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Old 07-20-2010, 02:16 PM
 
15,729 posts, read 18,081,422 times
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I need help!

I'm not sure if the approach I'm taking is the correct one?

Finnley is a 9 week old Golden/Lab mix. We are housebreaking right now which means we are outside ALL the time, at least 10 times a day it seems for potty and then for 2-3 short walks.

While outside his nose is constantly to the ground searching for "goodies" to eat. We have a LOT of pines and sweet gum trees in our area so he's always picking up gum balls, pine cones, pine needles, rocks or leaves and grass. I don't want to discourage him from sniffing because he also does this to find his perfect potty spot.

When I think he's going to take something in his mouth I'll give a firm "no eat" and change his direction. He temporarily forgets what he was after until he finds the next "treat" along the way. It's impossible to walk him for any amount of distance because of this.

He'll also lay down and try to "graze" on the grass. To correct him I've been standing him up to his feet and telling him "no eat" as well.

Will he eventually get it? Or should I be trying another method? Has your puppy done this and what worked for you?

We thought at first it was because he was hungry so we started walking him after his meals. We also thought he was just trying to learn about his environment, somewhat like a human baby, by mouthing everything.

He is on a mixture of what the Vet was giving him plus Blue Buffalo Puppy so I'm not sure if it's his diet that is lacking in something or is it just a normal puppy behavior that he'll outgrow?

Thanks for any tips!
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Old 07-20-2010, 03:40 PM
 
Location: Charlotte, NC
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Sounds like a normal puppy. Our trainer taught us to do "Leave It" for that kind of behavior. We firmly say "Leave It" and sorta snap the leash (gently!). It's a reminder similar to when a momma pup would nip their pup's neck. Works like a charm for us! We don't even have to do the leash thing anymore, just say leave it.
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Old 07-21-2010, 05:21 AM
 
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I'm in the same situation, we have a new 9 week old English Springer Spaniel puppy. Absolutely everything goes into her mouth. If you have her on a leash, do what lacey suggested. My Sadie has learned what "no" and "leave it" mean already, and will stop her behavior, but she does move on and do it elsewhere again. For big problem areas I bought 12" cheap green aluminum fencing and stuck it into the ground, which keeps her out of those areas. Of course it's temporary fencing, it would never keep a puppy out longterm, but for training it has been very helpful. Congrats on the new puppy!
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Old 07-21-2010, 06:21 AM
 
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Yes, this is normal puppy behavior. My now 16 month old pup picked up (and frequently ate) everything and anything he found this time last year. But now, with much training and practice, he responds without hesitation to the "leave it" command and if he snags something while I'm not looking, he also will "drop" whatever is in his mouth when I give that command. Any trainer I've ever worked with teaches these commands as part of basic obedience. At 9 weeks, Finnley is not too young to start a puppy class or private lessons. If you are firm and consistant in your training, you will be amazed at how fast he learns!
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Old 07-21-2010, 04:10 PM
 
Location: Wasilla, Alaska
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I agree with lacey3eb and UNC4Me. What you are describing is typical puppy behavior.

First of all, the puppy is not looking to eat everything in sight. Puppies taste like human babies touch. Puppies are just trying to understand their environment so they feel compelled to taste and smell everything. They live by their nose, which is about 250 times more sensitive than human sense of smell. They also "feel" with their mouth. Not necessarily to consume the object in question, but to get a sense of its taste and texture.

When the puppy gets a couple weeks older, about 12 weeks old, their adult teeth will start coming in. That is when they resemble human babies, always wanting to teeth on something.

One trick that works well with puppies is to buy a bag of baby carrots and whenever the puppy begins to chew on something inappropriate, stuff a baby carrot into their mouth. It gives them something crunchy to chew that is also good for them. More importantly, it will spare your furniture.
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Old 07-21-2010, 05:53 PM
 
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Thanks for reassuring me!

We are going to be taking some puppy classes in the next few weeks but I wanted to try and nip that behavior quickly (or at least be able to correct him when he does it) so we can somewhat enjoy walks.

He seems to respond when I praise him for walking like a good boy but sometimes the little booger can be very stubborn.

So at 9 weeks I can give him baby carrots? That is a staple in our house for our kids so I always have them handy. I wasn't sure if he'd be able to handle it but I guess if he can crunch his hard food he can. Stupid question, should I cut them into smaller pieces or just give him the whole thing?
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Old 07-21-2010, 08:16 PM
 
Location: Wasilla, Alaska
17,825 posts, read 20,214,929 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by justthe6ofus View Post
Thanks for reassuring me!

We are going to be taking some puppy classes in the next few weeks but I wanted to try and nip that behavior quickly (or at least be able to correct him when he does it) so we can somewhat enjoy walks.

He seems to respond when I praise him for walking like a good boy but sometimes the little booger can be very stubborn.

So at 9 weeks I can give him baby carrots? That is a staple in our house for our kids so I always have them handy. I wasn't sure if he'd be able to handle it but I guess if he can crunch his hard food he can. Stupid question, should I cut them into smaller pieces or just give him the whole thing?
Praise always works best, but sometimes you need to be firm. Dogs are critters of habit, they like their owners to be consistent in their treatment, but you also have to remember that he is still just a puppy. So picking him up and moving him to another location may work better than a scolding at his age. As he gets older he will learn from your tone of voice what you consider acceptable and unacceptable behavior.

Yes, it is fine to give a puppy baby carrots at 9 weeks. They will bite them into smaller pieces, so you don't have to cut them. If he is like most males, he will probably roll it around on the floor first, give it a good sniff, and may or may not eat it. In either case, you will have successfully distracted the puppy from whatever inappropriate object had their attention.

Enjoy that 9 week old puppy breath while you can, because it won't last long.
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Old 07-22-2010, 05:41 AM
 
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In addition to baby carrots, you can keep a collection of chew-safe toys outside for your puppy. Our puppy is already learning what's she's allowed to chew, and what she isn't----when she starts chewing leaves/sticks etc. I just toss her one of her toys and she'll lie down with it.
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Old 07-22-2010, 11:23 AM
 
Location: Colorado Springs
48 posts, read 295,915 times
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My dog still eats things she isn't supposed to and usually pukes it up! My dog just turned 1 and she is a great pyrenees and she is always sniffing around the house for something to eat, so I don't let her out of my sight but with 2 kids things are bound to get left on the floor. She loves to eat GI joes, and crayons but since I have started setting boundaries for her AGAIN she has not puked. She will have times where she does really well for a while and then she will start misbehaving again. Also outside she eats stuff that she isn't supposed to, one time she came in the house and puked up brown stuff, I assume it was poo that she ate but I try to convince myself that its dirt or something lol. I don't know if she will grow out of it. Also she now sleeps in her kennel and this has stopped her from eating stuff and roaming the house while we are all asleep and eating stuff and it also keeps fur from being all over the living room every morning
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Old 07-22-2010, 06:54 PM
 
15,729 posts, read 18,081,422 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glitch View Post
Yes, it is fine to give a puppy baby carrots at 9 weeks. They will bite them into smaller pieces, so you don't have to cut them. If he is like most males, he will probably roll it around on the floor first, give it a good sniff, and may or may not eat it. In either case, you will have successfully distracted the puppy from whatever inappropriate object had their attention.

Enjoy that 9 week old puppy breath while you can, because it won't last long.
Oh my goodness! It was too cute but almost exactly how you described. He wasn't quite sure what to do with his carrot so he would put it in his mouth, spit it out, toss it around, roll it around and act like he was ripping meat from a bone when it was in his mouth.

He finally gave a piece a crunch and seemed to enjoy it. One baby carrot kept him occupied for about 5 minutes....GREAT distraction! I know he will get quicker about eating them but he had such a good time playing with his new treat today! So cute!
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