Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Honeymoon is Over or N I L I F

Sunny at 11 weeks

Water bowl fun

Oh, I thought that shade cloth was meant for tugging
Yes, the honeymoon is over!  You know, those first few weeks where your new puppy follows you around everywhere adoring you, coming when called, giving you  kisses drenched in puppy breath and  making that oh so important first impression on you :-)  Sunny has now decided that other dogs are  more fun than I am and following me everywhere is boring  There is a whole new world out there and she wants to conquer it!

So now Sunny is on a long line most of the time, when she is not in an xpen or crate.  I have a 10 foot line for when we are in the house - I tie her to my belt loop, and a 30 foot line when we are out in the field - she can drag that one.  I'll start with why I am using the house line.  We are having some issues with the potty training.  I am still having a hard time reading her and she still thinks going in the house is a fine place to go.  She will potty outside when I take her, but she will also slip off and go in the house without warning - so the line will keep me connected to her - literally!  Instead of running to the door she runs to a corner, or her favorite place - Sam's closet.  I think I will put bells on the door.  I did that with one of my dogs (he didn't know how to tell me he needed to go outside)  and it worked good for him. The other house issues include jumping on tables and eating lampshades, chewing phone cords, eating the couch, and terrorizing Flint - just to name a few!  I could keep her crated, but having her with me on the line is getting in a lot of good training time with her.

Long line out in the field is to keep her from leaving me to go visit the dogs at the fence.  Sunny just started this a couple days ago.  She was staying with me really good on our exploration walks and when I was playing games with her, but she started leaving me for the other dogs.  No - I won't let that happen, so long line it is.  Sunny will get time to visit the other dogs, when I say she can.  She is still tugging and playing with me really good, although she is not bringing the toy back as good as she was.  The long line helps with that too.

Oh, another little red stinker thing she is doing now.........I  come in the dog room after being out in the field working with her and she will run over to Amie's crate and jump -  slam against it and bark at Amie.  (Amie is low girl on the pecking order)  I don't want Sunny doing that!  She is just full of herself and I love that about her, but I don't want her starting bad habits.  So I am dealing with it in two ways.  One is to march over to Amie's crate and grab Sunny by the scruff and tell her NO!  First time I did that Sunny thought she was the boss,  so I had to set her straight about that one LOL!  Little Dickens :-)  I held her down until she relaxed about the situation and when I let her up she did not charge Amie's crate again.  I will also be having her on a long line now so I will work on calling her back to me so she doesn't get to have fun slamming Amie's crate.  But if she does she will get in trouble with me.  I am very positive with my dogs - but I am not permissive!  Sunny is testing everything in her environment right now.  One of the many things I love about her though, after I set her straight, she is just wonderful and has a great attitude.

N I L I F - Nothing in Life is Free.  Sunny is ready for this.  No more food in a bowl for a while.  I take her daily ration of kibble and put it in a zip lock bag and add a little bit of  cut up chicken, meat or Natural Balance.  I keep some of her food on me at all times, either in  my pocket on in a carpenter's apron around my waist.  Sunny is going to learn that she has to earn everything from me.  Sunny is not a chow hound and the first three weeks have been a big adjustment for her.  I wanted to make sure she got settled into her new routine before I started this.  Because if she decides that she won't "work"  for kibble she will be missing some food for a bit.  I know she is healthy and she is growing so I won't worry.  She will take the dry kibble when she gets hungry enough and this will help to build that other important reinforcer - food.

I have started doing some other fun training projects with Sunny and I will share those in my next post.