Today marks week two with Wellington. It really does seem like she has been with us a lot longer.
This week has been harder than the first. When we brought Wellie home, we knew that we would have to work with training and pack leadership, but what neither of us knew was the emotional aspect of it all. This week has been a bit emotionally draining.
It is important to me to foster good relationships between all of the dogs. This is stressing me out a bit because I am really worried that doing things wrong at so early in the development of their interpersonal relationships will affect them later.
I have noticed over the past week that Wellington’s dominant humping of the other dogs happens mostly at times of excitement – during our play time mostly. She hasn’t been doing it as much this week, but has snapped at Paddington a few times and that is something that will not be tolerated. Every time she snaps I put her on the ground on her back and get whomever she snapped at (most of the time it’s Paddington) and have the dog stand over her. She doesn’t like this and the past few nights she’s bared her teeth at Paddy standing over her so I am working on correcting that as well.
I supervise their playtime very closely because of this. If it gets a bit too heated for my liking, I’ll break it up and have them play with something else. But constantly being this aware all the time is exhausting.
Thomas and I are both trying really hard to be calm and assertive leaders, but when I get that exhausted I find myself getting emotional with Wellington and I, myself, need to work on that. It’s hard not to get emotional though when she is asserting herself over our other two dogs.
One incident in particular happened last night. I was talking on the phone with Mom and the dogs started playing. I watched them while on the phone but in hindsight, I should have hung up to supervise more closely. While talking to my Mom I realized that both Wellington AND Paddington were ganging up on Corduroy. I was not happy about this at all. I attempted to break up the play but they just moved into the bedroom and did it again. Then I saw that Paddington was trying to dominate Corduroy in a way I hadn’t seen her do before. I quickly realize that Corduroy was becoming the Beta dog and I am not happy about that. Thomas was extremely unnerved when I told him this and it is something that emotionally affects both of us. We need to work on this. Playing is one thing, but ganging up and dominating is another. It is my understanding that if Thomas and I are good pack leaders, the dogs won’t try to dominate each other because we are already leading them. I am not sure this is entirely correct though.
I have to remind myself often that Wellington has only been with us two weeks and is still learning. What she has accomplished already is nothing short of amazing, and there are just a few things we need to work on. We didn’t train Paddington and Corduroy in two weeks so I need to stop expecting myself (and Thomas) to be able to train Wellie in a short period of time.
Something else we need to work on is Wellington’s nipping. When she gets really excited, she nips at your fingers. It used to be a lot more, and now she only really does it when I get home from work. I’ll be trying to unlace my snow boots and she will be play biting my fingers (and sometimes a bit harder) to get my attention. I’m not 100% sure how to deal with this as our tactic that worked with Paddy and Cordy seems to make it worse with Wellie. We would “bite back” by poking them in their neck – this makes Wellie bite MORE. Our new idea is to shout “OW” really loudly and it seems to be working. She seems to respond well to auditory correction.
We also working on “drop it” when playing with the ball. Last night she was doing really well and was dropping it more often than not, on command. We are also working on the barking. She is pretty good, unless she thinks she hears something – but Paddington is THE SAME way so we will work with both of them together to break this habit.
The house training is going better. At the beginning of week two, Wellie was pooping inside and eating it to get rid of the evidence so we have been working really hard and standing outside for a long time to make sure that she does it outside. I am happy to report that she has pooped outside for 3 days in a row now with no accidents inside (except a pee accident this morning Thomas informed me about – so close!). She is staying in the kitchen while we are out and has been very good about holding it until we get home so I am hopeful that she will be house trained soon.
Over the past week I think that Wellington has become even more cuddly. She likes to be near us all the time and will curl up with either Thomas or I if she can on the couch. She is eating really well and will sit and wait for her food – she is very good about that.
One other thing I want to mention that is very positive is how well she walks on leash – she has actually taught the other two proper leash manners and Thomas and I couldn’t be happier. The past week brought some of the best walks we have ever had. Ever. The 5 of us walk together and it’s fantastic. Maybe a few slight corrections here or there if one dog gets out too far beyond us, but once corrected we are all back in formation, walking in a line.
Overall, Wellington is doing very well and we are both proud of her. Thomas and I both understand that we still have a ways to go with her and I think I need to stop placing these unrealistic expectations on myself to make her perfect right away.
Until next week – wish us luck in week three!
p.s. Once again, any tips and advice is very much appreciated!