Thursday, April 14, 2011

Training Beck -from Honeymoon to the reality

The honeymoon period between Beck and my family is long over. He arrived as a foster dog the very end of January and we made him officially our dog the first week in March. Still it took a full another 3 weeks or so for my little gem of a dog to show his true self. I figure him to be about a year and a half old give or take, and he spent nearly half of his first year in a shelter. Nothing else is known of the first part of his life. The honeymoon period -or the time that everything is blissfully perfect and true doggie selves have yet to show themselves, is said to last anywhere from 2 weeks, to 6 months. We noted lots of new issues at about the 10 week mark.


Here is a list of some of the things that I didn't realize we signed up for when we adopted him. Do note that this list is for my personal training plan, so we can address each and everything one at a time.

For each item below, you can assume that I am actively managing these behaviors so that (ideally) Beck does not practice them and in turn get really good at them.

- Chases loud cars, loud trucks and motorcycles

- Jumps on people a lot

- Steals food right off your plate if you are not paying attention

- Ace counter surfer

- Seems to be a bit of a freak when it comes to people wearing hoods. He is afraid, but will go quite forward in his fear

- Has taken to growling at my youngest when she tries to move him at night

- Is reactive (barks, lunges) at some other dogs

- Is not the leash walking angel we first met, and he has pulled away from my youngest 2x now chasing a squirrel. Beck  does one of those no self control, quick dashing,  Lord protect my rotator cuff kind of pulling. 

- High prey drive

-Fence runner

- Does stoopid young male dog things, like posture with other (some) young males, and he ran straight into a farm fence and injured himself

- Has a degree of separation anxiety (which I knew)

- Shreds toys and homework and what have yous.

- He has been a challenge to teach stay to but is slowly getting it.

- Digs

 -Barks --yes all dogs bark, but he has been seen barking at all manner of things to include letting us know that the sky is blue. 
  - Destuffed an entire Premier fleece bed that was outside hung up  to dry

Update--the kids would like me to add freak about the hair dryer. Middle daughter said she thought he had a stroke when she turned it on. Same from me for the vacuum. One will assume same for lawn mower and weed wacker. 

On the positive side, we still adore him. He is cuddly and smart and easy to teach just about anything. He LOVES people, and loves my kids. He is a pretty good side kick to take around with me in the van and I adore watching him run flat out full speed ahead.
Beck has not tried to jump my fence since he got his foot caught, but I can never trust that he won't again.

Tune in soon for another episode of training Beck. Triaged to the top of the list is chasing vehicles for obvious reasons. I am thinking of taking him to the Cumberland County Choppers on Warren Ave this week. Like many herding dogs, Beck reacts when surprised but is ok once her realizes stuff ain't gonna git him.

For the record, none of these things, except the vehicle chasing suprises or worries me, and I am fairly confident that all of the above will be worked through. 


Jess the Dog Shopper said...

That's a pretty long list, but I'm sure he's still just settling'll put him right before long. I'd recommend some things, but probably just the normal stuff you already know. I sympathize with the bed de-stuffing (this has long been one of Cassie's favorite activities and explains why she now only gets towels and the floor to sleep on). Lucky for him, he's a good snuggler. That makes up for a multitude of sins. There's nothing harder than a dog that ruins your house, controls your life and then wants nothing to do with you! Good luck!

Vicky said...

When we first got Darby he was the quietest dog in the world, which was such a major change from our previous Sheltie that we thought we'd won the lottery.

One month later, he found his voice and hasn't lost it since. That was when we knew the honeymoon was over. Fortunately, his spazzy self also has the heart of a marshmallow, as do his owners. I'm sure your blog will be a must-view as you wander through this phase of acclimating him to your family.