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Everything posted by KevTheDog

  1. @GentleLake touche! In fact...yesterday at the vet, we were recommended a supplement for anxiety, and your having mentioned it so close to when we talked to the vet definitely had the seed planted in my mind. So we are going to be starting up on a product - something called Aptus Relax; there's no CBD here in Sweden - and we'll see how that goes! Fingers crossed. I do have some blinders - he's always perfectly fine at home and in our general neighborhood, and I guess I've been thinking more in terms of puppy behavior - "ah, he's just a puppy, this is maturity; training and time will fix it" - rather than in terms of generalized anxiety. @D'Elle - indeed. Luckily, the frustration tends to come out more in conversation than in actual practice - more a feeling than an action. In fact, I may have mischaracterized what's going on: he's certainly not doing anything negative in walks/training. It's more that when we talk about Kevin's training and walks, we both feel like this is something we have to take painstakingly slowly, which is frustrating, when you think about it for too long. Then you move on! In practice, Joey's actions are great. A very patient dog dad!
  2. Update: after Joey walked Kev yesterday morning with no street crossing issues on the small streets, I decided to feel it out and let Kevin lead me on a walk (we just went wherever he wanted to go, which was of course the park two blocks away) so I didn't follow my protocol to a T - and it was totally fine. We didn't do any big, loud streets, but he was totally fine crossing the small streets that had set him off the day before, after our too-much-too-soon adventure. So perhaps (shocker of all shockers) I overreacted (gasp) and was too worried. But I do still plan to wait out the week before going on anything further afield with him, just in case. Still, I'm feeling heartened! @GentleLake Interesting suggestion! With the exception of that walk on Sunday, he really isn't triggered by street crossings; he's been totally fine on them. If the street is heavily trafficked with cars (like at a crosswalk in the road, but without a light), then I will have him sit and get calm for a second first, kind of just to center him, and then we go - no problem. If the street doesn't have a lot of cars, we just cross and he's fine. So with this particular incident, I think it was triggered by the newness of the area, which makes me think a calming agent doesn't make as much sense as just exposure and desensitization to new areas. That said..... Joey feels frustrated with how very gradually we have to take each step of Kevin's training - like, why can't we just go to a new place and everything is fine!? In that sense, yeah, he's a totally anxious dog. But still - I feel that as long as we're doing something to train him, then we're doing something worthwhile; we're just at his level. So: I walk Kevin down to the big street and we sit beside it and eat tiny pieces of steak and then turn around and go home without crossing said big street. Sure, it would be awesome if our training that day were walking on the big huge street - but he isn't there yet. My hope is that one day, after more exposure, he'll be like yeah, I can cross this street, let's do it. (That's one where the noise-making light is unavoidable). He's good on stairs - I think it's less the actual process of stepping down into the street, and more the concept of crossing (I think he's probably worried about the cars). And thanks @amc and @beachdogz - so glad to hear that it's a normal part of the learning curve!
  3. ANZAC sounds quite interesting, @Lawgirl- thanks for that idea. Also nice to do something meat-free as another option. And @AnnaKat premixed bags of treats are for sure my aspirational state of being! That's a great idea. I often do bags of mostly kibble mixed with chicken or steak, but even more options would be great. Kev has had bad reactions to cheese, so we're kind of avoiding dairy; not super keen to test that out again after some of the very fun, urgent midnight outings he's needed in the past. Yikes.
  4. Hiii everyone! Quite a while back - pre-summer, I think - I posted about how Kevin (now age 1 year, 4 months) would go after my ankles when crossing streets. It hasn't been an issue for mooonths and mooonths - maybe not since August! He has been able to cross all streets that do not have triggering sound-emitting crosswalks like a total champ. We have been taking the same 2ish mile walk for about a month now and I have a goal of being able to walk him down to the water, which involves crossing one big street. Yesterday I decided to give it a try: it was Sunday morning, early, little traffic, few people out. Perfect time to try. But alas: new surroundings, despite the small number of cars and people, were super overwhelming for him, and long story short, on the way back he went after my ankles three times while crossing streets. Something he hasn't done in MONTHS. I decided not to walk him for the rest of the day (he was totally exhausted after this, it took us an hour and fifteen minutes to walk 2.3 miles), we just chilled at home, played in the courtyard, potty on the street right outside. My husband walked him when he got home in the evening and Kev went after his ankles while crossing a super easy street that's close to home. Argh. SO! here's the plan: we are going to cross NO streets this week. We'll just walk around the block 2 or 3 times for each walk - right turns only! It won't be exciting for any of us, but my thinking is that if we don't give him the opportunity to ever want to go for our ankles (the trigger is stepping off the sidewalk into the street), then it won't happen. And if it doesn't happen, he'll forget that he even wants to do it. I'm bummed that we have to go back to boring walks for a while but I feel confident this behavior will fizzle out again. I'd love to hear any stories you all might have of "things were going great - and then they weren't! And then it got better again" just to boost our household morale!
  5. I'm wondering if the stairs she won't go down are quite steep? Maybe she feels nervous about tumbling?
  6. This is great everyone, thank you! I love the idea of making homemade treats - I am keen to know what's in them, and to make sure we're using meat from animals that were treated kindly. Turkey meatballs sounds like a great option - plus, canned fish!! Brilliant. Then I don't have to touch stuff Yay!
  7. Hi all! I know treats have the highest currency when they're novel. We use either boiled chicken or steak cooked under the broiler (I was going to boil that too - I'm vegan, I don't know!! - and my dad was horrified... ) but I'm looking to change things up a bit. Chicken is a tiny bit more compelling than plain old kibble, steak is VERY compelling... but what else can we incorporate? I'm in Sweden so of course I thought store-bought frozen meatballs, but they all have onions and garlic in them, alas. He also gets peanut butter from time to time, and that is fairly old hat for him (fun but not terribly motivating). Any tips? We avoid store-bought treats because he's had some tummy problems in the past. Thank you!
  8. thank you @GentleLake and everyone for your advice! It's helpful to reframe this as a matter of not having generalized the rules he learned this summer (which he learned so dang well!) to a situation with two people. The sun sets at close to 2:45 pm here these days (ah, Swedish winter) but I think what I'm going to do is get the whole family out in the courtyard in the evenings to do some of those exercises we worked on in the summer (just me and Kevin) with all three of us, and then take it to the streets after a week or so. My idea is that maybe that 'click' moment @Lawgirl mentioned might come faster if we start with the exact same exercises that we drilled so much just a few months ago, but with all of us present. Goals!
  9. Hi all! Kev is much improved on the leash - there isn't much to complain about when he's on a walk with just one of us, apart from the occasional bike or car lunge (it's a work in progress, but we're all getting much better at it - him at controlling himself, me and J at preventing it before it even starts). But! When the three of us go out in the world, it's a totally different story - it's like walking Kev 8 months ago: he is supper pully and obnoxiously barky. He doesn't bark too much on solo walks, maybe just the occasional "Wow! The world!" But when we're all out together, he would bark the whole time if we let him. So, obviously it's not super fun to walk as a "family" and we have therefore worked on it much less, alas. I have a couple questions: 1) Is the barking something we can work on, or is that just a dog being a dog? We really don't like it, and he doesn't do it with just 1 walker, but I also don't know if it's fair for me to blame him for this (dogs bark!) or if it's something we just have to live with. 2) To deal with both the barking and the pulling, from the get go on these walks we've started just dropping treat after treat after treat, because as long as he's eating a treat right beside us (or preferably even a step behind us), then he isn't barking or pulling. I would like to fade this exercise out, and I try to intitiate it before the barking/pulling starts so it doesn't come as a reward for the barking/pulling. Any other ideas on how we might go about this?
  10. Oh man, I feel for you! I look forward to the wisdom others will share on this one because we basically haven't given Kevin a bath since he was like 5 months on account of a fairly similar reaction - he got SUPER scared and trembly and defensive. We have places where we can take him swimming when he needs a good cleaning, luckily. BUT one thought: how used to being in the bathroom is Tama? Kev was so freaked out by the bathroom and it occurred to me that he had only been in there to get wet, which he hated. So we've started putting treats in there for him to "search" out (in as much as one can search for something in a very small room), or i have him fetch toys out of there, in sort of a one-step-at-a-time process, hoping that someday he'll search for a cheeseburger beneath a streaming shower... !
  11. We live in Stockholm! (My husband and I are transplants from Seattle, but I'm half Swedish and grew up coming here - Kevin is Swedish-born!) I really appreciate your insights here. We generally practice the "yelp" sound (a holdover habit from when he was a younger puppy) when his mouth gets on us as a result of something he doesn't like, but I don't really feel like it's effective. There was a period where whenever it happened (again, when he was much, much younger; when teeth were still kind of a routine part of life), we would go close ourselves off in another room - an easier method than trying to physically put him in a different space for a timeout, especially since we live in a fairly small apartment. I'm wondering if perhaps reinstating that version of a timeout would be a good idea, when The Mouth happens. It's hard to know what kind of correction to incorporate as part of a positive reinforcement training practice - especially with a sensitive dog. But I wholeheartedly agree with what you said - I don't think it should be tolerated either! Speaking of updates: we are making HUGE towel progress. A rainy November has meant toweling off basically every time we come inside and he's become way more accepting. And I've been working with a clicker and treats on "let me look?" as a cue to hold and examine his paws on pretty much a daily basis. When he focuses, he will indeed "let me look" and if there is any mouth, it turns to licks immediately. And we've had zero issues with putting on his harness since that one funky day a few weeks ago.
  12. Look at that team of beautiful pups!! So, we have a much sportier harness that we've tried transitioning him to - at first he was super freaked out by it, so we named it Trish and made it a toy (all of his toys have names), and eventually we were able to get it on him, but he was still kind of freaked out by it and I figured well, if you're not bothered by the old one then we may as well stick with it. Once the step-in harness is on, he's good as gold. He doesn't shut down or behave out of the ordinary; he gives a little shake and carries on with his life. It's the getting it on part that he doesn't always love, but it's not like he's resistant the way he was on Sunday all the time. What was so striking about that was that it was this sudden switch. Rather, putting on the harness is something that he seems to view it as a 20 second task to get through, but he just kind of holds his nose and does it, and it's fine. He knows to lift his paws nicely. It was only that one day that it was a struggle - it was so random! And now, all is back to normal. I do think the why of it all is something to keep in mind, but because his behavior is normal, it doesn't seem as though it's hurting him in any way. He's not trying to get it off or pawing at it or anything. That said, perhaps we will give Trish another try Thank you all for the clever collar and walking wisdom!
  13. This is really brilliant, CptJack. It really resonates with me to think about it this way. Thanks. Thank you also for this! I have some follow-up questions!! (Surprised!? ) I have read about the importance of using a harness because dogs' necks are constructed just like ours and a leash to the collar can cause them injury. When he's wearing a harness, I feel comfortable pulling him away from, say, a sandwich dropped on the street (he has a decent "leave it" but not powerful enough to avoid such a tasty street treat). But if his leash were attached to his collar, I would worry about hurting him (he's strong!). I've kind of been under the impression that attaching the leash to the collar is for dogs who never pull or need to be pulled. Am I mistaken? Question 2: Does any teeth at all mean it's behaviorist time, even though he is not aggressive? Kev has historically been protective (as in: his mouth may get on us to say "stop that, I don't like it" but it isn't hard) with things like brushing and toweling. But this stuff has improved A TON (brushing especially; we're pretty much golden there; toweling is a work in progress). I'm a believer in prevention over treatment, but I don't feel overwhelmed, or like I've done everything in the playbook of things I'm capable of doing for improvements. Then again: I also think it would be kind of fascinating to work with a behaviorist! Thank you everyone for your responses! We're back to normal this morning. I approached him with the harness for the morning potty outing, and he was a little "meh I don't really love this" and then lifted one paw nicely, then the other and we were off - normal! I don't think he has any physical injuries; I think he was having a bad hair day. Also, to clarify: it was in that brief moment that I felt afraid (the moment of trying to put on the harness, something we had done without issue hundreds of times, when he surprised me with snappiness). I certainly don't feel afraid of him in general - I mean, look at this face!
  14. Hi all! After 6 excellent weeks with Kevin - not much of a worry in sight! so much leash improvement! nothing to complain about! - yesterday he suddenly decided he would absolutely not let us put on his harness and collar and he got super chompy as we tried. Rather than chase him around the apartment, we left without him, came back, tried again (failed); ignored him for a while, played some games, tried again (failed); I got really frustrated and stormed off (grown up!) and while I was walking around the block, my husband took care of it (success!). Kevin kept trying to snap/bite at us as we tried to put on these things that we put on him every day, even multiple times a day! He doesn't seem to be hurt anywhere (we considered this) and he did have a bit of an extreme day the day prior (with an unusual schedule and a lot of new impressions) so perhaps that put him into a mood. But I feel like my trust is a little shaken. Kevin is a very sweet and often quite snuggly, affectionate dog. But while this was happening, I felt kind of afraid of him. He wasn't being wildly aggressive by any means, but he was protective and downright bitey. It made me think: do I have a *difficult* dog!? And what does that mean? My last bc was a rescue who I got at 10 months and he just came out of the package a dream - user friendly and ready to go! He wasn't a big fan of riding in the car but you could do anything to his body, more or less - trim his fur, towel him off, handle his paws. He was a-okay. Kevin I've had since he was 8 weeks and we have a fantastic bond, for sure, but toweling and paw handling and apparently the occasional harness-application are real struggles for him. He gets protective. We may not have worked on these things Every Single Day Without Fail since he was 8 weeks old, but I do think it's fair to say they've been incorporated not an insignificant amount into his life for the past 13 months - we work on them! So that leads me to believe that it's a bit of an inherent, naturey thing about him - he's protective of his body. Fair enough. Have you had a dog like this? How did you overcome it? Is it something you manage rather than totally fix? Does it also shake your feelings on occasion? Like I said: we can go weeks without issue. And then suddenly it's like, agh! How do I even begin to deal with you? If you don't put your harness on, where are you going to poop!? The bathroom?! I love Kevin A TON and I'm proud of all the improvements and growth he's achieved in his first year (that we've achieved together, really). But sometimes I'm like "Hmm, would I be comfortable leaving you with friends for the weekend? Maybe not if you suddenly decide you can't wear your harness?" I would love to hear thoughts and stories on this.
  15. Had the same matty experience over the summer, including the part where I felt mad at myself! Managed to cut them out and he looks pretty normal now Don't beat yourself up!
  16. These are all great ideas! I really appreciate the reminder for consistency and to only do things when we have the time to do them properly. In many ways I feel like the process of training Kevin is like a constant meditation - I am endlessly having thoughts pop into my head ("What if we do THIS thing that I think will be super fun that you almost certainly won't be capable of and it will all go horribly!?") and then reminding myself "Nope, let's just do what he *can* do." And sometimes I have to remind myself of that multiple times on the same walk. Thank you everyone for these suggestions and reminders!
  17. We've done nosework and Kev loved it! I would also suggest naming your toys and having pup collect each one by name - we play "Where is ___?" every day and I find that it's an excellent way to get him to tap into a focused state, and it tires him out. I teach him the name of the toys by first showing him the toy, saying "Pickle" or whatever I've named it, hiding it in one room with the door closed, then I open the door and say "Where is Pickle?" and after 2 or 3 rounds of this, he knows its name. Then I can put both Pickle and Tire in the bedroom and have him retrieve them individually. We pair this with a "Clean up" trick where he has to drop each one, collected by name, into a basket (which I trained separately). But that aspect isn't really necessary, I don't think; just having to search for a specific thing is tiring. Also: trick training in general is probably a great way to tire your pup out! I really love Kikopup's videos.
  18. Hi all! Kevin's walking skills have vastly improved in the last few months but still aren't perfect. Recently, he's developed a habit of jumping up and biting/tugging at the leash just at the very last block of our walk - so, we're two minutes from home. Don't judge me BUT yes I have given in (I know, I know, it's bad and sanctions the game in his mind) a few times and just tugged him home, the end fo the leash in his mouth, so that we can just get there. I have tried: - changing my voice to get his attention sniffing something else - shifting his focus into a series of sit/down/wait and tossing a treat for him to leave first, then go get - doing nothing, not making eye contact, just letting him kind of tug me home without responding. My efforts to shift his attention often work in the moment while we're holding still, but as soon as I attempt to walk again it's back to leash tug. He seems to think this is great fun (ah, dogs.). I do not! What is the right thing for me to do here? Sometimes I'm not really in a rush, and I suppose if someone wise says I need to wait him out, i could try - the problem is that he is SO much more patient than I ever am! Hard to wait him out; I feel that he could wait me out for an eternity - and then tug me all the way home.... wisdom much appreciated!
  19. Are there some moments where you can up the treat currency? For example: we've started using steak (in tiny pieces) to do things like cross busy streets. If Tama can't pay attention then I know sometimes even the best of treats won't work (been there, for sure) - but in moments where you can get that attention! Steak. (If you feel like you need a higher currency treat, that is. Otherwise I'd save it for when it's really going to be necessary.) That sense of "whyyyy is it like thiiiis!" sounds very familiar. We have also gone in and out of very good periods and really, really frustrating periods. I once read someone's comment on a post, a while back, that said something like: all the training in the world doesn't make them older, which only comes with time. Sounds like you're training a ton (yay!) but also, I think it can be comforting to remember that time will also help.
  20. You've gotten some great advice here! I wonder if adding in an additional structured activity might be helpful, like nose work for example? As a supplement to training time, I'm thinking. This could be another way to activate the brain with something fun that gets him tuckered out. We took a nose work class and I found it very helpful to incorporate the exercises we learned there into our daily training sessions.
  21. Hi all! Earlier this year, when Kevin was about 4 months old, he had to wear a cone for about a week for a toenail issue. He didn't love it (*especially* at first) but he got used to it and eventually acted more or less like it wasn't there. We would give him occasional breaks and getting it back on him was always a hassle - the artful dodger - but it worked. Fast forward a few months, Kevin is just about 1, and he Will. Not. Let. Me. Put. It. On. He opens his jaws really wide so that it just goes into his mouth, and then he air snaps at me/us as we continue to try, and runs away, repeat. It's not going well, but he's licking at a rash on his stomach at night and it's keeping all of us awake. I know I've already earned some negative points by going at him with the cone when he thinks it's scary, and I've started some cone desensitization training (look at the cone/click/treat, nudge the cone click/treat, put a treat just inside the cone, yay good boy)....but I'm feeling a bit impatient and I think this method will literally take months to get him to the point of actually letting me slip the cone on his head without him trying to chomp me. Does anyone have any advice for speeding up this process, or is there not much we can do? I'm using the highest level treats we have (STEAK. Yum, says Kevin.). Thanks in advance! Update: for what it's worth, he IS willing to poke his head through the cone (with what feels to me like an "oh-my-gosh-am-i-gonna-do-this-yes-i'm-doing-it-i'm-doing-it!" energy) for steak - the cone doesn't end up all the way on, but he'll put his snout through for the treats. So that's promising I suppose.
  22. Hi @tamapup ! Tama's looking lovely Kevin was having similar I-can't-stand-walking-you-on-leash-because-you-pull-like-a-madman issues, and I did Emily Larlham's (aka Kikopup) 6-week leash training course - and HOLY WOW, it works very well. It costs, but it was 100% worth it - truly, Kevin walks like a nice guy almost all the time now. Her website is called Dogmantics. Dedicating time to these exercises most days (usually 5 or 6 days a week, but in like 10-12 minute training sessions) was aaaaa huuuundreeeeed perceeeent worth it
  23. Update: behold the power of steak!! Kevin is now lying quite nicely to have his mats cut out as long as he gets to eat tiny pieces of steak while I do it. He stayed put for me for a good 25 minutes the other day (I'm working veeeerrrrry slowly so as to be soothing and not overwhelm) - and his left side is basically done. I picked up a good pair of shears as well as thinning shears, which are really helping. And I'm proud of him for being so patient with a grooming process. It turns out the Bun (we call him Bunny, because we're gross :D) will do anything for a piece of steak. Huzzah! Not finished yet, but well on our way.
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