HELP WITH BEHAVIOUR ISSUES PLEASE!

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Percy's Mum
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HELP WITH BEHAVIOUR ISSUES PLEASE!

Post by Percy's Mum » Tue Jun 21, 2011 4:47 am

Hi everyone,

I have a Shih Tzu Bichon cross called Percy. He is almost 3 and we have two major issues with him.

To give a little bit of background, the breed isn't one we were familiar with but my two sons fell in love with him and so did we. From what I understand on reading up about the breed, they naturally want to be with you at every opportunity. This is true of Percy, especially with me. If he could, he would be with me 24 hours a day.

We did puppy and adolescent classes and on advice from the trainer, he has always been crated. This isn't something we've ever done before and I'm worried that I use it way too much.

The issues we have with Percy is first and foremost, he pees in the house almost daily. He has been toilet trained and if he is with you, he will ALWAYS let you know when he wants to go outside. I work from home and my office is one of our bedrooms - he sits with me for hours and will always let me know when he needs to go. If we are in the lounge watching TV he will always tell us too. The problem lies if he is left downstairs on his own. Even with the back door open, he will pee inside. He knows that it is wrong and as soon as I see what he has done, he takes himself off to his crate!! Having taken lots of advice I have tried everything from ignoring it and just clearing it up to rubbing his nose in it. Nothing works. This has led to me crating him far more than I really want to but I can't trust him to be anywhere in the house unless someone is with him. The strange thing is when he left on his own, he doesn't make a fuss, he either lays down on the cool wooden floor, takes himself off to his crate or goes off into the garden.

Our other issue is that we cannot have him stay with anyone else so he has to be kennelled when we go away. This is because if he stays with my parents (which was the plan if we ever went away), he will not settle in his crate at all - he barks and cries all night long so my Mum stays downstairs with him! He also then goes into pee overdrive and pees absolutely everywhere! What I don't understand is that our trainer told us that he is a very intelligent dog and they are always the hardest to train - if he's that intelligent why does he not realise that peeing everywhere leads to him being in his crate more and not settling at night anywhere other than with us leads to him having to go into kennels?!!

He is a lovely little dog with a great personality and we love him to bits but this problem is really getting us down. He isn't walked as much as he was as I work longer hours now but this hasn't made the peeing any worse - it's still the same as it always was. Also, he hasn't been castrated and we have been told that may help?

Any advice would be so gratefully received - thank you!

ladybug1802
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Re: HELP WITH BEHAVIOUR ISSUES PLEASE!

Post by ladybug1802 » Tue Jun 21, 2011 7:18 am

Ok this sounds like it is down to stress.

First of all please dont ever rub his nose in it again or any techniques like that....this wont actually teach the dog not to go to the toilet in the house, but will simply teach the dog to be wary of you. Also, he doesnt know he has done wrong....honestly....he will be more reacting to your body language/vibe/tone of vouce when you come in.

How do you react when you find he has peed in the house? What do you do? How do you react?

With regards your parents house.....if he needs to be in his crste at nigth, why not have them put his crate in their bedroom so he is with them? That means he wont feel isolated and alone.

Now. how often do yo9u use the crate and in what situations do you use it? Y9u say you use it too often....can you elaborate? It is very important that dogs see their crate as their 'safe place' and are not put in there for long periods or put in there as a punishment.

In my opinion what your trainer has said it absolute rubbish about an intelligent dog being harder to train. My dog is so intelligent, and I am lucky in that he picks things up very quickly, so he is much easiert to train than, for example, one of my friend's dogs who takes a lot of repetition to even start understanding things.

What is he like when you leave him alone in the house? Behaviour wise - is he stressed? And does he pee then?

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Mattie
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Re: HELP WITH BEHAVIOUR ISSUES PLEASE!

Post by Mattie » Tue Jun 21, 2011 9:42 am

Percy's Mum wrote:Hi everyone,

I have a Shih Tzu Bichon cross called Percy. He is almost 3 and we have two major issues with him.

To give a little bit of background, the breed isn't one we were familiar with but my two sons fell in love with him and so did we. From what I understand on reading up about the breed, they naturally want to be with you at every opportunity. This is true of Percy, especially with me. If he could, he would be with me 24 hours a day.
Dogs are dogs first then their breed characteristics, how do you deal with him wanting to be with you so much?
We did puppy and adolescent classes and on advice from the trainer, he has always been crated. This isn't something we've ever done before and I'm worried that I use it way too much.
Crates can be good and can be bad, depending on how they are used, can you explain a bit more on how long he is in his crate and when he is put in please?
The issues we have with Percy is first and foremost, he pees in the house almost daily. He has been toilet trained and if he is with you, he will ALWAYS let you know when he wants to go outside. I work from home and my office is one of our bedrooms - he sits with me for hours and will always let me know when he needs to go. If we are in the lounge watching TV he will always tell us too. The problem lies if he is left downstairs on his own. Even with the back door open, he will pee inside. He knows that it is wrong and as soon as I see what he has done, he takes himself off to his crate!! Having taken lots of advice I have tried everything from ignoring it and just clearing it up to rubbing his nose in it. Nothing works. This has led to me crating him far more than I really want to but I can't trust him to be anywhere in the house unless someone is with him. The strange thing is when he left on his own, he doesn't make a fuss, he either lays down on the cool wooden floor, takes himself off to his crate or goes off into the garden.
He is not toilet trained or you wouldn't be having this problem, take him back and retrain him, if you go to viewtopic.php?f=20&t=6125 it will tell you how to do this. He hasn't learnt to go outside unless you are there. He doesn't know it is wrong, dogs toilet anywhere except were they sleep or eat. He is taking himself off to his crate because he is reading your body language which is telling him you are very cross with him and he may have his nose rubbed in it. Having the door open all the time he may not realise that there is a difference in the house and outside, when he is with you there is a difference. At his age I would take him out every hour.

It is cruel to rub his nose in it, that is how my mum used to house train her dogs but to avoid the dog having that done to him I would clean up before she saw it. Not only is it nasty to have your nose rubbed in it, the smell lingers for a long time and a dog can't get away from it.
Our other issue is that we cannot have him stay with anyone else so he has to be kennelled when we go away. This is because if he stays with my parents (which was the plan if we ever went away), he will not settle in his crate at all - he barks and cries all night long so my Mum stays downstairs with him! He also then goes into pee overdrive and pees absolutely everywhere! What I don't understand is that our trainer told us that he is a very intelligent dog and they are always the hardest to train - if he's that intelligent why does he not realise that peeing everywhere leads to him being in his crate more and not settling at night anywhere other than with us leads to him having to go into kennels?!!
Your dog is very insecure, think about an insecure 3 year old child, they behave in the same way, many parents can't leave their children overnight with grandparents for the same reason. This has nothing to do with his intelligence but to do with his insecurity and training. That trainer is an idiot to tell you that, I really hate trainers who come out with so much rubbish when they don't understand what or why a dog is doing something.
He is a lovely little dog with a great personality and we love him to bits but this problem is really getting us down. He isn't walked as much as he was as I work longer hours now but this hasn't made the peeing any worse - it's still the same as it always was. Also, he hasn't been castrated and we have been told that may help?
Forget having him castrated, it will make his insecurities a lot worse, anyone who has told you it may help doesn't understand dogs. Have a look at:

http://www.doglistener.co.uk/medical/neuter.shtml

http://www.sheltieranch.com/articles/Lo ... InDogs.pdf

Exercise is very important to a dog, you had a choice to take him he didn't, long hours on his own won't help, can you get someone to go in and take him for a walk every day, he does need a lot more exercise. Can you get up half to an hour earlier and take him for a walk, also a walk every evening. The more exercise he gets the more chance you have of solving these problems. Exercise won't cure these problems but they will make him feel better, if he feels better it will be easier to solve the problems.
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Percy's Mum
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Re: HELP WITH BEHAVIOUR ISSUES PLEASE!

Post by Percy's Mum » Tue Jun 21, 2011 10:49 am

Hi,

Thanks for the responses (although I do feel like I'm being told off Mattie which doesn't help when you are already feel stressed and worried about the situation! I know, there are no bad dogs, just bad owners and it looks like that I'm in that category) :(.

Going through each in turn:

I deal with him wanting to be with so much by having him with me when I am home. He follows me everywhere (usually to the exclusion of my husband and children although he does go to them too just nowhere near as much). As I mentioned, I work from home so when I am at home, he sits in the office with me like he is at the moment. My children are at home and he can hear them but he is content to be here with me. The evenings can be a little annoying sometimes in that he usually wants to sit on mine or my husband's lap which is fine but you have to be touching him the whole time, if you are not touching him, he'll keep pawing at you until you do. When he gets hot though, he'll jump down and then once he's cooled down he'll be back on your lap again. He also very often sits on our footstool too.

With previous dogs, we just used a basket which was in the kitchen. We have never allowed dogs to sleep in the bedrooms or jump on the beds but had them sleep in the kitchen at night and also if we went out. With Percy we were advised by the breeder and the trainer to crate him. He is therefore put in the crate when we go out and at night. I have to be honest though and say that if I need to get on with something and he doesn't leave me alone, I do put him in his crate and I do feel guilty about it but if I'm working upstairs say as I can't chance that he wont pee somewhere if no-one is there. I went to see the veterinary nurse who specialises in behaviour at our practice and she said that it was absolutely fine to crate him whenever I need to as dogs feel safe and secure there. We certainly never have had a problem with him when he's in it and as i said previously, he goes into his crate of his own accord. So to summarise, he is in his crate all night, comes out when we have breakfast, goes back in while we are upstairs getting ready (so he doesn't pee anywhere) and then comes out again when the kids have gone to school. He then comes up to the office with me and only goes back in if I go out or if I need to do something without him being at my side. He then goes back in for bed at night.

I know that you say he isn't toilet trained because he wouldn't be doing what he is doing but why does he ALWAYS let me know he wants to go out when he is with me or any other member of the family. Why does he only pee when he is on his own and why is it totally obvious that he knows he's done something wrong? I've been through every emotion when he pees - I've yelled at him, I've yelled at myself, I've totally ignored it and just cleared it up out of his eyeshot and I've cleared it up in front of him. His behaviour is always the same - he looks at me and then trots off to his crate, comes out a few minutes later and jumps up to me for attention. He never poos in the house, he'll go outside to do that of his own accord so how can he only understand to poo outside - it seems to me (and I have been advised) that it is an attention thing rather than he is unable to distinguish the outside from inside. Yes it is cruel to rub his nose in it which is why in 3 years I've only done that twice and that was when he was very small so I can't believe he thinks that will happen again after that amount of time.

Absolutely we made the choice to have him and he is walked every day. When I didn't need to work, he was walked for several miles each day off lead and still we had this problem. It makes no difference if we walk him for several hours or half an hour, the behaviour is the same.

I'm happy not to have him castrated. Having had two dogs before, they were never castrated and we never had any problems with either of them.

I hear what you say about putting the crate in my parent's bedroom if he stays with them but that is never going to happen as they don't agree with animals being in bedrooms and anyway as he pees all over their house, I would not put that on them again. We will just have to stick with putting him in kennels if we go away.

When he is left alone in the house, he is in his crate and he just goes to sleep. As soon as he sees us pick up our keys, he goes into his crate of his own accord and lays himself down. When we get back we let him back out and he's absolutely fine and happy to see us.

Hope I have answered both of your questions and I will indeed go back to the training of putting Percy out every hour and take it from there but any advice would be welcomed. Thank you.

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Mattie
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Re: HELP WITH BEHAVIOUR ISSUES PLEASE!

Post by Mattie » Tue Jun 21, 2011 11:46 am

Percy's Mum wrote:Hi,

Thanks for the responses (although I do feel like I'm being told off Mattie which doesn't help when you are already feel stressed and worried about the situation! I know, there are no bad dogs, just bad owners and it looks like that I'm in that category) :(.
It isn't easy giving clear information to owners, the information has to be clear or the owner misunderstands what is being said. There is no point in me pussyfooting about so you get the wrong information. Also we have to take into account people who read these threads looking for help for their dogs but don't post so again the information has to be very clear, then we have people from different countries who's first language isn't English. We are all volunteers who give our time and experience free to help owners like you, nobody is telling you off, just someone who is trying very hard to help you. There is no need to worry I won't bother again.
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ladybug1802
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Re: HELP WITH BEHAVIOUR ISSUES PLEASE!

Post by ladybug1802 » Tue Jun 21, 2011 12:22 pm

Hi Percy's mum...thanks so much for answering all the questions for us! I just need to say that Mattie sometimes has a very direct approach which can be taken the wrong way....but she doesnt mean any offence by it...honestly! I try to be a bit more softly softly....although I am not a professional!

I do wonder if the fact that you have yelled at him when you have found he has peed may well have clouded his behaviour slightly....so when you come back in and find he has peed, he may well relate you coming back in, with you yelling. And in fact even when you havent said anything and cleaned it up quietly, you would be surprised how preceptive dogs are and he will probably have picked up on your vody language and how you feel (Ie annoyed!).

I really do think this is insecurity. My rescue dog Dylan went through another phase of toileting in the house about 6 months ago, when I had had him a little over a year. I had house trained him again once he came to mine, by taking him out in the garden every hour, teaching him a command for each toilet functions (!) and praising him massively after. But he goes to a friend who is a dog walker when I am at work, and I used to pick him up from her....but we started having her leave him at my house a little behfore I got home. This stressed him out a lot.....I would get home to a stressy, hyper dog, and he started peing and pooing in the house again - both when she left him, and when I went out as well. We stopped her dropping him off, and the toileting in the house continued a bit when I left him or occasionally overnight....so I went back to basics a little bit. He now doesnt toilet in the house at all. He is a very anxious dog in general as you will see if you read my old posts, and most of his behaviour issues are down to that and his insecurity...soi really do believe that is what happens with your dog. He probably feels confident when you are there, but when you are not there he feels anxious, and that is why he pees.

Percy's Mum
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Re: HELP WITH BEHAVIOUR ISSUES PLEASE!

Post by Percy's Mum » Tue Jun 21, 2011 12:43 pm

ladybug1802 wrote:Hi Percy's mum...thanks so much for answering all the questions for us! I just need to say that Mattie sometimes has a very direct approach which can be taken the wrong way....but she doesnt mean any offence by it...honestly! I try to be a bit more softly softly....although I am not a professional!

I do wonder if the fact that you have yelled at him when you have found he has peed may well have clouded his behaviour slightly....so when you come back in and find he has peed, he may well relate you coming back in, with you yelling. And in fact even when you havent said anything and cleaned it up quietly, you would be surprised how preceptive dogs are and he will probably have picked up on your vody language and how you feel (Ie annoyed!).

I really do think this is insecurity. My rescue dog Dylan went through another phase of toileting in the house about 6 months ago, when I had had him a little over a year. I had house trained him again once he came to mine, by taking him out in the garden every hour, teaching him a command for each toilet functions (!) and praising him massively after. But he goes to a friend who is a dog walker when I am at work, and I used to pick him up from her....but we started having her leave him at my house a little behfore I got home. This stressed him out a lot.....I would get home to a stressy, hyper dog, and he started peing and pooing in the house again - both when she left him, and when I went out as well. We stopped her dropping him off, and the toileting in the house continued a bit when I left him or occasionally overnight....so I went back to basics a little bit. He now doesnt toilet in the house at all. He is a very anxious dog in general as you will see if you read my old posts, and most of his behaviour issues are down to that and his insecurity...soi really do believe that is what happens with your dog. He probably feels confident when you are there, but when you are not there he feels anxious, and that is why he pees.
Thank you so much Ladybug - I obviously struck a raw nerve with Mattie by her response to mine. I will of course apologise to her although I have seen that others on the forum have taken her manner in the way that I did.

Whilst cooking dinner this evening, Percy has done two whoopsies which I have just cleared up with no reaction whatsoever. He then asked me to go outside to do another! Hey ho - will just go back to basics like you say and see if that works. I will keep you informed...

Thank you so much once again.

Percy's Mum
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Re: HELP WITH BEHAVIOUR ISSUES PLEASE!

Post by Percy's Mum » Tue Jun 21, 2011 12:47 pm

Mattie wrote:
Percy's Mum wrote:Hi,

Thanks for the responses (although I do feel like I'm being told off Mattie which doesn't help when you are already feel stressed and worried about the situation! I know, there are no bad dogs, just bad owners and it looks like that I'm in that category) :(.
It isn't easy giving clear information to owners, the information has to be clear or the owner misunderstands what is being said. There is no point in me pussyfooting about so you get the wrong information. Also we have to take into account people who read these threads looking for help for their dogs but don't post so again the information has to be very clear, then we have people from different countries who's first language isn't English. We are all volunteers who give our time and experience free to help owners like you, nobody is telling you off, just someone who is trying very hard to help you. There is no need to worry I won't bother again.
I am sorry that you feel that it's not worth bothering again Mattie. Whilst I do very much appreciate any advice given (otherwise I wouldn't have sought out a forum such as this), when as an owner, you are already stressed and worried about your dog, to be made to feel even more inadequate doesn't help. I don't think I was in any way offensive to you, just saying how you made me feel. Having said that, if I did inadvertently offend you, I apologise.

emmabeth
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Re: HELP WITH BEHAVIOUR ISSUES PLEASE!

Post by emmabeth » Tue Jun 21, 2011 1:53 pm

Hiya Percys mum,

Well done for coming here and also for giving us a good picture of your dogs life and how you have tried to deal with the problems you and your dog have.

I do realise that it can feel like someones having a go when they seperate out your post into quotes and then deal with each bit seperately, and point things out like its cruel to rub noses in mess or crating for too long is unkind (or many other examples which may or may not apply to you)..

It is crucial we cut to the chase and deal with the problems though, and some of us find it easier to break a post down like that and deal with each bit, others (like me) are happy to waffle on - I do tend to miss bits and have to go back though!

Honestly, nothing we pick out and comment on here is personal - if its wrong its wrong, if it has had a negative effect, for example shouting at a dog who is in the process of toiletting in the house will teach that dog to not toilet in front of that person, NOT, to not toilet in the house, then we need to make that clear. If somethings RIGHT we will say so, if it can be tweaked or improved in some way we will say that too.

Sometimes the smallest thing can have quite a big effect so whilst it might seem like we are nit-picking, we really arent doing it to be annoying.

This forum isnt quite like others, it isnt primarily a place to make friends or just talk about dogs - it is here to help people fix their dog problems first. That we get to know people and they stick around, help out and become cyber-friends (or real life ones) is an added bonus.

We do sometimes have to ask in depth questions about peoples home lives, we have to tell people things they often don't want to hear as well and often have to challenge long held views that are incorrect or potentially damaging their relationship with their dog. So thats why we take a direct approach, because often being too indirect isnt helpful. We also have to bear in mind that there are more folk who read but never post, so may be forming opinions or ideas that are not quite right for their situation, and, people who do not speak english as their first language so subtlety is lost on them.

However I do take your thoughts into consideration and I think its probably time I had a chat with ALL our regulars to make sure we are all acting in the same way - we can get a bit too brusque at times, as a side effect of answering similar questions day in, day out, and it is easy for us to lose track of that a little.
West Midlands based 1-2-1 Training & Behaviour Canine Consultant

Percy's Mum
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Re: HELP WITH BEHAVIOUR ISSUES PLEASE!

Post by Percy's Mum » Thu Jun 23, 2011 8:17 am

emmabeth wrote:Hiya Percys mum,

Well done for coming here and also for giving us a good picture of your dogs life and how you have tried to deal with the problems you and your dog have.

I do realise that it can feel like someones having a go when they seperate out your post into quotes and then deal with each bit seperately, and point things out like its cruel to rub noses in mess or crating for too long is unkind (or many other examples which may or may not apply to you)..

It is crucial we cut to the chase and deal with the problems though, and some of us find it easier to break a post down like that and deal with each bit, others (like me) are happy to waffle on - I do tend to miss bits and have to go back though!

Honestly, nothing we pick out and comment on here is personal - if its wrong its wrong, if it has had a negative effect, for example shouting at a dog who is in the process of toiletting in the house will teach that dog to not toilet in front of that person, NOT, to not toilet in the house, then we need to make that clear. If somethings RIGHT we will say so, if it can be tweaked or improved in some way we will say that too.

Sometimes the smallest thing can have quite a big effect so whilst it might seem like we are nit-picking, we really arent doing it to be annoying.

This forum isnt quite like others, it isnt primarily a place to make friends or just talk about dogs - it is here to help people fix their dog problems first. That we get to know people and they stick around, help out and become cyber-friends (or real life ones) is an added bonus.

We do sometimes have to ask in depth questions about peoples home lives, we have to tell people things they often don't want to hear as well and often have to challenge long held views that are incorrect or potentially damaging their relationship with their dog. So thats why we take a direct approach, because often being too indirect isnt helpful. We also have to bear in mind that there are more folk who read but never post, so may be forming opinions or ideas that are not quite right for their situation, and, people who do not speak english as their first language so subtlety is lost on them.

However I do take your thoughts into consideration and I think its probably time I had a chat with ALL our regulars to make sure we are all acting in the same way - we can get a bit too brusque at times, as a side effect of answering similar questions day in, day out, and it is easy for us to lose track of that a little.
Hi Emmabeth

Sorry to the delay in replying and thank you for your input on this and I appreciate your consideration of how some posts can be misinterpreted by worried owners.

Unfortunately this week has been manically busy workwise but I intend to start again with the toilet training this weekend and see how I get on with it. I suppose the crux of it is I'd like to fully understand WHY Percy does what he does as I'd like to be able to trust him in the house on his own without the worry that he will pee everywhere. Incidentally I have just returned from being out at a meeting all morning, took him straight out of his crate, gave him fresh water and took him to the back door to go out which he did. I then nipped upstairs and came down 2 minutes later to find he'd pee'd in the kitchen. As soon as I saw it, although I didn't say anything, he took himself off to his crate so I encouraged him to come out and cleared it up without a word. I took him to the back door again but he wouldn't go out until I went outside too.

I am extremely concerned that the consensus is that he is stressed rather than the advice I have had previously that he is attention seeking so any tips on how to de-stress him would be very much appreciated as there is no other behaviour that I can see that makes him appear to be stressed which is something I certainly don't want him to be. What should I be looking for or is it just the peeing?

Thank you.

emmabeth
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Re: HELP WITH BEHAVIOUR ISSUES PLEASE!

Post by emmabeth » Thu Jun 23, 2011 8:46 am

Hmm..

Ok - he does seem rather clingy with you when you are home and that could be indicative of a slightly needy stressy sort of thing going on.

A few tweaks to suggest for now (Im going to re-read the whole thread again but just whilst these are fresh in my mind).

Swap letting him out for going out with him, rewarding him for going to the toilet outside. If you have to nip out of the room and he cant come with you pop him back in his crate so you are removing the possibility of error there.

Get crates for other rooms (ebay, fabric ones may be cheaper/easier to pop up/put down) so that he has a secure place to be without pestering you in a variety of places. So if his downstairs one isnt in the living room i would get one for there and one for the office too. Personally I would crate him in your bedroom at night, because you are gone during the day or busy and he is crated at night AND in the day. It would give him your company in a way that wouldnt lead to him being more dependant on it.

The pawing you if you are not touching him thing - I hear you on how irritating that is!

I would do a specific play session/clicker training session and also teach him a cue for 'cuddle time' and a cue for 'settle down now' (in a crate, on the sofa, on the floor, wherever you like), and THEN make it very very clear that he can cuddle up to you, he can settle down elsewhere, but he CANNOT paw you constantly, by using a time out.

You do need to ensure hes getting what he needs/wants first before starting the time outs as otherwise he will just find another way and it will be MORE annoying than this one. Time outs will just mean the SECOND he starts pawing you, you stand up and leave the room for a count of ten seconds (close the door behind you). DO it wordlessly, fast and do it every time. He will VERY very quickly cotton on that there are limits and this method of attention seeking is inappropriate and will no longer work. You will have to do it a lot at first but honestly within days the message will sink in so bear with it.

As long as you are giving him other opportunities to do the things he likes/engage his brain, the time outs should work very effectively.

Following you about like a shadow is another sign hes quite needy. Until you get the toiletting under control though I would put this on the back burner. Just make a point of either inviting him to follow - and thus paying attention to him (talking, fussing etc), or NOT inviting him, and subsequently ignoring him. That will do for now.
West Midlands based 1-2-1 Training & Behaviour Canine Consultant

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