Always my angel.
|Barked: Mon May 21, '12 1:02pm PST |
|Ah, OK. That new information does change things a bit.
She has been house trained, she knows she is to go outside, and when I am home, we go out several times a day. I have started from scratch with her, and she is tons better than she was two years ago.
So one thing to keep in mind here is that dogs learn very specifically. They do not generalize well. So what that means is that when they learn something new, they tend to assume that what they've learned applies only to the specific circumstances under which they learned it. My parents' dog Keiko, for example, knows that she is not allowed to chase the two horses that they board over the summer. If the horses' owners decide to trade out one brown horse for another brown horse, however, she will chase the new brown horse. This is because she has not learned not to chase all brown horses (much less all horses) - she has simply learned not to chase those two specific horses. If they wanted her to leave all horses alone, they'd need to expose her to a lot more horses in a lot more situations and ask her to "leave it" with all of them. Same thing with going past the baby gate in the kitchen - they had to teach her not to jump over the gate, not to push under the gate, not to pull the gate away from the wall and go around the gate, etc. as if they were all separate things before she finally figured it out. Different dogs are a little different about this (some generalize better than others), but it's a good general rule to keep in mind.
So what this means, basically, is that I absolutely believe that Daisy knows not to potty in the house - when she's with you. I do not think she knows she's supposed to go outside when you're not there. If she did know it, then she wouldn't do it unless she had to. You need to treat housetraining while left alone as a completely different (though similar) skillset from housetraining while you are home. That is where you need to start over with her. And confinement is the absolute best way to ensure success in that area.
If you do want her to use a potty pad or doggy litter box in the house (and there are ways to do this that don't interfere with her going outside, especially if you're OK with her using it inside long term), then you still need to confine her to a small area where the designated potty area is the most logical place for her to go. Right now you're giving her too many options and she doesn't know what she's supposed to do. So if you don't like the crate, then you still need to find a way to confine her to a small area (not even a whole room unless it's maybe a small bathroom - just like a small section of a room - no larger than 5' x 5' would be good). If you keep giving her the run of the house when you're gone, you're going to keep having this problem. There's just no way around that.
When I'm home, Daisy is on my lap (makes it hard to play Mario Kart, or knit, but we work around it) and she is generally very relaxed and asleep.
OK, now to some advice you probably won't like, but that won't be as bad as you might think. You need to make access to your lap an invitation-only thing. This is for Daisy's good as well as yours and your boyfriend's. She needs to learn a command that invites her onto your lap (like "up" or something similar) and - and this is very important! - a corresponding command that gets her off your lap ("off" is a good one).
There are a couple of reasons for this. First of all, inviting her up lets you control the resource. It also engages her mind, which may help her to relax. This may help curb the resource guarding (growling and snapping) that she's doing around you. Inviting her up also reinforces for her that she will get access to your lap again once it's gone - she does not need to hoard you or warn others away.
Asking her to get off gives you and the BF a safe way to remove her from your space. Many dogs are more likely to growl/snap/react badly in response to touch. Getting her away in a touch-free way makes the process less stressful and more safe for all of you. AND if you consistently reward her for getting off of you, then she can come to see being off your lap as a good thing.
The "off" command is pretty straightforward, so I'm going to explain that first. Basically the way I've taught it is to get a treat Daisy really likes (liver, bacon, whatever). When she's on your lap, hold the treat such that in order to get it, she has to move off of your lap. Once all her paws are off your lap, tell her something like "Yes! Off!" and give her the treat. Practice this until it looks like she knows what to do when the treat comes out. Then start saying "Off" before holding the treat away for her. Once it seems like she's responding to the word "Off" instead of the presence of the treat, you can start practicing saying it before even getting the treat out. Over time (it will probably take several short sessions over several days), she'll figure it out.
Make sure that even after Daisy knows what "Off" means, you always reward her in some way for getting off your lap. Don't make getting off your lap a punishment, or she could backslide back into protecting that space. If you need her off because she's misbehaving, keep the situation as neutral as possible - just set her aside and walk away without a word.
Now as for inviting her onto your lap, you may want to start out being less strict about it at first. Or you may need to be very strict from the beginning. I would say start out being pretty strict about it, and if it seems to stress her out, then ease off a bit until she gets the hang of things. But you'll need to read Daisy to figure that out.
Other than that, the process is fairly similar. When Daisy gets onto your lap, tell her "Up!" (or whatever) and give her a treat. Once she seems like she's got the hang of it, then you can start cuing her before she gets onto your lap. Then comes the hard part - you need her to realize that she's not to get on your lap unless she hears the command. The most stress-free way to do this for her is to just keep an eye on her, and when she starts to head toward your lap, stand up. Try not to wait until she's almost on your lap, as that will frustrate her. You can probably tell when she's thinking about it - that's when you need to make the lap disappear. Once she's settled down and isn't really headed your way anymore, sit down and say "Up!" Then reward her for getting onto your lap. If she manages to get onto your lap uninvited, then just practice "off" with her and give her multiple treats for staying off your lap. Then tell her "up" again and let her back on your lap.
You can use the same steps for the bed, and I think you should right away. Let your BF be the one who lures her off and gives her treats, so that she sees his approach as a good thing (and so that he can have the power to get her off of things without touching her).
Have you tried giving her a stuffed Kong? If not, you should get one right away. Fill it with something you know she finds delicious (Keiko likes a mix of peanut butter, cottage cheese, cooked hamburger, fish oil, and a healthy coating of garlic powder) and give it to her only when she's on the floor by herself. Stuffed Kongs are great for this because not only are they a reward, but they're a great way to keep her occupied by herself for a while. Once she gets the hang of getting all the stuffing out, try freezing it to occupy her for even longer.
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