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  1. #1
    Young Dawg (Member)

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    Default 18-Week Puppy doesn't want to stay engaged

    Lily is 18 weeks now, and we've settled into a daily routine. She is fully house trained, sleeps through most of the night (or lets us sleep through). She knows to stay put during our meal time. Has learned Sit, Down, doing well on Stay for a minute, and Heel is kicking in, too. I mean, she is a real sweet heart. But I am worried. She seems to have a real short attention span for staying engaged, and she doesn't like riding in our Jeep. For instance, we have puppy obedience class one day a week (3 sessions, so far). It lasts 45 minutes to an hour, with the last few minutes doing fun things, such as trading pups or crawling through agility obstacles. We wake between 4:30-5:30, Lily has breakfast, we play and otherwise engage in activity around the house. At 7:00-ish we begin our morning walk, and in the course of that meet other dogs, practice our obedience exercises a little bit. Most of it is on long leash, giving her plenty of time to smell and check out the neighborhood. We were walking two miles for awhile, but I cut that back to 1.25. I notice that at about the 45 minute mark, Lily starts to slow down. By that, I mean she starts laying down a lot and her attention goes more frequently to what is happening around us and less to our walk. When we arrive home, she celebrates and is ready to play again, then, by 9 am she is ready to nap until lunch unless something is going on outside, then we will get her out to interact with us but its a chore to get her to wake up enough to join us. After lunch, she is ready to nap again by 1 pm and will usually nap until I lure her outside about 4 pm for some activity before dinner. We have noticed Lily wakes very slowly. It takes her awhile to get interested in what's going on unless food is involved. She will just lay quietly, even when we call to her. On class day, we have to wake her early enough so that she has time for a potty break before loading up in our Jeep Patriot. It's a 20-minute drive to class location, and during that time she drools excessively, paces, and will usually eliminate just before arrival. Not a pleasant drive for any of us. Husband and I keep the tone "matter of fact", take care of clean up and keep on going. But then, on arrival, Lily may or may not be ready for class. If not, we will literally need to carry her to the training area. Yesterday, she engaged right away, went through all the exercises well until just at the very last, then she just pooped out. This happened the previous class, also. Our instructor says we need to keep her going through this, that its a phase, but I am scared that forcing her is causing her to shut down, and certainly tugging on her can't be good for her neck. She is 50 pounds now. That's a lot of weight to drag. We bought a harness so that we can lift and pull, but I am worried this is not the answer. I wonder if I should pull her out of the class when she starts to lose attention. On days when we don't have class, after dinner, we walk with a neighbor who has Lily's sibling and grandchildren that join us. The two pups get along very well and look forward to their time together. Our route is a mile, with locations at beginning and end for the pups to have full out play. Also, Lily loves children. She welcomes them and is gentle. Her first 10 weeks were with a family with small children. I am worried we don't have enough to offer Lily, being retired empty nesters, and that all the day time sleep and the shutting down is her way of escaping boredom, although I know puppies need a lot of sleep. Husband says "no", that can't be because when she is awake and engaged she shows obvious affection towards us. Does anyone have experience with this behavior? What did you do? I've had German Shepherds and a Golden Retriever, who wanted to be totally involved all the time until they exhausted themselves. Do you think Lily is passing through a phase, and will eventually be more engaged in our daytime activities? Or is this "independence" her way of saying she would really like to be doing something different? As far as riding in the Jeep, I've been taking her to Burger King every day, which is not too far away, but she still isn't looking forward to the ride.

  2. #2
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) Tsunibear's Avatar

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    Okay she is still a growing baby. She won't be done growing until she is 3 years old. Like a toddler they go through phases where they are full of energy and then want to sleep. She is doing just that. You also have to remember that she is an LGD they tend to be more low key or as I call them hairy speed bumps. They rest until needed because they are bred to protect and so they sleep when they feel there is no threat to detect. They are also very independent and you have to make everything worth it for them. She loves you guys and you know that because she interacts and listens to you guys.

    As for the jeep it's possible that it's nerves. It could be motion sickness as well. You can do small trips around the block and see if she adjusts or improves with that or you can look into dramamine.

  3. #3
    Young Dawg (Member) Meatball Murphy's Avatar

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    Hi there, Lily sounds to me like a completely normal pyr puppy. You can't compare them to a GS or retriever they are LGD.
    As for car, my Molly is around the same age and behaves similarly. She is slowly growing out of it(very slowly), we hit a milestone yesterday with car...... she got in without me dragging her. So perhaps, yours to will grow out of the anxiety too. I recall Murphy also did the same but he got over it much quicker then Molly. Patience and time will tell I suppose.
    Good luck
    Keep your soul clean
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    Your boots dirty.

  4. #4
    Young Dawg (Member)

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    Thank you Tsunibear and Meatball Murphy for your replies - I was worried that we were not giving puppy sufficient social stimulation; however, now I am encouraged that all is well.

  5. #5
    Road Dawg

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    Lacey is 3.5 years old and as the others have said, they are very independent and do things on their own time. The pup is still growing and some dogs are just not into everything. Or they prefer to just observe. Think of people who are extroverts vs introverts. I can engage Lacey in play by squeaking one of her toys and she might go after it once and then just lays down or goes off and does her own thing. When she is ready to engage me (usually in the evening, when I just want to relax for a while), she will ask me to let her out and back in again repeatedly. She'll ask for more biscuits or she will try to get me to go outside with her. Night time is her time and during the day, she sleeps. I come home from work and she stumbles off the couch with a bad case of bed-head and her ears every which way.

    In puppy classes, Lacey would get overwhelmed very easily and was not food motivated, so it was really hard to get her to do anything for any length of time. The trainers were terrible and told me she was not making progress. She wanted to meet and greet all the other dogs, which isn't allowed in Grade 1. She did her commands, but once or twice was enough.

    My first Pyr wouldn't come out from under the chair in his kindergarten class when the pups were allowed to play together. When we started Grade 1, he wanted to play as he was ready with the others and was not allowed to do so.

    Pyrs are unique and once I understood that everything was a negotiation, it made with much easier - both with my old Cody (miss him so much) and now Lacey. Although, I still can't negotiate with her to realize she doesn't need to be afraid of people. Work in progress!

  6. #6
    Road Dawg

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    LOL, the low key nature was a very desired feature for us! My other dog is an aussie, and whenever we are calm in the house she tends to pace, waiting for some more excitement. Our pyr puppy is perfectly happy to lie down near us and protect us from any theoretical coyotes in the area. Max didn't like the car at first, either. We take him to places where he gets pets and affection, and a local outdoor custard place that offers a free mini dog cone each visit.

    Now, Max is a food driven dude, so that was what it took for him. Heck, we bribed him into the car for a long time, then one day he just clambered in with no bribe. Luckily for us, he's also a sucker for attention and ear scritches, so we have lots of ammo to get him engaged. What does Lily LOVE?

    I always feel like we are cheating at manners class. They focus on getting your dog calm, staying, not pulling. And Max spends most of his life in low gear, he looks like an obedient superstar in class when he is really the most stubborn dog on the planet. He just thinks that sitting still for a chance at a cookie is an excellent idea. Now, Max sometimes runs out of "go" at around 45 minutes into class. I will continue to try to lure him and encourage him, but I also will tell the teacher that we used up all he had to give, and I don't push him. Our teachers have been very understanding of this. I don't think it's a phase, per se, rather that we can gradually increase our puppy's timeframe for paying attention with gentle persistence, yummy treats, and understanding.

  7. #7
    Old Dawg (Senior Member) Jewel's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kris View Post
    Lily is 18 weeks On class day, we have to wake her early enough so that she has time for a potty break before loading up in our Jeep Patriot. then she just pooped out. This happened the previous class, also. Our instructor says we need to keep her going through this, that its a phase, but I am scared that forcing her is causing her to shut down,
    Goodness! She's 18 weeks old! It's like asking a human preschooler to sit up straight and look ahead and pay attention for 50 minutes straight without breaking concentration! Relax. She's a baby still.

    The first year of Ren's life I spent the whole time just socializing him. We took him everywhere and let him meet & greet all sorts of people and dogs. I had not planned on enrolling him in class until he was about a year old. I actually enrolled Ren in his first class at about 18 months old.

    If it'll make you feel better, I was pretty sure Bijou, the one on the left in the avatar pic, didn't know her name for the first year. Bijou's world was Bro, the one on the right of my avatar pic. She bonded with him, not the humans. She was constantly getting into things she wasn't supposed to and got yelled at a lot. I think she thought her name was "BIJOU-WHAT-ARE-YOU-DOING-NOW!!!!!" for a long time...

    The pyrs are not wired the same way as GSDs or retrievers. They need motivation to obey commands because they do not have that behavior bred into them. Don't skimp on treats if you girl responds to that.

  8. #8
    Puppy (New Member)

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    Sometimes we forget that they are just animals and not people. We can love them to infinity, but let's not forget that only dogs. If we want them to do tricks, we must be patient and responsible.

  9. #9
    Young Dawg (Member)

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    An update: Lily is now 5 months old, has one more puppy obedience class. She happily joins the class now, with tail wagging, but still does not like being asked to load into our Jeep. It's a fixation that we think will fade as she matures further. Once she is in and we get on the road, after a few minutes, she lays down for the ride. On early rides, there was drooling, barfing, pooping and peeing (yup, all in every 20-30 minute ride), but this last ride, she only drooled. We are ready for whatever happens and just pull over and clean it up. She knows all the puppy obedience commands, and will acknowledge them well when she is focused; however, if something else captures her attention, she is singularly focused on that and will ignore me. I don't "drill" her and I don't expect perfection; this is her breed's nature, and she is typical. Considering the reports I have read of typical GP behavior, Lily seems to be doing exceptionally well with obedience. She sleeps a lot because she is a growing puppy (over 60 pounds), and her body needs rest after activity. Lily is wonderful at home, and when we are out in the neighborhood, her sweetness and appearance garner attention from other walkers. She joins her sister and another dog daily for our evening walk and playtime, so gets lots of canine and child socialization. We meet other dogs along the way, and she is wonderful with them, seems to read them perfectly and know how to friend with them on an individual basis.

    Thank you for all your responses to my messages in this forum. You have been helpful, supportive and educational.

  10. #10
    Young Dawg (Member)

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    We don't ask Lily to do tricks; however, I opine that learning tricks can be useful in teaching a dog to focus and interact with people, so we may try teaching her some useful "tricks" as we go along. However, I agree that doing tricks probably isn't typical character trait for pyrs.

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