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  1. Oh man, I feel for you! I look forward to the wisdom others will share on this one because we basically haven't given Kevin a bath since he was like 5 months on account of a fairly similar reaction - he got SUPER scared and trembly and defensive. We have places where we can take him swimming when he needs a good cleaning, luckily. BUT one thought: how used to being in the bathroom is Tama? Kev was so freaked out by the bathroom and it occurred to me that he had only been in there to get wet, which he hated. So we've started putting treats in there for him to "search" out (in as much as one can search for something in a very small room), or i have him fetch toys out of there, in sort of a one-step-at-a-time process, hoping that someday he'll search for a cheeseburger beneath a streaming shower... !
  2. We live in Stockholm! (My husband and I are transplants from Seattle, but I'm half Swedish and grew up coming here - Kevin is Swedish-born!) I really appreciate your insights here. We generally practice the "yelp" sound (a holdover habit from when he was a younger puppy) when his mouth gets on us as a result of something he doesn't like, but I don't really feel like it's effective. There was a period where whenever it happened (again, when he was much, much younger; when teeth were still kind of a routine part of life), we would go close ourselves off in another room - an easier method than trying to physically put him in a different space for a timeout, especially since we live in a fairly small apartment. I'm wondering if perhaps reinstating that version of a timeout would be a good idea, when The Mouth happens. It's hard to know what kind of correction to incorporate as part of a positive reinforcement training practice - especially with a sensitive dog. But I wholeheartedly agree with what you said - I don't think it should be tolerated either! Speaking of updates: we are making HUGE towel progress. A rainy November has meant toweling off basically every time we come inside and he's become way more accepting. And I've been working with a clicker and treats on "let me look?" as a cue to hold and examine his paws on pretty much a daily basis. When he focuses, he will indeed "let me look" and if there is any mouth, it turns to licks immediately. And we've had zero issues with putting on his harness since that one funky day a few weeks ago.
  3. Look at that team of beautiful pups!! So, we have a much sportier harness that we've tried transitioning him to - at first he was super freaked out by it, so we named it Trish and made it a toy (all of his toys have names), and eventually we were able to get it on him, but he was still kind of freaked out by it and I figured well, if you're not bothered by the old one then we may as well stick with it. Once the step-in harness is on, he's good as gold. He doesn't shut down or behave out of the ordinary; he gives a little shake and carries on with his life. It's the getting it on part that he doesn't always love, but it's not like he's resistant the way he was on Sunday all the time. What was so striking about that was that it was this sudden switch. Rather, putting on the harness is something that he seems to view it as a 20 second task to get through, but he just kind of holds his nose and does it, and it's fine. He knows to lift his paws nicely. It was only that one day that it was a struggle - it was so random! And now, all is back to normal. I do think the why of it all is something to keep in mind, but because his behavior is normal, it doesn't seem as though it's hurting him in any way. He's not trying to get it off or pawing at it or anything. That said, perhaps we will give Trish another try Thank you all for the clever collar and walking wisdom!
  4. This is really brilliant, CptJack. It really resonates with me to think about it this way. Thanks. Thank you also for this! I have some follow-up questions!! (Surprised!? ) I have read about the importance of using a harness because dogs' necks are constructed just like ours and a leash to the collar can cause them injury. When he's wearing a harness, I feel comfortable pulling him away from, say, a sandwich dropped on the street (he has a decent "leave it" but not powerful enough to avoid such a tasty street treat). But if his leash were attached to his collar, I would worry about hurting him (he's strong!). I've kind of been under the impression that attaching the leash to the collar is for dogs who never pull or need to be pulled. Am I mistaken? Question 2: Does any teeth at all mean it's behaviorist time, even though he is not aggressive? Kev has historically been protective (as in: his mouth may get on us to say "stop that, I don't like it" but it isn't hard) with things like brushing and toweling. But this stuff has improved A TON (brushing especially; we're pretty much golden there; toweling is a work in progress). I'm a believer in prevention over treatment, but I don't feel overwhelmed, or like I've done everything in the playbook of things I'm capable of doing for improvements. Then again: I also think it would be kind of fascinating to work with a behaviorist! Thank you everyone for your responses! We're back to normal this morning. I approached him with the harness for the morning potty outing, and he was a little "meh I don't really love this" and then lifted one paw nicely, then the other and we were off - normal! I don't think he has any physical injuries; I think he was having a bad hair day. Also, to clarify: it was in that brief moment that I felt afraid (the moment of trying to put on the harness, something we had done without issue hundreds of times, when he surprised me with snappiness). I certainly don't feel afraid of him in general - I mean, look at this face!
  5. Hi all! After 6 excellent weeks with Kevin - not much of a worry in sight! so much leash improvement! nothing to complain about! - yesterday he suddenly decided he would absolutely not let us put on his harness and collar and he got super chompy as we tried. Rather than chase him around the apartment, we left without him, came back, tried again (failed); ignored him for a while, played some games, tried again (failed); I got really frustrated and stormed off (grown up!) and while I was walking around the block, my husband took care of it (success!). Kevin kept trying to snap/bite at us as we tried to put on these things that we put on him every day, even multiple times a day! He doesn't seem to be hurt anywhere (we considered this) and he did have a bit of an extreme day the day prior (with an unusual schedule and a lot of new impressions) so perhaps that put him into a mood. But I feel like my trust is a little shaken. Kevin is a very sweet and often quite snuggly, affectionate dog. But while this was happening, I felt kind of afraid of him. He wasn't being wildly aggressive by any means, but he was protective and downright bitey. It made me think: do I have a *difficult* dog!? And what does that mean? My last bc was a rescue who I got at 10 months and he just came out of the package a dream - user friendly and ready to go! He wasn't a big fan of riding in the car but you could do anything to his body, more or less - trim his fur, towel him off, handle his paws. He was a-okay. Kevin I've had since he was 8 weeks and we have a fantastic bond, for sure, but toweling and paw handling and apparently the occasional harness-application are real struggles for him. He gets protective. We may not have worked on these things Every Single Day Without Fail since he was 8 weeks old, but I do think it's fair to say they've been incorporated not an insignificant amount into his life for the past 13 months - we work on them! So that leads me to believe that it's a bit of an inherent, naturey thing about him - he's protective of his body. Fair enough. Have you had a dog like this? How did you overcome it? Is it something you manage rather than totally fix? Does it also shake your feelings on occasion? Like I said: we can go weeks without issue. And then suddenly it's like, agh! How do I even begin to deal with you? If you don't put your harness on, where are you going to poop!? The bathroom?! I love Kevin A TON and I'm proud of all the improvements and growth he's achieved in his first year (that we've achieved together, really). But sometimes I'm like "Hmm, would I be comfortable leaving you with friends for the weekend? Maybe not if you suddenly decide you can't wear your harness?" I would love to hear thoughts and stories on this.
  6. Had the same matty experience over the summer, including the part where I felt mad at myself! Managed to cut them out and he looks pretty normal now Don't beat yourself up!
  7. These are all great ideas! I really appreciate the reminder for consistency and to only do things when we have the time to do them properly. In many ways I feel like the process of training Kevin is like a constant meditation - I am endlessly having thoughts pop into my head ("What if we do THIS thing that I think will be super fun that you almost certainly won't be capable of and it will all go horribly!?") and then reminding myself "Nope, let's just do what he *can* do." And sometimes I have to remind myself of that multiple times on the same walk. Thank you everyone for these suggestions and reminders!
  8. We've done nosework and Kev loved it! I would also suggest naming your toys and having pup collect each one by name - we play "Where is ___?" every day and I find that it's an excellent way to get him to tap into a focused state, and it tires him out. I teach him the name of the toys by first showing him the toy, saying "Pickle" or whatever I've named it, hiding it in one room with the door closed, then I open the door and say "Where is Pickle?" and after 2 or 3 rounds of this, he knows its name. Then I can put both Pickle and Tire in the bedroom and have him retrieve them individually. We pair this with a "Clean up" trick where he has to drop each one, collected by name, into a basket (which I trained separately). But that aspect isn't really necessary, I don't think; just having to search for a specific thing is tiring. Also: trick training in general is probably a great way to tire your pup out! I really love Kikopup's videos.
  9. Hi all! Kevin's walking skills have vastly improved in the last few months but still aren't perfect. Recently, he's developed a habit of jumping up and biting/tugging at the leash just at the very last block of our walk - so, we're two minutes from home. Don't judge me BUT yes I have given in (I know, I know, it's bad and sanctions the game in his mind) a few times and just tugged him home, the end fo the leash in his mouth, so that we can just get there. I have tried: - changing my voice to get his attention sniffing something else - shifting his focus into a series of sit/down/wait and tossing a treat for him to leave first, then go get - doing nothing, not making eye contact, just letting him kind of tug me home without responding. My efforts to shift his attention often work in the moment while we're holding still, but as soon as I attempt to walk again it's back to leash tug. He seems to think this is great fun (ah, dogs.). I do not! What is the right thing for me to do here? Sometimes I'm not really in a rush, and I suppose if someone wise says I need to wait him out, i could try - the problem is that he is SO much more patient than I ever am! Hard to wait him out; I feel that he could wait me out for an eternity - and then tug me all the way home.... wisdom much appreciated!
  10. Are there some moments where you can up the treat currency? For example: we've started using steak (in tiny pieces) to do things like cross busy streets. If Tama can't pay attention then I know sometimes even the best of treats won't work (been there, for sure) - but in moments where you can get that attention! Steak. (If you feel like you need a higher currency treat, that is. Otherwise I'd save it for when it's really going to be necessary.) That sense of "whyyyy is it like thiiiis!" sounds very familiar. We have also gone in and out of very good periods and really, really frustrating periods. I once read someone's comment on a post, a while back, that said something like: all the training in the world doesn't make them older, which only comes with time. Sounds like you're training a ton (yay!) but also, I think it can be comforting to remember that time will also help.
  11. You've gotten some great advice here! I wonder if adding in an additional structured activity might be helpful, like nose work for example? As a supplement to training time, I'm thinking. This could be another way to activate the brain with something fun that gets him tuckered out. We took a nose work class and I found it very helpful to incorporate the exercises we learned there into our daily training sessions.
  12. Hi all! Earlier this year, when Kevin was about 4 months old, he had to wear a cone for about a week for a toenail issue. He didn't love it (*especially* at first) but he got used to it and eventually acted more or less like it wasn't there. We would give him occasional breaks and getting it back on him was always a hassle - the artful dodger - but it worked. Fast forward a few months, Kevin is just about 1, and he Will. Not. Let. Me. Put. It. On. He opens his jaws really wide so that it just goes into his mouth, and then he air snaps at me/us as we continue to try, and runs away, repeat. It's not going well, but he's licking at a rash on his stomach at night and it's keeping all of us awake. I know I've already earned some negative points by going at him with the cone when he thinks it's scary, and I've started some cone desensitization training (look at the cone/click/treat, nudge the cone click/treat, put a treat just inside the cone, yay good boy)....but I'm feeling a bit impatient and I think this method will literally take months to get him to the point of actually letting me slip the cone on his head without him trying to chomp me. Does anyone have any advice for speeding up this process, or is there not much we can do? I'm using the highest level treats we have (STEAK. Yum, says Kevin.). Thanks in advance! Update: for what it's worth, he IS willing to poke his head through the cone (with what feels to me like an "oh-my-gosh-am-i-gonna-do-this-yes-i'm-doing-it-i'm-doing-it!" energy) for steak - the cone doesn't end up all the way on, but he'll put his snout through for the treats. So that's promising I suppose.
  13. Hi @tamapup ! Tama's looking lovely Kevin was having similar I-can't-stand-walking-you-on-leash-because-you-pull-like-a-madman issues, and I did Emily Larlham's (aka Kikopup) 6-week leash training course - and HOLY WOW, it works very well. It costs, but it was 100% worth it - truly, Kevin walks like a nice guy almost all the time now. Her website is called Dogmantics. Dedicating time to these exercises most days (usually 5 or 6 days a week, but in like 10-12 minute training sessions) was aaaaa huuuundreeeeed perceeeent worth it
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