Daycare Agony Uncles Q&A's
In our last newsletter we gave you the option to ask dog trainer, Heath Ross any worries you might have during lockdown.. Here are some of the questions asked along with the answers (IN BOLD) to these.
1. # the French Bulldog puppy is definitely missing daycare! She's doing really well but I have two struggles with her - any help welcome!!
Firstly, being social, she's used to running around with other dogs once or twice a week but now it's just her, on walks she gets so excited when she see's another dog and she wants to jump up at them, but obviously not all owners and dogs want a puppy launching themselves at them - any tips on encouraging her to calm down a little??
Brilliant question, due to the situation and lack of socialisation opportunities, this is very common at the moment. Number one rule, is to focus on what we want the dog to do, rather than what we don't want.
If we are talking when the dog is on lead, we want the dog to exhibit some control, so I would really practice getting her to 'Sit' on one verbal cue in the home (never repeat, sit, sit, sit : ). Then when out and about, try and practice having her Sitting when she starts to get excited around other dogs.
Initially, I would have lots of small bite sized treats and keep feeding whilst she's in position.
So we don't over feed, you might want to take a portion of her diet out with you. If she's hungry, when she's in an aroused state, this will make the food more reinforcing.
Failing that, I would simply walk the other way. Teaching the dog, when you're over exuberant, the consequence is that we move further away from the thing you want to get at. When you are calm, we move closer.
If we're talking off lead, then we need to practice our 'Come' cue. Fields are the last place you want to practice this, due to the distraction levels. So I would practice in the home, giving her an amazing treat each time she responds (remember, never repeat come, come, come). A ten metre long line can help when free running, so the dog is unable to run to another dog, whilst we are practicing recall in the home/garden.
Recall is the number one behaviour to train any dog. For advice on how to train this to a high standard, I'd recommend a proper consultation. Hope that helps for now!
Secondly, she's 10 and a half months so I want to start slowly transitioning her onto adult food - she's on the Royal Canin French Bulldog puppy food, so I've bought the adult version. She ate a small amount of it initially (not in her food bowl I did it separately as to not confuse her) but since then refuses to eat it at all, and if I put any with her puppy food she won't eat any of that out of the bowl, either!
What is best to do to get her eating adult food??
I usually put pups on an adult feed around eight months. Try to feed a good quality diet. Look out for 80/20 mix foods (80% protein, 20% fruit and veg). AATU, Orijen, Canagan are some of the best. Avoid constantly changing diets and if changing, always change over a ten day period. Leave the food down for fifteen minutes max, twice a day, then take it up. Don't worry if the dog doesn't eat much for a few days. Feed in a confined area and sit there with the dog if necessary. Don't add anything to the food and make sure the dog isn't eating anything else throughout the day until we have established a routine.
2. Hey Eddie and team, What a great idea and thank you for giving us the opportunity to ask questions. I actually have been really worried about # separation anxiety when we do get back to normal. Obviously she is getting very used to us being at home and previously she used to get anxious us leaving and we had managed to get her used to it and in to a routine but I fear this will all be out the window now. We left her for 10 mins earlier this week and she was panting heavily when we got home. How would Heath suggest we manage this?
Really good to hear owners who are so mindful of this during lockdown! It's just important to have some separation away from the family throughout the day, i assume this being one reason why your dog attends a daycare setting. Baby gates or crates are a great way to implement some distance so the dogs don't get used to our undivided attention 24/7. Interactive toys are a great way to create independence away from the owner. The dogs have to problem solve and think for themselves, hence lowering the need for their human companions. Snuffle matts, busy buddy squirrel dudes, frozen Kongs and activity balls are some of my favourites.
Get into the habit of giving the dog something everytime you leave the room/house. This way, you teach the dog that when you leave, nice things happen. Chewing sets of endorphins in the dog, so it's also important to provide a variety of natural, long lasting chews, such as antlers, roots bars (non splinter wood), plutos bar, yakkers bars etc are some of Bear's favourites. On a separate note, with the new baby I think she is feeling bit down. We give her lots of attention still and Try to involve her as much as possible but I can still tell that she isn’t herself. Is there advice on how we can rid of her any stresses and anxiety’s she may be having. I have noticed she has started carrying a teddy round and sucking on it which is a new behaviour (and breaks my heart).
When a dog starts to carry toys like this, it could mean a phantom pregnancy. Obviously without knowing more, it's hard for me to address, but I would clear all soft toys away for this period and consult your vets.
3. Hi, Love the update from you all! I hope you are all staying save. I am absolutely loving the updates on social media! I’m having a similar issue with # and separation anxiety. I’m terrified of how he is going to be when things go back to normal. As you know we live in a small flat and our daily exercise is used to walk him. If there are any top tips that I can use please let me know!
Same advice as above (Question 2) I’m also sending # a few extra days when we return (if of course this is possible) as he has put on a fair few extra pounds 🙈😞 such a bad dog mum!
4. Hello, I hope you are all keeping well. We can’t wait till # starts again. We are concerned about his anxiety when we will have to go back to work. He has started acting up already when we go out for our weekly shop. How shall we go about this when the time comes close to us leaving him home alone? He will still have his dog walker, we will give him short walks too and he will attend daycare and play dates but he wouldn’t want to be home alone for a second. Currently he is following me everywhere to check I haven’t left.
In addition to above (Question 2) Get used to closing doors behind you. Make sure when you or people do come home, they make the greetings very low key.
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