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View Full Version : Help - frustrated Cavalier!



laram
21st April 2007, 01:57 PM
I sooo wish I had a house and a garden instead of a small appartment!! I take Sammy on walks at least 1 1/2 hrs a day, but he stills gets so frustrated inside. He has lots of toys and chew bones, and I play with him quite often. We go to doggy training once a week. But he is always scrapping the door to get out, scrapping my knee to get me to play more, or just sitting and looking at me with big sad eyes as though saying 'what can I do now?'. :d*g: This morning, he actually stripped part of the wallpaper in the hall. He is a BORED dog :(

Does anyone have any suggestions on how to keep him happily occupied? I bought him a Buster Cube, but I have wooden floors, so it slides. He sends it flying across the floor so that it hits the wall. He actually broke a tile in the kitchen with it. :oops: He barks his head off at it in frustration because he can't get it to tip over. Needlesstosay, the neighbours don't appreciate it.

Would getting another dog help or make it worse (since I don't have a garden for them to run around in)?

Lani
21st April 2007, 03:42 PM
Oh, good. I'm glad I'm not the only one. :lol: I took Lucky on a 2 mile walk yesterday and he still had energy to spare. At least I'm getting a little bit of a workout ... :rolleyes:

Do you have a dog run near you where you can take him to play with other small dogs? Maybe that can help wear him out?

I got Lucky a PetStages focus ball - it's his favorite toy. You put a treat/biscuit in and he tries to get it out. Lucky is happily focused on that right now.

I'm hoping part of this is puppyhood - Sammy and Lucky are both still pretty young & full of energy. Hopefully they'll mellow out a bit as they get older ...

Edited to add: Regarding the second dog ... I think that would help a lot if you are in a position to get a second dog. It'd give him a playmate to focus his energy on and free your time up a bit. I wish I could get a playmate for Lucky.

Barbara Nixon
21st April 2007, 07:03 PM
Mind you, two dogs playing can be very noisy. When my lot start, you give up on trying to listen to the tv.:D

Karlin
21st April 2007, 08:14 PM
A second dog could help or you could end up with two that bark! And you do NOT want a second young dog that will go thru all these same behaviours!

Generally though most animals ARE a lot happier with a pal of their own kind to play with and interact with -- dogs tend to be a lot happeir with another dog, cats with a cat, though a cat and a dog even can have a very rewarding friendship.

In general though: you have a YOUNG energetic dog, still a puppy, who is doing normal young dog things. You need to both set some ground rules through obedience and consider putting some challenges to his brain (obedience training will be the start for that). You will almost NEVER be able to tire a dog out thru exercise -- mine routinely can walk 4-5 miles, and swim, and that will just be enough to give them a long nap, but they will be ready to go again an hour later. Obedience classes or agility, where they have to THINK, REALLY wear them out by contrast.

So the goal is to make sure the dog uses its body and its brain, not just one or the other. He doesn't sound overly bored to me -- you are doing lots with him -- he sounds like no one is telling him how he is supposed to behave and he is therefore feeling free to rudely DEMAND that you entertain him constantly. Of course he wants constant attention! That's what puppies and small kids want from adults! You have no obligation to give it though -- he needs to learn to politiely keep himself busy and relax as well. :)

Obedience work will really help wear out a dog and is also fun for the dog. I'd get Sam into a basic obedience class and when that is completed, get him into a clicker class or buy some books on clicker training and do some work with that -- dogs love it and it really makes them *think*. I do freeform clicker work with Jaspar for 15-20 minutes and he is exhausted after -- he has to keep thinking, thinking, the whole time! Google Karen Pryor and you'll get her clicker website for more info. If Sam hasn;t done obedience you really must get him into a class around now -- it gets more difficult to work with a dog that is approaching adulthood so laying down some basic work at his age is going to make all training much easier.

Obedience comes to mind more generally because you are not just talking about a somewhat bored dog -- you are also talking about a dog already showing impolite and unacceptable behaviours. He needs to know how to go into a downstay; he needs to know he goes on the floor when he starts pawing at you, he needs to know scratching doors isn't acceptable. To teach those more advanced ideas, you need a basic level of obedience that you can build on. Consifer what he is doing and compare what you would do if this were a toddler -- the toddler would be told firmly that the behaviour isn't allowed. Sam needs to be learning in the same way (and teaching 'quiet' would probably be a good idea too! :lol:).

Regarding the treat ball -- why not buy an inexpensive area rug that you can roll up, that he can play around on?

Also: why was he alone and able to strip wallpaper in the hall? Uh oh!! Think of a young child -- out of sight, out creating mischief. :lol: He's still IMHO far too young to be out of sight -- by doing this he has shown he definitely isn;t yet old enough to be left without supervision. Puppies often strip wallpaper (Jaspar did in my hall); as far as he's concerned it is just another toy to explore and play with; it isn;t so much that he is bored per se but that he was able to get into something he shouldn't be able to get into.... which means from now on, keeping him under watch and *closing doors* or babygating off areas where you know he could be destructive. :)

tsorningold
21st April 2007, 08:40 PM
Things that can help.
When your walking Sammy is he at your side in pulling in front? When you have a dog calm at your side during a walk it can make the walk more productive. Mostly because its focused.
My friend has a 6mth old black pug that sounds a lot like Sammy, it was recommended that she walk him with a small back pack on. This was so the walk had more of a purpose. This and walking him at her side, so he was not hysterical and pulling made him comfortable and happy to sleep the day away.
Also is he still on a schedule? Eating and going to bed at the same time? That can make a big difference.


good luck
kelly

laram
22nd April 2007, 01:25 AM
Thanks again for all the advice and suggestions!


why was he alone and able to strip wallpaper in the hall?He wasn't alone. I have an open plan hall and living room. It's just such a textured wallpaper that the mess was made within a matter of seconds. He stopped when I realised what he was doing. He seeks out these things to do when I'm not entertaining him. When I tell him to stop one thing, he huffs, and then tries to find another :rolleyes:.

The problem is that I've been indulging him. I'm a sucker for his big brown puppy eyes and sighs of despair. I've been thinking it's my duty as a good doggy owner to keep him occupied. Afterall, I have my work and computer and TV etc. He just has me. I think it started after we spent a week at my friend's family home over Easter. They have a big house with a big family and a big garden, and he was just in doggy entertainment heaven. It's as though he discovered what he was missing :-p


If Sam hasn;t done obedience you really must get him into a class around now -- it gets more difficult to work with a dog that is approaching adulthood so laying down some basic work at his age is going to make all training much easier. We're coming to the end of an obedience class now, and we're planning to do agility in the summer. Although I do spoil him, he knows many commands and usually listens. I haven't tried clicker training though. I bought a clicker but wasn't quite sure what to do with it, so it went into the cupboard. I'll check out the website you recommended!


You will almost NEVER be able to tire a dog out thru exercise -- mine routinely can walk 4-5 miles, and swim, and that will just be enough to give them a long nap, but they will be ready to go again an hour later.This is exactly Sammy! I'm exhausted and he's ready to go again! I will try to give more training sessions rather than longer walks.


When your walking Sammy is he at your side in pulling in front?Amm...usually he's dragging behind because he's sniffing EVERYTHING! We are practising contact walking though at the moment, which I find the most difficult part of training.

He has a routine schedule as far as sleep, food and toilet breaks are concerned. But his longer walks vary because I tend to fit them into what I'm doing. I've thought that this might be adding to the problem.

BTW, he only barks at Buster Cubes :D He wants the treats so badly and just can't understand why they won't come out for him.

Cathy Moon
22nd April 2007, 01:41 AM
Lots of great advice here already! I have 2 things to add - one thing I did with my bored pups is to teach them to heel off leash in the house, with a clicker and small soft treats. I would have them walk beside me and look up at me while I walked throughout the house clicking and treating. I'd make quick direction changes, walk around furniture and along walls, and vary my speed to really keep them busy paying attention to me. This type of training will be invaluable to you later when you start agility, as your pup will already know how to stay with you and pay attention.

A second activity is good old chewing - give your pup a bully stick or a nylabone (if he likes them) to settle down and chew. This is a great way for them to occupy themselves for 30 mins or longer.

luvzcavs
22nd April 2007, 04:17 AM
I would also suggest stuffing a kong with something healthy ?, Keeping a large range of different toys that you alternate often, create a treasure hunt in the house with little bits of food and hide them around somewhere he can get them but not too easy for him (like in a striaght line) and yes as much as is it soooo hard ignore him once in a while so you are not feeding his demanding behaviour.

I have two dogs and they always want to be outside despite their level of exercise or toys or the fact that they have each other to play with ?