Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Tinkle Tinkle Little Star

Raelyn is a great puppy, don't get me wrong, but like everything she isn't perfect. Her big issues stem from the main problem that she is a "bit" headstrong and independent and wants to do whatever she wants and gets unhappy when her demands aren't met to her satisfaction.

Whining: She still LOVES to whine when in the crate or on tie down when she doesn't want to be or if we left the room. She will make sad puppy dog eyes and will keep trying to convince us that we left her to be eaten by a nasty troll. She doesn't work herself up into fits, but she is very persistent and will keep at it for a while. She still hasn't figured out that the whining isn't going to get her what she wants, but she attempts it anyways. Eventually she will stop. By now, Dale and I are total pros at ignoring it and it doesn't even phase us. Kind of like an annoying car alarm that keeps learn to tune it out. Luckily she doesn't do it ALL the time. Just most mornings and some afternoons.

Pulling on leash: Raelyn has great leash manners when she wants to behave. If there is something she is more interested in, then she will make an attempt to go for it. She is WAY better on a headcollar than the flat collar, which is something we will have to work on and transition to, but for the moment the headcollar is plenty to keep my hands full. She has trouble walking right next to you as she wants to be out in front. She REALLY wants to meet birds and other dogs we pass by. She will turn and look back at them as we move passed them. Sometimes she will make eyes at people, but that is pretty rare. I correct her and bring her back into the correct position and try not to make any forward progress when she pulls, but it is giant pain and she still pulls. We'll keep working on it.

Potty problems: As a working guide dog, Raelyn will need to go potty on command and ONLY on command. Well being more than 5 months old, she should be able to figure this one out by now. Unfortunately, she isn't having much of it. She will go on command, but if you don't give her the command, she will go when she wants to go and wherever that happens to be! In a store, on the Caltrain waiting platform, in the house... She also doesn't like to relieve when there are distractions around. Duh, who wants to go potty when there are interesting things to look at. And she is REALLY resistant to going poo in new places. Well, we are tackling one issue at a time and with the help of our club's puppy buddy, Mardie, we have come up with a plan to get Raelyn back on track and make her get with the program.

I was taking her out to relieve about every hour which is sometimes how often she would want to go, but we know she can hold it for more than 8 hours, so she is just being high maintenance. Now I am taking her out 2 hours apart minimum, so she learns to hold it for long time periods. To keep her from going sooner than that, she had her house roaming privileges revoked and is constantly in her crate or on tie down unless we are physically interacting with her. She now has only 1 potty spot that is downstairs. A pain for us, since we have our living area upstairs, but we'll deal. After she relieves on command in her potty spot, she gets lots of praise and is rewarded by playing tug with her favorite toy. Hopefully she will quickly associate fun times if she goes on command in her potty place. To help cut down on her frequent peeing, we are monitoring her water intake and only allowing 16-20 oz per day with only 4 oz at any 1 time. This should help us control her relieving schedule.

Silly puppy. Wish us luck!

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