Ps if I don't want him in the kitchen his mat is right outside the door in sight he gets rewarded randomly as I go. If in the toilet I crated I tethered by door. I kept a lead always attached to use before entering. If you are lucky he will feel he needs to escort you and await that doorbell to open for you to "safely" return
“If having a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans.”
Hello and welcome, Dash is a lovely boy. You have had great advice from others and I agree that you need to give it time. In just a few days Dash isn't even feeling himself yet so it would be hard to come to know each other. I am excited to touch base in a few weeks and hear what you have learned about him.
Re: the ball thing and wondering if it is based in him having to share with so many other dogs. I have had several dogs with this tendency to take the ball off and chew it. Ball games (the chase and catch) ignites the natural prey drive and I have observed the tendency for instinct to lead to dogs going off to a private spot in order to chew (kill) the prize. I guess it depends on how important it is to you that you can play a good game of fetch. I personally place a bit of importance on it as it gives me the opportunity to train many other little things and the ball is a great reward tool as an alternative to food treats.
Getting some dogs to bring it back can be a challenge but well worth the effort. I have seen some dogs who appear genuinely conflicted about it, they want to return it and keep playing but they just can't fight the instinct to destroy it first. My GSD was the biggest challenge. He had initially been fine with the game as a pup but as he matured it started to turn pear shaped. He had intense prey drive and unfortunately also struggled with guarding issues. Very important to not reach a point whereby the dog feels the need to guard the ball. You really don't want to come to loggerheads over things because when push comes to shove it will not turn out well and the risk is that you inadvertently teach your dog undesirable behaviours.
With Jett learning this game was very important to me as the ball was the prize he would work for in tracking etc. I purchased a ball on a rope to which I then attached a long line. Haha, I would swing that ball in circles above my head like I was going to also a calf. Once he had the ball I would reel him in like a fisherman does a fish, only ever taking up the slack and bringing him closer, never pulling it and turning it into a tug game or challenge. Once he was in front of me I would just stand still and wait until he surrendered it after giving him the cue "out". Patience was everything. It took a few months to get to the point of him wanting to get that ball back to me ASAP and surrendering it.
I also work from home and understand that time management is so important. Mine have learned that when I sit in a certain place and do certain things, it means they need to chill out and leave me be. I work for 2 hours or so and then give myself a break during which we have a short game or do 10min of trick training. Our days consist of many, many short interactions and in between times the boys are now brilliant at leaving me be. It makes me smile when as soon as they see me take up the work position they go immediately to their places and chill out. I think you will achieve this in no time with a little consistency and patience. As T&MM suggested, I would probably let him into your office and if at first he does not settle try the crate idea. These dogs are so in tune with mood, emotions and the most subtle movement, there is a lot of understanding and bonding to be achieved in just hanging out beside you while you work. Before you know it he will likely be on his feet to go with you to put the kettle on within seconds of you thinking about it LOL
You sound like a wonderful dog owner, he is a lucky boy to have finally found home.
Hello there! Dash is a gorgeous dog and so lucky to get a new wonderful start in life. Lots of great advice from everyone here. I'd say one of the best bits is to remember it is very early days- don't be disappointed or too concerned if things feel a bit stressful. Things will find there rhythm and start to click into place.
We have an 8month old border collie and both work shift work so sometimes she is left alone for 8hrs or we need to sleep during the day and can't entertain her. During these times we give her a big meaty bone (one without sharp edges or bits she can swallow) from the butcher which keeps her busy for a few solids hours. We also find an hour long walk with a mix of frisbee/tennis ball time gets her tired out.
Having said that if I had her inside with me all the time she often is go go, she's excited and wants to play which could be what you're experiencing when he's coming into your office. Is there an area of the house or yard that you can make for him, with toys, comfy bed and maybe a bone that can be his 'chill space' ?
I bet you're doing a great job and don't be hard on yourself if it takes longer than expected to find a new normal. Focusing on and reminding yourself of his positive traits is really important of times in frustration and as you are a new owner don't feel afraid of making rules and being confident with them. You own the house/pay the rent, feed him, love him, entertain him- if you don't want him on the bed that is more than fine and you can tell him so!
When working to keep him off the furniture I agree with Keller. Don't allow him in the room unsupervised. Also, make sure he has a bed in those rooms so he has someplace comfortable to hang out (it doesn't have to be a dog bed, a fluffy blanket will work). If he gets up on the furniture, lead him to the dog bed and calmly praise him for being on his bed and if he is food motivated this would be the time to give a few treats (something super yummy and high value). Also, I don't like grabbing dogs by the collar so you may want to get a training tab. I have this one: http://www.gundogsupply.com/k-9-komfort-...g-tab.html
The brand isn't so important but if you get one make sure there is no loop for him to catch his foot on.
Thank you so much again for sharing your hard-won wisdom. It's like every line of every reply to my original plea for help contains a really useful nugget of practical advice, or much-needed perspective.
I have the idea of high value treats, but I haven't yet discovered what he values more than my bed or the sofa! The rescue said that he loves a squeaky ball, so I'm keeping one up my sleeve for when I really need it (or when he's ready to give a ball back, whichever comes first). When he's hungry, treats do work really well so maybe I need to experiment with really high value foods (maybe cooked chicken?). This morning I tried recall training for the first time - in my garden with a long line - as a way of giving him his breakfast. It worked really well. The advice to give him lots of treats when he does something that he struggles with is really helpful - I think I may have been a bit stingy up to now.
I need to work out our living arrangements some more, I think. When I first brought him home I had a crate set up in the hallway but he adamantly refused to get into it. I suspect he may have had bad experiences of being caged up, so I'm going to try it in a different location (a room upstairs that he's keen to explore) and put some toys/treats in there, working up gradually until he's happy to lie down in it for a while. I also think it would be good to get him his own proper bed for the lounge so he has an appealing alternative to the sofa. And I also need to find something sufficiently bulky and non-chewable to put on the sofa when I leave the room to make a drink.
I think he's already keen on 'escorting me'(!), entirely because he hopes there will be something interesting in it for him. I met a lady walking her dog yesterday and she was saying 'isn't it wonderful the unconditional love they give you) and I thought 'hmm, his main focus for unconditional love at the moment is food'.
The advice on using a rope attached to a ball is really interesting, and I much appreciate the insights on balls activating his prey drive: when I read that I had an 'ah ha' moment as that's exactly what he looks like he's doing: catching something small and eating it.
We're slowly getting into a routine of me working for 45 minutes then spending 15 minutes doing some playful training. This morning I was getting him to touch his Kong in return for a treat. It's clearly challenged him as he's quiet now, whereas he was eager for attention before.
I was chatting to a friend last night who was saying how easy her dog is - he just eats sleeps and walks (he's a labrador). I must admit I had a pang of energy and wondered 'have I taken too much on?' then I read one of my collie books and some of the posts on here and it reminded me of what I find intriguing about him - his sensitivity and focus. This is one of the most interesting (and stressful!) things I've ever done.
Thank you again.
Also (sorry to drone on), it's really good to be reassured that I need to be the boss. I'm beginning to learn that being the boss doesn't mean getting into horrible dominance behaviours. It's more about me deciding what I want, being clear with him about it and not giving in when he has other ideas.
Being clear without being pushy is the hardest lesson for me personally. I'm still learning it. In Ember's and my little world, me being the boss equates to nothing more than me controlling the schedule and access to food/outdoors. Even in training, I let her decide if she feels like working. I'm still learning to listen to that (just yesterday I pulled out equipment for nosework and completely disregarded the lack of enthusiasm she displayed in return, and that session went south very quickly!). My personal tendency is to say "I wen through the trouble of setting everything up so we are at least doing one rep" but even that isn't good for my soft dog.
So, my tiny bit of wisdom for today: Listen to what your dog has to say.
Gotcha Day: November 14, 2015
Vet-Listed Birthday: May 2, 2014
Ember is right, listen to your dog and I would only add, "finish on a high note". If one of my boys is struggling with something I am trying to teach them, even if they have already done it the day before and it's just not happening for today, I stop and switch to a few simple, fail safe requests so I can end the session with success and reward.
For high value treats I use chicken or string cheese cut up into small pieces. One thing about giving a dog treats, the number of treats is important so 6 or 7 small treats given quickly one after another will be viewed by your dog as better then if you gave just one large treat.
My collies tend to follow me around the house as I work. They don't usually go off on their own to another part of the house unless they are following someone else. My daughter has a week off from school this week so I have been letting her sleep late and after letting the dogs outside in the morning they both have been going back to her room to be with her. Usually they stay with me. So don't assume Dash is looking for treats, he may just want to keep tabs on you.
One thing to remember when training a dog to do anything is to be patient. When I first got Mattie I would get so frustrated with myself and wonder what I was doing wrong that she wasn't understanding what I wanted of her. Turns out Mattie was fearful and stressed and needed time to adjust. I look back at how stressed I was about Mattie when I first adopted her and I wish I had not worried so much. Time, patience, and me being consistent in my training is what she needed.
I think I have used every single one of the tips and insights that everyone on this board has shared - thank you so much.
We are definitely making progress in all areas, and I'm getting to understand how he needs different things at different times: exercise, mental stimulation, play, stroking. When I get the balance right things go well. One big bit of progress that I'm really pleased about is that this morning he finally got in the car for the first time since I drove him back from the rescue centre. I sprinkled some bits of freshly cooked chicken and salmon around and after some hesitation he leapt in and devoured them. Then we went for a walk and when we got back I threw some kibble into the car and he got in again. Hopefully we'll keep building this up then in a few days we'll be able to go for a short drive to his favourite walking spot.
The next big challenge is summoning up the courage to let him off lead (so far all our walks have been with him on a lead). I'll give it a try in my garden this afternoon with a long line attached then maybe take him to the park later today or tomorrow. Any tips on how to go about this big step would be very welcome!