Devil Dog

So, Doodle MPB has earned herself 2 nicknames in her little life:

  1. Goofy.
  2. Devil Dog

I’m pretty sure Devil Dog will be the nick-name that sticks. Oh, well, such is life.

But in all seriousness, she is now behaving mostly just like a ‘normal’ puppy (which for the record, really is just like a devil dog). She spends her days:

  • chewing everything in sight, and maybe even just a bit of one kitchen cupboard.
  • jumping
  • trying to see what it takes to get me to fall when we go for walks (i.e. tangle me up in her leash when we go for walks).
  • nipping at everything, including putting a hole in a shirt I’ve word once.
  • trying really hard to sit or lie down when she’s excited.
  • being cute, especially after her first visit to a groomer for a bath that turned her into a giant fluffy ball of fur.
  • pee accidents, because why not stop being fully house trained after 3 weeks of being accident free?

I have to say, our house is functioning so much better now that she is basically a ‘normal’ puppy. Don’t get me wrong, normal puppy is actually still pretty annoying when there is a 2 year old who takes priority in basically all respects. But, a normal puppy is tolerable. I might even say, I kind of like her a bit now.

I guess, all of this is to say, the citronella bark collar is worth it’s weight in gold. It seems as though her natural reaction to excitement and activity is to bark, and so when Little MPB is home and the house is active, she cannot contain herself and she barks like mad. So, during the week she really only needs to wear the collar first thing in the morning and again when we are all home in the evening.

But, this is where he good update ends. On Friday I told our trainer that we’ve resorted to a citronella bark collar because the barking is simply still out of control. She pretty much freaked out. In fact, her exact words were, I don’t care if it’s 1 in the morning, if it gets that bad, call me, and I’ll come get her. She is adamant that even a citronella bark collar has a very good chance of causing aggressive behaviors and other behavioural problems. As we discussed Doodle MPB, she refered to her as ‘not a normal puppy who frustrates increadibly quickly’ and we talked a lot about her prefered frustrated behaviours – braking, nipping and jumping and the potential long term problems if we don’t get this under control. She’s asked/begged us to seriously consider the board and train option. So, over the weekend Mr.MPB and I talked alot about our options, while acknowledging and owning our time and patience limitations right now.

We have decided to send her away for 2 weeks.

Honestly, I feel so pathetic and rather ridiculous that we cannot handle our puppy and it’s come to sending her away. I’m a bit worried how we are going to explain to Little MPB that his best friend is away for a few weeks. But mostly, right now, I’m just petrified of what we will happen if this doesn’t work.

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13 Comments on “Devil Dog

  1. Don’t feel bad for one second. I’ve done board and train several times. In fact, the Bullmastiff I have now is a total pain in the ass with jumping on counters and stealing food. After two expensive surgeries to correct stomach obstructions we decided to send her for three weeks of training. It was the best decision in terms of restoring our relationship. She returned calmer and with several cues that break the neurotic cycles she can get into. I think you’re going to be happy with the results – particularly since you had some success with the bark collar. That said, I don’t agree with your trainers reactions to the bark collar. The studies done show that aversive conditioning can be effective if done correctly. So assuming youre not shocking the shit out of Doodle MPB – and I know you aren’t – I am quite sure you’re not instilling aggression and/or fear in her. See the study below.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for this. Thank you so much.
      I should have pointed out that we haven’t seen any aggression from the 5 days we used the collar. We literally only used it for the few hours every day that we were all home and Doodle MPB cannot really handle the excitement of the house. Instead, we’ve seen a drastic reduction in barking! So I’m not convinced about the link with aggression. That said, we also absolutely do not want any sort of aggression considering our family includes a 2 year old human. So now maybe we are just paranoid?


  2. I don’t have a dog, and I’ve never had to train one. But I find it really hard to believe that using the citronella collar is going to cause doodle to be aggressive. Don’t beat yourself up over that one bit. Also… Sending her away is probably the best plan and you cannot feel bad about it. You have to remember that she is a dog, and not a child, and you’re not failing by sending her to someone who knows how to handle this. You’ve done everything you can, and you just have a super high maintenance dog who needs a little extra help away from your home. Please do not be hard on yourself over this.


    • Thanks Courtney! I just don’t remember it being this hard with our last dog….but then again, we didn’t have a toddler who took priority. Last time the dog was basically the first born child who we dotted on. Oh, and trying to run two consulting firms probably also makes our lives a bit more chaotic then last time. This time it’s just so different. I probably should be a bit more fair about the change in circumstances between this dog and the last one…


      • I often struggle with how much affection and attention my first two cats got compared to my sweet Jane. And I have a lot of guilt over that. I also stress over how much I grieved the passing of one cat versus the second. But like you said, it was a very different time. When Lily died, I had very young kids and could lock myself in the bathroom and cry without them asking questions. With Jackson, I had to focus on coaching my oldest through the entire thing, forcing me own grief to the background. I loved him as my as her, but couldn’t let myself openly grieve. I still feel terrible (obviously).

        All that to say, yes, this puppy and dog experience is going to be different with a child in your life. We pet people can never see ourselves being anything other than dotting pet lovers who view their pets as children… And then we have children. ❤️

        In regards to shipping the dog off for a couple of weeks…. I wanted to do that with Bryson when we were sleep training. 😂

        Liked by 1 person

      • This is exactly it – “We pet people can never see ourselves being anything other than dotting pet lovers who view their pets as children… And then we have children.”
        This sums up exactly how I feel, perfectly!!


  3. I’m glad things are getting better even if they aren’t perfect. I’ve yet to see any aggressive issues arise from use of a citronella collar (as opposed to a shock collar). The suggestion has me going into research mode.


  4. Oh no. I’m sorry that you had to come to this decision, I know it’s not what you wanted to do. I have known many people that have sent their dogs to these boot camps with amazing results. I truly hope this works for all of you!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ohhhh mama do I ever hear you on your feelings about sending Puppy MPB away for training. You’re talking the woman who is sending her 2 year old dog to an entirely different province for a month of intensive training because our family just can’t handle her out of control-ness anymore and just simply don’t have the resources to figure out all of her issues ourselves. There is no shame in it at all. You guys are doing what is right for your family. Puppy MPB will be in good hands, and the two weeks will fly by. There may not be perfection when she returns, but guaranteed in those two weeks your trainer will have got some pretty great things started with her that you will be able to continue to work on once he’s home. I’m curious how the trainer plans to train him on life with a busy family with a toddler? The different distractions that it brings as opposed to life with just one person and loads of attention and direction? She obviously is very good at what she does, so I’m sure she knows the best approach with this!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Girl, board & train is a fantastic option here. You have no reason to feel any guilt whatsoever. I think the two weeks will give you some much-needed breathing space, and hopefully when she returns, you’ll realize that you actually missed her presence while she was away. My SIL did board & train for SIX weeks with their golden when he was a pup. It killed her to be away from him for so long, but damn he was an amazing dog. SO well behaved. Part of his training was for duck hunting, so that’s why he was away for so long, but the training was absolutely incredible. Lots of love! You guys are doing a GREAT job.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Two weeks of training camp is such a better idea than an uncontrolled dog that does the unfortunate and has to be put down. Dog, child, parents, all will be better for this learning period and the two adults will be far readier for continuing the training required for the rest of the dog’s happy, long, life with your family.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Good luck with the training. I know it was a big decision for you but like everyone here has said don’t beat yourself up about the choice and also using the collar. You were recommended to try the collar but someone you trust so don’t forget that either. It wasn’t a decision made in a whim. I hope the training does the trick. I’m sure 2 weeks seem like a long time. You will be amazed at how much Little MPB picks up about what is happening too. It will all be ok 🙂


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