@t89rex said in Wet weather exercise:
Thanks for your help everyone.
Rather than start a whole new topic for what I'm sure will be the second of many, many questions I have I was hoping I could ask you all here.
Hugo sleeps very well during the night, and often goes all the way through from 10 to 6 without needing a break. He also very calmly lets me know when he does need to go during the night which is great.
The trouble I have during the day is that like a human child he really doesn't seem to know when he needs rest. Often he'll come and ask for a cuddle and then go to sleep on my lap but I don't think I'm doing him any favours training him to need me to sleep.
When I think he's tired I often just put him in his crate and try to ignore him if he whinges, but he's had a few accidents in there. I have trouble distinguishing between general "I'd prefer to get out of this crate and be with you" which I don't want to reward, and genuine need to go out and toilet.
Does anyone have any tips to help him self regulate his sleep a bit better?
Distinguishing between the kind of whining is difficult. I'll get more in detail about what to do later in the post. Also, if he's giving you no problems at night, then a few other things could be at work here.
To begin, I would recommend experimenting with more exercise in general, regardless of how much he's getting now. Some Basenji puppies have a seemingly unlimited supply of energy. That, coupled with a curious nature and a persistent and hard-headed character, makes for a dog looking to get into trouble.
Tiring him out sufficiently is essential.
The above is just general good practice that you should make sure you're doing, but specific to you:
At 12 weeks old, he doesn't know how to settle, you'll have to teach him this. I typically teach this while the puppy is on an elevated bed inside an ex-pen.
Put the bed & pen next to wherever you sit (couch/chair/bed/etc.) and feed the dog treats consistently while you're doing something else (on the computer, reading a book, watching television, etc.).
You're going to want to do this training exercise after physically exhausting him, otherwise you may have some difficulty with it.
Another thing that will be useful is to capture the behavior when he naturally does it.
- he walks over to his bed or crate, and lies down and settles by himself
- you take a treat out of your pocket and toss it on the ground next to him and go back to doing what you were doing and letting him do what he was doing
A big thing that will help you is starting to focus on crate training. If you start doing crate training exercises when it isn't bedtime, then it'll accelerate your progress.
Get him used to being in the crate during the day, and for different amounts of time. If he only goes in the crate at night and stays there for 8 hours, he might think he's going to stay in for 8 hours in the day too. Show him that sometimes he'll be in the crate for 2 minutes while you take out the trash or put the laundry in, and other times he'll be in the crate for 4-6 hours when you want to go out and get dinner downtown. Give him different pictures of the crate and what being in the crate is.
Also, getting him to like the crate is a big consideration as well. I think I have older posts that go into this, but the threads may have been deleted.
I'll just give one tip about it this post: put the crate next to the place you sit, put him in the crate, give him a chew treat (bully stick, pig's ear, etc.) and close the door, sit down next to him and do something where the attention isn't on him (computer, book, etc.), and let him self-satisfy and enjoy doing something on his own but in your company. This will greatly help him develop a calm and relaxed disposition around you. You want to be sure that you clock downtime like this with him, otherwise, he won't settle in your presence.
Lastly, the whining in the crate. At this young of an age, I would immediately go to the puppy the first time he whines and put a lead on him in the crate and walk him outside for toilet. If he goes, or if doesn't go after a few minutes, walk him back to the crate and put him back in. This is going to teach him that he will have a chance to go to the bathroom. If he whines after this, IGNORE HIM. This is important, otherwise you'll teach him to whine when he wants to get out and/or whining will be his way of calling you.
Luckily this doesn't usually last too long. Pretty soon he should get the idea that he will be given a chance to go to the bathroom, and you should stop going to him if he whines. Once he understands this though, a lot of the whining should stop (for now). Then you'll have to work on the whining he rehearses from not liking the crate/the sensation of having space restricted, and then the whining he rehearses from not wanting to be in there (this last one is dealt with by simply ignoring).
The best advice for this particular crate issue is this: take him to toilet first, then after he goes, put him in the crate.
Also, like all else, start slowly with the amount of time you leave him in the crate during the day.
All the best.