|Barked: Thu Jan 3, '13 3:57pm PST |
|Thanks for all the replies.
My dog has strong hunting instincts, goes after squirrels, etc. What I mean by "stalking my cat" is that she's picked out the cat that seems to fear her and she will walk slowly behind him like when she's stalking a squirrel outside. My other cat defends the more fearful cat. It's something to watch indeed. I was encouraged by the rescuers and the vet telling me that once the dog takes a good beating from a cat, it won't go back. This has not been the case, however. I'm not sure... perhaps my cats are only just beating the dog with their paws and not using the claws. I've never seen blood. The more timid cat will also sometimes chose to fight the dog, but in general my dog chooses to pick on the more fearful cat.
About the trainer confusion -- I went to a group class that lasted for 6 weeks with a trainer my vet's office recommended. My dog was extremely distracted by the other dogs, so it was difficult. I haven't gone back for the advanced training because of this distraction. I would love to do agility training, but she's simply too distracted for that right now. She wants to play with the other dogs and jump on people and she won't stop pulling on leash in group situations. I did do obedience boarding for one week while on vacation and this trainer from the class managed to get my dog to stop running into me and knocking me down - which was very painful for both of us! However, she didn't help me much with the leash pulling.
I've talked with another trainer who does obedience boarding or in-home sessions with you, but he says that the boarding is more effective. The dog will live with the trainer in his house for two weeks. Since it is expensive, he wants to make sure I can maintain the behaviors he teaches before I spend the money, hence the "too much dog" comment. Honestly, most people think she's too much dog for me. She hasn't escaped due to strength, but I think she could get away from me if she were determined enough. And it's those sudden jerks on the leash that hurt the most! (i.e., when she's going after squirrels or sees another human or dog when walking)
Tiller, I'm unclear why you think boarding and training is not good. This trainer does have a background with working dogs, but has also focused on family pets for quite some time as well. I'm also unclear if you're saying that I have no hope of her calming down while still a puppy. The problem with waiting on the calming down is that I can't let her roam around my house unsupervised right now. The sooner she calms down, the more time she'll have to explore the house. Right now, she can roam freely outside and sometimes inside (limited), or on a leash inside. Otherwise, she's crated when I'm asleep or not at home or when I need to cook etc. I really want to get her out of the crate more, hence the urgency. Regarding trainers not fixing the problem, this trainer claims he can fix it and show me how to maintain. Do you not think that's possible? I'm not sure what pmail means since I'm new here, but I'll look into it. Or did you mean gmail?
Pepper, I think I answered most of your questions above, except how much exercise. She gets one to two walks daily, about 30 to 40 minutes each. She also gets about one playdate a week, but want to find another playmate so she can do more. She runs about the yard like a greyhound.... so fast! She doesn't spend much time alone at all except when I have to run errands. I work from home, but can't have her outside of the crate all day or I'd never get anything done. She won't let me work. She is only occupied by herself when she has a rawhide to chew on. She gets tired of toys quickly, unless they provide her with treat rewards. She's very food motivated! This is where I'm thinking that she needs another dog to play with. She came from a foster home with several dogs she could play with, and she misses them. She wants me to play with her constantly, and that's just not possible. I don't think it's too much to ask to have her occupy herself some of the time, but she chooses to fight with the cats when I'm not playing with her.
Kallsi, I wish I knew her breed. I've heard lots of opinions. The rescue group described her as a lab/schnauzer mix, but the vet disagreed completely and said he thought she looked like a german wirehaired pointer. Several breeders we've seen at classes and the dog park have said she looks like an Irish Wolfhound, though I'd be surprised that there were many Irish Wolfhounds running around the state where she originated in the shelter, Mississippi. Who knows... maybe an accident at a breeding place? I've seen pics of Irish Wolfhounds online and she looks just like them, though obviously she can't be purebred or she'd be much bigger than she is at 10 months. Some people describe her as a miniature Irish Wolfhound.
My husband, who is much bigger than me and better able to control the dog, thinks I need to be more patient. However, I'm thinking this dog is going to be exuberant for at least two more years. The cats and I can't take that much puppy for so long. I had originally intended to get an older dog, but the dog I wanted was taken by someone else. We made a rush decision with this dog, literally the rescue group let us take her home after just meeting us for five minutes, no kidding! They kept telling us she could always return her if it didn't work out. She's a sweet, beautiful dog, but I'm worried that we went too much on looks and perhaps should have gone with a purebred rescue so we could have known more what to expect in terms of size and temperament. I just want this dog to be happy, and I don't want to be stressed. My vet loves this dog and told me "we did good," but I'm not convinced yet! I want to give her a good home, but I also want to keep my sanity and keep my cats safe.
Any thoughts on group classes versus in home sessions versus obedience boarding? I know I have to work with the dog too, but the approaches I've been trying from the class only work when there's a treat involved. I can't seem to get her past that food motivation to just performing the behaviors because I ask her to. She looks at my hands to see if I have a treat. If I have a treat she'll heel perfectly, if not, screw me. This is part of what upsets me so much when she pulls on the leash. She knows exactly how to heel but doesn't want to do it unless she can be rewarded with food, not just praise.
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