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Old 01-20-2010, 01:11 AM   #1
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Default Puppy and Toddler help

Hi all! I'm new here as well as new to owning an indoor dog. I have a mix puppy (beagle/rat terrier) about 2-3 mos. old and I've had him for the last 2 weeks. I also have three kids ages 11, 9 & almost 3. The toddler is my concern at this point. I'm working with Tater Tot (pup) on not biting but it's still very much a work in progress. He absolutely LOVES socks and fingers. My daughter thinks running through the house hollering with Tater Tot close on her heels is a blast but when he catches her, he's way too rough. He's play growling and nipping at anything he can get a hold of. I know he's just playing with her and she loves it till he catches skin but I don't want this to be a habit for either of them. My daughter also loves just laying on the floor and letting him crawl all over her which eventually ends up with him eating her hair or ears, etc. He's adopted her as his littermate I guess and I don't know how to make this work. I did tie a shoe lace around one of Tots toys and had TJ run through the house with that so Tot would chase the toy instead of her socks but he quickly decided her socks were tastier and her squeals a delight. Please help me to make this puppy a part of our family without my daughter losing a toe or something along the way, lol. Thank you all in advance!

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Old 01-20-2010, 02:35 AM   #2
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Hello & welcome to the forum. I'm not sure at what age you can reason with a toddler (been a long time since I raised my children) but she as well as the pup need to learn to respect each other. Your right the pup sees her as part of his litter. When a puppy nips a litter mate they yelp & play stops. It's not a good idea to have her running through the house squealing. This only excites the pup.

Nipping is a part of a pup learning bite inhibition, by yelping like a litter mate, by the whole family, he should get the message & eventually stop biting. With the older members of the family try not to react by pulling your hand etc away from the pup which will also entice play. He's learning how to live in an alien environment.

Here's some links
http://www.dogstardaily.com/videos/l...aining-classic
scroll down to just under the italics paragraph to read about why puppies need to bite.
http://www.dogstardaily.com/blogs/puppies-doin-time
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Old 01-20-2010, 08:35 AM   #3
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Hello luvmypup and welcome to the forum!

Let's see, a 12 week old puppy (height of the nipping stage) and a 3 year old human (playful, not one to take instructions easily). It's hard to convince either one of them to do what you want, since they are both having such a blast playing, each in their own way. I agree with April, the doggy sees the little girl as a litter / playmate.

The older kids can help with teaching the pup not to nip, and we have an FAQ right here on the forum:
How to: Stop puppy biting / nipping

Your little one probably won't be able to help much, although you might try getting her to play "statue." Whenever the puppy gets riled up, have your toddler pretend to be a statue or a mummy. This can help teach the puppy that this type of play doesn't get him very much of a response. Unless you want to keep them separated I would work on both of them - have all older humans be consistent about teaching the pup not to nip, and also work on your toddler to have her stop squealing, running etc when things get too wild. Otherwise what might happen is the same thing as when puppies play, one will yelp when it hurts, and it could be your little daughter.
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Old 01-20-2010, 09:57 AM   #4
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aboard luvmypup to the forum Yes agree with the above it can be very serious if not nipped in the bud now. You could also try redirecting the pup to a toy and not your toddler! And praise the oup when it gets it right, when it doesn't play must end there and then with out question!! I know at 3 it isn't easy but does she understand certain things? Can she say 'No' and make a yelping noise if not you could show her ad get her to stand still. I too would discourage her running through the house with the pup in tow,as a accident could easily happen. Only through consistancy and being repetious will you suceed in this matter! Good luck and ATB
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Old 01-20-2010, 10:01 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luvmypup View Post
Hi all! I'm new here as well as new to owning an indoor dog. I have a mix puppy (beagle/rat terrier) about 2-3 mos. old and I've had him for the last 2 weeks. I also have three kids ages 11, 9 & almost 3. The toddler is my concern at this point. I'm working with Tater Tot (pup) on not biting but it's still very much a work in progress. He absolutely LOVES socks and fingers. My daughter thinks running through the house hollering with Tater Tot close on her heels is a blast but when he catches her, he's way too rough. He's play growling and nipping at anything he can get a hold of. I know he's just playing with her and she loves it till he catches skin but I don't want this to be a habit for either of them. My daughter also loves just laying on the floor and letting him crawl all over her which eventually ends up with him eating her hair or ears, etc. He's adopted her as his littermate I guess and I don't know how to make this work. I did tie a shoe lace around one of Tots toys and had TJ run through the house with that so Tot would chase the toy instead of her socks but he quickly decided her socks were tastier and her squeals a delight. Please help me to make this puppy a part of our family without my daughter losing a toe or something along the way, lol. Thank you all in advance!
Hello and welcome!

For starters puppies go through teething just like toddlers do. This is the basis for much of the chewing your pup is doing. It will pass in time but your dog will always need something to chew, that helps to exercise the jaw and clean the teeth.

Sadly that's the good news. As for the bad news, well I don't want to put you off. You did the right thing in looking for others with some experience to get some ideas on resolving the problems you see starting to emerge.

Good dogs don't just happen. It takes hard and consistent work for the rest of the dog's life. The sooner you get boundaries and limitations set the sooner you start to see a well behaved dog.

You need to understand the breeds that make up your dog to start with. Beagle and Rat Terrier are both hunting dogs. They are so because of their natural abilities. At the moment your kids appear to the dog as part time prey. Don't think for a moment that this dog, fully grown couldn't inflict serious injury to your kids. There is only one thing that stands between that tragedy and a blissful addition to your family. The mental control you have over the dog. That's it.

Don't get spooked! Controlling the dog isn't as difficult as you may think at this point. It takes calm assertion of your will and a skill set that you understand how and when to apply that will make sense to your dog on it's own level of understanding.

At this point it's all potential and what you make of that potential is the tale of your own ability to train and raise a dog.

First things first, is education. You need to learn what being a "dog person" is all about. Like learning to cook or drive a car, it's not about learning this trick or that trick. It's about learning all the tricks so that when you need to use one, you know what and how to.

For starters no more chasing around the house screaming. It triggers the prey drive in your dog and makes the pup want to chase, catch and kill.
No more littler mates. Your children are people and the dog is a dog. There is a difference and that must be respected. Don't get me wrong, my dog is loved far more that most people I know, but he has to be a dog first. Then he can be my sweetie.

All dogs need rules, boundaries and limitations. So it is that you and your family also need some rules. Be calm. Be patient. Be assertive.

This is a lot to take in for the first look so I'll stop here for now. Remember that you have taken a step in the right direction in getting help. Like most things, once you know it, you make it look easy. Getting to know it will take a little time and a lot of effort. In the end it is well worth it.

This place has a wealth of knowledge and some very understanding people that are more than happy to help out with all your questions. Tap into that resource and you will find your answers.

Best of luck.

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Old 01-20-2010, 11:28 AM   #6
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I have already started to have Tater Tot on the leash and tethered next to me when TJ wants to play with him. I've told her that when he bites to tell him "no biting" and step out of his reach. He just hates it. Everything about her gets him wound up. She just walks into the room and he's ready to wrastle. I've been trying to tell my daughter that when she's playing with him to stand up but that's not what she wants (I say too bad). The minute she's on his level he's rowdy even if I'm sitting right there with her. Toys are no distraction for him. Just this morning, I let him back in from pottying and she squatted down to love on him at the same time as he jumped up and she now has a 2 inch scratch on her cheek. I feel like giving up and just keep them apart till they both grow up but that's not what I want. I have managed to teach him the first step to sit using his kibble but like I said, he's not interested in it when she's around. I've been showing her how to walk slooooowly when in his reach to keep from over exciting him. TJ has been able to run and play around here clear up till now so it'll take a bit to retrain her in that area but I'm sure it can be done. Keep the great advice coming and feel free to be as specific as possible. I've been researching about how to be a "dog person" ever since I brought him in and I'm slowly getting some of it. It can be a lot of info to take in and much of it is contradictory but I've got a feel for what is right and what is just wrong. I do tend to feel like I'm second guessing myself as to what to do in each circumstance but I know I need to be consistent.

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Old 01-20-2010, 11:48 AM   #7
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Well if you keep them apart for a whil until one of them grows up it's not giving up - it's more like making a choice that could be the best for both of them. Neither one of them are going to be very good at listening to you at their ages right now. I'm sure Tater Tot didn't mean to harm TJ, it's just that a whack with a puppy paw or a nip with sharp puppy teeth wouldn't have done harm to a littermate. If TJ were older she would comprehend that this is a animal that could be potentially dangerous even if Tater Tot is good natured. And if Tater Tot were an adult dog, he would understand that this is a little human with delicate skin.

It's not easy raising a little kid and training a puppy at the same time so be aware you have a lot on your palte, it WILL be frustrating and there will be days where you will feel like you're losing ground. It sounds like you are on the right track, it is just going to take consistency and all the patience you have.
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Old 01-20-2010, 01:09 PM   #8
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Well you have already stumbled onto an interesting aspect of doggy training--much of it is contradictory. The reason is that every dog and every situation is different and often requires a modified approach. Getting two trainers to agree 100% of the time is a miracle, mainly because of their own training, beliefs, and experiences. There's nothing wrong with that, in fact it's reality. Even in my own household my dogs all have variations on how they need to be handled. They are slight, but they make a huge difference in response.

TJ is a toddler, pure and simple. Wrestling is fun and rewarding. Tater Tot is a puppy, pure and simple. Once more wrestling is fun and self-rewarding. How to break this before one of the 'toys' gets broken? Well... they need to be taught how to play together nicely. Dogs need to learn that biting and pawing (which leads to scratching, as you know) is never ok with people of any age. As puppies this is much simpler to teach than with older dogs. The older members of your family will be able to understand this... TJ probably not. What you can do is this--puppies are never too young to start learning 'tricks'. Teach Tater Tot to do some things like sit, lie down, roll over, shake paws... etc. Then you can have TJ help you. Most kids adore seeing dogs roll over, and are even more happy to be the one that caused it to happen! It's like having a remote control for the dog. Kibble in his excited state will not do the trick... you need high value treats. Find a training treat for dogs that is moist and really yummy for him so that nothing else but getting that yummy is important. They're out there, and they make the difference. I like Zukes training treats, personally.. but I use a variety to keep my dogs guessing what is coming. TJ gets to play with him like this... or not at all. It will be good for both of them to build a 'working' relationship together. But, don't expect too much too soon. Set the boundary and be consistent.

And if Tater Tot likes to fetch, this is also a good game for TJ to play with him. Keep he ball on the floor, rolled to avoid striking by accident, and he can burn energy while she engages with him.
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Old 01-20-2010, 04:35 PM   #9
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/agree Draco. Just wanted to add that almost 3 is plenty old enough to command Tater. My daughter's been telling Lexi to spin since well before she was 2. Hand signals work better for us, but at almost 3, verbal commands probably work just as well.

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Old 01-21-2010, 12:52 AM   #10
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I do feel like I'm constantly telling Tater Tot "no" and putting him down on the floor due to the nipping/biting. That's all he ever wants to do. I've tried to get TJ to toss his toy so he can run after it but he's not interested. I guess I don't know how to play with him enough to run down some of his energy. They say no tug-of-war yet and so on but I don't know how to play with him that doesn't involve his teeth on our skin. It's cold and muddy here now and we have two outside dogs so I'm not sure about taking him outside yet. He's also not real good with a leash on yet. I just don't want to have to keep him in the crate so much or make him not want to cuddle up on my lap cause I'm always the bad guy. Please help.

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