Monday, May 14, 2012

Helping introduce a pooch to her new sibling

I've been thinking about this for the past few weeks, and wondering what any of you would recommend.  (I'm due in three weeks, but the doc says the baby will probably be late)

Cadie will either be at the vet or her grandparents while we're in the hospital.  Do you think it'd be better for her to be home when we bring the baby in or for the baby to be here when she comes home?  I don't want her to feel threatened by the baby (not that many things threaten her, she'd be friends with the coyotes if we let her), but I also don't want her to feel she has a higher spot on the totem pole than the baby.  

This might sound weird, but should we start ignoring her a bit so that when we have more to take care of it's not a total shock to her?  (Not that we're going to forget about her!!  Just a natural part of adjusting to life with a newborn!)

Also, she knows not to go on the furniture (never really gave her the option), but she's never *not* had access to, say, a certain rug or blanket on the ground.  And eventually we're going to have lots of things on the ground... including babies.  Which we don't want her stepping all over.  Eventually (like a year down the road) I can totally see the baby and Cadie being best friends and having picnics, but not right away :-)  
I was thinking about putting a few blankets out now and using the 'Eht and collar tug' method to teach her that they're not a safe place for her.  But, then when there's a baby on it, I don't want her to think the baby is the one causing that scary sound and feeling.  Any tips?

We've been really happy with how she gets along with kids, she's really great.  The youngest kid she's met was 2 years old, and unsure of her at first, but Cadie sat still (without me even telling her) and let the kid be a kid - play with her face, touch her all over, etc, and Cadie just loved it.  Then she licked the kid's face clean, which the kid loved (hehe)  We think her instincts will be good with the baby - we know she's good with toddlers, but newborns are a bit different.  

Oh, one last thing.  Sometimes, if I'm carrying something, Cadie gets curious and jumps up a bit to see/sniff what it is.  In general, she's MUCH better about not jumping on us, but if I'm carrying something her curiosity wins.  How do we cut that out? 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Prong Collar Vs Gentle Leader

We're looking for a new prong collar for Cadie that doesn't make her neck ugly (the one we have now must be covered in something that's rubbing off on her). 

I'm thinking of a Herm Sprenger Prong Collar with Quick Release, size Medium.

I posted something on a labs forum and got shot down about how horrible prong collars are (I don't necessarily agree, but figured I'd look into their suggestions) - a lot of people recommended a gentle leader. 

Cadie's really good at walking now (with her prong collar) - no pulling, good with kids around, much calmer.  And I definitely need to have control over her when the baby comes and I have a stroller and a dog to walk. 


PS Quick release or just the 'normal' connection for the prong collar?

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Lesson Three

Here's what we (Cadie and I) remember from Lesson Three:

- The Time command: say Time when they're away from you and then again when they get to you, as you touch them.  Play the hot/cold game if they go towards/away from you during their approach, using Good or Eht.

- Come is when they are sitting directly in front of you, facing you.  This typically doesn't happen very often, but we'll try to encourage it!

- Practice Let's Go on walks when we approach intersections/streets.  She's caught onto this pretty well already.

- Get her better at releasing the ball/whatever's in her mouth when we say Thank You.  Now we're at the point that when she drops something we say Thank You, but I'd like it to become something we can command and she reacts.  Also, add the hand under the chin to signal Thank You.

- Food games - she's got the 'Cadie Good' trick down, so I started adding putting them above her nose, below her nose, etc., only allowing her to take them when I say Good.  She's funny when I put them under or above her nose - she kinda backs away!  I think she likes to be able to see them. 

- Another thing we need to add is naming her jumps.  So that way it can become something we are 'commanding' and not something she's choosing.  I think this will help - it'll take a little bit for us to get used to! 

- I'm trying to get her out of the habit of destroying/munching on her leash - so when I catch her I'll shake the gum bottle (we use that instead of pennies) or do something to scare her (pound table).

- Anything else we didn't catch?

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Progress and Things to Work On

As far as progress goes, Cadie totally gets Lets Go when we're going out the back door - we don't even have to hold the leash anymore (although I bet if we weren't around she'd forget about the special force field).  She's pretty good going into the mud room, and even the garage (though we never specifically worked on that with her).

Thank You is going well, too.  She's never been one to destroy our things (knock on wood!) and if we see her with something she shouldn't have she quietly drops it and gives us her puppy eyes. 

We do need to continue to work on not jumping and properly greeting people.  Honestly, we don't have too many people over, so we just need to set aside some time for us to practice proper greetings. 

She is really good at protecting us though - my parents came over a few days ago and she barked when their car pulled in the driveway!  As soon as we said it was ok, she calmed down. 

We're not a 24/7 tethering house anymore, but we are most of the day.  Not being tethered seems to wear her out more - even though she still chooses to sit close to us!

See you tonight! 

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Latest

Cadie's been doing pretty good the last few days.  She's getting really good at Let's Go (out the back door and into the mud room, when she's on her leash and we're with her) and Thank You.  We're working on Stay with her, too, when we play catch.  We've been poopy-crate-free for over a week and we're going to stick with our peanut butter theory... no reason to test that out! 

Right now Cadie's in her crate barking because I'm in the office and Dan's upstairs working... apparently she isn't happy to be left alone when she knows we're here!  She's been barking for about a half hour, but until she calms down we're not getting her out or trying to calm her.  She will need to get used to this when the baby is here... and barking will definitely not be allowed.  She has toys in there that normally she's happy with, but I think she's just not happy to be away from our sides.  

Update, apparently the half hour mark is when she gets tired of barking.  Thank goodness!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Poop Theory and More

Good news - no messy crates since last Wednesday!  Here's my theory - I can't remember all occasions, but I know for the last two they happened after I gave Cadie peanut butter in the Kong.  So, we've taken peanut butter and her Kong out of the toy lineup to see if it happens again.  I have a feeling it might be the leftover pb in the Kong that gets funky, but who knows. 

In other updates, Cadie's getting pretty darn good at Let's Go going out the back door and into the mud room or garage.  Yay!  If we're not near her, all bets are off, but hopefully with time it'll stick.  30 days, right??

Cadie had a busy day yesterday and was so tired that when we were watching TV, she was tethered to us, and she barked to go in her crate!  We didn't acknowledge her barking right away, but after she calmed down I let her go where she wanted to go and she walked in her crate - to get a toy, but then didn't complain when I closed the door!  She passed out shortly thereafter!

We've also been working on Thank You with her to drop whatever she has in her mouth (the ball, my shoes, something else she shouldn't have).  We say Thank You after she drops it and I think she's starting to get it! 

The jumping has decreased a bit, which is good, but we still need to work on  it.  We'll get there!

PS She was HILARIOUS in the snow!  We'd throw snowballs into big piles of snow and she'd burrow her head (and most of her body) looking for them!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Thursday January 19

No Poop in her crate!  Yay!  It's so much nicer not having to start your day by cleaning up that mess :-)

I think I had her in her crate for about 8-8.5 hours overnight, if keeping her in there too long had anything to do with her previous messes.  I don't think so though, she used to be able to handle waiting for 9-10 hours every night when I was in my first trimester and sleeping like it was my job.

So we started our day by me doing a little dance when I saw her crate was clean, and then ignoring her while I did a few things before taking her out.  We went out (practicing Let's Go) the back door - It's harder for her when she has to use the bathroom but that's primarily why we use that door, so it's good for her to get used to.  Anyway, she peed right away and then we had a busy morning - we shoveled the driveway for about an hour and then took a mile walk.  No poop yet.  We went out for another potty break a half hour after she had breakfast, and she's been passed out in her crate ever since.

I do notice that she's barking more when we put her in her crate now, especially if I go outside/downstairs.  Is that separation anxiety because she's normally used to being by my/our side?  I just let her bark it out.

Yay a mostly normal poop in the afternoon!  Followed more loose poop later in the day.  But at least it's an improvement!