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Re: Challenges at 8 months

PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2014 1:05 am
Thanks, Liz!

Your explanation of scent training helps me understand it a bit more. Gus is truly a nose connected to a pup. They offer scent training at his center and he loves going to classes (so do we!) so we'll probably fork over some more money to add that to our schedule.

On our walk yesterday we ran into a few pigeons on someone's front yard. He's never seen a pigeon but he held a point until they flew away. About 45 minutes later we circled back to that house. The pigeons were long gone, but Gus knew THAT was the place and dug in his heels. There was almost no way to get him to move along - he just wanted to sniff where they'd been.

I'm looking into the improved clickers. I saw Pan on tv awhile back - probably linked to it from this board. What a talented team they made!

Toby's Mom - Gus is finally getting loose leash walking, with a front harness and lots of treats. Heeling is a pipe dream, but I don't care about heeling. I just want my arm to stay in its socket!

BTW, Gus' attacking of my husband was headed off at the pass both yesterday and today, with his short, unsatisfying walk immediately followed with a feisty game of tug! He didn't have to play long, but it transitioned Gus from the walk to settling down inside way better. We're hoping it continues. Sometimes following the rules just doesn't work and you need to think what's motivating the dog to behave the way he is.

Or else, ask someone on these boards! :mrgreen:

Re: Challenges at 8 months

PostPosted: Sat Feb 15, 2014 9:10 am
by brittienewbie
Barb, I had to do a double take when reading your could have been me posting about Bear-acuda. No joke, they must be twins separated at birth. Unreal.

I thought I'd post an update on Bear and on the not sleeping issue. So we usually don't leave bones and water in his kennel...was done in error a few nights, but even without he still has sleepless nights on occasion. Two nights ago, he spent the night scratching at his tray, sucking/chewing on his blanket, etc. I'm starting to think it is when we have a really activity filled day and he's crashed out in the early evening, leaving him rested up for the entire night. His kennel is quite large, my parents used it for their behemoth lab, so he has lots of room to get up, stretch, resituate, but I think that tonight we will try to not shut the door to the kennel and just have him confined to the bedroom. Hopefully this goes okay, he still has moments of potty training regression...few and far between, but they do happen.

He has just started relaxing and napping outside of his kennel, thanks to Toby's mom's suggestion to just wait him out. It takes awhile, and sometimes we have to tether him to us while we watch TV, but he does eventually relax. I would say he has relaxed/napped twice this week outside of his kennel.

In addition, we have had weather in the double digits ABOVE zero so we have been able to spend a bit more time outside. He's also found a few dogs that meet his match at the dog park and he is really learning appropriate dog-dog manners. I was amazed the other day when he learned what a 13 year old lab was telling him (don't play with me!) and instead just followed her around and sniffed what she sniffed, examined what she examined, etc. He's figured out his place in the "pack" of dogs that we meet at the park each day.

Bear's recall is coming along as well. We have about 90% success when he's not distracted by other dogs. We don't even try to call him to come when he's with a mess of dogs.

And Barb, our husbands might be long lost brothers too. My husband has finally started to do a mini training session when Bear gets that wild look in his that's going well.

Puppy class ends soon and it'll be on to CGC for Bear...that'll probably only take 2-3 years!

Have a good weekend everyone!

Re: Challenges at 8 months

PostPosted: Sat Feb 15, 2014 10:43 am
I love not only the excellent advice posters take the time to help us with, but hearing about the other pups on here about Gus' age.

Calling Bear, Bear-acuda made me laugh out loud! We feel your pain. We did a lot of homework when choosing this breed. We wanted an active, smart, loving, medium-sized dog - one that would encourage us to stay active for the next 15 years or so. We love to hike in both the mountains and the desert. But, not one person we spoke with or any website, prepared us for what I believe is a very difficult puppyhood - not this particular dog since I seem to be in good company - but a difficult puppyhood for the breed. Even our high energy Border Collie wasn't as challenging as Gus!

We would have had a better idea what was ahead if I'd discovered this board earlier, that's for sure! :D

Let us know how Bear does outside his crate. I can't remember if Toby's Mom tried that. Her pup's about the same age as ours and I think she wanted to give that a go. I don't think I'd sleep a wink!

We had to remove all bedding from Gus' crate recently between the humping and the chewing. We've used towels and blankets, but he just rips them apart. It feels a bit cruel to put him in with absolutely no padding, but it's for his own safety. You might be onto something about him sleeping too soundly too early in the evening. Maybe once winter is over a walk before bed could be added to his routine? Curiously, Gus is down for the night at 8:30 and sleeps until 7 the next morning. We still offer him a 10 pm potty break, but half the time he doesn't want to be bothered!

We're so excited to have been hit with a heat wave today. It's pushing 60! I can't wait to get outside and clean up all the branches, pine cones and debris Gus tries to bring inside!

Re: Challenges at 8 months

PostPosted: Sat Feb 15, 2014 4:57 pm
by tobster
Yes, I have started experimenting leaving Toby out of his crate. He is totally fine at night, in my bedroom (door shut). No potty regression or any chewing issues (first few nights my room was bare, now it's just normal). He does get up and walk around a few times. If I know I need a good night's sleep, Toby is back in his crate because he sometimes wakes me up from moving around, jumping onto/off the bed. I have a bed set up for him, but the little weasel sneaks onto the bed in the middle of the night to snuggle.

I haven't left him outside his crate during the day yet. I did have some friends over for a dinner party, and locked him in my bedroom alone for hours. This was the first and only time he's been outside his crate in a room alone, during the day. He was perfectly fine, just napped and chewed a toy. So it's a work in progress! I still don't trust him in the rest of the house because of all of the stuff he could try to chew up, but at least I know that pottying isn't an issue.

Quick question for the pups around Toby's age (9 months). He recently started shedding like crazy! It's never been an issue until a few weeks ago, and all of sudden there is fur EVERYWHERE. It's.. unpleasant. It seems to be slowing down, so I'm wondering if this is just a phase-- maybe he's blowing his puppy coat?

Brittienewbie- Keep waiting him out! If Bear is anything like Toby, he will very soon get to the point where he relaxes and naps on his own.

Barb j- Toby use to hump and play around with the towels I used as bedding for his crate. I got him a crate bed (made by the same company that made his crate- Midwest) and it helped quite a bit. I especially like it because I no longer have to bend over and redress his bed every time. It kind of just sticks to its rectangular shape so that the dog can't mess around with it. It is a little floppier now after being washed a dozen or so times, but it's still less enticing (to chew on) than towels.

Re: Challenges at 8 months

PostPosted: Mon Feb 17, 2014 8:11 am
by LizBot
I was definitely taken aback at Jazz's puppy antics (read : nonstop chewing on any flesh, fabric, or furniture). I researched Brittanys for well over 6 months and never saw a single word about these issues until after he had been home for a week, whereupon I Googled "Brittany puppy biting won't stop thinks playing". Not even kidding. :P

Perhaps even more annoying than his gnawing habit is the advice I get from non-Brittany-owners. Most of our friends and family have had dogs, and most of them offer up the conventional suggestions of holding his mouth shut, putting him in his kennel for a time out, ignoring him, spraying him with water, taking away the toys, leaving the room, etc. etc. It's hard to get anyone to understand that I have done or do all of these things consistently -- I've even managed to get my 2- and 3-year-olds to be pretty consistent with their responses -- but he has laser focus combined with no impulse control. If he wants to eat your pants, he will eat your pants. If you push him away and tell him no, he bites your arm. If you try to hold his mouth closed and say no, he lunges for your face as soon as you think he's being submissive. Anything you do with this puppy while he's in bite-mode results in more biting, harder biting, and/or lunging biting. And from what I can tell, this is totally normal for a Brittany. People who don't have a Brittany think I'm full of crap or being difficult when I tell them "I've already tried that!" to six or seven ideas. Inside a tiny voice screams, "I want it to work! I really do! Don't roll your eyes at me!" ;)

I was volunteered to make a new website for my Brittany club recently; I'm thinking about making our own compilation titled "The Dirty Truth About Brittanys : A Future Owner's Guide", tapping people who have had Brittanys for longer than I to get good information to go along with the standard breed description. :P At least then it might pop up in a web search about the breed and people won't come home with a dog they think has turned evil on them in a few days like I did.

Tobster : Just out of curiosity, since I don't know you, did you adopt or get your Brittany from a breeder? I only ask because I've noticed that some show Brittanys seem to be strangely long-haired -- even though the breed description doesn't favor it with AKC. If he has long-ish hair, that might be why he's shedding now. I went to many people before we found Jazz, and I was shocked at how many show dogs were shaggy/fluffy. I have no idea why that would be favored when the hunting lines have so many dual champions and look just as nice, just short coated.

Re: Challenges at 8 months

PostPosted: Mon Feb 17, 2014 11:30 am
@Lizbot - I had to laugh at your Googling skills! I'd be willing to bet your 'hit' led you to this site!

We've had loads of success with Tug-of-War when Gus gets in that 'lunging at you no matter what you try' mode. At last - something that works!

@Tobster - it's heartening to know a proper crate mat might someday be possible! Right now, towels, etc. are okay but ONLY when he's down for the night and frankly I don't want to invest in a mat until he's more trustworthy. The towels are removed during the day, but he leaves them alone all night. We have a crate and mat at our other house from our former dog, and I'll try the mat at night - he's always dragged it out of the crate during the day if the crate is open. It's not really a proper fit to the crate, so knowing I should maybe stay with the same brand is helpful.

In the 'it finally happened!!!!' department, we had company for dinner last night. After the initial craziness (even though he was crated for 10-15 minutes to keep him calm with their arrival and introduced to them on a leash) I gave him a knuckle bone (the marrow bones are too rich for his tummy) and we didn't see him for 45 minutes. Better yet, he was less possessive of it than usual - he usually hides with it and shows some food aggression if approached. He was actually laying on our son's foot while gnawing on it, and would allow himself to be petted with no stiffening up - at least from his 'waist' down. That's a lot of progress!

Re: Challenges at 8 months

PostPosted: Mon Feb 17, 2014 5:55 pm
by brittienewbie
Yay Gus! That's a remarkable improvement on the resource guarding! I'll share with you what we did with our Bear, per the advice of our puppy class instructor. Bear was guarding marrow bones (and rawhides, but those are no longer permitted...another story for another time). So he was stiffening up and growling when touched if he was chewing on a bone. So the teacher gave us this idea: He guards the bone once it becomes his, but if you don't actually give it to him he won't think it's his, so he won't guard it. So, we held the bones (at least until all the yummy stuff was chewed off, then he didn't guard any longer anyway) while he chewed. We pet his head, touched his body, talked to him, and when it was time to put the bone away we traded for a treat (after he sat, of course). After awhile, I would sit on the floor and let go of the bone for a few minutes and then pick it back up again. So, this has been going on since November. About January, we were able to let go of the bones all together. And I'll be dipped if he didn't have a bone the other night and he brought it to me and put it right in my hand so that he could chew on it while I held it...yay!

So, we didn't do the open door crate over the weekend because Bear got into something that upset his stomach (rabbit poo is the likely culprit) and I really didn't want to pick up vomit from the carpet. Maybe next weekend...

On another note, I'm going to have to figure out how to put a photo with a signature...I have puppy photo envy!

Re: Challenges at 8 months

PostPosted: Mon Feb 17, 2014 8:14 pm
by Barb Wright
Posting photos....go here: viewtopic.php?f=24&t=811

Looking forward to successful puppy picture posting :D

Re: Challenges at 8 months

PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2014 10:02 pm
@BrittieNewbie, your teacher's idea worked! That's great! I'll definitely try that with Gus. Things were going so well with him the other night that he had his bone too long and suffered some tummy upset, so it'll be several days more before he'll be getting another one.

I'm not 100% sure after 30 minutes or so, I can get a really nice marrow bone away from him without trouble, so holding it so it's still 'mine' would eliminate that worry.

Did Bear have a rawhide issue? Nothing serious, I hope.

Re: Challenges at 8 months

PostPosted: Sun Feb 23, 2014 11:38 am
by brittienewbie
Thanks for the link, Barb. It seems image shack has changed their format since the instructions were written, but I finally got it figured out!

Barb J, no Bear didn't have any issues (health wise) from rawhides. He chews large pieces off and then guards when I try to take them (so he doesn't swallow them whole). We have decided to just take a rawhide break for a while.

Re: Challenges at 8 months

PostPosted: Tue Feb 25, 2014 3:40 pm
by LizBot

Off-topic, but, I just noticed that Jazz really does look almost exactly like Gus. :shock: I clicked on your signature image and it was more obvious when enlarged. Crazy. :)

Re: Challenges at 8 months

PostPosted: Tue Feb 25, 2014 9:21 pm
@Lizbot, they look even more alike than you might think. That was a 'baby' picture of Gus and now his little face is darker.

@BrittieNewbie, the suggestion to hold the treat was an epic fail here. It worked okay with rawhide, as it's not as coveted and he's already used to only being allowed to have a little bit of it at a time, but with a marrow bone? My word! He refused to share when I held it - just cried and looked away for the first 30 minutes. And when he finally caved, he started growling and posturing and tugging on it so I put it away. It's just too highly valued, I guess.

So, we'll practice your way with tendons or ears or whatever and go back to what my trainer suggested for marrow bones. She said to toss something even MORE highly valued about 4 feet away and get him used to leaving the marrow bone for that brief second and then over many, many weeks decrease the distance I'm standing away from him, and increase the distance the second coveted treat is from the marrow bone. She wants him to associate wonderful things falling from the sky with me being close to him and his precious bone.

In the 'how's it going department' Gus gave me such a scare yesterday. He's been releasing his seat belt which attaches to a back harness. DH was out of town at our vacation home and bringing home the travel crate we keep down there to now, also use in the car, so I didn't have it until late today. To be sure he was safe I tethered him to TWO seat belts.

I also purchased a seat belt buckle protector used to keep handicap children from pressing the red button that releases the latch. He hadn't even SEEN it before!

And before I was even out of my subdivision and stopped for a break in the traffic, Gus managed to release himself and jumped into my lap. Needless to say, we came right home and didn't go anywhere until DH unloaded the crate.

And today was Gus' S.T.A.R. puppy exam. I know it's pretty basic stuff, but he passed with flying colors! He was SO good on a loose leash which still doesn't happen on our walks with all the distractions. If they only knew what a naughty little Houdini he really is! :mrgreen:

Re: Challenges at 8 months

PostPosted: Thu Feb 27, 2014 4:50 am
by LizBot
... I would be surprised about the seat belt, but I've already seen Jazz do some interesting things, so... Sigh. I guess I shouldn't bother buying those seat belt protectors for my toddlers if a dog can get around it, hm? :P On the bright side, at least Gus will go on rides with you. I have to drag mine into the Party Wagon (minivan) because he gets car sick on long trips and is terrified of the vehicle. I'd rather have the dog being a super genius than a trembling ball of traumatized puppy. :)

Congratulations on the S.T.A.R certificate! What exactly did they make you do? I tried to look it up but only was able to get my hands on a somewhat confusing trainer's planning .pdf. I'm hoping to do that with Jazz soon once I finally get around to signing up for classes. I'm not as motivated as you to leave my house with the dog for obvious reasons. ;)

I'm going to get an updated picture of Jazz tomorrow so we can do an up-to-date comparison. ;) Maybe it's like that Patty Duke show from forever ago with the identical cousins. I wish I could remember the title but it's late and my Google powers are hindered by some puppy's head on my left arm.