Monday, 24 November 2014

Teaching an old dog new tricks!

Oh its hard, you think you are getting somewhere & then there is a set back. Normally caused by someone else & this instance I lay the blame entirely on Mike!

On the whole Rocky dog is settling in well, remembering he was rescued from an abusive home when he was a puppy then rescued by an old man who he spent five happy years with.

The five happy years being lots of attention as it was just the two of them, lots of treats & table scraps & being allowed to bark at passing dogs & people whilst out on a walk. Of course there was the teasing about cats too!

Santa Swap package.

Rocky gets lots of attention now too, he is an affectionate dog & will quite happily clamber on your knee for a cuddle or tap you with his paw for a stroke. Lesson No 1 learned that if he wanted to be by himself not to approach him (as in young teenage boy to sit as close as possible & stroke him)as he would emit a low growl as in 'piddle off & leave me alone'.

He gets 'good boy' only treats now & certainly no table scraps.

He is not allowed to bark when we are out, I'm very firm on this one as it is me who does the majority of the walking. He used to pull a lot so I bought a harness for him & a nice new lead. If we approach a cat or dog I hold him close & cross to the other side while repeating quite firmly 'NO', it seems to be doing the trick. We have had the odd bark but his normal reaction now is to either whimper & pull a bit or just to ignore the other animal.

Now onto the biggy, We have a lot of cats that visit the garden, we are surrounded by fields & they hunt in there & come to sit under the bird table. At first Rocky was happy to wait patiently for the door to be open so he could be in the back garden. Over the past couple of weeks Mike despite my strict instruction not too as been winding the dog up about cats! Now when someone goes to the French doors he gets beyond himself with  excitement, to stop this I bought a dog gate so I could contain him ( he also gets beyond excited when Harry returns from school) the gate is useful for that too. Would Mike wait until he was behind the gate, no, he didn't!

Rocky wasn't allowed out yesterday morning & as Mike can be rather bullish shall we say, he thought he could push an extremely excited dog back with his legs to stop him getting through the doors. Naturally the dog took great umbrage at this & growled, barked & snapped at (not on) Mikes foot.

I am now dealing with an upset Harry as Mike is threatening to get rid of the dog & an upset Mike as I have been shouting at him over his behaviour.

I have spent a lot of money, time & effort to integrate the dog into our family home, he knew he had done wrong yesterday & while I lay the blame firmly at Mikes feet Rocky was also on loss of privileges. No treats or cuddles, he was allowed a stroke though. Perhaps Mike might listen to me now.

On a happier note my house is super spic and span, I spent the afternoon cleaning & putting clothes away. I even posted my Santa swap parcel on Saturday too, this means I can spend today knitting,

Enjoy your day xx


  1. We have a dog that teaches us tricks. It dies sound as though you are doing well with the training. Poor Ricky must be confused at being in another new home and there may be deep seated memories about the earlier abuse maybe triggered by something that causes the snappy moments.

  2. It must be hard for Rocky so I hope that he does settle in okay, and there's no more upsets for any of you.
    Thanks, you too. Flighty xx

  3. That's the problem when a dog has too many masters, I have the same problem with Archie, everyone telling him what to do, he doesn't know who to listen to so he plays one off against the other. They're just like children. I hope you can get the growling and snapping under control, that's the main thing, though it sounds as though you're doing everything right. I love the photo of Rocky with Harry, I'm sure he'd be so upset if you got rid of him.

  4. Perhaps Mike needs a harness and new lead also. Men are such children, most of the time. Perhaps Harry should undertake the training regime. Only joking, he he. What we have to laugh at if men grew up.

  5. Honestly blokes! Everything will go swimmingly if they all just listen to you. Seems easy enough to me. If everyone in the house treats Rocky the same way, more or less, then he will settle down.

    Jean x

  6. Poor Rocky, he does look reproachful in that shot of him under the table. It must be really confusing for him, shame he doesn't know how much you really want it to work.

  7. It is more "training the trainer" than anything, perhaps you could find an inexpensive dog obedience class in your area. They can be very educational. The dominate actions by the dog are because he is unsure who the dominate pack member is. Your family is now his pack and he needs to understand his position in that pack. Bad behavior should be curbed immediately. When we adopted our Popeye he went through very similar behavior. When he growled and snapped I placed my hand firmly on his shoulder and upper neck and pushed him down against the floor and very dramatically yelled “no bad dog….no”, never using his name which should never be done when scolding. He was so surprised and shocked at first but the bad behavior stopped that day because he realized I was the alpha pack member. But the reaction has to happen immediately as dogs learn quicker when an action met immediately with the reaction bad or good. I might add that after a “bad reaction to bad behavior” it is equally important to love them up when they have calmed. Like children they need to know that we still love them.

  8. Well, I don't know much about dogs but it sounds like you've done everything you can to welcome a dog into your home and make it work for everyone. Don't be disheartened by one set back, I'm sure the positives outweigh the differences in opinion! x

  9. The only bit of advice I can offer is what you already know- consistency in training. I do feel for you- for what it's worth it sounds like you are doing a grand job and making good strides forward. As you know, Pop still sometimes pees on the carpet a year after coming to live with us so not all things are sorted in a linear way! Keep going honey xx

  10. I hope that you can work things out for everyone's sake, especially Rocky. Keep going and you will get there I am sure. You are doing a wonderful thing. xx

  11. I would also suggest a dog training session so you know what you have to do to let Rocky know he is at the bottom of the pile ... always.There are lots of tips and basic good manners that you and the dog will learn. Old dogs can always learn new tricks. Be sure to get into a program that is based on positive training (rewarding good behaviour) rather than punishment for bad behaviour. Here we have dog training in pet stores (PetSmart), but I don't know if you have them in UK. If Rocky is starting to snap & snarl, you need to deal with it asap before anyone gets hurt. Rocky sounds like he understands when he's done wrong, but he's probably still feeling unsure in his new home, and maybe just testing where his position is in your household. We had a rescue dog for about a year (Jack Russell/Daschund X) and he began snapping at my son. We didn't deal with it quickly enough, and things really went downhill. Sadly the dog had to be put down because he became progressively more aggressive towards everyone. We treated him with great love, but he tried to always be the alpha dog. We didn't know any history on the dog, but it would seem he was not treated well by his previous owner judging by his behaviour. It was a real heartbreak to have it end that way, and I'd hate for this to happen to your Rocky. Try not to get discouraged, I'm sure it's a big change for all of you to have him in your home. Wendy x

  12. I think you have the right attitude and discipline plan for your pup! I do hope that you can work out the kinks and that all is well again! That photo of your so with Rocky is adorable!! Wishing you a wonderful week friend! Nicole xoxo

  13. Hi Joanne congratulations, you were picked to do the christmas gift swap with me, please can you contact me via the contact form on the bottom of my blog page so we can exchange details, best wishes Marlene, x

  14. Keep going and go on instinct and don't panic because dogs pick up on humans being on edge. We rescued Moss 4 years ago and he was 11 months, full of bad habits, poor health and the worse trained Springer Spaniel ever! He's 5 now and we love him to bits, comes on holiday with us on boats and is the best trained/behaved little dog and we wouldn't be without him. We say its luck but it was down to 18 months of hard work, training in all weathers and talking to him all the time. So keep at it, little and often is the trick


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