8.28.2019

pupdate: did i say progress? i spoke too soon

Remember this? Recall from canned salmon and dehydrated liver treats?


Worked once. Didn't work a second time.

On our next visit to Storey's Beach, both dogs were completely absorbed in harassing the little fish. Cookie had zero recall. And Kai regressed and had none either, no doubt learning from her little sister that crime does indeed pay.

Even worse, Cookie seems to have developed some form of separation anxiety. She busted out of her crate (a cheapy we bought second hand), destroying it in the process and went a ways towards destroying the nice new one we recently bought.

I recently emailed a dog-trainer friend.
Both dogs are crated when we're not home, and overnight. Both have always been completely fine with being crated. Cookie will wait until she knows she's getting a treat, but if we're holding treats, she'll jump right in, and once she's in, she settles right down. We go out to dinner or whatever, an hour here or there, and both dogs are calm and fine. No crying or yelping as we leave, happy and excited when we get home, but not insane, not stressed at all.
But two or three times, Cookie has gotten destructive -- ripped up her bed, tore at the bottom of the crate, bent the door -- and also peed in the crate. Recently we left the house in the morning, both dogs were calm. Our dogsitter came over about 1.5 hours later and all this destruction had taken place. Later in the day, dogsitter leaves, we come home 45 mins later, and it's way worse. 
Poor girl. She's freaking out about something but we don't know what. It's very puzzling. But she must be crated when we're not home. So we're working on more positive reinforcement for crating, plus trying to catch what's happening on video.

On the plus side, she has not peed in the house in weeks, and now clearly tells us when she needs to go out. Hooray for that.

Kai, who was 100% housetrained when we adopted her, recently pooped in the house, hiding it in an empty room. Cookie taught her well.

14 comments:

Stephanie said...

Awe this is rough. Lucas has major separation anxiety, when we were away three weeks in June he was very happy to have us back but he had a really hard time in the crate at the end of the day. His crying was awful, he sounded like he was moaning and wailing. Each of us took a turn sleeping on the couch downstairs until he was better. Awful separation anxiety!

laura k said...

Poor Lucas!

We've had dogs with bad separation anxiety -- our first dog, especially. Cookie has never seemed like this. No crying, wailing, none of the classic symptoms when we leave the house. That's why my trainer friend suggested trying to get a video -- to (possibly) see what's triggering this.

Amy said...

Poor pup---so hard to know what is going on in her head or why Kai is following her in some undesirable behavior. I hope you can figure out what is going on.

Stephanie said...

I would love to know what you find out. Lucas seems okjay with short trips but his night time behaviour suggests that there is a too long for him.

laura k said...

I have noticed over the years that our dogs are fine with a dogsitter for two weeks. Longer than that, the very sensitive dogs have given up on us. Very very sad, although they bounce back quickly.

laura k said...

I think Kai's behaviour is pretty classic. Cookie is the leader and they learn from each other. Good and bad!

johngoldfine said...


I know you're not asking for advice and maybe mine is impertinent, and, if so, I apologize. Anyway, I'm not talking about you or your dogs, but, rather, our own experience.

Jan Fennell is controversial (I see on Wikipedia just now), but we found the very simple things she advocates very helpful, humane, canine (i.e., what she suggests makes sense to the dog) and automatic for all of us now.

* control doors at all times
* control emotion at greeting and parting (basically ignore the dog until the dog settles down and you decide to acknowledge the dog)
* control the food, eat first, teach the dog to wait until a signal before the dog can eat (we teach the signal with clicker training, not hard)
* control the walk, either on the leash or off; you release the dog, you recall (and that must sound like the counsel of perfection to you at this point, since that's exactly your problem; again, we use clicker training to sharpen that recall and sharpen it some more; we also work on the 'whoa' command a lot--stop what you're doing, dog, and listen up!)

laura k said...

John, advice from experienced and knowledgeable dog people is always welcome.

Most of this we know, some of it we do. I've never been able to do clicker training. I just couldn't get it myself. But other than that, we know this as "nothing in life is free".

We've never done well with the emotion-less greeting at the door. I do have to change my behaviour when I come home, though. Cookie is out of control when I come home, and it's not good for either of us.

The only thing I don't understand here is control off-leash. We have all kinds of words and gestures and whatnot, but we let them off the leashes and they run and run and run. Eventually they run back. That's always how it's been, with all our dogs.

Gypsy, our first dog (also known as Gypsy the Wonder Dog) -- who was very much like Cookie, but way bigger and stronger -- would speed away into the horizon at Prospect Park. We wouldn't see her for ages. She would make (we think) a huge circle in the park, then we'd see her coming back over the hill, still going at top speed, back to us. The only way we've curbed this behaviour with any of our dogs is through fenced-in parks.

The training you're describing re recall, seems too advanced, too far along in the process. How would we begin that and still bring them to the beach?

laura k said...

Also, there are no dog trainers or behaviourists who are not so-called controversial, meaning some faction of dog people disagree with their methods. Jan Fennell has always sounded healthy for dogs and humans, and humane to me.

laura k said...

And now she has gotten out of the fully fenced backyard -- repeatedly. She runs all over the neigbhbourhood -- then, amazingly, comes back when we call her. Not immediately but soon after.

Allan worked on the fence, screwed in some loose boards. (This fence is covered by a big green hedge, so we didn't know that sections were loose.)

Cookie removed the plank, threw it out of the way, and squeezed through a tiny space.

She's escaped from the yard four times today.

*sigh*

johngoldfine said...

We have the huge advantage of many acres for our dogs to run in off-leash, places where there is no trouble (save porcupines) for them to get into. They get three 20 minute runs and one 40 minute run on most days--and by "run" I mean, while I slowly saunter, they race and chase and arrive home completely knackered. For an hour or so....

So on our trips to the beach, it's way more fun for them than another walk in the fields and the woods, but it's not different in kind. In a way, we have more control because I can see them all the time on a mile-long beach, and if they're too far off or heading into the woods, I can call them back.

We start recall first thing with 10 or 12 week old puppies and never stop, always adding distance and repetition. We do it dozens of times a day--but as I say, we have the advantage of literally miles of fields and woods where they are off-leash and when they come to us find only a treat, not a leash.

It also happens that a dog misbehaves somehow--it's rare--and then I insist the dog walk behind me until we've both cooled our afterburners. That works off the same hand signal I use at the door to let them out or hold them back.

laura k said...

We understand the treat not leash. We always have treats for recall, and lots of practice, and never ever reprimand when they come (or when we get them back).

The issue is when what they're absorbed in so much better than any treat.

Well... thanks for sharing. Sadly your success seems untransferable!

johngoldfine said...

"The issue is when what they're absorbed in so much better than any treat."

That's inarguable. You have the little fishies, we have the incredibly fascinating UPS drivers, who make our 'well-trained' dogs glance over their shoulders at us in contempt as they race off to bond with their new chums.

laura k said...

I'm glad to hear your pups sometimes misbehave!