As you could probably tell from my last blog, I was feeling really frustrated by the end of last week, and wasn’t sure how much longer I could keep going with this training. But, the weekend saw improvement in some areas, especially the crating – thanks to Danielle!
Danielle, my friend and neighbor who is following the same training program with Rhonda, with her dog Cash, showed me the travel crate she had ordered for her dog to use during the training since she had given her crate away a few years back. It was a pop up portable crate. It was smaller than the giant sized extra large wire crate that Rudy was currently in, and it was more enclosed. It was made a mesh fabric, with a door that zipped in the front – kind of like a dog tent rather than a traditional kennel. Her 70 pound lab seemed to love it, so I thought well that might work.
The problem with Rudy’s crate was that it was too big. He had way too much room in there so he never seemed to really settle down. He could pace back and forth, and because it was wire, he could see everything that was going on. Every time Tigger went over the crate and rubbed against it and meowed – Rudy would get overstimulated and start whining, and fussing. In addition, whenever the husband and I made dinner or got a snack from the kitchen – Rudy would start whining and fussing because he could see everything we were doing, and he wanted into the action.
So, I ordered Rudy’s new “dog tent” from Amazon and it came on Friday! What a difference that kennel has made! Rudy immediately seemed to settle down much more easily, and he would go longer and longer without whining or fussing. Plus, although he could see out the front, he didn’t have a 360 degree view of everything, and that seemed to help him settle in. Friday night I lay in bed, and I thought I heard him whining at about 3:00 a.m. again. So, I snuck downstairs and listened. There was no whining!! There was no crying or howling or fussing about. He was actually snoring he was sleeping so soundly in his new dog tent! I was so relieved I curled up on the couch and just listened to him snore. It felt so good to finally hear him calm and relaxed!!
Rudy also began his e-collar training with Rhonda this weekend. She came to pick him up each day Friday through Monday, to begin working him with the e-collar. The idea still made me a little nervous when I thought about it – but every day when Rhonda came, he was thrilled to see her and anxious to go with her – so I knew he must be enjoying the work with the e-collar. Just knowing that he was happy to go with her each day was a huge sense of relief because I realized that he really wanted to work this hard! That is what he is meant to do, and making him work is truly going to make him a happy, calm, and confident dog.
Even the husband had to admit progress over the weekend. Without sharing too much, let’s just say for the past year, the husband and I have had to endure Rudy’s issues every time we got a little cozy together!! If we put Rudy in his crate so we could have some “alone time” – he would howl incessantly, bark, whine, and fling himself against the crate while we were “occupied”. If we left him out of the crate – Rudy would stand outside the bedroom door, howling, clawing, and trying incessantly to break through the door the whole time! Then, when we would take Rudy out of his crate – he would go crazy, and stalk around behind the husband like he was angry at him and then climb in my lap and not let me move again for hours. But not this weekend – nope!! No whining, no howling, nothing!! Rudy was calm and quiet – he didn’t make a sound, and when we came downstairs he was calmly laying in his crate. Now that’s progress J
Now let me also not forget to mention that my niece Lexi and nephew Max spent the night on Saturday, and they came over around 4:00 that afternoon. Rudy got really excited in his dog tent when they showed up, because he loves the kids! But after about 20 minutes or so, he settled he right down and stopped whining. He was quiet all afternoon while the kids were there, playing games, and we came in and out of the house! I can’t believe the different that dog tent has made!
The head halti training continues to be a bit of struggle, but it is coming along. The morning and afternoon sessions seem to go really well, but by the evening session, it seems like Rudy just wants to fight. He will stop walking and starting pull in the opposite direction. But I have learned to just tug him along, and after a few minutes of pulling him forward, he gets the point and walks a few steps. Then, we start all over again. Last’s night evening session really felt like I just pulled him around for like 20 minutes!! He was really testing me. He didn’t feel like doing it, and he was trying to see if he could get me to cave. But I held strong, and eventually he realized that I meant business.
Danielle had gotten me excited by mentioning that she thought we could add in a structured activity like a walk or a run this week so I sent Rhonda a text. I was so excited to think that I could start bringing Rudy for an evening run with me, but no. Rhonda said no. Same schedule this week. I will admit I was kind of bummed and a little annoyed when I got her text saying “same schedule”. But after a moment of pouting, I realized it was just me being selfish again. I wanted my running partner back; I wanted Rudy out of his crate and back with me. But it’s not about what I want. It’s not about me. It’s about Rudy. It’s about what he needs. And I’ll be damned if I am going to set him up for failure by breaking the rules and setting back his progress. So I will run alone this week – knowing that soon, when this is over, I will have the best running partner I could ask for!!