Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Fifteen Minutes A Day--Dog Training #1

I accomplished my first at-home dog training session yesterday. Honestly, I hadn't the gumption to do it until yesterday, and even then it was hard to get myself to do it.

After a long hard day of massage clients, grocery shopping, finding room in the freezer and pantry for the ginormous boxes of things from Costco, and making dinner, I just didn't think I had the energy for dog training. But there was Ali, all ready to do his part, so I did.

Ali and Casey Jones from earlier this year.

Ali took one dog outside in the back, and I tried with the other in the living room--but soon ended up in the carport and driveway out front. It was clumsy and weird and not very much fun. At first, Humphrey  was so triggered and excited--thinking he was going on a walk (or car ride)--that I couldn't interest him in any treats. (You're supposed to use a "measured portion of your dog's meal" when training, so they don't get too much food.)

Kibble just wasn't cutting it.

So I switched to cheese.

Now I had my dog's attention.

But it was still awkward.

On the plus side, Humphrey seemed to enjoy himself after he figured out that we weren't actually going anyplace. So, for Humphrey, training is a WIN.

"Time with mom, activity, and cheese?!"

Humphrey at a north-of-Florence beach in August.

I'll try it again tonight. Trying it at different times during the day will be important, I think. I'm sure I'll stumble upon the right rhythm for us.

It's hard to train with other dogs around, what with their excellent hearing and all. Just locking one dog in the bedroom while I go to the living room, or backyard, with the other doesn't work. Barking and freak-outs ensue.

But what else are you going to do?

Ali had the idea to do Casey Jones' training while on his morning walk. But that holds complications, too. The third dog couldn't be along, so that means: not walking him, walking Casey Jones twice, or having me walk Banjo--leaving Humphrey home alone and distraught that he's not going on a walk.

The only reason Humphrey is semi reasonable about not going on walks anymore, is that I distract him with toys in the backyard. Fetch is a great tool for us. He gets super tuckered out and all pant-y after playing.

In addition to the training, we have added supplements, better food, more play time, doggy Xanax, and meals out of food toys to slow down their eating time and adding mental stimulation to their day.

Casey Jones and Humphrey are still separated.

The biggest two challenges this presents is: most notably, our family has less together time now. One of us (teen or adult) is with the dogs in the bedroom, and one is with the third dog in the living room. We have less time together, which majorly bites. Less cuddling, less quality time, less conversation, less chill time, and less...romantic time. Also less chore time. Things are piling up.

The other challenge is: the dogs are acting up from the change. Humphrey is now getting into the garbage. After many failed attempts, we now seem to have the advantage over him. We put the garbage in a bathroom, behind closed doors (which he opens), in the shower stall, behind closed doors (which he currently can not open.)

And Casey Jones (and sometimes even Banjo) has started barking from the bedroom.

Ali and Banjo at a recent camping trip. 

None of the dogs want to be in there.

And, unfortunately, the lot falls to Casey Jones and Banjo, because Humphrey gets so stressed in there that he starts digging grooves in the wall by the door knob. He used to just let himself out until we changed out the door handle to a door knob.

So far he can't open that.

I, quite honestly, am sad and stressed at this current set up. I don't know how to improve the situation, unless it is by working on it fifteen minutes a day.

Fifteen Minutes A Day, whose acronym reminds me of "F-ing MAD," is my new mantra.

I can handle anything for fifteen minutes.

Especially if it's only once a day.

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