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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi RTF! I've been a lurker on the site for the last few months as I've been waiting for my new golden puppy to come home. Well, we went and got her almost two weeks ago now, and boy... our lives have turned upside down! I sure do need some help, as this is my first dog, and my little girl, Emily, is quite hard headed and smart.

Emily turned 9 weeks old yesterday, and I've been working on crate training, using a few different resources (like some online youtube videos). Problem is, she barks constantly when she is in her crate at night. She barks, I get up and take her potty, and put her back in- which I've worked hard on making her not hate it. I put the crate in the next bedroom over, because she is so noisy- and I'm sure that doesn't help, because her barking is probably some separation anxiety. So I wait at least 2 hours in between potty breaks to let her back out, and her longest stretch is around 3.5 hours now, but she still barks a ton to try and get me to come and let her out. Is a bark collar something we could do to discourage her night time barking? Maybe a non-shock one? It's keeping the entire family up, and after two weeks, we are all feeling the effects of little sleep. Her potty training is going pretty well, she has never wet her crate, and only had about one accident every other day in the house.


Play biting. It's just soooo bad. She gets super playful and bites the hell out of our hands, feet, the kids, and everything. I work with her by using some treats and rewarding sitting, laying down, calming down, "no bite" and so on- and it helps for just a couple of minutes before she is back at chewing on everything. I picked up a bully stick last night, which she loves, but when she wants to play she leaps and bites at everyone in the family. The half dozen toys we bought her don't keep her interest very long. This is especially bad for the kids, ages 5 and 7, she's almost big enough to bowl my 5 year old over, and makes her cry quite a lot from the biting. I've tought both of them to become a tree and stop moving, and giving her other things- it does help a bit, but not much. I usually redirect her to her rope and we play some tug of war to let out that energy, as well as walking her 3-4 times a day around the cul-de-sac until she gets tired and starts laying down.

Intent for this wonderful puppy is to be an obedient family dog- not necessarily trained for retrieving, but it seems that the skills closely align. Thank you *so* much for your help!!!
 

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Do everyone in the family a big favor and do the lip pinch and get it over with. People will tell you say NO, exchange for a toy, stare them down but do this swiftly and hard. This is a big problem sometimes because pups are accustomed to biting their littermates and it is normal behavior, not aggression. Also, Retrievers are quite “mouthy” because they do pick up things in their mouths. This is the biggest problem with my puppy buyers: they don't want to hurt the pups but they get hurt by the puppy biting. When the puppy bites immediately curl the top lip (muzzle) of the puppy under the pointy upper canine teeth and pinch them together so he bites himself and say "NO" very sharply. The "NO" must be reserved for the biting, as the pup cannot be allowed to bite people. Repeat every time he bites until he gets the idea. In some pups, it registers immediately, and in others, it takes multiple corrections; maybe even weeks before they stop doing it. Make sure you do it HARD and QUICKLY so the puppy yelps: otherwise, it will only make him angry and he will come at you. Find-a-way-to-wear-them-out-(fetching, running) which also works for crying at night. Wear them out. Then put a blanket over the crate.

"If the simple correction doesn’t work and the biting continues, here is a more detailed version from a professional trainer:
I have LOTS of experience with young dogs/puppies -- if they continue to snap, and ESPECIALLY if they snap back... you aren't applying a strong enough and/or consistent correction. The behavior you describe, as you know, is UNACCEPTABLE from a dog of any age. If you want a dog to grow up to not bite people, you need to get rid of this now.
1) Pick ONE correction. My correction of choice is a lip pinch, where you fold the top lip over an upper canine and pinch, basically "biting them back"
2) ALWAYS have a collar and short lead on your puppy, even in the house. One way dogs win at this is because you have no way to control them. By having a collar and leash, you can snatch the puppy up quickly, maintain control and give an IMMEDIATE correction.
3) Be consistent -- do NOT take time to decide whether it's requires correction or not. ANY TIME the teeth hit your skin REQUIRES a correction. Teeth should not be near skin for ANY reason.
4) If your pup "talks back" or continues to nip/bite, the SAME correction should be applied harder and longer...
5) The correction should be applied with a command, of your choice. Always the same command. I normally do the "eh-eh", but you can say whatever you want like “NO BITE”. It's preferably that you say it sharply and right in your puppy's face as you're pinching.
6) With the correction I described, you should restrain the pup by the collar with one hand and pinch with the other. The correction should take place IMMEDIATELY following the teeth hitting the skin. It should be applied quickly and the pup released, but while you maintain a hold of the lead and let the pup THINK about what just happened. Do NOT let the puppy run away from the correction. And if they come back for more, continue to apply the correction -- sometimes to the point where they will screech from it."
 

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do not make the mistake of letting Emily out of her crate when she is noisy. She is conditioning you to do so...it should be the other way around. If you feel she should get up at night to go potty, set an alarm and get her up at your own time. I usually do this at about 1am. She will be able to sleep through when she is about 10-11 weeks old (most of the time). Limit her water intake in the evening. No water 2 hours before bed and potty right at bedtime. During the day - same thing - potty right after a meal, right before going in the crate.

Nancy's suggestion of putting a blanket over her crate will help too.
 

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Do everyone in the family a big favor and do the lip pinch and get it over with. People will tell you say NO, exchange for a toy, stare them down but do this swiftly and hard. This is a big problem sometimes because pups are accustomed to biting their littermates and it is normal behavior, not aggression. Also, Retrievers are quite “mouthy” because they do pick up things in their mouths. This is the biggest problem with my puppy buyers: they don't want to hurt the pups but they get hurt by the puppy biting. When the puppy bites immediately curl the top lip (muzzle) of the puppy under the pointy upper canine teeth and pinch them together so he bites himself and say "NO" very sharply. The "NO" must be reserved for the biting, as the pup cannot be allowed to bite people. Repeat every time he bites until he gets the idea. In some pups, it registers immediately, and in others, it takes multiple corrections; maybe even weeks before they stop doing it. Make sure you do it HARD and QUICKLY so the puppy yelps: otherwise, it will only make him angry and he will come at you. Find-a-way-to-wear-them-out-(fetching, running) which also works for crying at night. Wear them out. Then put a blanket over the crate.

"If the simple correction doesn’t work and the biting continues, here is a more detailed version from a professional trainer:
I have LOTS of experience with young dogs/puppies -- if they continue to snap, and ESPECIALLY if they snap back... you aren't applying a strong enough and/or consistent correction. The behavior you describe, as you know, is UNACCEPTABLE from a dog of any age. If you want a dog to grow up to not bite people, you need to get rid of this now.
1) Pick ONE correction. My correction of choice is a lip pinch, where you fold the top lip over an upper canine and pinch, basically "biting them back"
2) ALWAYS have a collar and short lead on your puppy, even in the house. One way dogs win at this is because you have no way to control them. By having a collar and leash, you can snatch the puppy up quickly, maintain control and give an IMMEDIATE correction.
3) Be consistent -- do NOT take time to decide whether it's requires correction or not. ANY TIME the teeth hit your skin REQUIRES a correction. Teeth should not be near skin for ANY reason.
4) If your pup "talks back" or continues to nip/bite, the SAME correction should be applied harder and longer...
5) The correction should be applied with a command, of your choice. Always the same command. I normally do the "eh-eh", but you can say whatever you want like “NO BITE”. It's preferably that you say it sharply and right in your puppy's face as you're pinching.
6) With the correction I described, you should restrain the pup by the collar with one hand and pinch with the other. The correction should take place IMMEDIATELY following the teeth hitting the skin. It should be applied quickly and the pup released, but while you maintain a hold of the lead and let the pup THINK about what just happened. Do NOT let the puppy run away from the correction. And if they come back for more, continue to apply the correction -- sometimes to the point where they will screech from it."
Always doesn't mean even when pup is in crate. You probably know that TAINEN but since this is your first pup I thought it couldn't hurt to be sure you do. Have fun.....someday you will miss these days of your new hunting buddy being a puppy.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
amazing answers. I've heard of the lip thing before, but this explicit instruction on how to handle the escalations is super helpful- Emily escalates and charges easily when I attempt to correct her behavior.

I make her lay down and stop barking before I let her out of the crate every single time, but I'm now seeing your point Tobias- that she still gets what she wants, because I come and let her out. So my internal rule of letting her bark for 2 hours in between each potty break isn't good enough, I should make it 3-4 hours, make it at a consistent time every night of my choosing, put a blanket over her crate, and completely ignore the barking for longer periods of time. OK- all solid steps I'll work on starting tonight. Is crate placement in the other bedroom OK? Bark collars? She barked for a total of several hours last night, spread out over the entire night. We got near-zero sleep.
 

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amazing answers. I've heard of the lip thing before, but this explicit instruction on how to handle the escalations is super helpful- Emily escalates easily when I attempt to correct her behavior.

I make her lay down and stop barking before I let her out of the crate every single time, but I'm now seeing your point Tobias- that she still gets what she wants, because I come and let her out. So my internal rule of letting her bark for 2 hours in between each potty break isn't good enough, I should make it 3-4 hours, make it at a consistent time every night of my choosing, put a blanket over her crate, and completely ignore the barking. OK- all solid steps I'll work on starting tonight. Is crate placement in the other bedroom OK?
Since you have had her a couple weeks already the next room is fine. The first few nights next to the bed would have been good but to late for that now IMO. Forget that bark collar idea at that age as well.
 

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Pretty much!.

Example of what I would do..after a decent nap in her crate let her out to go potty (on your terms..wake her up if you can) then put her right back in..especially helpful if she is very awake and playful. She will probably bark right away but eventually will stop. When she has stopped making noise for a few seconds let her out and play for a few seconds. Repeat. Don't talk to her and don't pay attn to her when she is in the crate. Praise her calmly after you let her out. .many folks also teach their pup not to barge out. Easily done by shutting the door in their face every time they try, followed with a 'wait' command. As soon as she will wait for a second at the open door tell her 'all right' and let her out. You can gradually increase the time the door is open.
 

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My favorite saying is "a tired puppy is a good puppy".
No naps after supper time. No water after 7 or 8 pm. Walks, playing and fun should happen so she is zonked by the time you take her to bed.
Let her bark until she's quiet, and then if she barks at 2 am, potty time and back in the crate.
Make sure she has a toy or two back in her crate.
Noisy puppies are a tough deal...been there...but they are a lot less noisy if the are dog tired. Pun intended. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Jiggy, so you're saying to let her out if she barks in the middle of the night? Because if I did that, I'd let her out 20 times a night. And I feel it would just perpetuate the problem. I sort of do that now- I put her to bed, ignore the near-constant barking, and after about 2-ish hours, when she barks I get up and take her potty. She just enjoys being out of her crate- I take her potty and she does go, but she lays down in the grass and clearly shows she just wants to not be in her crate. Then I put her back in, ignore the barking for 2-ish hours, rinse and repeat, and I've been up 4 times and awake for pretty much the whole night.

she does take a nap at about 8pm every night. After dinner, a walk, and a bunch of play. She won't stay awake at all, she goes under the kitchen table and zonks out for an hour or more. I try to wear her out again before bedtime, around 10:30. When I do a great job and she's totally worn out, she still barks. A little less, but still barks. Should I be putting her in her crate for every nap? Because she takes naps at about 9am, she goes in her crate while my wife goes to college for a few hours from 10-2, eats lunch at 2 and plays, takes a walk, naps at around 3-4, then eats dinner at 7, walks, plays, naps at 8.
 

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If you put a toy in the crate to entertain her at night be sure it isn't one she can destroy. You don't want the pup ingesting something like the sqeaker out of a sqeaky toy, or cotton stuffing etc.
 

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Have you tried the crate right next to your bed? I put a small crate on nightstand, next to bed, gate facing me, so pup is pretty much eye level when I'm laying down. I have very, very few pups that bark for very long, if they can see/smell me and usually, just a finger in the crate is enough to comfort them into being quiet. I don't talk or praise or make eye contact, go to bed as normal, just keep my hand against crate gate and if pup has been tired out, they just grouch a bit, then curl up against the gate/hand and go to sleep. Easy to get them out quick when needed as well. I also put a sturdy stuffed toy in with pup. Pup doesn't go to bed until I do, btw, they are in living room getting worn out, either in expen or loose, but kept busy until I go to bed, taken out for one last airing then in crate and lights out.

By 10-12 weeks, they are easily transitioned to crate on floor/bigger crate as needed (minus anything they can chew up and swallow).

No to bark collar on 9 week old.
 

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I have a 7.5 month of blm and hes my first retriever. So these are what I did and what worked to cure the puppy issues I had that were very similar to yours.

I had some trouble with crate training my pup to be quite while in his crate. I started at 8 weeks feeding him in his crate. Kept my other dogs away from him and vise versa. I also practiced him going in the crate and being released when he was quite. Like I would get home from work he would run to his crate to be fed. After feeding we go outside to potty and then I re-crate in the bedroom and shut the door... go watch TV until he stops barking or whining and then let him out. I did this until he figured out the game and was just quite in the crate. At night he would wake me up about 3-4 times a night and that slowly decreased by one time a night for the first 4 to 5 weeks until he could hold it all night. I made sure that we went outside on lease and he did his potty and nothing else and then right back into his crate.

With the biting it was enough for me to hold his muzzle shut firmly so he couldn't squirm away and make sure that I had control of it with a "no" (not yelling, just firm) command. Kind of like where some trainers tell you to hold your puppy and if he squirms you hold a little tighter until they "give in" and then you release. I wanted him to give up the control and realize what he was doing was not ok. I was following the Hillman DVD and emailed and Mary replied that I was on the right track.

Hang in there. Its hard to see the improvement sometimes but when you look back on last week you can see it. I kind of tried to keep telling myself that any deficiencies in my pup were actually my deficiencies to communicate what I wanted well enough. Helped me keep patient and motivated to be consistent and diligent.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Have you tried the crate right next to your bed? I put a small crate on nightstand, next to bed, gate facing me, so pup is pretty much eye level when I'm laying down. I have very, very few pups that bark for very long, if they can see/smell me and usually, just a finger in the crate is enough to comfort them into being quiet. I don't talk or praise or make eye contact, go to bed as normal, just keep my hand against crate gate and if pup has been tired out, they just grouch a bit, then curl up against the gate/hand and go to sleep. Easy to get them out quick when needed as well. I also put a sturdy stuffed toy in with pup. Pup doesn't go to bed until I do, btw, they are in living room getting worn out, either in expen or loose, but kept busy until I go to bed, taken out for one last airing then in crate and lights out.

By 10-12 weeks, they are easily transitioned to crate on floor/bigger crate as needed (minus anything they can chew up and swallow).

No to bark collar on 9 week old.

No, have not tried crate in bedroom- Emily is not allowed in our bedroom unless invited (although she breaks that rule every chance she gets) because it is a safe haven for our two cats. Vet told us the cats need an area that they don't fear the dog in, and because one of our cats never leaves our bedroom anyways, it needs to be our bedroom. I like the idea of comforting her by letting her see me and be near me while going to sleep, but it seems the opposite of the completely ignore her, let her bark advice. one is nurture one is discipline?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
With the biting it was enough for me to hold his muzzle shut firmly so he couldn't squirm away and make sure that I had control of it with a "no" (not yelling, just firm) command. Kind of like where some trainers tell you to hold your puppy and if he squirms you hold a little tighter until they "give in" and then you release. I wanted him to give up the control and realize what he was doing was not ok. I was following the Hillman DVD and emailed and Mary replied that I was on the right track.
Thanks for the encouragement, Colin. When I hold her muzzle and firmly tell her no, then wait for her to stop squirming, when I let go she IMMEDIATELY bites me again. Every single time. Or leaps at my face. She's quite hard headed, pretty much all corrective action ends up in her escalating. It feels like (in my uneducated opinion) she is trying really hard to establish dominance over me. And definitely over my kids.
 

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I would have the crate right at your bed and not in the next room.

As for biting....when she goes to bite you, replace your hand or arm with a bone or play fetch with her.
A small, white, clean paint roller is good to start off with. Will not hurt her teeth or mouth. Do not allow her to chew on it either.

Best,
Freya
 

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No, have not tried crate in bedroom- Emily is not allowed in our bedroom unless invited (although she breaks that rule every chance she gets) because it is a safe haven for our two cats. Vet told us the cats need an area that they don't fear the dog in, and because one of our cats never leaves our bedroom anyways, it needs to be our bedroom. I like the idea of comforting her by letting her see me and be near me while going to sleep, but it seems the opposite of the completely ignore her, let her bark advice. one is nurture one is discipline?
The cats will survive and this is the age they will teach pup who is boss anyway. Pup will be in crate and cats will figure that out. I've done the "let them bark themselves quiet" routine, and, for me, it has been so much easier on everyone just having crate by the bed, and it is what I tell all puppy buyers when they pick up pup. Mostly it seems to work. These are very young puppies that have left their littermates and are lonely and a transition time can help ease that. I've had zero problems with true separation anxiety either, because during the day, they are crated, and learn to spend time alone while other dogs train, play, I work, etc.

There are pups that are just plain noisy. If they are persistent with noise, I will smack the crate, which usually startles them enough to quiet or as last resort, have a spray bottle of water and squirt the darling's little face at every peep. I haven't had to do that in a very long time, and I am crate training a pup fairly often.

Now when it comes to biting, there is no playing nice. Lip pinch and make it count. By the time they are out of the whelping box, the little vipers are learning not to do it to me, but my husband is a total wimp and by the time pups go home, his arms and hands are plastered in bandaids. So all family members have to be consistent with the biting response, puppies are smart, they will figure out who they can get away with stuff around, and you will have to monitor pup around your kids, especially, they just don't have the reflexes they need to get the timing and force right.
 

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I did the crate next to my bed and the first two nights there was whining, he quit after that. I would get up every few hours the first week to take him outside to relieve himself. Now his crate is his safe place. I believe him knowing I was in the bed next to the crate is what helped him quit the whining.

Axe is now 15 weeks and has the run of the house except bedrooms. luckily the potty training went very well and no accidents since 10 weeks. The funny thing now is that when he is tired and wants to go to bed, usually around 9:00, he sits by the bedroom door to be let into his crate. He does the same thing for the back door to relieve himself.

The biting took longer. I tried numerous things as mentioned first, but what worked was the lip pinch. He learned quick that it hurt. Now he mostly chews on what he is allowed to.

His toy box is next to the shoe rack. He has mostly learned what toys are his and are acceptable to play with and chew on. He is spoiled and has a milk crate filled with everything from Kongs, bones, squeaky toys, and stuffed toys. He will grab one and bring to me and we play for about five minutes and then it is on to the next toy. It seems he enjoys going through the crate to fine the next one. when he gets tired he falls asleep and I put the toys back in the crate. Every now and then he goes for a shoe, but the correction comes quick. Old shoes are the only ones he can get to, so its more about the training.

I put him in the living room crate if I can't give him full attention and he will usually sleep.

Good luck, it will get easier!
 

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Thanks for the encouragement, Colin. When I hold her muzzle and firmly tell her no, then wait for her to stop squirming, when I let go she IMMEDIATELY bites me again. Every single time. Or leaps at my face. She's quite hard headed, pretty much all corrective action ends up in her escalating. It feels like (in my uneducated opinion) she is trying really hard to establish dominance over me. And definitely over my kids.
Exactly. This is how several of my puppy buyers got in trouble. It doesn't work to grab the muzzle on these guys. It just makes them mad and they start coming at you, and then people start telling the buyers they are aggressive. What does the mother do? She bites the pups, and usually downs them and she doesn't mess around. Don't do the nice guy route, especially with your small children. You don't want her jumping at their faces! The reason she leaps at you is because the correction does nothing but nag at her and make her mad. Listen to Kim and I and do a lip pinch and do it hard and get it over with. They should lick your hand after you do it. Don't wimp out!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I did the crate next to my bed and the first two nights there was whining, he quit after that. I would get up every few hours the first week to take him outside to relieve himself. Now his crate is his safe place. I believe him knowing I was in the bed next to the crate is what helped him quit the whining.

Axe is now 15 weeks and has the run of the house except bedrooms. luckily the potty training went very well and no accidents since 10 weeks. The funny thing now is that when he is tired and wants to go to bed, usually around 9:00, he sits by the bedroom door to be let into his crate. He does the same thing for the back door to relieve himself.

The biting took longer. I tried numerous things as mentioned first, but what worked was the lip pinch. He learned quick that it hurt. Now he mostly chews on what he is allowed to.
...
I put him in the living room crate if I can't give him full attention and he will usually sleep.

Good luck, it will get easier!
Thank you Wiilldd. Your puppy is ridiculously cute, and your story gives me some hope :) We will try the crate in the bedroom.
 
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