Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Acting Out

Well, Peggy warned that once the dogs succumbed to "down" they would probably start acting up again...she was right.  He did start barking at Rob again (last week) which does seem to have gotten better.  Really other than that, he seems to be okay.

Although, he is barking at Anna...  This actually started before last week.  They were buds there for a while, but Anna likes to push buttons and be very, very stubborn.  I'm not sure if he can feel our tension with her at times or if she has bothered him once too many times.  Even after we had told her No.

I have learned though that a lot of the training can be applied to kids as well.  Peggy said when giving the dog a down command that once it is said - he know what to do.  If he is stubborn, he may try to call your bluff.  So we are to say it once and then stand there and wait, and make the dog stand there as well.  I actually applied this tactic on Anna.  She would not go to sleep the other night and got up for the 3rd time crying about something, but refused to tell me.  So I asked and then waited...30 minutes!!!!  I would not let her sit or move from her spot. 

As far as Rusty with Anna...when we see he is getting agitated again we are putting him back on the leash and using the penny bottle.  Ugh, one step forward and three steps back.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Rusty Passed "Down" with Flying Colors!!!!

Wow, Rusty is a genius!  ha, ha!  I figured I would work with him on the "down" command today since after today Rob is working the rest of the weekend and I will be home with the kids by myself.  I wanted to be able to focus on Rusty only.

So prior to testing him I did two down commands as he was in the process of lying down.  Then, while holding the leash and walking with him I turned and looked at him and said "Rusty down" - he did not hesitate for even a second and went right into the down position.  Then I gave him some loving and told him how great he is!  When I stood up he stood up so again I said "Rusty down" and again he immediate went down! 

So then Rob, who was right by us said "Rusty down" when he came by him and Rusty immediately went down.  When Rob told him how good he was and went to go give him some loving though Rusty high tailed it away, LOL.  But he came back to Rob and he told him he did good.

I'm so excited!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Rusty The Alarm Clock

Every morning when I (or anyone) wakes up Rusty acts like he hasn't seen us in a week.  He's gotten better with me since I just ignore him until he calms down, but he has not calmed down yet when any of the kids wake up.  So which ever child wakes up first will come into the bedroom, Rusty gets very excited and inevitable runs right into the kids room and "pounces" on their bed.  Of course a dog pouncing on you will tend to wake you up.

I don't like to pull the kids door closed all the way at night because they do wake up to use the bathroom and I know the one trying to get out of the room will freak.  However, I am starting to get better though at getting to the door first in the morning and closing it all the way, and/or, training the kids to not respond to Rusty and close the door themselves when the wake up.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Today was a good day...until the end then ?

This morning when Rob was feeding Rusty his breakfast he fed him several of his bits of food by hand saying good before it was given to him.  He did very well with that!

We are trying to train Rusty to go potty in just one section of our backyard.  So for now we take him out on a leash whenever he needs a potty break.  The one time Rob was bringing him in I did lay out towels and with Rob holding the leash he actually allowed me to wipe off his back paws!  That was a first.  Later when I was on my own I tried hold the leash and wiping off his back paws and he was not a happy about it that time.

This afternoon then Rob took the kids (and Rusty) for a walk to the park right by our house.  Rusty did very well, but Rob said he did seem a bit nervous with kids running.  He didn't bark at them or anything though which was very good.  We thought making more trips like that with Rusty in tow may be a good idea...desensitize him a bit?

He went in his crate fairly well for me except for the last time I had to put him in there.  I grabbed his Kong, which I think he now realizes means he's going in his crate, jumped up on the couch and planted himself.  I did pull him just a bit and then ran with him up to the crate.  After we got home and I took him out of his crate he brought his Kong out with him and proceeded to try to bury it in our house - in the carpeting and then in the box with the Lego's.

This evening when I fed him dinner fed him several of his pieces of food by hand saying "good" when I gave it to him.  Again, he did "good" with it.  :-)

Then when it was time to bring Megan up to bed Rusty got a burst of energy.  He started running through the house and then jumped up on the bed and then jumped down and ran and got on the bed again.  He then started barking...but I don't think it was in an aggressive way - in more of a playful way.  Either way he was very wired and unfortunately the ground is way too muddy in our backyard for me to let him out to burn off energy.  So when he jumped off the bed and ran out of the bedroom I closed the door...with him on the other side of it.  :-)  A couple minutes later when I opened the door he was just laying there but had calmed down.  Not sure if I handled that correctly and if his "playful" barking should be allowed.

He is now resting comfortable for the evening...

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Rusty's Story

We adopted Rusty from a cattle dog rescue on December 29, 2011, he is an Australian Shepherd - Red Merle.  When we met Rusty at his foster home he was very welcoming to me and kids - immediately rolled on to his back for a belly rub.  He was not hyper, nor was he barking.  He was a little apprehensive with my husband (Rob) but went to him and allowed Rob to take him outside for a walk.  We all then went for a walk and we each got to hold the leash to see how he was even with the children.  He did not show any signs of aggression and felt he would be a good fit for our family.

Rusty was in desperate need of a bath when we got him.  He smelled very much of "dog" and had burrs in his hair and was in general, dirty.  Once we got him home we made an appointment to get him cleaned up.  He did very well at the groomers, did not like to blow dryers so much but was so dirty needed 3 baths.  Ick.  He came out a much cleaner dog and actually looked much more proud.

The day after we got Rusty Rob went to the fire department and worked 72 hours straight.  Probably not the best way to bring a new dog in to our home.  He had 3 days to spend with me and the kids and none with Rob.  So, already being apprehensive towards him was only then heightened.  He quickly became barky with Rob, especially while interacting with the kids or any quick movements.

Rusty then started getting barky with my children's friends, especially during any rough housing.  He progressively got more barky with Rob and we knew had to find someone to help us know how to train Rusty before it got any worse.

We definitely felt we need more then just your ordinary obedience training since we were now dealing some aggression.  I was so excited when I found Peggy and got to speak to her.  I immediately knew that she would be able to help us turn this around and be better leaders for Rusty.  He has so many great qualities, we are willing to do whatever it takes to make him a well rounded great dog.  He just has some kinks...baggage that we need to work out.

We have now had 3 private trainings with Peggy and transitioned into her Tuesday night class.  Rusty has come a long way in a short time.  He is no longer barking at Rob.  He isn't buddy, buddy with him but baby steps are good.  Today for the first time he actually took food out of Rob's hand.  Something, up until today, he would turn his nose up at and act like Rob did not even exist.

We are excited to continue progressing with Rusty.