Monday, May 24, 2010


May 5

We all had an exciting Sunday. But let me tell you about Friday evening first. It was Denny's first puppy class. David took him. There were only 3 pups including Denny in it. Both 4 month old toy breeds, Denny is 3 month old now. The trainer kept calling him Bruno, of course she didn't get any reaction from either him or my son. There was no Bruno there.

Denny was the star of the class. The other two haven't even learned to sit yet. At first he would not stop barking his little head off. The trainer used a water spray bottle (on all of them) to quiet them down, but Denny likes water, he dives in the wading pool for toys, so it didn't stop him from barking. She got an empty bottle with coins in it, that shut him up after the third time she used it.

Once she got his name right, she used him to show what she meant for the other dogs (and their family), and he was the perfect puppy. After somebody asked about chewing, the trainer mentioned to use bitter apple, some bitter stuff you spray on, so the pups wont lick it. Well, David told her, that doesn't work with our dogs, they like it. She did not believe him, and got a bottle. She put some of it on her hand, and let the other two pups lick it, they licked once, and made a face. Before she let Denny lick her hand, she sprayed it so it was dripping wet. He happily licked it all off. Ha!
On the way home Denny "only" vomited twice. He doesn't seem to get used to car rides.

Since the pups didn't get to interact at all, this was quite useless. But I had a backup plan. As I've been searching for a good trainer, I came across this website: Bark Busters. I've seen a car around with advertisement on it for Bark Busters, as well as our Vet mentioned it last time we asked. As I understand this is a Franchise in many countries, so if you are looking for some GREAT advice on puppy (dog) training, that's the way to go. I'm SOOOOOOOO glad I booked an appointment with them. It was Friday, and they called back real quickly, and on Sunday, even though it was a long weekend, we had our appointment, which lasted a little over 3 hours. Yep, that's long, and we all wanted to nap after that, but only the pups got to do it.
I'm only sad that we didn't find out about them sooner, so that Biko and Sam could have benefited from it too.

This service comes with a lifetime guaranty (you only pay one time only), helping you whenever you need help with your pup. I highly recommend it, it's worth every penny. How can I say this after such a short time? The time she taught us how to do things right, within minutes the pups changed their behavior in front of your eyes. Of course, it's US who have to learn, and remember doing things right, the pups just react to us.

May 18

This was exactly what I was looking for, and have sought for such a long time!

We all went for a walk too, because of the pulling issue, and let me tell you, besides, Denny behaving like a pig to be slaughtered, it was so very pleasant, Happy walked heel the whole time, without pulling EVER. Since Denny is still a puppy, he got a head halter, and he struggled 3/4 of the walk, making noises nobody had heard before. I was very embarrassed, and I was glad that Tara (the trainer) was walking him. The last quarter of the walk he walked beside me, like a little angle, with his tongue handing out, but happy. (It was hot, hot, HOT, I wanted to pant too).

I never liked head halters, but this one was new to me, called ChampTM Walk Master made in the UK. He's only on this until he's about 6 month old, when his real heel training will begin. Boy did he fight it though. He does not like to be controlled!

Anyway, we've got a lot of work to do, but it was so encouraging right away. We did the COME in the back yard also, and heel off leash (only in the back yard) with Happy and as soon as he knew the rules, he was like a lamb. You could see the wheels turning in his head to figure things out.

I'm quite happy with this outcome. I don't think we'll be back for petsmart puppy classes, but we'll be back there for socializing, with the new knowledge we have now, it should be quite a pleasant experience for all of us.

I'm the water spray bottle sniper!

O.K. so the water spray bottle worked in the beginning, but now I don't need it anymore. I guess I'm retired as the water-spray-bottle sniper now.



Freyalyn said...

Off to investigate Barkbusters UK....

Love to see youngsters wrestling like that. Do they do the bodyslams into the floor too, making the whole place shudder?

Carolyn said...

Barkbusters is awesome! We had a hard time with Wilson (our mixed breed shelter rescue.) He was very over zealous (read: wild) when he played. I had small kids in the house and could not risk a mistake on his part. The trainer from Barkbusters had him understanding the game plan in about 15 minutes. He also had me understanding how to set the rules and in about 5 minutes. It was amazing. And they really do come back whenever you need them. Wilson needed (really I needed) a few "refresher sessions" and they had him back in track almost immediately. They are amazing! I love reading your blog and look forward to every puppy update. Good luck!

lexa said...

Sounds like a success to me! That's what my girls need. I checked it out for Nova Scotia, but the only one is 2.5 hours away.

Michelle said...

The only problem I have with water bottles is that if the animal sees you holding it, they figure out that you're doing it and can still misbehave if you're not around. They get too smart! Glad everything went well. You sound much less stressed over everything!

Toby said...

Isn't that the truth about US being the ones who have to learn. I know how valuable a good trainer/instructor is for horses so I can imagine it's exactly the same with dogs.

lookinout said...

That's a great recommendation! Here in town, I had heard a negative, but don't remember what reason. If I get another dog, I'll know to look them up. Gillian

Virginia said...

awww, that's wonderful!

I had one dog that I rescued from a very abusive home (bastards had filed down her teeth after she bit them. We asked why she bit them, and they said that she only bit after they hit her. EXCUSE ME?) that I had to teach how to bark. She'd been beaten every time she barked... poor baby.

It took her about two years to work up the courage to bark again.

Rhonda said...

Glad things are working out with Denny and Happy. I've never had much success with the spray bottle except with the cats of course.

Anonymous said...


Off Course you are the BOSS!!

Just learn to think like a dog ;oD!

Greetings from Switzerland. . . Hanne.

Susan said...

I've never heard of Barkbusters before - sounds like they do a wonderful job! I've never used a water spray for correction because I use one for grooming and I don't want them to associate it negatively. Coins in a pop can make a loud noise that most dogs don't like.

Wait and see, Denny will be the best dog ever with the right training!

Wanderingcatstudio said...

Love the pics! Made me laugh so hard!!!

The water bottle doesn't work with Rocky or Tux either - which is really odd for cats!

Anonymous said...

Adorable wrestling pictures!

My Shepherd, Max, loved Bitter Apple, too. I bought it to keep him from chewing on my door frames and (needless to say) it backfired something awful.

TracyKM said...

I'll have to look up Barkbusters. For us, it's hard remembering what is appropriate puppy behaviour, and what is his temperment, cause apparently our old dog was much more submissive than we thought! I was thinking of using a spray bottle for the barking, but we want him to like water (he is a Golden Retriever, after all, LOL). A noisy shaker would work...but would be just as noisy as the barking, LOL.
Oh, and our puppy licked up the spray that's supposed to encourage them to pee in one particular spot!

TracyKM said...

Oh, and my aunt suggests rubbing oil of cinammon on anything wood that the dogs chew...not sure about on fabric or plastic. But it smells nice anyway

Carol said...

Glad the pupsters are doinng well!

RC said...

oohh will have to see if barkbusters are in my area.... you are doing such a great job with the boys, its so much work