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petite 05-24-2014 10:59 AM

Help with disabled relative moving in
To make a long story short:

Old Living Situation: Myself and room mate, we have opposite full-time work shifts, I work days, she works nights, we both care for the dogs.

New Living Situation: Myself and physically disabled mother, I work full-time, she doesn't work. I'll only be able to care for the dogs in early AM and PM.

Fawn is 5 months old and in teething/sassy/has puppy brain and my mother is still able to walk, be mostly independent but her balance is not reliable. She has watched my pup for me before over weekends and such but the bigger Fawn gets the more difficult it is. Mom is looking forward to watching the dogs during the day while I work, which will work in theory.

My main concerns are Fawn's jumping up (which is not her usual greeting but she will do it at meal time now and then) and her biting (we are working on bite inhibition as I don't mind her biting me). She could easily knock my mother over in a few months and the biting has got to stop sooner than later. As an older woman, her skin can't handle the land sharking. We found that out the hard and painful way.

I'm at a crossroads. I haven't used any correction with Fawn as she doesn't really care if I'm stern with her and I wasn't willing to be physical with her but at this point I need to know the proper way to keep both human and dog safe in this new situation.

Any and all advice greatly appreciated!

Gretchen 05-24-2014 11:41 AM

I'd try private lessons with a trainer, have the trainer come into your home situation and make an evaluation. It may seem expensive, ours was $100/hr, but all we needed were two private lessons for our issues. And of course you'll need to follow through with the exercises the trainer gives you.

petite 05-26-2014 05:23 PM

Yes, a trainer is in order but I was hoping for some advice while I research. In my area there are all positive trainers mostly, which is good for puppies I have heard. Would positive reinforcement be the way to go trying to correct small behavior problems or should I be looking into other training methods for the long term?

llombardo 05-26-2014 06:40 PM

I'm thinking trainer in the home also, just to be safe. You would be surprised at what these dogs pick up on. My female Robyn was about 6 months old when my mom got sick with cancer. My mom was in a hospital bed and in a wheelchair for a couple months. Robyn(who was a jumper and still was at this point) seemed to understand and was very gentle with my mom . She would sit next to the wheelchair and behave like she was trained for years. I could see in my moms eyes how happy she was just to rest her hand on Robyn's head. My male is a certified therapy dog. When a wheelchair approaches, he moves forward, sits down, scoots back in a sitting position(so he is right next to the wheelchair)and makes sure his back is toward the people so they can pet him. They could use him to get up if they wanted to. I never trained this, he just knew.

Steve Strom 05-26-2014 06:45 PM


we are working on bite inhibition as I don't mind her biting me
You don't mind her biting you Petite? You're asking for problems. I'd be worried that the "working on bite inhibition" plan is going to be too little, too late. Its one thing with little pups, but if you've been allowing it and maybe even reinforcing it, you've got something that you need to stop now.

Maybe I'm more of a management type with a lot of things like meals, but I'd just crate her when you're eating. In some ways I'm just lazy and I'm not going to be bothered with trying to train some proper behavior when I'm eating. Its just to easy to not be bothered with it.

I use corrections, I start using a leash pop almost as soon as I put a leash on them in a way that shows them it isn't then end of the world. If you've let some of these things like jumping get established and now you need to get them under control because of your Mom coming in, I'd start thinking about some different ways to teach her.

petite 05-29-2014 12:05 PM

Thank you for the advice. My pup was a bottle baby so it was suggested to do what I can to teach her about jaw pressure. I only let her bite me so that she learns to distinguish between mouthing and hard biting.

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