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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-02-2010, 02:28 AM Thread Starter
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Do you ever feel...

like a complete failure as a dog owner? Don't get me wrong, I love my little rescue. It's just that I seem to be failing at everything at once: potty training, grooming, crate training, socialization, you name it. The poor little guy is such a happy go lucky fellow, and mostly eager to please, but it just doesn't seem like we are making any progress at all. Sigh. There's so much at once, maybe that's the problem. It's overwhelming for both of us! I guess a trainer that works with us one on one might be the answer at this point. I need help.

Last edited by Scrappy; 11-02-2010 at 04:44 PM. Reason: Fixed oops
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-02-2010, 05:58 AM
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Hi Scrappy,

I know exactly how you feel. Lulu is wonderful but I worry that I am letting her down by not been consistent and not knowing what I am doing all the time. I'm sure I give her mixed messages and I am setting up so many problems for the future. I do try and remember a couple of things. Firstly she is still a baby and I am expecting alot of her & me as a first time dog owner. The other thing is that I think back to a time about a month after she arrived when I was in tears at 2am because she was barking in the night and messing everywhere. Now we have no problems at night - other than her waking me up at 6am every day. Things have definitely progressed in the last couple of months and we understand each other better. Things will get better & luckily we have a whole team of experienced Hav owners right here to support us. Try not to worry too much as I am sure they pick up on this and it makes them insecure and worried too.

Hope that helps.
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-02-2010, 07:13 AM
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How long have you had your rescue?? It does take a bit more time to train rescues, that puppies in my opinion. The real key is consistency!! If you keep doing the same training over and over and over they will get it!
Never let the dog think that they are failing - just praise and treat ALL and ANY good behavior. Each time he potties outside, each time he goes into his crate, each time he quiets when you tell him "quiet" The positive reinforcement will make him WANT to do it all right - and continue to get treats and extra love. My guys are 7,6,& 4 and I still stay good girl/or boy - every single time they pee or poop.
As far as grooming, start simply by touching everywhere while he is resting or sleeping and relaxed next to you. Ears, belly, feet, tail, butt!! Then slowly introduce a very light (such a wooden pin brush) brushing. And praise when he sits still and allows you to do it , even if it is a tiny bit at first. Eventually he will get it.
Sorry this is so long - I hope this helps!!


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(Gigi, Lucas, Dugan, Madeline,Reo,Alvin, Lucky, Lukey, Punch, Colby & Ben-(we will always Love you!!)
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-02-2010, 04:43 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, both of you, for the reassurance. Laurie, I've had Scrappy for about 10 weeks now. It hasn't been long, I realize. It just sometimes seems like we go two steps forward and then two steps back. I try to be very positive around him always and use lots of treats and praise and pats. He is a very sweet dog but he also definitely has his own ideas about what he will and will not do! One thing I've noticed is that there is a big difference in the way he responds to me versus my daughter. When we first brought him home he bonded with her the first day. He likes me, but is crazy about her and will do almost anything to please her. I've been thinking lately the best thing might be to have a trainer come to the house and work with both of us.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-02-2010, 04:55 PM
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Needing extra help is never something to be ashamed of! We all go through times with our little guys when we wonder if it will ever improve. Sometimes we would think that ours finally had the "housetraining" part down pat, and then, oops! As Laurie said, positive reinforcement is invaluable. If you decide to get a trainer for some extra one-on-one (and we've been there too!) then make sure the trainer has the same attitude about positive reinforcement rather than corrections in training.

A neighbour near by got a Havanese pup this summer, and when she deemed it "aggressive" (I would have said more rambunctious and needing socialization) she got a trainer who believed in alpha rolls and other punitive corrections. Please don't go there!

Dorothy (Rascal and Pixie)
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-02-2010, 05:12 PM
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I'm with you. I have so much on my plate with work and family, I feel like I'm not giving 100% anywhere. I put a lot of pressure on myself and have high expectations of Eli. The combo often leads me to worry about whether I'm a good owner because so often I feel like I'm failing. I try to remind myself that I was exactly the same way (consistently inconsistent) with my kids and they turned out OK (sorta ;-)

I took Eli to my brother's house this weekend. His dog, a morkie, is a bit more "smiley". Eli doesn't ever look like he smiles. Every time he looks at me, which is all the time, I think he look so sad! Now I feel guilty thinking I'm raising a depressed dog!!

Anyway, I do the "self-talk" all the time. I try to remind myself that most of my problems are in my head because I have such high expectations. You've only had Scrappy for a little while. Good things will come in time. Do what you can with him when you can and I'm certain everything will be alright.
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-02-2010, 09:38 PM
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good advice Lily and Dorothy. Work on one issue at a time. Housetraining is quite often a challenge for many. And it comes down to consistency like you mentioned. I always like recommending this article.

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Member of IAABC ,International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants , Member of Pet Professional Guild
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-02-2010, 10:01 PM
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sigh... I am in the failure doghouse, too. My fault... I told the 9 yr. old to take him out while I checked the 12 yr. old's homework. 5 minutes later, 'Mom, Mom! Jack is eating his poop!' They had gone out and came right back in. Then Jack pooped by the door.

ARGH!!! we all need to be trained.


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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-02-2010, 10:37 PM
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I agree with all of the above. Take it one issue at a time. I started with house training/crate training first, then socialization, and finally grooming.

I felt bad the first few days, which were intense crate training/house training. We really didn't play much with our Hav then, but what a difference once we could trust him. Not going to lie - I broke down in tears once while cleaning up mistakes and thinking what the heck did I get myself into.

But then, we immediately started puppy/obedience classes and attended weekly puppy play sessions with our trainer. Having these scheduled obedience/socialization events really made it easy to check these off the list and gave us good homework between classes (ie practicing sit, down, stay). Also once he finished up his shots, I started going to the dog park 2x a week. Can't emphasize enough - having a set schedule really makes this easier.

Grooming was more of a struggle - a lot of baby steps and really, *really* good treats post grooming - which didn't seem like enough when BC hit and sessions had to triple in length. I definitely gave in and when to the groomer twice in a month just to get the mats out. However, he's finally given in to sitting through a good 10-15 min session all for the peanut butter-yogurt treat.

Celebrate the little victories. My pup is 11 months now and he's still not a complete success in all areas .
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-02-2010, 11:59 PM
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hang in there! he loves you and you love him!! everything will come...
oh and YES, I feel like a failure frequently and like I am messing up a perfectly wonderful dog! but we LOVE them and so we keep trying!
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