Monday, October 13, 2014

Managing inter-household aggression - An example

I met Kate on Facebook and she described an amazing management plan for her inter-household aggression between two dogs. I asked her to share photos and descriptions!

Kate described how her dogs Calamity and Annie got along for four years, then had three separate fights within a few weeks. Kate's words:

After that, we had to keep them separated. We have an 8 year old in the house and not enough room to have an airlock type situation (the only rooms my boyfriend and I have available to keep them apart are our room and the livingroom) and accidents happen. So we converted the shed for Annie.

Alright, so the shed is a workshop/shed/doggy apartment. We cleared out one whole half of it and stored a bunch of stuff up in the rafters after closing them in.

We consolidated the workshop to one side of the shed

On the other side, we bought two cheap rugs for the carpet, moved a futon in and set it up, moved her crate into the shed, set up a little side table...

The futon is mainly there for the humans. Annie is a very needy dog and she's used to her dad (my boyfriend) being home with her all day. So when she moved to the shed, we got some valium from the vet for her on an as needed basis for separation anxiety (not clinical for her, just mild). We ended up not needing to use it after a couple times during the first few days. We took turns spending most of the day out there with her and one or both of us would sleep out there at night. Over time we let her stay out there by herself for longer and longer periods during the day and eventually graduated to her spending part of the night, then the whole night out there by herself (my boyfriend doesn't work so we had the luxury of him changing his sleep schedule so she could go from half-nights to full nights alone). We have a computer system down there as part of the workshop. I set up a Skype account just for Annie so that we could monitor her from the house via Skype to make sure that she was not freaking out and so we could plan accordingly for longer periods of alone time or back tracking to shorter periods of time. Here she is relaxing on the futon - this is a screenshot from my computer watching her in the shed.

We already had an a/c unit down there and set up one of those little space heaters recently when it got colder. We will need to insulate the shed or get her back in the house before it gets really cold this winter. I am hoping by that time we can be using management in the house. Both dogs need to learn to relax in a crate for long periods, Annie needs to be fully acclimated to her muzzle, and both dogs need to be ok baby gated in a room away from us. Then we can do crate/rotate/muzzle with both dogs sharing a space.

I would like to work on structured non-muzzled/non-management activities like relaxing on mats next to each other. I am also going to go through a RG protocol with both of them. I am wary because Annie's triggers seem to be globalizing (from bones to human food to toys or resting places - I forgot to mention there was a toy on the bed when Annie attacked Calamity the third time, but toys had never been an issue even with other dogs).

I don't know how far we will be able to come sans-management. Probably only very structured exercises because I don't think I will ever be able to trust them both loose in the house without them actively doing something (like a mat exercise, etc). We'll see.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Puppy preparation!

How to prepare your home for your puppy! This family has children and runs an in-home daycare, so they've been very thoughtful about preparations for their new Pointer pup. They gave me permission to share their preparation photos!

Books books and more books. Book to help us select out breed, breed specific books, puppy training books and of course a name book :)

Doggy do list. 

Kitchen table pre-puppy preparations

Smaller table put in to make room for puppy :)

Puppy's food and drink area now fits nicely on the left of the table! Take note of the "non-bowl" feeding gadget! 

Up close photo of pup's eating zone. 

Food storage !

Treats for training, to be used along side her regular meal kibble. 

Making room in the family room for our new family member!

Lucky to have such a handy husband. He made this beautiful frame for pup's doggy bed. 

Toy storage and a few of pups toys. Lots of different textures to hopefully curb chewing on furniture ha ha. Ducky, kong rubber dental chew, antler, bully stick, nylabone, and whatever that orange thing is called ;)
<Courtenay's note: It's a Retrieving Bumper>

More of our doggy supply collection. Already has her own drawer! Brushes, travel water bowl, nail clippers, tooth brush and paste, and another food toy. Also extra collar and more of those orange things. 

Pups crate. Located in our master bedroom.

Leash collar and doo doo bags. Soooo excited for that part ;)

Downstairs daycare business area. Gated off " puppy zone" to the right of the photo. 

Close up of the " puppy zone" in the daycare

More toys, water bowl and bed located in pups safe zone in the daycare. 

Posters printed off dr Sophia's website regarding kids and dogs.
<Courtenay's note: I love the sharpie-edits to the posters!>

 We bought a large dog pen for the yard to last until we can get the fence fixed on the hill.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Belated West Updates!

Photos from his two-year adoption anniversary!

Some days I feel like this

But most days I feel like this

Or this

I love those long walk on the beach

Always something new to dicover

More pics:

Adorable recent video:

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

A new harness

For Christmas, Reiker and I got some new gear.

This fall, I got a dog scooter and Reiker and I were having fun with it, but my x-back harness doesn't fit him and the regular nylon harness we were using just wasn't a good idea long term. So, we needed something else.

After looking around at several sites, I really liked the Urban Trail harness by Alpine Outfitters. They offer a starter kit for scootering that includes a tow line, a collar and a belt for humans!

I really, really like the belt. It has no plastic parts at all, and the clasp is such that when I (or a dog) pull on the belt, it tightens into the webbing so it can't come loose by mistake. My least favourite thing about most pet waist-leash belts is that they have plastic clips, slides, clasps, etc.

This one is also padded and super comfy. I bet I could wear it with just a thin tshirt underneath without chafing/hurting me.

Reiker LOVES this harness. We can't scooter (it's icy outside) but I have gone running with him a tiny bit with it. We also have been using it for tug games, and it is fabulous for taking pressure off his neck.

Using the flyball handle Alpine put on the harness for me.

With the Premier harness and the EZdog harness, he would sometimes choke or cough when the harness would come up under his chin and put pressure on his throat. This harness doesn't do that at all, even when I'm letting him lean into it with his front feet off the ground. And it's super secure.
The harness does do up with two plastic clips, because I specifically wanted the adjustable version. It fits a bit loose how it's adjusted now, and I might tighten it a bit to see how Reiker feels about it. We love it, seriously.

We also got this fancy limited slip collar with a huge O ring and my phone number embroidered on it. It's somehow become his everyday wear collar, and I use it for tying him out as well (He's inside a fenced yard, the tie out is for additional security). I LOVE the Oring. Why don't all collars have O instead of D rings? This is an awesome idea.

He's wearing it here.. I made the photo big so you can really see it.
You can just see the phone number embroidery on the collar under his fur!

We haven't used the towline much yet. I have used it hooked to the belt and harness, and the bungee is great. It's supposed to be reflective so I want to play with it in the dark. Mostly, it's for the scooter, so that will have to wait until spring.
It is NOT intended to be held by hand, and it's very rough. The couple of times I have grabbed it with my hand, I've regretted it, so no more of that!!

Disclaimer: I received this product as a gift from a friend, with no connection to Alpine.