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Thread: Need help with puppy and toddler son!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Perth WA
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    Default Need help with puppy and toddler son!

    Hi,

    I am nearly at my wits end and have tried lots of different things.

    We have a 16 week old male bichon x maltese and a 16 month old male toddler.

    From the moment they wake up they are play fighting that gets pretty vicious. Either my son ends up crying or the puppy ends up squealing from my son grabbing him hard or hurting him.

    I have to keep the puppy outside for most of the day as this is on going. Then when we go outside they play for 5min then ends up getting vicious again so I have to put puppy in a playpen.

    I tell puppy off but it doesn't help one bit, I have tried to tell son off and tell him to just walk away but he is too young to understand.

    I guess I am asking for advice so puppy and son don't play fight viciously or is it ok for my dog to be outside all day with the odd play and hello? He is due for his last vaccination next week so we can go for walks, will that help?

    We got puppy so our son could grow up with a dog but at this rate I fell like if this keeps on going I may have no choice but to find him a home that he would get the most attention he deserves.

    Any advice greatly appreciated!!!

    Thank you

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Adelaide
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    12,581

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    I tell puppy off but it doesn't help one bit, I have tried to tell son off and tell him to just walk away but he is too young to understand.
    the puppy's mental age as an adult will be exactly the same as your son's mental age now. Don't expect more of the puppy than you do of your son.

    I would only let them interact when you have time to supervise. Start with 5 to 10 minutes - when you are going to ignore the phone, not have anything in the oven and not have any distractions....

    Get puppy out on lead and explain to your son - that this is not a toy - difficult concept for 2yo but they will both learn by what you allow and what you interrupt and stop without yelling. Just an oops and separation for 10 seconds (or long enough for both to notice play has stopped).

    Show your son where is ok to touch and pat and how to do all that gently. And maybe how to play with a shared toy. Have several puppy toys available so you can swap between if one baby won't let go.

    If the puppy gets too rough - detach the puppy and hold by the lead or collar so it can't interact... maintain for 3 to 10 seconds - until puppy notices.

    These sessions should be around 3 to 5 minutes to start with or even shorter. And then have a break - separate them and let them play independently.

    If you had two puppy dogs, the standard advice would be to train them separately and reward the one that is sitting out - as much as the one you're training. You can use praise and pats - not sure how "treats" work with toddlers. Or you give the boy a toy that he finds very engaging while you train the puppy.

    Keep it short and fun. And then put the puppy away. You can do this as often as you can manage - but at least one supervised training session for both a day is a must, and if you can manage three - try different games each time...
    eg

    session 1 - work on collar grab with the puppy and your toddler
    session 2 - work on trading the crappy toy for the great toy - the great toy is the one you're playing with
    give and geddit tug games
    session 3 - work on "its yer choice" or impulse control. this does involve a small amount of food for the dog, and helps teach the puppy to take food gently and only when offered. So you might need leather gloves or a certain pain tolerance because you must not let go of the treat if the puppy bites.

    game starts about 1 and a half minutes in. Rules explained before that. Notice puppy is on lead so it can't nick off and do its own thing.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1fh5WJqjR50

    you may also want to look up kikipup's videos
    and
    dogstar daily digital dog training text book (worth signing up for)

    Ch 2: Raising A Puppy | Dog Star Daily

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Flagstaff Hill, SA
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    Hyacinth, is this the sort of thing that gets thought at puppy classes?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
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    Adelaide
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    Hi robbiepapenfus

    I get a lot of my stuff from Susan Garrett who runs (online) courses. And also writes a blog.
    Susan Garrett Agility Training

    Whether you get that at puppy pre school might depend on which one you go to. Mine didn't do that stuff specifically but they did teach the basics of treat for a behaviour (shaping) which you can apply to the other skills you want and they were really good at answering all the questions you have about all things puppy.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    melbourne australia
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    I would clicker train them both. raisins for your son, teeny bits of cheese for dog
    Calm sit whilst toddler pats nicely for 10 seconds, then 20 seconds, then 30 seconds etc
    Let the dog get fed from highchair by your son. Cheese of course. so dog thinks: toddler = rewards
    Buy a play pen and put the pup in it, so he can interact safely with toddler without you closely supervising. A old travel cot will work and around a $5 2nd hand.
    If toddler gets too excited: into play pen to calm down, then back out once settled
    If pup gets too excited: into play pen to calm down, then back out once settled

    Clicker training works on animals, human animals too

  6. #6
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    Mar 2014
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    Perth WA
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    Thank you! I have noticed that puppy is learning faster than my toddler haha. I like the idea with puppy on a leash and rewards! We will get there just a slow process i guess and they will be best friends for life!!! Thank you

  7. #7
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    Greg Derrett - another world champion agility trainer (dogs and people) and competitor also noticed this phenomenon in one of his training videos that it was easier to get the dog to do what it was told (hold a sit stay) than get kids to be distracting on cue (run by the dog holding the sit stay) ...

    Thanks for the update Blanche Ashworth...

    Usually progress gets faster as the puppy (or child or hubby) works out that there's something in it for them.

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