Archives for October 2007

Doggie DI Boot Camp–Clueless

Above: Dogs explore a TV and absolutely everything–first time in a house.

Well, the girls have been allowed to stay at the camp and I am glad to be on the home stretch. They should go home on Monday if all goes well. The past couple of days have been interesting because of the integration into a home environment.

Above: The girls decide to settle but are hyper-responsive to any noise or movement.

The girls are hyper because they don’t know what to do. If you take the hyper behavior, pair it with no attention span, and little sense about how to operate in the world–that is their model.

These two are really super cute and sweet, which is probably why their behavior has been tolerated for so long. I believe the problem is ultimately genetics and poor socilization. I discussed this with a shrink pal, the A.D.H.D label seems to fit.

Above: Not a good sign. Of two bones, this was the only thing left–sharp points are not good.
They remain highly destructive. Even the big bones I brought over were gone in a day. So, their needs are new chew items daily. Not cheap in the long run but at least if they can be redirected, they will not chew on the household items or belongings–which would be more expensive.

That, of course, is in a perfect world because when they are in a new environment they forget the rules, ignore their toys, and try to get into something new and more interesting…like pillows on a bed or large stuffed animals.

Above: Dogs ignore horseback riders when asked.

They are doing well on the trail and ignore the horseback riders when asked and so are pretty good around the horses. Now all the ranches we hike past attract the attention of the horses and other animals housed there.

We are no longer strangers, we are a curiousity and interesting. I wonder if the horses wonder if I am lunging the dogs on the long-line….

Above: One of the curious horses on our trail hikes.

Above: Girls go to investigate the horses on one of the trails.

The great thing that happened yesterday was that when a ranch dog came out to threaten us, the girls came back to me right away when asked. The ranch dog was also compliant with my command of “git home.”

This was a dog we had never seen before in our three weeks of ambling by his ranch. Don’t know what possessed him to come out this time but it was unexpected. Dog “B” is a concern because she will aggress at some dogs.

I saw this behavior while she was in a crate at the pet store. She was not compliant with the rules for coming out (sitting and waiting for the release word) so I was working with dog “A” when another one of my dog students came over to say hello.

It was funny because anything I asked dog “A” to do, my dog student did. My dog used to do that when he assisted me in training other animals. Too funny. So, of course, she got rewarded too.

But dog “B” pitched a fit of aggression in the crate. I had the remote on dog “A” so am going to have to switch it out to address the situation. “B” gets mad when the citronella collar goes off on her but it stops the overt behavior.

I suspect dog “B” is also the mega chewer. She is more reliable in most behavior because she is a Omega animal. I believe her refusal to perform behaviors when asked is more to do with a lack of ability to focus when facing new stimuli. The aggro is weird and I would have expected it from dog “A” instead.

Above: Eager to come out for school!
I am pretty sure when I have behavior problems with these two it is because of a heightened state of excitement or too much stimulus. Changing any dynamic flusters them and attempts have to be restarted. Sometimes there is no changing the pattern and I have to withdraw for a time out or end the session and hope for the best in the next one.

To still have this problem after three weeks is unusual.

Above: Getting the scoop at the pet store.

Yesterday we had a tour of a pet store. The girls came out one by one and got to behave around new people. They also were able to wander around and explore with me. They were very good at not grabbing any biscuits from the open bin and left all the chew bones and assorted treats alone.

Very good!

Above: How fast can you run to “come?”

They crack me up when I call them to come–they run as fast as they can in most instances. Sometimes when they are at the end of the day, they are pretty tired and so slow down.

Above: Girls are really good when asked to “come.”

They are like barn sour animals on the way home. They get so focused on heading back up the trail they forget the distance rule and sometimes it takes forever to get back onto the trail. I change direction and they have to follow.

Yesterday, it too about 45 minutes just to walk less than a 1/4 of a mile back to the ranch. Back and forth, back and forth. Sometimes you really have to be diligent to get the good behavior–and one of the reasons I am only doing boot camp at the moment!

Above: The ONLY time I’ve seen these dogs rest!

I have more to say but am out of time. The videographer will be out again today. Hopefully I’ll have some footage to share with you once this whole adventure is over!

Doggie DI Boot Camp–Booted out of boot camp!

Wow, the deliquent duo just about got kicked out of the camp! Was I ever surprise yesterday morning!

I arrived at the boot camp only to find the gate locked. The combo lock was off and a regular key lock was on. The camp owner came over to let me in and blew steam over the dog owner lack of communication telling me all kinds of things–bottom line she is frustrated over the lack of communication. She has a separate contract with them and was pretty upset with the situation.

Since the girls were out of dog food, I had stopped at the local pet store to grab some more and they lept around while I loaded up their bin, grabbed the padlock from off the fence, locked the perimeter gate and headed out.

As I pondered the situation I remembered one of the reasons I don’t take dogs and keep them on my property any more. Although I didn’t think the current situation was the case, there was a time that a boot camp dog was dog abandoned.

Those owners paid for training and then didn’t want the dog! Luckily she was from a rescue group whose policy is to take the dog back. They found another good home for the now trained pup and it was comforting to know that their animals would never be abandoned.

The girls and I had a good hike and upon my return the camp owner came out to see me. She was more steamed.

The lock I found on the fence was the wrong lock.

On the hike, the duo did great with leaving the horses alone both on the trail and in their stables. They still forget that they cannot go more than 49 feet away from me but they are waiting on their own frequently.

Anyway, I learned that while on my hike the camp owner called the emergency contact for the dogs and asked that they pick them up. I had already placed a couple of calls in to the owners and called the emergency contact today and had a chat.

The good news is by evening the owners had called the camp owner. They had been in an area without cell coverage. Which sounds good but I have an 800 number so there is no excuse not to check in. I still have not heard back from them–even though they were reported to be arriving back here yesterday.

Anyway, I’ve just stuck with my plan and after a good long hike, I brought the dogs home with me. They were super excited and stupid. *sigh*

Eventually they calmed down and slept…but every time I moved they lept up! There are these masks used for dogs that are overstimulated but I think the two would chew them up. I don’t want to use psychopharmocology but it may be needed for one of the critters.

You might not know that dogs kept outside away from the family exhibit 60% more behavior problems. These gals don’t know how to behave so I am hoping some of the integration will help with their arrival home. I have an outdoor kennel run onsite but brought them downstairs and turned on the television and went into the fridge, got a drink, etc.

It took them about an hour to settle but then they took naps. Dog “A” was funny because she noticed the television and didn’t know what to think. They both wanted to play so I had to remove the toys and just leave out the chew hooves. They really don’t know what to do with themselves!

They keep doing investigation rounds throughout the house. Things that are off limits are left at nose level and they have to be reminded about “leave it” and “knock it off.”

They try hard…but will it be enough?