Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Mmmm interesting

As we have a couple of interesting issues coming up I want to share.

Flute and Tips are squabbling.

Foxy loxy Willow is struggling with frustration control.

Roly is struggling with his fix!

Non of these issues are straight forward and they take time and understanding and most of all relentlessness! So let us begin.

Sherleen mentioned that Willow seems to have boundless energy. What do we do when we are faced with boundless energy in a pup? We try to tire them out. Understandably. Yet surely the more you walk them the fitter they get therefore the more they will need walking. With working dogs ( as in breed rather than actual dogs who work for a living) we love to see the tongue lolling, leg wobbling, tail wagging exhaustion where they will only get up for food. I see people every time, year after year using toys to wear their guys out( I am not talking directly about Sherl's guys here) yet all you train them to do is expect high excitement, full throttle exercise and it is a lazy way of walking our guys not to mention unnatural whatever is natural for pet dogs that is!

So what do you do re walking? You walk first, walk and walk if need be, on lead. Yes I actually said on lead. Then you spend some time off lead alternating the dogs if you have two or more. Then time off together and switch. Other times both off, other times non off. Get them thinking, using their sense...don't throw the sodding ball, hide it with a touch of cream cheese at first to help them out. Throw the ball make them wait till they are quivering with frustration and excitement then send them looking for it. Hide cream cheese on trees, large stones anything taht make sthem use their noses and brains.

It is not about legs being tired its about brains being tired. Then we deal with the frustration. If you have a cage use it. One dog in one dog out. Chop and change. Pop into the cage and have a food game with second dog or pop both in cages hide food for them and let them out. Stop feeding your dogs in a bowl.

Don't bring your dog up to be adrenalin junkie...ball throwing full blown play can do that. It takes a very steady dog to have all that excitement and to not strive to have it all the time.

As for Roly Roly isn't straight forward either, like Willow who has had to be tough, to be resourceful and relentless to just survive her puppyhood. Roly was an unusual pup that was inherently arrogant yet fearful of dogs. He is part terrier so is preprogrammed to love aggravation and adrenalin. How to get the balance? You don't first time. You tweak one thing to sort another only to find it causes the first thing to tip the balance and now you urgently have to sort the next thing. So that is bad isn't it? Nope not in my book. Each lesson is hard earned, each time he learns something it might throw up another but you are working through something. I have always said give me a naughty complicated puppy anytime than a straight forward puppy who learns the word no as an adult. An adult dog who has never been questioned or moulded is usually not a happy dog when it finally happens.

Roly has to learn no matter how much he wants to do something even if he feels it is killing him not to do it sometimes he just can't. Is it going to make him unhappy, yes I am afraid it is going to probably make him unhappy for now but make it your business to attend to his needs, accept you have done it then let it go. Sometimes the reason you know how to be happy is because you know what being unhappy is all about.

So with Roly it is about never allowing him to boil over, never to turn play into a adrenalin fix. Set up good adrenalin fixes....a rag toy where you spin him around the floor to get him fired up, just you and him. A box full of paper so he can dive in and rip the hell out of it. Balloons so he can kill them. He gets lots of dog fun so he gets what he needs he just wants more.

No means no but it doesn't have to mean loosing out, failing taking something away. often it is just a step towards yes and more.

As for my two? Tips will ultimately be the boss as he cares, Flute is a steady soul happy to be in the thick of it not needing to be the one. Yet Tips has to realise that his word is not law. I step in when needed sometimes I don't know if it is needed or not. I need them to live together, share things together so they have to work it out between them to a degree but not unsupervised.

Flute has so far to go with recall, with the frustration of not just being able to say hi or to run... Tips is still learning what I want, what is allowed and what isn't its not that he is getting it wrong he just doesn't know what right it yet. I have a lot to do and most of it is just relentlessly working toward the long goal. I don't strive to make them happy, strive to give them all the want, I need to teach them to accept and to be content and then they might start to be happy.


  1. Growly's Mammy11 May 2011 at 23:58

    Oh I feel a loooong post brewing so apologies in advance. Lol - Caroline this blog shows just how well you know our guys and their little ways! It helps us to think about what might be working & what we may want to change

    With Willow, she is... still very young and like most dogs she will settle with maturity, then Sherl will be bored cos they are sleeping most of the evening - Poppy used to be on the go until 10 or 11pm but we refused to encourage any play after about 8pm & she eventually got the message and after a short play session with us &/or Roly after her walk she now settles beautifully

    Caroline I know you set yourself high standards and as Petnanny it can seem you're under the spotlight with your boys, but remember you are their Mammy not Nanny so you are in the same boat as us in that respect! But you do have the advantage of more experience, skills & knowledge. Your boys are still youngsters and are in the early stages of adolescence & at the same time adjusting to Tips joining the family so it's not suprising there are squabbles till they sort out where they stand with each other. - I'm sure they will both turn out fine, well adjusted boys who you are proud of.

    Now the Growly one! I know he thrives on adrenaline so I try to control & manage this as much as possible. I don't often use a ball during the walks but keep a soft squeaky ball in my bag which I use to get his attention if he sees a cyclist/jogger/dog before me (doesn't always work tho!) & I have to be hyper-vigilant throughout the walk cos he will chase and go for bikes dogs etc if he gets the chance. Even after they are long gone he seems to store it in his brain and as soon as he is let back off he belts off in the direction they have gone

    Dog aggression is a biggie! Worse with some dogs than others but is a big problem cos eventually he will get into a fight - this & chasing bikes cars etc could have serious outcomes so I really need this sorted

    I will give the play things you suggested a go -but raggy toys are not his thing Poppy loves the tugging & dragging her in circles but Roly not really bothered about tugging games

    The box of paper game - Poppy will love but Roly not really bothered about shredding. If Poppy gets paper she runs off to shred it but Roly prefers to chase Poppy but isn't bothered about getting the paper if he catches her. Roly loves to chase & Poppy loves to be chased

    Balloons - I imagine he will love killing balloons so I will try that! Roly absolutely loves squeaky balls & toys. He brings them to be thrown then he catches & kills them after giving them a good growling at! Then he brings them back to be thrown again. He gets very excited by this game and we have to decide when the game ends & take the toy off him as he would never give up or tire of it. He loves this game - do you think it is the right or wrong type of game for him?

  2. Kim I think Roly does need an outlet, as all dogs do, for their energies. So ragging a squeaky toy not only entertains him but I feel it also means you can be more determined in your training. You know he is getting an outlet so you can insist he listens to you when he is highly stimulated...lets face it it isn't because he can't help himself as he is desperate to fulfil his instinctive needs!

    Both our guys need firm emergency stops and consistent recalls, our basic obedience isn't established enough.. after all Come means come, sit means sit even if a bunny, cyclist, crow whatever is tapdancing near them!