Thursday, August 9, 2012

Puppy Love, One Month Later

Our constant, loving companion . . .


. . . has come down with a bad case of puppy tantrums.

RIP Hermione

A lego or flip flop here and there wouldn't concern me so much, but he's taken to chewing my arm in the evening.  And barking.  Lots of bossy barking and overprotective yard barking.  Very much like an overtired toddler in the evenings.  I've tried using bitter spray on the back of my hand/arm to stop the mouthing, but he's pretty stubborn.  Hmm . . . another way he fits in so well with all of us?

He will be back in doggie school in a couple of weeks.

Thankfully, he's been well-socialized and loves being out and about.  When he's away from his own territory, he's extremely polite and tolerant, so we take lots of walks and trips to the pet store and pretty soon the park (when it's a little cooler, of course).   He loves chasing balls and frisbees, and he's definitely an air-dog.  Thirty solid pounds of muscle and adrenaline.  Phew!  The bonus is that we're all getting our exercise and sunshiny vitamin D.  In fact, I think I might invest in some new workout clothes and shoes.   I'm pretty sure he should count as our P.E. requirement for the year!

We're still dealing with adjustments.  I think a lot of his issues are mine.  I'm stressed and tired in the evenings, and he feeds off of that energy.  I need to work on that.  He's also dealing with the loss of his littermates (those guys who did let him bite their faces and actually enjoyed it) and foster mommy, after being orphaned and bottle fed (he still "nurses" on a fleece blanket when he's tired).  And then there's just the petulant teenager dog stuff.  It's all much easier to cope with once you identify the problems and causes.

Not easy . . . just easier.

4 comments:

  1. definitely meets the P.E. requirements. ;o)

    if it’s any consolation, my LEGO looked like that after being played with by a group of five-year-olds. :^/ and my puppy outgrew most of my chewy issues after the first year. they seemed to disappear overnight, thankfully. :)

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    1. Oh, good to hear! I hate to give him too much rawhide, but he really needs to chew. Poor Hermione . . . we never did find her head . . .

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  2. We have a 2 1/2 year old dog we adopted from the Humane Society 8 months ago. She had a serious nippy issue when she played, got excited or wanted me to do something for her. It became a real issue for my 6 year old son, so I called the trainer at the shelter. She told me to try time outs for the dog. I thought that was pretty silly, but decided we had nothing to lose. She said to keep a leash on the dog all the time, and any time she bit, we were to hook her to the leg of a chair and leave the room. Alternatively, we could move her to the bathroom, or another room where she would be alone. The trainer warned me there was likely to be an "extinction burst" (if you've read a million parenting books, you've probably heard the term) where the dog got worse, but then she would get better. Lo and behold, our dog stopped nipping cold turkey after one time out in the bathroom. We had to repeat the lesson once more a month later, and never again. She can't stand being alone. She's starting the bossy barking now, so we'll probably give time outs a try for that too. I have no idea if this might work for you, but it may be worth a try? Good luck. We spend a LOT of time outdoors trying to tire out the dog too. It's been great for our level of exercise, but we're exhausted. And yet, we love her! So glad you are hanging in there, and giving your pup a chance. So many people don't.

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    1. Thanks, Kim! That sounds exactly like our boy. He also hates being alone, so we usually take ourselves out of the equation for time-out. It's easier for the girls. They go to the nearest room and shut the door. It works, but sometimes it takes a few shut doors in a row. Like I said, he's smart but persistent. We've also started putting him in his crate more often, usually after he's had exercise and gets wound up like a toddler . . . excited, overtired, and can't calm down on his own. That's helping too. I'm also thinking we might need a third walk each day, or a backpack for him to carry a little weight.

      Yeah, I keep reminding myself that so many dogs don't get the chance to work out their problems. Two of his brothers have already been returned to the foster mommy. So sad. Herding & working breeds are a lot of work, but we certainly knew that going in!

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