He’s just a busy puppy, I kept telling myself.
Digger was a foster fail. Laura decided to keep him…. Laura was an experienced dog guardian but her journey with Digger was not what she expected.
This blog is Laura’s and Digger’s story.
Some dogs come really chill … and most of the other 7 dogs I had fostered and owned had some inbuilt off …. But this new bundle of joy did not come with it !!!!!!
Whilst initially I loved that this new puppy was so super keen to engage and learn new skills with me. By 5 months of age, he could do everything my other dogs could do for longer, faster, and at a greater distance…
It was slowly dawning on me, what I needed was not more sits, drops, tricks but an Off switch.
Digger would follow me everywhere. Always be waiting outside the toilet door. I received gifts and hints to play with him all the time. he would present me with a tug, a ball at my feet.
When I started to say ” No, I have work to do”. Digger initially would play by himself and then he started reacting to external sounds, barking, digging, chewing, and being destructive, chasing people passing the house. Don’t get me wrong if I called him back, he came, but when I started working and the enrichment toy was finished. He would just be re-set to ” What can I do to keep myself busy mode ”
Digger was becoming more frustrated when he could not figure out a way to keep himself busy. He would be quick to interrupt the other dogs, and not wait his turn when playing or training. Reflexive barking, and lunging at anything was a way of getting more attention or starting a game with a bird, or person.
Initially, I thought he is bored, so more training, more activities …… nothing changed. Well that’s not true, initially, he was more tired so slept a little more but after 4 weeks we were back to his old self.
I found myself coming back to this phrase, “how can I turn him off ?”. This is when I reached out for help
I realised I needed to teach Digger to relax……..
Private sessions started. We looked at my learning style and the most tried and tested Relaxation Protocols out there. Can I just say without support …. this is so hard to do.
Yes, I could do what the writing said but staying motivated and ensuring that my pup was relaxed at the time was so key. So I had a refresher on Calm body language too.
- Suzanne Clothier Really Relaxing Protocol was a start
- Susan Garrett Crate Games was another
- Karen Overall Relaxation Protocol another
- Absolutely Dogs Boundary Games another
I was seeing progress.
But the biggest change was reducing his space, staying with him, and helping him chill.
Then I decided to make a routine just like a child ….. and this helped further. Digger could predict what was about to happen and enjoyed the relaxation. walk time, chew time, sleep time.
I could not have started with this without professional guidance since he would have been chewing the lead, barking, and fidgeting too much.
I now have a calm Digger.
I wish that this information and support had been more available. That there were classes in turning your dog off.
So, I was delighted when I convinced Louise to do this. When she finally said “Yes”.
Her reservation as always was for the dogs. Digger needed this. It was not an excuse to be a lazy owner. It was not that I had not tried … that I was not giving him safe mental and physical interaction. That I was not spending time on our bond each day.
I know I could just put him out and put up with the digging, chewing, and barking. I could have just crated him inside but this was not what being an animal lover and guardian mean to me. I was grateful I found Lets GO Fido
Management is an option and a great one at that. If that is where you are out. Do it. It really helps
Medication was and may be an option again moving forward for us. So chat to your Vets
But if you have a GO GO GO dog …. I would reach out to Let’s GO Fido and ask about this course.
Laura and the owners of ON ON ON dogs .. are very special. It is tough reminding yourself that they are not doing this to you but just don’t know how to stop.
I am delighted to be able to offer this course to our ON ON ON Dogs in Laura and Digger’s Honour.
The course is 6 weeks. You do need to train every day several times a day. It is not for the faint-hearted. You do need to ask questions and challenge why and what you are doing for your dog. You do need to take videos to see the improvement to keep you motivated to keep going.
You need to love your dog
If you are interested would you email me at Louise@letsgofido.com.au