My days lately are completely filled with dogs and I love it! Yesterday was no exception.
I met with Christina at her lovely home to see what I could do to help her with her BEAUTIFUL 4 month old Cocker Spaniel. This was no ordinarily 'cute' Cocker Spaniel, by the way. This is possibly the most gorgeous Spaniel I've ever layed eyes on. I can see why it is hard to discipline such a sweet and gentle little girl.
The only major issue I could find with Miss Sui (how do you guys spell her name?) was her low self-esteem. On walks, she first threw quite a temper tantrum (she apparently hates a collar style leash system) but was calmed once we switched her to a harness system. Now, I typically do not use a harness because it is incredibly hard to control a dog with one. With this girl, however, her problem was one of hiding behind us when walking, not pulling and charging ahead, so it was okay in this situation. The harness seemed to make her feel safe and comfortable, so it was the best option.
Within a few minutes she was greatly improving on the leash. Four month old puppies that have little exposure to leashes do tend to resist and fight. Knowing how to properly control them during that period of time is vital in teaching them to become great walkers in the future. It's all about patience and consistency.
Christina was very comfortable with her pup and did a great job making her stay at her side and not allowing her to hide behind her. After a few romps around the backyard, I could see the dog's confidence building. She started looking to Christina for further instructions instead of having her nose pointed to the ground and she held her head up to look around on walks instead of trying to bury herself into the backsides of our legs. Dogs are great because they are so good at just simply moving past their issues.
We did a few simple 'pack-leader establishing' food exercises so that Christina and her family could have numerous times a day to show the puppy that they are her leaders and she is the follower. She was a pretty easy case. I wasn't able to help, in person, with her problem of jumping on the children, because they were all napping. Hopefully with proper use of the leash and timely corrections, the jumping will gradually improve and eventually totally stop. (If it remains a problem, let me know! I can come when the kids are awake to work it out with you.)
So, my first 'practice' case was quite easy. Dealing with small cutesy breeds is a bit harder for me than the big dogs I'm used to around here. I have to make myself remember that the small breeds are to be handled in the same way as large breeds to make them good, calm-submissive dogs.
I have more things coming in the future with other people and their dogs. We'll see how they go! Thanks again, Christina! I loved getting to meet your gorgeous puppy.
After leaving her house I headed to Warren to meet Ruby's adoptive family. We spent an hour at the park together walking her and they were super eager to learn more about how we managed to make her the dog she is. They are just a super family. They are NATURAL pack-leaders and I know they are going to continue keeping Ruby a calm-submissive follower for the rest of her life.
Another foster dog adopted... time to move on to the next!