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Feel like I'm screwing up this puppy

Discussion in 'Dog Chat' started by McKenzie, Jul 16, 2017.


  1. McKenzie

    McKenzie PetForums VIP

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    Elliot is nearly 13 months old. He's always been happy go lucky and confident, and generally a joy. He's definitely in a teenage stage and has lost all his recall and can have cloth ears, but I have been managing until now.

    A few weeks back when it became clear that he needed to stay on lead I pulled out my long line but, being a bit uncoordinated, I managed to step on it during our first walk using it which hurt him ( he yelped) and then was incredibly wary of it. Then I changed to a Flexi which is usually fine but he hates the clunking sound when it's locked and also doesn't like the handle close to him, like when I'm clipping it on and off. I've been trying to practice recall on the long line / Flexi and when he doesn't respond have been trying to reel him in, but because he doesn't like the lead he finds this adversive and as a result I think I've tainted his recall cue.

    I don't know if this is another fear stage or what but he's been cowering over these leads and a few other things including big dogs and traffic which is horrible to see and I feel like I'm not doing a very good job with him.

    He's a really active dog and he's really missing the opportunity to run freely now he's on lead which is why I've been trying to use the long line and Flexi. I have no secure areas where I can take him, although there is one field where I can usually trust him off lead so long as it's deserted. He's also not very food motivated in general (he's had tummy problems for most of his life so food is not necessarily a good thing for him) but he's not toy motivated at all, and praise isn't cutting it right now. If I were a better trainer I'd be able to get him motivated but I just feel like I can't see how to get through this.

    I know he WILL get through it, but at what cost?
     
  2. ad2knit

    ad2knit PetForums Junior

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    Hi mckenzie you got another puppy?! (in case you don't remember me, it's ad_1980 - I have a toy poodle called Mika?)
     
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  3. Sairy

    Sairy PetForums VIP

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    Aww bless you, it all sounds very stressful for you both. Perhaps it's worth just having a break from the training for a few days to gather yourself and let Eliott de-stress a little.

    Do you clip the long line onto a harness? Is it worth perhaps trying it with a different harness? If it were my dog I would just very gradually introduce the long line again, leaving it lying on the floor in the garden and just letting him approach it in his own time (perhaps put something nice by it to reinforce that it is a good thing). Maybe even a long line that looks different might not be so scary for him as he might not associate it with what happened.
     
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  4. Sairy

    Sairy PetForums VIP

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    Just to add, you are not screwing him up, you are just facing a few set-backs. We all have them with our dogs, often due to accidents or circumstances beyond our control. Don't blame yourself for things, just look at possible ways to go from here. Have you got the help of a trainer or behaviourist at all?
     
  5. Twiggy

    Twiggy PetForums VIP

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    Aww of course you will get though this. A new puppy and a new set of problems.

    I wouldn't say things have gone exactly to plan with my puppy either. She's coming up for a year old next month. The pretty severe travel sickness has been a big setback and she isn't as socialised as I would like and therefore quite nervous.

    Never mind. We will probably look back in six months time and wonder why we worried so much.
     
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  6. AmyRedd

    AmyRedd PetForums Senior

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    I can't offer much advice but just wanted to sympathise. Ted is almost a year now and can be quite similar especially with the not motivated by anything part (must be a terrier thing). The newest thing is that when I come home he gets super excited but then cowers at my feet when he gets to me? Only does this with me no one else. The only thing I do differently is wait till he's sat down till I say hello and that has somehow morphed into cowering at my feet till I say hello. Makes me feel like I must have damaged him somehow but I think dogs just have a way of developing these quirks especially when they're young.

    I'm sure you're doing a great job with Elliot just keep going. As long as you're patient and understanding with him (which it sounds like you always are) he'll be a fab little dog.
     
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  7. labradrk

    labradrk PetForums VIP

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    Juno was the same to be honest, absolutely perfect puppy until she got to about 11 months, lovely social skills with other dogs, could have her off the lead anywhere, when it all went out the window! recall went to pieces, she became a knob around other dogs, and she was showing more interest in small furries, oh and there was some lead reactivity [around dogs] creeping in! it IS a kick in the teeth when you put so much effort into them, but if you put it into perspective, it's not the end of the world and it's something I've been through with nearly all my dogs....usually dogs that are dicks, go on to be the most rewarding long term.

    In terms of management, yeah unfortunately it's a case of damage limitation which it sound like you've done. It is hard when they are used to freedom all the time to having to be on a lead a lot of the time but it is what it. Truthfully I think it's more of an irritation for us than the dog. I do find myself as I'm clipping between various leads with the dog I've poured so much into looking at people that have probably put little or no effort into their dogs just trotting along ignoring everything, and wondering at which point I screwed up. But then I remind myself that this is just a phase, my other dick dogs have turned out ok in the end, and to focus on progress made and all the GOOD things! this too shall pass!
     
  8. Jamesgoeswalkies

    Jamesgoeswalkies PetForums VIP

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    You've got to just love adolescence ..... both the human and the canine kind. Unfortunately you have to go through it to get to adulthood. :rolleyes:

    When something isn't working my advice is to stop trying for a while and rather than reface the same situation every day, do everything differently. Perhaps you could work on motivation and finding something he loves .....how about a flirt pole to give him something to focus on/chase? Great for exercise and for fun. I actually stuffed an old sock with a toy and some 'food' onto a piece of rope for one of our terriers to hunt and chase. Charge it up at home until he understands the game. Then take it out. I would be looking for something to ensure that he forgets that he is on a long line completely and see's being with you as ace. :D

    A dog doesn't fall apart if we can't give them freedom to run around .....there are plenty of other things our dogs can do .....so saying he is 'really missing the opportunity to run around' is actually putting your thoughts into his head (which is stressing you out more).

    And I agree with others ....it's a phase ......I remember my adolescent Cavvie ignoring my recall and disappearing through the hedges to chase the birds all too well!

    J
     
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  9. McKenzie

    McKenzie PetForums VIP

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    Thanks everyone. It's good to remember I'm not the only one. I know kenzie was a pain at the same age. He's still so good in so many other ways. It's just so sad seeing him suddenly unsure of things.

    I've actually decided to stop taking him to one park as he just seems to get so overstimulated there, even on lead. He really likes obedience training and I'm really slack doing it at home so should do more of that and focus less on the 'exercise' side.

    I'm desperately hoping that this teenage stage doesn't last too long....
     
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  10. MiffyMoo

    MiffyMoo PetForums VIP

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    I certainly can't add to any of the advice above, except to say, give yourself a break. You've done an amazing job, and most teenagers are little sh*ts. Exactly the same as human teenagers, they think they know so much more than us.

    Good luck!
     
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  11. Kimmikins

    Kimmikins PetForums VIP

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    Sometimes you just need a break from the whole thing! Also, there are worse things than not going completely off lead, as my two will attest ;)

    Breathe, and trust that he will make it to adulthood relatively unscathed, and you'll look back and wonder why you worried :)
     
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  12. labradrk

    labradrk PetForums VIP

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    Haha well Juno is 22 months now and still a dick! but less of a dick than she was then, and has made lot's of progress since then and is improving all the time. To be honest with my other dogs they've been 3+ years before I've felt they were more rewarding than a pain in the arse!

    Fear periods are a normal part of a dogs development so I wouldn't worry about that, they will pass. If it's particular things he's showing fear of then just give him lot's of space and allow him to progress at his own pace.
     
  13. Sarah H

    Sarah H Grand Empress of the Universe

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    Awww I think we all have those moments where we think we've totally buggered up our dogs! Try not to take it to heart, as you say it's likely a mixture of teenage naughtiness and possibly another fear stage.

    I agree about scrapping the walks, at least for a couple of days. Do some fun training inside instead. Is there a toy he finds particularly fun that you can use instead of treats? You can always do some really short sniffy walks that incorporate games and training, rather than 'normal' walks. I think you need to give both of you a break and keep everything low key and without any real goals, just enjoy having a play and bonding time :)
     
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  14. Muttly

    Muttly Fluffy Mutts Rule!

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    What about Whistle training his recall?
    You haven't screwed him up at all. Don't forget, he is in his awkward stage too...

    I agree with giving it a break for a few days and just having fun with him. I often see new ways to motivate Muttly when we are just relaxing and playing.
     
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