Friday, May 14, 2010

Dog Behaviour Specialist

April 27-Happy & Denny taking a nap-2
Denny in the middle of a yawn.

Today we had Nathan Penny at our house, with a student of his.

After I had concerns about Denny's behavior from the very beginning, I booked an appointment with him, but I had to wait a few weeks, and a few weeks can be a very long time in the life of a puppy. In the meantime we did not just twiddle our thumbs, but looked for advice left and right, and picked and chose what we thought best. As it turned out WE did everything right so far, and I'm releaved.
Yesterday, it suddenly dawned on me, that Denny has gotten so much better. No longer is he crying after me like an insane pup, when I leave the room, and he has to stay behind. Maybe a little from time to time, but he quiets down quickly now. Same goes for when I'm coming back.

May 12 - Denny really likes this basket

Of course, Denny showed himself from his best side, had the student Lady wrapped around his little paw in now time. I think at first, they didn't believe us, when we told them how he could be. No matter what we did, he would not make a peep, was quiet left alone in the kitchen, didn't growl when picked up, he just didn't show his evil twin.
Meanwhile Happy was a little prince, and since they ignored him, he was quite comfortable and didn't seem too shy, and not at all as pushy as Denny, who was lying on his back on the sofa next to the student Lady, getting his belly rubbed, and grunting with pure pleasure.

So, after talking a lot, and writing (on their part), we went outside to see if we could get out the evil side of him. He chased Happy as usual, but a lot less aggressive, and not as much pinching, and yapping, it looked just funny (I'm sure not for Happy though).

I picked him up, and nothing. I had to stuff something in his mouth, and then pretend to want to get it out of his mouth, to finally get a low growl out of him. Finally! Not that I'm happy that he does it, but we had proof!

Definitely has some issues, was what N.P. said. I was almost relieved to hear that growl. So, his diagnosis is: arousal related behavior, possessive aggression.

While this is Denny's personality, we can do something about it, and I'm glad we noticed and started right away, not waiting for something to happen first.

Next big course of action is to get him socialist with other dogs. He's too young for the dog park, and I really don't want to go there anymore. It's too small, too dirty, and overrun.
All the dog owners in our neighborhood don't want to stop and say Hello, just want to get their walk over as quickly as possible. Going to petsmart does not always produce dogs there either, out of the four times we went, only once was there another dog.

Maybe we should hang a sign around our neck that says, "Please play with my dog!" or something like that.

The funny thing though was, the treatment N.P. suggested, we already started doing that, and it obviously works. But it's a lot of extra work. And it's a really simple thing: he does something he's not supposed to do, and you want him to do something else, tell him to do something else, not just what he shouldn't be doing.
BTW- I always thought Bitter Apple does not work, turns out it only works when wet. So if you spray something with it, and the dog comes by much later, he wont taste it and still chews your stuff. Hm, that I didn't know.

Meanwhile, Happy is being an annoying teenager. He's almost one year now, and all the things he did fine, and listened well, he seems to have forgotten, or just plain wont do it. On the other hand, every annoying thing Denny does, he copies very quickly.

Another goal for us is to hopefully, find a VERY good trainer, we want to work with. It's different when somebody helps you with certain things. I need somebody there, preferably a group ,to be able to socialize the pups at the same time. There are trainers who would come to your house, but that's not what I want or need. Keep your fingers crossed for us, that N.P. will point us in the right direction with somebody he knows. We will still go to petsmart's puppy class Denny is signed up for.
And here's my little Dopey: Happy being happy about sunshine and playtime.
May 12 - Happy

It's still mostly a knitting blog, if you have your doubts. I'm working on a Mohair Glitter scarf, with some yarn I was given. It's slow going. I'm making it up as I go. Coincidentally I got a new book, "Crazy Lace" by Myra Wood, it's not as crazy as it sounds. It's just encouraging you to have fun knitting, with or without patterns. There are no patterns in this book, but many beautiful photos of wonderful knitted lace.
Mohair Glitter Scarf

Sorry about this dark photo. I took it last night, while reading the book, and stitching away with cobweb yarn on large needles, nothing I'm used to for sure.

Ooops, sorry, should have been Handspun Friday today, but this has to wait until next week.

Have a wonderful weekend you all! It's sunny and wonderful outside, even though the forecast tells me that it's raining here. He! Way off.
The pups are still sleeping, but who knows for how much longer?

In any case, I'm releaved, and not as worried, and I know we are doing all we can, and we are doing it right.

PS No ear biting in our house! ;o)



TracyKM said...

Isn't that the way it is with all kids...perfect angels when we're trying to show the pro (or our mother in law) what they're really like?! LOL. Of course, with human kids, you have to tell them WHAT TO do, not just what NOT to do, and I have to remind my husband of this all the time...every 'no' needs a 'yes'.
We're still working on house training and puppy has JUST started doing some poops in the house :(

RC said...

good for you getting a professional in to evaluate. (and of course they would not show off). its tough with the youngsters, keep up the good work

Michelle said...

It's so frustrating when they act perfectly in front of others. At least you've been doing things right and have backup from a trainer. Hopefully you find someone great to work with you and can get in with a play group or something social for the boys.

Wanderingcatstudio said...

If Denny was my puppy, I'd be a total sucker and let him do anything I want - it's just to easy to give into that adorable face!

Susan said...

I knew you were already on the right track with Denny. Just look how far you've come already.

Anonymous said...

I'm always happy to hear about your dogs. I'm "dog people" too, oh, and a knitter as well. Thank you for continuing to share your life. I often check in, but rarely comment.

Best Regards,

- Denise (dlotter on ravelry & twitter)

Freyalyn said...

I love the combination knitting/dog blog - can't be much bettered in my opinion. And you and Happy are sensible enough between you to sort Denny out in the best way.

I love the Happy photo in the sunshine.

Taxastrikkeren said...

Dogowners who don`t stop and talk? That is strage. Stanley and I talk whith lots of people and dogs every day. He is a big black Flatcoated Retriever, nearly 10 years old and have a big warm heart for puppys - and small dogs - and what/who ever he meats when we walk.
Sorry for my bad english - hope you understand it.

Gitte from Denmark

Linda said...

I like reading about dogs too as well as the knitting so don't worry about what you blog!

Anonymous said...

I never doubted about you doing right with the dogs!! One just have to think a little "the other way, like the dogs think" and that is not so easy. When they do something right, emediately tell them, that was faboulos! Do not wait 20 seconds telling them! Emediately! They ckeck that! And want to please you and see you happy!

Hanne, CH.

Susi Knitchicks said...

Hört sich an wie bei meiner Lilly, die benimmt sich genau wie Dein Denny. Mir hat man geraten, wenn sie durchdreht, mich wegzudrehen, sie zu ignorieren. Funktioniert gut in der Wohnung - draussen muss ich bei Hunden, die sie nicht mag, wegziehen. Was rät Dein Hundetrainer Dir? Und wieso lassen Deine Nachbarn ihre Hunde nicht mit Deinen spielen? Das fördert doch die Sozialisierung und das Verständnis untereinander.

Liebe Grüsse

Sharon V said...

As hard as it is to sort out Denny's issues, I believe that all your efforts will pay off. Denny has the best mom - you!

Happy is a funny little clown! I can't believe he's almost a year old. Where did the time go?

AmyPinSeattle said...

Awesome that you found someone to assist you!!

Great to know you are doing the right thing too, huh?

I recommend trying posting on Craigslist that you are looking for a dog or two for your dog to meet and greet as part of his training. You'd be surprised how common this.

I would also suggest posting something in your vet's office, training locations, etc.

You are not the only one looking I'm sure!

2paw said...

I am so glad things weren't as bad as they seemed, but they are all ever so well behaved when they go to the vet or Animal Behaviourist!!
Poor Happy!! But I am glad he isn't sad, and that he and Denny get on well (biting fur aside!!)