Jump to content
BC Boards

Advise for Settling Down Your Dog


Recommended Posts

Outside is fine we have no problems with him, we choose to do all of those activities with him because we enjoy watching him enjoy having fun. But in the house the only thing that he wants to do is play ball. If we are eating, he is fine, he will leave us alone. But as soon as we are done he is ready to play ball and g*d forbid if one of us is trying to read or do something, well that is the only person that he wants throwing the ball for him. Just let me add that as soon as we say that it is time to go to sleep, he comes into the bedroom and calms right down. Also we start our next set of obedience classes this weekend and are signed up for the next agility class as soon as they tell us that they are ready to start. I will be gone for the rest of the night but am looking forward to reading what I hope is a lot of advise in the morning.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Put the toys away, tell him "That'll Do" or whatever command you choose to use and play only on your schedule. How long have you had him? Remember you are the boss. If you are giving into his pushing you to play you are only rewarding his requests. Lie down and stay are good reinforcers.

Link to post
Share on other sites
But in the house the only thing that he wants to do is play ball. If we are eating, he is fine, he will leave us alone. But as soon as we are done he is ready to play ball and g*d forbid if one of us is trying to read or do something, well that is the only person that he wants throwing the ball for him. Just let me add that as soon as we say that it is time to go to sleep, he comes into the bedroom and calms right down.

 

Ok, great signs that he is able to leave you alone when you eat and will settle when you let him know it's time for bed. So he is actually physically capable of containing his busy little self! :rolleyes: Now he just needs to learn there are other times when he needs to kick back and find some quiet, owner approved activity to engage in.

 

First, put the ball and any other fetch toys away in a spot he can not reach. He can't be pesturing you with the toy if he doesn't have it. All fetch toys at my house are put up. Every so often, Quinn will nab one but as soon as I see what he has, it is quietly taken from him. When he was a puppy and would get hold of a fetch toy, I'd give him an inside toy to play with instead. Now, I just say nothing and put the fetch toy away. So he gets no reward for trying to go into business for himself. For the most part he respects the frisbee, balls, stick, chuck-it, etc. are only for outside. He jumps like a cat and climbs like a moutain goat, so if he wanted those toys, believe me, he could have them any time he wanted.

 

Two, make sure he has toys that are good for quiet times, such as chew toys. Quinn pretty much destroys anything except Nylabones so that is what he has for inside entertainment (there is also looking out the window, snoozing on the comfy chair, playing with the other dogs or brief sprints by himself through the house). Some people will give dogs Kongs and fill them up with treats or kibble. Others will give their dogs certain raw bones to chew.

 

Good that you are taking more obedience classes. That will give him another outlet for using his brain. You may want to start working on doing long downs with him each day. Start with a few minutes and work up to 30 at a time. You can do this while watching TV or reading.

 

If he can't or won't settle, put him in his crate (non emotionally) for a brief time out. You might find that he falls asleep quickly. Sometimes dogs are just like little kids who get wilder and wilder the more they need a nap.

 

Check out some of the books and DVD's on CleanRun.com. Even if you don't do agility, there is all kinds of information on clicker training, trick training, plus lots more. Susan Garrett has a new DVD called Crate Games which is supposed to be a fun way to teach your dog a good stay and the doggy version of self-control. That sounds like something that might be just what he needs.

 

Pick a routine and stick with it. Schedules are great for dogs and they learn them quickly. Find one that works for you and your pup, but not one that makes you his adoring slave. :D I think you'll find that there is a wide variety of how much exercise and other activity people on these boards engage in with their dogs. It depends on the dog and the person how much time is spent exercising, training, playing, etc. Quinn usually gets about an hour a day, occasionally less, sometimes much more. However, he spends a lot of time hanging out with me at home and at work, and being my ride along dog in the car. He could easily and happily be a whole lot more active but he doesn't need to spend hours and hours a day in constant motion.

Link to post
Share on other sites

We actually do have a TON of toys for him to play with and every once in a while he will go and get a bone, but that normally is only good for him for about 10 to 15 minutes at a time and then he is over it. and that is the same with a Kong, or any other toy. And we do take his ball away from him and put it up, our spot is on the refrigerator. That is whe he goes into his wimper, and when we tell him "that'll do" he just wimper's softer. I spoke with my Husband about it last night and you know, it's not the first time that we have discussed it, we really do for his sake more than ours want to learn ways to deal with this because we are worried that he may be too attached to it. Not that he goes crazy for it at all times, but he does get a little sad when he can't find it when he does want to play with it. If he has had a long day and is physically exhausted he has a tendancy to get rather ornery with us and when he does finally lay down it is normally only for a short period of 10 to 20 minutes. Please don't get me wrong, the ball is the only major issue with him that we have. He is so sweet and loving and fun. We love him to pieces adn just want the best for him. And this ball thing isn't healthy behavior.

Link to post
Share on other sites

You've gotten great advice above (put away the balls, give him quiet chew toys or bones). And, I'll second the crate time out idea, too. When my Jack was younger, he was a maniac at certain times of the evening. If he wouldn't settle down when we told him to, it was into the crate. The crate is in the bedroom, so it was into the crate, lights off, door shut. We only had to leave him in there for a little while (20 minutes or so, I guess?), until he'd settle down, then we brought him back out, he was livable again. :rolleyes: Make sure you're not acting upset or frustrated when you put him in there, you don't want it to seem like punishment.

 

Then we got Alex, who is as ball obsessed as they come. He's also very smart, and learned quickly what "that'll do" means. It just takes time and consistency. Now, I can say "that'll do" when he's in mid stride bringing me a ball to throw, and he'll turn around, take his ball and go lie down.

 

Hang in there, you'll get through this! :D

Link to post
Share on other sites

Chances are you've tried this, but does he like puzzle type toys at all? Shiner likes to chew during his quiet time, and we've had success with the Kong Stuff-a-ball, with treats in it, not just stuff he can lick out. He likes it much better than the regular kong. Also the Twist-n-treat.

Link to post
Share on other sites

We have the the twist n treat and fill it with cherrios but as soon as he gets them all out he's ready to go again, on to the next thing. We also play the which treat is the cup under with him. I will have to look into the stuff a ball, I'm not sure that I have seen that. Normally we just fill the kong with peanut butter and stick it the freezer for a little while.

Link to post
Share on other sites

The crate is your friend. Use it as needed. If he's whimpering, pestering you, whatever, put him in his crate and ignore him. You might be (pleasantly) surprised to find that he comes to settle down in the crate and take a nap when put in there (several of my dogs automatically seek a crate to sleep in while I'm working at the computer--I work from home so really can't have my dogs pestering me constantly or I'd never get any work done). As I said on the other thread, don't fall into the trap of thinking you *need to* constantly entertain him or feel sorry for him if he doesn't get his way. It is not being unkind or unloving to expect him to go settle down somewhere and sleep or entertain himself with his toys. Do not view the crate as punishment. If it were me, I'd put him on a regular and pretty strict schedule that includes time alone in his crate, scheduled play times with you, and times when he's out of his crate but is expected to entertain himself. When he gets ornery from being overtired, he needs to go in his crate and chill. It's kind of like raising children--if you let them get overtired or overexcited they can become nearly impossible to live with. It will help if you maintain a calm demeanor when you're dealing with Blaze. Even when you're playing, try not to encourage overexcitement in him (if you're acting excited yourself, he's going to feed off it). What you're doing is sort of like tough love. In fact, look up NILIF (nothing in life is free) on the Web. I believe it was originally developed to deal with aggressive dogs, but IMO it will work on any dog who is trying to control the people in his life. It may seem a bit "militant," but in the case of a dog like yours, I'd think that once you got through to him that you don't exist solely for his entertainment, you could back off on the program.

 

Always remember that dogs are not little children. Yes, they thrive on our love, but they also *need* our leadership. They like knowing what is expected of them so they can do it, knowing it pleases you. They thrive on routine. I think the root of the problem here is that you have been too permissive with him, perhaps because of some unconscious belief that he will think you don't love him if you are strict. (I'm not a psychologist, but just guessing this from the various comments you've made.) I'm also not saying that you have to be hard on him. You just need to establish the boundaries/rules and then stick with them. Once he understands the rules, he will be a much happier dog.

 

This is all just my opinion, but I live with nine border collies, ranging in age from 18 months to 13 years, all of whom *love* to play, and yet I can live in my own house and not be constantly pestered to play. It was the same back when I just had one dog. Structure and routine are good things....

 

J.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, all of the advise that has been given will not be taken lightly and I will be sure to keep you all updated as to what changes come about as we strive to fulfill a calmer lifestyle in the home.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...