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Author Topic: Confessions of a bad... erm... sister?  (Read 1279 times)
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Berner_girl
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« on: June 13, 2008, 10:51:57 PM »

(Well, if my parents are Lucy's "mom and dad," I must be sis, right? Cheesy )

So while "sis" was absorbed with madly whipping out homework and college applications all year, Lucy (and, for that matter, Star and Kahaus) pretty much never went out of doors for anything more than a potty break. blush Granted, I think my dad and brother should take some responsibility for their own dogs, but animal care beyond the basic food-and-potty mechanisms has really been my responsibility since we moved out of my grandparents' place.

Now, Kahaus did get out of doors more often than anyone else because he is well-behaved and I take him pretty much everywhere I can, plus he's my dog. Thus he seems to have taken things in stride. Lucy on the other hand... she's like a ravenous woman when she gets outside. A ravenous woman who's just been shown a steak dinner. She tunes out every positive or negative thing I typically use, including treats, toys, petting, praise, her name, "the voice" (the angry bass I use only when the dogs are really naughty) and all manner of leash correction (from a prong collar, no less, because she's a big, strong, heedless dog).

Now, granted, the food we have been using isn't too terribly exciting to the dogs. Beef jerky treats from the bulk section at Winco. So, I upgraded. I got some Zuke's and a roll of Natural Balance from Winco. Lucy seems to really like the Zuke's, but she practically has to be coerced into paying any attention to get any outside. Haven't tried the Natural Balance with her yet.

I thought of getting her a Gentle Leader, but my grandma suggested that I look into other alternatives first because she has heard that they damage dogs' sinuses. Can anyone quantify that statement? (She said she heard it on Animal Planet, but I don't really know anything either way. huh? )

So, does anyone have any ideas? I've found that as she gets more walks she gets a little more manageable and so part of the prescription is definitely daily walks. Also working on attention training is a given. Are there any Gentle Leader-like (things with the same purpose, I mean) things that people can think of? I'm going to a show on Saturday the 28th to get a nice leash for myself (the best leather one I have currently has quite a bit of wear and I don't have any leather conditioner so it is stiffening up, allowing Lucy to tear up my hands on it). I would like to get something like that, too, if I can afford it and it might help.

Thanks all and God bless,
Lissa
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DigiKahaus



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"How ironic... you eat vegetarian, but you speak baloney."  - Bucky Katt/"Get Fuzzy"
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« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2008, 07:31:55 AM »

Hi Lissa,

Whoa. Tough one. Here's my suggestions:

Exercise: And *structured* exercise. Not just running around in the backyard or a dogpark, although that could help initially to tire her out a bit.  But I'm gonna take the Cesar approach and say structured walks where she needs to be in heel position. Long walks. Regularly. 

Tools: Now since structured walks is the main recipe for success, and she's a puller and won't listen, you need something at least at first that is going to make this manageable.  For you, and your frustration level, and that encourages everyone in the house to be able to walk her without wanting to give up or have a meltdown.  I've not heard of a gentle leader causing sinus issues.  The only way I could imagine it doing any kind of damage, however, minor, is if the leash is tight and the GL is pulled tight around her face.  Which, it shouldn't be, if you're using it properly.  It should be loose, so that you can pull it up to the tip of her nose but not over.  And there should be slack in the leash and in the GL.  If it's tight and putting pressure on her face, it's because she's being allowed to pull on it.  "Corrections" with a GL should be a little ease back on the collar and then loosening immediately after.  If you loosen, the GL is only ever tight for that moment that you do the ease back leash correction type thingy.  If you go the way of the GL I'd totally use food to create a positive association at first. Dogs are famous for fighting it during the adjustment period and acting like a bucking bronco or rubbing at it with their paws or diving into the grass and trying to get it off.  A yummy yummy treat, (like Zukes or Buddy Biscuits, or Benny Bully's Liver Chops) will help create a positive association.

Tools II: If you can't convince the fam the GL is the way to go, try an the Gentle Leader EZ walk harness. It's a harness so no pressure on the neck or face, but the leash clips to the front of it.  Jan uses this with Molly, and there are a few others on the board that use this.  I personally prefer the GL, and I don't like harnesses in general, but the EZ walk is unique in that you're not steering the dog around by the middle of their back, actually giving yourself less control, which is what most standard harnesses accomplish.

Going back to the walks: Once you get her walking nicely, use Kahaus to your advantage..  Walk them both together, and let Lucy take her cues from a dog that is trained and doesn't behave like a lunatic. Use whatever tool you decide works best for Lucy.  Do these pack walks as often as possible, ideally for 1 hour or more each time.

Obedience Classes: I really think these will help. You can get tips on better suggestions that are more customized to the actual dog. Obedience classes aren't too too expensive, and they'll force you or the fam to get in your hour every week.  Plus there's the added advantage of being in a group.  You'll be motivated by the fact that other people are struggling through the same things, and watching the group progress.  You'll want to work harder to resolve any issues, because you'll be with the same group of people every week. I find at our school the people with the most badly behaved dogs actually are motivated to really work on their issues because they're embarrassed by their dogs behaviour in class and they don't want to be "that person" in each class.

NILIF at home: You know all about this, I'm sure. But if you can get your family to stick with it, it really does improve a lot of behaviour in dogs, particularly in listening and taking their cues from the humans in the family.

Project Confidence This is another Cesar type piece of advice.  It seriously works.  Siris is AWFUL if she thinks people don't know what they're doing or will let her get away with it.  Give yourself a pep talk prior to walks.  Visualise success, tell yourself that you're going to do this, you're not going to get frustrated, you have all the time in the world to wait out any protests you may get from Lucy, and be calm, calm, calm.  But ask for what you want and don't take no for an answer.  Depending on Lucy's level of hyperness, adjust your praise, tone of voice to match.  If she's super bouncy and all over the place, it might be good to scale back the praise, avoid any high pitched tones, etc, actually talk less in general, for example.

Oh, and a really great leather leash is an awesome idea.  Those Nylon leads really can hurt like hell if you have a puller.  Soft leather slips less and feels a lot better on your hands. And if she does get away from you and pull out on the leash, you're not gonna burn up your hands on nylon. ow!

Hope this has helped Lissa. Don't know how much of it is doable for you, but I wish you the best of luck. I know it's tough when it's not YOUR dog, and when there are other variables (like other people's behaviour, willingness to stick to the program, and determination to make it work).  We're here for ya, and I think it's awesome you want to make a go of this to help make Lucy a better behaved dog. WTG!
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dawnk777
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« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2008, 07:35:56 AM »

Doggie crack from LoveNewfies (Gail!).  Jasmine will do anything to get a dried turkey heart, or a chicken-apple nugget.

She used to not want to walk with the kids, if I stayed home.  She would plant her butt down and not move.  So, the kids would grab a piece of doggie crack and on the walk she would go!  Now, she's been on plenty of walks, where she survived without me being along!
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Berner_girl
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« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2008, 12:10:10 PM »

Thanks, guys. Keep 'em comin'.

Andria: thanks, that really did help. We can't really do obedience classes right now because, though my dad has a better job and would normally be able to afford it, our house looks awful in so many ways and so a lot of money is being spent to fix things up and convince our landlord that we aren't the most terrible tenants on the face of the planet. blush I am only going to be living here for the next two months, so I have to see what I can accomplish in that time frame and then my mom has agreed to pick up where I left off.

Dawn: I keep hearing the "doggie crack" reference all over the board and I have no idea what it is... Is there a thread of Gail's where she is selling these treats that I missed?
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DigiKahaus



"News flash!  Living eventually causes death!" - fluffywulfie

"How ironic... you eat vegetarian, but you speak baloney."  - Bucky Katt/"Get Fuzzy"
dawnk777
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« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2008, 04:39:11 PM »

Just PM her to get details.  The posts around, are mostly of how nuts the dog go, when they get doggie crack.

It's pieces of dehydrated turkey hearts and little nuggets of a chicken-apple mixture, that is also dried, that the dogs go crazy for.

Also a website:
http://www.newfoundnaturals.com/Newfound.htm

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~*Dawn and Jasmine*~

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