Golden Retriever Puppy: General Questions

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Hi everyone, my girlfriend and I recently took the leap and welcomed a male golden retriever puppy into our apartment. We took him home at 9 weeks old, and we've had him for 2 weeks…so he's around 2.5 months old. We've really enjoyed coming to this sub for tips, advice, and most importantly, reassurance that our pup's devilish behavior is par for the course. This is our first time owning a dog, and we're doing our best to give our pup a good home. We've done a fair amount of online reading on how best to conduct ourselves around our pup, but there's so much material out there (sometimes conflicting) that we're concerned we don't know what we don't know, and would really benefit from some validation from the community. I'll just spitfire down the list:

Routine: 6:00am – He'll lightly bark signaling to us that he needs to be taken out of his crate to go outside and pee. We take him out of his crate, walk outside to a patch of real grass we have in our backyard (we live in a city), and he'll go. I reward with a treat or verbal-praise, and return to the crate for a little more sleep. 8:30am – We get up and take him for a 10 to 15 minute walk (just a few blocks). He might pee/poop. 8:45am – breakfast (1 cup Purina puppy chow) 9:00am – supervised relaxing outside (we play some tug-of-war, chewing up the grass, digging in the dirt with us removing the occasional pebble from his mouth) 10:00am – Indoor nap, tethered to his crate. 12:00pm – 10-15 minute walk. By this time the pedestrians of the neighborhood are out and many will stop to pet him. We are happy to stop and have the stranger(s) pet him, and sometimes we'll give the stranger a treat to give to the pup. We see this as an opportunity to socialize our pup.. 12:30pm – lunch (1 cup Purina puppy chow) 12:45pm – General laziness around the house, w/ occasional trips outside to go to the bathroom 8:00pm – 10-15 min walk 8:30pm – dinner (1 cup Purina puppy chow) 8:45pm – winding down 11:30pm – He falls asleep on the floor 12:30am – Final potty break 12:30am – We put him in his crate to sleep for the night General Questions/Comments: Would our routine benefit from any changes? As I said above, he'll bark in the night for us to take him outside to pee. Other times though during the day, he'll walk into his crate and pee. This actions seem totally contrary to each other. Is this normal? Is there anything we can do besides early and often preventative potty breaks? Whenever he does pee on the floor there aren't any signs/warnings leading up to it. Tips? Is that likely to change over time? We have a divider in his crate right now, giving him space to sleep comfortably and take a few steps around. I'm under the mindset we shouldn't begin to expand his space in the crate until he has established a pattern of not having accidents in the space that he currently has. Is this fair/correct? When he get's a hold of something he shouldn't, usually an article of clothing, we don't have a good strategy for getting him to release it. We try to make it uninteresting by letting it go and try to divert him to a toy, but this doesn't really work. Is the exercise we're giving him sufficient for his age/breed? We're handling the puppy biting with firm 'NO's and leaving the room. This doesn't seem to be having much of an effect. Should we just continue this routine and hope it gets better, and at worse just suck it up? He barks a lot when we leave him outside in the backyard. Should we ignore the barking so he gives it up, or is that a mistake? When he is relaxing, we almost always have his leash tethered to his crate. We do this because if he is free to wander we find he gets himself into trouble.

Is this too restrictive? Thanks everyone for your input! I hope this is helpful for other/ future pup owners.

submitted by /u/carroll-garfield
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