alone early training, with the puppies of highly professional trainers with many years of experience in training dogs and especially border collies. Please stop doing that. You will do neither the dog nor yourself any good by doing that. You are not an experienced border collie trainer, and your puppy is an individual. Work with the dog you have.

As for the leash, stop luring him. In fact, don't lure him to do anything, since that causes him to get bitey. Do this: Put him  on the leash in the house and let him trail it around behind him for a while.  Pick it up now and then and just follow him around. Let him learn that the leash isn't a bad thing. You are expecting to train nice leash manners in a puppy who doesn't even know what a leash is. Or maybe he was dragged on a leash and is afraid. Or maybe he just doesn't want to be confined by a leash. So let him get used to it gradually. In the meantime, don't take him out on a leash if you have a fenced area where he can potty.

If you have no place he can go potty but out on a leash, then be sure  you never, ever pull on the leash. Just put it on him and step outside, and as long as he is lunging and racing around you stand still and go nowhere. If he starts off to trot along then you start taking steps. The minute he starts pulling and leaping around, stop and stand still.

If, while you are standing still, he eventually wears out and stops lunging and maybe even sits down (and I predict he will if you are just patient) then praise him (no treats, since that leads to bites) and start walking. then he will start lunging. Stop and stand still. Repeat. 

But do not even do this for now if it is possible for him to potty without being on leash. Again, take things much more slowly! 

I don't recommend using a toy either because that may very well feed into the bitey impulses as well.  Please don't focus right now on training him to do anything. Focus instead on getting him to relax, respond to his name, and feel comfortable in your home and trust you.  Everything you do with a dog, especially one as sensitive as a border collie, has to start with your relationship with the dog. Right now you don't have a relationship established with this puppy. don't try to train him to do anything until you have established that trust.

Let the dog be your guide as to how fast to take things. You don't decide he needs to do X at X weeks. You let him show you that he trusts you enough to learn from him and then you start training him. Again, do not compare yourself or your dog to anyone else. Just work with the dog that is right in front of you. right now, that dog is telling you he is nervous and doesn't trust you, so work on that. Everything else, and I truly mean everything, comes after and from that.

Most puppies cry when put into the crate. So what. Ignore it. You are only crating him when you need to let him know his behavior is unacceptable or when you cannot keep an eye on him. He needs to learn to settle down and be quiet in the crate, and that is learned by being in it. I suggest putting the crate in another room with no people in there, and close the door. Even put a cloth over the crate. If the crate is out in the living room it's too stimulating and he's more frustrated that he can't get out to the people. Make it a quiet, calm place. Don't do a treat in the crate if you are putting him in there for biting. Do put a chew toy in there if you crate him for trying to chew furniture.

I generally approve of slowly and carefully when training a pup to the crate. But if he is biting, you have to use it now.

You say: " I absolutely expect some biting - it's just my complete inability to instigate any presure control or redirection that is frustrating and very hard. My previous collie pup responded well to feedback but not this little chap! I certainly don't want to stop it, just have a way of controlling/stopping it when it makes play/interaction/training impossible. "

I think you are misguided here. You DO want to stop it. Biting is never, ever acceptable. Never. If you train a puppy that some biting is OK then he will grow up to be a dog who thinks some biting is OK. It isn't. A full grown dog can hurt you dangerously if he bites you.  The moment he bites someone other than you, you are in a heap of trouble. You can be hauled to court, fined, your dog impounded, made to wear a muzzle every time he goes out, and if he gets a history of this behavior he will eventually be taken from you and killed. I know this sounds extreme, but it is reality. Dogs can bite toys, not people. Please don't let him bite even in play. To do so is ultimately dangerous to him.

When I said "manipulate" his body I meant just what you are doing. Luring him around into a position or touching his paw. Again, think of it from his perspective. He hardly knows you, doesn't know that this is his permanent home, and now you are trying to get him into weird positions and touching parts of his body he's not comfortable with you touching.  Again.....stop all this and work exclusively on the relationship.

Nothing awful will happen if your dog is not trained to do this or that by this or that date, and I strongly suggest that you stop reading any website that tells you such a silly thing. Many of us, including myself, have taken in adult foster dogs who knew nothing, not even to sit on cue, and started from the beginning training. If approached the right way, after the relationship is established, any dog of any age can be trained. I have trained many dogs over the age of two who knew nothing when they came to me. Nothing terrible came out of that, and those were nice dogs, just untrained.  Ideally, sure, you train as early as possible. But this pup isn't ready for that and while something awful won't happen if you back off and work only on the trust between you, it is likely that something you don't want will happen if you push him.

And, you are right that in a few weeks things will be different. He's wild now, but won't always be, and once he realizes that he has a calm and loving home and he can be calm too, things will start to work a lot better.

Feel free to ask any questions you want to. I am not an expert but I have trained a lot of border collies (and other dogs), and many people on this forum are more knowledgeable than I am and are also here to help.

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Thanks again, this is really helpful. We tried some of this tonight with mixed results. It is hard because all he seems to want to do with me is bite me (a week ago he would come and lick me and sit with me but that seems to have gone now that he is bolder) so it leaves little interaction and it feels like I am just teaching him to avoid me or he will go in the crate. Tonight we did lots of toy play and fun and also some gentle treat taking which went very well. Nothing else, but it was quite a long play session. In the end it got to the point where he drew blood so I put him to bed and now he is snoring away. 

Just to clarify, am I putting him in the crate when there is any contact of teeth or an open mouth with my skin or clothes, or just when there is a hard bite? 

So my plan for now is to continue with toy play and cratng if he bites me, gentle treat taking, a tiny bit of leash walking without luring, and fun recall (he doesn't know his name yet and it is hard to get his attention). I also really like the positive reinforcer (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TBvPaqMZyo8) and could do a bit of work on this which I think will help, in time, with drawing him away from chewing the rug etc. Do you think that is OK?

Sara

 

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One thing I would say with this, is that short sessions are better than a long session.  You ideally want to end on a positive note if possible, and training until your puppy is tired or overstimulated (i.e. drew blood) can undo training, so stop while the dog is doing well, perhaps only a couple of minutes when young, but train several times a day.

I am not by any means an expert!

And I would say any contact/mouthing is a oops/uh-oh and crate.  This is a dog who has a bad habit that he needs to unlearn; he will not understand the difference between gentle mouthing and hard mouthing.  He needs to learn not to bite at all. Consistency is key.

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I mean ANY level of biting or even contact with the mouth onto any part of your body. There's no such thing as a "nice" bite once the dog gets older. It is the way puppies play, but they need to learn early on that is is NOT the way to play with any human being. Think it through. If your adult dog does a "play" bite on a two year old human being, what might happen. And adult human beings are also not going to appreciate any level of bite at all. Any level of bite or even light mouthing on a person is potentially all that trouble for you that I mentioned above. NO mouth contact should be allowed at any time.

I agree completely with Lawgirl above. You need to keep all sessions short and sweet. He drew blood because a) you are allowing him to continue to bite rather than cutting it off completely and b) you played with him until he was over-stimulated, tired, and too worked up. Like a 2 year old human being that gets over stimulated and starts to act out, it is a sign that a rest or nap or quiet time is in order. A puppy that age should have play sessions no longer than 4 or 5 minutes maximum, three is probably better at this point. 

I would also recommend you don't do play that will wind him up, because he sounds wound up enough already. Gentle play, fetching if he fetched (you can also teach this at some point), lightly tugging, that kind of thing. But no excited voices or jumping around, as that will only be more likely to bring him to a point of over stimulation.

Have you tried using the leash with him in the house, as I suggested? If so, how is that going?

For his name, if you are not already doing this, use his name every time you speak to him or even go near him. Use it many, many times a day, saying his name while he is a few feet away from you and if he looks at you, toss a treat or a toy to him. Use his regular kibble and keep track of the amounts if you are worried about giving him too many treats. Say his name when it is feeding time, and don't put down the bowl until he responds by looking at you. Etc.

 

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Fab, thanks so much. He is lots better today - we have kept things short and fun and I am trying very hard to minimise opportunities for biting. There's been very little biting and nothing horrendous or lungeing (the body part he grabbed yesterday was absolutely off limits!!). I am definitely seeing a correlation between biting frequency and the amount of time we are playing, so you are clearly right about the over stimulation. He seems to want to be awake most of the time and playing and it's hard to get him to accept the sleep. 

I will admit that I finding it hard to put him in if he does anything at all, either because it is gentle or an apparent accident (if we are playing fetch). It seems too often and like a punishment, and it seems to wind him up. But I will keep working on it. I will admit that I am worried that it will make him hate his crate even more - the crying has gotten worse if I leave the room now, but I think it's one step at a time. He does settle eventually.

I am doing some crate training too, just tossing food in. I would like to do this properly but as you say I need to be able to crate him before we have worked up to him loving it through the usual way. He is dubious, doesn't want to go in, and won't hang around in there. He will drag toys out to play with them outside instead, and will stop all play/eating/settling and just stare at me anxiously if I close the door. I am trying to get him to play in his crate, so when he drags toys out I am tossing them back straight away and not letting him settle on the floor so that it becomes a bore for him to keep doing this. Hopefully that is the right thing to do.

Thanks for the advice on the name too - I am doing some fun recall using his name but he does seem deaf to it the rest of the time. I am worried about overuse and haven't been using it much as he usually ignores it, but I will try your methods. 

I do have another (!) problem with him in that he loses focus very quickly with any training - I think I have mentioned this but he's not very food motivated. Holding his attention is hard as he would genuinely prefer to eat the carpet. But I am keeping it very short. There seems to be a sweet spot where he takes a minute or two to realise that the sausage is tasty and worth doing things for, then is compliant for a few minutes, then loses interest. It's also hard because I don't have a room with no distractions in so there's always something for him to want!

 

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The thing about using the crate is this:  It is all about your attitude. Seriously. If you have the attitude that is is a punishment, he will take it that way. If you use the crate for time out properly, he will not grow to hate the crate. If you are worried when you put him in it, you are teaching him that the crate is a bad thing and that is what he will learn. Change your attitude and approach to it and it will be fine.

When you need to crate him due to a behavior, say in a light and friendly tone of voice, "Uh-Oh! Puppy needs a time out!" and in he goes as if it were a good thing. You need to not think of it as a bad thing or he will pick up on that.

The best thing about the "Uh-Oh!" part is that in the future, you may just be able to say "Uh-Oh!" and the dog will know to stop right away or it will be a time out. I have never once seen a dog learn to hate their crate if it is approached in a lighthearted and friendly way.  Think of how you would speak to or handle a toddler who is over-tired, and do it that way. Light- hearted but gently firm.

It is impossible to over-use his name!

And focus....yes, of course he loses focus quickly and without warning. Again...think two year old human child. How long do they focus on something?  If he loses focus, it just means it is time to do something else. If, at that point, you were to insist on continuing you would be pushing him. What you describe is this:

On 10/14/2020 at 10:45 AM, SaraB said:

a sweet spot where he takes a minute or two to realise that the sausage is tasty and worth doing things for, then is compliant for a few minutes, then loses interest. It's also hard because I don't have a room with no distractions in so there's always something for him to want!

So, two minutes, followed by "a few minutes" sounds about like 5 minutes, which is the longest period of time you should expect him to work with you on anything at this age. 

Nothing wrong with the distractions. At this point, let him be distracted. Turn the distraction into part of the play. 

 Remember to work on the relationship between the two of you first and foremost, and don't let thoughts of what you think he should be doing interfere with that.  Puppies are not a blank slate. They come with personality. Really look at your puppy.  Look at who is is. Observe him closely so you learn his body language and what he likes and what spooks him as if  you needed to write a PhD thesis on this puppy.This is your dog. This is who you have chosen. Be with the dog you have at the stage he is at, and revel in it and enjoy him and let him know he's loved. Let him show you who he is. Don't expect from him things he's not ready for yet.

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I have a nearly 9 week old pup (BC X, not BC) who has been here for... longer than she should have been (ie: Longer than a week).  Thus far she knows how to follow  a food lure, people are good, life is food, and her crate is a happy place.  She also recalls to happy puppy noises and gets a treat (she's a fan of yogurt - experiment to find what your guy likes).   This is all she knows.  She is also by far the sharkiest creature I have ever seen in my life (and I raised FOUR young GSD pups over the course of this year, a few months per pup)- but has learned well via me replacing my skin with a toy when she goes for hands to play, and that she lands in a crate for some down time if she persists on attaching to me.  *I* have learned that her getting frantically bitey means she has to poop.

 

Seriously, though?  Your guy's a puppy.   You can't train a baby dog to be an adult dog.  He's going to be bitey, he's going to get overwhelmed and overstimulated, he's going to get distracted, he's going to have the attention span of a gnat.  The best thing you can do for him at this age is be consistent in prevention of behaviors you don't enjoy and let him learn about the world - while you learn about what makes him tick, what motives him, what he loves and what worries him.  Let him grow up some  The rest will come..

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2 hours ago, D'Elle said:

Well said, Capt. Jack.

Thanks.  A whole lot of people learned a whole lot of things from Donald.  My big one was 'there is no training that will make a puppy an old dog'.   Words to raise dogs by and never forget, those.

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Don't know how much help I'm gonna be here, and you have gotten some excellent advice.  As I read the original post, I could just feel the tension and frustration and worry.  And I had to smile.  Because it was one very short year ago that I had the same problems times two!  Yes, litter mates.  The difference is that I am old and have done this many times before, so I knew that we would all come out of this unscathed!  So on top of all the excellent advice you have gotten here, my advice is "relax"!!  They are only babies for such a short period of time and you will be surprised how quickly he will grow out of this stage -- only to grow into another stage.  lol.  Every dog is different with different personalities, and so you try one thing and if you get no results after enough time, you try something else.  You seem fixed on the training, and this time, I took a much more laid back approach to training - as I realized that I will have them for a long time.  Short sessions, of course, but most important -- FUN.  For you and him!  And pay attention to what D'Elle touched on with the crate training - your attitude.  If you are frustrated, nervous, and uptight about anything (not just the crate, but the training and everyday interactions) your puppy will totally pick up on that.  So just calm down and remember that this phase will pass.  And then you'll be into the next crazy phase!!  :P

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Hi guys, 

Sorry for the radio silence - things have been a little hectic. Thanks again for the advice. We are doing a lot better and have tried various things to different levels of success. 

D'Elle, I tried your crate method for a few days but despite my best efforts to be casual and upbeat, it was clear that he was getting very anxious and was unable to settle. His whining and barking in the crate significantly increased and I felt that it was doing more harm than good. Whilst the biting was reduced (probably because he was mostly in the crate and away from me!) it was reversing my efforts to make the crate a happy place and I had to balance both of those behaviours. I also found that when he came out he was worked up and that he descended into more biting or disruptive behaviour quicker. So it was in and out, in and out, with both of us not enjoying it. Your advice is very sound but it just didn't work for us, partly because of my earlier frustrations and what he already knew about the crate as basically a place where he would be left. 

His biting is hugely better due to doing a few things:

- redirecting: I don't think I gave this enough time to work
- ignoring: I think this essentially does the same thing as the crate time-out but to a lesser degree, so essentially without the added anxiety
- marking: I make an "A-AH" noise when he bites either me or something else, just before I follow up with either removing him and then giving a redirection or ignoring which I think works as your 'uh oh!'. I was REALLY trying to stick to exclusively positive reinforcement but this wasn't working for me, probably because when I have used 'no' with my dogs in the past and it is habit. So I am making it 'kind' and more of a marker for change which seems to be working - he at least looks at me and most often stops.
- using bitter spray: I put this on his favourite carpet edges and also spray the item when he is latching on to (mostly the carpet). It's a bit of a godsend as he is not as obsessed with all things carpet. I am being careful not to spray him but it gives him a taste and he drops it. I am coupling that with 'A-AH'. I am finding that I can redirect him a lot easier and importantly keep him off it instead of him rushing back to it. 
- repositioning the crate: I have moved his crate to the office and have the door open most of the time unless I need him away. He does take a lot of attention and watching, but I think he is being desensitised to things and is less frantic to chew stuff. Not so much of a novelty I think. 
- better play and training: before crating or working I do a 10 minute fetch session with some easy training in the middle. We then have some enforced sleep with me in the room. I think before it was more of a blur of random play, in and out of the crate, short napping, etc. i.e. no clear defined routine. I am better at preventing overtiredness now. 

So altogether, I think both of us are happier, mostly also because I am accepting him for who he is and working with that, reducing my expectations, and essentially understanding what Cpt Jack said. He's a baby and he will act like one and that is OK! He absolutely LOVES to 'steal' or chew on high value things for attention, particularly shoes and rucksacks, but instead of getting frustrated and snappy I am redirecting and learning to put things in better places! 

Here are some photos of the little guy - his name is Bryn. He's from a hill farm near Bethesda in Wales. 

Thanks again - I have some more questions but I will create a new thread with a specific title so it's easier for others to find (I have found lots of good information from Googling forum topics).

Sara

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And yes beachdogz I have definitely relaxed. Training is very limited now - sit and down repeats with 'release', on your bed, in your crate, and 'settle'. We will do some lead work from Sunday when he can go out in the big wide world, and will do more fun recalls and release work. Other than that it's just fetching and playing and being a puppy :) We can work on awesome tricks and so on later - he just doesn't have the attention for it now and it is unfair on him. 

He is such a bold pup - nothing phases him and he is so cheeky. I think he will be a handful but a lot of fun. He's a very positive pup which is why the crate training and separation is hard for me - these are the only things that cause him distress. I hate that I am doing that to him and I have concerns that he will have negative associations with me, but I am probably overthinking this. 

Apart from Monday's 4am Poogate (I have still not recovered and neither has my washing machine) he is sleeping straight through the night, has been left for an hour on his own, and the only little accidents we have is when we get distracted and play instead of going straight out for a wee within 10 mins of him waking up. 

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He's a cutie. Personally, I like a bold puppy. I find it is easier and more fun to work to direct and channel huge energy and boldness than it is to build up a dog who is fearful or shy. 

As for the crate work, I can only bow to your judgement in the matter, because you are there and I am not. I still think that the crate, used consistently and correctly, is a good training tool, and that his distaste for it could be overcome. But your personal dynamic with your dog is the most important thing, and I would never want to advise a person to do anything they felt had the potential to damage their relationship with their dog. Let us know how things are going as you move forward.

I like the "uh-oh" because it's very hard to say it in a threatening tone of voice, and I want to use it only as a marker, not as a "bad dog".  But you gotta do what works for you.

Sounds as if things are coming along. Keep us informed.

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Thanks D'Elle. We are working hard at making the crate more positive and a major change has been me being able to have him free in a space with the door open, so he can go in and out as he pleases. We now have a giant IKEA shark in there and he will go in the crate and stay there for treats. I think once I build this back up then I may very well use it as time out as you suggest. 

You are right with the uh-oh - I may change. It's very hard to break a habit!! 

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We had to start using a crate from day one because our pup was not house trained. No time to make it a happy place, just in you go at night. He hated it at first but over the 2 1/2 months we've had him, he's definitely gotten over it even though like you, I was worried that he didn't love it the way all the youtube dogs did. Hahaha. Now, even when we leave him loose in our bedroom at night time, he will often make his way into the crate on his own. I think having a place to chill, even if it's forced on them, eventually feels like a good thing. Puppies don't want to be manic, but they don't always know how to settle themselves down. Your puppy is super cute.

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