Eddie update

July 17, 2007 at 2:27 pm | Posted in dogs | 1 Comment

For a while, it seemed Eddie was all I could talk about, so I made an effort to post some other stuff. Of course, he still takes up a lot of my time. Mostly because he’s never been trained properly and consistently. Some well-meaning folks have taught him some good stuff, but it’s been intermittent. He’s a good dog, but he’s becoming a much better behaved dog.

What follows is a lot of detail that non-dog-owners will probably find rather boring. Heck, many dog-owners probably will, too. But here goes.

He’s really good on a leash. Sometimes when he’s full of energy it takes more of an effort to control him, and when there are more distractions it’s harder for him to focus, but overall he’s very good. Most of the time he walks right beside me, and only a gentle tug on the leash is necessary to speed him up, slow him down, or avert him from a distraction (someone’s garden I don’t want him going in, a hot girly dog across the street, etc.). He’s also got a good short-term stay, a sit-stay, and a down-stay. (Short-term = 30-60 seconds.) When we’re waiting to cross the street at a light, I’ll tell him to sit-stay, and he’ll just chill until I say let’s go. Once in a while he’ll think he’s supposed to go in the middle, but I correct him and he goes right back into the stay.

When I got him, he’d never pee or poop on our property, just somewhere along our morning/evening walk whenever he felt like it. I want to get him to pee and poop in a certain part of the yard, and only there. Once he’s used to it, it’ll be very nice to not have to worry about him peeing on someone’s house we’re visiting, and when winter comes, he (and I) will appreciate being able to go out, quickly take care of business in an appropriate place, and get back inside. I devoted Saturday to this effort. Just taking him back and forth from the house to that spot, and not going anywhere else. I gained a partial victory. Now he pees there. But after 30+ hours of not pooping, I capitulated. So he pees in the side yard before and after walks, and poops somewhere along the walks. I’ll wait till the peeing there is solid, and try again in a couple of weeks.

Sometimes, when he is bored, or when he thinks he should be given treats when he isn’t, he can get annoying, pushy, and a little aggressive. This I want to stop right away. Unfortunately he knows how to push my buttons, and he really pisses me off like no human being over has. I know that when he jumps up, for instance, pushing him off or grabbing him and holding him down is a form of positive reinforcement. (Any attention is better than no attention.) And yet, in the moment, I get so angry that I don’t react appropriately. I don’t hit him or anything, but I will grab his collar and hold him down, for instance. Bad owner, no biscuit. So I need to have appropriate reactions to this sort of behavior at my fingertips.

Part of the problem is that I haven’t read up on dog owning/training. Everyone who knows me has just assumed that I read up on dogs before getting one, but I didn’t. Not one bit. See, we were going to get a dog soon after moving into our house, but Eddie came along before we moved, so we took him only days after moving. And of course I was busy packing and moving and stuff. So, no time to read. Now I have some good recommendations (thanks, Anne!), and I’m going to get a book this week. Probably “How To Be Your Dog’s Best Friend” by the Monks of New Skete. I’ve heard good about it from more than one source (everybody’s got a recommendation for dog books, it seems), so I’m getting it. First I’m checking the library.

On an up side, it seems he’s accepting the crate better, becuase he cries, whines, and barks for a shorter amount of time these days after being crated — sometimes for as little as a few minutes. This could be because I’ve been able to tire him out better the past couple of days (we had over a week of rainy days, but the past couple have been beautiful). (Yes, I’m being careful about heat exhaustion.) However, this is mitigated by the fact that he’s harder to get into the crate. I’ll be working on that this week. I started feeding him in the crate, and chucking treats in there at random times. We’ll see. It’s a lot I’m asking. “Sit in there away from where all the people are, and like it!” He doesn’t mind the crate itself, it’s not being where the people are all the time. But until I can train him to be in the other rooms of the house and be well-behaved, he’s got to stay here.

We are so looking forward to the time when he can sit calmly with us watching TV, or lie down in the same room and not beg or jump up when we are having dinner. And it will come. But we’re impatient for it.

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  1. I love reading about dogs. I’m not crazy about the Monks of New Skeet, I’m a clicker trainer and I prefer all positives, Jean Donaldson and all that. 🙂 Good luck.


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