My last litter Sproodle owners have hit the 9+ month Protege stage when the dogs challenge us for leadership of the family. All of them have read Jan Fennells book and were given a Canine Communication tutorial when their dogs were puppies, but several have reached out for specific help. This is why when you pay a Dog Listener for a consult we have your back for the lifetime of the dog. This owner brilliantly described the problems:
I thought I’d read up enough on the dog listening and knew what was coming….
I wondered if it would be possible to speak to you for some advice when is convenient?
As a little background, our sproodle over the last 3-4 weeks has had a few more than usual incidents of not wanting to listen / unwanted behaviour, nothing too bad as he is usually so submissive and listens well; just the odd not coming when called, stealing and not wanting to give it back straight away, and the biggest thing has been him being more boisterous out in the front garden, barking at people including visitors. Not stopping when I’ve told him thank you and he should be reassured there’s no danger / distracted by me with a game and treat for listening and he doesn’t want to come in when called in, he guards the front door boundary and doesn’t want to come in for anything, even chicken.
But, it’s not been bad, and I knew it would be him trying to question his position and test the boundaries with each of us, its just been the odd thing (the most annoying is the front garden just not listening, so now we have gone back to him on a long line only out there / distraction, etc, but if he gets out there off lead of it it’s hard to get him back in (shutting the door on him and ignoring him worked for a while as he would immediately sit quietly by the door waiting to come in, but now he doesn’t seem to mind now and runs around barking, so we just don’t let him out there or it’s on a long line)
The main reason I’m contacting you is because his nights have gone, literally in the last 5 days or so, from totally normal (him happy with the normal bed routine) to him being totally anxious and disturbed and not wanting to even go into where his bed is. The main thing is barking – the first night it was so out of the blue I thought he was in pain or needed the toilet, so I went in (NO talking or petting) and he calmed and I left but it continued basically all night, resulting in a very grumpy neighbour complaint the next day, and two tired kids as well as me.
So what I’ve been doing is going right back to basics, no eye contact (all of us) no going to him (it’s only occasionally the kids and Tom who do this) recall practice, lead practice, and lots and LOTS of reuniting after separating. In between walks, games and feeding etc, we’ve been ignoring him a bit more (as in setting him up with a toy, or leaving him to settle etc) .
This has come in conjunction with being unsettled and not being ok with being left at all in the kitchen, his utility space where his bed is, etc, during the day as well – when we are at home. He is used to being put away after a walk, during the day for a period otherwise he is not by himself enough (I am really aware of this due to working from home, and need to build up his being completely left again – except one of us IS at home a lot!) There is a glass door from kitchen to lounge, he knows we are there but he’s whining and barking (we ignore) and won’t settle.
If allowed in a space with one or all of us, he is testing the boundaries a bit but generally settles quickly if we ignore him, so with us he does settle, but we have noticed he’s on higher alert to where we are going if we get up, following instead of chilling out.
So there Is NO settling at the moment when put away, no settling at night, and barking at night. It’s anxiety, high pitched, if ignored for longer than 10 mins it’s very loud and constant)
I want to check that I’m doing the correct thing at night, it has been helping but he does seem to be a dog who takes time to get used to doing something, and I’m worried I’m not dealing with it correctly. He is exhausted, I’m exhausted, and not feeling very Christmassy at all!!
I hope you don’t think I’ve been too bad an owner, I don’t know what else to do, it doesn’t seem to be going back to normal, I don’t want him to be stressed and not ever feel relaxed 😩 From worried Sproodle owner.
I got straight on a Whatapp video chat with the family and we discussed what was happening and why. I discovered he was also not eating all his food. I then told them what to do for a Strict re-set using Amichien Bonding with their dog to a very strict set of Canine communication rules.
We continued with Whatsapp chat messages. I told them what to do specifically.
What the dog did was amazing. He instantly started reacting to what they were doing.
The first night he refused to eat his food reward when asked to go to bed. Next morning he took the piece of food out into the kitchen and ate it in front of his owners – gesture eating back at them 100%! He cried several times the first night again.
After two days he was eating all his food happily and immediately.
After three nights he stopped barking completely at night and everyone got a good nights sleep again.
On the fourth day after 65 whatsapp messages back and forth advising and supporting the owners he was falling into line brilliantly and learning to relax again. The owners kept up sending the right subliminal messages to their dog so that all the issues were resolved.
Its always the dogs behaviour that tells me when the family is doing it right. Its hard when the whole family has to remember what they should have been doing. Although they were broadly following my instructions they had slipped and gone down the wrong paths using distraction techniques and too many high interaction games allowing the dog to lead. I have every confidence that after two weeks all will be back to normal again.
If you want to learn Jan Fennell Dog Listening and solve your dogs problems in a few weeks then contact me via email or the button.