Update On #PuppyPenny
Our Penny Pie has been with us for 6 weeks now.
She’s come a long way in those 6 weeks, but the differences between her and our trained-from-day-one Labradors are very obvious.
For one thing, she’s very vocal.
Our own Riddick and our guide dog puppies are taught that barking for fun is not allowed, and the guide dog pups are not allowed to bark at all. When Riddick barks its because he’s seen or heard something and I go to look, telling him “good boy, enough now” to stop him.
Penny barks when you throw a toy, in greeting, and in excitement! She is learning “quiet” – largely because I literally turn my back and walk away when she barks for no reason – but its a slow process with a 7 month old pup who is also well into her naughty adolescence.
Another important lesson that puppies learn when they are properly socialised with people and dogs from a young age, is when to stop. An older dog will give a young puppy a lot of leeway, but once they are 4 months old their “puppy” hi-jinks are very quickly corrected and the puppy learns that there is a time to play and a time to sleep and so on. People can teach their pups this too by setting boundaries like not allowing them to jump up on you, and whether or not you allow them on the furniture.
I discourage raucous play in my bedroom because that is where we all sleep (and we do allow our own dogs on the furniture).
Penny though, was never taught “enough” by people or dogs. She will go and jump on the sleeping dogs even if they’ve just been playing, and I then have to tell her “enough”. She is very quickly responding to this word too and she learns well.
She also uses her mouth a lot. Our puppies are taught that mouthing their humans is not allowed, but Penny wasn’t. She is learning, but its slow going.
Thanks to the experts at SAGA, I now know that Penny’s nipping my knee or thigh when we’re walking around – just in the garden and not even on lead – is an anxiety issue not a dominance issue. I will be correcting it with a very stern “NO” from now on, and praising her when she walks calmly next to me.
Her dominance behaviour has subsided, thanks to her human family and her dog family, which is great.
She also no longer bolts through a door just because its opened, but we still do a “sit stay” every time I go to a closed door, come in from outside or go outside from in.
Her “sit wait” for food is also vastly improved.
She is a lot less nervous around sticks and brooms, and the pooper scooper is not a problem at all – I can even touch her with the handle while we’re in the garden. Raised voices and perceived violence sends her scampering though… If my husband or I shouts at her she will literally run and hide with the person who isn’t shouting. The day before yesterday I felt SO bad… Lennox and Penny had chewed up the one shoe of my remaining pair of slops and I reprimanded them both. I was angry and I smacked Penny on the nose with the chewed up shoe. It wasn’t hard, but she ran and literally hid in the garage and wouldn’t follow me back into the house. I went and sat on the floor with treats to show her I wasn’t a threat, stroked her and bribed her with cookies to come back inside. It broke my heart. I completely forgot about her history and how easy it is to break an already damaged dog. She’s fine now, but it was a big reminder about how much work she still needs. Poor baby.
Boundaries are also a problem. Penny was never taught that what’s ours is ours, not to be chewed on or played with. She’s claimed a few pairs of shoes, pot plants, and a couch. Yup… A couch. Unfortunately she usually misbehaves when she’s alone and I can’t stop her when she’s doing it, so its a challenge.
House training is better, but still a bit of a challenge with Penny. She will tell you when she wants to go busy for a piddle, but for a poo she still sneaks off to the lounge… Oy…
She’s a precious, snuggly girl though, and we have no doubt her puppy issues will be resolved and she will be a well behaved part of our family in time.