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Training and helping an outdoor rescue dog to become an indoor companion.


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Thanks Sue

I do need to get a handle on the circling because he will also do it if he just 'thinks' I might have a ball with me. So if I have him on a long leash in the field I end up getting wrapped round by it unless I spin round myself! :D I suppose I could shorten the leash and just stand - similar to the leash training and he will eventually get the idea it doesn't get him anywhere.

Plus of course I wouldn't want him doing it with strangers.

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Sounds as though you are doing very well with this dog, and he is a very deserving (and lucky) dog.

 

About the circling: once you get him trained in a sit, work with having him sit and hold the sit until you throw the ball for him. In the meantime, you can still train him to a "Wait", which he can do while standing. This is hard for the dog, so be really patient, and start very small.

 

When I have trained this into border collies who are excited, I start by asking for a wait with the leash snugged up so that they cannot go anywhere. I repeat "Wait" in a calm and drawn-out voice, watching closely, until the dog relaxes and stops pulling on the leash to get away or circle for one second, then I throw the toy and say a release word. Once the dog learns to wait for one second, make it two. Very small steps, adding one second at a time. Depending on the dog, this can take days or weeks or months. Took me about two years to train a good long wait on my Kit dog (I was training her to do a "time out" in order to train her out of a behavior that was not good while we were playing fetch with Jester). But Kit was the exception; most dogs will learn it faster than that. (In her defense, Kit is no dummy. But she is a bit stubborn, and it was a very, very hard bit of self-control to learn to stay in one place while the other border collie got to fetch for three throws).

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Thanks D'Elle. Ben is coming along beautifully. apart from a recent salmon stealing episode - causing some panic here in Pineapple Towers. Naughty Ben.

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Ben is coming along beautifully and can now be trusted off lead - in areas without traffic or livestock. Plus he is much less distracted by the farm comings and goings close to the house. Lead pulling is down and he hasn't tried to chase a car in ages. We are also progressing slowly with car sitting (OK it's a start!). He finally let me get all the tangles out of his coat and is now even better looking! He is good with strangers, kids, other dogs and much admired locally. He can't be left with food or slippers within reach but otherwise doesn't touch a thing in the house. Will have to work on getting him to stay back if I do have to leave him as he always tries to go out with me. He doesn't bark or chew when left but silently guards the door till my return. Maybe he will relax with time. He doesn't jump up at all - which had wondering whether there was a mobility issue- but otherwise he races around just fine. The biggest issue at the moment is his 'speed eating'. I tried an anti gulp bowl with maze like divisions - really only suitable for kibble - and even that didn't work. He got impatient so simply flipped the bowl and ate off the floor! The ideal would be a really heavy non tip stainless steel slow feeder. I've seen a heavy one with a circular dome in the centre but it's an import and very expensive for something that might not work. Might try his regular bowl with a large smooth rock in the centre first to see if the principle works. I've also seen a concave bowl designed for dogs with long ears. That might slow him down a bit. A toy that he has to work to get kibble out is another idea but not with the home cooked food :rolleyes: . In the meantime I don't give him all his meal in one go so he at least takes a breath..

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I'm curious to hear how the bowl with a rock that he has to work around goes. I don't know the consistency of the home cooked food you feed...

 

For both dogs and cats I will sometimes feed baby food through an oral syringe as their food reward during training. On a larger scale for a full meal, perhaps a turkey baster would work? Won't work for anything chunky/needs to be chewed....

 

For chunks, perhaps tying them loosely in fabric? If I use old bedsheets, Tuxedo doesn't consume the fabric and the fabric holds up well. He seems to enjoy working out the knots to get to the food, and it certainly slows him down!

 

ymmv

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I put 3 very large (so not going to be swallowed) washed stones in the bowl. It took him maybe 30% longer. Then he lifted the stones out the bowl and cleaned them up. Then he proceeded to try to gnaw at the stones - at which point I took them off him. I suspect it is only a matter of time before he learns to lift the stones at the start of the process.

The texture of the home cooked varies - from what we in the UK would call a meat loaf to something wetter more like a thick stew. The next experiment will be dollops of food spread around a flat baking tray. Plus a different design of slow feeder with raised nodules on a flat base rather than a bowl he can just tip up.

I don't know whether it is due to his previous feeding circumstances but this dog will eat anything and as quickly as possible. Sometimes it's like he doesn't even bother chewing.

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My terrier is a scarfer. He doesn't chew, and eats so fast that occasionally he throws up the meal he just scarfed down. I have tried three different slow-feed bowls, but became dissatisfied with all of them because I don't feed only dry kibble and they are so hard to clean.

 

What I am doing these days is monitoring his meals. I let him scarf for perhaps 5 seconds, then tell him to wait, hold the wait for perhaps 10 to 15 seconds, then let him scarf again and repeat. This at least gives his stomach time to take in some food before getting hit with the next bit, and prevents the vomiting.

 

I realize that not all dogs will stop eating on command in the middle of a meal, but the same thing can be accomplished by simply picking up the dish for the same amount of time. A dog should be willing to allow his or her owner to do that anyway. (I know this is more trouble than a slow feed bowl. but it is just another thing that one can do).

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Thanks D'elle. I could try that. I have given up on the rocks - I am anxious that he will break a tooth against one. I have been dividing his meal into 4 'courses' making him wait a few minutes between each. Plus I push the food around the outside to slow him down a little. You are right about those slow feed bowls being difficult to clean..

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Pineapple you can also feed him at least part of his meal in a kong or other toy that you load. The trick is to fill the toy and then wedge a large cookie/dog biscuit right in the opening. That takes some work to get it out.

 

Good luck! Oh, and you can wash kongs in the dishwasher, top shelf.

 

Ruth and Gibbs

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The things I have had most success with are a flat plastic affair with raised nodules. Works with kibble and home cooked. Plus an upturned water bowl. It ends up with a large 'dome' in the centre and a decent sized perimeter round which I spread food.I put a heavy stone on the floor underneath the dome to make it less likely to be pushed around.

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