My Life with Dogs and Cats

Puppy Training Log:

Last night, I did not call ahead to alert them that I would be arriving.

Simmy met me at the door, toy in mouth. I pat her head, came in, took off my coat....and no beagles attacked, no crazy behavior.
Simmy and beagles headed to the kitchen, sat nice and had a few treats.

It was really not at all what I expected.

Actually PeggyC, things have greatly improved. Baby May (who is nearly 4 years old), is NEVER left alone with the dogs. There was a time when Simmy was younger that I wouldn't let her near the cat. She was just too much out of control. I htink we are past the tragedy waiting to happen phase. I feel it's more--Poor Baby May doesn't get the attention she was used to.

Our office has a glass french door, so Simmy will wiggle and leap behind the glass and Baby May will sit on the other side ALMOST not paying attention. I think this is helping, but we have a LONG WAY TO GO.

If Simone is calm around the cat...we praise her.

I had not considered punishing her with a spray bottle--since she has started to love it---like a day at the SPA. She must be a water-loving dog. I'm going to stick with positive reinforcment for Simmy. She response great to praise and treats.

My son reported that Baby May gets plenty of human contact when he gets home. I was worried they were forgetting her, since at 7:30-8pm when I get home she is in the basement. He said he takes to his room every afternoon.(I hope that is true). May is HIS cat.

Still, I feel bad for poor kitty--not having the run of the house like she used to.

Years ago, I had 1 dog and 3 house cats. Now I have 3 dogs, and 1 house cat.

Puppy Training Log:

All was lost this weekend. Snow, and stomach bug.

As I lie here recovering from a nasty stomach bug, I'm grateful for our dog walker (esp) today. Thank goodness the kids stayed home this weekend and were able to walk the dogs. If not, there may have been complaining neighbors when my beagles and Simone ran wild in the neighborhood, while I rested in a snow bank somewhere.

My kids pretty much avoided me (who can blame them for that) all weekend. Thank goodness for my loyal dogs who don't care if they"catch it", and kept me company, in a tag-team, sort of way. Very comforting to have a warm doggy cuddling up when you're not feeling so good.

No training really took place, and no one got to go to town.

Oh, no, jeanneh! That is a terrible virus. Yuck. I hope you feel better very soon. Keep the warm doggy body by your side; they are such a comfort.
You have my phone number. Call me anytime, if you need a cuppa tea, soup, jello?

Puppy Training Log: 03.03.10

Still, in a fog, but going about the day-to-day stuff.

It's been a calm few days in the house. I supposed with the snow melting, the dogs are getting a bit more run time outside. I'm insisting when the kids walk the dogs, that they actually WALK them, and not just hold the long lead so they can sniff about the yard.

The dog walker has his instructions for coming in the door and making everyone sit.

I came home last night, with a dog cookie in hand as I walked in, and Simone sat--but wouldn't stay. It's a baby-step, and much improved from the crazy wild hand smasher she was a week ago.

Still so tired, and Bella in particular senses it, and is still very cuddly and protective of me. She was my #1 cuddly warm dog during the weekend. The other two tag-teamed, but Bella was the main cuddle-bug.

Puppy Training Log 03.05.10

Well the cookie at the door is working.

Last night was the very best greeting so far.

First, I don't call ahead anymore to let the kids know I am almost home. (thus no phone rings, and no routine takes place, like walking outside, or having to sit by the door before I arrive). I surprise the dogs, and I have dog cookies in hand.

Last night I was able to open the door, and I commanded all 3 to sit--which they did. Everyone got a cookie, but I demanded they stay sitting--AND THEY DID!!!, so more cookies....

I walked very silently to the kitchen and they followed--but not wildly, and they sat again on command--and more cookies were had.

And that was that.... nothing more to report.

SO tonight I'll do it again--just like last night.

I've noticed lately that Simone is looking more and more to me for permission. This is much better than before, when she just did whatever she wanted, when she wanted. I haven't been particularly harsh with her (I'm not that way). But she asked to jump on the couch with me. She didn't just jump up and maul me like she did a month ago. She is waiting to go out the door until I go first (without me asking her to wait.)

I think I made a break through--starting with throwing her out my bed, and then, just being consistent with going out the door first, and not letting her up to sit with me until I said OK. It wasn't a hard thing to teach (myself), and she just seems to be following along happily.

There has been no incident of fighting, but she will get rough when playing, so as soon as she does, I step in and break it up.

I'm seeing a light at the end of this puppy tunnel...FINALLY

Posted By: jeannehI'm seeing a light at the end of this puppy tunnel...FINALLY


Here's a cookie for you, Jeanneh. :wink:

And another cookie from me to you, jeanneh! You are doing a fantastic job!

I am so glad you are not tempted to be harsh with your dogs. I am very firm, myself, but harshness is not my style either. Isn't it a relief to see results based on gentle but consistent requests for simple basic obedience. Your doggies are a lucky bunch, j!!!

Puppy Training Log 03.08.10

Home from church, all three of us humans came in without much to-do. Simone greeted us with a toy in mouth, and ended with a cookie in the kitchen for all 3. After cookies--it's always calm. The door greeting is getting tolerable. Next, sit and stay as best as we can get.

The dogs were treated to the dog park yesterday with the weather being so warm and nice. The beagles were so excited, and Hunter let out a horray howl that I'm sure some of you heard way over in was so loud (LOL). The beagles went to the small dog side.

I took Simone for a walk, but it was so wet, and I had soaking feet. Simone is frightened of dogs she doesn't know. I brought her over to watch the other dogs and she seemed interested in being in with them. SO, I brought her into the large dog side. She was stressed. She stayed very close to me with her tail tucked behind her. A sweet spitz mix wanted to be her friend and was trying to say hi, but she only ran away, circling near me.

I took her way into the back, where there were no other dogs. She was interested in sniffing around alone until the nicest very large golden came over to her. She sat, shaking and shivering, so I took her out of the park. She is not ready yet.

She knows a few dogs from the neighborhood, and they are all smaller than she is.

It might have been better in the small park, but I just won't do that--not knowing what she might do--just playing. She is strong and doesn't realize her size or strength.

All in all--a great day for the dogs through. The rest of the afternoon--they napped...soundly.

This morning, 6:00am--no Simmy. I checked on her as she lay in her bed, and I thought maybe she was ill. She ALWAYS is up at 6, 0, 0, on the dot. She was ok. I got to snooze in 25 more minutes!!!! YEAH

She didn't want breakfast, but with encouragement, she ate it all.

I'm going to watch her, because, not up at 6am, and not wanting breakfast is out of character for her.
It might just be from the stress of Sunday.

Maybe she's afraid that if she's not good, you will take her back there and let the golden and the spitz have their way with her. :wink:

Yeah...because that's the kind'a mommy I am...evil, rotten no-good--at least that's what I tell my kids...maybe Simmy overheard me.'m sure the neighbors have heard my response to one of my teens saying "Why are you making me do this?", or "Why do I have to go?"..and I say..."Because I am an evil rotten mother. How many time do I have to tell you this. Now, get in the car!"

Puppy Training Log: 03.09.10

Almost no bad behavior to report from Simone! feels good to report that.

Last night around 11, she wanted to go to bed, so her routine is 11pm, first OUTSIDE, and then UPSTAIRS. I swear she can read the clocks. She had already been out, but the gate on the stairs was still up.

She came to me, and nudged me, but I was sending out billing for my business (YEAH), so I tossed a bone and basically ignored her. CHEW CHEW CHEW...all was ok until ...CRUNCH CRUNCH....Crunch????....there she is chewing the wall!

MY fault!...All I had to do was get up and open the gate to go upstairs.
She put herself to bed.

Puppy Training Log 03.11.10

It's been a quiet time in the household lately.

I don't have a sit and stay at the door yet when I come in, but I am happy to write that there are no more attacks on the beagles, or crazy behavior. I can come in now, and usually Simone has found a toy on her own to hold in her mouth. She's excited and doing that boxer wiggle and little leaps, but not at me, and not at anyone else in the home.

Simone seems to be finding her place in her pack.

Sometimes she does get rough when playing, and when she does, I stop her with a distraction.

As it gets warmer, and my knee improves, Simone has been getting a longer walks in the morning. This morning we played in the front yard. She LOVES to catch stuff. I just purchased a 30ft training lead so she and I can play frisbee catch better. Currently she can only go 16ft from me and it proves to be challenging with the throwing of the frisbee and her need to overrun the catch area. She seems to really enjoy this one-on-one between us.

Last night I got out of bed around 2:30am, and when I returned to the room I found Simone curled up as tiny as she could make herself--ON MY didn't yell at her. I actually felt sorry for her, because she so wishes to return to the bed with me. If it wasn't for the fact that things are going so well, on part, to her being evicted from the bed, I would have allowed her to stay. As it was, I had to remove her.

I wasn't mean about it, but I was more stubborn than she was. She set herself in a tiny ball and refused to move. When I tried to move her, I swear she just glues herself to the pillows. After about a minute of me telling her to go, and pulling at her, she gave up and jumped down. She went back to her own bed and let out a really deep sigh. I told her she was good, and pet her for a few seconds.

She's so sweet!

Puppy Training 03.12.10

Well, you win some you lose some.

Last night Simmy was a maniac. My daughter reports that Simmy was waiting for me an hour before I arrived, checking the door, jumping up in the bay windows, and crying a lot.
Once I came in it was mayhem. Beagles were knocked down, chairs toppled over, kids were running into the kitchen to escape her.

I managed to find a toy close to the door and presented it to her. She took it and tossed it into the air and continued with her wildness.

Finally I was able to get a hold of her, and I demanded she sit. She sat for about 1-milli-second and off she went back into crazy town.

The kids managed to make it safely into the kitchen, and called her in. There, she sat for a cookie, and I was able to take off my coat and join everyone in the kitchen.

I'm not really sure what happened since we had been having so really great days.

After all the nuttiness, I fed her dinner and took her out. After that, she settled down and took a nap.

We went out for dinner. When we arrived home, she greeted us nicely, and just was happy, but not nutty or wild about our entrance.

She slept very very soundly last night--snores and all. This morning she was WILD! Even a longer walk and playtime did not reduce her jumping, and need to play more.
Bella was getting snappy with her. They needed to be separated for a time.

All was calm and restful when I left for work.

A Good friend suggests Simmy's behavior at the door the other night was something called "extinction burst".

I imagined that it meant that she was going to start hunting the cat down next. Needing to be proactive to Simmy's next move, I looked up the term.

Turns out -- it's actually a good sign that her bad behavior at the door greeting "burst" is almost near an end.

I also have been going over and over why she would regress so badly--and hour before I arrived the phone rang, and then my son took her outside. Those moves WERE the precursor to my arrival home. MAYBE, she became more and more aggitated when, those two moves were NOT followed by my arrival. This would explain the nutty jumping in the window and crying after a while.

Today is all calm. No crazy behavior---not like yesterday.

I am looking forward to seeing a few more extinction bursts for other behaviors too! Sounds weird...right?

That's one of the strangest expressions for animal behavior I've ever heard... extinction burst. But then again, I have never tried to train a dog, so for all I know, the expression is very common?

oops sorry--I meant extiction funny the way I wrote it....

Either way, I never heard of it, Peg.

Well, this author doesn't seem to know how to spell it either, trying it both ways interchangeably, but I did find something on it online:

Thanks , Peggy. I knew that method and that behavior, but never knew it had a particular name. Learn something new every day!

It's a rather ominous name for something that actually makes sense once you give it some thought.

I have heard and used this term myself. It truly is a good sign that certain behaviors are about to be snuffed out by the trainee deciding, ''yup, you're way is better'' and giving up their former behavior. LOL! I laugh because , knowing some dogs, couldn't you just visualize them talking to themselves ala ''Muttley'' in the old cartoon?

I believe the ''Ex. Burst'' is sort of like a young child brings out their heavy artillery, the big guns, in relation to say, a big behavioral milestone achieved. You know how a little one will frequently regress and go wild, at times, then ''all of a sudden'' it seems, settle down and accept the rules?

''If reinforcement fails to occur after a behavior that has been reinforced in the past, the behavior might extinguish. This process is called extinction. A variable ratio schedule of reinforcement makes the behavior less vulnerable to extinction. If you're not expecting to gain a reward every time you accomplish a behavior, you are not likely to stop the first few times your action fails to generate the desired consequence. This is the principle that slot machines are based on. "OK, I didn't win this time, but next time I'm almost sure to win!"

When a behavior that has been strongly reinforced in the past no longer gains a reinforcement, you might experience what's call an extinction burst. This is when the animal performs the behavior over and over again, in a burst of activity. Extinction bursts are something for trainers to watch out for! ''

This above quote is taken directly from a web page on Extinction burst/operant and classical conditioning / part ll. by stacy@
Stacy is a trainer in MA and the above is cited as an example, since it is a good one.

Here is another one:
(Sorry,no attribution for the moment, looking it up though...)

''Extinction is the nonreinforcement of a previously
reinforced behavior. This procedure
involves ignoring a behavior that is withholding
reinforcing attention for a previously reinforced
response. In all cases, when an inappropriate
behavior is ignored, another behavior, which is
appropriate, must be reinforced. ''

Happy training everyone!
C/L : )

Puppy Training Log 03.15.10

What a wash out this weekend. I expected lots of accidents from Bella and Simmy because of their distaste for WET, but I am happy to report--no messes indoors all weekend. YEAH!!!

Actually, I am rather shocked. But, happy nonetheless. Bella is the true hater of WET, but managed to do what she needed to do in pouring rain. Simmy hated going out, but once she was in it--she seemed to take in stride and walked around like normal. The wind was frightening though, so I tried to pay attention to the breaks we had between windy and calm, and took her out when the wind was less intense.

This weekend was the BIG test of greeting at the door. The kids stayed with their dad for the weekend and arrived home Sunday evening.
I was prepared with two nice long pieces of bacon in hand once they got to the door.

The beagles showed where their true alliance belonged to...BACON, and stayed in a sit when the kids came in. Simmy could not make up her mind between greeting the kids and BACON. She hopped up to greet the kids, but I put the bacon in front of her nose and made her sit again..she was up and down, up and down...finally BACON won. Let's hear a HORRAY for BACON! Simmy couldn't sit for a long time, but she managed to SIT --and listened, and did not attack a beagle, or maul a teenager.

The kids came in, and Simmy jumped on my daughter only once, and did not tear her clothes or maul her. My son was able to come in without being touched.

HUGE improvement! HUGE!!!!!

Often I feel guilty that I have to do work, and ignore my puppies.

After church Sunday I stopped by the pet store and got some really big bones. After that--Sunday was calm, and I was able to start all the work to fill out the tax forms for the accountants without feeling guilty about the dogs. I MUST get this done--I'm getting a refund for goodness sake!!! What am I waiting for?????


On a separate note: My neighbor has two tiny dogs, and just adopted two larger puppies. One is a boxer mix. I noticed her walking all 4 with the boxer (approx 4 mo) dragging the way...I mean leading the way...and I am going to guess she hasn't had a big dog. SO--I gave her a halti head collar...and got some boxer puppy kisses as payment (love it!). I hope it helps her. I KNOW what's in store for her in the next year or more----wondering if she has any's fun for me to watch other people with their young boxer puppies...I can't wait to see how her dog matures.

I am missing Molly today--for no particular reason. I just do.

Puppy Training Log 03.16.10

Last night was GREAT!

John left a toy just outside the door, and when I opened the door I handed the toy to Simone. She was happy to get it and ran off to show everyone her prize.

I was able to take off my coat, greet the beagles and look at the pile of mail before Simone came back from her "I got a toy" prance--toy still in mouth to get a little pat on the head.

I was able to move into the kitchen without being jumped on, and all the dogs got a cookie.

And THAT....was that.

After dinner I played CATCH IT with Simone and CHASE with the beagles.

A good night.

Excellent! :bigsmile:

Puppy training Log 03.17.10

Top O' the Mornin' to ya!

Well, I supposed I can stop posting that Simone is letting me come into the house without incident, since that's how it was last night too.

Finally I can come home and not have chaos right from the start.

She did, however, sneak up on the bed sometime in the night to sleep. Hunter smelled nasty last night, so I wouldn't let him in bed. That little brat of a dog stole poor Simmy's sleeping bed for himself. Simone had reluctantly gone downstairs to the couch, but some time in the night, snuck back up and on to the bed. I never even felt the jump up! She's so sneaky that way.

My daughter commented on how good Simone has been this week.

(deep sign of relief)

Puppy Training Log: 03.19.10

My puppies are as sweet as honey at home.

Last night I got home early, started dinner and had time to lay on the couch. Hunter took my lap, Simone tucked beside me, and Bella was above on the high backed pillow by my head. It was a cuddly moment. What is most ironic about this whole scene is--Simone allowed it. Previously she would block the beagles from touching me. She would bully them off the couch, or box them in the head. We couldn't just all sit together in peace.

Last night I gave in and let Simmy sleep with us. She has been sneaking up on the bed, so last night I gave her permission to come up. She did not fight with Bella, or push Hunter. My son tried to get her off, but she did that "I am glue" thing she does when she doesn't want to move, and I said she could stay. We will see if this is a stupid move on my part, but if she remains nice, and not start being a bully, I suppose she can sleep with us.

This weekend is suppose to be nice, so I plan to take the pups to the dog park. Simone doesn't really like it, but the beagles love it.

Three cats on our bed is a bit of a challenge for me, so I can't even imagine how you do it with three dogs, especially with one as big as Simone.

I hope Simone comes to like the dog park. Maybe she will get used to it over time, if all goes well?

Glad to hear she's calming down and obeying a lot more of the time. :smile:

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