Balancing Act: Housebreaking, Sensitive Tummy, and Reactivity
I've been actively working with my foster pup enough now to know that the three "competing" concerns are confusing me.
I would really appreciate very specific suggestions that mention time, amounts, etc., if you can. I know each dog is different, but if you can tell me what you did and precisely how you did it, I will be very grateful.
Anyway, Jett came to me at 20 weeks as a foster pup with no housebreaking and no socialization. We did not do much for the first couple of weeks and then I was gone a few days at Xmas and he had to put up with some change of care giver in that time. After Xmas, he became very reactive. He is both dog- and human-reactive.
Housebreaking has been going better in the past month. The only time he has pooped in the house was after a kong with frozen peanut butter paste I gave him as a treat one evening. His vet is aware he has very soft stools most of the time, but right now it is hard to say if it is his food and/or the "high value" treats he needs for training class. (I train with his dog food/meal allowance at home but need to use other treats much of time at class b/c of his reactivity).
Anyway, I'm looking for thoughts on how to balance the concerns. I don't want to aggravate his tummy problems and also trigger diarrhea using a lot of high value treats. It has to be uncomfortable for him and might disrupt housebreaking. At the same time, keeping him quietly at home will not address his reactivity--and ultimately, that is a safety concerns. I want him to be able to go to go back to his owner if she is able to take him again. Right now he is highly reactive with her, all strangers, and most people he knows outside myself and my two young adult children. I have 2 friends who are very comfortable working with him but he still reactis for the first couple of minutes when he sees them (they come by about 1 time/week or so). He is reactive with the trainers at first, too, and while he is fine off leash at class, we cannot train with the group.
Some random thoughts:
--I'm working to reduce random reactivity by greatly limiting his exposure to things that will make him react and introducing him slowly, with distance, to those things (pretty much any normal outdoor activity).
--I have appointments at the vet's to do more "meet and greets" and will take advantage of those. They are great about clearing the waiting room and letting me get him to an exam room, thankfully. He can walk in and out without reacting if no one else is around. Well, except yesterday he reacted to his own reflection in glass by the entrance door, but got over that ok.
--I've heard about dehydrated carrots and have ordered some but am not sure how to use them.
--I've started using a halti on the recommendation of a trainer. I will get a muzzle and start muzzle training today.
Any and all thoughts about how to address pieces of this (without disrupting the other pieces) will be much appreciated. Thanks in advance.
Radar, Aussie/BC mix, b. 2/27/2012
Jett, GSD foster pup, b. 7/15/2018