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After 5 months waiting for the right rescue dog...

(31 Posts)

we picked CheddarDog up last night and I loves her. grin

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.

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.

idirdog Wed 27-Mar-13 20:57:56

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 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! grin

Whippoorwhill Mon 25-Mar-13 15:42:03

Oh she is a stunner! She'll be turning heads whenever you are out for a walk. Congratulations. smile

Pandemoniaa Mon 25-Mar-13 11:29:24

She's gorgeous. I'm wondering whether there's a touch of Australian Cattle Dog in her heritage. I can definitely see some collie too!

idirdog Sun 24-Mar-13 12:16:46

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.

Have fun with her she looks fantastic smile

LadyTurmoil Sun 24-Mar-13 11:47:26

Awww, I'm "seriously" chuffed, seriously So pleased for you - she is gorgeous - seems like the 5 month wait was worth it grin and thanks for the flowers!

LadyTurmoil - I owe you my thanks actually, as I only found SOS because of one of your posts where you posted links to some overseas rescue. So thanks ; it it wasn't for you, we wouldn't have Etta.

LadyTurmoil Sat 23-Mar-13 19:46:03

Oh yes, I'd seen her pics on SOS Animals website, she's absolutely beautiful. Congratulations smile

poorpaws Fri 22-Mar-13 21:46:30

Aww no wonder you love her, she is gorgeous. I am so jealous. Have a wonderful long and happy life with the little beautie.

groovejet - we've stuck with her original name, which is Etta. She was found as a puppy with her brother, who's called Henry grin. I did wonder about pointer actually, as I think Spanish Pointers are a bit like English Setters from a colouring perspective.

gymmummy & Redwing - I have to confess to doing a little bit of training today on 'sit' and 'here'. Nothing to taxing and no clicker as yet, but we were all going to go nuts if we didn't do something! Think I'll get the clicker out this weekend actually, just to get it primed if nothing else. Might well take her for a walk on Sunday, depending on snow. Need to get a new car harness though (also for use with long lead as her recall is not good as yet) as the one I bought for her is waaay to big!

neeps - she is indeed from Spain. Sounds like your dog has settled in well if he's good off lead with you already. Think we'll have some work before we get to that stage grin

neepsandtatties Fri 22-Mar-13 21:00:43

She's lovely! Where was she from originally (you mentioned the pet passport)?We've had our rescue for 4 weeks now, a pointer cross from Spain. We took him out on walks immediately and I let him off the lead within the first week and he's been fine (he had been in foster so we knew he was good off lead).

RedwingWinter Fri 22-Mar-13 19:00:53

Great advice from Gymmummy. I also think it's fine to take her for walks, just keep her on a lead for the first few weeks until you know she's settled in. It's also a good idea to make sure that she knows her way round the neighbourhood, so your walks are helping her build up a map of the place, just so that she knows her way around. Sometimes dogs go missing soon after arriving at a new home just because they get let off-lead too soon.

My neighbour has an english pointer and she definitely looks like she has pointer in to me.

gymmummy64 Fri 22-Mar-13 18:17:50

Aww she looks luffly! Congratulations!

Dogs Trust told me to hold off training my rescue too, but I someone on here told me to start as I meant to go on, just not try anything overly complex. That made sense to me, so things like leaving us alone when eating, responding to his name, not trying to force his way out of the front door or the car door, taking a treat GENTLY, going into the lounge when someone was at the door etc etc all started straight away. If I'd had any rules about sofas or upstairs then they would have started straight away too. Recall took a bit longer - 6 months and counting, but I think we're largely there now grin

I can't imagine how I would have coped not taking him out for a week though.

digerd Fri 22-Mar-13 17:52:38

She does look that pointer dog, doesn't she.

groovejet Fri 22-Mar-13 17:46:11

She looks lovely, have you chosen a name for her?

She reminds me of this dog from a dog reality show I watched, that dog was a border collie/pointer cross.

Owllady Fri 22-Mar-13 16:46:35

I walked mine straight away smile obviously you can't let them off for quite a while, but really I see no issue with walking her on a lead or training her at home tbh, just basic stuff and playing with her to build a bond. My rescue said wait a month or so before beginning training classes which i think is sensible, but at home I think it's different

she looks a lovely dog

Floralnomad Fri 22-Mar-13 16:43:46

If she's fully vaccinated I can't see why taking her out on a lead would be an issue . Two weeks in a garden and mine would be going completely bonkers !

70isaLimitNotaTarget - she's somewhere between 9 months and 15 months depending on whether I believe what the rescue told me or what her passport says; who knows!

Hmm, the consensus seems to be that there's some collie in there, that's really interesting.

She seems quite bright and keen to learn and I'm dying to train her, but the rescue said to give her a couple of weeks to settle before I start clicker training so we'll have to wait and see.

They've also said I shouldn't take her out for walks for a week or so, just keep her to the garden while she settles in - she has quite a bit of energy so the next few days are going to be fun! grin

Owllady Fri 22-Mar-13 15:41:30

oh she has a lot of collie in her smile she's lovely

EauRouge Fri 22-Mar-13 15:36:07

What a lovely dog! Thanks for posting this, we're hoping to start looking for a rescue dog towards the end of the year. We also have cats and young children so we're anticipating a long wait too.

RedwingWinter Fri 22-Mar-13 15:33:05

Congratulations! She is really gorgeous, whatever she is!

digerd Fri 22-Mar-13 15:26:18

Yes, from what I could see on photos her ears are collie type and she has the long narrow nose. Just wondered if she has more growing to do as seems smallish for an english setter/dalmation cross. But Collie is smaller and hairier.

She is unique whatever she is - special

70isaLimitNotaTarget Fri 22-Mar-13 13:20:57

She's all legs and tail isn't she? grin
Looks lovely , really unique (in a good way) markings.
How old is CheddarDog ?

digerd - yeah, I am proud of her; she's a little gem. The rescue said she was born January last year, but her passport says June so not sure how old - when I take her for a checkup to register at the vets, maybe he'll be able to give me an idea of which is more likely.

saintmerryweather - I must admit, when I saw her brother I did think 'collie cross' as he looks a lot more collie-ish, but I really don't know!

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