We met with the new trainer and she thinks that Doodle MPB isn’t going through true separation anxiety as she will settle if we are out of sight (hence why we avoid going into the kitchen at all costs). She also agrees with us that Doodle MPB is actually rather smart, much smarter then our last dog in-fact. Unfortunately, a smart dog isn’t always easy to train.
Anyways, after 1.5 hours together of pretty much only working on scream reduction training, we have developed a real training plan for Doodle MPB. It’s broken down into 2 phases. Phase 1 includes:
- Reward the crap out of the dog for not screaming in her crate/x-pen. When she’s quiet and sitting, she gets a treat. When she’s quiet and lying down she gets a treat jackpot. If someone is cooking in the kitchen, the other one is on treat duty, and we will work on extending the duration between treats until the treat person is no longer necessary. And for the next few weeks limit Little MPB’s ability to interact with Doodle MPB while she’s in her x-pen – they feed off each other’s energy and Doodle MPB goes crazy. Honestly, in 1 day, it seems to be helping, but I am petrified to be optimistic.
- Adding puzzle toys for meal time which means no more free food out of a bowl. She has to earn her meals from toys like the Kong Wobbler (image from Amazon.ca), which will help keep her busy and happy. If anyone has favourite puzzle feeders for their dogs please share them with me.
- On non training days, we will be going for 2 x per day 20-30 minute walks with Doodle MPB. Currently we are doing 1 walk per day in the evening, we will add in an early morning walk. On training days we’ll stick with 1 walk and when she gets older we can probably drop back to 1 x per week. On weekends one of her daily walks will be in a massive park that’s near by on a long leash. The idea with this is that Doodle MPB can just explore the world with no real training/’work’ involved.
- 2 x per week 1-on-1 training with our new trainer. These sessions will be 3-4 hours in length. In addition to working on not barking, Doodle MPB will work on normal puppy skills like loose leash walking, recall, social interaction with dogs and people, sit, down, fetch, drop-it, etc.
- 1 x per week with the whole family. Little MPB will be included most weeks, as Little MPB and Doodle MPB need to learn to play together. Interestingly, the trainers first comment was the only way she lets dogs and toddlers play together is if the dog has a toy in it’s mouth as toy in mouth = no biting. So, we are going to teach them both this. I honestly have no idea how to teach this, but I am happy to learn from the trainer.
Assuming we pass Phase 1, we will move onto Phase 2. Phase 2 is really about reducing the lessons. Eventually get to 1 x biweekly for family sessions. And 1 x per week 1-on-1 training. And then, drop to none when we are all ready.
If we all fail at Phase 1, and the puppy excessive screaming continues, we will move to board and train for a minimum of 2 weeks. And this will happen sooner rather then later – we are not extending the opportunity for screaming beyond another week or two. As much as we are struggling, we are hoping not to have to send her away. As the trainer said, that’s never her first choice. It’s best to keep her at home if we can. And honestly, Little MPB absolutely adores her and it’ll be sooo hard to explain to him that Doodle MPB is gone for a few weeks.
And while not part of the trainers plan, we have purchased a shock collar that was recommended to us. If all else fails, we will try it.
When I told a friend about this plan, her response was wow, this is going to cost a small fortune. She’s right, this is going to cost us a small fortune. But, as far as we are concerned, it’s an absolute must right now. Thankfully we are able to afford this, even if we’d really rather not.
That said, I am begging the world to let this plan work so that we are not stuck with a life-long screamer that we all hate!
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