Well if you have been looking on my Twitter account you would have seen I have some very exciting news to share with you all…..we rescued a 4 month old puppy! He is a beautiful apricot cockapoo with some behavioural problems and some aggression issues. He was very loved in his old home by his family but they just couldn’t cope and had 4 young children. He may look like butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth but he growls, barks and nips which was all too much with 4 children. We have taken him on and our work is going to be cut out but he is a lovely dog and very intelligent. Luckily because he is so young, with the right training all this can change and he can be the perfect pooch! When he is good he is very very good but when he is bad….not so much! I am hoping to blog about the process.
Day 1: After a drive which was meant to go AROUND central London but ended up going THROUGH central London we finally got to meet him! Smaller than I thought and fluffier. We picked him up with all his beds, toys and other bits and bobs (seems that puppies and like children and tend to come with lots of stuff! A whole back car full!) We thought he might be unsettled on the journey but he slept the whole way in his car carrier or played with his toys and seemed perfectly content. We stopped off at my sister’s house to give him a loo break and did get to see his first growls and attempts to bite. We then got stuck in rush hour traffic and a 1 hour 30 mins journey took over 5 hours (remind me never to travel out of London in rush hour again!). The first day was really hard and we had lots of incidences of growling and trying to bite us which is quite scary when it is a dog that you don’t know. Between this though he was the perfect dog and more than happy to sit and cuddle.
Day 2: He cried a lot of the night but did settle but then woke up early crying again and wanting to be let out. He needs lots of encouragement to do things, he is very nervous and unsure about stairs for example so getting him to go down them is quite a mission. He also does not like it when you try and take off his harness or put it on and this is when he tries to bite the most. He slept with it on last night as we unclipped it but he was too aggressive to remove it completely but we managed to remove it today and put on his collar instead. We have taken him on lots of walks to the park but getting him there is a slow process, he needs an awful lot of encouragement and does bark at people and sometimes growl as they go past. As the day went on, through and using positive reinforcement and distraction techniques this reduced. By the end of the day he was barely growling (a huge improvement from the previous day!) and even met some people in the park who stroked him without him biting and some other dogs and puppies. One of his problems is that he is so cute everyone wants to stroke him (particularly children). Not allowing children to stroke him at the moment as can’t risk him biting but we explain to adults that he is rescue and his problems and they are sympathetic and often do still stroke him which he has been fine about with 1 exception. He is super intelligent and I believe some of his aggression comes from frustration and boredom. In the day we managed to teach him paw and he already knows how to wee on command (!), sit, lie down and how to take a treat from you gently. He spent the evening snuggled on our laps.
Day 3: We have already fallen in love with him but weren’t too impressed by his 5am wake up call! We ignored his cries last night (hard as it was) so to teach him he needs to settle in his pen at night but 5am he needed the loo so we had to get up and let him out before he woke all the neighbours! We bought him a new toy yesterday which you stuff with food and treats so as I write this now at 6am he is trying his best to get some chicken out of the toy! We are speaking a trainer today for some more advice and going to buy some clickers to clicker train him. He is intelligent, learns fast and is eager to please so we are considering something like agility to try channel all his energy into something fun and positive. Also going to get a new harness and work to create positive associations with this harness as he hates the old one! Will keep you updated on how it goes!
The Dorothy Days Xx