|Tiller- (Skansen's- Ira in the M|
I DO Exist...To- Drive You Batty
|Barked: Fri Jan 11, '13 12:39pm PST |
|There's a lot you can accomplish, Stella. I am a breed matcher and adoptions counselor, and I am so NOT someone who insists a person must sentence themselves to their dog from here to eternity if the match is not a good one. Not good for them, not good for their dog.
Here, though, there is just a lack of structure, all told. I have Giant Schnauzers, who are....ummmm.....a LOT I love wildlife, I foster wildlife, and from a young age, my Giant Tiller was very much taught that baby squirrels are not play things and they are to be respected. I recall one time where I found a sick baby on his lonesome on one of our walks, and he wasn't doing well at all. I was in rush-rush-rush mode and lost my bearings where when I got back to my house placed the baby on the kitchen counter and raced off to make a call, in the throes of it leaving the squirrel unprotected against a loose Tiller. Realizing my error, I raced back into my kitchen in dread, but there he sat politely by the counter just very tentative with his nose towards the squirrel to sniff, and guarding the baby from all unwelcome. This is NOT, by any stretch of the imagination, a gentle breed. So it just goes to show what good structure and leadership is capable of. He wasn't even two at that time.
One of the primary things I do is puppy coach and then also consult for people with teenager dogs giving them trouble. It is very easy to not see writing on the wall and end up with a problem that seems very overwhelming, in parts because people weren't prepared for the sheer energy and brat factor of older puppies, and in part because, whether intended or not, there was a lack of structure and too much fact finding on the part of the youngster as to what they can and can not get away with.
This is just normal stuff, though, in terms of what you are going through. Not normal as in "so just accept it!," lol but normal as in "nothing exceptional or disconcerting." Stuff that can be worked on.
One of the interim things I can offer you is a long line, something of which I am a HUGE believer when it comes to older puppies. I use longlines on everything from puppies to aggressive dogs. And in terms of your cat situation, when she is being naughty, a very simple action of reaching down and picking up the long line Stella is dragging with some cue such as "quit!" and leading her away.
You hear all this internet stuff that training is as simple as rewarding behaviors you like and ignoring behaviors you don't. Great in theory, but in practice with some dogs not so much. I love long lines because it interrupts behavior without confrontation and there's not a heck of a lot a dog can do about it. Far more effective than a "bad dog! stop it! I said stop it!" yet far less confrontational, and even in a zone where she can't be redirected with enticement, it still gets it done. If you like, that can be what gives her a time out. Or, if you like that can be to the kitchen or wherever to work on happy obedience, such as sits, etc., with reinforcement. It depends on your sensibility. If you want something to lead to a positive association, "quit" = I am about to offer your treats for some nice performance, or if you are into consequence "quit" can mean stop what you are doing or you are going for a time out. Whatever you like.
Secondly, consider the cats, too. There are shelves you build high up and/or cat furniture to allow the kitties to claim their space safe from Stella. And cats LOVE height, love to have their own territory. This would do your cats a world of good and allow them to control the situation and get away from Stella if they so choose.
So there is a double strategy that can pay fairly quick dividends as well. There is much you can do. You give me a problem, I will give you an answer, and then run it through your own interpretation to some approach that suits.
For the long term, you will get through this when you approach the problem for the complexity that it is. This includes....
a) Understanding your dog and your role/influence a little better. The Dunbar book is excellent.
b) Through this, understanding that you do have something to do with this. You are, in some way, contributing to these behaviors of lacks thereof , so part of this is Stella, and part of this is the family dynamic. Both need addressing.
c) Understanding she is young and needs stimulation. This includes walks, positive play sessions (I can coach on this more too, as it will help build her impulse control) and the doggie daycare.
d) Enrolling in another training class. That they are conducted when the store is open is FINE. More distractions, and let's face it....Stella paying attention to you when there are more exciting things to do is part of your challenge, so such classes do put you a bit more in that fire and allow you to hone your communication better.
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