More bumps in the road

July 5, 2007 at 6:17 pm | Posted in dogs | 3 Comments

So the crate training is progressing.  I’ve taken to just throwing treats in the crate at random times so he’s used to wanting to go in there, at least to look for treats.  I’m also feeding him in there.  Sometimes without closer the door (mostly) and sometimes with closing the door.  If I close the door, when he notices he won’t eat.  I think that if we can someday get to the point where he’ll be comfortable eating with the door closed, he’ll have taken big steps toward actually being comfortable in there.

We had folks over yesterday evening, and I crated him about 30 minutes before they got here.  He cried, whined, and barked for about 15 minutes before settling down.  Then when our guests got here and he heard different voices, he started up again for about 20 – 30 minutes.  Luckily they had dogs too, so they understood and just dealt with it with no problems.  Sometime around dinnertime he settled down and was good for the rest of the night.  They left around 8, and I walked him (in the rain!) strictly for a pee break.  Then after I got him back I hung out with him in the study for 15 minutes or so, then I crated him and left.  He cried and whined for only 2 minutes before settling down!  He must have worn himself out.

A large concern of mine is that he has been getting a bit more aggressive lately.  It’s probably due to me spending less total time with him, but I have to scale back the time I spend with him.  Period.  To some extent, he’s just going to have to be disappointed.

But some of the behavior is not nice.   Bugging me to play persistently, getting more aggressive the more refusals I make.  It sometimes gets to starting to chew on shoes — WHILE people are wearing them!  This has happened a couple of times during the later part of the afternoon as dinnertime approaches.  He’s probably trying to tell us that he feels it’s time for him to be fed, but that is NOT acceptable.

The other thing I’m concerned about is being able to be in the rest of the house with him.  I need to work with him on coming reliably when called, and staying reliably with told to.  Furthermore, he needs to be able to chill out when he wants attention and we aren’t giving it to him without being annoying or destructive.  The crate solves some of that, but I’d prefer if he could be good in the house.

My trainer gets back in town today, so hopefully we can talk tomorrow.  Maybe we can arrange for her to be here when we take him into the living room for the first time.  (On a leash, of course.)



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  1. Have you read any of the Monks of New Skete books? Their training philosophy is what a lot of the therapy dog groups use. I have a friend who is mostly blind and has a seeing-eye dog. She gave me “The Art of Raising a Puppy” which is one of the best dog training books I’ve ever read. They have another one called “How to be Your Dog’s Best Friend” but I think the Puppy one is a bit better.

    The Puppy book addresses pretty much all of the problems you’ve had with your boy.

    I will give you a few pieces of advice until you can get the book:

    1) Your dog just wants to be with you as much as possible so all of your training should be about teaching him to be a good citizen so you can take him with you most places.

    2) Use a belt-leash. It has a clip on one end which attaches to an adjustable clip in the middle and attaches to his collar on the other end. Until he’s reliable enough to stay with you from room to room. Don’t be dense like me, though, and wonder why your dog jumps up every time you get out of a chair…he’s just expecting that you’re going in another room and he’s supposed to follow you.

    3) Give him his own spot in each room you’ll be in. It doesn’t have to be a big expensive dog bed. We used cheapo WalMart towels with Desi (which she chewed up when she was a puppy). Just lay the towel or blanket in a spot out of the way in each room. They initially recommend putting an eye-screw in the baseboard next to each spot and tying your dog to that when you go in the room. Put him on a down-stay and give him a command like, “Settle down”. I can attest to this working even though I lived in apartments and couldn’t do the eye-screw thing when Desi was little. I did put her on a down-stay with the command to settle down. This has come in handy to stop her from begging at the dinner table.

    Good luck!

  2. Oh yeah, and you may never be able to let him have the run of the house while you’re away. We’ve tried just about everything with Desi and she insists on shredding trash. The last time we let her have the run of the house while we took our godson to a movie, we made sure to empty all the wastebaskets around the house first.

    Unfortunately, she managed to get past the baby-proof latches on our kitchen cabinets and pulled our kitchen trash can out. She then proceeded to eat some old acepromazine (it’s a tranquilizer commonly used on animals) that was given to us by Matt’s parents after their dog died. We had been spring cleaning and threw it away that day thinking it was safe behind the baby locks. Needless to say, we came home to a very stoned, very mellow dog. We called the emergency vet who said the amount she could have consumed was on the low end of an overdose and to just keep an eye on her.

    Moral of the story: Some dogs just need to be crated when their owners are away.

  3. It’s great you are working with a trainer. I can read all I can and still, nothing compares to one on one with a trainer.

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