Sunday, July 20, 2014

Reyna & Jaune

I can't believe we've had Jaune for two weeks now!

He is pretty well integrated into our life now, it is definitely more work to manage everybody, but here is an adult dog/puppy update...

Reyna and Jaune still require a lot of management. They are very comfortable with each other at this point and Jaune is VERY confident! Jaune is also still learning that inside is for being calm and outside is for play, so while they can be outside together now we still limit their indoor together time to periods when one adult can focus 100% on the dogs. Their outdoor time is also still monitored heavily and we are quick to call them out of a play session for a quick break if they get too rough. Jaune's confidence has grown faster than his body, and we can't risk too much rough housing right now, they will be plenty of time for wrestling as he gets bigger.

Here is a video from some of their first outdoor times off leash the first is about 4 days in and the second is about a week after he arrived. I like the shared space without obsessing over each other, also Reyna's quiet soft play in the second video, you can barely hear them.

A few days later Jaune got more intense and Reyna responded with more energy so now we break it up every minute or so with a recall, a sit from both dogs and a few deep breaths. This keeps the arousal levels in check and promotes chasing games instead of body slams. It also helps Jaune learn an off switch, a recall, and to pay attention even in an aroused state, all good foundations!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Baby Dogs and Baby Babies: Step 3 Introductions

Meet Jaune...

His full name will be Loveline's Maillot Jaune (Yellow Jersey in case you don't speak French) since we picked him up on the first day of the the Tour de France.

He is a fantastic puppy! We are officially on Day how did Day 1 go?

We did kid introductions first in the backyard and they did a great job of leaving him alone to explore, and using their tug toys if he started after their feet.

 Jaune checking out the tufts of Reyna hair we left in the yard. They were very comfy!

Daddy explaining what we have been telling them  about puppy attacks with a live demo...

The kids standing by armed with tugs in case puppy might want to say hi...

And he did....way to go David and Penelope! They did a great job following directions...

David was crouched down in the photo, but based on the gregarious nature of Jaune we had to amend the rules to say "no sitting near the puppy" Jaune is just too rambuctious and determined to get to the kids faces when they are sitting.

Then we moved inside. We had gated off the bedroom half of the house and closed the doors to the play room so Jaune was limited to the Kitchen and Living Room. Also Reyna was crated in our room and the gate prevents Juane from running up and down the hall in front of the closed door which could have led to frustration on Reyna's part.

Jaune's crate what sized to fit him with the adjustable panel, and filled with fun chew toys...

We traded spaces with the animals and rotated them around throughout the day. I don't have any photos or videos of that since it requires 100% attention from both adults to ensure smooth transitions between all parties at first but I will get some posted soon! It has gone exactly as planned except that Reyna was much easier to manage around the pup than we thought she would be so we were able to quickly skip through the on leash stage. It is now day three and they are able to have short supervised off leash interactions with me very present to intervene if either starts to get over threshold. They both eat breakfast and dinner on their mats one kibble at a time for calm behavior right next to each other. This also gives us a pattern to go back to if they start getting too aroused.

Part of the benefit of starting with such heavy management is that we can move through some steps quickly if it goes smoother than we thought which has been the case. If you lump the steps you run the risk of having to back track and do damage control if it doesn't go as well. Hmmm...sounds sort of like smart shaping to me!

As a closing photo here is Norm teaching Penelope how to brush Jaune, and teaching Jaune that being brushed is relaxing...

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Baby Dogs and Baby Babies: Step 2 The Introduction Plan

Here is our plan for introducing all the family members to the new arrival...

Puppy meets kids
- Kids will be armed with their fleece tugs to redirect any puppy teeth
- Kids will be in the back yard
- Norm will bring puppy in and set him down away from the kids
- I am in charge of children so Norm can focus on puppy and kids are instructed not to approach puppy but they may pet or play with him if he comes over
- Kids will be encouraged to ignore puppy and play in the backyard like normal
- I will be there to coach the kids if puppy comes over, Norm is in charge of removing the puppy if there is an issue

Puppy meets Adult Dog
- We will brush Reyna and have her potty while Norm is going to pick up puppy so there will be very new Reyna scent in the yard when puppy gets here
- Reyna will be in her crate in our closed bedroom when puppy arrives
- Puppy gets opportunity to sniff and play in the yard
- Puppy gets a chance to sniff and play in the living room and kitchen
- Puppy goes into crate in a closed bedroom for nap time
- Reyna come out of her crate and is allowed to sniff all the places the puppy has been
- Reyna goes for a walk
- We will continue this "ships in the night" approach throughout the day
- Depending on how we are feeling we may allow them to see each other in passing on the first day, but no interactions
- Over the next couple days we will have both dogs on leashes with an adult person with treats and they will be allowed to see each other while receiving non stop treats...other dog goes away, so do the treats
- We will gradually move them closer together and will start allowing some drive by sniffs
- Then we will move up to mat work near each other using Relaxation Protocol and open bar/closed bar policies
- Then we will allow Reyna off leash outside with puppy on leash and an adult assigned to each dog to keep interactions short...the puppy on leash is to prevent him harassing the adult dog and to keep him close if he needs to be picked up
- Then we move to supervised off leash interaction with adults ready to intervene if needed

In case you haven't noticed this is very different from the "let's see how they do" philosophy. There are two reasons for this
1) there is a lot of risk involved in just seeing how they do and if something goes wrong it could have irreparable damage physically or mentally
2) there is no down side to taking the slow acclimatization and allows for a ton of flexibility if they are adjusting faster or slower than we thought

Puppy meets Cat
- Very similar to above, but the cat is not put on leash
- we prevent them sharing space and we play musical living spaces for the first day or two
- Any spatial transitions or space sharing will include the puppy on leash, cat off leash and both receiving treats
- Since dogs don't speak cat we will translate for him by allowing him to approach the cat, cat stiffens, arches or growls or gives any other early sign saying stay away and we call the puppy and give him treats
- After many reps we will hold the leash and wait for the puppy to make the choice on his own to turn away then we reward that choice with praise and treats
- As puppy gets better and consistent at reading cat body language we will slowly start to allow him to drag his leash and then be off leash, all with adults present to intervene

That's the plan!
Photos and day 1 results will follow shortly!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Baby Dogs and Baby Babies - Step 1 Preparations

Okay after a long delay I wont go into everything we have been through the last couple months. Because we have very exciting news...we pick up our golden retriever puppy on Saturday!!!

Very very exciting!

I am 6.5 months pregnant we have a 5 year old, a 3 year old, a 4 year old dog and a 1 year old cat...why not introduce a new puppy to the mix!!!

I have started several times to document how we brought a new puppy home with a 1 year old and how we brought a new baby home with a dog a toddler already living there...but that has been 3-4 years ago now since our "baby" is starting preschool in the fall. So since we are doing it all over again I figured I would start from scratch and document the journey!

Here is the preparation we have done so far to help everybody get ready...

- We set up the puppy's crate about a month ago so the kids could get used to it and learn that it was off limits just like Reyna and Feather's crates (as a side note I HIGHLY recommend crate training cats now, I might blog on that topic alone at some point).
- We rolled up our living room rug so it's hardwoods everywhere that puppy will have access to
- We have briefed the kids over and over...puppies bite, puppies jump, puppies eat your favorite toys, we pretend to be puppies and tug on their clothes as they walk by so they know how it feels
- We bought a bunch of fleece and made a whole slew of little tassly tug ropes for the kids to carry around
- We have role played "puppy attacks" so they can practice not panicking and getting the puppy redirected to a tug
- Granted these kids are 5 and 3 years old so they will never be unsupervised with the puppy, but we like to prepare for that moment when the family is playing with the puppy and the smoke detector goes off because we left toast in the oven and both parents rush to address it momentarily forgetting the baby is crazy, stuff happens
- We are at the point now where even little Penelope recites statements out of the blue like "baby puppies are like real babies, sometimes they mess up your stuff because they don't know any better"...except it comes out as "baby puppies are yike real babies umtimes dey mess up you tuff cause dey doesn't know knee better" precious little dog trainers :)
- We have really talked incessantly about the potential for their favorite stuffies to get shredded to pieces, it could happen. How many people meant for their ball and claw table to get chewed to splinters?
- We got Reyna some Kongs...during the introductory phase everybody will be spending more time in their crates, so we wanted Kongs to be a regular part of our routine prior to arrival
- We talked about the traffic flow, where will the puppy potty spot be? Who will stay up with the puppy if needed during the first few nights? Etc
- We have an introduction plan for all the animals and people...I'll write that up for the next one
- We talked about what would be off limits to puppy for a while, the kids bedrooms being a big gates will take care off that
- We bought plenty of chew toys for the puppy and for Reyna
- In the areas where puppy will be allowed we have moved everything off of floor level and again emphasized to the kids that leaving anything out in these areas is basically asking the puppy to destroy it.
- We have given the kids refresher training on the "no zones" which include the food bowls, the animals beds, crates and toys. If the dog is near any of those areas they have to call the puppy to them for petting/play do not approach the puppy. This is basic house rules for us, but a new fluffy baby can tend to make even the most well meaning 5 year old forget his coaching, so we might as well re-emphasize.

Next step...the arrival/introduction plan