Saturday, January 15, 2011

Close? Closer?

I went up to shower and did the now-standard of moving Niles next to Ferguson whilst leaving the TV on and giving him a stuffed kong.  While it took longer, he did start barking again about halfway through my shower.  The barking was not as frequent and panicked as usual though...more like a "Woof!...Woof woof woof woof!.................Woof..........."  I wonder if this would not have happened if:

a) He didn't know I was home.
b) If he'd gotten a walk first.
c) If I'd put his muzzle on him before putting him in the kennel

As always, as soon as he hears me come downstairs, regardless of whether he can see me or not, he stays quiet. I also ignore him for a few minutes before letting him out, making sure he is always calm and silent. 

We'll see.  Being frustrated and wanting to really work on this, I waited an hour, and then put him back in again.  He is always glad to go in his kennel, and regularly lays in their on his own accord even if I'm just sitting in the room with him.  I then practiced going into the basement, and returning for increasing amounts of time, catching him before he made a sound, and returning and giving him a treat for staying quiet.  This worked pretty well, and the time did get increased, and Niles was not even immediately next to him.  This counts as progress, right?

Jennifer had some great suggestions, as has Ferguson's booklet and foster, all of which I've been following as best I can, so hopefully it's just a matter of time before it takes care of itself.  It is my main goal to ensure that Ferguson can be left on his own for (reasonable) periods of time and happily sleep while he does it.  We can do it, Ferg!

On another note, the Pedi-paws dremel is awesome.  Ferguson has been awesome about so many things (never taking food that isn't his, not jumping on people, sleeping through the night, sleeping for most of the day, being extremely mellow with people and other animals, being easily redirected, etc.) but another thing to add to the list is how great he is at grooming.  He lays on the floor when I ask him to, and I roll him on his side and start to rub his belly.  Usually it is in this position that I'll brush him, or his teeth, or clip his nails, but today I decided to use the dremel tool we have, and it (and Ferg) were amazing!  He didn't move a muscle while I did a paw (why should he? He got treats for holding still ;) ), and his nails were all round and smooth afterwords...neato!  I'd recommend it to anyone will a calmer dog who doesn't mind the humming noise.

He's also great with his teeth getting brushed (he just licks the toothpaste while I brush), so he'll have sparkling white teeth and super smooth nails...while he stays home and cries like a baby for me.  ;)  Just kidding, Ferg.  We'll fix ya!


Never Say Never Greyhounds said...

My new one, Seven, is so noisey! So I do share in your frustration. Some more than others for sure, but you can improve it. Sounds like you are making some good progress and handling it correctly.

Jenny said...

Thanks! I'm trying! It is so hard when he is perfect whenever I'm around and only bad when I can't really correct him. I hope he hurries up and learns to just calm down and go to sleep during kennel time! But've had her for a while now, haven't you? Does she bark when alone? Or at other things? (Fergus barks at noises he doesn't understand...hopefully that ceases too, lol). Has doing essentially what I'm trying to do helped her be less noisy? I hope so! I'll be even more optimistic if someone with your greyt background has had to go through the same things as me...I'd also feel like less of a screw up, ha ha.