We have a nine week old lab - Monty - and we are having a lot of trouble with him. Despite trying to handle him properly (we have bought and read a number of books on dog behaviour and handling) he is developing bad habits and his behaviour is getting worse.

Typical behaviour includes peeing in the house, nipping and biting, and chewing just about anything in sight. He will 75% of the sit in command, but rarely 'Comes' and won't respond to any other command.

He will last the night with out peeing, in the house and waits until we let him out into the garden, but during the daytime, he occasionally pees in the house, especially when he is excited.
The process of him chewing or nipping and us telling him "Off" has just turned into a game to him and we are unsure of what to do.

Obviously the biting and nipping is a great concern becasue we have young children in the house.
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We have a nine week old lab - Monty - and we are having a lot of trouble with him. ... in sight. He will 75% of the sit in command, but rarely 'Comes' and won't respond to any other command.

Yup, this is typical puppy behavior. You've had him for at most two weeks, I assume? The fact that he sits 75% of the time at 9 weeks means that you are making excellent progress. Chewing and teething is best dealt with by removing enticing chewables from his reach, and providing a steady supply of acceptable chewables, such as toys and edible "bones." Within the last few months there was a long discussion of methods for inhibiting puppy biting here. I suggest you do a google search on "puppy biting" restriced to this ng to find it. (Didn't your children teeth or suck their thumbs or a pacifier? Make the connection.)
He will last the night with out peeing, in the house and waits until we let him out into the garden, but during the daytime, he occasionally pees in the house, especially when he is excited.

He is very young, and you are still in the process of housebreaking him. The fact that he makes it through the night means he is making good progress. I'm sure it is in your books, but instead of "letting him out" you should be taking him out to the same spot each time (after meals, naps, and play, at least), using a repeated phrase when he begins to relieve himself, and praising performance to the skies. Expect to do this for a number of weeks. And of course treat the accidents with something like Nature's Miracle to remove the odor.
The process of him chewing or nipping and us telling him "Off" has just turned into a game to him and we are unsure of what to do.

See above.
Obviously the biting and nipping is a great concern becasue we have young children in the house.

With your help, he will grow out of it.
We have a nine week old lab - Monty - and we are having a lot of trouble with him. ... behaviour is getting worse.>>. Typical behaviour includes peeing in the house, nipping and biting,and chewing just about anything in sight.>>>

Hi Matt,
He's not developing bad habits, he's being a puppy and a young one at that. Remember when you read child care books so you were prepared
and then you had them and there was reality? It's the same for pups:) They are hard work.
He will 75% of the sit in

command, but rarely 'Comes'

That's pretty good for the sits but keep practricing and rewarding him. Make your self more interesting and encouraging so he wants to come to you. Call him when he is not being distracted so you are more likely to have a successful outcome and it becomes a habit.
and won't respond to any other command.>>

What sort of commands are you trying to teach him ? He can't learn everything
at once.
He will last the night with out peeing, in the house and waitsuntil we

let him out into the garden, >>>

That is really good for a nine week puppy. Be grateful:)

>.
Make sure he has enough opportunities to wee outside. You have to be vigilant and watch for the signs he is gong to wee. He can't help weeing out of excitement. His bladder is small and the muscles aren't strong yet. Its very important that he gets lots of praise and fuss when he goes outside
and ignore any accidents inside .
Alison
We have a nine week old lab - Monty - and we are having a lot of trouble with him. ... a number of books on dog behaviour and handling) he is developing bad habits and his behaviour is getting worse.

Hi, Matthew...
I'm really glad that you bought some books - most folks don't bother. But are any of your books specifically about puppies? One handles puppies much differently than adult dogs. If you don't have a book about puppies, I suggest that you get one.
Typical behaviour includes peeing in the house,

This isn't a behavior "problem" - He just hasn't been housebroken yet. Nine weeks is quite early to expect any great compliance. I suggest that you buy a crate if you don't have one, then do a Google search on "crate training puppy" (not in quotes). Or your puppy book should have some information for you. You may also want to adjust your expectations - I really don't expect even good compliance with housetraining until the puppy is about 4 months old, and some dogs don't develop good control and reliability until they're
6 months. Get a good enzymatic cleaner like Nature's Miracle and after youclean up the spot, saturate it with that stuff and let it dry.
nipping and biting, and

Also not a behavior "problem" - this is normal puppy behavior. It is up to you to teach him that putting a human hand in his mouth is not acceptable. One way is when he nips you, yelp LOUDLY, and ignore him. If you're playing with him or petting him, STOP. The yelping tells him in dog talk that he has hurt you, and by ignoring him, he learns that nipping makes all the fun STOP. You should be very consistent with this.When I have a die-hard nipper (and I've had more than my share!), every time the little sucker puts his mouth around my hand, I gently but firmly grasp his jaw (upper or lower, doesn't matter). Brace yourself for a moment of pressure from those baby needle teeth - I've never had one puncture me yet, but it can get uncomfortable! You see, dogs don't really like the taste of human skin. Hang on for a moment - the puppy will start to try to spit your hand out of his mouth.

I hold them for just a moment longer, then say "DROP IT" as I release the jaw. If you do this when you feel pressure from his tongue, you will teach him to spit something out of his mouth on that command. But I want my puppies to learn that if you put a hand in your mouth, it's going to STAY THERE until I decide it's time to let go.

Then offer him your hand again - if he puts his mouth around it, repeat the procedure. Usually by the third offer, you'll see him thinking about it and deciding not to mouth your hand.
chewing just about anything in sight.

This is also not a behavior problem - it's the way a puppy explores his environment! It is not only normal for a puppy to do this - it is essential to learning. Your job as his surrogate parent is to make sure you "puppy proof" his environment - don't leave things out that he can hurt himself on, and supervise him at all times. When he grabs something inappropriate, grab a toy of his that *is* appropriate and direct him away from the thing that is not. This is a stage that all puppies go through and he will outgrow it eventually. But you must teach him what's appropriate to chew on and what isn't.
I always suggest tying a puppy to you with a 10-foot piece of clothes line whenever he is not in his crate. This way you will always have him in your sight - you can stop him if he's chewing something inappropriate, or if he's about to have an accident, you can pick him up and take him outside.
He will 75% of the sit in command, but rarely 'Comes' and won't respond to any other command.

I hope that you understand that puppies aren't born understanding English, nor are they born trained. He doesn't respond because he hasn't learned yet! He's just a baby - barely more than an infant. It can take many months to train a dog to respond well to commands, and his baby brain isn't even ready for that kind of training. I suggest that you find a puppy class in your area. You may also want to get a book on play training. You can start teaching him what commands mean now, but he won't be ready for serious training until he's more mature - 5 or 6 months minimum.

You say you have young children in the house. Would you expect a 2-year-old to respond to a written command? I hope not! Why? Because he can't read yet! Your puppy is a young "child" dog. He needs to be schooled, just like a young child.
He will last the night with out peeing,

That is exceptional for a 9-week-old puppy!
in the house and waits until we let him out into the garden, but during the daytime, he occasionally pees in the house, especially when he is excited.

Okay, so you know this. Anticipate it! I've had puppies that have to pee every 10 to 30 minutes! Take them out immediately after eating, drinking, playing, or waking up from a nap. Watch him closely - if you notice him sniffing around a place where he's peed before, pick him up and take him outside. When you can't watch him, put him in his crate.
The process of him chewing or nipping and us telling him "Off" has just turned into a game to him and we are unsure of what to do.

Follow my advice above. Dogs will always do things that reward them in some way. If you notice that your puppy has made a game of something, DON'T PLAY. Be a post. Freeze. If you have learned a particular method for dealing with an issue and he has made a game of it, if you don't know an alternative method, either Google it, look it up in some puppy books, or come to this list and ask for suggestions.
Obviously the biting and nipping is a great concern becasue we have young children in the house.

This is normal and he will outgrow it. You may have to teach your children how to avoid getting nipped. Don't allow them to engage in rough play with him. Always supervise when the kids are interacting with the dog - always!

You can google "dogs and kids" for a lot more information.

Hope this helps, and keep us posted on your progress!

Do you mind if I ask why you chose to get a puppy rather than an older dog? I teach puppy classes, and I'm really interested in knowing what motivates people to get puppies. I'd also like to know more about what you were expecting, if you did any reading about raising puppies, etc. I'm not asking to be a smart-*** - it's just that I don't think a lot of people know what they're getting into, and I see a lot of high expectations like yours (coming when called, understanding commands without training, instant housebreaking). I'm curious to know how you developed those expectations. It would really help me in dealing with clients.
Kind Regards,
Tracy
We have a nine week old lab - Monty - and we are having a lot of trouble with him. ... a number of books on dog behaviour and handling) he is developing bad habits and his behaviour is getting worse.

Which books?
Typical behaviour includes peeing in the house, nipping and biting, and chewing just about anything in sight. He will 75% ... us telling him "Off" has just turned into a game to him and we are unsure of what to do.

The best thing you can do right now is to RELAX. Raising a puppy can be daunting, yes, especially if he's your first one. But it can also be one big ball of fun and excitement, too, if you look upon it as a game with rules that one must first learn in order to play it successfully. And you do want to be successful, right?

A puppy OBEDIENCE class can go a long way toward teaching you those rules, plus you'll have fellow puppy owners to compare notes with.

You still have to socialize your little guy (you do know what that entails, right?), too, and a puppy OBEDIENCE class can help you do just that. Just make sure that your pup's vaccinations are current, and that the class-givers monitor the health records of all the pups allowed into class.
Obviously the biting and nipping is a great concern becasue we have young children in the house.

Matt, what you are going through is entirely NORMAL.

Enroll yourself and your pup in a good puppy OBEDIENCE class as soon as possible (tomorrow would not be too soon!). Your vet can probably help you find a good one.
And RELAX.
Good luck with your new pup!

Jack "The Unpalatable Barbarian" Morrison
*gently remove the detonator to send me e-mail
Note to Gangsters:When You're Protesting Racists' Stereotypes, Be Sure Not to Confirm Them! http://texasrainmaker.blogspot.com/2005/10/note-to-gangsters-when-youre.html
()

All of Tracy's advice is very good, but I want to add some emphasis to the above.
You just cannot allow your pup to keep making mistakes, even if you have to tie yourself to her and follow her around wherever she goes.

As Tracy said, you must learn how to ANTICIPATE when she needs to "go" and essentially already have her outside by the time she even gets into a position to "go." Yes, even every 30 minutes or so, if that's what it takes.
Every mistake you allow her to make basically sets you back to square one. You're essentially starting over and over and over and over again.
So, if you want the job of housebreaking to be over with sooner rather than later, DON'T ALLOW HER TO MAKE ANY MISTAKES.
Period.
Go luck with your new pup!

Jack "The Unpalatable Barbarian" Morrison
*gently remove the detonator to send me e-mail
Note to Gangsters:When You're Protesting Racists' Stereotypes, Be Sure Not to Confirm Them! http://texasrainmaker.blogspot.com/2005/10/note-to-gangsters-when-youre.html
I might add:
If you have been playing rough with your dog, you must stop or play differently! Your dog does not know the difference between acceptable and non-acceptable forms of play aggression, so if you or anyone in your household plays with your dog by teasing, poking, wrestling, tossing clothing for your dog to grab and pull, etc., you must stop immediately.

If you must indulge in that type of play, use pull toys, rope, or other non-personal parts or clothing, so the dog learns pulling and grabbing is OK for toys but not people.
n
Hi Matt
I don't know if it is of any interest to you, but I'd like to tell you how i handled my dogs' puppyhood.
I didn't have high expectations, in other words i was prepaired for accidents happening now and then until the puppy was 4-5 months old. I got my puppies at 8 and 7 weeks old. For the first weeks i would not let the puppy be unsupervised - even small puppies can do alot of stupid things =). I would let the puppy run around the house, but mostly it wanted to be where i was. When it wandered off i went to see what it was up to, and usually that would be enough to get it to follow me back. Sometimes it had accidents with me in the room, sometimes it had wandered off and i found the puppy peeing. It was a nuisance when it happened on a carpet, but i tried not to get stressed by it.
I guess my point is that even if accidents happen it doesn't mean the dog will never get housebroken.
When they were young they would nip and bite, irritating to say the least. When stuffing toys in their mouths, wimping or saying no didn't help, i refused to play for a while. Then invited the puppy to play again when it had calmed down.
I can see how the nipping and biting could be a worse problem when you have kids. I have very little experience of small children and dogs. I remember being told not to complain and leave the puppy alone if it bothered me =)

Disclaimer:
None of the above are recommendations. More of a reminder that there are no absolute truths, all owners and dogs are different and may have different needs and goals =)
Rosa
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