we picked CheddarDog up last night and I loves her.
It's taken us five months and numerous false starts with interest in dogs that turned out to not be suitable for one reason or another, but we finally got there and she's perfect for us.
We have three cats and a 9 month old DS so knew we might have a wait to find the right dog for us.
So far, all cats are happy to be in the same room as CheddarDog for short periods of time, and CheddarDog shows no signs of wishing to commit felicide so that's good. Under closely supervised conditions DS has been thoroughly sniffed with some associated licked and they seem mutually agreeable to ongoing policed interaction, so good start there.
Housetraining is great - one poo in the dining room 'cause I wasn't watching her carefully enough but she does ask to go out and in her defence did it as close to the back door as possible!
DH slept in the kitchen with her last night and will do so again tonight at least until she settles properly.
Anyone care to guess the cross (photos on my profile - hopefully, if I've done it right!)? The rescue reckons setter cross of some sort - her brother has a much shaggier coat and more setter-ish ears, if that makes sense.
She is lovely what a fab dog. I am so glad you have found each other.
I would start charging the clicker and also working on the Reinforcement Zone. (something I always do with new dogs) When she is next to you click and treat. Snicky counderconditioning that means it is fantastic to always be around you.
Makes recall, heel work a piece of cake to teach.
Other thing I would do is the food circle. Throw her food a small distance away from you so she runs to it, let her eat it and then call her name(no recall command) she will turn to you and give her a yummy treat. So kibble to throw and hot dog sausage for coming back to you.
Thanks for all the kind comments - she is lovely and we're very lucky to have her.
idirdog - thanks for those tips, I'll give them a try.
She seems quick to learn with clicker training - has learnt 'sit', 'down', 'up' (up on hind legs), we're working on 'roll over' and we're progressing with getting her to go to her crate. Her recall is getting better (still terrible, but better!). Of course, all these commands go out of the window out of the house or when there are distractions, but still, it's early days! I'm wondering if I'm doing too much training with her, (two or three 10 - 15 min sessions a day) but she's not getting many walks at the moment and I don't want her to get too bored.
We've booked some 1-2-1 time with a trainer / behaviourist for middle of May, so if there's anything we have concerns about or haven't made progress with by then, we'll have some guidance.
The things I could most do with advice on if anyone fancies sharing some tips are these....
Sleeping - at night, she's in the kitchen with the babygate on the door. Her crate is in there with her bed in it (plus a cover off my armchair that she likes and a heated pad at night) and it's left open (we'll gradually crate train her to stay in it closed). She takes a while to settle and will whine and maybe bark a little and will wake a few times a night. DH is sleeping in the next room (but out of sight) and lets her out when she needs to - he tries to only go to her when she's quiet. Are we on the right track with this and she'll eventually settle all night or is there something more / else we should be doing?
Possessive - she is a bit possessive of things she steals. Not her food bowl, not her toys, but a shoe or anything else she nicks before we can get it away from her. We're able to take things off her while she's picking them up, but once she settles down in the dining room with them and has her paws on them, she will growl if you try to remove it. I'm guessing we need to teach a drop-it command and meanwhile distract and treat to get things off her?
Walks - she is very scared of everything on walks. I'm guessing she wasn't socialized as a pup. We're trying to do one short walk a day at the moment (it's about 15 - 30 mins) but we don't get far as she spends a lot of the time being scared. I'm trying to click and treat for confident behaviour and clicking and treating when she's around something that makes her uneasy to give her positive associations. I've been reading up about BAT and I'm guessing that's the best way to go with this? I'm really hoping we can help her with this so she can start enjoying her walks as I think she finds them very frightening at the moment.
Thanks in advance for any tips and tricks and I'm really sorry at the length of that!
Re Possessive do not take things off her but swap for something higher value. So when she has something, offer her a fantastic treat hot dog cheese etc. She should drop one item, praise like crazy and give her more treats. Do not force her to drop the item, do not ever chase her. She he needs to needs to associate you being close to her as the best thing ever at all times. So if you approaching mean you will take things from her she will just dart away and hide from you.
On walks I would take this really really slowly, she can get enough exercise through training and playing for the time being. Is she frightened of things in the garden? eg crows screeching hearing cars etc? Build it up very slowly to go out and about. I would only go out of the gate turn around and come back again.
Does she play with toys? I would spend a lot of time getting her to play tuggy, having fun with you, then her confidence will grow when she goes out and about.
Re sleeping up to you. Sounds like you are making lots of allowances for her which is fantastic.
To get her to like her crate play crate games with her. She goes into the crate click and treat. Shut the door, click and treat, she sits click and treat and open the door, give her a release command to get out of the crate, do not treat for this. Wait and see what she does go near to the crate she will probably go back in, click and treat, etc. Soon you can get her charging in the crate from the other side of the room.
Not only good training but a great bonding confidence giving exercise.
Thanks idirdog, really appreciate the advice. Makes sense re the possessive stuff; we also need to get better at putting stuff out of reach!
Re walks - yep, we're trying to start really slowly with her. I've come to the conclustion this morning that it's got a lot to do with our confidence actually; she's much more confident out with DH, who is more confident walking her than me. She isn't frightened in the backgarden at all and can hear traffic as we live on a main road. I'll be taking her out again this evening and will try to be more confident with her, while carefully watching her body language.
Re toys - she doesn't really play much; I'm suspecting she's not really familiar with toys. She's not interested in tuggy but does really like a ball launcher we've got. Since she has no recall out and about, this is limited to gently chucking the ball from the dining room into the kitchen and hoping we don't destroy the house too much! She also likes her chew toys (mainly pizzles and pigs ears, with occasional stuffed kongs when closed in the kitchen).
Re crate - crate games sound good; love the idea of getting her to charge in there from the other side of the room! We've been feeding her in there and clicking and treating for going in so good to know we're on the right track. I need to pluck up the courage to close the door for a few seconds; I just worry that she's going to whine and then I don't know whether to let her out or wait for her to be quiet before I let her out (which can take a while!).
Thanks again - as she's our first dog I really want to make sure we do right by her so all this input is greatfully received.