Tag: dog

Dealing with Separation Anxiety

Separation AnxietyA little while ago, after watching a channel 4 documentary on dogs and their secret lives, we recorded Poppy while we went out and found that she very unsettled when left on her own. She got extremely stressed and worked up and showed behaviour such as toileting indoors (once even on our bed!), pacing, panting and howling. While we are very lucky to have extremely understanding and dog loving neighbours, we knew we couldn’t go on letting Poppy be so unhappy while she was on her own. And it’s not like she’s on her own a lot or for long periods of time, but we want a happy, stress free dog. We got in touch with local dog trainers, K9 Playtime Academy Dog Training School and we haven’t looked back.

Our aim is to have a dog who isn’t really bothered if we’re there or not, so that if she needs to be left on her own for a couple of hours, she can. While we’re not quite there, we’re really close. Poppy is an excellent dog for training. She is hugely motivated by food, she’s a very quick learner and she enjoys training – she wags her tail throughout every training session! We’ve trained her to lie down on her mat, with her face on her paws and are working on getting her to lie on her side. We started by just getting her to sit on her mat and have progressed from there. We’re also working on getting her to stay on her mat while we move away. So far, we can get to the front door and have the front door open and she’ll stay on her mat. The next step is for us to go out the front door, close it and get her to stay on her mat. To make sure she doesn’t move, we’ve bought a camera that we can watch her on through our iPhone to see how she’s behaving.

The first time Poppy lay on her mat with her head on her paws, both the trainer and I very nearly cried! During training, you can see Poppy thinking really hard to work out what we want so when she does work it, it’s pretty awesome! We use a clicker throughout training and it works really well. Training sessions always leave us exhausted, but we’ve learnt so, so much and I can’t wait for the day we have a real breakthrough with Poppy and can leave her on her own without her getting stressed. We now know that if we want Poppy to behave in a certain way, we have to shape it, start small and be patient. Quite often, I’ll rush things or think we’ve pushed her too far, when we haven’t at all and I’m just being impatient. One thing is certain, and that’s Poppy will get there. It just takes a little time.

One thing our trainer recommended to us was a relaxation protocol, Champion of My Heart and it works by changing your dogs reactions to things that make them stressed, be it noise, separation anxiety or fear. It works really well and I can’t recommend it enough. Have you tried anything that’s worked particularly well for shaping your dogs behaviour? I think reward based training is always a winner – and why not? It works for me, so why wouldn’t it work for Poppy?!

 

#BEDM – Weekend Morning Routine

Here I am, a day late with this one. Oops. I found myself completely wiped out yesterday afternoon, so made some flapjacks and watched a few Gilmore Girls episodes to recover. Anyway, here you go!

Our weekend morning routine is pretty much dominated by Poppy. (I wonder why she thinks she’s the Alpha Dog?!) Poppy isn’t a fan of weekend lieins. In fact, last weekend, she slept in until about 7.30am, which is highly irregular for her. She’s used to us getting up at 6.30am and getting fed at 7am. As she gets up early, we generally tend to get up to, feed her and head out for a walk. We’ll either just do our usual walk around town, especially if we’ve got plans later in the day or chores to do, or we’ll head out for a longer walk somewhere else. (I usually write about these and you can find some great walks around Oxfordshire in my Poppy category.) I think we all really like heading out and finding somewhere new to walk, especially if there’s a cafe nearby for a cheeky tea & cake break!

alpha dogSometimes, we don’t get up straight away. We let Poppy out, feed her and then we all head back to bed with a cup of tea. Before we got Poppy, we agreed that she wouldn’t be allowed on the bed. This lasted for less than five minutes! She loves curling up between my OH & I, as we catch up on reading books and blogs. This usually lasts for as long as my back can stand it. It tends to hurt if I stay in bed too long so I tend to get up and stretch, which usually prompts the other two to get moving.

I love going out for brunch on a weekend. To me, it seems really indulgent, to have someone else make you breakfast and take your sweet time over something that you normally have to inhale to get on with the day. Yesterday, I enjoyed brunch with some great friends of mine and we try to catch up as often as we can. Despite the breakfast being slightly disappointing for a few of us, the company was excellent!

brunch

As I write this, my OH is getting everything together for us to head out on a new walk. Sadly, Poppy woke us up super early this morning and left us every possible present under the sun so we’re ready to get on with our day! How about you? What are your plans for this glorious Sunday?

The Poppy Diaries – Week 3

Poppydog

Things have settled down a bit this week. After Poppy choosing her own bed last weekend, bedtimes have been much smoother. Poppy comes upstairs with us, sniffs around while we get ready for bed & then settles down quite nicely. She usually sleeps until we get up & knows what the alarm is in the morning! She’s definitely happier, as are we as we get to sleep longer! Yes! We’ve also been working on her training & she’s pretty much nailed sit, wait (at the side of the road) and has really improved on ‘stay’. We’re really proud doggy parents!

Tonight we’re taking her to frustration training and I’m really hoping that this will help with her frustration when she: meets other dogs, meets new people, smells squirrels, sees pigeons, wants attention & doesn’t get it, and when she can’t see what’s going on. She loves to be the centre of attention. We had someone come over to measure up for new carpet on the stairs this week. Fortunately  he loved dogs, as Poppy was all over him! She climbed up next to him, stood on him & presented herself to him so that he would rub her belly!

Poppydog

Poppy has had me in stitches a few times this week. The other day she was standing in the garden, sniffing the air, and her (massive) ears were blowing in the wind!

These are some of the things I’ve learnt about Poppy this week:

  • She really does behave like a puppy. We’ve been reading more about training her this week & she shows lots of puppy behaviour. For example, when she thinks we’re playing, she bites like a puppy. In order to rectify this, we have to yelp at her like a puppy would.
  • She doesn’t know how to play with other dogs. Poppy has met a lot of dogs in the park this week, but beyond basic hello’s, she doesn’t know what else to do with them. One dog wanted to play with her, but because he didn’t do the puppy biting, Poppy didn’t know what to do.
  • She doesn’t like the hoover, like most dogs but doesn’t mind the drill one bit! She also isn’t keen on the ironing board. (I know how she feels!)
  • When Poppy yawns, she howls! I love this bit about her, as it really shows her hound side. And it’s supercute!
  • Poppy wishes she could climb trees! Whenever she sees a squirrel or a pigeon, she follows the scent to the tree it’s in, she bounds about on her hind legs, trying desperately to climb the tree with her front paws! She’s so funny!

Poppy has met a lot of people in the park this week, and everyone concludes that she is adorable! Her massive ears & paws that come from the Basset Hound in her make her stand out and they make her really cute!

I’m really keen to go to the frustration training later on. When she smells or sees a squirrel she goes crazy & pulls on the lead like her life depends on it. It can make the walk quite unpleasant if she doesn’t calm down. She’s so focused on the smell, that we might as well not exist – we cannot get her attention for love nor money! Fingers crossed!