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Posted: Mon Oct 23, 2017 12:47 pm
Calling all the Brittany veteran's out there, to provide some insight for some new dog parents. We've had Rizzo since July, he's a little over four months now, and it's been an interesting experience. This is the first dog that my wife and I have had together, she previously grew up with dogs, so I thought we were going to be in good shape to raise him. I've poured over this message board searching for ideas, many of them have been great, so thank you! What we are struggling with right now is a morning routine to help him get some of the energy out. We usually let him out and then one of us is with him, while the other gets ready. It seems like every time we turn our backs he is jumping on the couch, or getting into something he isn't suppose to. We don't allow him on the furniture, and he knows it, because as soon as we walk back into the room he scampers off. He have a wide variety of toys that we use in the morning, with mixed results. Additionally, he will scratch at the door when he is ready to come back in, but as soon as we open the door he runs away like we are playing a game. Any suggestions on how to fix that?
Also, what have you found to be the best way to mentally stimulate them? Usually on weekends we are much more successful in tiring him out, but one the week nights its a bit of a struggle because we both work 40+ hour a week jobs. We are both active people and take him on a least one long walk a day, usually through a park and then run the last little bit home. We plan to up his running distance as he gets older, we were just cautioned by our Vet to do too much too early.
Thanks for the insight, it's much appreciated!
Re: General Guidance
Posted: Mon Oct 23, 2017 2:39 pm
It's been 30 years since we had a Brittany puppy but it feels like yesterday reading your description
We were both working full time and didn't have another dog to tire Jessie out so I remember how difficult those weekdays were. One thing we did was train Jessie to be a Frisbee dog. It took a little while before she was really coordinated enough to jump and catch the Frisbie but she was always eager to do the running. A ball would probably work just as well. We installed outdoor flood lights so we could play with her during the winter months when it was dark before we left for work and after we got home. But we found that 15-20 minutes of chase/fetch worked pretty well to tire her out. Our yard is sloped so I'm sure running up the incline also played a part. As for the running away ... for years we walked around with a supply of dog treats in our pockets. Jessie quickly discovered that coming when called provided a reward and that made a huge difference. I hadn't learned to train a dog using treats but we were at our wits end so I was willing to try anything to get her to come ... and this definitely worked. Eventually we substituted the treats for ear rubs, etc. and we always praised her for coming, even if we knew it was just for the treat. I'm sure others will chime in with their ideas/experiences but good luck. With patience, perseverance, and a sense of humor, I'm sure you will succeed.
Re: General Guidance
Posted: Tue Oct 24, 2017 5:44 pm
I agree with Cindy that a game of fetch can exercise puppy without wearing you out. I'd teach "trade" so that you can get the ball back without a game of chase. I help teach a puppy elementary class (4-6 month old puppies) and we practice this exercise. Take a greenie or toy (the treasure) and let puppy chew while you are holding on to it; bring a really good treat (chicken, braunschweiger, cheese) to the puppy's mouth with your other hand; when the puppy lets go of the treasure to get the treat, put the treasure behind your back; bring it back and let the puppy chew some more, learning that by giving up something to you, he not only gets a treat, but gets the treasure back (obviously he won't get a shoe or the remote control back). Repeat multiple times. As the puppy starts to anticipate the treat as you bring it to his mouth, add a cue (drop it, mine, trade, etc.).
I also think that training is great mental exercise and can wear a dog out. I'd encourage you to enroll in a training class; just be sure it is all positive. and remember that the sniffing that dogs do on a walk also takes energy. They are using lots of energy doing research on the world.
Re: General Guidance
Posted: Sat Nov 04, 2017 7:18 pm
I've found, with puppies, that mental stimulation works so much better to tire them out than any kind of physical exercise. Britts are made to go all day, and add in that puppy energy and there's just no real way to tire them out. Working their little brains can give you some peace and wear them out. In the mornings, try a few short sessions of training - work on sit, lie down, stay, come, and start to teach some tricks. Really make them think and work for it.
When my puppy (10 months old) starts acting like a brat, I know that he's bored and no amount of turning him outside with the other dogs will work. I grab a clicker and some treats and we work on tricks or agility training. We only work for 15 minutes or so, but it's usually enough to get him to settle down and stop acting like a total heathen.