Rough play and crate training...

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Postby amalie79 » July 24th, 2011, 1:31 pm

Luna and Robin have been having a blast together. Maybe a little too much so.

It's fairly constant. They want to play all the time, and while I'm thrilled that their play styles match, I'm not so thrilled that the style is that of chew and gnaw on each other, sometimes until someone's (ahem, Robin's) skin is red and scraped up.

I should probably give the caveat that Robin's skin is sort of tender. She's constantly scraping herself up just running around the yard, so I'm not surprised that she looks like she's taking the bigger brunt of the play sessions. Plus, Luna is still losing baby teeth. So far, it's been nothing serious-- just nicks and scratches. Not puncture wounds.

And while they are all capable of chillin' on occasion,

Image

they spend a lot of time grabbing each others scruff and trying to run away, gnawing on legs, and doing the open-mouth lips curled back fight or running, running, running, tackling. And stalking. It certainly all seems in play, and occasionally one would rather be doing something else, so I intervene. And I keep the toys up for the most part. Kongs are only allowed in the crate (part of our crate training).

I've never had dogs that really wanted to play with each other a lot and it's been 16 years since I had a puppy, so I guess I'm wondering if there's anything to be looking for other than the usual. I step in if one dogs looks like it's receiving unwanted attention, and try to foster breaks throughout the day, as well as keep the scruff grabbing from turning into biting, shaking and yanking. The first day or two, their play was not so rough, and I'm trying to keep it from escalating too much; if Luna gets to play with the other puppies in her practice session tonight, I'll be interested to see if her play style adapts to that of the other dogs. I'll try to implement some obedience training in with it...Anything else?

Now for crate training. I mentioned earlier, she's definitely turned a corner and runs to her crate every time we go in the room. I was able to leave her alone with a kong for 5 minutes earlier today without crying. She made it about 6 or 7 minutes before crying during the next session. I always wait until she's taking about a 5 second break in the noise to let her out, I offer her a new treat when I open the door, and then play some games going in and out, too, so it can continue to be fun.

My question is, how many of you just let them cry it out? We let her cry it out in the bathroom (though we didn't do ANY conditioning to that room with treats) and now she won't even go in there. We both have to work tomorrow, so she's going to have to stay somewhere, and I don't want to poison the crate right away while we're making such good progress... ugh. So far, 8 minutes is the max with her.
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Postby amalie79 » July 24th, 2011, 10:03 pm

Just got back from the "practice session." She's taken to the clicker like a champ, offering sits and eye contact to every human that passed by, and the most awesome part of the night was that she made best friends with a 70lbs 6 mo old St. Bernard. They had a blast. And she wasn't nearly as rough with the StB as she is with Robin. I think Robin and Luna just feed off each other. I'm going to try to keep it tamped down. And tomorrow will be the first day in the crate for an extended period of time. I really, really hope we don't poison the whole thing; Robin loves her crate so much-- I want Luna to love hers, too. I'm going to be working from home some, hopefully starting this week (mostly because of gas prices), so she will only have to be crated 2 days a week for any length of time.

Puppies are really cute, but boy they can be a lot of trouble. ;-)
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Postby pitsnok » July 25th, 2011, 1:01 am

I don't have any advice, but did want to say that this is exactly how Degan and Harlow play, and Harlow ends up all pink around her neck and face as well. It is better when they're collared because they grab those instead of the scruff, but we keep that to a minimum because we don't want to have to keep buying new collars. We used to try to keep them from doing it all together but it never really stuck. Now we just keep an eye on them and if it's getting too rough we stop them.
Hopefully someone will be able to chime in with some helpful advice!
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Postby TheRedQueen » July 25th, 2011, 8:38 am

As long as everyone's happy and willing to play, I don't worry about how they're playing. The big thing for me is that they both enjoy the same style of playing, and that they are both willing participants.

I love this old blog post from Patricia McConnell about problem players and how to interupt: http://www.theotherendoftheleash.com/mo ... em-players

Puzzle has REALLY sensitive skin, and loves to play bitey-face, wrestling, etc. So I just smear some Cloud Star Buddy Boo-Boo on her neck after playing...the stuff works to calm down the breakouts.
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Postby amalie79 » July 25th, 2011, 9:42 am

Thanks guys! Erin-- I just read that blog post yesterday! lol

I have some of the Halo Cloud 9 ointment-- coconut oil, soybean oil, etc. That seems to be helping...and if it's an actual cut, I've been squirting a little bactine on it and leaving it alone otherwise; only problem is that the ointment must be tasty because then they want to lick each other's necks :rolleyes2: . They seem to be doing ok. I'm finding that white dogs or B&W dogs have seem to have especially sensitive skin.

Luna likes to stalk Robin and surprise her. :) But she was able to curb her play style last night with the VERY submissive St.B, Chloe-- Luna looked like a Chihuahua next to her! Chloe's owner has a lot of dogs and said that the pug at their house is the one in charge, and enormous puppy Chloe always tries to stay a little lower than the pug. lol !! There was also a very rambunctious young lab who was a little too much for Luna at first, but she snarked at him for a second to leave hr alone, and then was fine. She's a confident little dog.
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Postby TheRedQueen » July 25th, 2011, 9:53 am

I like the Buddy Boo-boo because it has tea tree oil...so the others leave her alone for a bit. ;)
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Postby amalie79 » July 25th, 2011, 9:58 am

So does Cloud 9!

Vegetable Oils (Soy Oil, Almond Oil, Castor Oil, Coconut Oil, Avocado Oil), Beeswax, Squalene, Carnuba (Palm) Wax, Vitamin A (Beta-Carotene) - 5,000 iu, Vitamin D - 600 iu, Vitamin E (D-Alpha Tocopherol) - 5,000 iu, Calendula (Marigold), Aloe, Comfrey, Tea-Tree Oil, Myrrh Gum Oil, Lavender Oil.

Either they're gluttons for punishment, or it's too far down the list to be noticeable. It does smell a little like a hippie head shop... :wink:
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Postby amalie79 » July 25th, 2011, 1:57 pm

:nono:

So Adam went home at lunch to check on the puppy and give her a potty break...

She had kicked the crate tray/floor out (it slides in and out for cleaning, I guess), pulled the sheet we had over the crate completely inside the crate, along with a pair of Adam's shorts that were nearby, and chewed on them, and then managed to knock her water bottle out of its holder. :shock:

He took pictures. :)

He said she was happy to get out, but when he put a fresh Kong inside, she went in willingly. :| I have a feeling it's mostly ants in her puppy-pants boredom more than real anxiety, or she wouldn't have gone back in, no matter what he had to give her. I hope that's the case, anyway... Thankfully, Adam's off work tomorrow, and I'll be starting to work from home one day a week, so hopefully she'll only be crated for two full days days (6-7 hours TOPS, sometimes less) during the week and no more than an hour or two at a time on the other days.

Guess 'll be buying a dedicated crate cover so it's not easy to pull all the way in...water bottle's on the outside... and we're thinking we'll drill some holes in the tray and wire it in, unless someone has some other suggestions...

Sigh.

No. more. puppies. if I can EVER help it. ;-)
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Postby TheRedQueen » July 25th, 2011, 9:06 pm

Why are you giving her a crate cover? Every puppy I've ever had just pulls them in and chews on them...(at flyball tourneys)...which is dangerous. If you want her to feel more secure, put her in a vari-kennel.
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Postby plebayo » July 25th, 2011, 9:10 pm

TheRedQueen wrote:Why are you giving her a crate cover? Every puppy I've ever had just pulls them in and chews on them...(at flyball tourneys)...which is dangerous. If you want her to feel more secure, put her in a vari-kennel.



This is what I was wondering too.
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Postby TheRedQueen » July 25th, 2011, 9:20 pm

amalie79 wrote:So does Cloud 9!

Vegetable Oils (Soy Oil, Almond Oil, Castor Oil, Coconut Oil, Avocado Oil), Beeswax, Squalene, Carnuba (Palm) Wax, Vitamin A (Beta-Carotene) - 5,000 iu, Vitamin D - 600 iu, Vitamin E (D-Alpha Tocopherol) - 5,000 iu, Calendula (Marigold), Aloe, Comfrey, Tea-Tree Oil, Myrrh Gum Oil, Lavender Oil.

Either they're gluttons for punishment, or it's too far down the list to be noticeable. It does smell a little like a hippie head shop... :wink:


Ah yes...it's down the list a ways...this stuff smells mainly like Tea Tree Oil...lol
Ingredients: Tea tree oil, vitamin E, aloe vera gel, and allantoin, grapefruit seed extract, chamomile, vitamin A, vitamin B, and skin conditioners in an aqueous base.
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Postby amalie79 » July 25th, 2011, 9:21 pm

plebayo wrote:
TheRedQueen wrote:Why are you giving her a crate cover? Every puppy I've ever had just pulls them in and chews on them...(at flyball tourneys)...which is dangerous. If you want her to feel more secure, put her in a vari-kennel.



This is what I was wondering too.


So I gather. Like I said-- it's been 16 years since I had a puppy and we didn't crate train him; we crate trained Robin, and while she tore up her crate bedding, she never bothered the blanket on top. The whole puppy thing is basically new to me. At any rate, we're leaving the cover off for now. I might look into a vari-kennel instead, but if she really wants a "den," I might also look into a fitted cover-- one that's sewn to fit the crate without any extra fabric. Have you had puppies manage to pull those in, too, or just a blanket or sheet makeshift cover?
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Postby TheRedQueen » July 25th, 2011, 9:24 pm

Dogs that pull stuff in, including puppies and adults, in my experience can reach things that I thought were well out of the way. Sawyer pulls stuff into his crate at flyball, including coverings, harnesses, leashes, etc and chews them. Fitted covers end up with holes from where he pulled them in and tore/chewed them.

I only use covers if they are stimulated by things going by their crates...and for boarding and fosters, that's usually just done by closing the door rather than covering. My fosters don't even get bedding...because I don't want blockages and vet bills. ;)
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Postby amalie79 » July 25th, 2011, 9:37 pm

We can close the door to the room her crate is in. So far she hasn't messed with her bedding, but without a tasty cover to pull inside, she might start. Robin had to go without bedding for a while, then she could only have a sheet... eventually we were able to graduate to a crate pad.

Right now, I only allow her to play with chewies (kongs, waggle, nylabone, etc.) inside the crate. The door doesn't have to be closed, but she can't have those things outside the crate. She's also getting her meals in it, and I've yet to have to force her to go in. She runs in with a waggly tail no matter how much she was whining 5 minutes earlier. We got rid of the "puppy" nylabone on Friday; she still had some milk teeth, so we bought a puppy one. Well, my mother stopped in, and I noticed that River was conspicuously quiet. She'd gotten hold of it and eaten it a couple of inches down. I talked to the e-vet and ended up inducing vomiting and throwing away the nylabone. They do fine with the super durable ones, but not so much the softer ones. And Luna's milk teeth are falling out left and right, so she can move to a big-girl bone now.

Anyway, she does ok when we're in the room. Her crying to get out seems more like she's irritated and less like she's upset or anxious. Hopefully, she'll start to "get it" soon.
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Postby furever_pit » July 26th, 2011, 12:17 am

For the crate destruction issues, I'd stick her in a vari kennel. It's harder for the dog to get to things outside the crate in these and there is also no plastic bottom for them to decide to play with/destroy. I rarely use the wire kennels anymore unless I have an older dog who just chills (like Dylweed). I'd refrain from covering the crate too unless she needs the extra isolation because she's overstimulated or something.

I have allowed all of my puppies to cry it out in their crates. They are still fed in their crates and get kongs and other fun treats in the crates and I've never had a dog end up with a crate issue. They all still go charging into the crates and Gigz has even turned it over on itself by slamming into the back wall. :crazy2:

For the play, I don't have a ton of advice. I prefer to teach my dogs to ignore one another and I don't tolerate play in the house. In the yard, that's a different story and as long as it doesn't get too rough I don't care what they do. If it does start to get out of control I just say "hey" or tell them to "settle" and they'll bring it down a few notches.
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Postby amalie79 » July 26th, 2011, 9:52 am

Thanks for everyone's input. I'm going to look into a vari-kennel. Luckily, she probably only has to be crated for maybe an hour tomorrow and Friday (there will be nothing on or around the crate and we'll take some steps to keep the tray from sliding out again if we're still using the wire one) and maybe 2 hours on Thursday, and that's it until Monday. So we have a lot of time to keep working and figure out what we're doing. She's a smart cookie, but she's a stinker.
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Postby amalie79 » August 2nd, 2011, 1:21 pm

Ugh. Little pupdate...

She's been doing so much better with the crate training. The others were getting a little fed up with puppy antics, so we've been crating her at night; after brief crying, whining, throttled baby noises she settles down well, and after the first night, she stopped waking us up and sleeps through now. And when we leave, we put a kong in with her and she doesn't cry when we leave and she's not crying when we get back-- I know she's crying some in between when the kong runs out, but she clearly settles herself and still goes into the crate willingly the next time we need her to.

I just got home for lunch and when I opened my bedroom door, she was sitting on our bed. :shock: She apparently got one of the 4 top latches (it's a 2-door crate) undone and had wiggled out. I'm SO glad I took off her collar before I left. I guess I'll put a couple of caribiners or quicklink chain pieces on the latches when we leave...? Crikey. A friend of mine is loaning me a vari-kennel to try (we get it this weekend), so we'll see how that goes. She seems to do well when she can see us, so it might be worse, but it's worth a shot.

She's also still having some missteps getting the hang of house-training, so I've started tethering her to my waist when we're not in a closed room where I can watch her or in a baby-gated area. Now if I could explain to the other people in the house that "keep an eye on her" actually means one should, you know...keep and EYE ON HER. I seem to keep finding her illicit pee spots when I come home from shopping or work and not so much when I've been here, ahem, keeping an eye on her. :neutral:

She's got allergies-- which is just what I need: another sensitive skin allergy dog. :( But benadryl helps when she doesn't spit it out. We switched her to an ALS California Naturals Chick/Rice kibble, which she loves and is doing well on. Once she's settled on that food and her skin is nicely healed, I'll probably take her off the meds and see how she does. When she's a little older, I'll may switch her to a grain-free, but this may just be inhalant allergies, so we'll see. She goes in for her last set of shots this week and then has an appointment to be spayed on the 16th.

Everyone think lots of good thoughts that she doesn't go into heat before then!!!!

All in all, we took things a leeetle quicker than we should have, so we're stepping back a bit. We've been lucky with integrating and training our other dogs-- we forgot she's a puppy, I guess. :|
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