Coaching a Teenage Pet – eileenanddogs


Two dogs are sitting on a couch. The younger red and white hound dog on the left has a playful look on his face. The older, larger, black and tan dog looks happy but tired.
Clara appears to be like as drained as I really feel. (However discover how completely satisfied she is!)

Whew! It’s greater than a month later and I possibly, presumably, barely can write about how issues have been with Lewis.


I had solely a few days to organize for Lewis earlier than he got here. I did three major issues.

  1. I moved Zani’s previous crate to my bedside. It’s a good measurement for him and has a stunning soft mattress and blanket in it.
  2. I obtained a 48-inch-tall train pen that’s been in my backyard for a number of years and set it up in the principle residing space of the home. I outfitted it with a good-sized donut-style mattress. The mattress just isn’t puppy-proof, however it’s sturdy and doesn’t have quite a lot of tempting chew areas.
  3. I inventoried and cleaned up my meals toys and chews.

#1 was a bust, Quantity 2 didn’t work out the best way I anticipated, however Quantity 3 paid off.

1. The Crate

Lewis had been residing at a veterinary clinic for the previous two months, so I assumed he was accustomed to being in a cage or crate. It seems that accustomed to and accepting are two various things. The primary evening, after a really energetic day which was undoubtedly demanding for him, we went to mattress. I confirmed him the crate door, and he went in. I gave him some treats and closed the door. He immediately tuned as much as yell. I, simply as immediately, let him out. I’ve expertise with hounds. They’re persistent and loud. For each his profit and mine, I knew to not even attempt to let him cry it out. So I caved ASAP.

Lewis wandered round my room a bit of, then settled right into a canine mattress I had stashed in a nook. He slept there the primary evening and half of the second evening. Halfway via the second evening, he obtained up onto my mattress with me and Clara. First, he slept on a throw blanket on the foot of the mattress. Over time, he moved nearer to me and now he cuddles.

I scrapped the sleeping crate concept and returned it to its regular location. I came upon a lot later that a part of the issue was the plastic crate. He likes wire crates so much higher. However he nonetheless most likely would have protested. I obtained tremendous fortunate with my final two canine, Clara and Zani, who each got here to me pondering crates had been good.

Why had I attempted the crate?

  • I had no concept of the standing of his home coaching.
  • My bed room just isn’t puppy-proof.
  • I didn’t need him to trouble Clara.

Fortunately, his home coaching is nice. He has woken me each morning (at first on veterinary clinic time, yawn!) to exit to potty. My bed room just isn’t pet proof, however I get up if an animal will get out of bed, so he’s secure at evening. And the extent of his bothering Clara has been to change into extra assertive about getting a major spot on the mattress. Nothing Clara and I can’t deal with.

I’m doing very gradual and cautious crate coaching with Lewis in a wire crate (see pictures on the backside of the publish).

2. The Ex Pen

I had this idyllic psychological picture of Lewis chilling within the ex pen when the remainder of us had been additionally within the room. (Bwa ha ha!) In my protection, I did that with Clara when she was a really younger pet. She was so little that I believe she hardly registered it as an enclosure. Ex pens, in a family of 4 not-entirely-compatible canine, had been only a truth of life for her since she got here to me so younger. Zani, who got here to me as a youngster like Lewis, additionally did fantastic with them.

However Lewis had three issues with the stunning ex pen.

  1. Lewis just isn’t good at chilling. Actually, he’s within the canine life stage most likely least amenable to chilling.
  2. Lewis confirmed early on that he would attempt to climb out of the ex pen. Whether or not he may very well be profitable I’m undecided, however he would have damage himself the best way he was attempting. He most likely would have toppled the entire thing on high of himself or gotten his toes damage within the wires. He’s a succesful, near-full-grown canine, not a malleable pet. Consider these terrible YouTube movies displaying beagles escaping not possible conditions or climbing not possible issues. He’s like that.
  3. Lewis tuned as much as yell in regards to the ex pen confinement the second he wasn’t consuming one thing or the second I left the room.

So I saved the ex pen however solely closed it after I was proper there. Within the final month, I’ve helped him construct up good emotions for the ex pen. He bounds to it to eat. I can now depart the room for a couple of minutes, on and off, whereas he’s consuming from a meals toy. I pull the pen closed, however I make it my enterprise all the time to return earlier than he may object. I don’t need to set off the music of his individuals or a climbing incident. And we’re engaged on chilling abilities.

3. The Meals Toys

The meals toys have been a hit and are very useful. Thus far, I’ve used frozen Zogoflex Toppls, Zogoflex Tux, and Kongs; a Kong Wobbler and a few different action-based meals toys; gullets and buffalo horns; and tendons utilizing holders to stop choking.

Conduct Points

Listed here are among the problematic behaviors Lewis already had going robust when he got here to me.

It is a very early video, and the grabbing conduct is just about gone now. I taught him one thing else to do to get my consideration after I was seated, and he realized it rapidly.
  • Biting/mouthing fingers.
  • Grabbing arms together with his tooth or scratching together with his paws when the individual is sitting.
  • Leaping up when the individual is standing, together with from the again, typically whereas biting or scratching.
  • Grabbing gadgets from human fingers.
  • Making an attempt to seize different canine’ treats.
  • Opening child gates (see video beneath).
  • Delicate toy useful resource guarding from Clara.
  • Delicate reactivity to unusual canine and people.
  • Humping Clara.
  • Repeatedly attempting to provoke play with Clara when she doesn’t need to. That is most likely our largest ongoing drawback. I must also point out that Clara does like taking part in with him and so they play so much!

I used to be trimming Clara’s toenails. I’ve not put him on this place once more.
  • Demand barking typically.
A red and white hound mix dog wearing a harness sits on a hardwood floor and barks.
  • Discovering and chewing up all types of issues I ought to have put out of his attain, together with the hardwood flooring (which might be exhausting to place out of attain!).
  • Skilled and ongoing countersurfing. Not simply kitchen counters: each counter, dresser, desk, and desk in the home. And never only for meals. Even a view appears reinforcing.
A red and white hound mix dog shreds a large, raw baking potato on a mat on the floor.
He scored this uncooked potato and chewed up a good quantity of it earlier than I even realized he had it
A red and white hound mix with a curled tail stands on top of a large crate
Lewis has experience in climbing and escape
  • Asking to go outdoors again and again, to not get rid of however as a result of the remainder of us are simply being too boring.
  • Consuming dust and acorns.

Lewis’ Wants and Feelings

Just as a result of I wrote out the above listing of behaviors from the human “drawback” perspective doesn’t imply I don’t see these as what they’re: Lewis expressing his pure doggy wants.

The behaviors above are both hard-wired canine behaviors, such because the scavenging-related ones and the humping, or ones which have labored in his earlier environments, similar to hopping alongside behind an individual with their shirt in his mouth and clawing at their again.

As troublesome as Lewis’ behaviors are for me and my family, our behaviors and constraints are at the very least as troublesome for him.

In addition to meals, water, well being, and security, Lewis wants human consideration, doggy companionship, love, and novelty. The methods he asks for these items are a part of who he’s. I’m respectful of that within the methods I try and affect them. (That is between tearing my hair out and attempting to not yell. I don’t all the time dwell as much as my intentions!)

Two dogs are walking together in a yard with trees. We see them from the rear only.
I’m breaking the pictures rule of “Don’t present the south finish of an animal going north.” I just like the companionable approach Lewis and Clara are strolling, although.

As for Lewis’ emotional wants: I’m extra accustomed to canine whose major difficulties middle on concern. Lewis’ major uncomfortable emotional state, per my remark, is frustration. That is new for me, however I’m giving it my greatest. He positively led a lifetime of deprivation for the ten weeks instantly earlier than he got here to me, and his life expertise earlier than that’s unknown. My objective is for Lewis to get much more of what he desires and wishes with out 1) endangering himself; 2) hurting people; 3) terrorizing different canine; or 4) damaging property excessively. It’s a provided that he’ll harm some property, even with my greatest administration makes an attempt.

Within the following clip of Lewis and the Manners Minder, he frustration-barks after I ask him to lie down. I’ve a few theories about why; see what you suppose. He hasn’t executed it in any classes since then. It is a minor instance, however frustration, and the attendant barking and throwing of behaviors, is normally proper below the floor for Lewis.

Lewis reveals obvious frustration after I cue him to lie down

My Coaching Philosophy

I would like Lewis to be completely satisfied. I would like him to specific his dogginess in all of the methods which are in step with my 4 caveats above (not hurting himself, people, or different canine, or damaging a lot property). So I’m in a paradoxical state of affairs. I’ve to restrict some pure and realized behaviors whereas I attempt to satiate his want to specific himself and fulfill himself in canine actions. That is, after all, a standard paradox for these of us who dwell with canine. However due to his earlier deprivation, it’s excessive with Lewis.

I consider in coaching canine. I wouldn’t all the time have felt the necessity to say that. However there are traits, even amongst skilled trainers, which are truly anti-training. I perceive this as a response to the widespread tendency to over practice and over-control canine’ lives. I don’t perceive it as an achievable major objective with all canine. There are some canine who match into the human world simply and naturally. I feel there are extra like Lewis, who must be taught methods to get what they need with out hurting themselves or others.

Once I have a look at the listing I wrote above, I’m wondering how I may tackle these points with out coaching. As an illustration, the pestering of Clara. It appears to me my selections are:

  1. Let him do it and destroy Clara’s life for the close to future.
  2. Stop him with a leash, limitations, and fixed supervision, and interrupting the undesirable conduct.
  3. One way or the other educate him completely different behaviors together with her. Or educate her. She doesn’t inform him “No” convincingly. However something apart from constructive interruption of him, which I already do, is probably going past my talent degree.
  4. Educate him that going right into a crate or ex pen and even one other room with a pleasant chew object and being alone there for a brief interval is nice. Ask him to try this when he’s ramped up in a loop of bothering Clara.

Proper now I’m doing #2 (limitations, a tether, and fixed supervision) whereas I work slowly on #4. I don’t know any acceptable long-term options besides coaching. However this coaching just isn’t obedience-based. It’s heavy on classical conditioning as a result of I don’t need him to hang around in a crate simply because he has to; I would like it to be nice for him. I would like Lewis to be completely satisfied.


I’ll use the listing above as a framework for future posts. I’ll fill in hyperlinks to the follow-up posts as I tackle the problems. I’ve already gotten a superb begin on one (door behaviors) and linked again to it above within the listing.

P.S. My expensive good friend who additionally lives with Lewis simply identified that I didn’t point out that Lewis is good-natured, candy, a love-bug, and quite a lot of enjoyable. Extra posts on that sooner or later!

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Copyright 2022 Eileen Anderson



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