Friday, March 26, 2010


Well we are getting close to 1 week of working with Copper.
Yesterday again a good day. He really likes car rides! He was so happy to jump in the car! He does whine a bit when either Kevin or I leave, I think because if he gets to go that way out of the house with us it is for fun, walks with Kevin and rides with me. That is the only time he goes out that way.

So no more growling when I put him in the kennel. I still work that exercise along with the give the toy up exercise, sits, and give me paw.
Last night he got to go with Edan to class. He got to walk in and get fitted for a harness, as he chewed Edan's. No more leaving it on in the kennel! He did well with that.
When we got home I gave him a toy and let him play with it with Edan around, no growling at Edan or me, but when Kevin came over to sit down he did growl at him and bit at his toy harder. Kevin just sat there and it eased up. It was time to go to bed so Kevin took his lead and put him in his kennel. When he started to walk away, Copper dropped the toy and followed him.
This morning I gave him a toy and all the dogs were around, he did not want the toy, but wanted to cuddle with me, Nitt came up and he growled at him, so off the the kennel he went.
That is the first time he has growled with me as a resource, but I usually have been trying to push him away, as I can tell he is trying to resource guard by position.
Just a note, when he goes to his kennel for time out, it is with a neutral tone-"too bad".
On the nutrition aspect, he has gone grain free. His treats are Ziwi Peak, an air dried food. He get Bravo Raw at meal time. Sometimes in a food tube or sometimes I just scoop a bit out of the bowl with my hand. Then I wash my hands a lot. He is showing some signs of "detoxing", increased tearing and goop in the corners of his eyes. He really loves his beef and can hardly wait till meal time. He is starting to work harder and stress less.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


This morning went very well. Copper came in the house wet. We worked on wiping his feet. I played with him. And was able to hold him so he could not bite and lightly wiped one paw then played. Trying to not let him think if he growls and snaps that I will quit but making it as much of a game as I can so as not to stress him.

He is very mouthy in his play, never learned to not mouth. We have started to work on that by holding his jaw momentarily each time he mouths our hands.
Play session this morning went well with that. He stared mouthing and it increased a bit at first(trying to figure out if this will happen every time) then all of a sudden he quit and just rolled and wringled and let me "rough him up" without any mouthing.
He got a bit of freedom this morning with just Edan in the room with him. So he got bored with what was on the floor and started to shop, I went and got him a stuffed toy that he could tear up and let him have that. After he had that a while I got a fleece tug and traded for the dead stuffed toy. He also has a favorite ball he played with, Edan was next to him a few times and no growling.

Each time I put him in the kennel so far no growling. I worked on going in the kennel then would reward out of the kennel, then in the kennel, close the door, and reward with door closed.

He went out and played with Edan for awhile while I got some things done. So nice for him and I that he likes to got outside in the fenced in yard and just hang. Really helps the stress level for both of us.
I had worked on give me paw earlier, and again when he came in, he caught onto that game, so started to put a towel in my hand. was able to wipe one paw with no growling.
He is learning, and starting to gain some freedom back.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Today was a good day-
We had a good training session this morning. Copper likes the beef Bravo the best, and today we switched to beef. I'm using a food tube(backpacking gear) and can squeeze out a bit at a time.
Copper did have One incident of resource guarding yesterday with Casey and I. He actually lunged at me, But I had his drag lead on and was able to step on it to hold him till he calmed down.
He still growls and lunges at the kennel door when I close it at times. This morning we worked on him going in and closing the door, turn away if he growls and feed him through the bars if he doesn't. He caught on to that pretty well.
Rode in the car most of the day. Got out to play when I stopped to train agility and again when we went to do retriever work. He met Kraig, Arlene, and Amanda and was very friendly. Put him on a long line and threw a few bumpers for him, He actually did pretty good with that and gave it up when I asked. He met Buddy and wanted to play, had to stop cause his lead got tangled, Buddy needs to come play with him in my yard.
Back at home another meal fed with working on resource guarding and sit and downs. When I put him in his kennel to take a break, no growling, so he got another treat.
When I am working him if I start something new he seems to stress a bit, eyes get dilated and he paces a bit. I try to mix it up with something familiar.

Monday, March 22, 2010


Well it has been an interesting day. Poor Copper has lost his freedom. He can not be out unless we are interacting or watching him closely. So I have worked on his RG(resource guarding) issues several times today, trying to find the thing that works best. I have gated him in the kitchen with my dogs just on the other side, and once with Edan present. He seems to do well with that. Had one incident where he started to guard and did give it up. However after I rewarded him he still snapped at the other dogs. So back into the kennel he went
Every time I put him it the kennel today and close the door he growls and bares his teeth. I'm not sure what that is about, but it is something that Splash has done often and seem to diminish when I just ignore it.
He again did this at meal time when I was working on fixing meals at the table. I fed the other dogs and cleaned the table, lingering near the kennel till he quit, then walked away once he quit.
He is getting better at sitting away from the door to go outside, he really likes it outside, and has not gotten into trouble out there. So he has gotten many breaks to spend some time outside. He really loves to play! And he seemed really hungry tonight finally. I have been using Ziwi Peak and Raw food in a food tube to reward. So really good and healthy stuff, and basically he is getting his meals at training time.

Yesterday we went to the foster dog drop in class. Copper was so excited he would not pee out side. So we did have an accident inside.
He did very well with going in and with the exercises. There were two other dogs in the class and they barked at one point, and no reaction, but then I think I automatically managed him. I'm so used to Splash. Kristen was trying to get me to Not manage him so we could see what he would do. He was okay with the other dogs and with Kristen.
At the end of class we were chatting, and another person walked into the room, he barked at her.
He was at one point wagging his tail as he was barking at her.
but was able to stop and I worked on him sitting and she was able to come up an give him treats. He wanted to jump up and greet her. So we have some issues but not bad.
Now last night his true colors started to come out. I had him out on a drop lead and was on the phone. There was too much noise in the living room so I took him back to the bedroom and put the gate up. He is a busy boy so I found a ball and we were playing with it. He did fine until one of my dogs came to the gate. He growled at them and went into major resource guarding growling at me as well. So of to the Kennel he went.
Now this morning I was getting food ready he went into his kennel and started to resource guard when there was nothing in the kennel. I was fixing food above him. So I gated the rest of the dogs out of the kitchen. He continued even as I was taking food put to the other dogs. He did stop and did not do it again when I let Casey and Nitt out right past his kennel.
I had in the past given him food in the kennel, but this morning after the others were fed and let out I gated them from the kitchen, got a good toy and fed him to release the toy. Also worked on sits and recalls.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Copper the rescue dog

I am going to start posting my experiences with Copper, a Toller rescue who came to me as a "highly reactive dog who has "nipped" and Lunges and barks at other dogs and people. He was originally rescued by a first time dog owner who lives in the city. Copper became very stressed and his behaviors escalated.

This is day 1-
He got here just before noon, I was anxious as this could have been a very challenging dog to work with. I took it slow with him but had treats, in hand, which he loved. I will copy excerpts from emails I am sending to the regional rescue coordinator.

My first impressions, I can type this cause Edan and Copper are playing!
He is a 1 y.o. puppy! His eyes were dilated when he first arrived but no aggression so far. He is an obnoxious puppy. I let Edan outside with him. Edan chased his ball, and Copper chased Edan. Edan growled at him and he would back off.
I think his biggest problem in he is a dominant, resource guarding puppy.
I picked up all the bones, but he did find one, I did not take it away, I went to the kitchen to get some treats and he followed, I went and picked the bone up. Previous to this he kept trying to get right next to me and keep the other dogs away, with position only. I would push him off, and he would run and play bow then try again. Edan wised up to that petty quick and is getting himself next to me a bit more. Edan is also trying to put him in his place by humping him now. Copper has growled and nipped at Edan a couple of times to back him off. Things so far are normal. He just found another bone. I think I may go ahead and put all the bones down, he seems to like to chew.
Okay, I just got up to put more bones down, Edan jumped down just next to him, and not a peep. So it rained bones!!!
He is groomed like a Golden except his ears. I will be working on his ears.
Yes he is stressed a bit, but not much, he has regurgitated water a few times, like dogs will when they are playing too much and drinking too much.
He does shy away when I reach for him, but I think I can work on that with the clicker. He is having to sit till Edan goes out, then sit till I open the door and release him. I will be taking him to a drop in foster dog class tomorrow, we will see what we have with that. I'm almost expecting him to lunge and bark to play!! He does a lot of get in your face then play bow with the other dogs.
As I a sitting here he is chewing a bone, he has growled at Edan a few times, Edan now has his own bone and chewing it only a foot away and things seem fine. He is such a pup that when I go to get something to trade to take it, he gets up to see what I am doing and forgets the bone.
I am going to work him a dinner time to get his sit really sharp. So that maybe we can use that to distract him tomorrow.
I have had to separate him an Edan 1 time so far to get them to relax, he is a busy boy!!!
9 PM
So we are getting some resource guarding with a toy that he got the squeaker out of. but after a time out and picked up the toys He is doing well. He is independent and strong willed, need to work on recalls and quickness of response to commands. He does test you and is not sly about counter surfing!! Does not even wait for you to get distracted or turn your back!!
Needs work on impulse control.
I am exhausted, will head to bed and let Kevin deal with letting them all out.
I am posting this the next day.