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Thread: Introducing Remy, and asking for some reassurance

  1. #1

    Default Introducing Remy, and asking for some reassurance

    Hi everyone,

    First, my apologies for this being a long post. My questions are at the end, so feel free to skip down to them.

    Since my last post, I did a large amount of research, and after visiting a number of people, meeting a lot of different dogs, my Fiancee and I finally found a poodle breeder we were comfortable with. The breeder was registered, had won show prizes when she previously bred Keshonds, but had 'retired' from those to breeding miniature and toy poodles.

    We went to her property and met the parents (both pure poodles), both of who were clearly well socialised and trained, with excellent temperaments. The puppies were in a purpose built area with lots of hanging toys, plenty of space to roam, and they clearly loved the breeder as much as they did their mother.

    There we spent hours playing with the pups and ended up selecting Remy:
    Remy sleeping.jpgRemyandpaul.jpg

    Two weeks later, after reading Dr Ian Dunbar's "Before you get your puppy" (and half of 'After you get your puppy' - I'm still going!) (yesterday), at age 7.5weeks (slightly earlier than we would have wanted, but we wouldn't get a clear day anytime soon to give him the attention he needed on his first day, so we chose today, and hope this isn't too premature!!), we picked him up. We brought his blanket and let his litter mates roll over it to get some of their scent on it.

    He was very comfortable in his crate, and only started to whimper and cry about half way back home.

    We took him straight to the vet, who gave him the all clear. He only cried when she used a thermometer on him (I may have cried too if I wasn't expecting it!).

    He came home and we put him into his long term playroom for a pet and some water, before getting him to go to the bathroom in the backyard.

    We played with him, standing at either side of the yard, and calling him by name to get him used to it. He came each time, and almost immediately started to learn how to sit to get a small piece of kibble from us.

    We also introduced him to his Kong (medium size) which we lined with some honey and the kibble the breeder had been feeding him.

    After another bathroom break, we took the little guy to his playroom and he went to sleep in his crate. After an hour, my Fiancee couldn't help herself and took him out to the toilet and for a play.

    This is where the problems began. After that, we tried to get him to settle in his room so that we could see what he was like when confined on his own.

    He cried.

    And cried.

    We tried Dr Dunbar's technique of sitting in the room with him and ignoring him until he was quiet, but that only seemed to work temporarily. Added to this, he is not overly interested in food (either kibble or dried liver snacks).

    After about an hour, we took him out for another pee, and then brought his crate out to the living room. He happily went to sleep inside it, but didn't like it when we closed the door (cried).

    After more playing, he slept some more in his crate.

    At about 8:30pm he asked to go to his playroom, had a long drink and went to sleep on his own.

    We woke him at 9:45pm for a bathroom break and some calm low intensity play. At 10:15 I took him to his playroom, put him in his crate (together with a heated pet pad, and a ticking clock under the dog bed next to his crate, as well as a stuffed kong and a soft/squishy ball in the room, and a puppy pad on the opposite side) and stroked him until he slept.

    I crept out and he was out like a light.

    Sadly, at 11, he woke and cried. Loudly. I waited outside the room hoping for a break in the crying, but he just kept going. As our landlord lives next door, and I don't want to disturb him (we share a wall!), I went in during a 2 second break and praised him for being quiet. I took him out to the toilet again, then back to his room, onto his dog-bed (he seemed to like this more than the crate at this stage) and stroked him for about a minute, then backed away and sat without moving for about 5 minutes until he slept.

    He woke up at 4:30 and cried, but after my fiancee took him to the toilet he went straight back to sleep.

    He was up again at 6, and we noticed what was either an accident, or spilt water from his bowl. He was toileted, and then wanted to play. He was hungry, so my fiancee filled his kong with kibble (although he doesn't seem to get much out of it when he plays with it, and loses interest quickly). He seemed to amuse himself with his soft ball for a while and my fiancee snuck out. He was crying again at 6:30, and after praising him for being quiet and turning off the lights he went back to sleep until 7:45 or so.

    I took him for another toileting and a play, then brought him back to his playroom to play with his kong (trying to convince him that yes, there was kibble and liver in there), but he wasn't overly interested. I left him there playing with himself for a while, and he was okay for about 20 minutes before the crying started.

    I decided to try something a bit different. I closed him in his room, and whenever he broke his crying for 5 seconds, I went in, praised him, and gave him a bit of kibble, a quick pat and then left. I then increased the amount of time by 5 seconds required to get me back in there. We got to 20 seconds, before he stopped breaking his crying at all. After about 10 minutes I figured he may need the toilet so I took him out, and he went (he's learning to go on command already, which is awesome), and now he is back inside, on a dog pillow next to me in the living room.

    He seems happy when he has me in line of sight, but whimpers a bit and searches for me when I move around the living room. He seems to love our feet, and will happily fall asleep on them.

    Whilst the pup had a reasonable night, my Fiancee and I are stressing out quite a lot about him. This is the first time we've had a dog together (or one that wasn't 'broken in' by our parents at our respective homes, and so we are getting somewhat neurotic about how long he sleeps, how much he should play, how he is left alone. My folks have offered to take him for the day to give us some respite, but I'm not sure if that's a good idea (although as you may recall, after the school holidays, he will be spending weekdays up there in any case with two other dogs). When he cries, we stress quite a bit.

    Whilst writing this, I think we're doing the right things, but I could use some assurance:

    1. Are we right in letting him sleep as much as he wants to?
    2. Is our crying treatment appropriate?
    3. Are we using the stuffed kong correctly? The breeder was feeding him both kibble and minced chicken. We haven't given him the chicken yet, and aren't sure the best way to do this.
    4. How much should we try and leave him in his room on his own?
    5. Is it okay to let him chill out on his doggy pillow in the room with us, and let him do a bit of exploring?
    6. Should we be putting him outside to learn about his surroundings on his own? What should we do if he whines?
    7. Are we doing the right things to have a well behaved, loving and (sufficiently, but not too) independent dog?
    8. Is it okay to take him to my parent's house for a play today (both other dogs are fully vaccinated).

    If we are doing things wrong, please be gentle. We are trying our absolute best!!

    Thanks so much everyone!


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2012


    He cries because he is lonely and you are his pack. You are facing the dilemmas of every new parent, which 'expert' do I listen too?
    Some owners put the crate in their room and gradually move it to where they want it to be in the long run.
    Why should he learn on his own? He needs you with him as his new leader.He wants to be with you his source of safety and reassurance, its up to you what you do at night sleep time.
    You sound like super caring people who are second guessing yourselves.(5....of course it is fine to let him chill out with you) He is going to fit into your way of life and your expectations.My personal choice is to IGNORE whining it gets very irritating in the long run. When he stops whining then respond.
    Introduce any new food gradually.
    It is a learning curve even for very experienced dog people as each dog is different.
    This forum is a fantastic source of information so use it whenever you need to. i have learned heaps and my pup is only 8 months old.
    It may be helpful to do what my trainer suggested and write a list of what you want him to know in the long run, this will be different in details for everyone who does it.This will shape what you will and won't accept.
    As a little puppy he needs to know where he belongs and what is acceptable and that takes time.
    Socialisation is vital so playing with other vaccinated dogs is great. A good puppy preschool would also be good. Sometimes they are run at vets for puppies to meet each other and owners to learn about caring for them and training them. My vet did a great one but I have gathered from this forum that is not always the case.

  3. #3


    Thanks for the reply. I guess we're just looking for reassurance that we aren't ruining our puppy.

    Our vet has a puppy preschool that allows him to play in a steralised room with other pups of similar level of vaccinations.

    One other thing that was disconcerting us is that during one of our more boisterous play sessions, he started trying to hump legs/feet. Looking online, I understand this is normal behaviour, and so we've just being saying 'Ah' quite loud/high and then redirecting him to his kong/kibble for sitting.

    The other is that he often seems to whine, even when playing or cuddling with his tail wagging. Is this normal? We've tried to ignore him the minute he vocalises, but sometimes he whine when he is playing by himself!

    When you say ignoring whining, do you mean just leave him go without going in at all at any time until he is completely quiet? (and if so, how long does he need to be quiet for before you go in?)

    Thanks so much again, and apologies for what I can objectively see is ridiculous neurosis.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Rural Western Australia


    Welcome to the world of infants. I have had all my puppies in a box next to my bed, I think this built a level of security. During the night when I have sensed them wake and get restless it is out in the garden with whatever word you want to use to get them to go to the toilet. Much praise and back into their box. Puppies dont have big bladders.

    I would play with them during the day and then put them into their box or whatever to settle and sleep. I dont mind when my dogs vocalise when they play or interact with me, depends what you mean by whining?

    He is very new and as he grows to adjust to his new situation he will become more confident. I let puppies sleep as much as they want.

    I would usually take a bit off time off work when I first got a pup, but soon they had to be confined on their own for half a day at a time. They adjusted pretty quickly. I would always give the pup a good play before I left and then leave them with a toy and duck back at lunch time to do the same thing. I havent had one that cried for hours. I never practised leaving them on their own in the early days, I just worked at building their feelings of security so when it came time to leave them I dont think they cared - they just fell asleep.

    I wouldnt get too neurotic, puppies sleep a lot, they have short bursts of activities and they need to be toileted frequently espcially after eating. Prepare to be tired in the early days as I always found making the effort to toilet them in the night was worth it in the long run. All my dogs now pee on command which is handy in a number of situations.

    You could also start a bit of simple training like sit etc.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2009


    First - most responsible breeders and members of ANKC will not rehome their puppies until they are 8 weeks old. This is to get them maximum time with their litter and their mum for immunity from mum's milk and learning doggy manners from mum and the litter mates. Ideally the puppies should be getting plenty of people time too.

    Half a week isn't much in the grand scheme of things but it is a significant percentage of the puppy's life. I would have waited until next weekend - ie an extra week with litter mates is good.

    I'm wondering if this breeder did the other responsible things like worming, vaccination and microchipping?

    1. Are we right in letting him sleep as much as he wants to?
    Yes he's a puppy.

    2. Is our crying treatment appropriate?
    yes and no.
    definitely don't go to him while he's crying. But try to pre-empt cry times to prevent them. You might need to set a 4am potty break alarm - to avoid the 4:30am cry.
    crying puppies are normal and it is a most heart rending noise - so you might want to introduce your puppy to your landlord (ask forgiveness) and keep your puppy away from the shared wall when he's likely to cry eg at night or when you're out.

    3. Are we using the stuffed kong correctly? The breeder was feeding him both kibble and minced chicken.

    sort of. I find kibble falls out of a kong way too easily. And I also found - for the first 6 months - it's good to soak the kibble in water until it is soft before feeding it to the puppy - so that it's not swelling up in the puppy's tummy and causing problems.

    If I put food in a kong - it's usually something soft akin to tinned food (but I make my own version) or bits of cooked (boneless) chicken. And sometimes I freeze it so it's like a icy pole for dog, and takes longer to get out the kong.

    We haven't given him the chicken yet, and aren't sure the best way to do this.

    Me neither. You could freeze some minced chicken in the kong. I would avoid minced chicken carcass (which includes the bones) sold as pet quality minced chicken - because that can lead to tummy problems even if you feed it raw. When I feed chicken I tend to cook it first, and only fillets. Lots of people feed their puppies chicken necks - whole. But they supervise - it's a great thing to do in connection with training eg if you're training puppy to go to a place, it's a great reward for being there or going there.

    4. How much should we try and leave him in his room on his own?
    How long will he have to be on his own. If puppy gets his way - it will be no alone time. But you have to go out and buy his food and earn something to pay the bills occasionally. If you start now - start while you're home. Do 30 seconds, then 5 seconds, then a minute, then 20 seconds.

    Vary the time up and down but keep it really short. Like you forgot the shopping list, then you forgot your coat, then you can't find your phone, and then you meant to give the dog a frozen kong etc. Gradually build up the time to what you need. Practice when you are home. Pay attention to how long he can last without screaming, and try to get back to him before that happens. Ie do 4 "on your owns" at varying times shorter than his tolerance, and then one on the edge (ie test how long you've got) and then use that to set the new tolerance level... If he goes say - 1 minute longer than his previous tolerance level - rescue him before he starts screaming and praise him mightily - rather than if the current tolerance was 5 minutes and he's lasted 10 minutes - then waiting heaps longer - just to see. Of course that's ok if he's sleeping but he doesn't learn to be quiet on his own if he hasn't noticed he's on his own.

    5. Is it okay to let him chill out on his doggy pillow in the room with us, and let him do a bit of exploring?
    Puppies exploring on their own under the age of 4 months - is likely to lead to potty accidents. If you do let him explore - watch him like a hawk who hasn't eaten in a month. And as soon as his nose goes down - outside for potty.

    The other thing that he's at risk of - is chewing the power cables. my puppy did it exactly once and learned the hard way.

    6. Should we be putting him outside to learn about his surroundings on his own? What should we do if he whines?

    He's 7 weeks old. He is at risk to flying predators at this age. Not to mention being unable to deal with the neighbour's cats or any other critters that might wander into your yard - and if he makes a lot of noise - he may attract unwanted attention from people who want to rescue him from his (perfectly normal) misery or kill him for being so horribly noisy.

    What you don't want him to learn - is that if he screams for 30 minutes or 2 hours solid - that you will save him. Go get him ASAP (under 30 seconds screaming) or wait him out - as long as it takes.

    7. Are we doing the right things to have a well behaved, loving and (sufficiently, but not too) independent dog?

    I don't know if I'm doing the right things either. My dog is extremely well trained but frequently naughty. I don't think there is only one way to get there. The main thing is to reward behaviour you want to encourage and interrupt or prevent behaviour you want to discourage.

    8. Is it okay to take him to my parent's house for a play today (both other dogs are fully vaccinated).

    Supervised play with other vaccinated dogs in a controlled envionment is really really important - do as much of this with as many different dogs as you can find. Puppy pre-school and obedience clubs (that require owners to prevent vax certificates) are good for this. Tho the dog club may require your puppy has all his vax first.

    Things to avoid
    - scolding puppy - he's not likely to connect the dots between the scolding and what you want him to do.
    - using "time out" for punishment. It's ok if you need to do the dishes without having the furniture destroyed but don't put him in there just because he's done something "wrong". When you do put him in a controlled confined space (his room/laundry/crate) put something he likes in with him - like a toy or kong with roast chicken or bit of roo jerky to chew etc.

    Things to do
    - look for any opportuntity to praise and encourage behaviour you do want. Try to make the reward something he likes and something that he can have without stopping what he's doing that you want him to do. Eg if you want him to stay on the mat - reward him on the mat - don't call him to you off the mat and then reward - cos he won't get it.
    - 5 minutes of exercise/play per month of age is enough until they're done growing
    - if he does something naughty - think of what you want him to do instead and encourage that.
    - practice "give" and "geddit" now - ie practice getting him to give up what he has - on cue - for something better, now and ongonig
    eg trade the chew toy for a bit of steak, or your sock for a bit of steak or a game with a ball etc.
    - keep yummy chewables like your washing and your shoes in room that he is shut out of.

    My puppy / dog sleeps next to me - but the door to my room is shut during the day (or my ugg boots are in trouble). When she was a puppy I put a lead on her and under me - tied to the far side of the bed - so if she woke up and needed to go out, I would know - tho that never happened, I always woke up if she so much as sat up. Still do. sigh. I set the alarm for two times in the middle of the night eg if bed time for me was 10:30pm - we'd potty then (use a cue word for this too), and again at 1am and 3:30am and get up at 6am.

    If the puppy is doing something you don't want - think about what you might be doing that would encourage that - and change it. Think about what you want instead - and train that.

    PS - when you put him in the room on his own, or you leave the house, don't make a huge fuss about it and don't make a huge fuss and play when you get back either. Take him out for potty break - be really boring until he's toileted then you can think about playing with him. You don't want to make it a big deal of him being on his own or being back with you. Wait 5 or 10 minutes (and a potty break) and then party with him after you get home.
    Last edited by Hyacinth; 09-23-2012 at 03:48 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    SE QLD


    1. Are we right in letting him sleep as much as he wants to?

    The only time I would wake him up would be to go to the toilet every hour or so, otherwise it is fine to let them sleep.

    2. Is our crying treatment appropriate?

    I think when they cry it is best to just ignore them, every time you reassure or sooth a crying puppy you are just teaching the puppy that if it cries it will get what it wants. I think the crying only lasts a week or two until they get use to their new home. It's best to keep the puppy close by during the night.

    3. Are we using the stuffed kong correctly? The breeder was feeding him both kibble and minced chicken. We haven't given him the chicken yet, and aren't sure the best way to do this.

    I only used the kong when I was going to work or out, that way it was a distraction when I left and kept them occupied for a while too. Ask your breeder for advice on how they were feeding the chicken, from there you can slowly wean to a way you are comfortable with.

    4. How much should we try and leave him in his room on his own?

    I'd leave him there as long as he seems happy to play or sleep.

    5. Is it okay to let him chill out on his doggy pillow in the room with us, and let him do a bit of exploring?

    Don't see why not, just learn the signs of when he is about to pee!

    6. Should we be putting him outside to learn about his surroundings on his own? What should we do if he whines?

    I'd let him out, just watch closely so that he doesn't get into any trouble!

    8. Is it okay to take him to my parent's house for a play today (both other dogs are fully vaccinated)

    Yes that's fine, so long as they are healthy, it's great or socialisation.

    Have you booked him into puppy school? I also thought it was illegal for breeders to let their puppies go under 8 weeks, I know it's only half a week. But as far as I am aware every day is important with puppy development, and it raises some questions about the breeder too.

    There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Rural NSW


    Great advice from everyone. I though do not wake puppies up to toilet during the day but I do put them out for a pee as soon as they do wake. I think the old adage of "let sleeping dogs lie" is a good one.

    I also have a word for toileting.
    I say it as a question..then again at the door and as they are peeing I say it in a congratulating tone and reward with hugs and praise.

    These 3 are litter mates and all they and their mother need now is it in question form and I open the door and those that want to go out. The pups are 3 next month. Not pups anymore, lol.

    Even Jess who returned here about 6 months (maybe more) ago made the transition from outside working dog to companion inside/outside pet toilet trained dog really easily by watching as it was going on with the others.
    She had never been inside as she was destined to be My FIL's working dog but she would keep roaming so I have her back.

    Any posts made under the name of Di_dee1 one can be used by anyone as I do not give a rats.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Rural Western Australia


    On the note of leaving him on his own outside. I did with my first pup when I went to work because I had no choice as I was renting and being a cattle dog she soon worked things out and no harm came to her.

    Given the choice - no I wouldnt leave a tiny puppy alone outside. I would make sure I was their to supervise.

    I also agree with the let sleeping dogs lie. I only put my pups outside when I recognised the signs of restlessness for a pee or immediately on the puppy waking.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2011


    My first bit of advice is to contact your breeder when you need tips and help with settling puppy. As a breeder they will have helped others settle puppies into their new home.

    As a registered breeder myself I would say chill and relax a bit, puppy needs a combination of time on his own and time with you. Puppy will cry and you have to ride him out. As to night time the best place for many young pups is in a crate by your bed. At a later age when he feels at home and has forgotten his previous life you can move them to a more appropriate or suitable place.

    When to feed him his chicken, ask the breeder, though you should of received feeding instructions.

    Let puppy sleep, but wear him out when he's awake. It's exhausting for them going to a new home and enjoy the long sleep times while you still can, that will change.

    Yes I would let him explore in the house, but when you have to keep an eye on him so you can get him out to toilet. Time to explore the house or the area where you all spend the majority of your time is just after he's toileted.

    Should you have him in an area where he's sees you etc, yep, dogs like company, but you also need to go about your daily activities and let him winge.

    To me you seem to have a very regimented life set out for puppy. As a person who raises litters and then normally keeps one myself not much is regimented. Puppy is put outside when I can't watch him/her, when I can they are inside after being taken to the toilet, I like to put toileting on a cue and reward, so I wait for puppy to start to squat to pee and say "toilet", praise and then let them follow me inside. I always have an open door policy with a young puppy and walk in and out on a regular basis so they know the way to outside.

    I like baby gates, you can get commercial ones that are easily removed so I use these to confine puppy to tiled areas. I keep all bedrooms etc closed off until the dog is completely toilet trained.

    Remember you have taken puppy from all he knows, he will take time to settle in and feel at home in his surroundings. Sleeping with the pack is important for only dogs and a crate in the bedroom is what I recommend to all my puppy owners.

    Do I let my puppies explore outside, yes, but then my yard is completely puppy proofed. To my way of thinking you don't bring home a dog to a yard that is not puppy proofed.

    My puppies all start in the kitchen with the back door open and I set aside time to spend in the kitchen not playing with them but just being there so that they learn to like the area.

    Good luck with your puppy, relax and soon you will look back and not remember the time he was being difficult.
    Last edited by MAC; 09-23-2012 at 08:20 PM.

  10. #10


    Lots of great advice. All I can say is - relax a bit.

    Pup has left his family. The stress of that, and fatigue, will make him grumble and cry. Let him bond to you.

    Don't be too set in routines to start with, sometimes it's best to let them develop over time like they would with a human baby. Getting to know each other, and how you fit in with each other, is an important part of building routines.

    With treats - don't forget how very tiny his stomach is - probably about teaspoon sized. So interest in treats will be limited. And the potential to disrupt nutrition is pretty high if he is filling up on treats all the time.

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