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Everything posted by Meghan

  1. I'd also recommend a 1:1 behaviourist who specialises in helping with these types of behaviours. Bailey's trainer has been wonderful at teaching US how to teach him and offering support. It's a difficult thing to try and do alone, and you want to make sure you're teaching him the right things the right way. I'd highly recommend looling for someone who focuses on positive reinforcement to avoid amping up any further aggression. It might be a bit expensive, but it's worthwhile trying it, for both Tucker and for your peace of mind. <3
  2. I'm afraid i don't have any answers for you, not having much experience myself, but wanted to say I'm so sorry you're going through this and sending you a big hug xx
  3. Hi everyone! Looking for some friendly sense check/advice please! We're going away for our first extended break (1 week) with Bailey on Saturday and have been thinking about ways to keep him calm in the new environment. He's just turned 1 and is prone to overexcitement and difficulty settling when away from home. To add to the mix, on this break there will also be 5 other family members and another dog (who is very old and not that well bless her, so won't be in the mood to play with Bailey) - so we're coming up with an action plan to help Bailey, and everyone else, settle in to a nice calm routine as quickly as possible. Our ideas below, any others are welcome! - Nice big walk when we arrive (It's a 5.5hr drive), and of course lots of walks/exercise throughout the week - Ask my family to completely ignore Bailey when we first arrive until his excitement eases, only give him attention once he's managed to sit calmly - Take both dogs out for a short 'sniffy' walk to get to know each other calmly - Introduce him to one room at a time, with lots of bathroom breaks/training of where he can/can't go (he has a tendency to try and mark when there's another dog in the house) - Puzzle feeders, snufflemats and lickimats (we use these anyway) - Lots of chews - Crate (possibly as optional for him, he no longer uses it at home, but we'll put his bed in there in case he wants a quiet space) - Treats to reward calm behaviour/continue practicing relaxation protocol - Stick to a similar routine as much as possible Anything we've missed or other top tips? Thanks in advance! Photo attached as a thank you!
  4. I do this too! Bailey is also reactive, although more in a desperate to go say hello/get in other dogs face amd let them know I'll friendly kind of way (no snapping or baring teeth, but the intense collie stare and whining, pulling, sometimes barking) - only on lead though, he's got no issues with it off lead. Our behaviourist explained he has barrier frustration which is what we've been working on engage/disengage etc. Definitely seen some improvements, although it's still a work in progress and a head on meeting is still a big no go. We avoid meeting other dogs on lead where we can, and turn around/cross the road where needed. It's not always possible to avoid other dogs entirely and he's not hugely treat motivated so that's where the ball comes in - if we have to walk by another dog we whip out the ball and Bailey lasers in on it as if nothing else in this world exists!
  5. Our Bailey is 10.5 months and aldo grew up during lockdown and stay at home orders. He is also reactive, although to a lesser extent than it aounds Sunee is, but here are some tips that we've had some success with. We have a stairgate at the lounge door that Bailey goes behind when we know someone will soon be at the door, or once there is a knock on the door. He can still see the visitor which helps calm him, as being shut in another room sets him off. We also have a sign on the front door saying dog training in progress and it may take us a minute to answer the door, so we don't panic amd rush. Where possible, Bailey gets treats for staying calm behind the gate. Ideally he'd go sit on his mat/bed by the gate but that's still a work in progress! We ask visitors to ignore him completely until he's calm and sitting or lying down behind the gate. I second the relaxation protocol, it's been wonderful for Bailey! And it includes practice building up knocking quietly on the wall/door, doorbell etc, and pretending to have a conversation with someone, and then you reward the pup for staying calmly on his mat. We've gone through twice with good results, although i think we should do it again now we're opening up and getting more visitors again Hope this helps!
  6. That's what we're thinking Bailey might enjoy, and to just mix things up a bit I've seen it done with tennis balls too, so no special ball required as far as i can tell
  7. Hi all! I'm curious, has anyone else heard of/taught their dogs "Sheepballs"? Our trainer recommended it for Bailey to help him improve his focus, and i think he'd really enjoy it. Although he'll fetch his stuffed toys at home, he doesn't like to return/fetch a ball when out, but seems to prefer to just be a goalie and stop the ball then move on to another one! I've posted the link to the inventor below to anyone who is interested! https://www.learningaboutdogs.com/welcome-sheepballs/
  8. @Journeyit used to be daily with his 'pack' at the park, but he became increasingly demanding about wanting to always go there so that has been scaled back to 2 or 3 times a week only. With the pandemic we haven't been able to have other puppy interactions (at home/in the garden etc) how we would like to. @Rosaleeit is really hard and makes walks stressful. Walks used to be the best part of our day when he was a terror ay home, but now it's the opposite, he's wonderful at home but you never know what the walk will end up being which is stressful. We decided to get help from a professional behaviourist as it's such an important time in his development, and frankly, something we can't afford to get wrong and allow to continue to adulthood!
  9. Hi D'Elle, Thank you for your advice on this, we've been looking into your suggestions and advice further over the last few weeks and have consulted a behaviourist for help. Bailey has always been a bit excitable as a pup, but now that he's hit adolescence it's got far worse which is apparently fairly common. He's what is known as a frustrated greeter, completely fine off lead but really struggles to stay calm when on lead. Unfortunately it's not possible to avoid dogs all the time as even in our street there are multiple dogs, but where possible we walk him in quiet areas and are working on engage/disengage and keeping him calm while reducing his distance threshold. With Covid and lockdown it has been difficult to have puppy playdates, but we're going to work with our behaviourist and her dog to teach him
  10. @D'Elle oh definitely! We're going through plenty of other behaviour changes/issues as part of adolescence, so training is definitely still continuing! But this one issue for us has seemed to resolve itself at least! At this point I'll revel in the small victories!
  11. I'd suggest taking the time to sit with her in the garden on a short leash to desensitise her to the cars, and rewarding calm behaviour. We've had success with Bailey with this (he's 7 mo now) as he chased cars on the road. There's still a couple of busier roads he struggles with, but my regular calm exposure and making it boring we've seen vast improvements
  12. @MB25 we went through a very similar thing with Bailey, and like you tried so many different things but can admit we weren't consistent enough. Good news is that when his adult teeth came through at 5-6 months he just stopped! He is occasionally still a bit mouthy, or might give a little nip if he is overexcited, but now it's so rare if he does it's very easy to follow through on the consequences. We also toned down the excitement in our house that really helped!
  13. Completely understand, we sometimes feel the same. Luvkily Bailey now seems to have decided the sofa is the place to be and is quite happy to flop down on it after a walk for a good few hours of snoozing. We tidy up all his toys and other distractions and just leave him to it, although he will sometimes wake up amd get into mischeif. It probably helps that we both work from home full time so he's had to learn that during those times we're busy and boring, so he may as well just sleep! I notice working on mat work, she doesn’t really chill on the mat, not tense or stressed out or something, just focused on me and waiting for what is next so maybe this will help the whole “relaxing” thing to click in a bit. I will say that Bailey isn't exactly relaxed during the exercise, but is aware that I'll be giving him a treat/doing something etc. But the gaps inbetween are getting longer, and once we're done he's usually in a generally calm place. I hope it helps!
  14. Hi D'Elle, We can certainly work on building that up for him, and we can get a nice calm sit with no distractions, or with dogs that are a fair distance away and not walking towards or near us. So we cam definitely work on slowly decreasing that distance. Unfortunately i don't see how we would avoid him meeting/seeing dogs at all, for example on walks and even just round the block as there are plenty around. I've also heard that socialisation is really important at this age again. So would a combination of working on the calm sit while decreasing the distance threshold, and also when we do pass a dog on a walk work on the 3 second meet and greet and move on (even if he is excitedly pulling towards them) be a compromise we could work with? We find the biggest issues arise when he isn't allowed to see/meet the dog at all. If we do a quick hello/sniff and move on he quickly snaps back into focus, albeit a bit more excited, but not OTT.
  15. Hi again, I'd appreciate advice on another topic for Bailey, as we think he's enterred his adolescence/fear/sensitivity phase and we're not sure how to address it. He's started alert barking/growling at things over the last week. He seems fine out and about on walks, but it has been random points when he's at home. Some examples below: Catching his reflection in the tv/door Lawnmower Pigeon on a roof A dog on the TV Seemingly nothing, but i assume something he senses outside at night - or a ghost He goes all alert and goes to the back door, has a low growl and starts barking. It's difficult to distract or reassure him, we've tried the 'show me what it is' idea, trying to get his focus back on us with treats or toys, patting him for reassurance etc. But he just keeps on going. A lickimat worked more but he kept getting up going back to the door to bark once or twice, then going back to his mat. What is the right way to deal with these situations? Should we just ignore it? It completely came out the blue to i assume it must be due to his age (6.5 months) and hormones and hopefully isn't a long term behaviour? Thank you!
  16. Hi all, I'm hoping for some advice on Bailey's hyperarousal around other dogs while we're walking on leash. It's excitement not anxiety based, and is very much 'A DOG! Let me see them! I want to say hello NOW!!!' We try and watch the road in front and manage the situation, eg, cross over or take a different route (trying to get him back past his distance threshold), but that's not always possible. He'll lunge to the end of his leash, 2 front paws up in the air, and If he doesn't get to see them he gets barky. Absolutely nothing gets through to him, treats, squeaky toy, commands, clicker, nada. He's much bigger and stronger now which is becoming difficult for me to manage, so our trainer advised us to get a front no pull harness, and also a head collar, to help us regain some control physically while working to get control of him mentally with training. We plan to start with the harness first, and use the head collar only for situations where we know things might be difficult (busier areas etc). We just have no idea what to do once he starts doing his lunging/scarab beetling and it's making walks stressful. As background, he was heavily socialised as a young pup, but primarily off leash, we didn't do much meet and greet (3 second rule) on leash, and it shows! He has no manners or boundaries whatsoever and clearly thinks that every dog wants to see him and be his friend. Our friend has another collie and has offered to do some side by side walking with us, something Bailey has had no opportunity to do with lockdowns, and usually just tries to lick the other dogs face excitedly...! Any other recommendations would be wonderful so we can help him manage his excitement, and so we can let him say hello to another dog without the lunging!
  17. Hi Rosalee! This sounds so similar to what we were experiencing with Bailey (now 6.5 mo), especially the evening madbess which exhausted us. I posted my routine on here a month or 2 ago and the advice i received have completely transformed Bailey so i hope i can share some of what we've changed to help you! I would suggest you are doing far too much interaction with your pup. We were the same, and when we added it up it was ~5 hours a day of interaction and he was in a near constant state of hyperarousal. We've now really cut things down to 2-3 hours max. Here's our very brief routine (i say ignore when i mean we're not giving him our undivided attention, we're getting on with chores etc but he'll still get a pat etc): 6.30am: up, wee, ignored or very gentle play (e.g. I'll hold a toy while he tugs it but i watch tv) 7.30am: 30 min walk/run & ball chase at the park 8.15am: brekkie in a puzzle toy, nap time until ~1pm (either crated or on sofa, or a mix), toilet break as needed ~1pm: 45min sniffing walk interspersed with training (heel, focus, sits etc) and short play session 2-4pm: enforced nap (crate or sofa) 4-5pm: self play, chews etc while we ignore 5-7.30pm: 15 min high energy play with mum+dad, 15-30 min neighbourhood sniffing walk, dinner in puzzle toy, calming protocol ~8pm: frozen lickimat while we eat dinner, ignore, self play/chew 9pm: asleep until morning One thing I've learnt is that you have to train and practice calming, otherwise they will just keep taking all you can give and not learn to settle. Enforced naps (there will be some barking initially, build it up or use frozen kongs), rewarding when calm, keeping play and training sessions short, mental stimulation all help. I've attached the calming protocol someone on here shared with me and it's really helping! We're on Day 11 now and would really recommend ProtocolforRelaxation.pdf
  18. Hi, I followed your post witn interest as we sometimes have the exact same situation with our 6.5 month pup Bailey. We're working on his hyperarousal at the moment, and I completely agree, when they get to that point there really is nothing thay can get through to them, so it's about trying to control and manage the situation before it arises, like turning back if they are having too much exposure to exciting things early in the walk. We're still learning about Bailey as we go, and he's recently entered his sensitive/fear adolescence stage which has added a level of complexity. He is really set off by other dogs, in a completely over friendly 'let me see them' way, and he's pulling and 'scarab beetling' towards them desperately. We've just invested in a front no pull harness, and also a gentle leader head collar for situations where we know he struggles (eg. Town centre/busy areas). By no means are these a substitute for training, but when he's in that mode we can't get him back on us with treats, squeaky toys, anything. Our trainer advised the physical restriction of not being able to pull might help us regain his focus to help with his training and desensitisation. Particularly as he's getting bigger and stronger now. We've also been advised to practice the 3 second meet and greet with other dogs on leash. I think it is a good idea to let pups play with other trusted dogs off leash (Bailey has since he was 3 months old), but agree you need to be in a secure place with dogs you trust You'll get there! What's her name?
  19. That's very kind of you to say @D'Elle These forums have really helped us both with the actual training and mentally when we've been worried or stressed about what we should be doing due to lack of 'formal' dog training support at this time. That's also great to know we don't have to give up sofa cuddle time <3 We found without having that at the beginning we struggled to strengthen our bond with him as all his calm cuddly times he was crated, so I'm glad this is still ok! He will be crated/X-pened while we go out, so if we start incorporating that it's a double whammy! Thanks again for all your help, I'm sure I'll be back again soon for more advice! In the meantime, stay safe and take care
  20. Agreed, I think because we HAVE to be at home 24/7 these days with the pandemic, Bailey hasn't really been introduced to the concept of us not being around, and it's something we need to practice. Definitely something to practice at weekends though (and maybe a lunchbreak if we can give him half an hour of attention, then use the other half hour break we have to do something for us out the house [even if it's just running errands where he can't go). Thank you so much for sending me the calming/relaxation protocol! It's really helpful to me to have a structured training plan, and this looks like something I can really follow, and build up in lots of different locations/scenarios. Possibly it's even something we can do in that morning period if we can't get him to settle after waking up, as it's still teaching him that that is quiet/calm time. Or even if I could sit with him downstairs next to his crate with a book and a cuppa initially, so he doesn't feel the need to bark as much, but he's not getting what he wants (ie, come out and play)? I have some planning to do this weekend I feel!
  21. It's funny you say this, as last night Bailey wasn't settling as he usually would and was being too much of a pest while we were eating dinner so I popped him in the kitchen for a timeout (with the lights off) intending to let him out when he had calmed down/we'd finished eating, and there wasn't a peep! I had to pop in there to put our dishes away, and he had completely crashed out on the floor and didn't even stir with my coming in and leaving! So definite lesson learnt there!!
  22. @Enzsound - i forgot to say, i haven't heard of the calming protocol, but it sounds like something i should check out asap!
  23. Couldn't agree with you more! We were really unimpressed with lots of her 'advice' and won't be going back! Hopefully our new puppy classes will start again in the next few weeks, as i feel we really need the extra support as first time owners. That's good advice of 2-3 min sessions multiple times a day, and that would also reduce the time he gets our attention. We do also ask for certain commands 'in real life', not in a specific training session, such as wait/crossover at road intersections, wait at the door before we go out for a walk, sit for his food, sit/lie down if we've paused on a walk etc. We've also been advised to practice the 'you don't get something for nothing' protocol and always ask for a command before he gets something he wants. I am worried that we're setting ourselves up for a difficult/demanding life with him, so i really appreciate the advice to help us adjust things now while he's still young.
  24. Hi @Enzsound - thank you for sharing your schedule, it's useful to compare! I was wondering, what do you usually do between 4.30-6pm as you have a gap, and that's usually Bailey's pest time! I do think we need to make his bed time earlier again, it used to be 8-8.30pm but it has been getting later. We hoped this would make him sleep in later, but it's not, he's waking up earlier and earlier... he starts barking/yipping at around 6.45am now (may not be early for some, but we're not overjoyed!) and won't stop until we let him out. We don't want to reinforce that behaviour but he's also still young and does need the toilet straight away so we don't want to set him up to fail by leaving him to bark and then he messes in the house. Also, i don't want to annoy our neighbours at that time! What I'm trying to do is play my alarm before i come downstairs and only go into the kitchen when he's quiet. I think I'll also need to try and get up before he starts barking so that he realises he doesn't have to wake us up. Also, re: X-pen & crated naps etc, we used to use both when he was little, but admit that now he spends most of the day on the sofa. Couple of reasons: 1. We want him to be that type of dog when he's older, 2. He settles better/for longer on the sofa - crated we can get ~2 hours from him, but then when he's let out he's very needy and pent up. On the sofa he can snooze for maybe 4 hours. 3. If we leave him crated/xpen for longer he gets barky and disruptive. I completely know that catering to this and letting him out doesn't help, but we both work from home now with the pandemic and have a lot of client meetings etc, and we just can't have him barking like that It's far more stressful being in a meeting and waiting for him to wake up and start barking, than letting him snooze on the sofa in the room or potter about. But my worry is, our we setting ourselves up for more problems now? We have a stairgate so he only has access to 2 main rooms, and he's still crated overnight. He likes his crate and is happy in there for a time, but not all day. We'll definitely look at exercise junkies and at readjusting our schedule!
  25. Hello all! I'm new here and wanted to take the opportunity to introduce Bailey! He's almost 6 months old now and growing every day! We've had our share of trials and tribulations and it has been a steep learning curve, but with the help of this group we are learning more and more and seeing improvements He's a happy chap with a mischievous streak, and falls asleep with his tongue out! Some of his favourite things include: Chasing leaves, his brother Buster (one of our cats), his squeaky ball, making friends!
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