Monday, August 29, 2011

Lilah & Sadie in Training

Lilah Ann, love of my life, #1 favorite dog is 2 years old. When we got her I didn't have anything really to do but train her, especially while Greg was in Europe. Now I won't go so far as to say that she was "the perfect puppy", in fact Coop will attest to that not being the case. But she did listen, she learned how to lay down, to wait, to sit, to drop, on & on. Well then Sadie Mae came along (the sweetest little lamb) & we were exhausted to begin with. At first we remarked how quiet she was, never barking even when Lilah did...Famous last words. One morning we were walking them before work & Sadie had something to say to everybody, every thing & every other dog on the street that day. My favorite is the fervor with which she barks at dare they cycle in her presence. Mean while Lilah was regressing from her otherwise relaxed, accommodating personality...not sleeping through the night, unabashed barking fits, accidents...the list goes on. At the old place it was ok, because honestly we weren't overly concerned about upsetting any neighbors (the couple next door stopped talking to us anyway - I suspect it's because of the dogs & their rude barking) & nobody lived above us. Now we're surrounded by homeowners, in beautiful condos & the condo association has rules, ESPECIALLY about adorable little puppies with loud mouths! AND, the girls haven taken to sleeping only until about 4:30 AM, even when they're in their crates, waking us up whining & crying to get out & go outside. Finally, we lost our back yard in the move, which means not only when they wake up at 4:30 am needing to go outside we have to get them all harnessed & leashed up & get ourselves presentable, but even at normal hours we're forced to walk them at least a few times a day, which given their manors these days virtually guarantees embarrassing barking, and other dog owners looks of "oh my rude". SO it has to stop.
  • Step 1: quit it with the barking so that we can take nice long [polite] walks. 
  • Step 2: walk them long enough & give them enough interaction that when they come inside, and especially when its time to sleep, they're all out of energy & are able to sleep through the night. 
I've read several doggy books including The Loved Dog, How to Raise the Perfect Dog: Through Puppyhood & Beyond & 30 Days to a Well Mannered Dog, and all of these books together with some online resources have super advice about how to squash some of these unpopular behaviors. This is probably the point at which I need to say that I (even more than Greg) am totally to blame for their behavior, because it's been a free for all for a long time - especially since Sadie joined the family, so even though I've read a lot & done my homework, the training methods don't work if you don't use them. Ok. Blame assigned. NOW, accepting responsibility...I am going to finish 30 Days to a Well Mannered Dog & make a concentrated effort to employ those tactics & a combination of other things I've learned to help address & hopefully eliminate the sassy barking & unpredictable sleep patterns.

Some things I've just read about on line seem like they might be particularly I'm going to try them. One is naming the behavior of barking "Speak" so that they know what "Speak" is & I can tell them "No Speak" when I'd like them to shut their little yappers! While we definitely need to get this whole barking & sleeping thing under control, we'd love it if they could get comfortable with being home alone & out of their creates during the day...with both of us back to school, they're in their crates for even LONGER each day. We'd also still like to train them to sleep in their own bed, and not ours (or their crates) at night. I said, Step 1...SHHHHHHHHHHH! Step 2...SLEEEEEEEP! Step 3...THE WORLD! Ok, Go...

Puppy lovin',

PS - Last night they slept through the night, our bed. Sigh.

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