October 12, 2012

We Need Some Help With Our Puppy




"I know it's wrong, but this is my favorite thing!"
Bailey, our cocker puppy is 10 months old. After months of discussion, searching for a good match in the Phoenix area, and finally finding a breeder we trusted, she joined our lives in March. The impact our satisfying retirement has been greater than I think either Betty or I could have envisioned. Smart and cute as a button, Bailey has proven to be a tremendous addition to our household. She mastered the doggie door within a few days and sit commands cause her no problem.

But, she hasn't come without some issues we continue to struggle with, issues that maybe you can help us with. She is a nervous dog. Part of that is her breed and part is probably due to her being shipped to us on a plane flight from Missouri when she was just 8 weeks old. Because of delays at one of the airports, she spent 6 hours in a cage, being buffeted by sounds and sights that probably terrified her.

To this day, she barks at things, both real and imagined. Shadows, the wind in the trees, even one of us entering a room abruptly can set her off. Other dogs or people walking by the house, and delivery people coming to the door are her two biggest triggers. We have tried all the training techniques we can think off: treats for silence, clicker training, and  leash control but that tiny body will still quiver with energy and spout a stream of barks.

We have taken her to local pet stores, malls, and neighborhood dog parks in an attempt to desensitize her and help her socialization. We play with her in the house and backyard to help burn up some of her nervous energy. But, the barking continues. Frankly, if we can't get it under control our plans to get an RV and take her on vacations with us are in jeopardy because leaving her in a kennel for up to a month is not an option.

So, you who have dealt with this issue, we need your suggestions. "She will grow out of it" may be true but we don't want to simply let her get tired of barking at some point in the future.


Daddy..I want to go that way!
Another problem is pulling on the leash and heeling when walking. Betty has found several excellent on-line resources that she has studied. We have tried it all. Still, Bailey will pull on the leash 90% of the time when something attracts her attention. One of us immediately stops until she stops and allows the leash to go slack...for a few seconds until her little doggie brain smells something that she just knows is her new favorite thing. Again, what has worked for you? Is there something we may not have tried, or is the answer just keep at it?

So, pretend you are that high-priced dog trainer invited into our home to help Bailey (and us) conquer these behaviors. Shock collars, crates, and any physical approaches are non-starters. Anything else....let her rip!


While we are on the subject of dogs, a reader has asked if I'd address the topic of the cost of having a pet. Again, she would like your input, too. I can provide the information on what Bailey is costing us. But, as a puppy, she doesn't have some of the expenses that older pets incur. I also have no feedback on the costs associated with cats, so if you can shed some light on that she would be appreciative.

For M (and anyone else wondering) here are the costs for Bailey the puppy as of today:

  • $800 to buy her and have her flown to Phoenix
  • $430 for one year preventive care at Petsmart. This includes unlimited doctor visits, all the first round of shots, and spaying.
  • $25 for some other pills
  • $275 for a second doggie door and other initial supplies
  • $14 a month for food (wet & dry)
  • $34 so far for doggie day camp (for desensitizing work)
  • $94 for two haircuts, nail trims, and baths
  • $420 for various toys, spray cleaners, collars, outside stuff, gates, etc
  • $35 for a 'Thunder shirt' for calming training
The total to date has been just over $2,200.

Next year we will not have the $431 preventive care expense, though we will have to pay for any vet visits and meds. Also, the large up front costs to buy the dog and get all of her initial supplies will not reoccur. So, for 2013 I am budgeting $100 a month.

What is that over there? Can we go see?

44 comments:

  1. Our rescue poodle, previously abused, was much the same but now she is 3 and showing much more self control. I did take her to obedience class twice. She still is shy, reacts by barking when startled and wants to sniff or chase everything she see on a walk until we wear her energy down. My son and DIL dealt with their dog by consistency and walking him 10,000 steps a day. He was too tired to do much else lol.

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    1. 10,000 steps for Bailey's little legs would be quite a feat. But, exercise and consistency are keys. I just hope we see results before the 3 years it took for your poodle!

      BTW, thanks for adopting a rescue poodle. That shows real love and commitment.

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    2. Just to clarify, we adopted her when she was 1 1/2 years old. I think 3 is the magic number for becoming an adult dog though with these small breeds. By the way, my son's dog is fairly small. The walks were broken into about 4 a day on flat surfaces.

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  2. No suggestions on your cutie puppy since I have never raised a dog.Kitties cost: Right now our cat is 14 years old and I had to switch her over to expensive wet food since she can no longer chew kibble and has tummy issues.So we went from the 50 cents a can food to the 1.50 a can food. So, 45 a month for food. Litter is around $10 a month. We got her at the EXCELLENT ABC shelter in Phoenix, they are THE BEST PLACE to rescue a dog or a cat! They KNOW their animals and can help make a great match for the kind of personality you're looking for in a pet.. (they may know how to help with your puppy's problem!?) They train their cats to use a scratching post, so Grace NEVER ever has scratched any of my furniture.

    I believe adoption costs ran around 75 dollars. She was 4 months old, already spayed and had her baby shots. We usually have 2-3 cats at any one time so food costs are usually more, but when we lost the other two, over time, Grace did not want another friend (made it clear when we tried to adopt another one!!) She throws up often on our rug: Cost of cleaning rugs and buying cans of Hot Shot for spot cleaning vary! When we travel I pay a pet sitter $5- $10 a day to come in and feed her and make sure she gets an outside outing with supervision and then let back in. Cat toys: $20 for a scratching post, few dollars for some others. Vet: She sees her vet once a year maybe $80 a visit (blood work as she got older). Got into a cat fight once that cost us $150 for visit, meds, etc. All that said, the rewards we get from our fluffy companions, dogs, cats,etc. are priceless! But it does look like dogs cost more and take a lot more work. Good luck with training: Again, I recommend looking up the ABC shelter in Phoenix, and asking for references for training.. !

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    1. Thanks, Madeline,

      Of course, the biggest expense was the $800 to buy her and fly her in from Missouri. We spent 6 months searching every shelter and private seller in the Phoenix area and no one had a buff colored female cocker spaniel.

      I've never owned a cat, but I would guess you are correct: dogs cost more than cats to maintain and care for.

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  3. If you are not using one try a harness, easier to control than just a leash on a collar. Keep her right by your side, dont let her have full rein of the leash for awihle. This seemed to help with our very inquisitive schnauzer. She is now 9 and now just meanders along. Kind of like me. LOL.
    The barking..hmmmmm Chloe still barks at things to have the "last word" so I am not a good authority on that one. Cindy

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    1. We have a harness which is helpful and eliminates the risk of throat damage if she pulls away. Betty is now working on heeling and loose leash training, but she still wants to explore and go her own direction.

      All dogs bark so that will likely never stop completely. But, most of it is nervousness and that can get old very quickly.

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    2. Yes I agree Bob...Chloe Barks when we sit on the front porch at anything that moves. We have ordered one of the collars with the citronella spray to try. Will let you know if we have any success with that.

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    3. OK, good. We have considered one but it gets mixed reviews.

      We used a bark collar for about 30 seconds but couldn't stand the thought of an electric jolt to her neck. We had some luck with an ultrasonic device that sends out a noise that distracts the dog. It worked until she figured out she could safely ignore it.

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  4. Can't help you with the barking -- we have the same problem with our fearful little pup. But we do find that the "Gentle Leader" works wonders to prevent pulling on the leash. Check out this youtube video which will explain more: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6XMb2XRVVs

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  5. I am probably not going to be much help. Within reason, I consider barking at people who walk by and up to the house to be a good thing. One of the reasons I have a dog is to be an early warning system. I guess my question is, once you tell the pup it is okay will she stop barking immediately? As for the pulling on the leash, again I have no help. Beagles are hunting dogs. My dog if let of the leash would go over an interestate to track a circle. I cannot elave my dogs at the fourth of july or new years eve and on night with lots of thunder I dont weleep because they dont sleep. I expect that part of your lives will never change.

    That said, I'll be cranky and grumpy here and say I think leaving a dog in a kennel for a month is probably a terrible idea under any circumstances. I either travel with my dogs or they are with soomeone they know-in this house or sleewhere. I would reconsider that aspect. Again I know somehow that sounds judgemental. You would be surprised how well your dog will travel, I expect, IF she can be left in a room or an RV while you hike or go out to dinner on occasion. However, I do have a crate for one (not for the other.)

    Other than that my suggestions would be first, to walk her as long as you can walk prefferably in the morning (youd be suprised how far those little legs can go). I know she has a reaction to cages but if you can crate her and or give her quiet time in the same place every day that may help. I dont do this because I am the least scheduled person on the planet in terms of regularity, but just as with kids, schedules and structure help dogs. Id be curious if she played with the other dogs when she went for her training. Does she need that socialization a couple times a week?

    As for the money. I have two dogs. this means I dont need day care or a dog park or even walking if im ill because I have a huge yard and dogs on either side-self entertainment abounds. But my monthly expenses are less than yours. Meds for two dogs are $40.00 and the large bags of weight maintenance dog food is between 25.00. I supplement with homeade treats. I bathe the dogs. They get their nails cut every month or so (walking on a sidewalk trims them well). Annual shots and so on for each are just under a hundred dollars. Obviously those expenses dont include illness, or boarding for travel. Initial expenses were free because our dogs were rescued.They found us. A dog door and a crate for one were one time expenses. Obviously the treates expense in owning a dog in retirement is the boarding issue, unless you have family and friends who share your doggy love (I do).

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    1. We could never leave her in a kennel that long. In fact, I state in the post that leaving her in a kennel is not an option for us.

      Besides the expense, her temperament would never tolerate it. We have a friend who is a dog sitter but she is very busy and isn't always available. But, a kennel for more than a few days is a non-starter.

      We don't mind barking to announce someone is at the door, as long as it ceases when we tell her to (not working!) Barking at people walking by the house, though, is a different matter. She can't see them...I guess she can smell or sense them. That barking is not acceptable.

      After barking, she does play a bit with dogs she is familiar with that appear at a local park around 7 AM each morning. We are starting group lessons with her in 2 weeks to help with socialization.

      Bailey may be headstrong and willfull at the moment but she is very smart. Over time I have every hope that a combination of everyone's suggestions will solve the problems.

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    2. Ah, my dogs stop once you tell them it is okay (although they also jump up to be petted and will lick yuou on the face if you let them, lol). I think I has to do with wher eyou live also. Our dogs do bark at everyone who walks on the sidewalk. So do every other dog in the neighborhood. The kids coming home from school love it.

      By the way just what does Bailey have in her mouth?

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  6. We adopted two 8 month old rescue "chi-weenies" (chihuahua/dachshund mixes) this year. Even though I had owned larger dogs before, we had issues. I finally sent them to a 3-week training facility. The little dogs came back 100% better.

    Some of training facility's tips.....a collar called a "pinch or prong" collar, which looks ugly, but is fine for the dog. I understand this may fall into the physical area, so you may not want to try it, but it has prongs which put gentle pressure around the dog's neck, getting her attention without trachea damage. You work with her on heel & other training projects with the collar on, but it doesn't stay on all the time. We found our dogs didn't respond to the harness; a friend of mine has used a Halti collar (which apparently works with the dog's nose) for her nervous dog.

    Although it seems illogical, ignoring her when she gets nervous seems to help. Apparently reassuring the dog when she is nervous indicates that her owner wants the behavior to continue.

    One discipline tool is a spray bottle with water, diluted vinegar or a bitter apple solution. If you keep it handy, tell her NO once sternly & then use one or two sprays, that discourages the behavior. To be the most effective, the spray is not supposed to come from the owner, but I'm not fast enough to make it look like it came from the Universe! I then make a big deal about the improved behavior.

    Our little ones were incredibly expensive; at 8 months they'd never been to a vet, so we had shots, neuter/spay, flea & heartworm medications, food, leashes, toys, a kitty condo to help our 16 year old cat adjust (it didn't work!) and a huge expense for the training. When I looked back, I realized we spent A LOT more money than necessary; they should be less expensive now. Basically, they cost enough to eliminate one year's vacation, maybe two, on our retirement income. If I had it to do again, I'd send them for training immediately, but I don't think that's a requirement for everyone. I am allowing $100/month for the two of them from now on in.

    In one way, it's easier for us, because with two, they play together burning off a lot of energy. Also, if one behaves, I can praise that dog & the other one comes right along so he/she can also get the praise. On the barking issue, we let them bark once or twice, then tell them "quiet"; all dogs do bark & we get a neighborhood "bark-fest" going sometimes. They are much better about not joining in, most days!

    Hopefully this "great American novel!" will help. pam

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    1. Some great ideas, Pam. In the past we have had two dogs at the same time, the main dog and the emergency back up dog. It absolutely works if one dog is trained because the other one will do just what you say. But, at this stage of our life two dogs is one dog too many.

      We have used the spray bottle but not consistently. Maybe I should pull it out of the closet. To this point we have been using treats to reinforce good behavior but that gets expensive and ruins her appetite for her regular food.

      $2,200 for Bailey this year would have been a nice 10 day rental RV trip. But, she has given us 10 months of joy so the "investment" has been worth it.

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    2. This post triggered another thought from the training class we went to at the humane society. Use lots of verbal praise when they are doing what you want including immediately after the barks stop. We use the command "No barks" when we see a possible situation developing and when barking starts. We follow it with a very soothing voiced "Its ok" when as a way to tell her we are in charge/no danger and "Good quiet" when she controls herself. It really has eliminated a lot of the barking. BTW, our trainer use a super-soaker squirt gun when the dogs barked at training - it interrupted the behavior and then she could praise them excessively for "Good quiet"

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    3. "Good no bark" and "good quiet" are part of our training, too.

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  7. She is adorable. Our two cockapoos are adorable too, but we have similar issues. I was going to suggest the thundershirt. It has worked for us with Buddy who is a puppy mill rescue. I read somewhere that when dogs are weaned too soon they tend to be nervous and skittish. That describes him to a T. He's responded well to the thundershirt when we go on car rides. Ironically he's not afraid of thunder but Sydney is, so we put it on her when there's a thunderstorm and she calms right down.

    The barking on walks and when anyone comes to the door is an issue here too. I don't give them too much grief about barking when someone's at the door. That's kind of their job, but on walks it's a real problem. We have a leash/harness to walk them and it helps with the pulling, not the barking.

    When they start to bark on a walk we make a sharp sstssstss sound (hard to write what it sounds like but it works most of the time) and then pull them behind us. Technically, according to Cesar Milan, you should always lead because you are always the alpha. Easier said than done, but I'm sure he's right. However, when we pull them behind and make that sound they do stop.

    If you haven't read Cesar Milan's book, I highly recommend it. He is the dog whisperer and sadly we're not.
    Good luck!
    b

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    1. We have a thundershirt and it does work, particularly at night when she seems to be the most nervous. In fact, last night we had a thunderstorm. The lightening and booms were setting her off, so on went the thundershirt. With two minutes she was almost asleep in Betty's arms.

      I am not familiar with Cesar Milan's book, but I will certainly look into it.

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    2. Another great book is Good Dogs, Bad Habits by Jeanne Carlson. It takes specific behaviors and offers approaches for changing them.

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    3. Our library has The Dog Whisper training books by a fellow named Paul Owens but nothing by Mr. Milan or Ms. Carlson. I'll check with Amazon.

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  8. Our Cocker "Jules the RV Dog" had about the same history. A long plane flight in a crate, scared of noises,etc. We adopted her at 6 months, now at age 2 she still has issues with strangers, but over all she's a good dog, and loves it in the RV. My advice...Keep up the Doggie Day care, it's a great way to socialize a pup, it worked wonders for Jules. We tried the Thunder shirt...didn't make any difference. May I suggest using a slip lead or martingale collar when on the leash. You put it high on their neck (like the dog show people do) and that keeps them from sniffing so much and they pay attention to you. Also, I'm a beliver in "The Walk". Walking a dog 30-45 minutes a day brings stucture to their day and is better training than just playing in the yard. I volunteer walking dogs at the shelter and have had great results with "The Walk". At 10 months your pup is still learning, and wants you to show her how to be a good dog. You're on the right track, keep it up and Bailey will eventually be a "RV Dog"

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    1. Thanks for the encouragement, Mike. We are taking her on an RV trip in late February for her first "test' in that type of environment. By then, we will have completed her group training sessions. As the weather finally starts to cool in Phoenix we will also increase the frequency and duration of her walks. All summer we've had to just work indoors and on the grass in the backyard...too hot for anything else. But, this morning it is 64 degrees, so there is hope!

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  9. Hi, Bob...

    As they've gotten older, almost every dog and cat I've had has reached a "major med" crisis with either a $1000-plus one-time medical bill or (sometimes and) $100/month +/- ongoing medication expense. Just be ready.
    When that day (or night) comes that Bailey is in deep distress you won't have much time to consider whether you should/can incur the cost. A fast response will be critical.

    Until then, and hopefully at least a decade from now, enjoy Bailey!

    Cheers,

    Alexander in Virginia

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    1. We have been very lucky....the four dogs before Baily never had a major medical issue, though there were tests and pills involved. But, yes, we know there might be a big surprise waiting in the wings. Our view is once you take on a pet and it becomes a member of the family you do what is necessary.

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  10. Oh my goodness, that is one cute puppy!

    Cesar Milan, The Dog Whisperer, has a TV show on National Geographic where he shows folks how to take care of these types of problems. I think you said you don't get cable, but maybe it is on Hulu. He also has a website with his materials available.

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    1. I just looked up Cesar Millian's web site. Betty is going to check it out later. Thanks for the tip.

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  11. We've had lots of dogs: some barkers, and some not. There's no single answer and some dogs are just more persistent barkers. However, I have found that dogs bark when 1) they think they've been left in control and it's their job to ward off intruders and 2) they're worried about every little challenge. So, what worked for me with one of our most persistent barkers is going to sound a bit counterintuitive. It might or might not work for you. First, I had to make sure we did plenty of obedience work during the day and that the dog knew we were in control. Then, when he barked, I actually did the opposite of what's usually suggested. I praised him for letting me know there was a challenge, and then nudged him away from window, door, etc., telling him in my firmest alpha female voice (smile) that I was in charge and would take it from there. I used my low growl (seriously) if he got near the window or door again to reinforce the idea that I was in charge. He settles down better with that treatment than with scolding, which actually heightens his anxiety, and he's far too stubborn and persistent for just waiting him out to work. With other, less frightened or less persistent dogs, I have kept a few toys scattered around the room and would toss one toward the barking dog to engage it in a few minutes of play and distract it. That tactic works far better if you know that a challenge is going to occur and catch the dog before it starts barking. Pay a neighbor kid to come over and ring your doorbell while you work with your dog inside and train it to go to a safe spot and stop barking before the door is opened. I would find times--as many as possible--when the dog wasn't barking and praise it for being quiet. But I agree with the other person who commented that I want my dogs to bark when someone comes to the door or near a window. I just want them to do it once and then to stop when I tell them to stop.

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    1. Interesting approach, Linda. The one thing I am learning from all the comments so far is that there almost as many methods as there are dogs!

      With one of our dogs Betty trained her to bark on command. I was gone on business a lot and she felt more secure with the dog as a barking deterrent.

      We have tried the ringing the door bell while Betty is inside with the dog. It works then. But, if Bailey has a clear shot to the door on her own she launches herself in full bark mode.

      BTW, I like the Alpha female voice reference. Betty does the same thing.

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  12. Cesar Milan. The Dog Whisperer. He is the best.

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  13. Sorry, I cannot be of any help. My dogs rule the house. :>) The $520 Vet bills and $480 kenneling charges this year, so far, prove it!

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  14. Here are a few ideas we learned from taking our 9 month out of control golden retriever to a professional trainer. He used to put his leash in his mouth and it shake back and forth rapidly then would drag me all over the neighborhood. Our trainer recommends only short walks for a puppy on a very tight lead until they get the hang of it. If he starts pulling put him on a sit (our trainer believes in tons of sits) and start again. Always bring him back to you never let him get in front of you. Reverse direction. Walk in crazy eight patterns. My husband spent hours practicing heeling with our golden in our driveway and back yard when we brought him home and then with the 4 month yellow lab we bought from the trainer. We also played lots of sitting games with them. They have to sit ‘til we release them. Sometimes, but not always we give them a treat. Buck our golden especially likes the treat games.

    For barking – immediately put him on a sit and tell him no in a harsh voice – every time he barks. Practice with a neighbor or friend ringing the doorbell. I have to say though both of our dogs still bark when someone rings the door bell and Teddy our yellow lab barks every time I come home from work until he realizes it is me. My husband thinks he can’t make out who I am and is afraid. Buck has been known to bark at strange things – my FIL’s hat and our neighbor’s lawn ornaments.

    Our trainer does not recommend choke collars or spraying dogs with water. He feels if you work with a dog as a young pup you can prevent most disciplinary problems. For severe problems – digging, running into the road then not returning upon command or jumping on kitchen counters to steal food he suggests a shock collar. Put it on a high setting and use it once or twice - the behavior should be corrected after only one or two shocks. It is like teaching a child not to touch a hot stove.

    We took Buck camping and traveling with us as a pup and he is a wonderful traveler and a joy. Teddy was a little older when we first took him with us and was a terrible traveler for many years. He wouldn’t relax in our vehicle, barked at other people, and was completely agitated in hotel rooms – barking at every noise. Other people that aren’t familiar with dogs don’t realize he is just scared - they panic and it was a nightmare. He is much better now though, but it took quite a few trips ‘til I could say that. I think the key was to start traveling with them when they are as young as possible. We took Buck on his first trip at 3 months.

    Also, we bought them collapsible kennels – they work beautifully – if we leave them back at a cabin or while camping they are in a safe place. Many times they just go in them to rest when they are tired. We even use them when we take them visiting or have contractors working in our home.
    Good luck.

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    1. Boy, you have given me lots to work with. I appreciate the thoroughness of your comment and will be sure Betty reads it too.

      A trainer we watched on a few videos said never use a short leash...back to my conclusion that there is no one way that works. We will just have to try all sorts of approaches until we find the ones that work the best.

      We did see several folks with the collapsible kennels when we went on our RV vacation. They seem like a great idea.

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  15. Bob, if Bailey is distracted during your walks, try walking faster. This is Cesar Milan's best advice for walking misbehavior correction. Walk fast enough that Bailey has to put the pedal to the metal to keep up with you.

    This will work, I can almost guarantee. When we walk our own dog at a fast clip she stays focused. When we slow down she starts to get distracted.

    Tamara (again on vacation and away from my laptop)

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    1. There is a simple technique to try. I'll give it a shot next time we walk with her.

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  16. Youve gotten lots of advice-this may or may not make you feel better (like Janeette our dogs are the boss of the house). Its is one thirthy int he morning and has been thundering, lightning and mild hail for hours. Nonthing makes our dogs better, not even being in the crate. They have walked the house, hidden under the bed, jumped in my lap and run under my desk chair. When the pupplies dont sleep, nobody sleeps. I have made a complete uquilt in the last two and one half hurs (the top) in order to not be driven crazy by two four legged creatures. Sigh.

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    1. At least you have used the time well!

      Bailey did roll in cat poop in our backyard twice yesterday, meaning a terrible stink and two baths, one at 10PM. Pets can dictate the household schedule, can't they.

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    2. All interesting reading about puppy training/experiences, so I'll go ahead and share mine. Several years ago, I saw Caesar Milan on Oprah and got an eye-opening tip (at least I thought) from him. He said that dogs need to have a pack leader and if they perceive that you aren't one, then they will become the pack leader. He said in order to become the pack leader in their eyes, you (humans) need to do something that they can't do and then you will gain their respect. He suggested that you pick up a book - make sure that you and your dog are making eye contact - and then throw the book hardacross the room, and let it hit the wall even. They can't do that. Well I thought it was kind of crazy, but respected Oprah's trainer, so with my dog who was a barker, I did it and guess what? It worked for me. After that if he barked and I said "No", he stopped.

      Along this same line, and this is something funny, but my 5 year old grandson was visiting last summer, and as boys will do, he innocently threw a toy across the room. My dog happened to notice that and do you know that after that, every time my grandson sat on the couch, the dog would sit next to him, and stuck to the grandson like glue. He thought the 5 yr. old was the new pack leader. So after a couple of days, I did the book thing again so the dog would know that I was "back in charge." Sandy E.

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    3. Isn't that interesting. I have never heard of book-throwing as a technique. Dogs do respond to alpha behavior so it makes sense.

      Now, I have to find an book and a wall I won't damage!

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  17. Hi Bob, I'm still 4 1/2 years from retirement so reading your blog really has me thinking what I want to do when I retire. I'll tell you what the trainer had me do when training by boxer to walk with a leash. I used a long leash 10 feet or longer (I still have it). Then I took my young dog to a big field (like a soccer field) and start walking in one direction with the entire length of the leash free. Of course my dog went the other direction until he reached the end of the leash. I just kept walking until he turned and caught up with me. Then I would wrap the leash between my hand and elbow shorting it. Then turned and walked in another direction. An kept repeating the process until the long lease was as short as his nomal walking lease. I did this for days until he seemed to the idea. He was a very smart dog and enjoyed taking me for walks almost everyday.

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    1. I have read that if the dog pulls on the leash to stop until he understands to not pull, and to also go the opposite direction and he will want to catch up with you. That sounds much like what you say worked for you so I'll give it a shot.

      Thanks,Bob. BTW, that 4 1/2 years until retirement will go very quickly. Use your time wisely!

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