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Too Much Dog for Me?

If you are wondering what is the right dog for you, this is the place to be. In this introductory forum we talk about topics such as breed vs. mix, size, age, grooming, breeders, shelters, rescues as well as requirements for exercise, space and care. No question is too silly here. This particular forum is for getting and giving helpful, nice advice. It is definitely not a forum for criticizing someone else's opinion, knowledge or advice. This forum is all about tail wagging and learning.

  
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Stella

Waiting for- Treats
 
 
Barked: Mon Jan 7, '13 8:23pm PST 
Sallie Mae, thanks for your encouragement.

Stella has an interview at a doggie daycare later this week!
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Ace

Mischief is my- middle name
 
 
Barked: Wed Jan 9, '13 2:07pm PST 
Sorry to hear about the dog park bite shock

I JUST started taking Ace and Kale to a nearby dog park. But we go when almost no one is there. Sometimes no one is there when we arrive.

But getting to play with other dogs is calming Ace a lot, or so it seems after a few days. Good luck on the doggie day care.
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Stella

Waiting for- Treats
 
 
Barked: Wed Jan 9, '13 4:19pm PST 
Hi Ace. One thing to keep in mind at the dog park is that you're giving up some rights: No leash required! That means anyone with a dog may make a bad judgement call and you have to pay the price. Here anyway, the police said they could do nothing since the bite occurred in a dog park. All I can do is hire a lawyer for a civil case, and I'm not going to do that.

I have been unable to confirm the rabies vaccine since the guy fled the scene. I have to assume that since the dog was wearing a tag that said 2012 it was current. Animal control was no help at all. They said they only issue the numbers to places that give vaccines, but couldn't say which dog received the shot. The place that gave the shot said it was private information. I didn't want the guy's name, but just to confirm the vaccine with the dog's description. Oh, and get this: After I insisted, animal control talked with the place that gave the vaccine. They said that two dogs came up under the rabies number, one was current and one was not. I doubt anyone would put another dog's collar on a dog and take it to the park, but this guy was weird and rather mean.

Throughout the whole thing, everyone keep telling me to call someone else, and they'd tell me to call the person who just told me to call them. I feel like I fell l through some kind of awful loop. I fully realize the chances that dog had rabies are very very slim, but I don't like the way the whole thing played out. So, I'm pretty much anti-dog park for life now. I'll say it to anyone who will listen. wink Oh, and for the record, hospital ER nurses like to laugh at you if you express rabies concerns over being bitten by a domesticated animal. I don't care though, because the only state without rabies is Hawaii and, sadly, I don't live there.

But getting back to the purpose for my post to begin with! Since I had scheduled a meeting with the original trainer before I posted here, I kept the appointment today just to meet the guy. He really does think that dogs are wolves with some differences, but mostly they are wolves. To his credit, he has studied wolves in the wild. He decided that she's NOT "too much dog for me."

I was impressed that I saw him using a lot of positive reinforcement with Stella during the evaluation, but I started to have doubts when I asked whether he uses negative reinforcement too. He does sometimes use choke collars and electronic collars. Some of you are probably freaking out right now that I'm even considering it! I just keep hearing what my vet said to me today: You have to do whatever it takes to get her trained (humanely but maybe with some punishment is how I read him) and stick with it for at least a month before deciding if it's working. So confused. confused I've been going to this vet for almost 10 years and he's always been great with my cats.

I visited the vet to get her shot for the doggie daycare and to have her nails trimmed. The vet refused to trim her nails even with the help of two assistants. He said it would do more harm than good. She's so fearful of getting her nails trimmed, but she's fine if I just hold her paws. I don't get it. We've tried trimming them at home as well. The vet suggested trying it again after doggie daycare.

But getting back to training: The question that's becoming very clear here is whether I believe in this whole "leader of the pack" thing to borrow a Cesar Millan term. My husband believes in it and thinks I need to establish myself as a leader over Stella. My vet thinks that my dog is bossing me around and not respecting me. He also believes in the pack thing.

I have a psychology degree, not a biology degree. It seems that people with more of a science background are following the pack thing, at least some people I know. I tend to believe more in positive reinforcement. I'm not sure what to do at this point. I'm trying to talk to several trainers before I decide. Of course, going back to the original trainer is always an option, but I'm not sure I like that.

Tiller, I've sent an email to the trainer you suggested. I also talked on the phone with another trainer in my area who uses positive reinforcement. I called her because my vet was raving over how well controlled her dogs are. Her prices are also so much cheaper than the trainer who uses the wolf approach.

Overall, I'm a bit surprised still at how complicated having a dog has become. Cat are so easy in comparison! I'm even starting to doubt if I'm a dog person. Maybe I should just have cats?

This is probably obvious, but I'd like to not mention the location online or the trainers' names, since I tend to be private like that. I don't want to offend anyone. I always have this fear that the people I'm talking about are going to read this. Ha, about as likely as me having rabies. laugh out loud
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Tiller- (Skansen's- Ira in the M

I DO Exist...To- Drive You Batty
 
 
Barked: Wed Jan 9, '13 5:33pm PST 
Stella....here is the low down, which hopefully will have you make sense of things.

I myself have been training for over thirty years....I don't call myself a trainer (I set my bar pretty high for that definition and what goes nowadays with getting to call oneself a trainer is to me oft preposterous)....but I have for more than twenty years been asked to go counsel/coach those with out of control teenager dogs.

I usually work with what the person does, and with good reason. It is usually what they are comfortable with, and it is better to perfect what their gut reaction is and what to them ideologically makes the most sense. It is very hard to convince a very rewards-based person that their dog is being an unhinged brat, and it is very hard to convince a more "alpha" based person that their dog isn't trying to get the better of them. It's better to work with their own interpretations, as then I can trust the soundness of their reactions when they are on their own.

You need to do only what you feel comfortable with. That doesn't mean other people are "wrong" or you are "right."

Now your wolf guy, I know his resume. He has one and is not some hack nut. But there is no way, no how one should EVER send their dog away, IMO, to someone who may use punishers and is working with this pressure that their client expects a better behaved dog. That's way too risky. Your vet, and many vets, has the opinions they do because many pet owners get on a fault line and it becomes about fixing something NOW. So it isn't that they think one thing or the other is better, but through their experience know that some things work fast. And that's what they'll recommend.

For you, you need far more of a coach. The trainer I gave you is very into manners, and as you know also very much a positive based trainer, which in loose translation means she is very good with consistency. With the difference between Stella's response to your husband and to you, odds are probably that she gets away with more stuff with you. I hope you don't mind me saying this, but it is sort of simple math wink You don't need to switch schools of thought in how you deal with your dog, only learn how to do it better.

So stick with where you are comfortable. Don't return to the person you were with before, as in the long term their working with you and your dog didn't prevent these problems. Go with someone new, someone positive. Get Stella into doggie daycare, which will be certainly addressing some of her needs....which you need to do before you can expect her to be a perfect pupil...and then go to someone new, discuss the dynamics, and they will work with you positively, which you obviously have the sensibility for, so now it's a point of you becoming a little more dog savvy with the applications themselves, and then you will be fine and there will be peace in the land way to go
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Ace

Mischief is my- middle name
 
 
Barked: Wed Jan 9, '13 5:42pm PST 
Stella, I totally understand why you'd be off dog parks for life. I would be too if something like that happened to one of our dogs.

I'm doing my best to limit the risk. I'll only go when I expect few if any dogs around (early weekday mornings). When there's just a handful and I can see and talk to every owner of every dog there, it's much more comfortable.

I'm sure I'd feel differently if it were a big city park that always had dozens of dogs and more chaos.

Sorry to hear you're having difficulties with finding a good trainer.
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Stella

Waiting for- Treats
 
 
Barked: Wed Jan 9, '13 9:20pm PST 
Ace, I can see your confusion. My dog wasn't bitten. It was me. I wouldn't be worried about my dog, as she's had her rabies vaccine! There is currently a chunk of skin and tissue missing out of the bridge of my nose. My husband thinks it will heal and not be that noticeable, but not sure if the human body really generates new tissue like that. Maybe so. I hope so. The blessing is that you'd have to look under my nose to see it or just happen to catch it on a side profile. I'm just a gal who likes to have control, and my big thing against the parks is that you wouldn't be able to stop an overzealous large dog from barreling into you and breaking a bone, or worse. It happens all the time. Been doing a bit of reading on dog parks! I'm sure most people visit them often and never get injured, but it's a gamble. I'll still take Stella to parks, but just ones that require leashes.

Tiller, thanks for your response. I think that's part of the issue I have too-- his deadline. I'm so tempted to go with this guy, but ask for him to not use the e-collar. I dream of having a perfectly trained dog in just a few weeks. Yeah, I know I'd have to maintain, but she'd be trained! However, you've said something I think I was thinking in the back of my mind. That's a lot of pressure for this guy. He did say that if the dog isn't trained within the time limit, he'd keep her as long as needed without the price going up. So, that's something.

I know my cats are tired of being bugged by Stella too, so I'm thinking of them as well. I'm probably nuts for bringing a puppy into a house with two adult cats.

My husband also thinks we can read some books and figure this training stuff out for ourselves, but I don't think I can. Maybe he can... Tiller, my husband doesn't have complete control over Stella either, but he's a lot bigger than I am, so it's less frustrating for him. Stella often ignores his commands and even sometimes barks at him.

Tomorrow is Stella's doggie daycare interview. blue dog I hope they don't decide she's too much for them. It IS called an "interview" after all.

Any thoughts on how many days a week I should take her to daycare?

My vet suggested each day, but that's just too expensive. No, he's not connected with them. My husband also thinks, why have a dog if it's never with you? Yeah... I'm thinking maybe two days a week -- Tuesdays and Fridays, or something like that. Though if she's much worse on the non-daycare days, I might have to reconsider.

For people who've done in-home lessons, how many did you do?

Edited by author Wed Jan 9, '13 9:23pm PST

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Shiver Me- Timbers- "Charlie"

My Little Dog, a- heartbeat at my- feet.<3
 
 
Barked: Wed Jan 9, '13 11:05pm PST 
I have to agree with Tiller that going with someone else would probably suit you better. While it's appealing to think of sending the dog off for a few weeks and getting home a brilliantly trained dog... Not a lot of it works that way. I find many owners end up going back to the same issues they had before even after the boarding, because they weren't involved in ALL the training, even if they were taught what the trainer does in terms of commands, signals, etc. It's far better for you, and her, if you're involved in every training class, not only so you know for sure that you're comfortable with the trainers methods, but so that you build that bond with Stella AND get her trained under you and listening to you. Also, you CAN ask him not to use shock collars, but in the end, you won't know if you're not there and that's not a risk I'd be willing to wager, personally. There's places for them, but I don't think basic obedience training is one of them.

Also, for daycare, you can gauge how your dog is with it and go from there. After her first day, see what she's like - is she tired and ready to relax, more biddable and easy to handle? Is she still bouncing off the walls? Most doggy daycares fit the dogs into groups that suit their energy AND their size and play style. So the fact she plays rough shouldn't be an issue. They'll gauge what she's like with other dogs and fit her in where she fits best. Most will introduce her to dogs one, or a small few at a time too to adjust her to the new dogs instead of just tossing her into a big group to get overwhelmed.

I had my Beagle going to my doggy daycare I worked at, daily, from 7:30 am, until 6:30 pm every day. He played ALL day, got four walks on top of that(one to work, two at work, and one after dinner) and he was absolutely EXHAUSTED each day. I had to give him a day off here and there because it was a lot for him, but he loved it and it kept him from ransacking my house. That said, MOST of the regular clients only came two-three times a week, while others came every work day and not on weekends. So it really depends largely on what you can afford, and your dog as well.

I will note that MANY doggy daycares also have 'packages' so you can buy a months worth of doggy daycare at once, etc and it's usually cheaper that way, and much of the time, it doesn't expire til months later, if at all and you can use it in intervals and don't usually have to use it daily, so there may be that option too depending on the daycare you choose.

Interviews may be to go over vet records to see that she's vaccinated and spayed(a requirement for most, if not all), to get to know her so they can figure out what group to put her in(if they do groups), and what you're most comfortable with in terms of them handling her. Many will even go over their policies, what happens in emergency situations, fights if they break out, etc for your peace of mind, and for theirs and some have contracts to sign too over their policies and for leaving your dog in their care. It's HIGHLY unlikely they'll look at you two and say "No, she can't come here." smile

If she likes dogs, she'll probably like doggy daycare quite a bit. And good luck! I hope you find what you're looking for.

Dogs CAN be a lot more work than cats. Are a lot more work than cats. But boy, does it EVER pay off when you've got her trained. Those break throughs and happy moments will always win out over the bad days, and are sooo worth it.

Charlie was a little hell hound when I got him. Uncontrollable, untrained, wasn't house broken, and would TEAR my house apart and pee all over it at eight months old when I rescued him. Now? He knows over forty commands, is an absolute angel, and listens sooo well, I often question whether he's another breed entirely and NOT a Beagle, lol! It took a couple months to a year of consistency, training and exercise, but it won out and he became such a fantastic dog. I was pulling my hair out when I first got him.. But over the years, he has taught me a patience unbound, and he's now my heart dog. He got me into rescue and fostering and broke the way for me to help more dogs like him. All those moments of anger, frustration, hurt, intolerance, lack of patience and tears were so worth it coming down to this. He's taught me so much that I NEVER thought I would give a dog credit for.

You can do it, and after all the frustration and effort, you'll learn just how worth it, it was.

Oh and by the way, to go with what Toto said about a labradoodle being the possible breed mix - at first I wasn't so sure, until we had one that was IDENTICAL(I'm talking, he looked like her twin brother) come in for grooming the other day an I couldn't help but think, "Omg! I recognize that dog!" haha. He also gets lots of people asking if he's part Irish Wolfhound.
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Stella

Waiting for- Treats
 
 
Barked: Wed Jan 9, '13 11:58pm PST 
Charlie, I loved your story about your beagle! By the way, sounds like you have a cat, or used to have a cat. How does your beagle get along with the kitty if you have one?

I had thought about getting a beagle before Stella. I still think about it sometimes, but know they can be harder to train. I'm having enough trouble with my Labradoodle ?! . That's so funny that you saw another dog that looks like mine. Most folks recently are telling me she looks like a terrier mix. I guess it's a good mystery, but she does seem to be racking up the votes for Labradoodle.

Thanks also for the info about day care. Hopefully, she won't be too annoying. She just LOVES people and dogs so much. One of these days she'll be able to control her excitement. That's my goal anyway.

I'm such a night owl. Better get in bed so I can get Stella to day care before noon!
laugh out loud Oh, and my husband informed me I need to do something non-pet related around people! Gosh, I guess he worries about me since I work from home surrounded by two cats and a dog all day. They can be distractions, but my home wouldn't feel right without them. Come to think about it, I dislike visiting people who don't have pets. It's like the soul is gone out of the house. Maybe I do have a problem. red face
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Shiver Me- Timbers- "Charlie"

My Little Dog, a- heartbeat at my- feet.<3
 
 
Barked: Thu Jan 10, '13 12:39am PST 
I have had cats in the past before, and everyone in my family all has cats in multiples(I visit them all with Charlie regularly). He's always been extremely excitable about cats. He loves to follow them around and harass them with his nose, but is otherwise good with them if they can tolerate him being a little pest. Most often with a swat with the claws out, he'll back off and give them a little space, but if they run, he chases.

Unfortunately, he got attacked by my aunts cat through no real fault of his own at one point a year or so ago, and he became very fearful of felines for a little while. The cat wouldn't back off no matter what and it came down to Charlie having to defend himself. We had to try to break it up, and while the cat came out without ANY bites at all, my dog, myself and my uncle all came out with injuries from the cat. The cat only quit when I managed to scruff him and lock him in a separate room. I'll admit, I got a little nervous of having cats around after that and found them a little less predictable than my dog, lol. But he's finally comfortable being around cats again and doesn't panic anymore. He does get a little nervous still if they approach him, but he'll go up to them without issue like he used to if they're not paying attention to him.

I still love cats though, but unfortunately, my fiance doesn't like them by any means and refuses to let me have one, lol.

I do find that most Beagles get along with cats really well if they've been raised with them or have past history with them. Beagles, I would say... Are food motivated enough that it can be easy to train them for basic commands.. HOWEVER, when they get outside and their nose hits the ground, all ears shut off to the world because they're so absorbed in the outside smells. Charlie is great in areas that are familiar and 90/100 in areas that aren't, but it took a while to get him that way, and lots of training outside of the house, lol. They're just stubborn, really and they were bred for tracking hare, so they catch an interesting scent and BAM, you have a Beagle tracking that scent and not even hearing a word you say. Or yell. Lol. They're the happy little hounds that make great family pets, but they can be naive little dogs at times, and definitely prefer to having company than being alone.

And I don't think Stella will be too annoying. If she gets that way, she'll be scolded by another dog(attendants will typically ensure peace is kept and no fights happen), and as for annoying attendants, I doubt it. I got such a range of behaviors, personalities and energy levels when I worked at the doggy daycare. I think the most annoying dog was actually my bosses dogs, because if she locked them on the daycare side while being on the grooming side, her huskies would HOWL and yodel at her non-stop and wouldn't bother with the other dogs, haha. The dogs we got in to daycare though, actually for daycare were usually really great. I mean, the hardest part was walking the ones that were unruly, but the more you do it, the more you learn productive, positive ways of handling those dogs to make it easier too and once you've walked giant breeds that can haul you down the road, the other breeds get quite a bit easier, lol. I think part of what made my walking initially difficult was the leashes my boss had were flexi's, so I ended up using that specific dogs leash(because most of the owners had regular six foot leashes) instead and I found it made walking TEN times easier. laugh out loud
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Stella

Waiting for- Treats
 
 
Barked: Thu Jan 10, '13 12:50am PST 
Charlie, it took me five years of marriage to talk my husband into getting a cat. We still have our first cat and he has said that cat is so special to him because it's his first cat, the one that taught him how to like cats! He really loves the cat, sometimes more than me. And the cat prefers him over me too. I think the problem was that he was raised in an anti-cat household. I have faith that you'll be able to convince your future husband to get a cat. It may take a bit, but you can do it!

I got mine just after I had a major surgery. I think he felt sorry for me. smile The second cat was added because it was a desperate rescue and so lovable. I had to do it. I don't regret it and the two cats get along well now. They're united in their hatred of Stella.

Ok, really to bed this time. I remembered I was supposed to fill out the daycare application beforehand. I'm guessing all daycares make you sign your life away (i.e., you won't sue them even if you or your dog get injured or sick because of something they did).
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