Too Much Dog for Me?

If you are wondering what is the right dog for you, this is the place to be. In this introductory forum we talk about topics such as breed vs. mix, size, age, grooming, breeders, shelters, rescues as well as requirements for exercise, space and care. No question is too silly here. This particular forum is for getting and giving helpful, nice advice. It is definitely not a forum for criticizing someone else's opinion, knowledge or advice. This forum is all about tail wagging and learning.

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Barked: Fri Jan 11, '13 12:49pm PST 
I've found that one day of daycare isn't a big deal for Indy but it can definitely have a cumulative effect. He was an absolute terror when I first got him (9 month old ACD mix - shocking!) and it took some time to figure out exactly what sort of schedule worked best and during the times when what we tried was failing I'll admit that I would hide from him in the closet just to get some space. Going the daycare route was a huge help. I found that 3 days per week was pretty good - Monday/Tuesday back to back left him tired on Wednesday and then ready to go back on Thursday. It can definitely be expensive but it's worth it for your sanity and once she starts to learn some manners and gets better walking on a leash you won't have to keep up going so often.

I will say, too, that as awful as it was sometimes when Indy was younger I am SO glad that I toughed it out. He's 4 now and an absolutely amazing dog. It just takes some time to get there. You'll figure it out.

Waiting for- Treats
Barked: Fri Jan 11, '13 11:13pm PST 
Thanks for all the detailed replies and pet stories. smile

Indiana, I've noticed that Stella has a runny nose today, something she's never had in the six months I've had her. This is after her first day of daycare. I wonder if this is simply because she got cold -- it's an indoor/outdoor thing. I don't want to think it's kennel cough, and wouldn't think she could get it that soon. She had a Bordetella booster the day before I took her to daycare.

I still think that the exercise she gets is worth the risk, but I don't want her to get injured or sick either. Have you had issues with this yourself?

Tiller, long line? I have an adjustable leash, but have never heard the term "long line." Gotta look that up. I have done some furniture rearranging to give the cats more places to jump up. Just to give you a better idea of what I'm dealing with: Tonight Stella was sleeping on the chaise lounge, which seems to be made just for her! She wasn't in a deep sleep, so the minute my cat walked into the room, she jumped in front of it. Mostly, she jumps and chases. No biting. I have one cat that basically says, &*#@ You! The other one gets upset and leaves the room, so I feel guilty.

My big question is whether to get a pet gate to keep Stella out of certain areas, or just get an interior cat door for the room with the litter boxes and cat food and cat toys (yeah, I have a "cat room"). Stella can't be trusted around cat food. I'm leaning toward the interior cat door. All of the gates I've seen look too flimsy for Stella and a big pain to unlatch each time you want to walk through. I think the interior door will also make my more fearful cat feel safer. He hates it when Stella wanders into his room! She's also crushed several of their toy mice. Funny, I it never occurred to me that the dog would steal the cat toys -- how naive of me.

Anyway, I like the idea of a long line. We keep the 6 foot leash on her sometimes, but feel bad if she can't reach her water, etc. Stella loves to be able to roam around. When she first gets out of her crate, she does a full house inspection.
Shiver Me- Timbers- "Charlie"

My Little Dog, a- heartbeat at my- feet.<3
Barked: Sat Jan 12, '13 12:43am PST 
Long lines are basically long leads/ropes(can be anywhere from 15 - 100+ feet long) with a clip at the end for the collar. I got one in bright orange(mine is 40ft) so I can see it no matter what in the instance Charlie disappears or tries to take off while doing outdoor training. They're extremely handy and I fully agree with Tiller's suggestion on its use.

I used to take my dogs to doggy daycare all the time. I worked there, so it was a daily thing. We only had Kennel Cough hit us once and it was because a grooming dog was brought in with it(unknown at the time) and infected the other dogs. Some got it, some didn't. Charlie was hacking, coughing up bile, and quite unhappy for a week or two. But with some round of antibiotics, it eased it up. I even made a 'steam room' out of my bathroom to help clear up his lungs a little and to ease his discomfort. It's not a huge deal and it can typically go away on its own even if it sounds terrible. That said, the pros of taking my dogs to doggy daycare would FAR outweigh the risks of Kennel Cough.

As for the runny nose, maybe others can chime in on their thoughts.

Tiller- (Skansen's- Ira in the M

I DO Exist...To- Drive You Batty
Barked: Sat Jan 12, '13 10:39am PST 
Stella, Charlie got that right. A long line is a long line attached to a dog. It can be something as easily obtainable as one of those 15' web training leads, or you can go to a hardware store and get a rope with a snap to attach. Just anything long-ish that your dog can drag, often best to be a bright (non neutral) color so that it is easy to catch with your eye rather than having to visually search for it.

I have used longlines for many years and it is one of those pieces of equipment in puppy raising where my results, which are very good, would plummet without. I am not sure what it is with the dog brain, but their response to it is exceptional. And by this I mean, I could say "no" or whatever all day long and not have near the results I get with the longline. I am sure dogs have the intelligence to equate me with the longline (although back in the days the training was developed by a man named Koehler, the long line was meant to be so feather light that the dog could not associate the handler with it's use), they seem, in their responses, to more view it as some environmental force rather than a human derived control.

Let me expand. My rescue had, alas, a bad adoption where a perfectly well behaved Dachshund was returned to us with high aggression. He attempted to bite my rescue partner as we collected him, had to be placed in his travel crate by his not so great owner, and was like a psychotic troll once in there....any approach to the crate and he was just loaded for bear aggressive. Not approachable.

I put him on a long line, and in literally days, he was 100% fine. I have had no difficulties with him, and the person he tried to bite regained trust of him to where she trusts him with her toddler daughter. This was done by taking a dog who expected heavy handed punishment, and using the long line to gain control of him in scenes where he felt conflict. So when I needed to get him in or out of his crate, I used the long line (either leading him in or out of it). If I approached him and could see him getting tense, I just picked up the long line. That's all it took. He did things because with the long line he had no choice, but in so doing was doing things where he felt a tension re potential conflict, and could therein experience them and learn that I was not going to do anything to harm him. And has been fine ever since.

My puppies are taught remote obedience through long lines. When I call them, I pick the long line up and guide them to me. And through that process, they never seem to question it or me. Much like the Dachshund example, they do it because they don't have a choice, but in far more of a relaxed and accepting fashion than a voice command. I have worked with MANY a dog who growls when asked to get off a couch or bed, and it's a lot the same. If you use the long line to pull them off, the problem solves itself in a very quick amount of time.

So with the cats, I highly recommend it. If you can reach down, grab the line, issue a command and pull her towards you (not a punitive pull as in a jerk, just a normal pull) and then praise, you will be building her to respond to your command reliably. And, where long lines really seem to have a strength, to interrupt an undesireable behavior....to halt the sequence. It's a very simplistic view, but still a dynamic one....what dogs have a chance to practice they do, and what they don't, they don't. Once behaviors start getting interrupted, they are often quickly dropped. Not quite sure why it works with dogs so dynamically, but it does.

Regarding your cat door, I think a good choice. Maybe even a combination of both. Cats are very territorial, and gain much sense of security and confidence by having areas they own. If your cats feel there are areas they can control and thwart the dog, that does them a world of good. And will, paired with the long line, lessen Stella's sense of control on these issues. By so disarming her ability to practice these behaviors, it can only help. That and that this isn't simply a matter of one dog's behavior, but the quality of life for your cats during this trying time. To give them their own spaces through this time and having more control of Stella, things will get a lot easier for them, which they surely deserve. And you yourself can feel better about helping them, rather than just focusing on Stella, who in the meantime is losing the ability to practice these behaviors, which will greatly hasten results.

Waiting for- Treats
Barked: Sat Jan 12, '13 2:14pm PST 
Ah, long line. This sounds like a great idea. Thanks for suggesting, Tiller. I'm surprised my vet or previous trainer didn't bring it up.

It would also help when I'm trying to get her to stop digging in the grass. And maybe for when it's time for her play session with the neighbor's dog to end, but she doesn't want me to put her leash on. (Otherwise, she'd run after them when they leave.)

And see so many length choices online, 20, 30, 50, etc. I'm leaning toward getting the 50 foot. Much longer than 50 and it seems like would be annoying to keep in some kind of order. Too bad they don't have pink ones...

By the way, Stella's runny nose seems to have gone away.

I dig in mud- puddles!
Barked: Sun Jan 13, '13 12:12am PST 
Stella, google "pink lunge line" and you'll be able to find yourself a pink long line. wink

I have older two cats, and it took several months to integrate Rexy into the household. For quite a while, she was tethered to me or to a large piece of furniture (supervised) when she was around the cats. We progressed to her dragging a leash around the house (so that I could quickly intervene), but it took a number of months before we considered leaving them together without direct supervision (and this is a dog that we adopted at 14 months, who had been raised with cats).

I made sure to reward calm, appropriate behaviour around the cats, but also used a LOT of "time outs" with her....any obnoxious behaviour (lunging, barking, pawing, mouthing, fur nibbling, ignoring feline "go away" signals etc) resulted in her spending several minutes in her crate, away from the fun.

Barked: Sun Jan 13, '13 3:06pm PST 
Hi Stella, I've never had any sort of issue with kennel cough (the daycare we go to requires vaccinations every 6 months). I also got him vaccinated against dog flu since there have been outbreaks at dog parks near us and according to my vet it is highly contagious. I've never noticed a runny nose or anything like that and to be honest he doesn't normally show any sort of pain/discomfort unless it's severe so it might just be that I haven't noticed anything. We have had a bite which had me pretty angry after it happened. I use a place near my home that used to drop him off and I was home when they did and he had blood on his leg...I took him to the vet and it turns out he had a pretty serious bite (two, they said, after his leg was shaved). We got antibiotics and he took it easy until it was healed and I thought about sending him somewhere else but ultimately it didn't seem like he was bothered by any of it and I didn't want to take him away from his friends there (he will cry if I try and stay home from work on a Tuesday/Thursday) so we kept going and haven't had any issues since. My step-dad's dog has also bit him and it went unnoticed at my mom's house for a while (I was out of town) so I kind of figure that bad things can happen anywhere and you just have to keep an eye out and do the best you can.

I wouldn't worry too much about the runny nose. Just watch Stella and see how if she starts to act like she doesn't feel well and if that happens take her to the vet.

Also, I don't know if you've thought about a backpack at all but when I put one on Indy he acts like a totally different dog. Suddenly it's all business and no fun. I wouldn't weight it right away but it might give Stella more of a sense of purpose on your walks and help improve her leash manners a bit.

Waiting for- Treats
Barked: Mon Jan 14, '13 12:47pm PST 
Thanks Rexy. Will google that.

Indiana, her runny nose has cleared up, but I am concerned about the three marks on her nose. I can't be sure if it happened at daycare or if the cats got her. We noticed it after daycare, but I didn't see it right away when I picked her up. The cats have been pawing at her for six months now, but never left a mark.

I've posted a picture of this in my gallery in case anyone has experience with these types of nose injuries. I'm not sure if it's cat or dog inflicted. I'm also hoping it will heal so that the nose is all black again. Will it? Poor puppy.

We've played around with the idea of a backpack, but never considered that it would alter her behavior. That's neat.

Also, here's a question. Stella has recently began raising her paws at the cats. My husband thinks she's mimicking the cats! I think this might be it. I never noticed her raising her paws before, you know, the way cats do when they scratch.

There's ice on the ground today, so we didn't get out. It's been difficult keeping her away from the cats. Right now she's locked in the office with me chewing on a bone under my desk. Earlier, it was mad cat chasing time. I had her off leash so she could hunt some treats I had hidden when one of my cats walked in -- not good.

I haven't bought a long line yet, but have been using the retractable leash in the house since it's longer. The only problem is that she thinks she can go anywhere and runs suddenly, nearly jerking my arm off and it can't be comfortable for her either. My local store only had a 20 foot lead, so I might end up ordering online. The only complete harmony I have right now is when I lock up the cats so she can roam around, or when she's crated so the cats aren't nervous.

My friends are surprised it's been 6 months and I'm still having issues with the cat-dog thing. I'm beginning to wonder if Stella isn't one of those dogs that shouldn't be with cats. A trainer I talked with said we could get to the point where, as a tool, we can put her into a down-stay when she starts messing with the cats. Right now, there's no way she's do a down when distracted by the cats.

Fritz, cats are- fun when they- run
Barked: Mon Jan 14, '13 1:14pm PST 
Speaking as a confirmed cat killer, Stella doesn't seem to be like me. She chases them when they run or she tries to get them to run or she messes with them.

If I see a cat while on leash, I freeze and stare, licking my lips the entire time. I might even shake if it is a small light colored cat or kitten. If I am loose and I see a cat, I go for them, grab and shake with the intent to kill the cat. I never play with or mess with the cat, my mission is a dead cat or nothing. If you were to leave me alone with your cats for a few minutes,no more cats.

Sorry, I am not bragging about this naughty I was an adult and an established cat killer before I came to my person,(It took 6 months of work to teach me not to lunge at a cat while on a leash) I am just pointing out how a dog who shouldn't be around cats acts and providing a contrast to Stella's behavior.

I guess dogs can progress if not stopped, but I think Stella can probably learn not to mess with the kitties.

Waiting for- Treats
Barked: Mon Jan 14, '13 3:25pm PST 
Fritz, While I'm sorry to hear of your former crimes, I do thank you for the information! Stella doesn't seem quite the killer compared to you. And, yes, I'm protective of my kitty babies.

Anyone have thoughts on the photo I added of Stella's nose? I think it happened at daycare, so I'm wondering if I should ask them to put her with gentler dogs. They put her in with the big dogs and I'm guessing some of them may have been put off by her puppy energy. Again, the doggie cams were out that day, but going to make sure they're up before I take her again.

Thanks everyone.
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