My puppy goes crazy when we let her roam the house
Hi. I'm a new puppy owner...never had one before. We have a cocker/retriever mix, female, almost 6 months old. Generally, she is a sweet dog and loves attention from me and my kids. We have had her for 2 months and she has mostly been gated in the kitchen or out in the backyard.
We have trained her to ring a bell when she needs to out to pee or poop, so that's working well. She is crate trained and goes in when I leave the house and at night. We also have 2 6-year old cats. My current problem is that we have started letting her explore and roam around the house, but she just goes crazy. She runs, jumps on things, races under the bed (looking for cats), opens cupboards, knocks things over, etc. She has also peed and pooped on the carpet, even though she knows to ring the bell to go out when she's in the kitchen.
I really want her to be able to be out in the house with us and not locked in the kitchen all the time, but she's out of control. Also, when she sees the cats she runs after them, they run, she chases, etc. We have gotten them nose-to-nose several times and they have smelled each others' environments, but the puppy is very tense and just wants to get at the cats.
Any help with these things would be greatly appreciated!!!!
This is pretty normal behavior really. Your puppy has been confined to a relatively small area for the last 6 months, and when she suddenly gets the freedom to explore the whole house she's like a kid in Toys 'R Us for the first time!
The fact that she pees and poops on the carpet, in spite of being potty trained, is just proof that she doesn't realize that the rest of the house is her 'den' (or home) too.
I would recommend that you increase her 'space' a bit at a time, rather than suddenly let her have the whole house to roam around in. For example, get a couple of baby gates and allow her to add the living room, or family room to her 'domain'. Leave it that way for a couple of weeks, and once she's settled down and accepted that, add another room. I would also suggest that you keep her out of the bedrooms anyway, unless you want her to sleep on your bed or whatever. Dogs don't normally need to be in the bedrooms.
As for the cats, some dogs accept cats more easily than others, but she's still young enough to get used to them. It will just take time. Cats can usually take care of themselves pretty well, and even my big dogs are often 'bested' by a cat! However, if she ever corners one, or seems to be playing too rough, correct her and redirect her attention to her own toys etc.
I would also encourage you to make sure that she's getting enough exercise on a daily basis. There's a lot of truth to the saying 'a tired puppy is a good puppy'. If she's go an outlet for her physical and mental energy, she'll be calmer indoors.
Puppies are very much creatures of habit, and she's got comfortable in her smaller domain, and feels secure there. It will take her some time to adjust to the larger area and to the cats, but if you take it a step at a time and follow the guidelines above, I think you'll find that she will adjust without too much problem.
Best of luck with her!