Friday, January 14, 2011

Rescue Dog, Bad Dog?

Here we are in Week 3 or 4 with Polo the rescue pup. Sigh. At first, I didn't think of him as having been "rescued". He was mild-mannered, sweet, and only had a couple of accidents in the house. I thought this was going to be easy, bringing a six-month-old to responsible adulthood.

Maybe not so much.

Polo is still mild-mannered and sweet. He loves belly rubs, and finds ways to climb onto me and roll over so I'll massage him. He hasn't had any accidents, but consistently potties in the crate. We thought we had a very smart solution to this, and started leaving him outside when we had to go away. He's got plenty of fur to insulate him, and he loves playing outside. Putting him out should be a win-win, right?

Wrong-wrong.

Polo's biggest problem, as I see it, is separation anxiety. He hates being left alone in the crate, so he's learned to avoid me when I'm getting dressed and brushing my teeth. Now, he hates being left alone outside, so he has to find indoor places to pee AND poop in case we run away from home while he's outside doing his business. Ugh.

Poor Polo. He'll enjoy a lot of time with me this weekend, and I'm looking forward to being with him too. We have our first training class on Sunday. In the mean time, I have a couple of positive-training books on hand. I think we'll have some fun lessons in Mommy Permanence now. Polo needs to learn, little by little, that I always come back.

Poco a poco, Polito. Good dog!

6 comments:

Sarah said...

Hi Katharine & Polo!
Here is a book to read:
I'll be Home Soon: How to Prevent and Treat Separation Anxiety. by Patricia B. McConnell Ph.D.

I don't have any suggestions about the messing in the crate...however we have gotten our dogs to love us leaving the house by giving them their special treat (a Kong stuffed with food) every time we leave them home. As soon as the dogs think I'm getting ready to leave (lipstick application is a clear signal!) Barberry will heel at my side and Basil will go directly to his crate (and won't get out for anything) all in anticipation of their treat.

Good luck, and have fun in your dog class!

Katharine said...

Thanks for the book recommendation, Sarah. Although I seldom buy books, I just ordered this one online. (The third-busiest library system in the nation doesn't carry this title, and I want it NOW!)

We took a couple of good steps this morning. Polo's crate is now upstairs in the kitchen, and we started using the clicker just a little.

As I write this, Polo is outside having a play date with his best friend, Missy. So cute!

Sarah said...

Patricia B. McConnell has written some great books on dog behavior...if your library has "For the Love of a Dog: Understanding Emotion in You and Your Best Friend" check it out.

Julie said...

I can second the Kong stuffed with food idea, I tried this with Clancy and it worked really well. I hope you are able to continue making steps with this, I'm sure it is very frustrating! Hope you and Polo enjoyed the class too! :)

Katharine said...

A small update --

Polo has not subscribed to the "peanut butter in the Kong toy" theory of treats. Maybe he's too nervous to eat when we're gone?

Tonight when I got home from work, I gave him a bath, had dinner with him, and did a few clicker/treat exercises. Then, although I had to force him into the crate, HE STAYED CLEAN/DRY while I went to a meeting! First time!!!

Sandra said...

He is so sweet, Katharine. I hope he can adjust to your household and become a wonderful pet.

We had one dog with separation anxiety and it was really a challenge dealing with him. You have my sympathy. Hopefully, love will be the cure for all of what "ails" Polo. :)