Thursday, December 1, 2011

Tucker's manners

Oh me, oh my....Tucker must be in the terrible puppy stage.  

He is getting stronger and of course doesn't realize it.  Let me just say that it still is cute all the puppy antics and exuberance, just that there is a good time and then there is the not so good time.

I'm taking the food manners head on.  Feeding time is not cute anymore.  Now Tucker is getting really good at sitting and the "don't touch" of having to wait till I say "take it" that he and Stewie can eat.  No the big problem is getting the food out of the bins in my pantry.

Tucker goes ballistic with the vertical jumping in place.  Like he is a puppy pogo stick.  Then as I am trying to open the bin top he starts trying to stick his nose in to grab food.  Not cute.  When he was little he couldn't see that high, but now he is all paws and pushy.  Oh, and the barking at the same time with all of this.

At first I would hold him off with my one hand while I scooped out his and Stewie's food but now the claws and noise is unacceptable.  Mr. Stewie sits so calmly, watching what is going on.  He looks confused and annoyed with Tuckeroo.  Me too.

Lesson one:  Stay calm (me).   

Lesson two:  Food is earned by good behavior.  This is going to be a huge challenge for Tucker.  My goal is for him to sit, just like Stewie, while waiting for a meal.  

For a few times I put him in his puppy pen to fend him off but that didn't stop the annoying barking and jumping around.  Now I have been holding him by the collar and asking him to "sit, stay".  So it is one thing to ask him to sit which he does quite well but to stay in a sit is a lesson in progress.  This is my goal though.  Now I sometimes confuse the command with a "sit, don't touch".  This is a quandary for me, because I don't want him to touch it either till he is released to do so by my "take it" command.

Yes, it feels like Tucker is challenging us to see what he can get away with and if we will allow it.  I realize I need to step up with tethering him with me.  When I am busy around the house it can be easy to put him in the puppy pen and not have to think about watching him.  Problem is that he doesn't have the chance to learn from being tethered to me, of what he can do or not do.  He may think he can chew that chair leg (not), or bark (not).  With him near me I can set up a positive of what he can do.  Provide him that pad to lay on and give him something he can chew.  If I am going room to room he comes with me and learns about the house as well as he has to do what I am expecting him to do which is to follow around me, not the other way around.  I am the "Alpha"

I know I have written about this previously but if you have any advice you can share of this stage of raising a puppy to be a welcome family member I would really like to hear about it.  Wish us luck and smooth training!


Bailey said...

Katy was two when she came here with no training and food was one of our big issues. She has made a good deal of progress, but your first goal was right on. My personal control has led to me teaching her more self control. She will now sit until she is released to eat. It took work to get there.

Jules said...

I will tell you what I am doing, since I have a somewhat similar issue. The obnoxious barking with Irie doesn’t start until two thirds of the way through the prep and she will wait silently while I place her bowl and release her to the food with her release word (“break”).

I bought a 3 ft tie down from a friend of mine who is a trainer and attached it to the leg of the island near where I prep food. I put her on tie down as soon as I start to prep the food so she cannot jump up at me or the counter. As soon as she starts barking I walk away from the prep area and face away from her until she stops barking. Once she has stopped barking I return to the prep area and continue working. If she starts barking again, I walk away again.

I have just started doing this because I decided I had my fill of the obnoxious behavior and I do not want it to become an even more difficult habit to break as she practices it. She picked up very quickly that I will not even look at her, let alone put the food bowl down, so I am hoping she picks up on this quickly too. Until she does I am building some extra training time in my schedule. Impulse control is so important!

Jules said...

Meant to say:

She picked up very quickly that I will not even look at her, let alone put the food bowl down IF SHE IS BARKING, so I am hoping she picks up on this quickly too.

Lassiter Chase and Benjamin said...

Not sure any advice to give. Little Benji is kinda like a puppy pogo stick too. Benji seems to have long legs -- so he can really jump high. Mommy wont give Benji a treat if he is jumping -- he seems to be learning, Mommy will only give Benji a treat if he is calm or sitting down when the treat comes out. (Ideally sitting down would be best.) It seems to be working - Benji is starting to learn to be a bit calmer. But Mommy doesn't want to speak too soon.

Ludo van Doggy said...

Jules is right, you just need to try and ignore any unwanted behaviour, It'll be hard as there are two of them so it feels like you're punishing Stewie. Ludo went through a similar thing and sometimes he would end up getting fed way after I had intended because every time he offered an unwanted behaviour I would put the food back, leave and go back to watching tv or whatever. As shelties really like barking and it's self rewarding you could also try offering him 'life rewards' in that as a reward for something he does get to bark appropriately, he then learns that he can bark when you want him to but not when you don't.